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Morning Musume – Only you May 29, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
Tags: , , ,

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?



1. MTSayuRin - May 29, 2011

I agree with most what you wrote, especially Aichan’s hair. I also think the Mikan look was better. (Coincidentally, I just wrote a few words about it in my own blog comment as a reply to you, then I came here to see this!)

Maybe in time the other kyuukies will get more attention too, not just Riho. I’m kind of hoping next single, they choose another kyuuki member to get more promotion.

Nights4Saturn - May 30, 2011

Unfortunately, I can’t really see the other kyuukies getting pushed anytime soon. Riho has taken over Mano’s radio show for gosh sakes! Eventually though, I imagine they’ll get some exposure, even if that means all the current members will have to graduate first! XD

2. clocutron - May 31, 2011

To comment, I decided to address each of your categories separately.

The Bad: I understand Reina and Ai being the front girls – they seriously do have the best vocals of the group – but this is a bit much. Ai-chan’s hair is definitely strange. She’s so beautiful but this style definitely compromises her appearance, imo. H!P has had some trouble with hairstyles lately, especially Risa’s granny look a little while back. I think it’s time to fire the hairdresser. It seemed pretty evident following the 9th gen auditions that there would be favoritism toward Riho over the other new members. It’s starting to seem like Kanon, Erina, and Mizuki could be neglected like Junjun and Linlin were.

The Indifferent: I like autotune under certain circumstances and in moderation. To me, it seems unnecessary and out of place here.

The Good: Yeah, it’s definitely a nice video and the more mature sound is good. However, I feel like the song is a bit bland. It’s not that it’s bad but it’s certainly not particularly stellar in any way.

My Overall Opinion: Decent song, good video but I really hope things start to even out a little bit following Ai-chan’s graduation. I also wish they would give the kyuukies more time before adding more new members. I’m interested to see how things go with the 10th gen auditions and what happens with Ai after she leaves Momusu (time for a solo career, don’t you think?).

Nights4Saturn - June 12, 2011

Thanks for the thoughtful comment clocutron (and sorry for taking so long to get back to you ^^;)!

We seem to more or less agree on the major points. I don’t know if I would go quite as far to call the song bland, though. I will say that it could pass for maybe an album song, and it wouldn’t seem out of place as such.

I would LOVE to see Ai go solo after graduation, but I have a feeling that she’ll settle into theater instead. Who knows, though, she certainly has the talent!

3. Takoyaki - July 14, 2011

It doesn’t bother me to see Aichan and Reina as center girls since I saw Resonant Blue PV.

Riho as third center girl, this is not surprising for me. Before this role was attributed to Koharu and since she graduated, they needed an another girl to be the third center girl.
If it wasn’t Riho, it would have been an another girl anyway.
(If for example they would have put Sayumi as third center girl, except her fans, not everyone would have been happy. Same case for Gaki-san, Aika…)

Among the 9th members, why the choice of Riho? Maybe the management who saw them doing reharsals everyday, saw sides of 9th gen’s work that the audience usually can’t see.
Or maybe they took this marketing decision in the sense of Riho might have a better fanbase than the other 9th gen.
Or maybe they saw that Riho had more potential for this song.
Or maybe all the reasons said previously.
But I always considered that the 9th gen was luckier than the other gens because for their first song (Maji desu ka Ska), they got more lines for each one compared to Gokkies (Mr Moonlight) or Rokkies (Shabondama) (except Reina’s case).
And I guess for 9th gen this is still better to have 7 seconds of screentime and 0 line than the girls who were rejected from auditions.

About Gaki-san’s voice with autotune, my opinion (but you don’t have to agree with) is at least Tsunku is trying to do something, good or bad. If you follow Kpop, you notice that autotune is present in almost songs and knowing the fact currently Kpop is trendy in Japan and brings a lot money, you can guess why Tsunku tried autotune.
And if he doesn’t add something different in his composition, people will say his music is still the same from 90’s.

