Earlier today, my pre-order of the Type A version of MADKID’s second major single release, “Summer Time” has arrived at my doorstep. This isn’t the first time I’ve purchased a Japanese CD before, single or album, so I know a lot about how the marketing in the J-Pop music industry goes. I purchased the CD from CD Japan, one of my favorite Japanese online stores where I can buy my favorite media stuff, such as books, CDs, and even movie DVDs. I’ll open another section here that lists some of the recommended online stores where you can purchase your favorite J-Pop goods. Please stay tuned!

Now, some of you are probably thinking, why still order the CD when you can easily get the digital releases from both iTunes/Apple Music or Spotify? Yes, true. I actually am subscribed to both Apple Music and Spotify, and I actually got the digital singles a day early (July 2nd PST) before the actual release date. However, there is only one reason why I wanted to get the Type A CD specifically, and it’s because of the extra freebie that comes with it: The DVD that includes the “Summer Time” music video 1 and the Behind the Screen documentary of how the video was made, where it was located, a few interviews of the members, and some other extras that are never before seen that should have been in the final music video. I’ll get into more detail much later.

The differences between Type A and Type B

Usually, Type B, or the “second version” of any Japanese CD released would normally mean that they are the straight out regular version. Type A is known as the limited edition, in which the content has some extra freebies included in it, such as a companion DVD, an extra single never before heard or released in public, and other extras. 2

In the case of the “Summer Time” CD releases, it’s the same as that of their first debut major single, “Never going back”. Both CDs have the same content single-wise, from the originals to their instrumental versions. The Type A versions contain a companion DVD that includes the music video for the single and a behind the scenes/behind the screen documentary video that gives us an insight on the development of the music video.

Another difference between the two versions is what most serious fans would go for: The visuals. The official images of the group. Typically, the Type B/regular edition of the CD has better eye-candy visuals of the group from the CD jacket cover to the back cover. Serious fans love everything, which in turn, they end up purchasing both versions of the CD.

In the case of MADKID, if you happen to be in Japan, and if you do pre-order both versions of the CDs, you get to have “full interaction” with the members during the after-show fan meetings. For instance, you can get a handshake, a signed autograph of a poster, and even a few seconds of chit-chatting and well-wishes.

Even though most of the world now relies on digital singles and services like iTunes and Spotify, a lot of Japanese fans are very lucrative when it comes to their loyalty to their favorite artists, bands, and groups. Many of them are serious collectors too. The CDs today serves as a memorabilia collection for themselves as loyal fans, and it’d just be awesome for a serious fan to own something that may worth a lot in the near future. Maybe.

The incentives that come with them are what makes purchasing CDs still a huge thing among Japanese music lovers, in addition to being collectible items to be kept and treasured through time. However, as we know it, stuff in Japan is expensive, and not everyone can afford as much of their items. Even today, many J-Pop artists, or rather their record companies, 3 still do not release any digital versions on music streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify, or make them available outside Japan. But knowing MADKID and their future goals, they want to make sure that they are up to date with everything that’s going on the music industry around the world, not just Japan, and made sure that all of their digital releases are available to everyone outside Japan.

The tracks

If you are brand-new to MADKID, I recommend you visit the MADKID Amino Wiki for more information about their group’s history, their styles, their music, and so on. If you have been an Axcel for awhile now, you are aware that MADKID does everything on their own: write and compose their tracks, produces their tracks, create their own choreographies that incorporate the tracks, everything. The group started off as an indie group that had to learn the ropes of the industry and the scene altogether on their own. All are formally trained with everything they do (from the dances to the vocals), and they have been producing themselves since the beginning. Just by reading the credits on the CD jacket, even though MADKID is in mainstream J-Pop now, they still continue on creating and producing the signatures they have been known for and will definitely continue the trend.

#1 – Summer Time

I’ve only been an active Axcel since April Fool’s Day of this year, 4 and as a start, I dug up MADKID on both my Apple Music and Spotify. I was able to collect as much of their available singles as I can, especially those featured in music videos on YouTube that were not complete. I bumped all their tracks in the car daily as I drove back and forth from home to work and back, as a way for me to be more familiarized with their style and tone of their music.

