C-ute – SHOCK! [11th Single]

February 12, 2010 at 11:54 pm (C-ute) (, )

C-ute’s 11th single, entitled SHOCK!, was released on 01.06.09. It is the group’s first single without Umeda Erika, who decided to pursue a modeling career.

While the last single was actually pretty catchy, SHOCK! fulfills the need for anything catchy in a hot dance track about a two-timer. The song starts off with a coool spy-like instrumental that then builds in some Russian sounds a la Morning Musume’s last single. Then Airi delivers the first chorus with powerful vocals that take the listener’s attention by force. Right before the instrumental break, she makes a cute little noise that each member gets to do once during the course of the song. Tsunku decided Airi would be the leader on this song and thus she is the only one to carry a solo line and nearly sings the entire song herself. Everyone does get a chance to sing together on the chorus and everyone gets their cute sound (in the order of Chisato, Mai, Saki and Maimi). The pure instrumental section continues the coolness before the chorus comes back in. Even though many have complained about Airi getting so much attention on the song, it is undeniably catchy and will hook you in on first listen.

The B-side of the single is the fun and funky number, 生きようぜ! The song begins with an addictive dance instrumental that will have the listener out of their seats in second before Airi comes in for the first verse. This song follows cues from the A-side seeing as only Airi and Maimai have solo lines, the other three girls only coming in for the chorus. The fact that there are so many sections of pure instrumentation really bring the song’s strengths out for all to hear. It may be a little simple but it’s so addictive that the listener won’t even notice.

In order to promote the single, a PV for SHOCK! was made. The video’s core is dancing, which was a smart move since these girls really know how to move. The choreography really fits the style of the song and always has the attention of the viewer. The close-up scenes don’t really do much for the video so the dance version is the best version to look for.

Single Ranking: A +

This is definitely C-ute’s best single in a while and it’s good to see them step it up. It would have been nice to see the other three girls have more of a presence in this single but Airi (and Maimi) definitely prove why their up front.

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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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