It's autumn now! Let's talk about a summer single!
More specifically, let's talk about a sun-themed single. Shouldn't be too hard to narrow down, right? Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku Story, Boku no Taiyou, Taiyou no Kiss, Taiyou Scandalous, there sure are a lot of summer idol songs about the sun! What's the deal!? It's not like the sun fuels all life on planet Earth or anything...
Well, SKE48 has jumped on the bandwagon of sunshine with Bukiyou Taiyou or "Clumsy Sun" in English. Literally the only thing I can picture is the sun wobbling and falling out of orbit. Then something similar to what happened in The Twilight Zone episode "The Midnight Sun." I really don't understand how my brain works. Anyways, Bukiyou Taiyou is the kind of single that's to be expected from SKE48. If there's one thing that ties all the '48 groups together, it's their collective release of summer singles. Even Nogizaka46 gets in on the action! As for HKT48, give them time. The summer offerings the '48 groups brought us this year were... honestly pretty underwhelming. I've shat on Labrador Retriever enough times, Ibiza Girl was decent but not very memorable, and Natsu no Free&Easy was disappointing coming from Nogizaka46. So that leaves SKE48. Their summer single laster year, Utsukushii Inazuma was an interesting, but successful, turn for them in terms of image. The song itself had some great energy, even if the more serious, intense dance sound was rather different for the usually upbeat, cheerful SKE48. Honestly, Utuskushii Inazuma sounded more like it would be an NMB48 song.
So naturally, it's fitting that SKE48's summer song this year sounds like a Nogizaka46 song!
My personal theory is that there's someone on the AKS production team flitting back and forth between the groups' agencies, switching data around and wrecking havoc. It's the only plausible explanation! No, what probably happened is much more mundane and market-incorporated. I like my theory better though. Whatever went on behind the scenes, the final product we have is Bukiyou Taiyou. Were this not a good song, I wouldn't be reviewing it nearly two months after its release. But yeah, of the batch of AKS summer singles this year, Bukiyou Taiyou is probably my favorite. I mentioned a few sentences ago Bukiyou Taiyou sounds like a Nogizaka46 song. Were this 2012, that would be my way of saying Bukiyou Taiyou is a bland piece of crap. Thankfully, the times have changed! Bukiyou Taiyou is a surprisingly calm song to come from SKE48, not ballad-calm but definitely not possessing the same energy as some of their past summer singles. I kind of like it though. The arrangement flows very evenly without getting too slow.
You know what's weird? Natsu no Free&Easy sounds like it could be an SKE48 song. I'm telling y'all, conspiracy. Don't let the truth be concealed!!! In all seriousness though, I really am surprised that SKE48 got a song like Bukiyou Taiyou and Nogizaka46 got Natsu no Free&Easy. It doesn't help that the dozens of girls singing together makes distinguishing both groups difficult. I guess I should complain that Bukiyou Taiyou doesn't fit SKE48's sound but honestly? I've noticed that all the songs I really like from SKE48 don't fit their sound. Kataomoi Finally, Utsukushii Inazuma, a lot of the Akagumi B-sides, none of those songs match the peppy sound SKE48's typically associated with. I love Banzai Venus-type songs too, but I also love their darker, more serious songs. So if Aki-P wants to give SKE48 random songs like Bukiyou Taiyou, if they're good songs, he can go right ahead. It's eons better than the summer song by the-group-that-shall-not-be-named-lest-I-provoke-the-wrath-of-that-one-reader-again. Bukiyou Taiyou makes me wonder what kind of song SKE48 will whip out next year. Of course, now that I've pointed this out, their next summer single's probably going to be blander than a cardboard box.
This summer though, Bukiyou Taiyou is my favorite summer song from any of the AKS groups. The competition isn't exactly fierce, but it's still worth something. I keep pretty low expectations of idol summer songs because they're hardly groundbreaking works of musical genius, even by idol standards. But Bukiyou Taiyou is still a pretty good song, even really good at parts. The lead into the first chorus gave me chills. It sounds like someone put passion into Bukiyou Taiyou, something I did not find with the other AKS summer songs from this year. The only iffy part of Bukiyou Taiyou is when the girls are speaking; it comes off as a little hokey. Those parts only last a few seconds though; I can listen to the speaking parts for just a few seconds. For the most part, Bukiyou Taiyou is a very pretty ballad-like song that leaves a peaceful impression. It's different from the usual SKE48 fare, but a kind of different that works well! Now I'm not sure what my favorite idol summer song was... I was thinking it was Final Dance by BiS, but Bukiyou Taiyou comes close... I think I'll have to stick with Final Dance, but Bukiyou Taiyou still gets a thumbs up from me!
Keeping in the trend of not seeming like something SKE48 would release, let's look at the music video for Bukiyou Taiyou! I swear to you right now, it's not a Nogizaka46 music video. Even if Matsui Rena is in both.
Oh hey, a natural back light! We learned about that in film class!
We did not learn how to read kanji though.
Since this PV's sun-centered, maybe it's a re-enactment of The City of Ember!
It's not Shatner-level acting, but I can tell Jurina's supposed to be upset with her stock boyfriend!
Oh boy, sparklers! They're very sparkly.
