Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: Shimamura Uta would have been perfect in this release.
Now that I have exorcised the demons, or at least the adorable former H!P idol, we can talk about “Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne” properly. Country Girls stick to their guns and hit us with another irrepressibly adorable concept. On their second release, Yamaki Risa, Inaba Manaka, Morito Chisaki, Ozeki Mai, and Tsugunaga Momoko show off more of their talents set to an upbeat tune.
“Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne” shuffles along in the way you would expect a Country Girl’s song should shuffle. Both a throwback and an update of Motown girl groups, horn accents and an orchestra of sounds fill the arrangement behind the vocal work. But, the vocal melody seems to be the star for this release. Anchored by Momoko’s always-steady voice, the new group deliver a charming performance filled with a variety of voices and tones. That said, some of the melodies feel a bit recycled. You can hear definite shades of Morning Musume’s “Tomo” in the chorus. I don’t particularly mind this: a melody memorable enough to jog my ancient recollections definitely warrants one or two revivals.
Ever since I started with Hello! Project, people griped the lack of “story” in Hello! Project promotional videos. For a while, everything video that left the Projects utilized the predictable formula (solo close-up + dance shot = PV). Country Girls break from the formula with a video employing a variety of shots including the much sought “story” shot. The story simply puts Mai and Chisaki in the roles of troubled boyfriend and girlfriend. Classmates Manaka and Risa gossip about the two while Momoko’s spot-on Obaachan imparts wisdom and icky reminisce.
H!P still provide us with dance shot, of course. Like they won the lottery, Country Girls get a grassy quad for their location. Captained by Manaka, the girls execute far better than they have right. They just started! Country Girls nimbly float from formation to formation with expression beyond their barely-one-year existence. They dance with their whole body, and their smiling faces convey the joy of their idols lives.
Yamaki Risa lends a hand with her cute drawings including the one at the top of this article. Who knew Hello! Project’s newest princess possessed such artistic talent?
Country Girls firmly establish their identity as the “go to” kawaii group in the Projects. According to my count, Hello! Project chooses to concentrate mostly on “cool” releases and does not usually release overtly “cute” singles. Sure, you can probably counter with a few Berryz Kobo or S/mileage releases, and you would be right. In this new world order of the Projects, we see an effort by H!P to claim a piece of the “cute” market. If you know me very well, you know I think they found the right girls for the job. To illustrate the virtues of Country Girls, I present the following piece of visual evidence. You can’t beat this enthusiasm!
You can buy “Wakatteirunoni Gomenne / Tamerai Summer Time” at CD Japan