I woke up annoyed... I don't like reviewing when I am annoyed, or at least I don't like reviewing something I like when annoyed... but I think that this will soothe me... I hope ;3 SO, let's go, shall we? YEAH!!!
Foul mood aside, today I will be taking a look at Morning Musume's latest single, and also their 3rd consecutive Oricon Topper, Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke/Ai no Gundan. A lot of people seem to like this single, and once again their funky pop sound and formation dance has allowed the group to get noticed by the public, which is great! Many fans who have been around circa Platinum era have been hoping for a comeback from this group, myself included, and have longed for them to get recognised again. Of course there are fans out there who thought Morning Musume were done for, finished... they would never be seen as a 'great group' again in the eye of the Japanese public, and would basically filter down to nothing.
Of course, the fans who had hoped for Morning Musume's return to greatness are lapping it up right now, because in a sense we were kind of right to hope for their rise to 'fame' again. Sure, their music isn't exactly the most original, and for some the sound is outdated, but Morning Musume are certainly bringing a fresh perspective into the Idol industry with this sound and bringing it to the public's attention. Of course not everyone is too fond of MoMusu's rise to the Top again, and that is to be expected, but for MoMusu to return to the top... well, they must be doing something right! They aren't selling millions, no way, but they are getting noticed, which is just as amazing for the fans! For all of us who love and support Morning Musume, this is an exciting time, and we are cherishing it and, of course, lapping it up!
Anyway, I had better stop talking about getting to the Top (well... nearly) and whatnot, and get on with the single review! Damn blabbering, I got caught up in the moment! So, first song! Let's go!
1. Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke
Of the two A-sides on this single, I think that Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke is the most memorable song. It's a pretty cool tune in my opinion, with a mature tone that still has a playful undertone thanks to the energetic chants of Aisaretai and Hey Hey! present in the chorus.
There are quite a few effects present in the song, from vocal enhancing effects (hello auto-tune!) to effects that are used in the instrumental that make it pretty fun to listen to, such as the slapping sound effects that people have come to enjoy quite a lot thanks to the accompanying dance move where the girls slap one another. I also love how the instrumental will sometimes sweep the sound from left to right, which you really only pick up if you listen to these songs with headphones on... which you should totally do, because you hear everything, and it is amazing. Trust me. It's nice to just hear so much of the song and how the instrumental really sounds.
This is a pretty fun song to listen to, and is truly a mood-enhancer in my opinion. It makes me feel so happy and energetic when I listen to it, and gives me this urge to dance along. It is seriously infectious, it makes me want to sing, and it makes me want to just be happy!
... Actually, thinking about it, my foul mood is disappearing! WOOHOO!!!
2. Ai no Gundan
The second song of the A-sides is my favourite of the two, and is a catchy, fun sound that I just adore! It doesn't have that mature sound that Wagamama does because it has a more playful and youthful tone to it, but it is just as catchy and mood-enhancing in my opinion!
Much like Wagamama, this song also uses the aid of effects, but mostly reverb and auto-tune on the vocals, and some pretty good effects on the instrumental which I quite like. Once again, this is a song to listen to with headphones on, because you really get the full effect of the instrumental and the background sounds that you can miss with just ordinary speakers. I can hear background 'Ah's' that I couldn't hear before that are pretty damn quite, and something that sounds like a sweeping phaser (or close to it... it's on Adobe Audition), and it sounds pretty cool from what I can hear!
My favourite part of this song has to be the chorus, though. Once the chorus opens up, there just seems to be this burst of sound, as if the instrumental has caused a mini explosion (best explanation I can think of!) in my ears. It sounds so good!
I like this song, and as I said beforehand, it is my favourite of the two because of the fun and addictive sound that it has. It is so much more playful than Wagamama is and so catchy! It isn't the most memorable of the two in my opinion, and I do think that Wagamama is better, but this one is just so... <3
Sayumi, Mizuki, Haruna, Masaki & Haruka
Sayumi, Mizuki, Haruna, Masaki & Haruka
Upon my first listen of this song, I did not really take to it like others did... I mean, I didn't hate it, but I wasn't sure of it yet. However, since then, Bouya has become a song that I quite enjoy, I just needed the time to get used to it before I could fully appreciate how good it sounds to me.
This song has some of the stronger singers present, those singers being Mizuki, Masaki and Haruka, with both Sayu and Haruna being the two weakest, however I think that this song plays up to both of their strengths, and also the strengths of the other three. Okay, so the song is riddled with auto-tune because Sayumi's in it (only real explanation, and don't deny it! All of her songs are auto-tuned on b-sides!), but it suits the song and sounds good on everyone... even the girls who don't need it! For once, the auto-tune hasn't been used in a stupid manner like it was in One Two Three, and it sounds very techno and fun in my opinion. I'm not the biggest fan of it, but I can't deny that it works for this b-side.
When I listen to this song with headphones, I can't deny that certain parts of it, especially the chorus, are very similar to the sound of Ai no Gundan because it has a few sweeping phases. This song also sounds reminiscent of every other b-side that Sayumi has been in for these split groups, but it does work, which is why I don't mind the use of recycling here much... also, I want to note how well this type of song works with Haruka's voice. She is the lowest singer of the five who sing in this, and yet it is her voice that fits the song the best, Haruna being a close second. The other girls have such high voices that it does become quite a headache if you listen to it too much, but both Haruka and Haruna have great tones that just balance out the song really well, and I wish that I did hear more of them than I do Masaki or Sayumi, because those two can get annoying thanks to their pitchy or high voices, but really, what can you do?
Of all three b-sides, I think that Bouya is probably the best one. It's the most memorable in my opinion, but it isn't my favourite because of how high and unbearable the vocals can be at times. It is good, and this song makes me hope for a Haruna x Haruka duet one day with this type of sound, because holy heck, it does suit them to a T.
