Friday, December 19th, 2014

E-Girls – Highschool Love

…and our last song of 2014 from Patrick. Happy holidays!


Brad Shoup: Again, I’m nostalgic for bygone optometrists’ offices. Those ascending “doot”s are vertiginous, the twinkles dropped into the churn suggest some ill-begotten Amy Grant comeback attempt. .

Will Adams: It’s like a bootleg remix of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Hurt So Good,” with its low end belches elbowing out the pillow-soft synths. In that sense, I can’t hate it, but none of my high school love felt like this.

Madeleine Lee: All the dizzying sweetness and spiralling passion of first falling in love in high school, tempered nicely by the lyrics’ Bechdel test-passing storyline about the everlasting connection between same-year classmates.

Patrick St. Michel: My students love music, but their tastes rarely reflect what appears to sell well on Japan’s Oricon Music Charts. Those rankings are dominated by AKB48, a sales juggernaut propped up by older men who buy extra copies of the same single to keep their fandom at the top. My girl students love E-Girls, a 27-member-strong outfit that had a huge 2014 sales wise while also acting as a great counter to the dominant idol-pop clogging up J-pop. They appeal to actual women (unlike AKB48 or most other groups, aiming at men), for one, and a poll found them the most “aspirational idols” going for teenage girls. “Highschool ♡ Love” was their biggest singles success this year, and spun the idol-loved trope of “high school” around – usually, idols in sailor uniforms act cute in the school, all for the enjoyment of a male viewer. E-Girls actually sang about high school from their perspective, touching on memories both good and bad. Better still, they twisted another dominant J-pop sound — the just-gaining-momentum EDM — into something subtle, bass gurgles underneath string flourishes. Save for the perfectly timed release near the very end, a series of Auto-tuned syllables and a very brief rap). I’ve just been happy to see my students genuinely inspired by someone in contemporary J-pop.

Micha Cavaseno: Behold, the rare world where everyone else is in each other’s shit, and somehow we’re cool with it! Jokes aside, “Highschool” portrays the weird intergrid of community, technology, and communication in such an idealized glamorization of full integration that certainly wasn’t prevalent in any of the schools I’ve went to, and maybe that’s the point. High-school is treated like a pivot for some; whether it’s the best or worst part of the years, it’s an incredible fixation. So perhaps this song isn’t for anyone who’s actually in the trenches of high-school (to you youth across America, we salute you. Hold it down!), but a reminiscence for the rest of us still mingling with those same people from years ago when we did first “connect” and just can’t let go.

Sonia Yang: Fun, fresh, and a bit flirty, complete with cotton-candy cafeteria and classroom dance sequences that looks like someone went filter-happy with a Glee or High School Musical scene. The song seems appallingly typical on paper — standard J-Pop melody, catchy beat, no desperate “weird Japan” shock factor — but in practice, the smooth execution gives it a little magic. This isn’t groundbreaking, but if idol J-Pop continues down this route my faith might be rekindled just yet.

Scott Mildenhall: English language translations can be so awkward. A highlight of this one here is the joyously delivered “I remember all our class members,” which reads like a bathetic counterpoint to The National. If they used to argue with one of them on Facebook though they probably should do, given how recent that makes it. It does makes sense – the revolving door of nostalgia means it’s always around the corner – but shouldn’t nostalgia sound a bit more wistful? The problem with “Highschool ♡ Love” is that it, concordant with those uncanny anglicisations, is rictus.

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2 Responses to “E-Girls – Highschool Love”

  1. In fact j-pop killed this year – idol pop, semi-idol pop, non-idol pop. Best of 2014: J-pop.

  2. E-Girls unit worth checking out – flower, ‘the elegant group’ doing ballet and modern dance