oh hey I just realized this single comes out on Sakurako Wada's birthday
Alright, it's been a while since I did a long rant on H!P songs; been meaning to for a few releases last year but I figure now's a good time to just try
again! (oops, wrong group)BRAND NEW MORNING
So speaking of old-school hip-hop references: my first impression of the early previews of this song was that it was kind of annoying with the shortness of the "WE ARE BRAND NEW MORNING" main groove, but in the back of my mind it actually sounded familiar...then I realized what it reminded me of:
And suddenly I'm in love with this song!
Then I look at the credits and see that this song was composed/arranged by Jean Luc Ponpon, who I decided to look up, and learned that it's a production team led by none other than Daniel Merlot, better known to H!P fans as "Crash Berlin", the DJ/producer of Hangry & Angry F! This definitely explains why this song sounds the way it does, and why I ultimately love it!
But on that note, it's kinda funny...sometimes I come across comments from other fans saying they want Morning Musume to "get a new sound to their music already", and in a way I agree with that statement, except not in the way they probably have in mind. Because honestly, this song and the sound Merlot's team does bring here is what I personally feel is the step in the right direction...well almost. This isn't the first time I've brought this up: I think H!P, and idol music in general, kinda suffers a bit from too much of the same 130+bpm euro/disco/house four-on-the-floor droning monorhythmic drum beat. Like, even if the instrumentals provide some interesting melodies and chords, the samey-same old lazy beat kinda holds a lot of songs back from reaching their full potential. Yes, I know, it's part of the culture, wotas expect it because it fits their chants and pacing, yada yada yada, whatever...I'm still a hip-hop head, beats and rhythmic flow are my life, I'm gonna critique this.
But right off the bat "Brand New Morning" differentiates itself from that with a more flowy, syncopated drum pattern and synth guitar groove...THEN DIFFERENTIATES AGAIN with that refreshing half-tempo beat when the first half of the verses kick in! But then it regresses back to the monorhythm, back to the same old H!P melodic sound, at the chorus of the song, and it kinda suffers for that. But it's not a complete suffering, because that part still sounds good, providing a nice melodic break and some power vocals to contrast with the aggressive attitude and groove of the main beat.
Overall I do love how this song hits us with a brand new groove, transforms itself, transforms back, transforms into something old and played, then transforms back again to remind us that this is indeed a brand new morning. If Momusu music is being kpop-ified or westernized then so be it: This rhythmic shakeup is what H!P music needs.
Also I love how everyone's interpreting the lyrics to be "political" and passive-aggresively referencing the current state of the world...I mean, yeah, they very well could be. Just another reason this song is so great and interesting.JEALOUSY JEALOUSY
I saw the credits for this song before the previews came out and read that this is to be another Tsunku/Okubo production, but with "rap arrangement by UMEDY", and suddenly I was intrigued! Again, I've been clamoring for better rhythmic beats...but alas, it was not to be, as this song is another synth-disco monorhythmic thing. Same old, same old...but hey, it turns out to be a pretty good song anyway, so whatever!
The string intro reminds me of video game music somehow, and I love the brass hits, subtle EDM touches, and overall fun dance feeling. But the real game changer is the rap verse, especially the first one, bringing a whole new rhythmic vocal dynamic we often don't see much (or enough of) in H!P. And holy crap hearing Miki with that "Rapper's Delight" lyric was a great touch! In that sense, perhaps the monorhythm makes sense considering the original "Rapper's Delight" is essentially a disco song. (this actually isn't the first time UMEDY sneaked in a classic hip-hop lyric into a Momusu song: 2011's "Silver no Udedokei" had a Slick Rick line capping off its rap verses)
The second rap verse is kinda silly/corny, but hey, it adds to the fun of the song, just like the sudden deep voice before the final chorus.
So yeah, even if "rap arrangement" didn't quite completely give me what I wanted, the general execution still got me bopping my shoulders and putting a smile on my face.
I love both of these songs for different reasons, and at the same time kinda disappointed at them for the same reason. Duality is the name of the game here, another interest of mine at the philosophical and aesthetic level. But for real, can we please get Jean Luc Ponpon and UMEDY more involved in H!P music production from here on out??? Tell Hyadain's Rickrolling ass to go work with some other idol company for a while.The music videos
The rigid dance formations and military style outfits/setting feel like a stark contrast from the message of the lyrics in "Brand New Morning", but I do like the color balance of its video. Mostly red, gold, and black (OMG 49ERS COLORS JUST LIKE 13TH GEN) with the lights providing some nice blue for balance. In a way it's standard Momusu/H!P, not impressive but not completely terrible, just same as usual. I do love how it starts off with the new girls front and center with Mizuki leading the charge with some flag waving, so even if it is business as usual, those things along with the music add hype to this new era's beginning. I really dig how Kaede's hair is styled in this one.
"Jealousy" has the more interesting music video, though. I love the black-vs-white division going on to drive in the theme of jealousy/envy (and again, duality), and the dance set does a great job making a square-ridden aesthetic look not-boring via dynamic placement and sizes of the blocks in the background. But I need to talk about the outfits here: it's funny seeing people complain about "yet another all-white snorefest" then suddenly HERE COME THE COLORFUL HIP-HOP THREADS! Well, garishness of some of the colors aside, I'm in love with this! Best single outfits since "3-2-1 Breakin' Out", the loose/sporty hip-hop styling is so much fun and great looking, and everyone is individualized while still maintaining a consistent theme. This is the kind of fashion I like, y'all can keep your boring button shirts and leather shoes. tl;dr: THIS SINGLE ACTUALLY STILL MAKES ME SAD BECAUSE MAACHAN COULDN'T BE PART OF THESE AWESOME SONGS