ANGERME – Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / Namida Iro no Ketsui / Majokka Megu-chan
Initially called S/mileage, I randomly stumbled across ANGERME online with their first double A-side single Atarashii Watashi ni Nare!. Since then, I began following them regularly, even when they changed their name to ANGERME. They first began with four members and now only one of those four still remains within the group. After their name change, they began regularly auditioning and adding new members in the style of other Hello!Project units. Their song style have certainly matured over the years, but in some ways a trace of the old S/mileage still remains.
I initially thought the song would have a universal message like “As long as you have love, nothing else matters.” But for the most part, it seems the singer is talking to a single person about how tangible things are short-lived, as if she’s saying “I just need your love.” It does seem to touch on a broader scale with lyrics like “Have some love and live stronger than ever.”
I had heard the choreography for this song was the group’s most difficult yet, and it certainly seemed true. Their movements were very quick and precise, with some intricately arranged smaller parts. The overall beat is very fast paced with a few slower waltz-like moments that add an almost gothic circus feel. I think this song might be my favorite on the single.
The general tone is a slow ballad style, a first for the group, with a contemporary dance. Like the lyrics say, we’ve all thought “Not gonna cry” at one time or another. With a bittersweet, nostalgic feel, the song’s message seems to one of reflection and longing to reunite with an old friend (perhaps an old love?), wanting to protect a special place they made together. The vibe could read as heartwarming or sad depending on your mood, though could evoke tears of happiness with a sense of “Let’s meet again.”
A previous song had featured a separate “dance team” of members who danced but did not contribute vocals, and this one almost follows the same suit. Members Murota, Sasaki, and Kamikokuryou took the majority of the vocals with the rest of the group only dancing backup until the final chorus.
Much like Mahou Tsukai Sally, Majokko Megu-chan is a modernized cover of the theme song of an anime of the same name. When I heard that, I decided to look up the original theme song to get a sense of what to expect. In terms of flow, this new version definitely held up to the previous standards. Other than obviously giving the music a modern tuneup, ANGERME’s version added an instrumental intro which gave it a bit of a rumba vibe.
Newcomer Momona Kasahara got a bit more focus in this song with at least half of the first verse to herself. All the members get at least one solo line, which is harder to accomplish with so many girls but is always nice to see. I’d almost expected costumes that were more along with the magical girl theme, like with their previous cover song. Although since the lyrics highlight the title girl’s feminine charms, they can’t really go wrong with showing off their legs.
I hadn’t noticed it at first, but 3rd generation member Maho Aikawa was absent from this single due to treatment for a panic disorder. She has likely returned to work but having been absent during the production period, she was not included in the promotional material for this single. The complete single is due for release on June 21.