It has been a week since SKE48 dropped their latest single, [Pareo wa Emerald]. Not only has the group hit number 1 on the Oricon weekly chart, their spectacular sales has now given them the title of 'best 1st week sales for an AKB-related group'. The single is also SKE48's 1st consecutive #1 in the Oricon Weekly chart.
Pareo wa Emerald managed to sell another 114,255 copies since it's first day, bringing the total sales up to 378,747. That's a significant increase from their previous single Banzai Venus, which 1st week sales was only 206k. It's safe to say that they outsold the total sales of Banzai Venus up to now too.
Comparing to the other AKB-related artists and groups, NMB48's debut single Zetsumetsu Kurogami Shoujo sold only 218k for it's 1st week, and Maeda Atsuko's Flower got only 177k for it's 1st week. And comparing to AKB48 themselves, Sakura no Shiori from February last year sold 317k for it's first week, and Ponytail to Shushu from May last year sold 354k in a day.
Here is my two cents worth on the single:
Pareo wa Emerald
I was thoroughly surprised upon first listen of this song. I had expected the A-side to be a generic summery idol song that could not compare to the likes of AKB48's Ponytail to Shushu or even Everyday, Kachuusha. The song starts off with a beautiful synth-produced ringing sound that instills in its listeners a sense of liberty that is synonymous with summer. Then, it quickly transitions into what recent SKE48 singles are known for, a dance-driven tune. The bridge also does a great job of building up to the amazingly catchy chorus that I believe, is the gem of this song. Luckily, the label switch to avex did not affect SKE48's musical style. This A-side is definitely a worthy successor to Banzai Venus, the group's first chart-topping hit.
Tokimeki no Ashiato
Your standard innocent idol song. Honestly, my first impressions were not great; a B-side as boring as this does not deserve a PV. The song begins too abruptly and contains no climax; it sounds as it was composed and arranged in a rush. But upon closer inspection of the PV, I've discovered that... the girls look great is white dresses. Pass.
Papa wa Kirai
Another amazing track from the red team. The flamenco influence helps in accentuating the song's sensuality, thus adding to its awesomeness. The catchy middle eight that occurs before the song's finale is this B-side's highlight. It is difficult to find any faults with this song when the white team delivered such a disappointing performance. This unit just keeps churning out more and more great songs with each single release.
Hanabi wa Owaranai
Sung by Selection8, the front girls of SKE48. This is a very uplifting song about fireworks and love on a summer night. The track kicks off with a oriental-sounding intro played on a guitar; this same melody appears throughout the song as a pre-chorus and finish. The entire song itself is very rock-drive; there is even a guitar solo right before the final chorus. Blending modernity with tradition, Hanabi wa Owaranai feels like a youthful summer festival. Without a doubt, this is my favorite B-side.
Tsumiki no Jikan
What is this, a combination of 8-bit and Para-Para? That aside, this adorable but wacky song tells of a girl's confused feelings. I would expect very young street idols to debut with this track. Many have likened it to video game music and I agree; I can see it in games like Rhythm Paradise. Since this song is sung by the entirety of SKE48, I don't it does each individual member justice. Solid, but forgettable.
SKE48 6th Single Medley
This is either a very smart marketing move to encourage consumers to purchase all versions of the single or a simple filler track. I don't know how I feel about all these different songs hashed together. Is this track attempting to bring out the bipolar disorder in all of us?
Pareo wa Emerald is a commendable followup to their last chart-topping record. Though many of the single's tracks have me bordering between like and dislike, they are not terrible; the average fan may even come to favor these songs through a few replays. I just hope that SKE48 will continue to improve their musical repertoire from here on out.