Iroppoi Twilight Game

For those who like H!P ^_^, plus a learning experience!

Catching up with the H!P news, Gomennasai!

Finally with some time to sit and write about news that I missed out on for the last couple of months, I just wanted to talk about the two big ones that are happening towards the end of the year!

Kana Nakanishi to graduate in December

nakanashi

At the end of September, with the hype of their next single (being the first with Rin) coming up, it was kind of just announced out of the blue that Kana Nakanishi was going to graduate from H!P in December (the 10th to be exact).  Though with the time between, the single was released and unsurprisingly Kana didn’t get special treatment in her final single (I mean to be fair Katsuta wasn’t a part of the single itself, all she got was her digital song being a bonus to the single).  Still, I felt like Kanana got the end of the short stick to be honest.

Granted, she really never pushed herself in the group so she ended up being kind of forgotten in the more recent ANGERME songs (comparing this to how she was in her S/mileage days with “Yattaruchan” and “Choto Mate Kudasai! and even her solo song in “LILIUM”.

(I guess I should also mentioned that Rinapuu had a pretty nice sendoff, like I said above, she got a solo song “Totteoki no Oshare wo Shite” which was released a couple days before her graduation, digitally.  Though for whatever reason it was thrown on ANGERME’s November single too…almost two months after XD.

Country Girls disbandment…or?

countrygirls19

After releasing their digital single, I thought things might have just go the way the last couple years from them, but in mid-October, it was announced that the group would be disbanding towards the end of the year (12/26).  Though it’s more that, Yamaki and Ozeki are graduating out on that day, with Yamakki, she’ll also be leaving College Cosmos and the entertainment industry on the whole.

The announcement doesn’t end there as Musubu Funaki also announced her graduation from ANGERME in March (meaning she may have a single to go out on).

As for Chiichan, she’ll just remain in Morning Musume (the only member that didn’t have a graduation announcement luckily).

HOWEVER, the “or” of this is that the Up-front director is thinking on adding new members and begin anew…which I feel is a bad idea and kind of just spits on these four that had remained as a group.

 

I’m sure we’ll get some new single announcements during the Winter tour, but these should be the last newsworthy things for 2019!

Leave a comment »

Warp back to 2006…Year Recap!

After the rather empty feeling of 2005, I come into 2006 with the hopes that there’ll be more releases and better musics!  So let’s dive in ok?!?

Morning Musume

mm2006

sexyboyambitiousmegamix30aruiteruRainbow 7ribbonnokishi7.5 Fuyu Fuyu Morning Musume Mini! 28

Morning Musume in 2006 is already looking a bit more busier than they were last year!  Starting in February with the group’s 7th album, Rainbow 7 and a month later with their next single SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~.

Though in April it was announced that 5th Generation members, Makoto Ogawa and Asami Konno would graduate from the group after their next single, Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan released (although Makoto would graduate a little later than Konkon due to stageplay importance from Ribbon no Kishi ,which also got an OST in July).  After Ambitious, there was a special single released to commemorate the group reaching 30 singles with a remix called Morning Musume Mega Mix 30.

Cut to November when the group released Aruiteru which followed by a December mini-album (a Xmas mini) 7.5 Fuyu Furu Morning Musume Mini!.  Though before the mini’s release there was an audition as well and one winner came out from it, a young Aika Mitsui joined!

GREAT SONGS

  • Purple Wind – As one of the album songs to include all 10 members, Purple Wind brings back the fun disco/funk vibes that was kind of more of a big thing a couple years ago for the group and I’m very happy to see its return here.  Liking the fun atmosphere and the ladies all sound really into it too which is a surprise (honestly, this could’ve been an A-side).
  • SEXY BOY ~Soyokaze ni Yorisotte~ – As the first single after “Rainbow 7”, SEXY BOY picked up the pace by releasing a parapara-like song here and I was definitely here for it!  I really like the heavy dance beats and the cool vocals set for this one especially with Ai-chan, Miki, and Reina leading the pack.  It’s just a foot-tapping kind of song and really sticks out in their discography!
  • Odore! Morning Curry – I don’t seem to give credit where it’s due when Morning Musume does a random song just for the hell of it and it sure is a surprise as it’s the B-side from “Aruiteru” which that was a more sentimental and warming song where this is a tune about making good curry XD.  The song’s arrangement is pretty out there and pretty fast-paced and I’m just surprised they let Gaki & Yossie do these aggressive solo lines (the hook).  It’s just a bizarre song and it’s soooo good!

OK SONGS

  • HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~ – I wasn’t sure how Morning Musume would open their 7th album, but it seems they decided to go hard with HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN?  I was kind of shocked by it all and was liknig the energy.  However, I don’t think the voices really felt edgy enough (especially when you had rather non-gritty vocalists get more lines like Eri, Koharu, and Sayumi).  I think the song could’ve had more Ai-chan, Yossie, and Mikitty instead who can somewhat make it feel powerful.  Still, as the album’s opening track, this was a great way to kick things off!
  • INDIGO BLUE LOVE – It seems the album like some previous ones, once again splits the group into smaller pairings for some of the album tracks.  INDIGO BLUE LOVE only features Reina, Risa, and Eri and I was curious to see how’d this one would turn out.  The tune feels like H!P is finally catching up with its R&B arrangements and they don’t feel so dated.  Add on that all 3 members got equal line distribution so I’m happy to hear both Gaki and Kame get better as singers with this song.  Not bad of a song!
  • Mushoku Toumei na Mama de – So this song (which only had Yossie, Ai-chan, Mako, Konkon, and Mikitty) is actually the album’s ballad and I kind of knew that I was going to slightly enjoy more than other album songs here.  I mean there’s a lot of each member (surprisingly mostly Makoto) here and they carry the song pretty smoothly.  One of the better songs from the album!
  • Chance Chance Boogie – Coming in strong with that big band flavor is “SEXY BOY’s” B-side, Chance Chance Boogie which definitely follows through with the genre.  It’s pretty much to the point and it’s just quick and fun and surprised that the longest solos went to Risa, Eri, Ai, and Sayumi.  Still, the song is fine by B-side standards, but not quite the levels that could push it to the top.
  • Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan – That said, when it came to the next single (which is also Makoto & Asami’s last single, Ambitious wasn’t quite the heavy hitter than I was expecting.  It’s speedy and interesting with its mix of dance & strings, but there’s just something missing here.  I really do like the uplifting chorus and the powerful vocals from (hey, Mako & Konkon get their big lines here).  Still, it’s just not a strong A-side especially as a graduation single for two members.
  • Morning Musume Mega Mix 30 – As a celebration of Morning Musume reaching 30 singles, they released a limited single (like 500 discs?) and of course it included a megamix of all 30 singles in a 14 minute track.  It does start off with a little of “LOVE Machine” and then “Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan” but after that it’s in chronological order.  I kind of like that the remixer did a good job being able to connect all 30 songs in some way (if not slightly jarring).  Though not all the songs got the love here (“Koi no Dance Site” wasn’t represented well, “Shabondama” got like one word….like that’s depressing as hell and “Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT!” only got the title as did “Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima” & “THE Manpower!!!” got one line repeated 3 times), but the other songs were represented OK I guess (maybe “LOVE Machine” got a little TOO much love in this megamix honestly.  However, I did like the feat done here and was pretty cool especially with Yossie ending the track with a member roll call, just kind of sucks it’s a rarity in the H!P books.
  • Aruiteru – It’s been a while coming, but Morning Musume hit No.1 on ORICON charts again with Aruiteru which compared to previous A-sides isn’t so vastly different, but yet is in the same way.  With the group as 8 members, Aruiteru is actually kind of a slower song for them, but in the same fashion kind of the happy-go-lucky way of encore songs but this time with the effort put in as an A-side.  It’s just a heartwarming tune although maybe the la-la-las are a bit overdone here but otherwise, yeah not bad for an A-side!
  • Kirakira Fuyu no Shiny G – So as the 2nd track of the Christmas-themed mini-album the group released (first track was “Aruiteru”), we learn that the mini has mostly solo (or small groupings since all members did take part in some fashion).  Reina is the first up with this track and I don’t think it’s a terrible song, but it doesn’t quite live up to standards here.  I do like Reina’s vocals and it’s cute, but I’m not quite sure why I’m not fully into it.
  • Samui Kara Fuyu da Mon! ~Doumokou mo Naissu yo Mikitty~ Miki is the next member to get a Wintry song, but unlike Reina & Ai’s, she’s got some helpers for this song!  Recently created C-ute members, Chisato Okai and Mai Hagiwara.  They don’t get many lines, but their appearance is happily surprising.  Maimai sounds nasally, but I kind of enjoyed Chisa’s tone.  Though the focus is on Miki and she of course sounded great throughout and suits the more upbeat holiday feel.  Not bad!
  • Kotatsu no Uta ~jyuken story~ – Were they going to try to R&B for one of the songs from the mini-album?  I suppose so because this Yossie, Gaki, and Kame track has a bit of a feel to it thats like “INDIGO BLUE LOVE”.  The trio are using more of their sultry voices and it kind of works in a way, I like the quiet whispy vocals.  It’s just classy, but it does feel weird on the mini lol!

