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On the recent offerings brought to us by Momusu...

So, due to my belated realisation that I hadn't seen a numbered Momusu album in quite a while and looking into it, and then realising (belatedly) that they'd actually just bundled a shitload of recent singles onto a best-of (which I refuse to review), I have decided to do a rather late review of the last year and three quarters of Momusu singles. Which, due to the huge amount of double and triple a-sides actually works out as about an album's worth of material. Brilliant. And as a bonus you also get to hear me rant about the PVs.

So, where was it that I left off with Momusu? After the slightly disappointing 13 Colourful Character album I guess. I did touch on some subsequent releases on Beats, which are also here now as well, but I'm ignoring that because I might have gained some insight in the intervening time, or I may not. Not entirely sure, but we'll find out. I'll also listen to the Bsides (if there are any) and pick out any interesting ones, or ones that just pique my interest in some way.

So...

Wakuteka Take a Chance




This was basically the true beginning of the whole "formation dance" shtick. It wasn't until later that it sort of took off, but this laid the foundations. It also shook off the lengthy process of change under Gaki's leadership which resulted in a series of shit singles, to something that wasn't as shit. Tsunku, weirdly, opted to continue in roughly the same direction he had taken in Ren'ai Hunter and One Two Three, and then polished it so that the melodies regained some prominence, and kicked his arranger until the bass sounds pummelled you and the high-pitched synths didn't sound weedy and shit, which is basically all that was needed. The vocoding was still present, the sparkles hadn't gone away, but at least now there was a direction. And less Aika. The song also began a process of increasing progression. If you listen to One Two Three (I know, it's hard, but I have to make you suffer to make you understand), it follows a basic Intro-A Melo-B-Melo-C-Melo-Chorus structure. A Melo, B Melo and C Melo being the Japanese ways of saying "verse", "preprechorus" and "prechorus". Wakuteka has Intro-A Melo-B Melo (stop, stop, yamete)-C Melo (weird chromatic bit)-D Melo (vocoded atonal bit)-E melo (Wakuteka take a chance)-F Melo (prechorus)-Chorus. So quite an extension, and it's continued through to the present in some songs. Overall I don't mind the song. The PV is quite a normal greenscreen danceshot/closeup/sparkles thing, but the greenscreening this time includes Matrix code and prison bars, so it's going in the right direction.

Song: 8/10
PV: 5/10

Bside standout: Futsuu no Shoujo A
Why hello Ali Project. Apologies for the shitty clipping on the youtube video. It was either that or one in 128kbps. Neither option is good. But the song makes up for it by winning.

Help Me!!



You know, it's been nearly six years and I still can't see this title without thinking of Sayu's most interesting contribution to a Momusu single ever. Joking aside, this is where the shit got real in regards to the formation dancing, and also where H!P decided to waste their entire budget on greenscreen backgrounds and completely forget about such simple things as editing, direction and costume design. Songwise it marked the first appearance of Orange GoblinOda Sakura, and a continuation of the experimentation that started with Wakuteka of more sections, weirder scales, and also introduced some jarring counterpoint. Only just short of calling that intro bit a cross-rhythm, because it does resolve. The cost of this greenscreen continues to disturb me. Surely would have been cheaper to buy a set of lights and just shoot in the actual locations. Unfortunately the chorus is pretty shit otherwise this could have been quite interesting. Also the spamming of syllables taken out of context and liberally spattered across the song distract from it rather than add to it. Mid-8 is also slightly a letdown. It seems to be building up to something and then just ends up at the aforementioned lacklustre chorus.

Song: 6/10
PV: 4/10

None of the Bsides are any good.

Brainstorming



This song is quite nice. It started the trend of Engrish subtitles on videos though, which I'm not particularly fond of, but also 1080p, which I am fond of. The riffs in this are quite interesting, addition of a breathy synth aside. There's a bit of an organic feel to some of the bass synths in it, almost analogue. Again, there's some long assed structure building up to the chorus. I sort of lose count of them all. The PV is completely uninteresting, though the dance includes Sonna no kankei ne! so that's amusing. Dat guitar squeal always gets me. Also Ayumi and Riho fight is pretty win. Tsunku's instruction to the girls during some of the solo parts (Oda and Reina's in particular) must have been "ham it the fuck up". They actually succeeded. Not quite Wakamoto-level, but no one really is.

