H!P, Morning Musume, Review

Fantasy Jyuuichi ~ Another Step


I love Momusu album covers (minus the floating heads on the second album – sorry, that was just weird looking). I could complain that this one is “boring” if these girls didn’t look so awesome.

Eleven albums!! XD I’m so glad we got one more album with JunLin and Kamei before they leave. Once they are gone, the sound will probably change again.

I’ve never written an album review before, but someone requested it and hey, I’m a total sucker for anyone who reads this and expresses any appreciation.

[No matter what they tell you, all writers are egoists.]

In all seriousness, it feels like we’re on the cusp of yet another ‘era’ in Momusu history. The exit of one member is epic enough, but now three will leave at the same time. That is a huge gap and has never happened before. When Yossy left there was a real sense that a new group had to be created. All the nostalgia was pulled out and replaced with a sort of uncertain sound that the remaining nine made their own. Some felt that without the support of sempais from the ‘Golden Era’ (not counting Fujimoto, who is strong without the GE associations), Momusu was pretty much over. I really believe that Resonant Blue was the beginning of the ‘new’ sound of Momusu. I still love their music. I’m not saying everything is epic now, but I don’t find everything epic from back then either. Different times, different girls, but the music remains connected.

There is always a certain flavour to Momusu songs, partly because they are always written by one fruitcake man, but there is something a little different in them now. Any group has to evolve and move forward to survive. This new album is yet another step in that process. There is a lot of old-H!P flavour in Fantasy Jyuuichi. The eight members really have their own version of the Momusu sound and I’d say that all of the girls have improved. Tsunku has given them some pretty epic material here and with few exceptions, they deliver.

First, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game (Album Version). I would love the album version concept if these versions were any different. The only difference here is that for some lines, Takahashi holds the note a little longer, or the pause holds a little longer. It does however, have one of the prettiest intros I’ve heard. Genki+ is still my reigning favourite in terms of album starters, but this intro is just so elegant and it builds up to the aggressive drums at the start of the song perfectly. Tsunku needs to use strings more. It goes perfectly with the cover art. You already know I love the single, so let’s move on.

Bravo. Really? Do we need an attempt at Buono on a Momusu album? It’s not just the title (Oh but wait, there’s no star and the word ‘Bravo’ is only there ONCE and not twice!), but even the chorus feels like it’s trying to be Buono. And not to a bad effect. I mean, it’s Momusu. They can do genki like it’s nobody’s business. They can do the random ‘yays’ and the call and answer stuff and still come back and harmonize beautifully. I love the ‘kaikaikai’ repetition, but that seems to be the only thing distinguishing it in my mind from a Buono song. Tsunku trying to do a Buono style song would sound like this, for me. I’m not sure if that is a criticism or not. It’s not as if Buono is the only group allowed to perform pop songs with lots of guitar and squeaky ‘yay’ing in the background. I guess all I’m saying is that it is weak compared to what we get next.

Fantasy ga Hajimaru starts with Shige in all her auto-tune (is that what it’s called?) glory and it’s PERFECT for the heavy synth. It’s an all around awesome dance number. This would qualify for me as the inevitable should-have-been-a-single album track that exists on every single Momusu album, some times more than once.  Forget how epic it is on its own, but Takahashi’s gorgeous vocalizations at the end almost make me cry. So, so beautiful! The best thing about them is that you know she can deliver them in concert, and probably will. Complete pwn.

I really like Onna Gokoro to Nanto Yara. This is insanely catchy, with some wonderful attitude from Mame, who NEEDS TO GO SOLO shines!!! This is more of the summer-evening feeling I kept going on about in my post about perfect singles. The simple clap-along rhythm reminds me of Tomo. I wish they had given Mame a full rap though. She and Linlin should be given some sort of rap b-side in the style of T&C Bomber’s Sunrise Sore Demo hi wa Noboru (if you can find this song, check it out – it kicks so much ass, even in all it’s 9o’s cheesiness). I guess it’s too late for that. This and Namidacchi are close enough, I guess.

And now we come to the Winky solo Ai no Hoono. I hope you’re happy. I listened to this song several times. I actually sat here and listened and tried to find something nice to say about it, without just plugging my ears and growling, “Why can’t she LEAVE!!??” It’s unfortunate that even when I can overlook my dislike of her, she still gets me. I can SEE her singing this song, with a ridiculous dress on, covered in unnecessary accessories, her side-fro up and sparkling…*sigh* It’s very pretty. Her voice is sweet without TOO much of that squirrelly twitter. If you like Winky, I’m sure you’ll love it. I think it’s pretty, but I would much rather hear Mari sing it. It feels like an early Tanpopo song that got stolen. Besides, is a solo really necessary, when she has every other freakin’ line in every song??

I’m Lucky Girl AKA ‘Double U + Matsuura Aya circa 2003’. I can’t help but make that comparison. The robot thing at the start and the pace reminds me of W and the general attitude reminds me of Matsuura’s Shine More and From that Sky (etc). I’m not even sure why that is, but there is just something about it. It’s another catchy, epic win with more guitars and some grammar-less English (I am A lucky girl. I can’t help it. Grammar related pet-peeves are the hardest to overcome.). Speaking of not so hot English…

Sungoi My Birthday: Welcome back, Tanpopo! We missed you! Finally we get to hear some Mitsui, some delighted Shige (she will milk this song for all it is worth in concert, trust me) and some JunLin. Kamei’s voice was made for the Tanpopo style fluffy cuteness of this song. This reminds me so much of Otome no Pasta ni Kandou and songs along those lines. The same smooth harmonies and the same cuteness, right down to the ‘chu-lu-lu-lu’s. When I first heard it, it sounded out of place after the powerhouse that is the last track. I guess Tsunku was feeling nostalgic? Happy mai-burse-a-day, indeed!

