|Sakurakou K-ON Bu: Aki Toyasaki, Youko Hisaka,
Satomi Satou, Minako Kotobuki
|April 22, 2009
|1. Cagayake! GIRLS
|Sakurakou K-ON Bu
|2. Happy!? Sorry!!
|Sakurakou K-ON Bu
|3. Cagayake! GIRLS (Instrumental)
|4. Happy!? Sorry!! (Instrumental)
Review: Let me preface this review by saying that though I highlighted a few major flaws in the songs on this album, I did find them catchy and enjoyable for what they’re worth and that the final rating at the bottom reflects that in general, this album isn’t bad in the least. So with that out of the way, “Cagayake! GIRLS” continues the trend set by other shows in the four schoolgirls, one slice of life comedy anime genre by delivering an upbeat song to bring out the excitement that the characters experience in their day to day lives. In doing so, the first track on this album will invite comparisons to songs like “Sketch Switch” and “Hatena de Wasshoi” from Hidamari Sketch and Hidamari Sketch X365 respectively. By comparing Hidamari Sketch’s OPs to K-ON!’s, it shouldn’t take long for the latter’s faults to become apparent.
“Cagayake! GIRLS” starts out with a harsh-sounding set of chords that help establish a rhythm that the singers can work off of while capturing the listener’s attention. The song’s tone changes quickly as the melody takes a more energetic, genki-filled approach (if I may use the term) once Aki Toyosaki (Yui) makes her entrance. As soon as the song gets under way, the tempo moves quickly and Toyosaki gives off a passable performance since she is able to capture the sort of excitement that her character Yui Hirasawa derives from going to school as she experiences this newfound lifestyle.
The choice of words here was quite deliberate since “passable” is about as good as it gets. Where this song falls short of its potential is in Toyosaki’s performance because it feels just a touch restrained. This song’s sheer energy that one can pick up from the background instruments does demand a similar amount of energy and expressiveness from the singer and Toyosaki doesn’t quite deliver the full range of what this song requires to really become effective. Because of this, when you compare it to a song like “Sketch Switch,” “Cagayake! GIRLS” isn’t quite as effective in conveying the earnestness and excitement found in high school life.
In addition to Toyosaki’s somewhat reticent delivery, one should also watch for a few points at which the song descends into cheesiness. The segment that I’m referring to is around 2:34 right when they finish up the second verse and each singer makes their in-character introductions by enthusiastically shouting their characters’ names which comes across as a bit of a distraction rather than something that’s cute and charming which was probably the intended goal. The interlude that comes afterward also feels slightly off, but at least it segues into the end in a manner that makes sense melodically by transitioning back to the main key before wrapping things up nicely.
“Happy!? Sorry!!” makes for a stark contrast to “Cagayake! GIRLS” by delivering a funky, hardcore rock atmosphere right from the get go. Everything, from the background instruments to Aki Toyasaki performance, seems a bit harsher, but the presentation is done rather well with Toyasaki carrying the melody while the other singers back her up after each line. There are a few points in which this song reminds me of “Yellow Vacation” from Pani Poni Dash, like the short motive from 1:05 to 1:08 that gets repeated a few times as well as the chorus section which is delivered well through the way the lyrics are sung in that dismissive sort of way. Be on the lookout for some weird segments like the one from 2:15-2:22 where the singers shout phrases, the part around 2:26-2:33 where the music stutters, and the abrupt shift around 2:45. In spite of these oddities, the tone and mood of the piece makes for an enjoyable change of pace even if it’s not a song that I’ll listen to repeatedly.
While there’s no denying that both songs are listenable in their own right, I can’t help but feel that neither of these tracks have staying power since there’s nothing about them to make either one stand out. Tokasaki’s delivery in the first track does enough to bring forth “Cagayake! GIRLS'” energy, but not enough to make it memorable and “Happy!? Sorry!!,” while different from a lot of B-side tracks through its funky rock vibe, doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to long-term enjoyment. So go ahead and give these a listen and enjoy them if they’re the kind of pieces that are up your alley. Just don’t expect anything profound or compelling that you’ll look back to even six months down the line.
Opening – Cagayake! GIRLS