Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holly Jolly PV Week: 9nine

You guys remember 9nine, right? Last time we saw them on the Wonderland was when I reviewed Evolution No. 9! Well, now they're back and instead of reviewing a serious and cool-sounding song by 9nine, I'm reviewing a cutesy Christmas song! Break out the gingerbread cookies!

I admit, I feel a little guilty for not focusing a little more on 9nine since reviewing their last single. To be fair, they hadn't released anything else. Then November came and they released Re: but the PV was too cheap for me to say much about it. But even then I could have reviewed the single... Oh well, I'll make a New Year's Resolution to review more of 9nine's material! They're releasing another single in early January... it's called With You/With Me, right? I'll review that! I promise! Anyways, because I have been looking into this group's older music, and I've found some really good songs! They're not exactly a group that pushes the boundaries of being idols, but some songs I've found by 9nine sound really good. Like Shoujo Traveler, Shining Star, Cross Over... And yet one of the 9nine songs I never took a good look at until this review happened to be the one Christmas song they've released. I am of course talking about White Wishes, a Christmas single that is actually a Christmas single; I'm serious, this was released in December 2012. It's very clearly meant to be a Christmas single.

Funny enough, I was blogging in December of last year; this would have made for a great Christmas-themed review! But hey, if I'd reviewed it then, I wouldn't get to review White Wishes now! And like I said, White Wishes just wasn't a song I paid much mind to. I think I may have watched the PV, but I can't even remember. Keep in mind, 2012 Nia didn't stray toward many idol Christmas songs anyways. And I had a lot of other things to review, and I barely knew anything about 9nine. Now though, I really want to talk about White Wishes, not just because I want to talk about 9nine, but because I want to talk about this as a Christmas song. White Wishes is actually one of my favorite idol Christmas songs in Holly Jolly PV Week! Some of the songs on here I picked for the PV, but I think when I picked White Wishes, I did it more because I wanted to talk about the song. So what am I doing still rambling? Let's talk about White Wishes!

The first think I noticed about White Wishes is how extremely Christmas-y the instrumental of this song is. Like from the get-go, I can hear the sleigh bells ring-a-ling-ing in this song! And then there are parts of White Wishes that sound like samples from other popular Christmas songs. Part of the instrumental bridge sounded very similar to an excerpt from Here Comes Santa Claus. I don't know if that was intentional, but if so, I like that they did sample part of another well-known Christmas song. It's kind a nice shout-out of sorts! What I like about White Wishes is that it's the right tempo where it's kind of laid back but not to the point where the song drags at all. In fact, the style of White Wishes reminds me very much of a Tanpopo song. And I mean, 4nin Tanpopo definitely not 3nin Tanpopo... I get a lot of Oujisama to Yuko no Yoru vibes from White Wishes. And since I couldn't review that song, I guess White Wishes can kind of stand in as a substitute? Both songs sound comfortingly cheerful. You can think of it as a spiritual successor to Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru!

When I listen to White Wishes, I always get this warm and fuzzy feeling, and I can't help but smile whenever I play this song. It's just so gosh-darn happy. Not in a very energetic or over-the-top way, in a way that makes me feel content. I always find that in the days before Christmas, I really try my best to maintain this state of contentment amongst all the craziness of Christmas shopping and wrapping presents and inviting family over. Because what's the point of Christmas if you can't do things that make you personally happy? And what makes me happy is being in a low-stress environment free to do whatever I want. Why else do you think I love blogging on the Wonderland so much. White Wishes is a song that takes me to that place of contentment on a cold winter's day. The song is almost as sweet as a cup of hot chocolate. The vocals are sweet, the instrumental is sweet, but nothing is overly sweet. It's just sweet enough that I can enjoy it. I think White Wishes is a song that can bring a smile to even the grumpiest of Christmas Scrooges!

