Morning Musume – 女が目立って なぜイケナイ [42nd Single]

February 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm (Morning Musume) (, )

Morning Musume’s 42nd single, entitled 女が目立って なぜイケナイ, was released on 02.10.10. The title track was used as the February ending theme song to TBS’ News Zans. This is the group’s first single without 7th generation member Kusumi Koharu, who graduated December of last year.

女が目立って なぜイケナイ is a catchy upbeat number about women standing out. The song opens up with a nice little drum beat before the song’s true instrumentation comes in, giving a flashy and ear-catching sound that will immediately interest the listener. Ai and Reina take the first verse, giving some great vocals that suit the music well. One of the catchiest parts of the entire song is when everybody sings the title, breaking up the verses and choruses. The light and fun atmospere really comes through on the choruses and it comes to a climax at the end  when they brake up one particular word into four beats and end with “my face” or “my smile” (2nd chorus). The pure instrumental section takes things in a new direction by introducing the fiddle and taking the listener for surprise. It continues the fun atmosphere from the last single and keeps up the group’s streak of consistently solid singles.

While the A-side is fun and happy, B-side 泣き出すかもしれないよ features a sorrowful atmosphere sure to tug at the listener’s heartstrings. What makes this song so much more than the average sad love song is the sleek instrumentation, a combination of soft and sweet with aggressive and ear-catching. Ai and Risa give strong emotion on the first verse, Risa in particularly sound particularly lovelorn. The chorus has everyone singing together but it’s the solo lines that really stand out, such as Ai’s ending line of singing the title. Interestingly enough, the pure instrumental sequence has a moment when it sounds quite light and almost optimistic before returning to the chorus with some powerful vocals from JunJun. Overall, it’s the perfect compliment to the A-side and definitely a song that oozes emotion.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 女が目立って なぜイケナイ was made. The video is pretty simple, featuring the girls preparing for a runway show, which they then do. This little story is intercut with dance sequences as well. Although the girls do look nice, this PV was missing that oomph factor. Easily the weakest part of the video was the dancing, which could have (and should have) been much better. The other shots were nice but they weren’t anything stellar. And of course there was the very strange moment in the middle when the name of the song just appeared from nowhere. JunJun and Risa’s wave at the end was a particularly nice touch though.

Single Ranking: A +

Morning Musume has continuously delivered fantastic singles from start to end and this is no different. Both the A-side and B-side immediately grab the listener’s ears despite having very different atmospheres. It just shows that these girls can adopt to any style with ease. With all four singles from their upcoming 10th album being stellar, hopefully the quality of the album tracks will match up.

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Morning Musume – 気まぐれプリンセス [41st Single]

October 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm (Morning Musume) (, )

Kimagure Princess

Morning Musume’s 41st single, entitled 気まぐれプリンセス, was released on 10.28.09. The title track was used as the ending theme song to TV Tokyo’s The Gyakyuru Researchers. This single is the last to feature Koharu Kusumi, who will graduate from the group in December.

気まぐれプリンセス carries a much more lighter tone than the girls’ previous singles while still maintaining the same addictive catchiness. The song begins with a fun Russian styled instrumental that instantly hooks the listener. The repeating “oi” is great and adds to the energy of the music. Ai starts off the first verse and what’s interesting is that the verses carry the girls’ voices in a higher pitch than normal. Nonetheless, Ai sounds great and then Reina comes in to close the verse. The hook divides the girls into trios and each one of them has kind of a rapid pace for their parts, quickly catching the listener’s ear. The chorus is primarily divided with Ai and Eri alternating as the leads. It’s a great opportunity to allow Eri the screen time she deserves and she handles the spotlight perfectly, showing off vocals that suit the song fantastically. This definitely continues the string of amazing Morning Musume A-sides and with Eri as a lead, it provides something nice and new for the listener.

The B-side is the fun and quirky number, 愛して 愛して 後一分. The song opens up with a video-game like instrumental that takes the listener into a new world before the first verse. The verses are split in the following order: LinLin, Aika, JunJun and Koharu. Koharu sounds particularly great here and ending with her was definitely the way to go. Sayumi then has her time on the hook and right before the chorus, there is a very interesting sound that has a breaking down feel to it. It definitely is catchy and is actually one of the best parts of the song. Then the chorus comes in and Ai starts things off with a bang. Reina then follows and as usual, she shines and sounds very nice when she goes slightly higher. For the second chorus, Eri and Risa take over and the two of them make a fantastic duo so it comes out strongly. The pure instrumental section sounds great because it really draws on that space feeling that began the song. Along with a streak of great A-sides, Morning Musume is also churning amazing B-sides.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 気まぐれプリンセス was made. The video features the girls in cowgirl styled outfits while dancing in a castle as well as close up shots. Although the connection between the Russian theme of the song and the cowgirl outfits seems to be lost, the dancing is pretty good and feels more involved than the choreography than those of their last few singles. Eri particularly stands out during the dancing shots.

Single Ranking: A +

Morning Musume is on the perfect streak this year. 気まぐれプリンセス is an absolutely fantastic dance track that provides a nice change from the dominantly sorrow singles of the year. Interstingly enough, the lyrics carry a sadness as well but the combination with the music just is very grabbing. The B-side also is of high quality, rounding out the single as a great package. It would be nice to see Koharu a little more since it’s her last single but the single really is another amazing one from the group.

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Morning Musume – なんちゃって恋愛 [40th Single]

August 10, 2009 at 4:26 am (Morning Musume) (, )

Nanchatte Rneai

Morning Musume’s 40th single, entitled なんちゃって恋愛, was released on 08.12.09. As the group’s 40th single, the single was released with an extra Commemorative Edition featuring an extra B-side.

