Sharing a Sweet Sound: Leave A Message by 4TE

"Leave a Message" w/ Chii, Jenni, Micchi and Mei
"Please leave a message after the tone."

What message is there left to say without repeating what others have said before? I might just be sounding repetitive but it has to be said.

.... These girls are amazing!

Their debut, MORE/Ippo Zutsu released early 2015 had made an impression on both fans and critics alike. Fans thought it was brilliant and they even had critics saying that there was something there.

They didn't disappoint. These girls took everything that everyone was saying about their last release and just knocked this one out of the park.

Since the first hints of their next video appeared on their social media, I admit I was one of those people who were looking forward to it more than Christmas.


Aesthetics


(L to R) Micchi, Mei, Jenni and Chii
This time, 4TE makes something quite different from their debut though. Whereas their debut had been cute and fun, they returned with something edgier and a bit more mature ... 

... and I absolutely love it! 

They are still adorable, but they are playing adorable minxes. 

On the photo above, I just love how Jenni gives the look that says, "Opps!" It just gives the impression that they are up to something naughty. The moment they released this on their newsletter, I was even more pumped up. 
(L to R) Jenni, Chii, Mei and Micchi

I really do love the many faces of 4TE. They prove that they can be playful, but they can also do cool.

The graffiti background is a great touch. Since they're wearing clothes for clubbing, my first impression was that they were in some kind of underground club scene.

I can still say though, that they are still the same girls from their debut.

I still find Jenni edgy. I mean, look at that fierce look. Chii is still cute. Despite the clubbing gear, that pose is still really cute. Mei is still sexy. She doesn't have to do much to achieve that. It is the aura. Micchi is still elegant, especially now with her demure posture. However, I love the fact that they are bringing something new to the table while still being themselves.

Members 


Mei, The Sexy Soul Siren
Mei, "Sexy"

Honestly no one can rock the edgy and mature image better than Mei.

She looks amazing and obviously embraced the image with relish. Throughout the video, her face --- especially her expressions --- was mesmerizing. For me, when it came to the acting part and telling the story with just her face, she was the best. I love her look of disgust especially.

If you still don't believe me, just look at her eyes. You can't tell me I am the only one who finds herself staring at them. Mei continues to push down borders and redefining beauty.

Chii, Cute and Sexy Minx

Chii, "Cute"

I was a bit worried about Chii when I saw that they were going for this kind of image. Admittedly, it is probably because I have gotten too used to thinking of her with a cute puppy-like image. I actually thought she might struggle with the change of image.

I should have known better.

She surprised me by showing off a cute and sexy image that would probably make even Sayumi Michishige proud. In the video, I could have sworn that I saw her smirk which was not something I used to associate with her.

Then again, Chii had always been a chameleon. Musically, she has proven herself to be very flexible when it comes to genre. So far, she's done bubblegum pop, techno and rock. Each genre didn't always come with the same Chii.

Jenni, Fierce Rap Goddess
 Jenni, "Edgy"

Jenni really brought it. I don't know if I've ever seen her look so good. I love her make up and this hairdo. She also seems more at home with this look than with their Ippo Zutsu look. Did I mention the makeup? Whoever did it for both the photoshoot and the music video was a genius.

She was a real scene stealer this time around.  She milked every scene she was in with just the right amount of fierceness. She especially rose to the occasion during her solo rap scene.

In one of our conversations before, I remember Jenni mentioned that dancing wasn't her strong point. I didn't see an ounce of insecurity or nervousness during her dancing close ups though.

I hope we get to see more of this fierce Jenni in future releases. It is just pure gold.


Micchi, the Dancing Belle
Micchi, "Elegant"

When I look at Micchi's photos, I can't help but think that there is something elegant about her posture. I don't think I have ever seen her slouch. Maybe it is from her ballet training, because she has very lovely posture.

Micchi works her magic best when she's moving. She expresses best in movement. I think she had the most fun dancing in the video. Not surprising, considering it had always been her niche.

I find it funny, but despite the clubbing clothes Micchi somehow can still make herself look like an angel. It really makes me wonder how she does it. If it comes naturally though that wouldn't really be a surprise.


Music


Cover to 4TE's Leave a Message
Leave A Message 

Melody: Christi Arredondo 
Lyrics: Berry Risa, Christi Arredondo, Jennifer Diaz 
Music: Richard Garza, Christi Arredondo

Photography: Rudy Benavides 
Graphic Designer: Ceeney

I mentioned before that their last releases felt a little like they were still at an  "experimental"  stage with their music since there was either a touch of Perfume or Vocaloids.

This time I can't hear a hint of either. When it comes to finally creating their own sound, I think they did a really good job nailing it.

Personally, I think this is their best work yet. I have lost count how many times I pushed the replay button.

This song really did a great job giving each girl their time to shine. I love Mei's vibrato and Micchi's soothing singing style. Jenni's rap was the best part of the song for me. Chii's voice is just as cute as she is. They are really getting better and better at taking advantage of their strengths.

