48-family Tune Highlight: Anata to Christmas Eve
This is the first of a special segment of tune highlights, featuring lesser-known songs produced out of the crazy melting pot known as the 48 family (AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, etc.) and what better song to start it off with!
Dating back to the days of Team A’s 1st stage, Anata to Christmas Eve has a long history, with many girls trying their hand at presenting their own renditions of it. The version featured in the above video is reasonably recent, with SKE48’s Sato Mieko on piano and Deguchi Aki singing the song as a duet in one of Team S’ 1st stage.
The lyrics tell of the thoughts going through a girl’s mind as her Christmas Eve date with her lover comes to an end, hence the “Merry Christmas and I love you”. This is one of a number of 48-family songs that strays far from idol music stereotypes. Instead of utilising strong instrumentals and a large number of singers to mask the insufficiencies of each individual’s musical talent, Anata to Christmas Eve has simple instrumentals, is almost always sung live without a vocal backing track, as a duet, and is devoid of any dance step. It isn’t surprising then that only the members who have confidence in their abilities such as Takamina, Masuda Yuka, Sato Mieko, and Akimoto Sayaka, have ever attempted this, usually with decent results, automatically taking the song, vocally, a level above the usual idol songs.
As the song happens to be a duet, it is important for the vocals to match each other to a certain extent, particularly since there is a good amount of harmonizing involved. This is why I picked the SKE48 version. Mieko and Aki’s vocal styles are reasonably similar and they are thus able to bring forth what is arguably the best rendition of Anata to Christmas Eve. Lots of emotion, a harmonious duet, and a pleasing tune.
Is there quality to be found in the 48-family’s songs? I believe so.
*Disclaimer: As usual, this is an opinion piece based on my limited understanding of music and untrained ears. Undoubtedly, many will disagree with some or all of the statements I make but I would love to discuss this with you so please take the time to comment!