Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Road to Boredom 2013 ~Chiisana Kiseki~

Get it? Because the song is boring! Heh... heh... I think my puns are getting cornier. Oh man, one day I'm gonna wake up and find that I've turned into a flipping ear of corn.

Well... every group has to have a dud song, right?

I mean, it wouldn't be healthy constantly release a string of strong songs! Even though that would be... so awesome... What am I saying, that can't happen, even to the most amazing group! Unless an idol group has the shelf life of Firefly, there's a pretty high chance that at some point in their fruitful career, they will get an utterly lackluster single. Makes perfect sense, right? Nobody's perfect. Alas, I suppose somewhere in the clavicles of my subconscious I knew that Tokyo Girls' Style would have to release an unremarkable song eventually. But they were doing so well. I mean, the last song I truly didn't like from them was We Will Win! ~Kokoro de Po Pon no Po~n☆~ and that was released over two years ago. Even Tsuioku and LolitA☆Strawberry in summer were enjoyable songs, even if neither one is my favorite TGS song. Yakusoku was a great album, and their last single, Get the Star/Last Forever is one of my favorite singles released this year. The group's two digital singles from this year, Partition Love and Over Size, are also flipping awesome, and I thought that surely one of those two songs would be A-sides for TGS's next single.

Instead, the leading A-side for their final single of 2013 turned out to be Chiisana Kiseki. Furthermore, this was another Road to Budokan single. Remember last year, when to commemorate performing in Budokan, TGS released a single called Road to Budokan 2012 ~Bad Flower~? And how that featured the awesome Bad Flower, even awesomer Discord, and the slightly-not-as-awesome but still pretty cool LolitAStrawberry in summer? So for performing at Budokan again this year (because why the hell not?), TGS released Road to Budokan 2013 ~Chiisana Kiseki~. And since last year's Road to Budokan single was flipping awesome, I figured I was making a pretty safe bet to assume this year's Road to Budokan single would continue the awesomeness. I should have remembered what my math teacher told me: to assume makes an ass out of u and me. Ugh, let's just get this over with.

In case I haven't properly let on yet, I am not a fan of Chiisana Kiseki. I think it's boring song that could have been another nice deviation in musical style for TGS if done well. However, it was not. So... at what point did this song go sour for me? Actually, the beginning was where I started to dislike the song, which is pretty bad. The beginning is supposed to give a hook, something to make the listener stick around and want more. But Chiisana Kiseki's beginning is... oh god... am I really gonna use the B word? I thought I'd only have to reserve that for AKB48 singles and anytime I bring up Super Girls but... I have to use the B word to describe Chiisana Kiseki. It fits the song too well. Chiisana Kiseki is a bland song. I hope no one ever makes a drinking game out of my blog, because if they had to take a shot every time I use the word "bland" in a review, they're gonna die of alcohol poisoning. But that's the kind of song Chiisana Kiseki is; I didn't want to admit it, but it's such a boring, generic song. Especially for Tokyo Girls' Style.

The only remotely interesting part of the song is the chorus, but even then that's not uber amazing, not enough to salvage the song that much. I mean, I spent the first minute listening abysmally vanilla verses so by the time the chorus kicks in, I already wasn't that sold on the song. I don't think it's because Chiisana Kiseki is a deviation from TGS's style of music; their earlier songs like Onnaji Kimochi and Ganbatte Itsudatte Shinjiteru sort of have the same happier and lighter sound of Chiisana Kiseki. Then again, I can't say I'm a fan of either one of those songs. Even then, Chiisana Kiseki does have a little bit of their normal sound infused into the chorus and instrumental. But it does little to improve the song, and only gives the arrangement a very disjointed feel, like two different songs were fused together. I might be okay with that if the two different sounds worked together, but the final result isn't very memorable. It's such a disappointment, because I usually set the bar so high for TGS that Chiisana Kiseki is a major letdown.

The thing is, it's not even a terrible song. If this were released by AKB48, I'd be singing to the heavens that they finally got something that doesn't sound like every other song they've released. But this is Tokyo Girls' Style, and they can do so much better than this level of quality. However, after listening to the song several times, I did start to wonder... am I disappointed in Chiisana Kiseki because it's a genuinely dull song or because its not the kind music I prefer from Tokyo Girls' Style? Because even I can argue with myself that the only reason I don't like Chiisana Kiseki is because it doesn't have the usual mature funkiness that I like about TGS's music. But the thing is, when TGS has done music different from their de facto 90s Avex style, i.e. with Get the Star/Last Forever, I really liked both songs. And that was a pop-rock single! I am all for changes in style if they are good changes. I know that a common criticism thrown at TGS is that a lot of their songs sound the same, but as someone who is really a fan of their sound, I don't mind this as much because even if many of their songs do sound alike, they're still enjoyable.

