Friday, July 17, 2015

March/April Song Opinions (Part 4)

Everything I put on my blog is purely my opinion. No offense is ever intended, and I do not ever claim my opinion to be any more "right" than anyone else's, so please return the favor and pay me the same respect. Thank you.

I'm so sorry. This is why I try not to do big projects... But I would feel bad if I just never finished this, so I'm going to find the happy medium and, instead of dedicating full posts to each of the remaining songs, I'm going to summarize how I feel about each of them in this one. Obviously I won't be able to go into near as much detail, so I'm just going to name off quickly my favorite things, least favorite things, and anything else that stood out to me about each song. So, here we go.

Itooshikute Gomen ne (Country Girls)

Itooshikute Gomen ne one of the debut songs for Country Girls. I initially was completely neutral on this song when I first saw the video in the Hello!Station release, and then when the actual PV came out it grew on me. However, since then it's faded back into the mid grounds.

My absolute favorite part of this song is how they announced the girls member colors in the PV in an incredibly creative way. There had already been lots of speculation and excitement surrounding what these girls' member colors would be, so when the full PV was put up on their channel, so many people were happy. When I first saw the full video, I didn't really realize what it meant when I saw Momoko's scene, but when I saw Yamaki's I began to suspect, and when I confirmed at Mai's that they're all different and the couple who had birthday t-shirts already matched, I was sure. It is, to this day, may favorite member color announcement.

My least favorite part would have to be the outfits. I don't hate the outfits by any means, but I really don't like them all that much. I much prefer the alternative outfits used in the offshots to these. Normally I prefer the outfits that are similar, or the same, because I like having an unbiased way to compare the girls looks and can have more faith in knowing them by their faces over the outfits they wore. But I'm not the biggest fan of orange, and if I like it, it's usually in a mix of colors or a set of colors. Just orange and white just doesn't appeal to me.

The only other thing I really care to mention about Itooshikutte Gomen ne is the opening of the PV with Momoko. I really disliked this scene because of how they handled it. They treated it as an "outtake". I personally don't believe that simply because I don't see where they would have put it in the video if they had left it, so it seems staged to me. And, in my opinion, without the "bubu~" afterwards, it would have made a really good opening for the song. Tsuguanga Momoko is the only senior member of the group. Yamaki Risa and Inaba Manaka were Kenshuusei, so they have some seniority, but they've never been in another group before. So using the "senior" member, and playing manager on top of that, to introduce their debut song, should have been acceptable. Treating it as an outtake, to me, instead makes it feel like they tried to put too much attention on Momoko despite her just being the playing manager and may or may not be a permanent member of the group.

Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)

Ever since Koi Dorobou was released I found it far superior to Itooshikute Gomen ne. I feel like the sound and feel of it, as well as the outfits and video are all much more enjoyable. Plus, I feel like the vocals are a bit stronger since the main vocalists are the three with the most experience.

My favorite part of this song would have to be the song itself. I find it incredibly catchy and fun to both listen to and sing along with. I especially like how the line distribution works to make the song. And for once, I'm not talking about who sings when. I'm purely referring to things like which lines are solos, which aren't, and the contrasts of vocals between solos and the like. I think this is one of the best songs of this set. It's probably in my top 5 of these even now.

My least favorite thing would have to be how damn pink this video is. I swear, you could play I spy and be like "I spy something pink" and you could win. AND THE SPIER ISN'T SUPPOSED TO WIN. And yes, I'm biased. If it was as blue as it was pink, it would be one of my favorite things about it. BUT IT'S PINK ; 3;. So much pink... It makes me really glad that I don't have to watch the video to enjoy my favorite part about it.

The other thing I would like to point out that I really liked was the offshot close up bits where everyone was on this bed or couch looking thing. I really liked those shots. As pink as they are, I'm a sucker for shots where the girls are making use of the environment and/or props instead of just staring into the camera in front of something or a green screen.

Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)

It's been a while since I heard this song, to be honest, and just hearing the opening reminds me how much I like it. Tsugi no Kado wo Magare was the first of these songs that I really loved and it was my favorite of them for a while. And although it's definitely not my favorite anymore, I would say it's still pretty high up there. 

My favorite part about this song would have to be the lyrics. I feel like this and Yuugure wa Ameagari are two of the most relatable songs in general that H!P has released in a long time. But what I really love about Tsugi no Kado wo Magare's lyrics is the fact that it is telling you "it's okay if you don't just keep going down the straight path". A lot of similar songs tend to say things like "keep going, it'll get better" or something, but this song brings the truth up that there are twists and turns sometimes. And I love the encouragement that "If you're really in that horrible place, don't stay there, take a chance. You don't know if something wonderful has been just out of your reach this whole time." This just makes this song incredibly beautiful and powerful.

