Attention students!! Leaders just dropped the early front-runner for album of the year.
Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders has never been the most accessible of units from a Western perspective. Their MVs often sit behind region blocks and paywalls, while their music makes artsy references to social concerns that may require cultural translation. In short, exploring the group’s music requires a bit more proactive labor than just clicking “play” on YouTube and rockin’ your socks off. However, with the release of their stunning second album, Wakage Ga Itaru, now is the time to put in that extra effort.
Things around the Idolverse are starting to warm up a little bit, my friends, or at least I hope so. It is, after all, now practically March, which means that spring releases need to be announced and promoted, and no longer the midwinter doldrums that apparently are only good for gut-wrenching heartbreak. But though I’ve been slow the uptake, there are some good things moving around now, and good music, and even some by-the-gods debuts worth talking about.
The very first thing, though, is new in the sense that it’s very forward-looking, but also not new at all in that we’re talking about a veteran here, and who we’re talking about is Chiaki Mayumura, who is a goddess made flesh and given voice, and I implore you to take all the time you need with this one, because it gets better the more time you spend with it:
So that’s Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders — Leaders of the New School — “dancing” for URBANGARDE’s latest, which just so happens to be coinciding with their announced transition to the “Shoujo Era” (the kind of thing that comes up when you’re in a group chat with officially all-over-the-place Japanese music hobbyists!) (this also makes so much sense in context!). It’s not URBANGARDE’s first mix-up with idols that we’ve even covered here in the venerable HTML margins of Homicidols Dot Com, nor is it the first pass at Leaders, though it’s obnoxiously removed from previous connections with them because they used to be region-blocked to death.
Anyway, that’s a wild-ass song! Depending on your tastes, possibly the best (or at least most interesting) idol-related collaboration this year. Certainly memorable! I feel like Suzuka (leader of Leaders!) needs to have her face cast in pliable bronze or something, the better that those expressions are preserved for posterity.
This is a great example of why you should get on Twitter and follow idols, yes, if you want to learn about idols, but why you should also follow people who know about idols, because it’s the random things that sometimes send you straight to gold.
In this case, I refer to @deadgrandma, a Person Who Knows Things and has been around a little bit, who sometimes refers to things that I’ve never heard of. This sends your dutiful Maniac to look up the reference, which often leads to neat personal discoveries but, fortunately(?), not so much on the idol side. Until, UNTIL my friends, until the other day when a familiar word — Pikarin — was in the tweet, and … well, this was the result: