27 comments on “Listening to idols like Kikkawa You or Up Front Girls that Tsunku isn’t involved with makes you realize just how great his songs are

  1. “11:名無し募集中。。。:2012/11/21(水) 11:55:00.04 ID:0
    Terada’s* songs are amazing, if only someone else did the lyrics and I’d be happy.”

    And I want that someone to be AkiP. Not going to happen, I know, but I always had a problem with the lyrics on H!P songs, and I love most of what AkiP writes for the Stages. And then I’d have C-ute perform the Tsunku/AkiP dream single, and I could die happy.

  2. Reading my previous comment again, I think it wasn’t clear enough that Tsunku is a better songwriter than AkiP, he only loses on the lyrics. And H!P performs better most of the time. But when I say that, I’m really just thinking about C-ute. can’t think about much more these days.

  3. Considering I don’t think AkiP has ever written a single piece of music in his life I don’t think it’s hard to be a better composer than him :P

    To my eyes, Tsunku is a flawed genius. Some of the stuff he comes up with is fucking fantastic, even when he’s in the middle of craptastic release spree he’ll come up with something like C-ute’s Chou Wonderful album or something. And, for better or worse, he did write the majority of songs that got me into Jpop.

    Now, there aren’t many composers I’d say I’m ever 100% happy with (even Gilmour and Waters solo stuff sounds pretty shit to me, no matter how many of Floyd’s albums are on my all time top ten list), I think there’s only two in history. Mozart and Grieg. And that’s pretty fucking special company, so I doubt anyone’s ever getting close. However, the more and more shit Tsunku seems to take on (he now has 4 main groups to compose for, lyricise and produce, plus whatever solo shit he’s doing and whatever takes his fancy on TNX at any given time) the more his output seems to suffer. For example, the new Berryz single. Holy fuck it’s shit. I mean, sure, they’re in sexy clothes. But if I’m trying to listen to the music, even sexy clothes wouldn’t distract me if it was a decent riff (see: Heavy Rotation). Honestly, C-ute’s Aitai Aitai Aitai na… was shit too. So was Saikou Music (obviously an intense expression of irony). The only saving grace on that single was Kanashiki Heaven, which is Tsunku’s best song since 2009.

    Momusu’s output confuses me. Honestly Wakuteka doesn’t annoy me as much as it should, so for that Tsunku should be praised. On the other hand, before this they’ve gone shitloads of singles without a good one (back to Maji Desuka Ska). S/mileage, as Henkka well knows, pisses me off because they have about 1 person’s worth of talent in the remaining 6 members, having thrown away the only good member and the cute one with AIDS for a singing voice. The last song I thought was passable was probably Postwoman or whatever. Last good one was Uchouten Love.

    As for the comparisons to Hyadain, it’s much the same thing. Flawed genius. Hyadain knows how to fuck with my brain and please my prog-side much better than Tsunku, but he too releases incredibly shit songs a lot. I think, coming down to it, that Hyadain has the better idea than Tsunku. He lets lots of other people compose Momoclo songs (in fact, the last single A-side he composed was Mouretsu) and from there saves himself time and effort. Tsunku could, realistically, outsource all of the composition for Berryz to Thailand (that’s where they seem to be making all their money nowadays anyway), and then already he’s lost nearly a quarter of his workload, which could be used in making better songs (or, knowing Tsunku, playing around with buttons in a studio for weeks on end until he produces one sound…)

  4. Holy crap, that had to be a lot of work. To me, Tsunku’s music defines idol j-pop – H!P was the first idol music I was ever exposed to. Since then, I’ve spent a good amount of time listening to other groups, many of whom I like to some extent, but none of them are ever as fulfilling to me as H!P. I am, of course, speaking generally with no accounting for individual songs.

    I suppose I should also mention that H!P idols are really the only ones I pay much attention to. While I enjoy listening to other groups’ songs, I don’t ever care to learn about the members like I do with H!P. I imagine I’d get dizzy trying to stay caught up on the ever-changing XXX48 line-ups anyway.

    I’m pretty willing to give any idol group a listen but H!P groups are the only ones I continue following with any regularity, regardless of how well I liked their most recent singles. And while each song may please or disappoint, I think it’s a familiarity with the H!P catalog as a whole that makes the music so fulfilling to me.

  5. If i’m not mistaken, the lyrics of Ren’ai Hunter, One Two Three, & WKTK Take a Chance can be combined into one story. And look what he done with Berrikyu’s Happy Song. Compared to other idol song composer, we need to think harder to understand his song. And he can instantly create a song lyrics from just a simple conversation.

