GAM. The Hello! Project unit that when its formation was announced must have immediately fullfilled the wishes of three groups of fans. First you had the fans of Matsuura Aya who were begging for her to go back to singing up-tempo songs. Then there were the Fujimoto Miki fans who never got over her ending her solo-career to join Morning Musume. And finally there were what must have been the large majority of fans: people who were ready to hear how these two great H!P vocalists sounded when paired on a regular basis while silently drooling over their flawless legs. As I have mentioned many times, I only became a H!P fan after Yoshizawa Hitomi had graduated and Junjun and Linlin had joined, so I only caught the tail end of this unit’s disbandment. Having purchased their first and only album (pictured below) it’s interesting to take a look back. (Note: all videos in this blogpost are unofficial and can be taken down at any moment. I’ll modify the post if that happens)
From a musical standpoint the album is quite enjoyable, but more so it’s also quite fascinating (at least to me). Yes, included are the typical singles like Thanks!, Melodies and LU LU LU and also some slower songs like Ai no Fune just as one would expect from an album of this type of unit. What struck me the most were ･･･H and Junketsu ~Only~. These songs were the ones that convinced me to order this album when I was browsing the Japanese iTunes store (while looking at all the things I can’t buy because of silly regional restrictions). In many ways they foreshadow the more electronic driven, high-speed-thumping-bass-line style certain groups within Hello Project would come to adopt. You could almost call them “proto-10 My Me“.
I guess it’s a side effect that as I buy more and more H!P music I not only hear the girl’s voices improving but also the evolving style of both Tsunku and his team of arrangers. With a single person having an overriding influence on the musical direction of a group (or in the case of H!P, a collective of groups) it really feels as if you’re dealing with a living being evolving both slowly and rapidly. There’s none of the extremely jarring style changes one would get if, as time goes on, different people got to write music for them. Instead there’s a constant process of adapting, honing and of pinpointing what works and what doesn’t.
Listening to this album naturally brings up the question of “what might have been”. Like another idol duo before them, I felt as if GAM still had more to give. How would things have turned out if Fujimoto Miki had stayed in Morning Musume and Hello! Project instead of giving it all up to get married and have kids? Don’t get me wrong. She’s a grown woman who does what she wants but I can’t help but wonder what if? Although not too long as such thoughts can quickly turn to melancholy.
My rambling above aside, this is quite a kickass album. You like slow songs? You like fast songs? You want something in between? This album has got you covered. I would also like to mention the album booklet. In most cases H!P albums are like little works of art and this time it’s no different. I loved how Aya and Miki were portrayed in it.
As usual you can get this album from CDJapan. Do check it out and support these idols.