Snippet

5 Idol Groups You Might Have Heard Of (AKA Review Spam)

So, some new idols. I say new, they aren't particularly, but my introduction to most of them was only recently, hence new. So recent, in fact, that most of them I only started listening to after partenza signalled what was quite possibly the final nail in the coffin of this particular chapter of Hello! Project. So, these idols I'm about to review don't sell as much as AKB (but then, who does?), and they may seem a little more underground (though all are on major labels, except the one that is no more), but that doesn't mean there's no merit in their music. Because that's what it's about for me. TV appearances and photoshoots, that's all just extended promotion for the music. Without music, idols would just be vapid TV talents with nothing going for them. Or pornstars.

Anyway, to start us off I'll go with the one I discovered first, the wonderfully named 可憐Girl's. Fail English aside, the name means Sweet Girls, which they are. Or were. They were formed to create the opening themes for the anime Zettai Karen Children (which is awesome and everyone should watch it), released two singles, one very short album, and then disbanded. Two of the faces may seem familiar later in this rather massive blogpost.




So, to the review:

Karen Girl's - Fly to the Future



Preamble:

So, the cover is good. Shows the girls, shows them sat at a table, probably supposed to be doing homework (probably what they should be doing at their age, but oh well).

1. ぴかっときらっと! Dash Girl's

Their voices are very childish, but that's to be expected as they were damn young when this was recorded. Music isn't bad. Bass is actually amazing. Synth brass keeps a nice melody at times. On the other hand, the girls themselves hold some good melodies, young voices aside. The little rap/talking parts are amusing. Very major key and upbeat, but then it would be. 7/10

2. Over The Future



I do love this song. Dance beats and good guitar riffs. Didn't hurt that I had to listen to it every time I watched the first half of the anime. Their voices aren't irritating either. It's on the verge of being too happy, but it's cute enough and musically good enough to not fall over the cliff in that respect. The guitar solo is full of win and worth repeating a few times. Overall, I can't actually think how this song could be improved. Even the random shouting at the end of the chorus is cool. 10/10

3. とっぷし~くれっと

Bit of a weirder one now. That synth is annoying. The shouting is funny, but doesn't really add much. The weaknesses in their voices are evident more in this song. The bass is also pretty rubbish. The chorus has a vocoder harmonisation, which is an interesting but ultimately cheap idea which doesn't work particularly well. The synth solo is lacklustre. Overall, weak. 4/10

4. 絶對love×love宣言!!

Ah, a much better start. The orchestra hits add a lot to this dance song. Their voices are a little too high in the mix, and a little bit off pitch, but they're kids. Vocal melodies are good. Synth melodies are good. Random electric guitar phrases are win. Ska syncopation is an interesting effect in a dance song. Mid-8 and solos are lol. The synth solos are cool. Little drumfill at the beginning of the final chorus is a good way of mixing it up a little. 8/10

5. FULL THROTTLE

Starts out very ballad like. In fact, slightly nursery-rhyme like. Then in comes something that sounds 80s as fuck and nearly blows my balls off. Guitar riffs are cool. Dance beats are cool. The scaling down of the instrumentation during the verse allows the voices to be heared clearly, which is both good and bad. On one hand, they're not particularly strong. On the other hand, they don't have to stick the levels up to stupid levels to be heard over the music. The chorus has a nice vocal melody and music. Solo completes the job of ripping my balls off. Harmonised sweeping? The fact that it had to fade out sucks. The ending solo was also good and I wouldn't have minded it going on for another ten minutes or so. 9/10

6. MY WINGS



Strings! Guitar! Dance! Weird sawtooth in the beginning of the verse. This song is probably their strongest vocal performance though. Plus again it has the "heard it 26 times during the anime" factor. Even the little vocoder effects don't ruin it, as they're not the main vocals and they're implemented much better than in Top Secret. The vocal melodies are quite good, especially in the aforementioned beginning of the verse. Mid-8 with the strings is damn sex. Guitar solo is again awesome but too short. Soloface orgasm was probably achieved though. 9/10

7. Bye! Bye! Bye!

Intro to this song is weird. Piano and brass band. After that it goes a bit weirder. The vocal melodies are quite bland. Its synths aren't quite as encompassing as in other songs. The interesting bits that surface fade away too quickly. Mid-8 sounds a bit silly. The synth ending and then the piano buildup chorus is the best part of the song, followed by the final piano bit at the end. Overall I'd say it's neither a particularly good nor memorable song. 4/10

Overall:

Not a bad little EP/album thing. The vocals let it down in places, but all but two of the songs are good enough to pick up the slack. In a way I'm glad they didn't do a bigger album, because no doubt the ratio of good to bad songs would have gone from 5-2 to 5-7 or something. But anyway, I digress, I enjoyed it. Shame they had to stop though, their brand of rocky dance was interesting and I'd like to hear more.

