Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 1: Kaorin

A couple of days ago I wrote about Melon Kinenbi's cover single "Namida no Taiyou" and I included a list of Hello! Project cover singles. This brought me to thoughts of the entire cover albums that have also been released. And thus I have decided to embark on a quest to collect the originals of songs covered by Hello! Project. Now begins A Covert Operation.

Mission 1: Kaorin

While still an active member of Morning Musume Iida Kaori released three albums and two singles, and after she graduated she released one more album. These releases all had a Mediterranean theme, and in fact the first two albums were cover albums of popular songs in French, Italian, and Greek. Her fourth album also contained two covers, one in French and one in Italian.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A tiny basket of love

Kago Ai has posted some adorable photos of herself as a little girl via Twitter.

And we all thought she was little when she joined Morning Musume!

You can follow Kago on Twitter @lovbus. Can you believe she's nearly 22? She's older than me by only 30 days!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Namida no Taiyou: a cover for every decade

Lately I've been spending a lot of time reformatting the release pages for Melon Kinenbi over at wiki.JpopStop, and today I ran across an interesting tidbit that I was previously unaware of. Melon Kinenbi's twelfth single (Namida no Taiyou) is a cover. But it's not just a cover, it's song sort of ultimate debut song.

The song was originally released as Emy Jackson's debut single Namida no Taiyou (Crying in a Storm) back in 1965. It's in English and is a rockin' little track. It's credited to Emy Jackson to Smashmen, whoever the Smashmen are.

Eight years later Anzai Maria, who was a quarter European by birth, released her debut: Namida no Taiyou with Japanese lyrics! It's definitely got that '70s sound like early Pink Lady.

Tanaka Minako debuted in 1989, and guess what her first single was. Yep, a new version of Namida no Taiyou. This time we get both Japanese and English lyrics, and an '80s-tastic instrumental. Ah, the synths and the sound of breaking glass!

That same year Sandii & The Sunsetz released their own cover of Namida no Taiyou (with English lyrics) for a slim mentholated cigarette commericial. Fun fact: TV ads for cigarettes were outlawed in the U.S. in 1971 and in the U.K. in 1965 but are still legal in Japan.

After a 14-year lull the world saw the return of Namida no Taiyou on B'z guitarist Matsumoto Tak's cover album THE HIT PARADE with vocals by Aiuchi Rina. This version's got a hard guitar track and with a nice modern sound.

Of course 2004 brought the version we all know and love. Melon Kinenbi's twelfth single Namida no Taiyou. I believe this is their only cover released under Hello! Project aside from MEGA MELON's "GIVE ME UP."

Nearly every major group and soloist in Hello! Project has released at least one cover single. Don't believe me? Here's a list of H!P cover singles:
  • Goto Maki - "San Toi Ma Mie" (originally by Salvatore Adamo)
  • Matsuura Aya - "Watarasebashi" (originally by Moritaka Chisato)
  • Morning Musume - "Hyokkori Hyoutanjima" (originally by Maekawa Yoko & Young Fresh), "Pepper Keibu" (originally by Pink Lady)
  • Berryz Koubou - "Dschinghis Khan" (originally by Dschinghis Khan)
  • °C-ute - "Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu" (originally by Candies)
  • Abe Natsumi - "The Stress" (originally by Moritaka Chisato)
  • Minimoni - "Rock 'n' Roll Kenchoushozaichi" (originally by Moritaka Chisato)
  • v-u-den - "Nanni mo Iwazu ni I LOVE YOU" (originally by Morning Musume)
  • W - "Koi no Vacance" (originally by The Peanuts) and "Koi no Fuga" (originally by The Peanuts)
  • Melon Kinenbi - "Namida no Taiyou"
I wonder when Mano Erina's first cover single will come :D

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New single for Maeda Yuki

I didn't thing we'd see another release from her after her album last year, but Maeda Yuki's got a new single on the way! It's going to be a double A-side called Mianeyo ~Gomennasai~ / Eien (ミアネヨ 〜ごめんなさい〜 / 永縁).

Looks like the first is another Korean theme. Last time it was Kenchana ~Daijoubu~ (
ケンチャナ〜大丈夫〜), with kenchana (괜찮아) and daijoubu (大丈夫) both meaning something like "it's alright" in English. With Mianeyo ~Gomennasai~, mianeyo (미안 해요) and gomennasai (ごめんなさい) both mean "I'm sorry" in English. The second A-side Eien means "eternity."

The single will be released April 7.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tracklist for Melon Kinenbi's "MELON'S NOT DEAD"

Melon Kinenbi's third album MELON'S NOT DEAD will be released on 2010.02.17, and the track list has been released on Melon Kinenbi's official site:

1. メロン記念日のテーマ (Rock Ver.) (Melon Kinenbi no Theme (Rock Ver.))
3. ピンチはチャンス バカになろうぜ (Album Ver.) (Pinch wa Chance Baka ni Narouze (Album Ver.)) / Melon Kinenbi / NEW ROTE'KA
4. sweet suicide summer story / Melon Kinenbi x Midori
5. 青春・オン・ザ・ロード (Seishun-on-the-Road) / Melon Kinenbi x THE COLLECTORS
6. メロンティー (Melon Tea) / Melon Kinenbi x GOING UNDER GROUND
7. ロマンチックを突きぬけろ〜Break it now〜 (Romantic wo Tsukinukero ~Break it now~)
9. 愛だ!今すぐROCK ON! (Ai da! Ima sugu ROCK ON!)

The album comes with a DVD that has music videos for each of the collaboration singles.

