Monday, 31 October 2011

2nd Poll Winners & 'The Boys'

Congratulations Girls' Generation

I was originally going to do these polls in rounds, this would have been round one. But with the huge margin that Girls' Generation won, I don't think there is any point, as they will win every time. I voted for 4minute myself, but I can see why Girls' Generation is so popular, and as a consequence, the next poll is directly influenced by this win.

'Who is your favourite Girls' Generation member?'

Mine is Sunny! Vote away and tell me yours in this post!

Since this is a Girls' Generation domination..[hehe] I may as well mention 'The Boys' - not having listened to the entire album yet (when I do, a review will go straight up on here) I am purely talking about the title track. It has critics positively divided, and if you haven't listened to it yet (are you living under a rock?! Listen to it now!) Here are some links.

^ Korean version. The best and much more fierce version in my opinion, even though the PV's are practically the same. They all look positively stunning in this video clip. This is a real party track, and I can see it going straight onto my gym ipod, the beat is fantastic, and if you pump that bass up, this is a great track.

Although one thing, it is not as brilliant as it was hyped up to be. It's not as good as say, 'Oh!' or 'Run Devil Run' - it's just a tad generic.

^ English version. Huh. This is..well not good. Jessica, Tiffany and surprisingly, Sunny, all sound quite good in English (expected from Jessica and Tiffany, of course) but the rest sound very...weird. If anyone remembers BoA's English versions from her old Korean albums, it sounds like that. (I do not mean her debut USA album, that was pretty good) - The music doesn't go with the lyrics. It's kind of cringy as well.

I wonder if they will have a Japanese version. Because that will be interesting to compare to these two versions. I can't see the English version doing very well in the charts. I hope the Korean one goes straight to the top though.

What do you all think about this song/album?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

SDN48 Mass Graduation and Disbandment

The dream is over. It has been announced that on March 2012, SDN48 will officially disband. This came as a big shock to any fan of the ...48 family, as there were no clues, no hints and a 3rd generation including former Team A member (and a very popular one indeed) Hana Tojima were added just a few months ago.

This seems really unfair, and I am trying to understand why Yasushi Akimoto would start up this band 2 years ago, only to not really let it run it's course. The stage shows were selling out and the single sales figures were much higher than some other idol groups could ever hope to achieve. I have no idea about the merchandise sales figures but surely they were doing well enough to be treated better than this.

My thoughts are that perhaps a few wanted to graduate, or maybe a lot of them did, so many that it would take a major restructure of the group, and that just wasn't worth it, if it wasn't this, then I can genuinly see no reason why this group is disbanding. We thought that in the future, people like Mariko, Haruna, Yuko and Sayaka would be the first to be moved over. Although I am relieved that they aren't going to be, to be honest. The over sexualization in AKB48 alone is something I feel funny about, so having them be as overtly sexual as SDN isn't really what I wanted to see from these girls.

Even though the girls are acting quite cool and calm about it, I can understand if former AKB48 members, and especially founding members Kayo Noro, Megumi Ohori, Kazumi Urano and Yukari Sato would be ferociously angry about this. Being moved over to a new 'sexy' [re: soft porn] group just because you were too old for the original group? It's blatant ageism, and it's a problem that is long overdue to be addressed in Japan.

This group should have been treated more as a performance group and less as an idol group, they all have extreme talent and were basically made to parade about on stage half naked (sometimes practically fully naked in photoshoots >.>) and this was somehow an idol group. Girls like female groups too Akimoto! Why wasn't this group based on say, After School or SNSD? Wasn't their aim to crack the Korean market? Of course something like this would fail!

The problem is, idol pop, as quoted by Kinenbi on stage48 forums 'starting to get weird again' - and I agree with this. There are far too many idol groups that concentrate on Lolita-esque type properties, exploiting girls as young as 11, that very old and quite pervy men drool over. It's really unacceptable. Boy bands for girls, Girl bands for boys. Ridiculous. If an idol-type group debuted in the West they would be absolutely aimed at girls. Girls would want to join and the 'no boyfriend' policy would only be in adherance if it was produced by Disney (shudder).

