Impressions: One Two Three

Morning Musume’s dedication to upgrading themselves has resulted in a number of odd releases in the past two years but there have been definite signs of improvement, and at least got themselves out of the tired rut they’ve been in musically since the mid 2000’s. Their latest song ‘One Two Three’ certainly has people talking, and naturally, we at NSK can’t shut up about it either. Read on past the break!

 

Dae:

The most frustrating aspect of Tsunku’s compositions was that his old habits would float back up like bloated corpses from the deep. Have you ever seen a man walk down the street wearing an orange leisure suit with long hair, and wondering to yourself why he’s holding onto a dead trend(and a terrible one)? That’s what it felt like when I was first exposed to Morning Musume in 2010 and going through their discography. Sure, with lackluster marketing, focusing on making creative songs probably isn’t a priority since you know it won’t guarantee a jump in sales or exposure to new fans, but I heard and seen enough to make the assumption that the management side of H!P were just going through the motions.

It was by the 9th and 10th generation when Tsunku made it clear that he was going to make some big changes, and while a whole lot of members were added and lost in the process, it was also reflected in the music. It was hit and miss for the most part, but the important thing was that there were more hits than before. I could hear the difference, the slight signs of Tsunku getting out of his musical comfort zone. It was encouraging, and Morning Musume’s latest, ‘One Two Three’, could be his biggest departure yet; and the closest mark to the bulls-eye in my opinion.

Right out of the gate, this song sounds nothing like a Morning Musume song. The stranger thing is, the rest of the song doesn’t either. With songs like ‘Renai Hunter’, ‘Lullaby Game’, or many others, the start of the song would get me pumped up and ready to dig in, only to switch the bait and give me the same uninspired peas and carrots. This is the rare instance of a dynamically different starter that continues to deliver until the end, and it’s a great course.

‘One Two Three’ touches on a level of catchiness that I didn’t expect, with smartly versed vocals and a unrelenting pace. Some might take issue with the highly electronic sound, but I thought it was handled in a way that was beneficial to the song— a big step up from past dips into the medium that resulted in confusing auto-tune integrations and songs that sounded incomplete. I was a little disappointed in the tame musical bridge, and the chorus seems to be at odds with the electronic genre, but ‘One Two Three’ doesn’t suffer much for it.

The PV sort of has me torn. On one hand, it’s better than a good number of their past offerings but on the other hand, it still doesn’t come close to matching the song or supplementing it in any way. This isn’t a Morning Musume music video, this is Purikura: The Movie, with enough sparkles and lens flares to make unicorns and J. J. Abrams jealous. When you break it down, there’s nothing conceptual or narrative about the PV, which is perfectly fine— it can simply be a great showcase for the song with cool dance shots and a few close-ups, but with the way this PV was handled, everything looks unnecessarily chaotic and doesn’t really show anything well.

You never get a good look at the dance, there are way too many close-ups and odd shots of spinning girls in front of mirrors, not to mention that this is all taking place during the sparkle hurricane of the century. I felt that the dance shot version did much more justice, showcasing the sharp new dance choreography, but what I got with the official PV was partial blindness. I’m also at odds with the costumes, which seem well-tailored, but the patterns, application of color, and ribbon overload made the outfits look more childish and cheaper than they deserved to.

This is certainly an odd delivery from Morning Musume, and while I can’t say if this is a good direction to go in, I really like how this song turned out. It’s a balanced mix of old and new which shows that Morning Musume can break out and touch on different genres.

PV:

Song:

 

Garry:

The guy who isn’t a huge Hello!Project fan is reviewing a Morning Musume PV. Well this should be interesting right? In all seriousness though I want to like Morning Musume and all of the other Hello!Project groups but Tsunku or whoever makes all of the bad decisions really makes it difficult.

HOWEVER! Upon hearing “One Two Three” for the first time I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I suppose that’s because it sounds so unlike anything that Morning Musume have released, at least for as long as I can remember anyway. I expected the same old tired sounding Morning Musume but this song actually has some pep to it and it seems like Tsunku might actually be trying new things again. I’m not going to get my hopes up too much but at this point I’m cautiously optimistic for their next single too.

“One Two Three” is catchy, upbeat and just fun to listen to. I have actually had the song stuck in my head multiple times in the weeks since I first heard it. That’s something that I don’t think has ever happened to me with any of the more recent Morning Musume offerings. I’m glad that a Morning Musume song has finally been able to capture my interest this much because for a long time I thought I just didn’t get Hello!Project like a lot of people seemed to. Turns out they were just releasing below average songs all this time.

That’s getting off-topic though. Like I said “One Two Three” is a great song, easily the best from Morning Musume for as long as I’ve been listening to them. It’s a shame the PV as always has to be terrible.

