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Ho-kago Tea Time: Gohan wa Okazu / U&I

September 4, 2010

As soon as the girls of K-ON’s light music club stepped out for what would be their final high school performance a couple of weeks ago, it’s pretty obvious that there would be some new songs closely followed by a new insert single to rake in a little more cash from the franchise, and lo and behold here it is in all it’s glory, featuring both new tracks shown off during the aforementioned episode.First up is Gohan wa Okazu, which is the kind of typically energetic tune you’d expect – it’s nothing spectacular to be honest in comparison to a lot of this show’s previous output (in terms of both insert songs and opening/ending tunes), but it is horribly, horribly catchy. Once you’ve listened to it a couple of times don’t expect to shake it out of your head any time soon, and a chorus that you don’t exactly need a degree in Japanese to be able to sing along to you only makes the situation worse. Somehow, I could imagine this tune winning the Eurovision Song Contest, such is its daft but likeable power as it lodges itself in your brain.

Following up this slice of frantic pop is U&I, which is a (relatively) more sedate and “serious” affair… well, as serious as a track from a K-ON insert single can get at least. This tune is decent enough, but there’s nothing that particularly stands out about it, putting it some way below the insert songs from the first season – it just carries on and does its think for four and a half minutes without offering up anything instantly catchy or memorable, which is actually quite a rarity for a song from this franchise. It does improve after multiple listens to some degree, but not enough to make it any kind of classic, and shorn of the relevance of the episodes it appears in we’re left with a slightly dull effort.

Of course, the single also contains instrumental versions of both tracks, as well as renditions which omit single instruments to make you wish that someone would bring out Rock Band: K-ON or something one day – not that this will ever happen, of course. Overall though, I have to confess that this feels like a pretty weak part of K-ON’s musical output – naturally it was never going to stand up to the show’s opening and closing songs, but it also struggles to some extent against the series other insert and characters singles. Of course, if you’re a huge fan of the show then you’ll still lap this up, but by the same token it’s no Fuwa-Fuwa Time.

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