addictdesu: (NEWS)
Happy 2017! Well, we're practically done with the 'New Year' celebrations now; but as this is my first post for the new year I'll be starting with a music review, one I have missed doing so much.

Last year, I skipped writing for 恋を知らない君へ (Koi wo shiranai kimi e) when halfway through my review of the single the text file was corrupted. What a loss, it was an interesting time for NEWS--it was their busiest schedule in their whole career so far! In the middle of bustling activities the music they've released was quite a successor for January's ballad ヒカリノシズク--essentially a ballad single (3/4 of the single are slow songs!), Koi wo is the sound you were silently longing for in NEWS.

But they've built their image around concepts that are apt for the bold... thus, they keep coming back for it. The newest single, EMMA, straightforwardly tells you that they're not done with チャンカパーナ and KAGUYA and チュムチュム’s bombastic sound yet. Putting aside the Classical, the ballads, and the sports tracks, NEWS' real strength in their discography lies in the way they make controversial A-sides coupled with hidden treasures that are the B-sides. EMMA, like the older successful singles, does it again.



►L-R: Limited Edition (LE) A, LE B, and Regular Edition covers◄


General comments

The paragraphs above are considered part of the general comments, but hey, let's make this section more specific. EMMA is the OP for the TV adaptation of 嫌われる勇気 (Kirawareru Yuuki), and in which Shige is one of the main characters. /Thank you Shige for constantly giving NEWS themes songs for singles!/

This is my first time to talk about the jacket covers, the second most controversial bit (yeah, the single is that controversial that we even have a plausible rank). At first glance of the covers they're totally unrelated to NEWS; look in any way and they're still random pieces of material which would've been done better by the fans. Not to be rude, really, but it was the general consensus. Judging a book by its cover is still prevalent; especially that we judge an idol group's jacket covers by the idols' faces, not the face of someone else.

The title EMMA itself was a mystery, and the costumes, choreography and lyrics are controversies. In spite of the discernible similarities with the past singles, EMMA has a unique and striking presentation--bolder than ever, it keeps NEWS on the relevance, but with a more matured viewpoint as all of them will be now in their 30's this year.

What's the most important thing in EMMA? Arguably not the title track. There are always hidden gems found in the B-sides, extra special this time around. Whether to satiate fans with a good throwback or just another way of being innovative, remakes are often anticipated especially if done by the same artist. NEWS did a remake of two of their most popular songs pre-4nin: さくらガール (Sakura Girl) and I · ZA · NA · I · ZU · KI; so yes, it's not really arguable that this is the most important thing in the single.

Still to throw in the already wild blend are the "Snow" songs. Although not religiously, NEWS have Season-themed tracks and for this winter there are two--a very generous move, since usually there is only one Season song per release. That way, I feel like EMMA (the single) isn't actually rushed as opposed to how EMMA (the song) appeared (from the jacket covers to the fact that the PV was shot a little before the new year). Rushed or not, in terms of the quality of the music the single is extensively thought-out. It is approached in a polarizing manner; age-old tricks for the new songs and new quips for the remakes.

Song by song comments

01 EMMA is nothing new, except that it is the ultimate rehash of NEWS' novelty hits--meaning everything is combined in here. チャンカパーナ 3.0? KAGUYA 2.0? Retro twin of MR. WHITE? A Western チュムチュム? A Country 恋のABO? Another バンビーナ (Bambina)? Yes, the song is all of that. Yet the wild mesh the song is founded on may be the very reason EMMA is nonviable, as it sounds like it is just there to follow the working pattern... For the love of nasty, loud titles... For the novelty.

Read more... )

--

This single's overall feel is more than a winter affair. EMMA is summer-hot, Sakura Girl is for spring, I · ZA · NA · I · ZU · KI's autumn sentiments and the 'Snow' songs direct take on winter... With these characteristics, it's almost as complete as an album. And we don't really need to think about a new album because after this single was released, an announcement for a new album came! Let's look forward to NEVERLAND, and I hope I could make a review for it as well.


Single rating: ♪♪♪♪ (Four lovely eighth notes out of 5!)
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: (NEWS)
Have you noticed how late I am in posting my reviews? I need to get this off my list so I can start with the newly released album!





