After the creepy “Dream Candy,” the forgettable “Muah!” and iconic “Tinkerbell,” the resident cutesy girls from DSP Media (and DSP’s last hope beyond K.A.R.D.), APRIL is back. Their newest effort, ironically named “April Story,” sounds like nothing from spring and certainly nothing APRIL’s tried — and they pull it off with little to no weird squabbles (except in the music video department).
APRIL’s work beforehand has been mainly synth-pop with bubbly vocals that sound borderline childish but are otherwise pleasant to listen to – and the music videos do just about the same thing. Bright colors, adult make-up, and relatively childish clothing and concepts are the kind of image APRIL has put out for their music videos, so it’s actually surprising and unsurprising the turn APRIL took this comeback.
The song is a number that wouldn’t sound too out of place in the Christmas season – specifically in The Nutcracker because of its orchestral flourishes and somber vibe. However, the comparisons to The Nutcracker end when the girls explain the “April Story.” According to the lyrics, the story goes:
There was a girl, who couldn’t say anything
Even after time, even after season
She hid her unchanging heart
He looked happy, to the point where she hated him
But her feelings kept growing
And became a secret she couldn’t tell
The girl who lives in Spring Land
Saw the handsome boy from the Land of Ice
Next to him was the pretty girl from Winter Land
They were always smiling together
So she forcefully hid her beautiful heart
And prayed for the beautiful pair
For their hearts to never change
She prayed to the sky every day, just like me
Because of this kind of sad story about a girl having a crush on a guy she could never have, it’s no surprise that this is coming out in the winter rather than the spring. And yet despite it…it’s still very, very good. The girls don’t overwork the vocals and deliver the song incredibly well. I also love the way this song goes from the quiet verses to the big orchestral chorus.
The music video, though, is a bit of a mixed bag. It comes from the same director behind TWICE’s “TT” in October, and it shows. The CGI is rampant here, but like “TT” it doesn’t look terrible (although it is obvious if you’ve seen enough of it). The colors here are also from the same dark palette “TT” came from, which explains why everything about this (even the brighter colors like red or white) seem darker. From what I can gather of the story here, there’s a man looking at a bunch of trinkets in some gift shop (without any supervision, by the way…and no, he clearly doesn’t work there because when you work somewhere you don’t look at anything around you with wonder – trust me, I know). The six girls are some of these trinkets, playing dolls in two distinct outfits – all white, and then half-white and half-colorful. These dolls dance around for most of the video and fascinate Trinket Guy until one of the girls (who magically turned from a doll to a, you know, human girl) and comes in out of nowhere, only to disappear by the end of the video. I’m assuming that this video is actually about a man fantasizing about dolls dancing for him and then one of these dolls coming to life, and all of it is kinda creepy and weird.
From a styling perspective, it’s a mixed bag. When the girls are in the all-white outfits, everyone looks gorgeous and there is hardly a flaw to be found. However, it’s a different story when we get to the sequences with the half-white and half-colorful outfits. For the girls in white, everything looks fine and dandy but the poor colorful dolls get the most atrocious hair and makeup.
This is one of the worst, mainly because absolutely none of this fits her.
Also, before I forget to mention it, there’s one scene in this music video that looked like it could have come from a horror movie, and that’s all because of the dead expressions on all their faces. I don’t know, it just makes you think that this gift shop is cursed and that all these girls do is haunt it forever.
At the end of the day I still love this comeback (even with the creepy vibes), although I hope APRIL doesn’t stay dark forever and instead do something similar to “Tinkerbell” next time because I didn’t realize how much I adored that song until I listened to it again for this review. After all, fairies are cute and pure and sweet and I just love how upbeat the whole thing was and had I rediscovered it while I was writing my Top 25 list then this would have docked off one person on that list.