RIVER: A Review

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t listened to the AKB48 version of this song. I am familiar about the AKB version but I decided to skip that one because at the time, I honestly didn’t care about the whole discography and I only listened to a few songs (Chance no Juban, Everyday Kachuusha, etc.).

I will be basing this review only on the MNL version unless I bring up the original AKB version of the song (you’ll see later on) but that’s about it in terms of comparisons as language barriers play a large role into the much larger comparison (as I don’t know how to speak either Japanese or Indonesian).

I’m not going to deal with the other tracks in this album.

RIVER, as anybody who reads my blog might or might not know by now, is the sixth single in the MNL48 repertoire. This was first announced back in February of this year when HalloHallo Entertainment released a two-minute video announcing that RIVER would be the song of choice for the sixth song.

People, especially hardcore 48g stans, really liked this choice because basing on what I’ve seen, RIVER is one of those AKB48 trademark songs and it was a smash hit when it was released, so I would say that the hype is real on this one.

After months and months of outside interference (aka COIVD-19) and management incompetence, there seemed to be no news about the sixth single until this piece of news related to it came out: On November 6, HHE, in association with KTX.ph, are giving the MNLoves the chance to see the behind the scenes footage of the music video for River. They just have to pay Php. 400 to see it.

This is a great way to make money, I guess.

The original teaser for River’s release date. Notice the November 15 date.

It seemed that they were on a roll when, after the whole sneak peek event, the management announced that the song will drop on November 15 of this year but then, they have to move the date not because of HHE screwing up things, but because of a super typhoon that almost devastated the country ala Yolanda/Ondoy, so I’ll give HHE a pass.

Here’s the song on Spotify. Listen at your own risk

It seemed that they already have the music video and the songs done because as of last Friday, both the music video and the audio tracks were uploaded to the official platforms (YouTube, Spotify, what have you) and it blew up Twitter for all the right and wrong reasons, which we’ll get back into later but first, let’s give the song a review.

I listened to the audio a lot of times, and while I don’t have any complaints when it comes to the backing track and the vocals, the mixing was absolute bollocks. It seemed that someone from the audio department forgot to lower down the volume on the backing track that it overpowers the vocals.

So much so that I have to pull out the lyrics from Genius. Comparing it to the original AKB48 version, which was released in 2009 mind you, the MNL48 version’s mixing is leagues below it.

It’s not as bad as Number Girl’s new girl (mono dead) though that the lyrics are totally unrecognizable (although in Number Girl’s case, that seemed to be more of an artistic thing than a botched job in audio editing). This is also the first one to feature Abby Trinidad and Gabb Skribikin as centers, so that’s something.

You think MNL48’s River is bad, listen to this.

RIVER, for all intents and purposes, is a great song with a catchy tune. What makes this a “not recommended MNL48 song” for me is how the mixing was handled. They didn’t have this problem with the previous songs (and probably with the coupling tracks since their version of “10nen Zakura” seemed to steal the spot of being the best song out of the bunch in this album) so what did they do to screw this up? We will never know.

Give this a listen at your own risk or, I’m sorry about this, stick to the AKB48 version, at least that has proper audio levels.

4 thoughts on “RIVER: A Review

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