Kyoko to Takashi
Rurou no Machi
Na no Hana Hata Detsukamaete
Eisa begins the album and even though it was the last A-side of the era, It does seem a little weird to start off like that. It just seems to have a more ending kind of feel to it. Still, one of the more traditional tracks on the album, since most of the new tracks are loving the electric guitar.
2. Tokyo Hyoryuu
It’s definitly a nice surprise that Tokyo Hyoryuu is pretty much an acoustic ballad. I didn’t expect such a track to happen, but JERO made it so that we’d connect with the song. His voice definitly has gotten so much better since the debut and it really shows a more emotional side to him. Good job here.
3. Argentine Touhikou
Funny to hear female BKGD singers and castanets fill up this next track. Right now it is his most upbeat song and even though JERO’s vocals come off being too soft at least until the chorus where he does show off a little more. I do love how he ends the chorus being loud and powerful. Exciting track.
Shiren instantly reminded me of “Umiyuki” because of the dramatic electric guitar and strings combination. Even though it’s shortlived, Shiren still failed to really surprise me. I do like the harmonica moments, it just melded in with the strings so fine. It just seems to be a more dramatic “Umiyuki” for me.
5. Hare Butai
I still enjoy Hare Butai, being a B-side. Initially I thought it was going to be one of those really boring ballads, but he threw a twist into the plans and made a very cool jazzy song, maybe borderline pop song. It’s sweet to see how JERO can manage a different style, other than enka.
6. Kyoko to Takashi
And then we have this track…It’s possibly the most random track because of “off” it sounds. First off the arrangement is like something you’d hear in a 70′s cop drama…so right from the start it’s so strange. 2nd is that there’s synths and brass included. It’s not bad, but it does throw the mood out of the door since “Hare Butai” was such an easy song and then to have peppy and strange Kyoko to Takashi just pop up seems off. Good song though.
7. Rurou no Machi
Rurou no Machi did get a tie-in which is nice because this is another one of those dramatic Enka songs. You hear distant sounds from the shakuhacki during the verses and the brass plays a role here again but it isn’t in your face like the previous track. It shows off some of JERO’s best vocals here so this is easily one of my memorable tracks.
8. Osaka Jewel
Forget it, this is one exciting track. It’s a cross between something Enka and Latin music so it’s a fusion for me. There’s some explosive sounds from the brass and the mood seems really happy. The chorus is fast in sound, but JERO keeps it on a lower tempo. I already think this is my favorite track off the album. It’s just so frantic and just full of life.
9. Na no Hana Hata Detsukamaete
He’s churning out some super songs closer to the end of the album. It’s funny that I can imagine the music to be like from some Final Fantasy because it has a great piano arrangement and the strings make it pop out some more. It’s nice that it breaks the mold for Enka and JERO feels right in this song.
Actually hearing this on the album really makes this song feel rather weak against the new tracks. It is his debut song and still the song has some awkward spots on his vocals and the electric guitar seems to be one instrument that I probably could’ve live without. It’s OK, but there’s better tracks.
Song of Avoidance
Would you be really surprised that this album could be one of the standout albums so far this year. JERO doesn’t follow the rest because he twisted Enka around and made seem mainstream at points. Even the two A-sides failed to be on the recommended because they both felt like minor drawbacks to the new stuff. If you like Enka, then you’ll get a kick out of this one.