A lot of people have trouble with the fact that female J-Pop groups are usually huge. AKB48, one of the most popular groups there is, has over 60 members, not counting sister groups in other parts of the company that get switched in and out. E-girls, a group that debuted back in 2011, only has 27 right now, but that’s still a lot of girls to have on screen at once fighting for the spotlight. Does this group work when everyone is trying to be top idol or is it all too much?
Let’s listen to Highschool ♡ Love by E-girls.
Here’s the music video with English lyrics here:
In the original version there’s a very complicated three minute dance intro where all the members bust, and I swear there is no other words to describe it, some seriously sick moves. What does that have to do with the song itself? Nothing, nada, zilch. The director must have just thought this video was overly saccharine and boring as all Hell so why not throw in an epic dance at the beginning? If so, the dance number really does its job. The version above does not have it because, to be honest, I didn’t want to immediate depress you with the awesomeness that could have been.
The lyrics themselves not only are sugary sweet but also weirdly deceptive. At first, it seems just to be about a high school reunion, which by the way none of these women look old enough to need to have anyways, but then basically turns into a “Look! It’s my former boyfriend and I’m still his best friend because I can’t actually let go.” It seems sort of sad how apparently they confused nostalgia for slightly obsessive and unrequited, or at least didn’t make that distinction as crystal clear as they probably should have. It’s very cutesy, which is to be expected with everything else in the video, but they lack any inspiration at all.
It is very clear these ladies are top notch dancers, even in the parts of the video where the dancing is not as central and awesome, so that’s not the issue with the video. Though why exactly they have even more backup dancers I’ll never know. There is a lot of clutter in the video, from people, the space, random objects — it does feel like someone is going to eventually crash into someone else on one of their spins that’ll domino effect into the rest of the dancers. Still, the costumes are well done and memorable, and the varied locations and actions in each shot to make the video feel more expansive and well put together. I could have done with less neon and ultra bright colors — my retinas may never recover.
The vocals, for those members that do actually sing and don’t just serve as dancer fodder, do actually work. The singers have strong voices that mesh well but are different enough that I don’t confuse them. The harmonies are well planned and it improves the overall quality. The instrumental is full of synth and autotune, to the point where its more machine than human, and while it does make it easy to get caught in your head, it’s incredibly generic and stale, and appears to have no effort or flair put into it at all. It really is the singing that holds this song together and the beat that’s steadily dragging it down from greatness.
Highschool ♡ Love is like junk food. The wrapping is new and shiny and very pretty to look at, but one taste is enough to affirm that it’s the same as all the other overly cutesy, sugar sweet J-Pop out there, in its generic glory. That’s not to say that the song is bad, it’s just totally bland, and feel like literally any of the other big J-Pop groups could have performed this song to very similar effect. Even if its not unique, it does have to work for the specific group in general and I’m honestly just not feeling it.
– Fun video.
– Great dancing.
– Strong vocals.
– Sacharine lyrics.
– Boring concept.
– Over the top cutesy-ness.