In The Spotlight (TOKYO)
GO ROUND (‘N ROUND ‘N ROUND)
Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!
Break It (AL Ver.)
Get Myself Back
1. In The Spotlight (TOKYO)
Opening Namie’s album up, we start with a new track! Now the first thing that caught me off guard is that the song is sung in English! (or Engrish). I kind of like the arrangement since it kind of reminds me of “Hide & Seek” but less marching. It’s pretty upbeat and Namie’s voice is smooth like normal but I’m not sure of the English…it’s good but when it’s bad, IT’S BAD. Still not bad and a good opening to the album.
Which is good because it leads into NAKED in an amazing way. I still love this song a lot for being an A-side! I mean it is a Shinichi Osawa song so it’s clearly going to be electro-heavy and it’s just a badass song. I especially love that chorus which has this force of power behind it and all the Osawa-ness of the arrangement is just fiery. Definitely my favorite A-side of the era…or is it?
3. GO ROUND (‘N ROUND ‘N ROUND)
Three of the A-sides of the album got edited for the album and it’s odd that all of the final single for the era got changed lyrically. What I mean is that this song and “YEAH-OH” got English versions. Now GO ROUND did start to grate on my after a while and I just kind of forgot about it. I enjoyed the fact that I understood the lyrics better but once again her accent seems to bother me…but I liked her ~go round, go round, go round!~ a lot more here. Did I forget to mention that it kind of has a new intro/sound to it? YEAH!
4. Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!
I’ve always found myself a bit annoyed when it came to SSWD for some reason. I don’t know why but it feels to me as if she’s just singing the verses in such a monotone way and the bridge is slower and then the chorus is back to the monotone-ness. I know it’s a love song (somewhat) but I felt the whole dog terms to be somewhat cheesy and more of a gimmick to the tune. I’m just not a fan of this.
5. Hot Girls
At 3 minutes, Hot Girls is the shortest tune and it’s kind of a song I wouldn’t expect Namie to do. I actually feel like this is more Kuu’s kind of lane. I don’t know why Namie is on this English addiction because it’s kind of annoying. The whole ~Hot girls make the world go round~ might be making reference to “GO ROUND” (XD) but it’s a little odd and kind of annoying hahah. It just feels like it’s just there on the album and nothing to remember besides the hook.
6. Break It (AL Ver.)
It took a while but Break It also became a favorite of mine despite me giving low scores. I loved the funkiness in the guitar lines and the arrangement was quite banging (especially the parts before each verse). Then we get an album version of it and wasn’t expecting that the arrangement to be reworked. Instead of the funky guitar lines, it’s got more of this industrial synth line which kind of made me frown. I will say the chorus does sound stronger with more music but they should’ve kept the guitar lines. Plus I don’t really like whatever they did with Namie’s vocals…they sound a lil muffled? I don’t know but it kind of bothers me!
7. Get Myself Back
Awkward flow moment happens moving from “Break It” into it’s fellow A-side Get Myself Back from the same single. Granted I’ve wanted to hear a softer song from her for quite a while. I still do think that it feels American for some reason but I do enjoy Namie’s vocals quite a bit and the song itself isn’t great but it’s far from being bad.
8. Love Story
It’s funny that she stuck Love Story after “Get Myself Back” since I did compare the two together. It’s not as R&B like the previous song but it is quite simpler and focuses on Namie’s vocals. I do think at times it’s pretty but I’d have to be wide awake for this one because it’s quite boring otherwise. I can get behind the previous track but this feels like it’s got pieces of “Get Myself Back” with the R&B style and “Tempest” with the chorus being so flowing.
9. Let’s Go
That R&B impasse was very strange and cuts the album in flow because once “Love Story” ends, we get into our next new track in Let’s Go and of the new songs, it’s the only one NOT in English. I like the synth buzzes of the song with Namie just kicks the songs butt which is a surprise to me. The chorus is a little disappointing since it doesn’t feel like it’s so big as I would’ve hoped from the arrangement. I like it but I wouldn’t say it’s the best.
10. SINGING “YEAH-OH”
Yup, YEAH-OH got the English treatment as well and it’s kind of surprising since most of it was already in Engrish as it is. I mean the fact that it’s kind of worse which isn’t surprising but I still do love YEAH-OH for some reason even though it’s kind of like her just riding the whole love of saying ~yeaaaaah-oh, singing yeaaaaAAAAaaaa-ooooooh~. Very Americanized but there’s something about the song I love (but take the Japanese version, this is kind of ugh).
11. Fight Together
Moving onto another one of my favorites, Fight Together (or that One Piece tune) makes its place on the album and I’m surprised and elated to see it. I love that it fits the atmosphere of the series and has kind of an intriguing arrangement which most of the songs seem to lack. I mean synths and a funky bridge area and it’s like soooo good. I keep switching between this and “NAKED” on best song of the era/album…they’re both SOOOO good!
12. ONLY YOU
Great, more English with our final new song, ONLY YOU. I kind of like that it sort of has the same synth-y flow like “Fight Together” but it’s kind of shrouded by the engrishness which is at its worst in this song for some reason. I just feel that it’s really plain and doesn’t seem to fit the album (and yet I love the previous track). I don’t know it’s a little off for me but I’m not sure why.
Appropriate to close the album, we get Tempest which I think is her best ballad she’s done in a long time! I mean yeah, the verses are empty as hell since it’s just only piano and some twinkling sounds. Luckily, it all changes because the choruses are flowing and dramatic and so Disney-ish to me. It’s a pretty damn good closer and thought nothing else would’ve been a suitable choice other than Tempest.
Song of Avoidance
Now there’s been a lot of people that were orgasming over this album and to be honest I’m failing to see the good side of it. Yes, it does have EVERY A-side in the era…but good lord 4 new tracks only and three edited A-sides? This feels more like a singles collection than an actual studio album. Add that 5 songs were in all English and it felt like this was just a mess! I really didn’t understand the reasoning for that and none of the songs felt like they connected which is also different as well. I hope Namie doesn’t pull this again because this is not a great album…