7/10

So, next up I'm going to go for さくら学院, hereafter most likely shortened to SakuGaku because I'm lazy. This isn't an entirely random choice, as they're linked by two members to Karen Girl's. I do wonder how they've improved vocally...

So, reviewing スタート!

Sakura Gakuin - Sakura Gakuin 2010 ~message~



Preamble:

It does make me wonder why it's got "2010" in the title when it was released more than 1/3 of the way through 2011... This particular cover is nice, showing a little cross section of the "clubs" (read: subunits) the girls are in.

1. FLY AWAY

This intro is mental and sounds crazy. Then suddenly, rock. This ain't no pop, surely. Heaviest start to an idol album since 9nine's second 9. Verse is palm muted and has some weird as hell dissonant chords. Sounds as if the guitar is doing one chord progression and the vocals something completely different. Vocal melodies are good. Chorus is nice and happy, with a thick guitar under. A non sequitur, to be sure, but still win. Guitar solo pick up where Karen Girl's left off. Just longer and cooler. 9/10

2. Hello! IVY



Drumbeat! Punk! These are the new rock idols seemingly, now Buono are fucking around with autotune. This is some good punk actually. More than four chords. Vocals aren't amazing, but similarly to Karen Girl's, they're young. I think the youngest is like 10. Might be wrong. Unison overcomes some of their individual weaknesses, but mixing is an issue. Vocals are all too high in the mix. Guitar solo made up of chords is win. Then a lead bit and it's cool. Buildup chorus is yay. Dbeats throughout contribute to the sense of energy and fun. 9/10

3. チャイム

More guitars. Also synths. Music isn't as good this time but the vocal melodies stay at a good standard. Second verse has a little synth melody that's panned at little to the right which is interesting. The bubbly bit before the chorus is cute. Another solo to jizz to. Might displace Chou Wonderful as idol guitar wankery album at this rate. Still, happy and not too bad. 7/10

4. ハッピーバースデー

And then this happens. What is this? Sounds like it invaded from another planet entirely. Little beepy things and weird as hell synths. This is the Cooking Club. Lyrics are cute, but melodies have gone. Random whistles are silly. On the other hand, at least the tempo is fast. And the song is short as hell. 3/10

5. プリンセス☆アラモード

The second of the two Cooking Club songs, this is better, but has an annoying vocoder on the vocal line. On the other hand, the vocoder melody doesn't suck that much. The music isn't that bad. Less random beeping and more chord progressions. Guitar solo makes its welcome return. It's not amazing, but it's a guitar line. Buildup chorus really is a proper buildup. 4/10

6. Brand New Day

Ah, rock returns. The newspaper club. This is a good song, from the guitar chord progressions (which are good), the flute melodies (which are really cool), to the vocal melodies (which are good again). The chorus is also really win. The synths after the chorus are also cool. Brief flirtation with ska and random flange on the guitar is weird but cool. Solo suits the song perfectly, not overly technical but good musicality. I don't have anything bad to say. 10/10

7. Dear Mr. Socrates



Baton Club, this too was released as a single under the group name "TwinkleStars". The bass is all over the place and I love it. Seems to be drawing influences from jazz, ska and lounge music, as well as the obvious rock and pop. The melodies are good. There's a Hammond organ, which is making my entire room fill up with ejaculate. Drumbeat is urgent and the whole thing is just cool. Music video is fucked up, but hell... would be shocked if it weren't. I'm just loving the crazy hyperness of it. 10/10

8. めだかの兄妹

The speed of this album seems to adjust between "fast" and "breakneck." This is no different. This is the "Go Home" club, and is probably the cutest track on here. The chorus where they say nothing but "Nyan" reminds me of something... Not sure what... [/sarcasm]. Still, the synthbass isn't bad, and the beat is cool. The vocal melodies are cute, as expected. 9/10

9. ド・キ・ド・キ☆モーニング

The "Heavy Music" club. Also known as BABYMETAL. Isn't it just. 7 string guitars, what sounds like death growls, cool synths, blastbeats, doublebass... and 11 year old girls. Eh? The genre is groove metal, bordering on Nu-Metal/Metalcore, but then the prechorus/chorus comes in with syncopated palm muting behind blatantly vocodered vocals and I'm just facepalming because I have no fucking clue what's going on. It's awesome and horrible simultaneously. I'm not a fan of Nu-Metal or Metalcore, and I hate vocoders and autotune, but put them together and this seems to be... not bad. I can listen. Buildup chorus is also cool as hell. Shit gets serious when there's some full on double bass at the end. Needed a shredding solo, but still... 10/10 for utter balls.

