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Country Girls – Country Girls Daizenshuu ① December 17, 2019

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:59 am

countrygirlsdaizenshuu

Track Listing

  1. Itooshikutte Gomen ne
  2. Koi Dorobo
  3. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne
  4. Tamerai Summertime
  5. Boogie Woogie LOVE
  6. Koi wa Magnet
  7. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~
  8. Dou Datte Ii no
  9. Namida no Request
  10. Good Boy Bad Girl
  11. Peanut Butter Jelly Love
  12. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2015.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)
  13. Ashita Kara wo Omokage
  14. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto
  15. Mousou Rehearsal
  16. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou!
  17. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei
  18. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta
  19. Kimama na Kataomoi

CD2

  1. Konamaiki Girl
  2. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”
  3. Matenai After Five
  4. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai
  5. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke
  6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)
  7. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~
  8. Natsuiro no Palette
  9. Zutto Zutto
  10. Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (2015 Country Girls Ver.)
  11. Uwaki na Honey Pie (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

1. Itooshikutte Gomen ne

Of course since it’s a best album it’s fair they would be doing this chronologically and kick the album off with their debut with the original 6 (Uta, Manaka, Momoko, Risa, Mai, and Chisaki).  I kind of like the whimsical sound of the song that’s kind of cutesy and just happy-go-lucky (especially with those English lyrics following with Utachan’s ever-loved opening line!).  It’s just such a lovely debut for the group that really stood out from everyone else (though Kobushi Factory was right behind them too).  Coming back to this, there’s a lot of Uta here while the rest of the group kind of had some solos (I think Mai was the other profound one here too).  It’s just kind of sad that this (and “Koi Dorobo”) were the only contributions Uta had for the group as she left shortly before their 2nd single.  Such a great song!

2. Koi Dorobo

As the other A-side from their debut single, Koi Dorobo was a little more flirty and silly for the group that kind of reminded me of Country Musume when Rika Ishikawa was part of the group.  It does give me some kind of throwback feels and I’m happy to see more solos strewn throughout the song.  While I did think Chiichan and Mai had the weaker vocals of the group, it was nice to hear them more.  Plus Manaka, Risa, and Momoko were also more forward too!  It’s a nice pairing song with “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” that’s for sure!

3. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne

Like I said, 2nd single in and we already lose a member in Uta and it’s pretty evident with how much Chisaki spotlight was happening here (as I think UFP was initially pushing Uta to be the ace-front and they had to deal with this sudden departure somehow).  It does focus on Chisaki and Mai though which is a surprising move, but it kind of works considering its PV.  The tune is playful like “Koi Dorobo” but it does tell a story so that’s fine with me.  The song itself is nice, albeit not the most intriguing for them either.  Manaka, Risa, and Momoko do get their lines and I do like the moments of dialogue spruced throughout too.  Not amazing for a 2nd A-side, but it’ll do.

4. Tamerai Summertime

As for the other A-side, Tamerai Summertime is more toned down and was their lightest song in their discography and just seems to really stick out for me as it’s not a totally memorable track for me, but I like the old-timey feels here.  I did notice the shift by making Manaka, Risa, and Momoko have more lines than Chisaki and Mai did, but I don’t know, but it’s kind of a safe summer song to me?  For an A-side it just doesn’t stand out I guess for me.

5. Boogie Woogie LOVE

With their 3rd single, Country Girls actually announced two new members joining their ranks both from the Kenshuusei (Musubu Funaki & Nanami Yanagawa).  Though in a strange way their first single with the 2 new members was going to be a little different.  Instead of barking up more of that light but poppy and silly sound for more of a sassier and boogie-woogie vibe, Boogie Woogie LOVE was just something so good!  It was just so out of the gate for the two new girls (especially Funakki who really impressed with her vocals here).  Not to mention, the remainder of the group also sounded surprisingly well compared to their last single entirely!  It’s an amazing song and one of the best from the group!

6. Koi wa Magnet

Although one can argue that this was the better track!  Instead of a theme like “Boogie Woogie LOVE”, Koi wa Magnet felt more 80’s to me with the mood and amount of synths involved in the arrangement.  It was also a more serious sounding track (which up to this point haven’t been done by the group).  That said, I felt like most of the lines were more for Manaka, Risa, and Momoko because it was a more mature track for them.  It’s something new and I feel like it could’ve been a Berryz Kobo (but mostly it just feels like it and Momoko’s voice felt right at home with this arrangement).

7. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~

As the only single from Country Girls to have 3 A-sides, I guess they wanted to round things out with something cutesy and fun like “Koi Dorobo” and “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  The song is indeed a cover though so they couldn’t stray too far, but I do like the simplistic route it took.  There was definitely a pattern though, it seems Chisaki and Mai do get a lot of lines here.  It’s a very sugary cute track, probably their cutest?  Don’t know, but it was nice.

8. Dou Datte Ii no

With their 4th single, they lost another member in Manaka (who at the time had to leave due to Asthma issues, but a couple years later returned to H!P to end up joining Juice=Juice ironically…honestly, I’m not sure why she wasn’t re-added to Country Girls when she returned…hmm).  Anyways getting into Dou Datte Ii no, this song returns us to those rockabilly vibes that “Boogie Woogie LOVE” kind of started the previous single.  It’s a cool rockin’ track and the energy is high but it doesn’t really show off the girls vocals well since it’s a lot of yelling here.  I mean it’s 3 minutes long so it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it’s just kind of loud for me, not much of an A-side IMO.

9. Namida no Request

Though it was no surprise the other A-side was another cover song.  Something about this song really called out that kind of nostalgic vibes here that stuff like “Dou Datte Ii no” and “Boogie Woogie LOVE” did.  I did notice here, but not in the previous track that Chisaki, Risa, and Momoko had a lot vocal time versus the other 3 members which was a little off, but I’m ok with that.  Yanamin also apparently played sax here which is pretty cool too!  I really liked how the hooks were here and it’s just a bright if not sad lyrically kind of track.

10. Good Boy Bad Girl

Just doesn’t seem to quit huh?  We seem to be losing another member with their 5th single, but this one seemed pretty appropriate since it was Momoko Tsugunaga’s last single with the group (primarily due to age and the fact like she was kind of played as their manager of sorts, so decided this was the right time to graduate).  I struggled to remember this A-side because it really wasn’t memorable, it felt like a Buono! song that is a bit lamer than most.  It was fair though that this was the kind of forgettable track because it didn’t have that spotlight on Momochi.  Coming back to it now, the song is a bit sassier than I remembered and I’m liking the solos from everyone and a bit of push for everyone.  I think it got better, but I tend to still forget this one existed.

11. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Though I think most fans probably say “Good Boy Bad Girl” was forgotten due to Momoko’s graduation happening and were more focused with this song because it was her song for the single.  It really fits in with their earlier singles since it was cutesy and fun.  Though I would be hard-pressed to admit that I really couldn’t remember the song outside of Momoko’s opening solo though.  Maybe it was too similar to those songs perhaps.  I guess it would be fair to say it wasn’t THE goodbye song for Momoko, but it did feature her plenty.  Wasn’t bad though.

12. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2015.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)

If you aren’t familiar with the rest of the tracks on Disc 1 from here on going forward, that’s because this was actually part of Momoko Tsugunaga’s best album? I would call it?  For fans of her they’d know, but essentially Momochi released a graduation album of sorts which included solo takes and songs she was a part of during her tenure and some songs she was well known for in H!P outside of Country Girls too.  Though one of the discs included unreleased Country Girls songs (which back then, were songs they’ve been performing, but hadn’t released until then).  Shocking to see that disc all here to fill out the remainder of the disc.  Anyways, I’m more surprised by seeing Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou making the cut because it’s not so much a song as it is graduation speeches from the other Country Girls to Momoko that has “some” singing moments here especially when you consider it’s over 7 minutes long.  I really couldn’t care less about this song especially when they’ve never sung it since the graduation so eh?  Kind of blah to me.

13. Ashita Kara wo Omokage

It’s kind of the same problem with Ashita Kara wo Omokage, but this time with more acoustic guitar and not in a live setting.  Like it has a country vibe to it which is nice and the chorus is pleasant and catchy…but the spoken dialogue in the verses just need to quit!  Especially placing this right after “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou” is just madness.  Really if there’s two songs that truly needed to be avoided on this best album, it’s these two.  Thinking about it now, they’ve never performed this live either…I kind of wonder why.

14. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto

Moving into the concert-only songs, Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto was the oldest next to “Mousou Rehearsal” cooking in lives for about 2 years before we got them in studio form.  Now this song is definitely giving me some “Koi Dorobo” vibes with similar happy vibes all over.  I mean the song is cutesy and loving hearing all the members enjoying themselves here.  Though I will say for the best album (a small tidbit), there is a version of this song from “Petit Best 7” that had Manaka instead of Funakki and Yanamin that isn’t on here for whatever reason (I would say too similar, but I mean we have two versions of “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” so what’s the excuse to not making this a 100% complete best album?).  It just seems odd to me.

15. Mousou Rehearsal

I think the group really do like their fun songs and I’m sure that this one is another that kind of encapsulate’s the group’s sound overall.  I will they that its frantic pace and mix of horns and a little country sound is nice overall and puts me in a happy mood, but I could also see why this wasn’t made an A-side as it kind of lacks any kind of hook for me (maybe cept those ~ippai~).  Not bad though!

16. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou!

Though I think of the four live songs, Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou! was probably the best of them for sure.  This was what I think “Mousou Rehearsal” was missing was something ridiculously silly and catchy and they really caught me here.  There’s something so sing-a-long with this one and hearing the 6 members singing is just enchanting here.  The chorus is especially ear-worming too!  The bridge was pretty random with the ~bam, bam, bams~ but I adore this song!

17. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei

I kind of feel the same way as I do with this song with “Mousou Rehearsal” in that it’s not quite as memorable to me for some reason.  I do like that it’s a bit more connected to their names as it’s more Country-esque almost in a cutesy “Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto”.  That said, not quite sure why it’s one of the more forgettable tracks to me from the Momochi disc.

18. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta

Like “Namida no Request”, Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta is another song that was originally sung by the Checkers (another that’s missing on the iTunes release of the best album).  Unlike the aforementioned track, this one while kind of rockin’ in a sense has a bit more going on in its arrangement from the guitarwork to the saxophones here.  It’s kind of unique and I’m liking the vocals throughout as well!  Though I also noticed they never performed this one in lives either…

19. Kimama na Kataomoi

Ending the first disc, it was fair that they’d end with this track which is more or less and Winter-themed song for the best album it was on.  I also enjoyed Momoko here throughout adding that happy-go-lucky tune in her voice.  It does seem a lot of focus was put on her for this one and while I like the strings and the holidays-ish feel going on, it just wasn’t as exciting of a song as I thought it was initially.

CD2

1. Konamaiki Girl

So CD2 is primarily everything that was post-Tsugunaga here and was also where Country Girls’ weird semi-hiatus begun (Yamaki & Ozeki focused on school and was only available on holidays and Morito, Funaki, and Yanagawa were sent to Morning Musume, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively while the hiatus was active).  Konamaiki Girl was the first digital single released during this hiatus and I was kind of unsure about it back then because it felt cute enough to be a song, it also felt as empty too.  It does feel like a song from the Momochi disc ironically to me.  I suppose it’s cute, but I’m not the biggest fan of this one.

2. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”

Released at the tail-end of 2017, Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” to me feels like a better handled cute song from the group that reminds me of fun tunes like “Koi Dorobo” and “Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto” and it just has that sparkly cuteness that kind of stood out from the group in a good way.  I also noticed that the quintet were starting to gel better vocally to me.  This was a good step forward!

3. Matenai After Five

They came back in the Summer with a new digital single and I was pretty surprised that they went into big band for their next leading track, (little surprising because it wasn’t promoted much or even given a PV).  As much as I do enjoy the song, I feel like it could have a little more spice in its arrangement (maybe a little more brass explosions to really give the song that needed pop, especially in the chorus).  I do like the song regardless though and gives new life to their music.

4. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

I was wondering if there was going to be another “Koi wa Magnet” and it seemed that was answered with Kasa wo Sasu Senpai.  The song isn’t quite as synth dependent, but I’m enjoying the strings addition and hearing a lot of Mai in the front is really nice to hear.  I really like when Country Girls do get serious for a song and this is pretty smooth for a song like this.

5. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke

Then we get into their 2019 releases which kicked off with the leading song from “Seasons” which is kind of toted as a song meant for Yanamin who was graduating from the group after the release.  Granted it’s kind of surprising that Nanami got two graduation songs (the other as a Juice=Juice track) and this one is the less-likened of the two because while it’s cute and definitely a Country Girls song, it’s just not enticing or interesting of a song despite getting a lot of Nanami solos here.

6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls ver.)

