Tuesday, 21 April 2020

All The Way Way in LOVE, Mind & Body - KOKORO&KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way (Single Review)

*This is a completely subjective post in which I state my thoughts and opinions on Morning Musume's most recent single. Please do not take what I say as fact, and do not get personally offended by whatever is said just because it does not fit within your own opinions or feelings. I do this for fun, to share my love of J-pop and Idols with others, and to pass the time. It's a hobby, that's all. I don't do this for anything but my own pleasure. At the end of the day your opinions are just as valid as mine, but we are not all made to think the same way, and we should all respect that. Thank you.

**I also make mistakes like any human, so if you see any littered within the post, don't feel shy about calling me out. We all have room to improve, myself included. Thanks for your help and understanding, my loves.

A post in which Chiima finally writes that one review she started in February, but was too lazy to finish until a month into her countries lock down.


With new members to introduce and a new year to tackle, Morning Musume 20's latest single proves to be a refreshing change of pace for the group. With a catchy trio of songs to listen to, the groups 68th single certainly delivers more than we may have bargained for.

But is it really as great as some make it out to be, and is it really worth the repeat listens that some fans put it through? That's up for you to decide, though I'm certainly going to give the single a test-run (or 50) to find out myself.

Though it has been a few months since the singles official release, I'm finally finishing this review in the last quarter of April, because I never got around to writing up this review around the time I initially planned to post it. It's a bad habit of mine to leave review drafts in a pit of uncertainty, but with how the current situation of the world is right now, I decided that now was a better time than never to talk about this single.

It's been present since the start of the year, a frequent visitor on many playlists, I'm sure, and it's a single that I know a fair few people love. Finally, I will tackle the triple A-side that is KOKORO & KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way, and dole out my unwanted thoughts on the release. It's time to plug in the headphones, take in the music and type out the words. Are you ready to forget the world exists and enter a place filled with colour, music and fun?

Let's go~



Release Date: January 22nd, 2020
Price: ¥1,700 (Limited Edition SP) / ¥1,600 (Limited Editions A, B, C) / ¥1,080 (Regular Editions)
Editions: 7 (Regular A / Regular B / Regular C / Limited A / Limited B / Limited C / Limited SP)

Track List:

1. KOKORO&KARADA
2. LOVEpedia (LOVEペディア)
3. Ningen Kankei No way way (人間関係No way way)
4. KOKORO&KARADA (Instrumental)
5. LOVEpedia (Instrumental)
6. Ningen Kankei No way way (Instrumental)

Limited Edition A DVD Tracklist:

1. KOKORO&KARADA (Music Video)

Limited Edition B DVD Tracklist:

1. LOVEpedia (Music Video)

Limited Edition C DVD Tracklist:

1. Ningen Kankei No way way (Music Video)

Limited Edition SP DVD Tracklist:

1. KOKORO&KARADA (Dance Shot Ver.)
2. LOVEpedia (Dance Shot Ver.)
3. Ningen Kankei No way way (Dance Shot Ver.)

KOKORO&KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way
- Single Review -

1. KOKORO&KARADA

Clinging to the remnants of what was the Colorful Era and late ℃-ute sound, KOKORO&KARADA is one of those Hello! Project songs that sounds more like a good, nostalgic throwback, and less like the groundbreaking new sound it was probably trying to be.

Still, it's a damn good throwback, one that I enjoy listening to it on occasion. With a catchy, memorable sound, KOKORO&KARADA delivers what I can only describe as a delightful dose of upbeat EDM mixed with a helping of elegance thanks to its use of classical tones. It's undeniably cool, and the vocals that pair with the beauty of the classical breaks in the instrumental only enhance the beauty of this song.

I'm honestly surprised that I like it this much, because Hello! Project's brand of EDM usually isn't my thing. But hey, 2020 is full of surprises.

Still, I do have my reservations with the song. Whilst I do enjoy what it offers on the occasional listen, I have found that KOKORO&KARADA can wear pretty thin after a period of time. It's a little polarising to say the list, because on the one hand I really enjoy its sound, the vocals and how awesome the track is as a whole, but on the other hand it can just get annoying, and the vocals even begin to sound grating. So for replay value, KOKORO&KARADA is rather weak, however I do consider it a fantastic track when I'm not tired of listening to it.

And for the record, I'm currently listening to it (and writing this) after giving it a rest for a few months, so it's currently in my favour sound-wise... until about the 15th listen, that is. Then I may need to take a break before I start to hate it a little.


Visually, I freakin' love KOKORO&KARADA. I'm not the biggest fan of H!P's full chroma-keyed creations, but I just really enjoy how aesthetically pleasing KOKORO&KARADA is, the timing of the smallest details and how every beat of the effects is perfectly timed with the music. It's in perfect sync, and it's that precise use of effects to create the visuals for the rhythm of the song that draws me into this music video.

