Kurayami Monogatari

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Morning Musume ’20 – KOKORO & KARADA/LOVEpedia/Ningen Kankei No way way December 28, 2019

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 4:47 am

kokorokarada

Track Listing

  1. KOKORO & KARADA
  2. LOVEpedia
  3. Ningen Kankei No way way
  4. KOKORO & KARADA (Instrumental)
  5. LOVEpedia (Instrumental)
  6. Ningen Kankei No way way (Instrumental)

1. KOKORO & KARADA

Being shown off as early as the Fall tour (something that shared with “Hey! Unfair Baby” which isn’t on this single sadly enough), KOKORO & KARADA is definitely not a normal EDM track released by the group which has since grown 3 members in Homare Okamura, Rio Kitagawa, and Mei Yamazaki for the single!  About the song, it’s quite a lot to take in with a mix of piano/strings and strong synths.  Though I will say the way the track is laid out might be odd.  I love the verses & pre-chorus, but the odd piano/strings breakdown and the chorus itself is a little going everywhere!  Then the bridge going into 90’s trance was an odd move, but I think I’ve quickly gotten used to it.  It’s got a LOT of good moments about it and seeing Fukuchan, Odasaku, and even Maachan lead has been kind of been interesting as of late.  This has room to grow more and more with more listens!

2. LOVEpedia

The other A-sides are actually quite interesting that both share the same melody but have different lyrics and arrangements going on.  Just from the title, I wasn’t surprised this was more of the cuter song of the two and it’s focused on the newer members which is a surprising move.  That said, you get to hear a lot of Homare, Mei, Rio, Reina, Kaede, Akane, Chisaki, and even Miki here which is nice.  I will say, Mei’s vocals are a little squeaky, but I approve so far!

3. Ningen Kankei No way way

With the 3rd A-side, I get a certain “Sukatto My Heart” and “Seishun Night” vibes with this one and yet has a bit more serious lyrics about it.  Though vocally I’m noticing the vocals switched up to Maria, Mizuki, Sakura, Erina, Masaki, Ayumi, Reina, and Kaede, but it does seem all the members get something in this one but those are where the focuses are at.  The song is pretty good, though it did leave me one question…why are they using the melody of “Turkey in the Straw” in the bridge, it kind of throws out the seriousness of the lyrics to be honest and just kind of feels off-putting to me, throw that out and the song is pretty nice.

 

 

For the group’s first single in 2020, I definitely feel like this was a pretty good start and kind of outranks anything they released the year previous to be quite honest.  KOKORO & KARADA might take a few listens to get used to because it’s pretty messy and transitions are kind of all over, but I think it’s worth the listen while LOVEpedia and Ningen Kankei No way way was pretty interesting songs in the way they share melodies, but one is cute and the other is a smidge more serious.  It’s a pretty good way to show off new members in both the 2nd/3rd A-sides (but also puts some spotlight in other members too).

 

Country Girls – Country Girls Daizenshuu ① December 17, 2019

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:59 am

countrygirlsdaizenshuu

Track Listing

  1. Itooshikutte Gomen ne
  2. Koi Dorobo
  3. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne
  4. Tamerai Summertime
  5. Boogie Woogie LOVE
  6. Koi wa Magnet
  7. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~
  8. Dou Datte Ii no
  9. Namida no Request
  10. Good Boy Bad Girl
  11. Peanut Butter Jelly Love
  12. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2015.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)
  13. Ashita Kara wo Omokage
  14. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto
  15. Mousou Rehearsal
  16. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou!
  17. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei
  18. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta
  19. Kimama na Kataomoi

CD2

  1. Konamaiki Girl
  2. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”
  3. Matenai After Five
  4. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai
  5. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke
  6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)
  7. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~
  8. Natsuiro no Palette
  9. Zutto Zutto
  10. Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (2015 Country Girls Ver.)
  11. Uwaki na Honey Pie (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

1. Itooshikutte Gomen ne

Of course since it’s a best album it’s fair they would be doing this chronologically and kick the album off with their debut with the original 6 (Uta, Manaka, Momoko, Risa, Mai, and Chisaki).  I kind of like the whimsical sound of the song that’s kind of cutesy and just happy-go-lucky (especially with those English lyrics following with Utachan’s ever-loved opening line!).  It’s just such a lovely debut for the group that really stood out from everyone else (though Kobushi Factory was right behind them too).  Coming back to this, there’s a lot of Uta here while the rest of the group kind of had some solos (I think Mai was the other profound one here too).  It’s just kind of sad that this (and “Koi Dorobo”) were the only contributions Uta had for the group as she left shortly before their 2nd single.  Such a great song!

