~Morning Musume’s template~ aka 「青春コレクション」

It may be true that after 42 singles and so many accolades one may have seen and somewhat done everything? However it doesn't mean that your creative juices ever stop in the process but here now with their 43rd single release Momusu seems to have done just that.

First "Seishun Collection" isn't an awful song by any means as it's rather pleasant I think with its well polished sound, those sweet whimsical strings and personified vocals we've all come to appreciate. But that's really where it all begins, "Seishun Collection" is comfortable in its direction, melody and even so even keel by its very appearance…..however with comfortable are we now hearing a sound which is in line with ”あぐらをかく”。。。 or resting on one's laurels? I do think it's a most pretty~* song but my thinking today lies elsewhere…

And as you watch their pvs which are embedded just below you'll notice something. Even the production minds at UFI appear to have resigned to present what was once tried and true but perhaps today has become a bit redundant? :/ "Close up version", "Dance version", "original version"….with the exception of the "Close up version" certainly the other two are essential I think as "dance versions" provide the best look at all of the wonderful choreography going into these songs while the "original" brings it all together with edited scenes from everything shot~. The redundancy however stems from how the producers are directing the girls and you can definitely see a mold set here as "Seishun Collection" fails to move anywhere outside of this box so to speak. And for some odd reason it's really only happening with Momusu as BK, C-ute and Buono! all have presented looks going outside of the close up blue screen footage…..straightforward dance footage..and even while watching this most recent "Close up version" you can't help but sense a feeling of overwhelming familiarity…done this seen that. Mini story board ideas…that's what's recently been missing as when you go back to earlier Momusu the presentation of their singles were never so much alike…safe…..inside the box~.

And before anyone suggests that my love of Momusu is wavering let me snip that thought in the bud…it's not and it never will. You see it's not about loyalty or saying that "I'll always love them no matter what or I thought this song was great and I'll always be a fan and support them….." It has everything to do with their creative team, their direction and how they're being presented, you see "Seisun Collection" isn't awful, it's just in a safe place where Momusu isn't leaving an impression, breaking new ground  or maximizing their potential which we all know so well that they certainly have. Just where has it gone? Momusu needs their groove back~ ^ ^♥。Ways to break the template?…continued just below…

~breaking the template…

It's a heart sinking feeling to see one of your most beloved groups see sales now of their newest single reach a level which is second lowest in their history, and what a rich history Momusu has. A group who helped revolutionize~* so much for aspiring idols and for creating an unprecedented longevity for their said genre…a group who represented the very center of the J~idol pop universe~.

But no it isn't specifically the recent tally of sales for the week, I mean sales for any group will fluctuate over time and it isn't a reason to go into panic mode….no certainly not. What has me concerned has far more to do with this template in which Momusu seems to have taken to or rather their production team has taken a liking to in that you can always predict with most accuracy what you'll be seeing with each upcoming release. Remember a time when Momusu releases always had you deep in anticipation? Eagerly awaiting to see which new direction not only their music would turn but also the artistry aspect of the group? The visuals, the creativity.

Lose the separate pv releases or at least release them on the same day as their "accompanying" CD single releases…

To begin with the aesthetics, you can be sure that their singles will be packaged alike….DVD extra each containing a single extra pv (dance version, close up version) gone seemingly are the days of including much more enticing extras such as outer slip cases, posters, photo card sets, alternate jackets, note holder…..and that brings up the still existing separate release which houses their original pv versions along with making of footage, the pv DVD single. The pv DVD single surely had its time and it was most awesome in that for one it was released on the very same day as the single it was "accompanying" (now they're released one, two and on occasion even three weeks after the single CD has been released…what became of striking "when the iron is hot" so to speak? and especially now more than ever as pvs are streamed online by record labels prior to even the CD single's release, the promotion aspect truly being promotional) and being all inclusive of pv versions fans perhaps would want to see the most it also allowed CD singles to truly shine on their own (lose the extra DVD) with much more favorable extras~. I remember having such a conversation with PTom @ Hello!Blog awhile back with us both agreeing so much and also speaking of the worry that such trends could bring. Fast forward to today and it's all fully realized pretty much verbatim. And if you speak of the high cost of purchasing import singles not to mention perhaps shrinking shelf space, fans could all benefit so much if singles became all inclusive even if the price went up a bit as would be expected, still it would be so much more fan friendly than needing to purchase three versions just to receive two additional pv versions which could have easily have been included with a much smaller release listing.

Shoot pvs for your b~sides….

Find a new direction….

Incorporate story boards for single releases….

