This is a review of the 1st A-side of Morning Musume’s 54th single, “Wagamama Kinomama Ai no Joke / Ai no Gundan”.
The first time I heard this song I instantly fell in love even before seeing the music video. This is a new concept and sound that Morning Musume has never tried before and it is evident that the current Morning Musume is trying their best to improve and surpass their seniors. They want to continue the legacy. After seeing the music I was even more proud of the girls and their performance.
The music began with a spoken or chanted part where the girls speak in a low voice with a low beat. This built up my suspense for the awesome music video that followed. It was very dramatic. After a few close ups of the girls we are instantly shown the challenging and precise choreography of the song which included the formations which the group is well known for, intricate body movements and leg motions. I love the ‘dance battle’ concept where the group is spilt into two smaller dance groups while they interact with each other. This was seen for the main point of the dance where the girls ‘slap around’ each other. This was personally my favorite part of the dance. This difficult choreography marks the continuous improvement of the girls.
Another part of the dance routine which I really favored is near the end of the 1st verse and beginning of the chorus where Fukumura Mizuki is pointing downwards and Oda Sakura was stooping in time. This added to the intensity of the dance and looked very professional.
The song was upbeat, serious and dramatic. I loved the “Aisaretai” parts sung by Riho, Mizuki and Masaki. The crescendo in the one word made a chill go up my spine. As usual, the autotuned parts could have been avoided. It sounded out of place in the song and video.
With the departure of Reina I expected to see more of an even line distribution among all the members; unfortunately, the ‘Sakura-Riho-Mizuki-Sayumi’ lead still remained with Ayumi and Masaki also getting a few solo lines. There were a few shared lines between all the members. The ‘duo lines’ that really stood out for me were the ones that featured Ikuta Erina and Suzuki Kanon.
Speaking of Kanon, she looked absolutely flawless in the video. This is just my favoritism and bias speaking.
Getting back on track with the review, I hardly saw Haruna throughout the video. Although she is not one of my favorite members it bothered me a bit. Right before this single was released Haruna was announced to be one of the sub leaders of the group along with Mizuki. I expected Haruna to gain more recognition, lines or face time with this new single but as I watched the video I felt as if she barely existed within the group. This disappointed me a bit.
I usually complain about staged and closed settings in music videos but the setting in this music video was very appropriate. The dark stage with the low lighting added to the drama and maturity of the song. Their dark outfits also blended in well with the setting with the white in their dresses contrasting with the darkness that surrounded them.
This is no doubt one of my favorite songs and videos from Morning Musume. With each video they continue to astonish me by their marked improvement visually, vocally and skillfully. Many others agree with me as this was one of their more successful singles peaking at #1 in the first week. I hope they continue along this road of success and improvement and I wish to see more innovation in the future.