Sunday, April 6, 2014

Welcome to Tomorrow World

So... Weather Girls lost a member? When did that happen!? Yep, apparently Dara (the red one) was fired from Ritz Productions due to abandonment of work. The chick who replaced her is named Ria. It rhymes with Mia. And Nia. Maybe they can form a trio!

Or they can just release a new single. Ever since Koi no Tenki Yohou, Weather Girls have embarked on a strange pattern of songs. Some of their stuff? Great! Most of their stuff? It ranges from good to okay to weird to forgettable. None of their singles have really topped their debut single in terms of quality, and I didn't even get to their last single Hey Boy ~Wei Shen Me~ out of boredom and distraction from other more interesting idols. But I didn't want to drop Weather Girls from my review list! I still think they're a pretty fun group and just about the closest thing to Kara that I review (probably even closer now that Kara is sans two members). Right now though, it's like management doesn't really know what to do with them. Do they want them to be a cute, slightly quirky J-pop group? Or a more mature-looking, sexier K-pop group? Their last single gave me more K-pop vibes than J-pop, particularly the music video. I've been waiting for something else by them to grab me again. So I thought maybe I could find that in their latest single, Tomorrow World! After all, the title sounds pretty cool, and so does the B-side. Does Tomorrow World reach the insanely catchy fun heights set by Koi no Tenki Yohou? Only one way to find out! I've got my apples at the ready and my headphones in my ears so let's check out the forecast of Tomorrow World!

...okay, I'm sorry, that pun was really forced. I'll try harder next time.


As far as covers go, the ones for Tomorrow World are very simple. Just a white background with the girls posing in front of it and the title in hot pink letters. I swear that's been the cover of like ten different J-pop singles. But simple doesn't always mean bad! The covers aren't tacky, and the colorful outfits the girls wear make them stand out against the plain white background. Speaking of the outfits, do these outfits remind anyone else of the outfits Kara used for Mister? Okay, obviously the color schemes are different, but the pants and crop top style are used for both singles! Well, if you had to pick an outfit style to imitate, Mister's a pretty good pick! I do like the little variations on each girl's outfit, like the collars and white motifs. So yeah, not much to say about the covers or the outfits, but both are decent as far as covers and outfits go. I mean, I've seen some shit costumes so these are blissfully normal.

Tomorrow World

Tomorrow World? That sounds like a theme park. A very 1960s retro-future theme park. Like something inspired by The Jetsons... I was talking about a song, right? Anyways, Tomorrow World is a happy little pop song that fits right in with Weather Girls' image. There isn't really that much I can say about it. The vocals sound nice, the instrumental is pretty safe, the arrangement isn't taking any huge risks, overall Tomorrow World just sounds pleasant. It's the kind of song that would play over a montage of squeaky clean teenagers having fun doing mundane teenager activities (besides drugs). Which isn't bad, but it doesn't give me a lot to talk about with Tomorrow World. I mean, I guess musically it isn't doing anything too experimental, but it's an idol group so I wouldn't ever expect that. Honestly, I was expecting something a little more futuristic from a song called Tomorrow World. But I suppose Weather Girls isn't the type of group to deviate to far from idol pop, so I'm not sure why I thought that. I think I really need to stop judging songs by just their titles because then I get all these weird preconceived notions as to how the song should sound.

Had Tomorrow World been released at any other time, my opinion of the song would probably be different from the one I have right now. Despite being a rather ordinary idol song, I actually like Tomorrow World a lot. Maybe not for being musically innovative or emotionally gripping but because... I just need a happy song right now. I've been gravitating to a lot of happy songs lately; they just put me in a more optimistic mood and make me feel like I can get things done. And when I listen to Tomorrow World, it's like all the stress I'm dealing with right now goes away for three minutes and thirty-one seconds. I don't want to say it's like calming music but it's... stress-leveling music. I think it's important to have songs like Tomorrow World that serve as outlets for stress. Even then, there's something about Tomorrow World that's so unabashedly happy. How could I bring myself to dislike this song? The vocals have this very sweet, optimistic tone to them, like you can hear the smile in the girls' voices. Tomorrow World definitely won't be a song that appeals to everyone, but if you're looking for a song to make you feel better, I'd give Tomorrow World a listen. It's the musical equivalent of a happy little puppy that may-or-may-not have chewed up your shoes but is still happy and jumping around.

The music video doesn't have the cheap tackiness that some of Weather Girls' music videos have fallen plague to, but it is a little mundane. Most of the music video is shot outside in a city. The girls are either walking around the city or dancing below skyscrapers a la Everyday Zekkouchou. I do like music videos that are shot outside of a studio. One of my favorite music videos is Perfume's Macaroni, and that just shows the girls wandering around a city! But there isn't much to talk about with the music video for Tomorrow World (which is why I didn't review the music video). The girls all look very nice, and they're smiling and happy, but that's pretty much it. They dance, they walk around, they put their arms around each other, if you've seen an outdoor idol PV, then you can get the gist of what Tomorrow World consists of. They do go inside to a restaurant! So I guess that's new? Again, I was kind of expecting something futuristic due to judging the title before anything else. Even then, there's just not that much that sticks out with Tomorrow World. Even the girls themselves don't add much to the music video which is weird because Weather Girls usually does a pretty good job at adding some charm and quirkiness to their music videos. Oh well, if you're a die-hard fan of Tomorrow World, it's a video worth watching! Me though, I've seen better music videos from Weather Girls.