2. Koi Dorobo

As the other A-side from their debut single, Koi Dorobo was a little more flirty and silly for the group that kind of reminded me of Country Musume when Rika Ishikawa was part of the group.  It does give me some kind of throwback feels and I’m happy to see more solos strewn throughout the song.  While I did think Chiichan and Mai had the weaker vocals of the group, it was nice to hear them more.  Plus Manaka, Risa, and Momoko were also more forward too!  It’s a nice pairing song with “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” that’s for sure!

3. Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne

Like I said, 2nd single in and we already lose a member in Uta and it’s pretty evident with how much Chisaki spotlight was happening here (as I think UFP was initially pushing Uta to be the ace-front and they had to deal with this sudden departure somehow).  It does focus on Chisaki and Mai though which is a surprising move, but it kind of works considering its PV.  The tune is playful like “Koi Dorobo” but it does tell a story so that’s fine with me.  The song itself is nice, albeit not the most intriguing for them either.  Manaka, Risa, and Momoko do get their lines and I do like the moments of dialogue spruced throughout too.  Not amazing for a 2nd A-side, but it’ll do.

4. Tamerai Summertime

As for the other A-side, Tamerai Summertime is more toned down and was their lightest song in their discography and just seems to really stick out for me as it’s not a totally memorable track for me, but I like the old-timey feels here.  I did notice the shift by making Manaka, Risa, and Momoko have more lines than Chisaki and Mai did, but I don’t know, but it’s kind of a safe summer song to me?  For an A-side it just doesn’t stand out I guess for me.

5. Boogie Woogie LOVE

With their 3rd single, Country Girls actually announced two new members joining their ranks both from the Kenshuusei (Musubu Funaki & Nanami Yanagawa).  Though in a strange way their first single with the 2 new members was going to be a little different.  Instead of barking up more of that light but poppy and silly sound for more of a sassier and boogie-woogie vibe, Boogie Woogie LOVE was just something so good!  It was just so out of the gate for the two new girls (especially Funakki who really impressed with her vocals here).  Not to mention, the remainder of the group also sounded surprisingly well compared to their last single entirely!  It’s an amazing song and one of the best from the group!

6. Koi wa Magnet

Although one can argue that this was the better track!  Instead of a theme like “Boogie Woogie LOVE”, Koi wa Magnet felt more 80’s to me with the mood and amount of synths involved in the arrangement.  It was also a more serious sounding track (which up to this point haven’t been done by the group).  That said, I felt like most of the lines were more for Manaka, Risa, and Momoko because it was a more mature track for them.  It’s something new and I feel like it could’ve been a Berryz Kobo (but mostly it just feels like it and Momoko’s voice felt right at home with this arrangement).

7. Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~

As the only single from Country Girls to have 3 A-sides, I guess they wanted to round things out with something cutesy and fun like “Koi Dorobo” and “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  The song is indeed a cover though so they couldn’t stray too far, but I do like the simplistic route it took.  There was definitely a pattern though, it seems Chisaki and Mai do get a lot of lines here.  It’s a very sugary cute track, probably their cutest?  Don’t know, but it was nice.

8. Dou Datte Ii no

With their 4th single, they lost another member in Manaka (who at the time had to leave due to Asthma issues, but a couple years later returned to H!P to end up joining Juice=Juice ironically…honestly, I’m not sure why she wasn’t re-added to Country Girls when she returned…hmm).  Anyways getting into Dou Datte Ii no, this song returns us to those rockabilly vibes that “Boogie Woogie LOVE” kind of started the previous single.  It’s a cool rockin’ track and the energy is high but it doesn’t really show off the girls vocals well since it’s a lot of yelling here.  I mean it’s 3 minutes long so it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it’s just kind of loud for me, not much of an A-side IMO.

9. Namida no Request

Though it was no surprise the other A-side was another cover song.  Something about this song really called out that kind of nostalgic vibes here that stuff like “Dou Datte Ii no” and “Boogie Woogie LOVE” did.  I did notice here, but not in the previous track that Chisaki, Risa, and Momoko had a lot vocal time versus the other 3 members which was a little off, but I’m ok with that.  Yanamin also apparently played sax here which is pretty cool too!  I really liked how the hooks were here and it’s just a bright if not sad lyrically kind of track.

