December 27th, 2011
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Originally a 4 member dance (Shigetome Manami, Fujii Shuuka, Mizuno Erina, and Nakajima Mio) unit they first performed as backup dancers for various EXILE music videos and the EXILE Live Tour 2010 Fantasy series of concerts.
In February of 2011 auditions were held to find vocalists and additional dancers (known as performers) for the group. In May it was announced that Bando Nozomi and Sato Harumi would join the group as dancers and Washio Reina, Muto Chiharu and Ichiki Kyoka would handle the vocal duties. With all the pieces in place they made their debut with Still in October. With all that said the the burning question that everyone may have is, “Isn’t this EXILE only with chicks?”
The answer to that is a resounding yes. But has the EXILE family steered you wrong in the past few years? I find it great that they are no longer a sausage factory and have invited the fairer sex into their ranks. Sure this single is fairly standard EXILE sounding stuff and maybe it may be too by the book, but it sure as hell is working so far isn’t it? And in this case, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Does that make Still any less worthy of listening to? Not at all. Although it’s kind of a depressing, melancholy kind of song (perfect for those experiencing the pain of heartache and despair) it has a lot going for it. The vocals (as expected from an EXILE affiliated group) are top notch. There aren’t a lot of vocal gymnastics that one would expect of this kind of song & that helps bring the emotion out more.
Really, is there always a need to scream out diva notes when subtlety will do so much more in the end?
As for the b-sides. There’s uptempo R&B/Pop (Fadeless Love) similar to sister group Happiness and a take at auto-tuned Dance Pop that you might hear from American Top 40 radio. (Are You Ready) Depending on your personal preference you make take one song over the other. I found them both to be pretty decent and a display of what else this group could be capable of outside of the typical EXILE type songs.
In the end this was a fairly solid debut. It’s not overly spectacular but given the company these women keep there’s a strong possibility that there will be some quality stuff to come in their future.
Still (Regular Edition)
Still (Limited Edition)