Archive for June, 2010

Jun 25 2010

Rrrrr

Published by under Momusu

My new pet peeve:

People who can’t tell the difference between criticism and bashing.

I say that I don’t like many of C-ute’s recent singles, and I get comments like, “You and your blog both suck, you C-ute hater!!” . Noooo. When did I ever say “I hate C-ute”? Never, because I don’t!

I criticize AKB’s constant lipsyncing, and I get comments like, “Since you clearly hate AKB so much, you obviously are lying about living in Japan and seeing their shows, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I’ve just got to roll my eyes at that one, but it makes me angry because no one likes being called a liar. Suddenly the conversation went from discussion of AKB to a personal attack. Now, I could prove my point. I have ample evidence that I live in Japan and have attended idol concerts. I also have plenty of evidence that Morning Musume always sings live  at their concerts(microphone recordings, mistakes like getting the lyrics wrong or forgetting a line, the fact that you can hear their voices cracking when they’re crying while singing, plus plain old “it’s really not that hard to tell”) But I won’t fight back at the forum anymore, because I know that the person in question is only prepared to face reasoned debate with sarcasm and insults, and there’s just no arguing with someone like that.

Turns out it’s possible to be a fan of a group and still not like every single aspect of every thing they do. There’s a difference between saying, “That group sucks!” and “I don’t like this about that group”.

But the internet is full of angry people who would much rather sling poo than talk things out, and so is the whole world for that matter. The more emotionally attached to something people get, be it political ideals or an idol fandom, the more difficult intelligent debate becomes. Giant squids of anger! Blaaarg!!! If you don’t get the reference, just ignore this part

Meh. Anyway, it’s my blog and I felt the need to rant a bit. Hope you don’t mind. Part 2 of the Live top 100 project won’t be out for a few weeks, because I need a performance that can only be found in the 10myme concert DVD, and that hasn’t been released yet.

DFTBA,

~Celestia~

10 responses so far

Jun 24 2010

Live Singing

I’ve finished part one of my redone top 100 project! Now with all live performance clips, easier to read titles, new songs, lots of changes in ranking especially in the bottom half, and more! Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make the original version with live performances. I just find them so much more interesting to watch.  So first,  the video, then some musing about live singing, so stick around for that if you’re interested. IMHO, it’s some of my better blogging.

I’m at 64,000 video views now. I’m hoping to hit 100,000 with completion of this latest project. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Recently, I’ve been wondering why it is that I dislike lipsyncing so much. I mean, idols are entertainers first, singers second (acting, modeling, or other things might also rank above singing), and I realize that many of them just can’t sing very well. And singing while dancing is hard! I know it is. You get out of breath, you’re trying to concentrate on the dance moves at the same time as you’re trying to control your voice, the stage lights are hot, and the crowd is loud and distracting. Far from ideal conditions to produce the best possible sound. Try it. You’d be surprised how difficult it is. So yes, lipsyncing often sounds “better”. And shouldn’t I prefer listening to better singing?

There’s no way to discuss this topic without bringing up AKB again. See, I’ve heard AKB fans actually criticize h!p for not lipsyncing, saying that it’s better to focus on one task at a time so you don’t do both of them half-assed. But, all that said, I still hate the fact that AKB lipsyncs most of the time. In fact, if they switched to mostly live singing, I’d probably consider becoming a fan of theirs. The lipsyncing is the one major barrier standing in the way of that, and I just can’t get around it.  It’s not because I think it proves their inferiority as singers or anything like that. It’s really that I flat out don’t enjoy watching a lipsynced performance as much as I enjoy watching a live one.

I think the major problem is that in a live performance, a girl can put the emotion she is feeling into her voice. She can reflect the energy of the crowd and her excitement and joy at being on stage. She can really “get into” a song in a way that she can’t in the recording studio. With a lipsynced performance, though her dancing and expressions might say she’s totally feeling it, her voice will have been recorded in a calm studio environment. That mismatch just feels off to me as a viewer. It’s frustrating when I watch a girl giving 100% with her performance, but the energy level in her voice is stuck at 50%.

