There’s still something undeniably exciting about the formation of yet another sister group under Akimoto Yasushi’s generous roof, even if the shiny new shrink-wrap may only be engaging for a short while.
I’ve clearly missed the news by months, but it seems that the long-skirted cousins of the AKB48 family, Nogizaka46, has been blessed with their very own sister. Gee, thanks Papa Yasushi!
Named Keyakizaka46, their debut single and PV ‘Silent Majority’ has cropped up on my feed and I figured, “Hey, why the hell not!”, even if the 48/46 brand of idols has mildly fallen out of my wheelhouse.
The song opens with the jamming chords of an acoustic guitar and a uplifting piano refrain, with weeping strings and clapping Spanish flamenco-inspired percussions trailing not far behind. There’s distinct Latin flavor to the rhythmic guitar riffs and piano chords during the verse before it falls into a more comfortable EDM build up and break, successfully building the tension with a few strong choice beats until the chorus is practically spilling out from the pressure.
The momentum from the chorus is undeniably catchy. The infectious clapping, singing strings and rapid-fire vocal delivery has an invigorating and snappy quality that has me keeping a firm grip on this track. There’s certainly something here that resonated with me more than the typical Yasushi-approved release, and I’d certainly like more where this came from.
The music video is eye-catching and absolutely magnetic. Freshly wet pavement from a passing storm flooded with reflective green and red hues; roaming searchlights illuminate the long, spotless azure blue tunics. The dance set probably required very little work, but the visuals produced are absolutely arresting. Reds, blues, greens and yellows blur together with the black of night to create a suspenseful, dangerous, yet attractive urban set-piece amidst towering Shibuya skyscrapers. The sky seems to want to swallow this urban landscape whole, conveying a panoramic, wide open feeling that is simultaneously gloomy and perilous.
The camera work and editing also deserves praise, lining up cuts and pans that tilts and turns with the dance movements; knowing when to keep still and when to mobilize. There’s a constant sense of action and momentum throughout the video that keeps my eyes glued to the screen. The members may be relatively new, but they portray the confidence of seasoned pros, giving us a effective performance with burning stares and intense choreography.
The vocals sound uniquely low, with a blend of different voices that I haven’t yet over-familiarized myself with as I have with the other 20+ member groups, which was admittedly refreshing. The sparse use of falsetto adds some range, though the track could stand to use some more solo lines to break up the uniformity. The choreography can come off a bit awkward at times with its repetitive movements and some clunky executions, but the formations are dynamic and hits hard when it needs to.
The center and lead vocalist, Hirate Yurina, has a smooth, soothing tone, pairing well with her unforgiving, harsh glare. She makes an excellent charismatic center here; she has a commanding presence and completely sells that she’s the ringleader of the group. I was completely blown away to find that she’s actually only 14 years old. She possesses a positively cool aura, and has a bright future as an idol.
This is a great first entry for Keyakizaka46, nailing the audio and visual front needed to make this a home run package.
What did you think? Love it? Hate it?