なんちゃって恋愛 follows a style similar to that of the girls’ last single and takes it in a slightly new direction. The song begins with a very soft and sweet instrumental and soon the beat comes in, giving it a more uptempo feel. Ai then starts things off on the first verse, giving her usual strong vocals that convey emotion quite well. Koharu sounds good on her part as well and makes the perfect headway for Reina. Reina’s parts are so interesting because the instrumentation has a slightly different feel and she sings with rapidity, catching the listener’s ears. What makes this song primarily different from its predecessor is the addition of rap sequences delivered by Junjun, Linlin, Aika, Sayumi and Koharu. They add a little spice to the song and definitely stand out. The chorus carries the girls’ usual relatable lyrics over a good dance beat. Ai and Reina take the lead on the first one while Risa and Eri take the second. The pure instrumental section is very pretty and puts the spotlight at how fragile and sweet the music really is. Before the last chorus, Sayumi whispers a line and with the last chorus, there is a key change that really catches the ear. It’s another fantastic track from the girls of Morning Musume, which keeps them with a streak of fantastic A-sides.

The B-side of the regular edition is the cool number, 秋麗. The song opens with an ear-catching guitar solo before the rest of the instrumentation comes in and sweeps the listener away. The girls sound great on the first verse with vocals that really match the music perfectly. Ai’s vocals in particular stay smooth and suit the atmosphere of the song very well. The chorus features good energy that carries the song along very strongly, particularly with the end when they sing “I love you” and the title of the song. The pure instrumental section has a real coolness that fits the song’s overall sound while giving it sort of cool hollow feel. Overall, it’s a great compliment to the A-side and definitely could have been an A-side.

すべては愛の力 is the special B-side included on the Commemorative Edition. The song opens up with the girls singing in a happy and sunny tone, as part of the chorus, that feels good with the summery feel. Junjun and Linlin even get to have some of the first solo vocals, which is a nice change of pace. The verses have a sort of cool and fun atmosphere to them, which definitely sounds strong. The chorus is nice although a little dry. The instrumentation has its really strong moments such as a few moments before the chorus. It’s sweet and fun, a nice addition to the overall package of the single.

In order to promote the single, a PV for なんちゃって恋愛 was made. The video is set in a dark area as the girls dance in dark clothing. The other scene of the video features the girls in white outfits, providing an interesting contrast, as they stand and sing the lyrics with emotion. They all look great particularly Risa and capture the eye of the viewer, making the video a success.

Single Ranking: A +

Morning Musume delivers yet another fantastic single, continuing a long streak of memorable A-sides. Although なんちゃって恋愛 takes some cues from the last A-side, it is executed well so that both stand apart from each other and make the listener interested. 秋麗 also has an extremely addictive sound that could have propelled this song into A-side status. It’s certainly a great way to commemorate this group’s 40th single!

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Hello! Project – チャンプル①~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集~ [Special Cover Album]

July 13, 2009 at 3:23 am (Berryz Koubou, Buono!, C-ute, Morning Musume) (, , , , , )

H!P Album 1

A special Hello! Project album, entitled チャンプル①~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集,~ was released on 07.15.09. The album features various newly updated shuffle units from the various groups in Hello! Project: Morning Musume, C-ute, Berryz Koubou, Buono! and some eggs. All the songs on the album are covers.

The opening track of the album is ダイアモンド, sung by High King (Tanaka Reina, Takahashi Ai, Shimizu Saki, Yajima Maimi and Maeda Yuuka). The song begins with a cool sounding instrumental that soon quickens in pace and then the happy and sweet real sound of the song comes in, making the listener smile. There is kind of a wintery atmosphere to it which makes it all the more special. On the first verse, the vocals sound good with Reina really standing out. Everyone sounds good on the chorus with Reina and Ai shining the most although everyone definitely holds their own. It’s a great way to start things off with the leaders of the group along with front-girl and leader of High King, Reina as well as one of the stronger Hello Project Egg girls.

The girls of C-ute team up with Mano Erina for the second song, 愛は勝つ. Starting things off is a sweet instrumental driven by the piano. Everyone sounds so happy and cute when the first vocals come in and it really does fit the album’s theme. On the verses, the vocals are good although there are a little too many vocalizations that are held too long and the constant vocalizing in the background do grow to be annoying. Overall it’s sweet and cute although not as interesting as hoped.

Aa! is revitalized with a new line-up for the third song, YES-YES-YES! The new line-up features both Suzuki Airi and Natsuyaki Miyabe, who were in the original line-up. However Tanaka Reina was replaced with Akari Saho. The song starts off with a very pretty and simple instrumental that just feels very romantic. Those vocals are very smooth and suit the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The emotions just pour out on the chorus as they give stronger vocals and the music sounds more intense. The three girls did a great job on this one and it definitely is one the jewels of the album.

Mini Moni is given new life and a new line-up (Linlin [leader], Fukuda Kanon, Akari Takeuchi and Karin Miyamoto) for their song, てんとう虫のサンバ. The song opens up with a really cool upbeat instrumental that will make the listener want to dance along with everyone. On the first verse, the vocals carry such happiness and sweetness that will make the listener smile. It’s kind of hard to notice when the chorus comes in but once it does, it sounds quite nice although not as strong as the verses. It’s a shame that the song is so short because it’s definitely one of the strongest songs on the album. Plus it’s nice to have Linlin as leader of the group and get the attention she deserves.

