Berryz Koubou – Ai no Album ⑧

Received my copy of Berryz new album yesterday and two days after the release date – yay! I like the theme for this album’s cover, even though the girls hanging from bed sheds just seems so hilarious xD lol. The theme is however a bit ambiguous to me; is it a princess, fairy tale, girls’ choir or Kiki’s Delivery Service theme they are trying to sport here? (Miya totally looks like Kiki, haha) ^^; The DVD extras were pretty neat. A concert performance of their new single Be Genki <Naseba naru!> together with solo shots versions of each member and a Jacket Making of :D For once worth buying the DVD version (*rolls eyes*)
But now to the songs! ^o^

01.Mythology ~Ai no Album~ (Mythology ~Love Album~)
I think the intro song is alright, just a bit repetitive maybe. It has a nice funky beat and I the feel of the song is actually quite cool. After some more listens I will probably love it ;)


02.Yononaka Barairo (Rose-colored Society)
This song reminds me so much of 80s Japanese punk rock band The Blue Hearts (especially Miya’s deep tones in the beginning of the song!) :O It also reminds me of their earlier single Maji Bomber – this song is just so much better imo :D The acoustic guitar parts are awesome and the girls sing this song really well too. Love this song~


03.Shy boy
This is actually a really nice song, so am just puzzled why Tsunku chose to auto-tune the whole thing o_o The lyrics and melody are so cool and mature and then the auto-tune just kinds of ruin it a bit :( But it doesn’t change that this song is very catchy and a nice new mature sound for Berryz as well ^o^ (Have a feeling this song would be nice as a live performance :p)


04.Because happiness
Yay~ eurobeat song! I love when Tsunku does these kind of songs :D This song is so Berryz and lovely ^O^ It makes the listener happy and as for me, it makes me want to dance actually xD The title is just typical janglish though :P


05.Renai Moyou (Love Pattern) / Tokunaga Chinami, Sudou Maasa, Kumai Yurina, Sugaya Risako
Without competition the best song on the album. This song is a ballad and a sad love song and I’m just in love with the background music in this *o* It’s really nice!! I can’t even describe it, makes me think of Masayume by Aa! maybe. Kind of makes me want to cry of happiness ;o; The girls sang this so well, especially Yurina’s high note – wow! Just the best song, no doubt about it ;D


06.Ai no Dangan (Love Bullet)
Ai no Dangan. This song is generally a catchy and awesome girl-power song. And then it’s awesome, enough said ;)

07.Amazuppai Haru ni Sakura Saku (On a Bittersweet Spring, The Sakura Blooms) / Berryz工房×℃-ute
Sorry I just can’t take this song >_< Watched the PV once and haven’t watched it since. I wish their new single could have taken this song’s place :( Sorry I just think this song is lifeless and boring T-T


08.Atarashii Hibi (New Everyday) / Shimizu Saki, Tsugunaga Momoko, Natsuyaki Miyabi
Yay another cool ballad song! ^o^ These members work so well together – their harmonies are like perfect ♥ And Saki having so many solo lines in one song, just automatically makes this song great. Then adding Momo and Miya (some of the best singers in Berryz) takes this song to a whole new level of H!P-awesomeness xD Wee~


09.Aa, Yo ga Akeru (Ah, Dawn Breaks)
Definitely my favorite release from Berryz last year. This song is just incredibly catchy ^^; Love the vocals, the beat, the melody and the tones of this song. I’m glad this song was included on the album and don’t mind it taking up a new song’s place at all. This song just rocks! :D


10.Seishun Gekijou (Youth Theater) / Berryz工房 Ver.

As a tradition, Berryz once again ends their album with a “chorus and piano” ballad song (but this time Tsunku joined the choir though ;P) A nice song, but also quite typical. Doesn’t really leave me with any kind of impact, if you know what I mean :/But I guess it’s an overall nice song :)

This album felt quite short, as there only were 10 songs on it, but it still contained some pretty awesome songs! I actually loved them all apart from Amazuppai Haru and Seishun Gekijou :) Otherwise I think Tsunku once again did a pretty good job on Berryz ^_~ I’m not sure if I think this album is better than their previous ones (whom I enjoyed just as much) but it’s definitely not below them in standard!! So generally a strong album – well done Berryz ♥

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Café Buono! in Paris

I took this picture *o*

Believe it or not, but I’ve finally seen Buono! as well as Tsugunaga Momoko, my number one idol, in real life!