MEH SONGS

  • Aozora ga Itsumademo Tsuzuku You na Mirai de Are! – It’s strange we get this song as the 3rd track because it immediately feels like the tune was going to replace “Dekkai Uchuu ni Ai ga Aru” as that kind of happy-go-lucky encore song that Morning Musume really likes to have.  I will say, this is a little more energetic and whatnot and the only solos went to Gaki, Kame, Ai-chan, and Mikitty.  Still, the song doesn’t quite leave much of an impression and like I said, its placement on the album seems bizarre to me.
  • Sayonara SEE YOU AGAIN Adios BYE BYE Chaccha! – Kind of going for an ethnic vibe for the next track (which is kind of the last of the new songs, because one is a remix and the other is a new version of an older song).  I quite found myself asking why we needed another song that’s probably better used for encores, but it lacks depth because it’s just simple lyrics and the only solos are from spoken dialogue which is a bummer and makes the song unusually long.  Music is catchy, but everything else is just meh.
  • Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wa Ookiizo!~ (Mattaku Sono Toori Remix) – I really didn’t know why they decided to remix Chokkan 2 for the album as its absurd because they took out what was so memorable about the song and left it as an empty husk that’s way too repetitive now with the whole ~souda, souda, souda, mattaku~ all over the song moreso now.  The melody is not even there and it just feels lacking.  Yeah this was a pretty weak remix!
  • Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 3 – Really?!?  A 3rd version of a song that isn’t even 2 years old?  I mean it does try by replacing the saxophone lines with harmonica, but otherwise it’s basically “JKM2” but less Kaori, Mari, Rika and now Koharu was added which made the song even more lazier than normal.  What a poor way to close the album out honestly!
  • Watashi ga Tsuiteru. – As the B-side from “Ambitious!”, Watashi ga Tsuiteru. is just kind of bland in every way possible from the arrangement that almost feels like it’s from their 5th album with that acoustic pop/rock feel and the ladies kind of not really singing but kind of are and overall just kind of feels lame.  Almost like a less interesting “Aozora ga Itsumademo Tsuzuku You na Mirai de Are!”.  It’s pretty forgettable.
  • Yuki/Ai×Anata≧Suki – Not quite sure what this title is all about being written up like that, but this is Ai-chan’s solo for the mini-album.  Though before the song begins, we have a near 2 minute opening dialogue from Gaki and it does go a bit too long and once it does finally begin, the arrangement is just boring and while Ai does a great job singing the song, it just doesn’t entice me much.  Then it just sort of ends when Gaki returns and speaks more as the rest of the track fades out).  It’s a little weird how it was handled for a song that really isn’t that interesting.
  • Wa~ MERRY Pin Xmas! – So it seems they paired Sayu and Koha once again for this Christmas track that ends off the mini-album and I can immediately say that I was more interested in this than in “Rainbow Pink”.  It feels cute and maybe a smidge 80s but it’s a lot more filling as a song despite both not being great singers.  Still, it’s not quite that great though as it’s still vocally too much for me.

ICKY SONGS

  • Rainbow Pink – When I saw this title, I had no idea what was to come from this track, but I saw that this was a song between Sayumi and Koharu and started to heavily worry as Sayu isn’t all that great a singer and Koharu is still pretty new and I had little time to really hear her.  After this, I kind of cringed with this one as it’s surprisingly super sugary and too much for me with those kind of squeaky high vocals like they were doing.  The song (after that really bad introduction dialogue) just isn’t really that good and lacks bass and just something to pull it together.  What a bad idea!

Overall: Morning Musume in 2006 was pretty busy it looked like.  Though I hope we’re done with losing members for a while after Ogawa and Konno graduated.  I will say that I’m liking the group’s direction for now and more curious to see what Aika will bring.

Yuko Nakazawa

nakazawa2006

urara

After being mostly MIA back in 2005 (with the exception of her participation in Puripuri Pink), she has returned although a small return regardless when it comes to her releases.  She only released one single, Urara, in September and that was that for 2006.

MEH SONGS

  • Urara – As the leading song of the single, Urara was another song that would be forgotten in her discography as its more of a mid-tempo ballad.  Granted, Yuko as per usual, sounds pretty enough and all…but the arrangement is a little tiring in some ways.  Doesn’t help that the chorus is the title in variations which makes me feel like it was a bit rushed?  I don’t know, it just wasn’t that great of a song for me.
  • Rokugatsu no Hanayome (June bride) ni Akogare – Though much of the same can be said of the B-side of the single.  Instead of “Urara’s” full ballad sound, June bride is mostly acoustic guitar and strings and it feels even more basic of a song because of that and I had a harder time remembering what this one sounded like.  Oh wells…

Overall: Despite being mostly quiet last year and felt like it was the same this year, it was nice she managed to release a single, even if it’s a mediocre one at best.  Let’s hope she releases more next year!

Country Musume

countrymusume06

Daizenshuu 2

Even more quieter than Nakazawa last year, it seems Country Musume returned this year but under different circumstances.  It seems the group has dropped back to 3 meaning Fujimoto & Konno were gone (mostly due to Konno having graduated), but the trio did release a 2nd album (which was more or less a best album with one new track), Country Musume Daizenshuu ② released in August.

OK SONGS

  • Kakumeichikku KISS – Yeah, the lone new track they released in the year, Kakumeichikku KISS only does feature the 3 remaining members (Asami, Mai, and Miuna) and I was happy they went back to something upbeat though wondering what was with the banjo inclusion.  It’s got a solid beat about it and its cuter side is charming and hearing all of the members is nice (even if Mai & Miuna get majority of the solos).  Not bad I guess!

