The Woe of the Hello! Project Album

As you’ve probably gathered I’m a pretty big Hello! Project fan and have a reasonbly big collection of Hello! Project CDs and while looking up at my bookcase typing this I can clearly see that most of them (maybe 80%) are singles.

You may be thinking, there are far more singles of course most of them would be singles but this is not the case, I much prefer buying singles to albums as quite frankly I find Hello! Project albums generally to be a bit rubbish.

Morning Musume have had eight albums to date, and out of those eight I own four;

  • Second Morning
  • 3rd-Love Paradise
  • 4th Ikimasshoi!
  • No.5

I should note I don’t own First Time (their first album) mainly because I haven’t gotten round to buying it. Their first album contains their first two singles as well as Ai no Tane and seven new songs and those new songs are of a good quality. Second Morning follows suit with six songs taken from their then recent singles and six new songs which are pretty good, I particularly like Otome no Shinrigaku and Papa ni Niteiru Kare. 3rd-Love Paradise has only two singles (Love Machine and Koi no Dance Site) and ten new tracks which include DANCE Suru no da! and Omoide which I really like and regularly listen to). Their fourth and fifth albums continue the trend of including a few singles usually no more than three and a slew of new album tracks which usually includes a few gems.

That is until we arrive at their sixth album: Ai no Dai 6 Kan. I really dislike this album as a whole for both musical and superficial reasons. Firstly I despise the cover, it really looks awful and far too girlish, the presentation doesn’t compare with that of 4th Ikimasshoi or No.5 before it. It then has two rather weak singles including Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari which although isn’t too bad there is no need to have a Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 2 on the same album with updated lyrics. It really feels like a filler track to bring the track count up to 12. The 10th track HELP!! is a rehash of Ecomoni’s song and Lemon Iro to Milk Tea is too sickly sweet for my liking, even the title. Although I pretty much dislike this album I must mention Dokusenyoku and Sukiyaki which are both pretty enjoyable tracks, but not worth the price of an album I don’t think.

Then came Rainbow 7 which I’ve heard quite a few Morning Musume fans dislike. Although I share the sentiment to some degree I have to say I liked it more than Ai no Dai 6 Kan, the cover is little more acceptable. This album has four singles (one of them is a remix) and they’re not bad in my opinion, I liked The Manpower!!! and Osaka Koi no Uta anyway, Iroppoi Jirettai isn’t half bad either. Other than those singles though I never listen to any of the album tracks, I just find them dull and uninspiring. I think what makes this album better than Ai no Dai 6 Kan is the photobook that comes with the limited edition, I like those kind of things…

Not too long after Rainbow 7 Morning Musume released their first mini-album 7.5 Fuyu Fuyu Morning Musume Mini! It contains six tracks all of which are new apart from Aruiteru which was released just before the mini-album. I have to say this isn’t a bad album for it’s purpose, a Christmas album. It has nice songs and it’s nice to get a solo from Tanaka Reina and Takahashi Ai. The song featuring Okai Chisato and Hagiwara Mai of C-ute with Fujimoto Miki is quite cute as well. I even find Michishige and Kusumi’s track acceptable, though only in the spirit of christmas.

That brings us to their latest and eighth album: Sexy 8 Beat. Again I’m going to mention the packaging, I loved the Limited Edition case for this album and the Regular Edition wasn’t visually offensive either, which is always a plus. The album contains four singles and seven new tracks. I like all of the singles on this album though the “Album Edit” versions of Egao YES Nude and Aruiteru are unnecessary and in fact the single-version of Egao Yes Nude is supperior. The first track on the album is Genki+ and I have to say it is the best Morning Musume album track in years, it’s got a kind of disco feel fitting with their current image and is sort of almost electronic at parts. The other album tracks are pretty standard, not particularly bad but not particularly good either though Yoshizawa Hitomi’s Sono Deai no Tame ni is pretty nice.

Thus as Morning Musume has moved through the years the quality of their albums has somewhat detiriorated with the album tracks becoming less and less listenable and the replay value becoming questionable. One can only hope that their ninth album will spark some life back into their albums though I find this somewhat doubtful. Sexy 8 Beat was an improvement from their last two efforts however so we may see something yet.

This post isn’t over yet, I’m not even close to being finished ranting about H!P albums.

As I’m sure 99.9% of you are aware their are two other “musume” groups in Hello! Project; Coconuts Musume and Country Musume. I can’t really say much about the first as they were never given an album, which annoys me to no bounds as a best-of would have been more than possible if it included their singles, a few c/ws and maybe one new track if Tsunku was feeling adventurous. I’m not sure who would have bought it but I certainly would have…

Country Musume on the other hand has had two albums in it’s eight year history, not an overwhelming amount but better than Coconuts Musume. Country Musume Daizenshuu 1 was released in 2001 and Country Musume Daizenshuu 2 was released five years later in 2006. The first album has a total of 11 tracks and 8 of these were previously released in earlier singles. This means if you’re a Country Musume fan and have all of their discography you’re paying an album price for 3 tracks. Though it has to be said that it’s unlikely many people would have had their first few singles as they became pretty rare just a few years after their release. If you’re a fan you’ll probably buy it anyway but that’s besides the point I think. Their second album contains 12 tracks and of these 11 have previosuly been released on earlier singles and indeed the first album. I think you can see a pattern forming here, Country Musume basically have two best-of albums and have yet to recieve what I would consider a full album, and probably never will now. I myself own their first album as I really do like Country Musume however I’m not sure I’d consider buying their second album unless I found it for a very good price, I already have basically everything on it.

This rant is most definately to be continuted…I haven’t even gotten started on Melon Kinenbi yet!