This write-up is going to be a bit of a double feature. That’s for a couple of reasons, the main one being that I’m not 100% confident that I could fill enough page space if I tried to tackle both of these acts individually. The other factor being that both acts, while not appearing to at first glance, actually have a bit more in common than you might think. I am of course talking about a girl who simply goes by “Saki”.
Let’s start off with 2&. You might have heard of them when they were a two-piece with Saki and the now departed (she’s not dead, don’t worry) Saya. I’m pretty sure I might have given them a spot on my top 10 singles of some year or other for their song “Negaposi Monster”. A great little indie song that I’d encourage you to check out if you haven’t already.
Fast forward to 2015 and Saki is very much alone in what has now turned into a solo project. Well, she’s not actually alone I guess when you consider the gimmick for the act is that the fans are supposedly part of it too. I dunno, I haven’t seen a ton of audience participation or anything so I don’t think it’s too serious. I think it’s more like a gesture of appreciation or something like that.
Anyway, I’m writing about 2& because in 2015 they might have only had one release, but it’s definitely up there with my favorites from the year. I’m referring to the debut solo album “Live Idol Artist”. A very fitting title as that’s exactly what Saki and her band of musicians are, live idol artists. This also comes across in the recordings too.
The album is a little rough around the edges but that’s pretty much what you get with 2&. It’s not a high production affair, you can’t really achieve that in the live house environment that is typically the platform of choice for performances. What hear on the album is what you get live, incredibly earnest and punchy rock songs from a tiny girl who wears her heart on her sleeve and leaves it all on the stage.
Even if the music does nothing for you, hopefully you can at least respect that.
Not content with just her solo activities, in 2014 Saki joined the group Guso Drop. At the time this was a somewhat surprising move to me given the fairly different styles of music each was peddling. However after checking Guso Drop out and listening to Saki’s vocal performance within the group, everything made perfect sense.
So to give a brief description of Guso Drop to those just learning about them from reading this write-up, to put it completely bluntly they’re an idol group who perform heavy metal songs. Wait, don’t skip out on me just yet. I wouldn’t be writing about them if they were just another bland and generic group trying to ride Babymetal’s coattails, would I?
Let’s face it though, there are a lot of idol groups out there doing the heavy metal gimmick. Some do it really well like Babymetal and others do it not so well. Guso Drop definitely fall on the “doing it well” end of the spectrum, probably because they actually commit fully to the act. You know what I mean, you can tell when a gimmick group actually buys into what they’re selling themselves.
As far as musical releases went in 2015, Guso Drop had two releases of note. The first coming in April in the form of a mini-album titled “Meshi no Tane”. It was essentially a compilation of all of the original songs the group had been performing live up to that point. As far as debut releases go, it was really well put together and offered a decent variety of songs while still staying in the overarching heavy metal style the group is working with.
Guso Drop then closed out the year by releasing the single “Boso Shojo” in December. A particular point of interest being that it was both written and composed by Goto Mariko. A pretty interesting combo for a number of reasons, not least because it’s Goto’s first musical effort of note since she went on hiatus earlier in the year. The idol industry is a very interesting beast.
I don’t know if this short write-up is enough to convince you to look into Guso Drop or 2&. I’d like to think it did but if not that’s fine too. Their styles of music definitely aren’t for everyone but I can sleep soundly knowing that I at least tried to turn some people onto two groups I personally enjoy a great deal.
Looking ahead to 2016 and I really have no idea what to expect from 2& or Guso Drop. They’re still in that up and coming stage that’s going to be make or break for them so I’m not expecting a full compliment of CD releases or major headlining spots on shows or anything like that. Just slow and steady progress, hopefully with the support of a few of you who have read this article.