Well, this is certainly exciting news, huh? I've really enjoyed the collaboration singles this year ("Pinch wa Chance" was a personal favorite), and this album looks like it could turn out pretty well. If nothing else it's great to see some of the graduated elder club actually releasing some stuff as part of UFA.

Granted, there are only four really new songs as "Melon Kinenbi no Theme" was on their first album and performed at nearly all of their concerts and tracks 2 through 6 were released as singles (though I'm curious about this "album version" of "Pinch wa Chance"). However, the new songs sound promising! According to the blurb on their site, "Ai da! Ima sugu ROCK ON!" was written by Shindo Atsushi, who also wrote/composed my all-time favorite Melon Kinenbi songs "This is Unmei," "Saa! Koibito ni Narou," and "Girls Power, Aisuru Power." He also did "Wa! Kaccho E na!" and "Ai Meramera Koi Yurayura." "Romantic wo Tsukinukero ~Break it now~" was written by a former member of Princess Princess, the group that brought us "DIAMONDS," one of my favorite songs covered on Champloo 1 ~Happy Marriage Song Cover Shuu~. And of course, we've already heard one great collaboration between MK and BEAT CRUSADERS so I have high hopes for "ALWAYS LOVE YOU."

The DVD claims to have music videos for the collaboration singles. Whether these will just be the live performances released on Dohhh UP! or a more traditional PV we'll be getting something new since "Seishun-on-the-Road" never got a video on Dohhh UP!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guardians 4's 4th single "Going On!"

The PV for "Going On!" has been released on Dohhh UP! This single will be released on January 20 and the single V will be released on February 3.

Link to video on Dohhh UP!

It seems Guardians 4 is going a bit stale. I do not rate this release well. Hopefully the accompanying Shugo Chara Egg! song will be better. I'm excited to hear the new Amulet Diamond Tatabe Nanabi at least!

The song

Well, the girls voices are nice. Nakky seems to have really improved recently. Otherwise it's just super boring. And that "heart unlock" part is irritating.

The PV

This is a bizarre concept. Why is there a lion directing, a green elephant working the camera, and a purple thing doing... whatever it's doing? I like it that kooky aspect of it, but sadly it is poorly edited. The shots are much too long, which makes the whole thing sort of stagnate. There's far too much lens flare and arbitrary anime clips. I did enjoy the phallic vegetable scenes, especially Nakky's reluctance to take the leeks. Why did Yurina end up with a non-phallic fruit though? Well, when Scarface was edited for TV they replaced the word "pussy" with "pineapple." Coincidence? (...probably :P)

The outfits

I'll tell you what, I love these Guardians 4 outfits on Aika. Her bod is totally rockin' and these really show it off. Sadly the stylists always make her hair look awful. I just don't understand how all the others can look so perfectly coiffed while Aika looks like her straightening iron is tragically broken.

Overall, I'm not pleased. The PV concept was right up my alley, but poorly executed. The song couldn't be more forgettable. Well, better luck next time, ladies!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New album for °C-ute!

°C-ute's fifth studio album ショッキング5 ("Shocking 5") has been announced! It is set for release on 24.02.2010 in regular and limited editions.

Here's the announcement that has been floating around:

Tracklisting (I'm guessing this is not the final order)
  1. Bye Bye Bye!
  2. Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu (暑中お見舞い申し上げます; Express a Midsummer Greeting Card)
  3. EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! (EVERYDAY 絶好調!!; Everyday in Perfect Form)
  4. SHOCK!
  5. "Zansho Omimai Moushiagemasu (「残暑 お見舞い 申し上げます。」; Express a Late Summer Greeting Card)
  6. Aa Koi (嗚呼 恋; '"Alas, Love")
  7. The Party!
  8. Shigatsu Sengen (四月宣言; April Proclamation)
  9. Yume ga Aru kara (夢があるから; From a Dream)
  10. Kimi no Senpou (君の戦法; Your Tactics)
  11. Lonely girl's night
The DVD will have a PV and making of for "Shigatsu Sengen."

I'm actually sort of disappointed. I wanted a new album for Berryz Koubou!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wiki Wiki!

Friends, I know many, myself included, were distressed by the loss of wiki.theppn, but a replacement has been around for a few months now.

The JPopStop Wiki is slowly building up to what wiki.theppn was, but it's not quite there yet! I personally have been making pages for lots of the older Hello! Project releases, but I can only do so much. I don't have a lot of chart information for these releases, but I can get first week and total sales from Hell Project. If anyone has more chart information for these old releases, please fill it in!

Another roadblock I've had is cover scans. If anyone has some of these older releases and would be willing to make some high quality scans of the covers that would be great!

I've also been trying to get the Hello! Project releases pages cleaned up and corrected. The years 1997-1999 are complete for the most part. There may be some photobook releases missing but otherwise I think everything's on there. My plan for filling these in was to go through the Hello! Project official website discography pages and make sure each release is included on the appropriate release page.

When making a new page, I generally work from a template or a page for a release with lots of information. I then use various websites (Hello! Project discography, Hell Project, and Project Hello mostly) to get the pertinent information. To find the concert performances I generally just search the wiki itself for the title of the track to find at which concerts it was performed and by whom. Other helpful sites are Google Translate, Babylon Translation (which tends to be more accurate but less convenient than Google Translate), and the J-talk Kanji Converter.

The wiki is also trying to raise some money for maintenance costs. There is a link at the top of the main page if you would like to donate.

And hey, if you don't have anything to contribute please use the wiki anyway! I'd like to think my hours and hours of work aren't all for naught.

Note: I'm not an admin or anything at the wiki, just a big supporter!