Friday, 16 December 2016

Eve of The Idol ∼4th Night∼ Ring The Bells of Noel - SNH48 Christmas Selection

When the bells ring out and the cries of Noel dance through frosted air, songs of winter and Christmas, and we come together to sing with harmony and joy...

 4th Night 

One of the things I remember most about Christmas as a child was the music. Whenever the television came on, there would be a wonderfully warm tune filled within tinkling bells and joyous vocals coming out of it, and an equally entertaining video to accompany it. Of course, some of these songs were not as fun or thrilling as others, but they all had the same power over me, whether they were pop or rock tracks, ballads, or simply seeped in merriment and mirth. Every time it came to the winter time, these were the tunes I anticipated. Similar to how I loved the decorations and lights that adorned our house, the sound of Christmas music was something I adored and hoped to experience again when winter came round again.

For 12 Nights, and 12 Nights only, let's take a journey with Idols of all kinds and enjoy the wintry styles they have adopted. Whether the song is old or new, let's celebrate all it delivers. This season, let's fall in love with our Idols all over again...

This is the Fourth Eve, and tonight we experience the happiness of Christmas song. When celebrating the end of a year and the birth of another, let's cry out loud and let our voices rise through this crisp, cold air.

It's time to ring the bells and let Christmas in...


I won't lie, I do like a good 48 Christmas song. In general, I'm a sucker for most things Christmas related, and the 48 collectives Xmas themed tunes are definitely some of many that I jam to around this time of the year. However, because I have previously reviewed at least on AKB Christmas song - and also, I can not find a decent full kength version of Totteoki Christmas - I thought that it would be fun to instead take a look at some of the other collectives and their versions of Christmas or winter themed songs. So, when constructing my list of winter themed reviews for 2016, I thought that it would certainly be worthwhile to check out some of SNH48's cover songs, because why not? This is what I hope to be a diverse collection of Idol songs and Christmas tunes, and I do not mind what language is used to sing the song in.

Sadly, none of the Christmas tunes that SNH covered way back when have been given music videos, which is a little more than frustrating, however it did give me the chance to check out all three tracks listed here and talk about each one individually. So, that's what I'm going to do, now, and I do sincerely hope that it brings out your cheer and love for the winter season with these wonderful songs!

And before I get into this review post, a quick note to consider: Think what you may of the former 48G based collective that is SNH48. whether it is low in opinion or high, but for the sake of spirit and joy, leave all beef you might have for the group at the door, if you contain some form of disdain for the group. In this review, I want to focus on the delight these cover songs bring, so don't be a Scrooge or a Grinch. Have some fun, and let the music work its magic. Thank you.

Let the music begin!

Làngmàn shèngdàn yè (Noel no Yoru)

Released on their third single alongside Ài de xìngyùn qū qí (Koisuru Fortune Cookie), SNH48's version of the classic AKB48 Christmas track, Làngmàn shèngdàn yè, is a pretty and soothing piece that is absolutely delightful. Though it might not stray away from the original in terms of sound, I do find that SNH's own version is something I probably enjoy a tad more than the original, if only because of the vocals. I like Chinese and Taiwanese singers quite a bit, because I find their singing pretty smooth and melodic, which is very much the case here. That said, the original of Noel no Yoru is very lovely, and I think the one thing I do miss from that version compared to this one is how breathy and almost angelic it sounded.

I won't lie and say that this doesn't have its own little problems, because at times, the solo lines can feel quite grating, and at times it feels quite high in pitch. Still, I don't mind too much, because I really do like the sound of it, as well as how diverse the vocals can be.

Lately I've been enjoying the live performance recordings of these SNH songs, too, and whilst I find it quite annoying that some of the members don't seem to know how to lip-sync properly, it can still be a fun watch. Do I wish they would sing live? Of course I do. But I also get that, with so many girls on stage, blending is a hard feat to achieve, so them lip-syncing is understandable.

Still... some of them should really learn how to time their lip-syncs.

There are a few of their performances floating about online, so definitely check them out to see the girls in action, and to see a few lip -sync fails for all the giggles xD

Xīnnián de zhōng shēng (New Year's Bell)

Though Noel no Yoru is a great Christmas song from AKB, I think the one that I remember most has to be Totteoki Christmas. It is upbeat, highly enjoyable, and definitely sticks in your mind, especially around this time of the year. It is a song that defines Christmas for me, in sound and feel. So of course I am quite delighted that SNH covered it, and only just before they became an independent unit and all. In fact, New Year's Bell as a single is, I believe, the final EP released by SNH48 that includes cover songs from AKB48.

