ShuuKaRen do what they can in “UNIVERSE” debut, but results are a mixed bag

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E-Girls members (and sisters) Karen Fujii and Shuuka Fujii recently formed the unit ShuuKaRen and dropped the music video for their debut single, “UNIVERSE“, but the result was a mixed bag through minimal fault of their own.

Despite my enthusiasm for the unit itself, I did end up tempering my expectations for it once I found out that this was basically an extended commercial for Beats By Dre. It’s unfortunate that the duo was utilized in that way, because the result was sort of a predictable and safe EDM track that was pleasant enough for what it was supposed to accomplish (promote a product), but wasn’t really along the lines of what I wanted out of their debut in terms of music.

On the upside was basically anything the sisters do visually.

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I did find it ironic that E-Girls members finally got a beat they got showcase their dance potential over and this music video probably showed the least amount choreography. Fortunately then, from what we did get to see, their performances looked promising.

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Going back to “UNIVERSE” as a song, the processing on the vocals was a bit rough to stomach, and the high pitch of the verses made those sections tough to get through at times. Surprisingly, it was the rapping that stood out as a clear positive, if for no other reason than it actually sounded like them without being filtered to hell and back. In those moments, you’re reminded of the upside of this duo and what they could be, even as they’re not achieving it in this effort.

The chorus of “UNIVERSE” summarizes the track as a whole, because it’s rather simple and not particularly memorable, but it’s pleasant and upbeat enough to hold your attention. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this debut, the song just didn’t deliver even if the girls did what they could.

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