All opinions within this post are my own, unless otherwise stated. In no way are you to take offence of my opinions, and please do not get angry at my opinions. Your opinions are your own, as mine are my own. It is a free thinking world, or at least it should be. OPINIONS TO THE PEOPLES!!!
This post is rather over-due, considering that I wanted to review this album a while back, however whilst I was still contemplating whether or not to review it on Selective Hearing, the Boss Man, Greg, beat me to it before I could come to a final decision, and then I started to procrastinate or review other things as well as actually focus on my college homework. Ah, life... Okay, enough of my boring life problems, I apologise~
12 Smart, the oh-so cleverly named album (it sounds just as half assed as Maji Desu Ka Ska looks as a video) is the last album that features Takahashi Ai as well as the first album for the 9th Gen members. Now, whilst this album may not be as epic as 10 My Me, it's still a pretty solid album, in my opinion. There are songs I like, vocals I loathe and vocals I adore, and also songs that are pretty 'meh' to me. Then again, there is always a 'meh' song for someone in each and every album produced, so ignore me~
ONTO THE REVIEW!!
01. Give Me Ai
Give Me Ai is the rather obvious play-on-words title of the opening track for this album. Whilst some of us may enjoy the fact that such a name was given to this song, others may just want to throw Ai right back you for even daring to give the former MoMusu leader to them. I, for one, would throw Ai back at Hello! Pro and say 'Keep her. I've waited for her to leave since 2010. I still don't want her, so go on, have her back'.
Oh crap, I've already gone off topic. Whoops :D
Anyway, other than my supposed Ai-dislike (I actually like her btw), I find that this is a pretty nice opening track for the album. Of course, Ai is leading her title song followed by Reina, Riho and then some sub-vocals courtesy of Niigaki and Michishige. Everyone else is added into the chorus and some group lines they share with Michishige or Niigaki. Give Me Ai is a typical Morning Musume song, and if I wasn't already used to this forumla I would probably have a major bitch-fit about certain members who can sing well not getting any lines (coughFUKUcough), BUT I am already used to the formula, and besides - the song works this way. Ai sounds amazing, as does Reina. Niigaki, of course, sounds as beautiful as always.
Heck, I even like Riho in this song! I like them all, in fact, because this is a pretty good song, and the main vocals sound damned good, but not amazing 9Reina probably sounds the best actually, Ai really lacked in this song IMO)
But, whilst I like the song, it isn't amazing - there are other songs that I find are better and a lot more memorable, so it's an okay song, and it's fine as an opening song, but I don't really care for it.
02. ONLY YOU
Line-whore galore for Riho (I won't make a pun on her name, I might get bitched at)
Nah, I reviewed this previously - I won't go through it again, however, I really like this song. It's damned good, and though it's a bit of a piss-take that they brought back 'Mature Musume' for this song, I really like it. Riho's auto-tuned voice sounds pretty good in it, but Robo-Gaki is fecking AWESOME!!! Pure WIN!
03. Silver no Udedokei
Ah, Silver no Udedokei. I've recently started to really like this song, but mostly because there is rap in it (most of which is Gaki, with a sprinkling of Aika). This song consists of Reina, Riho, Lord Gaki and Aika, with Winky and Squinty leading the song whilst Niigaki raps like a boss with some random guy singing in the background as well.
When I first listened to this song, I actually really did not like it - Riho sounded (still does) crap, and Reina sounded sub-par. I don't think I even finished the song, but after a while I took the chance to listen to it and slowly fell in love. I'm still not happy with Reina or Riho's vocals in the song, but you really can't please everyone with one song. I just find that Riho sounds awful here, and that this song doesn't suit her voice at all. Reina sounds fine, but she could be better.
Of course, me being the biased person I am, will say that Gaki saved the song for me, however I like the composition of the song - I just wish that it had been given to someone with a deeper voice than Riho, like Kanon, or even Gaki. I don't think that Riho's voice has matured enough for her to lead a song like this. Yes, there are parts where she sounds fine, but most of the time I can't stand her voice. This isn't a bitch-fit at Riho, either - I genuinely like her singing voice, but only when it's LIVE. It's the same with Reina - their live voices are better than their studio voices.
Oh, and Aika - I honestly think that she and Gaki are really good at rapping, considering they are the only two who can now rap in Morning Musume, unless they teach Kanon, and maybe Ishida Ayumi, how to rap properly. I liked her lines, however she isn't in the song as much as Gaki is rap-wise, but thankfully she showed one of her singing strengths (and her voice wasn't squeaky, either!)
