Now I admit that I have defended basically every piece of H!P music that I have encountered on this blog. I honestly like most of what H!P has put out in the last few years. If not an immediate love affair, at least by now whatever the song, it will have grown on me or found a place in my daily playlist. This is why I call my blog ‘itsumo genki’. I tend to be quite a genki sort of woman, despite my rantage and complete glee in adding ‘bitches’ to the end of any sentence…bitches.
However, the problem I’m having with my own habit of giving absolutely everything a fair chance is that the damn H!P kids, who are growing up into even more frightening specimens of cracked-out-kawaii-ness, are starting to actually get good.
Given the recent news of the entire Elder’s club being unceremoniously given the boot?
This is damn freaking disturbing to me!!
The reason I got into H!P in the first place was Yaguchi Mari. She was the first one I took notice of, until Yossy pwned her way into my permanent fan-gurl-*yaydroolsqueakpwnmwaaaahihsfghsdj* bias part of my brain. (Were you confused by that sentence? BLAME YOSSY!) It was Mari though who made me look again at JKMonogatari and go, “Man, I can’t stop watching this girl…wait, look at this Yoshizawa person…*suddenly I’m all *yaydroolsqueakpwnmwaaaahihsfghsdj**”. It’s kind of a travesty that I’ve not devoted any time to the second great pwn-er I adore, Abe Natsumi, but let’s just say that she is what made me take notice of the generations before Yossy. Then there was Yuuko. And at this point I am in so deep that I can write posts like this one.
I’ve dabbled in listening to Melon Kinenbi. I respect the girls and they can sing well.
I like ‘Kawaii Kare’ (although the lyrics trouble me) and the ‘Eros’ song (if we ignore the awkward pv, which I can never take seriously ever again thanks to a particularly hilarious but rather crass review).
That’s about all I can say.
Matsuura Aya pretty much kicks ass, but I’m not sure I’d be able to say anything beyond how much I love her personality and her singing voice. Let’s not forget that she once danced with puppets in a towel and can order bad-ass Mikitty around as easily as Yuuko could break Koharu into quivering molecules with a single, withering look. Pwn on there, Ayaya! All the soloists I love to certain extent.
Goto I’ve already talked about and Koharu and the rest of that crack-squad I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, even if Yossy herself asked me to. Anime units, minus Buono, I’m ambivalent about. They don’t seem to do much and so I leave them be. The occaisonal random shuffle is good. High King, despite Winky’s best efforts to annoy the living fuck out of me, really rocked.
Which brings us to the other “top two” in H!P: Berryz and C-ute. I say “top two” with a bit of tongue in cheek. They’ve just never been interesting enough to me to compete with Morning Musume.
Oh, I’ve tried. I watched a Music Fighter with Berryz, where one of them was reduced to tears by how disgusting Aoki was (is that the woman’s name? I adore her!). Aside from that moment, it wasn’t very interesting. Whenever they were asked a question they’d all look at eachother like none of them spoke Japanese. Even Morning Musume, with its supposed ‘entire-lack-of-personality’ nowadays can muster up more than at least one funny moment. And one where someone is not reduced to tears because they are a FREAKING CHILD.
I tried watching one of the earlier Berryz concerts, where one of them graduated. The last song was supposedly a touching goodbye song, but the thing is…they were just yelling it. Yelling it in their insanely high-pitched voices. I realize they were upset and crying and such…but ouch!
C-ute wasn’t much better.
They are the most inconsistent group I’ve ever seen. Right now, they seem like the group that Tsunku uses to fulfil whatever musical fetish he is currently into. Look at their last 4 singles: we had the kick-ass ‘Tokaikko Junjou’, then the inexplicable but cheery ‘Shiawase Lalala’ (people really hate this one…not sure exactly why), then the Latin influenced ‘Namida no Iro’ followed by the wtf-but-whatever-its-pretty-nifty ‘Edo no Temari Uta’. With their most recent single, Love Forever, he appears to be (really) into rock.
Their style appears to be less about C-ute and more about ‘let’s try anything once’.
If you ask me, they should have stopped and reconsidered at Namida no Iro…but I can’t fault them for Tsunku’s whims. I also must acknowledge that they’re all really good dancers. Maimi especially. I also am starting to love Suzuki Airi’s voice (did I spell her name correctly, just now?). When they get a good song, they make it their own and make me love it.
Actually this is a good segue into my problem: their most recent single, the rock one that makes no sense for a band called C-ute, KICKS ASS.
I honestly love it. Even the squeaky-ass “my darling” parts in the chorus. I’m actually dying to see the PV, to see what the dance will be like, to even, Lord help me, see the making-of to see if any of them have a personality (cause I wouldn’t know).
