June 5, 2008

The Best Damn Vocalists in Morning Musume History

Posted in Hello!Project, Morning Musume, Music at 12:03 pm by aiwish472

A quick run down of Morning Musume’s top ten vocalists follows, one being best.

10. Miki Fujimoto
9. Sayaka Ichii
8. Maki Goto
7. Yuko Nakazawa
6. Iida Kaori
5. Mari Yaguchi
4. Aya Ishiguro
3. Kei Yasuda
2. Natsumi Abe
1. Asuka Fukuda


If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll point out that every person on that list (except Miki) is from early Morning Musume. There’s something about the early days of Momusu that just can’t be replaced, ever, no matter how cute your Reina and your Sayumi are. It’s the quality of the vocals. The first generation, without a doubt, was the strongest vocals Morning Musume ever had, and second is not far behind them. In 1997-98, it seemed that vocal quality was what was considered when members were chosen, not how cute they are, what kind of personality they had, or how many photobooks they could sell. And isn’t that what really matters? Argue all you want, but singing is what these girls’ initial purpose was, and still is. Sure. Now, they sell DVDs, photobooks, and whatever else is in the Hello Project official store on any given day, but back then it was all about the CDs. And you know, that’s still what their purpose is now, too.

I don’t know if UFA has given it any thought, but there could be another factor adding to the declining sales.
Maybe if the current Morning Musume had better singers, then they would sell better?

Ai Takahashi, who would have placed at #11 on the above list, has the only really good voice in this 9-nin Momusu. As the oldest member of the group, it is most likely that she will graduate next. Then who will be the lead? The person who is other lead now? Reina? Pfft, Reina’s voice is so whiny. People who listen to Morning Musume casually aren’t going to want to listen to her after a couple singles because she can’t sing that well. She sounds so SQUEAKY. If Tsunku had a brain, maybe he would give Niigaki or Kamei leads, since they’re all he’s going to have…

There’s a difference between sounding good cute and sounding too cute. Sayaka and Mari, as mentioned earlier, were the original cute voices. Their voices are high, and cute, but they don’t squeak and whine and screech like other members MM has seen. They still sound(ed) good.

The fourth generation is remaining as my favorite generation for now, but… I miss early Morning Musume. I am a Morning Musume fan for their music, and I like hearing good singing voices. “Second Morning” is my second-favorite album (after “4th ‘Ikimasshoi!'”) not only because the songs are great, but I can tolerate their voices. I don’t think that’s going to be as easy on the ninth Morning Musume album. Sheesh, it’s hard on the seventh and eighth albums! Shigepink and Kohapink? Give me a break.

So they’re all gone. Asuka, Nacchi, Kemeko, Aya, Marippe, Kaori, Yuko, Gocchin, Sayaka – they’re all gone. Almost all are out of H!P forever, but some have a small solo career, or are doing nothing in Hello!Project (except putting their faces on photocards). It’s sad, isn’t it. It’s sad not only that we won’t hear from a lot of these people ever again, but that the wotas and other fans don’t know what they’re missing. You never really know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…

So if you have the time, buy or download the Morning Musume albums “First Time” and “Second Morning.”(If you must, try “3rd -LOVE Paradise-” too, but that one is just…ehh…not so great. Do listen to “First Time” and “Second Morning,” though, without a doubt.) They contain great songs, and note the lovely vocals that accompany the music. Take the time to get past your favorite member’s pretty face or popularity or personality, and appreciate a pretty, somewhat popular, and heartfelt singing voice.


  1. Dylan said,

    I agreed with you about the quality of voice between early MM and current MM.

    I hope Tsunku will invest more in voices. I don’t mind him adding 1, 2, or 3 girls that have no voice but have a noticable personality, as long as the majority of the members are on the talented side. Now, only two girls seems to carry the group while tsunku puts the rest in the background. I know there are a lot of talented young Japanese girls but I don’t know why it’s so hard for Tsunku to find one.

    My theory is that Tsunku wanted to destroy his own empire.

