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Momoko Tsugunaga – Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡ (Disc 2) July 5, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:09 am

arigatouotomomochi

Track Listing

  1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)
  2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage
  3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto
  4. Mousou Rehearsal
  5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!
  6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei
  7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta
  8. Kimama na Kataomoi

1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)

Opening the 2nd disc up is what is considered to be Momochi’s graduating track from Country Girls (and Sharam Q’s drummer, Makoto) to her (and digital single, to promote the album).  I wasn’t expecting the track to be 7 and a half minutes long, but after listening to it, it’s more of the remaining Country Girls members giving their speech to Momoko in speech form and then singing a chorus altogether.  The song itself (when they sing together) is kind of basic and a little on the nose for me, but it’s appropriate for the occasion.  I will say, I do like when the music strips and it’s the 5 (plus Makoto) singing the chorus.  Otherwise, it’s kind of a one-use kind of track, so I’ll probably never see this being performed again.

2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage

As there is only actually four new songs on this disc (the other half were unreleased CG songs), I was happy to see new material presented (albeit, I wish it was on a Country Girls album and not so much a Momochi centered release).  Sung by the remaining members of Country Girls (aka without Momoko), Ashita Kara wa Omokage is the first song that really sounds like old Country Musume songs, but then come to fact that it like “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou”, it has a LOT of spoken dialogue and the girls come together for the chorus.  Honestly, I’m once again not really into the song due to the immense amount of spoken dialogue so it’s not much of a song to me.

3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto

So the middle four songs in this disc are unreleased songs the group have been performing since right around before Uta Shimomura had left the group, but the songs seem to have been updated to fit with the current group of girls.  Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto though has been released physically back in the H!P compilation “Petit Best 17”, but at that time it had Manaka Inaba and no Funakki or Yanamin.  This version does seem slightly updated and I hear the newer members, but there are some spots where I hear Manakan or maybe it’s someone else like Funakki?  Either way, I feel like the new musical changes made the song a bit more nicer…it’s pretty interesting.  It’s also kind of growing on me too.

4. Mousou Rehearsal

The other 3 tracks though have not seen a physical release of any sort and all I had were live performances to really get a listen to.  Another song that was performed before Uta’s departure, Mousou Rehearsal is a fun upbeat track that really suits the group like “Koi Dorobo” would and features a little moment, throwing a little nod to “Wakatteiru no ni Goman ne”.  Though it is sad that the song was resung to add the new members and take Manakan, but I swear Funakki sounds like her in the song which throws me off and impresses me at the same time.

5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!

I’m kind of surprised they kept this song under wraps because I really found myself loving this song just after one listen.  It’s fun and has a mix of their throwback sound and their pop beginnings mixed into this fun and goofy track.  It helps that the dialogue section is just lulzy too.  I also love that this is with the current girls so no updating was needed.  It’s a song that really should’ve been released as an A-side to be quite honest and is one of my top favorites in Country Girls.

6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei

The last of the unreleased songs, VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei had some balls to come after the fun and exciting “Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!” and unfortunately it’s another bummer.  This track is a bit like “Ashita Kara wa Omokage” being a bit more country sounding with shuffling percussions and certain chords that pertain to the genre.  It does have a certain Country Musume vibe like “Kakumeichikku KISS” did.  It’s not a terrible song, but it’s not a song that I’ll remember much.

7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta

As the only new track that hasn’t been performed live (and might not ever after the news about the group), Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta is another cover from the band, The Checkers (Country Girls covered another of their songs, “Namida no Request” last year).  Unlike the saxophone craze of the first cover, this one is a bit more rockin’ and I really liked Funakki and Ozeko with their solo lines throughout!  It’s a good cover overall, but “Namida no Request” was the better one.

8. Kimama na Kataomoi

The final track, Kimama na Kataomoi kicks off reminding me that it’s not a Wintry track, even though its arrangement is arguing otherwise.  I like the mood and hearing Momochi leading here is not surprising in the least, considering when it was first performed live it was nearing her graduation.  It’s super cute and I like that there’s some ad-libbing going on and the melody is just pretty to listen to.