10. 夢に向かって



Ah, this sounds like Karen Girl's. Guitar driven dance. It's not quite as good as Karen stuff, but it's still got some good melodies and chord progressions, and the vocal melody doesn't suck. One of the things that's a sticking point is that a unison of so many voices doesn't quite work as well as when there were three in Karen. Guitar solo is cool but too short. Was probably written by the guy who did all the Karen singles anyway. Should probably have been done by Ayami and Suzuka only. They've done it before and would have done it more justice. Still good though. 8/10

11. message

So, for the final song, a pop rock song with a harmonica. Unison again (someone needs to learn how to do harmonies). Still, vocal melody is nice, music is nice and soothing. Chanting the name of their own group is odd. I think I know who I'm listening to. Or at least, I hope to hell I do. Cute song though. 7/10

Overall: I'm knocking a couple of decimal points off for mixing issues. They really need to stop the vocals from blasting the hell over everything else in a few songs. But other than that, it really is a good album. Has some good songs in several styles, and pulls off the rockier stuff with aplomb.

7.5

The next group I'm going for confuse the hell out of me. They also make me grin like an idiot, so I guess that's a good thing. They are, indeed, Momoiro Clover. Now comes with a free Z on the end too. And one less member. Anyway, I'm reviewing the 19 track version of the album, with the six solo songs on it, which might strengthen the review, or might drop it down a bit.

Momoiro Clover Z - Battle and Romance



Preamble: So, they've gone from wearing Japanese clothes to superhero and ninja cosplay. And Grease, of course. Album title sounds epic as hell. Almost like Blind Guardian or something. Or Turisas maybe. Anyway, onto the surfeit of music.

1. Z伝説 ~終わりなき革命~



So this album starts out with a Super Sentai song, complete with cheesy narrator. Lyrics, as they do throughout, amuse the hell out of me. Their vocal abilities range from amazing (Momoka) to terrible (A~rin), but the music isn't bad. In fact it's all over the place. I can barely keep up with the amount of different instrument presets or VSTs they've used in it. But somehow it adds to the song rather than dragging it down. The random reference to the now departed Akari is amusing. Wachaaa! is win. Guitar solo is cool and sounds like it would fit in a sentai song. Weekend Heroines (or Heroin... they certainly sound like they're high on something) ftw. 9/10

2. CONTRADICTION

Bassy synths they don't suck. I'm shocked. Syncopation in bass line also good. Synth melody is good. Vocal melody is a bit weird, but works. Chorus vocal melody is very good. This is less all over the place, but still upbeat, fun and not annoying. Again, it's maybe down to the tempo. If something has a fast tempo I'm more likely to enjoy it despite synth basses. Either that or this synth bass doesn't suffer from Tsunku's "sucky synth bass syndrome". Entirely possible. Mid-8 is interesting. Buildup chorus is cool. 8/10

3. ミライボウル



This is confusing. The odd half-singing half-talking especially. But somehow it doesn't suck. Does sound like it's from a musical. But better than most of them, not that it's hard to be better than a musical. One way to describe this song is just "cute". Then it screws even more with my head, because the chorus is a completely different tempo and key. Plus they sing properly. Second verse lyrics randomly adding their colours is cute and silly, but amusing. Even refers to the tempo randomly about to change and screw my head up again. Such considerate girls. Mid-8 is a cool use of dark sawtooth synths. Rap is amusing. If it's a rap. I'm not sure. Random bit with the harpsichord, strings and guitar is fucking amazing and gets points for just that little section. Ending little melody is cool. 8/10