  2. jim said,

    I think there’s some good voices still in H!P, but they’re mostly not in MM anymore. I actually think the early gen weren’t that tight with the harmonies, but now the girls don’t really harmonize, they just sing in unison and have backup sing the harmonies. So, hard to judge them side -by-side. When the newer girls try to sing an old song, even Miki who has a very consistent voice, they don’t have the same feeling.

    I wouldn’t put her first, but I like Asuka. I wonder what she’d sound like now. She’s the same age as Yossy! Also I think Gaki’s really good. Some of the problem is not using the girls’ full potential. Like Mari had a real range. The girls are more boxed in to one thing now.

  3. Huan said,

    I think your list is ranked more on the uniqueness rather technical voice ability. Cause as much as I love Nacchi, I would not put her 2nd on that list. I will agree that the older generation is much more talented than the current generation, but there are plenty of extremely talented singers from the 4th-5th gen that (at least on technical merit) should be here, i.e. Kago and Takahashi and maybe Tsuji. (Although I don’t really like the W duo that much, I’ll admit they can sing) Granted Takahashi’s voice isn’t all that unique, but I think she has better control than Iida and definitely better frequency range.

    Out of the current generation behind Ai, I definitely agree that Gaki and Kamei are probably the runner up’s but they really don’t come close to the technical talent that Ai has by far.

  4. CJ Marsicano said,

    If I had any issues with Reina Tanaka’s voice I don’t think I’d like her as much as I do.

  5. Magi-Kat said,

    THANK YOU! A few days ago, I was listening to some songs from Morning Musume’s “Golden Age” and was like, “What the **** happened to my favorite group in H!P?” (When I became a fan in late 2003, I went backwards in my listening habits and my love for them grew and grew. Now, it was wearing thin. In fact, the reason I dislike[d] Sayumi is because of her voice [and I hate Reina’s voice]).

    This post sums up my feelings and as much as I like Kusumi and the 8th Generation, I would really be happy if someone TRULY talented was let into Momusu. Please, may that wish come true! (Knowing how the Powers That Be (read: UFA) works, I doubt that could happen but a girl can dream, can’t she?).

  6. aiwish472 said,

    @Dylan: I feel the same way; thousands of girls try out for MoMusu, but he has to pick some of the untalented ones? I’m sure that there are girls who can sing with personalities, and if not, their personalities will develop. Kamei, for instance, joined as just another girl, but now she’s known as the sweet one. 😀
    @Jim: It seems a lot of the girls’ full potential isn’t used. In many singles, especially the later ones for them, members like Mari, Kaori, or Kei would not get many lines, and weak singers such as Rika would. Asuka is great, in my opinion. Her graduation song, “Never Forget,” is wonderful, and to see her perform can bring tears to one’s eyes.
    @Huan: Kago and Tsuji would be far above a lot of other MM members… I mean, they’re good, but I think that some other members are better. 🙂
    @CJ: It’s okay to have your own opinion. 😉 I personally used to be a big Reina fan, partially because of her voice, but I’ve taken a dislike to it lately. Sorry. =/
    @Magi-Kat: A lot of former Morning Musume fans probably feel the same way as you do [compare: old sales (1999~2002) and new ones (2006~2008)]. UFA caters to the wotas who would rather have a pretty face than a pretty voice, and I think the truth is, most people would much rather have a good voice!

  7. Rikki said,

    I pretty much agree with this list, but I’d have Yuko higher and Asuka and Nacchi a bit lower. I would not have Maki or Miki in my top 10; but I’d have Kago and Aichan. While your recommending the first 2 MoMusu albums, you should also consider recommending the first Tampopo album. Lots of great vocals on that one too.

  8. Hanachan said,

    Ugh, Reina irritates me because I can tell she has a powerful voice, but she tries to hard to sound cute. I wish she’d sing more naturally! I miss the harmonizing of the old MoMusu as well. “Morning Coffee” has some of the best harmonies I’ve ever heard.

