Momusu returns to much more favorable CD sales with the release of their latest single "Resonant Blue" which can also viewed as a possible mark in the sand representing a new age of Momusu. After the dip in sales which their previous single "Mikan" produced (which came to my surprise actually as I look to be in minority here…but I really thought it was a well produced single in its own right), whispers could be heard concerning the possible 'end' of one of the longest standing female idol groups of our time. And with first week sales surpassing 48,000 a total which has been met twice since the Summer of 2005, a span which includes 9 top 5 singles by the group…whispers of the queen's death may have been somewhat exaggerated or premature. Of course Oricon rankings are all about timing…just be sure not to release your single during the same week as Mr.Children, Hikki, or Ayu to name just a few consistent #1 spot regulars.
Momusu remains as one of just a few groups in which I have collected every commercial edition of their singles so in continuing with my unwavering love for them I've purchased all 3 editions of "Resonant Blue" as well. Over the years their first press editions and LE's have gone through numerous extra offerings to fans which act as incentives when considering which if not all editions to purchase. As of late the age of the bonus DVD has arrived and with the exclusion of a collectible booklet this time around this format looks to be with us for some time. Personally the photo booklets were always the best extra, followed closely by the trading cards and of course slip cases which usually adorned the first press booklet editions always offered a nice variation to the actual jewel case covers.
With the incentive here being alternate versions of the main pv (I'm assuming as I'm yet to view the original version as Gakisan is holding up my order at Cdjapan!) their worthiness will then be determined by the overall quality and actual originality of said pvs…as in the past on several occasions these "alternate pvs" have failed to live up to the billing of an essential extra version giving the first press the overall feel of a inexpensive way to offer an extra for the sake of having one. Incentives to music consumers of Japanese music has always been a strong aspect of the Japanese music industries' ability to produce sales while most other countries are seeing a deep regression in their industries but with the inevitable balancing of returns versus cost one can only imagine that these "extra" discs now being offered more and more frequently with H!P releases, that the reasoning most likely is centered on burdening their budget with a much lower production cost versus the one created by the inclusion of booklets, cards, case tins, or posters with such releases. A quick note before moving on to the songs…while type A is the unique cover I find that I prefer the look of the RE's cover as a larger profile of the members is represented in a nicely aligned configuration taken from further back than type B's cover photo.
While future releases will show whether "Resonant Blue" will stand as a turning point in the group's history, a definite line in the sand has been drawn with this release as it some sense can be viewed as the transition from adolescence to adulthood in aspects ranging from lyrical content, composition, attire choice, to overall styling. Most notable are the songs incredibly passionate lyrics which tell of a "tormented" love and the desire to forcefully push past it with commitment and sincerity all while displaying a defiant flare which is delivered lyrically and vocally with conviction. I imagine that a great appeal can be found here and in particular by female fans as the desire to become more involved and serious in a relationship sent with the clear message of physical intimacy being withheld as an "ultimatum" provides an easy path to relate to I feel. Momusu has covered so many different genres of music in these past 10+ years but it's far too rare that the group is presented with a musical arrangement which breathes such maturity as "Resonant Blue" does and in particular it reminds me of ironically a very early release of theirs, "Memory seishun no hikari"…not to say that they sound similar which they don't but in the sense of their overall style , approach, and tone. That's not to say that I hope for and end to their cute J-Pop compositions which any adorable idol group definitely shouldn't be without and a sound that I love so much, but as a group's image transpires inevitably in most cases towards maturity something that Momusu has been quite unique in refraining from due to the groups revolving member exits and entrances through graduation one can ponder whether this is the beginning of a new era in the groups' image and approach to music. Hmmm….I have all of those sweet "nee nee dakedo's" and "nee nee dareka's" stuck with me right now! ^-^
"Resonant Blue" gets a perfect 10 rating from me and while I don't tend to use number scales here when discussing music I feel in this case it's the best way to express my love for this release as it has a depth and relativity which hasn't been this strong in quite some time in the groups' releases. The musical composition itself is a nicely blended r&b/ pop marriage and the harmonies are effective…expressive…with a forthrightness about them which lend appropriately to the "longing/ lonely" feel of the chorus which acts as the centerpiece of the song in more ways than the obvious.
