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Morning Musume – Only you May 29, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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8 comments

Hey guys, remember me? 😉

Ahh, so the proverbial feces has definitely impacted the fan in regards to my school work. Which is certainly a shame since there is literally SO MUCH STUFF THAT I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT NOW. Morning Musume, Kikka, Mano, and heck, even AKB48 are all subjects I want to discuss a bit. I only have two weeks longer, so you should definitely see those articles. You know, eventually…

So, since I’m here now, what topic shall I discuss? Well, if you didn’t read the title, nor if you eyes hadn’t already been drawn immediately below, Morning Musume’s 46th single and PV for “Only you!”

Here are my thoughts:

  • The Good:
    • Return to a More Mature Sound: I liked “Maji Desu ka Ska!,” but I think I might just enjoy the mature sound a bit better with these members. Hopefully though, we’ll see a more even mix of genki and mature in the future to keep everyone from getting sick of one or the other. =D
      Something else I have to give props for is that they pulled of the mature sound pretty well even though half the group are tweens. Albeit that might be because most of those members weren’t used much…
    • That is a Gorgeous Looking PV: It really is. The girls all look beautiful in those costumes, and no one got short-changed à la “Seishun Collection” (seriously, those pants looked pretty awful, and for gosh sake, somebody get Junjun a belt like the other girls!). While the white set is a little bland, it’s not bad, but when they threw the colored lights on? Fantastic!
  • The Indifferent:
    • Risa’s Solo Lines: A general rule I have for Morning Musume is More Risa = More Better. Pretty logical right, you can’t really screw that up. So how could two legitimate solos not make it up there on the good list? Well, they tried to screw it up. I mean really, could they have used any more effects over her voice? Luckily, the absolute fierceness of her deliveries barely saved it.
  • The Bad:
    • That is a Heck of a Lot of Takahashi and Tanaka: Seriously. You don’t even hear any of the other girls until a minute ten in. While I can’t deny that they sound great here, c’mon let somebody else sing. Honestly though, at this point it almost seems futile to even keep complaining about this.
    • Riho Being Pushed to the Front: I can’t say this is a surprise, but I really do hope that the other three ninth gen members aren’t going to be constantly in the back like the 8th was. Also, while I agree that Riho is certainly an incredibly talented dancer she still really can’t sing all that well compared to the current front girls Takahashi and Tanaka.
    • Takahashi’s Hair: This honestly could have been the greatest, most transcendent song in all of human history, with a promotional video so fantastic and moving that future generations would cite it as the single event that set the ball rolling towards world peace, and I would still complain about Takahashi’s hair. I don’t think she looks bad with really short hair (see “Mikan”), but that blonde looks really awful to me. Like really, really awful. I hate to say, but if you take away the ultra-feminine clothes, I’d swear she could be a member of any generic Japanese boy band. Albeit, a really short member. =D

So overall I enjoyed it, but not without a few serious caveats. So, what did you guys think?

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hitomi – SPIRIT May 16, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop.
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Just at the end of last month hitomi released her tenth album SPIRIT, and you know what?

It’s actually not bad.

I thought her ninth album LOVE LIFE 2 was a huge disappointment after 2006’s stellar LOVE CONCENT (which I still consider to be her best work so far). Sure, there were one or two half-way decent tracks on LOVE LIFE 2, but I wouldn’t even go as far as calling anything on that album even worth the price of admission. So that being said the quality of this release was actually quite a pleasant surprise.

So without further ado, here’s my brief impression of each of the tracks:

  1. Hands Up!!
    • The album starts of with a heavily autotuned track that’s oddly enough entirely in English. I would praise hitomi for actually having some decent pronunciation, but I honestly can’t tell if that’s from her or the autotune.

      I’m rather indifferent towards autotune, but I do think it’s a little excessive here. Still, it’s not a bad song for a club mix style song. Certainly worthy of a listen.

  2. Time Machine
    • This is definitely a more “classic” style pop-rock song from her. There’s a small English voice-over in the middle of the song that really reminds of “CRA”G”Y☆MAMA,” albeit only slightly less creepy. Slightly.

