Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 8 2017 (0226 – 0304)


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week we have Promotional videos from:

Morning Musume。’17 – Jealousy Jealousy


Looking like an elegant slumber party before the actual slumbering, “Jealousy Jealousy” rounds out the promotional videos for Morning Musume’s 63rd single release. Things look very black and white, although it’s not particularly clear which side is actually which (metaphorically speaking). What I do know is the group makes great use of their anchors: Oda Sakura and Fukumura Mizuki sing with an increasing presence from Nonaka Miki while Ishida Ayumi rightfully anchors the dance team and provides legit skills to the rap interludes (you should also stick around to hear Miki’s English in the rap- always a treat). Perhaps “Jealousy Jealousy” rests on foundations that are more predictable than its counterpart A-side, but man is the song smooth. For those put off by the mortar shells in “Brand New Morning”, “Jealousy Jealousy” feels like coming home to groove laden J-pop butter. “Brand New Morning/Jealousy Jealousy” goes on sale March 8, 2017.

Beyond the Couch

Over at Twitter I ran a poll, Continue reading

Suzuki Mariya in TokyoIdol.net


Through tweets and downright confession, I reveal my favorite Cheeky Parade member as Suzuki Mariya. Imagine how delighted I was to discover a Mariya photo feature in Tokyo Idol http://www.tokyoidol.net/?p=12988 . This is probably one of the largest sets of photos I’ve seen for an idol at an online resource, so be warned. There’s a lot of Mariya here! Hopefully her youthful spirit come through in this set.

(In a related note: why do my favorites always get styled with a hat?)
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Cheeky Parade “Chekera” [PV]


I admit it (again). I’ve left my series on Cheeky Parade promotional videos hang without any progress for too long now. Well, I’m sure you know I’m not exactly getting paid for my thoughts here- so plans change, things stay fluid, and ideas may occasionally get abandoned. Well, I’m not abandoning this series!

Cheeky Parade have recently been rocked by the announcement of two hiatus members. Both Yamamoto Marin and Suzuki Mariya will take a two-year absence from the group to study abroad and hone their craft. I’m skeptical about their plans to return, but I can only take their word at face value at this point.


Back in 2013, things were looking up for Cheeky Parade Continue reading

Cheeky Parade – “Mugendai Shoujo ∀”

This is a second reminder: you can see Cheeky Parade live in the LA Area this weekend October 16-18. Details here, tickets here. This is the (not so) hidden agenda for all of these Cheeky Parade articles in the past few weeks. Real talk: we’re not going to get many idol events outside of Japan, let alone the Los Angeles area. $15 for an idol event is worth a look if you know nothing about Cheeky Parade or are even lukewarm on Cheeky Parade. I hope I see you there.


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Cheeky Parade – “C.P.U!?” [PV]

I think I should start out with a reminder: you can see Cheeky Parade live in the LA Area this weekend October 16-18. Details here, tickets here. Real talk: we’re not going to get many idol events outside of Japan, let alone the Los Angeles area. $15 for an idol event is worth a look if you know nothing about Cheeky Parade or are even lukewarm on Cheeky Parade. I hope I see you there.

Let’s take a good look at the second release from Cheeky Parade, “C.P.U!?”. Oldsters like me recognize CPU as “Central Processing Unit”, but in the case of the Cheeky, they mean “Cheeky Parade Understand!?”. The hyperactive song fills itself with guitars, big beats, and retro-gaming sounds. The girls chip in with vocals that flit from member to member in a way reminiscent of Momoiro Clover. In fact, the wackiness of the whole thing once gave the (incorrect) impression of Cheeky Parade as a bit of a MomoClo knock-off brand.

Running, jumping
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Cheeky Parade “CPGB – Cheeky Parade Gallery Bomb”


Sharing with you : photos of Cheeky Parades visual book “CPGB – Cheeky Parade Gallery Bomb” which documents their trip to New York in 2014. These aren’t professional scans. Me + Cheeky Parade + iPhone = preview post. I don’t know how much you’ll mind- I don’t see any scans of this book anywhere.

