Wednesday, 7 November 2012

[ALBUM REVIEW] From Smart to Colourful, what a character change!

aka, wow, what a cringe-worthy title there, Phob
As always, all opinions are my own. Not your's. Don't get upset if we don't agree on something.
It's a cruddy gradient-effect background, but I like the concept. I even don't mind that Riho's hogging centre-position again. But that's cause I like the shade of read she's wearing.
Okay, so, I'm a little late in reviewing this, but I have been planning to since it was released and have actually put off listening to most tracks on the album so I could listen to it while I reviewed. I had planned to ignore the whole album until the review, but I'm not the best at resisting temptation.
1. One・Two・Three
So, it opens with a single. This song is Jedward - overly-autotuned and either or loved by hated by all those who listen to it. I actually do like this song but I don't really want to review in too much detail. It's catchy, yes, and the lyrics are really easy to learn. I don't hate autotune, either, but there's a limit. Riho and autotune don't work as well as UFP thinks, basically. If you're someone who actually sounds good without autotune (which Riho does, in my opinion, as long as she's not singing live - she gets a bit shouty), you have to sound good with autotune, or else it seems pointless. Reina works it, in my opinion. Okay, okay, no, Riho doesn't sound bad with autotune at all, but her adlibs don't sound cool, basically. Maybe she just sounds strained and autotune can't fix it? I don't know. Whatever. Good song. Yep.
2. What's Up? ~Ai wa Dou na no you~
This is a really fun song, and parts of the backtrack remind me of Spyro BGM - something that is never lost on me. The shouty parts bother me, but only cause the weird whisper-talky voice is weird. I don't like soft, little voices like that, but that's just me. Also. Um. The rap. It's not the worst, but it's hardly commendable. Beats Miya in Loving You Too Much, though. Okay, it can pass, cause it's cute. If only Reina's rhythm was better, cause the Yankee voice works so well for rap. The line distribution is less horrendous, too. Not perfect, but that's asking far too much. I love the song's melodies, they're really catchy. And the instrumental break is great. It's so dramatic...seems like it could be used for some kind of montage.
Another plus point for this song is that I could totally imagine a PV for it. Okay, so, sometimes, I like to make my own PVs in my head and I really could for this song. For me, that's a good thing. It enhances the listening experience.
3. Be Alive
This is, quite possibly, one of the best Morning Musume ballads in a long time. It's definitely my favourite in some time, if not my hands-down favourite. This is another song where I could really imagine a PV for it, so, bonus points!
The melody and the mood of this song are perfect. I think that's why it's one of my favourite ballads. It has the right elements that make me like a ballad. The melancholic yet hopeful mood. I love that.
Another thing that really draws me to this song is the way that it's slow and mellow at first but it then picks up without effecting the overall mood any. It's really beautiful and part of me is angry that this wasn't a single. Ballads can be singles, after all! The instruments in the back remind me of Seishun Collection - this song basically has everything that Seishun Collection lacked, though, what it lacks in comparison is the powerful, lower vocals the group had at that point. Though, that being said, those vocals clearly aren't necessary because this sounds amazing just as it is. Thank you, Lord Tsunku-boy!
4. Lalala no Pipipi Michishige Sayumi
So, on the last album, we had that one track that annoyed me (Suki da na Kimi ga), but it grew on me, to that extent, I will give this song a chance. Again, Sayu's voice is...not for me, but it works in this song, I guess. It's not a bad song, really, but I don't like it. It's annoying. But, I can listen to it. It's annoying but listenable, and distressingly catchy. But, random Sayu-falcetto note? No, thanks. All in all, it's a song I would only listen to every so often. I won't deny, though, that this is the perfect song for Sayu and it is a pretty cute song. But that cute is too bubble-gum, candy-floss, sugar and candy love hearts-y for me, if you get what I mean. It's too sweet sounding for my personal tastes. I love a cute song, but, it all depends. It's not bad but, for me, it's not great, either~

5. Dokka~n Cappricio
This song is really awesome - reminds me of OK YEAH! from the previous album, only better. The backtrack is more to my tastes - it's a little harder, if you get what I mean. The song has a darker feel. That isn't to say, though, that it's a dark song. It really isn't.
It's really catchy and the chorus is really easy to pick up on, especially the 'Sara ni Sexy~' lines and stuff~ Those reminds remind me slightly...of a dance-y version of Pink Lady's Nagisa no Sinbad.
What I love about this song is that it catches me straight from the beginning. I'm seriously drawn in by that opening instrumental. And the slightly lower vocals, as opposed to normal, draw me in, too. I seriously can't wait to see the live performances of this song. It would be amazing live, which was Tsunku's intention, right? It is the perfect song for a live performance, though.

