EMPiRE Strikes Again and Ruins my Sunday Morning

Man, I didn’t want to do any things today, even with some good stuff in the queue! What the heck, EMPiRE, and your second MV off of EMPiRE originals arguably being the better of the two released so far and definitely being something that used to be more in BiS’s wheelhouse if it just had a little bit more blood in it?


Just couldn’t resist that Kentacore piano break, could it?

Though, I guess given that they’re in position as human blood banks like in Fury Road, the sanguinary concerns are somewhat addressed! Continue reading

Dang, That New EMPiRE Song Is Nice

How do we feel about EMPiRE now, with the “EMPiRE originals” MV out? I’m annoyed that I only just got to look and listen at this today, though it’s partly my fault because I kind of deliberately set it aside after yesterday’s release. So sue me! I got stuff to do, man. Idol don’t pay these bills!

But let me say, please, that my hedged skepticism is something that I’d like to take back:

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So How Do We Feel about EMPiRE Right Now?

I’m asking this question because we’re coming up on the EMPiREiversary and folks in this community seem to fall on a simple continuum when it comes to WACK’s first explicit collaboration with Avex — people seem to be EMPiRE fans, or they’re fairly indifferent, or somewhere blithely in between. This is relevant because hey, there’s a new EP coming out in a few weeks, and the MV for the lead track is out in a few days, and just kind of let this wash over you:

That looks sleek as hell and sounds like it’s either going to be epic or another reductive “Orchestra” knock-off. Neither, for what it’s worth, would be bad in the absolute, but one is seriously better than the other, you know? I also thought that maybe we were looking at clips from at least two total MVs, actual results of course yet to be determined. Continue reading

WACK Wins by Having Nothing to Apologize For

All of my reactions to WACK news lately seems to be along the lines of “well, that happened.”

It all started on Friday, with this foreboding billboard atop Shibuya’s famous 109 building:

“We haven’t done anything yet, but we apologize in advance?”

Well, that’s ominous. Granted, I can think of many things WACK should apologize for, but this is now. Well, the future. Eyebrows were raised. Questions were asked. Just what exactly is this future scandal WACK have had to apologize in advance for? It got even worse when Watanabe tweeted out the words many a WACK fan dread; “Announcement at 24:00.” There was panic, theorizing (mostly from me) when eventually, the fateful moment came. Continue reading

This Is the New-look EMPiRE in Action

Well that was fast. Practically mere minutes after announcing the new members of EMPiRE as new members of EMPiRE (stay tuned for tomorrow’s Weekender, as I am being too lazy to copy/paste between posts!), the joint WACK/Avex (WAVECKS) project dropped another new MV:

“Maniac,” I’m sure you’re currently saying aloud, “this is not a rock song.” It isn’t! But it’s a really nice pop song with some cool moves to it, so. I prefer to sit firmly in the middle when it comes to EMPiRE, always willing to share but cognizant of appropriate venue and all that. I’m sure that the intent behind the group was for Avex to monetize for themselves the crowd-pleasing capabilities of Team SCRACK (that’s WACK/SCRAMBLES, if you’re keeping score), but, for the purposes of a person just stepping into this bizarre Idolverse, I think they’re a good bridge act, too, by which their guilt-by-association with the older-school WACK projects can hook in the person who ordinarily would rather be in a circle pit and convert that person into the kind of person who gets into flame wars over the appropriateness of light sticks at idol lives.

Anyway.

That’s Real Nice Work, EMPiRE

I have no idea why I keep being surprised when EMPiRE does a thing right now. They have an album (on cassette!) to release! But no, I didn’t see this coming:

To pre-empt my own rising knee-jerk impulse to make little into something greater, I’ll refrain from too much commentary (you’re here for the music, anyway). Just:

  • Dang, that’s some nice-ass songwriting — see, you can use familiar tropes in your work without making everything sound the same!
  • That’s it for YUiNA, isn’t it?
  • Individual chart ranks are meaningless without context, but the album made the daily #4 on Oricon, and I think it was #3 or something in the weekly (I saw something else and my brain went CONFLATE). Somebody nailed it.

EMPiRE Really Might Happen

Context for the title of the post! I had this weird feeling that EMPiRE’s major debut album release, teased a couple of days ago, was going to settle the follow-or-not question. Yes, even after that thing with the giant sentient butt, I was skeptical that EMPiRE would come out the other end of the chute as genuinely interesting. I was all geared up for it: They’re going to try to make EMPiRE happen no matter what, aren’t they?

And then the album trailer!

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The WACK Expo Fallout: We Are All Incredibly Easy Marks

I didn’t watch the WACK Expo. After the thing had been announced, and the overall shape of the auditions made, it was pretty obvious how the whole shebang would be conducted and concluded, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I allowed myself to selectively enjoy the auditions from extra-afar, taking it all in via Twitter and the occasional side conversation; once my girl Trivago was finally, mercifully euthanized, I didn’t care enough to even do that.

When I woke up today, the event was all in the past. Things had been done, reactions had, tears shed, etc. Was Twitter buzzing? It sure was! Were the takes flying? They sure were!

And all according to plan. Like any good wota, this is our moment to MIX, to respond to the ainote, to play our part in the interactive ritual that is being an idol fan. We happily separate ourselves from our money to experience closely controlled environments of put-on cruelty and manicured triumphs. We call out the things that are bad or stupid, and hand over cash, attention and appearances of generalized support in exchange. We are all incredibly easy marks.

Anyway, what happened: Continue reading

What the Hell Did I Just Watch?

So the other day, EMPiRE, who have frankly been awfully quiet after that surprisingly interesting official debut, dropped out a little mini-trailer for an MV that was coming hot-hot-hot off the presses.* I filed away this information, secure in the knowledge that perhaps another cool power pop number was coming.

Give me a second to admit that I didn’t immediately catch that the dang trailer was the same track as was used for that album/news/trailer thing that happened a few weeks ago, but also give yourself a second to steel your resolve to witness multiple acts of butt-themed urban assault:


Tell that Ayuni D doesn’t look aroused during the cafe scene

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So Let’s See What EMPiRE Does with It

Yeah, I’m one of the jerks who saw the “big announcement at 20:00!” tweet and decided to prepare for it. Then I saw the announcement itself and felt not at all particularly moved to get out of bed. I’m on the fence about EMPiRE — it is known — but facts are facts, it’s a quiet day in Idolville and it’s not like I didn’t completely love their first MV. So hell, let’s split the difference and just steal from John. Continue reading