Concerning Aichan’s blonde hair, they wouldn’t have asked her to dye her hair for nothing. In addition if they still apply the system of sempais’ hair color (and it seems like yes), so Aichan couldn’t have the shade of hair color of Niigaki (brown), Sayumi (black), Reina (brown), Aika (brown), kyukkies (all black hair since they still go to school).
So Aichan might not have a lot of choices at the end.
(And since it’s her management who take all the decisions (especially UFA shareholders), even the little ones, I guess again Aichan didn’t have a lot of choices, even she wanted to have black hair again as when she was 14 for example)
And compared to Aya’s blonde hair, Aichan’s blonde hair is not better or not worst, this is just surprising in my humble opinion.

And I agree, they should have given Junjun a belt with her Seishun Collection outfit like the other girls.

Nights4Saturn - July 15, 2011

Hi Takoyaki! Thanks for commenting on my blog!

As for Riho being center, I think what most bothers me about that is that she simply isn’t quite as talented as some of the older members of the group, such as Risa. I do agree with you though, that no matter what there will be another center.

As for Riho compared to the other members of the ninth gen, I do have to admit she is far more “mature” than the others as an idol for now. She’s a better dancer and seems far more secure in front of a camera. My main concern was with her in the spotlight, the others might get completely overshadowed. For example in the PV for “Only You” Ikuta and Kanon are actually cropped out of a fair number of shots since they’re placed in the extreme back corners.

You actually make a pretty good point about the use of autotune. To be honest as well, it actually doesn’t seem out of place in the song at all. I was (and still am a bit) annoyed that once she finally was given a honest-to-goodness solo she was made to sound like a robot…
(As a note, I actually thought the autotune sounded pretty awesome in “Ooki Hitomi!”)

As for Ai’s hair, I really don’t know how much control the girl’s have over their own hairstyles/colors. From reading some of their blog posts, at least the Morning Musume girls actually style their own hair for concerts, and even some TV appearances! I had always just assumed they had someone from the company do that for them. For something as major as a new color, or cut they might have to go through management though, like you said.

…still, none of that changes the fact that I thought it didn’t look very flattering on her. I do agree with you though, that Ai’s blonde style was on about the same level as Aya’s. Which would make sense, as I thought Aya didn’t look all that great as a blond either! XD

I know, right?! That loose fitting jacket made her look so shapeless compared to the other girls 😦 If you notice, though, she did wear a belt with that costume is some later performances, such as at the Fankora! concert.

Takoyaki - July 16, 2011

I mostly agree with what you said.

About Riho’s talent, if we try to compare Riho with Gaki-san in an equally point of view, so we should compare Riho as 13 years old young girl to Risa as 13 years old young girl as well.
Both at this age were still newbie as female Idols quite inexperienced no matter how much they sing karoke or dance at home for their family.
Which is interesting about Gaki-san and Riko, both debuted very soon as female Idols (at the age of 12 years old) and both debuted in a generation composed of 4 members.
About Gokkies, there were Ai, Asami, Makoto and Risa.
About Kyuukies, there are Mizuki, Erina, Riho and Kanon.
There are not only competition is the group in general but also in their own generation.
And it’s not easy to find their own path for more spotlight.
Good for Riho if she has a lot of parts and screentime but that means in the same she has to work more everytime to maintain this position if she doesn’t want another girl takes her lines (like Maki did with Kei) (and after September, there will be more rivals with the addition of the 10th gen).

Still speaking about 9th gen, I wonder how they usually work for rehearsals each one of them. I guess there are repercussions on the decision from the management.

Concerning Gaki-san, unfortunately for her she wasn’t really promoted a lot compared to some members in Morning Musume in general.
But with Aichan’s graduation, there might be a new dynamic in the group. Let’s hope for Gaki-san it will be in a good way.
But I guess for Gaki-san, even if she doesn’t have the best position in Morning Musume, she might consider it after all as a blessing because when she was 12 years she was a huge fan of Morning Musume. And after this September she will be the next leader, who would have guess this fate for this young girl when she decided to enter in Morning Musume?
So, in some way life is unfair with Gaki-san with the fact she doesn’t have a lot of lines compared to her experience and seniority but in some way life was very generous with Gaki by giving her the chance to live her childhood dream.