      I want to say that it sounds slightly generic compared to her earlier works, but those were solid releases. This is just more of the same without really distinguishing itself, which is about as backhanded of a compliment I think I can give.

  3. Private Flower
    • A bit more of a hip-hop inspired track, it also features quite a bit of autotune, but not quite to the level of Hands Up!! It’s an okay song, not great though.
  4. 2010
    • This right here is what I’ve been waiting for.

      An absolutely fantastic piece of pop rock. Fantastic beat, catchy lyrics, and hitomi sounds great; it’s the whole package. Really, if I would have any complaint about this track is that it’s too short at two and a half minutes. Seriously, WHERE’S THE SECOND HALF OF IT!?!

  5. Lights On☆
    • Another heavily autotuned clubmix style track. The chorus is kinda catchy, but other than that this track comes off as a bit like filler.
  6. Spirit
    • Finally another solid pop-rock track! As the title track, it’s actually pretty distinct than a lot of her earlier material, being a little bit slower than most of her entries in this category. While it’s far from my favorite track on the album it is quite good and definitely worth a listen.
  7. Sweet & Honey
    • This song seems like a slow clubmix song. Again very heavy on the autotune, but I actually prefer this one to Hands Up!!, as it has an almost calming feeling to it.

      I don’t how many of you have played the Katamari Damacy series of games, but this track seems like it would be right at home on the soundtrack for one of those games. There’s almost an underlying funkiness to it that’s a little difficult to explain.

  8. Love Me♥ Love Body☆
    • After “2010,” this is the other real stand-out on this album.

      On my first listen through of this album, I couldn’t shake the thought that I had heard this song before. Which is because I had. This song was originally released nearly a year ago as a digital only single.

      Like “2010,” this too is a fantastic piece of pop-rock, but this does feel more reminiscent of hitomi’s earlier works. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s just that this track almost seems like it wouldn’t be out of place at all on Huma-rhythm or Traveller. If you liked hitomi’s earlier pop-rock releases I don’t see any reason you wouldn’t enjoy this one as well.

  9. Freedom☆
    • This is kind of a neat track as it seems to be a bit of a mix between the club mix and pop rock styles on the album (though, I would say it leans slightly more towards club mix). Again, heavy use of autotune throughout the entire song.
  10. Supernova
    • This song has seems to go back and forth between slower more ballad-like verses, and faster pop-rock styled ones. It’s a decent enough trick and it’s pulled off reasonably well. An enjoyable song, but not really a standout.
  11. Song for you
    • This track serves as this album’s token ballad. To be honest, I’ve never been a massive fan of hitomi’s voice in ballads. It’s okay, but that’s merely because I can’t really technically fault it.
  12. Rollin’ wit da Homies ft. Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
    • Hey, I didn’t know that hitomi likes to hang out with Sayumi! XD

      Bad jokes and bizarre titles aside, this is another odd song, that like “Hands Up!!” is also entirely in English. Except unlike “Hands Up!!” this one doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album at all. It’s definitely an “alternative rock” style, and that might be part of the reason that it just rubs me the wrong way (as I’m not a big fan of that genre). Still the song does have a bit of novelty value as the lead man of Weezer is featured on the track.

      Which is also pretty bizarre.

I certainly enjoyed this album’s somewhat return to hitomi’s pop-rock heritage, and I didn’t mind the club mix stuff at all. I will warn those who really dislike autotuning to stay away from this one though; as nearly half this album heavily uses it.

Really my biggest complaint about this album is it’s overall brevity. No song breaks four minutes, and one even goes as short as 2:30. Even at twelve tracks the whole album doesn’t break forty minutes. I like to listen to albums on my morning and afternoon commutes, and this wouldn’t even last me one way without repeating itself!

It’s definitely a solid album, which is a shame that nobody bought it. To date it’s officially only moved a hair over one thousand units. No wonder she had to release this on an indies label rather than her old LOVE LIFE Records private label… 😦

Kikkawa You Debuts! May 11, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
2 comments

Today Kikkawa You finally made her solo debut with the release of “Kikkake wa YOU!”

