Morning Musume – プラチナ 9 DISC [9th Studio Album]

March 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm (Morning Musume) (, )

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Morning Musume’s 9th studio album, entitled プラチナ 9 DISC, was released on 03.18.09. The singles released before the album are as follows: 悲しみトワイライト, 女に 幸あれ, みかん, リゾナント ブルー and 泣いちゃうかも.

The album begins with the aggressive dance song, SONGS. The song starts off with the piano, which gives a very pretty and sweet feeling and soon the instrumentation picks up and introduces new sounds for the listener to fall in love with. It’s very diverse and definitely is a new dive for the girls that they step into perfectly. On the first verse, they continuously deliver cool and sleek vocals that make the listener take notice of. The chorus is absolutely addictive and the girls show that their vocals go together perfectly and they can deliver attitude like no one else. Of course, the pure instrumental section is addictive before re-introducing the chorus, supported by a softer and prettier instrumental. Lyrically the song is great as it centers around the theme of moving onto the hopeful future while singing a song. It’s definitely something everyone can relate to. Morning Musume has a tendency to bring amazing opening songs for their albums and this one is no different. SONGS is addictive and follows the girls’ continuous mature-sounding material that makes them such a talented and versatile group.

The first single to appear on the album is リゾナント ブルー, an upbeat dance song about a girl getting her heart broken. The song begins with a little pure instrumentation, which starts the song off on the right way before the hook comes in. Reina and Ai sing “cry, cry, don’t cry” and immediately, the listener can feel the emotions of the song perfectly. They both have their solo lines as well and continue to bring out the emotions. Reina and Ai dominate basically all of the solo lines but it’s okay because they have great voices that suit the song so well. The other girls get a chance to shine on the chorus when everyone is split into groups and the harmonies between them are great. Reina, Ai and Koharu each “help me” and that little section is definitely one of the best parts of the entire song. It sounds like there is a slight Arabian influence on the pure instrumental section, which sounds absolutely amazing. On the final chorus, after Reina, Ai and Koharu sing their “help me,” Sayumi belts out one of her own and the listener can definitely hear the emotion come alive in her voice. It was great when it was released as a single and it hasn’t lost any of its magic.

The third track is the ballad, 雨の降らない星では愛せないだろう? Opening the song is the piano, which really starts the song off on a graceful and fragile note, touching the listener’s heartstrings. Then the girls come in on the first verse and there is such a vulnerability in their voices that the listener can really believe what they are singing. They all sound great on the chorus and the instrumentation carries an element of magic with it to make the listener really fall in love with the song. There is also a feeling of hope that comes out, which compliments the overall atmosphere of the song. It was a nice touch to have JunJun and LinLin sing in their own language because it has more of a personal feeling to it. That last note that they sing is heavenly and is a great way to move into the final moments of pure instrumentation. It’s one of the group more memorable ballads and it’s a great addition to the album.

Reina, Ai and Risa have a trio song with Take off is now! The song opens up with a man speaking in a slightly Jamaican accent before the song’s hot dance instrumentation comes in and strikes the listener. It continues that mature sound that Morning Musume does so well. Then Reina starts things off with the first verse and she sounds great. Both Ai and Risa hold their own as well and give vocals that go with the music perfectly. They sing “take off is now!” (with very strong vocals) and then there is a little section of pure instrumentation which is strangely addictive.  The chorus is full of energy that will make the listener want to get up and move. The guy comes back as he speaks over a perfect section of pure instrumentation. The song ends with a real hip-hop flavored instrumental, which just gets into the listener’s head. Take off is now! is one of the best songs on the album and is a good representation of the girls’ mature side.

The last single released before the album, 泣いちゃうかも, is up next. The song starts off with four different girls repeating “かも” before the dance instrumentation comes in, prompting the listener to get up and move with them. Reina and Ai split up the first verse and both of them do an excellent job of portraying the emotions of the song while giving strong vocals. The lyrics are similar to those of リゾナント ブルー, speaking of a breakup while keeping an upbeat tempo. Sayumi does a good job on her solo line, revealing Mariko, who is the center of the story. The hook continues as the girls split into pairs (Risa and Reina / Ai and Eri) and there’s something very capturing about these two lines and they introduce the chorus perfectly. The chorus features all the girls, grouped in two groups of five (Sayumi sings in both groups). There are solo lines performed by different girls on different choruses but they always manage to stand out because they are powerful and keep the emotional energy up. The pure instrumental section is great and provides a nice opporunity for a dance break. It’s a fantastic song and it definitely belongs on this album.

私の魅力に気付かない鈍感な人 is Mitsui Aika’s solo number. On the album, it’s probably the least interesting song just because there’s no particular spark to it. It doesn’t carry the same mature sound as some of the other tracks but doesn’t capture the energy well enough to make it really cute and enjoyable. Aika’s vocals are pretty good so the blame really falls on the hands of Tsunku and the instrumentation.

