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AKB48 - 1830m review

So, AKB have released another album, which means I have to listen to it, and from there, review it. Though granted, while I do still have a few albums on my review to-do list (Sakugaku and Super Girls spring to mind), I can't be bothered with them yet so I'll just savagereview this one and then maybe at some point in the future do the others. Or just do a Passpo and review them in the year-end list. But anyway, I digress.



Preamble: The cover is less psychotic than the last one. The tracklist is highly disturbing, not because of the titles so much as the sheer fucking number of songs. 34 songs. 2.5 hours. I think I can safely say that this will be an extremely long post. The title is a bit boring, the same title as the Dome concert, which happens to be 1830m away from the AKB Theatre. Still, at least they don't feel the need to number every album like some groups.


Disc 1

1. ファーストラビット. Starts out with a bit of a music box bit of nice melody thing, then has harmonised guitars doing the same melody over a crappy synth bass. Still, could be a worse intro. The verse has a decent chord progression but terrible vocal melody. Prechorus is quite upbeat. Chorus is another pretty bad vocal melody. Luckily these chord progressions are keeping everything sort of well-held together. The title is random. Could do with some harmonies. The guitar lead in the mid-8 isn't bad, but could do with a solo. Buildup is pretty short and lacks much interest. Only things that go for this song are the chord progressions and the pace. And the guitar harmonies in the intro. The synths at the end are silly, would prefer the lead guitars back. 6/10

2. 黄金センター.  Well, the bassline starts off a lot better in this one. On the other hand, it's not particularly memorable at all. The vocal melodies are pathetically weak, chord progressions barely exist, and it actually reminds me of older Momusu. Strong basslines but some of the rest is questionable. Vocals are weak. Mid-8 finally finds a passable melody. Still, lacks any real decent hooks or amazingness. The girls doing the MIX at the end sounds wrong. 4/10

3. ミニスカートの妖精. One of the odder Zensa Girls songs. It reminds me of some of 9nine's early stuff in weirdness. This time it's sung by Izurina, Hirari and Saeed-Yokota. The vocal melodies are good, the weird little synths are good, but the mixing is atrocious. Someone decided to put the vocals too high, can't hear shit behind the singing. Plus, the three chosen singers aren't exactly very good. If it'd been done by some of the better singers in Team 4 it could have worked, but these three aren't great. 6/10

4. 上からマリコ. This song is lol. Not particularly fond of it, but it's lol. Typical AKB single, in that it follows the exact same formula as pretty much all but a few AKB singles have followed since they started at King Records. The guitars are decent, the vocal melodies are actually surprisingly decent. The lineup and lack of Maeda in a single for the first time ever is perfect, and Mariko being centre is worth the lulz. The piano solo is an interesting change, guitar solo isn't too bad. Chord progressions are pretty good. The post-mid-8 buildup-into-buildup-chorus is an interesting deviation from the formula. 6/10

5. アンチ. One of the more vicious songs by the newer girls, this song basically says "fuck you" to the people who hate them. Shame the song itself has no vicious attributes. They even turned the "fuck you" into a "shit, if I have haters it means I've made it lol". So, could have been better. The guitar harmonies are decent, the bassline is annoying and synthy. Vocal melodies are boring. The hook in the chorus is, I suppose, halfway decent. Mid-8 break with guitar noises is cool. Mid8 vocals are boring though. Buildup is also meh. 5/10

6. 檸檬の年頃. The song that gave Fresh Lemon her nickname is a slow, boring song. Another Zensa song where the mix is shit. Vocal melodies are passable, but the chord progressions are predictable and it just sounds more like an 80s kayoukyoku than a Jpop song. The monologue in the mid8 is slightly interesting, I suppose. 5/10

7.  恋愛総選挙. Aha, finally something interesting. YM7, the winners of the magazine seven battle last year I believe. This will also be the themetune to the next walletrape edition of 1/48153. Pace is good, chord progressions are good, vocal melodies aren't too bad. Little string section flourishes work well. Solo is cool. Buildup chorus is good. It's also remarkably short. I suppose that's good, I don't have all day to do this. 8/10

