Last year, I skipped writing for 恋を知らない君へ (Koi wo shiranai kimi e) when halfway through my review of the single the text file was corrupted. What a loss, it was an interesting time for NEWS--it was their busiest schedule in their whole career so far! In the middle of bustling activities the music they've released was quite a successor for January's ballad ヒカリノシズク--essentially a ballad single (3/4 of the single are slow songs!), Koi wo is the sound you were silently longing for in NEWS.
But they've built their image around concepts that are apt for the bold... thus, they keep coming back for it. The newest single, EMMA, straightforwardly tells you that they're not done with チャンカパーナ and KAGUYA and チュムチュム’s bombastic sound yet. Putting aside the Classical, the ballads, and the sports tracks, NEWS' real strength in their discography lies in the way they make controversial A-sides coupled with hidden treasures that are the B-sides. EMMA, like the older successful singles, does it again.
►L-R: Limited Edition (LE) A, LE B, and Regular Edition covers◄
The paragraphs above are considered part of the general comments, but hey, let's make this section more specific. EMMA is the OP for the TV adaptation of 嫌われる勇気 (Kirawareru Yuuki), and in which Shige is one of the main characters. /Thank you Shige for constantly giving NEWS themes songs for singles!/
This is my first time to talk about the jacket covers, the second most controversial bit (yeah, the single is that controversial that we even have a plausible rank). At first glance of the covers they're totally unrelated to NEWS; look in any way and they're still random pieces of material which would've been done better by the fans. Not to be rude, really, but it was the general consensus. Judging a book by its cover is still prevalent; especially that we judge an idol group's jacket covers by the idols' faces, not the face of someone else.
The title EMMA itself was a mystery, and the costumes, choreography and lyrics are controversies. In spite of the discernible similarities with the past singles, EMMA has a unique and striking presentation--bolder than ever, it keeps NEWS on the relevance, but with a more matured viewpoint as all of them will be now in their 30's this year.
What's the most important thing in EMMA? Arguably not the title track. There are always hidden gems found in the B-sides, extra special this time around. Whether to satiate fans with a good throwback or just another way of being innovative, remakes are often anticipated especially if done by the same artist. NEWS did a remake of two of their most popular songs pre-4nin: さくらガール (Sakura Girl) and I · ZA · NA · I · ZU · KI; so yes, it's not really arguable that this is the most important thing in the single.
Still to throw in the already wild blend are the "Snow" songs. Although not religiously, NEWS have Season-themed tracks and for this winter there are two--a very generous move, since usually there is only one Season song per release. That way, I feel like EMMA (the single) isn't actually rushed as opposed to how EMMA (the song) appeared (from the jacket covers to the fact that the PV was shot a little before the new year). Rushed or not, in terms of the quality of the music the single is extensively thought-out. It is approached in a polarizing manner; age-old tricks for the new songs and new quips for the remakes.
Song by song comments
01 EMMA is nothing new, except that it is the ultimate rehash of NEWS' novelty hits--meaning everything is combined in here. チャンカパーナ 3.0? KAGUYA 2.0? Retro twin of MR. WHITE? A Western チュムチュム? A Country 恋のABO? Another バンビーナ (Bambina)? Yes, the song is all of that. Yet the wild mesh the song is founded on may be the very reason EMMA is nonviable, as it sounds like it is just there to follow the working pattern... For the love of nasty, loud titles... For the novelty.
( Read more... )
This single's overall feel is more than a winter affair. EMMA is summer-hot, Sakura Girl is for spring, I · ZA · NA · I · ZU · KI's autumn sentiments and the 'Snow' songs direct take on winter... With these characteristics, it's almost as complete as an album. And we don't really need to think about a new album because after this single was released, an announcement for a new album came! Let's look forward to NEVERLAND, and I hope I could make a review for it as well.