Having debuted less than a year ago, it’s hard to determine if Fairies has made their footprint yet in the circle of idols. They won the Best New Artist award from the Japan Record Awards 2011 and I think their past four releases have been solid and fairly unique, but in this over-saturated market there’s no telling how well this group would fare— and their embracing of brands of pop outside the traditional norm of Japanese idol songs always had the danger of alienating the broader existing fanbase.
Every release from Fairies have been fairly divisive, but I’m a subscriber. I think there’s a place for them in the crowded idol market, adding a bit more of the color and variety that the industry needs into the mix. So how did their latest, ‘Tweet Dream’, do? Read on to see Anthony and my thoughts on this release.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Fairies fan. I do not intend on going out of my way to go listen to their short backlog but I did enjoy “Beat Generation” a lot. I would have given “Beat Generation” a solid 4 out of 5 as a song if I had reviewed it. Because of “Beat Generation” I had high expectations for the follow up, but I just can not get myself to enjoy this song.
I think I’ve mentioned this before but I do not enjoy excessive use of auto-tune. This song is pretty much all auto-tune for the most part. The instrumentals do a fine job of fitting with the electronic sound that auto-tune creates “automatically”. The build up to the chorus leaves something to be desired. The chorus is good but not great. It’s catchy enough and does the job but because there is no real build up to the chorus so the chorus comes off flat. The melodies are decent but nothing you’ll start humming while doing mindless tasks.
The concept of using Twitter as a theme of the song seems to be an attempt to take advantage of a social medium that people are talking about, which is fine but when Twitter becomes a thing of the past, this song will probably be as well. If you do not enjoy auto-tune, avoid this release.
The PV is very good, contrary to the song. I really like the elaborate set design and the members of Fairies looked good with their colorful outfits. The shots of the girls building stuff was fun and nice to see them do something fun since my image of them is that they are boot camp trained elite operatives performing legit dance music.
The screen time for this PV seemed to be a bit more even and fair. It may be just be the way “Beat Generation” was shot but it seemed like every other shot was of the center, Ito Momoka. I definitely like seeing even distribution of screen time. The choreography for this song is fantastic which is to be expected of Fairies now since they consider themselves a dance and vocal group. Dancing is arguably the best thing about Fairies and it works fantastic when they are provided a good song like “Beat Generation”. I just can not say the same for “Tweet Dream”.
I haven’t had a whole lot of interest in the members of Fairies as of yet, but their releases got my attention. Their varied styles spanning dance, idol, R&B, and Kpop are not only reflected in their songs, but also in their presentation. With each genre comes stylish and appropriate wardrobes, dance styles and PVs. Their flair comes from a new kind of idol movement, working to push themselves as a fashion-forward idol group that pulls from several contemporary pop influences.
‘Tweet Dream’ didn’t make a great impression on me initially, but after just a couple subsequent listens, I was completely pulled in. Its melody is largely very traditional to a normal idol song, but not before undergoing a few tweaks; the vocals being auto-tuned being the one that everyone noticed. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me at all because I couldn’t even tell for the bulk of the song. Only when I was specifically meant to hear the electronic breaks in the vocals did I take notice. The majority of the vocals from what I could hear do exist in the song completely untouched— there’s just a track of the auto-tune playing concurrently throughout. It seemed like a controlled use of the medium, and I was on-board.
The core melody could be taken out and be used as a traditional idol song, but the amped instrumentals paired with the aforementioned vocal treatment were enough to turn it into a different and more catchy experience altogether. Believe me, it’s hard to admit that lyrics like, “Follow, follow— Tweet, tweet— Follow, follow— Do it, do it, do it”, were a pleasure to listen to. Hell, it’s hard to admit that you like a Twitter-themed song PERIOD. But I’d be a dirty liar if I said I didn’t love everything about this song. Even the liberal use of English in the lyrics, something I normally loathe in idol songs, miraculously found a sweet spot here.
The PV fared OK. The shots themselves are consistent and well-edited, but nothing out of the ordinary. The premise seemed to be establishing an arc where they work on constructing some kind of set or party with montages of them planning, painting, and inflating balloons. By the end however, it’s clear that there was going to be no payoff of any sort for the efforts displayed earlier, and that was disappointing. The set itself is really beautiful, if just a tad lacking in color and under-lit, notably in the dance scenes.
Each solo shot makes everyone look like they’re straight out of a Garnier shampoo commercial, sporting glossy and perfect hair. I really enjoyed these isolated scenes particularly because each one has a member enthusiastically performing ridiculously cute choreography moves that match impeccably with the music— these were full of personality and as a result gave the song more personality as well, resonating with the song more than anything else in the PV.
I can see ‘Tweet Dream’ having a mixed response from fans, whether it was the auto-tune, playing closer to traditional idol songs, or because it brings Twitter into the equation. If any of the above offends you in the slightest, chances are you won’t like this song. I had my doubts about a release that unabashedly used Twitter as a hook, and while many of my fears were realized(Tweet tweet, follow follow), they still pulled out a fun and endearing song that made me forget all about it.