Overall: Was happy to see Country Musume return in 2006 though was kind of disappointed that it was just with a best album with only one new song to show for it.  Figured that Konkon was leaving the group from the graduation, but Miki leaving was a little surprising…but since we’re back to three…I’m curious to see if they have any more to come.

Melon Kinenbi

melon2006

onegaiindiesfruitykillertune

Melon Kinenbi had a pretty strange year that’s for sure.  They released their June single, Onegai Miwaku no Target / Crazy Happy! (to the surprise that it was also an indies single shockingly).  They then went silent up until December when they released their first best album, FRUITY KILLER TUNE.

GREAT SONGS

  • Onegai Miwaku no Target – What a surprise that Melon’s would release this single as an indies release considering I don’t think they were going through rough times in the company.  Onegai Miwaku no Target though is one of the group’s most recognizable songs (it seems H!P LOVES to cover this a LOT these days).  I enjoy when Melon tackles rock and this song filled that quota too.  While it might not be as powerful as something like “This is Unmei”, this track is good and hearing all the members get some time in the spotlight here is great!

OK SONGS

  • Crazy Happy! – As the other A-side of the single, I barely see this mentioned anywhere so I was curious to why this was kind of a forgettable one.  The tune itself is rockin’ but not quite at the same exciting level as its sister A-side and the only solos were for Masae & Hitomi (which is a rapping section in the tune).  Otherwise, it’s duos and unison parts and I just wasn’t as deeply interested in it.  Still, I can’t say it’s a bad song because it does feel like something a B-side would sound like.
  • LEATHER – As the only new track from their best album, I was curious to what LEATHER would be like versus their other songs on it and this is like is the single from this year had a bit more synth involvement and you get this track.  Majority of the song is like “Crazy Happy!” in where the group is singing together or in pairs but this one gave all 4 girls one solo line each (towards the end).  I like it a bit more than “Crazy Happy!” but not by too much.

MEH SONGS

  • Kousui (Hard Flavor Remix) – So FRUITY KILLER TUNE included a new track and a new remix and well the remix came first on the tracklist, but we got a new remix for Kousui which I guess was their best song up to that point.  I’m not quite sure what happened here by changing it from a lighter R&B song to an awkward dance remix just baffles me.  The pounding beat didn’t add much and the vocal melodies just weren’t working with the chords and new sounds added here.  Makes the song worse in my opinion.

Overall: Melon seemed to have an off year for 2006 because they just had that odd indies release and then the best album.  Kind of an odd, maybe scary year if fans were thinking they were going to disband or something.  Still at least we got a little more than we did the year before.

Yuki Maeda

maeda

omaenonamida

So 2006 was a strange year for Yukidon.  It seemed when she announced a new single, it was titled originally as “Nagai Tunnel” and with it came the announcement of her graduating from H!P.  HOWEVER, when it came closer to release in July, the title changed to Omae no Namida wo Ore ni Kure and anything about the graduation disappeared as well.  Interestings….

GREAT SONGS

  • Omae no Namida wo Ore ni Kure – It always amazes me how underrated Yukidon was in H!P especially with such vocal talent found here.  The song felt a bit more strongly Enka-tinted and yet more dramatic than past A-sides of hers.  Though I really enjoyed the dramatics here and Yuki’s vocals just are progressively getting better with each release.  A gem in the company for sure!

OK SONGS

  • Kaze Kaikyou – Unlike the A-side, Kaze Kaikyou tones things down quite a bit focused on the acoustic guitar and accordion here.  There’s some other instruments flowing throughout, but this ballad puts the focus on Yuki’s vocal control and while I thought her style popped more in “Omae no Namida wo Ore ni Kure”, this kind of felt more emotional and yet soft as well.

Overall: Kind of shocked that she was initially going to graduate, but cancelled it.  Still think she’s underrated, but fair that she’s singing a very niche genre of music too.  The single she released was pretty good though.  Wonder what’ll be released next year.

Maki Goto

GotoMaki2006

imanikittoglassnopumpssomeboys

Gocchin’s 2006 was pretty straightforward with three singles; January’s Ima ni Kitto…In My LIFE, June’s Glass no Pumps, and October’s SOME BOYS! TOUCH.  Really not much else to say here lol.

GREAT SONGS

  • Glass no Pumps – Seems like Gocchin was getting fashionable with her next A-side, Glass no Pumps and for the first time I feel like she was going for the sexy, mature vibe and it turned out pretty well!  I really love the groove of the song and the arrangement just suited Maki’s vocals superbly.  Plus the hooks are just nice and that chorus is so earworm-heavy.  Shockingly good!
  • SOME BOYS! TOUCH – Who knew Tsunku had it in him to write this song up for Maki and after how well she handled “Glass no Pumps” it was pretty fair to give her a much bolder and sexier song like SOME BOYS! TOUCH and boy did Maki knocked it out of the park with this one!  It’s so sexy that it oozes it all over from Gocchin’s light and airy vocals to the gritty verses and upbeat chorus.  I really loved it!

OK SONGS

  • Ima ni Kitto…In My LIFE – After her best album, she released Ima ni Kitto…In My LIFE and it was an interesting choice for an A-side as it’s kind of more upbeat and something a bit more synthy, but doesn’t have much going on.  There was just something that was preventing it from getting to the top, but I think it’s a solid, poppy track (maybe to me it feels like an album song).  (Also, curious to why it wasn’t included in her last album in H!P).
  • Kitto Kareshi ga Dekiru Houhou – As the B-side from “Ima ni Kitto”, Kitto Kareshi ga Dekiru Houhou was a bit more in your face with the synthy jazz style it was going for (maybe it was big band?).  The tune had a nice feel to it, if not slightly messy in places, but Maki was also able to keep the song lively and fun which I’m sure it was going for.  Not bad either, maybe a bit on the shorter side (a little over 3 minutes).

MEH SONGS

  • LOVE Kan Coffee – This track, the B-side from “Glass no Pumps” just a little odd for me to listen to for some reason.  The weird chords in the synths at the beginning were a little odd, but it was the synths that flourished in the verses are just a little TOO rough and kind of odd to include in a song that also had horns and fluttery synths as well alongside Maki’s lighter vocals.  Good song vocally, but ruined by the arrangement.
  • ALL OF US – Not surprised with a title like ALL OF US would be more a ballad for her.  Though it is a bit of a 180 from “SOME BOYS! TOUCH” with the typical ballad instrumentation and brighter sound.  This was definitely B-side material as it just doesn’t leave much of an impression on me, sadly.

Overall: Not much to really say about Maki’s year except her A-side game was pretty strong overall and Ima ni Kitto…In My LIFE is growing on me too.  Though the B-sides could be left behind and I won’t miss them too much.  I’d say it was a good year though!

Aya Matsuura

aya2006

sunawokamuNaked Songs

Ayaya also had an interesting year this time around.  While she was finishing up with stuff from DEF.DIVA, she did release a single in February with Suna wo Kamu You ni…NAMIDA.  Unfortunately, she ended up having to take a hiatus due to an injury which sat her out most of the year until the last couple months when she joined Miki as a part of GAM and released her fourth album, Naked Songs at the end of November.