Title: ヒカリノシズク/Touch
Artist: NEWS
Release date: January 20, 2016
Tracks: 4

L-R: Regular Edition, Hikari no Shizuku Edition (LE A) and Touch Edition (LE B)


General comments

NEWS' first single of 2016, a double A-side single, is released roughly 2 months after their last single of 2015. The first of the A-sides,Hikari no Shizuku, serves as the theme song for the drama adaptation of Shige's book Kasa wo Motanai Aritachi wa which also includes Shige in the cast! The other A-side, Touch, is used for NEWS' newest product endorsement, Nissen Touch 'n'. At the time of writing this review, we're counting hours to the new album QUARTETTO's release (Edit: upon posting, QUARTETTO is already out), added to the news of a regular show *FINALLY!* that keeps the fandom in a feast for days.

Or for months. Definitely, for months.

So what's the point of these italics--I mean, good news in here? The management is gearing the previously unnoticed NEWS again. In other words: we're unbelievably active just when we thought we're starting to lose our shine. Whatever the long-term plan for us is, we are certain that we're staying because of 1) World Cup 2) *possible* Bra CMs, and 3) Classic sound. This latest single, according to the sources, is headed in the latter direction. Music-wise, it seems NEWS has finally found its niche.

Curiously enough, Hikari ni Shizuku/Touch is a single you'd be careful before listening. Classic sound is no joke; Yonjuushi and its enigma gives a clue that at least one of the songs would give another Rachmaninoff--or whichever classical composer one would think--vibes off. And of course, the more curious matter is the 'Touch' song. Looking at NEWS' discography, touch is the title of their very first album... When there were still 8 members and their musicality wasn't a priority then.Turns out, this single is appreciation-guaranteed! Pulling off the charms in unexpected ways, the single finally fills what has been missing from the group since they became four: a legit ballad, and a legit feel-good song. Steering away from the too energetic and commanding A-sides NEWS has shown since the group's comeback, Hikari no Shizuku/Touch brings the "less is more" style back into play.

Song by song comments

01 ヒカリノシズク (Hikari no Shizuku) is a standard Johnny's pop-rock ballad, that NEWS does not only give justice to, but makes it their own, like only NEWS could sing this song. Even it's supposedly generic. And it's true. The power lies in the distinct vocals.

The instrumentation is quite simple underneath the heavy air of the ballad. For example, the piano uses very basic chords. The strings play a continuous composite melody that repeats itself every section; and the bassline, guitar line and drumline are also predictable. But combine these and it forms a thick stratum of harmonies. What makes this song soar above their past slow tracks is NEWS' vocals matching the air of the instruments--it's so profound that the voices and instruments sound one, inseparable.

As just mentioned, the power lies in the members' vocals. It's not upbeat at all (though in a walking pace) but the dynamics of the voices, from soft to loud, low to high, is a head-turner; neither it is in NEWS' widest of vocal range for a song but it gives that good illusion. The instrumental is subdued, making the track feel very light at some moments, especially in the verses. The soft strings gives the song a soulful touch, pop-rock the genre may be. Somewhat it reminds me of a slower Full Swing with less rock and more pop.

It's supposedly a simple song but the emotion of the vocals really carries it away. Starred by Shige this time, his voice actually fits ballads and though it's not a surprise in the fandom anymore this is like the ultimate proof that he also does well in these kinds of songs. And boy, Tegoshi again gives the edge, especially in the bridge, without doing it overboard. (Fangirl moment: whenever I listen to that part I'm always on the verge of tears!)

02 Touch is a fan and non-fan favorite--that's how fine the song is. It's hands down catchy, owing to the holistic feel-good vibe of the song: the sugary tones of the vocals and the instruments throughout, and the silliness of the melody as heard on the instrumental flourishes. All these while NEWS doesn't even try to sound goofy or whatever. It has an even blend of larkiness (in the sound) and maturity (in the arrangement; and the slightly suggestive lyrics).

I can't figure out what's the key accompaniment used in the song, aside from the soft piano and modest bass. It has such a high prominence--it's the driving force that keeps the song charged and moving! It might be the work of a snyth, but to compare it to a real instrument it seems like a Piccolo Trumpet*. Similar-sounding with the White album track NYARO especially on the intro, the snyth/instrument has its own spotlight, playing a larger role in Touch than the former.

