10 Reasons that explain Keyakizaka46 breakthrough in 2016
Rookie no more. The 48group has witnessed the birth of SKE, NMB and HKT and now was the turn for Nogizaka to get their own. But to expand in such ludicrous speed over a stagnating fanbase, the chance to make fans weary and bored increased tenfold. It is hard to not become “another sister group of…” and appeal to a japanese audience, now hard to convince. And yet Keyakizaka46 took the idol world by storm, and even ended 2016 by appearing in Kouhaku in less than one year. What were those key moments that made the difference? Through this small write up i will attempt to highlight what made Keyakizaka a force to be reckoned with.
1) Bringing Music back to the foreground
Music is a matter of taste. But there will be a difference in production, like how much resources you invest in an A-side compared to a B-side. To release a powerful song as first single was a smart move: the goal was to make people react and break the orthodox type. The use of hispanic percussions, accoustic guitar which oppose the pop auto-tune of regular idol release helped Keyakizaka quickly build an unique flavor. Not only Silent Majority, but Sekai ni wa Ai Shikanai is a bold release using poetry and heavily feature piano to stand out.
Idol industry, especially 48group, has suffered from lack of consideration musically wise, as they weren’t taken seriously or even not considered as artists. However, AKB48 proved it wrong releasing great songs like Oogoe Diamond, Iwake Maybe, Everyday Kachuusa and River in a row ( it was called the kamikyoukutachi era). It was possible to praise idol music, and Keyakizaka managed to bring it back to the foreground. In a recent Foreign survey (600 answers), Silent Majority was chosen “Song of the year” by fans.
2) Meaningful lyrics that strikes people hearts
Lyrics of their songs, most of the time dark and rebellious, helped to shape Keyakizaka trait. It’s still Akimoto Yasushi who’s in charge of lyrics, but this time, thanks to Keyakizaka easy-to-perceive personality, he succeeded in making lyrics consistent with music videos. We can quote the excellent B-side Yamanotesen, Hirate Yurina solo, that pictures well the melancholy of a girl lost in thought, or Bob Dylan wo Kaesanai, another B-side but this time from Yuichanzu, makes a smart allegory between the struggle to forget someone and the reluctance of giving back a Bob Dylan CD.
Idol songs are most of the time fluffy and light hearted. Keyakizaka A-sides developed other theme like pain, hardship, and willpower. More frequently, and with more intensity. Because those themes are unusual, they garnered more attention, becoming the “rebellious” group. Lyrics help the listener match his own feelings with the song; and thus getting more involved in the group.
3) A group-oriented choregraphy designed by talented dance teacher
Probably TAKAHIRO-sensei is the most respected staff by Keyakizaka fans, as he hugely helped Keyakizaka build their identity as a group. In a regular group formation (16 members line up), there’s the center on the front, and the choregraphy revolves around the center. However, TAKAHIRO sensei tought it would’ve been more impactful to design Silent majority into highly paced / synchronized sequence involving everyone, reminding the military pattern. Through this dance, Keyakizaka gained a lot of amplitude that others sister group didn’t have. In Kataru Nara Mirai wo, choregraphy reached another level thanks to signature moves like the cross-formation. ( 4x4 teams switching places with the same timing).
TAKAHIRO-sensei himself is a very reliable person that members can look up to, especially because they are inexperienced and need someone to guide them. With great professionalism, he encouraged the girls to have faith in themselves and to not shy out from excellence. Something Keyaki fans will be eternally grateful for. Takahiro biggest strength is probably to efficiently forward the meaning of the song to the choregraphy itself.
4) A powerful Ace, like Maeda Atsuko at her time
It’s debatable if having an eternal center does make a difference, but no one will deny that AKB48 golden age was when Acchan was Ace. Hirate Yurina draws attention thanks to her gaze, intense energy and maturity even though she was only 14 centering Silent Majority. The reason why a group need an Ace is to draw attention to neophytes, non-idol song listeners. General audience are different from idol fans, and react to songs and members differently. They won’t remember a member very well if you rotate the girls in front all the time. They won’t remember if the girl in front doesn’t give them a “raw” first impression. An Ace is someone able to trigger an emotion on someone in a very short of time. The first impression is probably the most important too.
Hirate “Techi” Yurina also has this particularity to “embody” Keyakizaka songs to perfection. She performs the song like she’s possessed, making her dance unique. Her kind of Ace aura is also different from others, as she is more known for her serious stare than her cute smile like top members Acchan or Watanabe Mayu. To hold a mysterious, intense Aura hooks people and make them curious. Not even mentioning the high level of performance that makes fans stay.
5) A wide range of members with strong personalities
Aside from having an Ace able to release the full potential of a song, it’s definitively all the members of the group that create the core fanbase. In AKB48 there was Acchan, but also the Kami7, which fans could easily refer to as their personalities were recognizable. An interesting group is basically interesting members, who have skills and qualities that make them stand out.
