*[℃-utie Week] is a small, week-long series dedicated to the group that is ℃-ute, to commemorate one of Hello! Projects longest standing units before the members graduate and disband to find their own paths in life. Here, the aim is to cherish and appreciate the joy that ℃-ute has brought to us fans, all in the form of reviews and appreciation posts! So, to celebrate ℃-ute in all their glory before they go, let's look back at some of their releases, and enjoy all that made us love this wonderful group, and think back to why we became fans in the first place. Before the departure of ℃-ute falls upon us, let's enjoy the little time we have left with them, and fall in love all over again!
℃-utie Week marches on, and in our third post celebrating the delight of ℃-ute comes in the form of a single review, where we will take a look at a single that celebrates the cool and intense side of the adorably named unit, as well as the surprising addition of the powerful B-side that pretty much bowled over the fandom, before earning a spot as its own A-side in a later release.
It's a slice of Heaven, if ever there was one.
Rock on, 2012. Though a bit of a slow year in terms of ℃-ute themed single releases, (they only had two. The other was Kono Machi) there is a single from that very year that stands out, for both its sound and its quality. Dispute either of those statements all you like, but for my terribly tuned ears, Aitai Aitai Aitai na is a splendid release. So, why the heck have I overlooked it before now?
Because I am an idiot, that's why. My inadequacy as a music lover is no secret, though, so yeah. There we goesy.
Of all the releases I will be reviewing this week, I admit that this is the one I have less of an attachment to. I do some have familiarity with it, for one, I remember the core sound of the leading track. I also remember some shoulder shimmies from the music video, and of course, I know one of the two coupling tracks really well. The rest, however, I forget. I couldn't recall the music video at all, nor did I remember much about the leading A-side, apart from its catchy use of the title and its chorus. It's not Campus Life; I don't remember it, ergo I do not care for it.
Oh, and it's a lot better than Kiss Me Aishiteru.
Please don't hit me!
Before I further dig my grave, I'm going to take a look at ℃-ute's 19th single release, Aitai Aitai Aitai na. Is it as heavenly in sound as you had hoped it would be, or will the music leave behind a tinge of sadness once you have finished listening?
I want. I want. I want... to listen to something good today.
Aitai Aitai Aitai na
Release Date: September 19th, 2012
Regular Edition and Limited A:
1. Aitai Aitai Aitai na
2. Kanashiki Heaven
2. Aitai Aitai Aitai na (Instrumental ver.)
Limited B, C & D:
1. Aitai Aitai Aitai na
2. Saikou Music
2. Aitai Aitai na (Instrumental ver.)
Aitai Aitai Aitai na
1. Aitai Aitai Aitai na
Despite hearing this song during its initial release, I can't say that I remember it being this good, especially when I listen to it with my headphones on at full power. It can't be good for my ears, but damn, it sounds terrific. The instrumental feels a little intimidating when you first tune in, but once you get the hang of the intense tune, it feels absolutely glorious as a track. It's a busy sound, that much is certain, but it works. Cool ℃-ute is awesome.
This is the kind of song you have to listen to with headphones on, and in its original MP3 format. The PV's lighter sound just does not do Aitai Aitai Aitai na justice. In fact, it cheapens the entire sound. So, skip the video and enjoy the music. That's the best advice I can give for those who haven't paid this track any attention in, say, the past 4-5 years.
Crank that volume up, boi!
Now, I am not saying the music video itself is bad, it just doesn't do the song that much justice, mostly because it's been lowered in volume. That said, the video really doesn't fit the hectic beat of the song that much, either. Instead of something dark and cool, we have a very light and pretty aesthetic that feels peaceful. It's a nice use of juxtaposition, don't get me wrong, but... yeah, it doesn't fit that well, does it? When I hear this song, I expect something more from its video.
Maimi in the countryside is not more. It's just... pretty. The dance fits, though, so that's something, I guess?
The selling point of this singles A-side is not in the accompanying music video, but in the song itself. It's a great track, and all of the members work well together and alone when singing. The instrumental itself is powerful and easily recognisable, with a memorable, edgy beat that felt new and refreshing for the group at the time. It bordered the lines of 'cool' and 'sexy', and though the choreography itself felt a bit awkward at times, the song does not border the realms of Kiss Me Aishiteru sexy. It's not too much, and it's not too little, though I can understand if the instrumental is a bit much for some listeners; it gets weird really quickly, and has a very gothic feel to it.
