15 February 2012
Iwasa Misaki's [Mujineki] 1st Week Sales + Review
The first solo single of 2012, Iwasa Misaki's [Mujineki], finally finished it's first week on the charts last week. It was a rough week and it took a big battering from both friend and foe, but managed to finish with a nice 23,773 copies sold.
Although AKB48 singles sells over millions nowadays, this is a reminder about the popularity disparity between the senbatsu members and those that don't even rank in the Senbatsu Elections. Enka too isn't really a genre of music that sells loads either, so you got to give it to Wasamin that she has the courage to go against this.
Let's move on to the single review:
Melancholy ballads have a very special place in my musical heart, and this is a beautifully composed and arranged example. Not to mention it's a great song for showing off Wasamin's lower range (which is fantastic). I think it's great how mature she sounds here! I've already said quite a bit about this song when the PV previews came out, so no point repeating. But I really really love this song, and hope they'll continue to make such good use of her alto range.
This is a relaxed pace happy song, nice and calming. Performance-wise though, this is like a full return to her usual "idol voice." Which for me is comparatively less awesome than her "enka voice." And that's all I can really say about this. I'm just so disappointed because now that I've heard how fantastic her voice can be, it makes me sad that even in her "debut enka single" they don't stick to and make full use of her ability to pull off the enka style...
Heavy Rotation (ヘビーローテーション)
This is super interesting - I love it when songs I know are redone in very different style from the original. It's a nice, if simple, arrangement, and I especially like the whispery little chorus voices in the background. It's also got a lot of long notes, which is great for Wasamin showing off her lovely vibrato. To be fair, it also made me want to giggle because it reminds me of when my sister and I would fool around with changing the keys of various songs...
Tsubasa wo Kudasai (翼をください)
The beginning sounds like a Bach prelude! /music nerd. I really like this song, and this is yet another take on it (and boy have I heard a variety of takes on it...). To be honest, I don't really like this performance so much - maybe because it's in a higher key than the first two songs. Wasamin's voice isn't exhibiting its rich maturity here, I think because it's pushing into the higher part of her range where she starts to go childish and squeaky. She also lost all the lovely vibrato she had in the lower ranges, which is sad. As for the arrangement itself... I actually find it kind of boring - I get that they were going for something relaxing, since it's supposed to be "enka" and all, but it doesn't actually sound very enka at all, either in the arrangement style, nor in Wasamin's performance...
Seto no Hanayome (瀬戸の花嫁)
Ahh... this intro is already back to a more enka flavor. It's a very very simple song, and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling because it reminds me of songs my grandmother would play at her house. But I must say... Wasamin, what happened to wonderful depth you had to your voice in Mujin Eki and Heavy Rotation??!! By no means does she sound bad, she still has a nice expressiveness, but I was hoping for more maturity in the sound. Her breathier moments do manage to sound quite nice, but when she tries to push the intensity, the loveliness goes away again.