Hirate Yurina is the wondergirl, Nagahama Neru is the cute/girls next door, Sugai sama is the princess type, Moriya Akane is the majime type, Shida manaka and Watanabe Risa are the kakkoi (cool type), Uemura rina/harada are the loli type, Imaizumi and Kobayashi Yuis are singer, Oda nana and Ozeki are moodmakers, Suzumoto Miyu and Saito Fuyuka is the best dancer, koike minami and Yonetani are the cute type… In fact, the range of personalities in Keyakizaka ensure that fans can find the type he has the most affinity with. We all know that an idol fan relationship is a lot about feelings, and to see the girls growing their character is the reason why fans are liking the members even more.
6) Reaching brand new fanbase : female and youth
Something that could also apply to their sisters of Nogizaka (by being cool and elegant): to have build a rebellious, cool and strong character hugely helped in reaching a new fanbase. While AKB48 is targeting middle age man through gravure and cute song, Keyakizaka (or more like Sakamichi series) was able to increase their range where female fans yearn for members like Watanabe Risa and Shida manaka (who are good at danso/modeling) and young fans who are more into cool songs like Silent Majority.
This is a trend i’ve observed on Social networks like Twitter. Most of Keyaki fan accounts are the same age as the girls themselves, around 97′ and 00′. To have been able to appeal to this fanbase allow Keyakizaka to avoid this harmful stagnation that is suffering AKB48 (not in sales, but in handshake slots sold). You could also say that, by not splitting handshake events like 48group sister group, Keyakizaka has higher chance to sell their slots, but in the long term, to add multiple fanbase is the reason why they sales are high.
7) Promote music skills and ensure song diversity
Keyakizaka46 has found their identity and signature through the word “rebellion” with songs that follows a pattern (Silent Majority, Otona wa shinjite kurenai, Fukyouwaon) but lyricist and songwriter also vouch for diversity, like Futari saison being a meaningful ballad.It’s even more significant with B-side venture “Shibuyagawa” and “Tuning” from the duo Yuichanzu. Thanks to those retro-pop-folk refreshing songs from the showa Era, Imaizumi & Kobayashi Yuis succeeded in balancing with the rough and dark set of Keyaki songs.
Something that strikes me is how one sided resources to make music are in the idol industry. Most of the time, it’s a huge use of synth and machines. It doesn’t do justice to the idol genre who emancipated through genre like Metal and Rock too. In the case of Yuichanzu, A-capella performances and acoustic guitars is hugely praised by fans who root for a comeback to basics. Imaizumi has yet to be center, but display great vocals that would be a waste to not capitalize on. Same with yuipon. Not also mentioning Keyakizaka obvious ability to make standard idol songs like “Aozora ga chigau” or “Matta atte kudasai” (Nagahama neru solo)
8) Proper promotion and financial back up from management
This must be an obvious statement, but it isn’t always applied (Hello SKE). Keyakizaka had the chance to have 1 regular TV show (Keyakitte Kakenai), 2 season of national TV show (Keyabingo), One drama (Who killed Tokuyama) numerous appearance in music show including Kouhaku Utagassen (because Silent Majority buzzed), recently Variety show (Nagahama Neru participating in Quizz show), radio broadcast ( Yurakuchou radio program, All night nippon radio program), exclusive modeling contract ( Watanabe Risa with Non-no magazine), countless photoshoot from top members ( Moriya Akane, Sugai yuuka, Shida manaka, hirate Yurina)
A group success is the meeting point between huge amount of tools and resources with girls holding huge potential. It’s also a lot about timing : Since management want to keep Keyakizaka active and in the forefront so people don’t lose sight of them, they release their single in a very solid pace. NGT debuted at the same time as Keyakizaka, but one group released only 1 single while Keyakizaka is on it’s fourth release.
9) A style and identity they can call their own
Nogizaka are cool and elegant. HKT are young and cute. SKE are energetic and positive. NMB are fun and native. Keyakizaka, in result of the music, the lyrics and dance, has found their own characterstic : Raw and untamed. Not only their high level of performance give them the aura of “professional performer” but also is coherent of the message they want to forward : “We give our all because we want to break of our chains” (freeedoooooom)
People recognize you when there’s something to recall. This is probably why underground idol struggle to go beyond their local market because they don’t have a style that make them different. I won’t say Keyakizaka is doing something original (because cool idol songs exist with Beginner, Uza, etc…) but that’s the adequacy between everything (dance, music, lyrics) that bring what’s unique in Keyakizaka and that other group can’t replicate.
It was a turning point to have their identity quickly defined because Keyakizaka had started during Nogizaka’s great momemtum. To acknowledge kinship with Nogizaka and claiming their own at the same style was Keyakizaka key to success.
10) A potential that keeps fans enthusiastic
Keyakizaka benefit from the “rookie” factor : they are fresh and bring new blood to the idol scene. The momemtum is still high and Keyakizaka has still goals to reach, like bigger concert venue, increasing individuals outdoor work like their sempai Shiraishi mai or Nishino nanase or even starting other drama. The truth is, 48g has seen their endorsement contract fading one by one ( in Acchan era, AKB members endorsed 10+ product, now they barely make 2-3), which translate a loss of interest of idols from general audience. The challenge ahead of Keyakizaka, or even all idol group, is bigger than ever.