Aitai Aitai Aitai na has a lot going on in it, but all the way throughout, it feels dark and enticing, and never falters. Aitai Aitai Aitai na is a track that keeps you on your toes, by adopting a variety of sounds throughout. It still manages to stay consistent, however, and never gets boring. I especially enjoy the sudden choir that comes in, and the use of what seems to be the pipe organ. It's an entertaining addition, and always surprises me whenever I listen to the instrumental break before the bridge.
On a more subjective note, I feel like Aitai Aitai Aitai na was the prototype for Mugen Climax, though both are great in their own right. This song is pretty awesome, though, and I'm a bit annoyed with myself for overlooking it for so long. It is an intense track, that much is for sure, but it's is also amazing because of its intensity. Hopefully I won't let this song go back on the shelf for whoever knows how long; it's too good to put away.
2. Kanashiki Heaven
Kanashiki Heaven, for good reason, has some intense popularity within the ℃-ute fandom. It's performed a lot during concerts, and utilises the stellar vocal prowess of both Suzuki Airi and Okai Chisato. The song got so popular, it became a 'single version' in the groups 25th single release, but was rearranged to include the other three members. Personally, I am a fan of the B-side version more, but that's probably because it was the first one I heard.
Honestly, I can't blame people for liking this song; it's damn catchy, and again, it makes use of the two better vocals in the group. If there was ever a song that could perfectly showcase both talents, high and low, then this would be it. Kanashiki Heaven is, as the name might suggest, heaven. It's not sad in any way, believe me. Every time I hear this song, it brings me sheer delight. And man, I love whatever reverb they use on Airi. It's so... echo-y. (What a term. I'm a writer, I swear!)
But let's be honest... they used some of Maji Bomber's instrumental for this, didn't they? I mean, whenever they sing Kanashiki HEBUN kokoro ga kawaku kedo, etc, I can't help but hear Maji Bomber. This may be a good song, but there is no way in heck I will let its similarities to the Berryz A-side slide. Tsunku copy and pasted, and you know it!
Kanashiki Heaven, as well as earning itself an A-side spot on a future release, also scored itself a PV because of its insane adoration by the wota. For some reason, this version of the music video is no longer available on the groups own channel, but as a music video, it's a fairly simple affair. It has a grunge style to it, with a few concert clips to flesh it out and include the other members who don't take part vocally. Of course, the best part about this quick-to-order MV are the grunge scenes. I mean, damn, Chissa! Look whose rockin' and rollin'!
I like this MV a lot better than Aitai Aitai Aitai na, despite how much 'cheaper' this one would seem in its quality. Thing is, Kanashiki Heaven's video fits the tone of the song a lot better, and the use of the concert footage is relevant because, as a song, Kanashiki Heaven is popular in concerts and is highly requested to be played. Also, Chissa and Airi look amazing in this. Sure, it may not have a lot going on, but you can't deny that the members look stunning, and that they really know how to work the camera. Whoever styled them needs a medal, too.
Kanashiki Heaven is a great song, and I love how it sounds. It's a song that I can sing along with and dance around my room to, and it is amazing when sung live. There is no denying that, from this release, Kanashiki Heaven was the track people took away with them. It's memorable, fun, energetic, and pairs together the two best vocals in ℃-ute. It's a match made in Heaven, and I really cannot blame people for loving it. I love it, too, after all, and I will continue to sit in this bandwagon, even after ℃-ute disband and go their separate ways.
Great song, great vibe, great singers. This little piece of Heaven is anything but sad, if you ask me.
3. Saikou Music
Now, here is a song I previously had not heard, probably because I didn't know it existed. In all the excitement of Kanashiki Heaven's release way back when, I guess you can't blame me for overlooking the second, and final, B-side to ℃-ute's 19th single release. Present only on the Limited B~D editions of the single, Saikou Music is the only 'cute' track available, matching the groups namesake, and feeling very... well, cute.
An energetic and lively tone, Saikou Music reminds me of old-school ℃-ute, way back when there were more than five, and before the cool and mature image kicked in. And yes, I like this sound, because it's a nice little nostalgia trip, and because I'm a complete sucker for anything remotely charming and adorable in sound. It's upbeat, it makes me feel like I've stepped into a time machine, and the members of ℃-ute sound like they are having so much fun! How can I not adore it?
