Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Berryz Kōbō – Aa, Yoru ga Akeru

The Jukebox Goes J-Pop!


Jonathan Bogart: Google offers “Oh, dawn” or “Oh, kick the night light” as translations for the title. Works for me.

Brad Shoup: I’ve read a couple English-language reviews (as well as a few dozen YouTube comments) accusing either the group or producer Tsunku of running out of steam. I can’t really speak to that, partly due to an unfamiliarity with the discography, and partly due to the sophisticatedly frenetic production of this single. Risako wrings the most mystery out of the semi-titular phrase, but everyone does a commendable job of unifying the disparate segments of jazz-fusion, house, and “Vogue”-worthy piano (and Steely Dan-worthy closing chords). I know I keep lapsing into the language of work when describing the larger girl groups, but Berryz pushes feeling over function here.

B Michael Payne: I heard from YouTube commenter “darkbloodgirl” that this group used to be better. I don’t know, though. Coming in where I do — a realm of complete unfamiliarity — I think they sound pretty exciting and fun. There’s something about its sound, I would never call the mix spacious, but I can hear different textures and things going on that are entirely absent to my ears in a lot of what I’d call dance music. 

Anthony Easton: There might actually be too much going on here; it’s less wind sweeping through desolate plains and more wind sweeping through a too-full pachinko parlour. 

Josh Langhoff: This apes a species of supper-club-friendly disco and house that I’ve never been sophisticated enough to appreciate. It’s sort of interesting for its uneasy marriage of a verse and chorus that sound completely unrelated, but neither is very memorable to begin with.

Alex Ostroff: The production sounds like late 90’s speed garage or D’n’B, but the vocals are as chipper and harmonised and over the top as S Club 7. The squiggly instrumental break at the three-minute mark is fun, though, and the sheer hyperactivity of the beat carries this a long way. This is the first time I’ve been exposed to J-pop, and while it doesn’t hit me as immediately as K-pop did, I suspect that as I get used to its modes and tropes, “Aa, Yoru ga Akeru” will grow on me.

Katherine St Asaph: That drumbeat, that piano tone, the synth bass burbling underneath: this is ’90s dance revivalism more shameless than anything the States’ ’90s nostalgia has yet managed. Even the sax sounds out of a bygone summer. That said, whoever had fun while ashamed?

Edward Okulicz: Memories, man. It’s not just the second wave of dance pop that hit in the 1990s, it’s also that first wave of orchestrated video game music which bit club-pop tropes, especially Sonic CD. But memories are powerful because they speak to that part of your former self that’s still alive, and “Aa, Yoru ga Akeru” makes me want to throw up my arms and bounce, zinging hooks around my head and trippy beats at my feet. It’s pretty irresistible.

5 Responses to “Berryz Kōbō – Aa, Yoru ga Akeru”

  1. great, and my middle name is Michael too

  2. so does that make Michael, like, the Marie or Lynn or Rose of male middle names?

  3. Almost definitely the Lynn.

  4. My middle name also.

  5. Relevant: I’ve got a male friend whose middle name is “Lynn.”