‘Momoiro Sparkling’: Lots of Bubbles, not enough Sparkle.

When I heard C-ute’s latest, ‘Momoiro Sparkling’, I was excited.  From the fun opening fanfare to the last fading note it was an upbeat, positive song that had enough variation in the composition and even a few surprises.  The synths used in the instrumentals sounded like it was ripped straight from a Smileage song at times, but the melody was different enough to stray away from sounding like a copycat.  While all the elements of the song aren’t exactly new, the sum of its parts provided a surprisingly refreshing experience.

When I expressed my excitement on the podcast from having heard the song, seen the well-designed covers and my anticipation for the upcoming PV, Tron advised me that I shouldn’t have high hopes up for a music video when it comes to a Hello! Project release.  As optimistic as I wanted to be, I knew it was true.

H!P’s music videos have just become plain unpredictable.  While that sounds exciting and fun, it’s not that kind of unpredictable.  This kind of “unpredictable” is what you use to describe walking across a rotting bridge over a thousand foot chasm with sharp rocks and rattlesnakes waiting for you at the bottom.  The bridge may be surprisingly sturdy, it may be barely adequate, or it may break away and let you fall to your death.

In this case, I would classify this particular H!P PV as “barely adequate”. Don’t take this as a mark against C-ute; idols themselves are rarely ever the cause of a lackluster PV. The responsibility lies on whoever carried this PV from conception all the way to execution and release. No part of this PV, not even the bubble graphic flying across the screen, is spontaneous or exciting. There’s several things that go on in this video, but arranged in the dullest way possible.

Here’s a play-by-play from a section of the PV:
1. Maimi walks through the door, close-up pose.
2. Chisato walks through the door, close-up pose.
3. Mai walks through the door, close-up pose.
4. Saki walks through the door, close-up pose.
5. Airi runs in and does a headstand! Just kidding. Airi walks through the door, close-up pose.

The entire PV consists of this pattern without fail. It ends up being just a number of specific (and not very exciting)actions repeated by every member in sequence, broken up by dance shots and close-ups when the occasional solo-line comes by. It also has a cramped and almost claustrophobic feel. The main set is a small, indoor, raised stage with a background that doesn’t lend itself to the song in any way. The few backgrounds used are poorly recycled and make it look more low budget than it probably was.

The only redeeming factor of this PV is just how stunning the members look. The outfits are casual, but fantastically vibrant and colorful. The accessories and clothes, down to the color coordination of each member’s shoes, look like there was considerable thought put behind each ensemble. It’s a shame that even though the girls brought their best, the technical and conceptual sides of the PV weighed it down.

I consider Momoiro Sparkling to be the best single C-ute has released in a long time, and while I haven’t been a fan for long, I’ve grown attached to much of the Hello! Project family. It’s just unfortunate that this PV seems to show me that management is disinterested in expanding out of their hardcore niche fan-base, and only willing to do the bare minimum. Looking at newly created idol groups grow into formidable opponents about to surpass H!P groups in both sales and recognition, I can’t help but think: Don’t these girls deserve more?



‘Momoiro Sparkling’
Releases May 25th, 2011


About Dae Lee

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

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