Monday, April 6, 2015
NMB48 -- Kamonegix (カモネギックス)
Note: The version above offers a long remixed intro, but the song follows its original arrangement when the girls starts singing. (Uh, not anymore since the video has been changed)
Generally, I don’t follow AKB48’s sister groups, because they are almost as boring as AKB48 became after a couple of years in the top spot of the industry.
On some rare ocasions, though, these sister groups releases interesting singles, and, coincidentally or not, they are always coming from NMB48, which debuted back in 2011.
I remember well when NMB48 was introduced to the public’s eyes, and, as at the time we already had SKE48, it seemed like an overwhelming thing to have three monstrous groups (besides the subgroups, solo singers and the now-defunct SDN48, which was a “mature” version of AKB48) produced by Yasushi Akimoto (秋元康). So, if back then I thought NMB48’s creation was a problem, nowadays we already have tons more like HKT48, JKT48 (from Jakarta, Indonesia), SHN48 (from Shanghai, China) and also Nogizaka46 (乃木坂46), which Akimoto created to be AKB48’s “official rival group” (a very stupid thing, as it never worked like this, but just as a regular sister group).
Thing is, NMB48 debuted in July 2011 with a song called “Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo” (絶滅黒髪少女), but, besides my criticism on the creation of another “_ _ _48” group, I quite liked the disco roots and catchy hooks of NMB48’s first single. After that, though, I stopped paying attention to them, as most of their singles started going along the bland route, something AKB48 and its sister groups are known for. I still enjoyed a couple of their songs, such as the disco-tinged “JunjouU-19” (純情U-19) and “Virginity” (ヴァージニティー), but it wasn’t until late 2013 that I truly started to give NMB48 some serious attention.
October 2013 was when NMB48 released the “Kamonegix” single with its daring mixture of modern EDM (short for Electronic Dance Music) and the old Hi-NRG sound which, apparently, came directly from 80s gay clubs (I’m thinking of Evelyn Thomas’ classic “High Energy” and some early SAW acts, such as Dead or Alive, for example). Not only it’s certainly the best song they recorded so far, the ridiculously catchy and sometimes questionable, yet effective, hooks (the haunting kamonegix lines during the beginning of the song and the bridge, for example), alongside the storm of synths, makes the song an incredible pop tune. The final result is nothing short of amazing.
One funny thing about “Kamonegix” is its title. As it’s been explained at the time of its release, the word kamonegix, coined by Akimoto, comes from the Japanese proverb kamo ga negi wo shotte kuru (鴨が葱を背負って来る), which means something in the line of “a duck carrying green onions”. Somehow, Akimoto managed to combine a typical love story with the proverb, thus creating this word in orded to make it stylish.
As I told before, I started paying more attention to NMB48 after “Kamonegix”, but, even then, they continued with the typical and painful roller coaster, alternating between generic aidoru pop and interesting songs (their new song “Don’t look back!” is quite a gem, but that’s subject for another day). Not that I expect big things from AKB48 and its sister groups, but I learned to keep at least one eye (or ear) on them... basically because another “Kamonegix” or “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” (恋するフォーチュンクッキー) may pop up accidentally.
“Kamonegix” reached #1 on the Oricon charts, selling 509,210 copies. Lyrics were written by Yasushi Akimoto, while music and arrangement were composed by Yoshimasa Inoue (井上能征).