The other song that was found on the “Seasons” mini-album was an updated cut of the group’s debut song which of course only have the 5 girls (Morito, Yamaki, Ozeki, Funaki, and Yanagawa) which is a total difference from the original 6.  Nothing about the arrangement changed really, so it’s more about hearing Nanami and Musubu tackle the song and they did pretty well and hearing Mai, Risa, and Chisaki with their current vocals was nice, but something felt lost?  Like the vocals were too soft or to clean-cut?  I dunno, something about the mixing felt off here.  Still a cute song regardless.

7. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~

Returing back in the summer, Country Girls surprised us with a new digital single in One Summer Night and this one has a little bit of that saxophone lightness, but it also sounds like some kind of early 90’s sitcom opening theme to me.  It was a different kind of song and while I initially didn’t like it at first, it kind of gives nostalgic feelings somehow.  Good way to show the now 4-nin Country Girls.

8. Natsuiro no Palette

Unlike “One Summer Night”, Natsuiro no Palette felt more in-line with Country Girls in the last couple of years but a little more danceable with the steady beats.  I kind of like the cuter side of the group and yet this felt more like a progression for the group if they had followed more of their songs like “Koi wa Magnet” and “Peanut Butter Jelly Love”.  It’s nothing that screams out from their discography but this passes for now!

9. Zutto Zutto

Then we come towards the end of the album and the final 3 tracks are unreleased or new tracks that we haven’t heard.  Zutto Zutto is the new track and sadly the final track we’ll hear from Yamaki, Morito, Ozeki, and Funaki.  Just from the beginning, the song was sounding like a natural progression from “Natsuiro no Palette” by leaning more towards dance beats and synths here.  It’s a neat song and to hear that it’s the first time Tsunku worked with them is shocking to say the least, at least their final song is pretty cool right?

10. Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

Hold up, are you meaning to tell me that Country Girls did record more songs with Uta before she left?!?  Yeah, it seems the last two tracks (credited as being bonuses) were recorded prior to her sudden departure from the group (makes me wonder if they had plans for something else before having to rework “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne” around and maybe more Country Musume covers like “Kakumeichikku KISS” and “Onna no Ko Toshirabe Time” planned).  First up is one of Country Musume’s recognizable songs, Hajimete no Happy Birthday! and it featured mostly Mai, Uta, and Chisaki up front and they sound just as they did in their debut single, pretty green with Uta sounding the best of the 3.  The other 3 members (Manaka, Risa, and Momoko were supports but they still got solos.  It’s cute and the updated arrangement fits nicely too.  Surprised it took them this long to release it though >.>.

11. Uwaki na Honey Pie (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

However, Uwaki na Honey Pie did not get the glorified touch-up that “Hajimete no Happy Birthday!” had, instead keeping its original arrangement intact and just using Country Girls’ vocals here.  Of course I’m not surprised, the vocals aren’t quite as good as the original here, but it is nice to see the main 5 get a decent amount of solos throughout, for whatever reason Momoko barely had any and the times she did, it was kind of a duet line which is surprising I guess.  Not bad, nice to hear Uta (though she sounded better in the previous track).

Tracks Recommended

  • Koi wa Magnet
  • Kasu wo Sasu Senpai
  • Itooshikutte Gomen ne
  • Boogie Woogie LOVE
  • Zutto Zutto

Song of Avoidance

  • Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou
  • Ashita Kara wo Omokage

What a bittersweet release this is knowing that Country Girls is pretty much disbanding at the end of the year.  I mean 4 years is a pretty short tenure for a group that’s had it pretty rough right from the beginning to the end.  Losing an important member or two in your important years is hard to come back from especially after Tsugunaga (who was already well-known prior to the formation of the group too).  I think when the semi-hiatus happened was when I felt like the group was nearing its end and sadly came true in 2019.

Country Girls Daizenshuu 1 is a 99% Complete Best album (like I said, missing that early cut of Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto) and it covers the group’s songs nicely I’d say.  I will admit that their post-Tsugunaga releases weren’t all the great, but most of the songs from the Momochi best album was also not that great either.  Though it is the best release you’ll get out of the group that’s for certain.  Just sad that Yamaki and Ozeki will graduate towards the end of the year as well as Funaki in March.  Just such a bummer!

