Preface: There’s going to be a lot of embedded content in this post.
Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Announced on July 3rd, Juice=Juice’s 8th single is the first triple A-side since their major debut single back in 2014 with the titles and lyricist info announced on the 12th. This single in particular has a fascinating bit of trivia in that one of the A-sides is written by the former Moon Princess herself, the ANGERME alumni Fukuda Kanon. (The name Kanon seems to be on the radar these days….)
On August 11, it was announced that the release date was moved from the original September 7th to October 26th.
So let’s dig into Juice=Juice’s triple feature and see if they kept up the fruity goodness.
Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~
Alternatively translated as “Dream Road ~My Heart is Starting to Dance~,” the official translation is “Dream Road ~My Heart is Dancing~.”
The song is brimming with coolness, the lyrics speaking of excited anticipation of the future. The music furthers this with hints of EDM thrown in, even a dubstep-inspired break.
From the moment previews have come out, there were many who compared the sing to Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” To calm down these folks (or unintentionally incite them):
Plagiarism or coincidence? You decide.
(If you want my opinion, I didn’t think it was that similar (and if I did, it was mostly through psychological condition on the part of the aforementioned camp). There’s some parts that seem suspect, but this is coming from someone who spent most of her early life hearing Earth, Wind, and Fire yet didn’t foam at the mouth at “Osu! Kobushi Tamashii.” You can somewhat read more about my thoughts on that here.)
This MV carries on this sense of anticipation with some rather experimental cinematography. We’ve already saw glimpses of the dance Hello!Station installments, showing clocks and slow-motion being a regular motif. The opening chorus had our Juicy=Fruits knocking on opportunity’s door, begging her to let them (and their dreams) in. When repeated in the song, they pump their fists, giving a sense of cheering.
In regards to the video itself, this is where the aforementioned cinematography is at work. The dance shots are in relatively dim rooms with the illumination being centered on the idols. The lighting is muted, reserved to match the mood of the song. In addition, we get shots of falling train and flower petals, reversed in the shots of them laying in petals of their member colors.
You can watch making of footage from Upcoming:
KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!
Alternatively translated as “KEEP ON Rising Up!!” and “KEEP ON Desire to Improve!!,” the official translation is “KEEP ON: The Ambition to Succeed!!”
The song is a funky jam in the vein of Michael Jackson, giving a message of encouragement and motivation to Juice=Juice’s teenage (and then some) audience. Where the previous A-sidewas cool in the “ED-ubstep” way, this is cool in the “80s/90s retro chic” way.
This is helped by the fact that A-side was handled by longtime Hello! Project collaborator DANCE☆MAN, well known for helping establish the “Golden Age H!P” sound.
Keeping with the “retro-cool” theme of this A-side, the discotheque-set MV is filled with glitz with our Juicy=Fruits dressed as b-girls. The stage seems empty at first, but it helps keeps the focus on the girls, be them in dance shots, close- ups, or alternate shots.
Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou
Alternatively translated as “You’re an Idiot If You Leave Something Until Tomorrow”, the official translation is “‘I’ll Do It Tomorrow’ Is the Words of a Buffoon.”
This song is a rocking number in the vein of “Choice and Chance,” featuring guitar-fueled riffs, prominent percussion, and support from the keyboards and horns.
The wordsmith for this song is the aforementioned Fukuda Kanon. (I’ll probably refrain from using moon imagery for a while….) The lyrics, featuring the typical punch you’d expect a title like “Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou” (even an ANGERME alumnus as the only thing stopping this from being am Angel Choir track is an indescribable quality that edges it towards the Fruits), speaks of how procrastination and generally not giving your all isn’t a good way a living (especially in matters of the heart)
The MV has a black and white motif, representing how contradictory these things can be.
During the verses, the situations are acted out as if on a film. (Come to think of it, this entire MV has that theme.) It’s towards the end that we get a white background, instead of the dominant black.
As the single was released after Oricon’s new rules came into effect, please take the figures on these charts with a grain of salt. It ranked #3 on its first day, #5 on the first week, closing out the month with a month rank of #21. The total reported sales for this single is 34,723 with 76.49% coming from the first day and 92.85% coming from the first week.
The single ranked #3 on the Billboard Japan Top Single Sales chart, #4 on Music Station CD Single Ranking, and #5 on the CDTV Weekly Single Ranking.
The single’s music video performance on the Recochoku Music Video Rankings chart all place it in the Top 10 for Daily Ranks and Top 50 for Weekly Ranks. Dream Road had gotten #3 on the Daily Rank and #13 on the Weekly Rank. KEEP ON had gotten #6 on the Daily Rank and #26 on the Weekly Rank. Ashita Yarou had gotten #7 on the Daily Rank and #39 on the Weekly Rank. The Monthly Ranks for all three A-sides are unknown to this day.
As a much-hyped single that helped close off H!P’s year, I’m pleased the Juicies got in on the act. The high figures on the charts will certainly please some and the sheer awesomeness of the single allows it to stay fresh, even if they’re at least four months old.
Thanks for reading and remember: “You only live once!”
Keep on Dancing!