I’m finally able to talk about Morning Musume’s latest double A-side single Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo! / Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai (to be referred to as Kono Chikyuu & Kare To from here on forward). Before I talk about the single itself I’d like to adress two things that are somewhat tangentially related to this release
I ordered this single well in advance and as usual CDJapan was very dilligent in shipping it to me three days before the official release date. In fact I was all set to get my package on release date until customs stepped in and delayed it for a week. I know customs fulfill a vital role and that I can expect a bit more of a delay when ordering from outside the EU. That’s not my problem. What I find vexing is the lack of consistency. I usually order things that are roughly the same size and roughly the same weight yet sometimes they clear customs in a day and sometimes they clear customs after more than week. Sometimes I need to pay customs charges of varying degree while other times I don’t. My point is that I don’t mind paying or waiting for my order a bit longer, if only there were some consistency between my orders.
Buying every single version of this single (the Single V should arrive next week) has also got me thinking about what would get people to keep buying physical CD’s. I believe that if record companies want to counteract the declining sales of physical media they should add more value for the money. Looking at this single, they all come with handshake lottery tickets (only useful if you’re in Japan), one edition (the Takahashi Ai graduation edition) comes with a different coupling song and three of them come with alternate versions of the music video. While this is all fine and good, I’d really like to see them going one step further. Like a different coupling song or different kind of handshake ticket per edition or perhaps adding different bonuses (like collector cards or mini photobooks) on a regular basis. A lot of these things don’t really add that much to the cost of production and could have a real boost on sales, especially among those fans who have a collector mentality.
But enough of my ramblings. Let’s talk about the single itself. While the single is Morning Musume’s first double A-side and both songs have their own distinct theme it is interesting to note how unified this release is. Kono Chikyuu nicely transitions to Kare To (if you use iTunes, this is the time to tick that gapless playback checkbox). The music videos for both songs are also connected and they can in fact be considered one long ten minute music video. Each song has different outfits and each has two editions dedicated to it but the regular edition blends both together and even the dedicated editions make reference to the other A-side with the back cover. It’s a refreshing concept for Morning Musume and I hope we can see the same creativity in the future.
It’s interesting to compare both songs of this double A-side to one another. Kono Chikyuu seems to be harkening back to much of Morning Musume’s disco infused past. In many ways it’s a modern update of that. It’s a very catchy, very uplifting and very hopeful song. While in my opinion they may have gone slightly overboard with the computer generated graphics, I can’t help but enjoy the massive lightshow, the golden outfits and the sparkles in its part of the music video.
Kare To however is a different animal all together. It’s a very different sound for Morning Musume, it’s a lot more group-oriented with Michishige Sayumi uncharacteristically being the lead singer. It’s a completely hyper and slighly insane song. A lot of that is reflected in the music video which is basically Michishige Sayumi dreaming three consecutive dreams with both recurring and diverging elements all of which are slightly of the hook. There’s Niigaki Risa battling it out with what we could call Harozilla, there’s a giant Suzuki Kanon towering over everyone. I particulary enjoyed the small shot where Michishige Sayumi showed up in her outfit from Kono Chikyuu. In many ways one could consider this part of the music video a souped up and much more hyper version of 3, 2, 1 BREAKIN’ OUT!
Of course there is also Takahashi Ai’s solo song Jishin Motte Yume wo Motte Tobitatsu Kara included on her special graduation edition. When it was announced that she would have a solo song for her graduation, I was dreading that it would be like many a Morning Musume solo song, namely a slow ballad. I was overjoyed when this didn’t turn out to be the case. In fact it’s a very upbeat song that I think really suits Takahashi Ai. Producer Tsunku mentioned on his blog that he saw this not as her last song but as the first song of her life post Morning Musume and I can completely understand what he means.
All in all I find this to be a spectacular release. If you’re a Morning Musume or Hello!-Project fan I probably don’t need to tell you to buy it. You’ve in all likelihood already done so. I think this song has an incredibly wide appeal though so I do recommend anyone that comes across this wayward blogpost of mine to check it out and if you like it, to buy it and support the artist. You can get it from CDJapan or iTunes (Regular/Graduation Edition).