A new blog

August 24, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

I’m sure you’ll have noticed the volume of Hello!Project stuff in this page along. I try to blog about other things, but the truth is H!P is great, easy and fun to blog about. So, I’ve decided I’m going to dedicate a blog to Hello!Project.

So join me at GuruGuruBLOG! There’s already a few posts up about ManoEri and the departure of various C-ute members among a couple of other things. There’ll be more soon too, because I’m having a bit of a blogging marathon here.

Hope to see you there!

My Fifteen Favourite Albums Part One

August 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Mini-Reviews | 2 Comments

Compared to some I’m a more recent convert to the church of music. When I was younger we couldn’t afford a CD player and therefore couldn’t buy CDs. When my Dad got a free walkman from his company when I was seven it revolutionised my life. We didn’t have much to play on it but what we did have I listened to to the point of wearing the discs smooth.

I’m a firm believer of the fact that any style of music can never go out of fashion – if you liked it at one point, going back to it four or five years later shouldn’t have changed much – and my friends know of my incredibly strong love of the 90s pop music we all grew up with, but everyone else is now “too grown up” for.

I couldn’t live without music.

And here are the fifteen albums that are the cause of this. (In no particular order and it was going to be ten, but I couldn’t resist the other five)
Some of them for being happy accidents, other artists were ‘passed down’ to me and others gave me a whole new frontier to explore…

 

 Amy Studt’s False Smiles was the first album I ever went into a store, picked up and payed for with my own money. These song hold many, many fond memories for me. I played this disc to death and I still love it to this day.
I don’t remember much about the reaction when it was released. I remember seeing Misfit on the TV a few times and falling in love with that song.
This was the first time I discovered how much music could relate to human experience. The songs are personal, but, for the most part, not self-indulgent and I’ve always enjoyed the lyrics. Because I love it so much False Smiles is the album I’ll never forget all the words to.

Keeping firmly within the realms of British music Employment was a present from my Dad to my sister when she finished her SATs. I stole it pretty soon after because of the ever classic I Predict A Riot.
The reason this is in this list is because it started my love affair with the Kaiser Chiefs. This is, in my mind, their best albums to date. It contains some of their best known tracks and it was the catalyst for my mad outburst in the middle of TESCOs when I saw their second album was on sale.
The album has a very distinct style, one that, if you don’t like it, you’re going to find boring. This is one album that expanded my horizons – it was part of a wave that helped my accept music beyond the pop stuff that I’d been listening to before.

 

Honestly The Silent Force would be here even if I hated most of it because of one song. Jillian (I’d Give My Heart) is so epic and Sharon den Adel’s vocals are so powerful that I would happily pay the full album price just for that song.
It’s a good thing that the rest of the tracks are just about up to the same standard. Before this I’d never even toyed with the notion of Symphonic Metal, by all accounts, as a musical genre, this should not work so well. But there is a high level of intelligence behind every song. Within Temptation are frequently compared to Evanescence but I’ve never agreed with that. Evanescence has a different sound, from the vocals to the production there are few similarities.
Listening to Within Temptation prompted me to check out other acts like Nightwish (similar but with a harder sound) and is another horizon expanding album.

Get The Picture? is actually representative of all Smash Mouth albums in this list. This is their most… pop sounding album but their style is recognisable in every track.
The only thing that really irritates me is the fact that I know no-one to whom I can say “Oh, I love Smash Mouth” without getting a “Who?” in response. And then I have to start talking about Shrek to get a semblance of recognition from the person. It’s such a shame because Smash Mouth are a truly fun group. There’s not a song I don’t like and if you don’t like one album, it’s quite likely that one of the others will suit you just fine.

The first Japanese album I ever got was Ayu’s (miss)understood. I think it’s still one of her best despite many of the tracks being Japanese language versions of Sweetbox songs.
Actually, no, they’re more than that. Ayumi puts her own stamp on them and makes them amazing.
Plus, it comes with a photobook that I’m slowly becoming good enough to read. (miss)understood was an impulse. I knew I liked the Ayu songs I’d heard, but that didn’t include any on this album, when I recieved this I think I about died from excitement

Nanchatte Renai

July 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Morning Musume | 1 Comment
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I like where this is going.

Shouganai Yume Oibito was only okay in my opinion. The PV did wonders for keeping my attention but I can’t listen to the song a whole lot without becoming entirely too ambivalent towards it. Which is why I’ve never written about it before now.