GREAT SONGS

  • Rock My Body – Going for more of a funkier vibe, Rock My Body has a little more oomph going on in the arrangement than “Feel You Groove” and for that it really ranks up for me and it’s the most liveliest I’ve heard Aya in some time so this was a pretty nice treat!  Definitely the best from the album that’s for sure!
  • LOVE Namida Iro – Yeah, really happy to see LOVE Namida Iro get touched up on the album and since it took out a lot of the original arrangement’s synthwork and replaced it with more natural instrumentation and I definitely appreciated it.  Aya sounds better too especially with the jazzier arrangement.

OK SONGS

  • Feel Your Groove – As the opening track to her Naked Songs album, Feel Your Groove is a pretty relaxing island-like song it feels like to me.  I’m just loving the background harmonizations and the soothing arrangement of the song.  Ayaya also did a pretty good job here with this setting.  Not a bad job here!
  • Oshare! – So you might be surprised to know that while it’s considered her 4th album, but only has 5 new songs, but the rest are revisioned arrangements of some of her older songs.  I would say these songs got a more laidback stripped acoustic takes on it (feels like an actual band was involved).  I will admit this new sound is nice, but I also adore the original, so this was a nice change of pace.
  • I know – Curious at some of the choices, but at least I’m happy with knowing I know made the cut.  Now the changes weren’t as heavy as it was with “Oshare!” because the original was quite jazzy and brassy as it was, it just felt like it was an actual band performing it on top of updated vocals from Aya.
  • Hajimete Kuchibiru wo Kasaneta Yoru – There seems so be a lot of love for Aya’s 1st album era as the songs chosen were from there.  Hajimete Kuchibiru wo Kasaneta Yoru was originally an R&B track so I was pretty happy to see this being given the “Naked Songs” treatment as I call it.  So we have more of a sultrier and jazzier vibe of a song and it really works with the track.  It’s just such a good song to get touched up and I appreciated this.
  • Dokki Doki! LOVE MAIL – Even her debut track got the treatment here and while I can’t say I liked this as much as I did with “LOVE Namida Iro”, this new take was also a nice treat here.  Definitely a large change of pace versus the cutesy idol-like original so this is pretty neat. :3  Not bad!
  • Tropica~l Koishite~ru – Yeah, despite losing the summer vibes of the original and being replaced by jazzier instrumentation, this new take on the song is pretty nice to see the least.  Similar feelings I have towards it like I did with “Dokki Doki! LOVE MAIL”.  The original is better, but this isn’t bad at all.
  • Don’t Know Why – Covering this older song (but was re-introduced due to Norah Jones’ cover of it).  It was presented a bit like Norah’s version with some light instrumentation with piano and acoustic guitar.  Personally, Ayaya’s version isn’t bad persay, but her pronunciation isn’t the best and the song is pretty much thrown down because of it.  Still, she tried though and it wasn’t a total trainwreck.
  • Suna wo Kamu You ni…NAMIDA – To be specific, this is the version found on “Naked Songs” and it is pretty different than the single version released earlier in the year.  It took out the boring arrangement and made it more acoustic and added bongos too with some other small things.  I like this though a bit more than its original at least so it made it much more memorable.
  • dearest. – As the album’s closer, dearest. is also a ballad, but this one actually stood out to me because it was handled better as the song had a stronger melody and Ayaya did a lot better with an emotive performance.  This was a great way to end the album and surprisingly well done too.

MEH SONGS

  • Suna wo Kamu You ni…NAMIDA – As the only A-side Ayaya released in the year, I was kind of hoping she at least bring it, but despite this song actually doing the job and being one of her more popular songs in her discography, I never really seem to remember it because it’s another ballad.  I mean it’s really hard to care about songs like these so this was just a little forgetful.
  • Happiness – The B-side from the single, Happiness doesn’t quite fix the problems that I had with the “Suna wo Kamu no You ni…NAMIDA”, though it is a smidge better too.  Not quite the boring song nor as sleepy as its A-side, but Happiness doesn’t quite impact me much.  I do appreciate the more acoustic sounding track, but I just don’t find it memorable either.
  • Hitori – Of the new songs sadly, Hitori was pretty disappointing of the 5 new tracks.  If anything, it just reminds me of the A-side she released in the year.  Just a pretty plain ballad here.  At least Ayaya sounds really nice, but I just couldn’t deal with how blah the song was otherwise.

Overall: Ayaya I would say had a pretty decent year with just the one single and album.  Though I will say the single was pretty mediocre, the surprise was her album that I kind of felt like it was a mini-album and a concept album.  Still, Aya did a better job sticking out to me than she did in the previous year!

Natsumi Abe

Abe_natsumi_2006

sweetholicthestressamasugita2nd ~Shimiwataru Omoi~ 89hakujaden

Nacchi’s 2006 was a pretty busy one it seems like!  It started off at the end of March when she released her sophomore album, 2nd ~Shimiwataru Omoi~.  Then she took a VERY small break (two weeks) where she released the single Sweetaholic then followed that up with June’s The Stress and October’s Amasugita Kajitsu.  The last thing she released in 2006 was an OST of her stageplay in November, Hakujaden ~White Lovers~.

GREAT SONGS

  • F.O. – I think personally this song should’ve opened up the album instead of “Gakusei Jidai” because it’s a LOT more upbeat and just has this really nice opening feel to it.  It does have a similar 80s vibe (but the tune is more sparkly and has horns).  Nacchi though sounds good though and while it’s not bombastic, it’s smooth and really fits with the tune’s funky bass slaps and brassy sound.  Yeah, I really enjoyed this one!
  • The Stress – Ironic that Abe’s 8th single would be a cover of Chisato Moritaka’s 8th single, The Stress.  I’m kind of liking the kind of smooth dance-like feel of the song and Nacchi’s softer vocals are pretty fitting for the song.  Add on the interesting arrangement and it really works, but the rapping in the bridge could just disappear (it definitely wasn’t Tsunku, but it’s just as cringey.  Nice jazzy A-side overall!
  • Amasugita Kajitsu – Her other A-side she released in the year, Amasugita Kajitsu is pretty solid actually.  It does remind me of “Datte Ikitekanakucha” with the lighter dance-pop sound.  For whatever reason I feel like Nacchi’s vocals suits this almost to a T.  Though I do appreciate that she hits high notes quite smoothly this time making it stand out in a good way.
  • Yannacchau – As the B-side from “Amasugita Kajitsu”, Yannacchau is poppy that’s for sure, but it caters to more of an R&B crowd like late 90s Janet Jackson.  It’s light and breezy and just relaxing to listen to.  Nacchi, once again fills in the vibe and I kind of enjoyed a lot (especially with how disappointed I was with “The Stress'” extra tracks).

OK SONGS

  • Gakusei Jidai – Opening Nacchi’s 2nd album, Gakusei Jidai gives me a strong 80’s pop vibe whenever I listen to it and for that I kind of liked it, but being more of a mid-temp song that kind of sticks to the same sound for the song, it does somewhat feel one-note. Natsumi does sound nice and keeps the focus together, but I think the song could’ve had more impact if it had more movement and had a bit more going on.
  • Chottozutsu ne. – As the last full song on the album, Chottozutsu ne. is another slower song on the album, but it feels a bit more like easy listening which stood out from the album for me.  Nacchi’s lighter and softer vocals suit the arrangement better than most songs here.  Good, but still doesn’t quite reach high for me.
  • Sweetaholic – As the first single she released after “2nd ~Shimiwataru Omoi~”, Sweetaholic is kind of more of the same stuff we’ve been getting after “Koi no Hana”.  Though it is kind of reminding me heavily of “Gakusei Jidai” with its mid-tempo slight 80s pop sound.  Though I will give it that there’s a bit more going on which was what I was hoping would be in the aforementioned song but wasn’t.  Not bad of a song overall!
  • I’m in Love – As the B-side from “Sweetaholic”, I’m in Love was a totally different feel than what the leading track brought instead of the cuteness, I’m in Love sounds a bit more dramatic and actually sounds like a theme for a dorama too!  I’m enjoying the strings mixing it up with the slower rock theme here and Nacchi pulled it off vocally!  Pretty nice B-side!

