They also embrace exclamation points!
27 Sep 2017 - 1:09 PM  UPDATED 27 Sep 2017 - 1:11 PM

There’s really no reason Morning Musume ‘17 needs to explore contemporary musical trends. The group has Morning Musume right in the name, and they could easily coast on retreads of “Love Machine” until the sun dies out. Idol groups, especially the marquee ones, don’t have to innovate to maintain fans.

Yet Morning Musume dabble in modern pop flair on their two latest songs, “Don’t Bother Me, Here We Go!” and “You’re Young Anyway!” As all those exclamation points hint at, these are a pair of energetic songs featuring dollops of “tropical” production alongside sliced-up syllables and a generally fizzy structure.

Let’s start with “Don’t Bother Me, Here We Go!,” which you can watch above. It’s the more unhinged of the two songs, in that it zips all over the place. The one consistent is the group’s singing; for all of the modern musical twists, Morning Musume themselves still sing in the same all-together-now way they did five years ago. Which works, because that actually helps illustrate how batty the sounds around them are. It moves from sparse keyboard plonks to malfunctioning 8-bit circuitry to a strange non-word hook. It’s a busy song that never collapses in on itself, which probably should be credited to arranger Kaoru Okubo, who has worked similar magic with other idols and artists such as Oomori Seiko.

“You’re Young Anyway” (above) is a little less topsy turvy, leaning closer to post-”Sorry” model of wordless chorus done up in a chipper frame. It’s pleasant, but a little less exciting following up “Don’t Bother Me.” Similar to the singing style, it also reminds how both songs lyrics are also pretty rehashed. “Young,” in particular, resorts to the classic idol trope of celebrating adolescence without mentioning any of the bad stuff that comes with it. The music might sound modern, but the lyric insert could be straight from 1999.

Ultimately, these two songs show a group trying interesting sonic ideas, with pretty solid results. Especially when they let things get messy.

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