    I agree that he really doesn’t care about song trends / popularity.

  6. Rather than a lack of quality control, I think the workload of Tsunku really kills the quality. I admire the man’s output- I don’t think it’s possible for a lesser person to have written so many songs for so many acts for so long. And, there is such a variety to the kinds of songs he writes! It’s hard to deny that Tsunku has a real talent. When compared to other idol songs, I get a sense that Tsunku writes less fluff than one would expect. Not to say that all of his song ideas are great- they’re not. I think it is impossible for any composer/songwriter to “bat a thousand”. Weigh the great songs that he has written against the shit songs he has written- almost any songwriter would be envious of his track. Now if only we could sneak in some live instruments into the instrumentals …

  7. @dom: Really? That’s cool stuff, even if I basically am part of the group that doesn’t care much about the lyrics. And yeah, I like that he steals lyrical ideas from just simple conversations. The sneaky bastard.

    @dik426: Agreed on everything you said. Though I can be disappointed in the songs he puts out, the one thing I can’t help but always commend him on is the variety in styles. He could probably pull off any kind of song he wanted to pretty decently. And definitely… weighing the great songs he’s written vs. the bad ones, it’s obvious to me that he’s still way, way on the winning side. And I hear ya on the wish for live instruments!

  8. It’s a shame that they don’t have the budget they used to. I sometimes feel like if Tsunku had the freedom to just go nuts, he could pull off something as epic as Momokuro’s Moretsu. I think he would definitely use real instruments if he could. He does seem enamored with this whole electronic-autotune-whateveritis stuff though.
    I forget who said this in the comments above mine, but someone made the point, and I agree, that Tsunku doesn’t cater to what is popular at the time – not particularly, anyway – and that is why his music continues to be distinctive. I always find it interesting that although all the songs are written by him, a lot of Momusu’s songs or Berryz songs sound as though only those groups could perform them. He’s given them distinct styles, while still trying out different types of music. At least, to my very VERY untrained ear, that’s what it seems like. I forget that he does the album songs too. Damn, that’s a lot of work…how does he manage it all?? Doesn’t he have fairly young children now, plus he’s still releasing solo stuff?
    BTW: I love it when you guys post. I very often can’t add anything relevant in the comments, but I always read. ^_^

  9. I’ve already written my praise post of Tsunku, but I never knew there were so many H!P fans who are arguably also more Tsunku-fanboys than idol fans.

    I love it when Tsunku sings.

    Also, whoever wrote that comment about being shocked at Aya’s first album: YES. It feels like Tsunku always gives the best songs to the freshest group at the moment — all of C-ute, Berryz and Aya’s early stuff were great. Maybe he can consistently keep up producing good stuff for MM because the lineup changes so much. Hope Sakura inspires him.

    Thank you Henkka for the translations!

  10. @Isilie: Yeah, real instruments and all that might not be what he’d be into right now. The electronic sort of style seems to be what he’s currently into. Though a while ago at a Nico Nico live thing, C-ute had with them a band that performed a couple of their songs live with them, including Dance de Bakoon if I recall correctly. That was some real good stuff. And I do agree about the popularity thing. I think he keeps track of what’s currently popular, but does not pursue it unless it’s on his terms. And yeah, he has three young kids now and he’s still showing no signs of slowing down. Crazy guy. And no worries for not being able to comment often. Thanks a lot for reading! :)

    @Verilian: I went ahead and dug out the Tsunku post on your blog. Great stuff! I always love reading others praise Tsunku. And yeah, the world is a much happier place when he sings. And I never thought of it that way, but I can definitely see what you mean with the freshness thing. C-ute, Berryz, S/mileage, Mano… they all got some really good stuff right off the bat. Indeed, here’s to hoping Sakura inspires the man even more. She ought to as I do think she’ll be one of the leads in no time. And no problem, thanks for reading!

  11. How does he come with new material for these 15 years!!!
    He has written hundreds of songs for the insane number of groups in Haro Puro!
    Can’t wait to hear 15 more years of his songs =]
    Take good care of health tsunku-san, without you there is no HaroPuro!

    P.S In my heart Kikka and Up Up Girls is part of HaroPuro =]

  12. “20-95” that’s pretty much how i would rate tsunku’s songs; sometimes he’s really really good, but otherwise i keep thinking he’s trying to troll us just ’cause.

  13. I also miss the old songs with real instruments, probably only a few fans remember there was also concerts with real instruments and band in the background.