Pucchimoni V (Nakajima Saki, Hagiawara Mai and Mano Erina) for the fifth song, 君がいるだけで. The song kicks off with a very pretty instrumental and then the chorus comes in, carrying the same sweetness like the other tracks. It does have a nice wedding feeling to it. On the first verse, there is a relaxing feeling to it that sounds nice. Basically it’s a nice track although it was just a little dull.

Tanaka Reina gets the chance to shine with her solo track, 部屋とYシャツと私. The song starts off with a really cool instrumental that has a sort of lulling effect to it. She sounds great on the first verse, her vocals supporting the beautiful sounds of the harp perfectly. The sound of water drops is also a nice touch and somehow gives the song a slightly more personal feeling. The chorus is so sweet and cute that the listener can’t help but love it. It’s a very pretty song and Reina brings it to life, giving something extra to make it feel more personal.

Niigaki Risa and Eri Kamei (of Morning Musume) team up for the next song, 守ってあげたい. Those opening vocals on the chorus sound angelic and really stand out to the listener. English phrases like “you don’t have to worry” and “cause I love you” really shine here. Then the instrumentation becomes slightly more diverse with the addition of a few new sounds and spices things up. Risa and Eri both sound very good here with the emotions definitely staying in their voices. It’s a very enjoyable song and only good have come with two of the strongest members of Morning Musume came together for a duet.

Takahashi Ai gets a solo song with 秋桜. A very enjoyable and pretty instrumental starts things off and there is a real connection to nature here that stands out nicely. Ai’s vocals carry a lot of emotion when she comes in on the first verse and it’s clear she understand the story of the song. She really sounds great on the chorus as she gives stronger vocals and the magic of the instrumentation meets her voice soothingly. She definitely brings her personal charm on the song and makes the listener want even more.

ZYX-a (Niigaki Risa [leader], Umeda Erika, Tsugunaga Momoko, Tokunaga Chinami, Maasa Sudou, Kusumi Koharu, Ayaka Wada and Saki Owagi) steps up to the plate with 未来予想図II. The song begins with a very pretty piano opening that easily catches the ear. Everyone sounds nice on the opening vocals although it would have been nice to have some solo parts. The chorus fits with the marriage theme very nicely and sounds very emotional, even somewhat sorrowful. Although there are a lot of girls in this unit, it would have been better if there were solo parts, mostly from Risa as leader.

ONLY YOU is delivered by Zoku Biyuuden (Michishige Sayumi, Junjun and Sugaya Risako). It’s one of the cooler songs with some rock influences to bring out the girls’ interesting and clever style. Although it’s not one of the stronger songs, it’s still a nice listen and it does get points for stepping away from the general sound of the album.

The fourth generation of Tanopopo (Eri Kamei, Mitsui Aika, Kumai Yurina and Okai Chisato) take on 赤いスイートピー.  Beginning the song is another sweet and calming instrumental that stands out nicely. All the girls of this unit sound great with their vocals suiting the sweetness of the music perfectly. It’s particularly cute when they sing “I will follow you” on the chorus and it really does fit the atmosphere of a wedding.

It was surprising to see Linlin get a solo but that’s exactly what she got with for you…The music is pretty and her vocals show a lot of vulnerability and emotion for the listener to hear. She really bring the song to its magical peak and with vocals like that, it’s a wonder why she doesn’t get more solo parts in Morning Musume songs.

Mano Erina teams up with another group, this time Berryz Koubou for 関白宣言. The instrumentation feels a little empty and the vocals aren’t anything particularly wow-worthy so the track just doesn’t stand as strongly as it should have.

Such a romantic song, 世界は二人のために, sung by Michishige Sayumi, Kusumi Koharu, Mitsui Aika and Junjun closes the album off nicely. It’s such a beautiful ballad and everyone brings their best to the table, letting the emotions of a wedding shine through. The title of the song fits it well since it feels like a song that was perfectly made to suit two people.

Album Ranking: B

Overall, this album was a nice package with the stars of Hello! Project coming together and switching up the usual groups to sing happily. It was nice to see the return of High King; Linlin got quite the attention she deserves, Reina and Ai shined on their solos and it was just an overall cute album. A little more variety in the songs they chose to cover would have been nice but still a good package.

Most Memorable Songs: ダイアモンド [High King] / てんとう虫のサンバ [Shin Mini Moni] / YES-YES-YES! [Aa!] / 秋桜 [Takahashi Ai] / 部屋とYシャツと私 [Tanaka Reina]

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Morning Musume – しょうがない 夢追い人 [39th Single]

May 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm (Morning Musume) (, )


Morning Musume’s 39th single, entitled しょうがない 夢追い人, was released on 05.13.09.

しょうがない 夢追い人 is an upbeat song about people who are chasing dreams. The song starts off with a very pretty instrumental that carries a sadness to it before the beat comes in and with more diverse instrumentation, the mature sound comes in. Following is the first verse and the vocals are pretty good, definitely portraying the emotions of the song although it does feel like something is missing. There isn’t that much of a change on the chorus and although are certain points in the instrumentation that sound slightly different although they really do shine. Ai does a great job of singing the title of the song because it’s clear that she gets what the song is all about. The pure instrumental section is amazing, for taking the song in a slightly different direction and letting the listener fall into a different sound. しょうがない 夢追い人 goes for a different sound while still having the mature streak, which is perfect for the variety in the girls’ music. The song also gets points for differing from the usual formula of Ai and Reina taking center stage while the rest is split among the remaining girls since everyone seems to get a nice part on this song.