 

 

Considering this is Momoko’s best album, I felt like I really needed to get Country Girls’ portion of the release reviewed because it might be the last for a long while.  I have to say though, the 8 songs sound like they were good enough for an album primarily (maybe except Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou & Ashita Kara wa Omokage).  I can’t believe we waited like 2 years for some of these songs though and with no actual CG album to place them into (even though they have more than enough A-sides as it is).  It’s good they added new material though becauuuse….

The group more or less is going into hiatus and not like the sugar-coated Berryz take on it either.  From the announcement that was made, once Momochi graduates, Yamakki & Ozeko are going to focus on school studies and will be missing (except for holidays & breaks) while Chiichan, Funakki, and Yanamin join other groups (Momusu, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively).  My feelings are kind of neutral, stemming from sad (seeing CG basically being only active when girls are on vacation) to excited (the girls in new groups).  So we’ll see what happens then…

As for this release and why I’m not reviewing Discs 1 & 3, Disc 1 is Momoko self-covers and while I’m respectful for her time in H!P, she was one of my least favorite vocalists and her doing solo takes on songs (the arrangements weren’t changed) is not exactly in my interests, though there are some interesting moments like in “Ganbacchae!” where shes singing and her younger self is doing the kiddy chants and her new & solo song “Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi” is a nice send-off song.  As for Disc 3, it’s basically fan-picked tracks (the originals) and all of the songs that were covered in Disc 1 is on Disc 3 so I don’t want to double my thoughts about them.

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Country Girls – Good Boy Bad Girl/Peanut Butter Jelly Love January 31, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:53 am

goodboybadgirl

Track Listing

  1. Good Boy Bad Girl
  2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love
  3. Good Boy Bad Girl (Instrumental)
  4. Peanut Butter Jelly Love (Instrumental)

1. Good Boy Bad Girl

As the leading A-side, Good Boy Bad Girl seemed to really have left the rockabilly vibes of the last couple singles behind and gave us a straight up pop/rock song to deal with!  Seeing the group moving back into something a little more straightforward musically, I was enjoying the simplicity more!  As it seems a lot of the song is in duet lines but all the girls have solos (the best belonging to Funakki, once again).  Easy song for them and while it doesn’t rise above past A-sides that I loved, it’s a decent track.

2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Opening with a cute intro from Momoko, PBJL takes us back to some of their cuter songs (especially giving me a bit of a “Koi Dorobo” & “Namida no Request” vibe).  I found there was some guitar elements here as well, but the tune is just overall cute all over the place.  I found myself tapping my toes along the arrangement and the whole group just sound bright and lively!

 

 

With this being Momoko’s final single with the group, I have to say that she didn’t quite have much spotlight, even though she was just a overseer to the group and trained the members.  Like I said, the rockabilly vibes of the last two singles are absent which is a nice break from it and both songs are OK, if not a little above average for them.  With an audition being leaked (not officially announced yet), I can only wonder what’ll be next on the horizon (hopefully an album showcasing Momoko’s time with the group (if not a little of Uta & Manaka too)).

 

Country Girls – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!” Original Soundtrack (FULL) October 19, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 5:28 am

1cTGCS9244_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!
  2. Diana
  3. Okite
  4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Tsukamitai
  5. Honto no Shimai Mitai
  6. Taman’nai Summer
  7. Yakusoku Shite ne
  8. Kore ga Yume Nara
  9. Seaside Bound

1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!

So it’s not a surprise that the re-release would open once again with the title track!  Like I said before on the preview single that was released, this song features a lot of Manaka, Risa, and Yumeno and well they were the leads so it wasn’t a big surprise, but the other members managed to sneak in with a line here and there.  I LOVE the rockabilly vibe though and it suits the more cuter vocals on top of the lower sounding girls as well!  One of the better stageplay songs we got this year!