10. Good Boy Bad Girl

Just doesn’t seem to quit huh?  We seem to be losing another member with their 5th single, but this one seemed pretty appropriate since it was Momoko Tsugunaga’s last single with the group (primarily due to age and the fact like she was kind of played as their manager of sorts, so decided this was the right time to graduate).  I struggled to remember this A-side because it really wasn’t memorable, it felt like a Buono! song that is a bit lamer than most.  It was fair though that this was the kind of forgettable track because it didn’t have that spotlight on Momochi.  Coming back to it now, the song is a bit sassier than I remembered and I’m liking the solos from everyone and a bit of push for everyone.  I think it got better, but I tend to still forget this one existed.

11. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Though I think most fans probably say “Good Boy Bad Girl” was forgotten due to Momoko’s graduation happening and were more focused with this song because it was her song for the single.  It really fits in with their earlier singles since it was cutesy and fun.  Though I would be hard-pressed to admit that I really couldn’t remember the song outside of Momoko’s opening solo though.  Maybe it was too similar to those songs perhaps.  I guess it would be fair to say it wasn’t THE goodbye song for Momoko, but it did feature her plenty.  Wasn’t bad though.

12. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2015.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)

If you aren’t familiar with the rest of the tracks on Disc 1 from here on going forward, that’s because this was actually part of Momoko Tsugunaga’s best album? I would call it?  For fans of her they’d know, but essentially Momochi released a graduation album of sorts which included solo takes and songs she was a part of during her tenure and some songs she was well known for in H!P outside of Country Girls too.  Though one of the discs included unreleased Country Girls songs (which back then, were songs they’ve been performing, but hadn’t released until then).  Shocking to see that disc all here to fill out the remainder of the disc.  Anyways, I’m more surprised by seeing Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou making the cut because it’s not so much a song as it is graduation speeches from the other Country Girls to Momoko that has “some” singing moments here especially when you consider it’s over 7 minutes long.  I really couldn’t care less about this song especially when they’ve never sung it since the graduation so eh?  Kind of blah to me.

13. Ashita Kara wo Omokage

It’s kind of the same problem with Ashita Kara wo Omokage, but this time with more acoustic guitar and not in a live setting.  Like it has a country vibe to it which is nice and the chorus is pleasant and catchy…but the spoken dialogue in the verses just need to quit!  Especially placing this right after “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou” is just madness.  Really if there’s two songs that truly needed to be avoided on this best album, it’s these two.  Thinking about it now, they’ve never performed this live either…I kind of wonder why.

14. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto

Moving into the concert-only songs, Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto was the oldest next to “Mousou Rehearsal” cooking in lives for about 2 years before we got them in studio form.  Now this song is definitely giving me some “Koi Dorobo” vibes with similar happy vibes all over.  I mean the song is cutesy and loving hearing all the members enjoying themselves here.  Though I will say for the best album (a small tidbit), there is a version of this song from “Petit Best 7” that had Manaka instead of Funakki and Yanamin that isn’t on here for whatever reason (I would say too similar, but I mean we have two versions of “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” so what’s the excuse to not making this a 100% complete best album?).  It just seems odd to me.

15. Mousou Rehearsal

I think the group really do like their fun songs and I’m sure that this one is another that kind of encapsulate’s the group’s sound overall.  I will they that its frantic pace and mix of horns and a little country sound is nice overall and puts me in a happy mood, but I could also see why this wasn’t made an A-side as it kind of lacks any kind of hook for me (maybe cept those ~ippai~).  Not bad though!

16. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou!

Though I think of the four live songs, Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou! was probably the best of them for sure.  This was what I think “Mousou Rehearsal” was missing was something ridiculously silly and catchy and they really caught me here.  There’s something so sing-a-long with this one and hearing the 6 members singing is just enchanting here.  The chorus is especially ear-worming too!  The bridge was pretty random with the ~bam, bam, bams~ but I adore this song!

17. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei

I kind of feel the same way as I do with this song with “Mousou Rehearsal” in that it’s not quite as memorable to me for some reason.  I do like that it’s a bit more connected to their names as it’s more Country-esque almost in a cutesy “Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto”.  That said, not quite sure why it’s one of the more forgettable tracks to me from the Momochi disc.

18. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta

Like “Namida no Request”, Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta is another song that was originally sung by the Checkers (another that’s missing on the iTunes release of the best album).  Unlike the aforementioned track, this one while kind of rockin’ in a sense has a bit more going on in its arrangement from the guitarwork to the saxophones here.  It’s kind of unique and I’m liking the vocals throughout as well!  Though I also noticed they never performed this one in lives either…

19. Kimama na Kataomoi

Ending the first disc, it was fair that they’d end with this track which is more or less and Winter-themed song for the best album it was on.  I also enjoyed Momoko here throughout adding that happy-go-lucky tune in her voice.  It does seem a lot of focus was put on her for this one and while I like the strings and the holidays-ish feel going on, it just wasn’t as exciting of a song as I thought it was initially.

CD2

1. Konamaiki Girl

So CD2 is primarily everything that was post-Tsugunaga here and was also where Country Girls’ weird semi-hiatus begun (Yamaki & Ozeki focused on school and was only available on holidays and Morito, Funaki, and Yanagawa were sent to Morning Musume, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively while the hiatus was active).  Konamaiki Girl was the first digital single released during this hiatus and I was kind of unsure about it back then because it felt cute enough to be a song, it also felt as empty too.  It does feel like a song from the Momochi disc ironically to me.  I suppose it’s cute, but I’m not the biggest fan of this one.

2. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”

Released at the tail-end of 2017, Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” to me feels like a better handled cute song from the group that reminds me of fun tunes like “Koi Dorobo” and “Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto” and it just has that sparkly cuteness that kind of stood out from the group in a good way.  I also noticed that the quintet were starting to gel better vocally to me.  This was a good step forward!

3. Matenai After Five

They came back in the Summer with a new digital single and I was pretty surprised that they went into big band for their next leading track, (little surprising because it wasn’t promoted much or even given a PV).  As much as I do enjoy the song, I feel like it could have a little more spice in its arrangement (maybe a little more brass explosions to really give the song that needed pop, especially in the chorus).  I do like the song regardless though and gives new life to their music.

4. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

I was wondering if there was going to be another “Koi wa Magnet” and it seemed that was answered with Kasa wo Sasu Senpai.  The song isn’t quite as synth dependent, but I’m enjoying the strings addition and hearing a lot of Mai in the front is really nice to hear.  I really like when Country Girls do get serious for a song and this is pretty smooth for a song like this.

5. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke

Then we get into their 2019 releases which kicked off with the leading song from “Seasons” which is kind of toted as a song meant for Yanamin who was graduating from the group after the release.  Granted it’s kind of surprising that Nanami got two graduation songs (the other as a Juice=Juice track) and this one is the less-likened of the two because while it’s cute and definitely a Country Girls song, it’s just not enticing or interesting of a song despite getting a lot of Nanami solos here.

6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls ver.)

The other song that was found on the “Seasons” mini-album was an updated cut of the group’s debut song which of course only have the 5 girls (Morito, Yamaki, Ozeki, Funaki, and Yanagawa) which is a total difference from the original 6.  Nothing about the arrangement changed really, so it’s more about hearing Nanami and Musubu tackle the song and they did pretty well and hearing Mai, Risa, and Chisaki with their current vocals was nice, but something felt lost?  Like the vocals were too soft or to clean-cut?  I dunno, something about the mixing felt off here.  Still a cute song regardless.

7. One Summer Night ~Manatsu no Kesshin~

Returing back in the summer, Country Girls surprised us with a new digital single in One Summer Night and this one has a little bit of that saxophone lightness, but it also sounds like some kind of early 90’s sitcom opening theme to me.  It was a different kind of song and while I initially didn’t like it at first, it kind of gives nostalgic feelings somehow.  Good way to show the now 4-nin Country Girls.

8. Natsuiro no Palette

Unlike “One Summer Night”, Natsuiro no Palette felt more in-line with Country Girls in the last couple of years but a little more danceable with the steady beats.  I kind of like the cuter side of the group and yet this felt more like a progression for the group if they had followed more of their songs like “Koi wa Magnet” and “Peanut Butter Jelly Love”.  It’s nothing that screams out from their discography but this passes for now!

