Berryz Koubou's 6th Album "6th Osakebi"

So the new Berryz album is here. What do I think of it? Well. Let's take a look, shall we?

First up, let's take a peek at the covers to the right. Regular being the top one, and Limited the bottom. The costumes are wonderfully bright and colourful. It's these colourful covers that make Berryz stick out so much next to Morning Musume and C-ute whose covers are usually pretty dark. I do like those dark covers, they look great. But they aren't eyecatching enough. Are these covers eyecatching? Pastel colours and cute girls? I suppose they could have done worse. In fact, this is one of those CDs where I find that I actually prefer the regular edition's cover. Which is a shame, because I never buy the regular. I always go for the limited edition where possible. Something about it being limited edition draws me to it. I just like the idea that in 10 years I'll have a copy and these will be difficult to find. Or they will in my mind anyway.

Is it just me, though, or does UFA insist on giving the girls those god-awful bows at every opportunity. They were something of a signiture of Tsuji Nozomi's before, and now they keep giving them out to everyone. Chinami and Miyabi this time around. Does anyone actually like those? Answers on a postcard.

Anyway, onto the music!

Otakebi Boy WAO! / Berryz Koubou
First song on the album just happens to be the first song from the new single. The best word to describe this song is "POWER". Everything about it reflects this theme. The singing, the guitars, the PV. Everyone sings at a low register, the one everyone seems to be talking about is Risako, who (and I hate to let this word become a cliché) sings powerfully throughout. In fact, the song reminds me alot of Morning Musume Otome-gumi. The songs are very different, but the feel of the songs are not too dissimiliar. But here, even Momoko manages to hit the low notes, which is no small feat, considering her normal voice. And the PV is simply epic. It has everything. Pink camoflauge, explosions, fire and lightning, Maasa roundhouse kicking AKB48's Atsuko Maeda (though I may have made one of those up). An epic video. An epic song. An epic start to an epic single and album.

Rival / Berryz Koubou
Rival. I'm in the minority with this one. It's a good song. But I'm from the small group who thought it wasn't as good as it's partner. More on that later though. This song, despite me preferring the other one, is still really good. The rock-ey guitar riffs and vocals make this one an incredibly catchy song. The PV is fine. But overall, the song is one of the more forgettable ones.

Ryuusei Boy / Berryz Koubou
This was an instant favourite. More recently Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama has become my preference from that single, but it took longer for Danna-sama to grow on me. I liked this one from first listen. Only trouble was that everyone else was talking about this single for 2 months before I finally got to hear it. I never listen to previews. I generally wait for the PVs to come out before giving singles a listen. But this time I had opted to save it. I felt it was a show of my own dedication as a fan to not only buy it without listening to it (which I've done a few times before), but to not listen to it until I had my copy and could stick it in my CD player. But due to extreme delays with the delivery (4 weeks after it shipped and I still hadn't gotten it) I didn't get to hear it til much later than the rest of the world. I picked a fine time to challenge myself. But it became like Lent or something. I managed to resist the urge to listen to it "early", which was at some points unbearable, and heard the single and loved it when it finally arrived. The dance shot version of the PV, which was included in my LE, looked so awesome that it tipped the scales and this became a new favourite song of mine. The dance, the costumes, the special effects. The catchy vocals. Every time I hear it I feel the need to get up and dance and sing along with it. 

Ai ni wa Ai desho / Momoko & Miyabi
Wonderful rock song. Miyabi and Momoko have had lots of practice at this kind of music with Buono! and I can't wait to see how this song looks in concert. I can already imagine some of the dance in my head. But I really want to see if it's anything like how I imagine. While their characters aren't quite as compatible, Momoko and Miyabi have voices that compliment eachother rather well as well as the guitar solos. In short, it's the perfect song for these two, and wouldn't have been anywhere near as good had it been given to anyone else.

Seishun Bus Guide / Berryz Koubou
This is the song I liked so much better than Rival. I've actually already blogged about this one before, so I'll keep this short. But the song was catchy. The costumes were awesome. And most importantly, I loved the video. I've heard alot of people claim that it was awful. But I don't think they could be more wrong. The video had a cute bus guide and the Berryz girls pretending to be schoolboys fawning over her? The whole thing was hillarious. Not to mention the fact that the bus somehow managed to achieve warp speed. 

Kimi no Tomodachi / Berryz Koubou
The first ballad of the album. It's a nice song. Risako seems to take point this time. What I find really interesting about this song is that during the chorus parts it kind of speeds up. The drum becomes more prominent and the singing speeds up, which then leads into a monologue by Risako. Also, is it just me, or has friendship been a reccuring theme recently? Ever since Dakishimete, I think.