4. ワニとシャンプー

This song cracks me up. The constant cries of "yabai!" and "maji yabasugiru!" especially. Music is another bass driven song. The weird prechorus with vocoder is odd but amusing. "Maji Yabasugiru!" Chorus is cool and happy and funny. Rap again. Second verse is okay too. "Maji Yabasugiru!" It's just too catchy and happy. I grin like a idiot when listening to it. Mid-8 is pretty cool. If it wasn't for the lyrics this song probably wouldn't be nearly as good, but they're too funny. 9/10

5. ピンキージョーンズ



Another single, and this is even more confusing. How many Indian instruments did they try to fit in? I can hear sitar, tabla, and tambura. It's too cute though. Prechorus adds some little rock sense, chorus itself is chantable. I can see what Dean was saying about songs being "good for wotagei". The "chapa chapa" thing is weird but cute as hell. I can't help myself from copying the little side of head hand movement. Halfway through the second verse some metal guitar, then some kid music, then some bagpipes, then more kid music... Seriously, this is like Idol Prog or something. Flute in the mid-8. A bit like what Haken would sound like with 5 or 6 Japanese girls singing. I guess. Maybe. Probably not but sounding cool. That synth line on the main bit is weird but cool. 10/10

6. キミノアト

Dire Straits? Some of the vocal melody lines sound like Ogawa Mana (and the vocals on this song are a step up from what's been before). The bit after the first stanza sounds like Straits so much it's amazing. This is an amazing little ballad. The bass is audible, the vocals aren't too high in the mix, and the melodies are memorable. Second verse where the bass is harmonising the vocal line is interesting and full of win. Even A~rin doesn't sound bad on this song. Mid-8 sounds a bit Christmassy, but otherwise it's still amazing. 10/10

7. D'の純情



Those strings... This is their ninja song, but sounds too cool. Vocal melodies aren't very melodic, but the synths drive this too high. Prechorus is better. Chorus is much better. Vocal melody wise. Synthwise the dark bits in the pre-pre-chorus are coolest. Been a while since I heard a song with a verse-preprechorus-prechorus-chorus structure. Mid-8 uses them weird DJ vocal yelling sample things well. Possibly the only thing that ever has. Buildup chorus is dark and lush, better than the actual full chorus. But oh well. The strings do make this song awesome thought. 9/10

8. 天手力男

This guitar riff is odd, especially with that rhythm under. Then what's this? Carribean drums? Vocal melody is odd. Ooh, Indian instruments again. Syncopated ska piano? Then a really hooky chorus. This song is mental. The vocal melody in the 追いかけて追いかけて bit is win. The ska/reggae gets even more pronounced. It's just so mad I love it. 9/10

9. オレンジノート

This sounds like an anime song. Then harmonic guitar note plus whammy bar is cool. Verse is a bit too normal after everything before. Chorus is cool though, unison vocals seem to work on this song (and album in general, actually). I guess it's because the mixers know how to mix, unlike those on SakuGaku's album. The guitar riff with the weird digitised voice is interesting and dissonant. Guitar solo sounded like it'd be amazing, but it's just too samey. Not enough variation of note length. Rap is cool. Acoustic buildup chorus is cool, but not as good as real chorus. 8/10

10. 行くぜっ!怪盗少女



This siren annoys me when I'm walking along a road. Keep thinking I'm getting chased by cops. On the other hand the music is pacey and not too bad. Lyric line about taking off a school uniform = I approve. Chorus is cute and weird. Unison again being a bit weird though. Momoiro Machinegun XD These lyrics... A lyric that can be misinterpreted as "I'll eat your heart." (Actually it's more like "I'll partake of your heart" but I prefer the other way...) Mid-8 is all trance-y and cool. Buildup chorus really does buildup. 9/10

11. スターダストセレナーデ

A serenade to their agency? Odd but, the song is still quite good. Has some bits that remind of of Queen. Nice little guitar-driven song though. Pop rock, with some nice synth strings. Vocals are cool. It's a nice, refreshing, normal song. After the insanity of everything else, anyway. Call and response with different lyrics in buildup chorus is actually amazing. I do like this, just not writing as much because there's less craziness to bring up. 8/10

12. コノウタ

Dunno what this is. Techno, Hawaiian and rock at once? It's interesting though. Possibly took a leaf out of Karen's book and added some more stuff. Vocal melodies are good but not amazing. Little quickfire bit in the prechorus is cool though. Rap in mid-8 is cool. Buildup chorus is good. Shows off some vocal ability. Key change! Funny but irrelevant. This is probably the least amazing song on disc 1, but it's still good. I'm shocked. 7/10

13. ももクロのニッポン万歳!