ShouganaiYumeoibitoPromoThe c/w track of the single is 3,2,1, BREAKIN’ OUT. Beginning the song is a cool upbeat instrumental with some rock elements thrown in here and there to really catch the listener’s ear. On the first verse, the vocals are full of attitude and personality so everyone can sing along with Morning Musume. The atmosphere kind of changes on the chorus since there is more of a cute feeling but it’s still okay because the music remains catchy. This is a great song and definitely a good compliment to the A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for しょうがない 夢追い人 was made. It’s a great video, featuring the girls in a more natural look. There are scenes of them at school, taking a photoshoot and the dancing is great as always. The girls look absolutely gorgeous here and some of them who particularly stood out are Risa and Sayumi. The emotions of the song are also shown well so it’s a strong visual representation of the song.

Single Ranking: A

Morning Musume brings another great single, keeping a streak of memorable mature numbers. Both songs stand out with the c/w track taking on rock tints while しょうがない 夢追い人 is a cool and laid-back song. Morning Musume is definitely a strong group and they continue to prove that time after time.

And on a side note, Aika is looking amazing and incredible in the cover and promo picture.

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

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


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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Morning Musume – 泣いちゃうかも [38th Single]

February 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm (Morning Musume) (, )


Morning Musume’s 38th single, entitled 泣いちゃうかも, was released on 02.18.09.

泣いちゃうかも continues the trend of addictive upbeat Morning Musume songs. The song begins with four different girls, each repeating かも (Reina, Risa, Eri then Ai) and then a hot upbeat instrumentation comes in, catching the listener’s ear. Ai and Reina then switch off for the first verse and both girls’ vocals do a good job of communicating the emotional charge of the song, particularly Ai on that last phrase. One of the catchiest parts of the song is the two line set before the chorus that features a slightly different instrumentation and is sung by a pair of girls. The pairs are divided as followed: Reina and Risa, Ai and Eri. The chorus is very addictive, particularly because of the solo lines portray a lot of emotion. However they perfectly paired the girls together so that the vocals throughout stay strong. Like many of Morning Musume songs, the pure instrumental section is one to be remembered and re-introduces the chorus very nicely. Overall, 泣いちゃうかも is a great song and is a great gateway to the girls’ next album, Platinum 9 Disc.

弱虫 is the single’s B-side. Finally, we have something cool sounding song for the B-side as Risa and Sayumi deliver some wonderful vocals on this hot track. The song starts off with a very sleek and almost mysterious instrumental that gives off a sort of desert feeling. Risa’s vocals are wonderful, staying  smooth and entrancing throughout. It’s interesting because she seems to show off a true vocal ability I hadn’t seen from her until now. She sounds wonderful and it really gives her the chance to shine. Sayumi also has her part and although not as strong as Risa, she does her thing on the track. The whole Arabian influence really brought out the best in these girls and showcases their vocal talents.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 泣いちゃうかも was made. The video is a strong visual reflection of the songs, showing both a coolness and an emotional presence. Scenes of the video include dancing scenes as well as scenes of each girl in the rain, just looking sad. Honestly, the dancing could have been a lot stronger but it was nice for what it is. Some of the girls really portrayed the sorrow of the song better than others such as Ai and Risa. There were also scens of the girls behind a window looking sad and JunJun stood out here particularly as she looked beautiful. It was a pretty good video and some more intricate dancing would have made it even better.

Single Ranking: A +

Once again, Morning Musume delivers a quality single. 泣いちゃうかも is one addictive dance song that is home to a world of emotions much like リゾナント ブルー. Even the B-side is enjoyable, taking on an Arabian atmosphere to entice the listener. It’s a great single that paves a golden way for Platinum 9 Disc.

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[Part Six] Oricon Year 2008 Top PVs

December 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm (AAA, aiko, alan, Amuro Namie, Arashi, ayaka, BoA, C-ute, DOUBLE, Hamasaki Ayumi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Ishida Yuko, Ito Yuna, Jyongri, Kobukuro, Koda Kumi, Leah Dizon, Morning Musume, NEWS, Nishino Kana, Otsuka Ai, Perfume, Shiraishi Kikyo, Suzuki Ami, Tanimura Nana, Tohoshinki, Utada Hikaru) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


With all the PVs released this year, there have been some real standouts. We’ve seen some amazing dancing, sad love stories, cuteness and pretty lights. So here is the list of the best PVs released this year.

