It is AKB48’s thing now to blow away sales records, and so, they’ve done it again. One million sales are hard to reach now in Japan’s charts, and yet this group easily does so with their new single. See what I think of it after the jump.
For the past three years, AKB48 has steadily been releasing singles every three months; and the progression of the singles have become a trend. The year’s springtime gets a ballad-esque, sakura-themed piece; followed by a fun bikini-clad summer song that leads into the highly important Election single. With so much hype that goes through the Elections, you would think the single that succeeds that would pale in comparison. But no, for the past three years the singles that are put out in October have gone above the Election single. It’s the single that brings a strong message, and it’s the one that’s a little different than their usual cookie-cutter idol pop.
The release of Kaze wa Fuiteiru marks the group’s fourth consecutive one million selling single, and the second in a row to sell one million in a day. It is madness, I know, when you think of other acts that can barely scrape 100,000. The single comes with three types, in AKB48 fashion: Type A, B, and Theater, which can only be obtained at their theater in Akihabara. Each type gets a different third song, in addition to the coupling track Kimi no Senaka.
The title track, Kaze wa Fuiteiru, is not what comes to mind when AKB48 songs are brought up. It carries a serious tone and message. The prominent acoustic guitar that accompanies the whole song is a nice change, something that was not explored in previous singles. But while the change in arrangement is great to hear from the group, it is the lyrics are what bring out the song. The disasters that struck Japan earlier in the year have left most places and people in ruin. Kaze wa Fuiteiru is AKB48’s support message for the country to keep strong and rebuild, because the wind blows towards the future. It is less of an idol group’s song, but more of a well-rounded pop song.
The coupling song, Kimi no Senaka, is just what is expected from an AKB48 Undergirls track. The song follows their usual recipe of pop with a driving rock base and a sprinkle of synthesized orchestral sweeps, along with sections where fans can do their chants. The bridge is cute, though. There are so many girls in AKB48 now that they have to make two more Undergirls groups. Type A’s Undergirls Bara-gumi gets Vamos, which is pretty damn fun. The chorus does a bit of call-and-response type section, and we get horns and whistles blaring all over the track. Now, while it is just a general idol pop song, it is probably my favorite song out of the whole single. The members participating in Bara-gumi may have had an influence on that, though. The high energy of Vamos is contrasted by Type B’s Undergirls Yuri-gumi with Gondola Lift, which is a mid-tempo ballad that’s just generic sounding. I don’t know what else to say. I was never too fond of idol ballad songs in the first place, except for some real special ones (Morning Musume’s Koi ING). The Theater version of the single gets AKB48’s newest Team 4, along with a few Research students, performing Tsubomi-tachi. Team 4 is the “fresh” team, with a bunch of youngins, so it’s no surprise the song is a pretty fast moving and energetic idol pop song, but it’s just like any other.
So, yet another million seller for AKB48, and who knows when this is gonna end. I certainly hope not anytime soon, because I like them. It’s always good to see an idol group break out of the norm with their singles, and not just crap out the same sounding stuff every time. AKB48’s done good with a strong song that carries a strong message like Kaze wa Fuiteiru.