9. Zutto Zutto

Then we come towards the end of the album and the final 3 tracks are unreleased or new tracks that we haven’t heard.  Zutto Zutto is the new track and sadly the final track we’ll hear from Yamaki, Morito, Ozeki, and Funaki.  Just from the beginning, the song was sounding like a natural progression from “Natsuiro no Palette” by leaning more towards dance beats and synths here.  It’s a neat song and to hear that it’s the first time Tsunku worked with them is shocking to say the least, at least their final song is pretty cool right?

10. Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

Hold up, are you meaning to tell me that Country Girls did record more songs with Uta before she left?!?  Yeah, it seems the last two tracks (credited as being bonuses) were recorded prior to her sudden departure from the group (makes me wonder if they had plans for something else before having to rework “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne” around and maybe more Country Musume covers like “Kakumeichikku KISS” and “Onna no Ko Toshirabe Time” planned).  First up is one of Country Musume’s recognizable songs, Hajimete no Happy Birthday! and it featured mostly Mai, Uta, and Chisaki up front and they sound just as they did in their debut single, pretty green with Uta sounding the best of the 3.  The other 3 members (Manaka, Risa, and Momoko were supports but they still got solos.  It’s cute and the updated arrangement fits nicely too.  Surprised it took them this long to release it though >.>.

11. Uwaki na Honey Pie (2015 Country Girls Ver.)

However, Uwaki na Honey Pie did not get the glorified touch-up that “Hajimete no Happy Birthday!” had, instead keeping its original arrangement intact and just using Country Girls’ vocals here.  Of course I’m not surprised, the vocals aren’t quite as good as the original here, but it is nice to see the main 5 get a decent amount of solos throughout, for whatever reason Momoko barely had any and the times she did, it was kind of a duet line which is surprising I guess.  Not bad, nice to hear Uta (though she sounded better in the previous track).

Tracks Recommended

  • Koi wa Magnet
  • Kasu wo Sasu Senpai
  • Itooshikutte Gomen ne
  • Boogie Woogie LOVE
  • Zutto Zutto

Song of Avoidance

  • Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou
  • Ashita Kara wo Omokage

What a bittersweet release this is knowing that Country Girls is pretty much disbanding at the end of the year.  I mean 4 years is a pretty short tenure for a group that’s had it pretty rough right from the beginning to the end.  Losing an important member or two in your important years is hard to come back from especially after Tsugunaga (who was already well-known prior to the formation of the group too).  I think when the semi-hiatus happened was when I felt like the group was nearing its end and sadly came true in 2019.

Country Girls Daizenshuu 1 is a 99% Complete Best album (like I said, missing that early cut of Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto) and it covers the group’s songs nicely I’d say.  I will admit that their post-Tsugunaga releases weren’t all the great, but most of the songs from the Momochi best album was also not that great either.  Though it is the best release you’ll get out of the group that’s for certain.  Just sad that Yamaki and Ozeki will graduate towards the end of the year as well as Funaki in March.  Just such a bummer!

 

BEYOOOOONDS – BEYOOOOOND1St December 2, 2019

Filed under: BEYOOOOONDS — solarblade @ 5:10 am

beyooooond1st

Track Listing

  1. OOOOOVERTURE
  2. Atsui!
  3. Nippon no D・N・A!
  4. Takanawa Gateway Eki ga Dekiru Koto ni wa
  5. We Need a Name!
  6. Sokora no Yatsu to wa Onaji ni Saretakunai
  7. Kinoko Takenoko Daisenki
  8. Sayokyoku “Megane no Otoko no Ko”
  9. Megane no Otoko no Ko
  10. Koi no O-Swing
  11. Bunkasai Jikkou Iinchou no Koi
  12. Gannen Bungee Jump
  13. Renai Bugyo
  14. GIRL ZONE
  15. Toei Oedo-sen no Roppongi Eki de Dakishimete
  16. Go Waist
  17. Nobishiro ~Beyond the World~

1. OOOOOVERTURE

As the opening to the album, it really feels grandiose and boy does it kind of remind me of something like Star Wars (or closer to even stuff like Star Fox or Smash Bros.) or something in that nature.  It’s kind of goofy considering the group this is kicking things off with.  I found it interesting though and I’m pretty content but knowing that “Atsui!” is next is even funnier!