2. Diana

While I was hoping for more than just 4 extra songs on the re-release, I suppose I had to swallow my pride and just deal with it.  The first new track is surprisingly a Kisora solo (which my make you fans tilt your head as she isn’t in Country Girls).  It’s addressed as a CG stageplay, but Tsubaki Factory did have some stagetime here (wow…three stageplays this year???).  I really enjoy the diner vibes that include saxophone…they’re really hamming it up aren’t they?  For a Niinu solo, she sounds decent…maybe a bit weak at times, but she wasn’t disappointing…overall a pleasant and simple track!

3. Okite

So next up is a track that’s sung between CG’s Chisaki, and Tsubaki’s Riko, Risa, and Kiki. There’s a cool swing vibe to the song and the track has a bit of a sly sound to it.  Considering it’s 4 members, the members sound pretty good together but by themselves, some are trying to hit a deeper sound (like Risamaru).  It’s an interesting song and some of the melodies are nice on the ear!

4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Tsukamitai

So we go back to older songs which brought Manaka, Risa, Mai, and Yumeno once again sharing that same genre that the main theme had which is great and it really has a cool 50’s rock ‘n roll sound that just works.  While it vocally doesn’t sound as clean or epic like the aforementioned track, it’s a got an awesome guitar solo so I can’t fault too much hahha.

5. Honto no Shimai Mitai

Another already released track, Honto no Shimai Mitai is a duet between Manaka & Chisaki.  While I’m a bit surprised Manakan was singing in a much higher range than normal and surprisingly harder to differentiate between her and Chisaki.  It does sound a LOT like “Shining Itoshiki Anata” (an older Country Musume song).  Though I like the arrangement, the performance felt a bit flat…but it was short so I really don’t know what to make of it.

6. Taman’nai Summer

Another song sung between 4 members, this time Yumeno, Mai, Nanami, and Musubu.  I really love Kishimon opening up the track in such a cool and epic way, but then the song kind of amps up the sugar a little bit.  While it does feel like something that would suit between “Boogie Woogie LOVE” and “Dou Datte Ii no”, Taman’nai Summer sounds a bit exciting outside of the similarities and the guitar solo is really cool too!  Really good stuff!

7. Yakusoku Shite ne

As I’ve said before, hearing Yakusoku Shite ne definitely sticks out from the stageplay because a lot of it comes off as an Enka-ish kind of song (maybe kayoukyoku?).  As a duet between the newest Country Girls members, Nanami and Musubu…I quite like the sound of them together, but Musubu really took it home especially breaking into two different vocal melodies.  Short, but neat track.

8. Kore ga Yume Nara

As the last track from the preview single, Kore ga Yume Nara is a duet between Manaka & Yumeno and it was obvious it’s that kind of romantic track.  While I think both of them did splendid vocal performances, the song is a pretty simple piano/strings ballad.  It’s Ok…

9. Seaside Bound

So the OST ends with the final new track and funny enough it’s sung between Risa, Kisora, and Ami.  Though it really feels like just Risa and the other two are just background vocalists.  The tune itself sounds good taking more of a beach vibe (like the Beach Boys).  It is really short though so it doesn’t leave much of an impression, but I suppose it’s nice.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!
  • Taman’nai Summer
  • Yakusoku Shite ne

Song of Avoidance

  • Kore ga Yume Nara

Going into the re-release of the Country Girls’ stageplay, I was a bit disappointed it only went up to 9 tracks (especially coming after Momusu’s OST).  I also wasn’t a big fan that there was just only 4 new tracks to come back to as well.  I have to say, this stageplay was running very closely to what Country Girls’ current sound is so it felt safe, but decent enough to pass by.  Songs were good overall, but not enough….It’s OK, but compared to “Thank you Very Berry” and “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa” they could’ve had more!