Just look at this bullshit sparkle filter they’ve got going on here; it looks like some Final Cut Pro preset got pasted on top of the video. I mean, it’d be forgivable if they just used it for one part of the PV or whatever but this shit is present throughout. It’s ugly, makes the PV really difficult to look at and covers up so much of what’s going on that you start to wonder why you’re even bothering to watch the PV in the first place. If my eyes are focusing more on how terrible the “special effects” are than on the actual members, there’s a problem. It’s really frustrating because if you actually ignore all of the stars and sparkles, underneath is a perfectly serviceable PV.

Here’s the thing, there’s a “Dance Shot” version of this PV. It was released a week or so before this PV and when I saw it I thought “Hey it’s a little basic but solid PV overall”. If they had released that as the actual PV I’d be singing Tsunku’s praises for getting every aspect of this release right. Alas we were presented with this version with the effects turned up to 11 and it really does put a damper on what is otherwise a really good Morning Musume release.

It does have to be said though that Hello!Project really upped the production value in other areas on this PV. They appear to have finally bought a new, high quality camera so the video quality no longer looks as terrible as it has been in the past. Set design also appears to have been improved although obviously still being done on a budget for whatever reasons. All in all, at least some steps in the right direction.

In the end though I’m left feeling very mixed emotions over this release. On the one hand they’ve played a blinder with the song but on the other it’s coupled with a PV that does nothing but detract from all of that good work. It’s hard not to feel frustrated and ask why they didn’t just use the “Dance Shot” version of the PV instead.

PV:

“Dance Shot” PV:

Song:

 

Anthony:

What the hell is going on… Am I on LSD and looking at this with kaleidoscope eyes(bad The Beatles pun)? OH WAIT, THAT SPARKLY SHIT IS ACTUALLY IN THE PV. The PV for Morning Musume’s “One, Two Three” features a very annoying and pointless “kaleidoscope filter” as I like to call. This does not enhance the video at all and all the flashing that happen on the sides of the video are super distracting and somewhat blinding.

I kinda like the stop and go/fast forwarding used in the video. It is jarring at first but it throws different speeds at you so it keeps the video interesting while it is assaulting your eyes with the sparkles.

The set design is simple and to the point. This is why I’m assuming they added the sparkling. Whoever directed this PV thought, “Hey, the back drop is boring so let me just add this kaleidoscope filter to the video to make it a little more interesting to look at”. Well, this director failed in that regard because the dance version of the PV is far superior.

The reason why the dance version of this PV is superior is because we can see the awesome choreography that this song features and also doesn’t have the eye-assaulting sparkles.

The amount of screen time/line distribution/positioning in the dance version is just egregious. It might be the way the dance PV is shot but it is literally Tanaka Reina and Sayashi Riho splitting the center and singing every other line. If you’re fine with that, go ahead, grab the dance PV. I don’t mind it so much since Ishida Ayumi is pretty much upfront for the first half of every chorus.

The only other saving grace besides the choreography for the actual PV is that all of the members look really good in their outfits and their close up shots.

This seems to come up often but I do not like vocals that are overly touched up but this song may not be as good without it so I will not say that the use of vocal post-processing methods hurt the song. It actually may have been necessary to make this song work. The electronic instrumentals Tsunku used in this song is not deafening and do not take away from the rest of the song like “Pyoko Pyoko Ultra” did for me. The melody is super catchy and I thoroughly enjoy this song for it.

The song and dance PV is very good and I suggest everyone to at least check the song out. I just can not say the same for the actual PV.

PV:

“Dance Shot” PV:

Song:

About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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2 comments

  1. I tweeted at the time about the ‘Official’ PV saying something along the lines of “so the 1,2,3, PV , the same as the dance version with sparkly bits and close ups”

    In fact, if anything, they also cut of what I thought were some of the better dance moves too, It got me wondering why they did it, use the dance version as the real PV damn it, just except that it’s a nice simple PV with some decent dance moves and eave it as that, don’t try to make it something it’s not!

    Still where as the PV (the official one anyway) is not the greatest the song is pretty darn good, perhaps more impressive than other things was that they stuck to the ‘electronic’ sounds rather than some ‘electronic/idol’ hash ups like ‘
    Renai Hunter’

    1,2,3, carries the sound throughout and it’s pretty darn catchy to, I’ve found myself humming the chorus more than once when I’ve been doing stuff more than once already, even if it is slightly outside the sound of the rest of the song….

    As for the costumes, hmm well, they are OK I guess but I cant help but feel that really MM should start dressing more like Fairies (the group, not like little winged creatures) especially if they are going to continue with this sort of style of music, rather than this outfit where it looks as though they changed their minds halfway through to make something ‘edgy’ only to panic that it wasn’t ‘idoly’ enough so added the colour and some bows (It dose not help that personally I think MM should get rid of their colours but that’s another topic)

    Overall though, the strength of this song is what pleases me most and while their maybe some failings in the PV and costume departments for me this song is a winner, I’m pretty confident in saying that this song has a real good chance in being in the top 5 for me this year (especially if AKS are going to produce more of the UTTER SHIT like they made NMB just come out with!)

    PV ** 1/2

    Dance PV: ****

    Song: ****1/3

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