But onto the main subject of this post

Title

The PV for Morning Musume’s new single has been released and it’s the first time I’ve really anticipated an MM single since I joined the fandom just before Resonant Blue was released.

Yesterday I decided to check out the radio rip on YouTube and found the song very much to my liking, and somewhat surprising – rap?

Ai

One thing that I love about this PV is how stark the contrast is when compared to their PV for Shouganai. While in SYO they looked like angels without wings in their pretty gold dresses, here they’ve gone for the gothic lolita look – with little hats and blouses and short skirts.

To break up what could be a monotonous layer of black, even though each outfit is slightly different, they also put the girls in white outfits which somehow manages to remain firmly routed in the visual theme.

“Lolita” works… and looks particularly good on Risa.

Risa

See what I mean?

Unsurprisingly, Ai takes her fair share of the lines opening each verse and somewhat dominating the first chorus, but Koharu and Sayumi get half a verse each and the rap sections allow the eight generation a fair section of exposure. And then Eri and Risa take the second chorus. Reina does her bit in the pre-choruses.

halfgroup

The song itself is something worth getting excited about. It has a little bit of a SYO flavour but it takes a couple of twists. The chorus is interesting, it has pace and style. Vocally it’s really not a difficult song but it doesn’t need to be because it’s catchy enough whilst remaining mature and stylish.

Junjun

Visually the PV is a treat, the cutting doesn’t verge on migraine inducing and there is enough scene variety to keep it interesting.

The dance is nice and simple and you’ll notice that, like Shouganai, Koharu is at the front and featured quite a lot. No matter what you might think of her singing, her dancing is top rate and some of the best in Morning Musume.
Although I will say that the choreography falls down a little bit in the chorus, I feel like their could have been more there.

group

Nanchatte Renai is awesome. I love it.
And yes, it took another Morning Musume single to get me blogging again.

MiniMoni Revival

June 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Posted in MiniMoni | 1 Comment
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Or should it be called a “reinvention”?

This is where I put my hand up and say that I’m a MiniMoni virgin, isn’t it?

I know the odd song but I’ve never tried very hard to listen to them. But now with the news of the new MiniMoni I’m intrigued. I wasn’t very interested when the news first came out beyond a “Oh, really? They’re pretty legendary.” and a brief nod at the inclusion of Fukuda Kanon.

Now I’m very interested as it has just been announced that LinLin (a.k.a my second favourite Momusu member) is not only in the group, but also the leader.

And I’m so happy to see this. Seeing as she’s amazing and she hasn’t been given such an opportunity before I really hope this goes well for her. I’m not going to speculate on who the other members will be, I’m happy just imagining a new PV starring LinLin!

GO LINLIN.
And clever Tsunku.

Third Time Lucky? It’s her best yet

May 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Yuna Ito | Leave a comment
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Ah Yuna, Yuna, Yuna. I’ve often wondered what I’m going to do with the copy of HEART that I’ve only listened to twice all the way through.

I didn’t even bother to buy WISH.

and now I feel mean but I only speak the truth.

CD+DVD Yuna Ito is one of those artists that it takes one song to get into, and one album to be disappointed by.

Yes, ENDLESS STORY was fantastic but almost the entirety of Yuna’s debut album, HEART, was pure dross.

I stumbled through the tracklist being ever more saddened that the voice I admired so much when I first heard ENDLESS STORY and then Precious was being given, essentially, substandard material to work with.

WISH did not look up much. The single tracks were good. The album track were not. And when I’ve gone back to listen to it again I don’t even like the singles as much as I did then. But it’s all of a relatively good standard when compared with HEART, most of which sounded like it wouldn’t be out of place as BGM in a daytime soap opera. Imagine beach-houses, illicit affairs and someone contracting cancer to the opening strains of Tender Is The Night.

Which brings me to DREAM, if we’re following the pattern of pointless capitilisation.

This is easily her best album yet. There are only three tracks (out of eleven) that I wouldn’t put on repeat without good reason.

The Good;

– Most of it actually. The singles leading up to this release were quality, no doubt, but this hasn’t stopped the album from being unfortunate before. But hey, I digress.

The tracks that I’d say really standout are trust you, miss you and two album tracks BAILA BAILA and LOVE MACHINE GUN. Two great ballads and two upbeat tracks that don’t sound like Yuna has to resort to yelling to get through the song. Nice.

The Bad;

No one else and Body. The latter of which sounds slightly sleazy and totally not a song Yuna should try. No one else is every song on HEART mixed together with different lyrics. But that’s all I’d say was bad.