The theme of the song is also a bit more mature than their debut. Ippo Zutsu talked about how one can grow taking one step at a time. It was an uplifting song and filled with hope. MORE was a love song. It talked about finding love and the feeling of being in love. Their debut had a light feel, which is very contrary to the feel of this single. Leave a Message is about moving on from a bad relationship, spotting the signs that something was wrong and to not be the girl that waits on the guy hand and foot. The feel I get from this song is strength, which I find admirable.

Video


"Leave a Message After the Tone ..."
One thing is for sure, the group's concepts are getting better and better. With that in mind, every release gets more and more exciting.

This is the moment a lot of us probably had been waiting for. Finally, all the members of 4TE are together in one epic shot.

These girls are getting better. In terms of production, there is very little left for them left to really work on. The video quality has gotten a lot better since their debut. It is also more put together. I love that they showed scenes of especially relatable scenarios.

Chii says, "Stop making excuses."
Chii toned down her cuteness a bit for something a bit sexier. Maybe it is the nightclub makeup.

She really does look beautiful, but I think her crowning moment was when she rapped. I never thought she could rap like that. Her dancing has improved too and it's beginning to show a personality.

Chii thinks, "Why doesn't he reply?"
Other than production, one of the best things about this video is the story. It isn't as story-centered as "Ippo Zutsu," but it has enough story to make the video something relatable.

In Chii's case, she had the inattentive boyfriend scenario or possibly the cheating boyfriend. She did look worried or insecure about something. I am sure a lot of people may find this relatable.

Jenni says, "I've thrown out the past me ..."
I love Rock!Jenni, but now I fell in love with Rap!Jenni. She just looked amazing here.

Her story is the girl moving on from a relationship. Going by the lyrics, she had a one-sided relationship where she was the only one trying to make the relationship work, It looked like she was moving on from it by returning his things and his gifts to her.

Mei says, "It's too late."
I love Mei's disgusted look. She has the look that says, "I've heard it all before." I guess that is what she meant by, "It's too late."

Her storyline seems to be that the boyfriend is calling her, but she refuses to take any of his calls. There are different ways to interpret her look. Either like me, that she was disgusted --- or uncertain but in the end was strong enough not to dig up the past.

All her looks here are also pretty amazing. From her casual to her party-girl look. Mei has a gift for makeup. Using her face as a canvass, it is a work of art. I remember she mentioned before in my last interview with her that she had planned to do makeup tutorials. I want to see those now.

Is that a Korra Mac sticker?
Micchi's story follows the lyrics as well. The boyfriend calls and she just lets the phone ring. That scenario is where the song was born. Since she isn't picking up awful boyfriend's call, he has no choice but to leave a message on her voice mail.

That isn't the most amazing part of this scene though ... is that a Korra Mac sticker? I did a little investigating and it looked like it is. I think it is cute that she managed to sneak her love for Korra in. If you didn't know Micchi loved Korra yet, now you do. If you're a fan of hers, it would be hard to miss though since her love for the show is all over her twitter.

That isn't the only thing they managed to sneak in. During Jenni's rap, there was a mention of PromWolf aka Alexander from REMOTE GIRL☆.

For those who don't know yet, PromWolf isn't really new from the scene. Aside from RG, he had helped with songs from the early Oishii!Project and even helped with Chii's solo work. I guess he is happy to be involved with this project as well --- without having to wear pink and dance in short shorts and sexy skirts ....

Mei warns, "I already know it's all fake."
Mei's next scene was of her reading a letter from her significant other. He called her, "his love and bestfriend," then made a promise to return to her soon.

However, she knew it was all lies and tore the letter apart. She knew better than to trust honeyed words.

Conclusion


(L to R) Mei, Micchi, Chii and Jenni

I loved that the that the video's transition and that the storytelling really followed the lyrics of the song. The quality of the music this group released had always been professional, and it looked like this time they were making sure that their video quality followed.

One of the best things about this group is that everyone has equal time to shine. Micchi takes the lead in the dancing, while Chii, Mei and Jenni sang/rapped stunning solos. More importantly, they all showcased their personalities stunningly.

All in all, this was a great release and it continues to be a favorite of mine months after its release.

There was a lot of effort and passion put into this. Some people release music and videos as a hobby, but not them. This isn't just a hobby to them. Not a lot of people would make this much effort if they weren't serious.

Chii, Mei and Jenni on their way to the set. 
For shoots, the girls have to travel to get to one another. What they do isn't really all that glamorous either, as you can see in their "Behind the Scenes" footage. They don't have an entourage to carry their costumes, makeup and props. They didn't have a dressing room either and could be seen doing each other's makeup on the floor.

Even if you aren't a fan of Jpop, I think this is still worth listening to. I am personally not a fan of club music. I still enjoyed it though, since the message isn't just one night stands and drinking at the bar. The lyrics are relatable and even if you don't understand it --- the melody is really catchy. There is really not much else to comment about, except maybe a bit more polishing on their dancing. Even then, it doesn't hinder the great quality of the video and their music.

If most girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice, these girls take it a step further. So dance to their single and leave them a message after the beep.

*beep*


Links: 


  • For 「Leave A Message」Official MV - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omByNlt_lJo
  • For "Behind the Scenes" -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdACd0hNdbU


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