About the natural skills about being a good singer or dancer, sometimes it might not be a decisive criteria for UFA.
If we take the example of Makoto, according to her audition and training in the first days, it seemed like she was a good dancer and had a stable voice for her age so everything would let think that she would have more lines for songs and the most attention in her generation. But this is not really what happened, the one who got more lines was Aichan;

So, in some way, skills will bring you spotlight or not (but for sure to have some, will bring you better chances/possibilities in the future (e.g; Aya or Maki)).

About autotune, this is still a controversy among fans, even in Kpop where autotune is used everywhere.
Some consider autotune as a tool to bring some freshness in a song (even Western music use it, such as Black Eyed Peas).
Some consider this is useless for those who can sing and it’s only a trick to hide the voice of those who can’t sing.

Concerning Aichan’s blonde hair, you should read what Dumpppling drew:

I think when girls have a concert, they usually do their hair styles themselves (so if it doesn’t look pretty everytime, you know who to blame lol) because in their blog photos, when there is a concert, they bring all their own materials (such as hair iron etc) (explaining why once Sayumi screwed up her own hair iron and she had to ask Junjun if she could lend her hair iron.) (In addition, UFA is too stingy to pay everytime a hair stylist for each concert of a tour).
They sometimes say in their blog they help each other when someone needs help or is too slow (for example Gaki-san helping the slow turtle Kamei Eri)
About their appearance on tv, I don’t know, maybe it might change according the circonstances. For perf promotions, I guess they might do themselves their hair styles in order to match with the PV concept (?).
But about their appearance on variety shows, I know that usually there are people who are in charge of the hair styles of the guests.
For PV and PB, there are also people who are in charge of this (we can see it in the making of, there are a lot of staff surronding the girls and for PBs, in the credits there is someone credited for hair style and choice of outfits).
But I keep thinking a major hair change is validated by the shareholders of UFA. After all, hair color might have impact on their money.
(By the way it reminds me this famous old story:
http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/2000_3266175/tress-stress-felicity-ratings-tumble-along-with-st.html )

About Aya’s blonde hair, maybe that’s why currently she’s back with brown hair haha!
But I don’t know how is perceived the connotation of blond hair in Japan, especially with oba-chan audience: yankii, gals, gaijin… ?

And concerning Junjun’s belt, maybe they ordered it with a shipping with a cheap price, explaining why they only gave her the belt lately because they finally received her belt. (/joke)

Sorry for writting a big wall of words.

If you still have time and if you are interested to read an interesting post written by another blogger (related to 9th generation):

4. Nights4Saturn - July 16, 2011

Oh, I can’t deny that 13 year old Riho is more talented than 13 year old Gaki-san was. Gaki was pretty green when she joined, and Riho seems to have some decent experience with performing. You make a good point about the pressure on her, though. The other three kyuukies really have no where to go but up, only Riho really has anything to lose at this point.

You make a good point about Gaki getting to live her dream. Even today you can really tell she just loves the group. Like you suggested maybe once Ai is gone she’ll be able to take a bit more of a front position. We’ll have to see.

You bring up an interesting idea about what having talent means to the popularity of an idol. You brought up Makoto, but what about Koharu? The girl couldn’t really sing or dance, but not only was she the sole person to pass her audition, but she was given a huge push once she was in the group. I think you’re right that ultimately, it doesn’t really happen.

I love that comic, it’s cute!

Oh, in the case of PV,PB and image DVDs certainly there are going to be professional hairdressers on hand. Those are big deals in terms of an idol’s image, so of course the management would be sure to invest the money to make sure they not only look their best, but look the way that is approved.

That’s a funny story. On a related note, I wonder if Ai’s haircut, or blonde dye job, had an effect on her goods sales? I can’t say I know anything about the connotation of blonde hair in Japan. I know dying one’s hair is pretty accepted, but still, blonde is pretty glaringly unnatural.

With how cheap UFA can be at times, I wouldn’t be surprised if they bought Junjun’s belt online and picked the cheapest shipping possible… 😀

That was an interesting blog post. I really liked how he talked about how Morning Musume’s charm point was taking in completely average girls and turning them into stars, and how that gives people hope. Very interesting.

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