Platinum 9 Disc / Morning Musume

Release Date: March 18, 2009

Track Listing

  1. Songs
  2. Resonant Blue
  3. Ame no Furenai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou
  4. Take Off Is Now
  5. Naichau Kamo
  6. Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizukani Donkan na Hito
  7. Guruguru Jump
  8. Mikan
  9. Jounetsu no Kiss o Hitotsu
  10. It’s You
  11. Onna ni Sachi Are
  12. Kataomoi no Owari ni
  13. Kanashimi Twilight

Review

As the title indicates this is Morning Musume’s 9th full length album.  5 of the 13 tracks are previously released singles (Kanashimi Twilight, Mikan, Onna ni Sachi Are, Resonant Blue & Naichau Kamo) so that leaves 8 tracks of new material.   There are 2 questions going into this. Are any of the new songs filler and was this worth the wait?

Normally I don’t do track by track reviews since I don’t like to roll like that, but I’ll break the rule this one time just because it’s actually convenient to do so with only 8 new songs to cover.  Looking over the track listing I believe that  if you have watched the Resonant Live concert then you probably have  heard most of this album already.  Anyway…  The new material first.

Songs — This starts off with a simple piano melody & then builds into a full on 4 on the floor dance track.  Parts of the song kind of remind me of some of the beats used for more recent Namie Amuro tracks.  Other times (& this is strange to say) I get a Kumi Koda kind of vibe.

The dreaded Auto Tune makes an appearance during the pre-chorus sections.  I believe this would be the first time that a Morning Musume song would have that implemented.  Thankfully it’s used very sparingly & from what I can tell only on Reina’s vocals.  Her voice actually kind of fits the effect (kind of like Perfume). —

Ame no Furenai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou — This is a ballad I have only heard performed at live concerts.  Either with the entire Wonderful Hearts or during the Resonant Live tour.  Hearing the studio version was kind of odd at first but after a few spins I got used to it.  It’s a pretty song.

What impresses me most is Lin Lin’s solo, she really belts out her lines (without the unnecesary vocal gymnastics).  This is much shorter than I remember.  Maybe because concert performances tend to drag the song out a little more, I dunno.  Personally I prefer the Wonderful Hearts version, but that’s because I think songs like this sound good with more people singing them. —

Take Off Is Now — Hey, an actual R&B type song.   This features the vocals of Takahashi, Tanaka & Niigaki.  Of the 3 involved, 2 have actually dipped into this genre before (Ai & Reina) with High-King’s  CC (CinderellaComplex)  The thing  for me was how would Risa sound over this kind of track?  She didn’t disappoint as her voice matched the vibe of this song extremely well.  This is more like a less frantic cousin to the previously mentioned High-King song with better vocals. —

Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizukanai Donkan na Hito — This is the solo for Mitsui Aika. The beat sounds kind of generic & the vocals were okay.  Nothing special for me but nice try. —

Guruguru Jump — Is it me or is it a requirement that any song involving Koharu fronting a group have to be something hyper, cute & happy?  Not that I’m complaining, just wondering.  Whatever the case is, the song fits her & (surprisingly) the Chinese girls.  The track as a whole is like a sugar high, nice while it lasts & then you crash after it’s over.

It’s at this point I would bitch about Koharu’s vocals, but I can’t really say anything bad because she kinda sounds good.  Maybe it’s Jun Jun & Lin Lin balancing her out that made that possible. —

Jounetsu no Kiss o Hitotsu –Another R&B track.  Hmm… Maybe someone  actually listened to my wish for Morning Musume to take on more Urban flavored material.  This is the 2nd combination of Ai, Reina & Risa on the album & they take on a mid-tempo track with much success.

These three sound incredible over these kind of tracks.  Would it be wishful thinking to spin them off  into a sub-unit & get them to do more material like this & Take Off Is Now?  I think that would be sweet. —

It’s You — Michishige got a solo? For real? Wow.

Does anyone out there remember New Jack Swing sound? Because that’s what this song reminds me of.  Late 80’s & early 90’s R&B.  Like Bobby Brown, Guy, Janet Jackson, etc…  Why Sayumi was chosen for this song is beyond me.  Her voice doesn’t fit this genre at all, talk about a mismatch.  You want another example?  Take a listen to to the b-side of the Naichau Kamo single.

But… There is a positive to this.  On this track she has proved she can indeed sing.  In fact, I think she sounds kinda sexy.  But this kind of R&B isn’t for her. —

Kataomoi no Owari ni — Lastly, Kamei Eri’s solo.  It’s a sweet, understated song that compliments her vocals.  She does have a noticeable vibrato in parts, but that’s part of her charm I think.  She still sounds good though. —

Now for the singles…

Kanashimi Twilight — Was there a minimum track requirement for this album?  This goes all the way back to the  Mikitty & Yossie days.  I’m sure that a b-side from one their more recent singles would have been more sufficient. —

Onna ni Sachi Are —  Well at least this was done by the current lineup so it makes sense for it to be here.  I like this song because it combines elements used in club tracks with J-Pop sensebilities.  Fun stuff to listen to. —

Mikan — I don’t like it unless it’s performed in concert.  Only then does it become much more tolerable. —

Resonant Blue — Even if this is just the Ai, Reina & to some extent the Koharu show I think this is the best of Moring Musume’s recent singles.  How could you not dig the rolling bassline & funky guitar. —

Naichau Kamo — I voiced my opinion on this in a recent review. —

To answer the questions I posed at the beginning of this article.  I don’t consider the 2 solo tracks I disliked filler, they were just lacking a little to make them any more enjoyable for me.  They’re not bad enough to deter from the greatness of the album as a whole  so that’s a good thing.  Although I do like the beats on Sayumi’s song, really nice throwback to the kind of stuff I grew up on.

Was it  worth the wait?  On this album there was a shift from the super genki type tracks to a more Urban contemporary sound and it oddly works for some strange reason.  Just for that I believe it was absolutely worth the wait.