H!P, Morning Musume

Goto = Koda

Everyone seems to be talking about Goto Maki “returning” to AVEX. They say that it’s wonderful. That they’ve cried. That they are proud of her for getting out of the apparently spirit-crushing world of Hello!Project.

Oh, and how she suddenly is, or is going to be, the new Koda Kumi.

Ok, quite frankly, when I was reading the translations of her blog on HelloOnline (see my blogroll) during her haitus, she looked almost normal. She looked like she was relaxing and having a nice time, drinking giant Starbucks treats and taking pictures of people’s tiny dogs. It was a nice change from the usual Goto.

I didn’t like Goto initially. She struck me as one of those people that always do everything right and then seem surprised when others can’t do it as perfectly. She had this expression that made her seem bored with everything. And not Miki-I’m-so-bored-cause-I’m-stuck-with-a-bunch-of-kids bored, more like, I-am-too-cool-for-this-crap bored. Which bothered me.


She may have been a great singer and dancer RIGHT AWAY in Morning Musume, but my eyes were not drawn to her. Her voice did not move me. And her personality, or lackthereof, didn’t appeal to me at all. I still found her stuck up, even if she was being goofy.

When I saw her “return” pictures, I didn’t think, “holy crap, she’s KODA!” I thought, “well…she looks EXACTLY THE FREAKIN’ SAME as when she left.”

She does!
Except now she’s curling her now mud-coloured hair and sticking chains and ribbons on her nails.

Going to the toilet must be hell right now…

She has the same expression she did during the SomeBoysTouch days. In AVEX I assume she won’t have to smile as much though. Which should suit her just fine. She didn’t seem too keen on smiling anyway. Whenever she did it was like she hadn’t meant to.

The way she was going in H!P, towards mature and even suggestive lyrics and so on didn’t seem like such a stretch to me. For a solo career, one has to have her own style. Miki did. Abe does. For Goto, more mature lyrics and less genki-ness just fit her personality. By the time SomeBoys came out, it seemed she had just slid into it quite naturally. I don’t mean this in a bad way and I am in no way saying “she’s a giant ho” like some blogs have decided. I’m just saying that if Abe had gone that way, it wouldn’t have made any sense, but with Goto she seems to have just the sort of detatched, cool persona to fit such a change.

Koda, let’s face it, could be called slutty. Not the woman herself. But her image sometimes and some of her lyrics are pretty much bordering on porn a great deal of the time. This sells. And hey, I really love some of her stuff. Even ‘Juicy’, which is one of the dirtiest songs ever. Her collaboration with EXILE, ‘Won’t be Long’ is one of the best song in the world for me.

Goto is not the sort of woman who would just settle for being the second of anyone. Even if she tried to be Koda, it wouldn’t work. We already have a Koda. Besides, shellacking various props to one’s nails does not a Koda make.

I’ve grown to gradually enjoy the music Goto made with H!P. I like some of her earlier stuff. ‘Paint it Gold’ was a great album, particularly the title song. But I find that I am more drawn to her later work. I adore ‘How to Use Sexy’ (although the title makes no friggin sense at all). Just about every song on that album rocks so hard. Say what you want about the “sexy” image, I love her deeper voice. There’s a control in her vocals that she worked hard to get to. You can really hear it on this album. The music is intense and the atmospheric vocals just add to the experience.

I don’t see how people couldn’t like it, really.

I still don’t really like Goto enough to buy all her albums and start squealing and drooling when I encounter her. But I appreciate what she’s done.

That being said, I doubt that what she sings will sound anything like Koda. Not everyone with ridiculous nails in AVEX is Koda or even Koda-esque. Hamasaki, anyone? I think Ayumi Hamasaki was Goto’s most admired person in the industry when she started out and now she’s on the same label. It’s a wonderful thing for her.

She’s not Koda Kumi, she’s Goto.
No matter what incarnation, she’s just Goto.

I’m sure she’ll be looking just as bored for years to come.


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