Just as the Asayan auditions of long ago grew into the phenomenon known as Momusu, a most defining debut release has once again surfaced as UFA pushes to broaden their Asian horizons in the wake of their very successful Hello! Project New Star Auditions in Taiwan resulting in their first all Taiwanese pop group Ice Creamusume.
Ice Creamusume's debut mini album "1st Best!" can be ordered here at YesAsia. ^ ^
I did initially find their debut mini album's title "1st Best!" to be a bit odd as usually the word "best" is reserved for compilation albums released down the road in a group/artist's career…..however in the case of this mini debut it's actually very appropriate! 4 of the 7 tracks are fittingly Momusu cover songs with all but one being performed in Mandarin, that being a second version of "Morning Coffee" sung entirely in Japanese. All of the other tracks are also sung in Mandarin making this really my very first "extensive" venture into what may be called "Mando-pop." And being that Mandarin for me personally creates a solid language barrier as I understand not a single word or phrase of it although whenever I do hear "hello" in mandarin I think to myself….un~wakatta! ^ ^…but otherwise with the exception of their Japanese version of "Morning Coffee" this entire release's appeal would be reliant on the strength of songwriting and the sweet phonetic sounds of Mandarin itself.
One of my earliest encounters with Chinese pop music can be traced back to Taiwanese actress/singer/model Vivian Hsu's Japanese pop idol career which combined her debut with a comedic duo forming the Black Biscuits, and later her solo work in Japan continued with additional single and album releases containing both Japanese as well as Chinese language pop songs. And it was here that I first was able to appreciate and enjoy the the lovely "swishy" phonetics of Mandarin when put into song lyrics…sorry that's just my endeared way of describing that distinct and soft sound of the Mandarin language as I find it cutely "slippery." Mandarin really has a sound which rolls off the tongue and with so many subtleties in accents, intonation and phrasing which can change the meaning of words and phrases so drastically if spoken incorrectly I imagine it's one of the most challenging languages in the world to learn!
Vivian Hsu's "Mou aisenai" represents one of my very earliest encounters with Chi-pop and the Japanese title here was only derived as a translation for the Japanese listeners as the song itself is entirely performed in the Mandarin language.
Before getting to the album tracks let's meet those 6 adorable members which make up Ice Creamusume…
This is perhaps really really premature as so far I've only watched each of them in audition clips and the included DVD which accompanies this album, but I've decided to list them in order of my favorites…
I think it's so cute that each individual member has been given a nickname as well as a flavor of ice cream to represent them! ^o^ I don't even like ice cream but I so want one of those ice cream jackets that they're all wearing~! And the zipper is so cute!
#2. Guuchan/ Flavor: Mango! ^ ^
#3. Anchii/ Flavor: Coffee! ^ ^
1. Lian ai deng chang
2. Zao an ka fei (Morning Coffee)
3. Ame no furanai hoshi de wa aisenai darou?
4. Lian ai ge ming (Renai revolution21)
5. Go Girl~lian ai sheng li~ (Go Girl~koi no victory~)
6. Debut!~Lian ai de zhuan jiao hui you hao yun jiang lin~
7. Zao an ka fei (Morning Coffee/ Japanese version)
Producer Tsunku is credited with all lyrical & music content with the exception of arrangements and while four tracks are prior Momusu compositions of his I'm thinking…..Mandarin lyrics too~? :O Above is a version of their debut pv. It's so sweet that those backgrounds were drawn by the members themselves!! =)
Beloved classics "Morning Coffee", "Renai Revolution21" and "Go Girl~koi no victory" all get versions in Mandarin and it's really refreshing to hear these familiar songs in such a new light. Initially I thought I may feel a bit hesitant to enjoy these in another language but quickly upon hearing their very first notes that immediately is not the case and truly all six members shine both indvidually and as an ensemble as each member possesses vocal talent as well as playful personalities. In particular the three Momusu tracks that were chosen for this debut are quite perfect selections not only for their greatness individually as songs but also in that the vocal arrangements of early Momusu reflect a much higher level of vocal prowess in their arrangements and layers of vocal harmonies making these furthermore, perfect vehicles for a serious musical debut. Specifically speaking, it's Momusu's debut album "First Time" which includes some of the most advanced vocal arrangements and one may need not look further than such tracks as "Yume no naka", "Mirai no tobira", "Samishii hi", and "Good Morning" as good examples of how Momusu started out as a serious "vocal" group with the sense of "idol" coming in as a secondary element.
