Monday, September 23, 2013

Nia's Idol Blacklist

This is a question for you fellow idol bloggers: do you have any idol groups you just don't want to review? Be it because you don't like them or just don't have interest in them, for whatever reason you simply have no intention of reviewing this group. Well, I do. I have several groups actually. I've just compiled them into one category and given them an ominous-sounding name:

Just for clarification, Not yet is not on the Blacklist. I just thought their image looked appropriate for my little graphic. I don't know why, but "blacklist" is one of the words I've always just liked. I've just never had much of an opportunity to use it. But hey, now I get to! I think the definition a "blacklist" is pretty self explanatory: it's a group of people or things that are out of favor. Of course, my blacklist isn't just any old blacklist; it's an idol blacklist containing idol groups that I never want to review, let alone write about. So why did I feel the need to write about this? It's not like anyone really wants to know about groups I'm never going to review. The idea's actually been in my head for awhile now, and I've kept my actual blacklist saved as part of a Word document. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to make the Blacklist public.

The reason I did go through with the idea of turning it into a post was for you guys! Kind of. I've been blogging for a relatively long time now (almost 2 years), and I think it's good for anyone who's just starting to read posts on my blogs to get an idea of what kind of idol groups I listen to and what kind of groups I won't touch with a 10-foot pole. I figured doing a Blacklist and publishing it will be able to showcase a better idea of what I look for in idol music, and what aspects of idol groups turn me off from reviewing them. I'd also say that it's because of all the requests I get, but luckily, I don't get requests very often! Now I do need to specify one thing about the Blacklist before we actually start going into it. You may find that some of the groups on the Blacklist are groups that you like. And that's perfectly normal. But for whatever reason, these are the groups that I just have no desire to review. So just to make things clear, I'm going to say this in all caps and bold:


And honestly, some of the groups on my blacklist aren't even bad, I just don't want to take the time and effort to write about them. You may even like some of the groups on my Blacklist, and that's totally cool! Differing opinions are what keep the world from being a dull place! All right, are we good on that, guys? I'm assuming so because there's no turning back now! Read on if you wish to find out what groups make up... Nia's Idol Blacklist. I'd include a crash of thunder but this is just writing so... CRASH! See? An onomatopoeia!


To think I'd never have found out about this group if someone whose name starts with "Chii" and ends in "ma" hadn't showed them to me! But now I have, so I've put them on the Blacklist. I dislike Palet for many of the reasons that I dislike the next group on my Idol Blacklist. In a nutshell, they're bland. Like... really bland. That alone should explain to anyone who reads my blog why Palet is on the Blacklist. I kinda have a... passionate dislike for bland idol songs. You know what I'm talking about: the vaguely happy, annoyingly upbeat, devoid of any genuine enthusiasm or energy idol songs that you could have sworn you'd already heard before. In other words... about half of the music that idol groups churn out! Yeah, in hindsight, I might have picked the wrong genre of music to get into... It's when I listen to such bland idol music and find myself writing about it that I think, "Why do I listen to idol music anyways if so much of it doesn't appeal to me?"

I think the more I've blogged about idols, the more I've started to realize what kind of idol music really grabs me, and it's not the conventional kind of music that Palet seems to only release. I like the idol groups and music that try to be different, that try to do something, be it in their image or their music, that makes them stand out. Palet, and a lot of other idol groups that I will probably never be introduced to, do not possess that feature. So why do this then? Why write about idols if so many of them release music that don't appeal to me? Because I follow idol groups for the music. Also for the PVs and concepts, but mainly the music. Ultimately, an idol group's music is what factors into my decision to actively follow that group. Of the Palet songs I've listened to, I can't remember a single one of them. I can't even hum out a few notes. So if I'm not capable of even remember an idol group's music, then I'm clearly not capable to review them. The only thing remotely interesting about Palet is that the members of it are all rejects from auditions for Passpo. And if that's the most interesting thing I can find about an idol group... that's pretty pathetic.

