SDN48 is onto Something.

When SDN48 announced that their debut single was approaching, I was a little worried. SDN48, a sister group to AKB48, is a more mature and adult variation of the AKB format, consisting of members mostly in their twenties. Despite having been established over a year ago, they haven’t done much on the ‘releases’ front.

The theater songs I’ve heard from them were great and different from what the other ’48’ families were doing, but I wondered how many people would give them a chance. Who exactly was their audience? The traditional idol die-hards wouldn’t enjoy it because their songs weren’t cute enough. Those it did appeal to were idol fans who liked some edge and wanted something different; it essentially drew in a niche audience within an already-niche idol crowd. Since they were formed they have created a large following, but in the back of my mind I always had a pinch of doubt as to what would actually become of SDN48. Is this is big as they will get? How can they appeal to an audience that isn’t used to this kind of idol music? How would their new single as SDN48 do, and what would it be like?

I anxiously awaited some kind of preview or information. When they announced the name of their single, even more red flags came up. “GAGAGA”? What exactly are they thinking? My idea of what their single would be like became even more obscure.

Then I heard the radio-rip of ‘GAGAGA’ and knew exactly what SDN was up to.

Do you hear it? Atron, David and I all made the connection upon the first hearing. ‘GAGAGA’ screams K-pop. The melody, instrumentals, the rap portions and all. SDN makes clear where the influence came from—some parts of the song even have SDN speaking in Korean. Short snippets of the PV appeared on television, and the visuals were very reminiscent of Korean music video settings, cementing where their inspiration came from. It’s the first time I’ve heard a Japanese girl group perform a song with a K-pop sensibility, and the result is very cool.

I think this is a great direction for SDN48’s singles. K-pop has a sound that perfectly suits older, ‘sexier’ idols while having a mainstream twist that could draw in a casual crowd. SDN48’s debut single has a lot of potential and I hope they can continue to go in this kind of direction as far as singles go. A Japanese group with a korean influence is definitely something unique, and something that could attract an audience. They secured a pre-order from me, that’s for sure.

David, Atron and I have widely varying tastes when it comes to what kind of songs we like, but somehow even we came to a consensus that ‘GAGAGA’ is pretty strong debut single. This doesn’t happen often…or at all really. I have no problem recommending this song to anyone.


About Dae Lee

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

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