I feel like Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku is the promise of Kimi Sae Ireba Nani Mo Iranai realized. As much as Tsunku deviated from classic Jpop melody-writing in some ways, and could do a good job of genre emulation when first dipping his toes in, (see Platinum Era MM) he also could not escape some Jpop's core trends.
According to this
, both composition and arrangement were done by Hirata
, instead of Tsunku also helping on composition...as they did on KimiSae.
This is fascinating! Within H!P, working with Tsunku, Hirata produced the likes of Ookii Hitomi, Tokaikko Junjou, Suki Sugite Baka Mitai, but also Scramble, Shiroi Tokyo, Piriri to Yukou!, and Shining Itoshiki Anata.
His work with Beatmania is pretty chameleon. Hirata fits to the genre he works in. His works with Leah Dizon and Ueto Aya were utterly of their times, and his SMAP song is standard Johnny's.
But back to KimiSae. Consider its potential: Dat "2000 people on the dance floor" sampled hook. The menacing synth intrumental. The dissonant verses, again, matching the menace of instrumental. A fast-paced, driving second verse melody. A pre-chorus that opens up the rhythm to prepare for the drop.
And then the chorus hits, and it's bog-standard Jpop. Give a slightly more outdated arrangement, and it could easily be an anisong. It's still somewhat compelling, but then we get to the bizarre chorus resolution, a mid-phrase key-change and switch to major-key.
From a music standpoint, I love that super bizarred resolution, conjunction with the dissonant verse weirdness. Tsunku at his progrock crackpipe best.
But, admittedly, it kind of tanks the song as comprehensible to most people.
It's like Hirata took notes on what worked in that song from a conventional standpoint, and did it his way in Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku.
First, there's a heavier emphasis on the rhythm. As expected of a Konami writer. One also has to think of AKB48's RIVER.
Again, there's heavy menacing synth intro.
When the verse begins, melody is again in that minor key to match the serious tone, but note how the arrangement has gone decidedly more western and electronic than before, almost going trap music.
At first, it seems like we're getting standard 8-beat phrases. But then, three times in a row, every four beats, Hirata fills the end space (the "silent salsa beat," as the melody phrases end on beat 3) with a little extra "disruption." There's the spoken phrase, a dissonant vocoder line, and then an instrumental-only cue.
KimiSae's dissonant verse melody is a 16-beat phrase, repeated once in full. So, not only is the TTZZ verse melody itself confined to 8-beat phrases, we really digest the verse in 4-beat phrases. Pure four to the floor dance beat. On top of that, TTZZ replaces the entire back half of the "repetition" with the resolution, so that part of the verse feels deceptively shorter.
The resolution of the verse melody completely eschews tradition Jpop chords, which have come to denote oldies in the west. Instead, there's an "exotic" scale that is neither major nor minor key.
(Tangent: compare to the Hirata/Tsunku early 00s version of this rap pre-chorus structure in Dokusenyoku.
Ermegerd, the melodies are so aggressively early 00s. And Dokusenyoku, in turn is to be compared to Daichi's Do It! Now
, which Hirata also remixed.
Instead of just a rhythm-syncopation second-half verse, Hirata opts for straight-up rapping, but the prechorus is still a "open up to build to the drop" one, like KimiSae. (with double claps and all)
And then the chorus does drop, and instead of withdrawing to a rhythm syncopation melody following a chord progression, as KimiSae does as per Tsunku's rock-origin instincts, TTZZ amps it up as per EDM tendencies, hammering regular but frantic beat subdivisions, punctuating each phrase with a good yell-hook. (Granted, Tsunku also picked up on this Kpop technique for Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke and Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai)
The chorus resolution does return to Jpop routes, (1
) with the unison singing harmony, but there's no melody weirdness here. Both parts of the chorus use the same minimum of chords
, lots of single-phrase melody repetition.
As per that link posts, I noted how traditional Jpop uses the 16-32 beat phrase, which contributes to its oldies/rockist feel. As noted before, TTZZ has 8-beat phrases. Definitely closer to current Western and Kpop patterns of rhythm.
The interlude is what it is. All of the arrangers tend to break away from Tsunku's melody stylings in the interlude, so even the likes of Renai Hunter and Ai no Gundan get to do their own thing during the interlude.
Traditional H!P bubblegum usually goes for an "acoustic" version of the chorus right after the interlude. As per EDM structure, TTZZ goes for the prechorus, to get one more drop in.