Out of the YouTube music videos and fancams of their live shows, one song did strike me: All Day All Night. I wasn’t able to get this single on my Apple Music until May when all of their songs from the indie days were finally released worldwide on popular music streaming platforms. Many of their past tracks have that edgy, non-stop, high-energy joints that would seriously get every ear’s attention in a matter of seconds. And then with that long line of in-your-face tracks and hard-hitting beats, we still got All Day All Night stuck as their third single, so refreshing, so relaxing, and so slow that it would sometimes make you wonder if this song really is a signature MADKID song or not. 5

Summer Time is kind of like the continuation of All Day All Night. After all, who wouldn’t have a fast-paced summer when we can always have a relaxing, memorable summer season, right? 6 This is the type of song that you would seriously want to bump into your car or play over a beach party or simply just be walking by the ocean or a view of the hills while overlooking the sunset.

I haven’t really taken a good look at the lyrics, more like I skimmed through the lyric liner notes. It looks like each member’s parts within the song portrays their ideal summer love, and while listening to the song many times for the past month (since the music video release), I could also feel that their personalities and characters were shown through their parts. 7

The guys and the Japanese Axcels would often call this track “THE Sawayaka” (I’ll make a close translation: “THE Refreshment”), as it is a refreshing change from their more intense, high-energy 1st major single track, “Never going back.” However, “Summer Time” still features the elements of that signature MADKID glitch-style in certain parts, making this refreshing song not stray away from MADKID’s own signature style.

#2 – Forever young (feat. LITTLE of KICK THE CAN CREW)

I have been a J-Pop fan for over 10 years now (not including my extra 10 years hiatus from J-Pop), and I have heard of KICK THE CAN CREW around the same time as I’ve gotten into SPEED. 8 KTCC was the one of the first, if not the first, mainstream hip-hop crew ever to emerge in Japan back in the ’90s. They broke up at around mid-2000s as the members all decided to pursue their solo careers and projects.

Fast forward to 2018 and we hear a legendary name of LITTLE to appear in another hip-hop track by a fresh and talented R&B/hip-hop boy group known as MADKID. Together, they present to us “Forever young.”

As someone who lived her childhood in the 1980s, one of the sub-styles of R&B/Hip-hop that emerged in the mid-1980s is New Jack Swing. New Jack Swing-style R&B/Hip-hop became part of mainstream American pop at around 1986. Eventually, it reached the rest of the world including Japan sometime later, which makes “Forever young”‘s music video taking place in 1987 as legit as the actual R&B/HIp-hop history. 9 In the late ’80s, the clothes that the guys wore in that video were exactly as I remembered it. How do I know that? If I can find some old childhood photos of myself and my siblings, I had a hoodie that’s almost the same style as Yuki’s black and neon green hoodie. 😄 10 Anyway, enough about the clothes.

The lyrics targets towards everybody who is basically a “homebody”, someone who pretty much “wastes” their life away by getting themselves locked up in their comfort zones. As you can see in the video, that’s what You-ta (the bohemian perfectionist), Kazuki (the do-or-die flunkie), and Yuki (lazy-ass slacker) were portraying until Yuki gets caught in a TV starting with a commercial (with Shin being the model) and then evolving in to your typical early MTV-style music video played on an analog TV set. The message of the lyrics basically tells us to get out of our comfort zones and live your life to the fullest.

I like how MADKID has done a lot of exploring and experimenting with the old and classic styles and still make these nostalgia-influenced tracks into their own, like what they’ve done with “Forever young.” So far, it’s my favorite track of the new release.

#3 – OVERAGAIN

Anyone here familiar with all of Lin’s solo singles and sample tracks on his SoundCloud? If you have iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, or other music streaming platforms, I recommend checking out “Incurability” and his latest, “I Need You”.