I think White Wishes was the first song where I got to really clearly hear the vocals of 9nine. I know I reviewed Evolution No. 9, but the vocals were never what stood out to me with any of the songs on that single. Of the few songs I've heard from 9nine, White Wishes was the first that I think showed off the vocal talent in 9nine. It makes me think that I should follow them more closely; after all, one of my weaknesses is good vocals. Unless you're Fairies. In White Wishes, you can hear the girls so clearly because the this isn't an instrumental-heavy song. And wow, the members of this group have really good voices. Like I don't think I've been this impressed by an idol group's vocals since Tokyo Girls' Style. The girls of 9nine all sound enchantingly pretty in this very delicate kind of way. None of them squeak, which is a blessing when you're a frequent idol music listener. I wouldn't say any of them have powerful voices; don't go into this song expecting five mini-Gakis. But what they lack in power, they make up for in sounding on-pitch.

What I like is that they all blend nicely, but each girl still sounds a little different from the others. Something about the blending used for White Wishes worked nicely; I feel like the instrumental doesn't drown out the vocals and vice versa. So yeah, overall I thought the vocal arrangement was great. I don't expect much from Christmas songs, but the vocal arrangement for White Wishes was sweet with a little quirkiness thrown into certain parts, like the chorus! I also got a chance to hear each member of 9nine distinctly, and the song's key fit the girls' vocal ranges perfectly. The vocals were what ultimately sold me on White Wishes. They really gave White Wishes the final injection of sweetness it needed. Overall, as a Christmas song, White Wishes is one of the most adorable songs I've got on Holly Jolly PV Week. It's sweet and innocent to a fault, the lyrics are cute as a snowman, and I just love playing this song when I'm in a Christmas-y mood. And what I'd like for Christmas from 9nine is a good single and/or PV that I can review!!

So I may have picked White Wishes more for the song, but that doesn't mean the PV isn't worth talking about! So I hope you like Santa hats, presents, and cute little puppets that may-or-may-not be witches, because that's what's in the PV for White Wishes! Let's dash!

The first screenshot isn't that Christmas-y... but then again, it's just the title.

Look! Presents! Lots and lots of presents!

The Santa outfits are really cute! A little cliched, but still pretty adorable!

Aw, they're like Santa's helpers! That's so sweet.

Although you'd think they'd put them in a sleigh or something instead of arranging them like building blocks.

Man alive, sometimes I can really see the resemblance between Sayaka and A-chan!

As you can see, the dance isn't exactly intensive. But most idol Christmas dances aren't.

Oooh, new outfits! I really like these, especially the color schemes!

And I like the background lighting. It's simple but cute!

Holy Tinsletown, I have seen this dance move in so many idol PVs. Is it like, required or something?

Oh boy, a puppet show! This is either gonna be completely adorable or unleaded nightmare fuel!

I can't tell if these puppets enchant me or frighten me yet.

Okay, I really like Kanae. She's always really engaging in every 9nine PV I've watched.

Does anyone else think Hirona looks like Arai Hitomi from Tokyo Girls' Style?

I think it's the bangs.

D'aw, isn't that cute? Good thing this is a Christmas PV so I have high cuteness tolerance.

So did the choreography include random hand-touching for any particular reason?

Wait a minute... how did he get to the top of the tree without a ladder?


Oh well, more presents! Wow, that's a lot of presents. Must take forever to open them all.

You know what I just noticed about this dance formation? The girls are positioned like points on a star! See, isn't it fun having a five-member group?

The witch has bewitched her puppet partner with a love potion!

Now the witches are exchanging ingredients for potions. Beware. BEWARE!

Oh hai, peace sign. Fancy seeing you in yet another idol dance!

It just occurred to me these might be completely harmless puppets... nah, it's WITCHCRAFT!

For me? Why thank you Kanae, but the laws of physics prevent me from accepting your gift!

I wonder if A-chan and Sayaka exchange presents...

Time for a dance solo! Sweet!

The puppets summoning snow is surely evidence of witchcraft!

9nine can summon snow too!? Is everyone a witch!? Am... am I a witch.

There they go, back into their witch lair to do more evil scheming!

