Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

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So I’m sure you all have noticed that this blog has been largely inactive. I mean my last post was on January 31st…which is definitely a long time ago. What’s going on, you ask? Well in case you didn’t know, I manage three blogs including this one: Amai Wana and Asia no Yoru ~Perfume~ being the other two. And if you check those blogs out, you’ll notice that they’re very active. I admit that this blog got kind of the short end of the string (lol, I’m pretty sure that’s the wrong phrasing) and although it was not my intention, I’ve let this blog fall back. The reason is that school definitely has to come first and when I blog, Amai Wana pretty much always takes first priority. I plan out a review schedule so I have a concrete place to focus my attention. Destiny Line -Ai no Matador- isn’t constrained to one year so I could review something from any time period, which makes making a review schedule a little harder. Asia no Yoru ~Perfume~ isn’t a review type blog so basically I can take it in any direction I want and that freedom makes it easier to come back to. Plus I’m a dedicated fan of Hey! Say! JUMP so blogging about them is never a chore. I’ve actually started a few reviews here and there that I’ve attempted to get done for some time now but the time just hasn’t come…it still hasn’t come actually. But I’ll have two weeks free of homework, starting at the end of March and when those two weeks roll around, I’m hoping that this blog will be active again. I have some planned out from Ayu in particular so I hope those get materialized. Basically I started this blog as a means to review all the stuff that I wanted to review but not on Amai Wana and admittedly, I’ve done most of the ones that I’ve wanted to so…

I just need some time to think about what direction this blog goes. I don’t really wanna close it down because some of the reviews here, I’m very proud of…but my passion for this particular one is kinda waining so…

Much like Koda Kumi in the Ai no Uta PV, I’m sad. Sad for this blog but not for the others cause I’m very happy with those two and you should all take a look!!

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Morning Musume’s 35th single, entitled みかん, was released on 11.21.07. The single represents the girls’ childhood memories of eating mandarin oranges.

みかん takes a break from the mature dance songs to take on a cuter and brighter vibe. The song begins with a sweet and pretty instrumental that moves into a cute atmosphere with the chorus. The vocals are enjoyable and they capture the excitement of the song very well. That excitement continues onto the verses and Ai in particular shines on her lines. Unlike other songs, it doesn’t go into a mellow mode but keeps that upbeat fun atmosphere that the listener can enjoy. The pure instrumental section gives it a new sound with the guitars coming to pump up the energy. Even though this song goes more along the cute road, it doesn’t go too far past the line and keeps a dance tune so the listener can enjoy it.

We get a cute jazzy style on this single’s B-side, ボン キュッ! ボン キュッ! BOMB GIRL. It was a very nice surprise to see the girls try out this jazzy sound that sounds like it belongs on a game show and they surprisingly managed to not go too cutesy, letting the listener really get a feel for both their voices and the music. This song is definitely one of the best Morning Musume B-sides and deserves a listen.

In order to promote the single, a PV for みかん was made. Matching the happy and sweet atmosphere of the song, the video features animated effects and cute dancing. It’s actually a quite pretty video and not as corny as it might initially seem.

Single Ranking: A

Both the A-side and B-side are more on the cute side but take on other traits to make them interesting. みかん features a fun dance sound that combines with the cuteness to be memorable while the B-side introduces jazzy elements for a good time. It’s an overall strong single that allows the girls to try different things while keeping a common tying sound.

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Morning Musume’s 33rd single, entitled 悲しみトワイライト

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Morning Musume’s 27th single, entitled 色っぽい じれったい, was released on 07.27.05.

色っぽい じれったい shows the girls adapt to a Spanish setting. Opening the song are a few lines spoken by Koharu and Eri before the girls dive into the first verse. The whispering adds a certain desperation and sexual atmosphere, which hooks the listener. Soon the Spanish influenced instrumental comes in and leads the listener along into the first verse. The girls split into pairs to sing each line and all the combinations sound good as they compliment the other girl. The chorus is enjoyable although the “SEXY ISLAND” phrase sounded a bit strange. Ai did a great job however of ending that section with her solo line. The pure instrumental section nicely gives the listener to fall into a lovely Spanish sound before the chorus re-emerges. As the last vocalist of the song, Reina gives her strong vocal presence and makes herself known. Overall it’s a very enjoyable song with a very fun atmosphere for the listener to enjoy.

愛と太陽に包まれて is the B-side and it’s surprising that it’s another cute poppy song. This one is a slow number with more of an emotional setting. However that doesn’t stop it from being not particularly interesting. It was a nice attempt to stray from the usual B-side formula but it just didn’t work out this time.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 色っぽい じれったい was made. The video is quite simple, just featuring the girls dancing along with close-ups of the girls. They are dressed in red outfits and fit with the whole Spanish theme of the song very well.

Single Ranking: B +

Although it isn’t as strong as their previous single, 色っぽい じれったい is still an enjoyable track taking on Spanish influences. At least the B-side isn’t another boring cutesy song even if it didn’t come out as strongly as hoped for.

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Morning Musume’s 26th single, entitled 大阪 恋の歌, was released on 04.27.05. It is the last single to feature both Rika Ishikawa and Mari Yaguchi.