The founding members new nothing about this group until it was announced in the team shuffle in 2009, and they didn't look pleased about it, now they have all new reasons to be annoyed. Another suggestion that has been said is that Akimoto is spreading himself too thinly, and I tend to agree with this. Why he can't hire a few protegee's that can write songs for him I don't know. He doesn't have to do everything himself. There's AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT, JKT (so there will be Team KIII and KIV -_-) and now Taipei as well. It's too much and it is destined to start folding in on itself. Like a red giant when it swells and becomes a white dwarf.

We say goodbye to SDN48 and hope that the girls will get better and more popular posts in the future, but I have a sinking feeling that most of them will probably never be seen again, which is something we should probably get used to in the ...48 world, because with so many girls, we are bound to be inundated with graduations and favourites who will just become a passing fancy. The girls themselves should be wary of this, and make sure they all have good plans for their futures, as for us, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

I must write to Kayo Noro before she leaves. I will miss her utterly and dearly.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

❤ HiP Happenings! ❤

Hello! Project Happenings!

The past few months have been very busy, and quite positive for Hello! Project. My interest is definitely back, but for how long we shall soon see. As for the moment, as long as Kanon Suzuki is getting some sort of exposure, in any form whatsoever, I will be somewhat interested.

First up, the Dream Morning Musume concert was released on DVD, and boy is it good. I mean these girls have lost no flair, no performance stamina and they are mostly at the top of their game here. I love that they performed great lesser heard songs such as Happy Night and Mirai no Tobira. Mari and Kaori are sounding kind of strained (don't even get me started on Koharu...but she's always sounded like that) but they make up for it with their energy and even, for H!P fans that have been around for a while like me, the nostalgia quality. Highlights include: Makoto Ogawa getting loads of lines (FINALLY, we had to wait for her to be out of MM for 5 years? How annoying!), Yuko Nakazawa being spectacularly sexy and Natsumi Abe in 'Roman ~ My Dear Boy' - with loads of Yossi too. A Nacchi/Yossi duet would be a dream come true! Even more so than just this group existing.

Next, Ai Takahashi's graduation from Morning Musume, I have mixed feelings on this. While Ai was a very important part of the group for a very long time, I really do think it was her time to go. I am saddened that I never got to see her live, but if she pursues her dream of musical theatre, then maybe I still will one day. I am excited to see which direction she takes, hopefully after a well earned break! I'd love to see MM take a new direction now, with even more energetic and upbeat tunes, and with more age appropriate lyrics. As most of the group is under-16 now, I do not wish to see a lot of 2007-2010 Musume tunes in the repotoir, that said, they could easy perform some of the older songs, although the problem there is that Dream Morning Musume may be doing them instead. How confusing!

The 10th generation members were also introduced on Ai's 2nd last day as a Morning Musume member. We have Haruna Iikubo(16), Ayumi Ishida (14), Masaki Sato (12) and Haruka Kudo (11), Haruka surpasses Ai Kago as being the youngest Morning Musume member ever. She's got talent and experience though so I doubt she'll be the weakest, they all have something unique to add to the group. I'm interested in seeing the interaction between 9th and 10th generation members. Having a 12 member strong Morning Musume is hopefully going to distribute the lines more evenly. I don't want to see any more Sayumi lead A-sides please.

We also get to find out who the definite S/mileage members are in less than 5 days. I hope all of them get added. I really like them all, but my favourite is Rina Katsuta. So I definitely hope she gets added! I really liked 'Tachiagirl' - and the new members being announced got a lot of new people into S/mileage, including me, as their helium-sound may go down an octave with some new voices.

The Mobekimasu single 'Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku' PV preview has been released, and it's the usual suspects, but I hope we see the non front-girl members a bit too, or it will end up being terribly boring. The PV looks pretty and sparkly, but why does the choreography remind me of Berryz's 'Ai no Dangan'? It's quite similar, and one cover of the CD is really, really badly photoshopped. They really shouldn't be pulling this kind of crap when they have the most competitors they have ever had since their start in 1997. The game has been raised and they will have to raise with it.

This has been a really up-and-down year for Hello! Project, but it definitely looks like they are going to end on a high note, I really hope that there are no more graduations announced for a while! Good luck Hello! Project!