Say good~bye to the "Close up versions" as most of what you see in these are already present in the "original versions."

If releasing multiple versions entice with something new. That would mean also perhaps placing more pv alternate versions into the "original/a~type" release, it can be done as other idol groups are currently doing it making acquiring releases and their extras much more fan friendly =). Include sets or randomly inserted photos, shitajiki, cards, outer slip cases, key chain straps, etc. as these are far much more "collectible" than DVDs and would certainly entice fans much more in wanting to collect multiple editions~*. And certainly none of these ideas are unrealistic in terms of cost or practicality to record labels or unfeasible as they're occurring right now in our idol music world with great success….(think 3 letters of the alphabet) Momusu just needs to explore~ ^ ^。

Again this isn't a negative posting as I like "Seishun Collection" the song, but rather thoughts on asserting the potential and positives that we all know Momusu possesses so much….and open letter if you will っo(*´∀`)o。 

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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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17 Responses to ~Morning Musume’s template~ aka 「青春コレクション」

  1. J-pyon says:

    Oh my i cant believe you hate モーニング 娘….lol just kidding teehhee.(^_^)yI really like this song as for the video im not sure what constitutes a good video so i never really have a opinion on it. Lately i have been feeling really nostalgic and have been looking at the older video's and listening to the older songs and even though i really like the music of the recent girls the older music i think has a lot more to it, what i mean by that is the older songs are classics, and in the future young artists will be singing those songs like how today's sings the classics of yesteryear like princess princess's Diamond etc…I really am guessing hear and maybe you'll agree or not but to me i think Tsunku (or maybe not tsunku but UFA) is riding this group out and using the name to make as much money as they can before wrapping it up. Tsunku may want to start over and make a new group but UFA maybe not allowing it until dismal record sales. In a worse case scenario maybe Tsunku is running out of ideas, since he is the sole writer for the HP girls music maybe he is starting not be able to come up with any ideas. This happens to song writers who have had long careers even the greats like Paul McCartney start to run out of ideas and just tours on the classics he made. These are just my opinions and i still really love the new songs i just don't think they are on par with the older songs and can be called classics. Sorry this is so long i apologize…and yes i know you still love Momuse disregard the start lol just teasing. (~_^)y But i really want to know what you think maybe you can shed some insight since you been around the Jpop seen longer than i, im really interested in what you think.peeeace


  2. HarimaKenji says:

    Ah, I was writing a comment here but forget it, I don't want to be negative in this blog. I'll just say I find this very boring.


  3. Finally. You know something has gone wrong when MorningBerryz starts questioning them. Good on you MB, straightforward and honest unlike other blogs which skip the subject and move onto something else without having to question themselves or what they adore, just to avoid controversy.


  4. I think it's really true~* and for nearly every genre of music, as even with American pop when you really dig deep into many of the artists of the 50's, 70's, 80's and I think especially the 60's there's so much more depth and overall creativity I agree so much with you~. I know it can be difficult for song writers as so much has been done before and even if subtle you do find similarities in melodies and techniques used in writing as so much can be borrowed at times I guess inevitable mostly? A~h! I so love Puri Puri! This may have been before you began visiting here but I wrote a little post here =). They're really one of the all~time~greats~*! With Tsunku it's so hard to say…..it's true that he writes so so much and till now maybe he is running out of new inspirations I wonder? He's touched upon so many genres and has always been so amazing….I do wonder if that's true of his ideas maybe running out a bit, I do hope it's not the case and maybe he does just need a bit of a break for awhile so he can come back refreshed~. I remember when my most favorite band Mr.Children♥♥♥ took an extended hiatus at one point in their career, I became so worried that Sakurai~san wouldn't return but surely he and his three band mates did and from then they continued to revolutionize with their unique style of music and fans responded so much. Maybe Tsunku just needs a bit of the same I wonder…and I do agree so much that earlier Momusu always trumps current day Momusu in terms of purely music~*, Tsunku's music writing was unpredictable and so varied you just never knew from single or album to album what was coming next, such an amazing~* time. It's like ever since his techno writing for Momusu it's been mostly straight ahead pop/r&b…still with BK he writes so differently so it's really a deliberate focus I think in keeping Momusu with this current style and image? I agree that while early Momusu and their golden age in general has so many songs that can be called classics today, much of their recent songs will not have that same distinction….there just isn't as much of a memorable style to them. Though I'm also not saying they're bad songs no no no not saying that as I love many of them as mostly documented here with each of their single releases, it's just that the songs aren't as deeply creative….still they're catchy. I have so many memories of Momusu in their early days from the very beginning with their debut as I listened and purchased them in real time back then as they're one of a few groups which I've followed, loved and supported since their beginnings so they'll always be unique and special as that can never go away.