......... Huh. A tour of Japan in song form. If songs are amazingly random. Sounds like something MiniMoni would do. Someone likes Steak... That weird laugh... Ai-ya time. The random changing of dialects to reflect which bit of Japan they're singing about is amusing. Plus the constant changing of musical style. Even put in a funeral bell... What? Chorus is cute and fast and jumpy. Someone orgasming over food. She even says "Iku" in the middle (actually she says Ikura, Salmon Roe, but my dirty mind mutes the "ra"). Guitar lead! Random synth lead! Even puts in a "ganbare!" to Tohoku after the earthquake. Nice of them. This is insane but win. 10/10

14. 太陽とえくぼ

Kanako's solo. She's not a bad singer. It's actually quite similar to Stardust Serenade in that it's light and refreshing pop rock driven by strings, without a load of odd sounds and silliness. It's cute and good, but not quite as cool as Serenade. Problem with having two songs of similar style on one CD. On the other hand the mid-8 is good. Engrish is lol though. 7/10

15. fall into me 

Organs, hell yes. Sounds similar to new Within Temptation or Evanescence (without the suckage of Amy Lee). Until Akari starts to sing. Or rather, rap. She's not a bad rapper, as things go. Japanese is an amusing language to rap in though, having only 6 possible ending sounds (a, i, u, e, o, n). Chorus is cool and shows she's a good singer and it sucks that she left. Bit between chorus and pre-verse 2 is cool. Preverse is also cool. End is quite shwing. Could have done with a solo too though. 9/10

16. …愛ですか?

Shiori's song is... anime like. Guitar lead is cool, acoustic guitars aren't too bad. She falls pretty much in the middle of the spectrum, vocal wise, now Akari's left. Two of them are better, two are worse. She does this Christmassy happy ballad well though. Even slight self-harmonisation. Yay for multitracking. Solo is good. 8/10

17. だって あーりんなんだもーん☆

Oh A~rin... This is terrible and terribly hilarious. Guitar riff is cool. She's quite obviously aware that she's the worst singer in the group, so she's playing it up for fun, I think. The chorus is fun and silly. To be fair, she's better than a lot of singers in AKB and H!P. Like Sayu, Dawa, Yuuka (but a dead cat is better than Yuuka). Oh not again. Orgasm voice with foods... Shou cream... custard... nama cream... chocolate... strawberry... AH! This is hilarious. Not to mention constant Rin Rin Rin Rin Rin Rin Rin Rin. This gets points just for being silly and funny. The music's also good, just her voice is funny. Talking about her cheeks being squishy... What? (no, not those cheeks...) 9/10

18. ありがとうのプレゼント

Momoclo's best singer, another "nice happy ballad", though this isn't quite as happy as Shiori's. Also, her voice isn't as strong as it should be seemingly. Maybe she shines better in pacier songs. Still, it's a nice respite between A~rin's and Reni's bad singing. Music-wise this isn't too bad. The problem is that it just doesn't ask enough of Momoka. Mid-8 is boring. Buildup chorus with self-harmonising is good. Quite disappointed though. 7/10

19. 恋は暴れ鬼太鼓

Reni's song. Wasshoi! Is all I can think of. Enka is lol. As opposed to Momoka, Reni overperforms here. From the rest of the album she sounds pretty bad, but here she pulls it off well. Granted, she can't do any enka vibrato, but not many people can. The enka is a nice new genre to add at the end though, and I enjoy it. Plus it has all the Japanese instruments along with the recent addition of synth strings and other things to enka present, which is nice. Musically it's great. Mid-8 is nicely and quintessentially Asian. 10/10

Overall:

First disc was an amazing mix of genres, joined together by the insanity of the girls and the fact that the song composers were probably high as kites. The second disc wasn't as good, but for a load of solo songs was still admirable. The first disc would get a 9/10, second an 8.333333, so I'll give the album somewhere in the middle.

8.7/10

So, next up we come to the SUPER☆GiRLS. Now, I know basically nothing about them except that they're on Avex and they did a PV filled with bikinis. So, in that regard, onto the music...

SUPER☆GiRLS - Chouzetsu Shoujo



Preamble:

Cover is a bit plain, but oh well. I suppose Avex isn't given to spending money on idols when they have their urban acts to attend to...

