Sometimes life gets really busy, and things fall to the wayside. That’s kind of what I’m trying to fight happening with idols and me. I’m currently in the middle of the second to last semester at my university. I’m trying to graduate with honors in Film/Media studies, while working, while applying for the JET program (to teach abroad in Japan). I have a lot in my plate, so for the past month or so the most I ever really think about idols is listening to the music I already have on my iPod. So I’m trying to get caught up in what’s happened so far in the past couple of months and move forward.
AKB48 Gingham Check + UZA
I think the biggest thing I didn’t blog about on Happy Disco in the past couple of months is how much I utterly adore Gingham Check’s song, PV and overall single. It’s in contention for being one of my favorite releases of the year, with the main competition right now being Momoiro Clover Z and Nogizaka46’s Hashire Bicycle. But above Gingham Check as a song and the other songs on the single (I have a major weakness for Show Fight’s song and PV), the PV is basically a dream for me. I’m planning on doing a full review later to talk more about how utterly amazing that PV is, but it’s incredibly well done, as expected from a veteran of the film and music video industry.
I’m not quite as fond of the latest from AKB48, UZA, but that’s mostly because I prefer when idols focus on being cute and I don’t think the PV’s as clever as Gingham Check’s was. However, despite this, I think UZA is definitely a step up for AKB for their “cool” songs. It feels almost more like American pop than what I’d consider idol music; it’s the type of thing I’d show my friend who likes top 40 American pop music to see if I can get her to become an AKB48 fan.
S/mileage – Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki
This is one of those things where I get what S/Mileage was trying to do, but I’m just not gelling with it. I like the song, and I like the PV in theory, but it doesn’t really feel like S/Mileage to me. I much prefer things like Dot Bikini and Please Miniskirt Postwoman. I’d rather this song go to C-ute or something; it just doesn’t feel like the current S/Mileage (also, seeing Meimi and Kanana sad bums me out)
“Momokuro” Nippon Egao Hyakkei, and my feelings on Momoiro Clover Z
While, as I mentioned, I wasn’t completely thrilled with Momoiro Clover Z’s latest single “Otome Sensou,” I’ve hit a bit of a MomoClo lull. They’re still my favorite group, but I think with them the fact that they’ve impressed me SO MUCH in the past makes it a bit harder for me to be impressed much anymore. I also feel like they’ve lost a bit of what impressed me with Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo in particular, and I wish they’d do more songs that feel kind of heartfelt like “Hashire.” Momoiro Clover Z experiments a lot, and I’m grateful for that, but I think that I haven’t been as thrilled with their recent experiments, which is a bit of a shame. I’m pretty excited for their next single, though, and I hope they can regain my love for them, because they really are a great group.
However, Momoiro Clover Z released a single under a pseudonym “Momokuro” (not trying very hard, eh guys?) “Nippon Egao Hyakkei.” It’s pretty great. It is a LOT of fun, with some really fast talking and kimonos. In a weird way it feels like Momoiro Clover Z combining its current, wacky self with its roots of being a group with traditional costumes and themes (remember, Momoiro Punch, Mirai e Susume and Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo ALL featured kimonos!). This also was written by my favorite Japanese music composer, Hyadain (Maeyamada Kenichi) so that could be a big part of why I adore it.
This is one of my favorite performances of the year so far, Nippon Egao Hyakkei with traditional Japanese musicians!
Morning Musume’s Wakuteka Take a Chance
While I’m planning on another full article on this just because I think this release says a lot about where Morning Musume is right now, let me just say that while I really do enjoy the song a lot, I do think that Morning Musume needs to fight becoming complacent and doing the same thing over and over, because that’s what I’m seeing them doing. I think that they saw the big success of One Two Three and are trying to, for better or worse, replicate what got them such big sales, to the point where a lot of the issues I had with One Two Three’s PV are the same issues I’m having with Wakuteka’s PV (as one of my friends commented, it’s like UFA spent half their yearly PV budget on After Effects and they’re trying to get their money’s worth).
That being said, I do think it’s a good song and thatMorning Musume has made strides since some of their lows they’ve hit in the past years. Wakuteka’s good, and I think I do like the song better than I like One Two Three. I think ultimately they need to stop relying so heavily on Reina and Riho. Reina is probably going to leave MM in the next year or two, and you never know how long Riho is going to be in MM. It’ll be interesting to see how the newest member, Oda Sakura, does within the group and if UFA tries to push her to ace status right away. There are some really strong girls in Morning Musume right now (Ayumi’s still my favorite girl in the current group), and I think if they cautiously start trying to break from the style they’ve got going and from the Reina-Riho lead, they could do a lot of good for the group.