Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time Capsule Reviews: Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide

So the winner of July's Time Capsule Review poll was Onyanko Club's Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide! Honestly, I didn't think Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide would get as many votes as it did, let alone win. It's one of the older releases I've featured on the poll so far but hey, it's a nice change of pace reviewing a blast from the past! Before getting into the songs though, a brief history lesson:

Before there was AKB48, before there was Hello! Project, there was Onyanko Club. A "super idol" group created by Scrooge McDuck Akimoto Yasushi, Onyanko Club consisted of fifty-two official members (and three unofficial members!). Now that AKB48's around, that doesn't seem like a huge number, but back in the day, Onyanko Club was big. Not only that, there were three subgroups that stemmed from Onyanko Club: Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi, Nyangilas, and Ushirogami Hikaretai. From what I've read, Onyanko Club was big not only in size but in popularity and influence. Had Onyanko Club never been around, Tsunku never would have been inspired to create Morning Musume. In the time of solo idols, Onyanko Club took the concept of an idol group to awe-inspiring lengths. Or that's what I've read! You see, while I know of Onyanko Club, I don't listen to a lot of their songs. Except for one: their debut song, and their most infamous to boot, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. And while I love that song, I have neglected to look further into their discography. Well today on this last day of July, I'm going to look at Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide as an entire single, reviewing both the infamous A-side and the not-so-infamous A-side. So grab your sailor uniform, and let's go back to 1985!


Since Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide came out back in the day when there weren't 50 different versions of a single, there's only one cover for this single. And it's a very nice cover! The cover for Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide just shows the girls posing and a random cartoon dinosaur is on the cover too for some reason. It's what I'd expect from an idol single. I'm sure back in the 80s, the outfits would be the type of stylish but relatable normal clothing that idols would wear. Now though, the outfits look a tad bit dated. But some of the outfits on the cover look stylishly retro! Like that girl in the middle has a cute getup! I do like the variety in all the outfits. There's something nice about not seeing all the Onyanko Club members in the same costume. I was honestly expecting the girls to wear sailor uniforms since you know, that's the central theme of the single. Still, I like this cover! It's a fun look at what was hip and trendy in the 80s!

Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide

I feel like I wrote about this song in my favorite idol songs list just a week ago. Of the songs on that list, there are several that I can't go into great detail about why I like. In fact, they can basically be summarized in one basic sentence: I like the way they sound. However, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is not one of those songs. I wish I could have been alive the year this song was released. I would have loved to see public reaction to this song. Did people get spun up over the lyrics? Was everyone okay with it? Did little kids go around singing this song having no idea what the connotations were? I want to know! All I can do is look through the lens of history and draw my own conclusions about Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. The song is about a girl who wants to have sex. So pretty much any teenage girl. But she's torn between waiting for the right time and just getting the damn thing over with. The lyrics remind me of AKB48's Virgin love. Considering Aki-P produced both groups, I've got to think he was at least a little inspired by Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide when penning Virgin love.

I know that Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide was controversial for talking about sex, but I actually think that's what makes the song so good. I think Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide approaches virginity and sex from an angle that a lot of teenage girls can relate to. The lyrics talk about sex in a blunt (but not smutty way), going through all the reservations and anticipations that come with having sex for the first time. I may not be a fan of AKB48 currently, but I still admire Aki-P's uncanny ability to write like a teenage girl. He clearly hasn't lost his mystical superpowers since the 80s. Even past the lyrics, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is a fun song. It sounds like something you'd hear in Grease, which adds this weird humor to the lyrical dissonance. Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is such a peppy song, with one of the catchiest choruses that I have ever listened to. I also think the song has kind of a flirtatious sound to it, which is only amplified by the lyrics. I don't know how the rest of Onyanko Club's A-sides hold up, but Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide was a strong A-side to debut with. It has risque but memorable lyrics, a fun, bouncy sound, and overall, the song holds up just as well as it did in 1985. Maybe even better!

So big surprise here, but I'm giving Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide five apples. I don't have a lot of older idol songs I love, but Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is one of those few. I think it's an insanely catchy song with entertaining lyrics. Sure, those lyrics came with some controversy, but I think that's part of what makes Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide such a standout song. If you aren't into 80s idol pop, at least check this song out. You may find an exception!

