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I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dance for philosophy -- Funky but Chic

Source: natalie.mu

Maybe we can’t rely on Especia to fill our hunger for silly aidoru groups recording 70s/80s-inspired funky gems anymore, but some other groups, like Dance for philosophy (フィロソフィーのダンス), are doing similar things… and que quality is just great!

So far, Dance for philosophy (yeah, they call themselves Dance for philosophy, even if the original katakana spelling points in other way) released one album in November 2016. Called “Funky but Chic”. The album is a collection of ten solid songs ranging from disco stompers to more aidoru-friendly territory, but never forgetting the 70s/80s overall theme.


First song “Aidoru Philosophy” (アイドル・フィロソフィー) is an instant winner with its anthemic feel anchored by a plethora of interesting sounds, such as the combination of chants and a jungle-like percussion at the beginning and brief yet strong guitar solos. Overall, it’s a funky synthpop song with rock touches here and there, but everything works in a very harmonic way. Also, one nice surprise: the girls are not bad performers at all, which is something unusual for underground aidoru acts. Truly amazing album opener, in my opinion.


Second song I’d like to highlight is the one chosen to have a proper music video, which is “I’m After Time” (アイム・アフター・タイム). Right from the beginning, it sounded obviously reminiscent of Chic’s disco material, and some comments on YouTube were quick to acknowledge the resemblance between this song and Chic’s “Forbidden Love”. After a while, though, you can see how the old disco was well integrated into this new offer, and a very well rounded Fusion/City Pop song emerges to be appreciated.


Now, as for the third song, it’s called “Kou Kando Agetai” (好感度あげたい). Maybe a little less serious than the other two, and falling in the aidoru-friendly category I mentioned before, it’s a bubbly and bouncy number with a catchy chorus with a funky bass in the arrangement.

Now, I’d like to notice one last thing: even though I only introduced three songs here, the whole “Funky but Chic” album is very nice and consistent. There are a couple of Motown-inspired songs, and even one resembling The Jackson 5, among other disco-inspired tunes. In the end, it’s a truly special aidoru album that makes fine reference to the 70s and 80s in a very classy, albeit sometimes silly, manner. As the group is not signed to a major label or anything, I can’t really tell if they’re going to continue its activities, but I’ll surely be happy if they keep this quality work in the near future.

3 comments:

  1. Hello, Marcos.

    WHOAAAAAAA! "Aidoru Philosophy" is so 80s! The melody line reminds me of the stuff that Madonna did in the latter half of that decade. Plus the group's name reminded me of an old Reflex (one-hit wonder British band) tune "The Politics of Dancing".

    Gotta admit that the ladies do give a good performance on the stage. Their voices are surprisingly solid!

    I'm also showing major love for "I'm After Time"...nice and groovy melody here...and then those mellow horns (or horn-like synths?) come in. For an aidoru tune, it's quite accomplished. And even "Kou Kando Agetai" keeps the good times rolling. The chicken dance is pretty funny, though.

    It looks like Dance for Philosophy has picked up the torch from Especia. Quite the album!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      I knew you'd like Dance for philosophy. Quite interesting stuff, isn't it?

      Like we have talked before, the underground aidoru scene sometimes offers nice stuff like that. The musicians in this album are surely top-notch, and they showcased major love for both the aidoru genre and the whole City-Pop/AOR/Funk sound that Japan did so well in the 80s.

      These three songs are really great, but I've already warmed up to many other songs on the album as well (7 out of 10, to be more specific). Maybe I'll have to put it on my shopping cart next time I decide to buy something from CD Japan. It's just too good to miss.

      About the chicken dance, I just had to watch the video once more to see it (and I've been watching it all the time this week). In fact, the whole choreography seems a little bit strange at times, but the girls are -apparently- having so much fun that I'll not talk bad about. I's still less cheesy than many things Hikaru GENGI did in the past, haha.

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    2. Hi, Marcos.

      We've had a few of these aidoru groups such as BABYMETAL come to Toronto for concerts. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Especia or Dance for philosophy if they ever land here. If I'm lucky enough to hit Japan again this year, I will see if I can pick up a DFP album at Tower Records as I did with that Especia album last time.

      With Hikaru Genji, yeah, I think the disco roller skating thing is dead and buried. :)

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