Ground Demo Rouka Demo Medatsu Kimi / Maasa & Yurina
I must admit here, I'm inclined to love this song even before I hear it. Maasa and Yurina happen to be my two favourite Hello!Project members, and we haven't had the two of them singing together like this since Omoitattara Kichidesse! which also featured Chinami. This song lives up to expectations. It's split into two halves, where Yurina takes point at the start, and then halfway through it switches to Maasa. The two girls are a natural choice to put together. Maasa and Yurina are best friends, and they both have similiarly low voices. I love seeing them together, I love hearing them together. Admitadly, I doubt it will replace Omoitattara Kichidesse! as one of my top songs, but it's not trailing too far behind. It's just that that song was catchier and slightly funner.

Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda / Berryz Koubou
Here we reach the epitomé of this "tomadachi" theme. The song itself isn't at all dissimiliar to Rival. It makes use of the same kind of rhythmic singing. Of course, this song is better than Rival. The song is catchier, the mere mention of the name causes me to start singing the chorus, and the lines are more even. All of the girls get a chance to sing a solo "section". The video reminds me somewhat of Buono!'s PVs like Kiss!Kiss!Kiss! and Take it Easy!. There's something of a plot to it. All of the girls are sitting having fun, but gradually all of them leave to do other things and Momoko is left on her own. But just as the loneliness kicks in, friendship wins out and everyone returns. Perhaps the most mainstream song Berryz have released ever. It combines a fresh, original PV with a great tune.

Kibou no Yoru / Berryz Koubou
Our second ballad. This one is a far more traditional ballad than Kimi no Tomodachi. It's somwhat akin to Sonosubete no Ai ni, and in my opinion, is a much more mainstream ballad. I doubt it'd sell very well as a single A-side. But as a song it's excellent, and would make an excellent VN theme. One of my favourites. It's not depressing, but a slow and uplifting love song. Once again, I feel like Risako takes point in this, but she's always been the best ballad singer in Berryz. If, like me, you are a fan of ballads I imagine you will love it. If not, I hope you give it a listen and find something to enjoy in it, because it's a wonderful track.

Dakishimete Dakishimete / Berryz Koubou
I believe this one took me slightly longer to get to really like than some of the other songs. I wasn't really sure about the dance music or the crazy techno video for it - in fact the video was my main problem at first. I didn't really like Maasa's costume (though Captain's was awesome), and this was around the time that Chinami started wearing her makeup alot thicker, which I still don't really like. But over time I've kind of accepted it as one of the better Berryz singles. Once you've heard it a few times, and tried to dance along, you quickly forget about whatever you didn't like about it and simply enjoy it. It's not exactly a musical masterpiece, but that's the key - it's one of the most fun songs on the album to listen to.

Yakimochi wo kudasai! / Saki, Chinami & Risako
This song starts off slightly boring, but by about halfway through you really start to enjoy it. It's kind of fun, and the tempo is just about right. Wonderful performances from all of the girls involved. And I am noticing that Captain gets her fair share of lines in this song, a feature that is unfortunately missing in most singles these days. Despite being the leader and the oldest (not to mention the best dancer), Captain is probably the most over-looked member of Berryz. She never really developed into a character the same way that the other girls did. So it's always great to hear her sing. I find myself clapping along the whole way through.

Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama / Berryz Koubou
Even though I originally preferred Ryuusei Boy, it wasn't long before this maturer, sexier song and it's video soon won me over. I'm not sure what it was about it. The PV is decent, and formulaic at best. It's like a Berryz single trying to be a Morning Musume single. And it's not really something that compells you to get up and dance along. It's as danceable as a ballad, without actually being a ballad. But despite it's shortcommings, I can't bring myself to hate it. The costumes, the sexy singing by Risako et al... There's nothing really to hate is there? Maybe it's just because songs like this are rare with Berryz. We've come to expect this sort of thing from Morning Musume, so it's become slightly more dull. But Berryz typically do genki songs, which makes this mature one something of a refresher. It proves to us that Berryz are capable of doing different styles when they need to.

So, my final verdict?

Due to the number of double A-sides released lately (mostly due to the fact that they are performing for an anime now, and they have the money to make 2 PVs) the amount of original content in this album has suffered. 7/12 songs we already own. That leaves us with 5 new tracks. The old tracks are great and the new tracks are decent enough, for the most part, that it makes it worth the buy, assuming you are a Berryz fan. If you only have a passing interest in Berryz or prefer C-ute or Morning Musume, I can't see you buying this album. Or perhaps you'll buy this album so you don't have to buy the singles. Unlike 5(FIVE) which had something for everyone, this album falls a little short of the standard set by the previous album. But is worth a listen anyway.

Buy it now on YesAsia
Limited Edition | Regular Edition


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