Ichi Kara Juu Made Aishite Hoshi seems like it was made for Hello!Project concerts. It feels like a very good concert closer. It reminds me of BE Positive from Sexy8Beat. It’s not a bad song, it’s just bland as an album track. This is one of those songs that you love after seeing it in concert. There are so many songs like that in the Momusu catalogue that I can’t really call this filler. The song is not as dynamic as some of the others, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Wait for the concert version. I’m sure that will change my mind.

Itoshiku Kurushii Kono Yoru ni: Some times I think that Tsunku can’t do ballads and then he gives me something like this. Kamei’s high, pure voice is gorgeous in the intro and perfectly suited to the music. I never have patience for ballads unless there is something gorgeous in them to keep me interested. Usually it is vocalizations, but this time it is pretty much just Kamei. I kinda wish she’d been given this as a solo, or a duet with Mame because Mame MUST be featured more before she goes solo. The whole thing is slow enough to be wistful, but fast enough that I am not bored. The music is lovely, Kamei is lovely and it pwned my socks right off.

Denwa de Ne is just unnecessary. Just like Winky’s solo, there is no point in giving yet another solo to Takahashi when she has every other line in the freakin’ world. It’s pretty, jazzy and laid back and her voice is lovely, but I’d rather hear Matsuura do this style than Riida. Isn’t it just a rehash, musically, of Ano hi Modoritai? It sounds quite similar.

We end the album off with the new ‘Mikan’, Seishun Collection. I’m sure I will start to love this song once I listen to it a little bit more. It’s very Momusu and very singable and really, what more can one ask for?

All in all, I’d say there are really only three tracks I’d skip and that’s not even because they are bad. This is a strong effort to end the year on because Tsunku is giving them strong stuff: strong new sounds mixed with wistful old sounds that we all still love (unless you hate Tanpopo, in which cause you’re INSANE and probably drop-kick puppies). He isn’t giving out too many solos like on Platinum 9 and…well, I can’t come up with a complaint against 10 My Me, other than that title making no sense.

Can’t wait for the next single/album/anything.
Let’s hope they keep moving forward. I’m sure no matter how much things change, they will always be Momusu.

~Isilie

5 thoughts on “Fantasy Jyuuichi ~ Another Step”

  1. I agree to most of your take on some of the songs. Here’s my short take on the album:

    Lullaby Game
    This album version rocks my socks. The intro is concert quality to perform and the longer pauses and holds makes it unique from all the singles so far.

    Bravo
    It may started to sound like a Buono track but the amount of members singing and the ‘kaikaikai’ made the song more different. The magic of buono is the familiar trio singing and the accompanied guitar riffs. MM played with that but it is kinda toned down from my expectations.

    Fantasy song
    step by step, tsunku is turning sayumi into a robot. lols it sounds fine. the mix of fantasy and sexy proved successful

    Onna Gokoro to Nanto Yara
    Gaki and aika made this song. a buddy buddy song that i like singing along. it didnt feel like rap to me, more like, it didnt strike me as a rap song

    ganbaReiner’s solo
    true that she didnt have to use her ‘squirrel singing’ but the song itself to me was weak and bland. didnt like it 😦

    Im Lucky girl
    i cant help but think this song is like Hand Made City’s close cousin. i love it on equal levels with it.

    My Birthday
    CHU LU LU LU! this song is harmless and i cant get angry with it like i did with Osaka umianen from 10 my me. But like Osaka Umainen, i still like listening it as a background music, like i dont pay attention to it.

    Ichi Kara Juu
    nice song to sing along but i dont really want to see it in a concert coz i dont think itll sound too good. “Ooh Ooh Yeah-ey!” was my hook for likeing it.

    Itoshiku Kurushii Kono Yoru ni
    to me, it sounds like an ending theme of an anime that’s based on a visual novel. because of my nostalgia of watching old visual novel based anime, this strikes me as a very good ending credits. like, i thought the album would stop at this song and id be happy. Best non single song in this album : )

    Ai-chan’s solo
    do not like

    Seishun Collection
    not really a fan of this song. but it boggles my mind that this single ranked higher than Lullaby Game 😐

  2. Nice review!

    I must say, I do disagree with you a bit on Ichi Kara Juu Made Aishite Hoshi, though. I absolutely adore the chorus, especially the “Woo yeah!” part. Though, I do agree that it will make an awesome concert closer.

    I also agree with you on Fantasy ga Hajimaru. Gosh that song is amazing. It should have been a single. No doubt about it.

  3. I had an awesome laugh when i read your comments about “winky” turns out we dislike the same member!
    though because everyones kind of graduated now i don’t mind her so much

  4. btw, 10 My Me DOES make sense.
    read out in Japanese:
    10 My Me
    ジュウ・マイ・メ
    十枚目
    Juu Mai Me (pronounced Japanese me, not English “mee”) means “the 10th (album)”
    so yeah. not only is it literally called THE TENTH, it’s a play on words with the English spelling My and Me which are similar.
    clever play of words and spelling and all that.

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