Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Hello Pro All Stars – Yeah Yeah Yeah

No word yet on whether Karen O is working on a song called “Hello Pro All Stars”…


Ryo Miyauchi: The rather anticlimactic tone of Hello! Project’s 20th-anniversary commemoration sounds fitting looking back at how it felt as a fan following the company’s non-stop promotional run this year celebrating its milestone. It was certainly nice to see alumni interact with the young members currently taking their place, though it reminded more of the reality that the idol industry is built upon the survival of the fittest. The graduation system pioneered by Morning Musume makes it more of a revolving door: idols come and go, many great ones who contribute a lot to a legacy of a group in retrospect, but the institution nevertheless carries on without investing much time to cope with a particular loss. That ambivalence in the verses of “Yeah Yeah Yeah” toward treating an experience or relationship as something precious circles back to that emotional distancing from getting too attached to a specific thing. It’s only right Hello! Project looks upon its own birthday like that. It embraced that life was but a joke when they first scored their biggest hit. It has seen many ups and downs since, and it will see another birthday from the way it’s going, so why obsess over the now, now?

Ian Mathers: If you haven’t been following for some significant chunk of their 20 years (god knows I haven’t been) the length feels unnecessary, in a way that parts of the track basically boil down to “strings… beautiful strings.” But mostly this is sturdy, melodic, closing credits material in a pretty winning way, even if the English translation they provide on the video is idiomatically a bit off enough to suggest someone’s finally tried one of those “we fed a bot x scripts and this happened!” gags here (that’s a plus, actually).

Iain Mew: If the English subtitles are anything to go by, this is an attempt to summarise the meaning of life via regimented massed ballad. It’s unsurprisingly not entirely successful, but I do want my life to include whatever the filtered soundtrack strings and incongruous wubbles are mean to represent.

Taylor Alatorre: I’m not sure what to make of the translated lyrics, some of which read like commentary on the transient nature of idoldom, others of which may have been ripped from random pages in the songwriter’s diary. “Actually, I want to indulge myself in the sense of superiority more than anyone else” — yeah, sometimes it do be like that…? It is comforting, though, to hear a clean midtempo beat unfold over a leisurely five-minute period, punctuated by playful trap and dubstep flourishes that serve as living exhibits of The Decade in Electronic Music. Sure, those things could’ve been done within a tighter song structure, but good sounds are good sounds, no matter what roof they’re under.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The cascading piano that appears during the midsong instrumental excursion is lovely. The rest of this is staid and inert, occasional dubstep wobbles included.

Will Adams: That extended mid-song break of string orchestra and piano is worth revisiting alone for its unexpected baroqueness. Unfortunately, it’s been sandwiched between less impressive elements like tinny drums, reedy synths squawks and, perhaps most confusingly, wubs.

Alfred Soto: One of the few times a track whose tempo and melodies play as if written for an Olympics ceremony doesn’t get advertised as such. From the string section to the length, “Yeah Yeah Yeah” is too fussy.

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3 Responses to “Hello Pro All Stars – Yeah Yeah Yeah”

  1. *taps mic* uh can i say something here

    I sometimes have issues with Hello! Project mv’s English translations, and they do put a disclaimer that this is a literal translation with awareness that it’s far from perfect. That said, Tsunku’s lyrics are indeed slightly outrageous at its base as those lyrics suggest.

    I mention this because Ian pointed out the lyrics seem kind of like an algorithm-fed material. It’s less stiff than that, but it no less lacks transition from one idea to the next as something algorithm-driven. That’s how Tsunku writes lyrics, just throwing in the ridiculous and super-sincere without caring for natural progression, and it has become some sort of a signature for him, for better or worse.

    I can throw a bunch more than “Love Machine” in this space, but I think another great early example is Morning Musume’s “The Peace.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3RyqCAJkRU) A favorite excerpt that’s appropriate for today: they talk all this random nonsense about loving the conbini and being indecisive over whether to order a medium or large pizza, but they also go on about “on election day, for some reason at my home / we go vote, then we go out” with a chant to get people excited to participate in politics. Why, I don’t know! But that’s just how Morning Musume and Hello! Project works!

    Deep sorry to fans of Angerme, Juice=Juice, Tsubaki and Kobushi Factory, even C-ute, Berryz Koubou and Country Girls for only talking about Morning Musume. As a sign of forgiveness, please accept my link of this compilation video collecting all of Tsunku’s great in-song monologues (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPmbbDYHA7U) – a recurring H!P trope that I wish I could’ve talked about in this space, but it would require way too much space. I’m already occupying too much already

  2. SCREAMING at the first monologue being from Help Me! cause it’s so iconic. My personal favorite has to be Maimi Yajima’s monologue from tokaikko junjou – so much angst.

    In recent years, Tsunku has eased up on writing every single song for H!P artists (most notably Angerme – since their rebrand he’s only written one song for them) and i think the quality overall has improved because of the variety. His somewhat nonsensical approach to songwriting is definitely unique but sometimes the lyrics are waaaaaaay out there. The overly literal english translations on youtube don’t help much either.

  3. I very much appreciate Hello Pro hardcoding in subs for their unique lyrics. A new Morning Musume I enjoy: “Casually wandering about Ginza” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uG3Z3hMLj0

    You have to appreciate HP maintaining an immediately recognisable sound for so many years in a ‘trad idol’ landscape with established interchangeable formulas.

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