The Ugly?

I don’t much like the cover? And love you sounds like an abandoned Hinouchi Emi song. Beyond that…. nope.

Simply put DREAM is Yuna’s best show yet and I hope that this is indicative of what may be to come with her next singles. There are probably people out there who would readily dispute my outward display of malice towards her first and second albums but in terms of quality neither of them can even touch DREAM.
All my faith has been restored in Yuna and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Introducing Agents Buono!

April 19, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Buono! | 7 Comments
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I’ll do Morning Musume’s new PV when I’ve got my energy back (and when YouTube stops screwing with me). This is one of my most epic posts I must say.

For the most part I have no problems with Buono! While I didn’t quite get what they was trying to achieve in the first place with the pop-rock angle and the Shugo Chara plug, I quickly fell into agreement with their music when I discovered Renai Rider (which is still my favourite Buono! song).

I lost much of my enthusiasm for them quite quickly though. If I went through my thoughts on each of their singles this is what it would end up looking like;

  1. Honto no Jibun – Prefer the b-side
  2. Renai Rider – LOVE
  3. Kiss!Kiss!Kiss! – Left a good initial impression, but I just don’t listen to it anymore
  4. Gachinko de Ikou! – Suffered the same fate as K!K!K!
  5. Rottara Rottara – Like the dance… the end.
  6. co.no.michi – I know the lyrics to the first line. And that’s all

There’s something about Buono! that initially appeases me, but I’ve lost track of them in the past few months. I don’t even have any thoughts to share on their two albums because I haven’t even listened to them.

I did try, but after a few bars of the album tracks I gave up.

To put it in perspective I wasn’t even aware that co.no.michi had even been announced before the PV came out and it’s the same with their newest single MY BOY.

I’m going to experiment a little here and do a pic-spam PV review rather than my usual block-paragraph style but before I begin that, because I know it will take forever, here’s a few thoughts about the girls.

Buono! is where Miyabi first caught my eye. She actually shines in these releases as opposed to her unfortunate habit of simmering on the back burners in Berryz Koubou releases. I’ve always felt her presence as more than an effect of there only being three members in the group. Miyabi made more sense as “leader” of the group than Momoko, but there was that scandal-that-wasn’t-really-a-scandal… In short, Buono! suits Miya

The first thing I always want to say about Airi is that she is “a very strong/powerful performer” and while it’s no less than a compliment and certainly true, I find it to be a little bit of a dead-end statement. I have to sit here and ask myself “What do I think of Airi?” and you know what the answer is “The lesser of seven evils”. I have no strong feelings for C-ute at all and while going so far as to call the girls ‘evils’ might be a bit strong, it almost definitely draws parallels to that way I view them. Airi is my favourite C-ute member because I don’t like Maimi enough and I couldn’t care about the others less. *breathes*
In terms of Buono!, which is actually the point of this rather long paragraph, Airi is an obvious choice. She’s popular, she’s a vocal powerhouse on stage and she has an adaptable look – perfect for a style of music that requires you to be more than just an idol.

Momoko really, really, really, really annoys me. I am not inclined to like her voice (ah merry-go-round notwithstanding) and SHE IS NOT CUTE!!! I’ve actually always thought her to be slightly masculine in some ways, she doesn’t strike me as particularly girly. AND THAT GODDAMN PINKY FINGER!!! I can only just about stand her through a PV, so it’s obvious how I think of her in Buono! or any other unit for that matter.

 

RANT OVER. Back to MY BOY

NB; The screencaps are out of order. I stopped caring

The first thing that hit me was that this is actual rock. There’s no hiding behind a veil pop elements or formlae and it’s not disguised at all, this is pure, mainstream, unadultered rock. If I heard this song randomly one day without knowing anything about it, the only thing that could possibly give it away would be the voices which are still very much dealing with the melody in a pretty standard H!P way. Which means that Momoko sounds more out of place than usual. The guitar riffs are just damned awesome and their presence throughout the song just cements how awesome (and completely unexpected) the song is. That said, I don’t like the bridge, it doesn’t make sense with the rest of the song.

13end

In terms of the PV, we have espionage, an attempt at choreographing a rock song and some godawful costuming. And the whole point of the PV is to steal some cake! Oh, puh-leeeese.
Though I concede Momo some points for being the one to whip out the knife.

