Once in a while, I will randomly stumble across an artist online that blows my mind in the best way. This is why I love apps like Tik Tok so much; because of how global the app is, people can be exposed to awesome art that they would never have been able to experience without it. The latest artist I have come across that blows my mind like this is ATARASHII GAKKO! I came across them about a month ago and have slowly become increasingly obsessed. ATARASHII GAKKO! is so unique in any way. Everything about their artistry is so all-encompassing and diverse. There seems to be no limit to what ATARASHII GAKKO! can do musically or visually; it is easy to see that they draw from a massive range of influences and get inspired by everything they see(whether it is positive or negative) in the world around them. ATARASHII GAKKO! Has come a long way since coming together several years ago. ATARASHII GAKKO! is made up of four members named Suzuka(the main vocalist), Rin, Mizyu, and Kanon; the group has been active for a surprisingly long time considering how young they are(their ages range from 21-24). They debuted as a dance group back in 2015 and did not start releasing music until 2017. AG has been pretty prolific in their output since they started releasing music. From 2017-2022, the group released 14 digital singles and 3 albums. The albums are 2018’s Maenarawanai, 2019’s Wakage ga Itaru, and 2021’s SNACKTIME. In 2021, the group signed with the music label 88rising. This helped push their music to a wider audience, and it made them one of the top rising groups to watch coming out of Japan. After releasing 5 more singles in 2022 and one in 2023, ATARASHII GAKKO! has already returned with a new EP called ICHIJIKIKOKU. AG’s musicality is extremely unpredictable, and so listening to their new music is always exciting. Here is how I feel about that ATARASHII GAKKO!’s new EP. Please let me know in the comments below how you feel about ICHIJIKIKOKU, and also comment what your favorite tracks on it are.
ATARASHII GAKKO! starts ICHIJIKIKOKU with the song ‘JANAINDAYO,’ which was the lead single from this project. It is a fast-paced Punk-Rock song that gives off so much positive energy. The tone of this song honestly reminds me of the opening theme songs from action animes like Naruto. The guitar riff and drums for this song are quick, bright, and lively; when I hear this instrumental, I immediately want to headbang, The mix of this song is very interesting and cool. There is a good amount of distortion over the melody which adds so much emphasis to the song. There are a couple of sections in the track where the drums fade out causing the song to calm down for a brief second; these pauses in the beat make the song seem even more intense when the drums pick back up. The vocals on this track match the energy of the instrumental so well. I particularly love how Suzuka sings on the chorus because her rich tone gives the song so much power(especially as it comes in after the lighter tones the other members sing with on the verses). ‘JANAINDAYO’ is such a fun and grand way to start this record. ‘SEISHUN WO KIRISAKU HADO’ keeps the Rock theme that the last time; it is decidedly more intense and harsh than the song that precedes it, though. This song has more of a Hardcore Punk feeling to it. It reminds me of some of the Hard Rock and Punk bands that were popular in the 2000s in America like Rise Against or Anti-Flag (if you are into this sound, check out those artists). The tone of this song’s guitar riff has a bit of an anxious feeling; when it is paired with this quick and brash drum beat, it gives the song a bit of a foreboding feeling. There are moments of the song where the tone slightly shifts and the drums fade, making the song feel hopeful for a second. These moments are brief and scarce though, and make the more anxious in its more intense sections. My favorite thing about ‘SEISHUN WO KIRISAKU HADO’ is the vocal performance. The verses in this song sound like they are shouted into a megaphone, and the verses are sung with a bright and sweet tone. The vocals in the verses and chorus contrast each other so well and go so well with the instrumental. ‘SEISHUN WO KIRISAKU HADO’ is a cool Hardcore Punk track that stands out among the other Punk music being made today in a major way. ‘Giri Giri’ has a totally different sound and style than the first two tracks. This song feels ultra-modern compared to those two, which both had a bit of a retro feel. This is a dark Synth-Pop that fits in very well in the landscape of Pop music that is popular today. It partially feels inspired by EuroDance music and partially feels inspired by 2010s Synth-Pop by artists like Lady Gaga. There is something about the beat that gives it a HyperPop feeling as well, though. The beat hi-hats in the beat are sort of off-kilter, giving the song a bit of a futuristic feeling. The melody is driven by upbeat bass-heavy synths that have an ominous tone. The instrumental is a bit more clean sounding, which puts an even high focus on the vocals. This is honestly a great thing because the vocals are excellent on this track. The vocal range of each of the members is phenomenal on this track, and the manner in which they sing gives the song so much emotion. ‘Giri Giri’ is a Synth-Pop banger that would be great to play in a club because of how dark and fun it is. ‘Suki Lie’ is a song I have had on repeat since I first heard it a couple of weeks ago. I actually wrote about this track last week in my post about some new songs that I love(you should go read that piece after this one if you have not) because I enjoy it so much. It is a Jazzy Pop-Trap banger that stands out so much among the other Pop-Trap music being made today. There is not much modern Pop-Trap coming out that has such a Jazzy, Showtune feeling, and the fact that ‘Suki Lie’ is like this makes it stand out a ton. I truly love how the deep and husky tone Suzuka sings with in this song contrasts the breathy tone from the rest of the members, as this contrast gives the song such a passionate sound. ‘Suki Lie’ is one of the coolest Pop-Trap songs I have heard this year, and it is the track that made it essential for me to look into ATARASHII GAKKO! as a whole.
