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Super Special Bumper Deluxe Review Spectacular Number Two

So, review time. Two albums to review this time. Momusu's 12 Smart, and Yuikaori's Puppy. Doubt I'll bother doing the Passpo album. Quite old now.

So, let's begin with the most recent one.

Morning Musume. - 12, Smart


Preamble: Some angelic theme going on with the cover. It's not particularly effective, but as it marks Aichan's final demise and ascent to non-idoldom, I'll just celebrate.




1. Give me 愛. So, the first song is a tribute to Aichan already. Starts off with a decent little piano intro, but then in come the heavy synths and altered vocals to shatter the tranquility. The vocal melodies aren't particularly good, but this is the epitome of the 2007-2010 Momusu style. But still, no matter how much you polish a turd... It's still a turd. Aichan's vocals are, obviously, front and centre. Much as I find her boring as fuck, Momusu does now lack superpower vocals. Or rather, they have them, but will they use them? I'm not entirely sure. The chorus isn't that bad. The bass is moving around a lot. But it's still a synth. The mid-8 is a bit boring. Similar to Berryz' Heroine mid-8, but without the massive bass and spastic shred of the synths. Overall, I get what Tsunku's trying, but this style just doesn't work. 5/10

2. Only you. Well, this song was a fucking let down after Maji gave me some hope. On the other hand, when compared to Seishun Collection, it's a masterpiece. Having said that, a song with one note is more interesting than Seishun Collection. As a song that's part of the 2007-2010 canon (despite it being 2011), it's not bad. I'd put a few above it, but it's by no means the worst of the singles in that time. The main problem is that they autotuned Gaki. I cannot see the point, honestly. She's the only one who can pick up the slack with Aichan gone in regards to the deeper, heavier stuff, but they throw autotune on her? I just hope Kudou Haruka's chain-smoker speaking voice turns into a chain-smoker singing voice so they can at least keep some of the bass in the vocal mix, otherwise it's gonna be a helium-fest. Anyway, the song, despite my dislike of the style, isn't bad. The vocal melodies are better than Tsunku's managed in an Aside for a while. The tune isn't particular mind blowing, but not shit. The solo isn't very good, but it breaks the song up okay. The synth bass is pretty far back in the mix compared to the vocals, so I can't complain too much about that. It is just the autotune I have a major problem with. 6/10

3. シルバーの腕時計. Engrish straight from the start? Piano intro is actually cool. The urban stylings do remind me of really old Momusu. On the other hand, old Momusu had singers who were capable of harmonising. Riho gives her best, but she's still way too nasal, whereas Reina sounds the best she has in a while. Gaki rapping is really quite disturbing. Especially when it sounds like she's saying "Rape me nice". Chorus melody is pretty meh. Aika's rap is also odd (I think it's Aika anyway. Doesn't sound like Gaki's voice again). Mid-8's chromatic synth strings ascent is shit. But really, Reina dominates this song. Maybe Momusu isn't quite as fucked without Aichan as I thought. On the other hand, Aika's rapping sucks. 6/10

4. 好きだな君が. Club song by Sayu and Mizuki? This is odd as fuck. Honestly the first thing that popped into my head was Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. What with Sayu's upcoming PB looking utterly insane, my thoughts seem to be in the correct direction. As a club song this isn't too bad. Would prefer less vocoding, but then, it is a bit of a trend in dance music lately anyway. It's not particularly memorable. The chord progressions are standard, the accents don't get in the way, the vocals are vocaloid but amusing. Sayu seems to be the only person capable of expressing emotion through vocal synths. Mid-8 is crazy as a really crazy thing. Probably best part of the song to be fair. Not spectacular but shows that Tsunku's still living in lalaland. 6/10

5. 怪傑ポジティブA. What's this, guitars? Brass band? Sillily high pitched synths? Vocals are interesting. Screaming is fun. Tsunku's "yea" is lol. The bass isn't bad. Prechorus has some really good melodies. The chorus is quite catchy. Hammond organs ftw. Mid-8 with something I'm not sure I can call a guitar solo is pretty decent. Buildup chorus also cool. Lack of things in particular to moan about. 8/10

6. この愛を重ねて. Aichan and Gaki together for the last time. And what a shock, it's Toni Braxton leftover I don't know what number we're on now. Vocals are decent, and there's even some *shock* harmonising. On the other hand, the melodies themselves aren't particularly amazing. The instrumentation is shit. Mid-8 is boring. Really quite poor. 3/10

7. この地球の平和を本気で願ってるんだよ! Damn this song is boring. It's a song that never should have been. Sounds like a cheap ripoff of Dance*Man's odd as hell boring arrangement of Berryz' Ryuusei Boy. About the only good bit is Gaki's epic glissando in the prechorus. Chorus melody is okay, but the bass is uninspiring, just jumping around octaves. As an upbeat song about peace on earth it should be able to get one happy and jumping. But it just doesn't deliver. Even the mid8 sounds like someone's made something really awesome, then just thought, "that's too good, let's make it worse". 4/10

