My thoughts on the latest single from soloist Terashima Yufu.
Release Date: July 12th 2017
1. Watashi wo Ryokou ni Tsuretette
2. Natsu’n ON-DO
3. Natsuiro no Nancy
4. Watashi wo Ryokou ni Tsuretette (instrumental)
5. Natsu’n ON-DO (instrumental)
6. Natsuiro no Nancy (instrumental)
It’s unfortunate, but solo idols are still very firmly on the endangered species list in 2017. It’s kind of crazy to think how few there are nowadays compared to say 30 years ago but I suppose it’s just a sign of the times and what works in today’s market. It’s a lot easier to make money with groups of girls due to merchandise, multiple handshakes and all that good stuff than it would be to make the same amount of money with a soloist. It’s also a lot easier to hide the vocal shortcomings of a vocalist when there’s 3 or 4 or 5 or 20 other girls also singing along with them.
For those reasons and more, I don’t think soloists in 2017 get as much credit at they deserve. I’m not saying they have to work 5 times as hard as a group does because that likely isn’t accurate and is a bit silly to assume. However, there’s a lot less margin for error and if you’re not really good at what you do then you’re probably not going to have that much staying power. That’s why I think soloists like Kikkawa You, Wakita Monari and Terashima Yufu who we’re going to be reviewing today are pretty special. I’m rambling a bit now though so let’s get back on track.
Terashima Yufu released her latest single “Watashi wo Ryokou ni Tsuretette” a couple of weeks ago now. By my standards this review is actually timely so that’s cool. Anyway, based on all of the promotional images and the jacket covers I’m expecting a healthy does of summer from this one. I mean sure, it could all be a ruse but that’s not really Yufu’s game…not since she left BiS all those years ago anyway. I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I feel pretty safe in doing so on this one. Some nice summer tunes with Yufu’s lovely voice? What’s not to like about that? Let’s see if I’m right.
We start things off with “Watashi wo Ryokou ni Tsuretette” or “As You Travel With Me”, which I guess is a fairly fitting title for a summertime song. That’s what this is by the way, no surprises here. I wouldn’t call this the most interesting song ever, given that it quickly finds its pace/formula and sticks with it throughout, but it’s still quite pleasant to listen to. In my personal opinion Yufu is singing at too high of a pitch here, but I guess it’s to really sell this song as being bright and shiny…like the sun. I could definitely hear this playing on a lazy summer afternoon so I guess in that regard it’s doing a great job. Definitely one for the fans of more mellow compositions.
Things really get changed up on our first b-side “Natsu’n ON-DO” or “Summer’n ON-DO”. I’m going to work off of the assumption that the “ON-DO” in the title is referring to “ondou” music, which is a genre of Japanese Folk music. This song sure sounds pretty folksy to me anyway. It also has a pretty playful feel to it too, kinda bordering on a kids’ song almost. We also get to hear Yufu hit some lower octaves which is something I’m in 100% support of always. This song might come off as a bit too goofy for a lot of people but I think it fits Yufu’s personality really well honestly. You can also tell that she’s enjoying herself with these kinds of songs, or at least she seems to be anyway.
The single’s second and final b-side is “Natsuiro no Nancy” or “Nancy’s Summer Color” if we’re going for an English interpretation. This is a pretty sparkly song, I mean they’re literally right there in the instrumentals. It also features English vocals which was unexpected, although I’m not sure it’s actually Yufu singing them. If it is then she did a really good job. This is a pretty fun song that’s straying more towards traditional Idol Pop than anything else on the single but it doesn’t quite go all the way with it. That may be the reason why the song lacks a more catchy hook that would have probably put it over the top. It’s still pretty good as it is though so maybe I’m just being greedy.
For me personally, this is a fun one but Yufu has done better in the past. That’s obviously just my opinion though and she has had some fantastic songs since going solo. “Watashi wo Ryokou ni Tsuretette” is still a very much welcomed summer single, especially if you’re looking for something a little bit more mellow than the typical J-Pop songs that usually come out around this time of year.
While writing this review, I happened to notice that Yufu has a new single slated for release on November 8th so I guess I don’t have to speculate on when we’ll next hear something new from her. I also happen to be in Japan around that time so hopefully there’s a release event or two I can go to so I can check off another former BiS member on my cheki wishlist.