In the beginning of April, C-ute released their 27th single, “The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~ / Gamusha LIFE / Tsugi no Kado wo Magare”. It is their first triple A-side single and it was released to commemorate their 10th anniversary.
The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~
This song was really fascinating to me because it was a concept not really explored by C-ute. Lately, C-ute has been known for their sexy, mature and fast-paced songs that were complemented with the most technical, but well delivered choreography. However, this office concept was something new to them.
This is a ‘Mai-Saki’ center song about the difficulties of being middle management in a corporation. Normally, I would not focus on the lyrics of Hello Project songs, but this time I caught myself avidly reading the subtitles of the video. Although Tsunku wrote them, it is different from most of his songs and I love this change. This concept is actually reminiscent of Berryz Kobo’s “Madayade” because of the OL (office life) theme.
The song was composed by a number of people – some of who were international. So, this instrumental was something unheard of in Hello Project. Saki and Mai sing the verses while Airi harmonizes with them, which they also perform live as well. The usual main vocalists only have their solos right before the chorus. The harmonization bit was creative. The song would have just sounded flat without it, but with it Mai and Saki sound much better and the song is more dynamic.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
For once, a suitable setting was picked for a song. The music video took place in an office. There were scenes of the girls entering the office in their business wear and then socializing in what seems to be a lounge. May I add that if I wore Mai’s outfit to work, I would be immediately fired.
This scene is coupled with the dance shot, which also takes place in an office with large windows and dim lighting. What captures me about this video is that it breaks out of the customs of the usual Hello Project video format and not only focuses on the choreography, but also has theatrical elements relating to the lyrics of the song.
I did not think that the choreography for an OL song would have been so amazing! The choreography for “Madayade” was repetitive and fun, but it was not really spectacular. Nothing stood out about it. For “The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~” C-ute’s sharp and powerful dance fascinated me. Their synchronization and skill are the best in Hello Project. They deserve the title as the best dance group. I especially love Chisato’s part at 1:13. She looked the best performing the dance, but that could just be my biasness speaking.
This is an amazing song with a concept not explored by C-ute previously. I really liked the instrumental and music video. It was great to see the minor vocalists get some time in the spotlight. However, this is my least favourite song from the single. I just happen to like the other two songs more.
This is my favourite song on the single album. This song describes the past and future of C-ute, their strengths and their determination. This is their 10th Anniversary song. It makes me nostalgic and hopeful at the same time. Many fans are worried that this song hints at the end of C-ute, but in my opinion it marks a new beginning.
The song was written and composed by SHOCK EYE (who is very cute by the way). The lyrics hint at future progress and thanks fans for their support over the years. It is a very happy song. It sounds like an old-school Hello Project song, prior to the era of electronic music. It was nice to hear real instruments being used in the song rather than computer-generated sounds. It is a carefree and feel-good song that every member actively participates in.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
I love the song, but this video was too simple. It was all filmed in front of a single colorful backdrop. The backdrop was the best part of this video. The many colours draw attention and because it included the names of all past and present members, made it more special and heartwarming. However, that is the only thing that the music video had going for it. There were scenes of the girls showing their friendship through high-fives and cheers, but I feel like this was not enough. The music video had so much more potential.
This dance does not have C-ute’s strong image, but it was still very well done. The dance matched the lighthearted nature of the song. I actually realized that they recycled some old moves from past singles. I do not know if this was intentional or not.
This song leaves listeners with a sense of nostalgia. I love this song, so it was a bit disappointing that not much effort was placed into the music video.
Tsugi no Kado wo Magare
This song is highly addicting. It has a strong edge to it and an alluring music video to match. It is my favourite music video of the single, after “The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~”. The dark music video and intense choreography is a polar opposite to the other two songs of the triple A-side single.
There is a strong presence of the main vocalists, Airi, Chisato and Maimi, in this song. Honestly, I believe Chisato and Airi’s powerful voices suit the song the best. Saki and Mai are not really present in this song vocally, but made their lasting impressions though the choreography.
The repetitive nature of this song is one of the many reasons that make this song memorable. The great presence of percussion is another reason why I love this song. The drums and guitar in the song makes it seem like an alternative or rock song, especially with the powerful vocals integrated into the song. Based on what I have observed from recent releases from Hello Project, they are taking a new step and they are switching up their styles. For instance, it is not often you hear rock-like songs like “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare” or even Kobushi Factory’s “Nen wa Ni Nen” or “Survivor”. I really like this style; it is different from the usual cheerful or electronic songs from Hello Project. I am not saying that they should adopt a rock or Babymetal concept, but it would be nice to hear more powerful and mature songs from the group.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
I really like this music video. There are many great things I can say about it, but it also has its downfalls.
Focusing on the positive attributes, I really like the set. I know that I am an advocate for open settings with natural lighting, but with the nature of this song, the closed and dark set was appropriate. The lights are dim but it helped create the enticing atmosphere and highlight the girls’ beauty.
The editing if the video was also well-done. What I actually noticed was that during the close up shots the main vocalists sang while the minor vocalists, Saki and Mai, danced to the choreography. This made sense since Saki and Mai did not have any solo parts in the song. They are both strong dancers, so instead of having the, stand there waiting awkwardly for the chorus it would be better for them to show off their dance skills. It adds to the intensity of the overall video.
My overall complaint for this video is the inclusion of Hello Pro Kenshuusei in the dance shot. Why were they there? To me, they served no purpose and made little contribution to the video. It felt like an Erina Mano music video. They did not need to be included in the music video at all.
This high intensity song needs an equally intense choreography and that is just what C-ute gave to us. The choreography in this video is evidence of C-ute’s dancing skills. There are sharp and repetitive movements are done flawlessly. I especially love the part where they make a star at the end of the chorus. It was a creative way to match the lyrics. It makes me want to learn the dance, although I know it is not easy.
I was surprised at the power of this song. It is completely different from the first two songs on the single album, but I guess that is what they were aiming for. I like this concept for C-ute. It shows their dark and sexy side. It is a reminder of how much they have grown and matured from their debut.