Saturday, March 29, 2014

スーパーフレッシュ (Super Fresh) - Arashi Song Review

Ah, it's been a while since I reviewed Arashi's music and while I have fallen in love with the new songs (Bittersweet, Sync, and Motto, Ima Yori), it's curiously their 2009 track スーパーフレッシュ (Super Fresh) that I find myself humming absentmindedly around the house. So keep your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because I'll be taking you all for a spin back to the past with this post.

My Girl is one of those singles I bought out of loyalty. I didn't think (and still don't think) that the A-side マイガール is anything all that special, but this is one of those instances when loyalty pays off, because both the B-sides (which I had not heard prior to purchasing) blew the socks off my feet and to this day still remain among the top-played on my iTunes tally. Tokei Jikake no Umbrella (時計じかけのアンブレラ)  is one of those impassioned songs that do everything you could ever want a song to do: it punches, it seduces, it sways, it lifts, and as a bonus it has some tough-ass Sakurap tossed in, too. But since my friend nekobot01 has already written her very professional review on it (linked above in text), I will now divert your attentions to the other no less sensational B-side: Super Fresh!

What can one say about Super Fresh after four years of loving it?

It never gets old. Believe me. Some songs come and go, and you can only tolerate them for a set amount of plays before they lose their flavor, and you have to forget them before you can enjoy them again. BUT such a song, Super Fresh is not. I could set it as my morning alarm clock and I'm pretty sure I'd find myself bopping along happily to its beat at whatever ungodly hour I get up at 365 days a year no fail. No lie.

Super Fresh just has this quality to it, a carefree sway in its melody, a playful riff on the steady drumbeat, an unprocessed innocence in Arashi's voices, that all make it such a relatable song. In one word, I'd probably call it "youthful" because it's just abounding with the sort of simple positivity that is so characteristic of those wide-eyed teenagers stepping out into the real world (with Arashi at their backs cheering them on, of course).

So let's countdown 3-2-1!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kyo no Hi wa Sayonara (今日の日はさようなら) - Drama SP Review

I had been looking forward to this drama SP quite a lot. The promotional CM's showing Ohno in the beanie, looking helpless and frail as he lies on a bed or slides into an MRI machine really caught my eye because a) I'm a sucker for 24-Hour TV Specials, and b) I've always thought that Ohno had just the perfect look to star in one of these. He's not an actor with a particularly wide range of facial expressions, but it's something about the weariness in his "default" face, the lazily hooded eyes, the slight melancholy pout, and the tendency to look down at his feet that makes him so suitable to play a quiet boy-next-door character who suddenly finds himself having to deal with the arduous process of dying. Ohno has a good victimized look, which is not to say he's bad at playing villains because he did so beautifully in Maou, but the moments in which he really shines dramatically are the moments where he shows his vulnerability. Even in Maou, the best scenes were when you could see his self-loathing and the hopelessness in his eyes as he tells himself that there is no other way. (shivers). Being a fan of Ohno, I think that people like him not only for his talent, but also for his aura of innocent vulnerability; I know my maternal instincts (yeah yeah I'm only like 23 years old, but I can still have maternal instincts, okay?) tend to crush my ovaries together at the mere sight that dazed little Fishing Riida.

But back to Kyo no Hi wa Sayonara. 

I set aside some time one night to watch it. I locked my doors to ensure absolute solitude, turned off the lights, grabbed a box of tissues and pressed "play." Because hey, no one should ever interrupt the sacred viewing of an Ohno drama.