2. Atsui!

I mean I don’t know it the album truly needed an introduction piece if Atsui! was the first track since that opens up with a piano-only intro from Honoka here.  Anyways Atsui! was a song that’s been performed live for quite a while (though it sadly missed out being on their debut single).  It’s good though that it was chosen to promote the album and I’m really shocked at it.  After their first single, I wasn’t expecting the group to get a heavy rock track as such as this.  The energy is loud and the group is just on fire here, what a great song this one is (even if it does slightly remind me of BABYMETAL).  Although the only part that was eh was the spoken bridge section between Minami, Saya, and Rika…it was a bit out of place, but still an awesome song regardless!

3. Nippon no D・N・A!

Being as the first of the A-sides to show up on the album, Nippon no DNA! was pretty anthemic and really showed off the group as one unit instead of like splitting them between the 9 members and on the other hand (Hirai, Satoyoshi, and Kobayashi).  It’s pretty energetic too (not like “Atsui!” though).  I still love Hirai’s amped up intro and it just leads to this pumped up dance track.  I will say that once again I’m a little thrown off by the Minami & Kokoro shouting section, but it was cancelled by Honoka’s synth solo.  Yeah, this is still a pretty awesome song!

4. Takanawa Gateway Eki ga Dekiru Koro ni wa

The next 3 tracks are actually new tracks between the sub-units (CHICA#TETSU, Ame no Mori Kawa Umi, and the ONLY YOU girls).  First up is from CHICA#TETSU (Ichioka, Shimakura, Eguchi, and Nishida) who I’ve started to see the pattern that they’re the ~train~ girls as this song and their first track has involved train station of sorts.  Comparing to their other song “Toei Oedo-sen no Roppongi Eki de Dakishimete”, this song was a lot better to handle in my opinion.  The song is a little more funky and poppy here and the cuteness wasn’t so overbearing, well except the bridge when Reina speaks.  While I am still learning voices in the group, I did recognize Reina as the first with solo and she has a unique voice whereas the other 3 are slightly harder to pinpoint.  Still not bad!

5. We Need a Name!

The next track is just funny because it’s for Hirai, Satoyoshi, and Kobayashi who as of this review the trio don’t belong in any sub-unit like the other 9 are and this song talks about it.  It kind of starts out like a winter ballad with Miyo beginning the song as Utano joins in after.  Though when all 3 start to sing, it kind of gets all showstune and Honoka shows more of her piano skills which is so impressive for someone in H!P.  It’s a funny song for sure but it’s nice to see them getting a song to themselves for sure!  Honestly though, I hope they do get a name within the next year because this is just so topical…and I kind of was hoping it would’ve been revealed at the end XD

6. Sokora no Yatsu to wa Onaji ni Saretakunai

Last, but not least, we have Ame no Mori Kawa Umi’s (Takase, Kiyono, Maeda, Yamazaki, and Okamura) song.  After hearing “GIRL ZONE” and seeing and cool and up my alley it was (versus CHICA#TETSU’s song), I was more than excited to see what their 2nd song held.  I just wasn’t expecting the song to open so suddenly and with the chorus here.  While it doesn’t hit as quite as hard as their previous song, this one is pretty solid and I’m liking that each member is getting solos here and unlike in CHICA#TETSU, the 5 voices are pretty easy to tell apart.  It’s a little messy especially after the guitar solo, but I think it’s ok…not as good as “GIRL ZONE” though.

7. Kinoko Takenoko Daisenki

It begins like a ballad with someons (Minami? and Kurumi) singing but the song changes pretty much after that to something a bit more serious and aggressive which is pretty cool.  Think of S/mileage’s “Shin Nippon no Susume!” but not quite as dramatic here.  It goes through a lot of mood changes which is cool, but I do like the feeling of war behind.  It’s a unique song on the album that’s for sure and the samurai-esque bridge (with spoken dialogue) is so interesting too.  There’s so many areas and it closes out with Honorin with her piano playing.  Bizarre, but I loved it!

8. Sayokyoku “Megane no Otoko no Ko”

So the next track is kind of an extra piece of music to tie in to the next track, but it’s just Honoka playing the piano to the song’s melody.  Not quite sure why it was needed considering “Megane no Otoko no Ko” already has a lengthy opening as it is.  It was good to show more of Honoka’s skills but I didn’t understand why it was here.

9. Megane no Otoko no Ko

Though it does lead to the group’s first song, which was also the primary A-side from their debut.  Like I said above, it does begin with a story which is about girls crushing on Kokoro Maeda (who’s playing the guy in the song).  As the group’s debut, it’s not a surprise that Miyo, Utano, and Honoka had little to do here as they were added after this was first performed.  Once the track actually begins, the tune goes very upbeat and rowdy and I kind of love it all the same.  It’s a silly and yet fun song and really made for a good A-side that’s for sure and the story continues on the 2nd disc on the album (which is a drama apparently).

