Whenever I hear news about an upcoming Morning Musume song, a cluster of thoughts and questions invade my head. Even though Morning Musume doesn’t have a stellar track record these days, I always find myself looking forward to every single. No matter how disappointed I get with a Momosu release, I can’t help but be on the edge of my seat for the next one, not unlike a crazed gambling addict anticipating his luck in the next round. Luckily, Morning Musume’s ‘Only You’ is far from a losing hand.
‘Only You’ exhibits a lot of the usual flair we’ve come to expect from Morning Musume’s more serious songs, but aggressive beats and a larger-than-life instrumental track sets it apart in a good way. The fluctuating tempo and frenetic elements were really nice touches to bring life to what otherwise would have been a basic, passable song. I found myself starting to tire of the chorus by the end of the song(its run-time is almost 5 and half minutes, uncommon even for an idol song) but luckily it ends before it overstays its welcome.
I’ll admit; When I watched the opening 30 seconds of the PV, I was pretty dazzled. The diamond motif was immediately apparent on the set and the CGI was more finespun and sophisticated than I was expecting. The lustrous marble floor and the overlapped pillars of cloth gave the PV a variety of textures and depth, working well with the different lighting and rich colors used in different parts of the video. To cap it all off, the forefront of the set is lined with sleek podiums holding up diamonds lit from underneath. From a design standpoint, everything is impressively put together.
At around the halfway point however, it starts to get a little worn. The shots become repetitive and the fact that the PV utilizes just one location doesn’t help. I’m not saying that they need to add a narrative or create a whole new set but something as simple as putting in an overhead crane shot or using more angles and sweeps would give it the extra punch and variety it needs to keep the visual interest up. The majority of shots in this PV are as standard as they can get, only using slow zooms on level, centered shots. It’s as if they’re afraid to move the camera, which is a problem I’ve seen across the board throughout most of H!P’s music videos. Even though this is one of the better Morning Musume PVs to be released in a long time, there’s ample room for improvement.
While I like the outfits, some things about them just look outdated; maybe it’s the ritzy jewel accessories or the detailing and cut of their clothes, but they run the risk of looking like mere “costumes” rather than something more custom and stylized. The dance has some recycled moves but the manic nature of the song shapes the choreography into something largely unique and new. I look forward to dance shots and television performances to see the full choreography.
I’m on the Takahashi Ai love train as far as her short pale-blonde hair is concerned, as well as Michishige Sayumi’s pristine, clean look and Niigaki Risa’s longer, darker hair style. It’s unfortunate that aside from Sayashi Riho, the rest of the 9th generation largely become wallflowers, but even fans can pick up that Sayashi is being groomed to be a future center-girl so there’s little surprise there. A number of characteristics in ‘Only You’ raises the bar, and the PV showcases the song with vivid visuals to complement and even enhance it. The overall presentation has hiccups but I’m very pleased with everything it got right.
Releases June 15th, 2011