‘Hinatazaka’ album review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Hinatazaka46 is one of the major groups in Japan and they are getting a lot of attention after the group was rebranded from Hiragana Keyakizaka46 last year. Their hit singles so far are poppy and cheerful including, “Do Re Mi So La Si Do,” which was the summer song in Japan last year. Also, the group starred in a show called Dasada which is one of the surprise hits in the country this year.
Some of the members in the group are models for magazines in the country; they might be on track to top off Nogizaka46 of having the most models in a 46 group. The group recently released their next album and first album as Hinatazaka46: Hinatazaka. This album highlights the accomplishments of the group so far. While the digital and streaming version of the album has all the songs in it, the CD has three versions each with new songs made for the album—I got Version A of the album.
The main single in the album is “Azato Kawaii” with Mirei Sasaki starring as the lead member in the song. This is the first time that she is singing as the lead member in a single since “I Don’t Expect Anything of Myself” from the group’s previous album, The Moment You Start Running. The song sounds exciting and has the happy aura that you would expect from the group. The music video of the song has a lot of references to the history of the group; the set of the music video resembles a previous set in the music video of “Youth Horse,” which is also the theme song of Dasada. Also, the group’s colours are seen throughout the video (each individual member represents a different colour). The first minute looked similar to Inception with the kick, the camerawork in it is reminiscent of K-pop camerawork, and my favourite member and the captain of the group, Kumi Sasaki, is still in the back.
Some of the other new songs in the album include the group’s theme song “Hinatazaka”—where all of the 46 groups have theme songs; a song called “Let’s Jam This Summer” with third gens; and a tune called “My Fans”—where midway through the song, it suddenly changes into a Blackpink song.
Other songs to highlight include the factory song in Dasada called “Why?” The fast paced “Kitsune,” and the whimsical “Real Time.” There are also new versions of three of their earlier songs including one of my favourites called “Higher than Anyone Else, Jump!” The album ends with “Joyful Love” which is also the type of song that we need during this time where, despite having a long way to go before the coronavirus pandemic ends, happiness is coming.
The Blu-rays in the album include both the group’s last concert as Hiragana Keyakizaka46 and their launch concert which happened in Yokohama Arena in March of last year. Depending on what happens with the pandemic, the group will perform in the biggest stage in Japan: The Tokyo Dome. If you like to hear cheerful music and are new to the group, Hinatazaka has all the essentials you need to feel a happy aura.