8. 野菜占い. This song starts off really odd, and doesn't really change my impression later on. It's about vegetables. That just goes to show, really. The little break between intro and verse is good, but the rest is pretty meh. Little choral bit in the mid-8 confuses me. In general though, nothing is particularly amazing. 2/10

9. Everyday、カチューシャ. The orchestral intro is cool, but I've always hated the damn synths for the intro in this. Chord progressions aren't too bad, vocal melodies are decent (verging on good when you get the duelling lines). Prechorus is actually very good, considering. Chorus isn't too terrible. Mid-8 is pretty good. 7/10

10. 走れ!ペンギン.
Team 4's song that was supposed to be the A-side until Mariko actually won at Janken. As such, this is just as generic. Guitar lines are decent, I suppose. Vocal melodies are terrible though. Team 4 has hardly any good singers (Miyu and Karen stand out, Komari is middling), so there's very little power. Prechorus is crap. Chorus lacks much punch, too high pitched. The pace is good though, which probably saves this. Shave 10-15bpm off and it's ten times worse. Guitar solo is actually pretty good though. 4/10

11. ロマンスかくれんぼ.
Oomori Miyuu is cute. Doesn't mean she's a good enough singer to do this justice. In fact, I'd say she pretty much destroys it. As a song it's not bad. Slow ballad, but easily the best of the Zensa songs. Nice chord progressions, decent vocal melodies, nice timbre and a few little bits of peculiar modulation that make it an interesting song. But her voice. It's terrible. Weak as a really weak thing, and when she tries to pull a long note it just wavers all over the fucking place. Really should have picked a better singer. Plus, mix issues again. 4/10

12. 蕾たち.
Another Cside. Or Dside. Or whatever. This is fast, frantic and actually has some good vocal melodies and chord progressions. In the chorus, anyway. The verse is boring and shit. The prechorus is decent. Guitar line in the mid-8 is okay (won't deign to call that a solo). Generally meh, chorus aside. 5/10

13. ユングやフロイトの場合.
A song about psychologists. What? A ballad, with some decent vocal melodies but slow. The prechorus with the snare drums and the call and response vocals are the best bit. The chorus is keychanged and pretty crap. Guitar solo is pretty though. Buildup chorus is meh at best. Not amazing. 4/10

14. フライングゲット.
This song is shit. Frying Ghetto is all wrong. Basslines are crap. Guitar riffs (where they exist) are meh. The constant assault by orchestra hits annoy me. Sound like they came off a crappy Casio keyboard from the early 90s. Percussion is decent, about the only thing that is. Vocal melodies are dismal. The music video without the song was far better than the one with the song. Not that I'm surprised. Guitar solo is decent. Gets a whole point just for that. 3/10

15. 風は吹いている.
Ah, much better. Dat chord progression makes everything better. Even moreso in that it carries on throughout the whole song. Vocal melodies are good. Giant Diglet in the music video notwithstanding, this is easily the only good AKB single since Beginner. Quote of Gangsta's Paradise in second verse is always amusing. Mid-8 has hammonds and they are full of win. This song is epic. Fuck the formula. Ending extra-bit is good too. 10/10

16. 桜の木になろう.
Slow ballad is slow. The piano and vocal melodies are, actually, very good. Still, harmonies would be better. Prechorus continues in the vein of general decentness. Chorus is not quite as good. It's like they really wanted to use a certain hook but couldn't figure out how to fit it in a ballad. So they did both and fucked it up. Still, could be worse. Could sound like Toni Braxton. Mid-8 is decent. Hook actually works better in the buildup chorus than it does in the full-instrumental chorus. Silly. 6/10