‘OTONABLUE’ is the song that has exposed the most amount of people to ATARASHII GAKKO! recently. This song has gone viral on Tik Tok in the last couple of months and has gotten more eyes on this group than ever before. This song has a sound that one would not expect to hear in 2022. This is probably why it has become so popular and why people are attracted to the song so much. ‘OTONABLUE’ has a Jazzy-Funk sound that has a bit of a show-tune feeling to it. This is a song that I could imagine being popular in the 1950s or 1960s. The song has a theatrical tone that feels so all-encompassing. ‘OTONABLUE’ is a song where the contrast in the vocals between the trio of Rin, Mizyu, and Kanon and the vocals of Suzuka stand out greatly. Suzuka’s rich tone gives the song a bit of a somber tone, while the other three’s vocals make the song sound more bright. ‘OTONABLUE’ is a Jazz-Funk track that stands out in a huge way among the other popular music in 2023. ‘OTOME NO BIGAKU’ is a song that has a similar tone to the one that precedes it. This is another show-tune-esque Jazzy Funk track that has a theatrical feeling to it. The main difference between this song and the one that precedes it is that this track has a bit of a Latin Rock element as well. This track has a guitar riff that makes me think of the kind of groovy Latin Rock that was made by artists like Ricky Martin in the 1990s and early 2000s. The thing that I enjoy the most about this song is the vocals from Suzuka. The vocal performance from the other three members is nice as well, but Suzuka truly shines on this track. The demonstrates her vocal range while singing with a luscious, husky tone that gives the song a lot of strength. On ‘OTOME NO BIGAKU,’ AG is taking the Jazz-Funk music that they love to make and putting a Rock flair onto it. ATARASHII GAKKO! closes this EP with the song ‘ODORU HONNO 001.’ This track takes things back to the Hardcore Punk sound that we heard early in the record. ‘ODORU HONNO 001’ is definitely the wildest and most scattered-sounding song on the project. This song is very intense and it constantly changing. There are some points in the song that has a Jazzy show-tune element, and other points in the song that have and distorted and harsh Punk sound. The listener is always kept on their toes while listening to this track because it switches up on itself so much. The vocals on this song are just as crazy as the instrumental is. A lot of the vocals in this track are shouted and chanted, and the energy of these vocals matches the chaotic energy of the instrumental perfectly. It is easy to see that ATARASHII GAKKO! wanted to close this record out with a bang, and they accomplished that with the song ‘ODORU HONNO 001.’
Before I get into how I feel about this project, I want to encourage anyone reading this to look into ATARASHII GAKKO!’s dance performance videos and music videos if you have not seen them yet. They are so awesomely expressive in their dancing and through their visuals, and these videos add so much to their artistry that can not be expressed in their music. That being said, I have to say that I love ICHIJIKIKOKU. This EP is so fresh and it is unlike any other project I have heard in 2023 to this point. ICHIJIKIKOKU has such a broad and diverse sound. On this project, ATARASHII GAKKO! shows that they have no limitations on what they can do as artists. I can not think of any other artists that can excel at multiple kinds of Rock, Jazz, Funk, Pop, and Hip Hop on the same 7 song project while giving every track a show-tune element. I can only imagine how cool it would be to see ATARASHII GAKKO! perform this music live because it is so theatrical. ICHIJIKIKOKU is a great record that shows how diverse ATARASHII GAKKO! can be as artists. This is an EP that I know I will frequently be coming back to in the foreseeable future, and it makes me very excited to see what ATARASHII GAKKO! does next.