I'll give Tomorrow World 3.5 apples. It doesn't beat Koi no Tenki Yohou (or even Koi Tokimeki Chuuihou), but the calm pleasantness of Tomorrow World appeals to me. It's a happy pop song, and it doesn't try to be anything else. Take it or leave it!

Talk Talk Talk

Now this song sounds like a K-pop song. Or at least the K-pop I've dabbled into. Not that I've listened to a lot of K-pop. How do I explain this properly... so from the handful of K-pop songs I've listened to, I've noticed a lot of their cuter songs sound very... sassy. Like when I listen to cute J-pop songs, most of them are cute in a very sweet, adorable. But with K-pop there's this prevalence of sass that I get from the vocals and the arrangement. Like I always hear sing-talking and/or rapping in K-pop songs, and it always sounds very, very sassy. I never really hear that sassy kind of sing-talking in J-pop music. Not to say that J-pop can't be sassy, there's just a different kind of sass that I hear in K-pop music. And I also hear a bit of that sass in Talk Talk Talk. Even the title sounds little sassy! Talk Talk Talk wouldn't be the first time Weather Girls has leaned more toward K-pop toward J-pop, but within my first listen, I thought Talk Talk Talk sounded more like K-pop. Which isn't a bad thing! I'm no K-pop connoisseur, so Talk Talk Talk sounds pretty cool to me. It probably sounds really cliched and unoriginal to someone who's an active listener of K-pop though. To my ears though, Talk Talk Talk is a nice contrast from the more straight forward J-pop song that is Tomorrow World.

There's actually quite a lot of stuff going on in Talk Talk Talk. You know that sing-talking I mentioned before in K-pop songs? There's a lot of that in Talk Talk Talk. Which... in hindsight makes sense, considering the title of the song. What I really love about Talk Talk Talk are all the little embellishments in the song. At one point, there's a really smooth, kinda jazzy piano playing in the background, and then in another part there's some kind of brass instrumentation. I think it may be a trumpet, but do not take my word for it. Overall, I really just love the fun feel of Talk Talk Talk. It's such a bouncy, upbeat, catchy song. But it's not super catchy to the point where I can't get it out of my head, which is a relief! I guess objectively speaking, I like Talk Talk Talk better than Tomorrow World. Musically, there's a lot more going on with Talk Talk Talk, and the arrangement is a little less predictable than Tomorrow World. But what I do like about Tomorrow World is that the song is easy listening; Talk Talk Talk is not. However, I like all the quirks that are in Talk Talk Talk that make me remember the song so easily. So... final verdict is the B-side is better than the A-side? I think so!

And so Talk Talk Talk gets 4.5 apples! Like Cherry Cherry Boom Boom, what I like about Talk Talk Talk is that the sound is a little different for Weather Girls without completely deviating from their happy-go-lucky pop sound. Of course, Talk Talk Talk sounds very K-pop oriented. Weather or not you like that sort of thing is up to you!

The Verdict

Well... Tomorrow World is better than Hey Boy ~Wei Shen Me~. So there's that! I'm not sure what my final opinion of Tomorrow World is. I mean, parts of the single are kind of underwhelming compared to some of their earlier stuff. But then there are other aspects of Tomorrow World that make it a pretty good single! I think it's just really hard for me to talk in detail about Tomorrow World, especially when it comes to the A-side. Tomorrow World the A-side is just a very nice sounding song, and that's pretty much all you have to say about it. It's Japanese idol pop at its idol poppiest. I suppose that's a pretty big achievement for Weather Girls considering they're all Taiwanese, but they've always handled J-pop pretty well. And Tomorrow World is lacking that... spark that some of their previous A-sides have had. It doesn't grab my attention the way Koi no Tenki Yohou or Koi no Tokimeki Chuuihou did. Now personally, I still enjoy the song, but that's more for my own reasons. Speaking from a more objective standpoint, there isn't much new offered in Tomorrow World. It follows the sounds of J-pop like a guidebook, and if you're cool with that, then Tomorrow World is a pretty good song. Again though, it isn't a great song, nor does it strive to be one.

If you're more into K-pop, then Talk Talk Talk, the B-side is a little bit more interesting. Talk Talk Talk strays from J-pop and fuses more with the cuter side of K-pop. Actually, isn't there a word for that in K-pop? I think it's called aegyo? Am I spelling it right? Okay, I just looked it up on Wikipedia and yes, that is how it's spelled! And the term means "behaving in a coquette-ish manner" so with that in mind, Talk Talk Talk is like... aegyo J-pop! All right, I am making zero sense, all I'm trying to say is that Talk Talk Talk is the more interesting song of the two on this single. Together though, I do like that Tomorrow World and Talk Talk Talk sound different from each other. Both are upbeat pop songs, but one is more laidback and calm while the other is sassier and quirkier. Having a B-side that doesn't sound like a rehash of the A-side is always a nice thing. I guess my overall opinion is that while Tomorrow World doesn't impress me, it's an okay single. It's not like I'm going to stop reviewing Weather Girls out of sheer rage. But I do wish they'd release something I could talk about more thoroughly. This Tomorrow World I feel like I'm repeating the same things about both songs and the single overall...

My final rating is four apples, not bad for Weather Girls considering I didn't even want to put in the effort to review their last single! Tomorrow World firmly rests in decent territory; there's nothing too groundbreaking about the single but it is a solid release from Weather Girls. If you're looking for a happy pop song to cheer you up on a gloomy day or a J-pop song sounding like a K-pop song in disguise, then I'd check this single out! Meanwhile, I'll be crossing my fingers and hoping whatever Weather Girls' next single is, it'll really grab me!

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