Not yet's sophomore single, Naminori Kakigoori, released today, three months after their debut in March. Have they outdone themselves this time, or sunk further?
Let's take a look at the Oricon charts today first:
Congratulations to Not yet once again for topping the charts!
The best-selling AKB48 subgroup continues to do us proud. Naminori Kakigoori sold 75,979 copies on the first day. For comparison, Shuumatsu Not Yet sold 50,563 copies on its first day. It is a comfortable lead for now, but will this single be able to beat their debut's first week sales of 159,678 as well? I believe it is a resounding "yes".
At least we know the general public approve of the release. What about the songs included on this single? Are they better than those on Shuumatsu Not Yet?
Naminori Kakigoori (波乗りかき氷)
The Not yet girls get solo lines for the first time. Although the girls' vocal abilities, or lack thereof, sound a bit more glaring thanks to this, but I don't mind one bit. I absolutely adore this song. It is the perfect mix of catchy, summery happy, and "pretty" with an amazing electric guitar riff at the start. By "pretty", I am talking about the wind-chime-like sparkly sounds scattered nicely throughout the song. Everything just works. In my opinion, this is the best Not yet song in their short discography so far.
PV: Fantastic beyond words. I like how the girls are all having fun in the PV. And Yuko put in effort to learn surfing, just to film those few seconds. Clumsy Rie is so adorable! The girls look really stunning. What else can I say? Go own it on DVD and loop to your heart's content!
The art direction, cinematography and filming location were crazy beautiful. They really worked the slow motion effects and depth of field. The standard of this PV is definitely much, much higher than the two versions of Shuumatsu Not Yet's PV. I suppose that their stellar debut single sales allowed for more budget allocation this time.
Vermeer no Tegami (フェルメールの手紙)
A ballad that I would say is a little too slow. However, the tune is not bad and it's relaxing. It is quite a forgettable song, but enjoyable. It does grow a little on me as I loop it more. Apparently this is the theme song for some museum exhibition about Vermeer, so it was probably specially written for it, seeing the title. The song almost qualifies as elevator music...suitable for museums, eh.
Hug Tomo (ハグ友)
The second tie-up in the single, this song is the theme song for the Japanese release of the Universal Pictures animation film Hop, which is retitled as Easter Rabbit's Candy Factory there. I personally don't see it as suitable to such a movie, but okay, whatever it does to get them publicity, right? Hug Tomo is a happy and typical idol-type song with cowboy-ish instrumentals. It also sounds way too generic.
Something that bothers me a little is the inclusion of Kojiyuu (Oshima Yuko and Kojima Haruna) dialogue. I was like, wha-? Really, I'm sure Kojiyuu fans will like it, but why the hell in a Not yet song? Harunyan has nothing to do with Not yet. I would prefer subgroups to keep some sort of distance away from main AKB, otherwise it is no different from a song on an AKB album.
I'm not fond of this song and it's also not growing on me. I don't think i'll be listening to this song anymore aside from the occasional shuffle.
Girisha no Kamotsusen (ギリシャの貨物船)
Wow, their voices start to grate in this one. This is probably a song you'd want to keep away from if the solos in Naminori Kakigoori were already grating for you. Otherwise, a pretty good ballad. I love the piano in this, and the tune is very melancholic. Nice and relaxing, in a similar way to Vermeer no Tegami, but this song works a lot better on the whole.
Bokutachi no Offshore (僕たちのオフショア)
Something slightly more upbeat! Finally! I'd liken this to Boku dake no value, both songs kind of exude the same energetic lolita idol feel, which I find weird for Not yet to do. It's not really the style they have been seemingly going for and this is more like main AKB, but alright, I like it.
Overall, most of this release are considerably slow songs. Why!? More upbeat songs would work for Not yet, slow songs only make their lack of vocal ability more obvious. Also, it gets boring! They really should do more songs like Warau ga Ii. I do like that the song titles tried to keep a kind of...."water-related" and traveling theme? Well, with the exception of Hug Tomo.
With this single, it seems Not yet is going the generic pop music path. In fact, they're definitely the most generic of all the AKB subgroups. I think it sort of works for them because the members all have mainstream appeal. If only they could cut the amount of slow songs.
Recommended song(s): Naminori Kakigoori
Single rating: 3.5 / 5