I don't dislike Chiisana Kiseki because it's not groovy and funky and serious; I dislike Chiisana Kiseki because it is boring. Not to mention it's boring in the blandest way possible, with that vaguely happy-sounding melody that gets under my skin so much. The only redeeming thing about Chiisana Kiseki are the vocals, but I can always expect good vocals from TGS. It is nice that everyone gets to sing, even Miyu. It's just a shame a song with such even vocal distribution is such a dud song. I was hoping Tokyo Girls' Style would end 2013 with a bang but all we get is a fizzle that is Chiisana Kiseki. Even the B-side on this single would have made a better A-side! If Chiisana Kiseki wasn't completely and utterly boring, I might like it better. However, as a change in sound, it doesn't work, and as a song alone, it doesn't work, especially for a group like TGS. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed on Partition Love or Life Size getting to be an A-side on their next single...

So would I be right to say the PV for Chiisana Kiseki is just as bright and happy as the covers for this single are? Is the sky blue? Yeah, let's just get this screencap over with.

The PV opens with... pastel. Lots of pastel.

And cutesy idol poses. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I guess the dance matches the song. It's utterly boring, but it matches the song.

Oh hai, slightly saturated dance set! Aren't you... luminescent!

Oh hey, TGS caught on to the flower crowns trend!

What can I say? We keep up with the latest style!

It's utterly surreal seeing Miyu with bangs. But it's a nice look for her!

Something about this dance move amuses me. It looks like they're reaching to pluck an apple from a tree!

Those gosh-darn lights in the back are so bright I'm gonna need sunglasses!

I think it's just the screenshot, but the frame this landed on makes Ayano's smile look so forced holding this pose! It's kind of hilarious!

Off we go! Not very far since we only had 3 locations for this PV but we're going!!!

Oooh, they're on a bridge. Things are really heating up now!

Okay, why do I keep stopping on frames that feature some of the weirdest faces from the girl's I mean look:

- Miyu's all "They may put me in the back, but I'm still leader, biatches."
- And Ayano's thinking "Just pretend you're having fun, you'll get a better song next single..."
- Hitomi's in the center thinking "Gosh, how did I get so perfect?"
- Yuri's looking over at Miyu like "Dafuq is this girl on?"
- And then Mei is just like "I have no idea what's going but if I smile life will be okay!!!"

Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to shoot this outside of Budokan? I mean this single is called Road to Budokan.

Oh well, we get an outfit change! Pretty!

Both outfits in these PV are, but neither one stands out very much in my opinion.

All right, now we're gettin' down!

Okay... they're not really getting down... but this is the most interesting part of the dance!

I guess it is kind of cool how Yuri can look like this.

And then look like this in their other PVs.

Still, which is more interesting? This?

Or this?

Well, they're still on a bridge! A neverending bridge...

-sigh- I love outdoor shots, but they can get boring after awhile if they linger too much on one shot.

Whatever, the PV's over.

And I gained absolutely nothing from watching it. Oh well...

Good lord, that was boring. Almost as boring as the song but the locations were nice so not completely boring. I mean... egads, that was boring. Did I mention this PV was boring? Well, at least it matches the dullness of the song. So yeah... I mean, what else am I supposed to say about this PV? The PV for Chiisana Kiseki consists primarily of the dance in three different locations: under a dome, a brightly lit stage, and a grassy outdoor area in front of the dome. Now this could have been fairly entertaining, if the dance had been strong enough. Unfortunately, the dance for Chiisana Kiseki is pretty lame, especially for Tokyo Girls' Style. There's never a part that stands out, not even the dance break is that interesting. The other few shots there are don't add much to the PV. The close-ups look fine but they're nothing special. The parts where they're walking on a bridge make me yawn. The only kind-of entertaining thing about watching this PV were some of the facial expressions I accidentally paused. I think it's just because of the parts where I paused, but there are faces the girls make in this PV that look so... odd. Like Ayano's forced smiles in several parts of the PV.

