‘Beginner’: Favorite Single of the Year?

I’ll say it: I’m completely smitten with AKB48’s upcoming single, ‘Beginner’.  Even with only low quality recordings to judge, I’ve listened to it countless times.  It was playing in my head when I was driving; in my head when I was taking a shower; in my head while making dinner.  I’ve been waiting for another single like ‘River’ to come along; after all, it was only a matter of time they released another unorthodox idol single, and ‘Beginner’ fit the bill, even exceeding my expectations.

First off, this is unlike any idol music I’ve heard.  ‘Beginner’ doesn’t sing about love, the simplicities of school life, or uplifting ‘go-get-em’s.  The tone of this song is downright angry; translated lyrics floating around the web convey frustrations and doubts from the youth of society, not unlike their early “dark” single, ‘Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou’, which dealt with bullying and suicide.

But ‘Beginner’ differs in tone.  While ‘Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou’ was a haunting melodious piece with carefully chosen words of caution towards a silent depression, ‘Beginner’ is an outburst of deeply rooted frustration with a sharp tongue and no remorse.  I get a sense of relentlessness and angst that I personally find refreshing coming from an idol group.  Afterall, idols can get angry too, right?  Life can’t always be about surprise birthday parties and wearing ponytails in the summer.  AKB48 calling out to my inner cynic is a good change of pace.

It’s singles like this that come out of AKB48 every once in a while that secure their spot on Japan’s musical radar.  Who else in the idol market is doing stuff like this right now?  I’ve never been this eager to get my hands on an AKB single.  October 27 never looked so far away.

King Records listed details about the different editions of ‘Beginner’ that are available to pre-order, along with the DVD contents:

version A:

1. Beginner
2. Boku dake no Value
3. Kimi ni tsuite
4. Beginner no vocal ver.
5. Boku dake no Value no vocal ver.
6. Kimi ni tsuite no vocal ver.

DVD includes 3 PVs, and 3 different dance shots of ‘Beginner’ featuring Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko, and Matsui Jurina/Watanabe Mayu as the centers.

version B:

1. Beginner
2. Boku dake no Value
3. Nakeru Basho
4. Beginner no vocal ver.
5. Boku dake no Value no vocal ver.
6. Nakeru Basho no vocal ver.

DVD includes 3 PVs, and 3 different dance shots of ‘Beginner’ featuring Maeda Atsuko, Itano Tomomi, and Takahashi Minami as the centers.

The covers look really good too…all five of them.  Should I…?

higher resolution covers after the break!

Version A - First Press Edition

Version A - Regular Edition

Version B - First Press Edition

Version B - Regular Edition

About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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2 comments

  1. When I think about it, I actually whistled this song at school without thinking about it haha.

    Means I like it than, because normally I would say shut the f*** up to myself if I whistled a song I didn’t like hoho.

  2. Type B covers are the best one indeed.

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