MEH SONGS

  • Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi – A problem that I also felt with “Gakusei Jidai” ends up being a bit of a bigger problem for Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi as it’s another mid-tempo track, but it’s kind of more leaning towards a pop/rock track with guitar solos throughout.  I don’t think rock band sound really fits with Natsumi, but it doesn’t help that the arrangement is a bit sleepy and plain to me.  There’s just something disconnected here and I’m not sure what that is.
  • Tokyo Michikusa – I was wondering where the ballads were and we finally get to Tokyo Michikusa and was not at all shocked to find out that I wasn’t into the track.  It feels like something Yuko Nakazawa would sing with the piano/string mix into a light tune.  Nothing that really sticks out in my mind unfortunately.
  • Elevator Futaripocchi – Not sure why I was even less interested in Elevator Futaripocchi, but good lord this song really felt weird to me.  It does start off feeling a bit like “Tokyo Michikusa” with the light instrumentation, but as time goes on, the tune adds more and feels like a slower “Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi”.  What’s more strange is that Nacchi sounds oddly pitchy here as if she was going for girly and squeaky.  Not really into this one.
  • The Stress (Kiki Version) – So the remainder of The Stress single contained remixes of the song and the Kiki Version comes up first and instead of the jazzy arrangement from the original, it has a mixture of Indian and rock vibes about it and it’s a pretty odd take.  Though I will give it kudos by removing the male rap and have Nacchi do one instead and add some new things to the remix.
  • The Stress (shakabone HIDE Remix) – The other remix is just kind of bad as well.  It does try to go for more of a tribal dance vibe, but it feels like it weakens the tune more, plus the call guy in the song is really rough and while he adds the missing energy to the song, his voice is a bit too scratchy for me.  Not enough Nacchi to be honest as well.

ICKY SONGS

  • Nichiyoubi What’s Going On? – Why do I feel like “Mirai no Tobira” was like the thought process for this track because while it didn’t sound terrible, it felt dated and the fact that Tsunku was all over this track with Nacchi trying to mix cool and cute into this odd hip-hop idol song just didn’t sound good together.  I just couldn’t deal too much with this one and is the worst off the album, in my opinion.
  • Ending – I personally think Nacchi didn’t need an outro for her album, especially since the one we got was just her talking as the track slowly fades away.  Really for me, it just wasn’t necessary and kind of closes the album in an odd way.

OVERALL: I would argue to say that Nacchi had a decent year with her releases.  Minus the OST, I feel like her releases were pretty good at least singles-wise.  Her 2nd album was kind of blah to me though but that’s really it there.

Berryz Kobo

Berryzmarch2006

jiririkiteruwaracchaoumunasawagi3 Natsu Natsu Mini Berryz 36

Berryz in 2006 was a pretty straightforward one with what I call the standard amount of releases within the year.

They kicked it off in March with their single, Jiriri Kiteru before releasing a summer-themed mini-album in July with ③ Natsu Natsu Mini Berryz.  Then we rounded up with an August single in Waracchaou yo BOYFRIEND and December’s Munasawagi Scarlet.

GREAT SONGS

  • Jiriri Kiteru – It’s been a while since we’ve heard Berryz tackling a more serious sounding track and I was pretty excited when I first heard Jiriri Kiteru.  I just love the addition of piano to make things a bit more dramatic, but it also kept up with Berryz’ more dance-centric sound.  Of course the tune would be led by the usual 4 suspects, but I heard a LOT of Miyabi in this one.
  • Halation Summer – I think the biggest surprise was that this song was brought back to be covered (considering the original was part of Coconuts Musume’s debut).  Being that it was only Saki, Maasa, and Momoko singing in the track it made me super curious giving these 3 all sorts of solos here.  I will say I was super impressed by all 3 and their fluent Japanese really helped the song out on top of the updated arrangement.  This is definitely a cover that’s way better than the original for sure!
  • Munasawagi Scarlet – At least the last of the A-sides in 2006 was pretty decent.  I really like they chose to throw some electric guitar in the mix and gave a song that felt like a chant and a push for the group.  I’m starting notice Risako’s vocals getting scratchy as well as Yurina’s going deeper too.  Regardless, the track has a lot of oomph to it and really made up for how lukewarm “Waracchaou yo BOYFRIEND” turned out.

OK SONGS

  • Maji Natsu Sugiru – As the first track to come up on the mini-album, Maji Natsu Sugiru is definitely Summer sounding and I really like the acoustic guitar being added to the cuter arrangement for the song.  I mean for what it is, it’s surprisingly nice to listen to and really fits the mini’s theme perfectly.
  • Yeah! Meccha Holiday – So for 3 tracks on the mini-album, they’re all cover songs and the first is actually a Risako solo covering that big Aya Matsuura song.  Granted, I already knew that Risako wouldn’t get to the same levels of greatness that Ayaya did, but some parts she kind of sounded right, but others sounded a bit too nasal and squeaky.  The arrangement has slightly changed too, but not too terribly.  Overall, this was pretty nice!
  • Chu! Natsu Pa~rty – Figured that this 3nin Matsuri song would be covered since it literally has Summer in its title.  This one though is sung by Chinami, Miyabi, and Yurina.  Likewise with the Risako solo, vocally it’s a bit weaker and the arrangement has changed slightly, but it’s still Chu! Natsu Pa~rty at the end of the day.
  • Suhada Pichipichi – When I first listened to this song, I couldn’t help but think of Minimoni with that frantic upbeat energy.  Though while the song is pretty much tailored to Berryz vocally, the song is just upbeat and quite fun to follow along.  Silly and youthful, but it’s just a fun song and did much better than it’s A-side.

MEH SONGS

  • Toshishitsu Taiki – The B-side from “Jiriri Kiteru” was quite a bit of a difference against its leading track.  Instead of the dramatic dance track, Toshishitsu Taiki was more of a poppy R&B track, but it lacked a lot of things that would’ve made it even better.  I just kind of zoned it out it felt like. Just was a weak B-side overall.
  • Natsu Remember you – Though the other new song on the mini-album, Natsu Remember you was more or less the forgettable track on the 6-song tracklist.  Unlike the upbeat “Maji Natsu Sugiru”, this one is a bit more mid-tempo and tuned down of a song.  I do appreciate all the members getting solo lines all over, but the tune kind of just put me to sleep.
  • Waracchaou yo BOYFRIEND – As their first A-side after the summer mini-album, this A-side was given a bit of a Motown-ish/doo-wop look, something back in the 50s almost.  There was just some kind of disconnect here and I’m not sure what it was.  I do like the harmonization, but that chorus is super rough to listen to.  I may be my least favorite of their A-sides up to this point.
  • Aitai Kedo… – The B-side from “Munasawagi Scarlet” tones things down to more of an acoustic pop track, almost reminescent to “Natsu Remember you” and “Aisuru Hito no Namae wo Nikki ni”.  That said this track doesn’t really leave much of an impression, but it does show all the vocals changing (with the girls going through puberty it seems).  Just so white to me.