*Piccolo Trumpet = the smallest of the Trumpet family

The melodic lines are a giveaway. The song doesn't have very high nor low notes, yet the intervals are pretty varied, and that gives the playful aura of the track. Also, the 'fan favorite' is probably the falsettos in the chorus, smoothly and even sensually delivered, blended with splashy effects and the continuous fanfare in the background--makes it suitable for both listening and singing alike. Touch is an absolute LSS!

03 星の旅人たち (Hoshi no Tabibito Tachi) sounds like Don't Stop Believing on the intro and is especially developed to make you feel you're in a pop musical. Within the same key yet a lot rhythmic than Touch, the song has a generous amount of different effects, that may not be obvious at first but becomes apparent as it progresses. Its steady beat doesn't necessarily make it a dance song; however, it's the main driver of the track. This is a nice contrast to the previous track because although both are clear-cut pop music the arrangements are entirely different. The former has a free rhythm while this is strictly accented--it makes Hoshi no Tabibito Tachi rather stale, if not for the embellishments that can be heard once in a while. NEWS' vocals are okay; I hear faint echoes as if this was recorded in a concert hall... presumably, this is part of the song's musical play style. Just one thing I am not happy about is the inclusion of (Spanish style?) guitar-plucking parts on the interlude and epilogue. For me it's out of place. Minus that and the song is actually charming, especially if you're fan of upbeat modern musical repertoire.

04 whisper doesn't deserve to be the last of the B-sides because it's close to perfection and is in a genre that fits NEWS best, in my opinion: Jazz. Not the traditional jazz in entirety, though even for a casual listener it obviously belongs to this genre. To be precise, the song sounds close to those of 80's Bebop and Funk. It's similar to Sweet Martini but this is faster, and unlike the more electro base of the other, here the glorious brass dominates the instrumental. Plus it's auto-tune free! I'm actually a fan of autotune so I don't mind if the song has its share, but for a vocally exhausting song, the breaks in whisper are magnificent. The rhythm change, the unpredictable instrumentation, the constant alter in pitches, the crazy dynamics... don't expect it'll sound very intense because it's not rock after all, but for a jazz song this is totally rockin' it.

The odd one among the tracks, it has no trace of JPop at all. It's in a different key signature too (the other three are in Cmajor). I would have wanted this to be a part of NEWS' next album rather than placed last in a single, but since the 'Classic sound' I expected is not to be found, this Ballroom-apt track compensates with its heavy brass use and complicated melodies Pop songs don't usually have. Lastly, the vocals are natural and each of the members' lines and adlibs are flawless! It's a challenging song that NEWS (not just Tegoshi, or not just any member) sings perfectly.

--

I loved Yonjuushi the single and I thought the next single wouldn't get any better than that, but this turned out to be better. I was only disconcerted at the lack of the "Refined classic sound" tag the album is supposed to have; However, the tracks are overwhelmingly good that the theme need not be needed anymore. I’ll bet that instead on the upcoming album.

Single rating: 4.5 out of 5!
addictdesu: (NEWS)
Because I'm very industrious today! :)






Title: 四銃士 (Yonjuushi)
Artist: NEWS
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Tracks: 4
yon2.jpgyon.jpg
►Limited and Regular Editions jacket covers◄


General comments:

Yonjuushi is NEWS' first-ever DVD single. I don't know its difference from an ordinary single (What's the point of a DVD for a single? Enlighten meee). Regardless, it deserves its whole upgraded packaging. I honestly didn't expect this year-end release to be good--having the group release songs in an unusually fast pace I was a tad worried if the last of NEWS' 2015 spectacle would be spectacular too.

Subjectively, it is! I love the whole package. It's my new favorite. I am charmed by the tracklist, and the PV couldn't be more sophisticated. Musically, level-headedly, the tracks are hit-or-miss. Luckily they are all 'hit' to me; I can't even choose a favorite because all tracks are my jam! Like KAGUYA and チュムチュム, NEWS prioritized variety here. But I think the assortment is less apparent in this single due to having four tracks instead of the past singles' five. Three out of four are upbeat; two out of four are 'party'; four out of four have the beginning parts sung by Tegoshi! (Am I that observant, or just biased?)