  9. Elinaaaaa~ said,

    I really like Reina’s voice when she sings low. 🙂
    Like when she took Miki’s lines of Kanashimi Twilight.
    She sounded really good. 😀
    But her “normal” singing voice isn’t one of my favorites. :/

  10. Iyo said,

    Mmm, I think I´d rather put Takahashi in 5-position, because I think she has a bigger range than Yaguchi, and a better technique. Then Yaguchi takes 6-position, and Iida 13-position, cause her voice is a very low voice (which I like) but neither has no force nor “body”. Maki Goto will be replaced by Yossie and W (same level) and takes 11-position, which shares with Niigaki

    I totally agree that Reina is not so “wonderful” but I don’t like Kamei’s either to be lead vocal. I think that she is useful for harmonizations and staff, like the wonderful “dakedo nee nee dakedo” with Gaki-san, but surely her voice has not personality to be lead.

    I hope that with a hard training 8 generation will be a better choice. Unlike most of people I do LIKE Lin’s voice, she has a very interesting one. Aika sings like a 15-year-old-girl without training but her low is raspy and somewhat pleasant to hear (except if you only like the “cute” ones) and Jun isn’t bad either. Both pandas have a good sense of timing because they are learning how to play instruments, and that helps a lot.

    I hope you can understand me, my english is pretty bad, sorry!

  11. Puffy Love said,

    You can probably accuse me of bias but I think Kago had the best voice of all………….in the audition videos she clearly outshone the others that were picked. She had great pitch (not many MM girls do), a great tone (kinda high and roundish) and great feeling. There was a reason why she was picked for a classy group like Tanpopo just months after joining MM.

    The only other girls that I would put in her class would be Maki (who sometimes sang out of tune), Miki, Mari and Ai. Even, Yuko, as much as I love her, is “pitchy, dawg!” I don’t think Nono started out as a great singer but she’s turned into one, I guess just to keep up with the other three good singers in Mini Moni. W was an excellent pairing because of the similarity of range the two girls had.

    What’s that mean as far as the current MM? In every case, girls were picked who’s talent was “raw” and the improvments were noticeable. Look at Konkon…………that girl could hardly sing at all yet her appearances on Uta Doki showed a girl who can sing very pretty. I’ve seen improvement in Koharu and I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard JunJun or LinLin sing…………

  12. vampirehunterd said,

    I agree with a lot of your list. Although a person depending on their taste could move some girls up or down on the list. Add a couple or take one off. I wouldn’t put Rika Ishikawa on the list, but that being said, I admire her more than most. If you listen to her singing voice when she started as compared to now, it’s like night and day. it’s still not great by any means but you can tell she’s worked hard to improve. She had no natural voice talent at all to begin with but has worked it into an acceptable one. The one change for sure I would make on the list is Miki Fujimoto. To me she is deffinately number one. I think hers is the greatest voice to ever come out of H!P and with the right material could be the one to knock Hamasaki and Utada off their thrones. I don’t really like her new song OkiTegami that much but her voice sounds great in it. She can do ballads like that or rock one off like Namida Girl. She’s young, has the looks and the talent, all she needs now is an agency that will give her the chance to prove it.

  13. Cyndi said,

    psh reina’s first for me, forever. :]

  14. Mierna said,

    Back then, Morning Musume was formed as a singing group. Isn’t it that the dance steps for “Morning Coffee” were so simple? In the PV, they were simply standing there during the group shots. Back then, it was the vocals that helped Momusu’s success back then. Losing Asuka was a BIG BLOW, because she was their trump card vocally, but not like using her as a center like Reina or Koharu now. Ishiguro sounds beautiful everytime I hear “Tanpopo”, and who can’t forget that it was SAYAKA who was the center in Aoiro 7’s PV, the leader of the first Petitmoni line-up, and the one who said the “ja nai!” line in “LOVE Machine”.

    As the years passed, Momusu has now become an idol group. WOTA have now become picky over certain girls and now that makes it really unfair to others. I don’t mind Koharu getting much attention, her popularity is growing, and neither do I mind Takahashi, she’s leader, so no doubt about that! It’s really REINA who doesn’t deserve this. Her voice = so WHINY! She’s trying to sing with a style of her own, but it doesn’t sound so well. -_-;;

    With this current line-up though, these girls really have the potential to bring back Momusu’s popularity and so I wish them the best of luck. ^_^


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