Warning: This is a quite extensive report on my trip, if you only are interested to hear about the concert experience please skip to the part with the concert xD

On February the 12th 2012 I went to the Buono concert held at La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris. This experience contained a lot of “first time” experiences for me. For example it was my first time taking a flight alone as well as visiting another country without having my family with me. It was also the first time I’ve experienced France in another season than summer, seen the Sacre Cœur and Moulin Rouge as well as of course experiencing a Hello Project concert! (I actually think this is the first real “authentic” concert I’ve been to in my life xD) Lol.

The signing session at Kawaii Café the day before the concert. Unfortunately I didn't take this picture, as I wasn't in Paris when this was happening (arrived much later that day v_v)

The flight to Paris went totally smooth, with me arriving half an hour before schedule (yay!) Traveling with train and metro went fine as well, but I couldn’t say the same about finding the hotel xD I was stupid enough not to bring with me a map, because on Google maps the hotel had seemed so close to the metro station that I thought: I will just find it by myself – no problem! But after walking in circles for over an hour I gave up and asked a guy to help me find the way ^^; Luckily enough he was really nice and practically escorted me all the way to the door :O
After having checked in I went to La Machine du Moulin Rouge to meet up with some friends from Hello!Online as well as a girl I had planned to go with to the concert. Most of them were German fans, but two of them were also from England and Austria ^^ We had a great time at a sushi restaurant nearby (even though the restaurant was freezing) and it was really great to be able to chat with other Hello Project fans about everything from favorite songs and favorite members to how people got interested in Japan and J-pop and people’s concert experiences. A guy called DaiShuryou from the forum had even been to Buono’s summer concert Rock’n Buono! 4 last year! :O (Which btw, I had just watched on DVD before going to Paris o_o) Was very envious of him for that! I also got to chat with Pinkguin, a girl from Germany, and also the girl I was going to go with to the concert. She (and her Mom) were really nice and showed me pictures from the Momoiro Clover concert from last year which Pinkguin had attended. We also talked about how it had been going to the Morning Musume concert which they held in Paris back in 2010. I really felt like the only one at the table who hadn’t been to any kind of concert before, but then again Mirli from the forum too hadn’t been to a concert as well, so I was not the only one ^^

The next day (February the 12th), the day of the concert, a lot of stuff happened. I got up early so I could get most out of this important day and went out to find the Sacre Cœur church which should be really close to where I stayed. After some time I found it and had to climb two big stairs where afterwards I was standing before a really amazing building. It was fantastic to get to see it in real life and to my luck even though it was cold the weather was also really sunny. My luck continued, because as I went into the church a service had just started! :O So I got to listen to a wonderful women’s choir and watch a lot of Catholic rituals I’d never seen before in the Danish Protestant church. It was truly interesting to watch and I must say it got me quite moved afterwards :’D After the service I bought one of those Sacre Cœur coins for 2€. It was so pretty and shiny and then I thought it would be a nice souvenir to remember the whole thing ^-^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I went shopping a bit, even though a lot of the shops where closed on Sunday. However, I still managed to buy some neat things like a mug with cute French motives, a red wallet with cats on and then a bag made of fur-like material. Around 1 o’clock I met up with Pinkguin and her Mom to eat lunch at a traditional French restaurant, where I got me some very delicious duck with honey :9 At the restaurant I also got to talk some more with Pinkguin and her mom about for example their home town, family, countries they had been too, future ambitions and more. Once again they treated me really nice and I must say it was comforting to have someone to talk to, instead of just eating alone like I did in the hotel when eating breakfast.

