A short album connected to the wildly popular Idolm@ster anime series, Hello! makes a good case for the sheer cheerfulness and overactive energy of modern idol singing. The short set opens with the title track, performed in character by three idol singer-slash-voice actresses: Ai Hidaka, Eri Mizutani, and Ryo Akizuki. They stay surprisingly on-key for the genre and its usual lack of bother for following the full rigors of training. The song is infectiously fast and chipper, perhaps too much so for most listeners. The follow-up track, "Happeace," is seemingly a continuation of the sound in its overwhelming speed and happy energy. With its stereotypical energy and lack of refinement, as well as the apparent lack of emotion or deeper content to its lyrics and tone, modern idol singing is by all means an acquired taste for Western audiences. Still, there are plenty of fans of the form, and this album should hit right in their sweet spot. Included for the truest fans are karaoke versions of the two tracks.
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