Yeah, I’m still alive and still head over heels for idols. I haven’t written here in a very long time, but I’d really like to get back into it. I was reminded the other day from the wonderful Nia of Nia’s Wonderland that there are people out there that might read and enjoy the blog, and besides, opinions are so much more fun when they’re expressed instead of tucked away inside to never be spoken of.
Yeah, that’s probably what I have really missed about blogging… I have nobody to talk to about what I like without it. I’m an American female in my early 30s, it’s not exactly the demographic the Japanese idol industry caters to, and finding anyone in real life that shares my interest is a lost cause. Without blogging on the internet, all I can do is think what I think, to myself. Expressing myself and possibly introducing others with similar interests to things I’ve fallen in love with is certainly preferable to that.
There has been too much going on to make a separate post for everything, so I’ll just go through a few things that I’ve been thinking recently for some groups I like, and hopefully just pick up with recent releases from here on out. It might be a little longer between updates at first, since my beloved netbook has deteriorated to the point where I can only sometimes load a webpage (unless it has enbedded youtube clips or ads, which will cause it to instantaneously crash…). Until I can afford a new laptop I’ll be sneaking time in on the desktop as I can, so bear with me.
Anyway. Onto the idol stuff!! And there is a lot of it, so be prepared for a long article.
Let’s start with Momoiro Clover Z, because I’m biased in their favor, and yet not completely won over by something for once (holy shit that’s a first)!
Momoclo had a stellar year last year for me, with 3 official singles that ranged from good to so awesome I can’t even summarize it in words. Mouretsu was beyond fantastic. Otome Sensou was, for me, extremely good, even if it had a mixed reception with others. Saraba was good, although my least favorite of the year, it was still solid. They also had a 4th single which wasn’t under their name, but was still 100% them, Nippon Egao Hyakkei, which was super fun and brought back the craziness reminicent of Nippon Banzai and Wani to Shampoo. The girls even achieved their goal of Kouhaku. It almost couldn’t have been better, when they announced their 2nd album, 5th Dimension.
That’s where it gets a little iffy for me.
The first song released from 5th Dimension, Neo Stargate, impressed me. I absolutely love the music video, the dance bit towards the end, the verses, and every time Kanako sings I basically die of happiness, I can’t explain my irrational love for her singing, but it just does it for me. The refrain was weak, even I’ll admit that, but the rest of the song was so strong, with such a cool concept video and very “out there” costumes and all that. I was soooo excited, and then Birth 0 Birth came out, followed by the rest of the album…. and it kinda killed the party.
Now, I really don’t feel like I have given the album enough of a chance. I’ve listened to it like 1.5 times – computer issues, especially with multimedia, were the initial cause of that, but at this point I just haven’t set aside time to listen to it again because I didn’t really feel a connection to any of the songs on it, aside from Neo Stargate and the already released singles. I felt like the whole album, aside from the singles, didn’t feel Momoclo enough. It was a coherent and consistent album, it flowed and there was nothing overtly WRONG with it, but maybe that was the issue for me. Mouretsu was amazing. Otome Sensou still another favorite of mine. Saraba and Roudou Sanka, good songs, not bad. Neo Stargate, I also really liked, but as a one-off. I like one song sounding like Neo Stargate, I don’t like many of them sounding like that.
I guess what came to mind most after hearing the album was: “There were no Wani to Shampoo’s!”. Meaning… When Battle and Romance came out, there were many songs, but Wani to Shampoo sticks out in particular, where it was instant, uncontrollable, love for the song. The song instantly grabbed me, made me pay attention, and you know, even if I hadn’t liked it, I wouldn’t have forgotten it, because it was memorable and stood out. This album wasn’t like that. I have forgotten. 1.5 times I listened to it, and I couldn’t recall a single melody save the 5 songs I had heard previously.
I haven’t given up on 5th Dimension yet. I’m sure if I listen to it more and really give it a chance I will find things I like about it. Maybe even hidden gems I didn’t notice the first time. I’m just saying that as of the first or so listen, it’s no Battle And Romance, and aside from the singles it’s lacking in zaniness even if it’s got some edginess to the look of it. I just don’t want my favorite group to lose the thing that sets them apart. I’m going to give 5th Dimension another shot and hopefully be mad at myself for not giving it enough of a chance before knocking it, but for the moment, although I don’t hate it or anything, I’m not really that pleased with the direction it went in.
Onto the Morning Musume, the group that managed to win back someone teetering on the edge of not being a fan anymore, into a very happy and enthused fan!
I love current Musume. OK, yeah, the electro pop sound is being milked at this point. I still like it, and more than that, I really like this group of girls. I feel like now, Morning Musume has lost everyone that made it go stale, and that the fresh blood has really revived them. Masaki, the adorable weirdo, is probably my favorite right now, but Kudou is only slightly behind her, and when they’re together it’s even better. I’ve lost a lot of interest in Kanon, so I hope she can regain some of that nuttiness that I liked so much when she first joined. The big surprise for me is how much I’ve grown to love Mizuki. She never interested me before but little by little she grew on me, mostly through little things like stories of her saving fanmail and how much she just loves Hello Project. She’s also what I would consider the beauty of the group, and yet I never get the impression from her that she’s a show off or stuck up, which I really like. Her voice is also really pretty! Sakura is someone I’ll have my eye on as well. Her vocal talent, if properly grown and trained, could be incredible. I’ve seen people say she’ll be the next Takahashi… More like the next Goto, if she lives up to her potential, in my opinion. Well, I mean vocally – I don’t think she’ll ever have Maki’s Sexy, but whatever.
Other H!P has me bored, like C-ute, Berryz and now S/mileage… Yeah, even though I love Meimi and Kanon, I really can’t get behind new S/mileage, they just very rarely do anything for me anymore. Berryz and Cute, well, it’s always been like that for me. Sometimes they come out with something great, the rest of the time, I just wish it were Buono pumping out the singles instead.
Oh, but there is some fresh meat juice… Juice=Juice, please continue to be as awesome in future singles as your first 2 have been, because you are just what I’ve been wanting in H!P since S/mileage was spoiled. 6 girls with enough talent to sound good now, but room to grow to be great. Some familiar faces finally getting a chance to shine in Karin, Sayuki and Aina, some brand new talent in Yuka, Akari and Tomoko. All of them have their own charms to them, but I’m really partial to Aina and Tomoko thus far. I’ll be following this group and hope they become an integral part of Hello! Project, I really like them so far.
Fairies….. Ah, I’ve grown so bored with them since Beat Generation. Actually, I liked Tweet Dream too, so maybe since then. I don’t know, they just haven’t grabbed me. I kinda hope they do stuff I like again because I was really enjoying them for a while there, before things got boring.
There are more that I’d talk about, but I think I’ll leave it off there for now, as far as current stuff goes. I’ve actually been listening to a lot of older loves of mine recently since my computer sucks, which makes me want to write all about how much I loved ZONE and BeForU and Goto Maki solo stuff, but maybe another time. Because I think I am going to keep writing again. :)