  5. Oh it's okay to be honest, really although I know you're always most cheery~* when we speak =). At first you know I was thinking…..I did write on and on for maybe too long lol so it is most likely very boring (._.;)! But then I thought maybe you meant the song? (._.;)! Wait…..maybe it is me, I've never been a very good writer :P.


  6. And HarimaKenji~*, your thoughts are always welcome♥. You're always so so knowledgeable and insightful with everything..love speaking with you o(*´∀`)o゛♥!


  7. Hi SB~*! This has been slowly brewing in me for a little while now….just that there used to be a time when I'd literally run from my mailbox to my CD player to hear the newest Momosu song and see their new pv. And with this new single oddly I didn't open it right away even, it's a weird feeling but when I thought about it more and more I realized that putting my feelings into words here was sort of like a way of feeling better, you know just knowing that I've said out loud what I've been feeling. I mean I so so love and adore Momusu♥ so I always want the very best for them so when this sort of mold was becoming much more prominent I wrote this just to get it all out. I do hope it doesn't turn anyone off or create any anger as that totally wasn't the point in writing this, it's my hopes~* for them and how they can change and move forward in a most positive light~ ^ ^。


  8. It's been too long MB, been well? Genki?


  9. Hmm….it's funny I've never really thought about this before…I mean with Momusu it's always been automatic I'd pre~order all LE releases. Hm, I'd say it's purely group devotion♥ I just can't imagine not supporting Momusu. Am I silly? I don't know. Well in person I am :P. I wish~* I could sit in on one of the producer's brainstorming sessions……I'd just like for them to know that their fans are most devoted but still you need to keep things unique, surprising and always keep moving forward never resting on any one formula as they truly do get tired after awhile. (Imagines myself being thrown out of said imaginary meeting :P!!!) A~h, I don't know…I've been known to be a bit overly idol obsessed @ times XD and it's really a bit awkwardly funny to be sitting with your bf♥ and then having you both say something like….."she's really cute!!!" at the same time and then he wonders if you're somewhat of a ******* (・д・`*)!!!So so not the case though XD! I miss speaking with everyone @ Tintee, I hope you are doing great too SB! And please be careful on your bike =).


  10. Haha, "automatic preorders" now thats the sign of someone devoted to the extent thats it's become second nature. Perhaps silly, but we all have to be silly sometimes and we can't exactly explain it to others.


  11. o(*´∀`)o゛。。。happy it's okay to be silly! I was so thinking that when the entire Elder's Club graduated that that would lend to so much more possibilities for the remaining members…like with larger budgets, creativity thingies and maybe engaging the fans a bit more. It's so odd though to step back and see the entire picture, I mean of how revolutionizing Momusu has been in the past to their gradual changes till today. Wait, 'watch??' hmm I have a very strict nothing will ever be recorded policy XD although we've never done that before…well not you know "it" but other it's are okay (。ーωー。) ♪♪ Okay great to know you're being safe =)!…..just imagining the three of you together I can imagine the candid conversations? I hope~* that Wu is happy and doing well…we haven't spoken in quite awhile and I think he would rather have it that way but please don't say anything to him. Oh I've written I think a couple of them not too long ago but I've been trying to make it a point to make the blog more about my interests and things and not so much about me….lol I'm boring who'd want to read about me :P! That being said….um there's something I've just received to wear that I think I need to write about (*≧▽≦)♪


  12. Mmmmm, I guess. Perhaps the creative spark within the franchise has gone and it's time to bring in some new blood to revitalise it? I don't know, I don't like to deal with idols except maybe for Buono since it's become more of a morality issue and the idea that Yuuka is getting a PB only reinforces the fact the reason I left the idol scene. Oh, not recorded! I mean it's more like it will be recorded in his memory and that you can watch you and your favourite idol…"get it on" in subtle terms haha.