17. GIVE ME FIVE!
Should have been a live-recorded version. The studio version is nowhere near as lulz as them failing on their own instruments. It's not a bad song, but understandably simple so that some of the girls, useless as they are, could play it. I say "play it" but actually mean "butcher it." When maybe two of the girls have prior experience on the instrument you're using them on, it's probably not the best idea, even with six months practice. As such, it's pretty bad. Still, pace is fast, it's pretty funny, and the trumpets don't annoy me too much (except when played live. There's nothing worse than hearing trumpets being played by beginners. Nothing.) Guitar solo is really bad and crap, yet even then Takamina can't play it properly. Oh well, maybe this AKBingo contest to get people to play it properly will work out, and from then on only they can play it. 5/10


Disc 2

1. Hate. Team A's song, with a title as subtle as ever. Unfortunately, it starts out and sounds really crap. Autotune. Buzzy shit. Minimal instrumentation. Orchestral accents. Verse vocal melody is nice, but prechorus "melody" can't be called anything of the sort. Chorus isn't too bad though. Still, the minimal instrumentation lacks any middle. There's bass. There's some high pitched noises going on. But nothing in the middle. Disturbs me. Mid-8 is decent. Still, it's different. And thankfully short as fuck. 6/10

2. プラスティックの唇.
AkiP said he'd been overlooking Mariko's "skills as a vocalist all this time". I'd have preferred it if he'd carried on overlooking her "skills". What this amounts to is an exercise in vocoders and autotune. Because Mariko cannot sing. The music isn't particularly good either. Might enthuse a club scene, but to people with ears this is terrible. Though there is a middle this time. Unfortunately it's crap. 2/10

3. 思い出のほとんど. The longest song on the album, a slow ballad by Takamina and Maeda "I Can't Be Fucked" Atsuko. Would that Acchan could sing worth a shit. There's minimal instrumentation here (though unlike in Hate it's actually worth it), with some Strawberry Fields flutes and piano under vocal lines. The vocal melodies are pretty, though Acchan butchers them. The chorus is a proper ballad chorus, without an annoyingly catchy hook that's completely out of place. Mid-8 is interesting, with the slowest piano "lead" I've ever heard. Semi-breve lead line? What is this I don't even know. Epic reverse cymbal into buildup chorus. 7/10

4. 家出の夜. Well, guitars are back. It's fast as hell, there's a solo right at the beginning, and this is Team K in a nutshell really. Vocally proficient, guitars have just enough edge on them to seem a bit heavy. Vocal melodies are meh though. Unison sucks ass. Harmonise dammit! Chord progressions are good though. Little breaks also interesting musically. Solo in the middle of the song is quite nice, though far too short. Buildup is over in about three seconds. Not bad though. 7/10

5. スキャンダラスに行こう. This sounds like a Hirano Aya song. That disturbs me. Then again, it's sung by Yuko and Nyan, possibly the most likely pairing in AKB to get into a scandal with each other. Still, the ska punk feel is quite good, different for AKB. Chord progressions aren't good, but the vocal melodies are. Nyan is still a good vocalist. Yuko a bit less so, but it still works. 7/10

6. ノーカン. Um... yea. Team B, but sounds too cutesy ever for them. Not particularly good, musically. Bassline is strong, but the vocal melodies are weak and the talking lines are amusing. Almost expected to see Hyadain mentioned as the composer, but it's not. So I guess someone else likes throwing in dialogue into songs and screwing around with genres. But Hyadain does it better than this person. Plus he probably wouldn't do it with something reminiscent of a discopop remake of a Motown song. Or something. 3/10

7. アボガドじゃね~し… This is fun, even if it's an odd pairing. Mayuyu and Sasshi, wut? Neither are good singers. Not musically good, but fun enough to overcome. Again, weird little bits of dialogue. The guitar lines are okay, vocal melodies are okay, guitar solo is actually quite good, but not the best. 6/10

8. 直角Sunshine. Team 4's new song, a midpaced song with a horrible little synth. It seems lethargic, could do with an extra 50bpm. It's trying to be happy. It fails. The vocal melodies are bad. Chord progressions are okay in the chorus, crap everywhere else. The chorus is ruined because of that synth floating around though. Needs to be shot. Guitar solo is crap. 3/10

