I don’t want to do this. I really, really don’t want to do this. But I must.
Full confession: I dislike almost every song C-ute makes. They are easily my least favorite Hello!Project group. And I don’t know why. They just have never clicked with me, save for maybe two songs in their repertoire. It’s not like I hate them or anything but I just never cared for their work and I chose to sort of just ignore their existence. But I seem to be the only one, because everyone loves them. Why? I don’t know but they sure get a lot of love and praise, probably the most in the whole Hello!Project, and they have a vast multitude of fans.
So, whatcha gonna do when you’re a critic who doesn’t like the critically-acclaimed J-Pop group? Get through your own biases and review their latest single Aitai Aitai Aitai Na.
Here’s the original music video, with a translation from RedFreesias here!
Let’s deal with the lyrics first. The title literally means “I want to see you, I want to see you, I really want to see you” which is not only a mouthful to say, but is kind of needy sounding. I don’t know if this just a fabulous translation but I though the sentiment of the song was really lovely. It’s about not being able to see the person you’re dating/in love with and how terrible it is and how exciting new love it. Worrying if you’re pretty enough, talking about it with your friends – it’s a little 2Ne1’s I Love You in presenting the feelings realistically of a girl in love. Well at least it does a better job than most do anyways, even if it is the standard go-to fair of most cutesy love J-Pop songs. Funny, cause they aren’t even allowed to have boyfriends.
The color palette of the video is pastels and white which can be a real eyesore and comes off as incredibly sterile. Two things you don’t want in a video for a love song is sterility and blandness. The girls do go with their posing and sad “sexy” faces, but sometimes they look bored and they start blending into the background a little. There’s no pop, they don’t stand out at all, and to be honest I had force myself to watch it, despite the temptation to click away.
Personally, I think they wanted to be more “mature” on this single, but with the weird giant blush spots on their face, and the lyrics including (possibly) something about lingerie, I think there are a lot of mixed messages involved. First we get a softer, quieter look and then a “WATCH ME WHILE I SEXY” dance style, and yet the big splotchy checks could be something like over-enthusiasm, or a bit of goofiness like in Berryz Koubou’s Loving You Too Much video. Personally, I just find this creepy when it feels like not even 4 years ago they were babies in my eyes (though most of them are older than me).
If we take the video overall, the theme of waiting for said boyfriend and then rushing offscreen is pretty good. The actions fit well with the lyrics, and maybe there had been a little more color in the video and a little less “WATCH ME GRAB AT MY CHEST” (there are gifs out there guys, it ain’t pretty) in a weird attempt to be hip and yet also innocent, I would have liked it more. As is, it’s more forgettable than most, and reminds me of a less inventive Shouganai Yume Oibito.
The song itself, if a little disjointed. The melody is kind of fun with some techno thrown in there for a bit of a danceability factor, but it’s not what I would call catchy. At the time of writing, I had to re-listen to it just to recall how it went, and I watched the video about 10 times prior. The chorus and the verses feel a little disconnected, though they keep the same tone throughout. The strongest part of the song is the vocals – strong singing from all five members and they really came together nicely during the chorus. Plus, good line distribution since Airi tends to get the majority of the lines in the last two or so years. Great harmonies too, something that can be tough to do.
In the end, Aitai Aitai Aitai Na is sort of your run-of-the-mill J-pop fare, with lots of sexy dancing, cheesy but nice lyrics, and staring out into the distance all love-lorn and what not. Everything about this song is just okay – no one element stands out more than the others, since their vocals didn’t leave a huge impression on me. Honestly, it kind of sucks that this is the first of their songs that I’m going to officially review. Oh well, ladies, at least you got nowhere to go but up!