Yonjuushi the single is innovative, albeit only in certain angles. Otherwise it could bring about a generic sound impression. NEWS is still an idol group with the same league of composers and same 'ol lyrical themes. Even so, if we focus on the innovative angles, this single is more than a Johnny's pop puppetry. Theyactually explored music, especially the title track. Let's now look into each of the songs.

Song by song comments:

01 四銃士 (Yonjuushi) may not be one's cup of tea. It wasn't for me, either. An arrangement by orchestra conductor Nishimoto Tomomi, the song is entirely based on the Classical piece Rhapsody in a Theme of Paganini (which I'll simply refer as Paganini in this review), by Romantic period composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. It's not a song only made to show NEWS trying the 'classic' sound; it is also the opening song for the anime Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo.

My introduction to this track was a statement from a member (I think it was Shige?) saying  Yonjuushi is very different and new from all the songs NEWS have sung. Of course it sparked my utmost curiosity. When I heard the Anime theme version I was worn for I didn't hear a bit of newness to it--except for the strange musical Form not commonly found in pop songs. Its A-B-A-B-A-B (Extended Tertiary) Form is molded in such a way that it sounds like a draggy Sonata-Allegro even though the track's tempo is actually fast.

Read more... )
--

My rating for this single is highly subjective. Yep, even I do have wordy comments and strong opinions in my reviews, when giving ratings I consider the impact to majority of listeners and not mine. Yonjuushi is a hit-or-miss package. You need to understand Yonjuushi (the song)'s origins to appreciate it. You need to at least differentiate the preceding soccer songs before seeing the uniqueness of ANTHEM. While Eien's bad ending is really unsatisfying; and SPEAKER is mediocre. My rating therefore lies on how these songs help NEWS' musical image to be pushed upward--and in that sense, for the fans they do. The single once again showcased the flexibility of the group.

Single rating: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (4 lovely eight notes out of five!)
addictdesu: (NEWS 2)
NOTE: Originally, this review was omitted from my fandom projects list--for the usual reason, busy in RL and all. I began re-working on it months after its release, reckoning I still got time to do it! Can't deny that this single is too awesome to be ignored.





Title: チュムチュム (Chumu Chumu)
Artist: NEWS
Release date: June 24, 2015
Tracks: 5

►L-R: Regular, LE A and LE B jacket covers◄


General comments:

While the previous and the first NEWS single in 2015, KAGUYA, was as fresh as the new years could be, Chumu Chumu is a summer single, and I expected 'freshness' on a summer scale.

Well, as far as the seasons are concerned, Chumu Chumu doesn't belong to a particular season; instead it's a storehouse of seasonable tunes. We get grandiose, instrumental-heavy tracks, and a smooth flow from one genre to another; giving all the five songs a near equal significance in the single. The cohesiveness I was finding in KAGUYA? I've found it here. It isn't as powerful as my overall perception of ONE -for the win- single; although it is not the power I am noting this time, but the needed balance of the tracklist. Standalone and steady, Chumu Chumu is a quality package. NEWS' musicality still soars up high.

The only discord that has made me unsettled is the choice of Chumu Chumu as the carrier track. I know NEWS is creating a pattern of strong lead singles, and the India-themed song has the ultimate bragging rights... but I wonder if it would've been better for the group to deviate and rather chose the less upbeat tracks? As I said, almost all the songs in the single are standalone, meaning they're great on their own. With some exceptions I will discuss later, I find it a little unwise that the other great songs are just B-sides. Don't get me wrong, I looooove Chumu Chumu and its choreo and the costumes. However, other tracks have just-as-huge potential.


Song by song comments:

01 チュムチュム (Chumu Chumu) has the ultimate bragging rights! Lavish, compelling, this kind of music will never leave you without a wham or two. Obviously its inspiration is India, from the title (Chumu Chumu means "kiss" 'twas said), to the melody, to the style, execution, odds and ends. Just a simple reminder: I'm no expert on Indian genres but I've heard enough mainstream to get the idea. Most of us get the idea, don't we? *And please, I do not want to go into talks about Cultural Appropriation, better keep them out of here*

The India flair is most obvious at the intro and the outro having the exact sound, the gallant pattern of 5-bar overtones within a static chord, with a chanted "Chumu chumu" at the end of every measure, ineligible sounds such as "eiyah" and "acchacha" (in the bridge) comprise the Indian highlights, along with the accompanying instruments which set the song into a whooping feast of beats and tones.