 

Country Girls – Dou Datte Ii no/Namida no Request September 19, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 2:43 pm

doudatteiino

Track Listing

  1. Dou Datte Ii no
  2. Namida no Request
  3. Dou Datte Ii no (Instrumental)
  4. Namida no Request (Instrumental)

1. Dou Datte Ii no

It seems like Country Girls seem to be sticking to this rockabilly/50’s vibe for now and Dou Datte Ii no has a lot more energy than what “Boogie Woogie LOVE” had previously and is just a song to really let loose and dance wild.  I am a bit perturbed at why the song is generally shouted moreso than sung it feels like.  Either way, it is a bit short barely reaching 3 minutes and the 6 members do get solo lines throughout, just not as plenty as previous singles.  It’s an OK song, but they’ve had better.

2. Namida no Request

The other A-side just like “Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~” is a cover song this time from a band from the 80’s, The Checkers.  I have to say the intro of the song really caught me off guard especially the harmonies of that last ~request~, that was was beautiful.  After that, the song once again harps on the rockabilly vibes and that’s fine and I’m happy they toned it down a bit after “Dou Datte Ii no”.  It does seem like this one has a LOT of Chisaki, Risa, and Momoko as the other 3 members sing the chorus and doesn’t have much to go on.  Maybe except Yanamin, because she has sax solos throughout the tune.  Overall, a pretty good song, if not a little sad…but I was impressed here.

 

 

So if you haven’t noticed this is Country Girls’ first single without Manaka as she had to graduate to do her asthma issues which is quite unfortunate because I think she would’ve been great for Namida no Request since that was a wonderful cover and just pleasant to hear.  Dou Datte Ii no could’ve laid back a little from the yelling but it’s catchy and Funakki really stood out in the song.  Can we just have a stable line-up in Country Girls for at least 2 singles?  Jeeze!!!

 

Country Girls – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!” Original Soundtrack April 11, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 11:12 pm

1cTGCS9244_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!
  2. Rock n’ Roll Tsukamitai
  3. Honto no Shimai Mitai
  4. Yakusoku Shite ne
  5. Kore ga Yume Nara

1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!

Opening up the mini-album, we have the title track and of course it’s sung by all the members involved!  Having more of a rockabilly vibe as seen from the pictures and the stageplay itself, the tune is quite upbeat and playful to listen to!  While I’m not who the leads are in the song, I hear a lot of Manaka, Yumeno, and for some reason Yamakki in the tune.  It’s got cool vibe and even if it does find itself in the same vein as Country Girls’ recent song “Boogie Woogie LOVE”, it’s still a good main theme!

2. Rock n’ Roll Tsukamitai

The other group track, Rock n’ Roll Tsukamitai also fits the genre as the main theme as I’m hearing some new vocals in place of most of the ones found in the first track (I feel like Funakki is making some lines here).  It really captures the rockabilly style quite nicely and reminds me of songs from Grease.

3. Honto no Shimai Mitai

The remaining tracks are duets between members and the first is between the main character played by Manakan and Chisaki.  Being the more romantic song that usually plays in such settings, the girly cutesy vibe is interesting, but I feel like Manaka’s voice is a bit too squeaky and Chisaki’s more flat-lined perfomance made things a little strange.  It’s OK, but it’s very stereotypical perhaps?

4. Yakusoku Shite ne

Next up is a duet between Country Girls’ newest members Yanamin and Funakki.  While it’s the shortest track of the mini, Yakusoku Shite ne for me sounds totally different against the other tracks being more like kayoukyoku in some ways.  While I do feel like Musubu did a lot better than Nanami, their vocals together blend nicely.  It’s interesting and the last part where they sing two seperate melodies was cool to see too!

5. Kore ga Yume Nara

As the last track, the duet here is between the lovers of the stageplay; Manaka and Tsubaki Factory’s Yumeno.  I was actually madly surprised at how Kishimon sounds in the song with going for the lower range of notes (as she plays the guy in the play).  The song itself is pretty the typical love ballad with piano and strings which is not so bad because it’s the only song of its kind here.

 

 

While this is the preview release before the full one, I thought what we got with Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru! is a whole lotta throwback, especially around the rockabilly genre with the first three tracks.  The other two tracks were OK though, but not the best represented of the stageplay, it’ll be interesting what other tracks will be added on the future DVD+CD release.