Ice Creamusume also bears a seemingly natural air of confidence within themselves which is viewable through many of the included clips on the accompanying DVD as well as others found on streaming video on the internet and what this really does immediately is create a very endearing aura for fans to both connect with and embrace….and whether this is a product of "idol" coaching or completely natural, the end result that we're witnessing in this early stage is one that could strongly suggest the group's ability to persevere and thrive in the very competitive music scene as fans really need to make a connection in order to continue their allegiance to just about any new group or artist that bursts onto the scene.
The accompanying DVD has a running time of just over 37 minutes and goes beyond the realm of a "making of" disc as in addition to the jacket shooting and pv making there's also the inclusion of their announcement into the group, short auditon clips, dining out moments, dance lessons, vocal studio clips as well as lots and lots of wonderful candid moments between members! A few notable favorites here would be their meeting with Nacchi! ♥, the Hangry & Angry promotion behind them while they're in Shibuya I think???, their visit to a Hello! Project Petit Museum which as them watching a Momusu pv (*´∀｀*)♪♪…..and of course the CD player giveaway on the bus where the very member who has a CD readily available keeps losing in jankenpo until…..how sweet~! as everyone gets one. o(*´∀｀)o゛♥
" Lian ai deng chang" (tracks 1 & 6) is truly Ice Creamusume's "Good Morning" in every sense and just like Momusu opened up their debut "First Time" concert at Shibuya Koukaido many years ago this will make for the perfect entrance song as Ice Creamusume takes to the big stage for the first time! (sigh…pray for a live band too in this instance although that's probably highly unlikely! ) And along with "Morning Coffee" I so love that they chose to include both a Mandarin and Japanese version for both tracks…..and with this Ice Creamusume does 100% justice to all Momusu tracks they're representing and I would really love to hear more cover Momusu songs along with originals in their future releases. Outside of the already familiar tracks I do ♥ ballads and track 3 "Ame no furanai hoshi de wa aisenai darou?" is pure love in every sense!!
I apologize for my insatiable desire to ramble on and on…….so here are the 7 tracks. =)
Ice Creamusume is so cool :]they're all so ke ai/kawaii >w<
You've just made me want to go and buy this you know!? >_> I wasn't going to for a while, but now I'm not so sure. I also have to say that you like your screencaps ^o^ 😛 It looks so good though, so I may have to not get one thing and get this instead 😀 Oh, and a very thorough and brilliant review =D
So true~! I'm really impressed with their debut release so much as all of the members seem to be much more matured as artists/idols than I expected. ^o^ U~n! honto ni kawaii! =)
Ah~ I hope that's a good thing! ^-^ You can preview all of the album's tracks above first though if you're not quite sure. LOL you've just discovered my weakness!…..screencaps! XD I just ♥ making screencaps and I always end up with way too many so I end up deleting like half of them because there's just no way that anyone would want to see so many! 😛 I used to write up episode synopsis for Hello! Morning episodes before it went off the air awhile back and if you ever bump into one of those posts here you'll realize just how obsessed I really am with screencaps! ＼(^o^)／☆ The only problem back then was that I wasn't able to create proper ones so I literally would take little photos of an LCD screen in my bedroom with a camera. XD Really sad I know but my pc software/hardware was so old that I couldn't even play DVDs on it. >_<; I think I averaged about 120-160 screencaps per episode post back then and it would take forever to upload on dial up! XD Thank you James~! Awwww my little write up here is in no way deserving of such words though…I'm really an awful writer. ^-^
Yay~! I'm so happy Zush! as there are so many reasons to fall in love with ICM! ^o^♪♪ I had their album on repeat and it's true that there are absolutely no filler tracks here to speak of and it may be quite symbolic that they're debuting with such classic Momusu songs for us to relive and fall in love with all over again~! ^ ^-^
Most definitely that's a good thing ^_^ I've listened to them all and have liked everyone of them =D I use to listen to Mando-pop ^.^ and I don't know why I stopped. Although I must say, it is a different experience. With Japanese music I have a minuscule understanding of some words and am familiar with a lot more, but with Mandarin I know nothing. Well, it's one of the better weaknesses out there ^-^ I never take good screencaps, I usually get them right in the middle of frame changes so they blur.I'm going to go hunting for those Hello! Morning episode synopsis' now 😀 Awww, you use to used a camera to take screencaps.WOW, you used a camera to take 120 to 160 screencaps per episode……………..WOW! =] I can't wait to find them. And you are not an awful writer, definitely not an awful writer.