OVERAGAIN has the same vibe and style as “I Need You,” with lyrics that would make you start to wonder how this song will be performed by the guys live, especially with their dance routine on this one. The song is quite sultry, and the lyrics are quite romantic… in a mature sense. 😳

This track is almost 100% all-Lin, being the songwriter and composer and trackmaster of this entire song, with Yuki serving as the lyricist for his rap solos. The last song that I can remember that was 100% all-Lin was “Open the Door”, one of the group’s older tracks that were included in their first full-length album during their indie period.

Here’s a track that you can seriously bump into your car or even slow dance to in a club. And I’m still curious about how their live performance would look like when they perform this song. Fancams, anyone?

The clips

The DVD included in Type A contains the music video for “Summer Time” 11 and the BEHIND THE SCREEN (behind the scenes) documentary clip.

A few of the highlights I’ve caught after watching the documentary clip:

  • Even though the Corona beer on Yuki’s hand is a memorable highlight from the music video, Yuki actually doesn’t like beer in general. 12
  • The empty booze bottles on Lin’s scene are just that— empty booze bottles. He was drinking one while he had his headphones on and his iPhone on his hand.
  • Shin’s “spin leaping” by the seashore scene isn’t just random spin leaping. It was an actual dance routine. I think that the entire dance routine should’ve included in the final mv because the dance looked so beautiful and he looked so graceful and elegant dancing it. Then again, gotta be fair to the rest of the members and that the song is long enough accommodating the scenes from each of the members throughout the area too.

I’m sure there are other highlights that I may have missed, however, I’m not going to list all of them here. I suggest you just order the Type A CD and see for yourself.

The Charts

  • Oricon Daily Charts: Rank #6 (7/4/18)
  • Oricon Weekly Charts: Rank #14 (7/10/18)

I’m not sure if the charts also include digital sales from streaming services like iTunes or Spotify. I’ll have to research on this one some more when the time comes.p

Conclusion

If you love the music and don’t care about all the other extra freebies, just purchase and download the tracks from your favorite music streaming service, such as iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Prime Japan. 13

But if you’re a hardcore global Axcel and want to have every single MADKID memorabilia while the boys are still fresh and new to the major leagues, do buy the CDs, especially Type A. Or you can purchase both versions as collector’s items.

If you’ve stumbled upon this site and don’t know anything or just curious about MADKID, please do check them out on YouTube first before purchasing. There is a reason why everything and anything MADKID is available outside Japan, so here’s your chance to check them out without spending a dime. 😁

I look forward to the guys’ next release. I’m praying it’ll be a full-length album, but another single is still a good thing. 😄

Some sidenotes...

  1. Yes, I’m aware I can still watch it anytime on YouTube…
  2. usually a companion DVD or an extra single would accompany the “limited edition” CDs
  3. Johnny’s groups, for example…
  4. As a Catholic, it’s Easter for me… not a single person fooled me on that day, so take that!
  5. I’m not including the many ballads they have on their first full-length album, as they were not released as singles…
  6. Unfortunately, I’m a working adult, and most working adults still have to work during the summer…
  7. I’m saying this, especially with Shin, Kazuki, and Yuki, because I’ve been with them on live stream (17 and Pococha) for over three months, and I could really see their character through the parts they perform.
  8. The first J-Pop group I ever listened to was a girl group called SPEED. Still a legendary girl group that would blow other girl groups out of the water in my opinion. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into girl groups after their era…
  9. Coincidentally, my family and I moved to the U.S. from the Philippines in 1987 too…
  10. Hysteric Glamour, the clothing line who provided the outfits for the guys throughout all of their music videos so far since “Never going back”, are the perfect clothing line to design 1980’s hip-hop fashion! You can shop their online store and they do ship internationally, but they’re expensive as heck… 😥 Also, Yuki has become a model for the clothing brand as well. You’ll see him on the website.
  11. … which you can also see on YouTube, but I’d like to see it also when there is no internet around…
  12. I don’t like beer either, so I don’t blame him.
  13. more on this at another time…
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