01. Koda Kumi – TABOO PV

02. Hey! Say! JUMP – 真夜中のシャドーボーイ PV

03. Koda Kumi – Under PV

04. Suzuki Ami – ONE PV

05. Perfume – Macaroni PV

06. NEWS – 太陽のナミダ PV

07. Hey! Say! JUMP – Your Seed PV

08. Ito Yuna – miss you PV

09. Jyongri – Winter Love Story PV

10. Hamasaki Ayumi – (don’t) Leave me alone PV

11. Koda Kumi – anytime PV

12. alan – 空唄 PV

13. Tohoshinki – 呪文-Mirotic- PV

14. alan – RED CLIFF ~心・戦~ PV

15. alan – 風の手紙 PV

16. Koda Kumi – 秘密 PV

17. Hamasaki Ayumi – Marionette PV

18. Koda Kumi – Moon Crying PV

19. Arashi – Beautiful days PV

20. Otsuka Ai – クラゲ, 流れ星 PV

21.Tegomass – アイアイ傘 PV

22. Leah Dizon – Vanilla PV


24. Koda Kumi – 恋の魔法 PV

25. Koda Kumi – 甘い罠 PV

26. Hamasaki Ayumi – Mirrorcle World PV

27. Arashi – One Love PV

28. DOUBLE and Amuro Namie – BLACK DIAMOND PV

29. Amuro Namie – Sexy Girl PV

30. AAA – Crash PV

31. Ishida Yuko – Changes PV

32. Morning Musume – Resonant Blue PV

33. aiko – KissHug PV

34. Tanimura Nana – SEXY SENORITA PV

35. Tanimura Nana – If I’m not the one PV

36. Shiraishi Kikyo – BLACK PV

37. C-ute – 涙の色 PV

38. Tohoshinki – Beautiful you PV

39. alan – 恵みの雨 PV

40. Suzuki Ami – can’t stop the DISCO PV

41. BoA – be with you. PV

42. Nishino Kana – I PV

43. Leah Dizon – Under The Same Sky PV

44. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION PV

45. Amuro Namie – WHAT A FEELING PV

46. Tohoshinki – Purple Line PV

47. ayaka x Kobukuro – あなたと PV

48. Koda Kumi – MORE PV

49. C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 PV

50. Koda Kumi – あなたがしてくれたこと PV

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[Part Four] Oricon Year Top Singles

December 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm (AAA, Aira Mitsuki, alan, Amuro Namie, Angela Aki, Aoyama Thelma, Arashi, ayaka, Berryz Koubou, BoA, BONNIE PINK, Buono!, C-ute, Crystal Kay, Fukui Mai, GIRL NEXT DOOR, Hamasaki Ayumi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Hirahara Ayaka, Ishida Yuko, Ito Yuna, Jyongri, KAT-TUN, Kawashima Ai, KinKi Kids, Kitahara Aiko, Kobukuro, Koda Kumi, Kuraki Mai, Leah Dizon, MEG, MilkyWay, Misia, Morning Musume, Nakashima Mika, NEWS, Otsuka Ai, Perfume, Shibasaki Kou, Shiraishi Kikyo, SMAP, Suzuki Ami, Tackey & Tsubasa, Takasugi Satomi, Tanimura Nana, Tegomasu, Tohoshinki, TOKIO, Utada Hikaru, V6) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Well there have been a lot of singles out this year. Some of them have been amazing and have made me fall in love with certain artists while others made me feel very disappointed. Which single took the number one spot? How many Johnny’s singles and H!P singles made the countdown? You’ll have to continue to find out.

mnsb1Hey! Say! JUMP has definitely impressed me this year, much more than I thought they would. I can’t even describe just how great their music has been but I’ll try anyway. The group’s fourth single, 真夜中のシャドーボーイ, wins title of “Single of Oricon Year 2008.” If there is one thing that these guys know how to do it, it’s make an upbeat single that makes the listener take notice. 真夜中のシャドーボーイ uses Spanish and Arabian themes to push their instrumentation over everyone elses. Except for Kei, Keito and Ryutaro, everybody has a real turn to shine. Yamada, Daiki, Nakajima and Chinen all have this center role (Yamada having the actual center role) since this song was used to promote their new drama Scrap Teacher so it was nice to see different people getting the time to shine. Everything about the song was perfect. With the constant repetition of the word “チェリー,” the listener is taken to another world. These boys really pull off the mature sound strongly and Chinen’s voice sounds different on this song than the others ones. Daiki, Nakajima, Yabu and Takaki all sound great too. With the multitude of live performances the song has gotten, the guys have looked hot and they sing the song with such confidence. It’s an amazing single that reigns above all the others so they should be very proud to have “Single of the Year.”

It was very hard to choose a first place winner and this single was so close to taking the top spot. Second place though kumitaboocddvdis something to be proud of too though and the runner up for “Single of the Year” goes to Koda Kumi with TABOO. After the controversy, Kumi went for a more conservative approach with MOON. However there’s something magical about Kumi when she does the sexy thing. She exutes confidence and it really makes for an enjoyable time when you can get up and move with Kuu. TABOO is the sexy anthem of 2008 as Kumi provides smooth vocals that lay over the hot instrumental. The verses are what make this song so addictive, particularly the last lines when she sings “drive away.” Kumi uses a certain cleverness with these lyrics using various metaphors to describe secret love and they come across to the listener perfectly. Plus I’m sure this single has given many others faith that Kumi will always have that sexiness in her because people have been worried that it’s been declining. Always is a nice compliment to the A-side even though it’s pretty forgettable. TABOO is the hot dance track that Kumi delivered and is just too good to pass up. Even the PV for the song was perfect. They really made sure this would be a strong single from all angles. This song single-handedly has me assured that TRICK will not be an album to forget.

cantstopthediscocddvdThird place was also really close to nabbing that top spot. The moment I heard the title track, I was instantly addicted and I knew the album that would soon follow would be amazing. That is why third place goes to Suzuki Ami with can’t stop the DISCO. It’s no secret that Ami and Nakata make a dream team because every single they release together just shines. I loved ONE but the moment I heard can’t stop the DISCO, I fell in love with the team. I first heard the chorus when it was used for the Mister Donuts CM and couldn’t get enough of it. But then when I heard the verses…I was blown away.  Ami really pulls off the cool vibe here and she’s given me one of the most addictive lines of 2008: me to me no kakehiki (love tactics). I can’t get enough of this song and it’s definitely one of the highlights of Supreme Show. Even the B-sides were amazing: climb up to the top and SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08S/A Mix) were extremely strong numbers that helpe make this one cohesive single from start to finish (and that includes having each song have perfect transition into the next).