 

Country Girls – One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~/Natsuiro no Palette September 7, 2019

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 4:07 pm

One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~ _ Natsuiro no Palette

Track Listing

  1. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~
  2. Natsuiro no Palette

1. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~

As the leading song from the single (basically the one that got the PV), One Summer Night sounds old, but nothing like some of their older works here.  I kind of like the sound of the song and the inclusion of saxophones in and around the track.  I’m more surprised by sound of the quartet (especially with Funakki).  The chorus is a bit still, but it keeps with vibes of the track while the verses are quickly sung too.  I think the only thing that doesn’t seem fitting is the echo filters…maybe it’s there to make things sound more older, but it just doesn’t work for me.  Not bad!

2. Natsuiro no Palette

As for the other song, it’s definitely up my alley with being more modern and synth/dance which is great!  This really has that signature H!P feel to it and I’m loving hearing Risa, Musubu, Mai, and Chisaki here a lot more than I did in “One Summer Night”.  It may be slightly to the books when it comes to their songs, but it’s cute that’s for sure!

 

 

As the first single after Nanami Yanagawa’s graduation (which is sadly a digital single), this release wasn’t that bad actually.  Both songs had something to bring to the table, but nothing that would say I’ll remember this in the long run.  Does make me worried that with Country Girls being 4 members and UFP having no interest in adding members…I wonder how much longer this group has.

 

Country Girls – Seasons January 13, 2019

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 1:27 am

seasons

Track Listing

  1. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke
  2. Konamaiki Girl
  3. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”
  4. Matenai After Five
  5. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai
  6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)

1. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke

As the only new track for the mini-album technically, Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke was kind spoken as the track for Yanamin who is graduating from this group AND Juice=Juice (huh, she’s getting to send-off songs?).  This song is kind of cutesy and upbeat, sounding a lot like something from the first couple of singles (ironically the singles that didn’t have Nanami involved).  I do like that she does have a LOT solos in the song and it sounds cute and upbeat.  Not bad, but there’s been better from them!

2. Konamaiki Girl

So the majority of the rest of the mini contains the digital songs they’ve released in the last two years (basically since Momoko graduated).  That said, I wasn’t sure what the group was going to sound like without Momochi backing them up and Konamaiki Girl showed off a much more cutesy side to them after having such a boogie-woogie and rockabilly vibes out of the last couple of releases.  It’s cute like the previous track, but I’ve always felt like it was a weak song for them since it’s kind of minimal, but eh?  Just wasn’t that strong of a track for me.

3. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”

Which carried over to the 2nd of the digital songs, Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” but of the four digital songs, this one actually ended up with a PV.  The tune definitely reminds me of a mi of “Koi Dorobo” & “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  Still, the tune is pretty nice and while super girly, I found my self tapping my feet to the beat.  Also, Funakki just sounds so cute here!  Still even Yamakki and Ozeki sound better than before.  Nice track!

4. Matenai After Five

Then last year, they came back surprisingly with a double A-side digital single and I was surprised with Matenai After Five being upbeat kind of big band-like.  It’s got a nice groove to it and the members seem to gel even more than before especially since everyone is getting a lot of solos here!  I’m just surprised the girls sound pleasant and not shaky.  Risa’s deeper vocals are enticing, but we have Musubu, Mai, Chisaki, and Nanami really giving strong performances as well.  Maybe not as great as the previous track, but it sticks out!

5. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

Of the four, Kasa wo Sasu Senpai is probably the most serious track of the digital songs and I was hoping they’d release another song in a similar vein to “Koi wa Magnet”.  Though I wasn’t expecting the song to be similar to it.  I mean it doesn’t quite have to cool 80s throwback gloss upon it, but the track is really calm and the strings are beautiful (kind of reminds me of Platinum era Momusu).  Really nice track overall!

6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)

It is what it is, a self-cover of their debut A-side, Itooshikutte Gomen ne.  Obviously the biggest and lone difference in the song is that there’s no Uta, Manaka, or Momoko here and instead got the current girls (Chisaki, Mai, Risa, Musubu, and Nanami).  I mean I’ve always loved the song and I was curious to see what an updated take would sound like, but it does sound off to me without the aforementioned girls despite Yanamin and Funakki adding a lot more oomph to it.  I suppose it’s nice, but it feels like a hint or something…

 

 

As the first H!P release of 2019, I wasn’t expecting to kick off with a Country Girls mini-album.  To be fair it does feel like a mini-best what with 5 old songs (granted 1 of them is updated) and only one new track which was more of a song for Nanami’s impending graduation from the group.  Seasons is nice overall as most of the songs (except Konamaiki Girl) were pretty decent tracks all-around, I just hope it isn’t the final release for the group as Country Girls becomes a quartet (and that Risa, Chisaki, and Musubu are in other groups).

