Morning Musume ’14 – Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa / Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai / What Is LOVE? Single Review

What_is_Love_MMIt’s a new year, time for a new start! I can’t believe the time that has passed since my last post, for some January drags in but for me it’s really been the quickest month ever! I have decided to review Morning Musume’s (or Morning Musume ’14 as they are now known henceforth) 55th single and first single of 2014. I’m not hugely familiar with the newest roster like I was with previous generations, but I have enjoyed their past few singles.

605px-LIMICI’ve only chosen this cover because it’s my favourite. There are 6 in total (see the full set here), but this one stuck out to me. I think it has a simple style, which I am fond of from MoMusu because sometimes their covers can be way too loud for me. It has a fresh, commemorative style, and the inclusion of the ’14 looks sweet and fitting here. I also love that (nearly) all the girls are smiling. There’s nothing I love more than smiling idols!

Tracklist:
1. Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa (笑顔の君は太陽さ; Your Smile is the Sun)
2. Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai (君の代わりは居やしない; There is No Replacement for You)
3. What is LOVE?
4 – 6. Instrumentals

The first track, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa, duped me into thinking it was going to be really fast paced, but instead it takes an odd slow/mixed tempo turn. I’m trying my very hardest to ignore Tsunku in the background, the girls sound pretty though. Some lines are sung quickly, and sound a little like they’ve tried really hard to squeeze all the words into the one line. I think this really picks up after the first chorus, the verses are rather similar but the song sounds much more composed and together. I enjoy the chorus a lot actually – it has a nice uplifting and positive feeling. The vocal electronic effects are cute and catchy too, the instrumental section is something a bit different and doesn’t sound like it’s trying hard to be ~dubstep~ influenced like their previous few releases. I like it!

The next song is Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai and is a tie-in with the upcoming Sochi Olympics. It’s really energetic and rousing, it sounds loud and fills your headphones with sound. Even though the previous song was nice, this hits the spot so much more. Vocal distribution is pretty nifty but I love the power in the lines and the “Nippon! Nippon!” lines in support of Japan. I really like this, and the instrumental reveals some cool retro-sounding VGM touches. To me, this kind of style suits the group so much: it sounds lively, youthful and has the right tinge of attitude.

Lastly, What is LOVE? is another incredibly danceable and loud, cheerful number. In the verses though I just hear Bubble Pop Electric from Gwen Stefani’s first album… (I’m terrible for doing that, I know). But honestly that just adds to my enjoyment of this because I adore that Gwen track. It’s really fast paced and intense, but it works. Sakura’s voice sounds simply amazing here too, I love catching it. This song is pretty heavy and has EDM smeared all over it, but it’s a good and catchy finisher for the three songs and definitely my favourite.

It’s unusual to have no b-sides! But really, we can’t complain as this is after all a triple a-side. After listening to the whole thing a good few times, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a really solid single and a great first release for Morning Musume in 2014. Naturally it isn’t perfect, but it could be much, much worse. I give it a strong 7.6/10. I’m really looking forward to seeing what MoMusu bring us this year, their releases have been so consistent lately!

 

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