I’ve never been a big fan of their covers. But anyways…let’s hope they improve for the next one. This album was released on September 12, 2012. It’s kinda old I know (-_-)
1. One Two Three
I wish I knew this song on the release period because I realized I am 1.5 years late. This was released back in July 2012. From what I’ve read, this song was the one that started all the buzz for the new Morning Musume. The reason’s obvious. Tsunku sprinkled or rather, poured the song all over with EDM, autotune and robotic musume sounds. Guess that’s where Robo Musume nickname came from. That said, I love this song so much! It just sounds so different from the MM I knew back in the days, you might mistake this for another group’s song. I love the chorus lines incorporating the title, “One …Two…..Three…” It gets into your head very easily, very catchy. I have no problem with the autotuned vocals to be honest, afterall, it’s EDM. That’s the point. We have Reina and Riho who basically lead this song while the rest gets a few phrases here and there. Some people might not like that, for me, though it’d be nice to hear the others, I have to admit, Reina’s good at what she does- singing. I actually like her singing, she probably has the most control over her vocals than anybody in MM. Even Tsunku praised that she’s got good sense of rhythm, I agree. Just watch some of the lives when she was still in MM and you’ll get it. I rarely ever catch her screw up, at least when compared to the others.
2. What’s Up? Ai wa Dou na no yo~
Another dance-influenced song with synths but we get more of the natural vocals this time. No autotune (maybe a little but not obvious). I love the intro, it’s a great song that I always imagine them performing in some large stadium or arena. It’s got that feeling to pump up large crowds. I like the verses more than the chorus but overall, a good track that follows up after the monster opening song. Catchy is also a given for this rather fast-paced track. We get some rapping too in the verses, love it!
3. Be Alive
Wait a minute here…after two upbeat tracks, we’ve come to a halt. Ballad? I’m surprised to hear a ballad appearing this early in this album but I won’t complain because it’s a good one. The piano melody intro is sweet and they started off with the chorus. Reina gets the solo line afterwards and this is just another example where I love it when she executes the song amazingly. The chorus actually picks up the speed which at first, sounded bit weird for me but I guess that’s Tsunku’s style. I like the message of the song too.
Verdict : 4/5
4. Lalala no Pipipi
Leader Sayumi gets a solo song with a totally autotuned track. If I heard this back in say…2005, the old me would hate this song to the core. I wasn’t a huge fan of EDM/cutesy/autotuned tracks back then and songs like that turned me off almost immediately. But here’s my confession now. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I don’t even mind Sayumi’s autotuned vocals. Sayumi’s vocals always gets synthesized by Tsunku because of her lack of vocal skills. It’s basically a well-known thing among fans, Sayumi herself admitted it too. But you see, I think I’ve heard a couple of lives where she sang in her own vocal without effects and she sounded good. I don’t actually think her vocals are that bad, or that she’s the weakest singer in the group, it’s probably due more to the fact that fans actually love her vocals getting messed up like that which made Tsunku continued doing it with her voice. If that’s what the mass wants, give them what they want right? Even Reina who gets most of the solo lines expressed her jealousy to Tsunku because Sayumi always gets that one phrase or word that usually stands out more than the actual lead singer lol…Even her short “Ahh…” can sound pretty amazing and stand out. I heard Sayumi mentioned how because of her weak singing, she gets all these short phrases and she had spent all her time, perfecting them. See how determined she is? Haha
Verdict: 3.5/5 (it’s a cute song and enjoyable, my guilty pleasure)
5. Dokka~n Capriccio
I didn’t feel this song during my first listen. But it was after watching the live performance of this song that I’ve come to appreciate it. It’s a very fast, upbeat and full of energy type of idol song. You can say it’s typical idol music but Tsunku likes to insert something different in every song he produces. He loves them synths a lot. I’m not a huge fan of synths but it works okay for this. It’s the shortest song – 3:11 mins but it’ll definitely get the crowd going in live concerts which I think is the main purpose anyway. Watch out for that “sekushii and dokkan’ lines xD The dance is also very entertaining haha, between the dorkiness and sexiness.
6. The Matenrou Show
This song is the coupling track for single One Two Three. It’s different from One Two Three and gives me the retro vibe? It’s like going back the past. Think saxophones and trumpets and dancers singing on the small stage. It’s a feel good relaxing kind of song but can get rather boring after a while. So it’s not on repeat in my playlist. But I appreciate that Tsunku made a different genre for the girls, making this album sound pretty diversed. It also displays the ability of the members to adapt.
7. Zero Kara Hajimaru Seishun
Slower track with little twinkling sounds. It has more equal line distributions and not the usual Reina-Riho lead. Everybody gets to sing and you get to hear their different vocals. Even Sayumi sang without her vocals getting messed up. It may get bit boring though during the verses as it’s slow. But everybody gets solo lines! So it’s nice to hear voices from those who often either only get a line or a word in a song.