In case it wasn’t clear already, Hey! Say! JUMP has put out some fantastic music this year. So does it really come as a yssurprise that they have two singles in the top 5 best singles of 2008? I didn’t think so. Hey! Say! JUMP takes fourth place as well for their 3rd single, Your Seed / 冒険ライダー. It was with this single that I officially became a fan of these guys. Your Seed is the first time they really brought a mature song and the difference from Dreams come true shocked me. Everyone sounded great on this song and the rap section is absolutely infectious. I still haven’t found out who is doing that but the first person that came to mind was Nakajima. Was it actually him? Probably not but ya never know. It’s hard to really put my love for this song into words so let’s just say everything about this song was perfect. Not one thing could have made it any better. 冒険ライダー also had a kind of mature sound while having that fun-loving breezy atmosphere that just makes you wanna smile. I particularly like the chorus when all the boys come together and harmonize so perfectly. Also Yabu shines on his few solo lines before the final chorus so good job to him. So it’s the single that made me a Hey! Say! JUMP fan and one of the best releases of the entire year! The boys are on fire!!!

singles5Johnny’s Entertainment was definitely on a roll at the beginning of the year. NEWS’s first single of the year, 太陽のナミダ, comes in fifth place of Single of the Year. The title track uses Spanish and Arabian influences to really make the instrumentation addictive. Everybody sounded great on the song and personally, Massu’s voice stood out a little more than everyone else’s. Nonetheless, everyone sounded fantastic and their vocals really were smooth over the instrumental. バンビーナ and Lady Spider were also amazing, really catching my ear. It was actually Lady Spider that made me a real fan of NEWS because it just really sparkled in my eyes. It’s so catchy and one that could have been an A-side. バンビーナ really shows the sexy side of the boys. The lyrics have that dirty edge to them and they might even make you blush. Tegoshi can friggin sing and if you had any doubts about it, listen to バンビーナ. They did a magnificent job on this single and it’s certainly not one to pass up. As an overall package, it’s their strongest single to date so give it a listen if you haven’t already and fall in love with these boys like I did.

Suzuki Ami and Nakata really are the dream team. can’t stop the DISCO was amazing as was this year’s 6th best single, amisuzukionecddvdONE. The moment I heard ONE, I was addicted and I began following Ami thereafter. The song features a more aggressive instrumental with some perfect vocals from Ami to give it that extra flavor. When the song first opens, we are treated to the best part of the entire song: キラキラの the one. This one line makes the song fantastic but the rest of the song nicely follows this section. The chorus also stands out with the English phrases like “I love music and this world” and “I love your smile.” It’s absolutely perfect in every way so it’s the perfect way to introduce the formal come together of Ami and Nakata. Originally the B-side, A token of love, did not really impress me but after giving it some time, I fell in love with it. A token of love also features that aggressive sound that supports Ami so perfectly. I really like that last line of the chorus, the title of the song, because she says it with such edge and sleekness that it sticks in your head. Plus that ending instrumental sequence is fantastic, really standing out to the listener. Overall, this is definitely one of the strongest singles of the year, without question. It shows Ami’s cool side and is the perfect product of the dream team.

singles7alan has had a smash year with her Element Project. Each single repesented one of the 5 Godai elements and the best one to emerge of the five: 空唄. The title track is a beautiful upbeat song in which alan claims she can fly away. I think because this is the real upbeat number chosen to be an A-side, it stands out from all the other singles she has released. It really portrays the element of the sky well and lets the listener believe what she is singing. If you want even more amazingness, then turn to the B-side, My Stage. This is definitely alan’s most cheery and infectious song because the instrumentation is so light and heavenly, prompting the listener to just smile while listening. Honestly, I think I would have preferred My Stage to be the A-side since it’s a real standout in alan’s discography. I hope that she’ll be doing a similar song to this on her album…whenever that will be coming out. It shows the versatility of alan as an artist and proves that she can do music closer to mainstream music while still having that special touch that only alan can bring.

Perfume also had a strong year, releasing various singles that showed Perfume’s quirky and fun nature. However they singles8really stood out when they released Baby cruising love / マカロニ. They’re really the best examples of electrpop ballads as the instrumentation is strong and the girls’ voices suit them perfectly. Baby cruising love was nice because it still had traces of that unforgettable Nakata aggressiveness. However the real star of the single and the reason it placed so high on this chart was because of マカロニ. It is the prime example of how to slow down an electropop song and still maintain the quality. There is such a relaxing and natural atmosphere about this song that when I listen to it, I can just smile and drift off into another world. And having an emotional connection with a song just makes it all the better, which is why this is Perume’s best song to date. It was released at the end of the winter and I can see that there are some wintery traces hidden in the instrumentation. I’m hoping that the girls will bring another strong song like this for their next album, which looks to be strong looking at the singles released thus far. Good lucks girls and I hope the future brings you luck!

24If you want the best winter song released this year then you definitely have to look at 24 Xmas Time by Kuraki Mai. I was blown away when I first heard the song because there is something so natural and fun about this song that I can’t help but love. The song kind of goes back to her older style with songs like Love, Day After Tomorrow, which is always a good thing because I adore that song. Okay, let’s be truthful, the song isn’t that wintery or Christmas-like but that’s okay because it’s just a fantastic song. The verses are what make it so addictive and those moments where the instrumentation changes to set up Mai for a strong line (such as my favorite line in the whole song which translates to “kyou mo, watashi wa sekushii.” The B-side was nice, although a little generic but it compliments the whole wintery theme of the single nicely. I can’t believe Mai put out such a great single after a few that were questionable. I’m already anticipating her new album, touch Me!, because of this one song.

