So where’s Ms. 0?
If you’ve never watched the Alabasta arc of ONE PIECE, feel free to ignore the title. All you need to know is that NEWS released the PV for their latest, weeeek, and as usual for a boyband release, it is pop and insanely addictive at that.
And on the plus side, if you didn’t already know the days of the week in Japanese, this song will beat it into you. (Ashita kara mata nichi, getsu, ka, hora sui, moku mawatte kin, do…) Actually, it beats it into you whether or not you know it already.
The deluge of televised performances has already begun, but the promotion started long before that. Also the theme-song for their RUSS-K commercials, shots of the boys in their RUSS-K down jackets also make a lengthy appearance in both the limited edition single booklet and the music video. And if you’re wondering what’s with the elongation of the title, chalk it up to the band GReeeeN – who wrote the lyrics and composed the music for this song.
The titular track (obviously weeeek) is Japanese pop-rock as always – but it’s more than a bit better compared to their singles of the past. Much thanks go to GReeeeN of course, but there’s something to be said about the boys too. They all have at least a solo section to sing or pretend to rap, they’re energetic from the start (and Yamapi’s “Ikimaaaaaaasu, YAY!” helps my amusement), and the diversity in their voices work well in keeping the song from being too monotone.
Compliments done with, I do have complaints. Ryo likes to inject way too much off-putting attitude into his voice, while Kato’s deeper vocals sound a bit too soft. Koyama sounds a lot like nasal Massu during the pre-chorus bridge, and Massu himself sounds a bit odd in his transition from wistful song to the pretend-rap. Also there is a blatant lack of Kusano, who I belatedly realize was my favorite member of the group, and also whose vocals would have been perfect. I’ll stop being stupid now. Yamapi and Tegoshi do their usual level of work, at least, and the fact is that this is a boyband song, so I shouldn’t be expecting amazing vocals.
So as it is, the song is catchy pop, I will never be likely to forget the order of the days of the week in Japanese, and GReeeeN has my highly interested respect for fun music, fun lyrics, and being paid to write a good song for Johnny’s without being Swedish. They also have my amusement for including the emoticon (^◇^) in the lyrics. Yes, I have been looking for an excuse to insert kaomoji here, shut up and move on.
The video, for all the blatant RUSS-K promotion (the video is set in a “room” where the walls are plastered with their RUSS-K shots), is a lot of fun – to watch and probably for the boys to film. They’re being good-looking (though I do question Kato’s turnip head), playing around in business outfits, making faces in full force, get to be weeeek boys (which is better than being a calendar boy, or so I’m told), the P cups make a return, Tegoshi is being a blond camera whore with as many appearances as Ryo – who gets the most solo lines in this song, and I’m more than a bit amused at the comic-style scrolling panels that the video segues into every so often. It’s worth watching the video multiple times just to see all the activity that’s going in. (BARAAN! It’s the Legion of Super Salarymen!) Even if you’re just a regular pop fan, it’s worth seeing. (If you hate pop, though, why are you reading this blog?)
The single was also leaked this past weeeekend. (Please wait until the end of the post to shoot me. I like being alive when I type.) As always, Johnny’s pulls out as many stops as possible to get people to buy as many copies as possible (avex could learn a thing or two from then as far as the mass-marketing of AAA is being done), and there are three B-sides – but only one of them is found on both editions of the single.
with me, the aforementioned one, is a slower pop song with what seems to be a pared-down musical backdrop. It’s a love ballad – of course it is, this is pop music we’re talking about – but the point of this is that it’s supposed to be alternately soaring (chorus) and lonely (stanzas), and it pulls it off. Until the 20th straight listen. However, the strings during the instrumental bit before Tegoshi’s solo bit make a lovely listen, and they continue through his singing voice and just improve my overall impression of the song – though the ending chorus being a lot stronger and more touches to the music being included helps.
The second B-side of the limited edition, Why, is pure boyband. No matter how you look at it. The guitar sets the attitude and the pace for the song (a slight desperado atmosphere), and the stanzas are aptly done. And then the chorus comes and you realize they’re supposed to be singing in English. And then my brain breaks – I know it’s been a fad to stick in English lyrics in J-Pop, but we have two problems here. One, their accents are HORRIBLE and so the meaning of the lyrics, both feeling and pronunciation, is lost completely. Two, this is magnified when they sing together as shown 2:25 in when Ryo and someone – deargodIhopethat’snotKatobecausehesoundslikeadyingcat – sing the chorus lines solo and it sounds several hundred times better than the rest of the choruses. Even with the dying cat voice.
The regular edition’s B-side, Rainbow, is… well… for lack of a better term, gay. No insult intended, it’s a very happy song. It’s upbeat, the stanzas literally skip along, there are the synthesized twinkly sounds, and I really don’t think it’s possible to dance to this without looking like a complete dork if you’re over the age of 8. It’s not bad, I really do like the stanzas, but it deserves a video of its own, where paper cut-outs or flash animations of the boys are on horses and riding amidst the clouds. That’s seriously the mental image this song gives me.
I guess in the end I’m just glad the scandal streak is finally over. The single isn’t bad, though I’ll need some time to get used to the B-sides, and hopefully this marks the return of NEWS to a regular release schedule. Wait, who am I kidding, they’ve never been on a regular schedule. I give up. [exit stage right]