C-ute


Well, hello again. Feels like I haven’t blogged in a while now, but it really wasn’t that long ago. I’ve been pretty ill these past few weeks– that and otherwise buried in homework. Those factors sort of combine together with the fact that nothing recent in the idol world has inspired me quite enough to make a big blog post about it (sometimes I think I have an attention span worse than Tsunku’s), but the recent Hello! Project ranking poll started by Hello! Blog that’s been going around and reading about everyone’s rankings has made me want to join in, too. So I’ll post up my rankings and explanations and combine a whole bunch of random thoughts I’ve had about recent events in the idol world later on in the entry. So, without further ado…

(more…)

No, really. What’s so special about Buono? The question is 100% genuine– not to be taken in a sarcastic way at all, and it’s something that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now.

When the formation of Buono! was announced back in the summer, I rolled my eyes in exasperation. Just what Hello! Project needed– even more Airi, Momoko, and Miyabi. Because we hadn’t seen or heard enough of them, of course. When I heard about the Athena & Robikerottsu unit, I had a very different reaction. That was a step in the right direction, I thought. Taking Risa, who has continually been overshadowed in Morning Musume, Aika, and Nakajima Saki and Okai Chisato from C-ute and throwing them together for a super-cute unit. This was the way to go about it– put a few of the lesser-known (and newer, in one case) girls in H!P with a more well-known, deserving member of H!P, and you’ll have success. Throwing Miyabi, Momoko, and Airi together into an anime-based unit seemed as redundant as a regular H!P single. These three girls have constantly gotten leading roles in their individual groups or Berryz Koubou and C-ute Suzuki Airi ft. the Rest of C-ute. Buono was neither new nor exciting. And on a more personal level, I didn’t particularly like any of them. Miyabi was the highest on my list out of the three of them, but she wasn’t enough to save the group for me. I just wasn’t interested.

But here I am, months later and loving Buono, without any explicable reason whatsoever.

(more…)

So, I’ve got some time to kill before heading off to some Christmas festivities with my family… so why not spend it posting Christmas-y pictures of some of my favorite idols, I say! This entry’s going to be purely eyecandy, but expect an actual entry coming up sometime soon!

From the Canaria Club beauties:

  

   

  

And some Cutie Queens:
  

And to finish it all off, C-ute playing ‘Silent Night’ on bells.

Merry Christmas/Whatever You Celebrate, everyone!

This post will officially qualify for my post with the LEAST substance yet, but I’m sorry, this just HAS to be shared. My brain just about exploded from the epicness that is this photograph.

 Click it, click it, click it, click it!

ERIKA and YUKIRIN in the SAME PICTURE! And and and! Nakajima Saki~ and Sayaka and Sae! Chinami! Satou Amina! Ohori Megumi! Itano Tomomi! Risako! Yurina! Kanna! Acchan! Rina! Andandand everyone else! In the saaaaame place! The only thing that would make this picture better is, well, Maimi. And Morning Musume. Then I’d officially be in a coma from all the awesomeness.

Kouhaku… is going to be SO awesome this year.  

So it’s been a little while since my last post; I’ve since been stuck with a lot of work, followed by a nice little break, which I spent back at home being absolutely lazy and enjoying every minute of that. Last night, we had a big dinner for a good bunch of my relatives, so there I was, sitting in the parlor with my laptop, and I found myself watching the H!P Eggs Concert while my family argued back and forth about the Red Sox/Indians baseball game. Just to create a little amusing scene for you all– imagine “Strawberry Pie-yi-yi-yi-yi-ya-yi, strawberry pie, oh strawberry pie!” harmonizing with fevered shouts of “GAGNE?! THEY’RE SENDING IN GAGNE?! Game’s over, we’re doomed.”

