Maji Desu ka Ska! (まじですかスカ!; The Really?! Ska!) is Morning Musume‘s 45th single and is the first to feature the 9th generation members (kyuukies or cookies for short). It is available in 5 versions: a Regular and 4 limited versions each featuring an alternate take on the PV and a brief interview with each of the 4 new members. No word yet on a Single V or Event V version. I bought the Regular Edition as I always do. First Press bonus is an event application card (only valid in Japan).
First up: the cover.
Seems like UFA have learned their lesson: this is the way to welcome a new generation of members. Not by sticking them on the sides like they did with Junjun and Linlin but by featuring them front and center. I personally think everyone looks great (although Sayumi looks a bit weird). The new members look genki and pumped and the old members look awesome as usual. I think the outfits look great. One point.
Now onto the songs, but first I give you the PV of which I’ll only say that it was better than expected, but not as good as it could have been.
For the songs I’m not doing my usual rundown because you really have to look at the main song and the coupling together. Maji Desu ka Ska! is the hyper, upbeat and genki song everyone was wanting (and was expecting). It has shades of Koko ni Iruzee and there’s also a fair bit of S/mileage influence in there. Line-distribution is perfect. While still technically an Ai/Reina lead, both new and old members get a bunch of lines. I will say that it wasn’t an instant hit for me but after one or two repeat listens I was hooked. Motto Aishite Hoshii no (もっと愛してほしいの; I Want You to Love Me More) on the other hand seems to me, what would have been the 45th single if EriJunLin hadn’t graduated. It nicely builds on the Emo/Ero Musume style of song we’ve been accustomed to since 2008 while incorporating some of the electronic stylings of other recent H!P singles like Heroine ni Narou ka and Kiss Me Aishiteru. I feel like it could have been included on the 10 MY ME album as well. It’s another Ai/Reina lead (par for the course) although the other old(er) members do get some lines especially Sayumi with the groans and the WOW WOW YEAH YEAH part. 9th gen is only featured in the chorus but that’s to be expected, they’re only 4 months in the biz: they’re still rookies.
Suffice to say I adore this single: it’s perfect (apart from the instrumental which is decent but nothing special). It has some old, some new, some tradition and some originality. Full points.
And what about the new members? We’ve had 4 months now with a smattering of TV and radio appearances, frequent mentioning on the other members blogs as well as the start of the delayed Spring Concert Tour. I have to say my favorite part of Bijo Gaku (Hello!Project’s weekly television show) has become the 9th gen segment. Suzuki Kanon seems to be the new Koharu/Chinami with an awesome smile, great sense of humor and way too much energy. Sayashi Riho seems to be this generation’s Ace, with great dancing skill and (if the concert rips are any proof) a very promising singing voice. She’s also had experience, attending a performance school called ASH as well as winning the audition for a part in Morning Musume’s last musical Fashionable. Ikuta Erina could be called the new Kamei (although she could never replace her). Initially a bit akward. She seems to be coming out of her shell now. I love her speaking voice as well as the fact that she loves idols, much like Sayumi does. Fukumura Mizuki was the great unknown. I had never heard of her before the auditions (I have a hard time keeping up with the Eggs). She genuinely seems to love H!P and Morning Musume. When I saw the part of their recording for the new single, where she first heard herself singing in the song and started crying of joy, that’s when I knew this girl was for real.
So we have a perfect single, perfect new generation, decent Oricon ranking (but not sales dammit). So what score am I giving this? What do you think?
I really think this is a perfect single with a better cover (but weaker instrumental) than Onno no Otoko Lullaby Game. I can’t wait for Only You, their next single.
If you like the song please support Morning Musume by buying it. Here’s the CDJapan link.