Released: July 29, 2017 (Rhythm Zone)
After a shocking twist to the line-up of E-girls back in June—19 members dropped back to a current 11—the Japanese girl group are back with their new single “Love ☆ Queen”. And this time, they’re taking Japan ALLLLLLLLLL the way to Las Vegas in the dazziling additional music video (but we’ll talk about that another day…). This is indeed E-girls’ first single since a lot of members departed from the band, so, what are my initial thoughts on the single? Well, it’s a mixed bag, but mostly good.
“Love ☆ Queen” is a the glittery retro-infected number that takes a few notes from the classic J-Pop and K-Pop recipe book, especially with it’s sound, which just shouts out early AKB48 and Girls Generation. Now that’s not say it’s a bad thing, because if anything, their earlier work all conveyed a crystal clear quality and strong pack of hooks, and production-wise, it’s pretty solid. But the issue I had with this single was how dated it sounds; E-girls have been around for quite sometime now, and to me I feel they’re taking repetitive steps, which… well, isn’t the “best” thing to do, and make’s the single feel a lil’ cheap. But nevertheless, it’s catchy enough to even hook the most timid of music listeners (no tea no shade…).
But the funny curve ball out of all E-girls’ releases is that, undoubtedly, the b-side tracks stand out a lot better. The sugary four-on-the-floor jam “Smile for Me” is quite a F-ing record; it’s very feminine within it’s lyrical content, but the dynamic EDM elements of the track all blended nicely together and presents itself as a “would-have-been-better” single choice. “Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day”, a summery fun, campy, and disco anthem, is so completely out of their comfort zones that I would have mistaken it as some generic AKB48 track. But unlike the million-member band, E-girls’ have stand-out vocalists; since 9 singers have been narrowed down to three (Karen Fujii, Reina Washio and Yuzuna Takebe), the arrangement of each vocalist comes out nicely instead of matching a high-as-F pitched singer with a more low-tempo number, or a husky-voiced diva with an over-the-top J-pop frilly number. And all finishes with a heavy-pulsing EDM jam “Piece of My Heart”, which is a lil’ more edgier than their previous music… and I LIVE for it!
To an extent, “Love ☆ Queen” as a single is quite good; it packs a lot of hooks and catchy moments, and due to their line-up, the qualities of each singer and performer is a lot more eye-catching and fun. Of course, “Love ☆ Queen” isn’t as fresh or different as anticipated, the B-side tracks have enough thrills to keep us J-Pop lovers on our tippy toes for more!