Category Archives: Single / PV

Reviews of singles (including PVs if applicable). Only concerns the A side tracks.

C-ute – Momoiro Sparkling

I’m a little confused by C-ute. Their last few singles have shown a move towards a more mature image, yet all of a sudden, they come out with fluffy, ubeat “Momoiro Sparkling“.

To be honest, from the reactions people were having to the song, I was expecting it to be a regression of the girls, but instead, I was nicely surprised. A bright, airy summer PV, traditional H!P backing vocals (it sounds like tsunku and Atsuko Inaba although as her contract with UFA has ended it probably isn’t) and… equal line distribution – in C-ute?! For me it’s always been a fact of life that C-ute was the Airi and Maimi show, but to see and hear so much of Nakky, Chisa and MaiMai is great!

As people have said, this single is a bit of a departure from their previous singles. Since Dance de BAKOON! C-ute have been pushing hard towards a sexier image, which really worked for them. But, although I can understand many fans’ disappointment, I’m glad that they can still put Maimai in some dungaree shorts, let the girls play with water-guns and inflatable balls and still pull it off. I think all the girls are wearing fantastic costume choices, and those killer heels still give all 5 girls an element of maturity. I especially love Chiasato in this PV. She’s really starting to stand out, in a very good way, in C-ute – and her hair and outfit are adorable.

For once, the main problem with this song isn’t the PV, the vocals, the balance or even the arrangement of the song. It’s that the song just isn’t very catchy. The chorus just doesn’t draw you in enough, there are no real hooks to the song, making the track forgettable.

Overall though, I love this PV, and the song does grow on you. H!P have seemed to perfect the “budget PV” (although I’d ask for your money back for those pink CGI bubbles) and regardless of making comparisons to other groups it’s a cracking effort from C-ute, going in a different direction to their usual one.

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Morning Musume – Seishun Collection (Radio Preview)

It’s very difficult to judge a track when it sounds, almost identical, to another track – ans sadly Seishun Collection sounds like an upbeat version of Nanchatte Renai, which sounded like a fast-paced Shouganai Yume Oibito (maybe it’s the violins!). So as I yawn and listen to this track, and put on my sunglasses to look at the… intresting costumes, I’m stuck to actually pull up an opinion on the track. This is the MM formatic approach, but you can’t really fault them for it – it’s responsible for getting them their 1st number 1 in three years and the highest selling single of the 2007-2009 9-nin format. It’s just a shame that the song still isn’t packing the punch which I’m waiting for from them – but sadly I’m starting to feel that MM are going past the point of revitalizing their pop career as they focus on stage plays, photobooks and blogs.  The PV previews has seemed a little lacking as well.  It’s MM’s turn for an outside PV where they seem to be dancing on a football pitch for no particular reason.

The only satisfaction I’m pulling from this at the moment, other that the bizarre costumes which at least have put some colour into the girls, is that I can hear Lin Lin’s vocals more predomently than before.  Roll on the PV so I can moan a bit more!

C-ute – Campus Life ~ Umarete Kita Yokatta

It’s no big secret that C-ute aren’t really up there in my favourites out of the H!P groups – and not due to their own fault.  As I said when I reviewed their 5th album, they’ve had a pretty turbulent 2009, and had a “SHOCK”ing start to 2010 with one of their worst selling singles.

But lets wipe the slate clean, and look at Campus Life ~ Umarete Kita Yokatta (which translates into “Campus Life – I’m glad I was born”), a fresh new PV and track, which, although still Maimi and Airi dependent, gives the others a fair chance to actually sing some solo lines.  Excellent, you’ve taken a tip from the amazing Berryz Kobo, this is already looking good.  In fact, I read somewhere that the PV is more like a AKB48 PV and hence why some fans like it more – but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves yet – although the PV is a vast improvement, there’s still some way for C-ute to go.

