AKB48 – “Sakura no Ki ni Narou” single review
May 25, 2011 2 Comments
Released: February 16th, 2011
1. Sakura no Ki ni Narou
2. Guuzen no Juujiro
3. KISS Made 100 MILE (Type A), AREA K (Type B), Ougon CENTER (Theater edition)
4. Sakura no Ki ni Narou off vocal ver.
5. Guuzen no Juujiro off vocal ver.
6. KISS Made 100 MILE off vocal ver. (Type A), AREA K off vocal ver. (Type B), Ougon CENTER off vocal ver. (Theater edition)
1. Sakura no Ki ni Narou PV
2. Guuzen no Juujiro PV
3. KISS Made 100 MILE PV (Type A), AREA K PV (Type B)
4. GACHI Shifuku FASHION SHOW (Type A & Type B)
Since 2008, AKB has continued their long withstanding tradition of releasing a “sakura” song in the month of February, and this year it is no different. Following in the footsteps of “Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008” (2008), “10nen Sakura” (2009), and “Sakura no Shiori” (2010), this single’s title track is also a graduation song of sorts. The lyrics and its translation may be found here. With 655,344 copies of this single sold on the first day alone, AKB48 holds the record for most copies of a single sold in one day since Oricon first began reporting daily sales figures in March 2009. This was a record they already held with their last single “Beginner“, which sold approximately 568,000 copies on its first day.
Oricon has announced the official weekly sales total for AKB48’s 20th single, “Sakura no Ki ni Narou.” After starting off with a record-setting first day, the single has sold approximately 942,000 copies to achieve the 6th highest first-week sales in history.
The last single to sell more than 900,000 copies in the first week was Utada Hikaru’s “Addicted to You” in 1999, which sold 1.068 million copies. This means that AKB48 is the only artist to reach that level since the turn of the century. Among female artists, the next closest single is Amuro Namie’s “Can You Celebrate?” (1997), which moved 828,000 copies in its first week, though AKB48′s “Beginner” came close last year at 827,000.
Oricon began tracking weekly sales data for singles in January 1968. The only singles that have performed better than “Sakura no Ki ni Narou” are:
- “Namonaki Uta” – Mr.Children – 1,208,000
- “Addicted to You” – Utada Hikaru – 1,068,000
- “Dango 3 Kyoudai” – Hayami Kentaro, Shigemori Ayumi, Himawari Kids & Dango Gasshoudan – 1,026,000
- “Winter, again” – GLAY – 956,000
- “LOVE PHANTOM” – B’z – 951,000
With “Sakura no Ki ni Narou,” AKB48 has achieved a streak of seven #1 singles. They are only the second female group to do so, after Pink Lady in 1978.
Taken from Tokyograph.
For a group that only debuted approximately 5 years ago, to already be right up there with the likes of very renowned artists like B’z, GLAY, Mr.Children, and Utada Hikaru is quite a feat. These are all influential musicians that dominated the Japanese music scene of the 90’s and continue to do so even today. With this milestone, AKB is certainly starting to become influential in their own right.
The covers for this single are gorgeous, especially the limited/theater edition ones with the girls jumping rope on the playground. These beautiful covers really capture the essence of what it means to be young and innocent. In contrast, the regular edition covers are more serious. While still very pretty, they give off a more mature feeling and a sense of nostalgia. The PV is beautifully done and quite touching. All the scenes as well as the members’ acting look very natural. I enjoyed the drama/movie-like appearance of the PV. It certainly went well with the song.
1. Sakura no Ki ni Narou
Just in time for the season of blooming sakura trees, this song serves up very emotional and heartfelt lyrics about growing up and overcoming adversity. These lyrics impart a powerful sense of nostalgia and sadness on the listener. The song features a beautiful piano piece accompanied by a soothing yet painful string orchestra. Weaved in between is a diverse selection of percussion instruments and sounds. The girls sing solo and in duets and triplets during the verses. This is a great technique to gradually lead into the powerful chorus while also building anticipation. The transition from verse into chorus is flawless as the strings quickly jump into the foreground while the piano takes a backseat. This is one aspect of the song that really stands out for me. Both composition and arrangement are absolutely fantastic. The orchestra strings really make the song shine, especially during the chorus. Along with the girls’ soothing voices, the string section is mainly responsible for the somber and emotional tone of this song while the piano adds an element of beauty. Overall “Sakura no Ki ni Narou” is one of their more mature songs and the lyrics are quite fitting for a graduation theme. It’s a far cry from the usual gaudy and catchy tracks they are best known for, but offers a different side of AKB48. It is proof that they do not always need to be releasing catchy songs to be successful. Furthermore, it is proof that this all girl group can do it all.
2. Guuzen no Juujiro
In stark contrast to the A-side, this track has a light upbeat sound. The intro is done well with a catchy guitar riff that hooks the listener. While the chorus is not anything spectacular, it does become memorable when coupled with the rest of this song. The composition is rich with a diverse mix of electronic sounds. This song progresses along nicely to the strong beat. Overall a good listen but nothing too extraordinary. It is everything one can usually expect out of a B-side.
KISS Made 100 MILE (Type A)
A track from one of AKB’s subunits “MINT”. It is mainly an electronic song that has an even more light and upbeat sound than Guuzen. The chorus is very catchy and soothing. These girls all have cute voices that sound nice together and match the mood of this song perfectly. The solo lines really showcase each girl’s individual voice and demonstrate they are all capable songstresses. I’m liking Nito and Katayama’s singing voices very much! I never knew Matsui’s was so precious. This track is definitely a nice addition to the single and offers something fun to listen to.
AREA K (Type B)
A track from another one of AKB’s subunits “DIVA”. Like the previous two B-sides, this song is mainly electronic and has a nice strong beat throughout. The sound is very reminiscent of something from Dream and gives off a strong, cool image. This track is quite memorable with all the “everybody dance!”. It becomes like a catchphrase of sorts. In addition, the chorus flows very smoothly and features a nice mix of voices. I would consider this the strongest B-side track on the single. The style is noticeably different from all the other tracks.
Ougon CENTER (Theater edition)
This is a song from the research students that only came on the theater edition of the single. It sounds eerily similar to SKE48’s “1, 2, 3, 4 Yoroshiku!”. One thing that jumped out at me was the wota chant they incorporated towards the end of the track. The lyrics of this track sound like they are directly about AKB idol life. Overall an unremarkable song. It does enough to serve its purpose as a B-side.
It was only February of last year that this group sold 318,000 copies of “Sakura no Shiori”. At that point in time, it was their highest first week sale of a single. Who would have thought that in just one year they would more than triple that figure? Currently “Sakura no Ki ni Narou” is the highest selling single of 2011, and right so with over a million copies sold.
Idol music or not, this is a very high quality single. The production value is top-notch and one does not need to be a fan of this idol group to enjoy the release. “Sakura no Ki ni Narou”‘s beautiful sound will enthrall any person who takes the time to appreciate it.
Type A Limited Edition: CDJapan, YesAsia, HMV Japan
Type B Limited Edition: CDJapan, YesAsia, HMV Japan
Type A Regular Edition: CDJapan, YesAsia, HMV Japan
Type B Regular Edition: CDJapan, YesAsia, HMV Japan