2airi

It’s H!P’s most inspired PV for quite a while though. There’s a plot-ish type thing, several different scenes and the only recurring images are the close-ups and the dance shot. Unfortunately… I couldn’t resist rolling my eyes at Momoko’s highly overacted ‘fear’ at the suit of armour.

6miya

But ignoring her existance for a while… Miyabi looks freaking amazing in her spy get-up, as does Airi but fear my bias. She’s rocking the bobbed hair and the eye-liner! Airi gets awesome glasses and pleases fanboys by crawling all over the floor. Under lasers, not just for sheer kicks of course.

9airicrawl1

Now, that’s what I like about the PV for MY BOY. Here’s what I don’t like.

Apart from Momo.

7dance

The dance shot in general. The costumes are pretty awful, the neon-disco injections of colour are obviously a futile effort to keep the video within the realms of Hello!Project but the girls end up looking like retarded go-go dancers. In a tasteful way of course, mostly.

No Momo. Try this pose when you're a little older

No Momo. Try this pose when you're a little older

The dance itself deserves an award for futility. This is not a genre of music that you can really dance to. Head-banging/moshing/jumping about looking like a lunatic is as far as it goes and that is never particularly co-ordinated. The dance is completely expendable in my opinion.

10gah

As I mentioned earlier, what is the point in all this effort for a cake? Surely they could have matched the badass quality of the song with an equally badass conclusion for the PV. Any number of things could have happened here’s my personal favourite idea (if we’re talking a serious ending);

11miyahazaplan

Miyabi throws the smoke bomb into the room. The guard collapses. They reach the sealed container. They open it only to discover that – Oh, no! It’s actually a ticking time bomb! Airi slams the cover back down. Buono! runs. Buono! leaps through a window. And the whole building explodes behind them in a blaze of glory. I’ll even give Momoko a closeup.

5airi

But maybe that’s a little too serious for an H!P vid. I’d like to see it happen though – it’d make idol pop history.

All in all this is probably my second favourite Buono! song. Sorry girls, it still doesn’t beat Renai Rider. MY BOY is pretty epic, completely unexpected and the PV, while there are obvious issues with it, is one of the most impressive for a while. I suppose I’ll have to see what the b-side is like before I label this as the best Buono! single ever but it’s definitely going onto my to-purchase list.

3miya2

And it’s making me love Miyabi. DAMMIT! I’ve already done my H!P ranking.

Hello!Blog Rankings ~You say “Jump”, I say “Which Bandwagon?”~

April 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment

I’m expecting a few “Eh?”s in response to this.
HOW DID THIS TAKE THREE DAYS TO WRITE?!?

FUJIMOTO MIKI
Is there much more to say than the fact she’s damn awesome? Miki is the only person I’d say was my ultimate number one. I’m not a huge fan of her solo career but going back to her activities with Morning Musume (I wasn’t a fan when she was part of the group) I just love her more and more. And I loved her performance in Ribbon no Kishi – deliciously/sympathetically evil. She’s AWESOME I don’t need to say anymore, I really don’t.

KUSUMI KOHARU
She’s been my favourite member of Momusu since the beginning. I love her solo work because I’m…mildly insane and have no qualms with listening to music that would make others’ ears bleed. I love her personality, that’s what makes her interesting really, she may not always convey the mood of the song properly but she’s got buckets of presence. In terms of how much I like her she’s actually on par with Miki but, you know, it just wouldn’t be quite right to place her above Miki if we’re talking about the whoooollleee of H!P, it just doesn’t work that way.

YOSHIZAWA HITOMI
Because what girl in her right mind didn’t have an eensy bit of a crush on her after watching the PV for Mr Moonlight? Charisma, humour, endearingly bad English skills, one hell of a voice and a certain je ne sais quoi in terms of leadership qualities. Yossie’s always had a presence and I think that was wasted a bit in Ongaku Gatas because she didn’t have enough to bounce off of even though 1st Goodsal was a pretty strong album. Hangry&Angry however… I was surprised by how well that mini-album went over with me. Speaking of which…

ISHIKAWA RIKA
Her voice isn’t that amazing but she’s another one who has enough charisma to compensate, although she was also quite impressive in Ribbon no Kishi My massive bias towards her comes from how much I always loved Biyuuden… I still hate the fact that they are no more. While she was pushed towards being a sexier idol she still has a cute simplicity about her performances and that contrast is one of the things I like most about her. And she kicked all kinds of ass in YoYo Girl Cop – her eyes are just the right amount of expressive to execute an evil glare!

