Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fly Hi, Mitchel

Damn, just when one member of BiS graduates, another follow shortly behind. Is there some sort of "idol curse" placed upon this group that prevents members from staying for a fixed amount of time that Pour Lui and Nozomi have developed immunity towards?

Feel free to go nuts if you're on of those conspiracy enthusiasts, but all I'm going to do is stay bummed that Mitchel is leaving BiS. I mean, wow. First Wacky, then Yufu, and now Mitchel. All from the same audition too... very surreal. I admit, Mitchel isn't my favorite member of BiS (considering I don't exactly have a favorite member of BiS), but I still liked her and thought she brought a very strong presence to the group. As much as it sucks to see another member of BiS go, I think the group will still be able to stay on its feet without Mitchel. And hey, now they're back to a five-member group, one of my favorite numbers for how many members to have in an idol group! Before leaving for other opportunities, Mitchel's last single with the group is a double A-side called Fly/Hi. Pretty smooth names for your A-sides, especially when you put both words next to each other! Something of note is that this is the first double A-side single from BiS. Is it just me or have there been a lot of double A-sides this year? Maybe it's just all the groups I review. Anyways, as a fan of BiS for mainly their music, I think it's only appropriate that I give Mitchel a final sendoff in the only way I know how: a single review!


Okay, first question I have: why is Mitchel not featured on any of the covers for this single? Is it to show that she's already flown from BiS? Was she just not around on the day of shooting? The decision not to include her on the covers legitimately confuses me. Maybe she gets her own individual picture in the booklet for the single. Well, other than the lack of Mitchel, there's not really too much that really stands out with these covers. That doesn't mean they're bad covers or anything (they look fine), but there's just nothing that really stands out as really cool or really bad. The covers pretty much all feature the girls of BiS posed around what looks like an abandoned warehouse snarling into the camera. Pretty typical for BiS. Then again, at least these aren't as creepy as the covers for DiE were. Eugh. Talk about nightmarish. Anyways, what I liked about the covers for Fly/Hi were the outfits. BiS has a tendency to get pretty weird outfits for their singles, at least weird for idols. They always seem to look like much grungier version of the typical "idol uniform" concept popularized by AKB48.

The outfits for Fly/Hi follow in that same pattern, but what I liked about these outfits were the hats they wore. The girls are all wearing goggles on their head with what look like antennas protruding from the hats. I think it looks very cool, kind of steampunk-ish. I heard that the look for this single was inspired by cockroaches, which would explain the antenna hats. Then again, growing up in an area where cockroaches are a thing of nightmares (especially the ones that fly), knowledge of that concept is a little gross. But then again, BiS is an idol group that seems to revel in grossing its viewers out in any way possible. Besides, this isn't anywhere near the weirdest or nastiest image concept BiS has done! Overall, I think the covers and outfits for Fly/Hi are pretty cool; they match well with the image BiS is always trying to portray.


From the producer who brought you Primal and DiE is Fly! Gee, this guy sure likes one-word song titles, huh? I hope you liked Primal and DiE because Fly follows that same alternative rock sound of those other two songs. However, it's important for me to note the Fly doesn't sound like a rehash of either one of those songs. And as someone who really loves Primal and enjoyed DiE even if the latter did have a few faults, I really liked Fly. It's super fly! Just kidding, I really wanted to use that outdated slang in a review. I think Fly rocks but it also has that same raw, emotional feel that Primal and DiE executed so well. I also think vocally it rests at a better range for the members of BiS. Of the six members, only Pour Lui really has the strongest voice; the other girls sound all right but they're all kind of weak vocally. Luckily, BiS songs usually don't have to lean on really intricate vocals to stand as really good songs. Speaking of vocals, I think it was really nice that Mitchel got a little solo between the second and last chorus of the song. It kind of felt like a nice sendoff for Mitchel to fly away from BiS and re-enter the world outside of idol-dom.

Something else I noticed about Fly is actually... okay, this is gonna sound crazy, but Fly sounds like a Paramore song to me. And not the current, new wave Paramore, the Paramore that existed around the Brand New Eyes era. Did any of you guys listen to Paramore? Well, back in middle school, this rock band was my jam, and my first gateway into non-pop music. Am I the only one getting that vibe from Fly? I hope I'm not. I don't really listen to much of Paramore's new music anymore, but Fly does kind of take me back to the days when I rocked out to them. I think Fly is probably my favorite A-side released from BiS this year. It's exploring the more alternative side of their music in lieu of screamo or punk pop or any other genre they've done, and I like that. If you found Primal or DiE or even PPCC to be right up your alley, I'd highly recommend listening to Fly. It doesn't exactly cover any new ground for BiS, but it's still a rocking song to listen to!

I thought about reviewing the PV for Fly, but I ended up just not having the time to really look into writing a full PV review for it. That being said, it is one of the group's more... unusual music videos. As I have said many times before, BiS often gets very hit-or-miss music videos. Some are really cool with a somewhat profound message for an idol group and other are too strange and grotesque to really be appealing. Fly actually falls in-between this spectrum. I don't think there's much of a message or any hidden symbolism or meanings but visually and artistically, it's still a very interesting PV. There's... kind of a plot. If you could count a little girl in a white dress getting chased around by a monster as a plot. Not to mention it doesn't really have a resolution. By the end of the PV, nothing has really changed. The girl's still being chased, and the members of BiS are still dancing in slow motion and generally doing their own thing. But this is just a music video. I'm not exactly expecting an award-winning art-house short film from the producers behind BiS.

