So it’s time for my yearly top ten rundown of Hello! Project singles. It’s fair to say it hasn’t been a classic year. There weren’t really that many releases and my favourite group Kobushi Factory lost more members than they had A sides. I’m also getting a little bored with the H!P sound. Everything is starting to sound a little samey with some of the groups. Momusu could do with a whole new direction for starters. But there have been some good releases so let’s get straight into the top ten.
6. Brand New Morning – Morning Musume ’17
At six…what? 7, 8, 9 and 10? Yeah…remember how I just said it’s not been a classic year? So at 6 it’s this somewhat repetitive (“we are somewhat boring. We are somewhat boring. This is Brand New Morning”) yet just about palatable slice of Momusu ’17 music-that-sounds-similar-to-every-other-Momusu-single-of-the-past-few-years bit of fluff. It’s okay and wouldn’t get near the top ten in any other year but I slightly like it. Or at least the repetitiveness of the chorus gets stuck in my head. Then again so does the fucking Macarena so I’m not sure that’s a valid reason to include it. Well it’s a 50/50 toss of the coin. A top five would be neater but it’s here now.
5. Good Boy Bad Girl – Country Girls
Some groups only had one release in 2017. At least with Country Girls the reason was they disbanded during the year. Although the way Kobushi are going Country Girls might not be alone in that. There are still three weeks of 2017 left after all. Anyway of the two A sides GBBG is the better song. Not least because it doesn’t sound like they are singing “penis butter jelly love” at any stage during it. I miss Ozeki Mai by the way. Did I mention bad year for H!P?
4. Waratte – Tsubaki Factory
I’m not going to lie. If you said in 2016 Tsubaki would have two songs in my top 5 for 2017 I’d have presumed that you are either a deluded fool or else there was about to be some weird kind of big reshuffle of H!P members (as though that would happen. Right?) But, partly through the fact they had more than one actual release this year and partly through them know longer looking like they want to run away crying when on stage, Tsubaki have become a solid and likeable group in 2017. They are still a bit like Berryz to me. A somewhat weird bunch to Kobushi’s group of sisters but hey being weird has it’s afvantages. Kobushi members are too attractive to young Japanese males. >.> It’s been hard to smile this year but Waratte helped (see what I did there?) It’s an immediately catchy and happily repeatable tune.
3. Wakaindashi! – Morning Musume ’17
What will Momusu Duu without their one male member? Without Duu the girls might end up finding other boys to hang around with and then it’ll be Kobushi 2017 all over again. Anyway I really like this song and I can’t help feeling all happy and sad at the same time while watching the PV. DUUUUUUU!
2. Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa – Kobushi Factory
2016: Everyone is dying but hey at least there’s H!P. Ozeki Mai is adorable and Kobushi Factory are awesome. They have a great set of members who all seem so happy and energetic. They fit together so well.
2017: Country Girls may as well be dead and Kobushi members fit together with boys too well. Damn you God. WHYYYYYYYYYY?
Well at least we had this very typical bit of Kobushi guitar-based (sort of) pop to enjoy. Momusu songs tend to sound like they were all produced on one machine while Kobushi songs have more of a band sound to them (even though they were probably produced the same way). It’s a style I like a lot more and this is up with any single produced by any H!P group in the past few years to me. If this is how the eight had to bow out as an 8-piece then at least it’s on a high.
1. Uruwashi no Camellia – Tsubaki Factory
If you’d told me in 2016 that my number one single of 2017 was going to be a Tsubaki song…well you get the picture. I also wouldn’t have expected a weird period piece to get my vote. To be honest the top two were very close and both way ahead of third. Simply put, in terms of singles these are the two I’ve heard by far the most. This just about gets the nod though because it’s so different and fun. At times I want my idol music to be modern and relevant but sometimes I just want some good odd fun and this is good, odd and fun. Perfect. I got into H!P and idols in general partly because it was sometimes weird fun and sometimes more straight forward pop. That mix is something I like. This is the most refreshingly odd song from H!P in quite some time. Well it is if you ignore Country Girls anyway and I like this period piece more than their 50’s influenced stuff. So despite the fact that in terms of members I’m still a huge fan of Kobushi and in terms of musical style I’m still a huge fan of Kobushi it’s the other Factory that gets the award*. I am looking forward to seeing what 2018 holds in store for both groups. I really hope it’s a more productive year than 2017.
*Award worth shown larger than actual size.