LINLIN
Wow… I truly love this girl. I remember looking at other blogger’s rankings and seeing that most people favoured JunJun. I always liked LinLin more – she’s a little funny looking and can be rather awkward but she has more than enough talent to keep my interest. Her voice is gorgeous, as displayed in Shiroi Chou no Samba, and I would very much like to see a solo in a near-future concert. Though she isn’t quite right for a solo career yet as she hasn’t quite perfected the idol personality yet, I truly would not mind an album of LinLin but if not I hope that she becomes something of a big hitter in the H!P world.

NIIGAKI RISA
The ultimate Prince Charming! She has a VOICE and the way it has evolved is awe inspiring. Sub-leader suits her but I can’t say I see her as being leader yet (pre-mature anyway because Takahashi is still in the group, duh!). Again, as an idol her personality wins me over the most actually, she’s always worth watching in PVs and she’s never disappointed me in a performance. I’m not a PB buyer, I don’t have an income flow, but I don’t need them to prove that she is gorgeous.

KIKKAWA YUU
How did she not get into Morning Musume??? Answer me this. She has a brilliant voice and we really need to hear more of it. Her performance in Tan Tan Taan! hit me pretty hard when I first heard it, because honestly in Anataboshi Koharu monopolises. Kikka has a pretty brilliant voice and I need a ballad from her, even though I hate ballads! This girl needs to go big… and soon. She needs to be leader of something!

OKADA YUI & MIYOSHI ERIKA
Yes, I did/do love Biyuuden. Yui was my favourite member that’s why I placed her before Erika but they’re pretty close in my mental ranking. Erika has a pretty strong voice and she’s also got a great presence and that’s why I like her, whereas I can’t put my finger on just why I liked Yui so much from the beginning. Now I have one HUGE reason why I like her… her performance in YoYo Girl Cop is my favourite in the whole movie. Rika was kickass and Aya was awesome and Erika … didn’t have many lines but she’d already proven her acting worth to me in Ribbon no Kishi, but Yui had such a sympathetic personality and I could feel myself wanting to be in Aya’s shoes and punch Rika’s character in the face for bullying her!

SUGAYA RISAKO
My favourite Berryz Koubou member is number ten simply because I can’t justify her being any higher than the others. Sure she’s a bit fail in the vocal department, but when has that ever stopped me liking someone? (case in point: Koharu) I am eagerly waiting to see what that new Shugo Chara unit come up with. Hopefully, it’s awesome enough for Risako. I only really started liking her so much after the battle concert, especially when she was trying to look all badass with that diddy bow and arrow set and her solo on Berryz’s last album was quite a surprise. And to all those that hate her… back off my Risako!!!

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

This ranking was an absolute bitch to do. I actually had to write out everyone’s name and then narrow it down a bit, and then a bit further and so on until I ended up with 10 girls. I got jammed a little when I reached 11 and couldn’t think of who to eliminate so I think it’s worth doing this.

  • Maeda Yuuka
    She was my 11. I wasn’t sure whether I could rank her or not and in the end I dropped her from the list. I loved Yuukarin from Cinderella\Complex and when Shugo Chara Egg were formed I immediately went “YAY!”, in my mind of course. If she can keep up with Ai, Reina etc. then we should be seeing a lot of her in the future.
  • Kamei Eri
    It took her a while to grow on me as she didn’t leave much of an initial impression. It was her performance in Single Daizenshuu that really made me take notice and then I found her really very amusing in the Cinderella musical.
  • Suzuki Airi
    I’ve never really had much to say about Airi other than the fact she is a very strong performer. She has a great voice and though she is a little too well promoted I do like her very much. She’s probably my favourite C-ute member, but as I mentioned in a previous post I never have much to say about C-ute anyway.
  • Matsuura Aya
    She was actually one of my first Jpop listens. Kiseki na Kaori Dance and Momoiro no Kataomoi were two of my early discoveries and this was even before I knew what H!P was! Let alone was a fan. I’ve not gotten on well with much of her recent releases but those two songs are enough to endear her to me for life.
  • Natsumi Abe
    Nacchi… I don’t know, I just like her. Never had much more reason than that.

Well, this is my post of H!P epicness… and damn did it take a long time.

ワンルーム・ディスコ a.k.a The Ubiquitous Perfume Post

March 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Perfume | 1 Comment
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It had to be done, didn’t it?