That said, it's completely different to the other two songs we have heard. I love the contrast, personally, but I can hear how this would be jarring to others. When pitched against the intensity of Aitai Aitai Aitai na, Saikou Music would sound and seem rather juvenile. It's too peppy and sweet, and it's extremely bouncy, as well as forgettable when you put it against its predeceasing tracks. So, yeah, it's a bit of a weird one to throw in there, especially when the previous two tracks have been so dominant and memorable in sound, not to mention cool, gothic and downright mind-blowing.
Again, I don't mind this. In fact, I advocate a change in pace, but, yeah... even I can't deny how abrupt this change is. It's a big 180, and I don't get it. I do enjoy it thoroughly, however, and like the entertainment it brings, and the nostalgia. But what does it sound like...?
... Ah, fuck, it sounds like LALALA Shiawase no Uta.
It doesn't sound like it completely, but the tune is there, and holy shit that brings back some memories. Thankfully, the members sound a lot better, and don't dress as terribly. That said, the song itself is not a bad one... I actually enjoy LALALA Shiawase no Uta, if you subtract the video that came along with it.
Anyway... I really like this song, despite the aforementioned issues mentioned. It's cute, and it's a nice little throwback in sound and style that I haven't heard from ℃-ute in a while. If anything, the step back to the past is a little refreshing, though I won't deny how weird this song sounds after listening to either Aitai x3 and Kanashiki Heaven. It's a nice little addition to the track list, but yeah... I can see why people don't remember or talk about it. It's not exactly the best part of this release, nor the most memorable. Still, I can jam along to it to my little hearts content. There is no harm in that, right?
Jumpin' down nostalgia lane, to one of the more generic ℃-ute songs that lives on in this world. That's just how I roll~
I did not anticipate this, but I like this single a lot. Given my original thoughts on the titular track, or how I lacked any memory of it aside from the chorus, I didn't hold any high hopes for this song. Plus, when speaking to a friend, they mentioned how freaky the instrumental for Aitai Aitai Aitai na, when we were discussing the quick popularity Kanashiki Heaven met upon the singles release. So, no, my hope for this single was in the region of 'meeeeh'.
Clearly, I was wrong. Turns out, actually giving the single a chance helps. Who woulda thunk it?
So, after listening to this single on a loop for a while now, and giving each song a damn good chance to appeal to me after the first listen, I think I'm going to give this single its overall rating. Let's see what it is:
Looks about right, me thinks.
I've mentioned it a few times already, but yeah, I'm a little mad at myself for taking so long to realise just how good of a song Aitai Aitai Aitai na is, and I'm even more annoyed that I took so long to listen to the single in its entirety. As a whole, the single is a really entertaining collection of music, showcasing three different styles that will appeal to a wide variety of people. It has a sharp and intense flavour to its sound in its title track, before entering a cooler, more harmonized tone in the beautifully crafted Kanashiki Heaven. Finally, the single takes a turn with Saikou Music, which will appeal to most fans, though not all. It all depends on your taste, of course.
Aitai Aitai Aitai na is a damn solid single, and whilst I am sure it will not appeal to everyone, I personally found this to be an enjoyable endeavour into a part of ℃-ute's discography that I had previously ignored. It's entertaining, I think all of the songs have their own charm, and I doubt I will put this single down any time soon. It was a good time, and I don't even have to skip the tracks to get to the one I like most! Everything has its place in here, and everything sounds good to me. Is it the best single release out there? Doubtful, but if it makes me happy, then who cares if it's the best, the worst, or one that first snugly in-between?
If you haven't given Aitai Aitai Aitai na a chance yet, I say give it a good go before making your final decisions on it. There is something here that a lot of people will like, and if all else fails, at least there is Kanashiki Heaven to save this release from flopping like a magikarp in battle. Give it a go, let the music flow, and figure out what you like about this release. It's worth a chance.
Now, I'm off to watch some Netflix, and then bed. Peace out, ℃-uties, and stay happy and healthy. Enjoy life, smile and make someones day, and of course, LOVE THY IDOLS! I will see you all in the next post.
Love and PEACE!