Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration, I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history. This one technically is also one of five meant to make up for the six weeks I went without a proper post in the first quarter, due to being busy with the Production Red Diary (among other factors).
As announced via a video announcement on Tumblr and Facebook (which was also seen in 20-second Stories snippets on Instagram and Facebook the day before), I decided to make reviews of the two Q2 ties and postponed the planned Ping Pong Pinpoint digest for a later date (probably one of the July slots).
This week, we’ll be tackling Morning Musume‘s Resonant Blue. As this is in the late 2000s, we’re in the midst of the “Emo Musume” period where Momusu sang about practically nothing but “I’M SO LONELYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY”! and “Everyone has ANGST!” (Given what this blog was originally about, it took everything in my power not to make a “Crawling” joke, something I took great delight in as I loathed that song with every fiber of my existence. Besides, I have something better in mind come the summer….)
…Anyway, Morning Musume’s output was marked by a more “mature” note with more introspective (and at times, angry) lyrics. One can trace one aspect of this to the success of singles like Kanashimi Twilight (which “had angrier lyrics than Shabondama”) and Onna ni Sachi Are (which was infamous for its line distribution, which can be attributed to the sudden departure of Fujimoto Miki a little more than a month before the single’s release). This was also a time when the 48s were really gaining steam and a lot of the idol names we know were just bubbling. (Momoiro Clover was formed a year after this single was released, eventually gaining and losing a member before turning into Z Fighters we know them as today… until Ariyasu Momoka left earlier this year.)
Point is Hello! Project was in a state of… abyss. Sales were rock bottom or close to it (as you can see from this spreadsheet used to seed the M3 Momusu Grand Prix) and public recognition was at a similar level. This also marked the duration of Morning Musume’s most stable lineup, which would be broken in 2009 with the graduation of the eternally controversial Kusumi Koharu.
If all of this sounds familiar (and given the end results of two unrelated polls, it should to a good chunk of you), then you may know that all of this is the textbook definition of what became known as the Platinum Era. Twas a time when Morning Musume were building up their skillset to compete with the juggernaut of the 48s (which has quite the pedigree), along with other idols and cultural factors. (Kpop and the overall Hallyu Wave were also making waves around this point. I can’t believe I forgot.)
This was also a time marked by Hello! Project’s overall efforts to expand into Asian markets, as shown by the addition of Chinese members Junjun and Linlin to Morning Musume, the formation of Taiwanese groups Ice Creamusume and Da Xiao Jie, and the sole H!P Korea member in the form of its sole Kenshuusei member. (As we are all painfully aware of, H!P’s competitors learned from their mistakes and missteps.)
Now that we’ve talked a bit of history, let’s dig into the third single of this brave new frontier and one of the winning singles of the Q2 Anniversary Review Vote, Morning Musume #36: Resonant Blue. Da ba dee da ba di.