Released: August 30, 2017 (King Records)
As I’ve explained in the past; I have no love for idol groups like the AKB48 brand. Plain and simple. No buts or “what abouts”. Nothing. Of course, I would typically hover over any idol music that is uploaded on the iTunes Store or anywhere else that promotes J-pop realness, but it came to my attention that their new single #Sukinanda had beaten Ayumi Hamasaki’s title of being the highest-selling female act in Japan, regardless of being a solo or group artist (which I find F-ing ridiculous… care to explain, Oricon?) So I decided to look into the glitziness of #Sukinanda, and surprisingly, it’s not that bad, but not great either.
Of course, the sound of AKB48’s singles will never cease to amaze or blow me out of the water, but for what #Sukinanda does offers—harmless, kawaii-inflicted J-pop beats with helium school-girl vocals—it’s not bad either. The lead single, “#Sukinanda”, is a generic-as-F tune that could easily be forgotten in the next year or two, but what is surprising is the fact that each of the girls vocals manage to blend without the screechy high-pitched fiesta, and kinda glide threw nicely. Sure, not the most exciting release (and definitely not forward-thinking for an act to beat the likes of Ayu-chan, yet discretely), but pretty solid.
The B-sides, as far as an AKB48 release, is the case of hit or miss. And it’s no wonder why they would be classed as a forgettable B-side track, but for this release, the band standout reasonably well. “Darashinai Aishikata”, a cute bossa nova jam, isn’t that bad and feels like a brave track to easily wipe the charts in a heartbeat, whereas “Tomadotte Tameratte” sounds like some off-number that features some dated-ass guitar riffs and a pretty weak progression. Thankfully, the chorus manages to provide a somewhat catchy and melodic offering without being spoilt with the screechy vocal work.
I will have to stand my ground still and confess that, although “#Sukinanda” is a pretty convincing yet better offering for people like me that don’t ever step foot into the idol side of J-pop, there definitely needs to be a re-vamp of the groups sound. Yes y’all, I get it; idol groups are profound for their cutesy and clean appeal. But the fact is; for a group that have run the charts for almost a decade, and STILL stay inside their comfort zone is not really groundbreaking. It’s all just becoming tedious releases after tedious releases, with little flair or challenge. Nevertheless, if you’re wanting to get a taste of the cuteness, then look up “#Sukinanda” because you won’t be disappointed.