Morning Musume ’15: 58th Single Review
In April, Morning Musume ’15 released their 58th single, “Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru / Yuugure wa Ameagari / Ima Koko Kara”. This was also the debut of the 12th Generation, so there were many expectations for this single.
Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru
This is the most upbeat song of the triple A-side single. It is my second favourite song and music video from the single. This energetic song is different from its slower and melodic counterparts in the single album.
This song builds up anticipation with the first second with the winding up electronic sound and goes straight into a BANG with its synthesizer sound and the militant chanting of the girls. The song reminds me of Berryz Kobo songs “1oku 3zenman Sou Diet Oukoku” and “Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka De”. The disjointed parts in the verses are contrasted with the melodious solos by the lead singers. I felt like I have heard this style of music from Hello Project way too many times and its beginning to bore me.
It is unfortunate that I did not get to hear much of the 12th generation members. I was hoping that with the departure of Michishige Sayumi, there will be a change in main vocalists in the group and maybe the 12th generation would have a chance to shine vocally. However, much to my disappointment, the 12th generation had no solo lines and Riho, Sakura, Mizuki retained this main vocalist status while Ayumi and Masaki remained as lead vocalists.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
So before I digress into the review of the music video and its elements, I must warn you. I am a HUGE (and huge is an understatement) fan of Suzuki Kanon. I am one those “butt-hurt” fans that was very upset when Kanon was completely excluded from the video and was replaced by Juice=Juice’s Miyamoto Karin.
I understand that her ankle was injured, but there is no valid reason for her exclusion from the music video. When Karin hurt her ankle and Ayumi stood in for her in for “Ijiwaru Shinai de Dakishimete yo”, Ayumi was only present for the dance shot while Karin sat on a chair for her solo shots. Therefore, the company has NO excuse in excluding Kanon from the music video. She even made the effort to record her solo shots as seen in the “Making Of” version of this video. If I was Kanon I would be completely heart-broken. Thankfully, she was included in the “Another version” of the music video that was almost completely focused on her.
There were two versions of this music video, the original version and an “alternate” version that was directed by the winner of the “The Big Chance” competition. The Hello Project version was uninteresting and lacked creative quality. I felt like there was little effort placed in creating this music video. I cringed watching it from beginning to end. I was actually very tempted to stop midway during the video. There was nothing captivating about it. It is the “same-old-same-old” from the company.
On the other hand, the alternate music video directed by Shibue Shuuhei, the winner of the “The Big Chance” competition, was pure gold. It was much more enjoyable than the original version. I seriously think that the company should hire him. Hello Project music videos would be a lot more entertaining to watch and this may even broaden their fanbase.
The work done on this music video looks far more advanced than the usual Hello Project video. There were many random scenes that it was difficult to get bored! These scenes were eccentric and unconventional. Examples of this video’s unpredictability include the scenes of the girls randomly disappearing in the forest with their clothes floating to the ground, the members running on top the train and even the scene inside the train where each member was completing a totally different (but unusual) activity!
What I loved the most was the abundance of Kanon shots. This was a relief for me since she was completely absent from the original version of the music video. Actually, all of the members got a lot of camera time. This director is not only creative, but he is fair as well. He has gained a lot of respect from me. He worked hard on this video and should earn credit where credit is due.
I hate to say this so brashly, but there is nothing special about this choreography. I was very disappointed. The song was not their best, the original music video was tedious and I hoped that at least the choreography would be captivating. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The high intensity formation dances were cool when Morning Musume just picked up this concept years ago but now it has been overused and it seems as if the choreographer is running out of appealing ideas. I hoped to see something different, but I did not get this. No point of this dance stood out to me.
The original music video was disappointing. The song was also lacking. I cannot see why this was chosen to be the leading A-side of the single. Thankfully, the alternate music video stood out a lot more to me.
Yuugure wa Ameagari
This song is pretty much a ballad. I really like when the group does songs like this. Their vocal abilities are recognized and it is different from their usual style of music. The music video was just as sweet and soothing to watch. It is actually my favourite music video of the single – despite the lack of Kanon, but I would not press on that issue again.
This song was soothing to the ears. Mizuki, Masaki, Riho and Sakura were heard more than the other members. I am an advocate for fair line distribution, but this time the distribution of the lines was acceptable in my eyes. The stronger vocalists really carried this song and made it into something special. Mizuki and Sakura are very versatile with their voices that can be powerful for the more upbeat songs but can also get softer for emotional ballads.
For the instrumental, there was a mixture of computer synthesized sounds and real instruments, but there was a heavier emphasis placed on the sounds of the real instruments. The piano and stringed instruments made the song sound natural and more ballad-like.
Can I just add how much I am impressed by Masaki’s improvement as a vocalist? Her voice has matured and it seems that the company recognized this and has been giving her a lot more opportunities as a lead vocalist.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
This video is in a closed set, but it has been modeled after an outdoor setting. I love the Sakura tree seen in the dance shot. The set is completely white but the addition of the Sakura tree livened up the set and made it “pop”. Even the lighting and the background is some of the close up shots emulated the orange sky during dusk.
They focused on the 12th generation, which makes sense since it was their debut music video. They also focused on Karin, which honestly angered me. I ranted about this, so I would not talk about it again. I am just elated that Kanon was the center in the “Another version” of this music video.
My favourite point of this dance is right at the beginning and end of the choreography where Masaki moves her fingers as if she is playing the piano in the instrumental. She has a good sense of rhythm and actually knows how to play the instrument, so she was a good choice for this part.
The dance was very graceful with its use of spins, leaping steps and flowing arm movements. I prefer these types of dances in comparison to their robotic formation dances.
This is my favourite music video of the single. It really suited the song. All the elements of the video were put together well and created a beautiful video for a beautiful song.
Ima Koko Kara
This is my favourite song from the single. I tend to really love songs made for anime. They have a certain sound that I cannot describe. It is usually different from mainstream Japanese pop music. The song gives a sense of hope for some reason. I also love that Sakura is the vocal and visual center. Unfortunately, even though the song is amazing, the music video has yet to please me.
This song is magical. I love the very beginning of it with the semi-acoustic solo with Sakura. Her voice suits the song. She has great technique and deserves to be the main vocalist. The song goes into Riho’s solo and continues onto chorused voices. I also realized that some parts of the song are sung by generations. The 11th and 12th generation was combined. Some voices overpowered others during these parts. The girls still need to work on their harmonization.
Another complaint I have is for its ending. It was awkward and abrupt. When I listen to the song I often skip the ending because it makes me feel uncomfortable.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
This video looked low budget. Most of it took place in a dark room with a lot of CGI added to it. Some scenes from the anime movie it was promoting (PreCure All Stars: Haru no Carnival) were included. This music video was just as monotonous as Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru. There was nothing that interested me about it.
This dance is simple and repetitive. It looks like a dance that can be found in an anime. Actually, there are scenes of the characters from the show following the dance. It looked fun and easy to do. I would not be surprised if many dance covers for this song start popping up. It is sad that there is not a dance shot for this song and it is not performed live very often.
This is the best song, but it has the worst promotional video. I anticipated this single because it was the debut of the 12th generation and the first single in a while without Sayumi. There were some good features of this single album but overall I was not really impressed.