...is this the same building used in Dareka no Sei ni wa Shinai?
This PV's about as gloomy-looking as Dareka no Sei ni wa Shinai.
I missed bang-less Jurina. Her forehead makes her look slightly closer to her age!
Meanwhile, Rena remains immortal.
Oh right, Milky's in SKE48 now. Meh, I'd have preferred Sayanee (just like I'd have preferred her getting a solo debut).
I am watching an SKE48 PV, right? Are you sure this isn't Nogizaka46?
Well, there's a bikini. Maybe this is an SKE48 PV!
Still, this is a remarkably subdued PV for SKE48...
Poor SKE48, unable to perform their annual summer single due to the elements.
But hark! The sun appears!
That's definitely not a spotlight. Yep, the sun totally shines that way!
Man, those sparklers sure last a long time.
Okay, the sun coming out is awesome and all...
...but did it really warrant an entire music video?
I guess it's the subject of the song and everything but still.
Here we see the main members of SKE48 performing a yearly sacrifice!
This ensures prosperity and better sales!
Fun as those pyrotechnics were, have some more lyrics!
Okay, I'm running dry on stuff to talk about.
I can only write about the basically the same shots in so many different ways.
Hrm. Can I talk about the upcoming Perfume 3rd World Tour?
Because man, am I excited for it! I wonder if the concert will have an opening act or not...
Oh, something's actually happened! Jurina's boyfriend returned!
Yay, I guess?
Now I'm certain they'll get married and have lots and lots of children that will look older than their ages!
Like the song, the PV for Bukiyou Taiyou is a fairly different turn for an SKE48 summer song. The biggest thing is the lack of bikinis, or any fanservice in general. Unless you have, I don't know, an hand fetish. I can't believe it. That makes two of the four AKS "summer" singles that don't use bikinis in the music videos or promotional material! Unlike Natsu no Free&Easy though, there's not even a dance shot in Bukiyou Taiyou. 90% of the shots in Bukiyou Taiyou are still shots of either one member of the group or a handful. Even the shots showing Jurina, Rena, and/or Milky wielding sparklers are pretty still. Watching Bukiyou Taiyou is like watching a moving picture, kind of how Perfume's Kasuka na Kaori was. However, Kasuka na Kaori still had a larger variety of scenes and the editing was faster. Bukiyou Taiyou lingers on its shots, the stillness of the scenery and the idols making these shots feel longer than they actually are. Like I said, this is a surprisingly neutral music video for SKE48 compared to their previous summer singles.
The problem is Bukiyou Taiyou is a boring music video.
I get what the PV is going for. The song is very slow and calm, and the music video reflects the tone of the song. However, there's just not much going on in this music video, and the shots aren't visually striking enough to hold their own. The colors in this music video are incredibly muted too, which doesn't help the groggy pacing. There are some pretty shots in this PV; the sparkler scenes were the ones that held my attention the most. Having the girls stand around doing nothing but look slightly bemused when the sun comes isn't the best way to hold the audience's attention. Luckily, the general audience is hardcore otakus, so they don't need much. That doesn't change the fact that I do not pay close attention to this PV. The concept behind Bukiyou Taiyou is pretty weak; the sun comes out. That's kind of a hard thing to give captivation to when the stakes aren't high and the circumstances are dreadfully mundane. This PV is five minutes long; I can only watch girls marveling at the same thing that I can go outside right now and stare at for so long. There are some PVs I screencap that are a gold mine of witty comments; Bukiyou Taiyou is a desert. With tarantulas. Boring tarantulas.
And yet... I don't hate this music video.
Because while Bukiyou Taiyou's PV is a dull music video, it is a tasteful one. Like I said, it's a stark contrast from the flashy, fanservice-filled fare SKE48 usually gets for their summer singles. Bukiyou Taiyou doesn't even take place on a beach. I think we see a shore for one shot, but otherwise, the PV shows about as much beachiness as Natsu no Free&Easy did. It's obviously still a summer PV; the sparklers and the emphasis on sunshine prove that. But compared to NMB48's and the other '48 group's summer PVs, Bukiyou Taiyou is much more... I don't want to say classy but something along those lines. There's this quiet dignity to Bukiyou Taiyou, and I think the song helps. So conceptually, I think the PV for Bukiyou Taiyou is pretty decent. As a consumer though, the PV fails to hold my attention. Maybe I have the attention span of a 7-year old child and that's why I find the music video so slow. There are some pretty shots, and the atmosphere is great, but I have watched much more interesting summer music videos this year. As a PV to wrap up idol summer PVs, Bukiyou Taiyou is a good enough turn, especially for the normally cheery, energetic SKE48. Maybe not my favorite summer PV from this year, but still offering some nice visuals!
So I guess four apples? I debated giving Bukiyou Taiyou three and half, but the song is really good. The music video is a little too dreary and dry for my tastes, but it's still a different direction for SKE48 which I always like to see. Bukiyou Taiyou in general is different for SKE48, or for an SKE48 A-side at least. I know everyone's got pumpkins and leaves on their minds right now, but what was your favorite idol summer PV this year? Or if we want to make this more about me (which I know everyone wants to do), what's your favorite summer PV I reviewed?