10. Koi no O-Swing

Moving to another new track, Koi no O-Swing definitely has a swing-style going on for its arrangement with the piano and brass backing it all up.  I’m enjoying the variety of vocals throughout and it’s just cute and lively.  Although I kind of wish the instrumentation had a bit more fire behind it because despite the fact it is Swing, it could’ve had a bit more oomph to it.

11. Bunkasai Jikkou Iinchou no Koi

I had totally forgotten that this song existed here despite that I did review it on their single.  Just like “Megane no Otoko no Ko” it does open up with dialogue and some story which is a little long-winded for my interest but oh wells.  I did say I do like the rockin’ vibes I get out of this one and the group sounds good too (once again, I don’t think the newer three members had much to do).  Listening to it now, it does make me think it’s a slower “Atsui!” with less impact.  Not bad, but still not quite in the upper echelon.

12. Gannen Bungee Jump

OH well, this is kind of new!  Moving to our next new track, Gannen Bungee Jump is a different kind of track that has a certain vibe to it (helps that Hyadain worked on this one) and so it sounds a bit different comparing it to majority of the album.  I’m loving the bongos and funky upbeat sound of it.  Plus, the 12 members all sounds bright and lively and the amount of solos are nice too!  Might be one of the hidden gems from the album!

13. Renai Bugyo

It’s kind of been a while since we’ve got to hear the group tackle something poppy and dance-centric and Renai Bugyo kind of fits this role and it does kind of remind me of “Dancing! Natsu Matsuri” lyrically from some of the lyrics to the Japanese matsuri-like sounds that come from the arrangement.  I just appreciate the style here and its simplicity as well.  Maybe some of the voices are a little off in places, but I still dug it!

14. GIRL ZONE

As we get closer to the end of the album, we get 3 of the songs that were from the single that came before the album.  Of course two of those were from the sub-groups!  Ame no Mori Kawa Umi’s GIRL ZONE still kind of surprises at how edgy and cool-esque it was for the 5 of them.  I’m loving the darker atmosphere and cool vibes from this one on top of the risky vocal flips in the verses, but it keeps up as the song goes further in.  The chorus is still kind of sounds out of place (especially since it comes off more happier than the verses themselves, but it’s still good regardless!).

15. Toei Oedo-sen no Roppongi Eki de Dakishimete

Like I said, CHICA#TETSU’s song have all involved something with a train!  With the first track, Toei Oedo-sen wasn’t really a song that got me because it was far from what the group was initially described as.  I guess they’ll be considered the cutesy sub-group I guess?  I do think it still gives me some nostalgic Matsuura vibes for whatever reason, but the song is kind of growing on me but not terribly because it’s just a bit plain to me.

16. Go Waist

I’m so surprised this A-side was placed so far towards the end of the album!  There’s just something so shocking about the group playing with a song’s lyrics versus the original (that was back in the 70s).  Though something about bringing it up and inserting some auto-tune and dance beats made it rather more intriguing.  Though I will definitely remember this one as Saya Eguchi’s song because she has the bridge of the song which is still fantastic and ridiculously funny.

17. Nobishiro ~Beyond the World~

Then we get to the album’s final track, which I’m not surprised is a lighter affair as more of a soulful ballad for the group and I appreciate that Reina and Miyo kicked things off here.  I mean it’s kind of that everyone’s track and feels more like a song set for encores during live performances.  It’s a fairly nice ending to the album, but I don’t think it’s much a song for me.

Tracks Recommended

  • Renai Bugyo
  • Go Waist
  • Gannen Bungee Jump
  • Atsui!
  • Megane no Otoko no Ko

Song of Avoidance

  • Nobishiro ~Beyond the World~

I didn’t think BEYOOOOONDS only after one single would release their first studio album in 2019, lord.  That said, it’s probably the lightest album released under H!P (I swear, since others were 2-4 discs).  This was a pretty nice album overall, most of the new tracks really stood out and painted a better picture for the group as a unit (and through their sub-units as well).  I can’t wait to see whats next for the group, though I hope they lessen the amount of spoken dialogues in their songs…just a bit too many for me!