It also reminds me of Walt Disney's own love of synchronising animation and music, and being reminded of that simply delights me.

There is a lot to enjoy about this video - it's well paced, great editing, beautiful to watch - but I think that its nostalgic look is also a part of its appeal. Much like the song, KOKORO&KARADA feels somewhat reminiscent of the Colorful Era, and a lot of its sound and visual style seems to have been influenced by the 2014 A-side, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa, except this song is a lot edgier and a little more mature in what it aims to deliver. I can't help but think that this is like the cooler, more chic twin of the two that had a Beethoven phase in high school.

Overall, I enjoy KOKORO&KARADA. Granted, I have to let it sit for a while before returning to it, but I do think that it's a fantastic song that was given a gorgeous PV to accompany it. It's a fun song, makes me feel nostalgic for some of Colorful's Era's better tracks, and the hints of symphonic vibes are both classy and reminiscent of ℃-ute's Mugen Climax, which I can't blame H!P for borrowing; it's a damn good track, and it only enhanced the quality of KOKORO&KARADA'S sound.

In A Nutshell: It's nostalgic and I like it, but in small doses.

2. LOVEpedia

LOVEpedia is what I can only describe as a breath of fresh air. Bubbly, bright and undeniably cute, this track comes to us after years of stagnant A-sides from H!P's flagship group, and it couldn't have come at a better time. With an upbeat and catchy sound, LOVEpedia acts as a great introduction to Morning Musume's newest generation, as well as the perfect addition to this singles track list.

It honestly feels good to hear something this unique from Morning Musume after so long, and I can't help but smile whenever I hear it. I actually don't remember when I last enjoyed a Morning Musume song this much (hint: it was BRAND NEW MORNING), so hearing LOVEpedia and enjoying it this much feels amazing. All I want to do is sing and dance along to it, and wave my arms about stupidly because it's that fun.

To say that this song is highly energised, adorable and catchy would be an understatement. It's absolutely amazing, and probably one of the best new generation introductions I have heard from Morning Musume in a long while. It's just so good, and I can't help but love this cheerful, positive song that is like the sunshine, but in song form.

I'm gushing, I know; but I can't help it. LOVEpedia is so cute that I can't help but babble about its magnificence. This is honestly the highlight of the groups recent releases and I can't help but think enjoy its raw cuteness and energised sound. I love it, which is fitting, given the songs name and all.


The music video is equally adorable, though not as visually stimulating as KOKORO&KARADA. With a rather adorable setting, this music video acts as a great introduction to not only the new members, but the group as a whole. By making use of the senior members' hobbies or skills - golf for Eripon, dancing for Ayumi and Chisaki, Elevator buttons for Mizuki, etc. - we get a small window in the older members and what they enjoy, much like the new members. It's a unique take on the music video, and one of its many charms. It's also great to see that the book theme used in the small plot of the PV is also included in the dance shot, which ultimately unifies the group after the new members have met each and every one of their seniors in the story.

It's incredibly cute, though not without its faults. At times the pacing of the video can feel a bit off, and the opening scream is so fake and cringe-worthy that I can't even awkwardly laugh at it, however these issues are minimal at best. Still, I can't help but enjoy the video and what it offers. It's adorable, upbeat and energetic, and matches the song for the most part. It's pretty well done, and I love the use of the Morning Musume Encyclopedia of the things that the seniors love. Adorable.

I haven't felt this strongly about a Morning Musume song in a while, and I am so happy that the song that appeals to me the most is one that is incredibly entertaining, catchy, cute and happy. It's so appealing, and the raw cuteness of the newest additions to MoMusu is evident here. I love everything about this song and what it does, and enjoy the video that accompanies it. LOVEpedia is a true winner in my book, and though I hope that H!P can create a better track in the future, I doubt that they will top the quality of this song any time soon.

In A Nutshell: It's memorable, it's fun, but above all it's happy. I can say with confidence that I genuinely love this song, and I am so happy that Hello! Project finally gave MoMusu a decent song after about 3 years of weak tunes. Finally.

3. Ningen Kankei No way way

I feel like Ningen Kankei No way way is that weird product of a composer who, at the time of creating it, was incredibly drunk on sake or perhaps lacking a days worth of sleep, because there is no way (way) that this song was made with any shred of sanity attached to the person. I mean, why the heck would you include Turkey in the Straw to a damn J-pop song, of all things? This isn't God-damn Hannah Montana, y'all.

In all seriousness though, this is a really fun track to listen to. It's the least serious piece of music I have heard in forever, which ultimately makes it an entertaining, somewhat dorky song that you can't help but enjoy. It's basically LOVEpedia on a sugar high after discovering country music.

