Release Date: October 5, 2016
- Take-A-Shot! feat. PKCZ
ShuuKaRen is the duo of E-girls members Fujii Karen (Happiness) and Fujii Shuuka (FLOWER). UNIVERSE is their debut single, and it is the theme song for the Beats by Dre Show Your Color ad campaign. This is the first time the Fujii sisters have been paired up as a unit, and it also marks the debut of Shuuka as a vocalist instead of a performer.
The a-side is an aggressive-sounding dance track slightly edgier than the material that either member of ShuuKaRen has been working on with their parent groups. It sounds like it belongs to a Hallyu crossover group and/or Namie Amuro rather than 2 members of E-girls. Given that this song is used to promote a brand of headphones that are supposed to have a cool, urban youth appeal, then going with that type of sound is understandable.
The revelation in this song is Shuuka Fujii, who holds her own as a vocalist when paired with her sister. It makes one wonder if there are a few other hidden gems in those primarily put in the roles of “performers” in E-girls.
The first b-side Tricky, is another song used in an advertising campaign. This one is for e-ma throat lozenges. It, too, falls in the Urban/Pop category opting to sound like something closer to American or European Top 40 than J-Pop. While not as bombastic as UNIVERSE, it has that smooth Hip-Pop vibe that contrasts nicely with the dance floor madness of the a-side.
The second b-side Take-A-Shot! features the creative unit PKCZ and brings the sister’s full circle back into the dance and club music world to close out the single. This is also the only song in the single package that is not used to promote some product to the masses.
UNIVERSE will most likely appeal to fans of E-girls and those who like an injection of club music/Hip-Pop in their world. Overall it’s a fairly solid debut single for the Fujii sisters. Hopefully, this isn’t a one-shot deal, and we will see more from this pairing.