A-Pop Wrap-Up: Video Battles – KARA v SNSD, SKE v AKB..

Just a quick note about some Asian Pop news..

KARA’s Jumping More Impressive Than SNSD’s Hoot
I must admit that I did not even know that KARA was releasing a new music video to vaguely coincide with the release of SNSD’s new music video.. but I was rather highly anticipating a new SNSD video from the hype brought on by Facebook group updates. SNSD’s Hoot is decent, and has a somewhat catchy chorus bit, but the rest of the song is largely forgettable.

I wasn’t terribly impressed by the outfit selection SNSD turned out for us, and the choreography was really pretty simple — but the emphasis seemed to be more toward song difficulty and was scattered with a few strong solo sections. However, KARA’s Jumping video had me hooked almost immediately — enough to say, without a doubt, that KARA’s music thoroughly trounces SNSD’s. The song overall is more catchy, the choreography is much more enticing to my man-eyes (gotta love Goo Hara being up front a bunch), and although the song is technically less difficult than SNSD’s as far as vocal skill goes, I think they pull it off better as a whole package.

SKE48’s “Single #4” Bests AKB48’s Beginner
Although I know far, far less girls from SKE48 than I do their AKB sisters, I’ve honestly gotta say SKE’s 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku is quite a bit more fun on the ears than AKB’s Beginner. What really stands out to me other than the song’s catchiness (which seemingly puts the chorus right at the start), is how great the outfits are. It’s like they’re two different pleated cheerleader skirts, with the longer, outer skirted parted in the front like an unbuttoned vest, to show the shorter (but still modest) inner skirt. The tops are like really cozy long-sleeved suit coats with fluffy lapels and ribbons everywhere. And you can hardly wear a knee-high boot, of any kind, that I wouldn’t like. Even though only a handful of girls have these get-ups, I think the disparity of the others wearing school uniforms makes these parted-skirt outfits even more significant. They remind me a little of AKB’s Iiwake Maybe outfits.. but better. I daresay (to agree with a fellow AKB-fan), that 1-2-3-4 video is better than the last couple of AKB videos combined.

AKB48’s Beginner has left me a little ruffled. I haven’t seen (or been able to locate) the controversial video where Yuko gets stabbed with a needle, Atsuko cuts her own arm off, and Kojima’s face goes in two directions.. but with the junk AKB’s been pulling with the near-lewdness of Heavy Rotation I can hardly see how this would be material bad enough to keep hidden and not release anywhere except some Japanese-only music/video site, Recochoku. AKB has released a Dance Ver of the video, which looks like it was thrown together at the last minute from random footage, and a few other “(member) Ver” editions of just a large gray floor where everyone dances and certain members are featured — but even worse, just about every performance of the song I’ve seen so far has been p.r.e.t.t.y bad. Off-key singing, dull choreography (decent outfits, though).. Kinda makes me want to avoid showing friends the perfs because they’re not good examples of the AKB I know. My only likes on this release are the tall, laced-up black boots with a blunt heel (~_^) and the electronica sound of the song itself. I think I would have a loftier impression of the Beginner collection if there were an actual PV to accompany it, instead of being all mysterious with it..


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