H!P, Morning Musume, Musings, PV

Only You prt1: The Riho Question

Seriously, make it more obvious, Tsunku.
(Caps from a subbed pv – not subbed by me)

The release of Only You was understandably delayed and so is my review of it. I always get caught up in new Momusu releases, some times to the extent that I’m not sure exactly what to say about them. Nanchatte was one of those. I had no idea what to say about it because I didn’t really have a reaction to it. I can honestly say I never know what to expect from Momusu anymore. Majide, after the elegant pwn of Lullaby Game, made some kind of sense because of the youthful new members. It’s one of those bouncy singles that relied on the genki rather than the singing ability. Only You is just an out of nowhere single that I had to listen to a few times to get a handle on.

As a result I have a few things to say, which didn’t necessarily have to be split up, but will be, because I couldn’t make one coherent post out of them all.

It’s not really Tsunku’s fault. He probably had several singles like this sitting on the back-burner. Now that he’s into another auditioning phase (seriously – calm down please!), he’s got a lot of work to do. Why not take Momusu back to the sound they had before Majide and give the new members a chance to learn their place?

Which is in the background.
Unless she’s Riho.

Ah, little Riho. Remember how I said that she would take over? Well, they are making it pretty easy for her. She seemed to know a lot of things coming into this that most of Tsunku’s (or the company’s) past favourites did not: she knew that they needed a new ace because Takahashi is leaving, she knew that her years of training would mean that she’d integrate easily, she knew that her tiny size and shy personality is basically fool-proof for developing a strong fanbase and she knew ways to pose that would only show her at her most flattering.Did she know all this instinctively? Did they tell her these things, because the singled her out early?

Riho manages to mask her ambition just enough to be non-threatening. She can say things like, “I’m aiming for the leader/center position” and smile cutely, completely drowning out the warning bells with her adorable bashfulness. She doesn’t really want it. She’s just being funny and cute. Right?

What is that expression? She scares the willies out of me in these close-ups…EXPRESS SOMETHING!!!

People seem divided about this. Some say why not because hey, they need a new ace and she already can sing and dance. In fact, you could argue that she’s just like Takahashi was, only she has more ambition than simply to compete with the others in her generation. Takahashi was similarly bland and quiet, talented but modest with training that her fellow Gokkies didn’t have. Some would just yell, “No! That stupid Riho sucks! Where the hell is Zukki!??” and so on. Which is fair. Marketing always gets in the way of letting the girls stand out and make an impression. Why not blame everything on money? That’s probably why Momusu keeps playing it safe with the non-stop AiNaka and their back-up dancers angle.

Comparisons are tiring, I know, but I find in a group like this, you really can’t avoid it, especially when one fruitcake man has been running things for over ten years. Tsunku likes certain types, with very few exceptions. It’s interesting to me that he once cited Tanaka Winky Reina as “close to the perfect Momusu member”. Interesting and perplexing.

Infuriating, even.

What the hell, man!? What does that even mean??

This? THIS!? What, is she perfect NOW? And what, is Riho the same, except with way more dance training than Tanaka began with??

Aren’t you just encouraging more of this side-fro squirrelling crap that we’ve been putting up with since Winky hung up her Yankee image for this…THIS, whatever the hell her image is now? They have almost the same expression here, the same insufferable smirk, that same nasal tone that Tsunku seems to adore. I couldn’t tell, until the pv, that Riho had that many lines. I really couldn’t. I just thought it was Resonant Blue all over again, with a touch more Winky.

So in a way, my prediction was right. Riho is taking the center spot, along with Winky, except she sounds just like her. Not completely, but there is a resemblance that is striking to me, even in this early stage where her tone is always two steps away from being flat.

So the question is not “Will Riho be a new main vocalist” because that seems inevitable, but “Will Riho sound exactly the same as Winky”, thus eliminating any semblance of variety in Momusu’s sound. Say what you want about Takahashi and Mame, but you always knew their vocals. They had their own distinct style. All the Kyuukies, at the moment, sound the same. Maybe this is only fueled by my Winky-takeover paranoia, but I really dread another single where all we hear is Winky, Riho and maybe some “ah”s from poor Shige.

Upside? Maybe Mame will FINALLY get tired of this crap and go solo.

Seriously, DO IT!

Don’t look at me like that. DO it!!!

One thing I miss about the Golden Era of H!P, aside from the obvious (YOSSY), is the way everyone got a line in Momusu, even if it was just a few syllables. Complaining about line-distribution is silly, of course, but it is cool to listen to songs like Shabondama and hear everyone, know that every girl got her own small moment.

This era, the girls will really have to step it up somehow. Look at Shige, working the variety shows, for example. They’ll have to create those small moments. Maybe that is a better way of training the girls. Or maybe it’s too discouraging. Who knows?

Onto Part2.


2 thoughts on “Only You prt1: The Riho Question”

  1. Ahh, the thing that bugs me about Riho is that while I will admit she’s a talented girl for her age, I really don’t think she has the goods to be center. Well, yet at least. Especially since Risa would be far better suited to that role now than Riho is.

    Also, I do hope that as the Kyuukies mature they’ll get their own unique voices, because I do agree with you that they all sound really similar. Also, by mature I secretly mean “improve” as well. ><

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