    My favorite song at that time was and still is: A MEMORY OF SUMMER ’98

    You can hear the real instruments there :)

    • I remember the couple of early concerts with real instruments and I’m a huge fan of those as well. :) Also, I love “A MEMORY OF SUMMER ’98”. Something eerily nostalgic about that song. I actually included it in one of my absurd rankings from ’09, “Top 5 H!P songs I love but no one else gives a shit about”.

      • I like your ranking and specially that live with Yuki Maeda and Iida Kaori btw: In my opinion Yuki Maeda had a best voice in H!P

        I like plenty of songs that nobody care about cuz were rarely performed, I don’t have a list or ranking but I remember that 2 songs made such a impression on me that I’d like to listen them over and over.

        and it was :
        Puri Puri Pink – Hitoshirezu Mune wo Kanaderu Yoru no Aki

        Nakazawa Yuko – Yu-u-wa-ku

        • Oh yeah, I love both of those songs. I’ve always held a special affinity for Yuko’s songs, including Yuuwaku (which I just love). Going back and listening to these old songs, it really is such a shame that the new H!P fans often don’t make the time to check out the older stuff. For me, when I got into H!P, I probably spent the first year invested in finding out/seeing everything I could about the early happenings of H!P. That early eagerness to check out their history has to this day really made appreciate H!P as a whole a lot more.

          And I mean, what the hell? Why would anyone willingly miss out on Taiyou to Ciscomoon?

          Alright, I’ve perhaps had a couple of drinks too many tonight. Cheers!

  14. There’s so much to write about here. My entire current devotion to Idols all started by getting hooked on Tsunku’s music when i first discovered Aya Matsuura, by chance in 2005. I later discovered H!P through her too and then about 2 years later figured out all these songs were written BY ONE GUY!

    And then I figured out that C-ute and Berryz circa 2008 were those TINY little girls in that 2003 summer H!P concert I bought back in ’05 cuz it had Ayaya’s face on it! I discovered all this info in about a month or two and bought the 2007 winter concerts box set and got my hands on everything else…I was hooked,

    But it was also I downloaded “Otome Pasta ni Kandou” but ti was written in Kanji. I just was downloading J-pop left and right. but I COULD NOT stop playing that song..when I FINALLY discovered it was Tanpopo and also Tsunku..man, i was like, this guy is frikkin’ brilliant. Full stop.

    I had been (and still am to a much lesser extent) a HUGE Prince fan (a purple wota!) for almost my entire life..bootlegs of hundreds of unreleased tracks, live recordings, I have seen him perform over 20+ times, etc And Tsunku is the ONLY artist/producer who has made me feel as excited by music and longing for new material, b-sides, “GUIDE TRACKS!!!” yes, please! (ever hear Princes’s guide track for “Manic Monday”?) their prolific nature, Prince has at least 1,000 songs in a vault a lot of which i have heard, Tsunku get’s to release his. People always talk about Prince’s ‘golden era” of 1980-1987 when he could do no wrong and was brilliant every time out, then got less popular and still put out great stuff, but was more hit and miss, with only die hards (purple wota again!) buying his stuff and supporting him…there are so many similarities and it’s interesting to note the differences too where on has failed (Prince in trying to produce other groups, mainly girl groups or female artists) and succeeded Prince is an international star and maybe the best live performer of all time.Oh and Tusnku uses the male symbol…Prince had a co-mingling of the male AND female symbol as his….And listening to Tsunku’s dance pop and funk, I really have to believe he’s a fan of Prince as much as he is of The Beatles. I would love to ask him about this some day….

    So Guide tracks yes, Tsunku genius, even though he can’t always produce the greatest songs and many sound alike especially now after almost 15 years of upwards of 100 songs a year! I am still amazed we get a song like “What’s Up?..” or “Yattaruchan” or “Help Me!”..i can put up with some mediocre songs to get those gems. I am so so happy to have discovered him, H!P and Idols (yes, I like Hyadain, and some other groups as well) but there is NOTHING as catchy and musical as Tsunku’s compositions for me. I do also wish he could use live instruments more and have a fantasy of an H!P concert with a full orchestra some day!~

    • “Otome Pasta ni Kandou” was a special one, wasn’t it? Or rather, I thought that whole era of Tanpopo was special. Even now, I still can’t enough of that perfect blend of The Beatles and Queen. Fun fact: it was the same guy arranging all of those Beatles/Queen-y sounding songs for Tsunku around that time… Otome Pasta ni Kandou, Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru, I&YOU&I&YOU&I, BE HAPPY Koi no Yajirobee (and Minimoni’s Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!), were all arranged by Nagai Rui. If there’s one arranger I wish Tsunku would bring back… it’s that guy. We all know Tsunku is a Beatles lover (hence his Beatles cover album, doing a Beatles cover song at the Sharan Q 20th anniversary concert, lots of nods to them in H!P songs, etc), and Nagai Rui was just the perfect partner-in-crime for Tsunku to bring out the Beatles in his compositions even more… and adding in some Queen flavor, too, which is not at all a bad thing really.

