Tracklist:

01. Oide Shampoo
02. Kokoro no Kusuri
03. Guuzen wo Iiwake ni Shite (Type A)
03. Mizutama Moyou (Type B)
03. Ookami ni Kuchibue wo (Type C)

Nogizaka46 have yet to really impress me. Debuting with a rather bland and forgettable first single, and then releasing an equally terrible second single, it makes me wonder how well they are doing in sales… and then I remember that they are the so called ‘rival’ unit for AKB48. How funny.

But when the sales figures came up for the single, and the group hit number 1 whilst beating out Sashihara Rino quite badly, I was interested in how good the single itself was. Ripping apart the crappy PV and song is one thing, but actually taking into account the other songs is another. So I went ahead and listened to them.

And I have to say, some of the songs are quite delightful on this single. Not all of them, but there are a few of these hidden gems. Less bland, more playful, and certainly a lot better than the catastrophe that is Oide Shampoo. Oh how we all wonder why these A-side songs actually make it to the A-side, because most of them (especially Oide Shampoo) don’t deserve to be the song that potentially sells the single.

The songs that I took a particular liking to were Kokoro no Kusuri, Guuzen wo Iiwake ni Shite and the rather amazing Ookami ni Kuchibue wo. That is 3 songs, with only one being on all editions, out of 5 that really gave me some form of hope for this group, because these songs are so well done and so much better than what I expected from Nogizaka46 – especially Ookami ni Kuchibue wo.

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed Kokoro no Kusuri, because I felt that in the beginning, the vocals fell quite flat and sounded rather un-polished and quite bland, but when the song picked up a bit I really started to enjoy it. It’s such a cute and airy song, and I love how the chorus is – it sounds so sweet and sincere, so much better than Oide Shampoo. Okay, the songs are both quite mellow and calming, but by far this song surpasses Oide. It sounds like a gentle choir, and I really like that.

Guuzen wo Iiwake ni Shite was rather unexpected – this is the first Nogizaka46 sub-group, and auto-tune is their best friend here. It’s a very nice song, one that will tickle the fancy of those who love a little bit of Vocaloid or Perfume in their music. It’s rather robotic sounding, as most auto-tuned music is, but it really suits the whole feel of the song. I like how energetic the song is compared to the previous songs, despite how soft the vocals are during the entire song.

Ookima ni Kuchibue wo is the sparkling gem of this entire single – it’s up-beat, has a wonderful amount of energy and is just absolutely wonderful to listen to. The first time I heard this song, I wondered if this was really Nogizaka46 I was listening to – I am so used to soft, and most of the time rather simple and boring songs. So, I was taken away with this song. It’s absolutely beautiful, the vocals and the surprising amount of energy. It sounds like one of the older and better AKB48 songs, but with it’s own Nogizaka46 twist. The soft vocals are thrown in there a little bit, but not too much that it gets boring. I’m really happy that this song was included, because it is a true gem on what would have been a pretty mediocre single.

And then there are the other two songs – Oide Shampoo and Mizudama Moyou. I won’t delve into much detail about how much I despise Oide Shampoo, but I will give it props for being stupidly catchy to the point where I actually remember the tune when I think of the horrible song. Damn Aki-P and his catchy compositions.

Mizutama Moyou is pretty much on the same scale as Oide, though less catchy and that little bit worse. It’s a rather bland and tasteless song, or at least to me. The singer’s un-polished and rather horrible voice grates on my ears a little, and I really hope that she never sings a solo song again, because this girl can’t sing. Let’s use an example here – Her voice is on the same scale of Ikuta Erina’s from Morning Musume. Strained, un-trained and fairly uncomfortable to listen to. I want this girl to have a solo career as much as I do Eripon. Aka, no career. They both suck at singing.

All in all, this is a fairly good single. Only two songs are, in my opinion, bloody horrible, with one being unbearable to listen to and the other being annoyingly bland but catchy, and the other 3 pretty darned good, with one outshining the rest of the songs on the single. These three songs give me some form of hope for Nogizaka46’s career, especially Ookimaa ni Kuchibue wo. It also makes me wish that Aki-P would give these girls more up-beat songs to sing, because these boring soft songs are getting snooze worthy.