Forgotten Unexplained Human Love Evolution and Degeneration

Preface: There’s going to be a lot of embedded content in this post.


Greetings and happy Valentine’s Day, Citizens of the Universe!
Today is a special day here on M3 as it was 3 hours and 3 years ago that the blog was officially revived (holdover post that was later remade as the page it was intended to be notwithstanding). In the past, such occasions was lumped together with traditional Valentine’s Day festivities. In 2015, it was celebrated with the Chocolate Soul Disco miniseries, spotlighting Perfume, Matsuura Aya, and Kikkawa You. Unfortunately, the occasion wasn’t “marked” in 2016, most likely due to the fact that everyone (myself included) was reeling from Suzuki Kanon’s announcement a few weeks before.

However, it will be marked this year here on the blog! What do you ask? Well, the title and excerpt should tell you everything:

Forgotten Unexplained Human Love Evolution and Degeneration

…I’ll Forget I Can’t Explain The Human Degenerative Evolution of Love For You…

That’s right. In addition to getting rid of that annoying backlog that was built up from burnout and malaise, we’re commemorating Valentine’s Day/M3’s 3rd reviversary by digging into ANGERME #22, featuring the first appearance of Kasahara Momona.

Umaku Ienai (I Can’t Explain Myself)

The Song

The song is s funky, rocking song about how one Just Can’t Spit It Out. From the typical lovesick ramblings to the general inability to speak, a lot is said about the communication issues.

Despite this, this is fun number featuring the sheer enjoyment that ANGERME is known for.

(While many loved this track, it took me a while to warm up to it. At first, I found it rather bland. However repeated listens (thanks to the fact I had to do it for this review) allowed it to grow on me. If you like it, more power to you. I may be a reviewer, but there’s enough people shoving views down your throat.)

You can watch making-of footage from Upcoming:

Recording chorus vocals, featuring lyricist/composer Nakajima Takui.

Recording main vocals Kasahara Momona, Nakanishi Kana, Kamikokuryo Moe, and Takeuchi Akari.

The PV

You can see some making-of footage, courtesy of Upcoming:

The MV takes place in warehouse, almost symbolic of how “in progress” the words are. Besides the obligatory close-up and dance shots, we see our ladies laying down plans for a project.

Eventually, they go into action and proceed to… spray hoses all over the place?

The warehouse setting might be one reason I found it bland, it reminding me too much of Desugita Kui wa Utarenai.

Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen (The Human Evolution of Love, The Human Degeneration of Love)

The Song

Ah yes, this one….

If you are familiar with my musical tastes, you’d be correct in guessing that this A-side is my favorite of the three. Between its rather introspective lyrics (about how lost and confused we are in modern society) to its adorable cyberpop, more than the hard-hitting A-side before it and the Middle Eastern-influenced one after this one, this one stuck out to me (and stuck with me) the most. It’s actually one very big reason I was looking forward to doing this review.

Bear in mind, the PV came out in late September and the single came out weeks later. Besides the electropop stylings (and the fact it’s a good song) that already made it appealing, the song (particularly its lyrics of how humanity both advanced and regressed itself in modern day with the same tools, along with how lost and confused we are).

At the time, this was when the election hysteria was reaching critical peak. Early voting had begun in some states (which technically included mine—New Jersey, in case you didn’t know—, but I didn’t find out until mid-October) and everyone was talking about “EMAILS” and “GRAB EM BY THE *****.” It was amazing I was able to still blog because it almost felt awkward to do so. (Of course, this wasn’t at the level of January where everyday brought a clarion call.) The things that allowed humanity to advance to where we are now have now been turned against us to our ruin.

It also led to some of the most unusual discussions I’ve had as of late, about how greatness was subjective and how humanity was becoming increasingly hostile towards one another. (Oh, I know the brutality had always been there, but it’s almost there’s no tempering it now.) I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but this spoke to me on a level I never knew. Then again, it won’t be the first time H!P spoke to something subconscious and it won’t be the last time idols bring us joy in this turbulent times. (If anything, like art, we need idols more than ever now.)

Or maybe I’m doing like Josh Scorcher does in his MLP reviews and is “taking this too seriously?

(Oddly enough though not surprisingly, this seems to be the least liked, owing to its EDM-influenced stylings (as some had becomed jaded to it) and very lengthy title. On the other hand, the MV has (at the time of this writing) 923,071 views to Umaku Ienai‘s 786,907 and Wasurete Ageru‘s 625,089.)

You can see some making-of footage, courtesy of Upcoming:

Recording main vocals, featuring Katsuta Rina, Wada Ayaka, Aikawa Maho, Murota Mizuki, Sasaki Rikako.

The PV

The MV is filmed in a mine, the Oya History Museum in Tochigi Prefecture to be exact. While the setting is tad off-putting at first, it works to reinforce the “ruined” state of love and humanity. The muted lighting accentuates this, showing the “coldness” with the cold light. In a weird bit of contrast, the close-ups have a tinge of pink in the light, giving the girls a warmth that is much needed. Then again, close-ups are more “intimate,” giving us some one-on-one time with each member.

