Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

=LOVE – Teokure Caution

To be fair, the ungoogleability here is partially due to Beyonce and Jay Z just releasing an album (yes, we’re covering it) with “love” in the title…


Ryo Miyauchi: =LOVE is yet another pack of idols turning to the stark, string-driven intensity of Keyakizaka to give a shock to its rather traditional image. But while producer and HKT48 member Rino Sashihara answers to the high-stakes drama by writing about love with gravity to match, the note-for-note performance skims over some of the more visceral imagery. The draw of “Teokure Caution,” then, is that climactic key change: standard, but reliable as far as tricks go.

Dorian Sinclair: I can’t really explain or justify my love for bombastic strings in a pop song, but it’s very real. Pair that with the harpsichord (!!) and that frantic synth stab under the chorus, and it almost doesn’t matter what’s above them — but fortunately, both melody and performance are more than able to match the energy of the production.

Alfred Soto: However much I appreciate the speed of J-pop, the fizz goes out of this soda by the 90-second mark despite those attractive piano runs (and I do mean runs). 

Vikram Joseph: We told you this was melodrama. “Teokure Caution” is a constant high-wire act, quite exhausting to listen to, where every choice of chord progression is the most theatrical one available. At the risk of misappropriating Western pop influences to a J-Pop song, I can hear a lot of ABBA fandom in here, and also plenty of Muse’s space-age-baroque histrionics. The English translation I read suggests that the lyrics aren’t any less overwrought, either.

Katherine St Asaph: Bach bosh! This isn’t good, and every part of the arrangement sounds like a Windows 95 MIDI, but it is entirely my brand of melodrama.

Iain Mew: Japanese idol pop vocals with a focus on intensity above all else can pair excellently with styles of music bringing equal force and supporting it with greater intricacy, be it metal, shoegaze, or this baroque’n’roll thriller. =LOVE’s intensity keeps them charging forwards past viciously revving synths, and carrying off finely balanced stop-start manoeuvres, culminating in a bravura key change that deserves a standing ovation.

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4 Responses to “=LOVE – Teokure Caution”

  1. Rino Sashihara’s work on Last Idol subunit Someday, Somewhere this year is really good too: Though, it’s not at all intense nor melodramatic like this song. I think that song makes itself more known next to other veteran idol producers on the show like Tetsuya Komuro, Tsunku and AKB’s Akimoto.

  2. Sasshi! First appeared on this site as a performer in 2012 (‘Uza’) and now the (increasingly successful) group she’s producing shows up. And actually outscores that first appearance.

    I became a fan of her as an AKB member in part because of her funny and weird blog – her writing. So it’s a bit of a luxury to now have her write a lot of idol songs, though I have to rely on fan translations This song is all melodrama, but others showcase those great morsels of odd specificity that makes her writing stand out.

  3. Would be interested in hearing the takes on Morning Musume’s latest songs, since they’re going strongly away from the 48/46G direction, but I don’t know how it compares in a broader non-idol music context.

  4. Morning Musume has been on a solid single streak for about a year or maybe two now, and I especially would have loved to blurb any from the batch in ‘Thank You Too.’ Mo-Musu and overall their Hello Project siblings are in their own little bubble at this point, I feel like, at least in terms of music and style. “Jealousy Jealousy” seemed like they loved a Bruno Mars record or two, though.