It’s the same and possibly even worse with the new Berryz single ‘Madayade’. Why in thunder do I love funky repeat-the-same-line-till-you’re-unconsciously-singing-it-into-your-coffee-in-the-morning songs so damn much!?? The sheer number of times I’ve listened to, sang and resang this song in the last week is rather shameful, even for me. The PV was going to get it’s own post but SCREW that. I’m not giving into this any more than I have to.
The PV has convinced me of a few things:
- Now that the Elder club isn’t on the payroll, or won’t be for much longer, they’re putting more money into the groups and giving them more than two options for PVs: dancing against some sort of backdrop or recycling cute poses while lipsynching into a camera…against some sort of backdrop. There are sets in this pv. Even a semi-storyline. This pv even has a *gasp* foreign person, harassing the Berryz to work already and stop munching on whatever the hell Momoko was eating.
- At least one of them can almost pwn for me. I think this one is Yurina, but who the hell knows. Whoever she is, her lines rock and I loved watching her. Apparently she is not usually one of the two soloists-I mean, people who get all the lines. Honestly I think she stood out in this pv.
- Momoko is freakin’ nuts. I don’t know what it is, but she just freaked me out in this pv. I might be the pig-tails. THE WOMAN IS 16. Let’s not pedo-bait her up like Nut-job, but let’s not Lolita her anymore, ok?
- Berryz actually seems to have developed a musical personality. This song didn’t feel at all like something that Morning Musume could have done, or even we’ll-sing-anything-as-best-we-can C-ute. Similar to ‘Yuke Monkey Dance’ this song could have only been done by these girls. I can’t even explain to you why I feel that way – it just seems to be true. How can I describe a musical personality like theirs? I honestly can’t, I just feel it’s amazing that they have one. And I don’t know why this song made me think so.
- The dance is messed up. It’s almost like they’re all puzzle pieces dancing around each other and not quite fitting together but still looking mighty nifty. This move in particular I really loved:
One more capture, because Yurina (or whomever she is) really quite rocks. This also shows Momoko being just a little disturbing:
Even the damn coupling song is amazing. Granted the harmonies are like an attempt to mimic the beginning of Genki+ (for those uninformed, it’s an absolutely amazing Morning Musume album track that should have been a damn single) and the ‘woaw’ sound is way overused at this point in the history of any group in H!P, but that does not prevent it from generally rocking my stubborn socks right off. Usually if I like a single by the kids I can at least redeem myself by hating the coupling track for being generic, but it’s not.
It’s damn frustrating.
I like some of their older songs. I love some of C-ute’s songs too. It just hit home to me that the general awesomeness of the releases we’re getting right now is a good and bad sign. It means H!P still has a future making decent music. Yes, they may have a hard time being as interesting as Musume, who themselves are in need of a shot in the arm in terms of personality, but the future is there.
BUT, it’s a future without all the people that made me love it in the first place.
What will I do if Yossy and Charmy’s foray into Goth-dom doesn’t work out and they just stop singing altogether? What if Yuuko never records another song and does plays that I’ll never ever get to see for the rest of her life? What if Nacchi finally gets sick of having ridiculous scandals every couple of months and decides to stop singing and move back to the country? What of all those girls who’ve not really done any singing but still rock unbelieveably hard and get no credit for it also disappear (Kemeko, for instance)?
Yes. I want them to be happy and to try new things etc, blahblahblah.
But I selfishly want to hear/see them sing again.
I’m unbelievably selfish. I own that.
I don’t want the Elder Club to just unceremoniously declare that they’re done forever on the day of their last concert. The original Musumes who are still around, and everyone else for that matter, should get one giantly spectacular send-off. If they don’t, if Tsunku just lets them walk away with no fireworks after all the work they’ve done, it’ll be a fucking tragedy.
Many, MANY people will be pissed if that happens. I’m actually still miffed that Ayaka didn’t get any sort of graduation when she left. Yes, Coconuts Musume hadn’t done anything since 2000 or so, but hey, why not? We liked her, didn’t we?
If I’m that upset about someone I only sort-of liked, how will it feel when the ones who made me love H!P are all gone? I’ll have to start over with the kids-? Learn their names finally and try and attribute characteristics to them? Morning Musume I will always follow and love unless they do something really really terrible.
Though, I suppose it can’t get much worse than this:
I don’t really have a conclusion here. I’m simply perplexed that the future is the hands of a shakily-stable Morning Musume and a bunch of children (sorry, they’ll always be the H!P kids to me, I think). Morning Musume always hangs in there and the children seem to be stepping up. Maybe I’m taking it all too seriously. I tend to do that.
But hey, us uber-fans really love what we love.
That’s what makes us so very, very cool.