Dorothy Little Happy

Okay for the record, Get You does not count as a Dorothy Little Happy review. It was a BiS to Dorothy Little Happy review of a collaboration from two idol groups on different ends of the spectrum. Whereas BiS is strange and unconventional, Dorothy Little Happy is about as bland and predictable as idol groups get. Well, Palet is vying to steal that title but you get what I mean. Some of you might recognize Dorothy Little Happy as the group that Ishida Ayumi was a backup dancer for before she got into Morning Musume. Thank god she did get into Momusu; I couldn't fathom Ayumi being in such a lackluster group as this! I think listening to Dorothy Little Happy was the first time I was able to pinpoint just what kind of idol groups I didn't get into: the boring ones. The cookie-cutter groups that have literally no features that set themselves apart from the vast pool of other idol groups all vying for attention in the industry. I mean, if I had to describe Dorothy Little Happy in three sentences, I don't think I'd know what to say that could accurately sum up what they're like.

With a group like BiS or Perfume, that's easy-peasy. This group though? What am I supposed to say? Dorothy Little Happy is a five member group and... what next? All their songs sound the same? The only original Dorothy Little Happy song I've remotely liked is Kowarechau Kuzarechau from their version of the Get You single, but again, that was the Bis to Dorothy Little Happy collaboration single. I've tried to watch several of their PVs, but I've ended up stopping them out of sheer boredom. The girls of the group sound nice and all but... that's it. This is just a vaguely-pleasant sounding idol group that cranks out nothing but vaguely-pleasant idol songs. Do you have any idea how hard it would be for me to review this group? I don't even know if I could write enough about them to even generate a review. To be fair, Dorothy Little Happy is by no means a terrible group, they're just not an interesting group. At least not in my eyes. And I see no point in reviewing a group I'm not interested in.


They're all talent and no charm. The end.

Okay, okay, I have to explain my reasons for this one. Because in theory, this should be an idol group I like. Fairies is made up of highly trained girls from the Avex Lab Avex Trax, and all the girls in the group are proficient in singing and dancing. So much that their levels of skill and talent have even been compared to K-pop groups. In the idol industry, which thrives on unpolished talent and vocals that can crack your eardrums, Fairies place themselves up a notch in terms of talent. And I've talked in many, many reviews about talent, particularly vocal talent. I generally tend to gravitate to groups that can sing or at least have distinctive voices that I can recognize. Why else do you think Tokyo Girls' Style is one of my favorite idol groups? And Perfume, a group known for having some of the best choreography in J-pop, is one of my favorite artists in general. So what does Fairies lack? They're very talented, all the girls in the group. But that's it. That is the only thing that this group has going for themselves: their talent.

While I do consider that to be a very important aspect of deciding what kind of idol groups I'm going to review, it's not the deciding factor. If you go by my review index, you might notice that not all the groups I've reviewed are exactly talented. Take Momoiro Clover Z; they have some of the most off-key vocals in J-pop, but I still enjoy their music and their overall image. Because what they lack in talent they make up for in personality. What I look for in an idol group is that perfect balance of talent and personality, a yin-yang where one has to complete the other. Fairies, from what I've seen of them, are completely lacking in outwardly appealing personality. They seem sweet, but not very engaging, especially in their music videos. Their dancing is great, but there's just something so... robotic about them. And not the Spring of Life-kind of robotic. Their music isn't interesting enough for me to really get motivated to review this group, although Beat Generation was rather catchy. If I want a talented Avex group, I'll just keep listening to Tokyo Girls' Style.

Silent Siren

So Silent Siren is an idol band. I like idol bands. Where is the disconnect then? I have to admit of all my opinions regarding the groups I've put on the Blacklist, my opinions toward Silent Siren are probably the most lenient. I really don't think this is a terrible band. In fact, they actually make for pretty easy listening. But the reasons that Silent Siren is on the Blacklist have to do with time and another idol group that just so happens to be an idol band... First of all, I have eighteen groups that I try to actively review on the Wonderland. I know that seems like a small number, but believe me, it's more than enough for me to review. The way I decide to review new groups is like this: something has to come up from a group that grabs my attention enough for me to want to review and talk about it. When I publish that review, I then keep an eye out to see whatever the group is releasing next will also be looking into. I also take this time to look at the group's past material to see if their style and music are something that appeals to my musical tastes.