My lease favorite part of the song is the outfits. Honestly the only outfit I really like is Mai's. Despite my bias towards black and white outfits (which does exist, I assure you) I don't like the look of anyone else's outfit at all. They all have their good points, but the only one I think it all around well done is Mai's.

The thing that really stood out to me and helped me admire the song a lot as well is the use of Kenshuusei as background dancers. The room the dance shot takes place in has a lot of open space and is incredibly dark. If for no other reason, adding 4 more girls dressed solely in white really helps give the scenes a much... "cozier" I guess? feel to them. In addition to that, I really like when Kenshuusei get a chance to perform with major groups. I feel like it helps them get some more professional practice (no offense, but lives that don't even get DVD releases are nothing compared to music videos that will end up on youtube by the company themselves) as well as a chance to put their names out there and possible gain supporters. Which... honestly I'm not sure how much that helps them debut considering how long it took Miyamoto Karin to debut and the fact that Tanabe Nanami never debuted, but at the very least, I'm sure it'll help them if and when they debut.

Ca va? Ca va? (Juice=Juice)

Ça va ? Ça va ? was initially one of my favorite songs of these. And I'll be honest, it was mostly because of the "Ça va? Ça va? Ça va? Oui!" parts because I just found them so damn catchy. I swear, I would do a dub of this song with no lines as long as I could sing those parts. But since then, although I'm still in love with those lines, they're not enough alone to keep me listening to the whole song, so it's fallen a lot since then.

So, as I mentioned above, the "Ça va? Ça va? Ça va? Oui!" parts are by far my favorite part of the song. I'm sure they completely butcher French, and it makes little to no sense, but I don't care. Honestly, I'd rather pretend it wasn't even a language just to leave it in the song because it sounds so freaking catchy and is so much fun to sing. Like, if you know French, and they did mess it up, just pretend they're saying "Savah Savah Savah Wee" and it's just like baby-talk or something and yay, it's catchy again :D.

My issue with this song is similar to the issue I had with Wonderful World. In this song's case, I find the song's incredibly stereotypical or standard for what you would expect a French song to sound like. I have never been to France, and I don't know any French artist or the like, so my argument could likely be invalid or ignorant, but I seriously feel like if you put this song in that kids' show "Madeline" no one would bat an eye. The instrumental sounds like it was stripped straight from a French coffee shop in a movie. And to be honest, I wouldn't mind if there was more French in the song. But the song is Japanese with less French in it then most H!P songs have English, so why they need to give the music even a stereo-typical "French" sound, I don't understand.

The thing that stands out to me most in this song is the stupid outfit's theme. All of the outfits on their own are... well, not that bad. But when you put them together it's gross. I get that theme is supposed to be stripes, but they don't go together at all. First, we have vertical stripes (Tomoko and Yuka) verses horizontal stripes (Akari, Karin, and Sayuki). Then, we have the fact that everyone has thin stripes on their top except Sayuki who's instead has fat stripes on her skirt. Further, we have everyone in a cute blouse and a skirt until there's Yuka, who's wearing a one-piece. And let's not get into how NONE of the colors match at all. Really, the outfits separately are pretty good, but LOOK AT THAT PICTURE. EWW.

Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)

I'm pretty sure the only reason I never got to reviewing this song is because I wasn't sure how to express my opinion regarding the use of Karin in the video as a substitute for Kanon when she was injured. I still don't exactly know how to express or justify my opinion without going to a long ass post of reasons and thoughts, so I'm just going to sum it up to I approve of it and leave the rest up to your imagination.

My favorite part of this song is probably the outfits. At first I wasn't too fond of them, I thought they were too simple and too lacking of color. However, since then I've seen a lot of various photos of them and I've really grown to like them. Plus, I think this song's outfits do a much better job of contrasting the 12ki girl's outfits to the rest than Yuugure was. Although I really like the blue outfits in Yuugure, I think due to the simplicity of the outfits, the white contrast goes really overboard. However these outfits, being silver and black and a bit more complex, do not seem too out of place when the silver and black turns to black and silver. And yet the 12ki girls still stand out in contrast to the rest.

My least favorite part would have to be the close up shot setting. Although I love the whole fan and umbrella stuff they did, I really don't like the background for any of the close ups really. Those changing color screens or whatever just give me a headache and distract me from looking at the girls instead of what I feel like close ups are supposed to do - draw attention to the girls all the more.

The thing I want to note is my second favorite part, which is the umbrella shots. I feel like the girls are absolutely gorgeous in those bits, and it also brings a bit of a calm feeling to an otherwise upbeat song. Plus, I like how they're taken at an angle that doesn't have the background incredibly distracting 8D.

Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)

Everytime I hear Yuugure wa Ameagari I remember just how much I really love it. It's a beatiful song as well as a beautiful videos. In regards to Karin, I will leave my same comment as with Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru and proceed to judge the song/video without any further commentary regarding the matter.

