I honestly didn’t expect to write another post so soon, but my CDJapan came in earlier than I thought, so here I go.
First… ze package.
This was my first time ordering from CDJapan, so I chose to order a reasonable amount of stuff (3 CD’s and 1 DVD). I was slighty dreading the cost of customs, but it turned out to only be 10 €, just as much as when I order stuff from AmazonUS. Shipping time was as expected, with the main hiccup being customs, which held my package hostage for 4 days. The packaging was of a decent quality, with a bunch of padding and every product wrapped in bubble wrap. I actually think CDJapan packages CD’s better than Amazon (this is based on the one CD that I ordered of Amazon which was slightly cracked).
Next we have the groupshot.
FYI, all of these photo’s were taken with an iPhone 3GS and slightly edited with Paint.NET (mostly cropping and a bit of auto-levelling). I think I’ve gotten comfortable enough with the quality of the camera on the iPhone that I don’t really feel the need to rush out and go get my digital point-and-shoot.
Up next we have individual photos.
This is the Hello! Project 2010 Summer ~Fankora!~ Concert Tour DVD. It is the thirty-sixth live DVD released by Hello! Project. What’s special about this DVD is that H!P fans could input suggestions for songs they would like to be performed during this concert tour, which resulted in different set lists per concert location. The setlist (which you can find here) is not that amazing (at least to me), but for my first H!P concert DVD I wanted to have the most recent one. (Again, a comprehensive post about the how and why of H!P will follow later.)
Following that, we have Platinum 9 Disc, the 9th studio album from Morning Musume.
And finally we have Fantasy! 拾壱, the 11th studio album from…you guessed it, Morning Musume.
First question, why buy Morning Musume’s music ? Well in my case, Morning Musume is a group which has a flawless track record. I like, love and/or adore every single on their extensive discography. Not only that but most of the coupling songs are more than decent, sometimes better than some A-sides. The albums listed above (as well as their 10th album, which I got of Amazon) are also some of the few albums I can listen to from start to finish. This has unfortunately become somewhat of an exception in the current global music market. These days, most songs on an album are crap, with only the heavily promoted singles being any decent. It’s one of the reasons I switched to buying individual songs on iTunes when they went DRM-free a few years ago. Morning Musume changed that.
Second question is, why buy physical discs and for that matter why buy from CDJapan? Well because CD’s released by the H!P family are little works of art. From the jacket photos to the styling of the actual disc itself, they’re beautiful. Buying the physical also gives me access to the highest quality recording I can easily get my hands on. I’d rather rip these CD’s to 320kbps MP3 than download 256kbps AAC’s of iTunes, which I then have to convert to MP3 for maximum compatability across all my devices.
Ordering from CDJapan also has the benefit that it gets registered on the Oricon rankings. Buying from iTunes or Amazon (through their collaboration with JapanFiles) is well enough, but nothing beats the real thing. It’s a great way to show fansupport to an artist. This way, the product I recieve is identical to the one I would get if I were to buy it from an average Japanese recordstore.
Also, ordering from CDJapan makes it possible to receive First Press bonuses, like this collectable card pictured below.
In conclusion, if you have any interest in JPop, I really recommend Morning Musume and Hello!Project in general. I know the market is currently being swamped by various idol groups but to me, H!P represent a constant level of quality. These are great singers and great idols. Even their 11th album which might have been a bit rushed, was a damn good.
Listen to it, buy it, support them. You won’t be dissapointed. That is all.
Update: I thought I’d add a shot showing my full H!P collection, it’s still small but will be growing steadily (click for bigger version).