 Should whatever the group releases next interest me enough to write another review, that's when I consider them to be on my active list. Silent Siren has yet to release something that's really grabbed me; the songs I've heard by them are nice but not outstanding enough that I want to write about them. If I were to write a review of something by Silent Siren, I'm worried that it would become more of a thorn in my side than something genuinely enjoyable to write, and I write on the Wonderland for my own personal love of writing. Right now I just don't have the time or the motivation to review anything by Silent Siren. It doesn't help that I already listen to Scandal, an idol band that in my opinion has much more distinctive music. If I want to review an idol band, I usually just default to Scandal, because I think I can just generate more reviews about their material. I don't know, I don't want to put Silent Siren as a group I'll never review, but right now it's looking that way. As long as Scandal's still around at least.

Super Girls

Super Girls. I talk about you at last. In case you haven't noticed, I've cracked a joke or two (or ten) in a variety of my reviews about the unoriginality of Super Girls. Because my god, they are such an unoriginal group. What concepts they don't borrow from other groups (and execute poorly) are cliched and trite ideas that are common in many idol PVs and songs. I mean, it almost blows my mind at just how cliched this idol group is. I might not mind so much if they were marketed as being more tongue-in-cheek about it but nope. Basically, I dislike Super Girls for many of the same reasons I dislike Palet and Dorothy Little Happy: their music is really bland. And as I have stated on many, many occasions, I really don't like bland idol songs. I feel like everything about Super Girls is constructed around the stereotypes of idol groups, which could be a really cool concept if it was explored well, but here it's just used to sell singles and albums.

But I feel like the producers for Super Girls just have a dictionary of overused idol ideas and concepts, and whenever they're deciding what to do for the group's next single, they just close their eyes and flip open to a random page. It's kind of weird how I have such a strong dislike of an idol group that's pretty much what your typical idol group is supposed to be. But for reasons that I can't even quite explain well, Super Girls is just one of those idol groups that's always going to be a thorn in my side. You know how the Grinch felt about Whoville? That's kind of how I feel about Super Girls. I think it comes down to the fact that everything I see from them just looks so familiar to other idol groups. I said earlier that what I look for in an idol group is their ability to set themselves apart from other idol groups and stand out. Super Girls doesn't even try to do that. And you know what? If you're the type of person who likes that cardboard cutout, generic idol groups, that's totally okay, and Super Girls is perfect for you if you do. For me, Super Girls is an will probably always be a group that I will stay far, far away from.

Ayaman Japan

Oh yeah, like any of you couldn't see this one coming. I think as a reviewer, I try to keep my reviews on the neutral-to-positive side. Sure, I can get a little rant-y when I'm going on tangent #50 about how AKB48's A-sides suck, but for the most part, I try to keep myself composed and civil in my reviews. And I do try to find at least one positive aspect of whatever PV, single, or album I'm reviewing, even if it's the smallest positive thing I could find. For Ayaman Japan, I couldn't do that. The only thing I have reviewed from this group is Poi Poi, and that was for Sexy PV Week. You can read the review here. To this day, Poi Poi is the only song that I have ever reviewed that I 100% hate. I hate that song so. Very. Much. Like if someone played it, I'd probably get up and leave the room and only come back in when the song ended. I would rather listen to So Long!, PyokoPyoko Ultra, and that Shiina Pikarin song on a loop than listen to Poi Poi.

I think my hatred for Poi Poi is much more well-explained in the full review for the song and PV; just take my word for it that I really hate that song. And honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Ayaman Japan either ever since they were introduced to me. I will say I can give them a half-thumbs up for at least trying to be different from all the other groups on the market but... this is not the kind of different that I'm into. For those of you who don't know, Ayaman Japan is an idol group that portrays a much more crass and bawdy image than many other idol groups. Think BiS, only sexier. I can kind of see why people do like them (and hey, they have that party gimmick), but it boils down to my personal tastes. Personally, I find them to be annoying and too crude to be legitimately funny. Look, I'm not Ladybird Johnson, but I'm not exactly a huge fan of sex-related humor. Ayaman Japan is a group that revolves around sex-related humor, and not the clever kind either. The other songs they've released, while not as annoying, don't appeal much to me either. In the end, Ayaman Japan's sexual gimmick is too poorly executed for me to consider reviewing anything else by them.

Look guys! The Blacklist is over! See? I told you guys I didn't have a lot of groups on it! And hopefully it stays that way. So out of curiosity, I'd like to ask any other fellow idol bloggers: do you have your own Blacklist? And if so, what groups are on there?

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