Ah, Morning Musume. You try and you try to make popular songs. Hell, you were even pretty close to a super-hit with One Two Three. While the group has always maintained a semblance of some popularity in Japan, it’s easy to see how slowly the unit has been slipping from the popular consciousness. But with another line up change on the way, “momusu” has yet another chance to try and gain some fans. Will this single prove their worth or be just another addition to the linage of forgotten singles?
Let’s take a look at their 51st single, Wakuteka Take a Chance.
Here’s a version of the video with english subs, but you can also see a text-only version here.
As far as the lyrics go, the song is essentially about a girl whose in love with her boyfriend and is struggling with her excitement about being in love and being in a relationship. Basically, it’s the same topic covered in the majority of J-Pop songs, except a little creepier since it mentions being “easy,” a topic a little sketchy when the median age of this group is now 14. They seem sort of vague and generic, which is fine for a song that is meant to be dancable anyways. In the end, it seems like a song that would have been more appropriate for an older group, but since this is Tsunku’s star unity, it makes sense to give it to them. The beat is catchy, and works in the sense that it will get you dancing, but it’s lacking the excitement and energy of One Two Three.
The costumes range from nice, i.e. Riho, Sayu, and Reina, to awful, i.e. Kanon, who looks like she’s going to go bowling after the video is done. Personally, the bright pink-green color scheme could work if they didn’t cross it with high school cheerleaders on a black-paper-mache binge. With the very dark and muted white background of the video, neon-fluorescent colors work well, and give the idea of going out to a dark club and glow lights. I think it’s an improvement on the outfits where all the same but each had their own specific color. But still, I got to ask, why does Reina have cat ears? And why is she the only one?
Speaking of, line distribution in this song is a little better than it had been in One Two Three (this is the last time I’ll mention that song, I SWEAR) but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Reina and Riho are the leads, again, though Sayumi, Mizuki, and Ayumi getting a line in here or there. Every girl at least gets a word to herself, so there’s that? It still sounds, and feels, unbalanced, which is a real shame since the girls have been really growing in their singing and dancing abilities. Hopefully, by the time the new single comes out, probably sometime in 2013, there will be a little more diversity in the line distribution.
The video itself is fine. The standard fair for UFP at this point – plain-ish background with the girls singing in front of a background, or in silhouette. There are two variations on this formula within the video – one that works, and one that doesn’t. The one that works is this cool shot of each of the members waking up on brightly colored floor boards:
And then there are the shots where you literally have all the girls standing around, looking directly at the camera and singing. They looked either bored or pissed or both – they simply stand there, making faces, and sing. Why? I don’t know. There’s no plot in this video so there’s no reason they need to be there, standing around, singing randomly at the camera. Does this make sense? Nope. Does it match with the rest of the video? A little. Is it kind of distracting? Yes.
The dance is a lot of fun, with more complicated choreography than before. I like how they are still doing a variation of the wave-drop, where each member does some sort of stylized drop or crouch to the floor, because it works well with a big group like this one. The fact that this song is more club based-dubstep oriented helps with the mechanical feel of the dance itself. I will say I’m not crazy that during the chorus all the girls move together in one straight line back and forth, just seems like a lazy move, and it limits people who want to do fan covers of the dance as it’s not a move you could do on your own.
Wakuteka Take a Chance is a fun song, but it’s not exactly what I would call good. While it’s got a good beat, and utilizes some really great choreography, it falls apart a little when you view it as a whole. Either way, this single is just a place holder for the next single, when 11th member Sakura Oda joins the group and hopefully adds some energy to the line-up.
– Strong beat.
– Good dance.
– Good use of scenery, bright colorful video.
– Mediocre costumes.
– Muddled lyrics and tone.
– Some scenes in video feel a little out of place.