9. 僕たちは 今 話し合うべきなんだ. Tomochin and Yukirin. Huh? And on a ballad? Not Tomochin's autotuned terribleness? Oddly, actually, Tomochin seems to sing better than Yukirin on this. In parts. Not a bad little ballad. Vocal melodies are decent, within the range Tomochin's smoking allows her. Yukirin sounds a bit crap in the verse. In the prechorus she's better though. Chord progressions are decent. Nothing is particularly amazing though. 6/10

10. さくらんぼと孤独.
The new kenkyuusei song starts off with a cello and some snares. Then suddenly goes into a weird major key thing with strings and descending lines and win. Then lowkey piano/drum verse with a meh vocal melody. Prechorus is better, thumping drum beat and decent vocal melodies. Chorus is lacking somewhat. Could do with a fuller orchestral sound behind it, and harmonies over unison. The vocals aren't strong enough for unison to work. It's also too slow. If the whole song had been like the intro it would have been better. The mid-8 is decent, I suppose. 5/10

11. 大事な時間.
Starts out slow, in unison, with piano backing. Then adding some strings, and then back to just piano and vocals for the verse. The vocal melodies aren't brilliant. The piano is pretty decent, but it's too minimal. The chorus is boring. The song as a whole is boring. The second verse adds some timbre, but that doesn't improve it. It's a boring song. 2/10


12. いつか見た海の底.
Up-and-coming Girls and an interesting song. Thank fuck. Guitars are good, melodies are good, vocal melodies are meh but work, the chord progression in the verse is good. The prechorus has some interesting buildup work. Chorus is good. Fast and energetic, perfect remedy to the past two slow songs of boringness. Solo is sexy as a really sexy thing. Probably best original song on this album so far. 9/10

13. ぐ~ぐ~おなか.
This is a weird song. Piano is interesting, vocals are way too high pitched (especially considering Wasamin's in it. She can sing high, huh?). A kids song. Reminds me a bit of Honehone Waltz. Just not in 3/4. More dialogue weirdness. Mid-8 is weird too. Don't get this song. 4/10

14. やさしさの地図.
This is a nice guitar line. Chord progressions are quite boring, but vocal melodies are okay. Chorus has a good vocal melody, the song is pretty okay. Again, not particularly good, doesn't break much ground, follows the formula, but works. Not a great deal more to say about it. 6/10

15. 行ってらっしゃい.
Flatline bass. NOOOOOOOOOO. On the other hand, the rest of the instrumentation is nice. The vocal melodies are passably decent, and the chord progression doesn't suck too much. The chorus is okay. Not the greatest ballad ever though. 5/10

16. 青空よ 寂しくないか?
Another slow song, this time with every member of AKB, SKE, NMB and HKT. Over the top a bit. The vocal melodies aren't great. The chord progressions likewise. Slow, boring, seems to be a return to the boringness of a while back. Not good. Not good at all. 3/10

17. 桜の花びら ~前田敦子 solo ver.~
Well, this is nothing on the original. Acchan's voice ruins everything. The piano is nice enough. But the original arrangement is much better. Overall, not an improvement, not particularly good. At least the vocal melodies are still the same as the original ones. 5/10

Overall:  Well, I must admit I'm disappointed. Too many songs, too many of which are meh or just outright terrible. Very few good songs. Overusage of generic, formulaic songs, not enough experimentation. Overlong, overproduced, and shit. Got 5.2 rounded up, but for being so fucking long and not amazing, I'll give it:

5/10    

6 comments:

  1. im also disappointed =(
    its draggy and not of quality
    feels like a waste of time

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  2. Why don't you just record a CD, champ?

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    Replies
    1. Bit ahead of you. Already released 3 albums, one EP and a split album.

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  3. I thought this blog has more than just your personal opinion.
    Sorry to say dude about your albums, never heard of em.

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    Replies
    1. Don't think I ever claimed this blog was aught but my personal opinion. I may draw on musical theory to explain my viewpoints occasionally, but there's no accounting for taste. What I find horrible in music others may enjoy. Your mileage may vary.

      As for my albums, unless you're well-versed in experimental metal music I doubt you would have heard them anyway.

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