Friday, February 26, 2010

On AKB’s Freshly Announced 2nd Compilation Album and the Hectic Schedules of the AKB People and Their Merchandise

AKB finally announces the release of their second compilation album! Yes! But they announce it the day after I closed a ton of orders! No!

What some of us Filipino fans do is we combine our orders so we can save on shipping cost since the incremental cost for additional orders is less than shipping cost if we ordered individually. Since I brilliantly decided to use paypal, which wouldn’t allow me to add to an order once the order is finalized, and since I needed to finalize the order ASAP as the stocks for a few of the orders were running out (and I didn’t want anyone to commit seppuku if it did run out), the second compilation album would have to be a separate batch from all those previous orders, which means it will get grouped with other releases for the month of April, and it likely won’t get to me ‘til late April or May. Hooray for me. I’m such a genius. Next time, remind me to just use my plain old credit card instead.

All of that aside, the compilation album, announced yesterday, Feb. 25 (Philippine time), set to be released April 7, is composed of 13 previously released tracks, but with 2 new tracks! So, it’s like they’re selling a new single, at twice the cost though, but with previously released hits, and several videos that were held from us previously. I love watching behind the scenes, making of videos, because these are where we get to see the girls get crazy and have a lot of fun. For the 2 new tracks and new videos alone, I would buy this. (And if you order through CDJapan by clicking my icons at the right side bar, you get a free random photo, and a shitajiki!) I’m not sure how well the first compilation album sold last time, but it didn’t contain any new tracks, and since this does, I expect this to sell as well as Sakura no Shiori, no, even better! Heck, this album might sell so well, I might actually see this album sold in local Philippine record bars!

I didn’t think AKB would release an album, or single, this soon. They just released Sakura no Shiori, and less than two months after it’s release, they will release the next album. This is considering there was about a four months interval between Sakura no Shiori and River. You can’t argue that these are just previously recorded tracks, since there are two new tracks, so you can forget about the “it’s easy to compile that’s why they can release it quickly” theory. The girls and Aki-P are working way more than double time now. No wonder the Budokan shuffle has been delayed this much, from the announced October 2009, to February 2010, it still hasn’t taken effect. The first stage of the first shuffled team to debut, Team K’s “Reset”, has been moved for two weeks from the previously announced Feb. 28 to March 12. This is assuming they don’t move it again. And the other two shuffled teams don’t even have shounichi / opening dates yet. The other two not-yet-shuffled teams' current stages don’t even have their closing dates yet. The girls’ schedules must be really full. We’re in episode 7 of Majisuka Gakuen, of likely 12 episodes, and it seems like they’re still shooting the rest of the series. No wonder so much of the upcoming AKB stuff to be released still have no details, only release dates, those details are probably still being finalized by Management, from details about Watarirouka Hashiratai’s 4th single Akkanbe Hashi, no covers of which have been released at the time of this writing, much less the number of tracks or any other details, eventhough they have announced its release date for a few weeks now, and it’s set to be released in about a month (I already preordered it nonetheless), to their first photobook Akkanbe, whose released cover I think is temporary, to the cover of SKE’s second single, details of which was just released recently (yet it’s already sold out in CDJapan). By the way, the title nor the cover of the second compilation album has not been released either, nor the complete track list.

So, Let’s Speculate ® on the contents of the album then! It’s actually not that hard to guess most of them, only a few will be hard to guess. So here are my guesses:

These eleven are pretty sure:

First new track
Second new track
Baby! Baby! Baby!
Oogoe Diamond
10nen Zakura
Namida Surprise
Iiwake Maybe
Tobenai Agehachou
Kimi no Koto ga Sukidakara
Sakura no Shiori

The final four tracks are harder to guess, but I guess they’ll use these, since they’re the ones with PV’s, and they likely will include the “The Making of” videos of all these in the compilation album’s bonus DVD’s, since none of those have been released for these, eventhough the last three tracks are recently released:

Majisuka Rock n’ Roll
Enkyori Poster
Choose Me!

It would be nice if they included Shounichi, to commemorate the fact it was voted number one in last year’s Request Hour Setlist Best 100 (2009), but since it doesn’t have a PV, they may choose those that already have one so they can release all those “The Making Of” videos I mentioned, so all songs in the album have PV’s. (My favorite team is Team B, so I think that would be great for my team.) However, unless when they negotiated Shounichi’s release in Namida Surprise with Defstar, it included further releases, it would mean they would have to negotiate its release again with Defstar, which may be unnecessary. (This new album will be released under their second label, King Records, so songs under contract with Defstar can’t be just included.) It would be nice if they included First Love too. If they include Shounichi or First Love, they probably will not include Hikuokigumo. I’d appreciate surprises though! But the two new tracks and the videos included are enough to make me happy with this album.

The quick release, lack of details on the stuff they release, and moving of schedules, at least of the new stages, has been a bit exasperating (well, maybe not the new stages), not just for me, but I can imagine the AKB girls, and Aki-P (imagine how many songs he must have been writing, with so many singles, from AKB, SKE, Watarirouka, the new TomoTomo single, Queen & Elizabeth, and three new stages, not counting if SKE and SDN new stages are in the works too). But hey, it’s all cool! The fans are having more than their fill. But hey, Aki-P and AKB Management, I don’t mind if you take your time and get a breather, we do run out of money. But I can’t blame the mentality of strike while the iron is hot. As long as you don’t burn out the girls, and Aki-P’s writing is still excellent, we’ll take what you dish out. Bring it on!

One compilation album every two years, not bad at all.