J-Pop fans would most likely be in the know about AKB48, the massive over-hundred-strong girl idol group from Japan, based in Akihabara that was conceptualized on the idea of “idols you can meet.” Such has been the positive reception of the conceit that a girl group with massive membership can rotate rosters and perform in several venues simultaneously as smaller teams, that several spinoff “sister groups” under license with the original AKB’s management AKS, first in Japan and then in several Asian cities, including Manila with MNL48 under ABS-CBN’s Star Music. Announced in 2016 with auditions the following year, MNL48 debuted in 2018 and released several singles to great success.
We are talking about them now because MNL48 has just released the music video for their fifth lead artist single, entitled “High Tension” according to ABS-CBN News. There is a particular notability in the new music video, considering that here the 48-strong Filipina idol group – the only AKB48 spinoff with exactly 48 active members – are not featured in the default styling of their original inspiration and their fellow sister groups. Rather than being dressed in “sailor suit” school uniforms the girl band is decked out in black, then white, and in various colors in between.
The result is that the girls of MNL48 come off with a more grown-up visual to go with the tune of their latest song. The theme of “High Tension” itself however still retains the fun-centered image of their group in the general AKB spirit, but with the message of trying out a more relaxed stance in life. The lyrics sing about not obsessing over work, and that there is nothing wrong with letting the hair down. And of course, the MNL48 girls are vocalizing in Tagalog but using the signature AKB intonation that is familiar to J-Pop listeners and is now increasingly remembered by their fans, the so-called MNLoves community.
MNL48 is the tenth AKB48 sister group to go active, and the fifth from outside of Japan. ABS-CBN noontime show “It’s Showtime” covered the original audition process for the group’s starting membership back in 2016. Their first single debuted in 2018 and they were officially welcomed as Kapamilya talents in October just last year. In AKB fashion, MNL48 has its own dedicated performance venue, the MNL48 Theater in Eton Centris Mall, Quezon City. “High Tension” is the group’s tenth song to get a music video.
Image courtesy of Inquirer.net