With a totally different concept from their maiden image in their 6th single Answer, No3b made a complete transformation into punk rockers with a devilish feel with their 7th single, Kuchibiru Furezu. The Ogi Pro trio began sales for the single on 29th June, and managed to come in #3 on their first day of sales, ranking in after Johnny group Hey!Say!Jump! and Korean girlgroup KARA. I think it's not bad, considering the tough competition, but I thought they could have done better. It's AKB48, afterall.
With comparison to their 6th single Answer, who ranked in #2 by the first day and sold 41k copies in the first day, I thought that they would have done better, given the growing popularity of AKB48 in Japan, and that the subunit has 2 Kami7 members in the team. Well, at least they have a constant level of sales from both singles. I think it is quite a good achievement actually, to be able to reach #3 on its first day of sales. So, congratulations to them!
What's my verdict of the single? It is sort of like a buffet of condiments: It is arranged in a way that the songs represents different tastes and flavour. You get the hot and spicy kick from the title track, Kuchibiru Furezu, yet you also get the cooling, icy effect from the B-side, Sakkaku . The best part to the single is that you get an exclusive B-side solo song from each of the members, which I thought was pretty awesome because you get to appreciate each individual's vocal talents and find out their singing style.
No Sleeves - Kuchibiru Furezu... (唇 触れず...)
The good: The rock feel is an energiser for the single, which makes it really appropriate for it to be the title track. I think the song adheres closely to the winning formula from AKB48's Iiwake Maybe, with the hardhitting beats and guitar rifts capturing the attention of the listeners.
The bad: One thing about the song is that there will be one line of reptition in the chorus. With that, the repetition in the chorus can be seen as catchy...or annoying. But being a pop song, I think it is something that is appropriate which can be done. In fact, repetition makes it more memorable (for obvious reasons).
The 'extra': At first I was kind of surprised to see them in this image in their CD jackets, but after awhile I realised I really love the outfit and concept for this song. Rocker chicks are awesome. Peace out!
No Sleeves - Sakkaku (錯覚)
The good: The song is fully auto-tuned, so the feel is really different. For me, it was an experience of a good electropop song that uses auto tune appropriately. I would have said that this song would not have been as nice if the effect was not used.
The bad: Auto tune is a double-edged sword. Although it gives a pretty amazing electro feel to the song, it drowns out the members' vocals, which denies another opportunity for the showcase of their voices. Given that No3b members have pretty good vocals, I think this is pretty wasted.
The 'extra': Apparently auto-tuned songs can give a good feel without sounding trashy too! When I first heard this song, I was almost immediately reminded of Capsule's "Stay With You", which was the movie LIAR GAME: The Final Stage's ending theme. Both songs uses the auto tune technology to create a new feel that would have been impossible to achieve just a few years earlier.
Kojima Haruna - Asatte, Jamaica (明後日、ジャマイカ)
The good: Obviously because she's my oshi- ok I'll be objective here. The mid-tempo song gives an easy listening feel. Following up from her previous solo song Cloudy Song, this song gives a nice continuation and also features her vocals well.
The bad: The song is good, but there's nothing special to it. Given the mass production of songs from AKS, for a song to be memorable there must be something special to it, and I guess this song is lacking that X-factor.
Takahashi Minami - Dareka Oshiete (誰か教えて)The good: The undisputed leader of AKB48 does not disappoint, as the song is brought across well through her vocals. I could visualise this being part of a stage song too, as the melodies and instruments used to piece this song makes it real appropriate for the situation.
The bad: Again similar to Nyannyan's case, the song is good, but it lacks a certain flavour to make it imprinted in the minds of the listeners. Otherwise I feel that the song is worth a listen.
Minegeshi Minami - Sayonara ni Kitsuite... (サヨナラに気づいて…)The good: Wow, i got to say Miichan really impressed me in this one, this time round she has the best solo out of the three. As it is a slow tempo ballad style song, maybe that was what that did the trick. From the song itself you can hear the nice feel that is conveyed through the vocals and the rhythm. A potential soloist, perhaps?
The bad: To find a bad point in this particular song is akin to finding bones in an egg, but I suppose the song could have been better if there were more variations, such as building towards a higher climax at the end of the song. Otherwise, great song, a must-listen.
Enough said, do check out the songs for yourself! And as much as possible, support original music (: