U ♡ Me (Rena & Risa Ver.)
Kimagure na Palette Type
Winter Has Come
Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru (Album Ver.)
Afternoon a Go-Go (Album Ver.)
Shopping☆Kirari (Album Ver.)
Afternoon a Go-Go -We Love You MIX- (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)
Shopping☆Kirari ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Waterfront Mix~ (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)
Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Death Techno Mix~ (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)
1. Opening ~Instrumental~
I’m kind of surprised that the album begins with a breezy acoustic opener. Not that I didn’t find that exactly out of left field, just a little odd…especially since the songs I’ve heard aren’t exactly like that hahaha.
2. Sakasaka Circus
As it is the duo’s final single of the era, Sakasaka Circus is pretty freaky if you ask me! I can’t exactly describe the exact sound of the song, but it’s cute and has this light jazzy circus feel to it. It’s a song on its own and the fun atmosphere that came with the accordion arrangement is just so cool and right refreshing to hear almost. It’s almost a giddy song to listen to…I am definitely a fan of this tune. Rena and Risa sound soft and fluffy in the song as well BTW
2. U ♡ Me (Rena & Risa Ver.)
As it’s the duo’s debut A-side, U ♡ Me on the album confused me because of why it was tagged with the whole Rena/Risa ver. Well from what it seems there was a member named Rika in the group, but she left to join Idoling!! and by album’s release, she was replaced by Rena. I’ll admit that Risa is getting more lines than Rena, but I don’t mind. The light 60′s pop sound is rather sweet and syrupy and I once again found myself smiling at this sound coming from the group.
4. happy merry-go-round
Our first new song off the album, happy merry-go-round is a bit like the last song in the way it’s fluffy pop. It’s however a bit more relaxed and calm as well which gives it a more nostalgic and light flow. I do like the muted trumpet solo in the song. No real solos to account for, but still vocally together.
5. Kimagure na Palette Type
I’m not sure what to classify our next new track, but Kimagure na Palette Type has a strange sound going for it. It’s a bit more upbeat and arrangement-wise more enticing and there’s a weird instrumental hook to it that links the lyrics in the chorus together. So far this is their cutest song and I kind of loved the flow of the song!
6. Winter Has Come
I think I would classify Winter Has Come as a ballad because so far the song is slower than all the songs and is just Rena and Risa with acoustic guitar and very light instruments…like bass and percussion. This is probably the first time I start to notice the girls aren’t together a lot and while that creates some awkward mixing of notes, the chorus fixes things up since it musically opens up and adds strings to the mix. It’s nice to listen to, but it’s not all that memorable otherwise.
7. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru (Album Ver.)
The next three songs were previously released as digital singles prior to the album’s release and starting with the last one released. It sounds like an indian summer song. I was so lost with the sitar, accordion, and other weird stuff that was added. After the opening, Rena & Risa come in with this rather relaxing beach sound and I swear…it’s almost perfect with the song. However why was their male vocals in the song as well? I didn’t expect that at all. Good song after all hehe.
8. Afternoon a Go-Go (Album Ver.)
The first digital single released, Afternoon a Go-Go continues this retro sound that most of the album has been supplying us and while it’s got the most retro sound I’ve heard so far, this song is just cute. I do like the guitar melody and with it’s pop sound it’s kind of exciting. Vocally could be more louder, but Rena and Risa aren’t strong singers though.
9. Shopping☆Kirari (Album Ver.)
A song about shopping? Well, whatever works for them because it kind of did for me. The arrangement is a whole lot faster and so are the lyrics coming from the duo. It does kind of remind me of “Afternoon a Go-Go” just a little bit. So far, this isn’t really bringing anything to the table so I’m kind of letting it fly by my head a little bit.
As the 2nd single released in the era, Nicola sounds like the previous two songs but with a more apparant acoustic sound to it and while I do like that it has a bit more energy to it, the girls kind of sound boring in it. I’m not sure why I’m all of a sudden feeling the boredom with the girls but it was just so hard not to comment about. Sorry, but I’ll pass and it’s prolly my lease favorite A-side of the era as well.
As the final new track, Vanillade is a 2 minute ending vocal tune. I’m not sure why but it’s muffled up with just acoustic guitar and Rena and Risa singing together. I don’t like the fact that it’s amazingly short and sounds really old and muffled. Still it’s a pretty nice little tune and the whistling behind the singing was kind of a nice addition as well.
12. Ending ~Instrumental~
Kind of the same way the album opened up, we get a very similar breezy outro and while there’s a little bit of ad-libbing going on with the two members as the song fades away. Kind of an odd way to finish the album up but w/e.
13. Afternoon a Go-Go -We Love You MIX- (Remastering Ver.)
Then we get into bonus tracks which is unsurprisingly remixes of the digital singles that were also released digitally after said song. The first of them, Afternoon a Go-Go’s seems a little more upbeat and exciting with a the vocals a little quieter than the regular cut. It’s a bit different but not too much. Well, there’s extra vocal parts but not from the girls…strange…
14. Shopping☆Kirari ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Waterfront Mix~ (Remastering Version)
I actually approved of this remix because it actually turned the song into a new wave kind of song. While vocally it might not be as right as it should, the synths and fun rhythms kind of took over…that is until they hit the bridge where things got uncomfortable but the chorus was great. It’s an unusual remix, but still cool nonetheless.
15. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Death Techno Mix~ (Remastering Ver.)
And finally we get a remix for the one with the long title and Death Techno wouldn’t have been at the top of the list on how this song should’ve been remixed. It’s actually kind of like the oddest song off the album because it is the most energetic, but also the most awkward one as well because Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru just seems lifeless as a song when there’s a darker tinge thrown at it. Give the arrangement a melody, then we’ll talk.
Song of Avoidance
Vanilla Beans’ debut album was a nice surprise for me. I mean despite the duo taking their music in a retro kind-of fashion, it’s not that bad. There are a few problems like the songs being a little too similar and the girls being too soft or not vocally together but as a debut album, this is a good start and I’m surprised they haven’t gotten noticed by Japan yet since they don’t have anyone that sounds like they do.