Another big issue is the “sameyness” of every performance. Every nuance is the same. There are no bad performances, but there are also no extraordinary performances. I can’t get excited because, “Wow! So-and-so sounded great on that solo line tonight!” because she always sounds exactly the same every time. And when AKB performs the same stage for over a year, and every time a girl opens her mouth to sing a certain solo line, it sounds just as she recorded it over a year ago, it honestly just gets boring. I don’t mind watching the same song performed multiple times if it’s actually a different performance.

And lipsyncing removes the pleasure of seeing your favorite idols struggle and improve, at least in the vocal category. And even if singing is not the main point of being an idol, it’s still an important one. If a girl messes up on a line, I can forgive her, especially if she totally nails it the next time. That’s part of why we cheer for idols, isn’t it? Because they’re not perfect, and we love them anyway. Lipsyncing removes the risk of excruciatingly bad singing, but it also takes away the opportunity for “shivers down your back” heart-touching singing. The kind of experience you have as an audience member knowing that that music you are hearing has been created once, in this moment, and it will never exist in the same way again. Imagine if LinLin’s fantastic solo version of Aozora had been lipsynced. Could it have still had the same impact? I’d say definitely not.

End of musing.

Now if there are any AKB fans out there bristling with defensiveness, don’t try to tell me AKB doesn’t lipsync their shows. I’ve been to a couple of them. I’ve seen many LODs, and in recent times, live singing is very much the exception, not the rule. Really, I don’t know why they don’t drop the farce and do it “PV style”. No microphones. They’d have another arm free for dancing! And yes, I realize that MM lipsyncs occasionally too. But in their case, it’s lipsyncing that’s the exception. Live singing is the rule. And I have also heard the argument that AKB performs so much that singing live all the time would be too much strain on their voices. I find that hard to buy, but even if that is truly the case, how about singing live at least half the time? Even just singing the solo and duet lines live would be a major improvement. I don’t believe that AKB lipsyncs because they are terrible singers, at least not by idol standards. They do it because it’s safe. It’s predictable and controllable, and that’s how management likes things. However, by taking that route, I believe they are doing the fans, and the girls themselves, a great disservice.

Thoughts?

~Celestia~

33 responses so far

Jun 19 2010

New(ish) Project! Yay!

Published by under Momusu

I’ve decided what to do for my youtube channel! (55 subscribers, oh my). I am going to redo my Top 100 countdown using all live performance footage (unless none exists), with new songs added, and the order rearranged to reflect my current tastes.

See, I was watching my videos, and I noticed that I tend to enjoy the live clips more than the PV clips. Also, I keep getting comments like “SONG should be higher!” and I’m thinking “Yes! I agree with you now! Oh why didn’t I rank that song higher?”

So that’s what I’m working on. Hope it turns out well.

~Celestia~

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Jun 19 2010

Team B, Oshi?

Published by under Momusu

Today was swelteringly humid, not ideal conditions for working in an airconditioningless elementary school all day and then rushing off to a Team B show, but I managed. And I didn’t even get lost this time! Thanks CK! I ended up one seat to the right of where I was last time, so almost dead center, with a great view of the middle of the stage.

Overall, I have to say that I liked Team K’s new stage much better than this one. I think the biggest reason for that is the dancing. Team K are just much better dancers, on average, and they have much more interesting dances. As a dancer myself, that’s a very important part of the performance for me. Team B’s dances were mostly simple, and the whole stage much more unpolished. There were some good songs, but there were less songs I liked in B5 than in K6. On the up side, I did like B5 a lot better than B4, or K5 for that matter.

First, my impressions of some of the girls.  Kasai Tomomi was absent tonight.

Ishida Haruka- I don’t why, but she really just seems like a h!p girl to me. I guess it’s her quirky sort of cuteness. I could totally see her in S/mileage or something.

Kitahara Rie- Has very full lips. Also, she seems to be one of team B’s better dancers, and I’ll like her for that reason alone.

Miyazaki Miho- Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. She’s not that pretty, and while I appreciate that she has a strong voice, sometimes it’s a bit too strong, bordering on harsh.