It's the Honey Boo Boo of Morning Musume songs, that's what it is.

Yes, I'm aware that this song has the same melody as LOVEpedia and that both were made in case one or the other didn't get approved, and yeah, it sounds like it took some of The Matenrou Show's style to make it sound a little bit different to its twin track, but I honestly don't care because I enjoy how weird this one is in comparison. It's got a catchy, fun sound to it, and it's just so good to hear another fun track from Morning Musume. Yeah, it's essentially the same as LOVEpedia, but it just feels a little different, and a lot less sane.


When it comes to the visuals for this song, there's a distinct lack of absurdity thanks to its serious tone and lack of colour. It's a stark contrast, one that I can't help but question because - let's face it - this song really doesn't call for any form of seriousness or maturity, yet that's what the accompanying video provides. Sure, it's pretty to look at and rather stylish, but damn, they could have at least created something a little more lighthearted to at least match the tone of the song.

I do like that they tied the book into this song, though, only because it brings home the point that these songs are cut from the same cloth.

Everything else is appealing in its own way, and I think that the music video looks rather moody and cool overall, but it simply doesn't work with the song. I am not one to hate on juxtaposed imagery either, but this just has no defined balance. Ningen Kankei No way way is too silly of a song to have such a serious looking PV paired with it, and it just lacks balance. There is a time and a place for contrasting imagery and sound, and this wasn't the time or the place. Heck, the only part of this entire video that actually fit this song was the dance shot, and that's because it's energised and a little weird.

On its own the music video is a damn good release, and it honestly gives me Resonant Blue and Platinum Era vibes. It's cool and chic, looks stylish as heck, and I love the varying tones of gray, blue and white. The moodiness is so damn great, but the atmosphere of the PV is ruined by the song, and the song is ruined by the PV. They just don't work together.

As a song I enjoy Ningen Kankei No way way, and as a PV I enjoy the editing and direction, but together they just don't mix. Still, I appreciate the overall silliness of Ningen Kankei No way way and how fun the song is. It's weird, energised and entertaining, and another great track on this extremely promising single.

In A Nutshell: A silly, fun track that I don't take all that seriously, but enjoy nonetheless. Definitely another high-point to this single.

Conclusion

It's been a while since I enjoyed a Morning Musume single this much, so it's pretty refreshing to enjoy every song present after being disappointed for so long. Yes, I have enjoyed the odd track from a release, but enjoying an entire single to this extent has been foreign to me for about 3 years, at least when it comes to Morning Musume.

But KOKORO&KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way delivers in a way that the other singles didn't. It feels fresh and entertaining, every song is catchy and memorable, and it just makes me smile whenever I listen to any given song. They are all great tracks in their own way, highly enjoyable when played on their own, but equally great when played one after the other. The replay factor is also pretty damn high here, and though I undoubtedly have my preferences, I do like all of them.

All of the songs are appealing, and despite the clear similarities in LOVEpedia and Ningen Kankei No way way - plus the obvious issue of mixing up the lyrics for both songs - I do think that all of the songs are equally appealing and high in quality. I still enjoy them a few months after the official release date, and though I have let them sit for a month untouched, coming back to them still brings up those feelings of elation and surprise by how good this single is.

It's strong as heck, and whilst I am aware that this single won't be everyone's cup of tea, I do think that it's one of Morning Musume's better releases in a while. Chalk it up to how fun all of the tracks are, or something else, but I love what this triple A-side delivers, and I hope that Hello! Project keep dishing out the quality tracks for MoMusu here on out, cause they need it.

To conclude: It's a win, if that wasn't obvious enough.

Favourite Song: LOVEpedia

Single Rating:


I feel like this gif perfectly summarises how I felt when I first heard this single. What about you?

Though I can't say that this is a flawless release from Morning Musume, it's pretty damn close to being greater than great. It's a solid single, one that has a lot of replay ability, and it's one of my favourite single releases from 2020 already. Sure, we're only in month 4 of the year, but I'm happy that Hello! Project could give us something this strong for the start of 2020.

I have no doubt that everyone has already heard this, but definitely give it a second or third listen if you enjoyed it the first time. And if you already have it on repeat and settled nicely into a playlist, what are your thoughts on it, and which song is your favourite? Is there a weak link, or do you think it's a strong single all around? Please share your thoughts, and enjoy giving the single another spin.

And with that I will end this post. Thank you for taking the time to give this a scroll through or a quick read, and thanks for enjoying idols and music. Hopefully you are all well and taking care of yourselves, doing what you love and keeping busy. Just be careful and keep yourself mentally and physically well during this trying time guys, and think not only of your own well-being, but the well-being of others, too.

Until the next post, stay safe and take care. Much love, everyone.
Chiima~

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