After lunch we said goodbye to Pinkguin’s Mom and went to my hotel to get ready to go queuing in front of La Machine. I dressed in my pink blazer (chosen to support Momochi) and then we prepared our glow sticks and glow wristbands for the concert. Around 03:15 we went to queue with all the other fans which already had made quite a crowd on the sidewalk in front of the concert building. The doors would open at , so until that we would just have to chitchat to kill time. After some time I noticed to my big horror that I had left my concert ticket in my room, but luckily I lived just by the concert building, so I quickly went to fetch it xD While queuing random Japanese guys handed out glow sticks and a cameraman went by us a couple of times to film the queue. Every time he passed all started cheering and shouting things about Buono – was quite hilarious ^o^ A French guy in front of us whom I talked to while waiting had also studied Japanese and had been introduced to Buono by his friend. He was really friendly, helped us translate messages from the staff into English and took our picture :)

(Start here to read about the concert experience)
When we finally got inside there were people everywhere and I immediately noticed that Hello Project PVs were being played on the stage. Before I went to the merchandise both or inside the hall, I went for the wardrobe to get off all my heavy winter clothes. With me I had a very important letter and three drawings which I had made for Buono 3 years ago when I thought I was going to see Buono in Stockholm. So my first priority was to give them the letter and the drawings and once again I was lucky because the staff had put up a big box just by the merchandise both to leave presents and fan mail (yay!). After that I went with Pinkguin to find a good spot in the concert hall and we managed to find one there wasn’t too crowded and from where we still could see the stage properly.
By then the hall had started to heat up a lot and people where doing wota-gei with all their might even though they were only just showing PVs. The atmosphere and tension in that room was just amazing I tell ye! xD

When the time finally was 18:00, Buono went on stage. There were a lot of light and it was hard to see them at first, but then they started singing the intro to Hatsukoi Cider and then I could see them properly. It was so unreal I tell you; it was like they were there and then it was like it was just a dream. Of course I regret I didn’t get a little closer to the stage, but even though I was pretty much all the way in the back of the hall I was still able to see them quite well :) I had been worrying about how to act in a Hello Project concert, as it seemed by all the DVDs and fan stories that there were many kinds of different moves and dances you had to know and perform during a concert. Luckily though, it was really as easy as breathing as soon as the song started playing and everyone began waving their glow sticks and shouting Buono members’ names – and it was seriously fun! xD My face was one big grin during the whole concert and it was so great to watch and feel all the happy Buono fans around me enjoying the concert. Buono played a lot of their old Shugo Chara-era songs and then of course also some of their more rocky songs like Juicy Heart, Deep Mind and to my big delight: Nakimushi Shounen (my all time favorite Buono song!) ^o^ Every time Momo had some lines I tried to scream “Momochi!” or “Momoko!” with all my strength, but unfortunately my voice is quite small. So my voice was really spent after all that screaming (haha).

It seemed like there were most Airi fans, if you judge of the amount of green in the room (as well as my friend Pinkguin xD) But a girl beside me was also a Momo fan and had a really pretty Momo-uchiwa and pink glow stick (you go girl!) and we screamed for Momo together ^^ She seemed really nice, but unfortunately I didn’t get her name and I didn’t even find out her nationality as the only words I heard her say was: “Momo fan?” Or something like that (Gosh, I’ve already forgotten so much =.=) I also noticed a hyper Japanese fan who was swinging big green glow sticks and doing insanely high jumps whenever Airi was singing, lol! It was really entertaining to watch :D Another thing I came to think about after the concert was that I didn’t really notice or care that much about whether or not the girls had sung live during the concert. As a matter of fact I was much more interested in just seeing them perform and being a part of the happy Buono crowd. Nothing else really mattered. Of course it would have been great if they had sung more of their newer, mature songs and if there could have been a ballad song just once. But actually even that didn’t matter that much to me. I was just so happy and grateful to finally be able to see my beloved idols in real life. And as a person who have been a fan of them since they started out in 2007 as well Buono was one of my first idol group loves (together with Berryz Koubou) this was like reaching a goal which had always sort of seemed impossible and unreal.

