addictdesu: (NEWS)
[personal profile] addictdesu
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.
However, it doesn't mean that the single has a KPop feel to it--it is actually the very opposite. The tracks in KAGUYA are very different from each other; it's a crazy variety that you can only find in JPop. The song KAGUYA itself sounded the way I had imagined Japanese pop music to be when I wasn't still a fan!

So far, in all my reviews, the score or rate of the material is put at the end of the post. In this case, I'm giving my numerical judgment now: 3.5 out of 5. KAGUYA deserves to be called a comeback single, yes; it's a single to be celebrated, absolutely! But I see some loopholes in it to not give a perfect score, even the excellent number four. Three means average, and KAGUYA is above that, which is the reason for the decimal.

How the single gets its love from me is the exact problem I see. Variety. The tracks are so unique from one another that it's almost impossible to connect them in a musical basis. To put it simply, think of a medley. KAGUYA's five tracks are hard to combine together in a medley without producing friction in any way. Random is good and I love randomness, but in most objects, even randomness has its proper order. That's what I observe in the single's setlist: there is not enough organization. It bugged me for some time until I realized this major "mistake" of the single.

The upside of being over varied is, it is fun! It is unseasonal. It could stir up different moods. It is like a full-length album in one single. Therefore, as much as I have rants on KAGUYA's inconsistency I could give endless praises on its spontaneous, crazy chaos.

KAGUYA got an 'above average' score but I prefer to change it to 'above normal'--abnormal! It will be later expounded when we get to the track-by-track review. As far as the whole single is concerned, there is a lot going on. It has a lot of restless energy. But I don't forget that in it are two ballads, in spite of my comments that make the single appear full of craziness and just craziness. It has ballads that can make you slow down, close your eyes, and cry.

Compared to NEWS' preceding single, ONE -for the win-, KAGUYA has toned down, literally. It has no belting; I'm not used to this anymore! So it is where another 'loophole' is found. Although never wrong and never will be, I could not give a perfect score on a single without hearing high notes from Tegoshi.

This is not being biased. This is just my personal standard in NEWS songs.

But why need the belting when there are lots of good parts? Yes, there are lots of them. Good vocal execution from all the members. I applaud everyone, especially Shige, for vocally pulling off these tracks in one pack. He melded along the versatility of the single. He's at its peak in the fastest songs, and holds consistent until the slowest track. Noting this... He should do a ballad for his next solo. (PLEASESHIGEPLEASE)

If you're gonna dissect the songs into each member's parts, the one who gets the most part is--apparently Tegoshi, with his adlibs and extra notes--and the least, is Koyama. I've found a loophole again. They don't have an equal footing this time, as opposed to the solo sections in the previous 4-nin singles. Three out of five songs in KAGUYA I barely hear Koyama's voice in clarity. Because it's either Tegoshi does a second voice or Koyama just have little parts in these songs. Not fair. Moreover, I don't see the point when in the previous singles Koyama had already proved his vocal powers. It drives me into thinking there will be more KoyaTego/TegoKoya harmonization in future songs. While it's good that it is not Tegomass who does a 'Tegomass' in NEWS tracks, Koyama needs to have more prominent solo parts. Anyway, he still did a great job in this one!

Back to the lack of belting. To be honest, I'm not demanding of this and I understand the fans who already want to take a break from Tegoshi's belts. However, I expected at least one high and mighty note in any of the songs, yet there wasn't any! Don't include KAGUYA's bridge, I don’t consider middle A a high note for Tego.

Now this could classify as a rant or praise: My biggest expectation failed. Before the previews were out we're only aware that KAGUYA is a song derived from a tale. The description says it's a love song. I'm sure everybody who saw that info imagined a Cherish-like tune with a happier version of Sakura Girl PV, vice versa. Who would've expected it to be Chankapaana 2.0.?...

...BUT WHEN I HEARD IT FOR THE FIRST TIME, I LOVED IT. See, this could classify as a rant and a praise. It is the primary reason why I call it a comeback single. And the PV isn't even a 2.0., of anything. It is something else, a daring interpretation of a playfully dramatic concept. I'll try to post a brief PV review when I get the time.


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.


I love how they used vocal synthesizers in the verses (but my sister is against these effects hahaha). It gives the modern, pop feel. The catchiest part, the chorus, got catchier because of the back-ups; "saga saga" honestly defined everything. The saga of love, it was said. So it follows a usual chord progression underneath an intricate melodic line. It is a song you won't get bored of not because of its fast tempo, but for the eventful shifting of tones. Have you heard of a Koto* being played? It is so melodic you think they've plucked every string. That's the thrill KAGUYA makes me feel.

* = The koto (Japanese: ) is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, similar to the Chinese zheng, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. The koto is the national instrument of Japan. [cr: wiki]

My favorite part is the bridge (regardless of being sung by my bias). The irregular beat + diminishing gradient effect of "Looking for my princess" is enough for me to swoon, but then Tegoshi entered the bridge part in syncopation! Syncopation is different from synchronization 'kay. ** I have a big love for syncopation that is unfortunately rarely used in JPop, so, now that I've heard it in KAGUYA I've also found a "princess" in that sense.

** = In music, syncopation involves a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected which make part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. [cr: wiki]

Until I've seen the full PV I did not realize it is also Tegoshi who says/whispers "KAGUYA" at the end of the bridge. Whoever it is anyway, this is a very powerful conjunction to the last chorus and the sultry resolution. Um, everything is sultry in this song.