 I’ve actually watched the H!P Eggs Shinjin Kouen Concert quite a bit before then. It’s not rare, though, that when I settle down to do some work, I’ll throw on a concert to listen to instead of the original music. It sure as hell is more DISTRACTING than listening to music alone, but it’s a lot more entertaining! So it’s not a new thing, but what I’ve found with the Eggs Concert is that it REALLY commands a lot of attention from me when I happen to play it, and small parts of the concert will get stuck in my head. Not just an entire song– just little lines said by certain Eggs. It’s a little annoying, actually, to have ONE LINE running through your head an entire day, but I’ve just had to accept the fact that these Eggs just have some mysterious power over me right now.

(more…)

One of my favorite things to do when I’m bored and browsing Youtube is search out for any kind of fan work with my favorite J-pop songs– whether it’s watching people sing along to their favorite songs, make entire PVs based off of the originals, dance out the choreographies, or even make their own artistic interpretation of the song on [insert-instrument-of-choice-here]. Some are more common than others, of course– but I’d have to say my favorite is the last– coming across someone playing out a song on whatever instrument, and I’ve been finding more and more piano versions of songs lately, and just been blown away by them.

I’ve always loved piano music; I started taking piano lessons when I was a tiny kindergartener– about 5 or 6 years old at the time– up until I was about 11 or 12, when I switched to trumpet. But solo trumpet music has never been as appealing to me as solo piano music has been– and even today, I appreciate a good piano piece. Just yesterday, I was attending a club meeting in my school’s student center; we met on the top floor, where there’s a lot of open space and seats scattered around for studying, a few meeting rooms, massive windows to the outside, and one roughly tuned piano. All the meeting rooms were being used at the time, so we met out in the more open area. Right as we were about to begin, one guy had come upstairs and was sort of looking around timidly like he was lost– we weren’t sure if he was looking for our group, but soon enough, he plopped down rather casually at the piano. We all chuckled a bit, wondering if he was just going to hang out there if he couldn’t find us, but soon enough, we found out he really wasn’t lost– he actually came up to play the piano! There was rarely a time when I’ve been in the student center and heard someone playing, so when he actually did start playing, everything over at our table got incredibly quiet. Nobody even wanted to start the meeting because we were too enthralled, listening to this guy bust out his piano skills out of NOWHERE. Despite the rough tuning of the piano, the song was beautiful.  We all just wanted to sit there and listen– I mean, we did get started eventually, but I was just so amused that we sat there for a few minutes, just listening, not saying a word. When the meeting was over, he was still there and playing, and I climbed down back to the first floor where I was going to buy myself a soda. As I was heading down, the reverb of the piano was stunning. You could hear it throughout all three floors, since the structure on the inside of the building is completely open. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave as long as that guy was still playing! Unfortunately, I had a ton of other things on my schedule, so I did– but I hope that guy comes back– you know, weekly! I really think people– even my peers that blast screamo music and unintelligible hip-hop during all hours of the day– no matter who they are, can really enjoy a good piano piece.

So, anyway! Instead of leaving my favorite J-pop-related pieces on Youtube for others to come across, I decided to take a moment and share my favorites and hopefully give them some new viewers, because there are some really amazing pieces out there!

The first user I’m going to focus on here is like a MACHINE on Youtube– ChuNatsuPata. If you’ve ever seen a piano rendition of a H!P song on Youtube, you’ve probably come across one of his (I’m assuming they’re male, but correct me if I’m wrong!) He’s got so many fantastic ones on there, so I’ll just pick a few of my favorites.

This first is ‘Haru Beautiful Everyday,’ a song from Morning Musume’s latest album– the duet by Aika and Eri. I love how this song sounds just like the original, but at the same time, it creates a LOT more imagery– for me, anyway. Not to nag on Aika or Eri’s voices or anything– just this piece sans vocals is absolutely beautiful, and creates a lot of gorgeous images in my head– particularly springtime scenes, fitting with the song title. And, for some reason, to me, it sounds like it would be a piece featured in the middle of a movie– in one of those slowed-motion scenes where the picture gets softened, and your thoughts immediately go into sentimental mode. The dynamics in this piece are subtle and fantastic– the crescendos don’t come up inappropriately and surprise you and flow compeletely with the piece, and at the end, there’s this wonderful decrescendo to the finish– and that aforementioned movie scene fades off somewhere into the recesses of my mind.

