Impressions: Song for the DATE

Whoever’s been in charge of Mano Erina’s songs really made a turnaround since the release of ‘My Days for You’. She’s only released a double-A side since then (Dokidoki Baby/Tasogare Kousaten), but they continued to trend of more mature and higher quality songs and PVs. Does ‘Song for the DATE’ continue with this new trend, or has it fallen back on bad habits?

 

Dae:

Since the drastically different ‘My Days for You’, I’ve been seeing Mano Erina in a different light. It’s pretty striking what a difference songs can make for an idol’s image. With her latest, Mano Erina almost completely sheds her happy-go-lucky image and goes for a mature and potent direction that is really unlike her repertoire.

‘Song for the DATE’ may not be one of the better song names this side of idol-dom, but the flowing old-school melody and strong chorus quickly dissolve any bad preconceptions. Heavier on the electronic sound and the melancholy, this was, surprisingly, a song that a confident and powerful delivery; something that I honestly didn’t think Mano Erina had in her, having known her for airy and light vocals.

The instrumentals are punchy— maybe a little too punchy. It was distracting playing along with the vocals, especially during the verses, but it’s better than having an instrumental that’s too weak. It’s a great improvement over the overly simplistic synths that backed her early work and albums, and truly stands out compared to the rest of her catalogue.

The PV is full of dramatic shots. The opening shows Mano Erina tied to a tangled spiderweb of tape and ribbons. The singing shots show Mano singing on a dimming beach in front of gently crashing waves, her figure silhouetted against the setting sun and the purple sky.

The most striking image that lingered with me was a scene that depicted a burning photo of Mano Erina in a fire pit, which was surreal and strangely dark. The scene then transitions to her singing on the beach, where small feathers fly into the air, leading me to make a visual connection between the ashes of the burning picture and the floating particles in the air. I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but it made a strong impression and stuck with me nonetheless.

The plot of Mano Erina chasing a darker version of herself in a crumbling, abandoned industrial building seems a little ham-fisted and easily leads to some unintentionally funny parts, but it makes up for it with a number of creative and different shots. I have to tip my hat to the way they utilized the sets they had, employing a lot of different tricks with reflections, projectors, and props to make it more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

Aside from the few scenes I mentioned, the PV didn’t really leave an impact on me. The music video certainly had its moments, but it didn’t impress me as a whole— I was far more interested in this newer Mano Erina I was seeing and hearing. While I was considering Kikkawa Yuu to be the better of the two UFA soloists, Mano has been closing the gap this past year. It’s an exciting development and I hope she continues with this stronger tone.

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Anthony:

The PV for Mano Erina’s new single, “Song for the DATE” is interesting… The overall feel of the PV and song reminds me of solo female artists of the 90’s. The PV features one Mano Erina wearing black and another Mano Erina wearing white and the one wearing white seems to be her “evil” self. I’m not exactly sure why the Mano Erina wearing white is out to get the one wearing black. It kind of reminds me of a non-cartoon version of “Spy vs Spy”. The Mano Erina wearing black is chasing the one wearing white while trying to take down posters of herself that the white version put up. The chase sequence is the focus of the PV but I guess I’m just not perceptive enough to understand the imagery.

There are texts once again in the PV for parts of the lyrics to the song. This also happened in the “Doki Doki Baby” PV, which I don’t really think adds anything to the PV or song. If anything, it is more distracting for me. Overall, the PV is well-shot with nice shots of Mano Erina on the beach with the sunset in the background but nothing else in the PV really impresses me and doesn’t hold too much replay value for me.

The song itself feels super 90’s. It’s not a bad thing at all. I can see a lot solo female artists in the 90’s sing this song. This kind of electro-J-Pop is the stuff I grew up on so I appreciate this song quite a bit. Mano Erina does a good job vocally in the song and the instrumentals are fine and aren’t too obtrusive and fits well with the vocals. The chorus melody could be a little bit stronger since the beginning of the chorus is very powerful but the follow up lines fall flat a bit melodically. The other issue I had with this song is that there is a single instance of a ridiculously out of place use of auto-tune at about 3:28 in the PV. I frown on random usage of auto-tune especially when it is out of nowhere with no warning. Besides that, the song is very good and song that everyone should check out.

“Song for the DATE” is a solid follow up to Mano Erina’s previous single, “Doki Doki Baby/Tasogare Kousaten”(Double A-side). If you like solid electro-pop with a throw back feel to J-Pop of the 90’s, check this one out! You won’t be disappointed!

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About Dae Lee

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

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