addictdesu: (NEWS)
I realized there's a reason why I do my reviews late, aside from the fact that I'm the best procrastinator you'll ever know! (LOL).

I like comparisons. I like to find a common ground between the things I perceive, and I like to note the differences. I like to know which is better than the other, or which are on the same level; or how things turned out in the past and I use that as a basis for the present. Even if it takes time, it is through comparison and contrasting that I believe I could write my reviews effectively and in detail. In other words, these reviews aren't founded on first impressions alone. I wish I could write by my first impressions though, as most (if not all), reviewers do!

This is my first serious NEWS album review. I didn't make one for last year's WHITE because... I kept putting it off. xD

Title: QUARTETTO
Artist: NEWS
Release date: March 9, 2016
Tracks: 16 (12 + 4 solos)

►L-R: Limited Edition and Regular Edition covers◄
General comments

QUARTETTO is an album I was too excited to write my first impressions about. (Now you know why I explained myself above!). It's an album that blew me right away, that I hadn't even finished listening to it and I already commented about how it could make former NEWS fans regret leaving the fandom. It had such a huge impact; surely, it's NEWS' release. Every NEWS release is literally mind-blowing for me (duh, Paana!). Of course I could hear what I don't like from the first listen, but I can't impart these properly in the height of excitement. It is only through a longer period of listening that I could make a fair judgment.

Listening to it for weeks (edit: months!) now, I won't take the statement back--QUARTETTO is good and it'll make former NEWS fans regret leaving the fandom. Better than the disheveled WHITE album, QUARTETTO is solid and easy on the ears. For these reasons:

Read more... )


Song by song comments

01 Theme of QUARTETTO, or the instrumental-only overture, follows some rules from the Classical era. It's in Binary form, in which the first part differs greatly from the second, but the second is actually just a development of the first part. It can also be considered as a "Theme" in Theme and Variations form; or in the modern music sense it contains different sections comprising all the other parts of the whole piece. In the simplest terms, it is a remix, a medley of all the songs in the album. It is its sole purpose--an introductory medley, yet the way all the songs are thrown in a rhythmic blender is very hip-hop, an unexpected move for NEWS. It also introduces the use of body percussion, and looping machine that makes music production impressive. I think this album aims to show the technical aspect of music to fans.

02 QUARTETTO, the actual song, is EDM (electronic dance music) all the way (quite surprising for the title, isn't it? But not that surprising, consideringTheme of QUARTETTO introduces this sound). It has the ingredients of an electronic genre: Fast rhythm, standard Eight note-beats, autotune, and of course the electronic humming of the bassline. The twist is, it has a prominent string accompaninent so that it sounds fairly classical. The contrast makes it catchy--even though there's no proven correlation, the arching violins works with the structured, synthetic beat.

The best part of the song is the most unprecedented one: the Koyashige blending where Shige sings the upper harmony! Too bad it's just one line. Well, the whole song lasts for only 2 minutes but it's okay; otherwise, it would turn out dull.

In a poll at [livejournal.com profile] 4newsfans, it shocked me that many voters have this track as their favorite. With its techno base, short span, and monotonous nature, maybe it is the consistency from start to finish that makes listeners appreciate it. And again, the contrast between the classical violins and buzzing bassline, if listened to closely, is actually breathtaking.

Read more... )


NEWS knows how to sound refreshing at the right time, in spite of being almost 13 years in the business, and this showed in QUARTETTO. My hopes for the next album: 'refreshing' in the sense of trying concepts, genres and techniques that'd be deemed surprising in Johnny's. Actually, NEWS is already doing this through couple of releases including this one, but a full-blown surprise would be better in my opinion. QUARTETTO is a good album nonetheless; it's a very transparent material enjoyed by new and old fans alike.

Album rating: ♪♪♪♪ (4 eighth notes out of 5!)
addictdesu: (Hara Hammie)
Late review by SIX MONTHS, eh? Sorry, since I don’t want to just keep it in my drafts forever I’ve decided to post. It’s almost the end of the year and a rush of blog ideas (why do you have to come on the busiest months--deym brain!) excites me, but I gotta post what’s first. And KARA’s only Korean release this 2015 has made itself a spot. So, here it is!





EP: In Love
Artist: KARA
Tracks: 5
Release Date: May 26, 2015

My first KARA review after two years! And my overall second for KARA since Fantastic Girls (whence my review for that was actually a test drive, or my initial try of talking about songs on the net. LOL). And so I chose to review this one only after a string of releases and comebacks; does this mean something? What makes this mini-album special?


