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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Song of the Week! 12 October 2013

Sometimes, a single letter can really make the difference between two songs! Today's featured couple of J-Pop tunes is a valid example of this.

 Kaze wa Fuiteiru (風は吹いている) AKB48
Taiko 0x2 (137)x3 (187)x4 (313)x5 (448)
Taiko Wii 4x3 (137)x4 (187)x4 (313)x6 (448)
 Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 4

The first of today's duo is a collaboration between a recently popular J-Pop group with the Taiko franchise which made its debut on a home console game. It's also finally time to briefly feature this group here!

The enormous J-Pop girl group known as AKB48 is one of the earliest bands of the past decade to get recognized nationwide for its extremely long member list, and is currently a staple in Taiko for new licensed songs. The original 48-girl group was founded in 2005 in Akihabara (hence the band's name), an idea by producer Yasushi Akimoto (秋元康). Unlike regular idol groups which stage occasional concerts mostly on TV, Akimoto wanted to form an idol group which 'fans could meet every day'; for that purpose, the AKB48 girls started performing on a daily basis with their very own theater, where fans would always be able to go and see the girls live.

AKB48 is now one of the highest-grossing groups in Japan, with a profit of over 226 million yen from their performances and record sales, and over 21 million CDs sold. Forty more members have since been added, and the theater continues to host daily shows, with tickets obtainable only through lotteries. The enormous number of girls made it possible to split the band into four sub-groups ( 'A', 'K', 'B' and '4'), each with their teen-to-20 idol roster and sub-leaders.

Between 2011/2012, much like other artists did, AKB48 composed several songs dedicated to the victims of March 2011's tsunami disaster in Japan such as Everyday, Kachusha and Kaze wa Fuiteiru. However, the messages in the two songs are quite different: while the former is a passionate song for every soul who has been lost for the disaster, Kaze wa Fuiteiru's message is focused on the national recovery after such a big tragedy or, like the song's slogan also says, to 'move forward, little by little', as the wind continues blowing.The song was chosen as the collaboration song between AKB48 and Taiko no Tatsujin.

Kaze wa Fuiteiru's Oni chart is no surprise to the 5-6* Oni tier, with several clusters and a low BPM. Quite easy to get used to, and it lost a difficulty star in the process of going to the new arcade.

 Kaze ga Fuiteiru (風が吹いている) Ikimono Gakari
Allx3 (163)x4 (234)x6 (376)x7 (594)
 Taiko 0.5 to 0 R, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko +

Only one letter of difference! Yet this is an entirely different song by an entirely different band, composed for an entirely different purpose. Kaze ga Fuiteru (lit. 'The Wind is Blowing') is Ikimono-Gakari's third single of 2012 (and 24th overall), released on July 18th.

Since we have delved into Ikimono-Gakari's history in a previous SotW entry, this time we'll focus mainly on the song. Its relaxing melody and touching lyrics doesn't show it off (unlike the powerful energy of Superfly's Tamashii Revolution or Exile's Victory), but this was a song used for a major sporting event. Kaza ga Fuiteiru was used as the NHK's theme song for the Japanese athlete send-off during the 2012 London Olympic Games. The three members wrote the song and lyrics, with the hope that it would encourage Japan’s athletes like a strong wind. As such, the band itself made live appearances during the Olympics in Great Britain on NHK!

Unlike AKB48's Kaze wa Fuiteiru, this chart takes advantage of its even lower BPM and adds in lots of varied clusters, and ironically is more difficult despite the reduced speed. However, it's perfect practice for the different clusters at the 7* Oni level.

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