Hayasugiru Sedai

So the B-side on Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is Hayasugiru Sedai, which translates to, "A Generation That is Too Fast." Funny, I think they've said the same thing about my generation... Before reviewing this single, I had never listened to Hayasugiru Sedai. Like I said, I haven't looked very deeply into the Silver Age of idols. I went in to Hayasugiru Sedai with no idea how it would sound. Now that I've listened to the song several times, my impressions of Hayasugiru Sedai are... not as strong as the ones I had for Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. I couldn't even find much information online about Hayasugiru Sedai. Hayasugiru Sedai is an 80s pop song, and it sounds like an 80s pop song. You've got the synths, the happy-feel-good sound, that brass, the works. When I think of 1980s idol music, Hayasugiru Sedai is the kind of music that comes to mind. However, I don't think Hayasugiru Sedai aged quite as gracefully as Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. There's not much about Hayasugiru Sedai that leaves a clear impression with me. The song sounds nice, don't get me wrong, but there are lot of nice songs. I don't need to listen to another nice-sounding song.

I don't want to use the b word (starts with "b" and ends in "land"). But there's not as much with Hayasugiru Sedai that I can talk about as there was with Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. I think the song sounds good, and it is kind of cute and carefree. I think if I were more into 80s idol pop, then I would like Hayasugiru Sedai more. But if you reading this are a fan of 80s idol pop, you'll probably like Hayasugiru Sedai more than I do! I don't hate this song at all; it's pleasant enough. I think maybe if I were in the mood to listen to some retro music, I'd be able to enjoy Hayasugiru Sedai! Right now though, I'm not into this song as much as Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. As a B-side, it gets washed out in favor of Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide. That might have been inevitable, since Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is such a distinctive song. I'm not sure what Aki-P could have put as the B-side after a song like that. So overall, Hayasugiru Sedai is the kind of music I'd expect from an 80s idol group like Onyanko Club. The song is all right, but personally, I'm not a huge fan of it.

Still, I think Hayasugiru Sedai is good enough for three and half apples. Sure, the song is a little too tame for my tastes, but I think it still sounds nice. Vocally, everyone sounds good! I'm not familiar with the front girls of Onyanko Club, but the girls sound very unified in Hayasugiru Sedai. Other than that... that's all I've got for Hayasugiru Sedai!

The Verdict

This single is nearly thirty years old. I don't know why I find that so hard to believe. The 80s doesn't seem like a decade that happened a long time ago, but as year passes by, I realize that it did. And lot of these idols from the 80s grow older with it. Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide was the debut single for Onyanko Club, and I think it was a pretty strong debut. The highlight of the single is most definitely the A-side. Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is a song rife with double entendres and surprisingly cheeky lyrics. But the song is also fun and catchy with a 50s-style sound to it. Combine it with lyrics about losing your virginity and when to do so, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is a highly memorable song. For that reason, it is one of my favorite idol songs, as I have mentioned in an earlier post. Unfortunately, with such a distinctive song like Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide, I kind of have a tendency to forget about Hayasugiru Sedai. The problem with Hayasugiru Sedai is not that it's a bad song but that it's simply an average song. It's classic 80s idol pop and doesn't have the quirks that Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide does. For me, Hayasugiru Sedai just isn't at the same level as Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide.

So how do both songs hold up together? Like I said, the biggest problem with Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is the contrast between the A-side on the B-side. I will say though that both songs sound cohesive. Sure, the A-side definitely has the more memorable sound, but both songs sound like they fit in with Onyanko Club's catchy 80s sound. Together, both songs do fit nicely with each other, and they do have different levels of nostalgia appeal. Overall, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide isn't one of my favorite singles, even though the A-sides is one of my favorite idol songs. Listening to the entire single though makes me think that maybe I should look more into the idols of the 80s. The only groups I've really looked into are Pink Lady and Onyanko Club, along with Matsuda Seiko, Okada Yukiko, and Togawa Jun (but I'm not sure if she counts being... well, Togawa Jun). The 80s were a very different time for idols, and the more I read about it, the more I want to know more. So who knows? This may not be the last time we foray into 1985! For now though, Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide as a whole is a decent single. But seriously, go listen to the A-side.

I think Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide is a four-apples kind of single. It's a good single, especially the title song. To me though, the B-side is the weaker of the two songs on this single. However, neither song is outright terrible, and if you're curious, you should check this single out! It's interesting listening to the first "super idol" group on the market. I can definitely see how Tsunku was influenced, and how AKB48 is-more-or-less the spiritual successor to Onyanko Club. And so that's a wrap on July's Time Capsule Review! The poll will be up again, and once again, it's up to you guys to determine what August's Time Capsule Review will be! Until then, I'm going back to the future.

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