UZA (Type-K)(通常盤)【多売特典生写真無し】 Single, Maxi, CD+DVD
【リクエストアワー セットリスト ベスト100 2013楽曲投票券 期間限定封入】
4. UZA off vocal ver.
5. 次のSeason off vocal ver.
6. M-3 off vocal ver.
1. UZA Music Video
2. UZA Music Video -Dance ver.-
3. 次のSeason Music Video
4. 新チームK Music Video
5. ギンガムチェック Music Video ~高橋栄樹監督ver.~
1. PC thinkPad X1 USB + TEAC AI-501DA + ATH-AD1000X
2. DENON DCD-1500SE + ATH-AD1000X
And as evident of previous recent CD singles from AKB48, there is no sign of this all-female idol group slowing down as the single not only reached #1 on the Oricon Charts and stayed #1 for several weeks, it also sold over 1,129,000 copies in the first week alone and became the 10th single in Japanese history to exceed 10 million in sales. And this is during a time where most singles in Japan do not sell over a million copies.
By November 2nd, AKB48′s "UZA" had help propel the idol group to the "20 million to 30 million copies" sold club which is fantastic considering others in the group such as Tsuyoshi Nagubuchi the only artist from the '70s; Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Maki Oghuro, TUBE and Spitz who have been around since the '80s; while L'Arc~en~Ciel, KinKi Kids, Every Little Thing, TRF, Masaharu Fukuyama, ARASHI, globe and Noriyuki Makihara were around since the '90s; while AKB48 and EXILE are the only two groups in Japan to debut in the 2000′s.
And for anyone who said that AKB48′s popularity is starting to slow down, it's evident that this not the case. The idol powerhouse created by Yasushi Akimoto has not only defied expectations but made this idol group the best selling female artist and group in Japan, breaking records that were created by Namie Amuro, Ayumi Hamasaki, Hikaru Utada and even groups such as Morning Musume and the duo Pink Lady.
In fact, in early November, "UZA" did so well that globally, for one week, AKB48 were outselling other singles around the world (as well as the male idol group ARASHI for album sales).
"UZA" was released in Japan with four versions. TYPE-A, TYPE-K and TYPE-B come with the CD+DVD and an exclusive track and music video, while the theater edition comes with no DVD but includes the first two tracks "UZA", "Tsugi no Season" and "Otona e no Michi" performed by Team Kenkyusei (which are the AKB48 trainees/standby members).
The version that I am reviewing is the Type-K version which features Mayu Watanabe on the center, Tomomi Itano and Minami Takahashi on the front and Haruna Kojima, Rena Matsui, Yukari Kashiwagi and Mariko Shinoda in the back row.
Included is a 5-fold insert with the outside featuring the 16 senbatsu members with metallic silver print. The other side featuring the lyrics and production credits. Also, included is a flyer promoting the AKB48 Team Surprise releases and official website and another promoting the 2013 AKB48 calendar.
The first track on the album is "UZA" which is a slang term for "How Annoying". As for the song, it's probably one of the most fiercest, upbeat dance tracks from the group so far. It's different from AKB48′s usual idol pop tracks and I'm not sure if this is part of the maturation that the group is headed post-Atsuko Maeda but for this track alone, It's a song that allows the group to show off their choreography and it's a pretty awesome, upbeat single. Different from past singles and some fans may feel it may be too different for their tastes, but so far, after listening to the song for a long time now, it's pretty awesome!
As for the lyrics, "UZA" is about love. But not the sugary type of love but more of a suggestion to a person to have love in their heart and love as how your heart is feeling. Don't hesitate if you love someone. Kiss them, put your arm around their neck to show affection. Try not to be soft or too moral, throw away your pride and just do it! And how that person is so annoying because they don't act on their feelings.
The second track "Tsugi no Season" (which translates to "The Next Season") is performed by AKB48′s Undergirls, which are typically those who were ranked #22-#38 in the senbatsu elections. And the song is a joyful idol pop song that I really enjoyed! In fact, of the music videos that came off the single, "Tsugi no Season" was my favorite. But this is probably one of the few undergirls tracks that I really listened to a lot.
The track is quite positive as the lyrics is about the various seasons and the girls ask the question of "How many dreams will we continue to dream? We carry the next generation on our shoulders" and considering these are the younger members of AKB48, the lyrics are quite suitable considering that these girls are probably going to be the next line of AKB48 front line members in the near future. And with the lyrics, the girls sing that like a flower, that the senior (members) caused to bloom that day, it is now their turn. A pretty cool track overall, upbeat, happy idol pop!
The third track on the single is "Scrap and Build" is performed by Team K, the more dance-driven unit of AKB48. A catchy, pop driven track that is not on the same level as "UZA" in terms of upbeat dance tracks but still a good pop track.
The lyrics sound like talk from a younger person/couple of "us vs. the world" in terms of a person who put together a dream but is not happy with it. Things that adults protect now, they will throw it away in the future and that the new building that was built, will eventually rot away. The lyrics then go into "It's time to Scrap and Build! Let's destroy everything! Let's do the things the way we want!".
The remaining three tracks are the off-vocal instrumental versions of the first three songs.