Song: 9/10
PV: 1/10

Kimi Sae Areba Nanimo Iranai



At least they found a use for Pyokopyoko Ultra's outfits. This song is a lot less complex melodically and in terms of the arrangement than the last three, but somehow pulls together despite (or perhaps, because of) that. Obviously there's still the elements here and there, like the buzzsaw synth flitting from ear to ear in one section (lost count again, think it's the preprechorus), and the melody works, basic though it is. The section spam is becoming cliché, Tsunku seems to get one idea and then run with it for years and years. 2000 people on the dancefloor is too many though. Need to get rid of some. PV is again abysmal. Must have spent all the budget on Help Me.

Song: 6/10
PV: 1/10

Bsides: Tokimeku Tokimeke presents such a eurodance Basshunter-esque chord progression at one point I have to check to make sure the track hasn't randomly cut out halfway through.

Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke



z0mg they're actually on a location. Even though it is only in a concert hall. The song has spammed vocoders too much, and there's some reintroduction of brostep-synths at the beginning, but the intro itself isn't that painful. The percussion in the prechorus adds some aggression. And what's this? No C, D, E, F Melo and straight into the chorus? Also Sayashi beating up Mizuki? Intriguing. Last note of the chorus is pretty shwing. Also them black trouser outfits pretty shwing. Mizuki gets revenge in the second chorus. The mid-8 with broken guitar and vocoded voice is really weird but interesting, though I wish it had built into something that wasn't the chorus. PV itself is pretty boring, just dance shots and closeups, only in a location and with two costumes. Still, at least Tsunku didn't lose the ability to create a song without six or seven sections leading to the chorus. The broken-down simplicity probably gains this one marks, rather than loses them.

Song: 7/10
PV: 3/10

Ai no Gundan



For a song with "Military Corps" in the title isn't not very martial. Too much sax, and not the good kind. Also still too much vocoding. Also the sparkles make their reappearance. The B Melo (Fukumura and Sato lead) is pretty good. Then Riho's "owwwww!" is cute. Chorus doesn't really feel like a chorus, more like an extended prechorus that never builds to anywhere and then when they actually say the title you feel oddly let down. The dubstepped mid-8 is also a bit of a let down, never quite brutally ruining your pelvis. Sayu's little buildup is more proof that she's the only person with a voice so bad she can be identified through both autotune and vocoding. PV actually has contrast between the red and black sparkly bit and the white sparkly bit, which makes a change.

Song: 5/10
PV: 4/10

B-sides: Nothing of any note.

Egao no Kimi ha Taiyou sa



So, horrendous use of Engrish in the title aside, what the hell is happening in this PV? Looks like they spent all the budget again. Still impossibly hard to pick them out from the background. Starts out sounding like it could be a decent song, then the verse comes in with some ridiculously rubbish "urban" rhythms and boring chord progressions, along with the most boring melodies since Seishun Collection. In fact this is basically the Colourful era's Seishun Collection. Just with less horrific costumes. There's basically no merit in this musically, it just sort of goes from part to part with no rhyme or reason. About the only thing worth remembering is the intro, and that only because it's less lacklustre than the rest. Mid-8 sounds like someone clonestamped the synths and melody from Bouken Desho Desho and then ruined it.The PV is again too far greenscreened. Or whitescreened in this case. Lesson in melancholy.

Song: 2/10
PV: 2/10

Kimi no Kawari ha Iyashinai



Them outfits, what were the designers thinking? Some more energy in this one, a bit more interest musically as well, though overdosed to hell on vocoders still. Back to Tsunku's extended "do as many sections before chorus as possible" thing. PV is once again ridiculously cheap. Guess the budget goes on one PV per 4 singles at the moment. There's nothing much to pick out in this song as being particularly interesting, nor to mark out as horrendously awful. It all just sort of fits, a perfectly non-distracting noise to have on in the background.

Song: 5/10
PV: 3/10

What is LOVE?



