So, first album review in a while. Last one was P9D. So, Buono's new album.
Preliminary: It's kickass. I'll go a bit more indepth later. But yea. Kickass. Pretty much full-on rock. And wonderfulness. Gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. Oh yes.
1. One Way=My Way. Upbeat pop punk, not a bad way to start I guess. Good music, good vocals, and the lyrics are pretty fun. Nice solo, nice general feel. Sets the tone for the album wonderfully. 9/10
2. Our Songs. Already said this is my second favourite Buono single, so yea. The whole song just works. The heavy as fuck guitars, the spastic hit-everything-possible drum fills, the light-guitar verse, the vocals. The solo (which sounds just as spastic as the drums and very similar to what I produce when I try soloing...), the pointless key change at the end, it's just... brilliant. Even though I can't help myself at the end of the first verse, and I have to do Momo's poke-cheek gesture from the ShugoChara short PV version. 10/10
3. Independent Girl ~ 独立女子であるために. Heavily reminds me of an Aya Hirano song, not that that's a bad thing. Heavy in the right places, soft in the right places. And damn, their voices get stronger each song. The Vocal FX are a slight moan, but don't impact overly (it's not like they use autotune all the fucking time like KAT-TUN nowadays). The solo is a weak one, but still cool, especially into the end chorus. 9/10
4. My Boy. Favourite Buono! single. It's... mental. It's metal, basically. The only reason I had tshirts printed depicting them as Black Metallers. The whole song is just wtfpwn. Even the silly synths, the silly syncopation, and triggered drums. They're a big no-no in metal, but who cares. This wins. It's like, what would happen if you mixed Devin Townsend with Techno and 3 cute Japanese girls? Well... this. It's even got (dare I say it) difficult riffs. And is heavy as fuck. I could praise this thing all day. But for now I'll just say that the solo is so wtf awesome and leave it there. 10/10
5. うらはら. This is where the album slows down a notch. But it's not a bad thing, more a respite. If every song carried on the kickass heaviness from the first four, I think people would lose their heads in explosions. This song is a nice, relaxing song, and has an awesome chorus. Sort of, uplifting rock. Pretty much nails what the grunge bands were going for when they got all soppy and romantic, so awesome for that reason alone. The solo is... odd. Chromatic and different, but it works. 8/10
6. Take it Easy! Now, this is hard for me to say. I hated this song when it came out. It's still my least favourite Buono single. It's just not single quality. However, as an album track it's perfect. It comes after うらはら perfectly, with it's Southern Rock and relaxation theme. Musically, the banjo killed it on the single, but whether it was terrible quality mp3, or a better mix on the album, here it doesn't annoy me so much. The bass is pounding, and the solo recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd at the height of their powers. Sucks to have to eat my words, but yea. It's a good song. 8/10
7. Bravo☆Bravo. The theme of this song is... well... retarded. Hand clapping, basically. However, it has an awesome beat, an awesome riff, and the vocals are decent. Makes me wish the bass sometimes did something more interesting though. That's just a gripe I have with a lot of Buono songs though. The single nearly killed me, due to Airi's wink, but luckily on the album I can listen to it without dying. Introduction of Hammond organ in second verse is a brief spurt of awesome for a prog nerd like me. All the girls do great on their solos. The guitar solo is... amusing, to say the least. Good song though. 8/10
8. カタオモイ。 Not really your usual Buono! lyrical theme, unrequited love... Starts great, and has the one of the most powerful choruses in a Buono song yet. Drums are a bit... uninspired, but oh well. Hammond again makes an appearance, making me get a bit hard. Really, this is a song that falls on it's chorus. Luckily it's a good one. First guitar solo is short and not great. Second is awesome, and I like the mixing they did on it, having it overpower everything else. Third solo is short and the interruption end works a treat. 10/10
9. Blue-Sky-Blue. Really bass heavy, really cool. Back to the "nice" theme though. Reminds me of U2 a bit, even if that probably will earn me a punch from some quarters. PreChorus is good, Chorus not so much, but still a good listen. Random lead guitar parts are always a nice distraction, as is the flange on the rhythm guitars. Vocally, this is... good, but not great. Way too much reverb on their voices for my liking. On the other hand, I like long songs, so more 5 minutes plus songs would go down a treat for me. End solo is great. 8/10
10. 紅茶の美味しい店. This is really the one song that stands in the way of this album getting 10/10. It's... not really Buono. Sounds more like a C-ute song, if I had to say. It's not a bad song, it just doesn't fit with the rest of the album. The other songs all have strong Rock influence. This just... doesn't. Even the "non-rock" songs on Café Buono and Buono2 had random rock phrases here and there. As a song in it's own right, I'd give it 8/10. However, on the album... 6/10
11. タビダチの歌. Now THIS is what I call awesome. Blatant homage to The Beatles at the beginning. Airi singing over an acoustic guitar, and Momo taking over before the rest of the instruments come in... it's like the build up of a dream. Seems to have a feeling of melancholy, but an uplifting spirit. This is, in my opinion, the best Buono song ever. The string quartet push the guitars forward, the girls sing wonderfully, and even the bass does something. Drums aren't much, but they work in the context of the song. The refrain, with the string and guitar solo, is great, as is the vocal solo after. There aren't many songs which can make me feel the urge to cry, but under the right circumstances this might. It's one of them songs that just blows you away. 6 minutes plus, this is what music is all about. The "Lalalala's" add the to Beatles flavour, and the tiny but noticable quote of Pachelbel's Canon in D on the strings at 5:27 makes my classical nerd go apeshit of happiness. 11/10 (if that's possible)
12. We are Buono! ~ Buono!のテーマ. Well, guess what this song's about... But, good, upbeat, pop punk. And heavy. And rather amusing. The lyrics are good, the music's good, it's basically Buono in a nutshell. A very small nutshell. After the epicness of Tabidachi no Uta, this is a return to simplicity. And fun. The self-introduction is great (Miya's fwoooo! is lol, as is the "BUONO!!" at the end). Pretty much a good song, if not mixed nicely. Bassdrums are buried. Hammonds are buried. Other than that, it's cool. 9/10
So... yea. When one has twelve songs and all but one over 8, it's obvious it's a good album. Basically, the damn thing blew me away when I first heard it. Usually it takes a lot for me to rate an album highly. This time, no such luck. This is easily the second best H!P release of all time (4th Ikimasshoi is pretty much unassailable though). With the sole exception of 紅茶の美味しい店, every song fit. Everything was in place. The album was album arranged perfectly. Started off with 4 aggressive numbers, calmed you down with the next two, sped up with Bravo, gave a mix of both hard and soft in カタオモイ。, the next 3 were sad, but powerful, ending in the huge epicness of Tabidachi, and then the lighthearted Buono Theme at the end cools you off. Really fucking brilliant.
Platinum 9 Disc Review
Morning Musume. - 4th Ikimasshoi - 10
C-ute - 4 Akogare My Star - 8.5
Buono! - Buono! 2 - 7.5
Morning Musume. - Platinum 9 Disc - 6.5