Read more... )

--

I've said in the beginning of the review that the only discord I have is the choice of Chumu Chumu as the A-side. I love the song so much, don't get me wrong. But it has a remote resemblance to KAGUYA so I would also appreciate if they chose either Hi wa Mata Nobooru or Sweet Martini (or even Megalomania) that have entirely no similarities with the grandeur KAGUYA already offered this January. Even so, with the excellent connection of all the 5 songs, I'm very contented with this release.

How the 5 songs connect excellently :
• if Chumu Chumu is melodic, Hi wa mata noboru is harmonic
• The first two songs have loud and grand sound; Sweet Martini is relaxed
• Sweet Martini is a slow auto-tuned jazz piece, while Megalomania is an techno treat
• The third and fourth songs are effects-dominated; Sasabune is a melodious ballad

Single rating: 4.5 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: (NEWS)


The music video for 四銃士 (Yonjuushi ) is a delectable treat and yet a disappointment.

In fact, you'll find a whole bunch of reasons why this PV is one of NEWS' best, but there's also something that kills it. 'Yonjuushi' means 'Four Musketeers'--you'll immediately think of the 1970s movie--an old story, its background even much older.

But the PV is quite modern; not futuristic, as I heard some fans say. It's something that, initially basing on the CM promotions, will get you really excited for we see that it's completely different from the other 2015 PVs (KAGUYA and Chumuchumu) which were very traditional. Yonjuushi is a fresh catch from NEWS' past concepts: soccer themes and retro references. And this modern look doesn't fail us, from the PV's setting to the plot, from the choreo to the props. It complements the song's Classic flair, as Yonjuushi's melody is derived from a Classical piece! (to be discussed on the music review IF i get to finish it)

Having a very interesting and enigmatic twist, I admit my expectations for the video shoot up to 200% prior to its release. I watched the teasers/promotions everyday, overly appreciating how this is a bomb and I'll definitely be head over heels when the full PV comes out. I revered too early.

In all fairness, Yonjuushi is aesthetically pleasing. The modernity highlights the boys' handsome faces--while they are truly handsome on a regular basis, Yonjuushi gives them a demigod edge.

The past PVs have a certain vibe of 'Reaching out'. Interacting with kids/people in the soccer songs, impressing the audience in Chankapaana, and seducing the princess and lovers in KAGUYA and Chumuchumu, the latest PV offers less togetherness. Ironically, the song says "One for all, all for one". Arrogant? No it's amazing. How the members' individuality shines here is pure gold. Take these scenes for example:

2015_11_26_15.39.57.png
Tegoshi and being a... well, the star.


Massu and tastes. See the perfumes and clothes.


This is why Koyama's perfect body comes to life.


Remember Shige reading in WORLD QUEST PV? As expected from NEWS' resident smartass.

Read more... )

The PV does have a very nice execution. Unlike in Mr. White short film where the storyline was good but the execution was a meh, in here the visual appeal and sophistication is among the commendable in Johnny's. I can't say that NEWS attacked full force in Yonjuushi, although it's important to note that this is their first DVD single, meaning another milestone for the group. All in all, I still prefer NEWS' latest PV than the one before, and if not only for the puzzling plot (which is a major for me) I would give it a perfect score.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Download the PV, available in three different formats, at [livejournal.com profile] koyashigedake community!
addictdesu: (NEWS 2)
Unlike most of my reviews, I won't get into details here, and it is most likely that this post would not even reach half the length of my other reviews. The purpose of this review is not really for the sake of analysis; but for the ramblings, praises and rants I thought I should deliver before I move on to the main course (which is reviewing the tracks in the album). Um, you know that I'm veraciously critical on sounds than on visuals. xD



チュムチュム (Chumu Chumu) PV should have been one of NEWS' most remarkable PVs--if it wasn't for KAGUYA being released first, 5 months prior, with as colorful and sexy concept as in this new PV. But チュムチュム still has its stand-out points, and that should be the case for their first-ever Indian sound and theme.