My first thoughts on this song were of abject disappointment that it wasn't a cover of a certain legendary 80s tune. However, disappointment subsided as I was treated to frankly a mesmering hyperpaced EDM track of awesome. I've mentioned before that a high BPM is often enough to mask over any imperfections. In this case, maybe the verse arrangement is a little sparse, the wubbing is distracting and the shouting before the chorus is disturbing, but none of it actually distracts from the song, which just powers on regardless. The song is short as hell but it wins. The PV is just a shitty live PV, honestly if they were going to pick one live performance to turn into a live PV of it they should have gone for the greatest wakeup prank in history which resulted in the best Momusu performance ever.



Song: 10/10
PV: 1/10
Wake up prank: 11/10

There were no Bsides.

Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe



Well, what to say about this? It's obviously flashy as fuck, maybe they kept a bit in reserve for more special effects this time. For a change the greenscreening actually adds something to the PV, I can't actually think of any way they could have achieved this effect without it. The song itself has some glorious violin and piano presets that make me quite satisfied, and though there are things to be said about the arrangement in places (I really dislike the copy/pasting of midnote piano, for example), in general the arrangement is minimal and a complete departure from usual Momusu, and pretty much anything Momusu's ever done. Obviously there are parts that are similar to recent Momusu, but overall they're few and far between. The lyrics also stand out. I've never really enjoyed Tsunku's lyrics, he tends to impart so much of his own personality on them that they seem of little to no relevance to the group. In this case though, it's been analysed and vetted and seems to impart meaning to listeners, even if they're completely different meanings. Obviously, the PV is only a "promotional version" (the actual version features a few more closeups but is otherwise largely the same), but it still stands out as somehow doing something out of the ordinary. By having them barefoot (not the first time they've done it, as I've seen newer fans claim all over the place. Here's a few examples from my memory.) it imparts a sense of purity the lyrics echo by wondering (naively) if the world will ever be "cleansed", the costumes and jewelry almost seem oceanic, and obviously the spacey greenscreening is linked to the title (which, as opposed to the "official" translation I would render more as "To Transcend Time and Space", and along with the kanji meaning Time/Space Continuum and Universe, instead of Time and Sky, it's a bit weird). People have linked it to Tsunku's cancer and his aspirations for the world once he dies, which is I suppose perfectly normal. I'm tempted to think he had this sealed away for a "just in case" scenario, in which case I hope his years of subpar output resulted in a stash of good stuff sealed away "just in case" that's now about to start dribbling out as he undergoes his treatment.

Song: 9/10
PV: 8/10

Password is 0



This one flows on from What is Love in a way, mixing fast beat with EDM to create something that shouldn't work but somehow does. The beginning isn't amazing, the bass synth and chord progression are pretty naff, but when we get to the B melo, the bass kicks in and pounds the living fuck out of your skull with one of the best chord progressions I've ever heard used in EDM, to the point when it's actually stuck in my head. Very little gets stuck in my head. And it's only repeated once per section, so it's not wearing out its welcome. The buildup starting from "What goes around comes around" is also memorable, mostly because of the "da ne" bit. The chorus has more random noises going on in the background which are unneeded, but don't annoy me to the point of killing things. PV is again utterly useless, but that's to be expected when they blow all their budget yet again. Mid-8 has a nice bit which seems to be building up to some sort of completely left-field direction, but then stops and goes back to the chorus. Sort of disappointing, would have loved it if it had continued into some spacey prog for another ten minutes before the final chorus.

Song: 8/10
PV: 4/10

So, there you have it, my thoughts on recent Momusu musical offerings. As for the members, all I can say is that now all their characters are mostly established (still waiting for Iikubo to push herself a bit more beyond the calling everyone "honey" and for Oda to be something more than just "the voice", but they've made a start) they're making leaps and bounds at impressing me. Even pervmeister Riho. Who would have thought that when she joined, the studious little dancer, corrupted by insanity from Norks and perversion from Sayu. The world never ceases to amaze.

So yes, Momusu, onwards and hopefully upwards. Keep firing, assholes!

1 comments:

  1. IMO, these songs are all crap. I liked Momusu up to a point but I just can't follow where Tsunku has taken them. Boring, recycled crap.

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