Growing Up Fast

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

I’ve been preoccupied with non-Jpop matters lately – I think it’s called “life” – but last night managed to make some headway on my goodbye project to SweetS, the Love Like Candy Floss site. One way or another, it will be up and running by June 7…

Anyway, one thing that I was reminded of – and which delights me to no end – is how far the girls developed from auditions to their very first single. The “Making Of” for the “Lolita Strawberry in Summer” DVD single is always good for that kind of kick. I’m not sure if it’s an extreme preteen makeover or a rush of hormones or a sudden jolt of earned attitude, but watching that clip is like watching a fearsome U15 beast summoned from the most mundane of ingredients.

We’re not talking about a change that happens in a matter of years, as with Risa going from Momusu’s toe-headed nobody to almost-hottie, or the various H!P Kids going through growth spurts. We’re talking a matter of months from the girls being picked for the group and changing to become idol. It’s an excellent lesson in how important the support behind the idols is, how putting an A list of staff will lead to some niremarkably manufactured idol magic.

The biggest change happens to Haruna – there’s no denying that she goes through a growth spurt, here she looks like an eight-yearold squirt with a bit too much sugar-coated cereal coursing through her veins. Beyond her physical changes, she also somehow becomes a very commanding presence, the de facto leader and self-appointed assistant dance coach, in a short space of time. The teeny girl having fun in this rehearsal with SAM is so at odds with the Haruna we came to know.

Aya looks like a typical kid, nothing extraordinary. It’s impressive to think of how management was able to mold her into a preteen idol who drew comparisons to a miniature Amuro Namie. Her natural ability must have been apparent from the beginning, but let’s face it – packaging is just as important, and that’s where she most benefited by joining SweetS.

So when the girls finally make their grand, insouciant entrance at the beginning of “Lolita Strawberry in Summer”, they’re remarkably… mature. Or at least, pseudo-mature. And the maturity isn’t in simply looking a little older than their age, but projecting an attitude beyond their years. The whole package was there, right from the get-go – and that in itself is still remarkable, and still worth remarking upon at this late date.

As I said, I wouldn’t call this a triumph of the girls alone – or even primarily – but of the whole crew that made the girls a heady U15 dream. And of course, the PV itself is a commentary on the process of making five ordinary girls into idols.

With less than a month away, I’m going to miss SweetS. I’m still praying and hoping for Haruna to dazzle us with whatever she does next. I also hope we haven’t seen the last of Aya, even if she takes several years to properly focus on her studies. (I am a patient boy. I’ll wait I’ll wait I’ll wait I’ll wait…) But I’m going to miss SweetS. Last week “Mienai Tsubasa” came up on my PDA and I found myself tearing up… The Penty Five had something special that can’t be recreated, and no one should try.

That said, I still think their last couple singles truly sucked.

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3 Responses to “Growing Up Fast”
  1. kagofeet says:

    I feel you. I almost buckled up when “Never Ending Story” came up unexpectedly on shuffle mode in my Ipod. We should all have a celebration for SweetS. One BIG party to celebrate all their successes. Instead of saying goodbye, we should be that “patient boy” and say “I’ll be waiting for your return.” Go SweetS!!!

  2. Steve Harrison says:

    I agree that the last two singles were mediocre (I don’t even inc. “On the Way”)
    But I can’t get over how in such a short time (under years) and in an even shorter time that I have been listening to them, what an impact they have made in my musical life.
    I can only listed to a few of the newer H!P songs with as much enthusiasm..

    The thought I had the other day, which did make me tear up (BTW: I ALWAYS tear up listening to “Our Song”) was that the worst part, obvious as it may be, is the realization that there will be no more music….

    What I mean is…I started thinking of all the unwritten, unsung, and unperformed songs that “could have been” and never will….

    Many people don’t remember that Jimi Hendrix died only 3 years after his debut in London 1967, and look how his music changed the world. I can only hope that somehow in the world of Jpop, SweetS will not be forgotton…as they were in so many ways…sooooo sweet!!

  3. Steve Harrison says:

    Oh..that’s “(under “3” years) gomen..