The first review on this new site will be of AKB48‘s first song, Sakura no Hanabiratachi (the cherry blossom petals). 

This is one of my favorite J-pop songs.  It was released by AKB48 on Feb 1, 2006, and rocketed them into fame as one of the preeminent Japanese idol groups.  At least in the beginning of this blog, I’m going to be talking about a lot of songs by them, because it’s one of the groups with which I’m most familiar with.

And I’m going to say flat out that I love this song.

Musically, I wouldn’t say it’s all that interesting.  It’s just your ordinary pop-type song.  In Japanese idol groups, particularly AKB48, the emphasis tends to be on unity – the girls often dance in unison, and they often sing in unison too.  So not a whole lot of skill was required to perform this.  That’s completely understandable for a pop group that started out with very young girls who were probably not all that used to performing in public.  So I’ll note that and move on.

In Japan, there are cherry blossom trees that only bloom for a few days in the spring.  In the Japanese culture, they see this as a time for graduation and renewal.  So, it’s fitting that this song also has as a theme, graduation and starting a new phase of life.  And that’s really the thing about this song that I love.  It expresses a pivotal time in a teenager’s life so well – expressing the liminal experience of transition, of leaving the old behind tinged with fondness and regret, and looking forward to what is going to come next.  The lyrics are thoughtful, and the video is, frankly, tearjerking.

(「忘れないよ、絶対」- “I won’t forget.  Ever.”)

So, here is my official Lone Star Rating for this song.

 

Music

3.0 out of 5.0 stars

This is a run-of-the-mill pop song.

Performance
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

The girls did a competent job, but not amazing.

Lyrics

5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Lyrics are amazing and sum up graduation well.

Video

5.0 out of 5.0 stars

The video is well produced and adds to the music.

Total Lone Stars

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Well produced, good breakout single.

 

 

Links

Wikipedia – AKB48 Wiki – Lyrics

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