OVERALL: Berryz might not have had as many songs as they did last year, but they group is showing growth with each release.  Helps that some members’ vocals are actually changing so I’m curious to see where Berryz will head within 2007.  Pretty good overall!

W

W2005

The year began with an announcement of a new single in Dou ni mo Tomaranai and the group’s 3rd album aptly titled, W3: faithful, but then unfortunately it never came to fruition due to Ai Kago ending up in a pretty big scandal which pretty much had her sit out for the year.

v-u-den

vuden06

issaigassaiaisucream

v-u-den had a pretty short year it seems with only just releasing two singles: Issai Gassai Anata ni ∮A·ge·ru♪ in May and Aisu Crea~m to My Purin in November.  Pretty short year I say, right?

GREAT SONGS

  • Aisu Crea~m to My Purin – With the last A-side kind of being a big disappointment, I was hoping that the other A-side would fix things up and by god does Aisu Crea~m to My Purin hits it out of the park for me.  I really do feel that v-u-den excels at being sexy especially with two cutesy vocals and the more sultry tone out of Erika.  This one is just fun and silly and really caters to the fans.  The arrangement is really cool too and just feels sexy and almost like they’re teasing.  Yeah, this was awesome!  One of my favorites from 2006!!!

OK SONGS

  • Kyou mo Mattemasu – As the B-side from “Issai Gassai”, the tune might still be riding the cutesy line, but it’s not overly done with this track.  It’s just a simple song and oddly feels more appropriate for Berryz Kobo to have cover since this tune is more down their lane moreso than v-u-den.
  • Shuwa – It seems that both B-sides of the year were kind of just OK songs.  I do appreciate that this one is a bit more active of a song and the pop/rock arrangement does a nice job, but I find it hard to remember this one after a while.

MEH SONGS

  • Issai Gassai Anata ni ∮A·ge·ru♪ – If the cover art wasn’t evident enough, this A-side is actually more of a Summer track and it’s oddly enough the cutest thing they’ve released so far.  That said, while I do think cute works for both Rika and Yui, I can’t quite say the same for Erika.  It’s the kind of corny cute that I’m not really into and after having lots of serious-ish song from the trio, a song like this just kind of makes me cringe so it’s not a favorite of mine.

Overall: I’m not sure why v-u-den had as small of a year as they did, but I was kind of half/half on both of their releases which I suppose is like a passing grade right?  Regardless, I hope they’ll be more active in the next year.

DEF.DIVA

defdive2006

letsgorakuten

DEF.DIVA didn’t really have too much to do in 2006 with their only release being their indies single in March, LET’S GO Rakuten Eagles.  The only other thing they did was a collaboration with Morning Musume & Berryz Kobo on the year’s Petit Best.  Otherwise with all 4 members busy with their solo careers (or Rika with v-u-den).

OK SONGS

  • LET’S GO Rakuten Eagles – For being a cheer song, I wasn’t sure what to expect since “THE Manpower!!!” was really neat and interesting.  What we got with DEF.DIVA feels more like what I was expecting originally with a baseball cheer song.  I do enjoy that all 4 members get a solo, but the majority of the song is just repetitive and kind of overstays its welcome.

OVERALL: Despite DEF.DIVA really only being truly active in the early half of the year, they kind of seem to disappear but at least all 4 members kept being active though.  I mean a cheer song really wasn’t much for me…so I was bummed they didn’t continue.

°C-ute

cute2006

massarasokudakishimeteookinaaideWakkyanaiZ-rCutieQueenVol1-r

So while the 7 remaining members of the Hello! Project Kids (Maimi Yajima, Airi Suzuki, Mai Hagiwara, Erika Umeda, Megumi Murakami, Chisato Okai, and Saki Nakajima) were performing together as a unit as early as Berryz’ conception, the group were FINALLY given a name and a new member in Kanna Arihara who was from the Eggs prior and they were finally given a debut as an indies unit!

They started off with 4 indies singles in a span of 3 months with May’s Massara Blue Jeans, June’s Soku Dakshimete, and August’s Ooki na Ai de Motenashite Wakkyanai (Z).

That all culminated in the group’s first album, Cutie Queen VOL.1 in October.

Sadly, though it was announced a couple days later that Megumi Murakami had graduated from the group with no graduation ceremony to focus on studies.

However the year ended off with the group actually going to have a proper major label debut within the next year!

GREAT SONGS

  • Massara Blue Jeans – Wow, this was a debut to kick things off with!  There’s nothing quite like hearing slap bass mixed in with a pretty upbeat dance track as such as this on top of Kanna shouting the name of the song to really kick it off.  It just really lights up the song especially with a lot of variation it feels like.  I mean you have Maimi, Airi, Megumi, Erika, and Kanna having solo lines all over and it’s really cool to hear them (a little odd for Chisato, Saki, and Mai to not have any lines really, but).  Still, this was a pretty amazing debut song for C-ute!
  • Soku Dakishimete – Their follow-up to their great debut, Soku Dakishimete doesn’t quite have to oomph their debut had, but it’s still a pretty strong song in of itself.  Little surprised to see Megumi (mostly), Airi and Maimi have the lone solos, but there’s enough to get by in the song.  I just really kind of liked the idol pop feel and while I’m still loving the slap bass of their bass, the bass here is quite nice too.  Little less liked but I still think it’s a great song for them.
  • Ooki na Ai de Motenashite – As the group’s 3rd indies single, Ooki na Ai de Motenshite changed the group’s sound pretty wildly by instead of going the cool route like the previous two single, this one was sugar-coated to the max here.  It’s very idol-happy and the verses are so sparkly and cute it’s almost overload at points.  Though if “Soku Dakishimete” wasn’t the obvious notification, I noticed that Megumi, Airi, and Maimi have already become the trifecta of leads here.  The other 5 members really don’t stand out much and that might be the biggest fault here.  Still, I dig this song a lot and it stands the test of time.

OK SONGS

  • Time Capsule – As the first new track to show up on their album, Time Capsule is one of the more slower songs the group ends up singing and of course it’s led by the trifecta but oddly enough Erika comes to the front lines too for this one and while she the weakest of the 4, she handles it gracefully.  I do enjoy the downtempo R&B feel of it though and softens things after the 4 A-sides that came before it on the tracklist.
  • EVERYDAY YEAH! Kataomoi – Maybe one of the more interesting songs from the album, unlike majority of it, this one has Maimai leading the song and while she had Nakky are both during this period (and mostly throughout the group’s history) the weakest singers, Mai’s cuteness kind of shines through as she sings the hooks here.  I’m also pretty happy to see that all 8 members get solo lines throughout (with the main 3 getting the most not shockingly).  It’s a fun song to listen to and one of the catchier early songs!
  • As ONE – Another album track, As ONE is kind of the more cooler song of the album tracks because of the more danceable sound it has.  Although, surprised that while the trifecta & Erika have solo lines, it’s just one each and the rest is sung together (though it should be said that Airi leads the chorus on here own).  It’s not a bad song overall, but I find it to be hard to remember when returning to this album.
  • Yes! Shiawase (°C-ute Ver.) – The album ends with two cover songs both are from the same group (albeit this one is a T&C Bomber cover, while the other is a Taiyou & Ciscomoon cover, whatever).  Anyways interesting choices because neither song were A-sides for the group so I was intrigued to say the least.  With Yes! Shiawase, the tune was pepped up a bit to make it more happy-go-lucky and it seemed to work with C-ute here.   Everyone gets solos and they all sound perky and upbeat with the track, so I give props here!
  • ENDLESS LOVE ~I Love You More~ (°C-ute Ver.) – As the other cover song, C-ute was trying to mature up for this one and while I do appreciate the upgrade in arrangement, fitting to more of what’s in H!P at the moment, I don’t think the girls (Airi, Maimi, Megumi, and Erika) handled it well enough to make it believable here.  Maybe Maimi and Megumi but not the other two.  Still it’s an OK song, just not the best on the album.