6. The Matenrou Show
Right, another single track, then~ The poor second A-side that was never granted a real music video.
My first criticism of this song came to me the moment I heard it - it sounds a bit too much like it should be by Berryz. And not old-school Berryz, but Berryz as we know them now. The instrumental at the start sounds a lot like Shining Power, if you ask me. It's not a bad thing, I have to point out, but, it's also not a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I love Berryz and their songs, but I prefer the groups having their own sounds.
That aside, I do like this song a lot. I did say I love Berryz's songs, so, even if it bugged me slightly, I can't help but like this song. Also, the 'Ai no Arashi' lines are fun. But only cause...y'know...Arashi. Eheh.
The chorus is really fun, though~ I love the melody! And, I have to say, the dance looked really awesome, too.
Another criticism of this would be, though, the line distribution was especially atrocious. Only two members got lines. But, fortunately, I can actually listen to a song with bad line distributions and love them. It doesn't ruin the song for me (for example, I love KAT-TUN's Bokura no Machi de...hell, I even love C-ute's SHOCK).

7. Zero Kara Hajimaru Seishun
This is one of the songs I haven't heard before and I can say...this was unexpected. From the title, I was really expecting another cool song. But, this is nice, too.
The vocals sound really pretty, everyone sounds nice. Yes, Sayu too. Actually, yes, I'm verging on liking Sayu's voice here (NB : I like Sayu, just not her voice sometimes). Except, Daishi still sounds out of breath, bless her. Zukki sounds adorable and I'm still trying to work out why Kuduu and Eripon don't get more lines (I have recently developed strong love for Eripon's voice).
 What I love about the backtrack, though, at least in the verses, is that it sounds like Sims shopping music! I love that music.
And, oh, look, decent line distribution. I think a perfect line distribution is when there are obvious lead singers who get more lines yet everyone else still gets a decent amount of lines. Which seems to be the case in the song - if not, I was too busy typing this up to pay any attention.
The chorus is really pretty and sweet. It's a cute song and, if it had a PV, it would definitely be full of pastel colours...either an assortment of pinks and blues, or the member colours. Or both, depending on the scene! Oh! But, yeah, it's an adorable song.

8. Ren'ai Hunter
Another single, and the only track on the entire album to feature any members of my favourite gen, the fabulous 5th gen -sniffs-
Anyway, that aside. the actual song, yep.
I atcually loved this song from the moment I heard it but I love it less now. Maybe because everyone underestimated how hard it was to sing and made it the next single in nearly all of their pros? I hate singing this. The words are really fast which wouldn't be an issue if it only it weren't for how hard the rest of it is, at least at the chorus. Exactly the kind of song I end up screaming through, here. And, truth be told, I think I've heard line one or two actually good dub of this and a couple of mediocre ones. No offence intended there. It's just, I mean, it's a hard song. That, or I'm doing something wrong here. I sign harshly, not softly, so, yeah. Not that any of that's relevant. It just sort of ruined the song for me, in terms of excitement anyway.
Other than that, ignoring my dubbing mindset, this is a really awesome song. I like the whole dubstep thing going on. This is how J-Pop dance should sound. Definitely. Even if I prefer Wakuteka. Combine them and maybe you'll have a perfect Morning Musume song, I don't know? Though, perfection, as far as MoMusu's concerned, requires
I apologise for that whole review there, but, since this song is kind of...old news compared to the rest of the album, I thought I'd take the opportunity to rant~

9. Chikyuu ga Naiteiru
This is one of my favourite tracks of the album.
The start of this song reminds me slightly of 2NE1's I AM THE BEST. Just the little weedly bits...if you get what I mean. You get it, right? And then the main guitars kick in and it sounds like Spyro music again!! Every song that reminds even remotely of the Spyro OST is a win for me, as I said earlier. The whole backtrack of this song sounds that way, too. I love it!
The verses are fun, I love the weird note-draggy stuff. And it's very catchy (I say that too much), but it is. And, thumbs up to the song, because I like Sayu's solo lines! They suit her. And Reina sounds properly cool in this. I generally think that Reina is cool, but, she's got a lower voice here. Low-pitch!Reina is actual love, guys, just saying.
The chorus is really awesome. It's got a really cool feeling and it's...sort of dramatic? Like, it would totally be an awesome theme song for something. Lost of raised fists and stamping and stuff, I don't know. But I really like it.
Furthermore, I generally adore this paticular style of song, Spyro-similarities aside. Well done, song!

