Thursday, November 1st, 2018 – Precious Summer

When we last covered them, it was 4 years ago and they had 2 fewer members. We got a lot of catching up to do.


Taylor Alatorre: This sounds like someone hired a group to do the opening theme for the next YuruYuri OVA but they were deemed to be too fast and too loud, so they decided to get even faster and louder as revenge. It’s cosmically hilarious that anime openings are one of the places where the insurgent spirit of punk rock remains most vibrant, albeit filtered through happy hardcore and caked in moe sensibilities. Dempagumi themselves have a mixed record when it comes to anime songs, with “Punch Line!” being weighed down by panty-related punnery that’s unfortunately quite relevant to the plot. Here, with no media property attached, they’re free to chase the wildest, most high-velocity sounds possible, and the listener is free to imagine whatever cute and wacky scenarios they want. The yearning power pop outro is the meaning of the song’s title belatedly coming into view: that those carefree summer days are indeed precious and cannot be made to last forever, no matter what BPM you charge at them with. It makes the preceding thrill ride all the more worthwhile.

Katie Gill: Initially, I was ABSOLUTELY confused because I didn’t realize that “DDR song from the early 2000s mixed with that one song I can never full combo in Love Live” was a genre. And yet is it! Or at least it’s a slang term. “Precious Summer” is an example of a denpa song, a song characterized by traits like off-key vocals, an intensely over the top tune, and a generally ‘weird’ or ‘out of touch’ feel. “Precious Summer” succeeds in that regard: this song does not stop. It makes me feel like I have a caffeine buzz just by listening to it. And despite the very real people performing this, “Precious Summer” sounds amazingly fake. The vocal manipulation borders on the uncanny at times, more Vocaloid than actual person. But that’s possibly the point? This is a long-winded way to say that initially I was completely baffled by this song, and now…I’m still completely baffled. But at least now I know that it’s a ‘this is probably not a genre for me’ sort of thing.

John Seroff: Combo after combo…. look at all those combos! I’m very glad this kind of frenetic jpop denpa nerdmetal exists and, in proper dosages, I’ve been known to indulge. It’s just that when I go one toke over the line (say, past that third repeat), I feel like I’m gonna hyperventilate and die. Helluva drug!

Iain Mew: One of those bits of fantastic music writing which has stuck in my brain forever is MG’s groovesnjams description of Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy” as an arcade machine attract reel. The first couple of minutes of “Precious Summer” is more like someone impatiently hammering through the game’s lavish menus, intense cues piling on top of each other as they’re not even given the chance to play out before the next one slices in. After that it stays exactly as ultra-demonstrative but slightly less ultra-fast, which is as close as a concession to the reasonable as you get with them.

Ryo Miyauchi: The frantic electronic beat of “Precious Summer” turns up the speed by 1000% with saturated colors bleeding as if to signify the effects from the beating sun. The line distribution moves back and forth just as intense, enough to inspire some motion sickness. It’s more or less what you’d expect from a Dempagumi single cashing in on the season. While the group delivers exactly what’s called for, if you’re familiar with Dempa, you know you don’t necessarily have to wait until summertime to enjoy this kind of music from them.

Jonathan Bradley: It’s been a little while since I last checked in with the frenetic and eternally glitching, and it was welcome and faintly disappointing to hear how familiar “Precious Summer” is. Welcome, because there is still so much glee in this act’s overclocked call-and-response shouting and jump-cut arrangements. But listening to Dempagumi should be an off-kilter experience, one in which the horizon has not only been lost, it might have been rendered entirely unlocatable, and this song traces its shifts in pace and tone in ways that propose the confusion is a recurring set of convoluted compartments bolted together rather than ever-replenishing chaos. Still, fitting for a tune with a title Joyce Manor could borrow, “Precious Summer” is the nearest this band has come to pop-punk, and that’s a good fit for them; the counter-melody on the outro could have been sung by Tom DeLonge on a Blink-182 track in 2001.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: There’s a lot of innate energy in a colorful denpa song like this, but the longer it goes on, the more that any and all excitement is squeezed out. While the normalization of these ostensibly disparate elements is fine, it reveals how “Precious Summer” could use stronger songwriting to compliment all the accouterments. The vocal melody that graces the outro almost convinces me that the rest was worthwhile.

Rebecca A. Gowns: I know next to nothing about J-pop, so I usually abstain from writing about it. This time, the video intrigued me, resurfacing fuzzy memories of watching Lucky Star and K-On during a lazy summer 10 years ago. The association isn’t random, as it looks like’s whole thing is being a group of otaku girls who got together to try and make it as an idol group. Musically, it reminds me of those shows’ openings: plucky girls singing rapidly, stream-of-consciousness, shouting interjections, quirky and cute in an extremely conscious way. Wikipedia tells me that Dempagumi’s music is not just idol music, it’s also denpa, which I haven’t seen other writers reference here before. Suddenly the anime theme songs and Dempagumi’s songs are outlined with a more cohesive thread — this is the sound of electromagnetic waves infiltrating your brain. Now I get it. This performance is exactly what you dream about after watching too many episodes of “Lucky Star” on a hot summer day. The memory comes to me more clearly now, and I appreciate this song for what it evokes; that feeling of being a young girl with in the throes of a sticky, depressed mania, and grabbing onto cute pop culture and happy make-believe as if it was a life preserver.

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2 Responses to “ – Precious Summer”

  1. Speaking of Lucky Star, the B-side of “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” is like a more restrained version of this song and is actually better than the OP, in my opinion. It fits my ideal of what a perfect pop song sounds like:

  2. i like “Oyasumi Polaris Sayonara Parallel World” better if we’re talking 2018 dempa singles.

    very bummed nemu is leaving the group very soon