  13. J-pyon says:

    Ahh Thank you for replying and yea i agree Tsunku does write differently for MoMuse than he does the other girls. Berryz music i really still love a lot as well as S/Mileage and even Cute but with the diminishing sales of Momuse and fan support diminishing i really find it unnerving that you may be seeing the last of Momuse. Unfortunately i did not catch Momuse at the very beginning, at that time morning musume was created i was not even into idol groups. I was more into Bands than singing groups. My favorite band of the 90's of course was Sharon kyuu. But when i heard that Tsunku was hanging it up to be and a producer i pretty much never payed attention to what he was doing since he was not in Sharon anymore. Funny it was by chance in 2004 that i found out you could download videos of j-bands on the net so me being a fan of Sharon Q I wanted their videos but for some reason when when i would do a search on Sharon or Tsunku Morning Musume would pop up. It was after a few days of scouring the net and ignoring Momuse i finally clicked a Momuse video which was Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari and let me tell you that song blew me away as well as seeing a lot of pretty girls lol. After that i bought every CD possible in one order which was very expensive lol. I have been a very big supporter since then. The point of this long and drawn out story which i apologize for making, is that i really really really love Momuse and to ever think that they one day may not be around really saddens me. For along time i have looked to japan for what i felt was a void in music that for some reason the American Music could not fill. MoMuse really helped fill that void and made me excited all over again for music as well as making me an idol fan. Point is i really hope that Momuse is only on a short decline for now and im really hoping for a rebound from them, I really have faith in Tsunku to turn this around, Tsunku did turn some unknown girls into a super group whose sales has reached the Million plus selling point, which is usually reserved for the elite. But unfortunately there is that little bit of doubt in the back of my mind thinking this is it. Sorry for being so Melancholy was not my intention just a little worried that's all. Thank you for your insights as well as your postings of what is going on in jpop land i greatly appreciate it…Peeeace (^_^)y ……P.S. i forgot to mention i really really love Buono to and the though of almost forgetting to mention that scares me lol.. (^^)//


  14. HarimaKenji says:

    =o no no no, I think Momusu is boring, you're as great as ever. I just lost interest in Momusu and if I look back, it's all downhill from Yossie's graduation. In fact, I think the last concert/thing-they-released I care about was Yossie's graduation. Today my reaction to a new Momusu single is somewhere between no reaction and "I wonder what ridiculous costume they're using this time". It's weird, because I still like Buono!/Berryz/C-ute…Well, it is true though that I'm generally not a devoted fan in the sense of forever liking something, every hobby I've ever had lasted for about 2-3 years and then faded away until something else came up, so it might be I've naturally gotten bored and there's nothing they could do about that.


  15. U~n..Buono! seems almost like an out of body experience for H!P in some ways..I mean I love them all but Buono! really is set so far apart in everything they do and just how they're produced and their image. I think they're amazing~* too!! So cool they already have such a signature style, sound and look too…speaking of which they haven't released a new single in awhile? A~h! Yuuka is really getting a pb??..I was half joking about it when she was appearing in UTB but I guess with the Japanese culture it's so different in what they deem okay or just how things are viewed. The most interesting or odd has to be with their laws against nudity or more specifically you know *that area* of us which they consider forbidden and yet in so many other ways J~culture pushes the boundaries….lol there's some anime I've been shown that's well a bit…(*´艸`)!!!Hmm…now I'm going to ask just what is he thinking then XD!A~h!! he still smokes (・д・`*)!!。。。one of his promises back then was that he'd try to quit…Wu (>_<) But I'm happy~* to hear that he's doing fine and writing really is his passion….travel too. I've tried it on and it fits I think…..but somehow I don't think it's really a gift* for me so to speak XD!


  16. I really understand how you feel as Momusu has been such a…really a part of my life and for such a long time now that's it's unimaginable that could ever go away =(. I have to believe that both Tsunky and UFI is seeing so much of what's happening and they'll act upon it and it's difficult to know exactly what that answer really is…I mean Momusu defined and moved forward so much of J~idols and music that at this point I wonder how you would change something without them losing their identity at the same time. But where there's a will there's a way =). Thank you~* for sharing how you discovered them!!!…it's always so refreshing to hear!! "Joshikashimashi monogatari" was awesome!!!!…I can totally see how that song and video made you into a fan! Kore kara mo yoroshiku ne~* ^ ^!


  17. A~hh I'm sort of insecure about these things sorry for thinking that :P! I know what you mean as there have been some most poignant graduation concerts that come to mind where the group changed so much even with the graduation of a single member~. Yossi brought such a cool aspect and just the way she always handled herself was like no one before and no one after….although it was quite early I was really bummed out when Yuko graduated and I just never saw it coming…I thought age isn't important so why graduate her? Second would be when Gomaki graduated, I felt the group had lost so much then….it was like Tsunku wanted to have a dynamic soloist but in the process I would have kept her in Momusu much much longer. Interesting that they're releasing a best of from Gomaki a bit later this year covering all of her singles and I think it'll have all of her pvs too on a extra DVD….the timing seem odd I don't know. I think it's great that you're constantly moving….hmm I used to love collecting stamps when I was little, I do wonder where they have all gone.


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