Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jpop Mix: Morning Musume '15, Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru/Yuugure wa Ameagari/Ima Koko Kara

Earlier this year, I introduced the idol group Morning Musume by reviewing their 2014 album, 14 Shou ~The Message. With the start of a new year, Morning Musume has now evolved into Morning Musume '15, and has released their first single with Mizuki Fukumura as leader. This is also the first single that includes the new 12th generation members.

Titled Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru/Yuugure wa Ameagari/Ima Koko Kara, Morning Musume '15 starts the year off by releasing a Triple A side single (meaning that all three tracks are main tracks and equally promoted). With 13 members, the girls come back as a group trying to evolve; starting out by providing three very different tracks and featuring rotating centers. 

The first song on this single is Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru. To be honest, on first listen I was unsure of what to think. The pauses in the song seemed very out of place and while I loved the chorus, the rest of the song seemed meh. After listening to the song many more times, I have grown to like and appreciate the pauses in the song, although I do still feel that they are unnecessary in the second verse. The dance to this song is interesting. There are times when it looks very powerful and sleek and other times where it looks like a confused mess of girls just trying to stay on beat. I really like the lyrics to this song and I like that instead of one center, we have a handful of girls that the song/dance formation/music video focuses on: Ayumi Ishida, Riho Sayashi, Sakura Oda and Mizuki Fukumura. The music video had some nice scenes but overall was quite boring. However, the "another" version, while lacking in production quality, has deep symbolism and overall really compliments the song. It's definitely very good and shines a new light on the song as a whole. Nevertheless, the song does lack in some major areas and only gets a 3.5/5 stars from me. 

The next song is Yuugure wa Ameagari, a song that has a beautiful musical arrangement and beautiful lyrics to match. The dance to the song compliments it really well and definitely gives an ethereal-like quality to the song when it's being performed. The music video, while simple, uses the sakura tree in the background and the wardrobe chosen for this song to create a nice contrast to the gray background. Like in Seishun, Yuugure has various members the song focuses on: Masaki Sato, Mizuki Fukumura, Riho Sayashi, and Sakura Oda. The 12th generation is really given a special spotlight in the presentation of this song and it's nice to see them stand out so that fans can get to know the 4 new members better. Overall, this song is my favorite from this single and earns a solid 4.5/5. 

Ima Koko Kara, the final song on this single (although not available on iTunes :/), serves as the theme song to a movie from the anime Precure. The anime is aimed largely at elementary-age girls so not surprisingly, I know next to nothing about it, haha. Anyways, this song is the most traditional idol pop song that Morning Musume has released in the last couple years. The lyrics focus on everything even a "normal" girl can do and really speaks to their empowerment. Overall, I found it to be a very pretty song. I quite liked that the arrangement had no EDM and while the dance was very simple, it worked for this song (particularly since the anime characters also dance the song in the movie xD). The music video definitely promoted the anime well, as scenes of the anime were interlaced throughout. I'll be honest and say that the outfits were not my favorite and I expected them to dance on a more elaborate stage, but oh well. The song by itself, with its lyrics is a 3.5/5. It's a very pretty song, definitely above plain average but sadly, it's not a song I would play over and over. 

Overall, Morning Musume '15 fell a bit short with this single. Only one song was very good while of the other two, I felt that one lacked a proper arrangement and the other lacked in overall quality. I did expect more from Morning Musume, and I hope they will begin to deliver stronger songs with better presentation. Their first single gets a 3.8/5. 

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