During the time I first listened to J-pop song, the first J-pop idol I know of are NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP, and none other than Morning Musume. You may go and ask any J-pop fans, do they know Morning Musume or better known as Momusu, you will definitely get a positive response. Either they like the group or not, either they know the members or not, they will still know the group. They were the national girl group. They were massively popular that during the peak of their popularity, even non-fans, the mainstream people know every single members.
Unfortunately, they are managed by an old-fashioned company with an outdated principle that idols must not get involved with acting and modelling. Their lack of progressive marketing strategies that can withstand this fast-paced generation resulted to the decrease in their public popularity. The frequent change in their members line-up without ample effort to promote and introduce the new members to the public is one of the main reasons they began to experience downhill.
If I were to tell you the history of the change in members, then it will take a few pages. Nevertheless, I will still tell you a bit of it and you may review the members change from the picture above which I took from Wiki.. The most important history of Morning Musume will certainly be the debut line-up, consisting of five runner-ups of an audition to find the female vocalist of their producer’s band, SharanQ. This group released their first song in 1997, around 20 years ago with Ai no Tane (The Seed of Love). It was pretty famous back then, that the girls are very competitive with each other and do not have a close relationship and there are even rumors that said this cold relationship is the cause of the first departure of a member in the group. Since then, there has been many new additions and graduations form the group. Altogether, there has been 14 generation of Morning Musume members and at each intake, they took in on average four girls. Ultimately, the current members are consisting of a totally the different members as compared to their golden age.
The former members are now known as the ‘OG (old generation) Morning Musume’ and they are still invited to variety shows to sing their legendary songs, Love Machine and Renai Revolution 21. The OG Morning Musume is still pretty famous and respected in their industry and people still appreciates them even though most of them are now married woman with children. Due to this, the current Morning Musume is always overshadowed by their great seniors and some old fans still refuse to recognize them. In fact, every time the group name is mentioned in any TV, the only image the public had was the OG Morning Musume and not the current line-up. This must have been the biggest wall the current girls have to climb over.
To be honest, I am among the people who have stopped stanning the group after the graduation of my favorite members like Kamei Eri. However, I do still watch their releases once in a while and I was surprised to watch the short version of their new music video which surprised me due to the different feeling it gives out as compared to their previous singles.
However, I am not intending to talk about the song yet. I want to talk about how that new music video led me to their last single, ‘Brand New Morning’ which I think expresses the frustration that the brand new generation of Morning Musume feel about their group. The song calls out to the rise of the new generation who has nothing to their name and nothing to lose, claiming that will make them even stronger than anyone else in comparison. The song also plead people to stop bringing them down but give compliments and spread their love. I also believe this song talks about the years Morning Musume has gone into halt in their popularity because they have reached their peak but once they feel the fragility of their fandom and declining number of fans, they began to feel grateful and become stronger by learning through their weaknesses. I do hope, this is what they intended to say and make it into a form of a promise to the fans that they will improve themselves from now on.
The most touching lyrics of the song is the part when they say ‘We’ll surpass time’ and ‘We’ll surpass the past’ which shows their brand new determination to go beyond their seniors and create a new history of themselves.
I do hope this new generation can achieve such achievement in the near future so they can sing the song from their era on events they are invited to.
With the great reviews and positive responses from Japanese people towards their new song, I do hope it will be a new start for them.
Let’s watch over Morning Musume ’17 closely from now on.