For reasons I’m still not entirely clear on, J-pop idol group Keyakizaka46 has renamed and rebranded itself as Sakurazaka46. Apart from some member changes earlier in the year, the reboot hasn’t really affected their general sound. Ahead of their first single release in early December, the girls are blitzing fans with multiple music videos. They’re all pretty good, but as the main promotional track, Nobody’s Fault stands as the instant highlight.
When it comes to groups within the Sakamichi Series, my interest tends to peak and wane depending on the moment. They have such a specific sound, and rarely stray from it. Whatever the group name may be, you kind of know what you’re going to get from an act like Sakurazaka46. And, the songs rarely disappoint. You’ve just got to be in the right mood for them.
In the case of Nobody’s Fault, the group’s ornate, layered performance is supported by driving guitar and brass. In this way, it’s not too dissimilar to Sexy Zone’s incredible Run from earlier in the year. But like most songs in the Sakamichi Series, the mixing just isn’t as clear and crisp. This is an aesthetic choice, and probably a necessary one given the amount of elements squeezed into the track. Still, the bounding instrumental acts as a great springboard for Sakurazaka46’s chorus of voices. I especially love when the guitar takes charge, transforming into more of a percussive force to puncture the flow of the track. There’s a raw intensity to these moments that really compliments the cathartic vibe of the song.