Gingham Check

Release Date: August 29, 2012

Track Listing

  1. Gingham Check
  2. Yume no Kawa (Type A)
  3. Do Re Mi Fa Onchi (Type A)
  4. Nante Bohemian (Type B)
  5. Show Fight! (Type B)
  6. Gingham Check (off. Vocal Version)
  7. Yume no Kawa (off. Vocal Version) [Type A]
  8. Do Re Mi Fa Onchi (off. Vocal Version) [Type A]
  9. Nante Boheminan (off. Vocal Version) [Type B]
  10. Show Fight! (off. Vocal Version) [Type B]

Review

Note: This covers only the Type A and B versions of the single since I didn’t get a chance to scoop up the the Theater Version when I was in Tokyo.

The expected result of the 2012 senbatsu election was Oshima Yuko taking top spot in the wake of Maeda Atsuko’s withdrawal. With her second chance as center many were craving for Heavy Rotation part 2 for the group’s 27th single. While Gingham Check isn’t even close to that, it is still worth investing some time in.

The song itself has a fun, energetic summer vibe that contains many of the signature sound elements of an AKB48 song.

So while it may not be exactly as progressive as some would like, it’s still a serviceable single. I do like that there is some simplicity to the hook that makes it a lot easier to sing along to and for the rhythmically handicapped; a rhythmic bed that makes it easier to manically pound your glow sticks away in wota glory.

Some people probably won’t like Gingham Check regardless just because the expectations for Yuko’s return to center were kind of unrealistically high and anything short of Heavy Rotation is complete crap.

Unfortunately there is another drawback to this track. It suffers from the visual bombardment of the video being the bigger attention grabber. Perhaps so much that some people forget there’s a song playing over it when they watch.

Many already know that this was directed by Joseph Kahn, a director famous for being behind the camera for many American and European Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop artists’ promotional videos. I guess it’s not every day that a Japanese pop act, let alone an idol group gets someone like him to direct their video.

Gingham Check Video Matsui Rena

The PV is a take on many classic film genres mashed together and it features a piece of perfect casting with Matsui Rena as a the prototype long haired, ghost girl. It also features something that enrages Kashiwagi Yuki fans:

Gingham Check Video Kashiwagi

Physical contact with a man. And they’re kissing! Oh my God! Stop that man from defiling her! Think about the children! Why won’t someone think of the children?

Really, it’s not that bad. There’s no tongue or even real intimate contact, so whatever. And let’s admit it boys & girls. You’re just jealous that you weren’t the one trying to shove your tongue down her throat & attempting to grope her fine ass right? It’s okay to say it. You’re among friends here.

As for the b-sides? The first one to take note of is Yume no Kawa. I believe this can be thought of as the swan song for Maeda Atsuko. It sure seemed like it during the video and at the last day of the Tokyo Dome concerts.

If you’re the emotional type who adores Acchan this song will probably make you cry after the first note or maybe during the break before the climax of the song.

It is a well constructed ballad that like the a-side, manages to keep things simple. There are no impossible runs or diva vocal gymnastics from any of the members involved. To think of Beyonce or Christina Aguilera type posturing is a silly thing to think of when it comes to AKB48 most times.

I know there are girls who are capable of such things, but they’re not in the batch who sing this song. Even with all that said I found this to be rather pretty track to listen to.

The last b-side worth mentioning is Nante Bohemian. This is the Under Girls song and for some reason it has a cheesy Eastern European dance club feeling to it. It’s almost like a translation of Morning Musume’s Kimagure Princess sound. I’m not implying any “borrowing” from the other camp by any means. If you think that perhaps you’re a little paranoid.

Also worth pointing out is a short jump aboard the hottest mainstream dance trend. I often wondered when the ugly head of Dubstep would make its way into AKB land. Afer all, it briefly crept into Morning Musume’s world. (which spawned a god awful fucking dance craze among overseas fans)

I’m not sure I dig it as much as the use in Momusu’s Renai Hunter. There wasn’t as good as a mesh with the typical idol pop production so it felt a little bit disjointed with the sudden switch. But in the end it’s still a decent track that could have gone without the Dubstep.

There are two other tracks in this package but they never really caught my attention as much as the 3 above. I do find it funny that some people say that the video for Show Fight! is better than the entire current season of Majisuka Gakuen 3. And if you watch it, it’s kind of true. That show is pretty bad television, no wonder it’s on so late at night.

Anyway, I found this entire package to be worth the crazy retail price of 3200 yen I paid for both. I could have gotten these CD’s a lot cheaper at a reseller but I would have missed out on the photo cards that come with them.

For the initiated this is all a no brainer, you already have this & I just wasted my time talking to you. So this goes out to the not yet brainwashed, disenchanted or those who are just curious about this group.

Pick up Gingham Check and give it a try. There are no disgusting bikini’s this time to scare you away.

Gingham Check (Type A)

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Gingham Check (Type B)

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