Once again, this is a pretty cover from SNH48. It is cute, quite upbeat, and the vocals are quite energetic, and certainly a lot stronger than what I was expecting. I suppose that is mostly to do with Xīnnián de zhōng shēng being a more up-tempo song than Noel no Yoru is in general, but honestly, its nice to hear the vocal strength in this one. As a whole, this is a really uplifting Christmas tune, and it makes me feel like I am standing under the beautiful Christmas lights as the snow begins to fall...

I wish I could say I'm reminiscing, but I'm not. Snow barely falls in my area of the country, and heck, even if it did, we don't string lights up around the streets. I'm from a village, not a town or city that actually pays people to decorate our grimy British streets!

In short; this is a pretty as heck song, and it's definitely the type of tune I think of when Christmas comes to mind. It's a positive, upbeat, yet somewhat gentle sound that creates that image of light-filled nights and snow covered streets. It's a wonderful image, and it makes me feel ever so content.

Once again, there seem to be a few performances of Xīnnián de zhōng shēng fluttering about on the youtubes, and the one posted actually seems to be sung -gasp!- live! That is really nice to see, actually, and though there is a bit of a timing issue with some members, I do appreciate how the members at least tried their best. Plus, now I am pretty sure they aren't just getting robots to sing for them in live performances. Double yay!

Also, I really want those caplets. I do love a nice little caplet around the winter season! So festive and cute, just like the members of SNH!

If, like me, you were unsure of whether or not SNh could actually sing live, I say give this one a go. It feels like they at least attempted to show off the real vocals of the members, and they still sound just as charming and cute as they do in the original studio recording. So, yeah... check it out!

Nǐ hé píng'ān yè (Anata To Christmas Eve)

Performed by Lin SiYi and Feng XinDuoNǐ hé píng'ān yè (might not be a great great romaji translation) is a cover of AKB48's Team A originated song, Anata to Christmas Eve, and originally featured in the 1st AKB48 Stage, PARTY ga Hajimari yo. What seems to be an adorable song, the performance is made even sweeter by the two SNH NII members and their interactions. Dressed as reindeer, we get a rather raw but sentimental rendition of a lovely Christmas tune.

Whilst not perfect as a performance, I like this one quite a lot more than the others, simply because we get to hear the girls as they are, and we also get to see how close both Lin SiYi and Feng XinDuo are - or, how close they are acting. Both girls are quite entertaining to watch, and their interactions are quite funny and brimming with personality and cuteness. After seeing three other performances with rather restricted interactions - unless it was included in the choreography, of course - this rendition of Nǐ hé píng'ān yè feels a lot more relaxed, and a lot more realistic.

I'm pretty happy that, before closing this post, I decided to look for more Christmas songs by SNH48, or I might have never found this piece. It's absolutely wonderful, and despite its imperfections, it is the performance and song that has resonated with me the most, simply because it is the most real. If only the other three had as much impact as this one seems to!

Well, regardless, it's been fun taking a look at all of these. I'm glad that I was able to find and watch them all, and get into even more Christmas spirit through these lovely cover songs.

Let's run til the Noel Bells cease Ringing.


And so for our Fourth Eve of The Idol, we let the bells ring out and our songs of Noel come to a close until the new day dawns. Though this post contained only a few songs, I hope that it has brought you some winter joy and allowed you to anticipate the wonder and happiness that I hope shall come with the Christmas season. Certainly, this post served as a nice step back from the music video reviews, and has allowed me to truly enjoy the music for what it is, and not the music video that might surround it.

I also want to admit that it is also nice to see the performance side to SNH48 in this kind of post, because whilst I do sometimes sit down and look at live footage of Idol groups, I really don't care to watch it so much. My interest lies mostly in how music videos look and how they have been achieved, however now that I have experienced this side to SNH48, I feel a little more invested in who they are as a group, and intrigued by how they act and look on a stage together. It is fun seeing them this way and, hopefully, they will continue to grow as a whole, and improve themselves in a variety of ways.

Each performance placed here is great in its own way, but you can also see that these girls, though charming and sweet, still have a ways to go before they become seasoned performers. I suppose it is this aspect of such a group that attracts an audience and fans, and from just watching this, I can see why people do want to support and root for a group like AKB48, or SNH48.

It has been a joy talking about these cover songs by SNH48, and I hope that you in turn have enjoyed yourselves. For now, though, let us end the night and have the bells take their last toll, before they ring out again in the morrow. And once that time comes, let us take a look at even more music and bask in the wonder of winter and Christmas songs.

And for my final goodbye, please take a look at SNH48's rendition of Lonely Christmas, originally sung by Eason Chan, and enjoy the beauty and sentimentality of this song.

When the bells of Noel fade into the silent of the night, and the footsteps embedded into the snow disappear from sight, just look back to your memories, and think of the joy you did bring with the songs of Yuletide you sang.

Good night, and take care.

Much Love,

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