I love Tanimura Nana. She’s talented; she’s fun and she’s ready to go! Her 10th single, If I’m not the one / SEXY singles10SENORITA, featured two different songs that show off two different sides to her. If I’m not the one is a very beautiful ballad with Nana lamenting that she needs to know if she can’t be her admired’s one and only. She really portrays her emotions strongly and it keeps the listener focused and sympathetic towards her. However the star song on this single is SEXY SENORITA, a fun song that shows off Nana’s sexy and playful side. Her vocals here are strong and the chorus stands out proudly. She portrays attitude and sass, which is perfect for making the listener believe her. I really like the English phrases such as “call me, call me” and “crazy crazy.” I’m still waiting for an album to be released from her since I know I’m going to love it but she’s going to school (she’s attending one of the most prestigious law schools in Japan so go Nana!) so I can’t blame her. I just want any piece of news of a new release soon and it better be an album. Congratulations Nana for being such a threat with your fourth single, If I’m not the one / SEXY SENORITA, which rounds out our top 10.

11. Misia – Catch The Rainbow [Digital Release]

12. Morning Musume – ペッパー警部

13. Leah Dizon – Love Paradox

14. C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 II

15. alan – 風の手紙

16. Perfume – Dream Fighter

17. Tohoshinki – 呪文  -Mirotic-

18. Arashi – One Love

19. Morning Musume – リゾナント ブルー

20. Ito Yuna – miss you

21. Koda Kumi – anytime

22. Perfume – love the world

23. Tanimura Nana – JUNGLE DANCE

24. V6 – 蝶

25. Kinki Kids – Secret Code


27. Leah Dizon – Vanilla

28. Aira Mitsuki – チャイナ・ディスコティカ

29. Berryz Koubou – 行け 行け モンキーダンス

30. alan – 懐かしい未来 ~longing future~



33. Ishida Yuko – Changes

34. Hey! Say! JUMP – Dreams come true

35. Tohoshinki – Runaway / My Girlfriend

36. Tohoshinki – If…?! / Rainy Night

37. Tohoshinki – Purple Line

38. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION / Stay Gold

39. Tegomass – アイアイ傘

40. Takasugi Satomi – ありがとう

41. Ito Yuna – 恋は groovy x2

42. BONNIE PINK – Ring A Bell

43. Shiraishi Kikyo – again

44. Shiraishi Kikyo – BLACK

45. Shimatani Hitomi – 泣きたいなら

46. Hamasaki Ayumi – Mirrorcle World

47. ayaka x Kobukuro – あなたと

48. alan – RED CLIFF ~心・戦~

49. Amuro Namie – 60s70s80s

50. Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE

51. Nakashima Mika – ORION

52. Crystal Kay – 涙のさきに

53. Jyongri – Winter Love Story

54. C-ute – 涙の色

55. Kuraki Mai – 夢が咲く春 / You and Music and Dream

56. Arashi – Step and Go

57. Arashi – Beautiful days

58. V6 – LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing!

59. AAA – MUSIC!!! / ZERO

60. Aoyama Thelma – 守りたいもの

61. Koda Kumi – MOON

62. NEWS – Happy Birthday

63. Kitahara Aiko – その笑顔よ 永遠に

64. Shibasaki Kou – よくある話~喪服の女編~

65. Milky Way –  タンタンターン!

66. Kuraki Mai – 一秒ごとに Love for you

67. C-ute – FOREVER LOVE

68. Otsuka Ai – クラゲ, 流れ星

69. Aira Mitsuki – ロボットハニー

70. ayaka – おかえり

71. Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love

72. Shimatani Hitomi – WAKE YOU UP / 雨の日には 雨の中を 風の日には 風の中を / Marvelous

73. Hirahara Ayaka – 孤独の向こう

74. Milky Way – アナタボシ

75. alan – 恵みの雨

76. BoA – be with you.

77. BoA – VIVID

78. Fukui Mai – アイのうた

79. V6 – VIBES

80. Hirahara Ayaka – さよなら 私の夏


82. Tohoshinki – Close to you / Crazy Life

83. Nishino Kana – Style

84. Arashi – truth / 風の向こうへ

85. KAT-TUN – White Xmas

86. GIRL NEXT DOOR – Drive away / 幸福の条件

87. GIRL NEXT DOOR – 偶然の確率

88. TOKIO – 雨傘 / あきれるくらい 僕らは願おう

89. Tohoshinki – Beautiful you / 千年恋歌

90. SMAP – そのまま / White Message

91. Angela Aki – 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ

92.Tackey & Tsubasa – 恋詩-コイウタ / PROGRESS

93. AAA – BEYOND~カラダノカナタ

94. Kawashima Ai – カケラ / Flag

95. SMAP – この瞬間, きっと夢じゃない

96. EXILE – The Birthday ~Ti Amo~

97. Buono! – ガチンコでいこう!

98. Berryz Koubou – ジンギスカン

99. Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

100. Buono! – ロッタラ ロッタラ 

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[Part One] From The Girls Of H!P

December 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Berryz Koubou, Buono!, C-ute, MilkyWay, Morning Musume) (, , , , , )


Well it’s been another year of ups and downs, hits and misses from the girls of H!P. We’ve had albums, singles and DVD releases and there has been some amazing music to come out. So which group reigned the queens of H!P? Well just take a look at the picture above.