1. Welcome to ハート(記号黒つぶし)S☆G Show!!

Drumroll! Sounds like the beginning to a stage play. Then Engrish. An interesting little synth lead, but the crowd noises are weird. Then some new synth comes in louder and it's annoying. Then a radio broadcast... what? Silly intro... 4/10

2. NIJIIROスター☆ (超絶バージョン)

Guitar and bass riffs with some synth strings and piano. And synth brass. The vocal melodies aren't bad, but this is weird. It's trying to be too loud, and it's not quite happy enough. Luckily the chorus is much better. Manages to be happy and fun. Then post-chorus is a bit silly. Second verse goes on with the same stuff as first verse. This is too similar to 90s Western pop. It's not bad, per se, just not quite as crazy as I'm used to. Mid-8 overuse of "yea" is annoying. After that there's some porn music. Buildup chorus is actually good. strings and piano, then bass and bells. Works better than the actual chorus. Oh well. 6/10

3. キラ・ピュア・POWER!

This is much nicer and happy. The unison vocals are a little too high in the mix, but the music is slightly rockier. The riffs are cool. The vocal melodies in the verse are good. Chorus is nice and happy rock. Lyrics are cute. Mid-8 vocal melody is even better. I do like this song, too much. It has some real worth. This should have opened the album instead of that silly intro. 9/10

4. 夢の引力

Okay... really beepy, but then ska brass and more major key than possible result in much fun. The verses and choruses are too fun and cute. But musically they're not quite as interesting as Kira Pure Power. Guitar solo isn't amazing, but it's a slight down point in a fun song. Buildup chorus has drum accelerando and mass crescendo. Win. 8/10

5. THE ロッキュYOU★~キミがくれた証~

More rock! And this is actually punk. Dbeats and unison vocals. Decent vocal melodies. Some possible megaphone usage. Vocal and drum only bits are cool. They're really rocking me, so I'd say the songtitle is correct. Chorus is good and has HARMONIES! I'm shocked. But this Dbeat is giving me so much energy anyway I'm barely able to appreciate the nuances of the music due to bouncing around so much. There was a little hammond organ section. The guitar solo is much better this time around. Some little shredding. This song is fucking win. Blastbeats in the last chorus! Am I dreaming? 10/10

6. 笑顔がぽろり

Ah, that's always the way. From something frantic into a soft ballady thing. The girl can sing though, despite sounding young as hell. Recorder? Is that a recorder I hear? Never actually heard one in a professional recording before. Bloody odd. The ballad isn't too bad though. The girls can sing quite well. Chorus is nice and cute. Duelling recorder solo! That's hilarious. Good song though, other than the recorder being too high in the mix. 9/10

7. ときめき色の風とキミ

More rock but with dance? More Karen influence? This is a bit darker in tone though. The verse is more indie rock with dance beat. Vocal melodies are good though, as are the riffs. Bass is especially interesting. Palm muted guitars. Call and response on vocals in prechorus. Chorus is cool and dancey and quite heavy at the same time. Heavy in a happy way, if that's possible. Synth solo isn't actually bad, some interesting use of pitchshifting. Buildup chorus is pretty much already built up, but still cool. 8/10

8. 虹色ダイヤ~スパガのテーマ~

Funk me. Funk guitars and brass bits. The drums are tom-happy. The verse is odd. The chorus is upbeat and happy, with more dbeats. Vocals are way too high in the mix. Vocal melodies aren't amazing either. On the other hand, the brass section saves this song from mediocrity, by blasting out whenever it seemingly feels like. Buildup chorus is cool. The end is a nice little walking bass motivated piece of seeming anarchy. 7/10

9. 恋愛ルール

More rock. Seems like rock is the idol bread and butter nowadays. Pop rock, but rock. Or happy ballad. Seems to flit between. Piano is good. Acoustic guitar doesn't suck. Vocals and melodies are good. Chorus is nice and "refreshing" I guess. Second verse and chorus add nothing of note. Mid-8 is awesome. Little string section adds niceness to the vocal line. 8/10

10. NIJIIRO涙。。。

6:30? Approaching epic proportions for pop. Title is emo. Starts out with an epic little guitar riff, then quietens down for what was probably supposed to be a quiet verse. Except the mixer left the vocals on 10 and only remembered to mix the instruments downwards. Fail. On the other hand, the chorus is really nice. Reminds me a lot of AKB's Sakura no Hanabiratachi. Quite a lot. Other than that "unfortunate coincidence", it really is quite a nice ballad. Despite the emoness. The title actually reminds me of this little ditty. Tears that turn into (jellybeans all the colours of the) rainbows. Win. Guitar solo is, as expected after the intro, full of awesomeness. After the solo, it sounds like some epic buildup going on with some speaking over the top. This is probably the most epic buildup to the final chorus I've ever heard. The lead guitar makes it even moreso. Little guitar accents in the final chorus are cool. Then we get some lalalala stuff at the end, just to add onto the already sizable... size. More electric guitar win. 10/10