8. 彼と一緒にお店がしたい! Part two of Sayu insanity. The intro riff is cool. The vocal melodies (and vocoder'd harmonies) are actually good. The verse instrumentation is bad, but the vox melodies are still good. See, this is a song that is silly, whimsical, upbeat and actually has smile-creating possibilities. The PV was created by someone on too much acid, but still. The vocal ability in this song isn't particularly high, but it suits. It's a song that fits the 9th gen's still immature voices. And Sayu's voice, which is shockingly now one of the more stable in Momusu. Never thought I'd say that. The stuff she pulls off in this song is not half bad. Talking style voice while singing. Mid-8/solo is cool and fits perfectly with the 50s rock and roll style guitars in this. Buildup chorus is completely random but win. All in all, thoroughly not shit. 8/10

9. My Way〜女子校花道〜. What the hell? Proper rock? With some odd synths. The vocoder on the voices is distracting though. The instrumentation on this song is probably among the best on the album. The vocals on the other hand, have gone the other way. However, the vibrato in the prechorus and the chorus melody aren't bad. It's just the bloody vocoder on the verse vocals which is confusing and out of place. The random yelled "kibishii~~~~~~~~~~~!" before the second chorus is lol. Presolo is cool as hell, then the synth solo itself is FUCKING AWESOME! Best H!P synth solo ever. Even beats Aitai. Buildup chorus is win as a really win thing. Really, I think I love this song, even with the vocoders. 9/10

10. 乙女のタイミング. So, Aika, Erina and Norks. Slower song, vocal ability isn't as lacking as I thought it would be. Not too bad. Chorus is nice and upbeat. Vocal melodies aren't good, but not bad. These synths are weird. Bassline on the other hand is pretty good. Solo is pretty meh. Buildup chorus has a cello so is quite good. Still, not sure how good this song is. Slightly better than worse though. 6/10

11. OK YEAH! Well, this title is weird. So is the song. It's some heavy dance, but I dunno what happened to the voices being used as instruments. It's not a bad instrumental. Vocal melodies aren't bad. Just the "woo!" spam and the use of the last syllable in the chorus as a spam over the break. Confuses the hell out of me. Honestly it reminds me of The Possible's Nabe song, which was fucked up enough in and of itself. Mid-8 is weird, then second part of it has a decent synth line. Still, fucked up and weird without being too shit. Except the annoying "OK! OK! OK! OK! YEAH!" 7/10

12. まじですかスカ! The song that allowed me some hope to the fact that Momusu wasn't in fact, actually dead, it was merely restin'. Ska punk. It's not the best ska punk ever. It's not even the best ska punk Tsunku's ever done. But after three years of singles in exactly the same style, this was not only a breath of fresh air, it was life itself to the near dessicated husk of Momusu. 9th gen being cute, and the PV being random was also helpful. Of course, Tsunku ruined it by going back to the old style on the single after this, but still. It's cute, fun, upbeat and awesome. 8/10

Overall:

Actually a lot better than I was expecting. It's not groundbreaking, but it puts the last two Momusu albums to shame (not that doing so is a particularly difficult thing to do) and in general gives me some hope for the post-Aichan world of idoldom. Hopefully now the group won't stagnate and rot for another few years. I'm now looking forward to the debut 10th gen single to see if it can pleasantly surprise me.

6.3/10

Yuikaori - Puppy


Preamble: So, Yuikaori. I've been interested in them since the KissxSis themetune "Our Steady Boy", and since a picture of Yui's rather marvellous buttocks appeared on the H!O picboard (more on that in a forthcoming post). They finally got an album, and added to Yui's latest anime role as a hikikomori loli detective in Kamisama no Memochou (in which she was very win), I decided to review it.

1. 恋のオーバーテイク. Synths start nicely, bass is nice, guitar lines are pretty good. Vocals are pretty naff for the whole album, so I'll mention it at the start. They sound like anime characters. Therefore their voices are highpitched and quite annoying. On the other hand, as they're both seiyuu I guess I'll forgive them. Vocal melodies, in this song, for what they're worth, aren't too bad. Introduction of Hammond organ in second verse is full of win. Overall the sound can only be described as cute. Until the mid-8 anyway. Random guitar line, plus then a quite mature sounding vocal bit with a porn-synth underneath, then a semi-alright guitar solo. Well, mixes it up quite well. 7/10

2. PUPPY LOVE!! This takes the cuteness factor and turns it up to 11. Reminds me greatly of a mix of Koharu's weird anime stuff and Momoclo's irreverent insanity. Instrumentation is pretty meh. Lyrics are cute. Vocal melodies are cute. Anime voice fights in prechorus are funny. Guitar bit between chorus and crazy 2nd verse dialogue is win. 2nd verse dialogue is way better than rap. Mid-8 is another slowdown and nice bit with relaxing piano, then suddenly guitar solo. It's not a very good one. Still, cute as fuck. 8/10

