This post has been in draft mode for a few days. Been busy at work, and pushing up all-nighters. Still a raw write-up but thought I'd push this out soon, before the news gets stale. :)
Firstly, according to ikimasshoi, Morning Musume's 31st Single "Aruiteru" is the Weekly No.1 on Oricon ranking, selling 41,000 copies on the first week. Source here
You don't see this on the Oricon website yet, they're kinda slow on updating the site, I think. And probably the guys at ikimasshoi had an Oricon member's account. The sales figure is correct though. EDIT: Weekly rank Updated
Oricon Weekly Chart
Oricon Daily Chart
From the Oricon chart we see Aruiteru has dropped six places to 7 now. However, it's great to see BoA on the top spot now, really love "Winter Love". A touch of K-Pop feel with a ELT-like sound - absolutely my type of music. ^_^
Ya know, I wished Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto was still around to experience the Aruiteru wave......
.... okay, back on topic: Why? Why has it got to be Aruiteru reaching the top spot? Why not "Sexy Boy ~ Soyokaze ni Yorisotte"? Why not "Ambitious Yashitenki Ii Jyan"?
To be sure, although I am really excited to see Morning Musume on top of the Oricon charts, up till now I still cannot bring myself to enjoy Aruiteru. It's just not the type of song I play in my car on the way to office, nor playing in the background while I'm whipping up web-application codes. So I sat and thought about it for a long time, looking for an explanation on why a simple song like Aruiteru can fetch the no. 1 spot. (My penchant for analyzing things can find no end, it seems ^_^)
Finally, I had a flashback.
A few years ago, I was introduced to a branch manager of the previously mentioned recording label that I was affiliated with. She came from Taiwan to visit our country, to give some valuable advice for us budding songwriters. We discussed and summed up some answers to that million-dollar question: What makes a hit song (especially in the East Asia)?
This is Morning Musume's specialty. Every hit song needs a "hook", it varies from a memorable intro, a catchy chorus, meaningful lyrics, an easily-recognizable melody or even a running bass line. Something that listeners can easily remember and whistle to, even when the song is not playing. Whether you like the song or not, if I ask if you can remember Aruiteru, most of you would probably recall the "A-Ru-I-Te-Ru" part, or the "Na Na Na..." part. If that's true, then the song hook has worked.
There is a time when a song strikes a chord with the listener. In Aruiteru's case, as mentioned in ikimasshoi's reference, a lot of youngsters in Japan found a chime with the song and is loving it. Sometimes, you may have the best lyrics and songs but it may not hit, because the time was not right for the majority. I'm sure each of us can name a Momusu song that we love and thought that it should have been a hit, or should have been a A-side song. This "Timing" factor is really subjective, it can be purely luck, but it can be speculated too.
Find the target audience and write a song for it. I am thinking that Aruiteru is meant to be easy-listening and appealing to the youth. And for that, you need simple melodies that you can sing along, and meaningful lyrics that they can relate to.
This is probably not related, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. Basically the more songs you write, the more your chances for a eventual hit.
And the evil way...
A hit song can be "orchestrated". E.g. Create tonnes of promotions and have the radio station play the song to death, and it will eventually grow on the listener. I don't think this is related too.
There are other reasons that I thought about, but not given too much weight:
- The Japanese audience is the main target market. No wonder it doesn't appeal to us from across the ocean.
- It's a memorable occasion, cos' it's the first single with 8 person lineup after Konkon and Mako-chan's graduation. Also the last single with 8 person lineup till next audition intake. It's something people looking forward to see, I think.
- New fanbase. More young girls like Morning Musume, now that Momusu's image makes the girls seem friendlier and approachable.
- The 8th member audition has given Momusu some extra popularity.
- Koharu's solo work and GAM's Fujimoto Miki have brought in some new fans for Momusu.
- Momusu's recent eco-campaign and World Volleyball campaign, has upped their recognition.
Just my two cents... Thanks for reading. ^_^