04. Suki da na Kimi Ga
Suki da na Kimi Ga is the Sayu x Fukumura Love Fest of a song, with a heavy dose of Sayumi and a little bit of Fukupon. This song is pretty surprising, considering it is Sayumi singing, however her heavily auto-tuned voice sounds pretty good here. Sadly, throughout the song you actually won't realise that Fukumura's there because Sayu's voice is so obvious whilst Fukumura's isn't, and that's something that really disappoints me. I think that Fukumura has a really good voice, and to have it taken over in a duo song is really sad. Fukumura is by far the best 9th Gen singer, and she's even better than Sayumi and Aika - and yet she doesn't even get a solo line in the song as well as her lines being barely audible over Sayumi's voice.
In all honesty, I don't mind the song, but it just disappoints me how it turned out - Fukumura should have gotten more lines in this song, her voice should be heard more, and Sayu shouldn't be heard the most. The song is cute, but it doesn't really embed itself into my memory at all. This one is truly a disappointment for me.
05. Kaiketsu Positive A
Kaiketsu Positive A is a song that I'm okay with, but not totally in love with - however, it is a really fun song and has everyone singing at least one line in it. I guess that's why I like the song, other than the fact that it's pretty energetic. Okay, some (coughRIHOcough) get more lines than some of the better singers (coughFUKUPONcough), however everyone sounds pretty darned good here - especially Reina and Kanon. Yow, can Kanon sing. She's really improved since she first joined, and she's got a pretty deep voice - something that Morning Musume needs. Sadly, she isn't a front girl. So... I will cry about that later.
Anyway, whilst this isn't my favourite song (I don't think any of them are actually), I really like it. There's energy, good vocals, a nice line distribution and Ii think it's a song that everyone will like when they first listen to it. Sadly, I doubt I would put this on a loop... Yamette Yo Sindbad is a loop song, not Kaiketsu Positive A in my opinion.
06. Kono Ai wo Kasanete
Okay, I just lied - I do have a favourite song! Kono Ai wo Kasanete is the sort of song that instantly makes me think 'This is a Gaki song' when I hear the opening. It's got that sort of feeling in the instrumental that tells me that this is a song that Gaki can sing, and when I first heard it, I fell in love. Takahashi Ai and Niigaki Risa together <3 It's pretty much love and Heaven for me.
Now whilst some may not like the whole Niigaki x Ai forumla, I do. I think that these two girls work so well together. They both have powerful and beautiful voices, and they compliment each other perfectly; Niigaki, the dominating and bossy lover whilst Takahashi plays as the meek and shy girlfriend. Yes, a truly perfect mix for these two girls.
This is a pretty calming song, and both Gaki's and Ai's voices are soft throughout the entire song. It's really pretty, and though Ai gets more lines than Lord Gaki, I find that the song suits the both of them perfectly. They sound just wonderful together, and this is the sort of song I could listen to on a loop if I was in the right mood for the song. It's got a beautiful instrumental (especially towards the end of the song), and Niigaki just sounds wonderful (my bias, people). I love and adore the song, and I really hope that Tsunku allows Niigaki to sing this as a solo at a concert one time, because I think she would nail it.
Like she nails Ai...
07. Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa de Negatterun Da Yo!
I don't need to review this - I love the song, it's catchy and fun~ There, review DONE 8D
08. Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!
OMG OMG SAYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMI~~~
09. My Way ~Joshikou Hanamichi~
My first thought when I put this on a moment ago was this: 'You sound like a Buono song...'
Anyway, moving on from that thought - this is another song that allows everyone to sing. And it sounds bloody EPIC! The beginning sounds kind of different from the chorus, but I guess that is what makes it so damned nice. It's also a pretty 'I raise my eyebrow at you' song, because of the effects that they put on the vocals for some of the lines, but it also makes me smile at how silly the song can seem as well as how playful and cute it is. It's got a flare to it that I can only describe as a 9th Gen flare, where only the 9th Gen could make it this epic and silly - like Yamette Yo! Sindbad. I doubt this song could have been so awesome without 9th Gen in there. It has a youthful energy to it, and it sounds just... wonderful ;A;
I can see myself replaying this one on a loop now that I have properly listened to it...
10. Otome no Timing
...FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -plugs ears quickly-
Okay, enough of my whining - I actually do like this song, it's pretty sweet. HOWEVER, Aika's and Eripon's voices suck in this song, and I am not afraid to admit that. Okay, they don't suck, but they don't sound great either. Eripon's voice actually hurts my ears a little in this song, and I love the damned girl! Aika's voice also hurts. I prefer her rapping, I honestly do. I hate her voice in this. Fuck, hand me a gun...
Oh wait... there's saving grace!!!