I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but still I was when Buono announced “last number“. It truly felt like it had been the shortest one and a half hour of my entire life! I was really like “what?!” when I heard the announcement. It didn’t help that there wasn’t any encore, even though we shouted “enkoru” in maybe 10 minutes or more ;_; I hadn’t won one of those signing session tickets either, so that was sort of the end of the concert experience for me. But still, nothing can change that it had been one and a half truly amazing hour and the feeling of Buono being just in front of my eyes in real flesh and blood for the first time was just wow! I will probably never forget this experience and really hope I don’t. I was also really happy to have shared the concert experience with Pinkguin, because a concert like this one just had to be shared with a friend! ;D

The Wota-gang at Quick ^O^

After the concert I bought a Café Buono t-shirt and a Buono poster with their Hatsukoi Cider single. In the queue to the merchandise booth I also met Mirli from yesterday’s gathering and Mimi-chama from Hello!Online. I was also surprised that the French guy from earlier waved goodbye to me when he passed me when leaving the hall. He seemed very happy, so hopefully he’d had a great concert experience too :) When I had bought the merchandise and both Pinkguin and I had gotten our jackets back from the wardrobe, we headed to the Quick burger place to get something to eat and meet with other fans. I was really tired after the concert but still had a lot of fun chatting with other Hello Project fans, who were just as beaten, happy and tired as I was. I got to meet the famous Airi fan Chobineko from Hello!Online as well as Rice-chan, Juulchii and Mimi-chama (again) which I got to thank in person for helping me out with the questionnaire for my psychology exam ^^ (Which btw I also had liked to do to Chobineko, but I guess I was a little distracted – haha ^^;) We took pictures as well as a group shot and generally made a lot of noise (I’m pretty sure all the non-H!P fans in that room must have been very very confused by our behavior – lol!).

Chobineko and me (whoaa! she’s so small xD)
Mimi-chama and me o^-^o

But it got late and I knew I had to pack and sort out lot of things before going to bed, so around ten o’clock I had to say goodbye. It was probably most weird saying goodbye to Pinkguin, as I had spent a good part of the whole trip together with her as well at having talked about all kinds of cool stuff. We made a promise, though, that we would visit each others’ homes in the near future :) I hope it’s possible! xD
The next day I got up early, ate my breakfast and caught the first train to the airport. On my way back, while sitting in the plane, I listened to Buono music and thought about the trip and all the new friends I had made. I already missed it all and was itching to go together to a new Hello! Project concert soon. I guess it won’t be soon though… I’m not even sure there ever will be a chance like this again. But I wish with all my heart that there will be another concert and next time I will be one of the lucky ones to meet and shake Momo’s hand x’)

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Here’s a video I shot when they were performing Renai♥Rider :) It’s not great quality, but it gives you a good feel of how the concert atmosphere was ^^

Enjoy! :D

New music to my ears ♪

Last week I added two new albums to my idol collection:
7 Berryz Times
and Sakura Gakuin 2010 Nendo ~message~
But it cost me a lot to get them >o< For one thing, I bought the albums from the Japanese HMV page, where shipping costs around 1500 yen (19 dollars), but I chose to “split shipping” so I had to pay 2 x 1500 yen (37 dollars) total for shipping X_X
And last but not least… both packages were collected on delivery, because they had surpassed the maximum limit of money you are allowed to spend outside the EU borders :'( So I had to pay additional 87 dollars to get both my packages at the post office… (T – T) Usually they only collect the bigger packages – but of course I had to be THAT unlucky Dx

You could actually say I paid around 110 dollars for each album! ( ; _ ;) Good grief…

But now to the good stuff! :D I will start with a review of the Berryz album ;)

