Firstly, a confession: I waited a little while before writing this piece. I needed some space to digest my emotions regarding this particular release. The timing of this single with Tsunku’s cancer diagnosis and my personal feelings about disease and death does not allow me to listen to this “Toki wo Koe, Sora wo Koe” without actual tears. I don’t want to tell you how to feel, but I wouldn’t trust anyone who claims they can divorce the song “Toki wo Koe, Sora wo Koe” from Tsunku’s reality. Music means something: the best songs are the ones that can color and change our lives. This necessarily means a projection of personal feelings into every listen of a song. So, I say it proudly: “I love this song precisely because it sounds like Tsunku’s final letter to the girls.” If I choose to evaluate this song based on my emotional connection, then this song is a classic.
And, I’m sorry to disappoint those wanting a break from the electro-Musume movement. Like much of the recent Morning Musume (and Morning Musume ’14) releases, TokiSora blurs the line between reality and fabrication as a piano track is chopped and looped throughout the song. The piano loop persistently permeates through the song like the red sting of fate. It immediately reminded me of Utada Hikaru’s “Stay Gold“, another song that I immediately found emotionally touching. When the violin joins the piano (in the intro) and then cellos counter the piano (in the chorus), Tsunku gives us the timeless piano/string combination. These sounds intermarry with a beat that may be predictably big in places, but does wonders to emphasize that piano loop during the verses. And then we get a vacuum of space in the pre-chorus. The beats vanish only to reappear with the percolating bass sounds for the chorus. All told, Morning Musume ’14 delivers another coherent Tsunku composition. This song, together with “Ai no Gundan” and “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa” mark a break from the scattershot style that Tsunku utilized in singles 51, 52 and 53 (Wakuteka Taka a Chance, Help Me!, and Brainstorming).
The PV reflects the theme of eternity and eternal longing perfectly. A song translated as “Beyond the Time and Space” appropriately should rightfully use a medley of blues and images of space. The video, which I jokingly call “barefoot on the moon” SHOWS the girls like goddesses in a far away world. Barefoot and elegant, the girls execute graceful movements that seem out of place when compared to the precise and powerful choreography of their recent releases. They are not just any goddesses: Morning Musume ’14 are goddesses of creation. The girls transform their skyscape into a nebula cloud. Hands come together and stars are born- this is astronomically serious. Around the girls, gray orbs float peacefully. Eventually, we see the meaning of eternity. The intergalactic time around the girls speeds up creating beautiful concentric star trails. In the best trick of the PV, Sakura vocalizes a few “whoas” as the camera tracks to right. The camera movement combined with the nearness of the orbs and the distance of the star trails magically turns the set into a 3-dimensional illusion. The timeless sound palette, the 3-dimensional cosmos, and the vortex of stars craft a concert of the senses as complete as the heavens themselves. This is the limitless undying love of “Across the Universe”.
A few solo shots from the PV first.
I’m going to start with Eripon, because that’s where my heart says I should start.
Haruna and Ayumi play with creation like it’s just grains of sand.
Haruka is becoming a star. I want to see this tomboy become beauty and talent.
Where Haruka is found, there you can also find Masaki.
Sakura practices her smolder.
Mizuki bringing the hime-factor.
Kanon needs more screen time
Riho looks great in this PV.
Just don’t try too hard
Which brings us to Sayumi.
As great as she looks in those shots, THIS is what you’re going to remember
I love love LOVE the effect of the girls in a personal temporal vortex. It’s a “simple” effect that works wonderfully.
Pon Pon looking HOT in their shots.
Look at Haruka! Look at Ayumi’s kick! Holy space-time continuum!
Unless I missed it, I didn’t see one for Sakura! Poor girl looks sad being left out.
The big bang in 3
The PV ends with the girls looking right. Are they looking to the past or the future? Is the past and the future really the same thing?
You can buy Morning Musume ’14 “Toki wa Koe, Sora wo Koe/Password is 0” at CDJapan.