As for the DVD, the first music video is for UZA which is directed by Joseph Kahn (best known for directing Eminem's "Without Me" and "Love the Way You Lie", "Britney Spears "Toxic", Blink 182′s "Always", Backstreet Boys "Incomplete", Kelly Clarkson's "Behind these Hazel Eyes", to name a few). Kahn directed AKB48′s "Gingham Check" and with that video being upbeat and lively, this time around, he goes for a dark fairytale style as the girls are donned with black outfits, garterbelts, dark or metallic lipstick and performing their most mature (as in grown-up) performance with fierce choreography. Meanwhile, Yuko and Milky are ballet dancers, Paruru and Haruna are puppets and Yukarin is a jack in a box. It's an interesting music video and song overall, and it's a different, more dance track than AKB48 has done in the past. A sign of maturity or just an experiment to try something more contemporary pop than idol? I don't know the answer. But I do know that I love the song and the music video.
The second music video is the "UZA -dance ver.-" which is music video focusing on the main group dance without the close-ups and other dance segments (ballet, puppeteer, dancers in encased glass, etc.). Great for those who want to see the choreography and possibly learn the dance moves.
The third music video "Taiyou no Season" is perhaps one of my favorite videos from AKB48 and surprisingly it doesn't focus the top senbatsu members but the Undergirls which are pretty much the unranked AKB48 members and members from Team 4 and HKT48. Pretty much the future of AKB48. And what I love about this video is that the girls must perform certain tasks that seem very difficult, like throwing keys on a hook, throwing a newspaper inside a mailbox, throwing a pen in a pencil holder form a distance, kicking a slipper and having it land on another's foot and other challenging tasks and we see how many takes it took for them to accomplish it. The music video is so much fun to watch and one of my favorite AKB48 music videos ever made without the expensive budget.
The fourth music video is for "Scrap & Build" and is a sexy video featuring the members of Team K. A sexy video that was shot to showcase the more near grayscale visuals with a few memers sporting red. As the girls walk into a warehouse, we see a current of electricity as Yuko, Jurina, Tomochin and others of the group walk into the group and start dancing and performing. The electric volts go through their bodies and we see some of them who perform as a band, some who perform as a dance group and we see some of them getting shocked. Yuko and Jurina are featured as the main centers.
The fifth and final music video is "Gingham Check", a different music video of the song and is nearly 16-minutes long and is directed by Eiki Takahashi. Takahashi is best known for directing many videos from AKB48 such as "Ue Kara Mariko", "Ponytail to Chouchou", "River", "Iiwake Maybe" and "Namida Surprise!".
The music video features Mayu Watanabe laying in bed and eating and then throwing up, meanwhile Yuko and Yuki eating lunch together and are discussing if Mayu would return back to school as she has been missing class and they are not sure if she will graduate with them. Meanwhile Rino is listening to their conversation.
Yuko comes to Mayu's home to bring her homework and she sees a screensaver of what appears to be photos of Mayu and her mother and the pictures making the shape of a Gingham Check (checkered print typically seen on clothes or tabletops). Mayu asks Yuko about the color of her dreams and that hers are only black and white, no colors at all. And now in reality, everything seems colorless to her.
Mayu then explains that when her father became wealthy and moved them from an apartment to a big house, things changed for the family as everyone became distant. And then her mother ran out on the family. As Yuko prepares to leave, she asks Mayu if there is anything that she wants. And Yuko replies... "A time machine". Because she just wants to go back in time, even for a little bit.
And we see this black and white video of a girl with a gingham ribbon on her hair.
As Yuko goes back to to school the following day, she feels that Mayu's comment of a black and white world, is something that she experienced before in the distant past. But when she tries to remember, it's too painful for her.
As Yuko heads back to school, she can only think of Mayu's Gingham Check patterned screensaver. And then all of a sudden, Yuko tells Yuki and her class, "let's build a time machine". Then the video transitions to a performance by AKB48 in their gingham outfits on stage.
Meanwhile, we see clips of Rino who has heard Yuko and Yukari's conversation and devises a plan to make Mayu better. As Yuko and friends plan on a secret for Mayu, Mayu wakes up to a message on her computer that the time-machine has been completed. And Yuko and Yukari take Mayu to the building where she and her family once lived. And we see her classmates had every apartment tenant put up gingham curtains and her classmates began screening a video of gingham on the building.
After all is done and Mayu is happy for what her friends did for her, we see the black and white video of the girl with a gingham ribbon tied on her hair. The young girl watches the other parents play with their children, while she sits on the swing all alone and looking very sad. We then see Yuko in the present time, holding the gingham ribbon and realize that the sad girl was her. And we hear the young Yuko then say, after she got up from the swing, that she decided to live for the future. Another long, touching and cool music video for AKB48!
It's important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.
Overall, I really enjoyed the "UZA" CD single. Love the upbeat dance track and giving us something different for the group in terms of musical arrangement. It's like the total opposite from their last single "Gingham Check", and I enjoy the fact that Yasushi Akimoto and crew are willing to take chances. All three songs on the "UZA" (Type-A) CD+DVD are awesome and while I enjoyed Type-A more for the different styles of songs featured with upbeat tracks and a slow ballad, Type-B is for those who want more of that idol pop sound. Type-C is more for those who want more of a upbeat, dance pop track especially with "Scrap & Build".
I do wonder if the label accidentally got the covers switched because Team-A features Mayu Watanabe, Minami Takahashi and Mariko Shinoda while Team-K features Yuko Oshima and Jurina Matsui. Especially on the music videos.
So, if you have to choose a one CD+DVD, this is the one you want if you are more in it for the upbeat, dance tracks that Team K is known for, then definitely go for this "Type-K" release. Otherwise, whichever version of "UZA" that you do end up getting, each of the three are worth checking out!