One common motif of the MV (which is why this is a Valentine’s post… even if some might view at as gauche) is a heart. It’s obviously an effect of CGI (which is well-utilized to give off a TRON/Matrix-like effect with the blurred numbers, near-cordiform lens flares, and hand lasers), but reinforces the core theme of “love.” We see a heart on a computer screen, a heart above Wada Ayaka and Kamikokuryou Moe, being held by Kasahara Momona, and in a box. It beats, signified by changing light levels, subdued in the first verse.

During the second verse, the textured boils before settling on a scaly, almost scabbed appearance. In the shots with Ayacho and Kamiko, it instead is obscured by clouds, a fog that clogs the spread of love. Casual reminder that this portion is talking about the “regression” in the title.

During the bridge, the heart beat warms up, becoming bright. The little hearts change texture again, becoming effervescent in being filled in love. The Ayakami Heart obtain a similar appearance, shining brightly as it glitters like a disco.

All the while, ANGERME carry on like cyborgs, unnatural in their movements, yet fitting for the vulture culture that they are dwelling in.

You can see some making-of footage, courtesy of Upcoming:

Wasurete Ageru (I’ll Forget Everything For You)

The Song

This final A-side is a more midtempo bit somber song about heartbreak. It’s the tragic aftermath of a breakup flavored with Middle Eastern/South Asian spices. The girls want a do-over, hoping to “forget” their troubles and begin again.

In terms of tone, it’s similar to the Morning Musume classic “AS FOR ONE DAY” (which coincidentally has the exact same number of generations as ANGERME when it was released). Since everyone likes to compare them to their now vicennial senior group, I guess you’re welcome to view this A-side as their counterpart to that track. Someone already compared “Itoshima Distance” to “Osaka Koi no Uta.”

On another note, I’m reminded (in a good way) of Nekomata Master’s “Sayonara Heaven” and some material from Madonna’s legendary “Ray of Light” album.

The PV

The MV is set in a bright house. During the verses, the girls and their associated scenes are literally framed, shown among a variety of objects. Near them are the girls themselves, displaying the sheer disarray of their heartbreak.

In the chorus, we pan a to frame that disappears. It is here we get our typical dance shots and close-ups, made all the more intimate by the lack of “frames.” I must also point out that it wad through the dance that I picked up on the subtle flavors of the song. The namaste-like stance and body movements give it a near-Bollywood feel (though why I was also reminded of certain forms of bellydancing?) with the shuffled feet near the end of the chorus highlighting the “I’m sorry” mood.

You can see some behind the scenes footage, courtesy of Upcoming:

In Conclusion

Wow, this threesome of a single was quite something. Going from not being able to explain one’s feelings to detailing the confusion of modern life to lamenting lost love, ANGERME really brought a gamut here. This is especially notable due to the aforementioned first appearance of a new member.

And now, on to everyone’s favorite part of these post-release reviews (unless you don’t give them that much stock as an identifier of an idol’s success):

…saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaales…

This single reached #3 on the Oricon charts in its first week, the same position being its highest on Billboard Japan Top Single Sales and CDTV Weekly Single Ranking charts. Meanwhile, its highest ranking on the Music Station CD Single Ranking was #6.

Now, I’ll bring this up here because it’s something that was on many people’s minds when the single came out, even if its effects were felt earlier (i.e. the Country Girls single I reviewed a week ago). Plus, it was around when ANGERME’s single was being released that it first came to my attention, despite this (again) being a thing earlier, and (thankfully) we’ve recently gotten some form of clarification.

In case you don’t know, Oricon changed its sales tracking rules in early September, which resulted in reported sales being different from actual sales. This was a big deal for the likes of H!P who are (understandably) fighting for the top spot in an increasingly hypercompetive market. That is why while I’ll say “this single had a total reported sales amount of 35,991 with 46.19% coming from its first week, 87.43% from its first week, and 92.58% from its first month on the Oricon charts,” it’s not an entirely accurate picture of its commercial success. (By the way, it opened at #3 in its first day and ranked #20 in its first month.)

Finally…

Either way, regardless of rules and parameters, I’m glad for this single. It’s a good mark along ANGERME’s history, especially for Momona as a newly fledged Angel. On that note…

Remember to submit your message to the Aikawa Maho project and…

Happy Valentine’s Day from M3~!  😉💖

Until the Next One!
Magi-Kat

Lovingly dedicated to Matsuno Rina. While you have graduated from this world, we can take comfort in the fact that you are at peace. May we continue your work of bringing love and happiness to others.

Requiescat in pace; Rest in peace.


Sources

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4 Responses to Forgotten Unexplained Human Love Evolution and Degeneration

  1. […] it took me this long to jot it down into words… even if it’s superfluous as I dedicated my ANGERME review to her, my way of honoring the life she led as an idol. This is especially since I deliberately […]

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  2. […] 19: Umaku Ienai / Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen… – […]

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  3. […] reached this point. Between the backlog of posts involving their juniors (namely Country Girls, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice) and their imminent demise, it’s hard to believe we’ve come to this […]

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  4. […] A-side that crept into my mind whenever I thought of doing this review. Even when I had to do the ANGERME, Juice=Juice, and C-ute reviews, this song kept coming to my […]

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