Imma add this: KAGUYA is the perfect Karaoke jam, dear fangirls. Its key is not too high and not too low for us to sing! Let us rejoice~ oeoeoeoeoh koi no saga~

02 Butterfly
This song is the continuation of Kimi Ga Ita Natsu from ONE -for the win-, and it moves from summer to a possibly spring setting. It has a midtempo rhythm like its source, albeit I consider it a ballad; the first of two in this single. The lovers in the song have not yet reconciliated, or maybe not ever... But Butterfly conveys a message of hope along the prevailing longing emotion of the track.

Its key signature is F major which transposes into E major at the chorus parts. It has no bridge; I have guessed, this is to prevent the song from becoming a cliché, because it already sounds cliché. But don't get me wrong, I love this song. I rank it tie with KAGUYA. Besides, this song sounds originally NEWS. It just feels weird that it doesn't sound like it's derived from Kimi Ga Ita Natsu but from FLYING BIRD! LOL what. Blame the electric guitars.

You know that a NEWS song is not exceptionally standout yet naturally good and emotive when it's Shige who starts the song. He does it here, passing a flawless flow to Massu, who in my opinion is an expert in midtempo pop-rock; then to Tegoshi and then to Koyama (with Tegoshi as the second voice), to the key change at the chorus. Speaking of chorus parts, Tegoshi gets to sing a solo line in the first chorus and Massu in the second one. A short instrumental interlude takes in place of the bridge until it goes to the last chorus. It has a stereotype ending. Basically and technically, Butterfly is a NEWS stereotype.

03 TRAVeLiNG
If Butterfly is the stereotypical track, TRAVeLiNG is quick at erasing the 'common' trails and making this single a hell of a mess--in both good and bad ways. Many fans love this song because it's unique, fun, playful. Gosh I love the giddy lyrics! But musically, this is the least tasteful, for me, it's like a scrap of two different songs forcefully merged together. Wild West and Jazz, it doesn't pay off properly here.

The verses are a no-no, what are they trying to sound like. I can accept if this was sung during the 8-nin era. But since D.T.F. set the standard for playful and comedic NEWS songs, TRAVeLiNG's verses appear to me as a lame joke.

It picked up, however, in some parts, like the refrains and bridge where they get to have solo lines. And if you notice, those solos are also the Jazz-sounding parts; this song could actually be better if it was pure Jazz. But I have to acknowledge that the catchy chorus catches me a bit. It is danceable, and fun to sing.

Of course I still have a reason to love this song. NEWS vocals are equal here. It is a genre/a combination of genres which no members are expert of; thus, you cannot hear them displaying techniques but just having a good, nasty time.

04 TOP OF THE WORLD
My favorite track so far! And guess what, yes you guess, it is a soccer song--it doesn't have to literally depict soccer or be used in CWC or WC to believe that this is a soccer song. And it's not that I want this to replace KAGUYA as the title track, really, it won't ever be that. But from the energy and passion it vibrates through, I suppose I'm still not tired of soccer-themed songs. Viva la vida Brazil! (kidding xD)

It has a bit influence of WORLD QUEST for using a minor key and SEVEN COLORS in terms of melody and effects. Although it is much lower; with no raps, no belting, no obbligato. In fact, it is better this way. If you put high notes and a rap part, it will obviously sound very alike to the aforementioned songs.

Just like track 02 Butterfly, it has no bridge. It isn't necessary as the length of the song splendidly matches its tempo. And because it is similar to the previous soccer tracks I cannot think of other technicalities to add. I'll just end with the answer to why TOP OF THE WORLD is my favorite in this single: In some way it reminds me of Kis-My-Ft2's genre? Also, the techno, borderline robotic effects, combined with strong beats and formidable vocal power!

05 Wasurenagusa (also track 03 in LE version)
The real ballad is here. Sad and slow, I do not even dare to read the lyric translation thoroughly. Let me clarify that I'm not into these kinds of slow songs, therefore I rank it second to the least favorite in this single.

Personal preference aside, I do admire the song's beauty. It is arguably the best track musically and it shows in its simplicity; no effects, just NEWS' voices, piano and strings. I can also say that the arrangement is plain genius. A slow, dramatic build-up seeps into the chorus, and the minor key recedes to a single major chord at the finale.

The 2:10-long track could've been longer but I understand why it was kept short--there is no unison. At all. It was made to flaunt the member's solo voices (why not?) in a short prose flourished by the lullaby melody. This is the kind of song only NEWS can do the right way. If you want to hear NEWS' real formidable side, more formidable than the power of their soccer songs, then listen to Wasurenagusa. There's real magic here.


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 :)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-23 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mocoharuma.livejournal.com
dropping by...okaeri! Leya chan. sasuga! I love to read your review...["always"], a very honest one!!! no more words to say. so happy that they are active now, I did miss it last year! and of course the concert! glad to hear the good news.... it`s big NEWS!!!!!!.
p.s.
love your pika pika bg

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-29 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leitoph.livejournal.com
Thanks tita! Masyado yata akong naging blunt dito? Hehehe. Naghahanda na rin ako para sa new album sa Feb, marami-raming review ang gagawin!

Miss yooouuu tita~ ♥ papalitan ko na sana layout ko this January pero natuwa rin ako sa background kaya wag muna :)

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Leya

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