You may have seen the news that, for the first time in more than four years, Osaka Shunkashuto* is losing a member. That’s sad for them! But it also rekindled a thread of discussion in Team chat last week about Syukasyun, about whether they are in fact still good or are now boring. I thought this warranted investigation!
Background: I loved Osaka Shunkashuto. During that formative I-want-to-hear-it-all period, my first exposure to them was the incomparable “C’mon!”. Of course I wanted to hear a lot more from them after that. Sure, the indie work wasn’t all hits, but that era of the group, doing fun rock covers and channeling throwback R&B and soul in a way that nobody else was while old boss Soezimax helped them develop gripping video content, they felt undeniable and inevitable.
You know who else loves Osaka Shunkashuto? Chris does. I recall that some of our earliest interactions were about the group, including during the period that I believe began in earnest only after they signed with Avex but maybe during the time with Fujiyama Project, which is when the shade began. Not from Chris; oh no, the man is a true believer. From me, you see, and I feel like my increasing frustration with the group that really began around the “New Me” single and definitely peaked with the SSFW album was perhaps a little too pointed and vocal, for Chris would chastise me for it. He would also insist that no matter how much kvetching I did, SSFW was in fact good and fun.
Nonetheless, this argument was broached against last week, when Chris asserted (no, I will not give you context) that if only we/I would give Syukasyun another chance (now, at least two years since I wrote them off forever), then we/I would see the truth. That this was asserted in the context of allowing that yes, the case was undermined by recent-est work, only served to embolden my commitment to the assertion that SSFW is boring. However, being the kind and generous and extremely handsome Maniac that I am, I deigned to quite literally hear the two competing arguments as to whether Osaka Shunkashuto is boring and then render a flawless, beautiful verdict that cannot ever be questioned.
Bring on the evidence!
Exhibit A! Some collaboration song with something called HARUKAZE for a TV show that debuted like a month ago:
Boring! “Nice song” does not count as sufficient evidence against charges of being boring, as there are literally bajillions of nice idol songs out there that are boring as hell. We didn’t all fall in various degrees of love with SSFW because they were nice, we like them because they were funky and awesome and fun and rocked. Short of counter-evidence, I’m afraid that we have no choice but to–
Oh, right. Chris maintains that the recent BRAVE SOULS album is not just perfectly fine and fun, but actually kicks some ass. You all will have to forgive the court’s skepticism! Similar assertations have been made since the deeply unfortunate (but no doubt lucrative) contract with Avex was signed several years ago now, and all such assertations rightly deserve a great deal of scorn. Other than the occasional throwback number or too-much-for-its-own-good collaboration project, SSFW left all their heaviness somewhere on the road behind (sad whale, baby). HOWEVER, this being a court and not just some jerk typing on the Internet, let’s indulge this plea for counter-evidence and give BRAVE SOULS a listen.
Holy shit, this is a great album! Chris was right! For real, if you haven’t yet, press play on the doodad there real quick and given yourself 20 minute with this album. You almost can’t go wrong unless you only listen to “Start Over” which is what we were given to promote the album and I remember feeling like it sounded like they were trying too hard to get some punk cred. WHAT AN IDIOT. It’s better than I remember! And also “Get up for your right” is kind of hilarious but exactly the kind of face-kicking track I need to hear more of from idols anyway. AND “BABY CRAZY” IS HERE AGAIN, OF COURSE IT IS IT’S AN ALL-TIMER.
So yeah, Chris’s case was well-made, and at least BRAVE SOULS demonstrates that SSFW still got it. But this of course spawns more questions, most notably whether I was wrong about other releases in the past. And the answer is kind of — to cite one example, the SSFW album is hit or miss, but has more hits than misses, but does include too much of the run of bland singles from 2017 (“Travelin’ Travelin'”, I’m looking directly at you). Say, this reminds me o– holy shit, Avex BiSHed Osaka Shunkashuto! It’s suddenly clear to me!
Verdict: Osaka Shunkashuto is not boring but is steered so completely in boring directions by Avex that the only things they do that we’d hear in “popular” media are, in fact, too often pretty boring! But in reality, Osaka Shunkashuto is good!
Sentence: Avex can go straight to heck.
This was a really fun experience and it’s something that you should do for yourself! Go listen to all of Osaka Shunkashuto on Spotify and then make your own determination: good or boring?
*Look, it’ll take too long to work out a commonly agreed-upon spelling of 春夏秋冬. I opted for the “sh” version before I knew any better, and it’s not like it’s incorrect so much as it’s not preferred except on Apple Music or whatever, and if they/the label can’t be bothered with consistency, then why am I going to fuss and change years’ worth of blog posts and tags and stuff? “Sh” is fine.