General comments:

Oh, for a plus fact, this is technically the first time I am reviewing Korean! Which is more challenging because KPop is... well, KPop. A fusion of many styles, that goes as far as many people saying they copy the Western style too much. Trying to be as perspective as I can be, I say it has derived greatly from the western-style though. This makes KPop more diversified than one could ever think.

The latest mini-album by KARA, quite opposite from its previous Korean releases, is a treat for pure KPop lovers. We know that they tend to have JPop-like songs; not bad, especially for a JPop fan like me; but I am sometimes conscious of how they get over-Japanese for Korean tastes. In Love is the easy formula for this petty worry.

Speaking of petty. In Love is a petty album in terms of power. When I say power the KARA way, we talk of loudness. Their signature songs' main component, aside from having the "catch" or the "hook" literally KARA fans are hooked at, is the explosion of sounds + effects along with the group's high-pitched vocals. KARA has a musicality that, in the lines of appreciation, will force you to get up and get wild. In In Love, that force lay low to some degree. Albeit most of the tracks are fast-paced, the album lacked the loudness KARA has been famous at.

But as initially pointed out, this album is a treat for the KPop genre fans. Everything in the package sounds authentically KPop to me; of course this is arguable but in the sense of the run-of-the-mill KPop sound, the album got what it takes. We could throwback to Rock U era though we know that the girls are now way mature than they ever were, and, not to mention, in a changed line-up; but still, cutesy songs are KARA's forte aside from their party, JPop-ish tracks.

And so that's what I can say about the album. It's cute! Ear-friendly, from the upbeat to the ballads. While they've polished the cute image since 2008, the latest album does not fail the past releases' worth, neither does it offer a boring overall sound. Despite lacking in power (the main track almost always dictates the impression of an album/single; and just like Damaged Lady it apparently deviates from the novelty), In Love is a pleasant album to listen to.


Song by song comments:

01 Starlight, the opening track, is a retro-ish song that leans on the slower side, and has an arrangement apt for its title. The sparkles sfx actually helped, along with different instruments and effects that can be heard at close intervals. But even if there's a lot going on in the song it retains its suave sound. The danceable rhythm matches well with the busy yet relaxed atmosphere! KARA's vocals are quite smooth here too.

02 Cupid has the MV and is therefore the catchy one; the album's showcase. But this is unlike KARA's powerful A-sides (as explained in the general comments) due to its mellow pop-funk sound layered on a classic Hallyu flair. Yes, it sounds sooo K-girl-group A-side and listening to it sometimes make me feel like its not KARA I'm hearing (if not for the prominent vocals, I swear!)

Its wonderful bass line, irregular rhythm shifts, Youngji's whispered rapping and the no-strain high notes are the key elements that I like in the song, and even though I won't put it in line with my past favorites this is an absolute LSS-worthy track.



03 그땐 그냥 (Back Then)
At this point of listening I've drawn a conclusion that In Love is one of KARA's mature-sounding album, providing that simplicity is the key. This mid-tempo, mid-range track starts smoothly with acoustic guitars as the sole accompaniment which continue until the verses, where percussion is added in the refrain, and the rest of song stays in the path. The uniform vocals are executed nicely, complimenting the modest instrumentals. Hara's voice is especially nice here! And Seungyeon should sing more of this genre.

04 Peekaboo is the reason for the remark that this album is cute. Sung by Gyuri and Youngji, this aegyo track is super catchy that I sometimes think this is more striking than Cupid. Furthermore, it's a subtle throwback to KARA's Rock U kind of songs. It would be nuicer if all the current members sung this one.

05 I Love Me could pass as a B-side track in a Japanese album; to be honest it's out of place here. But, the weirdly-placed dance hall effects, the constant chord progression, and the less sensible humdrum is something I found displeasing that I won't even put it in line with their vigorous JPop songs. Subjectively, I'll easily push this song at the end of all my lists. Though I gotta say it still has the merit for being catchy, easy to sing.

--

To be honest even if the group with the new line-up has released decent materials, I am worried that their 'glory' in terms of musicality will never be redeemed again. If that's so, maybe the mellowed down theme of this mini-album is a step to a new (yet safe) direction.