Sato Sumire- I think Sumire was just too young to make her debut when she auditioned for Morning Musume. Now, a few years later, she’s still cute as a button, but a little less rough around the edges. The timing wasn’t right for Momusu, but I’m glad she found a place in AKB.

Komori Mika- Constantly looks like she’s sleepwalking. I just wanted to go on stage and shake her until she wakes up.

Watanabe Mayu- Seems almost too much the “perfect idol”. I don’t like my idols to be so flawless.

Kashiwagi Yuki- She sure grew up nicely! I might pick her as one of my favorites from the team.

Sato Amina- Maybe it’s just me, but she looks kind of terrified on stage. Like, she’s loves performing, but she’s vibrating with tons of nervous energy. Her voice is… special, but I’d take her over one of the girls who’s so quiet you can barely hear her any day.

Sato Natsuki- She’s such a great singer/performer! How is she so unpopular?

Masuda Yuka- Seems very polished for such a bouncy team. I kind of want her to graduate and have a solo career.

And the rest of the girls I didn’t particularly notice. Sorry. Now for the songs!

Romance Kakurenbo- It’s not too bad a song I guess. I like the idea of a kenkyuusei solo because it gives us a good idea of how well each of them can sing, but I also don’t like the idea, because the girl singing it tonight kind of butchered the song, and it was not at all nice to listen to. I suspect most of the kenkyuusei can’t handle a solo song yet.

Yuuki no Hammer- Of all the possible themes I would expect of an idol song,  “mining” would be near the bottom of the list. The song itself is good and interesting. I like the pounding beat throughout. However, those costumes…. Blec! What do neon space raincoats have to do with mining? Not to mention that since they’re wearing them over two other costumes, even the skinniest girls look hefty.

Inseki no Kakuritsu- Thank God the space raincoats are gone. Some of the girls got a better deal on the red dress costumes than others though. A bunch of them have a strong “6-year-old’s pretty party frock” vibe. I really like the song though! It’s not a show-stopper, but it’s catchy. The whispering part at the end is the best part.

Ai no Stripper- Sounds dirtier than it is. The lyrics are about love stripping away your layers to reveal the real you, but if they’re going that way with it, why is Rie grinding on Yuka at the beginning? Alternatively, if they do want to play up the “stripper” thing, then why don’t they do the costume change during, or at the end of the song! They wait until the next song starts to rip off their costumes on stage. Seems like a waste of a golden opportunity. Oh, and the dance for this song is a mess. Most of the moves don’t go at all.

Theater no Megami- Costumes are cute but… there are a couple girls who I really think would be better off keeping their stomachs covered. Frankly, this is my least favorite group song of the whole stage. Shame, since it’s the title song. It’s just so blah and generic. There really isn’t anything in particular to like here.

Hatsukoi yo Konnichiwa- OMG FLUFFY! As for the song, it’s got that “idol classic” feel. I get that it’s nostalgic for a lot of Japanese people, but I personally have never enjoyed idol music from that era. I don’t hate the song, but it’s not going on my MP3 player either.

Arashi no Yoru ni wa- Finally, a good dance! This is definitely my favorite unit. Natsuki’s solo line is the highlight of the song. She has an amazing voice!

Candy- I think they got run over by an Easter parade. It should be nauseating, but somehow I love it. Yuki was cute, but I wish Kasai had been here tonight. After watching a LOD, I think she adds a lot of flirty sexiness to the song, and that no one else can provide. Yuka’s voice balances Amina’s perfectly in the chorus, so good call putting them together.

Locker Room Boy- The lacrosse rackets are a gimmicky attempt to make the song seem more interesting. They fail to do so.

Yokaze no Shiwaza- So. Fricking. Slow. There must be a law that idol solo ballads have to be sleep inducing. Nothing against Yuki and her voice though.

100Meter Conbini- Sounds like a DDR song. They’re hopping around and everything.  Left! Right! Jump! The costumes look exactly like Otome-gumi outfits though.

Suki suki suki- Filler filler filler. And has there ever been a less creative title? Well, it’s cute, and I enjoyed listening to it, but I won’t remember it. Except for that bizarre scurrying rocking thing. That was very very strange.