3. 未来形アイドル. Dark synths, guitar and anime voices. Odd combination. Has some 80s like bits. Can't be bad. Surprisingly the voices do fit in a way. Instrumentation is powerful and good. Vocal melodies are quite good, especially the 80s bit in the prechorus. Mid8 is the worst bit of the song, because it's boring. 7/10

4. VIVIVID PARTY! This PV had ghost!Michael Jackson in it. On the other hand the song isn't particularly memorable. The syncopated dance synth is interesting, but the rest of the instrumentation is rubbish and the vocal melodies uninspired in the verse. In the prechorus the synth is win and the vocal melodies not bad, but the chorus is back to pretty meh. Mid-8 isn't bad but still this is the worst so far. 6/10

5. キュッ!キュッ!CURIOSITY!! This is another cute-song with cute voices and music being minimal and not particularly inspired. Slightly similar to Buono's Internet Cupid. Just this has more speaking dialogue. Lyrics are silly. Quite funny, but ultimately can't give a song with this little musical content a good mark. Mid-8 sounds like some telepathy experiment. 5/10

6. Magic starter. Surprisingly strong vocals at the start there, and then we're into full on anisong territory. And quite a good one at that. Beat is good, instrumentation is good, vocals are very good for these two. Vocal melodies are good too. Probably the strongest track yet. Actually, make that easily. Mixes up the dance and rock elements nicely and pulls it off well, and manages to make both of them lose the anime voices for 4 minutes. Some achievement. Wish someone had managed to do that to Koharu... 9/10

7. ふたり. Ballad-y intro. Electric guitar has a nice little melody. Anime voices are back. Vocal melodies aren't bad, but after the last song just isn't anywhere near as cool. Guitar solo on the other hand is good. Still, a bit meh. 5/10

8. 駆け抜けてBlue. Nice guitar lick at the beginning, synth line isn't too bad either. A bit more on the dance-y side this time. Vocal melodies are okay. Prechorus is interesting. Chorus is upbeat, if not enough to get me jumping around. Certainly has its interesting points. Mid8 and solo aren't too bad. 6/10

9. HEARTBEATが止まらないっ!Now this is a bit more upbeat. Sounds like SKE actually. Sounds exactly like SKE. That is disturbing. On the other hand, it has Yui and Kaori singing mostly un-anime again, so that's cool. Plus the music is good. Second verse guitar line is quite cool. Solo is quite win, but way too short. Second solo is less good. Then anime voice buildup chorus. Still, good song. 8/10

10. Shooting☆Smile. Another dancey track with rock elements. Quite good, chorus especially. Verse vocal melodies aren't great, but the chorus ones are nice and catchy. Mid-8 and solo are quite good. Buildup to final chorus is win. 7/10

11. クリスタルの誓い. Bit more rock this time. Actually quite a lot more rock. Vocal melodies are good, instruments are good. Quite a nice little song this is. Chorus is cute. Guitar solo is okay. 7/10

12. Our Steady Boy. Ah, this is win. The song that got me into them in the first place though, so it will hold a certain place in my heart. Riffs are good, vocals are cute. Bassline is quite amusing. Vocal melodies are cute. Kaori's vocals are actually quite good in this one. Yui's are as doll-like as ever. Considering it's the themesong for a wincest anime it's rather normal though. Solo is pretty good. Call and response in buildup to final chorus is win. 8/10

Overall:

Quite a good little debut album. Very cute, as one would expect, plus quite a few rather good songs. Hope to hear more in the future (which I'm sure I will, considering they're seiyuu too). But also want to see more. Yui's ass especially...

6.9/10

Comparison ratings:

Buono! - We Are Buono! - 9.7
Morning Musume. - 4th Ikimasshoi - 9.2
C-ute - Chou Wonderful 6 - 9
Momoiro Clover Z - Battle and Romance - 8.7
C-ute - 4 Akogare My Star - 8.5
Ogawa Mana - Teenage Blues - 8
AKB48 - Koko ni Ita Koto - 7.5
Buono! - Buono! 2 - 7.5
Sakura Gakuin - message - 7.5
Berryz Koubou - 6th Otakebi Album - 7
Karen Girl's - Fly to the Future - 7
SUPER☆GiRLS - Chouzetsu Shoujo - 7
Berryz Koubou - 7 Berryz Times - 6.5
Morning Musume. - Platinum 9 Disc - 6.5
Tokyo Girl's Style - Kodou no Himitsu - 6
Morning Musume. - 10 My Me - 5.5
C-ute - Shocking 5 - 4
Morning Musume. - Fantasy Juuichi - 3.5
Buono! - partenza - 3

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