Morning Musume – Shouganai Yumeoibito
Morning Musume’s 39th Single “Shouganai Yumeoibito” is released two months after their 9th original studio album, and once again keeps the girls well within the melancholy of youth while developing their more mature image.
The days when Morning Musume sang about Mysterious Islands and cheerful up beat melodies has past, the the 5th – 8th remaining members are firmly placing themselves as the moody generation. Onna ni Sachi Are, Resonant Blue and Nai Chau Kamo have set the tone of this group, especially as Pepper Keibu and Mikan haven’t fared as well in sales, and finally the girls have reached a plateau of maturity in a video and song which fuel their current image.
However, I can’t help but feel the song hasn’t struck any form of originality or progress with the band, with the exception of making lyric distribution fairer. It lacks the ability to stand out, and after an amazing album, and I’m slightly disappointed with this offering. It is a song that takes a few listens to grow on you, but in comparison to what both C-ute and Berryz are doing, there’s a certain lack of – well – energy.
Maybe I’m being too mean… I was expecting something a little more cheerful and upbeat from this single, and although this failed to materialise, it’s not a terrible song, just not one of their strongest. Arrangement wise, the song benefits from less synths, something I’ve been complaining about a lot lately – guitar and violin are present, and despite it’s almost ballad like feel, the song can hold concentration. Vocals are great (with the exception of a few weak links) and each girl is given her moment to shine – which is very, very pleasing – although overall they’re still relying on Ai and Reina to pull the song through.
And considering all this, I can see what Morning Musume, or rather Tsunku, is trying to do. With AKB48, Idoling!!! and Perfume now scoring impressive Oricon sales, Morning Musume have to have a unique feature about them, which is now becoming their maturer image. The PV demonstrates this beautifully – gone are the bright, garish outfits, and have been replaced by every day clothes, a university setting and relatively little dance-shot. It is an utterly refreshing change, and makes listening to the song a little more pleasing. The girls look very mature in the PV – Reina and Aika especially strike me – and Risa looks phenomenal!
I’ve said time and time again on countless forums how MM are now going to have to start to sell their other members to the public – namely the stunning, great dancer, Eri Kamei along with 8th gen Aika Mitsui. Although I think breaking stability in the group would be silly at the moment – with their US debut, Elder Club graduation, lack of outstanding singers and floundering popularity in the mainstream, Morning Musume is the “revolving door girl group” and can’t rely on Ai to be there forever. In fact, the video reminds me quite a lot of AKB48’s recent attempts of video making, but in a more mature way – less dance, more looking at pretty girls for long periods!
So, I love the PV, but I’m in two minds about the song. It will probably grow on me, if not tomorrow, maybe in a few weeks / months / years time. Just because a song is released now, doesn’t mean I have to like ti right now!
Shouganai Yumeoibito is released on the 13th of May and c/w 3, 2, 1 Breakin’ Out (The theme for Anime Expo)