The other day, a roommate was watching Music Station and asked me, “why don’t you like Buono?” (To which I, confused, responded “Bono from U2? Whaa?”)
The thing is, I’m incredibly in love with Perfume right now, and in the past I was incredibly in love with SweetS. They’re the only two idol girl groups I’ve really adored. I have been slightly fond of Hinoi Team too. But somehow, I’ve never developed a liking (and actually hold a distaste) for any other female idol groups – nobody in H!P, not AKB48, not even the female parts in AAA. To my roommate, there’s no difference – Perfume and Buono! are all groups with three girls who dance in sync in performances to pop music. Besides, I listen to bad Johnny’s songs all the time obsessively, so music-wise I should be tolerant.
But to me, there’s all the different in the world – I was even slightly offended that my musical taste seemed to include H!P releases.
I’ve thought about it, and I’ve narrowed it down to six differences between the ones I like and the ones I don’t:
1. Music production: I don’t expect anyone in an idol group to have amazing singing, and even those considered “good singers” aren’t exactly vocal mavens. The music production makes or breaks the song. Most idol pop produce idol pop – and while I listen to idol pop mass-produced by Johnny’s, I know it’s usually not good music, at least not the type I’d enjoy with subpar female vocals. Perfume’s catchy and sweet but unconventional music is something I actually enjoy listening to, and I don’t know if I’m more a fan of Perfume or Nakata’s production. Although SweetS ended up churning out bad idol pop near the end, the songs they had in the first half of their releases – “Love Raspberry Juice,” “Tear Lemon Drop,” “Sky,” “Mirai e” for example, were legitimately quality pop music. And although Hinoi Team’s releases are pretty terrible sometimes, I did enjoy “Now and Forever” and “Dancin’ and Dreamin’.”
2. Outfits: As a girl, I do enjoy watching Japanese fashion and seeing it carried out by celebrities. I’ve often looked at the styles of celebrities with envy and admiration, like casual-romantic Otsuka Ai, edgy-sexy BoA, or funky-hipster Kimura Kaela. SweetS had sleek and lolita-esque matching costumes, and other times they just wore what looked like street fashion – they were fourteen and I still envy their wardrobe. Although Perfume has had misses (Those curtain flower-prints for “Twinkle Snow, Powdery Snow” and pretty much all their pre-major label outfits), their costumes look good: they match, yet they’re all fashionable by themselves, and if I had the body I’d wear them too. Other girl groups either employ eye-sore matching outfits or outfits that really cater to their core fans but that I think look cheesy (Schoolgirl outfits, metallic shiny suits, bunny costumes, etc.)
3. Cute Public Persona: I’m not a crazy fan, so I won’t be searching up things about these groups at first outside of what I see on music shows or in small clips. I’m sure these girls have fabulous and fun personalities. However, when I can only see them perform for two minutes, and half the time they’re puckering their lips, opening their eyes as wide as they can, flashing peace signs, or winking (Tanaka Reina is so gorgeous otherwise, why?!) I can’t help but feel a little put off. Please, ladies, you’re all beautiful – now no more puffy cheeks and winks okay?
4. Numbers: This applies to groups like Momusu, C-ute, Berryz Koubou, AKB48… anything more than six girls and you all start to blend in; more than ten, all smiling big-eyed and cutesy at the same time, and I’m freaked out by your sheer numbers. A bunny is cute, two bunnies are cuter, if I’m cuddling three or four bunnies I’ll be having the time of my life, but being mauled by cute bunnies wouldn’t be too great. First glance at perfume, I see three girls; first glance at Hinoi Team, I see four girl; first glance at SweetS I see five girls; first glance at C-ute, I just see a lot of girls; one glance at one group of AKB48, and I feel like I need to go watch something with more testosterone.
5. Nasal Voicers: Johnny’s has made me tolerant of bad voices (it’s made me tolerant of a lot of things actually, but that’s for another post) but there’s this particular type of voice I can’t stand and that pops up too often in girl pop: the nasal, high-pitched, held-in voice, where it sounds like a five year old with a head cold is singing. Pretty much all girl groups have at least one girl with this voice. The example would be that girl in Buono! with a red shirt; the song was good until her solo line. Sometimes, I’d be liking a song, but when a voice like that comes in the whole experience is ruined.
6. Cradle Robber: Not going to be a fan of twelve year olds now that I’m no longer twelve or even fifteen myself, sorry, especially if you’re not acting anywhere near your age.
So that’s the six reasons why. That’s not to say I’ll never enjoy a release: I am a music fan first and foremost, and I’ve enjoyed releases like oldschool Momusu “Renai Revolution 21” and Elegies’ “Inshouha Renoir No You Ni.” But to follow and be a fan of a group? That’s going to be reserved for a special few.
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