Friday, September 28, 2012
Take a Chance and Stop Using Sparkly Effects, UFA!
I'd be lying if I said I haven't been excited to see how this PV was going to turn out.
I kept reminding myself "Nia, it's UFA, they'll probably just do a dance shot and hold some sock puppets or something cheap and unimaginative like that." I felt like because the song was so good, something had to pay the price for it; what if that happened to be the PV? It turns out said price came in the form of those atrocious outfits the girls are wearing for the single. They look like something I'd find in those cheap Halloween costume magazines I leafed through when I was a kid. But I digress; I'll trash those later (though I wish I could literally throw them in the trash). Even before the song came out, I was very intrigued to see if we'd hear from the Robo-Musume we saw in the One Two Three PV and if anyone else besides Reina and RiDOS would be getting to sing anytime soon. After all, One Two Three has been their best selling single in almost a decade so the obvious solution is to copy the formula and promote the hell out of it. Naturally, UFA isn't going to be doing the latter anytime soon again (unless Momusu's still around for their 100th single...). I almost wanted another electropop song because while I felt that although One Two Three was decent, it could have been so much more polished; maybe Wakuteka Take a Chance could hone that style of music further. Because right now, I think it works very nicely for Momusu. Electropop is a genre that doesn't necessarily requires the vocal talent of Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi, and Mizuki Nana combined. Considering the good singers in MM either still need improvement or get shafted to the back, it's a safe genre. Not only that, there are so many directions you could go with electropop! You have an entire array of sound effects, vocal processors, everything right in front of a computer screen and sound board. Hell, look at Perfume's diverse discography and you'll see what I mean (though I admit they're more techno than electro...).
Lo and behold, Wakuteka Take a Chance did turn out to be another electropop song for the new and improved/degraded Robo-Musume. And you know what? I like the song! I really do! In fact, I think I like it even more than I do when I first heard it; I guess it sort of grew on me. It might be due to the fact that I listen to a lot of electropop as it is so Robo-Musume is right up my alley. Like the instrumental; I really love the instrumental and wish it didn't cut off so suddenly at the end of the song. I'll definitely listen to that once it leaks onto Youtube! Like their previous single, Wakuteka Take a Chance is almost as catchy as One Two Three and I often find myself humming it these days. It's just a very well done combination of memorable verses and an amazing chorus. And I like this song so much better than One Two Three! What makes Wakuteka Take a Chance better for me than One Two Three is simply how much more smoothly the song flows. There aren't poorly Autotuned weak vocals and the electropop sound doesn't seem chaotic and cluttered; the music is very deliberate and the instrumentals and the girls radiate confidence in this song. And I know a lot of people have problem with this new Auto-tuned Robo-Musume but I really don't think the Autotune is quite as profound as it was in One Two Three. No one sounds too robotic and RiDOS doesn't sound like GLaDOS! If anything, it only adds to the robotic, electropop feel the song has. And the song isn't layered with so much Autotune it could blend in with something from Perfume's ⊿ album. What I'm trying to say is the Autotune feels less desperate this time around and although it could still use a little more polishing, it sounds loads better from the onslaught One Two Three brought upon my poor eardrums. Wakuteka Take a Chance isn't for everyone but if you take a chance (pun intended there...) and give it a listen you might find yourself enjoying it. It's tight, smooth and probably one of the strongest songs Momusu has cranked out this year!
And finally we get to see what the hell UFA did (or didn't do) with the PV! Now apparently this is only the "temporary" version of the PV as they're re-shooting the dance shot so Ayumi can be in it. Regardless, I decided to go ahead and review it and I'll review it again if the official version is drastically different. As for now, let's take a chance and see if this is worth watching!
This has got to be one of the most barren museums I've ever seen!
So it looks like the creators have upgraded from sparkles to sparkles that remind me of a screen saver!
Can it be!? A shot that looks surprisingly cool and expensive! Hold me while I faint!
BEHOLD! This is one of seven solo shots Zukki is granted! Seriously, I counted.
Oh god, this dance is so perfect. It'll be even more perfect when everyone's in it!
Those cat ears, however, are not. They're almost as bad as Momoko's pigtails.
Oh Haruna, thank god there's so much screen time for your beautiful face in this PV!
See, this is what happens when you use too much Autotune! They throw you in Autotune Jail!
For once Creeper 2.0 doesn't look like she's going to kill me!
I'm happy they found a way to get Ayumi in the group shots since she couldn't dance!
Eripon, I don't care how messy it looks, I still love your hair!
Surprisingly, Sayu and Fuku actually sound pretty good when they're rapping!
And okay, yes RiDOS doesn't sound as bad to me in this song as she did in One Two Three.
When you use Autotune in Autotune Jail then you're deported to Autotune Hell!
I'm happy Zukki at least gets to be in the front during the main dance.
When in doubt, jazz hands!
So are Sayumi and RiDOS the only ones in Autotune Hell because they overuse it so much?
Everyone else looks really sexy on these light-beds but Masaki still looks absolutely adorable.
Even Haruka looks much older and hotter than Masaki! And she's twelve!
I think the RiDOS circle looked less awkward in the rehearsal dance shot...
Haruna looks the best in these close-up shots. Just look at her incredibly beautiful and sexy eyes!
And yeah, Fuku looks pretty good too and I am happy she's getting some lines/duets.
What's that? You're actually giving me five seconds of screen time instead of two? Oh, happy day!
Somehow Eripon makes this pumpkin-orange Party City Halloween costume look good.
Seriously, look at these outfits. At least the PyokoPyoko outfits had a consistent theme and didn't look so messy!
So I really hope Morning Musume's future PVs don't consist of a shitload of sparkles and Photoshop editing effects. I can tolerate it somewhat at the moment but if this is going to be a long-term thing I don't know how long I'll be able to stand it. Kind of like how I love Perfume's PV for Chocolate Disco but I wouldn't want all their PVs to have the same amount of lighting effects Chocolate Disco has. In Wakuteka Take a Chance, the sparkly effects aren't quite as heavy as they were in One Two Three but it's still enough that I get kind of bored with them. That being said... it's not the worst PV I've ever come across, far from it actually! I really had no idea what they were going to do for this PV and I had this horrible feeling that the PV would either be really cool or really, really suck. The good news is, the PV doesn't suck! The bad news is there's a lot of ways in which the PV could have been improved that make me want to bang my head against my keyboard. But I'm in a good mood, so let's start with the things I liked about this PV! For instance, I really enjoyed the close-up shots of the girls lying on a light-up platform (there's probably a term for this and I don't know what it is) and the scenes where they're singing in Autotune Jail! The close-ups are really where everyone shines and I mean they literally shine thanks to the light coming from the platforms they're laying on and the luminescent bars in Autotune Jail. The light illuminates each member and draws my focus to them and for a teensy second I can tolerate those awful Halloween costumes. The PV is also well shot, with the various scenes it has divided up pretty evenly and the setting isn't terrible either.
Now the PV isn't perfect. In fact, the only two changes I would make if I were bestowed with the honor of directing a Momusu PV would be to 1. Change those horrendous outfits and 2. Nix all the gratuitous effects UFA felt inclined to layer on top of this PV. Seriously, just try to picture it without those two elements; doesn't it seem much better and more tasteful? Well, I think it does, I have no idea what you think. A good direction for this PV would have been something more minimal and simplistic. I'm hoping in the official version they focus more on the dance (and I'm very certain they will) because the dance really is one of the strongest and most fluid Momusu has come out with lately. Since that's one of the strong points of the song, why not show more of it in the PV? And I know this is only the temporary version but I think it gives you a good idea of what the final PV's going to be like hence I have no plans of reviewing that. Most likely they'll just show more of the re-shot dance so that Ayumi's in it. I think UFA would be too stingy to use their money to add anything else to the PV. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the dance in motion but I would like it ten times better if they had different outfits. I really can't emphasize how much I want to throw those neon-colored, concert-worthy outfits (and I mean bad concert outfits) into my local Bargain Box just so I can never see them again. I wish the outfits could have matched with the set, like maybe something simple and neutral colored that would be easy to dance in. It could still be stylish but subtlety is not a bad thing, UFA. You could still do a dance scene with a simple set and toned-down costumes because the dance you have already is strong enough that it doesn't need sparkles to distract us. I admit, the fire shots are neat but they don't mix with the rest of the PV and seem like more of UFA saying "Look at this pretty little effect we just bought, tee hee!!" If the PV was more toned down and minimalistic then I might like it more but alas it is not. So here's how I rank it:
I've decided that my Apple Rating System is not only useful for single reviews but also for my PV reviews too hence I have decided to give Wakuteka Take a Chance four out of five apples. Is it a good PV? Yes. Is it a step-up from One Two Three? Absolutely. Could it be better? Definitely, there's a lot of room for improvement. The song is quite good though and if you're a fan of Robo-Musume or Morning Musume in general, then I think you'll enjoy this! The PV has a strong dance that we'll hopefully see more of in the official version and I can do my best to ignore those hideous outfits. Although the line distribution's not the best, it's nice to hear more than two people singing for a change. I'm not sure how much the official PV is going to be different from this one but I'm not going to get my hopes up considering how many times UFA has disappointed me with PVs. Still, I'll be looking out with open eyes and ears for when it's finally released!