Sayonara no Kanashibari- Love it! I’m a sucker for a good harmony like the one on the “ugokenai” in the second part of the chorus. The verses are great too, and they build the tension nicely leading into the chorus.

Shiokaze no Shoukaijou- Aw. The costumes are so “let’s go pick wildflowers in a meadow!”. The song is about going to visit your grandparents who live by the seaside. It’s pleasant. Boring, but pleasant.

And after what feels like forever… the encore.

Honest Man- Tons of energy! Great way to start the encore. Mayu’s costume really stands out from the rest of them.

Team B Oshi- On the plus side, there’s lots of funny and interesting stuff going on. It’s great to watch! On the minus side, parts of it are really annoying to listen to. I could have definitely done without the AKB48! shouting. The song is catchy, but in an irritating to get stuck in your head sort of way. Wasshoi B had a lot more heart.

Bokutachi no Kamihikouki- A nice light song to end the stage. Why did the paper airplanes come out in pizza boxes though?? Of all the ways they could have gotten the airplanes, pizza boxes seemed like the best method?

My top 5 songs are: 1. Sayonara no Kanashibari  2. Arashi no Yoru ni wa  3. Candy (but only if Kasai is there)  4. Inseki no Kakuritsu  5. Honest Man

They also sang “Ponytail to Shushu” which, to be honest, pretty weak for an AKB single. I hope they’re not thinking “We’re popular enough now. The fans will buy the single even if it’s a rehashing of Iiwake Maybe, so no need to try to make them good anymore”.

And YES!!! High touch in the lobby! Somehow, idols all look smaller in person. When you see them on the screen, larger than life, it’s easy to forget that they’re just people too. Pretty people, but still people. More surprised and happy looks from lots of the girls to see a caucasian female among the fans. The high touch goes by so quickly! It’s all a blur! And since Tomoomi wasn’t there tonight, even if I do get into a Team A show, my dream of collecting high touches from all 48 girls is broken! =(

But yeah, it might not be a fair comparison, but  I still think H!p concerts are waaaay more fun than AKB shows.

~Celestia~

One response so far

Jun 12 2010

B Stuff

Published by under Momusu

So, looks like I won a ticket reservation for the new Team B show next Wednesday. Only one girl is scheduled to be absent, so while it’s not a full team show, it’s close. Two teams down, one to go!

Except I think I probably won’t be able to see Team A because their new show isn’t starting until mid-July (it was pushed back dang it), and I’m leaving Japan at the end of July, so unless I get incredibly lucky and win a ticket to one of the first couple shows, it ain’t gonna happen. Oh well. I’m not going to cry about it. By the way, is it just a matter of luck, getting tickets? Like, if you are a long time fan do you have a better chance? Or if you haven’t won in a while, do you have a better chance? I guess there would be no way to know if they were picking and choosing who they wanted to get into shows, would there?

Anyway, expect a review about team B sometime after Saturday, and wish me luck on not getting lost again.

~Celestia~

2 responses so far

Jun 06 2010

What to Do?

Published by under Personal

So, I was looking at my youtube page out, which I haven’t looked at for a while, and I noticed that I have 50 subscribers and almost 60,000 views on my videos….

I know, I’m a looooong way from youtube stardom, but understand that I was expecting my little top h!p songs project videos to get maybe 100 views each, max.  So, now more than ever I’m left feeling like I owe something to those 50 people who subscribed to me. I have been working on redoing all the videos to include new songs that have come out since I made them and rearrange the order to better reflect my current preference, but that’s mostly just more my benefit. Would people be interested if I posted those? It’s just, a lot of the content is the same as the previous videos, so I don’t know if it’s worth it, except for people who haven’t seen the previous videos yet. Should I make a parallel series with AKB songs or something? I already did Johnnies, and there aren’t any other Jpop categories that I know/like enough songs from. I could do a tribute video to Risa, though I usually don’t watch tribute videos myself because I find them to be corny.

And by the way, the majority of my video views are coming from within Japan, so that’s neat.

~Celestia~

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