11. Be with you

Ooh, some more digital stuff. I'll be honest, from Avex I expected every song to be like this, consider me pleasantly surprised. This isn't that bad, verse with the piano in the background is nice. The synth bass isn't nearly as nice as Momoclo's though. The vocal melody line is a bit meh. Mid-8 with some more talking is interesting and quite awesome considering the was a guitar sweeping behind it. But then instead of building on the guitar and such, it reverts into buildup chorus. Disappoint. Fail fadeout. 5/10

12. みらくるが止まンないっ!

What the hell. Punk again? More cool riffs. Bit more oi-punk this time. First vocalist is really quite high pitched. Second is much better. Vocal melodies are good though. Speed is fast. Prechorus is mental. Chorus is slightly more sane, but still good. Lyrics are cute, as is the songtitle. Buildup chorus is cute. It's a good little song. 8/10

13. 絆デイズ(超絶バージョン)

Some more rock-dance seemed to be building, then suddenly it became slow pop. Luckily halfway through the verse the beat gets more insistent, and it moves it on a bit. Prechorus is a bit nicer. Chorus has an interesting vocal melody and some interesting synth melodies. The bass is quite good too. Mid-8 has some cool atmospherics. Guitar solo is good. Post-solo stuff is good. Buildup chorus is a bit dull. Solo at the end of the song is cool. 7/10

14. Be with you (超絶バージョン)

Second time this song is on here, and from the start sounds odd. Sounds more like I would assume everything by Avex to sound like. Unfortunately it's stripped out most of the good bits and just left the vocal melody and bass line. The drum beat is annoying. Just Kick Kick Kick Kick Kick Kick all through. Plus what I can only assume are supposed to be hand claps. Some rubbish harpsichord vst in the mid-8. Ooh, a snare in the buildup chorus. Even worse than the other one though. 3/10

Overall:

Not as bad as I was actually expecting, to be honest. I thought it would be sort of trancey and buzzy throughout, or full of RnB, but I was wrong. Some tracks were actually very good, and although the first and last tracks were useless and should have been ditched, the rest of the album held up rather well.

7/10

So, from an Avex group to another Avex group. That's right 東京女子流 or TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE. They're apparently spiritual successors to the late SweetS, who seem to be quite highly regarded. Anyway, onto music.

TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE - Kodou no Himitsu



Preamble:

Hmm, loli lolis.

1. Intro~鼓動の秘密

Heartbeat. Getting faster. Guess the person saw the outfits. Oh wait, what the hell, club beat? Guitar shred? Machine gun blasting? Odd noises. This sounds like Fantomas. Oh wait, a song has started. Sounds like Avex already.Avex on an island vacation, but still... That bass sounds way too percussive. The vocal melodies aren't very good either. I'm not finding a great deal yet in this. That synth saxophone solo is a bit odd. 4/10

2. Love like candy floss -TGS ver.-



This is a cover of an old SweetS song. Acoustic guitar is nice. Vocal melody is also nice. Then it goes all a bit too dancey. That dropped synth bass is back. Vocal melodies are better, but the music is dragging it down. Chorus is just bad. Bass is trying to do the chord progression but just sounds ugly while all the accents are trying to carry on like nothing's wrong. Not finding a great deal to like. 5/10

3. ヒマワリと星屑

Ooh, funky riff. Then dance again. I don't get the point in doing these interesting starts in different genres if they're then not going to touch on it again for the rest of the song. On the other hand, this time there's a real bass which is awesome. The beat is better, and the accents are part of the tune than just flourishing with no particular point. Vocal melody, especially in the chorus is superb. 8/10

4. 頑張って いつだって 信じてる



Again a cool start. Sounds like an AKB Sakura song, with nice piano. Then dance again. I'm beginning to see a pattern... This is better than the first two songs, but not as good as the last one. The bass is okay. Prechorus is nice. Chorus isn't particularly memorable. Guitar solos are slightly better than everything else in this song put together. 6/10