Perfume are, without a doubt, one of the most powerful girl groups in the Jpop sphere for a very long time. And it’s almost impossible to believe that they could get any more popular… but they have and will continue to do so for a while with the way things are going. 

Being honest, techno is not my thing so it took me a long time to buy into these girls’ music and I still don’t all the time. Suzuki Ami was as far as I went and even I didn’t buy DOLCE, or even like it that much. I find techno dry and uninteresting and the songs go on far, far, far too long.

The reason I gave Perfume a chance was because I jumped on the proverbial band-wagon. When GAME was released the blogosphere went absolutely mad and I didn’t understand what was going on at all. I remember hearing Baby Cruising Love when it first came out and not really being particularly enthused by it and then hearing Secret Secret when that came out and liking it well enough, but it took me a lazy afternoon and not much to do before I downloaded GAME and decided to review it.

Thumbs up for the most part, but certainly not my best post (yet one of my most popular – explain this to me), but what it did do was help me realise that I did like Perfume and made me obssessed with Chocolate Disco, Polyrhythm and Secret Secret. And I was for a long time… unfortunately after a few months that died a death and I haven’t listened to most of the album tracks since.

love the world came out and I ignored it. Dream Fighter after that… whatever.

I’m a bad fan because I love those songs now and I ignored them completely when they released. But now with One Room Disco‘s release I’m determined not to miss something again.

I like One Room Disco quite a bit. As other bloggers have pointed out, it is Chocolate Disco‘s spiritual twin in a couple of ways… the title being one and the introduction being the other one I can think of right now. The video is cute but lacking a little but the song still has to grow on me, as do all Perfume songs in one way or another. 

One thing that I can say right now about the video is that I hate what Nocchi is wearing. Actually, costume design in this one is a range of badness with Nocchi being the worst and Kashiyuka being the best. Do they look much like they plan on disco-ing? No, I think not.

A-chan is probably my favourite of the three girls. She always looks like she’s enjoying everything she’s doing whereas the other two try a little too hard to ‘get into it’ and they don’t come off as well.

Another thing you cannot deny about Perfume is that they can dance! They have really, almost needlessly, complicated choreography which they perform beautifully everytime. One Room Disco has some great choreography though you won’t be able to see much of it until a nice clear live performance surfaces. Polyrhythm has the robot walk. Chocolate Disco had the mad hopping and so on and so forth. And that’s one thing that I really admire about them…

One thing I don’t like, however, is the fact that they can’t sing live. Not because of any lack of talent but because of the fact that in the original track the girls’ voices have been digitised to hell and they couldn’t sing it in vaguely the same way live. Also, I cannot distinguish each of their voices at all when I’m listening and that annoys me a little. But moving on…

Perfume won’t slow down anytime soon and, though I may not like everything they do, we can expect a lot more from them before they either evolve into something new (sing live, perhaps) or simply stop existing –

I think my mind’s imploded. I can’t think of much to say now… It’s the Berryz/C-ute post all over again.

Er…if you sat through this thank you for reading, you obviously expected to reach enlightenment through the torture but I’m afraid I’ll have to dissapoint you on that front. All I’ve managed to tell you is;

  • I like Perfume
  • I didn’t at first
  • A-chan is my favourite
  • They can dance

and if the fact I can summarise over 700 words in four bullet points isn’t telling about something, I don’t know what is.

Bye-bye

[PV] Dakishimete Dakishimete

February 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Berryz Koubou | Leave a comment
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dakidaki

The Song; I officially love this song. Berryz Koubou have been releasing some pretty gimmicky songs recently – in fact the entire 5(FIVE) era was pretty much made of gimmicks – so it’s nice to see something that has the potential to appeal to non-H!P fans. There’s not much monopolising of the vocals, of course Risako gets her little solo near the end and honestly she could have done much better with that (but more of that later), but everyone gets a good little bit of exposure throughout the song. The chorus is amazingly catchy and it’s such an upbeat song that it really gets you dancing. This is my top favourite song from Berryz, it even dwarfs my love for Dschinghis Khan and Tsukiatteiru no ni Kataomoi. If this doesn’t sell well, I may have to eat my metaphorical hat.

Song Rating; A*

The Vocals; Risako’s solo is a bit blah, she could potentially have done so much better with that but she just sounds off. Everyone sounds really good and I don’t have much to point out apart from the fact that Saki sounds strained, but she usually does anyway. Great, great, great.

