With a bright new year comes exciting new music. Or, for some, a stupid name change that makes no sense. Yes, Morning Musume is now Morning Musume ’14 to try and help people distinguish the many different incarnations of the group. I personally believe it’s a terrible and confusing idea, which is going to make Google searches a particular pain. Still, the group has finally retained some popularity, which is great for us longtime fans. As per usual, their latest single is going to set their tone for the rest of the year, so it seems like it’s going to be a strong year for the 10-girl group.
Let’s take a listen to Morning Musume’s 55th single, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa.
Here’s the music video with the official English translation:
The lyrics are actually pretty sweet. The title translates to your “Your smile is like the sunshine.” With a mushy title like that, you might think this is another romantic ballad but it’s not. It falls into the genre of doing your best and living up to your potential but does so in a weirdly sincere way. Maybe its one of those songs that touches you only when you’re in a certain place in life but it certainly made me feel something warm and fuzzy. I think it’s one of the better written song of this new era and it fits well with the tone of the video and the song.
The video is superb. Hello!Project is known for shitty special effects but this video proves if they actually throw money where it needs to be thrown, they can look spectacular and make one kick-ass video. The effects blooming and reacting to the movements of the dance is spot on and the contrast of color against the white is excellent. The movie effects make it seem like the dance and the background are part of an elegantly moving clock.
Speaking of the dance, it’s actually continues the trend of lovely but difficult. There’s a lot of group formations, which they do well, keeping the shape tight but fluid. There are some questionable moves, like the arm flailing in the beginning, and the half kicks right before the final chorus but they are buried under the otherwise great choreography.
One compliant I have is the weird retro costuming. While I am glad we don’t have the cutesy color coded outfits, the stark white-and-black ensembles with the sheer coats are not exactly flattering. I think its the ankle boots that really kills the outfits for me. Another issue is that Erina and Haruna are both wearing long pants and sneakers. Why? Is it because they are tall? They’ve worn skirts before without much of a fuss. It makes little sense — either make everyone’s costumes notably different or make them all the same.
The song by itself is a pleasure to listen to. Some songs have to rely on the video to make it bearable but this one stands on its own proudly. The harsh techno-beats in the non-lyrical parts of the song don’t sharply contrast the warmer, more traditional melody for the verses and chorus. This is a technique they have used before diasterously in their music but here it works seamlessly to keep the song’s energy up without detracting from its sincerity.
Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa is a great song with an equally strong video. If this is the trend that Hello!Project will be taking this group, no matter what they’re called, in 2014, we have a lot to look forward to. All I know is, it’s going to be my first J-Pop purchase of the year and I look forward to listening to it on repeat admist this cold weather.
– Great video.
– Great song.
– Good lyrics
– Weird costuming.
– A few weird moves in the choreography.