5. サヨナラ、ありがとう。

Piano, slow RnB beat, guitar melody... Shock. A slow song. Unfortunately that toneless deep bass is back. Alongside an accordion? Or two... Vocal melodies are good. Guitar slides in prechorus are cool. Chorus is fucking cool, I does like. Guitar solo is amazing. Soloface and finger explosions. All promote this to equal best song, especially that post-solo bit. Synth strings and that flatline bass actually work together, and the unison vocal melody are win. Buildup chorus has nice piano. Ooh, another solo. Even better! Best song so far now. 9/10 (missed out on ten because of the bass)

6. Attack Hyper Beat POP

Certainly hyper. What's with this technical riff? Vocals aren't amazing, but the pace is fast and the bassline is interesting. Chorus is quite interesting, vocal melody is good. Another cool solo, but it's less technically demanding than the main riff. On the other hand, it does have some shred, which keeps me happy. Buildup chorus has some effective use of pan in the vocal tracks. Quite good. 8/10

7. おんなじキモチ



Hmm, happy pop? Seems like the trend of trolling with one genre then switching has ended for the time being. This has some interesting basslines. Not annoying flatline either. Vocal harmonies yay. Also the melodies aren't too bad either. I like this. Chorus is quite 90s pop but not in a bad way. 7/10

8. ゆうやけハナビ

More happy pop. This bassline is awesome. Simple, but it's super effective. Vocal melodies are pretty normal but also effective. Chorus isn't sufficiently removed from the verse in terms of timbre and pace. Weird synth solo is all pitchshifted and quick as hell but cool. Still, not bad. Unfortunately the chorus lets it down. 7/10

9. きっと 忘れない、、、

More happy pop. Does seem to be a bit formulaic. The annoying flatline bass is back, and I can't get into it. The vocal melodies are tired. Nothing special here. Chorus likewise does nothing good. Nothing bad apart from bass, but still so meh to the extent that I don't care either way. Goes on for far too long without anything interesting. Boring as hell. Solo is rubbish. This is the perfect example of filler. きっと、忘れますよ。実は、もう忘れしました。残念。 5/10

10. 孤独の果て~月が泣いている~

Piano and bass in a live house at the beginning. Ah, this is better. Pace, brass band, bassline is cool, beat doesn't suck. Vocal melodies are cool. Male harmonisation is cool, better than having Tsunku yelling stuff in H!P stuff anyway. Chorus is nice and fun. Vocal melody call and response makes it cool. Guitar between chorus and verse is interesting. Solo is all 50s and cool for it. I like. 8/10

11. キラリ☆ -Album Mix- ~Outro~



That fucking bass is back. I want to kill whoever tracked this damn thing. Other than that annoying bastard, the music's not too bad. Vocal melodies are a bit dull. Chorus likewise, tries to be happy but the music is sort of buried under the vocals and that bass. Synth solo is actually not bad. Another bit of a middlingly not good not bad song. Then it random transfers into what I can only assume is the outro, with an awesome bass riff and some funky guitars and drums. A bit of a string sample. The girls sounds like they're scat singing. There's a flute in there somewhere. The outro, just like the intro, is confusing the hell out of me. On the other hand, this confusion is much cooler than the feeling of "meh" I had to the rest of this track, so it improved the score slightly. 6/10

Overall:

That bass makes me sick. This album isn't very good either, even without the bass it'd be on the "meh" end of things. Mix-wise, music-wise and vocal-wise there's a lot to be desired, though having 5 songs over 5 minutes out of 11 shows the desire to be "artists" instead of "idols". I'm not sure with their current songwriter they can make it though.

6/10

So, thus ends. I'll probably review some PASSPO at another point in time, and Idoling have a lot of material so I'll have to jump in at the deep end like I did with AKB, but otherwise, I'll probably look for more underground idols now that these lot have proven that there is merit to be found deeper in the idol stratosphere. Also, there's Afilia Saga East, which I'm not entirely sure what is apart from Magical Maids from a Café that also sing and have the shortest idol ever amongst their number. Maybe they'll get a review too at some point. Anyway, hope you enjoyed.

1 comments:

  1. Have to say, agreed on that favorable Momoiro Clover Z album rating. It is pretty damned decent. Been listening to that one quite a lot lately. Also, like you, I didn't think much of that TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE album.

    Anyway, this post inspired me to say a bit more but it'd be a long ass comment so I'll just put it on the blog.

    ReplyDelete