Friday, February 6, 2015

Jpop Mix: 12gatsu no Kangaroo

Hello and welcome to the second installment of Music Mix! As I warned in my first post here, most of the music I listen to is Japanese pop music or just Japanese in origin. So, I'll likely be posting quite a lot of reviews of Japanese pop music, although I will try to add rock/classical/etc. when I'm able to :) This time, we take a look at SKE48's December single, 12gatsu no Kangaroo or 12月のカンガルー. The name of this group must sound pretty familiar right? The first music release I reviewed was one by a group named AKB48. SKE48 is AKB's sister group, founded 3 years after AKB was formed. Both groups have their own theater's where members perform nearly everyday. AKB's theater is located in AKihaBara, in Tokyo. Meanwhile, SKE's is located in SaKaE, in Nagoya. Just a quick explanation as to why they're so similar in name and structure. 

SKE's single has 3 songs, the main song being 12gatsu no Kangaroo. For the first time, Ami Miyamae and Ryoha Kitagawa (my new favorite member of this group) have taken the position of main vocals and lead dancers. Here is a low quality picture (sorry about that -_-') of my copy of this single. This is Type A: 
Ryoha Kitagawa is on the left, Ami Miyamae on the right.
The song is typical SKE48, very upbeat and with what looks like a pretty intense dance number, as seen in the music video. I like the beat to the song, but it's not one of my favorites. The lyrics are kind of weird, I'm not going to lie. It seems it uses a kangaroo to symbolize a lover, explaining that during cold days, he/she will make sure to take care of the kangaroo and keep him/her warm. I suppose it kind of makes sense - kangaroos are used to the heat so during a cold december month, you have to protect them and keep them warm. But, it's still weird and kind of a stretch to be honest. I give this song a 3/5 overall. I like it, but it's not something I'll be playing over and over.
Super low quality, but such a good harmony
 between the setting and the colors of the outfits! :)

The second song on the single is my personal favorite. Named Kesenai Honoo meaning roughly, unforgettable/lasting flame, I really like the structure of the lyrics of this song and I also quite liked the beat in this song. It starts off in a way that indicates that this will be an EDM type song, but then piano and strings are introduced and it changes completely. The lyrics are your typical love song, but I can't help but really like this song. Likewise, I felt like the music video was filmed in a nice setting, however, there was nothing particularly special about it. Overall though, this song is a strong 4.5/5 for me. Also, the back cover of Type A offers a shot of Team S in the setting of their music video, super cool :) (Again sorry about the low quality...) 

The final song on this single is I love AICHI. Unlike the other two songs, this one does not have a music video. I really likes the intro to this song and its general progression. The song makes sense, as Nagoya is located in Aichi prefecture (a prefecture in Japan is akin to a state in the U.S.). As SKE's theater is located in Nagoya, I thought it was nice to have a song that talks about the charms of their prefecture. It has a very classic pop sound, soft and soothing. It's nothing terribly special and the only reason I have listened to it so much is because it comes right after Kesenai Honoo on my iTunes and I forget to stop or change it before it's already 75% of the way through xD It's a 2/5 overall for me. An unfortunately forgettable song (unless I somehow go to Aichi and find a way to relate to the song.) 

Type A of this single is not too strong and I think that the fact that the main song did not appeal too much to me brought the quality of this release down. It's a solid 3/5, pretty standard in jpop and likely a single that would be lost in my iTunes if not for Kesenai Honoo.

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