S/mileage recently released their 16th single, ‘Mystery Night/ Eighteen Emotion’.
With this comeback S/mileage had two completely contrasting concepts. ‘Mystery Night’ followed an erotic and sexy concept while ‘Eighteen Emotion’ was more cute, happy and carefree. Just like Morning Musume’s latest single, this single from S/mileage was bittersweet for me.
When I heard that the girls were going for a sexy concept, I got curious and excited. I wondered how they would be able to handle and portray this concept since it was a complete 180˚ change from the usual cute and upbeat songs that they sing. I was accustomed to the happy and young S/mileage, but I believed that since they were a bit older and more mature (especially in Ayaka’s and Kanon’s case), that they were ready to experiment with new and more mature concepts.
However, I was proven wrong. The outfits looked gorgeous to me, but it did not look right on them, with the exclusion of Akari and Meimi. They looked stunning throughout the video and the outfits suited them well, but this is just my opinion. The girls looked really awkward throughout the video while attempting to look sexy. Their portrayal of the concept seemed too ‘forced’, especially in the close up shots. The girls just stood in one place in awkward positions while singing. I do not know if they thought it looked sexy, but in my opinion they just looked uncomfortable.
The choreography also made me feel uncomfortable just watching it. There was a lot of bending, hip-swaying and touching. The members lacked luster, looked stiff and self-conscious when performing the dance in the music video or even live.
Even with all these negatives, there were some things I did like. I loved the song. The instrumental used stringed instruments like the violin and was combined with the typical Hello Project dance track. I do not know why, but I find violins are really sexy. It brings this sensual feel to a song. I often go to orchestral concerts just to hear the stringed instruments. What I am trying to get at is that the violins in the instrumental contributed to that erotic feel that they were trying to put in the song and video.
I also liked the way the girls sang the song. Their voices suited the song well. Although they were able to sing the song well, they were not able to depict the concept in the video or dance without looking uncomfortable and rigid.
The members that blew me away in this video were Akari and Meimi. I believed they portrayed the concept the best. They even looked sexier than their senior members. Not only did they look good, but they also danced well and sang well. Then again, I may only think this way because they are my biases of the group.
The dark setting complemented the concept as well. Sometimes people associate darkness with sexiness, which is what S/mileage was probably to accomplish.
Personally, the video was a bit painful for me to watch and I feel the same way while looking at the live performances. Maybe it is too soon to give S/mileage a mature theme like this. Many of the members are still somewhat young and are not ready for a concept such as this, though some of the youngest members of the group pulled off the concept much better than the older members. So it may be the fact that S/mileage is so used to their bubbly and upbeat songs that concepts such as this makes them uncomfortable. Whatever the reason is, I believe that this concept does not completely work for them. The song and video had great potential, but S/mileage was incapable of portraying it effectively. Maybe, they can attempt it for future singles, but for now I prefer their usual cheerful songs. However, these are just my opinions. I am sure many fans will disagree and say that they loved the video and believed that S/mileage did a great job. Unfortunately, this video was not for me.
While ‘Mystery Night’ was mysterious and sexy, ‘Eighteen Emotion’ was a more youthful and blissful song. It very much suited S/mileage’s typical style. The song did not ‘wow’ me and it is not quite memorable. I had to listen to the song numerous times for it to be stuck in my head, but even then it was not a heart-stopping and exciting song for me. However, the video was much better in comparison to the video for their 1st A-side of the single.
It consisted of a much brighter setting with speakers, cords and lights in the background and diamonds hanging around the girls in the close-up shots. The girls looked happy and stylish in their casual and cute clothing. They wore bright smiles on their faces that looked much better than the serious and awkward facial expressions seen in ‘Mystery Night’. Although I prefer ‘Mystery Night’ song-wise, in relation to the music videos I must say that ‘Eighteen Emotion’ is my first choice.
The energetic dance routine, their smiles, the upbeat music and the bright atmosphere put me in a much better mood than the dark, gloomy and rigid ‘Mystery Night’ video.
The line distribution for the song was fair. I am glad that I heard everyone’s voice, but the person that blew me away for this video was Kana. When she joined S/mileage a few years ago she lacked dancing skills and was not the best singer, but I am surprised at how much she has grown! In my opinion, she is one of the best singers in S/mileage and she dances much better! I am so proud of her improvement!
Side note: It’s ironic that this song is called ‘Eighteen Emotion’ when only two of the members (Ayaka & Kanon) have actually been eighteen. Just something that came to mind!
And thus ends my short review of the music videos for S/mileage’s 16th single. As I said it was a really bittersweet experience for me. While I liked ‘Mystery Night’ as a song, I did not like the video. ‘Eighteen Emotion’ was an bubbly video that made me happy, but it took me a while to really get into the song. Nevertheless, I still purchased both songs and have watched both videos numerous times. I still continue to support the group even though it’s not my favorite single from them, so I recommend that you go purchase the songs if you like what you hear in the videos above!