Now, to completely contrast ‘Haru Beautiful Everyday,’ we have ‘Onna ni Sachi Are!’ This piece is much, much more interpretive– they’ve taken some artistic license with the song and gotten a little creative in the beginning, which just makes the song THAT much more epic. The song is most DEFINITELY ‘Onna ni Sachi Are,’ there’s no mistaking it, especially when the piece moves into the first chorus. At that point, singing along is NOT an option– it is a MUST– er, for me, at least. I just can’t help it! But what makes this so fantastic is it shows off the variety of this guy’s style. Where ‘Haru Beautiful Everyday’ had really subtle dynamics– this piece is VERY much more, for a lack of a better word, in-your-face. The crescendos are sudden, the piano-playing is intense!

Now for the last feature in this ChuNatsuPata series– his latest creation, his rendition of C-ute’s ‘Meguru Koi no Kisetsu!’ While ‘Onna ni Sachi Are,’ was interpretive in parts, this COMPLETELY transformed the original. He took this upbeat, poppy piece, and made into a jazzy swing piece! (Which is fantastic for me, because I’ve always been a closet jazz and swing fan.) But, honestly, you’ve got to hear this one to believe it. This one gives me the images of all the C-ute girls dressed up like flappers and dancing in a swanky club where the air’s thick with cigar smoke and excitement. (And I apologize if I’m getting my generations messed up here, it’s just how my brain interprets it!) (PS, Erika would look AMAZING in flapper-gear. Just imagine it!)

This one’s much too short, but worth a listen, anyway! A softer interpretation of C-ute’s ‘Wakkyannai (Z),’ made into something akin to a lullaby. Actually, it reminds me of Christmas, for some reason. Like something you’d hear played on an adorable Hallmark commercial for the season. Not to insult the song by comparing it to a Hallmark card, of course! I think it’s amazing how such a song can go from its super-genki original style to something as soft and melodic as this. It’s a cute little jingle, and I only wish they did the whole song!

This one I never expected to find! AKB48 piano renditions! This one features a bit of a medly; it starts off with ‘Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru,’ then switches to ‘Skirt, Hirari,’ and finishes off with ‘Virgin love.’ Each of them are very much like the original– so, once again, it’s very easily to find myself singing right along. But these can all be appreciated as renditions of their own, as well. Seifuku’s got a particular sound to it that makes it a little… hmm, I don’t know how to describe this. But it’s a little more standout than the other two– either way, it sounds fantastic. If you like that one, he’s also got a second video of AKB48-meets-piano, where there’s more songs, including some of the lesser-known ones like ‘MARIA,’ ‘Namida no Shounan,’ and ‘Kimi wa Pegasus,’ so if you’re a fan, definitely check out his other video!

This last one is my favorite out of the bunch. It’s Suzuki Airi’s solo song, ‘Tsuugaku Vector,’ piano-ified. Unlike the rest, it’s got a few sound effects in the beginning and the end, and the sound’s played over footage from the making of Airi’s PB. So you don’t get to actually see the song being played, but it’s magnificent nonetheless. The piece is absolutely brilliant– and it actually makes me like the song more than the original ever did. There are amazing parts during, well, what’s the ‘instrumental break’ in the original song, that lead up to a beautiful last chorus. The entire thing is fantastic– really pleasant to listen too– and I do think I’ll be loading up vixy.net so I can take that audio and put it on my iPod.

Once in a while, I need to get these things out of my system. There’s nothing too immense going on in the idol world right now that I feel the need to share my take on, so I’m going to put up a much more personal post. Not personal as in my actual boring life (trust me, even I’d want to be spared the excruciating details of the tale of another neuroscience class, kthx), but much more idol-based. So! I present to you, my current Top 10 in the idol world.

(more…)

Next Page »