By Paris365 on November 07, 2012

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King Records

"Just use your imagination," says a male voice during the 44 second or so synth-laden, infectious intro to AKB48's latest masterpiece. There's also a delightful, hard-driving dance pop beat with lighter electro-pop beats on top of it. Then, just before they begin singing the first verse, another voice exclaims "1,2,3!"

You know you're a certified pop group when you can unleash a single without even singing during the first minute or so. (OK, actually, they do sing the word "UZA" once during the intro, but that's it until they start singing the first verse.)

"UZA" -- pronounced "oo-zah" -- means "annoying." Perhaps an unusual title for a pop song, but, as we've already established, AKB48 can do anything and get away with it. More impressive is the fact that this is their 28th single already. Boy does time fly.

Written by Inoue Yoshimasa, who previously wrote their hits "Beginner" and "River," "UZA" is truly an exquisitely-produced J-pop gem. The girls harmonize beautifully with leader Oshima Yuko, the rapid-fire beats get in your head and stay there, and the synth is just the right amount of dark. And you've got to love the little electro-beats, which give the song lovely added detail if not depth. The only bad thing you can say about it is that maybe there's a little too much reverb on the girls' voices during the verses. Otherwise, it's just perfect.

The first B-side on all editions of "UZA" is a song performed by the AKB48 sub-unit Under Girls called "次のSeason" (or "Next Season"). Featuring loud guitars and live drums, it's basically a pop rock song, making it quite different from "UZA," though it certainly is not any less addictive. To tell you the truth, it actually has an even more impressive melody. And the harmonizing might just be a tiny bit better here. Just a bit.

The exclusive B-side on this Type B edition of the single is "正義の味方じゃないヒーロー" (translation: "Hero Who Is Not On The Side Of Justice"). Featuring the new "team B" on vocals, the song begins with insanely fast, metal-style guitars and an equally fast, throbbing beat. It slows down somewhat during the verses but goes crazy again during the killer chorus. I don't know how the girls can keep up with it and harmonize so well, but they do. And I would dare to say it's the best of the three songs here. Seriously. (This single also features instrumental versions of all three tracks.) -Michael McCarthy

There are SEVEN versions of this single available. Four different "regular" editions -- Type A, Type B, Type K, and a "Theatre Edition" -- and three limited edition first pressing versions of Types A, B and K . Each of the four normal editions feature exclusive B-sides. The normal and limited edition versions of A, B and K also feature DVD content. The limited edition versions also include other goodies, such as a "handshake ticket" or AKB voting ballot.

For information about who sings on which songs, etc, visit the single's Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uza_(song)

Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

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