Album rating: ♪♪♪♪ (4 lovely eight notes out of 5)
addictdesu: (tegoshi heart)
Because I was inspired by this. Ah, no, it's because I've been wanting to post album reviews of my favorite artists' songs, and for a scatterbrain like me it was nearly impossible to do that... But now I have inspirationsssss (Yes, emphasis on the s), and I've formulated a draft nights ago~ So here we go! ♪♫




Album: Tegomass no Seishun
Artist: テゴマス
Release date: January 22, 2014
Tracks: 12 (+2 in the limited edition)
tmns RE tmns LE
► L-R: regular and limited edition jacket covers ◄
General comments:

Tegomass' youth... These two are adults already, not just literally, but by the experience they have as singers, and it somehow showed in this album. Why 'somehow'? Because as the title implies, it is about Tegomass' youth. The tracks, analyze it or not, gives this 'childhood' feeling, like Tegomass is going back to the basics all over again. I'm not saying they hadn't matured enough; in fact, I could not imagine the songs from this album sung/released in earlier years. In other words Tegomass no Seishun (TMnS) is a perfect merge of maturity and youthful vigor in one.

Compared to the previous albums, TMnS is like Tegomass no Mahou who strictly adheres to its theme. Tegomass no Uta is a mix of different styles that you wouldn't really know what is the prevailing theme (if there is any, as uta means 'song' and they must've really experimented a lot in this one). Tegomass no Ai is a mini-album, which means only a few songs to analyze, and so it give a slight impression of what the theme is supposedly about. Meanwhile, Tegomass no Mahou is relevant. You can really hear the 'magic' the album wants you to hear. And TMnS is basically the same. To stick to the theme, I think it's a good thing!

So... How were the songs arranged and executed? How is the 'youth' factor shown?

Read more... )

► The promotional video (PV) for 'Hikari'


Song by song comments:

01 Aoiro Juvenile (Soshoku Juvenile)
The first song in the album is a feel-good song that obviously pertains to youth; thus the light melody. It starts with an acoustic guitar solo and then the bass and other instruments throwing in good measures. The melody was like a faster bossa nova (percussion is a winner!) with a touch of festivity. I can imagine banners or flaglets swayed by the wind~ children running~ and well, Tegomass (LOL). After a trumpet blow came in Tegoshi's voice. Massu wasn't there until the second stanza, and the usual harmonization happened, essentially throughout the song. No falsettos nor belting, as it really is light. At some part in the chorus I remembered Marui Chikara but that's just because of the first few notes in that part. Otherwise, Aoiro Juvenile is simply feel-good.

02 Harumeki
This I think has resemblance to TMnM's Yuuyake to Koi to Jitensha. But this has prominent strings (violins, etc) while Yuuyake has prominent electric guitar sound. Don't get me wrong, Harumeki has guitars too but comparing to Yuuyake, the guitar's prominence is relatively low. They have same key signatures (E♭ major), piano ornaments, and aggressive attack by Tegomass in every line. This is an upbeat, energetic song, telling the signs of spring. Oh, so the perfect song for Aries zodiac sign!

Read more... )

Songs ranking:

After a week of non-stop listening to these songs I've come up with a ranking!
Except for Sayonara ni Sayonara and Neko Chuudoku, here is my ranking, in ascending order (12 to 1)

#12 Shounen ~Re:Story~
#11 Tsuki no Tomodachi
#10 Itsuka no Machi

#9 innocence
#8 Aoiro Juvenile
#7 Hikari
#6 Time Machine
#5 Harumeki

#4 Iro Azayakana Kimi ga Egaku Asu no e
#3 Kireigoto
#2 Fantajia

#1 DONUTS


It's no surprise that two of the tracks that sound like coming from Tegomass no Mahou (Fantajia and Harumeki) are included in my top 5. I love the mahou feel, fyi. ♪ As for DONUTS and Iro Azayakana Kimi ga Egaku Asu no e, they both make me high and even happily delusional! With DONUTS, I'm in a musical. In Iro Azayakana, I'm at a farm. Kireigoto is just fantastic, it's just ♥!! and Tegoshi's voice is so heavenly~



Album rating: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ / four lovely eighth notes out of 5!
Download the album (including the PV and the making in one!) go to [livejournal.com profile] rockthecliche, track-by-track download is at [livejournal.com profile] finay, and if you just want to listen go here @ addictdesu. For the lyrics and translations, go to [livejournal.com profile] aitamashii :)

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