Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
If you’re reading this, it’s now (or was) midnight in Japan and thus (has been) November 3, 2017. What does such a date mean?
Well, on November 3, 1997, a small single was released and its singers given a challenge: sell 50,000 copies in five days and they’ll be a signed act. They managed to complete the challenge just in time and the rest is history.
Some time before this post was published, I was under a lot of stress. Some big things were coming up for me in November, I was recovering from a row or two, and current events were doing nothing to help my mood. Granted, one thing that eased my mind was working on that Mikan re-review (which will be posted next week), but one other thing came to me: Ai no Tane, the one that started it all.
Yes, this quaint little piece, with its warm vocals, solid harmonies (to the point where you may wonder why a second generation was added), crisp instrumentation, and pleasant lyrics, it’s easy to see why 50,000 copies was sold in 5 days.
Sure, it’s somewhat plain in light of its successors, but that’s the price of being a first title. Gamers know of this phenomenon extremely well, the premiere title being Overshadowed By Awesome via its sequels. Mario, Sonic, Zelda, Mega Man, even Touhou! (In the case of the last one, it’s also a weird case of Genre Shift too, but that’s besides the point.)
If you want to see how the quasi-current lineup handled the song, watch below.
Some may argue that the girls don’t hold a candle to their predecessors (or just plain suck and should disband at the end of the year). However, one can also argue that this is proof that… Morning Musume changes, like how breakfast specials change from time to time. (Besides, it’s a different time with a nearly three times as many members.)
Technically, I’ve covered the song in the 100th post of the blog from two years ago. However, in light of Morning Musume’s 20th anniversary, why not re-examine it? (This is highly appropriate as the 200th post dealt with their major debut, of which there are a lot more versions of.)
…However, before we get to that, let’s look at the entire reason it exists as we dig into Ai no Tane!
As previously mentioned, this is a rather mellow song that is sweet. This seems plain, but it’s truly timeless because of this.
I think what I said before still applies today:
A mellow pop song featuring solid vocals, “Ai no Tane” showcased the strength of the ladies with the light but gentle music. (I’d write it off as being for the time off not for the likes of hitomi and Amuro Namie being active at this time as well.)
The MV is similarly simple:
The music video is light, discussing them doing everyday things in a primarily outdoorsy setting. The only difference is at the beginning, towards the end, and intermittently through the video where the 1st Gen are in a field.
(Regardless, it’s certainly different from the PV vids coming out of the group and H!P these days.)
For fans of outdoor scenes, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s 100% outside. Each of the members are seen in various locales. The primary group shot has them in a field.
Who would have thought that 20 years ago that this song, this single would be the start of one of the most well-known acts in J-pop history?
When I first heard it back around 2003 or 2004, it took a while for it to warm on me. It was undoubtedly, but it’s been outdone by its successors.
Nowadays, I have a better reception towards the song, to the point where it pained me to call it “plain” or “quaint.” (The same thing happened in when I looked at it in 2014.)
Even now, it looks so… small. Then again, it should be that way. If it’s overshadowed by its successors, that means it’s done its job. That small step led to LOVE Machine.
To Go Girl ~ Koi no Victory (aka my gateway single).
To Kimagure Princess.
To One Two Three.
To BRAND NEW MORNING and Wakaindashi.
Ai no Tane lived up to its name by planting the seeds of Morning Musume’s legacy, as the below video pretty much shows.