Who knows? Maybe the girls were just as bored by this PV as I am and were desperately trying to have fun while they were filming it! Probably not, I'm 99% certain it's just the screenshots, but thinking that makes the PV slightly more entertaining to watch. I really don't know what else to say about the PV for Chiisana Kiseki. It's boring. It's so so so so so boring. But I guess it isn't terrible? It's like vanilla ice cream without chocolate syrup; what's the point? Like the song, the PV for Chiisana Kiseki displays a change in image for Tokyo Girls' Style, straying closer to a more idol-y image than a mature one. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of this change. Once again, I don't mind change as long as it's change for the better. Visually, this is a bright and cheery PV, but there's nothing interesting about it. If you want to go for bright and cheery, you've got to give some life to it. I'm not saying is has to be a Momoiro Clover Z... just something interesting.

What I like about Tokyo Girls' Style is that their music and image are different from so many other idol groups on the market. They have this very elegant, mature, and polished image that really stands out, especially as such a young idol group. Weird enough the innocent youthfulness of the PV for Chiisana Kiseki feels very surreal. I don't want to say it's bad because the girls look their age, but I think I prefer when their PVs push the envelope by incorporating strange, sometimes sensual imagery. There's nothing in this PV that I can really talk about. How am I supposed to analyze them walking on a bridge? That's what made PVs like Limited addiction and Kodou no Himitsu and even Tsuioku such interesting PVs. This PV has nice camerawork and nice scenery and even nice costumes, but what else is there? It kind of reminds me of a Fairies PV, and I've explained before the reason Fairies doesn't work for me is their lack of charm.

If Chiisana Kiseki wanted to be a good PV, it needed some charm. All this PV consists of is dancing and smiling. The girls look fine, but there's nothing quirky about this PV. It's generic, it's dull, it's boring, and most of all, it's a huge disappointment. The PV for Chiisana Kiseki is just as much of a let down as the song. I can always expect at least a visually striking PV from Tokyo Girls' Style, but this? There's nothing about it that stands out to me and... ugh, I just want to pretend this entire single never happened. Long story short, I really hope Chiisana Kiseki isn't representative of the future sound and style that TGS is pursuing in the future. Judging by the B-side of this single, I'd like to think it's not, but I can't help but get a little worried. But for now I can hope that Chiisana Kiseki is nothing but a fluke, a dud song that isn't an indication of Tokyo Girls' Style's further musical output. Because I don't want TGS to turn into a bland, boring group. There are already so many of those on the market right now. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope their next single brings back all the funkiness that I love about Tokyo Girls' Style.

Oh, it hurts me to give Chiisana Kiseki two and half apples. But the song is dull and the PV does nothing to alleviate the dullness of the song. I hate to be so harsh on TGS, but I only do this because I know they can do better. Chiisana Kiseki was just a dud song, completely normal for any idol group that's been on the market for over two years! I only hope that whatever single they release next has a more interesting A-side than this one does.


  1. You have to promise me Clavicles Of My Subconscious will be the title of your debut album, Nia. Kudos on that phrase!

    This review comes as no surprise. For me, TGS are a group that made a beeline for bland and once there, flopped down, dug in and has since refused to twitch. Except I think someone must have poked them with a stick once because Get The Star had some lash to it. (To be fair, I haven't heard everything TGS have put out, so I could be off. I did try, but when disappointment follows disappointment there comes a point where you plum lose interest)

    What I think Chiisana Kiseki is in dire need of is more studio time to try laying down a few extra layers of background vocal textures, the hope being it'd lift the whole affair out of the doldrums and nearer the lazy Sunday afternoon daydream quality they appeared to be aiming for. As it stands things sound vapor thin, suited for playing over tinny mall sound systems so as not to intimidate the customers, nor to impress them either.

    Thanks for the review.

    1. I promise I will! Even if I have to record that album in a garage!

      I can definitely see the criticisms with Tokyo Girls' Style's music, as they do get a little monotonous with their sound. But I still think they have some pretty strong songs; you just have to peruse through their discography. That's what makes songs like Get the Star stand out so much! And in turn, that's what makes Chiisana Kiseki so dull...

      I think "vapor thin" is a good way to describe Chiisana Kiseki. I would love to see this song get a remix, a good one. I'm not to big on the Royal Mirrorball and other miscellaneous remixes TGS songs get. It's too simple of a song. It doesn't really have a hook, let alone something that makes it really stand out. Chiisana Kiseki is just one of those songs that... exists!

  2. I really laughed hard when reading your description of the PV! Anyway, I don't have the same feelings as you. I like this song & PV. I like it as I like a cup of tea in the sunshine of a warm sunday morning during summertime.

    1. I'm happy you found it funny! And it's totally cool if you like Chiisana Kiseki! I guess if you're into a sunnier song, this is decent, but you know, different strokes for different folks! Thanks for commenting!