大阪 恋の歌 is a addictive edgy song that will have the listener moving. The song begins with a very mysterious instrumentation with some talking over it to only add to the ominous atmosphere. Soon the song’s true hot dance beat comes in and the first verse arrives. Hitomi does a great job of giving sleek and cool vocals to match the song’s atmosphere and the backing vocals add a nice little touch to the song. Ai jumpstarts the chorus with strong vocals, evoking an emotional presence that catches the listener’s ear. As usual, Miki delivers wonderful vocals whenever it’s her turn to sing so she stands out on this song. The small pure instrumental section doesn’t show much of a different side but that’s okay because the music is addictive as is.

NATURE IS GOOD! is the single’s B-side. It should have been very obvious from the title that this song was going to be an upbeat happy number and that’s exactly what it is. It’s just another more “traditional” H!P sound that focuses on cuteness but this track isn’t really worth checking out. It’s no surprise though that the song was going to turn out like this since H!P B-sides tend to be pretty lackluster.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 大阪 恋の歌 was made. The video features a blaring red that makes it difficult to see the girls during the dancing sequences. Although it might seem slightly annoying, it does fit with the coolness of the song quite well. There are also scenes of the girls as angels under an ominous sky which add to the whole mysterious vibe. It’s actually a pretty enjoyable video worth checking out.

Single Ranking: A –

大阪 恋の歌 is definitely one of the girls’ strongest songs and one to check out. There is a cool and sleek atmosphere that drives the song, fueled by a genuine emotional presence. It’s a great combination and the girls get to show off their vocals nicely as well. The B-side is pretty generic but it was truly expected.

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Koda Kumi’s 30th single, entitled Someday / Boys♥Girls, was released on 02.22.06. The single comes as the last of the 12 Singles Collection and was one of three not liimted to 50,000 copies. Boys♥Girls was used as the theme for the 2006 movie, Waters.

Someday is a sweet and warming song that will have the listener smiling the whole way through. The song begins with the hook and insantly, the loving atmosphere comes to life. She holds her notes well and the vocals contribute to a certain pretiness. On the verses, Kumi continues to sound sweet, carrying the music along and keeping with the relaxing vibe that evokes the image of staying home with the person you love. The chorus picks up the poppy energy a little more, which in turn makes it stand out more. Initially, I didn’t care for Someday but once I took the time to appreciate its sweet nature and see Kumi perform it live, I warmed up to it a lot.

Boys♥Girls is definitely the more interesting A-side though, taking on a fun cool sound. The song starts off with the chorus and Kumi’s vocals are very smooth here, melting over the instrumentation to give off a very cool vibe. All the English words stand out and giv the chorus a sort of uniqueness. The verses are catchier and Kumi gets to show off her vocal talents more, as the instrumentation keeps the listener engaged. But if there is one section of the song that stands out the most, it’s the hook, which features a slight instrumental change to a higher and lighter register. The katkana words “dameeji” and “imeeji” go together nicely with the English phrases “no good” and “something better.” She then finishes with “tanoshimi” and we find ourselves right back at the chorus. Following the second hook is a little pure instrumental section that keeps that coolness while pushing a more fun feeling as Kumi does some vocalizing. This is a great song and it’s a shame it didn’t get a place on BEST ~second session.~

Single Ranking: A +

Both songs on this single are great and they truly compliment the other. While Someday is a sweet love song that gives you that warm feeling, Boys♥Girls will make you want to dance and just have a good time. It’s an excellent representation of two different sides of Kumi, which makes for a great finish to the project.

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Morning Musume’s 34th single, entitled 女に 幸あれ, was released on 06.25.07.

女に 幸あれ is an aggressive angry dance track. The song starts off with a hot upbeat dance instrumental that carries enough emotion in it to make the listener realize that there’s more than just an energetic beat. The first verse features Koharu and Ai and their vocals are very good here, managing to compliment the music perfectly and to portray the song’s emotions. The hook definitely stands out because of the repeating “baka ne” part and the newly strong instrumentation. On the chorus, there are strong vocals and the instrumentation remains interesting. The only thing is that it sounds so similar to the hook and a little change could have made it stand out more. Following the chorus is an absolutely addictive pure instrumental section which is perfect for a little dance break. The full pure instrumental section is probably the climax of the song since we get a new instrumental that makes the listener want to continue moving before the chorus is re-introduced. This is definitely a great song worth checking out since it shows the mature side of Morning Musume with emotions in it that make it stand out from their other songs.

This single’s B-side is Please! 自由の扉. Opening the song is a very interesting and laidback instrumental that soon grows into an upbeat and catchy sound. On the first hook, Ai takes the step and does a good job of providing strong vocals with conviction and ease. The verses are enjoyable as the girls divide up into pairs and compliment each other so well and although it may not be quite so noticeable, there is a note in each line that is slightly higher than the others and it really is grabbing. The chorus is nice even though it’s a little bland.

onsa2In order to promote the single, a PV for 女に 幸あれ was made. The video is more of a flashy and cool video, featuring the girls dressed up in fancy yellow showgirl costumes as they get some close-ups, stand (or sit) with their singing part and do some dancing. The thing that stands out about this video is that you get to see the girls mouth “baka ne” and their faces perfectly portray the emotions of the song (especially Reina). Even though it was kind of weird to see them mouth it they didn’t say it in the song, it’s still cool.

Single Ranking: A –

Morning Musume certainly did a good job on this single. The title track is emotion-filled dance track that will keep the listener moving. The B-side is pretty nice although a little predictable. Nonetheless, it’s another strong single release from these girls that is definitely worth checking out.

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