Keyakizaka has the potential to reach this level of visibility in japanese entertainment scene once again. But they need to keep their excellent level of performance and develop a network between production companies ( Ogi pro, Ohta pro, Watanabe pro…) to make each individuals viable in various field. In order to become national idols, you need to go beyond idols : become models, talento, actress and singer.
In conclusion, Keyakizaka has found success in fields AKB management failed to invest once again. But it’s up to the girls to turn their work opportunities into concrete realities. And as any project, it needs time to get return on investment. What’s interesting to point out, is that even though Keyakizaka is a rookie group, most of the girls are past 17 and are likely to seriously continue their path as idols ( in AKB group the girls are young without career opportunities, so they graduate after high school). This is a relief for all fans who want Keyakizaka to surpass the other sister groups.
This was requested by an Anon! I hope you all love it <3 <3
Word Count: 311
(gif is not mine)
You twirled around in your dress as you danced around in your room. Samandriel felt like he was trespassing. He watched your hips sway and your feet move with the music. The room was silent, but he could hear the song lyrics flow through your mind as if you were your very own karaoke machine.
His heart swooned as you started to sing aloud. Your voice was like a golden river, filling the room completely. Was he drowning in your voice? Why did he find it hard to breathe all of a sudden? What was this feeling inside of him?
Samandriel had this wide grin on his face as he watched you. He almost didn’t want it to end, but even he knew all good things came to an end. That’s when you turned around and you were now aware of his presence. The angel thought you would be mortified that he had been watching you. Yet, your face lit up like the north star in the night sky.
L; Summary: The reader has a massive crush on the Winter Soldier but he has eyes for a red headed
Warnings: CUSSING. Angst.
Author’s Note: I’m sorry I haven’t updated this sooner but I went to my boyfriends’ house and didn’t have access to the internet.
You woke up with your eyes glued shut with dried tears. You sighed as you thought about what happened 3 months and you clutched your chest as you thought about Bucky’s confession. Your eyes started to sting with new found tears as they burst through your eyelids that were still screwed shut but that didn’t stop your heart to continue to break. You breathed through your nose and let it out of your mouth as you tried to lessen the pain by breathing slowly.
I heard this song when I woke up un-groggy for the first time after an abortion. It was the first time I heard it. And riding in the car beside my Mom, who had been pro-choice her entire life until the moment she was staring that decision right in the face, both of us were silent the entire song.
Through every lyric, it was as if Sara had written a eulogy of my life. Everything we had been through, everything I had suffered. Everything I had seen. Every time I had to grow up sooner than I should have. Everything I had to push to the back of my mind so I didn’t lose myself completely. Everything surfaced through these lyrics.
This will just be another comment lost among this thread. But if someone happens to read it - if someone who NEEDS to see this comment see’s it - know that things will always be better. TIME HEALS ALL. Even if it seems as though no one would care if you were gone. Even if it seems as though you have no purpose in this world. YOU MATTER.
It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you have made. It doesn’t matter how many times you have sworn to God “you’d change” if he just forgave you for this one mistake. Hell. Even if you don’t believe in God. If you don’t know what to believe, if you’re lost, if you don’t know what to do - just keep going. Keep doing. Keep moving in any direction that is away from the heartache and pain that keeps you tied down.
Let go of the past. Let go of the fear and hurt your heart endures on a daily basis. Just keep living. Keep going. Forgive. Never forget. Learn from your mistakes. Better yourself. Live for you.
So silent, no violence But inside my head so loud and clear You’re screaming, you’re screaming Covered up with a smile I’ve learned to fear Just sunshine and blue sky Is this is all we get for living here? Come fire, come fire Let it burn and love come racing through
For as long as I’ve identified as a
witch, I thought I had trouble with ‘real’ magic. Spells didn’t come
easy to me, I felt like my offerings and altars were wrong, that I
was making some mistake that no one ever spoke about because every
one else knew what not to do. And I suppose I was, but not exactly
how I thought I was.
I was already doing magic, but not how
I thought I wanted to.
My magic isn’t always mason jars filled
with herbs, crystal points polished like mirrors, or billowing skirts
My magic is standing in my back yard
looking for acorns in jeans and a tee shirt. Baking cookies from
boxed mix for Loki. Potions from tea, emojis sent to myself over kik
for spells, drawing sigils with my tablet. The comfort of silent
spirits while I go about my daily life.
My spells are song lyrics from the
radio, a playlist altar for my deities, wearing stone jewelry to job
Home made tarot cards that I ask about
birthday gifts, a Supernatural ouija board with a glow in the dark
planchette, sigils inspired by my favorite shows.
I was never doing it wrong, I just
didn’t know I was doing it right.
Some days I still wish I was able to
work deep in the woods, twigs in my long hair, black taffeta trailing
behind me like smoke, a raven familiar by my side as I brew my
potions in a real cauldron.
But then my black cat with a deformed
leg will hobble inside, rubbing his head on me, and I’ll draw a
sigil on my arm in gel pen, listening to a song that inspires my
intent. That’s where my magic is.