Vocal Rating;  B+

The PV itself; is a little seizure inducing. I’m not feeling the way they’ve cut it. I love the dance shots and the DJ shots but the walking and posing seems out of place on the gold background where most of the PV is pretty dark. The set is appropriate but I just cannot get past the editing – it goes too fast and I lose the plot occasionally. The individual shots show the girls looking more gorgeous than ever but they do appear at random points which throw the rest a little out of synch. To be completely truthful, I would love almost everything about this PV if it weren’t for the editing, which lets it down.

Editing Rating; C-

The Dance; is AWESOME. I love it. After prancing around like monkeys there wasn’t really anywhere else to go but up. It does feel a little Tokaikko Junjou is places and I love the formation switching through the song. The chorus is snazzy, even the introduction has an enjoyable symplicity and I feel that YouTube is going to be inundated with cover dances… wait for it, I may be one of them… The pumping of the arms at the beginning of the chorus is probably my favourite bit.

Dance Rating; A*

The Costuming; has its ups and downs. Saki loses from the waist down but I love the hat and the assymetrical hair and Momoko does look cute in my opinion for once. I do think Maasa looks amazing but… I don’t know, it’s a little shapeless. She’s a little bigger than your average idol but they don’t have to try and highlight that. Chinami looks effing fabulous, seriously gorgeous, if only the colour scheme wasn’t from VERY BEAUTY. Risako is wow. I love the red & black and the hair. Miyabi is C\C Ai-chan but in blue and Yurina is just lovely as ever. Well, that was indepth – overall costumes gets the thumbs up but there are issues with pretty much all of them. Almost there.

Costume Rating; B

Overall Impressions; I love this song without a shadow of a doubt and it’s so nice that there’s a much more universal appeal to it. Berryz Koubou are going in the right direction with this release and, though I have problems with the PV, I have watched it approximately twelve times. I seriously hope that this is not a one off because this really owns Morning Musume’s Naichau Kamo.

Overall Rating; B+

Battle Post! 4 akogare MY STAR vs 5(FIVE)

February 16, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Posted in ℃-ute, Berryz Koubou | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Be very afraid of how stream-of-conciousness this is… I stray from my initial point many a time. Don’t expect a simple solution.

!!!BATTLE POST!!!

At the expense of doing an actual review for C-ute’s new album I’m doing this. And this will by my first personal post on KtoE, I feel I should have done this sooner.

I’ve listened to C-ute’s new album once. And that’s the grand total. I just haven’t had the motivation to sit down and go through each track with a clear, open mind and I never risk not liking a song just because I’d had a bad day before I turned my CD player/iPod on. On first impressions I like it… but it doesn’t hit me as the best thing I’ve ever listened to.  Berryz’s 5(FIVE), I haven’t dedicated much time to either, you know I liked it – I scored it B+ on my initial review – but it didn’t have the longevity even album tracks should have.

In the end all I seem to find time for is the single tracks. Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance, Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi and Dschinghis Khan on Berryz’s album and Namida no Iro, FOREVER LOVE and Edo no Temari Uta II on C-ute’s. Maybe it’s the repetetive play because of the wait from the initial single release until the actual album release, the fact that you have time to learn the words and dance moves before you get this deluge of half-arsed tracks that you either quite like or aren’t sure are worth your time.

What I consistantly find with H!P albums is that the album tracks just don’t have that impact or the power of a single and this is why I’ve never felt much motivation to buy any of the earlier ones – I don’t feel that the odd fabulous track is really worth my money. Morning Musume falls into this trap too, but they’re not the subject here so we’ll ignore them for once.

But now that I have that rant out of the way, I’ll get to the real point of this post. After all, it is a battle post.

It’s going to be more than just ‘which album is better’. There’s more to it than that, it’s more of a general talk about C-ute and BK. C-ute hit a home run in my H!P rankings when they released Edo no Temari Uta II because, bloody hell – how awesome is that song?,  before I hadn’t liked them much and I hadn’t cared enough to try. Ookina Ai de Motenashite was a guilty pleasure of mine but I didn’t find myself falling pray to their more recent appeal.

But I’d liked Berryz Koubou almost immediately after I heard Dschinghis Khan. They were my constant. 7 girls that I knew I could depend on the entertain me, to some degree at least.  Imagine my shock when C-ute suddenly usurped them and I had a new favourite H!P Kids group.

I’m fickle. I am so amazingly fickle when it comes to my fandoms. It goes in ebbs and flows whether I like something more than something else and I can make an incredibly definite statement one day and then next week I’ll change my mind and have to retract the statement. I don’t apologise for it – just be aware that this may be the most self-destructive argument you’ve ever heard.

