Koi no ABO
Umareshi Kimi e
Aki no Sora
Futari/130000000 no Kiseki
Dancin’ in the Secret
Naiyou no Nai Tegami
Share (Regular edition bonus track)
Forever (Unplugged Ver.) (Regular edition bonus track)
1. Koi no ABO
Fitting that NEWS’ album begins with the first A-side of the era. Like I said on the single review I did recently, Koi no ABO doesn’t do much for me. I’m not sure why I don’t like it since it’s what I do enjoy more from the guys, but otherwise it’s kind of over my head. Then again that chorus is just not harmonizing right and they sound off. Still, even the arrangement sounds a bit dated even for me!
Since majority of the album has brand new tracks, LIVE kicks things off quite loudly with the title track. I do like the synths and electric guitar riffs are found throughout. I think they should’ve kept that hard sound and not have gone the route it did (which is happy synthpop/rock. I do like the guys’ voice in the song a lot more than in “Koi no ABO”. Definitely something I wanted to hear from the boys even though the opening throws something better out the window.
3. Umareshi Kimi e
Here’s another song where the beginning is definitely not like the rest of the song. I was expecting the album’s first ballad but after the guys finish the opening, it opens into another positive and happy song. I do like that instead of them focusing on synths for the most part, there’s more acoustic guitar present and that’s enough of a change for me to enjoy it more. I think the soloists did a lot better in their lines than in the previous songs combined so hahaha.
At least they’re taking things at a slower pace now. Now I know the song is full of solo lines (and I still can’t tell who the hell is who in the group, so forgive me if I don’t have biases for members). There’s parts where the harmonizations works amazingly. Mostly the beginning and the end. Still, it’s not bad and the slight lounge feeling it puts out is sweet to listen to.
5. Aki no Sora
Finally we get into our first ballad from the guys and Aki no Sora has a hopeful kind of sound to it and it’s definitely like something I would’ve expected NEWS to have made a PV. Once again, the boys get their harmonies right and the solos aren’t bad either, but there’s a slight plainness to the song that I can’t shake off. Whoever sings the lines before the final chorus has the best vocals IMO.
6. Futari/130000000 no Kiseki
I guess we’re only having one slower song for right now because Futari/130000000 no Kiseki brings the synths back before turning into a pop/rock song. The arrangement has this strange Owl City synth playing in the background and it made me laugh and shake my head at this. I however love the song since it’s got a damn catchy hook for the chorus and once again the synths are interesting XD. Sweet song for sure!
7. Dancin’ in the Secret
I know that recently JE’s other groups have been dabbling in the electro style for a little bit and NEWS is definitely not a part of the exception. Dancin’ in the Street is probably their most synthiest song off the album and it shows because I actually enjoyed this tune as well. Once again I’m loving the vocals in the song (more the solos in the verses and everyone in the chorus). It’s funky and kind of cool to listen to!
I did say I actually love “Dancin’ in the Secret” with its heavy dance style, but Wonderland is the opposite in where it’s that dated synthpop sound that NEWS has had for a while, but it’s still good but just has weak harmonies. There’s just something about it that’s kind of underwhelming about it. It’s like a lighter sounding “Koi no ABO”…
9. Sakura Girl
Being the second A-side and last of the LIVE era, Sakura Girl continues this light synthpop sound but since this came first, Sakura Girl has a few good parts about it, but something about it since the single review just kind of knocks me off a few points. I do like the part in the chorus where they say ~sakuraaaaaah~ I do like those parts of the song and since it mixes piano with the synths, it worked for me…just it’s died down a bit.
10. BE FUNKY!
Just like the title suggests, it’s one of the funkiest songs off the album, but once again, bad harmonies fill up the speakers since it’s the chorus and it really put a damper on the experience. BE FUNKY! though does have a pretty cool arrangement with electric guitars being the base of most of it. Though I swear they screw up saying funky…I mean ~fucky fucky fucky liiiiife!~ It just is hard not to comment about that…
I’m not sure what it stands for, but just like the previous song, it’s kind of funky since it uses brass throughout the song and of course the beginning of the song is just as funky. There’s just something that’s “Koi no ABO” about it, but w/e this song is a feelgood party song and it keeps my interest most of the time!
12. Naiyou no Nai Tegami
And to disrupt the flow, Naiyou no Nai Tegami is unsurprisingly the second ballad of the album, but something about it just feels plain once again. The beat sounds like it’s been used for many different artists way to many times. Of the songs on the album, I think this is probably the weakest one for me, then again I’m usually disliking these kind of songs already so it’s just salt on the wound.
13. Endless Summer
Ending the album, Endless Summer probably should’ve came before “Naiyou no Nai Tegami” because it’s in between being upbeat and being a ballad because it has strings mixed in with the pop/rock sound that some of the songs have pulled off. I noticed that this song doesn’t have any solos and one guy gets a lot of the chorus. To me, there’s a guy who has a deep voice and it bothers me XD. Still, it’s nice but doesn’t make sense to finish the album with this.
Since we only got a live version to really compare it to (it’s on “Koi no ABO”) and being a bonus track, Share sounds pretty good in its studio form since a bit more has been added to it since. I mean the synths might’ve been better left off, but the piano and beat added a nice touch to what could’ve been an easy ballad for them. They are singing pretty fast though, so I miss most of the lyrics. Still, it’s a pretty good tune!
15. Forever (Unplugged Ver.)
Also as a bonus track with “Share” we get basically an acoustic cut of Forever, which was an album track off of “color” (which I did review as well). Back then, the original was a bit boring and kind of bland when compared to its fellow album tracks. Now being a little bit less R&B and a bit more acoustic, it’s nice…but it doesn’t totally make things better because you can still tell it’s a bit R&B-like but with more organic instruments and at least from my ears, they resang it. Still not enough to make a full impact and difference.
Song of Avoidance
Since we’re at NEWS’ 4th album, I thought LIVE was a huge step-up after “color”. Most of the songs didn’t sound overly dated which means JE is finally stepping up their arrangement skills for once and the guys did a bit of a better job harmonizing, but they still need to work on it on their upbeat songs where some of the guys end up yelling it out. Besides that, not a bad collection of songs from them…but let’s not take a long time between releases x.x!