Ok, I’ve made up my mind. The 2003 shuffle units are my favorite shuffles by faaar. Each and every song + group are awesome, but still with their added specialness. Unlike other years, starting from this year, all 3 shuffles were combined onto one CD single, rather than 3 separate singles to buy. Perhaps this switch was because of a decline of sales and fanbase.
The groups in 2003 were 7AIR, SALT5, and 11WATER. The theme for all of them was the elements, air, salt, and water. Both 7AIR and SALT5 took a more rap/r&b feel, while 11WATER turned the other way and gave us a nice, poppy, upbeat, H!P-like happy song.
7AIR was split into 2 groups: the “cool” group and the “sexy” group. All the cool group did was dance and rap, while the sexy group got singing lines. The cool group contains Risa Niigaki of Morning Musume, Inaba Atsuko (soloist, former T&C Bomber), and Mika, who was part of Coconuts Musume. The sexy group consisted of Ai Takahashi and Rika Ishikawa of Morning Musume, Masae Otani of Melon Kinenbi, and Mai Satoda of Country Musume. Their song, Kowarenai Ai Ga Hoshii No is a very smooth, catchy, R&B song. Lots of fun computer-made instrumental sounds really add so much to this song, but in a fabulous way. It starts out quite upbeat, but gets slower in the verses, but wind back up in the chorus. The cool group does a lot of “come come come” “yo yo yo”ing, but it’s not all that bad. At first I thought it was a bit annoying but it adds a nice flare to the song. (plus, these lines are usually sung by a weird male voice, and I prefer the girls voices waaay more to the male). Towards the end of the song, this cool group does this nice little rap section, which, once again, is nicely executed. H!P sometimes fail to rap, but this one stands out in the crowd. I really love everything about this song and group.
SALT5, the next group, is made of Ai Kago, Natsumi Abe, and Makoto Ogawa from MM, soloist Yuki Maeda, and soloist Aya Matsuura. Their song is GET UP! Rapper, a neat song combined with regular singing and rapping with lots of middle eastern sounds. The verses prove worthy with very, very catchy rapping lines. Some of the lyrics are quite random and silly though, such as “banana chip chip chip chip chip chip chip chip chip chip chip tabetaina”, translating to “I want to eat a banana chip x 11″. But apart from some odd lyrics, the song is awesome. As I said earlier, H!P sometimes falls on rapping but they really do a good job with this. The chorus is a great kind of monotonic chant, but it’s really great and is a great contrast to the verse. After the first chorus there is an awesome guitar solo. Once again, “But what? H!P? Guitars? HAH!” but, no, it sounds awesome. In fact, if I wasn’t the H!P freak that I am, I’d think it was out of any US rock band, especially with the rhythmic clapping. I’m so proud of this group, they gave us all a great song and another sense of the H!P.
The final group is 11WATER. In 11WATER is Morning Musume members Mari Yaguchi, Nozomi Tsuji, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Kaori Iida, Asami Konno, and Miki Fujimoto, Hitomi Saito, Megumi Murata, and Ayumi Shibata of Melon Kinenbi, Asami of Country Musume, and Ayaka of Coconuts Musume. Their song is BE ALL RIGHT!, a very fun pop song that puts a grin on my face whenever I hear it. The feeling is always very upbeat and energetic, a factor of H!P that would be missing from these shuffles if not for 11WATER. The lines are also spread fairly evenly among them, which is something I don’t see as often as I would like. This catchy song is up there on my all-time favorite shuffle songs.
01. Kowarenai Ai ga Hoshii no (7AIR)
02. GET UP! Rapper (SALT5)
03. BE ALL RIGHT! (11WATER)
04. OH! BE MY FRIEND (the whole Hello! Project)
05. Kowarenai Ai ga Hoshii no (Instrumental)
06. GET UP! Rapper (Instrumental)
07. BE ALL RIGHT! (Instrumental)