The best thing in the PV is the dancing and choreography. We've seen fierce!NEWS especially at concerts but you don't have to be at a concert this time to notice how intricate the steps are, and the equivalent artistry NEWS applies to the dance steps.

Going to the theme, I guess we all have clues on how Indian concepts work, based on Bollywood movies to documentaries about Indian culture... Even just mentioning India you'd know it's about the exaggerations and exaggerations and exaggerations in exaggerating gobs. Why? They like to be fantastic. If we'd be to point one culture that's outrageous in everything, from the number of religious deities, to the everyday fashion style, there's no doubt (and no other options): India.

And so that's how I expected the PV to look like. Outrageous. Lots of random scenes, like flying carpets (I KNOW THAT'S ARABIAN BUT HECK I SAID RANDOM); a happy crowd of back-up dancers (think of Gangnam Style--I KNOW THAT'S KOREAN BUT HECK I SAID RANDOM); NEWS making weird faces in spite of the prevailing sexy concept; displays of Indian musical instruments just to know they are doing legit India; and most importantly, outdoor scenes. Yes, I hoped for a Bollywood movie-style PV.

Instead, I got a dance video of "Let's Zumba with NEWS while learning the basics of belly dancing from the back-up dancers".

This isn't to say that I totally despise the PV. NEWS is enough. No matter how bad a material is, it would always be good enough because we look at the idols more than we care about the background. Seeing their expressions, singing and dancing on camera is sufficient. Now, チュムチュム is even more special. Look at how it differs from KAGUYA even though both are sensual PVs. The other one is dramatic sexy and this is frolic sexy. Next to Koi no ABO, Chumu Chumu is NEWS' party PV. (But ah, we're not talking about a stray disco club in Japan here. We're in "India"!)

I quoted India because, the lack of Indian flavor for my critical taste does not hide the fact that visually, the video shouts no other but India. Musically and lyrically too. The members' faces tell us that they had a good time shooting the PV. Who wouldn't, if you have a very cool choreography covering three-fourths of your video? And who wouldn't, when you are an idol group that's given a chance to interpret themes like these?

I couldn't discuss the dance 'coz I'm uncomfy in that area (frustrated dancer here! orz). All I know is, the lots of jumping coupled with catchy footwork and sultry hand movements are some of the best I've seen from NEWS--in my opinion, this is one of NEWS' best dances--in my honest opinion, this is NEWS' best dance.

And in a dance PV like this, the one who naturally stands out is Massu.

In my Chumu Chumu (song) first impression post, I complained a little about Massu. Whereas in the PV, he's the outstanding one in my eyes. I'm guessing that it is because: A) The choreo excites him B) The costumes (he made) excite him C) His eyeliner excites him D) all of the above. Look closely. Massu is really, really fierce in this PV.

For the other members, I'll put it this way... While Massu shocks me with his fierceness, Koyama gives the adorably cute factor; like, he seriously looks the youngest! Shige is the gentlemanly one, the most fitting 'character' in the PV. If Chumu Chumu was a movie he prolly was the lead actor. Lastly, Tegoshi continues the Diva saga. As if you'd be surprised. xD

Overall, the PV would still have to grow more on me. But the dance is perfect, the costumes are pleasing, and NEWS is eya' hot!

Rating: ★★ for the PV
     ★★★★★ for NEWS' performance in the PV

For a fuller experience, download the PV and the single's tracks at [livejournal.com profile] darxina's journal!

Bonus:
(cr: kaguya-princess)

Come hither and I'll foretell your future... Future with me~ ♪
addictdesu: (NEWS)
As promised, posted this review! I made this in March as an entry for sg-paana's giveaway. I've forgotten to cross-post it here in my LJ until May.

Title: MR. WHITE
Artist/Actors: NEWS

From: WHITE album LE DVD
Release Date: February 25, 2015


Honestly, MR. WHITE is the first film/short film by a Johnny's group that I've watched so I have no point of comparison. But I can say that the short film could have more potential if the financial effort is done. The story is good (looking past the cliche part--there's a section for that later), the costumes are good, considering the story is cyber-themed and it involves kids; and NEWS' acting skills are quite polished already. The only major setback is the production, I think they got too cheap on that... Whereas a more costly production could make the film very satisfactory.

