One of the things I love about BiSH is their embrace of unusual and eye-catching release strategies for all of their musical releases. Many of their CD releases were able to gain attention by topping iTunes Charts thanks to special offers that massively reduced new releases to incredibly low prices. We recently covered BiSH’s inventive advertising promotion for their streaming-only EPs and early promotion of their upcoming album with a massive advertising billboard in Shibuya that also offered free CDs to those who checked it out fast enough. BiSH are willing to do something a bit more unusual in order to promote their music, and their new album, “CARROTS and STiCKS”, is no different, with the release of a brand new MV for the album’s lead song Distance coinciding with a special early release of the album for just 300 yen in select physical music stores in Japan… well, an early release of sorts
Before I talk about the song, I just want to praise the color grading and costumes used in this music video. The costumes were cited by the official twitter account of the group as being the creation of Sotobayashi Kenta, and I have to say, they look stunning. They have a powerful look to them that exudes confidence while also perfectly fitting the image the group is aiming for. The makeup and hair style choices help to contribute to a whole in this regard that has to stand out as one of the most impressive costume designs for an idol group I’ve seen this year. Not only that, the color grading of the music video is heavily distorted to match these costumes with intense red hues in the sky contrasting wonderfully. Even before you hear the song itself, the visual makeup of the MV ensures you’re in for a treat.
You aren’t even left disappointed by the video itself, which uses some powerful cinematography and evocative imagery that sticks in your mind after just one viewing. On top of the compliments I’ve already given, the video itself does not disappoint.
As for the song itself, it definitely reminds me of BiSH at their musical best. Their vocal sound is distinct with raspy, powerful vocals that compliment the rock backing the song has. Each member of the group gets their own chance to shine with extended solos that showcase their own individual strengths. When all of this comes together, you’re left with a song and MV that both genuinely have to rank among the best I’ve seen this year so far. I was blown away by this song in a way that genuinely took me by surprise.
This MV for Distance was released as a way to promote BiSH’s upcoming CARROTS and STiCKS album, set for general release on July 3. However, if you happen to live in Japan and check out your local Tower Records, HMV Records or (in participating stores only) Tsutaya, you won’t need to wait that extra few weeks in order to get a hold of this CD for yourself. Each of these stores is selling the complete 14-track album in a special release in limited quantities for just 299 yen, and you can bet that as a fan of this group, especially after watching this music video, I went to pick this CD up first thing the following morning. However, there were a few telltale signs not all was as it seemed. The name had changed to “CARROTS and STiCKS??”, and the mysterious orange seal sticker not only impeded access to the disc but warned the item would be unable to be returned if it was removed. Why would that be necessary, why would someone who was a fan want to return it at all?
Well, as it turns out, while this is technically the entire album, not all is as it seems. Let’s just say that, instead of it being a new BiSH album, it would be more accurate to call it a new BiSHOUNEN album. That’s because every single vocal track for every single song had been auto-tuned down to the male vocal range, and it is this version that is being sold in limited quantities ahead of release. While it does allow you to preview previously-unreleased new songs from the upcoming album, these aren’t the same as the versions you’ll be able to get when the album itself drops in stores in a few weeks time (though it certainly doesn’t sound bad by any stretch of the imagination, once the initial shock factor has worn off).
BiSH doesn’t like to do things by the book, and the music video produced for the album’s lead song, Distance, and the handling of the release of both the streaming EPs leading up to the album’s release and the album itself are each showcases of this. However, this is part of what makes the group so unique and part of why I enjoy listening to this group as much as I do. This latest release from the group does not disappoint, and if you want to find out more information on this release you can check out the group’s official website.