The offspring/love child of Suzuki Airi and Fukuda Kanon, Suzuki Kanon jr. is the fucking saving grace of this song vocals wise. She sounds so damned good, I dunno why they put her in this song with Aika and Eripon, because she sounds too good for this song with their vocals. Now, if she was put into Silver no Udedokei and Riho in this song, then I would be happy, because Kanon would suit Silver no Udedokei more than Riho can (at least in the studio version). Fuck it, Kanon you're to fucking good for this song! Get out of this before you start forcing your voice like Aika does now and like what Koharu did before she ran away!!!
Okay, let's get back on the train tracks: The song sounds sort of like a 60's song or something - it's in the middle of happy and mellow, but doesn't go all out hyper like it should (come on, both Eripon and Kanon are in it - though I understand the little energy needed, considering if Aika moves an inch she might break her other leg or something). The song is kinda nostalgic tune-wise, and I have to say that these girls work well together. It's just painful for my ears to listen to Ikupon and Aika-boo.
But no, really, I like the song - I just can't listen to it if I have a headache :/
11. OK YEAH!
OK! YEAH is the final original song for this album, and it sounds (and from the poorly colour coded lyrics on Projecthello.com, looks) like a song that is dominated by Niigaki Risa (FINA-FUCKING-LY), Riho, Rei-nya the Winker and Takahashi Bye Bye.
This is a bloody good song, actually. I've listened to it a few times, and have found myself shaking my fist and head banging my way to the 'Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah......'s' in the song. It's a pretty loud, expressive and club-like song which I would probably dance to if I wasn't sitting down. It has a lot of energy and thought put into it, and is honestly better than the opening song. I actually wish that this was the opening song, to be honest, because it's so damned hyperactive and a lot better than Give Me Ai to throw back at you. However, as an ending song, it is still epic (Though Give me Ai as a bye bye album ends song would be awesome, because then we coudl say 'BYE BYE TAKAHASHI TIS THE END FOR YOUR SONGS' when really, it is the end of the album >D) and it seriously wins.
Definitely one of my favourites along with My Way ~Something Someting Something~ and Kono Ai wo Kasanete. Love this song~
12. Maji Desu Ka Ska!
The PV sucks, I like the song, Riho is shown too much in the video itself, however the song wins for a debut single though I wish it hadn't reminded me of Koko ni Iruzee!
REVIEW DONE 8D
Okay... not really (you could wish ;D)
So, to conclude this review of Morning Musume's 12th Album, I will give my thoughts on the album all together to give you an idea of what I like and dislike about it:
Whilst I like this album, I know that it isn't the strongest album that Morning Musume have brought out. Some of the songs are good, whilst others are rather weak. Some may argue with me that the songs I find weak are actually really good, but when I listen to Silver no Udedokei, I find myself thinking that it is one of the weaker songs in the album due to the sub-par vocals that Reina and Riho give, and though the rapping's good itself, it doesn't save the song. It's composed wonderfully, yes, but stronger vocals were needed - if Ai had sung the song, she would have probably owned it royally. However, I won't say that Silver no Udedokei is the weakest song in the album - that would probably have to be Maji Desu Ka Ska! or even Give Me Ai. They are both good songs, however don't give me the impact at the beginning of the song that Give Me Ai should have, nor does Maji Desu Ka Ska! end the album with the feeling that this is a pretty epic album. If some songs were switched around, and OK YEAH! was the opening song, whilst Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai! or My Way ~Joshikou Hanamichi~ was used as the ending song, I think that it would have made the impact of the entire album a little bit better.
So, whilst I do think some songs are weaker than others (especially Otome no Timing and Suki da na Kimi Ga), there are also songs that are pretty strong and have a great deal of impact on me when I listen to them. The fact that some of these songs are so hyper and different to what I am used to from Morning Musume (by this, I mean emo-Musume era) is different, refreshing and wonderful for me. I enjoy this great amount of energy that Morning Musume has sprung upon us since adding the 9th Generation, and it's these songs that I like the most within the Album (barring the Niigaki x Ai ballad) because of the happy, up-beat nature that they give off.
If I had to recommend any songs from this album, then I would tell you to listen to these songs:
My Way ~Joshikou Hanamichi~
Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai
I find that these are the songs which stand out the most within the entire album. They are energetic, fun and give a feeling of energy and happiness which makes me want to listen to the songs on a loop. But this is just my personal opinion, and obviously I will like songs that you don't, and will also dislike songs that you don't like, so just remember that.
SO! Wrapping up the review, what did you think of this album? Do you have any favourite songs that you listen to on a loop, or are there some songs that you simply just don't like?
Let me know! :D I think I got even my hyper towards the end of this post because of OK YEAH!!! XD
PING!!!!! International Wota: Recommended Reading November 16th 2011