I honestly have a lot of things I love about this song. I only really have one thing I dislike. But my absolute favorite thing would have to be the parts in the dance where Masaki is playing air piano. Since those bits are dominantly piano, it doesn't look out of place, and the fact that Masaki actually does know how to play piano just makes me wonder if she's actually tried playing those bits on an actual piano. It's just a really interesting bit that they incorporated and I really really loved that they decided to do that.

The only thing I dislike, therefore my least favorite thing, is what I actually mentioned previously when talking about Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru. I don't like the contrast of the blue to white with these particular outfits. I love both blue and white, but I feel like instead of helping 12ki stand out, instead it kinda makes them feel out of place. I really love both the blue and the white outfits, mind you, just not together...

The misc. thing that I'd like to point out is the fact that this PV takes advantage of the very 360 degree dance to get some amazing shots off. Most dances are very forward-facing, so we only really get to see a long shot, close-ups, and if we're lucking, some panning around. But since the camera can get behind the girls sometimes and still catch the dance, we get to see some beautiful angles like this above high-angle shot taken from above the dance and towards the back near the tree. I feel like it makes the dance clips in the video even more worth watching to me.

Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)

Ima Koko Kara was the first of the three A-sides to be revealed, and even back then I honestly didn't know what to think of it. I was incredibly excited that Morning Musume was doing a song for an anime, for sure, but just about everything else I can't decide whether I like or dislike it. So this is gonna be a bit awkward to write about 8D

My favorite part is probably the song itself. I really enjoy the sound of it, though I only really like it when I'm in the mood or haven't heard it in a while. It's one of those songs that I get tired of quickly, I'm not entirely sure why. But Just about everything else about the song depends on the day almost with me, so I think that's the best thing to classify as my favorite part.

I'll go with my least favorite part being the 9kis' outfit in contrast to the other three. I really like them standing alone, honestly but with gens 10 and 11 having the same outfit in just 2 different colors, and gen 12 having a different one in the same color as 11, gen 9's significantly different outfits (both color and style different from all three other gens) seems incredibly out of place. I would rather they had the 12ki outfit in purple at the very least. Plus, their being the only one with shoe laces on their shirt does not help their case.

The other thing I'll point out is the fact some of the scenes look like this.I honestly forgot until I was rewatching, and this might actually be my favorite part over the song, but I'm too lazy to go back an edit. I love the fact that they used the chairs shown in the title screen, and how they have flower petals floating around (though I'm pretty sure they're effect, I think they work well) and the spot lights. It's interesting to say the least.

Since the initial "new song" obsessions are over and I've had a chance to give them all a re-look, and I kinda owe you something for backing out on what I planned, I'm going to try my best to rank these songs based on how I feel about them NOW. Enjoy.

#10 - Itooshikutte Gomen ne (Country Girls)
As good as the song is, I really feel like all the rest are better.

#9 - Ça va ? Ça va ? (Juice=Juice)
It's fun to listen to when I do, but I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to it, and would probably skip it most of the time.

#8 - Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)
I really like the song, but can only listen to it if I'm in the mood, so in general, it's pretty low on my list.

#7 - Gamusha LIFE (C-ute)
As much as I loved it when it first came out, I can't keep loving a song that I mostly loved over one part. I still love that part, but I've run out of patience on the rest of the song to keep loving it.

#6 - Wonderful World (Juice=Juice)
I've grown to love it more than I did when it first came out, but it's still not in my top 5. I will usually listen to it when it comes on, but never really go out of my way to listen to it.

#5 - Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)
I really like how it sounds and I'll listen to it 9 times out of 10 probably, but I rarely ever gett in the mood to specifically listen to it over other songs.

#4 - Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)
It's a really cute song and it's the first in my ranking so far that I would and have specifically gone out of my way to listen to even now.

#3 - Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)
Probably the only song here who in the end, managed to be in the approximately same position as when I first heard it. I absolutely love the song, and if it weren't so repetitive, it might be higher on my list. BUT! The repetitiveness is part of the charm, so I'm perfectly happy sticking the song at #3. Besides, 3 is best number ;3

#2 - Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)
I just really love this song. Sometimes I may go out of my way to listen to it, but not as much as other songs. But if it comes on I think I always listen to it. It's just a beautiful song.

#1 - The Middle Management ~Joshi Chuukan Kanrishoku~ (C-ute)
This has been the #1 song I intentionally listen to , and the one that absolutely never skip when it comes on. I love the sound of it as well as the lyrics, so I love listening to it even now. Honestly, I think I still play it intentionally more than Mahoutsukai Sally (which has been my mini-obsession recently), so that's definitely saying something.

So, it's been fun. Again, I'm really sorry that I didn't do this like I had originally planned, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. Thanks for your time! Over and out > 3>.

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