Morning Musume ’15: 60th Single Review

Dec 2015

Morning Musume ’15 is set to release their 60th single, “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only”, on December 29, 2015. This is the last single to feature 9th Generation member, Sayashi Riho. For my last review of the year, I decided to briefly assess and comment on each music video from this single.

Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi (The Cold Wind and Lonely Love)

This song was originally meant to be Riho’s solo song, but management (Tsunku) decided that the whole group should sing it.

When I first heard this song, I didn’t like it. I am not a fan of ballads, even uptempo ones such as this, but it grew on me. I would say that my admiration grew while watching the music video.

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The music video was beautiful. The lyrics are quite sad. The bright setting of the music video contrasted the darkness of the lyrics, but the girls’ sorrowful faces expressed the meaning of the song well. This music video reminds me of “Shougani Yume Oibito”. Both music videos were sad, but took place in bright and beautiful settings.

SYO

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May I add that although I am getting tired of seeing white outfits from Hello Project, the white dresses worked well with this setting? All the girls looked beautiful and the white-on-bright emphasized the purity and sadness in the concept. The bright group dance scenes also contrasted with Riho’s dark solo dance scenes.

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Speaking of Riho’s dance scenes, her contemporary dance was the best part of this music video. It was mesmerizing watching her fluid, but sharp choreography. This was one time I did not notice Ayumi during the dance shot. All eyes were on Riho. For the last time, Riho showed that dancing is her forte. I wish I saw more of her dancing talent during her tenure.

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I am glad that management decided to make this a group song instead of a solo. This music video emphasized Riho’s role as the group’s center. This music video was almost totally focused on Riho. While Riho did her thing, many of the members were just there for support, which is totally acceptable since this is her graduation single. However, I did not fail to notice the prominence of Haruka in this song (and I am beyond elated). Miki also got a line at the very beginning of the song.

2

This is my favourite music video of the single. The combination sad music, bright setting and Riho’s skilled choreography turned this into a magnificent, but sorrowful music video. This is a great send off video for Riho.

Endless Sky

While “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” was a magical music video, “Endless Sky” was graceful. This music video was also bright and simple like the first music video, but the exquisite purple and blue paisley-like outfits stood out and added to the overall allure of the video.

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The set actually reminded me of a much brighter version of “Dondengaeshi” for some reason. It may be because of the pillars in the background.

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In comparison to “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi”, this song was more upbeat and inspirational. It was not completely centered on Riho this time, but we did see a lot of her throughout the video. We saw a lot of Haruka in this video as well. I realized that they have been giving Haruka a lot more spotlight since “Tiki Bun”, and that makes me so happy. She’s a great singer; she deserves the recognition that she’s getting. It also makes me wonder if she will be given a lead vocalist position.

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May I add that I am also happy that Maria got a line? At least half of the 12th generation got a chance to shine in this single.

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Going back to the music video itself, my favourite scene is where they all sit or lie together in a circle. The colours of their outfits look beautiful against the white backdrop. Seeing the interaction between the girls made me a bit sad because I know that this would be the last time seeing all thirteen girls together like this. When the feathers fell onto the girls, I was in tears for some reason. The scene was enchanting, but sad all at the same time.

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The choreography was as elegant as the song. It reminded me of the choreography from “Yuugure wa Amaegari” because of the wide arm and leg movement, but less ballet-like.

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Just like “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi”, this music video ended with a close up of Riho, ending her chapter with Morning Musume. I believe that “Endless Sky” was also another beautiful video to send off Riho.

One & Only

I didn’t like this song the first time I heard it. The music was fun and upbeat, but the lyrics were cringe-worthy. Nevertheless, the song grew on me and I found myself singing to it at the most random times. It became my favourite song of the single album.

I did not have high expectations for this video. The third song of a triple A-side single usually gets the short end of the stick when it comes to music videos. This music video was pretty simple. I was not amazed or blown out of the water for this music video, but I am still content.

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There were a lot of colors and CGI text. In the background of the dance scene there was a rotating world map. It fits into their goal of the “globalization” of the group, which is why they made this English song in the first place.

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The still shot scenes of the girls against a sky blue background reminds me a bit of the still shot scenes in “Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~”. They wore plain white outfits for this scene. I think I prefer the red and black plaid outfits because as I said before, the amount of white outfits worn by Hello Project artists this year has been overkill.

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Reading the forums and several posts, I realized a few people do not like the choreography. They think that it is too simple and not much thought was put into it. I do admit that this dance is a bit simpler than what they usually do, but I still like it. It is hip and fun. It looks easy to follow along and fits well with the music.

3

All in all, this is not my favourite music video of the single, but this is my favourite song. I am proud of the girls for taking on the challenge of singing a song in English. I can imagine how hard it was during the recording and performing of this song. I can imagine how hard it would be for me to sing in Japanese. I would probably screw up so many times. Now that I think about it, I cannot even sing in English that well either, and it is my first language!

4

Overall, I am satisfied with this single, especially as a send-off for Riho. This has to be one of my favourite comebacks from Hello Project this year. While I admit some of the songs on this single has me feeling a bit nostalgic and sad because of Riho’s departure. I look forward to what the group has in store for us in the new year!

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