On the latest Hello! Station, the dance shot to Ai no Gundan (Army of Love) was shown! It starts at about 1:58 on their Youtube channel here. Ai no Gundan is set to be one A-side to Morning Musume’s next single, and since it’s a full length dance shot, that also means it’s a full length, good quality song preview, showing us exactly what’s in store for Morning Musume’s upcoming release. Hooray!
Morning Musume is doing exactly what I want them to do lately. They’ve re-cemented themselves as my second favorite currently-releasing idol group (after Momoclo of course), since they were revitalized with new blood and a new sound. By this point we’ve had quite a few singles in this style, starting around Ren’ai Hunter and picking up momentum and exposure with One Two Three. By the time Brainstorming hit, I was still really enjoying it, but with a twinge of worry, only because the songs, while all very good in my opinion, did sound very similar – using similar instruments and even having some similar melodies here and there.
Ai no Gundan takes that RoboMusume style, and puts a fresh spin on it with some different instrumentation (do I hear horns?), and manages a stylish song that is cohesive with the recent discography in style, while not sounding too much like any of the previously released songs. Hooray again!
The one fault I will give this song is that I don’t find it quite as catchy straight-away, like I did with songs like Ren’ai Hunter, One Two Three, and Brainstorming. I wouldn’t say this song is as strong as those, intially at least. However, it’s quite possible that this song will be more of a grower for me. Help Me was like that, I wasn’t really won over by it at first, but it grew on me enormously and I absolutely love it now. I already like Ai no Gundan (and can feel the “honto? honto?” part worming its way into my brain as I type this), so I wouldn’t be surprised if a few weeks from now I play it obsessively. Who knows with my brain, though.
One of the things I really loved about this song was the fact that Masaki is pretty much the lead of the song! Masaki is probably my favorite Musume right now, and I adore her singing, so having her land so many lines made me super happy. Riho is very present as well, but not overwhelmingly so. Mizuki has a strong presence in this one, and her pretty voice is a standout in the group for me, so I’m happy to see her get a push vocally. Sakura’s in there, maybe not enough for the powerhouse she is… But what she has, she rocks. RoboSayu also makes an expected appearance. Autotune is all she’s good for vocally anyway, so that works.
Unsurprisingly, aside from those members, the others get next to no lines. Some girls have nothing but background vocals, and no solo lines at all. It’s understandable with a group this size, but it is a shame that some of the girls haven’t gotten their vocal push in any singles yet. I don’t quite understand why Haruka, who sings well and seems to be decently popular, never gets any lines in the A-sides and only gets to sing on the B-sides. Ah well. There’s always going to be something to complain about, right? I still like the song regardless.
The outfits are probably my favorites since One Two Three has come out. I love the military-esque details and the different styles of outfits on the girls, which all looked like they belonged together, but kept them from all looking the exact same. They’re very flattering on all the girls, but I think my favorite style is the one with the shorts, like what Haruka has on. All of them look great, though!
The last thing I wanted to talk about was how much I really liked the dance. This is an all-out arms fest. I’m sure there’s a horrible pun regarding arms and this being “Army of love” but… The arm movements are the staple of this dance, and it makes it very distinctive, as well as visually engaging. The whole song, I was fixated on watching how they moved, almost to the point of not paying any attention to who was doing what, just watching the whole mess of them moving their arms. The gimmick of having the girls that are currently singing holding their arm up is a little odd, though. Feels a little like they’re trying to get the teacher to call on them in class or something… But regardless, I really liked watching this dance. It was cool enough to warrant multiple plays just to watch it.
Overall, I’m definitely a fan of Morning Musume’s latest. It’s fun to listen to and to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing the full PV, as well as getting a preview of the other A-side to this double header!