Garry at New School Kaidan recently wrote an article titled How To Lose Friends and Alienate People: Morning Musume & Hello! Project.
In that article he tackled the subject of Morning Musume and the unnecessary hate they receive. Instead of writing out a long comment, I have decided to say my piece here and expand on a few points he brought up.
As always the following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff or the site’s affiliates.
Please bear in mind I am not as forgiving as Garry when it comes to comments so if you get on the bitch train after reading this don’t expect to see your contribution to a rational discussion approved. You have been warned.
The Morning Musume flavor of Haterade
In this small community that we call the western/overseas fandom few subjects draw as much attention and anger as those that address Morning Musume. Why? It’s because Hello! Project/Momusu fans have had enough of people talking shit about their idols.
Given today’s current girl idol group climate they cry foul at anyone who dare not pay homage to Morning Musume for being the innovators and inspirations of countless clones who have used their template for what a girl idol group should be built like.
Why do people not see the greatness that is Morning Musume and give them praise? For they are all that is good, holy and pure compared to the smut and filth of AKS. All those other second rate girl idol groups don’t hold a candle to the legacy of Momusu right?
Hello! Project/Morning Musume fans doth protest too much, methinks
When someone speaks up about the current Musume or Hello! Project it usually isn’t because they are being trolls, or assholes or haters per se. Most are simply stating some uncomfortable facts to the masses. Whether one chooses to accept their statements as something worth considering, is another question altogether.
We all know that music is cyclical. What is cool one day is complete and utter garbage the next. This is normal. And for a long-time act that has been around 10+ years? Well let’s say they’re fortunate to be in the position they’re in.
Now depending on how long you have been a fan of Morning Musume it can be argued that the group peaked during their golden age while others might say that the platinum Musume era was the height of their brilliance. It’s highly subjective.
This is where fans come at an impasse. If you came late to the game you probably didn’t have to suffer through the dark days after the golden age members were picked off and only know of the platinum era and when the 9th – 11th generation auditions rebooted the group.
But for those who did have to live during the medieval times, well they’re more than just a little jaded and perhaps a tad pissed off at how the group they loved so dearly was mismanaged. So yes, some people are understandably going to get upset at this new Morning Musume and the direction they are taking.
Turn up the good, turn down the suck
For a lot of older (in years dedicated, not age) fans the current generations are not the same as “their Musume” (whatever that is) and Tsunku should be doing songs that only hardcore Hello! Project/Morning Musume fans would enjoy.
What’s with this Electro Musume and trying to sound current? They want less of these weird electronic sounds that make the ears bleed and more of the “classic” or “vintage” Musume.
Others embrace the new Musume sound but question why all of the songs blend together so easily? This is a complaint that I share with many others. It’s not that all the songs are completely fucking awful (most up to Help Me!! were pretty good), but anyone who is half paying attention can tell that the same sound banks are being recycled.
A skilled Electro producer can make wonderful compositions without having to run the well dry. (i.e. Nakata Yasutaka or Taku Takahashi) So who exactly is composing these recent Morning Musume songs and why are they being so damn lazy? Is there a time crunch? Do they have limited resources or is it just cashing in on whatever’s hot?
Honestly, the best thing UP-FRONT can do with Morning Musume now is to outsource their production and song writing outside of the fold. If they truly want to step up their game a look outside of the bubble of the good old comfort zone is needed.
Could this idea backfire? Yes, but now is the time to take risks and not be complacent with just squeaking by the other idol groups nipping at their heels.
There is way more competition than when Morning Musume were Japan’s national idols. Just because sales are on the upswing does not mean one should stop making an effort. A cut throat attitude needs to be adopted to survive in the ever changing female idol landscape.
If reached out to, I bet there are a myriad of producers and song writers who would love to have a Morning Musume credit to their name.
I’m not going to start throwing stones at Tsunku for this current late musical trend bandwagon jumping. I may joke about him A LOT on social media and may also throw out the snarky comment every once in a while, but even I realize the dude has a tough job.
It’s hard to write for so many groups on a consistent basis. When he’s on his game the resulting songs are at least worth talking about positively. When he’s phoning it in, well then we have the varying degrees of steaming turds.
The thing is the fault may not necessarily solely lie with those who create the music. Part of the blame also lies with those who listen to the music. Yes, you.
What I have come to discover about the current generation of fans is that no one actually listens anymore and praise is given by default just because they are obligated to Hello! Project. And yes, I know it is the same for AKB48 as well. All the crazies drink the Kool-Aid.
