Ah, a cover song. Morning Musume has only done one other cover single as far as I know, the spectacularly fun and often forgotten Hyokkori Hyoutanjima. Granted, that song was done with a far bigger budget: different scenes, lots of costumes and sets, even a little CG in there that shot Yasuda into space for drunkenly hitting on an imprisoned Ogawa (watch it, it’s awesome). Apparently, H!P no longer has any money with which to screw around. This time, for me, that is not a problem.
I can’t comment on the Pink Lady version or any such thing, so I’m going to stick to reviewing just the Morning Musume version. Which I love. This song gets stuck in my head even if I haven’t listened to it at all that day. I ask you, how does that make any sense? It makes none that I’ve been able to figure out. But it’s that damn catchy.
Let’s get the obligatory whining about lines or lackthereof out of the way first. Reina/Winky has once again been placed in the center of the dance and given the only solo. Any one else notice her little gun move? Did that grate anyone else’s nerves? She points a “gun” and then rotates it?
I doubt Mr Pepper points a gun at the kids when he tells them to go home.
At first I actually thought Winky sounded alright. I’ve noticed in recent singles that she’s toned down that whine that is usually inherent in her vocals. I refer to that as her ‘squirrel voice’. It’s annoying and not cute as she seems to think it is. She’s capable of sounding almost pretty when she leaves the whine out of it. After listening to Pepper Keibu as much as I have (and will continue to) I’ve started to hear it again, this odd whiny quality. I’m not sure if this is my own bias or that she’s simply incapable of getting rid of it.
I think she can! She just has to want it.
Example? I didn’t see her wink at all in this PV.
I was so proud!
The set for this PV has been described as “recycled” from EYN and OSA; They’ve just redecorated it once again. I honestly can’t think of any other scene I’d want for this PV than the dance-shot. I can’t see them actually acting out what the song is talking about. Big no-go there, also not really their style. I’m sure, if H!P was still as adventurous and completely random as they used to be (the Peace PV ring a bell?) they’d be able to come up with something, but it seems like they aren’t taking a lot of risks these days. Forgive me if I’m overlooking something and keep in mind I don’t really pay attention to absolutely every act within H!P…
That being said, I think the simple set works for the kind of song it is and the girls are watchable as all hell (I don’t mean that in a creepy way – they really are interesting to watch).
Observe this shot: you’ve got so many personalities coming out just in this one frame. Look at Eri back there, workin’ that dismissive hand, her head kinda tossed; look at Junjun, ever so slightly aloof and Winky staring off into space. Michishige is concentrating really hard back there and Niigaki is just smirking like she’s the queen of the whole freakin world. Takahashi is being smacked in the nose by her head gear, but we overlook that and watch those hips. She really knows how to get the most out of this dance.
Let’s look at some pure-win moves that we have here:
I’ve discovered, aside from pwning her dancing lately and generally making adorable faces, Eri has a kitty smile. When she smiles without showing her teeth, her mouth looks like a kitty mouth. It’s cute and odd at the same time – which is just like her. I loved watching her in this PV. The dancing, the giddy enjoyment of her lines…she just made me very happy.
This isn’t the best capture, but I love it because check out the utter concentration on Winky and Michishige. That particular move, where they sort of shuffle, but not shuffle and lift one leg but not the other…it seemed to confuse everyone. Eri had fun with it, as one can see, but every one else seemed to be very careful with it.
Nutjob was really into it, but it still didn’t quite work. What’s with her in this PV? I don’t care that you made that pedo-rific photobook (see this post)…YOU ARE OVERDOING IT!! Put your tiny shorts and fish-nets away and calm down!!
Aika is adorable in this shot too, but Eri had a hell of a lot of attitude in that little head-flip.
Niigaki in the Front a lot More
I’ve been complaining about that a lot: that Niigaki is the damn sub-leader and yet is always pushed into the back in terms of vocals and dancing. She seems very satisfied that she’s in front this time. The entire PV she has this adorable smirk on her face, no matter what’s going on.
Did anyone else cheer for the two with (arguably) the lowest ranges finally blending in a way that one can actually distinguish? I think both Junjun and Niigaki were gorgeous, in their line, in those costumes and in general, really. I hope they will let these two duet more. I couldn’t get a moment where they were both in focus and both smiling. Junjun doesn’t smile a whole lot in this PV. Which isn’t to say she looks unhappy. She looks a lot more confident.
But not in the same way as Mame.
The Middle Dance-off
I have little to say, because I really have no idea what the hell goes on in this dance. I just know I like it.
Instrumentally, it’s a very nice add-in, as I’m told the original didn’t have such a part. I like the lighting change. I like what I can kind-of see. There are a lot of cut-aways and flashing lights. Lots of sparkle.
As far as I can tell, it’s pretty nifty.
I wish that there was a straight dance-shot for this part. I really want to see what each of the girls actually did. There are lots of bends, kicks and flails, which look great, but all seem to be happening independantly of eachother. That’s why I call it a dance-off. It doesn’t seem like anyone is doing anything at the same time for too long.
Nifty, but confusing.
Michishige’s random cutesy phrases at the end of songs are going to be a new tradition, you can just tell. She must have been thinking through this whole PV, “I’ll be in the center soon…just wait”. I noticed she was really having some trouble with this dance and looked kinda stiff…
UNTIL she got to this point.
Then it was all Usa-chan Peace attitude:
Man, it’s just so like her, I can’t even be angered.
Rock on, Usa-chan!
I just want to point out one final thing: the two Chinese members are hanging in there. And they are still ridiculously underused.
In the song Momusu recorded for the Taiwanese auditions they get some lines in Chinese and they are just beautiful. Particularly Linlin’s. She unnerves me, because she looks exactly like Ayaka to me and sings exactly like a younger Eri, but she really shined in that song. Junjun’s voice is interesting and much deeper than most of H!P. They need more lines. They need more confidence.
I just want more of them.
Pepper Keibu is definitely something I’d buy if I could get back to Japan. It doesn’t feel like one of those stand-out singles that I will forever see as amazing, but I like it because of it’s simplicity. It’s just pure pop: catchy and addictive and fitting for these girls.
They should put them in green more often.