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Monday, April 28, 2014
Album Review: The Best! ~Updated Morning Musume~
Remixes and cover versions of classic songs can be a double-edged sword. It’s exciting to hear a new take and compare it to the original. On the other hand, why bother changing a classic? It was with this mindset that I was a little hesitant about Morning Musume’s latest album The Best! ~Updated Morning Musume~.
Morning Musume has an ever-changing line-up, constantly adding and losing members. Two and half years is the longest the group has had a steady streak. This approach means there is always fresh blood coming to the group. It is exciting to meet the new members (Ikuta Erina, Suzuki Kanon), but it also sad when you lose your favorite members (Kamei Eri, Ishikawa Rika). The point of the updated album was to redo their classic songs in the modern style, a dance/electronica mix, with the most current generation of Morning Musume.
Upon a first listen, I wasn’t impressed with the album. But the more I listened, the more I liked the new versions. Classics like Love Machine and The Peace!have gotten make-overs without really losing the energy that makes them such great songs. The slower songs Aruiteru and I Wish, don’t quite fit the new sound but are interesting. That Tsunku can take his songs, some almost 15 years old, and make them fresh and exciting is a testament to his music prowess. It is nice hearing the new members singing the old songs and seeing what they bring to the table.
My biggest disappointment with the album is not the updated songs themselves but the song selection. The album consists of 13 updated songs, one new single, and one album-only song. The majority of the newest incarnation of Morning Musume debuted with the single Maji Desu Ka Ska. Six of the thirteen songs came after that single and featured the majority of the newest members. I would have liked to have seen all the updated song be ones that didn’t feature the newest members when it first debuted. There are quite a few they could have chosen; I would have loved to have heard new versions ofFurusato (another slow song that would have balanced the other songs’s faster pace), Resonant Blue, and even a new version of Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari. That song is a ‘members introduction’ song, telling about everyone in the group. With so many new members, an updated version would have been great. There are still so many others like As For One Day and Shabondama. The six songs after Maji Desu Ka Ska are already so similar in style to the updated classics that I really wondered why they were chosen.
This is not their best (no pun intended) album but it does grow on you. While I would have preferred more old classics son choices, they did pick some good ones and the new sound is interesting. I recommend it.