First the songs ♪

  1. Icchoume Rock! (一丁目ロック!)
    Really nice and uplifting idol-rock song to start off the album with ^_^ I like that you can hear crowd cheering Oi! Oi! Oi!  and other cheer sounds in the background music to this song! :D
  2. Heroine ni Narou ka! (ヒロインになろうか!)
    This song is just plain awesome ♥ I love it so much. Definitely my favorite Berryz song since Otakebi Boy WAO! (much better than Shining Power and Maji Bomber!!) The background beat is just mesmerizing and the vocals catchy as hell xD Can just listen to this song on repeat nonstop without getting sick of it :P My favorite part of the song is when the girls pitch their voices a little higher in the last chorus of the song ^O^ ♥ OMG – Epic!
  3. BOMB BOMB JUMP
    This song is very humorous with the “bomb bomb bomb” parts in the start of the song. Sounds pretty catchy too ;) I love that Chinami, Maasa and Yurina get to sing all the solo verses in this song; practically you could say it’s their song ^o^ Yay~ So this album is not completely without shuffle groups :) The song is really happy too – happy songs = pure win~!  x3
  4. Masshiroi ano kumo (真っ白いあの雲)
    The first ballad song of the album. My opinion in short: AMAZING! I just love love love Berryz ballads in general (so maybe I’m a bit biased xP) but this song is really great. I think their voices are in perfect harmony plus the music is nice and calming.
    I’m in love ♥
  5. Maji Bomber!! (本気ボンバー!!)
    I don’t have a lot to say about this song. I think it’s okay, but it’s definitely one of my least favorite songs on the album. I think the girls’ vocals are really powerful, but the song is just boring to me >_<; I like it performed at concerts though :)
  6. Joshikai The Night (女子会 The Night)
    This songs is COOL :D Sounds like a MM song in the beginning of the song (before the singing starts xD). Miyabi and Risako lead this song and I really like the whisper parts, they sound sekushii :P But I think it’s fine there’s only one song of this kind on the album, because it made room for more awesome ballads xD (lol)
  7. Girls Times (ガールズタイムス)
    This song is nice and cheery and it’s the song with the most Momo lines, so of course I like it xD Some of the “yeah yeah” parts remind me of Gaki – so this song also gives me a MM feeling (heh) ^^ Maybe this is not one of the most remarkable songs on the album, but it’s good nonetheless ; )
  8. Onna no Pride (女のプライド)
    The last ballad song on the album. This song is just pure Berryz. I don’t know what it is, but the style of the songs really reminds me of early Berryz, which I just LOOVE! ♥ *Kya* I actually think this song is my favorite song on the album :3 Just amazing – Wow.
  9. Shining Power! (シャイニング パワー!)
    Yurina rocks this song~ and if I have to describe this song with one word, it would probably be FUNKY. It’s a song you just can’t stop bopping your head to ^o^ (lol) I like it – but it just can’t beat Heroine *_*
  10. Magical Future! (マジカルフューチャー!)
    This song is kind of different from the others. The sound and feel is different, but I’m loving the beat ~♪ ^O^ Somehow it just feels wrong as an ending song for the album – like you think “huh?” when the album ends. I like it better when albums end with ballad songs xD Even though I know the last Berryz album ended with an upbeat song as well ^^; (Heh)

    The DVD content~
    Really great extras this time! :O There are included both a concert performance, dance mix version and a solo dance version with each member of Heroine ni Narou ka on the DVD – plus the making of the album jacket. Wow! That’s really something xD  Really great content for the money (if you look away from my case >_>)…

    The jacket/cover~
    I love the black dresses. They make the girls look more like their actual age (which is saying a lot in Momo’s case – lol!) As for the hair I think I like everyones’ except Yurina’s. For a long time she has just had that same hair style: hair hanging loose on her shoulders. Seriously! Couldn’t they make it a little less plain? I just find it really boring. Even though Maasa’s hair is hanging loose too, hers is at least a little wavy and it’s rare her hair is loose like that. But why does Yurina always have to have that same boring hairstyle? It’s really tiring… Sorry ^o^;  I think the girls’ jewelry is pretty, but maybe Risako’s huge pearl necklace is a bit over the top. Otherwise great cover, even though I think they should have left out the tape marks on the member pictures xD  Looks totally wrong (too school-like) O_O Jeez

    Conclusion:
    I find this album the strongest Berryz album since 4th Ai Nanchara no Shisou – there aren’t really any weak songs on this album, not even Girls Times. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy their last albums, I just think this album has a stronger quality and I love the flow of the album (even with the little too upbeat ending song – lol) ^o^ I’m happy I bought it, even though I would have done that anyway (because I support Berryz no-matter-what).