 

Country Girls – Boogie Woogie LOVE/Koi wa Magnet/Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~ March 4, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 4:36 am

boogiewoogielove

Track Listing

  1. Boogie Woogie LOVE
  2. Koi wa Magnet
  3. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~
  4. Boogie Woogie LOVE (Instrumental)
  5. Koi wa Magnet (Instrumental)
  6. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~ (Instrumental)

1. Boogie Woogie LOVE

Who knew the group’s 3rd single would kick off with something totally different with an awesome rockabilly vibe to it!  (and no Gomen ne in sight xD).  Also to note that it’s the debut of new members; Musubu Funaki & Nanami Yanagawa and they have a LOT of spotlight here especially the former as she has the strongest vocals amongst all 7 members (yes, even Momochi!).  That’s not to say the remaining members didn’t bring their A game because they did!  I have to say this is a pretty catchy song and just gets me dancing everytime this comes on!

2. Koi wa Magnet

Slowing things down, we have Koi wa Magnet and not surprisingly so that it has a lot more regnition for Risa, Manaka, and Momoko simply because it is the more mature song between the three and I’m happy for that!  The slight 80’s vibe I get from listening to this is pretty cool and the slight H!P electro tinge is a good mixture for the group!  I think it might be the favorite off the single right now just because it has such an interesting vibe and the overall tone is just smooth!

3. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~

It seems that H!P has been doing covers a lot recently with 3rd A-sides, this time of an OLD 1961 song by Linda Scott (it’s older than that, but it’s definitely taking the most from this version of the song).  I have to say though, of the 3 I actually didn’t particularly invest myself into this one.  While this is the Chisaki and Mai-heavy song, they mostly get the repetitive hook of the song while Risa, Manaka, and Momoko get a lot of the verses, oddly enough it does remind me of “Koi Dorobo” for some reason…Also, it’s really short at barely under 3 minutes..

 

 

As the group’s 3rd single, I was curious to see what the two new members would bring to the table and I’m so happy that both Funakki and Yanamin fit in quite nicely.  I also enjoyed this single’s throwback sound from the rockabilly style to the more 1960s standard to a more 80’s feel.  What an interesting single and I can’t wait to see more from this unique H!P group!

 

Country Girls – Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne/Tamerai Summertime August 5, 2015

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 3:48 am

wakatteirunonigomenne

Track Listing

  1. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne
  2. Tamerai Summertime
  3. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne (Instrumental)
  4. Tamerai Summertime (Instrumental)

1. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne

Obviously, I wasn’t surprised that Country Girls would continue on this cute side of H!P for their next A-side, what I wasn’t expecting was so much Chisaki to be featured here (there’s a good reason at least).  While it’s mostly Chisaki and Mai as the leads, the tune features the other 3 in good amount as well.  The tune is a bit more kiddy in nature and the title being so similar to “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” & “Koi Dorobo”, I kind of figured it might not have been as memorable.  It’s a fun song though and the PV is quite a nice change of pace (and funny too!).  Not bad, but you can easily see and hear the hole where Uta should’ve been.

2. Tamerai Summertime

As for the other A-side, the group goes for a mid-tempo song (which has a certain old Country Musume feel) that caught my attention.  Like “Koi Dorobo”, it seems like Manaka, Risa, and Momoko take the majority of the lines while Chisaki and Mai act as secondaries.  It feels more like a spring song moreso than a summer tune (weird).  I find it soothing and calming to listen to, overall nice.

If you didn’t know, the group has been hit with the Country curse by losing Uta (in a similar fashion that Juice=Juice lost Aina Otsuka).  The fact that it was pretty sudden meant that the group had to redo the single and it’s clear that Chisaki wasn’t meant to be all over the single on purpose.  That said, the single isn’t quite as good as their debut single but it’s still a refreshing one as no other H!P right now is doing this sort of thing.