Ah~yokatta! =) For me it was exactly the same so it really came down to the appeal of the harmonies and vocal rhythms as I understand not a word of Mandarin! XD I love taking screencaps….so much that I think it's a hobby! But choosing the ones that I like takes even longer than taking them and before I know it there are hundreds of them in my recycle bin. 😛 Hm…they may be difficult to find though…..how did I tag them????………"H!M"…I think. The images are so awful and tiny but that's the only way that I could think of to include them as I couldn't take proper screencaps with my old pc….really sad and wacky I know! 😛 No I am awful…it's really true. My writing is scattered and messy. 🙂
Ah~! Found them. Yes they are tagged as h!m. And I have to say, I was expecting the pictures to be rather less than good, but they're actually not too bad. I've never taken a photo of an LCD, only a CRT screen and they have black flickers through the picture. Well, your writing is way better than mine (and much more enjoyable to read through).
That's strange….there should be more of them. Hm…I wonder what the rest are tagged under. I'm really disorganized here aren't I! >_<; The little pics are still very very grainy ne~ but I'm so low tech that that was the best that I could do back then. Must be sad to look at now.
Well if they were easy to find that wouldn't be any sort of challenge, ne~? It's quite fun actually. The pics are great, so is the running commentary and your added little bits ^ ^ I like reading things like that.
I'm was looking for the rest of them too and I found HM@ episodes instead but then there's some randomness here. XD I was having a memory lane episode of sorts that day and I miss H!M so much as HM@ just never quite lived up to its predecessor although I did love that show too~! ^ ^
not bad~ I understand their mandarin haha…All every nice except for 'Go Girl ~koi no Victory~' well… I thin that that song is made meant for Japanese language… so when sang in Mandarin using the same melody and tone… sounds a little wierd…But I'm impressed by their Jap language… not bad at all!I'm gonna see how they sprout from NOW onwards haha~ \V/Both the Mandarin ver. and Japanese ver. of Morning Coffee is Cute hahah!I think I like the 6th Song best – デビュー！～恋する角には福来る～
Ah you're so lucky to be able to understand Mandarin!! ^o^ I'm really wondering if they translated the Momusu songs exactly the same or sometimes I know that Japanese is difficult to translate into another language accurately so that could always be the case at times. You're at such an advantage knowing the lyrics in Mandarin…..I'm just falling in love with the melody and sound of the phrases~! XD Their pronunciation is really great!………I agree too!..track 6 is like their own "Good Morning" song~! ^ ^ I'm happy that you had a chance to listen to all of their songs so far…..now if only you could watch the accompanying DVD too because you'd understand all of what is being said throughout the program. =)
Ahh… so you want me to translate for you?Well, the lyrics in Chinese, though arn't all the same, some message and phases do have the same meaning or direct translation from Japanese…Of course! I am proud that I am a Singaporean and I am a Chinese haha!Though I like to learn japanese also~ ("T – T;)Eh…any links to the DVD? heheh~ \V/
Still so jealous that you can understand their Mandarin~! XD Ah so they really did change some of the lyrics when they translated them to Japanese….I just had a feeling that some of it would be difficult or just very different to translate directly and yet capture the same feeling. The DVD file was quite large for me to upload here but I'm thinking that someone may have uploaded it somewhere….I'll let you know if I find it. ^ ^