We finally made it to May here on “This Week in Music” and we’re kicking things off the right way with the showdown between Nogizaka46 and AKB48’s Sashihara Rino! This week also sees releases from Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku and S/mileage if those are more your kind of thing.
Since there’s a lot to talk about this week I’ll be keeping the introduction brief. Read on after the break where I’ll be giving my thoughts on this week’s new releases.
Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku – “Kari Keiyaku no Cinderella”
First up this week we have Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku (or Ebichu to their fans, and me while writing this post) with their major label debut single “Kari Keiyaku no Cinderella”, try saying that five times fast. This is the group’s seventh single release in all and their first since signing to DefSTAR Records. The song is a very high energy idol song with a wacky PV to accompany it. While I had heard of Ebichu before this release I had never listened to any of their music so I wasn’t really sure what I should be expecting going in. What I got was an incredibly enjoyable song, enthusiastically performed by a group of girls with great personalities. If that sounds like a good time to you then I can’t recommend this release enough. I know I’ll be going back to check out their previous releases after enjoying this one so much.
Nogizaka46 – “Oide Shampoo”
Next up we have the first part of this week’s epic showdown. “Oide Shampoo” is Nogizaka46’s second single release and it’s much the same story as their debut single “Guruguru Curtain”. Anyone hoping for a departure from airy vocals and by the book instrumentals will be very disappointed with this release. I’m not sure what exactly they’re going for with Nogizaka46 but I’m finding it difficult to be excited about their music. The PV for this song is also rather unexciting with the girls performing a strange caterpillar dance move in a nicely furnished hall. This is then spliced with close-ups of the various members to round things out. I think the less I say about the costumes the better at this point. The only real redeeming point about this release for me is the b-side “Guuzen wo Iiwake ni Shite”, an electropop affair performed by a sub-unit comprised of Shiraishi Mai, Matsumura Sayuri, Hashimoto Nanami and Takayama Kazumi.
Sashihara Rino – “Soredemo Suki da yo”
Lining up on the other side we have Sashihara Rino and her debut solo single “Soredemo Suki da yo”. Certainly not the one of the names you’d initially think of if you were asked which AKB member you thought should get a solo release. As far as the song goes, you can try to spin it however you want but this is a very traditional idol song that we’re working with here. I suppose it works so well because Sashihara isn’t what you would call a traditional idol, although they are trying their best to turn her into one lately. The song is a catchy number with some really well produced instrumentals to go along with it. Whoever decided on the costume they have her performing in should be fired but apart from that I don’t think this Nogizaka vs Sasshi contest is going to be very close.
S/mileage – “Dot Bikini”
Last up this week we have S/mileage and their fourteenth single “Dot Bikini”. I honestly don’t even know what to say about this release. It’s pretty difficult to screw up a bikini themed single but somehow Hello!Project managed to pull it off. Comical songs certainly have their place in idol music but I get the feeling that this is supposed to be a serious release so I have to again question why the went with something like this. I’m just finding it incredibly difficult to say many positive things about the song, the PV or the costume choices. The frustrating thing is that Tsunku can write good songs (like the recent Berryz x C-ute collaboration) and I feel like S/mileage could be a strong idol group. Lately they just don’t get good enough songs to perform.
That’s it for this week folks. Leave a comment and let us know who you think will be victorious in the Nogizaka vs Sasshi battle and also let us know what you think of the releases coming out this week. Join us next week for “This Week in Music” where I’ll be talking about NMB’s new single and all of the associated back problems.