Hopefully these photos will entice you to attend Cheeky Parade’s visit to Los Angeles on October 16-18. I see three dates: October 16 at UTB Hall in Hollywood, and October 17-18 at Japan Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More information.


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Cheeky Parade “Bunbun Nine9′”

Are you ready, OK?

As the second part in my “catching up” series, we get Cheeky Parade’s debut from 2013, “Bunbun Nine9′”. As a major debut, the song did well on the weekly charts, placing fourth with roughly 22K sold. Distinctive for many reasons, the song remains a staple of the girls’ setlist. This marks the first song I heard from the group- right around the release date. I remember being struck the strangeness of the choreography and the young fresh look of the girls. So, of course, it took me 3 years to write about the song. My bad.


The song sets the tone for the group’s musical output early. In the first 30 seconds, “BUNBUN NINE9′” goes from a bratty cheer to a synth led melody accented with hyperactive drums and electric guitars. The only thing missing from the Cheeky Parade instrumental palette is the 8-bit sounds that persists in their later output. I don’t want to mislead; I know when I hear about guitars I immediately think about a rock arrangement. “BUNBUN NINE9′” is an upbeat idol dance track all the way through. The bass pounds a bit heavier in the song than you’ll find in future Cheeky Parade releases- which may irk new listeners to the group. The sound rings unique to my ears, and provides an off-beat backdrop for this offbeat group.

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Playing Catch Up with Cheeky Parade – “Cheeky Dreamer”


Who the hell is Cheeky Parade, and why am I devoting so much time to them? As of writing, I still do not possess a great understanding of the group. When I originally began looking into the Cheekiness, they were promoting their terrific “Together” mini album. An upcoming performance in New York City put the group in select the company of the few idol acts to break out of Japan. “Together” made such a grea impression on me that I included it in my “ 2014 Single of the Year” story. So, this is the genesis of this set of articles. I need to learn more about this group, and I’m taking you with me.

Before we start, I need to tell you that I’m no expert on anything here. I will get something wrong, and when I err it’s your responsibility to correct me.

Firstly, the group took shape in 2012. The popular mythology of the group, or at least my favorite mythology, is that rejects from the Super Girls auditions comprise the group we know as Cheeky Parade. This theory seems somewhat plausible given the two-year gap between SG and CP debuts. Giving the theory more legs, Suzuki Mariya can be (allegedly) seen in the 2010 Super Girls audition footage. The footage I’ve seen of Cheeky Parade witnessing Super Girls events shows a mixture of admiration and envy that supports this theory. Whether or not they are actually “rejects” is anyone’s guess. If this proves factual, then we can consider Cheeky Parade to be the “C-ute” to Super Girls’ “Berryz Kobo”.


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Callme – “To Shine”


If you strip nature to its barest composition, reduce all of its glorious curves and angles to perpendicular black, and simplify hues to primary colors, you would probably produce something that looks like Piet Mondrian’s work. No doubt the Dutch painter’s work crossed through your visual stream once or twice. His compositions and style from the 1920’s became shorthand for modernism in the 1960’s, and now serve as an easy callback to retro futurism.w

My thoughts on Piet Mondrian actually hold some bearing with the idol group Callme! You see, the group’s debut release on March 3, “To Shine” employs serious amounts of Mondrian inspired art and artifacts. But, my manners! We should probably start with Callme themselves. Who is this trio?


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Tokyo Girls’ Style – “Unmei”


The latest offering from Tokyo Girls’ Style sees the girls pushing their way past adolescence.  Like most of their singles, we get a funky number with the distinctive TGS sound complete with wah guitars and a funky melodic synth bass.  The big news with this single is not the sound of it, but the look of the girls.  They are made up to look more mature than their actual ages.  And, shockingly, there are boys in this PV.   Continue reading