 

Hello Pro All Stars – YEAH YEAH YEAH/Akogare no Stress-free/Hana, Takenawa no Toki September 18, 2018

yeahyeahyeah

Track Listing

  1. YEAH YEAH YEAH
  2. Akogare no Stress-free
  3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki
  4. Hello! History
  5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
  6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
  7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
  8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
  9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
  10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)
  11. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Instrumental)
  12. Akogare no Stress-free (Instrumental)
  13. Hana, Takenawa no Toki (Instrumental)
  14. Hello! History (Instrumental)

1. YEAH YEAH YEAH

As the leading A-side of the single, I was kind of expecting a bombastic dance track with such a title, but instead it’s quite the opposite taking more of a mid-tempo piano ballad that actually is structured a bit more as a dance number.  I mean the song sounds a little bit like previous Hello! Project songs and it just doesn’t really put a spark in me (doesn’t help there’s no solos either).  Even the dance breakdown is eerily similar to Momusu’s “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” & “The Vision”. I don’t know, but the song comes off generic and forgettable.

2. Akogare no Stress-free

At least the 2nd A-side kind of fixes that mess with more of an interesting sound and it’s actually upbeat!  I like the surfers rock sound I get from it and the song just has a bit more oomph to it since it is a bit more of a cooler song for them.  Though the only solos here are actually between Ayacho & Fukuchan (leader and sub-leader of H!P).  It’s a pretty cool song, probably the favorite of the single though.

3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki

I was surprised we were getting this song on the single considering I thought it was more of an Up-Front song than anything (because it was performed first at HinaFest earlier in the year).  That said, seeing the H!P girls get this song is kind of interesting.  The song is a full chorale of a song to a simple piano arrangement.  While I like the togetherness of the track, didn’t we technically get that in “YEAH YEAH YEAH”?  I don’t know, this one is pretty much eh as well, but I suppose it’s clean and simple.

4. Hello! History

Honestly, this should’ve EASILY been the lead song as it really showcases H!P up to date!  It’s funky and the singing is pretty upbeat and kind of quite unique because it mentions a lot of big songs that involve the current groups.  Hell, the leaders of H!P get a solo too (even Reina Ichioka!).  Might look like a bigger “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” but I dig this quite a bit, why is it a B-side???

5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)

Each Regular version of the single does come with a 5th track depending on which version you get (obvious which group you want).  Though I kind of wish it wasn’t YEAH YEAH YEAH as the chosen track though.  Really not much to say here sadly because I’m still not that much of a fan of the song.  Though I guess one good thing that sets these apart from the original is the fact there’s solo lines through each group’s version so I suppose there’s a plus right?

 

 

Compared to “ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL!” and “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku”, this is by far the weakest (get all of H!P together) single to date.  I don’t who thought YEAH YEAH YEAH would make for a decent showing of the company because it kind of brought the generic stuff that H!P has done together in one song.  Probably would’ve better had Akogare no Stress-free or Hello! History as the leading songs because both those tracks are great!  Hana, Takenawa no Toki is simple and nice, but maybe not for this single.  I don’t know this 20th anniversary thing hasn’t really celebrated a lot music-wise IMO…disappointing…

 

 

Country Girls – Matenai After Five/Kasa wo Sasu Senpai August 28, 2018

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 7:40 am

matenaiafter

Track Listing

  1. Matenai After Five
  2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

1. Matenai After Five

Well, I wasn’t expecting Country Girls to tackle more of a jazzier side to their music with this song which they first performed at the Summer tours.  Of course I was kind of surprised with the lighter sound in comparison to their previous releases of recent times.  I’m a little surprised to hear some vocal filters, but the song is really neat and the little guitar solo was just impressive as well!  Nice track overall!

2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

As the other track off this release, Kasa wo Sasu Senpai is giving me slight “Koi wa Magnet” with the bit of synth usage and more somber tone in comparison to “Matenai After Five”.  It’s surprising how far Funakki has grown because I hear her all over the song and she sounds wonderful.  Actually the song is really nice overall!

 

 

Seriously, they should’ve made this a physical single instead of being digital because both tracks are probably the best tracks they’ve done since Momoko left the group and the group itself going into its odd hiatus.  I know I never reviewed “Konamaiki Girl” or even “Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” but both songs were kind of mediocre…at least both songs here are really decent songs…just wished they made PVs for these!

 

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.

 

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)).