10. Namida Hitoshizuku Tanaka Reina
This song is possibly tied with Be Alive for my favourite track of the album. I never expected that my favourites would be the two balalds as Morning Musume ballads don't normally impress all that much. They're normally a bit bog-standard and soppy. But these two do everything right.
I love that they keep giving Reina ballads and more mature songs. She really sounds her best in these. All the doubts I've had regarding her voice have been totally cleared up both by this track and Futsuu no Shoujo A. She sounds really pretty here and she's brilliant at conveying sadness. The melody of this song really sticks, too. I swear, about 3 or 4 listens of this song and I've got the tune pretty much entirely memorised yet, somehow, I still can't quite remember the tune of Ai no Honoo's verses...
This is easily my favourite Reina solo, too. I love seeing this side of her. It really adds to the image I have of her being really cool. I prefer the cool and mature Reina to the cutesy and sweet Reina. Also, this song is perfect for that vibrato-thingy she has going on. I am too glad Reina got this song and it more than makes up for my annoyance regarding Sayu's solo.

11. Waratte!YOU Qkies & 10kies
This is is another track I haven't listened to before, so let's see how it goes~
It kind of reminds me a little of older Ayaya tracks, in a way. I think it's the trumpets. But, in general, it's very reminsicent of certain older H!P songs, such as Ayaya ones, like I said, and some older MoMusu songs, from around the time 6th Gen joined up until 4th Gen left. It's got that same kind of mood to it.
I must say, it's also quite nice to hear all the younger girls (aside from Riho - not saying it's not nice, rather, it's nothing new)' voices. They're all getting multiple lines, it's great!
To be honest, I was a tad worried they might get stuck with an overly cutesy song or a mature song. I wanted to see a new side of them, but, luckily, that's what this song does! It's a really fun song without being stupidly cutesy. Really, I'm officially sad that this doesn't have a PV. I could totally imagine it having a PV...something like The Bigaku, but with better outfits.
Also, Zukki sounds awesome in this, as does Haruka I love those two~

12. PyocoPyoco Ultra
The last track, and another single. So, it opens and ends on a single. To be honest, that never really takes my fancy. I want to start with a song that sets up the mood for the whole album, so it has to be a new song, right? As for the end...I don't know, I just prefer if it ends on something new, for that lasting impression, you know? But, that's just me.
This song's really cute, though. But, a tolerable kind of cute. Fun cute. Not sweet cute. Fun cute is my kind of cute. Not that other pissh that's so innocent and sweet that it's just unnerving. I'm cynical, I do apologise.
And, personally, I don't care that they're dressed as chickens! It's stupid but it's cute and it fits with the song!! STUPID CUTE IS GOOD, TOO! But, really, at first, it pissed me off because I thought it was some kind of sign that Morning Musume were going to quit being the cool group and become all cutesy - they already had S/mileage for that!! But, it turned out to be a one-off, so I don't really care anymore. Right, no, I never disliked the song, it was a nice song from the start. But, the whole idea of mood and stuff...yeah. Also, the way the fandom errupted bugged me. Personally, I think it was a slight over-reaction on the part of many people.
Calm yo' titties, people


 Overall, this is a really nice album. There's a similar feeling, though mood, tone, style, energy, ect. does vary greatly, throughout the entire thing. This album is a perfect representation of the current Morning Musume. Like, if you wanted to say, 'this is what they are now, this is what they have become', you'd show them this. 12, SMART didn't so well in this respect, as it seemed like it was trying to find where it fit in - was it mature and sexy, or was it both cool and cute? It was a good album, and I possibly prefer most of the songs, but, as an entire package, it was a little lost in terms of theme, I feel. The album cover also pretty much adds to this album's feel. And, I have to say, there are probably few better ways to describe this album than 'colourful'. There's a great variety of song, yet they all blend together without clashing. That is colourful! Clashing is...garish! I probably, as an entire album, prefer 13 Colourful Character to the last few, but, for me, it still doesn't have enough power to defeat 2010's 10 MY ME.


  1. I absolutely enjoyed this review! I agree it is definitely a nice album and I also think 10 MY ME is better in comparison. I think I need to listen to more H!P album songs myself.

    I enjoyed all the singles except Pyoko and some of my favourite album songs were Be Alive! and Dokka~n Capprico.

    Hope you also check out my blog too! ^^

    1. Mm, 10 MY ME was a really good album. Though, this one's a pretty strong contender, and it totally overshadows the rest of the H!P albums this year.

      Yeah, I guess Pyoko was a total hit-or-miss for some, after all. And, yeah, those two songs are really good. Be Alive! is really beautiful, too~

      Will do~! Actually, truth be told, I'd already taken a peek after seeing your comment on the Momo thing~ (which I replied to before this, for the record)