MEH SONGS

  • Wakkyanai (Z) – This 4th A-side was an off one for me, but it seemed to be an odd release because it was never given a proper PV first of all (leaving us with a live performance of it) and it just didn’t have the same pop that their previous efforts had up to this point.  Interestingly enough it’s mostly Airi and Megumi leading the song (with a solo line from Kanna and Chisato).  The tune itself is a little more live friendly, but it doesn’t quite capture the cuteness of “Ooki na Ai de Motenshite” unfortunately.  It’s an odd song and one of their weaker A-sides.

OVERALL: I feel like C-ute had a pretty great year to kick things off, despite them being indies for the entire time.  Great energy and personalities, I could see them going places.  Though I will say the shocking graduation of Megumi is going to shake up the group a little bit considering she was a main vocal, so the trio is already down to a duo…maybe Erika will step forward when the group actually major debut in the next year!!

Kirari Tsukishima starring Koharu Kusumi

kirari06

koikanabalalaika

Oddly enough in April, Morning Musume’s then newest member, Koharu Kusumi was given a voice-acting role of the main character Kirari Tsukishima in the anime, Kirarin☆Revolution.

Which actually from the start led to Koharu to begin a solo career with the songs releasing being opening & ending themes for the anime starting with her July single, Koi☆Kana & October’s Balalaika.

GREAT SONGS

  • Balalaika – Though I wasn’t ready for her 2nd A-side to come in changing things up so fast.  Getting that Russian jig going for Balalaika, the tune is much more upbeat and action-oriented and I’m a bit surprised about it all.  Though, I’ve seen Koharu start to find her voice with this track and while still kind of emotionless, her higher range is coming out and it’s adding much spice.  Funny to say it’s her best A-side (and best selling too!).
  • Mizuiro Melody – Of all the songs she’s done, this B-side from “Balalaika” probably has the biggest anison sound of the 4 songs with its arrangement and chords here.  I really do like the pop/rock vibe that feels like was the basis of what Buono! would become interestingly.  Yeah, Koha’s voice isn’t quite great and she sounds odd hitting low notes, but this was a pretty good B-side for what its worth!

OK SONGS

  • Koi☆Kana – As the debut for Koharu’s solo efforts, Koi☆Kana isn’t a terrible start despite me full knowing that she isn’t a strong singer like most of the other Morning Musume members out there.  The tune is kind of a mix of cutesy anison, pop/rock, and something with horns all over, almost ska-like.  I think I can listen to this one and not go yikes at it!
  • SUGAO-flavor – As the first ending theme, SUGAO-flavor tones things down a bit for a mid-tempo ballad and I think this is the nicest I’ve heard Koharu yet since her debut in Morning Musume.  It’s not asking for her to be aggressive or sugary which is nice.  Despite her tone is kind of deaf and lacks personality, I feel like this was done nicely (albeit could be sung better by other H!P members).

OVERALL: I was wondering what Tsunku meant when she was the miracle ace and it’s starting show when Koharu got the VA gig and the solo career which seems to be doing great after her first two singles!  Still not the best singer, but I can see her becoming bigger with this situation and I’m backing that up.

GAM

gam06

thanksmelodies

For whatever reason with DEF.DIVA going into inactivity, Tsunku decided to strike again and pair Miki Fujimoto Aya Matsuura together and name the group Great Aya and Miki (or GAM for short).  Not sure of much more information on why the group was created, but they debuted in September with Thanks! and a follow-up single in October, Melodies.

GREAT SONGS

  • Thanks! – As the duo’s debut single, Thanks! kicks things off with a rowsing guitar solo mixed in with a steady dance beat.  For a good portion the two do sing together which is nice and they get solo lines each which is even nicer since both at this point are probably H!P’s best singers.  It’s a solid debut to say the least and I’m just happy to see Ayaya back in a more active setting!
  • Melodies – Songs like these made me wonder why Tsunku didn’t just reform Gomattou because this is pretty much in the same lane as what “SHALL WE LOVE?” could’ve been if that trio continued (especially since Gocchin was still active too).  Melodies in comparison to “Thanks!” is more toned down and has a sultrier R&B vibe about it which sounded amaing for both Ayaya and Mikitty!  I mean the PV was a bit fanservive central, but the song was pretty awesome too!

MEH SONGS

  • Shinkirou Romance – Though the B-side from “Thanks!” is sadly a bit boring to my ears.  Toning things down a lot to give us this somber mid-tempo ballad with Shinkirou Romance.  Granted it did showcase both vocalists better than its A-side, but the arrangement’s sleepy feel doesn’t really help the situation in my opinon.  Just kind of a boring song here.
  • Melodies (Piano Dokushou Version) – While the single didn’t have a true B-side, Melodies came with a piano version nd it’s just a little too bare for me to care about considering it’s just the duo and some piano.  It feels extremely empty and made me miss the beats and flow overall.  Kind of just a lazy inclusion here.

OVERALL: While I’ve said I don’t know why Tsunku could’ve easily reformed Gomattou here, GAM was a familiar throwback to those days and I’m happy it was Aya and Miki here (especially the former as she hadn’t done anything this upbeat since like 2003).  While I do question the fanservive (that was already covered by v-u-den this year anyways), I do like this unit and wondering what comes next!

THE Possible

possible06

youngdayshatsukoinokakera

In August, it was announced during a stageplay, CRY FOR HELP, that Kanami Morozuka, Aina Hashimoto, and Yurika Akiyama were going to debut as a unit named THE Possible.  Though it wasn’t the last additions as in September, Kaede Oose joined and in October, Robin Shouko Okada and Yuki Goto filled out the remainder of the unit, all 6 members being Hello! Pro Egg members.

They made their indie debut in November with Young DAYS!! and followed that up a month later with Hatsukoi no Kakera.

GREAT SONGS

  • Young DAYS!! – As the group’s debut, Young DAYS!! doesn’t quite reach the same heights as other debut songs did within the year, but it doesn’t mean the song isn’t catchy and decent to listen to.  I think the biggest surprise though is that there’s actually no solos in the song which really didn’t help me tell the girls apart.  That said though, I like the happy energy this song gives and can be catchy at times.  It’s no “Massara Blue Jeans”, but it has its place!
  • Hatsukoi no Kakera – With their 2nd single, it seemed like the group was going to channel a song that felt like something from the 70s almost with how old-timey and classic it sounded (plus the PV kind of felt that way too).  I kind of enjoyed the change of sound for this one and we even had the chance to get to hear the girls better.  Though most of the song was sung by Yurika and Aina, there was spoken dialogue for the other 4 girls and the tune ended with solos from Yuki and Kaede so there was that.  Interesting song overall and showed a little more variation in H!Ps music in the year.

