We’ve all been very excited since we saw the preview for ‘Dareka no Sei ni Shinai’, a b-side accompanying SKE48’s latest single, ‘Banzai Venus’. The first thing Atron and I discussed after watching the preview was about how it reminded us of Korean music videos. It’s not so common now but a few years ago, Korea loved to combine drama and songs, sometimes releasing a series of videos based on just one release. It was an experimental time when Korea was obsessed with narrative music videos with tragically dramatic storylines and amazing production values.
Well, the long-awaited PV has finally revealed itself and now that I’ve seen it, I’m not sure where to start. There hasn’t been an idol PV this twisted since ‘Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou’.
I guess I should start out by saying it didn’t turn out to be like one of those Korean music videos I spoke about, but that’s not a bad thing, though I would have loved to see something like that come out of idol music. This is a rebellious, grungy video with fast cuts and a thriller-movie flair. There’s no dance shots, matching outfits, or colorful sets to be seen, taking any sense of fantasy or whimsy out of the equation typically expected from idol videos. Every shot is done in hand-held, adding to the chaotic realism the video portrays, providing one compelling scene after another—there’s more than a handful of extremely beautiful(and shocking) shots to take away from this video.
But ultimately, I can’t fully assess the PV because I feel like I’m missing a large part of it; mainly in the text that appears throughout it. Whether they explain the situation or not, I feel that without knowing what they say there’s not enough to even come up with a satisfying inference of what’s going on, and therein lies my main criticism of this PV.
Very rarely do I come across a narrative music video without understanding what’s going on, regardless of the language barrier. Maybe it’s because of the 3 subplots they tried to juggle throughout the video, or maybe it’s because it was meant to stay ambiguous, but it feels incomplete. After watching the PV several times I felt that there were too many random “artsy” establishing shots that could have been used instead for the storylines; even a few additional seconds could do wonders. But that’s just me wishing this was gonna be some kind of grand storyline involving Matsui Rena and revenge. In the end, it’s still a fast, dynamic video with lots of edgy, visceral grit that you’d never expect from SKE. I may not have understood what exactly was going on, but I had a great time watching it.
The song is fantastically suited for the dark and violent visuals in the PV, though if I first heard the song by itself, I never would have guessed it. It has haunting verses that eventually lead to the bombastic chorus that’ll keep in your head for some time. I just wish the instrumentals could have been beefier; with less of the typical synth-quality we hear often in idol music.
This is an awesome era of idol music we’re currently in, where b-sides are approaching a-side levels in terms of quality and anticipation. The 48 groups have been spoiling me rotten in the past year, with 4-5 songs and PVs with every release. Gotta enjoy it while I can.
‘Dareka no Sei ni Shinai’ (b-side to Banzai Venus)
Releases March 9th, 2011