Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Country Girls - Itooshikutte Gomen ne/Koi Dorobo LE A/LE B single

Limited Edition A
 Title: Itooshikutte Gomen ne/Koi Dorobo
Artists: Country Girls
Release date: 25 MAR 2015
Type: single
Version: Limited Edition A/Limited Edition B

Limited Edition B
For limited editions I found these to be rather plain. Outside of the standard CD jewel cases they come in with the two discs all there is the front booklet that has the jacket cover on one side then on the back side it has another photo of the girls. For the LE A it has individual shots of the girls with their names attached to them then the LE B has a group shot. The inside is just the lyrics to the songs and short member profiles with links to websites. Though with the limited editions there are tickets to be used for handshake events but as someone living overseas they just got to waste.

Track listing:

1. 愛おしくってごめんね (Itooshikutte Gomen ne)
This group is all about the cute factor and this song is perfect for them. It has a throwback sound to the kind of music that was popular in the 1950s but enough of a current touch to it not to make it sound too dated. While I normally do not care for spoken lines in the middle of songs the lines seem to fit quite well with this song so I do not mind them at all. It is a fun pop song with a really catchy chorus that makes it easy to remember.

2. 恋泥棒 (Koi Dorobo)
One thing I have come to like about this current era of Hello!Project is that it is giving groups a specific sound for their songs. Koi Dorobo has the same throwback sound as Itooshikutte Gomen ne and works for the group just as well. This song does give the older girls a bit more to do vocally which makes it a nice balance on this single. Even though it is not as catchy as the other song it is still a really fun pop song to listen to.

3. 愛おしくってごめんね (Itooshikutte Gomen ne) (Instrumental)
4. 恋泥棒 (Koi Dorobo) (Instrumental)


On the DVD for the Limited Edition A there is the PV for Itooshikutte Gomen ne with a making of video, as well as Q&A with Ozeki Mai, Morito Chisaki and Yamaki Risa.

The bulk of the PV is focused on the girls pretending to study or something like that but are basically just cute. In fact the group seems to run off of cuteness so anything else would be a let down. The girls that get the most screen time are the younger three with Shimamura Uta getting the most among them all.

Like most H!P PVs there is a dance shot, which is all on this stage. There is a variety of shots for it and it never stays with the dance long enough to feel like it drags. It also helps the more dynamic dance moves are the ones showcased.

This PV was the one that gave us the member colors for the group as each member got to draw hearts on a plastic screen in their color. For the DVD there are end scenes that were not with the version of the PV uploaded on youtube. It is of each member of the group saying the title of the song to the camera.

The making of is basically behind the scene shots of some of the PV shots starting with all the individual shots for the girls. Then each girl gets basically a freetalk off to the side where we get to see that they are on a set.

Tsugunaga Momoko gets to show her leadership here and there. In fact it is with the behind the scene footage you can really tell she is on another level than the rest of the group because of her experience.

The group celebrate Mai's birthday on the set for the PV which is nice to see. And you can see them taking the photos that will go up on blogs and such about the occasion, which is a nice part of following a group that likes to embrace social media.

The Q&A is rather short and was definitely shot while they were filming for this PV. But half the members of the group get to give answers to questions that the viewer gets to see onscreen for a couple of minutes before it moves to the next girl.

For the Limited Edition B it has the same kind of content as the other version. The PV and making of is for the other A-side, Koi Dorobo, and the Q&A is with the other half of the group, Shimamura Uta, Inaba Manaka and Tsugunaga Momoko.

Like with the other DVD the PV has extra scenes in it that are not a part of the streaming version, this time it is a scene at the start and end with Momoko dragging a mirror across the room to reveal the other members of the group.

If you somehow thought the other PV was just not cute enough Koi Dorobo's will try to make up for it with an abundance of pink and plenty of cute. The formula is not much different than with the other PV but enough is changed up not to make it seem too repetitive.

This song is more equal with the lines and screen time between all members so it feels like the older three get more focus this time around. Something I like and hope the group continues with.

While I like both PVs I do enjoy this one for the fact that we see the group together doing something else than just dancing. That and overall the girls get some chances to be more candid then follow what actions the director gave them.

While the making of starts out mostly like the other there is a move to showing the girls interacting much more in this one. In fact I enjoy it much more because of this as it gives a much better idea of the group and the various relationships in it.

The Q&A is the same thing as on the other disc, and by the outfits and locations telling that it was all done at the other PV location.

Overall: At this point this release is rather bitter sweet. I still love this group even though they have had quite the rocky start from this release being changed from an indie release to a major debut and it being the first and last single of Shimamura Uta. Without a doubt H!P saw front girl material with her and she was heavily pushed, which makes watching the DVDs a bit sad to see that potential that never really got the chance to be realized.

That said everything clicks so well with this group. From their image to the style of music and the songs themselves. The PVs really have that cute and fresh feeling to them that the group in general have.

I do wish they did something more with the packaging, like at least have a back jacket. I do confess these are the only limited editions I have purchased from a H!P act so I do not know if this is a noram with them, as I know their regular editions are rather sparse as well.

I did enjoy having the Q&As with the DVDs as being a new group they worked well as an introduction for the girls. And spreading them across the two versions does mean that you need to get them both to see them all.

Outside of my issue with the packaging I do think this is a really strong debut single for the group. And I am quite happy to have gone with the limited editions for the release.

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