Hello!Project, Top 5 Series on February 27th, 2009 12:00 by Henkka
Tags: hatake, michiyo heike, miki fujimoto, morning musume, sharan q, tanpopo, tsunku, °c-ute
Ladies and wota, I believe it is about time to end my longest running feature, the Top 5 Series. With this, all 15 top fives will be done. And hey, what better way to finish it than by ranking the songs simply by how much they kick ass in all their metal glory?!
Alright, fine, I lied in the title. It’s really the top 5 H!P songs that rock the hardest. Saying any of these songs are even remotely metal is a stretch because as you know, H!P never really ventures into metal territory… which is something most of you are quite happy about, I’m sure. But fuck that, ‘the top 5 songs that rock the hardest‘ just wouldn’t be as cool as ‘the top 5 most metal,’ so hey.
But truly, sometimes what I think H!P really needs is simply some good old metal in it. Some blastbeats here, some harsh death metal vocals by Tsunku to back the girls up there, a bitching guest guitar solo by Muhammed Suiçmez of Necrophagist and lyrics about slaughtering newborn babies. I can easily imagine a Berryz Koubou PV with a gothy-looking Chinami burning down a church while laughing in a blasphemous way. Or hey, how about replacing the MC segments at concerts with fun stuff like drinking games, the girls pouring still warm blood of animals on themselves or just plain old metal manliness such as Momoko screaming “here’s our new single that’s fucking awesome, it’s called Tsukiatteru no ni MURDER YOU WITH A HACKSAW” or Airi, à la Corpsegrinder, “KEEP FUCKING SUPPORTING DEATH METAL“?
Well, maybe not. But one thing is for sure: it’d make you appreciate the next Mikan-esque, cheery single a whole lot more, don’t you think?
Two hononary mentions. Firstly, Morning Musume‘s Shabondama. This one’s got just the right angsty attitude for metal. Also, who could forget and °C-ute‘s Massara Blue Jeans? What I wrote about that track in my very first real post still holds true to this day:
“… The chorus feels like an assault on my ears with all those words crammed in the space of just a few seconds. … This must be something like the death metal of Hello! Project. Or maybe grindcore would be more logical.”
5th: Tanpopo – BABY CRY:
Oh alright, I admit, this one’s a huge stretch. It’s not really a song you can rock out with your cock out to, and it sure isn’t metal. Surely I could’ve found something that fits the description better in the sound department, but there’s something here that forces me to include it… something about the atmosphere. Rather than metal, this is actually closer to the other very Beatles-y Tanpopo tracks like Otome Pasta ni Kandou or even the underrated Queen-y Morning Musume b-side Dekiru Onna, which means it’s more classic rock-inspired really. However, the choruses especially just emanate this somehow dark, even brooding atmosphere that sure warms the heart of this ole metal fan. Anyone know what I mean? In any case, they’ve done well here to create something different from the usual cheery Tanpopo feel.
4th: Michiyo Heike – Daikirai:
Damn, you know you’re off to a pretty good start with a song title that translates to “I hate you.” Well, I’m sorry to say but it’s not really a very morbid sort of hate, just your usual relationship bullshit you’d expect. The dude apparently left this girl for another woman and now she “feels bad” and just leaves it at that. Geez, and I thought for once I’d found a song in H!P’s repertoire that really stood for the balls-to-the-wall “I hate you so much I could murder our unborn baby just to fuck with you — and then beat you to death with it” type of feelings.
Ah well. Lyrics aside, at least on the sound department they were right on the money. As was the case with a lot of Michiyo’s early material, it tended to flirt around with the metal genre, perhaps thanks to Hatake of Sharan Q‘s compositions that often leaned in a rather heavy, guitar-driven direction. This one, too, is his work and it’s easy to hear it during the classic Hatake-ish guitar solo. Another cool thing to note besides the solo is what happens right after, that little stop/start-business they’ve got going on there for a bit. Very cool stuff. Call me crazy (because I probably am), but I’m again reminded slightly of the prog metal giants Dream Theater, what with all that piano and massiviness of sound (for lack of better word.)
Michiyo’s definitely one of the more underrated H!P members, especially considering she was a soloist with plenty of singles. Granted, that might be because no one even remembers her at this point (it was all the way back in 2002 that she graduated after all) but nevertheless, she has a lots of songs worth listening to, especially for the current Buono!-generation of fans. Well… I’m sure they’d find this boring but hey, at least they’re both rock, even if from different leagues entirely. The newer fans tend to forget she was the one who won the ASAYAN audition after all, whereas the original Morning Musume were merely the losers. I’m not saying I think she’s the best vocalist of the six, but I sure understand the reasoning behind her victory over the other five. Her voice is great though, the quality of it sometimes reminding me of Shokotan (or Shoko Nakagawa.)
3rd: Miki Fujimoto – Namida GIRL:
Mmm, old Mikitty solo stuff.
