Ok, so I’m a bit late with this. The single has been out for a while. I didn’t review it intially, since I’d already gotten my thoughts out there on One-Two-Three, which is the “main event” for this single, and typically I don’t really bother with most Morning Musume B-sides. There are hidden gems here and there, like Koi ING, but on the whole they’re usually lackluster.
Well, after having listened to all 3 B-sides and both A-sides, and giving them all a chance to really sink in, I really had a lot to say about the songs, the way they showcase the group, and how they demonstrate the abilities of the newer members, many of whom haven’t had much in the way of lines until now, so I decided to do a full review.
First off is One-Two-Three, and I’ll be very blunt with putting how I feel out there… This is one of the best tracks Morning Musume has ever put out for me. By this point everyone and their mother has heard the song and most have a pretty polarized opinion of it. Some love it, some hate it, some hate those who love it. I’m very firmly in the love category, although I can understand some of the “hate it” crowd because a lot of those that dislike this single have a general distaste for autotune, which is plentiful in this song. Myself, I like autotune sometimes, depending on the instance, and in this song I feel like it helps give it its sound.
Even if autotune lends a signature sound to this song, that’s still not one of the reasons I like it so much. What draws me to this song is the catchiness, there is something there in this song that flips the switch in my brain, the switch that makes me go from “Ok, I like this”, to “OMG I LOVE THIS PUT IT ON REPEAT FOREVER”. If I ever get brain surgery I’ll be sure to have them get a picture of this switch, as I am sure it exists. Every once in a while a song will come out that hits that switch, and BAM!, I’m in full on head-over-heels love with a song. One-Two-Three hits it, and nothing, not the at-times excessive autotune, bad line distribution, or overly sparkle-tastic PV can make me feel any different.
Moving on from One-Two-Three, we have The Matenrou Show, which is supposed to be the 2nd A-side. I thought Morning Musume had the concept of a double-A-side down with Kono Chikyuu[…]/Kare to Issho ni[…], where both songs had PVs, and were given attention, and were A-side material in general, but they prove me wrong with this. My (first) problem with The Matenrou Show is that it has no business being an A-side, when it was so over-shadowed by One-Two-Three. It got no promo, no PV, nothing, and after hearing the song… I don’t understand why they didn’t just give up and call it a B-side. That’s basically what it is.
As an A-side, The Matenrou Show disappoints me. The sound has potential, in that H!P-does-disco way. Right from the beginning, this song sounds like it was made for Berryz’ discography, somewhere around Ryuusei Boy and Shining Power, or maybe Heroine ni Narou ka. I daresay I’d have liked it as a Berryz song much better, too, because it doesn’t do much for me as a Morning Musume song. It doesn’t “catch” me like One-Two-Three did, it’s just kind of OK, and that makes this a tough pill to swallow after having liked the previous track so much. Also, at the risk of repeating what many bloggers have already vented about, the line distribution is ridiculous. Reina and Riho may be the two new leads for Morning Musume, but if you’re only going to let those two sing, why have a 10-member group? There’s literally nothing but unison lines for everyone else, and that’s just frustrating.
If The Matenrou Show were a B-side, I would call it decent in the grand scheme of B-sides, but as an A-side, it just does not cut it for me, not on any level.
Moving on to the actual B-sides, we have a really fun set-up for them this single, in that every generation got its own B-side, featuring only the members of that generation. I think this is a fantastic idea on many levels – first off it’s good for sales, as many fans are going to buy one copy of each to get all 3 B-sides, second, it gives the girls who otherwise don’t get to sing a chance at lines, and third, it gives us fans more songs to listen to. It’s win-win-win! I hope they do things like this on a more regular basis!
Anyway, the 6th generation song is Watashi no Jidai, featuring Reina and Sayumi. I wasn’t expecting a fun, almost rocking song from these two. Reina gets so many lines these days that I was afraid I’d hate hearing her on yet another song, and then Sayu has never been a good singer, so I didn’t think I’d end up liking this song, but I actually did. Sayu still can’t sing, for the record, but she mostly keeps from outright hurting my ears like she used to when she first joined, so I can deal. Reina actually sounds fantastic in this song, and the way she sang reminded me of how she is one of my favorite Morning Musume vocalists, when she’s trying.
I liked it, but out of the 3 B-sides, Watashi no Jidai was my least favorite, not because it was bad, but because I liked the other two so much, surprisingly…
The 9th gen B-side is AISARETAINONI, sung by the lovely Kanon, Riho, Erina, and Mizuki, and I love it. This is a song that sounds right to be the B-side for One-Two-Three, its dance beat makes it go really well with it. And, at last, we have some quality voice-time with the 9th gen girls besides just Riho! I was so thrilled to hear the song open with Kanon, and actually feature her quite heavily. She seems to have gotten at least as many lines as Riho, which makes me super happy. Also making me super happy is Mizuki, the girl that has somehow snuck up on me as one of my favorites in the group recently. I’ve really come to like her personality (it’s just taken longer to get to know her, since she’s less “out-there” than girls like Kanon or Haruka), and her singing voice is one of the best in the group. Her lines in this sound great, but I wish she had gotten longer lines to sing, as a lot of them are either short or split with Erina. Erina, for what it’s worth, has improved a lot since joining the group and it’s evident in most of her lines in this song. She’s still the weakest of her gen vocally, but she isn’t painful or anything, which is good.
AISARETAINONI was a great song for me, as a way to hear the three often vocally shafted girls, and just on its own as a cool and catchy song. Definitely recommended.
That brings us to 10th generation’s song, Seishun Domannaka, sung by Ayumi, Haruka, Masaki, and Haruna. This song actually brings back memories of how Morning Musume used to sound, around 4th-5th generation. It reminds me of songs like Ii Koto Aru Kinen no Shunkan, or Hey! Mirai… This is the kind of sound I really miss hearing from Momusu, so I was really happy to hear a song that brought it back. I love Morning Musume’s “cooler” sound, but I like something happy and cute sometimes too, and this fit the bill.
Vocals are less solid than the 9th gen song, but there were some pleasant surprises in them. Masaki. I don’t know how it has happened. I didn’t even like you at first at your audition – it wasn’t until the very last training camp episode that I decided I did like you and wanted you in the group. Even then, I thought you would not be one of my favorites. How very wrong I was. Her vocals are some of the best in her generation and intensely cute. Just like her adorable little personality. I love Masaki in this song. I also love Haruka, whose voice manages to pull off sounding husky and cute at the same time. She is also one of my very favorites in Morning Musume, along with Masaki, at the moment. These two really made the song for me. I’d like to hear them sing the leads on some of the A-sides, it would be a nice change from the Reina/Riho show.
Ayumi and Haruna are the weaker ones, but aren’t unbearable… Ayumi isn’t off-key, but her voice isn’t quite pleasant yet. I think she’ll get there soon with some training though. Haruna… Well, she’s weak, but there’s something inexplicably likeable about the girl, that even when she’s clearly the worst vocalist in the group, I can’t not love her. She’ll get better, and until then, she’s still likeable, so I forgive her.
Take that, The Matenrou Show. You got blown away by all 3 B-sides. And you call yourself an A-side? Psh.
That about wraps it up for this single. Morning Musume’s next single has already been announced, although no details are available yet. I’m very excited at what it could end up being, considering the caliber of all the songs on this single. Here’s hoping!