On 4/6 last year, Keyakizaka46 released their debut single, Silent Majority.
They debuted with an incredibly strong song that may have reached the non-idol crowd in ways their Nogizaka sisters haven’t done yet, as it is the most downloaded Sakamichi Series song to date. This is noteworthy because digital download count is a better gauge of song popularity with the general public, since CD sales of idol groups with a handshake system or something similar are bloated compared to other artists. Silent Majority was glued to the top downloaded songs of major digital stores in Japan for about a month or two. Don’t ignore the CD sales though. Their 260,000+ first week sales set a record for female debut single sales. It was an impressive debut even among the handshake idol groups.
They even got to participate in Kouhaku the year of their debut. While Nogizaka’s current success definitely played a role in this, Silent Majority generating major buzz for them is most likely also an important factor.
Youtube views for Silent Majority on Keyaki’s region locked channel (Sony why???) is just a few days away from 50 million views (update: already 50M). Stats show that instead of accumulating most of its views in its first few months and gradually slowing down and down, it has about the same views in it’s first six months and these last six months. The periods in which the daily views have increased and how big these increases are may also be indicating that there is remarkable organic growth happening after the exposure made possible by the marketing, rather than just the marketing directly gathering the bulk of the views.
For a quick comparison of scale, only five out of the many AKB48 MVs have more views than Silent Majority right now, and that will go down to four later this month, and likely to three later this year. AKB’s videos can even be viewed outside Japan (AKB is with King Records, not Sony), but there are still some region restrictions. I cannot say this for sure, but it seems like Silent Majority has really become something huge especially for a debut song.
So before their 4th single, and first for 2017, gets released, it’s only fitting to focus on Keyaki’s music on their explosive debut year. Let’s save variety and the personalities for later.
If we just give up from the start,
what’s the point of being born in the first place?
Talking strongly about thinking for oneself and following one’s convictions without worrying about conformity (or in simpler terms: being yourself), Keyakizaka46’s compelling debut song, Silent Majority, set the tone for the group’s image.
“Idols who don’t smile.”
It does somewhat capture the feeling their singles give off, but I think it is not the lack of smiles that is most important in this cool image they have. They smile in many of their songs. It’s this feeling of declaration rather than expression in their A-side songs which make them cool (and maybe the military style uniforms?). They feel so dramatic without being overtly emotional or grand.
The music videos only elevate this effect more, and without the usual high contrast color grading of music videos that try to be cool. The colors on their MVs always stay on the natural side, but they still manage to be cool. The singles after SaiMajo aren’t even as cool-sounding, but Keyaki makes them. There are other cool idol songs out there,that’s why I try to understand why this coolness of theirs feels unique to me, but in the end I still feel like I don’t know. It just captivates me.
SaiMajo is special. The rebellious atmosphere and the feeling of unity it creates when those guitar chords and piano notes start playing (ahh seishun), especially if you already know and like the song — there is nothing like it (fanboy exaggeration). I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this song (as long as I don’t play it on repeat 24/7). You can just feel how elated the audience were when it was time for SaiMajo during their first solo concert. Even a cover on a random school event gets students cheering.
Silent Majority is a timeless song, at least for me.
And now, to take a look at the rest of the music they’ve released in their debut year — or not.
That will be on the next part because this became much much longer than what I first intended, which I’m guessing will always happen whenever I write about Keyakizaka. I will also be too busy to write regularly for the next month or so. It’s a good way to pad content lol.
Part 2 here~!
*If there are factual inaccuracies, please correct me. Some things stated here are just recalled from memory so I may be remembering wrong.