4. Funwari Koibito Ichinensei
Erina, Riho, Kanon, Ayumi & Sakura
This has to be my favourite of all the b-sides, though I have found that this is the one people are most likely to raise their eyebrows at because of the sound. Honestly though, this is the most appealing track for me and the one that I fell in love with. It has rap (I do love me some rap!), a fun sound, and has some of the better singers in it! Of course having the better singers in it does not make it good, but this one is my winner!
The instrumental, in my opinion, suits everyone's vocals - that includes Riho, who I usually find sounds horrible in most songs that she leads, but she actually sounds great here! Granted, she sounds like she stuffed a sock up her nose, and she is definitely the weakest vocalist of the three leads who actually sing, but she sounds good, and I was surprised by just how nice she sounded here. It looks like, for once, UFP did something right with Riho's voice! YATTA!!!!
My favourite singer in this song has to be Sakura, though. She just really pulls this entire song together with her sweet vocals and great singing ability. Zukki is also great, and she sounds amazing in this, but she is no patch on Sakura, I have to admit that. To be honest though, they all fit the song, and they all make it sound amazing.
For Ayumi and Erina, who are both rapping in the song... I really can't tell the difference, their vocals are so heavy with effects to the point where neither are recognisable as individual voices now. However, I do applaud them on their ability to sound decent whilst rapping, especially Eripon who is less experienced that Ayumi in rap right now... she did a good job, and didn't butcher it like Miyabi does! With time and practice, Eripon will be better at rap, but for now he is pretty decent. If she can surpass Miyabi's butchered rap line in Loving You Too Much, then that is all I can ask for!
I love this song, it is so reminiscent of H!P's old hip-hop and rap songs, and it is just nice to see that they are bringing back the rap in songs with this new generation, because I have missed it since Silver no Udedokei. I am glad that they are using Ayumi and Eripon's lack of singing ability (Eripon more-so) here and giving them the chance to work with what they have in another format, and also I am glad to see that they are putting Riho in a song that works with her voice, rather than forcing her to work her voice to the song and killing the quality of the song. It sounds good, and whilst this is probably not the most original song (it reminds me of Silver no Udedokei and other b-sides or past Hip Hop singles) it is my favourite!
Also, that sexy background male vocalist... mhm! Can't get enough of that. YEAH!
5. Makeru Ki Shinai Kon'ya No Shoubu
The final song on the single is the full member coupling number, and looking at the lyrics, this is a fairly even song in terms of line distribution. It is also a pretty cool-sounding song, taking on a sound which heavily reminds me of 'marching' and the army... a little like what Ai no Gundan reminds me of, actually. It sounds like the type of song that I could march along to down the street, whilst people stare at me strangely.
Of course, much like the other songs, this one is riddled with effects to the point where I can't recognise who is singing what, but it also has a pretty epic instrumental as well, so I forgive the effects... but yeah, the only people I can recognise are: Sayu, Riho and Masaki. To a certain degree, I can sometimes figure out which lines Haruna or Zukki are singing, but the others I have no clue because the effects are so strong in here and drown them all out, but much like the other songs, the effects work with the tune... and if the auto-tune keeps Riho's voice from killing my ears, I am fine with it, because this is one of those songs where her voice does not work, because she is trying to fit her voice to the song... urgh. That said, I like the song itself. It's fun and different compared to both Wagamama and Ai no Gundan, a nice medium for the two songs which is good! Also, the song is pretty strong in sound itself, but just as good as the two A-sides, which makes for a pretty good track list if you ask me!
I enjoy this song a lot, I love the sound of it, with its marching tune and the sweeping phases that it has (like in Wagamama) and the wonderful background oh oh vocals provided by Sayumi. It's fun, it seems to work for most of the members, and despite the fact that is swamped in effects and drowns out most of the singers to the point where most of their voices are unrecognisable, it is a great song to listen to, and really lifts your mood if you're feeling down! So for me, this is a good b-side, and one that should definitely be checked out!
The Conclusion (Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun)
To be honest, all of these songs are worth listening to. They all have their charms, but they all have their own little downfalls as well, such as the fact that all of them rely heavily on auto-tune to make the singers sound decent, and also the fact that said auto-tune makes it hard to hear certain voices. Other than that though, I like the songs. They all sound pretty fun and cool in their own way, and they each appeal to me in a different way. I also like the fact that, in a way, they sound similar to each other with certain effects or sounds used. I know that won't be everyone's cup of tea in a song, but I find that this ties all of the songs together and makes the single what it is... it makes the songs siblings, if you will, and that entertains me a bit I think. They don't sound stupidly similar, like some songs do, but they have their similarities, and yet still sound like their own song rather than a carbon copy of something else.
I like all of the songs, I think they are great to listen to. Sure, they aren't my most beloved songs of all time, but they are great and make up a pretty good, strong single from Morning Musume. There may no be much variety here admittedly, but there are certainly different tones and enough difference in style to keep it from being too similar from every other song. It's a fun single, and I like it a lot, and honestly... for once, the b-sides don't sound better than the A-sides. Possibly on par with the A-sides, but certainly not better, which is pretty damn good I think.
Also, I would like to note that this is a pretty good single to listen to if you're feeling a bit down or you find yourself in a foul mood. My mood heightened greatly after listening to these songs earlier, and I am really a lot more cheerful and relaxed than before! I am pretty delighted with this single, to be honest with you. It turned my mood around, and also, the songs are pretty good! What a winner, aye?
So, what are your thoughts on the single itself? What are your favourite songs, and which one do you find yourself jamming to regularly? Be sure to let me know!