Arashi’s first single of 2009, “Believe/Kumori Nochi, Kaisei” will be a double A-side single to be released March 4th. “Believe” is the theme to the live action Yatterman starring Sakurai Sho. “Kumori Nochi, Kaisei”, technically by “Yano Kenta starring Ohno Satoshi,” is sung by Ohno for his drama Uta no Onii-chan.
This single will come in three editions: two limited editions for each main song, and a regular edition.
I think if we’re talking about big hit material, “Believe” is it. High tension, catchy, paired with a really kickass PV. The song itself is a fast, high-energy song blending piano and orchestra with synth bass. It bears a lot of similarities to their big hit in 2008, “truth” – except “Believe” is a lot more positive sounding, even though it still has a serious mood. It switches between a fairly mellow bridges to bursts of energy in the chorus. I love the moments where they employ syncopated singing into the bridge, then switch to machine-gun rapid pace in the chorus – and melody of the driving chorus is just unreasonably catchy. There’s even a nice rap portion – when was the last time Sho had his rap featured so much? The vocals are even all surprisingly well-done – even in the solo parts in the middle of the song (which all of them get this time!) they all sound great.
The music video itself is, to sum it up in one word, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous: everything is in black, white, and grey, giving it a sophisticated view. There’s some emphasis on a tree, which I don’t understand, but is probably related to Yatterman in some way. And the dance sequence is pretty awesome too. I realize my words about this is sounding like fangirl squealing – but it’s really pretty great.
There’s also a as-of-yet unreleased animated version of “Believe”, where the five members are made into anime Yatterman characters, saving the world. There’s been a few previews, and it looks to be pretty awesome.
“Kumori Nochi, Kaisei” is a much more laid back but just as positive sounding. It’s used as the theme for a drama about a children’s television show, so it has a simple and infective melody. At the same time, there’s a depth in the use of both ragtime piano, big band, and synth to create a smooth accompaniment. Ohno’s vocals are good, as you would expect from the best vocalist in Arashi after all.
The video for “Kumori Nochi, Kaisei” is also set in monochrome – but I was amazed by how it blended childish and sophisticated aspects. There’s cute prop cutouts and exaggerated comic actions; at the same time, it blends a mature color scheme and a fluid hip-hop dance sequence. It’s able to both relate to the children’s show the song is for, as well as to Arashi’s core audience – in all, the music video is a work of brilliance.
I think both songs on this double A-side are hits! Like last year’s “Truth/Kaze no Mukou e“, the two songs are incredibly different but both are excellent. With the same double-A side, three version format, Arashi is definitely trying to recreate their explosive success with this single. Can they do it? Well, I’m never going to try to predict Japanese tastes ever again – but I’m going to say they have a good shot at it.😀
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