Honestly though, I’m not the biggest fan of this track. I’m sorta contradicting myself here, what with me saying I’d love to hear some decent metal in H!P, but generally I just find that when H!P wanders too far into the high-tempo rocky-rock territory, it often fails to please me in any real way. Just look at Buono! or HANGRY & ANGRY, both of these bore me to the point of tears more often than not. I don’t even know if there’s any good reason for it… really, my best guess’d be just the completely generic songwriting they tend to get. Might be that the problem lies with me on that though, everyone else seems to love both these groups just fine. But then when did I ever care about anyone else? You silly readers!
Then, what am I doing including this track on here? True, I don’t really care for it, however even I can’t say its without any merit. In fact, there’s one unique to be found on here that I can’t remember ever hearing on any other H!P song. In fact, I don’t really recall hearing it in any J-pop I’ve heard thus far, period. Listen.
This is a clip from the last minute of the song. It first kicks into a pretty fuckin’ sweet, furious riff that definitely calls to my mind some early era Offspring (think Smash.) That’s not the unique thing here though; after that it goes into the chorus for the last time… blink here and you miss it! Yes, surely you hear it now, too. You’re not just imagining it. It’s only for a mere 7 seconds, but fuck me, it is there: DOUBLE MOTHERFUCKING BASS DRUM. Yes sir, it’s in there, there’s no denying it. And not only that, but also listen to the craziness that bass is doing at the same time. That fucker is stomping on those kick pedals as if his sorry life depended on it. Shit, it probably did. Wouldn’t surprise me if Tsunku held a gun against his head while he played. Yeah man, the almighty double bass has infiltrated girly J-pop. One more small victory for me.
2nd: °C-ute – JUMP:
There’s definitely real metal influence to be heard here, I don’t think anyone can deny that. All you have to do is listen to those palm-muted guitar riffs and those soaring synths to see what I mean. The explosive guitar solo’s not something to be missed either. It’s not real metal though, mind you. It’s crucial to make the differentiation here. Nope, it’s what I like to call pussy metal, you know, stuff more in the vein of Europe‘s Final Countdown or something along those lines. Well, metal is still metal, pussy or not, am I right?
Let’s face it though, it’d be useless for me to talk about this track, for someone else has done it much more thoroughly than I could ever hope to. If you haven’t yet done so, I demand that you take the time to read Rad’s epic six-part post on this song: Nothing will ever beat °C-ute, ‘Jump!’
1st: Morning Musume – Kanashimi Twilight:
Ahhh… Kanashimi Twilight. It’s a song that couldn’t have possibly been released at a better time considering my fandom. See, I believe it’s this song that is actually largely to thank for me being a fan of Hello! Project today.
As I’ve mentioned before, the first three things that got me interested and aware of Hello! Project’s existence were °C-ute‘s Sakura Chirari, Morning Musume Tanjou 10nen Kinentai‘s Bokura ga Ikiru MY ASIA and, to a lesser extent, Morning Musume‘s Egao YES Nude. But what finally captured me thoroughly though was most definitely this song. The coolness of it all was simply impossible for me to ignore. It was just the right type of song to effectively and permanently trap the me of that time in Hello! Project for good. It was just rocky enough, not too obnoxiously saccharine in the pop department that I couldn’t have handled it, and yet just different enough from all the mainstream Western pop I’d have heard up until that point. There is that completely and ridiculously awesome electric guitar dominating the whole song, with a super-catchy, memorable, hell, even epic chorus to boot. And really, that bitching guitar solo man, at the time I was floored as I couldn’t comprehend they could even do something like that in a girly J-pop song. To some extent, I still can’t. Surely this has to be illegal somehow, right?!
Not only the song, but the line-up at the time too was solid as hell. They still possessed the almost intimidatingly sexual prowess of both Mikitty and Yossie, and the rest of the group didn’t fail to look equally hot. Mittsi‘s solo line here still remains her best recorded vocal so far. Speaking of solo lines, the legendary ones of Yossie were the first thing H!P that managed to give me goosebumps. In all honesty though, I have to give it to Ai-chan for pulling them off even better than her:
That is completely insane. And speaking of Ai-chan in this single, who could ever forget this picture of her with her hot as hell outfit?
All in all, at the end of the day I’m just eternally thankful this song was ever composed, recorded, released and performed. I’m doubtful I’d be even writing this right now if it wasn’t for this track. It helped me get into Hello! Project and all of J-pop on a larger scale and has done so much for my music taste evolving. I’d put Morning Musume right up there with bands like Nirvana, Opeth and The Beatles as far advancing my taste in music goes. I’ve heard so much more good music, spent so much money hunting down the CD’s, DVD’s and other merchandise, and I’ve wasted countless of hours of my time (and harddrive space) on watching all kinds of footage and pictures of these girls as I’ve had the pleasure of pretending to be getting to “know” them all better. Kudos to you, Up-Front and Hello! Project, to Tsunku, and most importantly, to Morning Musume.