I really did find this PV to be pretty cool to watch. It held my attention from start to finish, it wasn't boring, the visual choices made for the camera were executed well, and the overall result was very artsy. I think it might be because the PV's in black and white; somehow my mind always seems to connect black-and-white film with "artsy." Call it an instinct or whatever. You could show me a cat rubbing against a cactus in black-and-white, and my first reaction would still be seeing it as artsy. But I do think shooting this PV in mostly black-and-white does give off a creepy and gritty vibe. I like the shadowing a lot on the girls in the shots where they sing, from when they're together to the individual shots of them all crouched on the ground. The PV for Fly matched the dark and raw tone of the song too! In the end, I'm not sure exactly what kind of message Fly was trying to convey, if any message at all, but the PV for it was visually interesting with a lot of bizarrely fascinating creatures from cockroaches to giant monsters.

Overall, I'll give Fly 4.5 apples out of 5. BiS as usual continues to appeal to the darker and grungier side of my music tastes by fusing said music with an idol group. I thought it was a really good song, and I liked the it was more of an alternative rock song. If I were Mitchel, I'd be totally happy to leave BiS on such a high note of a song. The PV was cool, the song was cool, and I feel cool listening to Fly!


So next A-side and the only other different song on the single is Hi. You might also recognize it as a common word English-speaking humans use to greet other English-speaking humans. Who knows? Maybe the next song BiS will release will be called Hola! Or Bonjour! All right, enough joking, this is a serious review! So I need to seriously ask if Hi even needed to be an A-side. I mean... it wasn't really promoted the same way Fly was. And I personally found Fly to be a much stronger song than Hi was. Of course, Hi wasn't by any means a terrible song. In fact, compared to some of the drek I've listened to this year, Hi is a blissful thing to listen to. But I just can't really get into this song. I think partially because the song is really short. I don't know why, but I'm not exactly the most enthusiastic about really short songs. And when I say "short " I mean shorter than three minutes. Hi is just a little under three minutes. If I'm going to listen to a song, I want to get my worth out of it.

For short songs, especially good short songs, they end way too quickly. Now Hi is a very energetic and fast-paced song, so I guess I can kind of see why it's so short. And it makes use of its short length; there's a very clear structure and the energy is great. But it's probably not gonna be one of those BiS I find myself listening to a lot. It's a fun song, but I can't really get into the melody and feel of the song. And in comparison to Fly, Hi doesn't exactly reach the level of quality Fly did for me. It's really not a bad song, and I do enjoy listening to it, but I'd rather BiS not return to the sound they used for Hi. There is a PV for Hi but it's more-or-less a performance PV. You know those PVs where they just film a few live performances of the song, splice them together, and edit the audio to the song over it? In a nutshell, that's what the PV for Hi consists of. If you dig performance PVs, then this one is okay I guess, but there's not really much to talk about it. It does consist of a lot of Mitchel, so if you want to see clips of her last days in BiS, then I'd watch this PV! So yeah, Hi's okay but BiS can aim for higher quality songs. Ah, puns.

As for me, I thought Hi was overall an okay accompanying A-side, but not quite as awesome as Fly was. So I'll give it 3.5 apples out of 5. It makes for a good head-bobbing, but Hi is too short and just a tad too grating at times for me to really jam to it.

The Verdict

I thought this was a good single. Maybe not quite as good overall as DiE was but still a nice BiS single. I have to admit though, I don't really think this single needed to be a double A-side. Fly was strong enough that it could have lead the single alone, and it kind of did anyways. Or at least I personally thought that of the two A-sides, Fly was more promoted. You know, it's always boggled me why a lot of idol agencies have the tendency to release these double A-side singles but only promote one of the two A-sides. Avex did it for Tokyo Girls' Style's latest single. Hello! Project did it for Morning Musume's One Two Three/The Matenrou Show. Anyways, I guess it doesn't matter. Fly and Hi are both listenable songs, especially if you're a fan of BiS. Personally, I just liked Fly better than Hi. I will say even if my opinions towards Fly and Hi were at different levels of positive reception, I do at least have to commend the fact that both songs sound different.

I always think what makes a double A-side work is having two different-sounding songs that still manage to complete each other in some way. Fly is much darker and serious, with a pounding guitar and even some really nice piano thrown into the instrumentals. It definitely carries the emotions of escape and "flying high" as mentioned in the song, and I think it makes for a perfect sendoff for Mitchel. On the other hand, Hi is much peppier, or at least peppy by BiS standards. It's very fast-paced but also packs a punch, and the chorus is very catchy. Almost a little too catchy at times, but it's still a fun song to listen to. I think which A-side you prefer comes down to personal preference. If you like BiS taking on a more alternative rock style, you're probably gonna lean towards Fly. However, if you like seeing BiS do a more pop rock sound, then Hi fits the bill pretty nicely. Like with any song, your mileage will vary. For me, I found Fly/Hi to be a pretty solid single from BiS. It probably isn't my favorite single from the unconventional idol group, but it maintains many of the quirks that make BiS such an enjoyable idol group to follow.

So my final verdict is four out of five apples. I have to admit, I'm gonna miss Mitchel. She was pretty cool, and she definitely had one of the coolest bowl cuts I've ever seen... ever, actually. But I think the new members and the old members will be able to carry on without her. So all I can say is I hope Mitchel does fly high, high into whatever career or dream she hopes to reach. Eugh, that sounded corny. I'm gonna go listen Idol is Dead.

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