New and Old: What Hello!Project Should Bring Back

If I’m a fan of anything in Hello!Project it’s old-school H!P. While I’m a fan of S/Mileage, C-ute and Ishida Ayumi right now, my #1 idol comes from the golden era of Morning Musume. However, even though it’s been over twelve years since Love Machine was released, we keep hearing it at every concert along with a couple of older songs they bring back. However, while I appreciate the Renai Revolution 21, Suki na Senpai, Hajimete no Happy Birthday and Baby Koi ni Knock Outs, there are a lot of gems in H!P history that have barely any concert performances. Thus here’s my (NOT all-inclusive) list of songs that current H!P should perform in concert, including who should perform them.

Girls Power, Aisuru Power


Originally By: Melon Kinenbi

I think Melon Kinenbi is kind of a hard sell for current H!P. Sure there are still performances of the ever popular (and justly so) This Is Unmei and Saa! Koibito ni Narou, but I seriously doubt I’ll see Amai Anata no Aji (first single) or Champagne no Koi in the setlists anytime soon. I’m hardly a die hard Melon Kinenbi fan (though Murata Megumi was one of my favorite H!P members). However, a lot of Melon Kinenbi stuff is really good and should be brought back for more concerts. This song is the B-side to Saa! Koibito ni Narou (and on the Melon Kinenbi best of album Fruity Killer Tune, which is how I know it), and doesn’t feel too much like Melon Kinenbi. It’s downright cute and energetic, and would be a perfect fit for ..

Proposed cover: S/Mileage

The high energy just screams current S/Mileage, and while I would love to see this performed just by 2nd gen S/Mileage I could honestly see this becoming almost an anthem for S/Mileage. This is the type of song that Takeuchi Akari and Tamura Meimi would make their own.

Futari no Hokkaidou

Originally by: Country Musume

I’m kind of a sucker for some of the older misfit groups of Hello!Project. While Country Musume definitely had some popular songs, the only songs we really see at Hello! Project concerts are Hajimete no Happy Birthday and Uwaki na Honey Pie. However, Country Musume really had an interesting sound going on when they first started, and they had a lot of other great songs going on. Futari no Hokkaidou is both upbeat and really fun. I’d also like to see a performance of Shining Itoshiki Anata (but we need a vocalist who can belt like Mikitty did) and Kakumeichikku Kiss (Just an album song, but a really good one). However, Futari no Hokkaidou is really the one song where they focused more on Hokkaidou (Kakumeichikku Kiss did, a bit, and some of the other pre-Rika songs did too).

Proposed cover: Sato Masaki + others

Masaki is the one member of H!P currently from Hokkaidou, as far as I remember, so she definitely has to be there. However, I don’t think she’s quite there to pull off doing a solo, and this song really does work better with more than one person. So perhaps they’d pick some other people from MM, or some other H!P members that are close-ish to Hokkaidou.

Tokyo Kirigirisu

Originally by: Maeda Yuki

Yes, I’m pulling out the enka singer from H!P. However, Hello!Project does have a history with an enka singer with a really long/nice list of songs that don’t get performed;¬† while this might be because they don’t necessarily want to do enka in H!P because it’s not a super trendy genre, AKB48 has an enka singer (Iwasa Misaki) as does Momoiro Clover Z (Takagi Reni). None of the H!P girls really have the pipes to pull off some of the other enka songs, and I really can’t imagine any of them being able to do something like Ai Ai Daiko (which is a really good song FYI). However, Tokyo Kirigirisu is a really excellent song that’s a bit easier than some other enka songs, and might be doable by….

Proposed Cover: Oda Sakura

They’re going to try and push Sakura as a new ace as well as a lead vocalist; she has a pretty good voice, and while she’s not Yukidon I could imagine her pulling this off. The solo would also promote her as being a lead vocalist, and would be a unique take for her.

Roman

Originally by: Romans

This has literally only been performed once; by Rika as a solo at a v-u-den concert. It’s originally by Romans, the group that brought you the wonderful “Sexy Night ~Wasurerarenai Kare~” (which I love, but I know is a bit too sexy for some). However, the B-Side Roman has gone almost completely unnoticed, when it’s a light, kind of strange song, very different from Sexy Night. This should be done by…

Proposed Cover: C-ute.

I mostly want to hear Nakky do Rika’s “pi pu po” bit. But other than that, the numbers of the groups match up, and this is a song I could really see match C-ute’s current image very well.

Otome no Shinrigaku

Originally by: Ichii Sayaka and Yasuda Kei

This is a really fun duet. While Sayaka and Kei were both definitely good vocalists (Kei especially) and this has some great harmony parts, the song is most fun when there’s a really good back and forth between the duet. While the song itself is great, in my opinion this is almost eclipsed by how fun it is to watch live. With that in mind, the members I think could be fun to watch with it…

Proposed Cover: Ikuta Erina and Suzuki Kanon

Eripon and Zukkii both have fun personalities and I could see them going well with this not very traditional idol song and making it a really fun performance.

Kyou mo Mattemasu

Originally by: v-u-den

The biggest issue that I had with Zoku v-u-den was that it basically only did the later/sexier songs, which I think misrepresented the actual v-u-den. v-u-den was certainly a lot more adult than the rest of H!P, especially at that time, but it also was adult in that it was more mature. Even still, they had a LOT of really great songs that most people aren’t really aware of unless they’re a v-u-den fan (like me); Bi Hit Parade, Let’s Live!, Kurenai no Kisetsu and Ai Suite Room are all great songs that aren’t necessarily sexy but don’t get a lot of notice nowadays. However, Kyou mo Mattemasu is kind of a cuter song but performed by the more mature girls of v-u-den. Really, a lot of the B-sides are like that, and could be performed nowadays.