Is it any wonder that less invested fans face palm when the hardcore say “IT’S AMAZING!!!!” right from the first note of a brand new song? It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black if anyone of that mindset complains about people immediately dismissing any new material in the same manner with comments such as “THIS SUCKS!!”
Let’s take songs at face value by listening to them completely and thoughtfully. Or is that too much to ask?
The cult of personality and the lack of talent
Who is in Morning Musume is also another hot issue. From my experience the general H!P/Morning Musume overseas fan base are perfectly fine with who passed the 9th – 11th generation auditions.
They got their personalities from girls like Fukumura Mizuki, Ikura Erina and Suzuki Kanon. Then there are the singers such as Sayashi Riho and Sakura Oda. And of course you have dancers like Ishida Ayumi & Kudo Haruka.
That is just my personal look at things, perhaps you may see things differently but you get what I’m saying. There’s plenty of variety to keep everyone happy right? Well maybe not since as it was mentioned in Garry’s article a lot of people tend to whine about the group lacking any sort of distinct personality.
That is not a completely accurate statement. If you watched any of the 9th or 10th generation audition footage you got a small sense of the personalities of those members. 11th gen was just a huge mystery. But that’s the fault of UP-FRONT not taking advantage of stringing interested fans along isn’t it?
Besides the obvious jabs at physical attributes (Suzuki Kanon being a big girl, Iikubo Haruna needing sandwiches, Ikuta Erina’s “Tsunku’s going to rape me” facial expressions) there’s not much to really judge personality wise if you have a passing interest in the group.
There are media appearances such as their Ustream program and DVD digests, the informercial SATOYAMA movement program, and their occasional variety program performances/interviews but that’s not a lot for one to absolutely say, “This girl sucks!” outright. (This is where a real dedicated H!P non-infomercial variety program would go to help push the members to the general public and casual fans)
Perhaps those of you talking smack should try to watch what little programming is offered featuring Morning Musume before opening your trap.
In relation to this subject is the idea of talent. The current crop of Musume noobs are not untalented as a lot of people like to point out. They’re raw as fuck (which apparently is how Tsunku likes them if you believe the hype) compared to previous generations but by no means are they untalented.
I think a lot of people like to complain about this aspect of the group because they don’t agree with who was picked in the recent auditions.
I have made my personal preferences for Morning Musume very clear for years. But I’m not going to call any of the girls who passed and didn’t meet my criteria talentless hacks. I find that to be crossing the line.
These girls made it in for one reason or another. My and your perceptions of whether they deserve to be a Musume don’t really count. It’s not like fans have any say in who stays or goes when it comes to auditions. This isn’t American Idol or The Voice.
It must be weird have me, of all people on this site show any sympathy towards Morning Musume in any manner. After all I speak out rather unfavorably about them these days.
Even though I am in full AKS support mode I don’t forget what brought me to the game. Morning Musume are my roots in idol music after all. My opinions on them may be strong, harsh, outspoken and potentially heelish but it’s only because I still care.
Maybe my show of concern is not as much about the rainbows, unicorns, fluffy bunnies and other wota blinder ideals of the rest of the fandom, but I still have a small piece of my supposedly dark soul that gives a damn.
With that said I find absolutely nothing wrong with bitching about Morning Musume on social media, forums or where ever you may roam.
Given the past few years, they certainly deserve it. But it’s not the fault of the members for all the hate. That ball is in management’s court. From first-hand experience I think they are pretty damn apathetic to doing anything that would help promote their artists. I don’t mean just Morning Musume but any active roster/affiliated member of Hello! Project.
I won’t open that nightmare box but suffice it to say, management ain’t the greatest in my opinion.
Still, if a certain segment of fans are allowed to gush in their Kool-Aid induced drunkenness and mouth off about how wonderful everything is; then it is certainly fine for others who aren’t drinking to have the equal opportunity to freely state what they think as well without persecution.
Unfortunately some of the less eloquent and constructive of the non-believers devalue the validity of what is the opposite opinion of the circle jerk of the converted.
Regardless, the only thing I ask of you out there is that if you are going to talk smack, do some homework. It’s not cool to shit on any idol group if you can’t back up your words even a little. As Garry mentioned at least have the decency to learn the names of whom or what you hate at the very minimum.
Put some effort into your venom. Shitting on other idol groups for no reason does not fly well within the general population of the universe idol fans live in. It only leads to pointless arguments and the dreaded wota butt hurt.
That train of emo no one needs in their life.