Friday, August 8, 2014
Dempagumi.inc -- Sakura Apparition (サクラあっぱれーしょん)
For my next 2014 song, I chose to write about Dempagumi.inc’s (でんぱ組.inc) “Sakura Apparition”, which was released earlier in the year, in March.
For a long time, I refuted to like aidoru group Dempagumi.inc, mostly because I thought they were too wacky and geeky for my taste. Besides the catchy “Future Diver”, which introduced me to the group in late 2011, their other songs were just all over the place, full of noises and chants that ended up sounding annoying to my ears. After a while, I discovered this was the point of denpa music, a hyper energetic and maximalist Japanese style of electronic pop music that is highly associated with otaku culture, but that wasn’t enough for truly interesting me. In the end, I kept following the group hoping that someday one of their songs would grab me just like “Future Diver” did. The day has finally come when “Sakura Apparition” popped on YouTube. In fact, I couldn’t resist it after the first listen.
The reason why I liked “Sakura Apparition” the most was probably because it’s one of the most restrained singles the group has ever released. In Dempagumi.inc’s case, restrain is not a bad thing at all. Unlike Momoiro Clover Z (ももいろクローバーZ), which slowed things down with the last couple of singles ("Naitemo Iin da yo" [泣いてもいいんだよ] and "MOON PRIDE", respectively), to the extent of becoming dull and losing part of their identities (which is also rooted in denpa culture), Dempagumi.inc became more palatable to casual listeners with “Sakura Apparition”, without throwing away what they’re best at: goofing around and acting silly. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still an alien force to most people, but the happy-go-lucky vibe of the song surely helped the group in the task of conquering more fans.
“Sakura Apparition” is a combination of very high-pitched squeaky vocals, a very catchy melody, a powerful bass line and lots of synths that incorporates oriental melodies/sounds. As if it wasn't enough, the song features a great sonic breakdown where the arrangement just feels disjointed if compared to the rest of the song. Right after, the group start singing in a stereotyped traditional Japanese style before going back to the song’s original structure. In the end, you’re never bored with “Sakura Apparition”. Everything works really fine without falling flat.
As for the video, I will not describe here, but please watch it. Your day will probably be happier.
Sakura Apparition is Dempagumi.inc’s biggest mainstream hit to date, reaching #3 on the Oricon charts and selling 53,813 copies. Lyrics, music and arrangement were all done by Tamaya 2060% (玉屋2060％).