Proposed Cover: Yajima Maimi, Ishida Ayumi, Natsuyaki Miyabi

I think my other problem with Zoku v-u-den was that it focused on sexier members, but not really mature members if that makes at all sense. However, I think Maimi, Ayumi and Miyabi both have an older appearance and feel to them that’s not necessarily aimed at sex appeal, but would be good with these other v-u-den songs.

Miss Love Tantei

Originally by: W

I like duets and I like idols rapping, so Miss Love Tantei is right up my alley. I think that W songs have been a bit taboo since Aibon had her scandals; however, they have performed Robokiss and Dekoboko Seventeen since the Kago scandals, so I think that Miss Love Tantei should be fair game. A lot of the W songs are also really good, too (I love Ai no Imi wo Oshiete a lot and I would love a cover of Sexy Snow), so I think they should bring the W catalog back into H!P.

Proposed Cover: Tamura Meimi (as Tsuji Nozomi) and Takeuchi Akari (as Kago Ai)

Of all the proposed covers I’ve given in the rest of this post, this is the number one thing I really want to happen. Meimei and Takechan are both energetic, cute and have really nice voices that would match this song really well. Plus, I really want Meimi to rap. I think this would be a really nice combo on stage and I think they could pull of this song well.

Other assorted songs I want more of include Say Yeah! Motto Miracle Night (why is this not at every single concert ever?), Tsuki to Taiyou (or any Taiyou to Ciscomoon/T&C Bomber song that ISN’T Gatamekira or Everyday Everywhere, but a song that the current H!P could actually sing), Romantic Ukare Mode (again, why isn’t this at more concerts?), Dekiru Onna (Morning Musume’s most underrated B-side), Love Like Crazy (H!P needs to rap more please), I & You & I & You & I (yay Tanpopo album songs).

I’d also like to hear more unique arrangements or performances in the current H!P; something like when Saitou Hitomi¬† performed Shiawase Beam Suki Suki Beam as a sexy solo song a few times, completely redefining the song, or when Matsuura Aya did a more jazzy version of Ne~e. This breathes new life into old songs. I’d also like more acapella like Berryz has done in the past; they really need to continue more of that.

Otherwise, I’d really like more innovation in these concerts. I mean, I know they pretty much have to perform their latest single or two and what would a Morning Musume concert be without a medley featuring Love Machine and Renai Revolution 21? However, for when they fill spaces in concerts, I really wish H!P would be more innovative. Not all idol groups have these vast discographies to find gems in, so H!P should really take advantage of one of the real strengths they have and perform some of these songs sometime.

Idols vs Artists?

One of the hardest things I have to explain to people who’ve never heard about idols is the difference between an idol and an artist, or rather what separates idols as its own genre. One thing I’ve realized (and I’m sure many others have as well) is that it’s a really tough thing to define for the uninitiated. So I’m going to try to break it down and hopefully figure it out, first starting with what I think doesn’t define it.

A genre of music

Idols do have a stereotypical form of music, sure, and there’s definitely something to this. However, with the advent of groups like Babymetal, Rhymeberry, Passpo, BiS and Alice No. 10, idols are able to do metal, rap, rock, and almost any genre imaginable. So while there may be something that’s “stereotypical idol,” the cutesy upbeat fast-paced music, it’s not necessarily what defines idoldom.

Someone who doesn’t write their own music

This is a big part of being an idol, I think; I am having a hard time of thinking of idols that contribute to the writing of the music other than occasionally helping with lyrics. However, this isn’t something exclusive to idols; for example, I would have a hard time classifying modern day Hamasaki Ayumi as being what we think of as an idol, but she (for the most part) doesn’t contribute to her music. Similarly, while I enjoy Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, neither really contributes to the music and neither are really classified as idols.

A pure/virginal young female performer

The dating rule definitely springs to mind; however, what do we think of AV/gravure group Ebisu Muscats? I realize they’re almost an exception to the rule, with many AV members, but they’re still a reasonably popular idol group. Similarly, SDN48 (while not AV) had no qualms with being sexy/adult, as are other idol groups. While the dating rule is still in place, its existence is not necessary to be an idol.

An unskilled music performer

While skill in performance is not necessarily a requirement for idols (Indeed, more often than not idols are unskilled) there are really skilled performers among idols. While I think that Matsuura Aya eventually transitioned into being an artist rather than an idol, she was an incredible singer. There are other very talented female idols; Iwasa Misaki, for example, has been doing very well for herself with enka, and other AKB girls are very strong singers.

A part of an idol group/collective/company

While idol groups definitely are more popular than solo singers nowadays, this isn’t necessarily the case. For example, Kikkawa Yuu is no longer under Hello!Project and is a soloist, and is definitely an idol. Aso Natsuko is also the same; she was never in an idol group, but is definitely an idol.

After doing this thinking and making a small list, I’ve come up with two main criteria:

1. The idol doesn’t concentrate on one area of of herself to present. Basically, music artists focus a lot more on music than any other aspect of performing (dancing, variety, acting, etc.); an artist may dabble, but they are firmly focusing on one thing. Idols are supposed to be a jack-of-all-trades, specializing in personality if anything.

2. An idol defines herself as such, and is defined as such by others. For example, as I said before, Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Payu aren’t idols almost simply because they aren’t, though Perfume was once an idol group. Likewise, Morning Musume started off mainly as a vocal group, with producers telling the girls they weren’t idols; however, at some point that was out the window and they were flat out idols.

What do you think? Does anyone have a tried and true method of identifying an idol?