Sunday Song #3: 女子かしまし物語 (モーニング娘)

Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari (“The story of Noisy Girls”) by Morning Musume is one of the first songs that made me think that J-Pop is a little bit more than just stupidity, even if, paradoxically, it’s one of the least intelligent songs of the whole batch.

The reason is both structural and not.  Structurally, it’s extremely high energy.  I find myself rather envious of the energy those girls exhibit when performing this song, but then I have to remember they’re young and, well, as they say, youth is wasted on the young.  It has a very fast and driving bassline that pretty much makes the whole piece.

But the really interesting thing to me is how many levels of meaning they can introduce to the stanzas dedicated to each girl, some of which are related to the choice of language rather than the actual word.  For example, Kimura Ayaka has the phrase “I want to strive to be a better singer” in English, which implies that she can speak English, even though she never explicitly says so.  And Nonaka Miki has probably one of the funniest lines – but it’s not her that makes it funny.

How are you doing? I am fine.
I’m so happy to be a member of this team
Why don’t we talk about the globalization of Morning Musume together?
I want to liven up the Japanese pop music industry with you all!

A flood of big words, recited rapid fire, to which another girl yells “I AM A PEN!”

There are about three levels of meaning to that interaction, all of them stuffed into one stanza, and exhibited by the choice of words rather than the actual words themselves.

Honestly, I think Nonaka-san can be just a little annoying with the whole “I lived in the US for eight years!” (wait for applause) schtick, but she’s young.  It’s easy to forget idols are (or are expected to act like) children for the most part.  I’m a guy in his early 40s, so I have to keep some sense of perspective about the whole thing (if only more guys my age would!)

Anyway, there’s not a whole lot more to say about it.  It’s a fun, high energy little song that does a good job of introducing the characters of all of the different members, and I think it’s very indicative of the quality and complexity of music that Morning Musume creates – and moreso because it’s been updated a few times as members come and go.  I think this song is one of the songs that defines the difference between Morning Musume and other idol groups such as AKB48 (another is AKB48’s Heavy Rotation.  I don’t think Morning Musume would be quite so… unsubtle).  Oddly, one of my favorites so far.

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