OK SONGS

  • Anata ni Muchuu – As the group’s first B-side (from their 2nd single min you), Anata ni Muchuu is kind of a it’s there song, feels like a cover but I don’t think it is kind of deal.  It does feel like an oldies song too set in the summer, but I think I’m OK with it?  I do like the verses where one girl sings and more are added to the harmony as it goes by, that was nice.  Though I can’t help but feel like it’s a smidge bland.

OVERALL: As the 2nd unit to be created from the Eggs, I kind of feel they were given a shorter stick in promotion than anyone else in H!P within the year, but I’m not quite sure why.  I don’t wanna say it was a fluke, but they haven’t really popped on the radar for me despite having two A-sides I enjoyed…maybe next year is when they’ll pop out.

Hello! Pro Egg

egg2006

Sora ga Aru 2Minna no Ki 14

I feel like H!P Egg actually was a bit more active this year than the last two altogether.

It began in January when Kanna Arihara left Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai and joined C-ute when they officially formed and Saki Mori joined in her stead.

Cut to April when a digital single was released that included Egg members, Kanon Fukuda, Sayaka Kitahara, Robin Shouko Odada, and Mirei Hashida titled Sora ga Aru.

In June, auditions were held for Egg additions and 3 winners came out of it, Erina Mano, Momoka Komine, and Manami Ogura who promptly joined.

As mentioned above, in August through October, THE Possible was formed of 6 of the Eggs (already talked about).

Then in September in limited stock, Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai released their first (and only) single, Minna no Ki.  Though when Kaede Oose in the same month left to join THE Possible, Ayumi Yutoku took over her spot.

(NOTE: Putting the Tomoiki single here becuse it is their only single and it is all Eggs so it’s fair.)

OK SONGS

  • Sora ga Aru – Being a very random release with some surprisingly random members of the Eggs, this tune feels like a rejected Country Musume, but that said I kind of liked the acoustic guitar mixed in with that Mediterranean sound.  What I didn’t exactly care for was that the song was entirely sung in unison so I couldn’t tell them apart.  It would be interesting to see this tune brought back, but I highly doubt they would.
  • Minna no Ki – Considering Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai was the kind of environmental unit that was kind of fitting with Ecomoni, their A-side, Minna no Ki was kind of uplifting but not as terrifying as “HELP!!” was that’s for sure.  Though I was bummed to hear once again it’s mostly in unison, but there was spots where it was duet lines which I guess is a plus.  Though I notice Yuuka’s voice quite obviously in the song (she has the super squirrely voice amongst the five).  The song is cute though I’ll give it that.

MEH SONGS

  • Shiritai Koto Ippai – As the B-side of the single, Shiritai Koto Ippai gives me late 90’s pop vibes with those synths and the chords and the way the song is portrayed here.  Just like “Minna no Ki”, the song is sung in unison, but unfortunately there’s no spots for omembers to shine throughout.  It just felt like a generic song to me and while the guitar addition puts a little spice to it, it just didn’t work for me.

OVERALL: It’s nice seeing the Eggs finally getting somewhere in H!P what with Yui Okada being the only exciting thing to happen until this year.  Seeing Kanna join C-ute was great and also strange since the 7 other members have been together for a long time now.  Nice to see Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai and THE Possible existing and releasing music which gave me hope for other members to do things like the Sora ga Aru single too.  Hope it continues!

Other H!P Releases

yumekaraPetit Best 7

Only 2 other releases really popped up in the year!

The first was a digital single released by Ai Takahashi in July, Yume Kara Samete and the other was the end-of-the-year annual, Petit Best 7

OK SONGS

  • Ready Go! – I get that this may also be a cheer song too, but Petit Best included a new track that had Morning Musume, DEF.DIVA, and Berryz Kobo singing together in an upbeat kind of cheering song.  It’s pretty decent and I like its upbeat nature, though once again it’s in unison so it doesn’t quite reach high for me, but it’s a nice listen I suppose.

MEH SONGS

  • Yume Kara Samete – Really wasn’t expecting for Ai-chan to just drop this song digitally for fans.  I think it was for a drama she was involved in, but Yume Kara Samete didn’t really do much for me considering it’s a ballad (which is probably why I really wasn’t into it).  Though I can confidently say she sounds so good and velvety here which really helped out, but the song itself is a snoozefest.
  • Morning Musume Mega Mix 30 (Radio Edit) – So the megamix got a shortened version for the Petit Best dropping it all the way to 3:30 in length which is totally botched version because it cuts out so much of the original megamix to the point it makes you wonder why the hell they couldn’t include the full thing.  Hell it doesn’t even include all 30 singles up to this point…just what happened here?

Gains and Losses

Gains

  • C-ute
  • Koharu Kusumi (as a soloist)
  • GAM
  • THE Possible
  • Aika Mitsui

Losses

  • DEF.DIVA
  • Asami Konno
  • Makoto Ogawa
  • Megumi Murakami

My H!P Ranking for ’06

  • 54. Kaori Iida (-47)
  • 53. Ayaka Kimura (-12)
  • 52. Atsuko Inaba (-15)
  • 51. Mari Yaguchi (-25)
  • 50. Kei Yasuda (-14)
  • 49. Ai Kago (-35)
  • 48. Nozomi Tsuji (-42)
  • 47. Aika Mitsui (NEW)

54-47 were inactive during the year!

  • 46. Kanami Morozuka (NEW)
  • 45. Sayumi Michishige (-11)
  • 44. Asami Kimura (-4)
  • 43. Asami Konno (-14)
  • 42. Miuna Saito (-3)
  • 41. Chinami Tokunaga (-10)
  • 40. Mai Satoda (-20)
  • 39. Yuki Goto (NEW)
  • 38. Kaede Oose (NEW)
  • 37. Robin Shouko Okada (NEW)
  • 36. Maasa Sudo (-8)
  • 35. Yui Okada (-16)
  • 34. Yurina Kumai (-17)
  • 33. Saki Nakajima (+13)
  • 32. Koharu Kusumi (+1)
  • 31. Megumi Murata (-1)
  • 30. Mai Hagiwara (+17)
  • 29. Momoko Tsugunaga (-7)
  • 28. Kanna Arihara (NEW)
  • 27. Chisato Okai (+18)
  • 26. Erika Umeda (+17)
  • 25. Yurika Akiyama (NEW)
  • 24. Makoto Ogawa (-6)
  • 23. Maimi Yajima (+21)
  • 22. Risako Sugaya (+2)
  • 21. Yuko Nakazawa (+14)
  • 20. Ayumi Shibata (-9)
  • 19. Saki Shimizu (+9)
  • 18. Rika Ishikawa (-15)
  • 17. Aina Hashimoto (NEW)
  • 16. Hitomi Yoshizawa (0)
  • 15. Miyabi Natsuyaki (0)
  • 14. Airi Suzuki (+28)
  • 13. Hitomi Saito (-5)
  • 12. Masae Ohtani (-8)
  • 11. Eri Kamei (+12)
  • 10. Aya Matsuura (+2)
  • 9. Megumi Murakami (0)
  • 8. Reina Tanaka (+2)
  • 7. Natsumi Abe (+14)
  • 6. Risa Niigaki (+19)
  • 5. Yuki Maeda (+33)
  • 4. Ai Takahashi (+1)
  • 3. Maki Goto (+11)
  • 2. Erika Miyoshi (-1)
  • 1. Miki Fujimoto (+1)

And there we have it, 2006 completed!  Lots of changes happened enough to make 2007 an interesting year to kick things off!

Leave a comment »