Now to the Sakura Gakuin album :D

The songs~

  1. FLY AWAY
    I love the first song on the album ♥ A lot of Suzuka solo lines, an upbeat and happy feel and a rockish melody- could I ask for more? xD Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album ;3
  2. Hello! IVY
    This is one of my favorite Sakura Gakuin songs and probably the song that got me really interested in the group :D The “wow wow wow” parts sound like “vov vov vov” (wuff wuff/wan wan dog barks in my Danish ears xD lol) which I find really cute ♥  All the girls’ voices just go together really well in this group and that’s really something you notice with this song :)
  3. Chime (チャイム)
    This song has a lot of solo verses and I just  love when the girls sing solo! ♥o♥  The song has a nice and fresh feel and somehow makes me feel more confident and brave – like you won’t ever be afraid of tomorrow. It has that kind of power. Just an amazing song ^^ People should make more songs like this ;)
  4. Cooking Club Mini Parti – Happy Birthday (ハッピーバースデー)
    This is a cute song, but I’m not that crazy about it. It just feels a little repetitious at times, like it could go on forever, which is just too bad. I’m also a little disappointed neither of the members got solo lines, not anyone you notice anyway. I hope Mini Pati’s future songs will get better >_<
  5. Go Home Club sleepiece – Medaka no Kyodai (めだかの兄妹)
    I like this song better than Happy Birthday, but I still think the song lacks something compared to the other album songs. The song has a cute and fun melody, but is also pretty repetitious. There aren’t any solo lines in this song as well *Buhuu* :(
  6. Baton Club Twinklestars – Dear Mr. Socrates
    Now to a song I LOVE! ♥ \(^o^)/ This song is really charming and cute. All the girls have solo lines, but of course Ayami gets to sing a little more (because her voice is so good xD). The melody is lovely with happy “papapa” chants in the background – makes one giddy and entertained throughout the whole song ^_^ Twinklestars is definitely one of the strongest units from SG and currently the only sub unit that has released their own single. I look forward to their second single being released the 6th of July! :3
  7. Newspaper Club SCOOPERS – Brand New Day
    This song is pretty cool – not amazing, but I have a feeling it will grow on me. I like the rock-feel and I think Ayaka’s and Airi’s voices mix well together :) I also think it sounds cute when they sing “hello hello” ♥  Look forward to more Scoopers~ ^^
  8. Heavy Music Club BABYMETAL – Doki Doki☆Morning (ド・キ・ド・キ☆モーニング)
    No doubt the best song on the entire album xD I’ve never heard an idol song like this ever. Amazing Suzuka singing to Moa’s and Yui’s young childish voices with metal-like rock music in the background just sounds freaking awesome! And I must not forget to mention I love the song’s intro going from cute idol-like innocence to hardcore rock style in less than 10 seconds xD  Just too epic for words *o* I can’t wait to hear more BABYMETAL songs – this sub unit is just the best thing ever created! (lol) ♥
  9. Yume ni Mukatte (夢に向かって)
    This song is really catchy and has that same “fresh” feel like Chime has. This is also the group’s main song on their first single and has a lot of energy ^^ I love it when the girls pull out the SG flag in the dance routine of the PV (I actually love it so much I bought the flag myself xD yes that’s right) ;P
  10. message
    The one and only ballad song on the album, so of course I love it xD I’m just a sucker for ballad songs, but this songs is actually really good and not the typical ballad song. It has a sort of school choir feel – really nice ♥ I love the solo verses in the end of the song and the “lalala” parts – sounds fantastic~ Also one of my favorite songs on the album :)

    The jacket/cover~
    I love the cover art for the album, it simple but really lovely ♥ The girls’ uniforms are so cute (want one myself!) and the cover art on the discs themselves are really creative with the girls’ silhouettes in movement ^o^ I’m so happy I got the BABYMETAL additional cover (a HMV novelty) it’s soo cool~ *o* and the Mini Pati photo card it okay with me too :)

    The DVD content~
    There were a lot of nice special features on the DVD, like an interview with BABYMETAL and SCOOPERS, the message PV + making of and a school class drama act. The drama act was really funny and I was surprised to discover that Ayaka can introduce herself in Korean! :O Wow~ すごいね.

    Conclusion:
    Even though  some of the songs disappointed me, the awesomeness of the BABYMETAL song totally makes up for it xD And most of the songs I already knew and loved, so nothing new there. I think this is a pretty strong debut album for a group with such young members (it’s definitely much stronger than Super Girls’ debut album – lol). I just can’t wait for new releases from this group, which I find myself immensely interested in x3
    SG fighting!