Well, that’s a fine example of getting off the point.

FAVOURITE MEMBER CHAT

Risako is my favourite member of Berryz Koubou, she gets a lot of stick and she’s not the most consistant performer, but I still love her. How much can you criticise a girl who’s only got a decade and a half of life experience and even less in performing experience? What I like about her is minorly inexplicable. She’s pretty but so are the others, but in the end I think it’s my Britishness coming out. Brits make it a rule to support the underdog, so I see her getting a bashing from bloggers and my heart goes out to her.

I can’t choose a favourite member of C-ute. I think I’m more ambivalent than indecisive, C-ute’s members don’t strike me as much more than a unit. Airi is an admirable performer, as is Maimi, Nakki is scary when she smiles, Mai is a twenty-year old stuck in a far younger body, Chisato is…there, Kanna is… with Chisato and Erika is getting prettier as the days go by… but I’m screwed if that makes any of them my favourite.

The other Berryz girls each have something about them that appeals to me, positively and negatively – if that’s not an oxymoron. Saki is an awesome dancer with a faily voice (Ah Merry-go-round was surprisingly good though), Maasa and Chinami displayed so much humour in Yuke Yuke that I fell for them there and then. Plus, Chinami looks effing gorgeous in Dakishimete Dakishimete (post coming soon). Miyabi was my favourite but then I fell out with her, somehow she lost favour in my mental ranking and I stopped caring for her much… that could all change when I listen to Buono!2 though. Yurina hasn’t made a huge impact on me yet, I’m sure she will at some point, she must’ve before but I forgot. Momoko is the only one that annoys me – she IS NOT CUTE. That pinky is calling for me to break it!!! O-O erm… sorry about that. A bit harsh. But yeah, she overplays it and it comes off as fake and I just don’t want to see that when I’ m enjoying a video or something. I can just about stand her in Buono! (Ah merry-go-round notwithstanding).

THE ACTUAL ALBUM CHAT

Akogare MY STAR is a bit samey. There I’ve said it. SAMEY. The only thing I feel that it offers me is an okay amount of cheesy genki tracks. And then some… rap? There’s more chore to it than charm in my opinion and so many missed opportunity I’m almost prepared to tear my hair out. Maimi gets an awesome song… but why couldn’t that be a group song? Seishun Song would be the most kick-ass concert song but noooo, it’s a solo. I still really like it but it’s not a good idea when the other girls -minus Airi- get loaded with pretty dull songs which won’t have much to offer an audience really, at home or in the arena. Why do I feel that this paragraph is turning out to be more aggressive than I wanted it to be? It doesn’t thrill me, that’s the thing and while, Yes I can enjoy the songs on their own, but as a continuous play it’s too much (or should I say too little) for me. It’s predictable and it doesn’t really offer me much that I wasn’t expecting and that’s really it

5(FIVE) only just wins by about three album tracks that I was actually impressed with. There was more than a modicum of time where I felt disconcertingly surprised by what I was hearing. For a start Happy! Stand Up hit with a rich electronic disco sound – maybe I haven’t tried hard enough but I hadn’t heard anything like that from Berryz before. Baka ni Shinai de was the same  but Ah Merry-go-round slammed me to the floor in shock. Momoko and Saki, two very contradictory voices, coming together to sing an R’n’B ballad and pulling it off without a hitch. That I would never have been conciously waiting  for. And REAL LOVE was a Risako solo that no-one could really pick huge wholes in. What fails the album (apart from the not-mentioned album tracks) is the replay value of the non-single song. While akogare MY STAR doesn’t strike immediately, 5(FIVE) did but then lost its steam and to some extent that’s more disappointing than not liking an album much in the first place.

I don’t even know what this post was in aid of but I hope you found it interesting, although you may have just shaved off minutes of your life that could have been spent doing something productive, like… curing cancer?
Well, in order to not leave this at a crossroads I’ll try and take some conclusions from this post;

  • The later I write a post the less sense I make.
  • I like Berryz Koubou’s music more than C-ute’s… For now.
  • akogare MY STAR was expected, reliable, therfore musically boring.
  • 5(FIVE) was a bit of a punch in the face on some songs.
  • I need to write about Dakishimete Dakishimete
  • I reeeeeallly like tangents and block paragraphs
  • I really need practice writing personal posts

Have a good day.

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