Why is this important? The majority of the filmviewers are NEWS fans, of course, and we can't really complain about this film because it's the first time the four of them did a thing like this, together. But the group has a lot more to showcase as actors, and the individual contributions (such as Shige's story-writing and Massu's costume-making) could've been maximized. There's much passion and hardwork in NEWS' part. Yet they get less than they deserve. The slacking is not to be blamed on them, really.



In one word, MR. WHITE is: Exciting. The transformation is not so apparent--even in that Ghostbusters-like suit and apparatus they're pretty much like themselves, only geared towards an entirely different mission. And that's what makes it exciting, the rescue mission that need no exaggerations (um, flying capes and extraordinary strength) which would make it absurd, in my opinion, if they used that instead.

The storyline is common. Shige might have had other ideas (vampires and such? LOL) but this was easy and probably less complicated to do. Actually, I like it, because of the Internet theme + children. It's a very good contrast to the recently released KAGUYA in which NEWS showed their sexiness and maturity against an age-old backdrop (a folklore). This time, it's very modern to somehow futuristic, and refreshing because of the costumes and the action scenes that show a new character to the group.

Still on the storyline, if it is typical, the overall plot is not. I very much appreciate the concept used--children are downloaded into the internet, for the purpose of extracting their imagination, using it as energy and foundation for building evil on the Internet. A mind-opening theme that stresses the importance of young people, and the capabilities of the modern technology. The existence of MR. WHITE and Team White, in my interpretation, are not to totally oppose this kind of technology but to take away its negative effects.

At first I have doubts on the costumes. When I watched the whole thing it eventually made sense; it fits the story and the song MR. WHITE itself. Still, I can't help but think of Ghostbusters... But aren't theyWeblack busters too?

Scene by scene review

Onto the action... )

--

MR. WHITE runs for approximately 20 minutes 30 seconds. Achieving this, it must've been hard to cram the scenes, and adding more goes beyond the question. It has an easy to understand plot, easy on the eyes cinematography, unforgettable costumes and a catchy theme song. To be frank, I see MR. WHITE as an unpolished experiment rather than a masterpiece. Though there's always room for improvement so I hope that NEWS will be given more projects like this because they can definitely do it.

The film's title is MR. WHITE, yet TEAM WHITE is better, don't you think? They went with the title of the theme song, that's forgivable. But Team White practically did the work to save the children. Like NEWS working hard for the love of us. We love you back, our superheroes.
addictdesu: (NEWS)
Only did it after three weeks. I'm not that late, am I?






Title: KAGUYA
Artist: NEWS
Release date: January 7, 2015
Tracks: 5
REGULARLIMITEDB
►L-R: Regular Edition and Limited Edition B jacket covers◄

General comments:

This deserves to be called a comeback single.

JPop and KPop groups have different connotations of/for the term comeback. 'Comeback' in JPop means coming back from a significant hiatus, usually accompanied by problems in the group or of an individual member, and so it is considered a big word. 'Comeback' in KPop is less severe; K-ent companies have their groups releasing material commonly after a year or less of receded activities. In short, it happens regularly in KPop. Nonetheless, comebacks are important and are always much-awaited on both of these pop music cultures.

When I said KAGUYA deserves to be called a comeback single, I am pointing to the Korean connotation. Just like KPop groups' comebacks, KAGUYA radiates this vibe of "I'm back after some rest, get your grooves again!" This is true since NEWS wasn't active doing group work last year.
Read more... )


Song by song comments:

01 KAGUYA
KAGUYA is snappy. See, not that type of love song. Sound-wise, it is along the lines of Chankapaana, Quntastic!, and Koi no ABO. But unlike these three which have a disco/70's flair, KAGUYA is a modern oriental party pop; the 'oriental' being its base. Go figure. It is obvious from the traditional instruments used.

What I hate about KAGUYA: nothing. What I love about KAGUYA: everything! Even though it is far from the slow and soothing love song I hoped NEWS' next anthem to be, KAGUYA got into my faves list like a rocket for its intensity. No belting--remember? But it has all the elements for me to say that it is--sound-wise again--better than Chankapaana. I've also read comments from other people saying this is the best NEWS carrier single after Taiyou no Namida, and has a beauty comparable to the song Forever.

