The final A-side of Morning Musume ’15’s 60th release takes on the form of “One and Only”. A first for the group, “One and Only” is the first song by the group that features all English lyrics. The song provides the opening theme for NHK World’s “J-MELO” music program, which coincidentally heavily features the girls of Morning Musume. If you look at the song in purely utilitarian mode, it makes sense that a show presented in English would have a title song in English. Of course, there are other forces at work here. As Morning Musume prepares itself for another concert in the English speaking world, sending out an upbeat and optimistic song like “One and Only” as its ambassador makes a great deal of sense.
After spending my last two days meditating on “Endless Sky” and “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi“, it might be time to go into Katsuta Rina mode for “One and Only”. The song’s lyrics are an adoration of an unspecified girl (or boy or pretty much anything). “One and Only” received performance and play long before the public announcement of Sayashi Riho’s graduation, so we can suspect that the girl in the song is not Riho specifically.
Still, “I just wanna get to know you more- everything, anything about you” read like a love letter from the girls of Morning Musume ’15 to Sayashi Riho. I wouldn’t blame anyone for believing “One and Only” has everything to do with the out-going ace.
Visually, “One and Only” makes use of enveloping chroma-key effects of “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa“. The imaginary world pops with song lyrics and projections of a world map complete with longitude and latitude lines. I could only imagine this imagery is a manifestation of the group’s aspirations for a global presence. They are sending this song out to the world outside of Asia afterall.
The bigger story of “One and Only” for me is the integration of the 12th generation into Morning Musume. Earlier in the year we saw Ogata Haruna, Nonaka Miki, Makino Maria, and Haga Akane as the new girls. As if we didn’t know already, the alternate version of “Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru clearly heralds the girls as the “New Start” of Morning Musume. If we buy “Yuugure wa Ameagari” as the story of the 12ki members homesick for their old life while excited (and nervous) for the coming changes, then “One and Only” completes the journey with English-bait lyrics. Keep following me- in my write-up of “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki” I wrote about the foreshadowing of a 9th generation graduation, and I discussed the burgeoning importance of Nonaka Miki in my article about Sayashi Riho’s graduation. I think if you connect the dots you will see a pathway to the changes in store for the group in the coming years.
That pathway leads to a worldwide market. Already, a worldwide contest for vocal and dance covers exists on J-MELO. The next worldwide concert date for Morning Musume is a set to take place in Houston, Texas in late-February. It’s accelerating. Look at the girls themselves: Haachin is a Japanese doll (for the fetishists), Miki speaks English and spent her childhood in the US, Maria has vaguely mixed-raced looks and loves baseball, and Akane is cute and a little “chubby” (for those Zukki loving Americans). In “One and Only”, these girls are no longer “feature girls”. They are part of the fabric of the group, and their destinies will be the same as Morning Musume’s destiny. It’s an incredibly bold journey on which the girls, all of them, are about to embark. “One and Only” could be a cheer for the girls as well as for you the listener. Together you can survive it all with her by your side, you and her.
You can buy Morning Musume ’15 “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only” at CD Japan
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [w/ DVD, Limited Edition/Type A]
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [w/ DVD, Limited Edition/Type B]
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [w/ DVD, Limited Edition/Type C]
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [Regular Edition / Type A]
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [Regular Edition / Type B]
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only [Regular Edition / Type C]