      And indeed… Tsunku’s certainly not infallible, not to me at least. He doesn’t always strike gold. He’s always had (and still does have) plenty of misses with his songs, but when he gets it right… it can result in stuff I’ll happily call some of my favorite pop music ever, Japanese or otherwise.

      Anyway, I’ve had a couple of vodka cokes too many and I’m just rambling here. Lastly I just wanted to say I loved Prince’s Purple Rain album but I never really got into any of his other stuff despite trying. If you have any recommendations as to which other albums of his a metalhead yet H!P music loving kinda guy should get, let me know.

      In any case, thanks again for the comment. Hope to have you reading in the future as well!

      • Thanks for pointing out Nagai Rui. For a while I’ve enjoyed Otome Pasta and thought it was Queen-ish, but there are so many arrangers that the less prolific and less recent ones tend to slip through the cracks of my mind. Checking out the others from him I can hear the common threads.

  15. ..oh, sorry just wanted to add y 2 cents about the lyrics..I rarely seek them out, but when I do I find them completely appropriately nutty and girly! He is writing this all from the mind set of young teenage girls and what they think/talk about and dream about. This in it’s own way is kind of brilliant and if they may seem trivial or banal, that’s what young teens and pre-teens think about! I find it kind of refreshingly naive and at times just crazy and silly and that is such a relief from the preponderance of pretentious bs from alt rock bands and the hardcore vulgarity of modern day hip hop and pop. Don’t tmind them one bit! Go listen to Dylan if you want some lyrics!

  16. I like some of Tsunku music and admire him because it’s not easy to composed a lot of songs for five groups that have different image. I love some of Tsunku’s pieces like SONGS, Shouganai Yume Oibito, Naichau Kamo, Only you. J=J also get a really good songs too especially Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no Kiss. Also Chou Happy Songs is such a piece of genius!!!

    Who know that two songs can combine together and it become a new song!!!! For me this is the masterpiece that he has done so far.

    But Tsunku’s problem is overload works. A lot of time it lacks of quality, the lyric is the biggest problem. I think he should hire some assistance now. I don’t think electronic sound would be a new think, current MM’s songs are not impress me since I saw a lot of boy band girl group have done this kind of style for a long time. It’s may be a new image for H!P but not for Japanese music industry. Even violin, piano sound is something that other company had done it before and it already become their signature before MM.

    The second problem is, I don’t know if it’s because of UFA, a lot of songs that give to each groups. 80% of each lines didn’t give to a right person. Other company like LDH, JE (not count Sexy Zone and Kiss My FT because I don’t like their management) manage the line distribution based on a singing skill. Like Arashi, even Sho Sakurai is the most popular but the one who dominate still be Ono Satoshi. In Kat-tun, Kame is the most popular but Yuichi and Ueda are much better ballad singers than him so those two always dominate ballad songs. HSJ, lead vocalist always be Yamada and Yabu, Yamada is the ace, Yabu is not as popular as Chinen but he is better singers than Yamada so that’s why he leads most of HSJ songs. E-girls choose lead singers based on singing like if candy-cutesy Ami will be a main, Sweet voice will be Aya, Sexy theme will be Erie, and most of the songs, lead vocal will be Shizuka who has best voice follow by Reina who’s versatile singer in every genre.(But for Karen… umm don’t know)

    Now, the best line distribution for me is C-ute, follow by Juice=Juice (based on singing ranking Tomoko=Sayuki>Karin>Yuka=Aari for me). Berryz Koubou= I have no idea why Tsunku didn’t let Momoko used her Buono voice, she can be powerhouse if he let her sing in that way. S-mileage= Meimi should lead some songs, her singing skill is not a joke. I won’t say anything about MM because I’m afraid my comment will be harsh.

    But yeah, Idol industry is tough. But I’n glad that H!P still keep concept singing live. There’re not many idol who can sing live now. So I’m still like their performance.

  17. Posting from 5 years in the future and Sexy Sexy just came out.

    5 years ago Henkka, rest assured that Tsunku is a god walking among men… My homoerotic relationship with him continues…

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