Read more... )


Wraaping it up:

KAGUYA challenged variety in a way I don't like much, to be honest. Nevertheless, many good points emerged from the experimentation done in this single. It's a release which will make you proud of NEWS more than ever. Not to mention, it's a good prelude to the new album coming in February!

Single rating: 3.5 out of 5! (I couldn’t use eighth notes because of the .5 huhuhu)
Download the album (including the PV and the making in one!) go to [livejournal.com profile] rockthecliche. For the lyrics and translations, go to [livejournal.com profile] aitamashii and/or h0bbitx3 :)
addictdesu: (NEWS)
Super late post but I still wanna do it! I have a lot to ramble about this single xD





Title: ONE -for the win-
Artist: NEWS
Release date: June 11, 2014
Tracks: 5
neeenews-oneforthewin
►L-R: the Limited Edition A and B jacket covers◄

General comments:

This single... Is one of NEWS' most powerful releases, because--and not just because--three of its songs were used in the World Cup. Musically speaking, here are the reasons why.

Read more... )

Song by song comments:

01 ONE -for the win- fits World cup in Brazil like a glove. The tropic sound and rhythm; percussion rolls, the chorus of ethnic voices to the inset sound of people cheering in the intro, the build-up in the refrains, and the "Viva la vida Brazil" at the start of the choruses... It's truly a high-spirited song with the spirit of the recent World Cup. The highlights in this song a.k.a. the-most-wonderful-thing-I've-heard-NEWS-sing-of is the 32 countries mentioned, all the countries that participated in the said event! See the effort there... And the Engrish. Lots of Engrish. Ostorariya is Australia, Kuroachiya is Croatia, Nejaran is Netherlands and so on. Massu's rap part where he sang 1/3 of the countries and 1/2 of the Engrish was a laughingstock to me the first time I heard it! Nevertheless, this song, with its melody and lyrics, is a celebration of unity among these countries. This is a very influential A-side with a fun yet unfortunately low-budgeted indoor PV (as always. ><)

Read more... )

Wrapping it up:

The past two singles, Chankapaana and WORLD QUEST/Pokoponpekorya showed what NEWS with 4 members can do. ONE -for the win- isn't about that anymore. It's now what they can challenge to become a more efficient and appealing singing group. They aimed for power and they earned it with power.

I have come to a conclusion that NEWS members have always been, and will always be, cohesive in terms of musicality, no matter how different their voices and styles were/are with one another, 9 or 8 or 6 or 4. This release is the newest (and arguably the strongest) proof. Turns out, ONE -for the win- is more than a product of the World Cup hype... It's NEWS setting the bar up, higher than what they've reached in the past ten years.

Album rating: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ / 5 lovely eighth notes out of 5!
Download the album (including the PV and the making in one!) go to [livejournal.com profile] rockthecliche. For the lyrics and translations, go to [livejournal.com profile] aitamashii :)
addictdesu: (NEWS)
Long ago I was already thinking of doing a review of NEWS MAKES YOU HAPPY! MAKES THE WORLD HAPPIER! concert. Then March 19, the DVD release date, came; and with all of excited NEWS fans I watched the con immediately... Not forgetting my plan to write a review. I watched it 2 times, 3 times, 4 times, 5 times, preparing my cellphone just in case I can think of something to put in the review! But after a week of watching I gave up. Conclusion: I am forever lazy. Or I was just dumbstruck by the awesome concert, maybe.

After a few weeks the LJ comm for Singaporean Paanas [livejournal.com profile] sg_paanas held a contest. A giveaway that greatly inspired me to do the review--at least in a spontaneous way. So I did! I'm proud that it's my most spontaneous analyzation ever. Most importantly, I never expected that this spontaneity would turn into a beautiful post. I'm very proud of my work okay. *teary-eyed*

This is gonna be long but crammed because the more I want to edit it the more I get lost XD I'll be talking about the concert itself. *excluding the cut scenes*
Read on... )


P.S. Belated happy birthday KEIICHAN!!! I did not make a bday post for you here in LJ but sweeear I was very active greeting you on FB. And I did a decent tumblr post! I love you Koyamama. All my wishes for your 30th year of existence ♥

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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