So... it occurs to me I may have taken the whole witchcraft thing a little too far. Maybe I'm just craving some Halloween flair in the month of December and subconsciously project that desire into this review. Hey, at least I didn't take the witchcraft thing as far as the Salem Witch Trials did! Okay, I'm rambling again, back to the PV for White Wishes! As I said before, I didn't review White Wishes so much for the PV as I did for the song. And that's because the PV is... well... I mean this in the nicest way possible: it's kind of low-budget. Don't get me wrong, it's Flying Get 2.0 compared to some Hello! Project PVs, but most idol PVs share that distinction. What I mean is the PV for White Wishes is very simple. The two sets in the PV are very obviously sets, and they don't feature much outside of lights and presents. There is the alternate scene with the puppets, but even then that is kind of low-budget as well.

With a PV like White Wishes, what it would need is for the girls to be engaging and entertaining enough to carry the PV. The girls aren't give a lot to work with set wise; sure, they can rearrange some presents, and they can dance. Other than that though, most of the PV for White Wishes relies on the girls being likable enough to keep you entertained for five minutes. And I think for the most part, the girls of 9nine succeed in that! Sure, they're not over-the-top crazy like Momoiro Clover Z, but they still do a good job of looking very engaging in this PV! Everyone does look very happy and cheerful in this PV and not in a forced way. There are a few parts where the PV can get a little dull, but what helps is the editing between the three main scenes. So when I get bored of one scene, just in time the PV cuts to another scene! I admit, I would have liked if the girls had a little more to do than sing, dance, and pass around presents, but since 9nine isn't exactly an insanely popular idol group, I think for what the girls had to work with, White Wishes is a decent PV. None of the sets are tacky, which is always a blessing. And they really bring out the Christmas theme of the song!

Speaking of which, how does this hold up as a Christmas PV? After all, there is a lot of common Christmas imagery in this PV. Christmas trees, snow, colored lights, Santa outfits, presents, all the things you see on an average Christmas Day! Of course, I've never seen one room filled with so many presents! I've always liked to think that in the PV, the girls of 9nine were just organizing these presents for Santa, and he would come and pick them up later! Kind of like Christmas elves, just switch out the "elves" for "idols!" Speaking of which, I love both the outfits 9nine gets to wear in this PV! The Santa outfits aren't particularly original, but the girls still look really cute in them! What I really love are the pink/cream colored outfits. I like how each girl's outfit is different, but they all have one central color palette! They're really elegant outfits, and they work surprisingly well for Christmas outfits.

The dance for White Wishes is just as cute as the rest of the PV. Then again, it's not a particularly complicated or distinctive dance. But it's still a really adorable dance, and the girls perform it well! For such simplistic sets, I actually think that they all do look very nice. For the first set, it helps that the barren room is filled with so many presents and those few Christmas trees. And then the darker set has those cute little Christmas lights everywhere! It's a simple effect, but it gives a very enchanting, magical look to the PV! And then there are the puppets. Even now, I'm not sure how I feel about these little guys. They're cute and all, but every time I see them on screen, I can't completely shake this creepy feeling they permeate. I think it's because they're puppets. Even then, the puppet scenes add another layer of charm to this PV. In fact, I think that's a good way to describe the PV for White Wishes: charming. I think for what it is, White Wishes is a really charming Christmas PV. There may not be much to say about it, but White Wishes is such a sweet, lighthearted PV that I can't help but enjoy watching it. The girls of 9nine are cute, the set's cute, everything about this PV gets a Gold Star of Cuteness!

Hence I will give White Wishes four fruitcakes for Christmas! The song is really sweet and the perfect kind of song that gets me in a cheerful, content mood for Christmas! Admittedly, the PV isn't really super Christmas-y, but there enough Christmas cheer in it to still be an enjoyable Christmas PV! I'm just happy I could review something else by 9nine before the New Year! By the way, I hope you all had a lovely first day of winter! It was seventy-two degrees here... not so much a winter than a spring... I even wore short sleeves! Oh well, hopefully Christmas will be nice and chilly!

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