8. Renai Hunter
This is Ex-Leader Risa Niigaki’s and also Mitsui Aika’s last single with the group. It’s nice to hear Risa’s voice in this for a change. I knew this song from the Satoyama show where they always promote their latest releases at the end. But I never gave it much attention back then. I was out of the loop and only recently began to check them out again. I feel like this song could be great but it kind of falls short, compared to One Two Three. If not, this would’ve been the one that acts as the starting point of when MM gets the public’s attention again. It’s actually quite similar to what Tsunku’s been producing for MM ’14 recently, you know, the usual dubstep and electro-pop. Risa’s vocals are great and it’s such a shame the single didn’t do as well. Oh well, it still brings back nice memories although I still feel the dance choreography for this song is really weird and awkward. Those hands and leg movements lol…it’s like what are they even trying to do?
If you’re curious about the weird hand and leg movement I mentioned, you can watch the dance shot version.
9. Chikyuu ga Naite Iru
GUITARS! This is a pretty awesome song. Another track that should be performed in large arenas. I just wish the chorus is better because the verses are great. I just love that I get to hear more instrumentals like guitars and drums in this for a change. I won’t be surprised that Tsunku created the melodies for this song together with What’s Up? Because they sound so similar!
10. Namida Hitoshizuku
A Reina solo song. I’m not surprised since she is afterall the lead singer in MM before she left. I wonder why Tsunku produced a slow ballad for her. But I love the intro, bit of R&B. I think she did fine, if not good for this. I’ve of course heard better ones from her and even though she sings this perfectly, this song is more of like an adult song. So Reina doesn’t exactly give me that adult vibe. Not saying Reina is not mature enough, maybe because I always imagine Reina being young (despite her being over 20+)…MM tends me give me that vibe anyway.
11. Warratte! YOU
A song dedicated for 9th and 10th gen members. It’s groovy with saxophones and did I here the trumpets too, or sth of that sound haha…The clapping is nice and adds to its funkiness. Other than that, I have nothing to say about it. Not really a song I’d listen to on repeat.
12. Pyoko pyoko Ultra
When I saw the music video of this song, I hated it so much I didn’t even finish watching. I was turned off. Having the members dressed in yellow little chicken or chick suits just make them look more childish than they’re supposed to be. This is probably one of those sides of idol groups that I still can’t accept. I think I may have hated the song more because of the music video. Also, what’s with the senpais – Gaki, Reina and Sayumi (okay Sayumi probably loves it since she’s likes all things cute), but these girls are over 20 years old! They shouldn’t be put in such costumes! I wonder if deep down their hearts, they actually felt embarrassed dressing in them. Music-wise, the synths are making my head spin, it’s catchy but not the type of catchy I like. I’m sorry, I just don’t like this song. I feel like Tsunku really set the quality really LOW with the release of this single. I can’t accept this. This should never be in their discography. The album would’ve been perfect without this mess.
Verdict: 1/5 (I’m just being generous)
Tell me I’m wrong after you watch this music video. It still hurts to think that this was 10th gen’s first single when they joined. My beloved generation having to sing and perform this song, I wish it never happened.
I feel this album is the start of departure from the kind of music Platinum Era had. Tsunku’s making full use of EDM, electro-pop, synths and autotune. People like me are loving them. I feel like these cool or kakkoi songs are making them sound more interesting again. Plus, because of Riho and Ayumi’s dance skills, dance is something that they’ve been trying to perfect ever since. The beginning of a new era. Yes, Sayumi is still around and she’s the only link left between Golden/Platinum Era and the new one. But I don’t mind her leading the current group, if anything, she’s been doing a great job and she’s my second favorite leader now. This album is enjoyable even for a casual listener like me. I wasn’t even a fan before and I usually shy away from idol music. But some of these, they really don’t sound like idol music. Wouldn’t it be nice if MM actually break away from the idol industry and just be a normal group? Just a random thought.
With that, I’m looking forward to their new single or even better, a new album. I’m excited for the new album because it’s the first album without Reina and I really want to see how it’s like. I think we’ll get a lot of Riho-Sakura combination but the line distributions will be more equal now. We can see that from recent singles. I feel the departure of Reina left a little void of vocal ability in the group because she was great. Riho still needs to control her vocals especially when it comes to lives. Sakura’s vocals are pleasant to hear most of the time so I’m fine with that. Fukumura has softer vocals so maybe she just needs to bring it out more (the opposite of Riho’s problem). I’d love to hear more of Ayumi and Masaki. While the strength of Platinum Era was vocal abilities, this era is focusing on dance formation. A thought that came over me is that, since their music involves lots of effects and autotune, vocal strength doesn’t really matter but still nice to hear when they hit them right in lives. Well, you can’t have everything.