And you know what? It’s about gosh darn time!

Surprisingly, my copies actually arrived in the mail today. According to Fedex they arrived in California before they left Japan, gotta love that International Dateline, huh? Seriously though, her coupling tracks are all pretty amazing and definitely give a real incentive to pick up more than one copy.

I really wish I could write more about it now, but to be honest with you guys I’m absolutely exhausted. She had a Ustream event this morning at 3:00AM my time to commemorate her debut, and because of that I ended up only getting about two and half hours of sleep. Still, it was worth it. 😀

So to wrap up, I just want to wish Kikka the best of luck on her debut! May lots of people purchase and enjoy your music! *cough*Look to your right!*cough*

Morning Musume 10th Generation Auditions May 8, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
4 comments

Gosh, that was fast wasn’t it?

Just announced last night, aspiring Musumes have until June 13th to get their applications in. If this audition takes about as long as the 9th gen one did we might even be able to see the next generation as soon as the Fall concert tour.

I have to admit I’m a little torn about this.

On one hand, it’s exciting to watch the audition process and to speculate on who will get into the group. The excitement of the unknown, really. Also, on the positive side is that all the members added in the ninth gen seem really solid, which is a positive sign for this audition.

On the negative side is the inevitable side-effect that Morning Musume will become even younger. The allowed age range of the audition is 10-17, but I would speculate that the new additions would most likely be about the same age as the 9th gen (about 12-14). To me it almost feels like Up-Front is trying to lower the age of Morning Musume to make up for the fact that both Berryz and C-ute are now in their late teens.

Of course, I admit for a company like Up-Front it makes perfect sense that they would want their new idols to be younger rather than older; it simply allows them to stay around longer, and thus generate more revenue. Still, I’m not a huge fan of such young idols so this has never really appealed to me personally.

I will make a wild prediction for this audition, though. I bet you that the Hello! Project Korean audition winner Jang Dayeon will make it into the 10th generation. A Korean girl that can speak pretty decent English would certainly help the group in their international appeal. Additionally, she’s obviously being groomed for some position, as she still pops up from time to time. I can’t see her going solo, nor being placed in a brand new group, and since Morning Musume is the only group that takes in new members it seems pretty reasonable.

So what do you guys think? Am I completely off my rocker, or do you have some crazy predictions of your own?

A Couple Quick Things May 1, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in C-ute, Hello! Project, Jpop, Kikkawa You.
3 comments

Gah, I want to apologize for not having a real post up this week. I’ve actually just started working at a “real” job. This is absolutely awesome, and I’m totally psyched about it, but I’m also still finishing up school. This means that until about mid-June, I am going to be swamped. So, I want to apologize ahead of time if the next couple of weeks are a little sparse on content!

So, there are two quick things I’d like to talk about tonight:

The Covers for C-ute’s “Momoiro Sparkling”


Wow, that’s how you do a fantastic cover!

I absolutely love those colors. Bright bold colors equal instant points with me, but I think my favorite part of it is just how crazy the whole set-up is. You’ve got Nakky doing her hair, Mai reading a book, Chisato taking your picture (but being way too cool to use the viewfinder) Maimi seems to be too enamored with you even bother using her camera, and you’re apparently interrupted Airi’s phone call. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And it just works.

One of the things that I love about idols is that they are generally more about just being fun than serious. Or even coherent for that matter. This is a great example of that! 🙂

Oh, and I’m pretty sure that I’m quite late on this one, but dang Maimi is finally getting some length back in her hair. Hopefully she’ll let it grow all the way back out again!

Kikkawa You’s 19th Birthday!


Happy birthday Kikka!

There’s still a week and a half until her debut, and I’m seriously excited. Before I said that I was thinking about getting all the versions of her releases, and yup, I ended up pre-ordering them all (all her different b-sides being so great certainly didn’t hurt). Heck I even bought them from CDJapan for the pre-order bonuses and faster shipping! It’s going to be a long 10 days… XD