The coupling with track "Sono bamen de bibiccha ikenaijan!" provides the perfect compliment to the title track as it counters the extreme moodiness of "Resonant Blue" with the familiar sweet classic J-Pop sound which Tsunku pens so well. This entire composition actually really really reminds me of a musical! The joyous ensemble vocals which engulf the solo verse lines along with it's extremely bright and happy vibe are so infectious that it's love at first listen! <3!! I call this J-Pop perfection! ^-^ These two compositions together make for one of Momusu's most diverse single releases to date and while Tsunku's techno approach which has been quite popular of late, I can't stop smiling at how this release has taken a turn in the groups' sound, look, and appeal which I hope will continue to move Momusu forward into a "new" era. I've actually been listening to this b-side a lot recently as I really love this song so much!! So "happyyyy!!"
While I'm still waiting for my PV DVD single of "Resonant Blue" to arrive (hurry Gakisan's pb!! I'm suffering from Arashi withdrawal symptoms too as you're holding back the delivery of their new album as well!! :P) I'm really happy to have not one but two versions to enjoy in the meantime as edition A offers the simply stated "Another Ver." of the pv while edition B includes somewhat of an intriguing title with "Lesson Studio Ver." After watching both versions one can only imagine all of the excess footage being shot which usually never sees the light of day but in this case two decent versions of the pv have been produced from all of this and luckily they're nothing like those GAM psuedo pvs which hid under the title of first press bonus pvs which I can't seem to forget about. 😛 After reading numerous reactions to the original version and while I still haven't viewed it I can only assume that it's largely made up of the darkened dance shot which appears above in their "another ver." clip. The main complaint being that it's overly dark and obscures the girls appearances…and while I do understand fully the legitimacy of this I find myself seeing it quite differently. To be honest what I was really expecting to see would have been something much more similar to the visual obscurity which the "Dance Shot Ver." of "Osaka koi no uta" produced as the girls became mere shadows for the most part as a blurred sensation was thrown upon us which I thought was a real downfall of this version which could have been so much more with the wonderful ballet inspired choreography that was "seen" throughout. The dark lighting for "Resonant Blue" I feel actually suits the song perfectly as the combination of slight shadow blended with the black of their outfits fits nicely with the blue tint in the foreground…and if you imagine for a minute the loss of depth and trajectory this song would suffer with the use of bright lighting or anything of the like, the mood of the song wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful or visually accepted with a real sense of the lyrics' deep conviction. And in that approach I can really understand and applaud the vision that the director(s) had in mind when these shots were filmed. And the member's faces are quite visible! One thing is certain…this is Reinachan and Aichan's showcase song with a sweet touch of Kohachan. And when looking at type A's cover it really becomes obvious as not only are they front and center but their outfits are also adorned distinctly with the color blacks' strongest contrast, white. Their outfits are also some of the groups' most provocative and Reinachan and Aichan's also lead the way in this regard! I still think the togas are sexier though!! My only personally charged and incredibly biased "complaint" here would be…not enough Kamei!!! So here's some Kamei screen caps which you really have to wait for! :O
The team of Sayu & Kamei is always a winning one and I'm still awaiting the arrival of their very special unit "Eriyumi!" ^-^ Stranger things have happened! 😛
Kamei has the greatest eyes!!! And cutest nose too!!! ^-^
The "Lesson Studio Ver." of "Resonant Blue" is quite literally just that and this pv has kind of a feeling of an afterthought as it appears to be a simple collage of unused footage exclusively from the dance rehearsal scenes. But what I really love about this version of the pv is the really casual attire that everyone's wearing…kind of like the morning after a sleep over! 😛 Seriously though I think their rehearsal outfits are really cute in a nice fluffy kind of way! ^-^
And once again there's just not enough Kamei!…so first here are some of her rare appearance screen caps! 😛