The song is, for a start, is more in line with the style the group have been putting out with the album tracks of their 5th album – C-ute, less synths and a nice spread of vocals.  Okay, C-ute is always about Airi and Maimi, and they still have the leads, but it’s nice to see the other three gets a few lines.  Fast tempo and light-hearted, I wouldn’t exactly put it in the easy-listening category, but it’s a lot less inoffensive to the ears than some previous singles which have proved to be an accustomed taste in some cases (e.g. SHOCK and BYE BYE BYE).

Outdoor PVs are always a preference of mine as there’s no rough CGI on garish green/blue screens.  Once again, fans are drawing comparison to Morning Musume‘s “Shouganai Yumeoibito“, however, the carefree nature of it reminds me more of “Tomadachi ni tomodachi nan da yo!” by Berryz.  The dance segments also feature bizzare yet cute matching costumes which I love, as they don’t make the girls look loli, but keep them looking cute.  However, what really grabbed me about the PV, and gave me a lot more empathy for C-ute was the girls acting and messing about – being teenage girls – the sceen with MaiMai and Chisato playing catch is a particular favourite of mine – it’s nice to see a bit of personality in these H!P videos for once, rather than pouting (although from the looks of all the single covers, they’ve overdone it a bit there).

One quite irritating thing is the over-obvious product placement.  It looks like Apple have bought Hello! Project’s souls in exchange for a few iPhones, and I’m sure I’m seeing more obvious focus of that than anything else in the video.  However, if it gives the girls a bit more cash to put towards making slightly better PVs, I’ll put up with it.

The Verdict? C-ute are obviously back on a path which is more fitting for them after a few previous hick-ups.  The song is a vast improvement on quite a few of their previous singles, but whether it will pull their sales up is another thing.  There’s a lot of competition out there for idols at the moment, and wota only have so much money to spread about.  Although I like this single it’s not as catchy as I would have hoped, but hopefully it will sell a little more than SHOCK and give the girls a little more confidence.

Morning Musume – 3, 2, 1 Breakin Out

shouganai-yumeoibito Well here’s a surprise, and a very nice one at that.  Morning Musume have released their own PV for 3, 2, 1 Breakin Out.  While some fans are left a little angry that their “ideas” were stolen, others are welcoming the change to the usual Hello! Project PV storyboard, with something that’s a bit more fresh and fun, regardless of whether the PV was created before or after the competition for LA Expo began.

All this aside, whoever wins is getting paid, and all the clips belonged to H!P to start with – so really these arguments do seem a little null and void.  I suppose for once, in a very direct way, H!P were asking what their fans wanted, and considering the number of unsolicited OPVs on youtube, we shouldn’t complain.

Back on topic, the PV is a mesh of colours, using the clips of all 9 members on the original green-screen which was provided for the OPV contest, dancing, having fun, and dressed in…. well rather odd ensembles, which isn’t that weird for Morning Musume, considering some of the tat they wore on their Resonant Live tour.  For the sake of the PV, the costumes are awesome, but if I ever saw someone wearing what Aika was, I’d cross to the other side of the road.  Risa and Lin Lin’s hair styles also aren’t that flattering, but now I’m really being very picky at things I needn’t be!

The main reason why I prefer this PV is that it’s slightly reminiscent of the earlier Morning Musume PVs, and is definitely a change from the current format (dance shot, close up, moody poses, etc.).  Bright colours, fun back drops and an interesting dance routine as well as lots of “play acting” between members.  In fact, it’s almost like a Mini Moni PV.

Hopefully, H!P have learnt some valuable lessons from the 3, 2, 1 Breakin Out competition, and with the recent annoucement of the revival of many old units such as Tanpopo, V-U-DEN, Petit Moni and Mini Moni, it seems that maybe a new era is dawning for H!P.  Viva subunits!  Just bring back the summer shuffles now!

Morning Musume – Shouganai Yumeoibito

shouganai-yumeoibitoMorning 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.

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