Word around the water cooler is that H!P hasn’t been putting a lot of money into music videos lately.
So it was surprising to see Buono’s latest single “Zassou no Uta” put out a fairly expensive-looking PV, which you can see in Tron’s post from a few days ago. Although it had the dressings of a big budget PV, the concept and subject matter was an insult to the money they put into it.
When Tron told me that this single’s b-side also had a PV, I went into it optimistically, but was again disappointed by the disparity between budget and concept. Don’t get me wrong, I love that any H!P group is getting an extra b-side PV, especially considering how rarely they grace us with something like this; but the high production, glossy video served to frustrate me even more than a low-budget, formulaic PV.
It’s got the trappings, but just what is the concept? The beginning of the music video invites an adventurous feeling, as it showcases the members of Buono pointing towards some distant destination, later to pull back and reveal that they’re traveling on a luxurious yacht. Sounds like a good start right? It promises fun, misadventures, and shenanigans that this rock-ish girl group will encounter on this journey. But that’s not what happens.
After an uneventful two minutes, the scenery changes to an external shot of what seems to be a mansion or a hotel with two luxury cars pulling up. The doors open, and the members step out of them. Then it inexplicably comes back to the members on the yacht. Then to inside the mansion. Then back to the yacht. Then back to the mansion. Then back to the yacht, with no connection between these locations whatsoever. I’m not just frustrated because of the aimlessness of the video. I’m saying this music video serves no other purpose than to simply exist. By that I mean this music video doesn’t serve to showcase, inspire, or even be entertaining. And that’s what bugs me most of all—it’s painfully boring. I’ll lay out all the non-singing parts for you in chronological order from beginning to end:
1. Buono are excited to be on a boat.
2. Momoko takes a wine glass from the cabinet.
3. Airi takes a wine glass from the cabinet.
4. Miyabi takes a wine glass from the cabinet.
5. Momoko has pizza.
6. Momoko brings pizza to members.
7. Buono takes a bite of the pizza.
8. Cars pull up and the doors open.
9. Miyabi walks out of the car in slow motion.
10. Momoko walks out of the car in slow motion.
11. Airi walks out of the car in slow motion.
12. The girls run to the side of the yacht. They talk and sit down.
13. Random location shots of the yacht interior.
14. Buono stands at the bow of the yacht looking outward.
15. Buono waves to a bridge.
There was no mood, atmosphere, or personality. All it showed me was that it had a healthy budget. They rented a boat and a few luxury cars. Then they made Buono sing on and around them. Understand that I’m not asking for a narrative or even a semblance of cohesion. I wrote these out to show why I was completely bored watching this video. Bored and a little irritated that the video didn’t compliment or portray the song at all, aside from some quick cuts near the end.
I apologize that this review turned into a rant about PVs—it seems kind of out of place to start talking about the actual song at this point, but I just want to say I do like it. I found their last release ‘Our Songs’ more my taste, but ‘Juicy Heart’, as well as ‘Zassou no Uta’, make a good re-entry of Buono! into the idol game. But when you take both the PV and the song into account to measure your enjoyment, the music video didn’t do the song any favors; if anything, it dragged the song down.
Tron made a valid point to be optimistic, because UFA spending money on PVs in the first place is a big step forward, but the good money they spent on Buono’s recent two PVs were marred by lack of concept, creativity, and fun. There’s also no dancing to be seen, a rare but unwelcome sight in an upbeat idol video. Compare this PV to “Lotta Love”. Hell, even compare it to “Our Songs”s PV.
‘Juicy Heart’ (b-side to Zassou no Uta)
Releases February 2nd, 2011