Koharu, JunJun and LinLin team up for グルグル. It definitely isn’t as strong as the two other trio songs as these girls try for the more cute and hyper approach. It’s not bad but it feels kind of out place considering the general atmosphere established by the other tracks.  However it is better than the previous track as it harneses that energy and goes full-force.

みかん is one of the album’s most cheery songs. That very pretty and sweet instrumental that starts off the song is the perfet segue into the hook, song by Koharu and Aika. Their vocals go well together and catch the listener’s ear nicely. The girls split up the first verse and the following get to sing: Ai, Eri, Risa, Sayu, Reina and Koharu. The other girls ge their to chance to sing on the chorus when the girls are split two groups: one of six and one of three. Everyone understands and portrays the happiness of the song so that it all comes together. On the pure instrumental section, the guitar comes in and adds a little flavor to the music. Although this song might get some criticism, it’s actually pretty good and helps balance the overall album package.

Reina, Ai and Risa have another trio song, this time entitled 情熱のキスを一つ. It’s another mature song, showing that these girls really bring the talent. There is a certain relaxing atmosphere on the first verse and all three girls show that their vocals are able to go with any time of music. The chorus is very enjoyable as the girls harmonize perfectly and keep the sweetness of the song. Reina definitely brings it on the last note of the chorus and shows off her vocals.  The trio of Reina, Ai and Risa are just made to sing together as seen from this song and Take off is now! This song is a great part of the album and a true gem.

Michishige Sayumi has her turn to step up on her solo song, It’s You. The song starts off with the guitar being shown off before the song dives into a certain funky instrumental that just makes the listener really get into it. Admittedly, it’s kind of strange to hear the noises near the beginning because they present such a sexual atmosphere that isn’t usually associated with Sayu. She then continues into the first verse and the continuous “hey my boy” continue that sexuality but she sounds much more comfortable here. Throughout, her vocals are very smooth and sleek, staying on the listener’s mind. There is such a sweetness to her voice though so the sexuality doesn’t take over as seen in the chorus. The pure instrumental section is genius, as it just portrays such a fun atmosphere that the listener can get up and dance along to. It’s You is definitely one of the best songs on the entire album and is undisputable proof that Sayu can do her thing.

The girls give some attitude with 女に 幸あれ, which was released before the album. Starting the song off is a cool pop dance instrumental with has a sort of emotional edge that catches the listener’s ear right way. Koharu begins the first verse and her vocals go really well with the music, standing out perfectly. Ai and Eri do a great job as well with their vocals. What make the hook so memorable is the repeating “バカ” sung by Eri, Sayumi and Reina. There’s just so much personality and attitude there, which is really what the song is all about. They deliver the emotions even more on the chorus, Reina and Koharu having solo lines which catch the listener’s ear. The pure instrumental section is addictive, making for a perfect dance break. Although it’s kind of strange to see the song come here after such a long time, it’s good to hear it again.

The album’s semifinale is Kamei Eri’s solo song, 片思いの終りに. It’s a very relaxing and pretty song that just gives the image of a sunny day that the listener can really visualize. Eri’s vocals are so sweet and inviting that the listener can’t help but love it. She is able to step up a little more vocally on the chorus as she holds her notes strongly and gets the listener even more into the atmosphere of the song. Eri did a great job on this song and she shows that she can handle a solo track with ease.

Closing the album is the rock-influenced, 悲しみトワイライト. The song opens with a cool and edgy instrumental, hihglighted by the guitar, stirring up the rock tints to spice up the instrumental. On the verses, the vocals are actually very pretty and have a certain emotional context to them that is reflected in the songs’ lyrics. The chorus allows the girls to belt out a little more. Aika sounds great on her solo line and Miki sounds great as usual. The pure instrumental section is awesome as the rock elements come out a little more stronger and give the instrumentation a slightly more aggressive edge. It is kind of strange to see this song on the album since it doesn’t feature the current line-up but I suppose it’s a nice addition to the album.

Album Ranking: A +

Now with a line of great singles (悲しみトワイライト, 女に 幸あれ, みかん, リゾナント ブルー and 泣いちゃうかも), the album was set up to be good. Normally, H!P album tracks fall a little flat in comparison to the single tracks but プラチナ 9 DISC does not face that problem. SONGS, Take off is now!, It’s You and 情熱のキスを一つ are all amazing songs that show off the girls’ mature side. Sayumi really delivered up a surprise on her solo as she got the whole mature atmosphere perfectly. The girls’ next single is already announced so hopefully they’ll be able to keep up such incredible quality.

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