#1 Song Review: Week of 5/20 – 5/26

Hello Arama Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Arashi beat out Ikimonogakari and Nishino Kana. This week we have 2 newcomers battling it out. Find out what various staff members thought of the songs that topped the physical and digital charts this week and share your thoughts on them too!

Oricon #1: AKB48 – Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai (Recochoku #9 / iTunes #12)

Ronald: Well this is different. The first thing I think of when I hear this is SEKAI NO OWARI’s “Dragon Night.” It has that mix of country and electronic sounds like that song had. I find it interesting in this case because it doesn’t sound like a million other songs I’ve heard from them. There’s a very prominent acoustic guitar here. There are also these really squelchy synths that are an interesting touch and make you think the song is going to go to some other places (it doesn’t). The main thing I don’t like about this song is that it’s very flat. The vocals are so lifeless. And the song drags on, it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s just there. 4/10

Ryusenkai: As per usual, idols might not be my favorite thing in the world, but every song that comes my way deserves to be given a few fair listens. I’d initially assumed that the (electric) guitar riffs that opened the song’s rather lengthy music video were actually part of the track, but as it turns out “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai” begins with some acoustic guitar that is quickly overlain with various synths. This combination becomes the main driving force behind the track, the guitar always faintly audible beneath its electronic veneer. While it strikes me as a tad different from some of the AKB songs that I’ve heard in the past (though it also doesn’t really seem to ‘go anywhere’ over the length of the track), the vocal melody somehow remains fairly consistent to what I’m used to from this group. I’m not sure if it’s the cadence of the vocals or just the general blending together of voices due to the amount of singers on the track itself, but it still feels oddly familiar no matter how I try to skew it. Lyrically the song seems to be an anthem supporting peace and love, which while a welcome break from the topic of young love still comes off as both cliche and somewhat simplistic. “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai” is definitely better than the last AKB48 song I reviewed (“Kibouteki Refrain”), but it’s still not something that I can ever really see a reason to come back to. 3.5/10


Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: E-girls – Anniversary!! (Oricon #3)

Ronald: This is a very light and summery song. It’s good for what it is. It’s a tad too cheery for me though, bordering on annoying. Thy’re like singing cheerleaders (well the ones who do sing). That yelling vocal effect in the song was one thing that really annoyed me. They could’ve done without that. This song too just feels like it doesn’t go anywhere. Like the AKB48 song, it’s just there.  There’s nothing really unique or special here that sets this song apart from a bunch of other happy summer songs. 4/10

Ryusenkai: “Anniversary!!” immediately strikes me as the kind of light, summery song that I could see some people I know enjoying while driving out to the beach. The echoing electronics and downright joyful vocals that open the song do little to dispel this opinion, albeit I question the necessity of some of those early vocal effects, since they’re dropped soon after. The majority of this song is built around a synth base that smacks of some older school J-pop mixed with some more modern effects to make it sound both current and accessible. To a certain extent, this mixture works, particularly when those backing vocals really hit the mark towards the latter piece of each verse. This makes it all the more unfortunate that both the overall singing style and the track’s lyrics end up coming off as more than a bit repetative, particularly on additional listens. However, this isn’t to say that the vocals themselves aren’t solid, since they certainly are; I just think that the delivery here does leave something to be desired. Ultimately, I don’t feel that “Anniversary!!” is a bad pop song, just something that’s really outside my wheelhouse and that I have trouble enjoying as a result. Even so, I’d call it my song of the week, since it’s definitely more striking than its counterpart. 4/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: AKB48 – Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai / Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: E-girls – Anniversary!!


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: E-girls – Anniversary!!

2. Oricon #1: AKB48 – Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai