Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chilling in Hawaii and Languishing Behind a Computer

Well, summer isn't over yet! Let's see what Passpo has to offer to the wave of idol summer PVs of 2013. And let's see if I can go a whole PV review without making more than ten puns about summer!

Guys, did I properly emphasize how much I loved The Airline Trilogy?

I mean, I know I enthusiastically did a triple-PV review of the three A-side that made up the trio of singles that Passpo released in 2012, but did I really convey just how much I loved each A-side. Even Natsuzora Hanabi, the weakest of those three A-sides, was still awesome, and one of my favorite summer songs of 2012! I thought each song stood out on its own, but they all fit with the consistent theme Passpo was going for with The Airline Trilogy: that "around the world" theme. It worked so well. But maybe... too well. You know that thing that happens when you listen to some really good music by an artist, and it's so fantastic that you get psyched for whatever material that artist is putting out next? To the point where you feel like it has to at least live up to the music that got you into the group in the first place? And then their next single/album comes out, and you can't help but compare it to their previous content?

Even when you try so hard not to keep measuring it up to that? For those reasons, I've realized that The Airline Trilogy set a bar that was too high for Passpo to reach with their next trilogy. My expectations were so increased for the trio of singles Passpo released this year thanks to The Airline Trilogy, and only now am I just realizing that. But I also feel like The Airline Trilogy had a formula that couldn't be duplicated either, a mix of musical styles that was near perfect. And I didn't want a rehash of The Airline Trilogy for this trilogy of Passpo singles. I did want a collection of singles though that had a cohesive style that stood out. And since this trilogy (which has no name that I have no knowledge) had a theme of evolution and showing how Passpo had evolved as a group, I was excited, albeit confused at just how the hell this could be shown through music. So the first single of The Evolution Trilogy (which is what I'm calling it from here on) was double A-side Step & Go/Candy Room. I found it to be all right; I even enjoyed Candy Room a lot. But it didn't grab me. Neither did Truly. In fact, that entire second single just bored me.

And so here we are at the third and final single of The Evolution Trilogy: Mousou no Hawaii. With the first two singles released, I still hadn't really figured out just what Passpo was aiming for with this trilogy, neither in sound nor aesthetic. Now that Mousou no Hawaii's been released... I still have no idea what this trilogy was supposed to do. Hence I have decided to put my thoughts about this trilogy to the side to ponder over them some other time and maybe in some other post. Now all I want to do is look at Mousou no Hawaii as a standalone summer song. Well... okay, I might make a few comparisons to Natsuzora Hanabi, but I'll try and keep those to a minimum. So how does Mousou no Hawaii sound? Well... Hawaiian. What I found out through my ever-studious research of looking it up on Tokyo Girls' Update is that Mousou no Hawaii was written and produced Yuta Yasuno, a member of three-piece rock band Hawaiian 6. And what would the song be about? Hawaii! Are you seeing a pattern yet?

Now I have never heard of Hawaiian 6 nor have I listened to any of their music, but I do think it's nice that Passpo was able to get another backing band for one of their singles. I missed that with their past few singles! So Mousou no Hawaii does have a much more rock edge to it, which I like. There's also some ukulele in this song, which my mind immediately connects to Hawaiian music. Because that's what all Hawaiian music sounds like, right? Right!? Anyways, the tempo of the instrumental is very fast-paced and consistent, which gives Mousou no Hawaii a good amount of energy. But I wish the tempo of the vocals matched the pace of the instrumental, at least during a few parts. I feel that the chorus could have been faster. It really dragged at a few parts, especially since the buildup to the chorus was nicely done. For the most part, Mousou no Hawaii is a good head-bobbing song, especially if you're out and about doing... eh... stuff. Especially summery stuff!

I do think I should also elaborate on what Mousou no Hawaii is about. Mainly because it's not among the pool of silly love songs that you could fill the Pacific Ocean. The title of the song translates to "Hawaii Delusion." The song is about not ponytails and scrunchies or everyday headbands but... wanderlust. You heard me, wanderlust! In summary, Mousou no Hawaii is about a girl who longs to escape to the sunny beaches of Hawaii, free from the responsibilities of school and life in general. Well gee, who doesn't? I'd love to go to Hawaii! In fact, my brother of all people got to go to Hawaii this summer while I stayed at home doing non-Hawaiian stuff! But I digress. I'm bringing this up because actually knowing what Mousou no Hawaii's lyrics are about actually makes the song better. Crazy, right? The lyrics to a song that I can't even understand make it better!

Before I found out what Mousou no Hawaii was about, I thought it was an okay summer song. Definitely not the worst I've ever heard but not the best either. Not as good as Natsuzora Hanabi at least. However, the lyrics from Mousou no Hawaii do give it a few brownie points. Why? Because they're relatable. Look, something that I've come to notice about many summer songs is that I can't relate to a lot of them. And that's because most of them are always about summer romance, finding love, all that mushy gushy stuff that I either don't care about or don't relate to. So I can poke fun at these silly songs about summer love, because they never strike a chord with me. But you know what does? The desire to travel and see new places. To escape reality, even if only for a moment. And that's what Mousou no Hawaii is about. It's just focused on Hawaii. For that reason, I do actually like Mousou no Hawaii, and it's probably my second favorite A-side of The Evolution Trilogy. And of the summer songs I've reviewed this year, it holds up pretty well. But then again, just about any song is better than Sayonara Crawl.

As you all know, a summer song is nothing without a summer PV that has the challenging of task of bringing a song to life and evoking feelings of summer with the viewer! And fanservice. Lots and lots of fanservice. Does Passpo engage in gratuitous fanservice for Mousou no Hawaii? Let's dive in and find out!

Oh hey, this is exactly what I look like when I'm blogging! Minus the cute outfit...

Nice to know that idols also spend their days Googling cool places they'll never be able to go to!

Oh right, except idols can go to those places because they're idols...

I'm not sure if they're trying to do the Macarena or the Fushizen na Girl walk.

I have to admit, this stage is really cute and nicely done considering it's just a set!

Uh... am I still in the right PV? This set just looks so... dark.

It reminds me of the set for the dance shot of Beginner (yeah, that happy-go-lucky PV)

It's time to put my plan to action of taking over the idol blogsphere in action!

MIO! Agh, I'm really starting to like Mio these days...

I think Passpo just found out about the bat-shit crazy portion of the H!P fandom.

Look at all these pretty colors... and everyone looks like they're having a lot of fun!

Especially that guy!

I half-expected them to start headbanging during this part of the dance.

Is the pencil-balancing move just a requirement for every idol PV with pens in it?

I get the feeling that if idol bloggers were turn into actual idols, this is what we would look like.

And that would be the face of an idol blogger who just realized she'd missed a deadline!

This silhouetted dance shot is actually kind of cool. I wish they'd used it more in this PV!

Of course, it wouldn't be an idol summer PV without gratuitous bikini shots!

Say... this is one shady photo shoot isn't it?

Clearly, they're bowing down to the lord of the idolsphere... NIIGAKI RISA!

You know what they say: if you got it, flaunt it!

But personally I like these shots over the gratuitous bikini shots.

Eh... what on earth is the girl in the bottom center screen doing?

You can see one girl's scarf standing out amongst all the other silhouettes!

Hrm... you know what this PV needs? A conga line!

But hey, a hula dance works too!


Forgot to mention the token background band is cool as always!

But alas, this is all but a delusion...

If I can't swim on the beach, I'll just surf... the Internet!

And so the PV ends in a shot that somewhat accurately sums up what I did this summer...

What's this? A PV that accurately depicts what the lyrics are trying to convey!? Have I gone mad!? Yeah, the PV for Mousou no Hawaii represents the song's meaning pretty well. You've got the girls of Passpo, sitting in the dark illuminated by their computer screens (just like I am at the moment!), and they're all Googling pictures of tropical locations in Hawaii. Then they all have a collective daydream of dancing and performing in Hawaii (or at least as much of Hawaii you can represent in an indoor) set. And... that's pretty much all of the PV. You have a few other random shots thrown in (like the bikini shots and that silhouetted dance shot) but the main focuses of the PV are the computer shots and the Hawaii shots. Even though the concept for Mousou no Hawaii is very simplified and carried out in a very simple way, I can actually dig it.

This is because, again, it's relatable. I think every teenager sitting in their room with a laptop at their fingertips during the summer has longed to be somewhere tropical or exotic. Something I've always poked fun at in a lot of the summer PVs I've reviewed is how unrealistic they are. I know I don't spend my summer swimming with my friends in a giant pool of flowers or having a wild party at a hotel and landing the pool with a hot guy. No, I spend my summer either A) Doing summer activities that are usually theatre-related or B) Relaxing at my computer and enjoying the fact that there is no pressure to get in any assignments/papers/projects for school. Passpo does the latter in this PV, using their imaginations to take themselves to new locations that they can't access because plane travel is effing expensive. Or so I presume. I like that a lot of the members of the group do a decent job of looking genuinely frustrated and frazzled of being stuck at their computers. It gives the PV a little more character, and gets across those wanderlust feelings highlighted in the actual song. Annnnd it's helpful for an English-speaking person like me to figure out just what this PV was trying to get across.

The only gripe I have with this PV is- you probably know what it is actually. Is it:

A) The color scheme of the Hawaii set
B) The fact that Kaho hasn't magically reappeared into the group
C) The gratuitous bikini shots
D) Pineapples. Just pineapples.

If you picked anything besides C... are you new to the Wonderland? I've made it more than clear that I have a problem with gratuitous fanservice, especially when you can practically see how gratuitous it is. The scenes with the girls of Passpo in bikinis are completely shoehorned in; they didn't even give them a proper set for these shots! I wouldn't mind quite as much if it weren't so blatant but it is. If these shots weren't in the PV, nothing would have been lost. It's not like I'd be lying in bed all night thinking "Man, that Mousou no Hawaii was missing something... but what? Bikinis! Of course!" Fortunately, those scenes are short and few, only taking up a small fraction of this PV. The other sets in this PV, are pretty well-done. Passpo isn't exactly an idol group that can afford to splurge on big-budget, elaborate PVs, so for what they were given to work with, I think it was handled pretty well.

I do wish the Hawaii scene had been shot in an outdoor location though; at times it felt a little closed in and isolated. I do like that they managed to get a lot of people for that shot though! Like the band, and the group of people that danced along with Passpo. I always like it when people besides the members of an idol group are put in a PV. It just adds something to it... Overall, I think Mousou no Hawaii is a decent summer PV. The pros are that it has a very familiar and relatable concept, along with a creative use of sets, and decent emoting from the girls. The cons are the few bikini shots I could have done without and the lack of variety in activities. The girls could have been given a little bit more to do, especially in those computer close-ups. Of all the summer PVs I've reviewed this year, I Mousou no Hawaii the best? No... I'd even wager to say that Candy Room was a better, more fun summer PV. I'm not so sure which I'd like better between Step & Go and Mousou no Hawaii though... probably the former because it did try to be creative despite all that poorly rendered CGI. Still, the PV for Mousou no Hawaii does at least try, and even though it could have been improved greatly, I think the PV's all right.

I guess Mousou no Hawaii gets a... mixed to positive response from me? I liked it better than Truly so I'll give it three and a half out of five apples! As the conclusion to The Evolution Trilogy, the song is okay; not my favorite Passpo song, but the relatable lyrics do redeem it a little bit. The PV for Mousou no Hawaii does attempt to be creative so I have to give it points for that, even if it isn't the most entertaining summer PV I've seen this year. I'll keep an eye out and see if Passpo delivers something more interesting for their next release... whatever that may be!

No comments:

Post a Comment