[RANDOM SELF- PROMOTION: I’ve opened my other-non-H!P blog. Please check it out (also on the blogroll).]
I confess, ever since Mano Erina, I’ve been rather skeptical when it comes to H!P soloists. When I say ‘soloists’, I’m talking more about those who debuted on their own, rather than came from a group. They’ve had very few of these.
They mined the Momusu auditions (and to a lesser extent, the Eggs) for solo material, which was some times successful. I believe that is where Fujimoto came from, for instance. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’ve really only done a soloist audition once. We got power-houses Matsuura and Mikitty and then the under-appreciated Maeda Yuuki. Then there was Mano, fresh from her short stint in Ongaku Gatas. And before that, Koharu, during her anime/Momusu tenure. It seemed like the standard went down to just “marketable cuties”, rather than powerhouse vocals with charm to match.
Well, now we have Kikkawa Yuu.
I honestly didn’t expect much from her. I thought it would be something along the lines of Mano, once again. She’d be cute and beautiful, but her singing would be sub-par and we’d have to content ourselves with this movie gimmick and she’d fade out.
I’m a cynic, some times.
Give me a break though. Matsuura and the rest set the bar really, really high. After the last two soloists, I was ready to throw in the towel. But since I always check things out, I discovered that Yuu really is a fantastic find.
I know she began in that sub-unit of Nutjob’s: Milky Way, oddly enough in the only song featuring Nutjob that I can stomach. Anataboshi was fantastic and crazy. Then she just disappeared and suddenly was going to debut with the song, ‘Sayonara Namida’.
I remember thinking that one of the two Eggs sounded just like Konno Asami when she sang certain lines. I don’t mean to get bogged down in comparisons to past H!P girls, but it’s hard not to, so bear with me. Hearing her entire solo single catalogue, which is fantastic, I definitely hear Konkon on a lot of lines. Yuu’s voice is different, slightly deeper, with a cute affectation I can’t really describe, but it reminds me of Konkon. It’s as if Konkon had stuck with singing and gotten loads more confidence.
‘Sayonara Namida’ is cute, reminds me instantly of Matsuura fare, pre-2004. It’s a very safe debut, shows off some nice vocals but sticks with the light-hearted pop. Her formal pv debut, ‘Kikkake wa YOU!’ begins to show us some of her unique style, or what I hope her style will continue to be. The other tracks, ‘Candy Pop’ and ‘Fuyuzora Hanabi’ are more rock oriented and show off some range. I love the fact that she can hit her high notes and still manage to sound throaty and edgy depending on the style. I honestly cannot wait until she releases an album.
But we get pv debut before we get 1st album!
This one reminded me of yet more comparisons I can make. For instance: the “storyline”.
“Oh my, this crazy balloon room is messy!”
“Tee hee, I have a great idea. You should clean it up!”
“I don’t know. I’m pretty tired…”
“Come on! Only LOSERS talk like that!”
“Ugh, fine. I guess I can do this…”
“Good. I will busy myself with cute, adorable dancing!”
“Yeah! Look at me silhouette this place up!!”
“Heeeeeeey!! Don’t sleep!”
“How bout I give you some teddy bears?”
“Oh thanks! I love teddy bears!”
“Here is my love ballon of thanks!”
“I love love ballons of thanks, too.”
Anyway. The LACK of storyline…that is, the appearance of one that is really just a bunch of props to facilitate cuteness, reminds me of Matsuura’s earlier fare, especially because of the bright colour scheme. Then there are the dance shots that put me in mind of Mikitty and how her dances were always unexpectedly energetic ones. As far as an H!P pv goes, it’s pretty standard, but we get a great song, with good vocals, instead of just the cute overload.
This random moment of beautiful makes it in there too.
I love the expression she makes on this layered shot. Makes you squee, doesn’t it?
In short, you should check her out. Her debut is fantastic. It’s not just her single, but all the coupling/extra tracks. I love every single one. I have no idea what the movie thing is all about, but hopefully that will just give some more promotion to an already talented artist. I hope they don’t change her style. She could really stand out with more rock-y songs mixed into her pop. Is she strictly H!P, or is there another company involved?
Sending out a love balloon of thanks for this one.
Let’s believe in the H!P soloist concept once more!
EDIT: Ok, it’s been explained to me that she is NOT an H!P idol.
So disregarding all that talk about H!P soloist…she’s still an awesome artist to come from H!P roots. Still rooting for her, still think she pwns.
Buy this single. Seriously.