Oricon Singles Overview- 21/7/13

Hello again! It’s another good week for the EXILE empire as the weekly Oricon singles chart shifts once again, a treat for fans of one of the most popular animes around, and a new sales high for a rising female idol group, who are being marketed in a slightly unusual way. In this week’s chart we can clearly see the phenomenon of the double/triple A-side, where an artist releases multiple tracks on one EP with the same weighting. Check out how the chart is looking as of this week:

1. BURNING UP- EXILE TRIBE (Sandaime J Soul Brothers VS GENERATIONS)
2. Jiyuu e no Jingeki (Guren no Yumiya/Jiyuu no Tsubasa/Moshi Kono Kabe no Naka ga Ikken no Ie Dato Shitara)- Linked Horizon
3. Rappa Renshuuchuu- Watanabe Mayu
4. Kanashiki Amefuri/Adam to Eve no Dilema- °C-ute
5. Egao- Ikimonogakari
6. Saa, Kane wo Narase/MADE OF GOLD ~Featuring DABADA~- DREAMS COME TRUE
7. Tomodachi yori Daiji na Hito- Gouriki Ayame
8. GO FOR IT- Miura Daichi
9. Girls Rule- Nogizaka 46
10. Seishun- Fumiya Fujii

Boyband-army EXILE’s super-unit EXILE TRIBE  have grabbed the top spot this week with an insanely catchy piece of music called “BURNING UP”. Just like last year’s hit “24karats TRIBE OF GOLD” (which incidentally has over 7 million views on Youtube!)  there is a very overdramatic aspect to both the music video and  the song, as if we are maybe witnessing a kind of rapture involving flamboyant stage costumes, over-the-top special effects, and well-groomed Japanese men. If you still haven’t had a chance to watch (the video is err…unique) the PV for TRIBE OF GOLD, then you are missing out on an eclectic mix of bombastic pop-rap and smooth cheese, the like of which you may have never experienced before. For now, here is this week’s Oricon number one, BURNING UP, still a surreal experience in itself- can anyone explain what exactly they are dancing on in the beggining of the video?

Anyone who has the smallest interest in anime or even knows an otaku themselves will have not been able to escape the rise of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan), the sci-fi series currently airing on MBS and being streamed on Crunchyroll. It’s wonderful echoey, apocalyptic opening theme “Guren no Yumiya” (“Crimson Bow and Arrow”) forms part of an EP dedicated to the series by Linked Horizon. Their composer Reno is well known for linking the “anime” sound with sweeping orchestral suites to create unique tracks such as this, having found his start in the Japanese music industry producing fan music (or “doujin music”) for games. This is yet another example of the important links between otaku culture and modern Japanese music, with both feeding of the creativity of each other. Included in the release is the newest opening theme to Shigeki no Kyojin “Jiyuu no Tobira” (“Wings of Freedom”). Any fans of the series, I would urge to BUY THIS EP. Feel like a titan-killer or your money back.

The AKB family makes it’s inevitable mark on the weekly singles ranking in the shape of AKB48 member Watanabe Mayu and the kawaii explosion of her fourth solo single “Rappa Renshuuchuu” (“Rappa Practicing” ?), which takes third place . I have to admit, it is a little sickly-sweet, even for me, although it’s nice to listen to and has a cool instrumental interlude provided by OreSkaBand. It’s also incredibly catchy, and I am humming it as I type this. The undeniably cute cover of the Limited Edition was also designed by a contest-winning fan!

For this week’s number four, it’s the amount of sales which make the difference. Hello! Project idol group °C-ute (yes, that is the Celsius symbol), achieving over 60,000 sales with “Kanashiki Amefuri/Adam to Eve no Dilemma” (“Sad Rainfall/ Adam and Eve’s Dilemma”), will no doubt be celebrating. Their sales have increased A LOT starting from  2012′s “Kimi wa Jitensha, Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku” (“You Go By Bike, I Take the Train Home”), so that this is their best selling single yet. For a group that has struggled with how to present itself, it seems that the “mature”, even “sexy” aesthetic seems to be working for them, which is unusual for an idol group in Japan; normally they are marketed in the complete opposite way. But °C-ute may have found their niche. Kanashiki Amefuri is a decent upbeat dance-y song, but in my opinion suffers from slightly unimaginative writing, whereas for me, Adam to Eve no Dilemma is no doubt the star of the single. It’s another song that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, and the PV is much slicker than that of Kanashiki Amefuri, and really showcases the girls’ voices. You can watch it below:

If you don’t like Ikimonogakari, then you most likely have no heart. The trio’s songs frequently pop up in polls of the Japanese public’s favourites, and they are no stranger to the odd anime theme song. Number 5 on this week’s chart, “Egao” (“Smile”) is the theme  to the latest Pokemon movie, and predictably is a winning combination of wonderfully heartful lyrics and composition, and the crystal clear tones of lead singer Yoshioka Kiyoe. It’s probably already on its way to becoming a classic. The ever popular DREAMS COME TRUE enter the chart at number 6 with the theme song to a revival of Japanese medical drama Kyumei Byoto 24ji (24 Hour Emergency Ward). Bizzarely, the group have been around long enough to have recorded the opening theme to the original series which aired back in 1999. Elsewhere, multi-talented singer/actress Gouriki Ayame (any fans of Yae no Sakura might just recognise her!) scores a number 7, RnB heartthrob Miura Daichi is at number 8, Nogizaka 47 aren’t budging from the top 10, and J-music veteran Fumiya Fujii proves he’s still got it with “Seishun” (“Youth”).

See you next week!

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