hip2This year, Morning Musume wins the title of “Queens of H!P.” They’ve released two singles and one cover album, standing out above all the rest. Both リゾナント ブルー and ペッパー警部 are addictive tracks that show that cool mature side of the girls, which always makes for good moments. Even though these singles did not garner particularly strong sales, they definitely deserved them since these two singles are some of the best the girls have ever released. Their recently released cover album featured some fantastic songs such as 渚のシンドバッド, どうにもとまらない, 居酒屋 and UFO. These songs really made this album stand out and Pink Lady should be proud as the girls definitely did them proud. I was hoping that the girls would release an original studio album but I suppose we’ll have to wait next year for that. This year has been good to MoMoSu in terms of PVs. Each video nicely showed off the girls’ mature side and featured some awesome dancing. I can’t even anticipate what we’ll be getting next year but I hope there continues to be strong videos. I’ve really enjoyed Reina Tanaka, who officially takes the spot as my favorite Morning Musume girl. She was the looks, the voice and the personality, all of which really make her a star. I look forward to seeing her grow even more as a person in this group. But it wouldn’t be the same without all of these girls and all of them come together to form the amazingness that is Morning Musume. They are definitely the stars of the year and I can’t even anticipate what they will bring in 2009!

The runners-up for “Queens of H!P” are without a doubt, C-ute! These girls released four fantastic singles and one c-utealbum. The three singles released after the album were all fantastic: 涙の色 (which took on a Spanish twist), 江戸の手毬唄 II (which took on the sweet and fun sound, emerging as the group’s best single) and FOREVER LOVE (which featured a mature rock sound). Their A-sides continue to prove that C-ute is a very talented group of girls who can definitely take on different styles with ease. Although their B-sides are a little similar in that they go for the cute traditional H!P sound, they’re not going to be on the album so it’s okay. So why don’t they get title of “Queens of H!P?” The album wasn’t as strong as hoped for. With all the mature songs they’ve been doing, I was hoping that the album would be in a similar vain but sadly I was wrong. Hopefully the girls’ next one (which is set for a January release) will feature that sound that made me fall for them in the first place. The album is packed with fantastic singles and the title makes me think we’ll be getting one strong album so I hope I’m right. As for PVs, this group has had some strong ones but what it all boils down to is that these girls can dance. Each video (涙の色 and FOREVER LOVE in particular) showed off these girls’ dancing skills. Hopefully next year will feature even more strong dancing from C-ute to match some strong songs.

bzThird in line is Berryz Koubou. Well they had some amazingly catchy songs this year such as 行け 行け モンキーダンス, HAPPY! stand up, REAL LOVE, MADAYADE and  フラれパターン, which made me pay attention to these girls. I think that if you’re looking for a fun and happy group to listen to, Berryz Koubou is it. And perhaps that’s why they didn’t take the crown this year. These girls have more of a young and happy image rather than putting out those strong mature numbers that make me stand up and really see diversity. However I can say that their album this year was stronger than C-ute’s so perhaps next year, they will pull ahead for the title. Berryz Koubou’s videos…well they’re…fun. They weren’t as engaging as videos from MoMoSu or C-ute but they did show off the girls’ personality, which is always a good thing. When these girls really dig deep to bring those mature songs, they shine so I’m hoping that their next release features this kind of style. They don’t have anything set to be released in 2009 yet (while other groups do) but I’m guessing that we’ll be hearing official word from Tsunku in no time at all. I think it’s nice that these girls are having kind of a different sound than the other groups at H!P but at the same time, I hope to see a little more variety and mature music coming from them in 2009. However I suppose that request should be aimed at Tsunku rather than the girls so Tsunku, make everyone see the true power of Berryz Koubou!

Fourth place goes to Milky Way. Why you ask? Well to be honest, it’s pretty much based off of ガムシャララ (the B-side of the girlsmilky_way_002‘ second single). This song is extremely addictive and definitely should have been given A-side privileges. The girls’ other songs have been enjoyable too but none so like ガムシャララ. アナタボシ did a nice job of bringing Irish sounds into the mix, which definitely stands out from the rest of the H!P music this year and タンタンターン! is a very enjoyable song with a more relaxing feeling. Well there really isn’t much to say about these girls since they debuted this year and only released two singles. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them in the future and I really do hope the other two girls get a little more attention because as of now, Koharu has been getting all the spotlight. Okay, she is the leader but that doesn’t mean everyone can get a fair part. It honestly feels Koharu featuring the other two girls, when it should be all three girls together. Nonetheless, I look forward to what they will be bringing in the future and I hope it will be as awesomeness as ガムシャララ.

buonoFinally we come to fifth place with Buono! Truthfully, the music the girls have been putting is a little too similar for my tastes. All their singles are related to the anime series Shugo Chara! so maybe they should stray away from that in order to have more variety to their music. If you’re looking for that cute traditional H!P sound, then these girls are your ticket. It’s kind of a shame because these girls do have some nice voices but it gets really annoying to feel like once you’ve heard one of their songs, you’re listening to their discography. If Tsunku is reading this, then I’m asking you to give these girls some more variety. One thing that I can about these girls is that they are active. In the course of the year, they’ve released 5 singles and an album, which I believe makes them the group which was released the most this year from H!P. Had this been Morning Musume of C-ute, I would have been even more excited. Let’s hope we get some diversity in 2009 from these girls.

Oh H!P, you’ve been good to us this year, particularly with Morning Musume and C-ute. It’s no surprise that Morning Musume won the title “Queens of H!P” since they put out two fantastic singles (three overall) as well as a strong cover album. I’m very much anticipating their new single, which is set to be released the last week of January. C-ute and Berryz Koubou also did well this year and had thir albums been stronger, they would have been closer to that title (especially C-ute who was really close). Milky Way and Buono! did okay but hopefully they’ll show to me their real skills in 2009. This has been all from the girls of H!P in 2008! Let’s look forward to an even stronger year in 2009!

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