Hooray! After several weeks and a handful of novelty posts, we are reunited with Music Station’s regular setup. What’s in store this week? A…pretty sub-standard group featuring very few heavyweights unless “that Johnny’s group from Kansai” equals star power to you. Welp, let’s dive in anyway.
Off to a great start, seeing as aiko’s latest isn’t available in a non-commercial form (or, if you’d like an extra minute of the track, you can find several shoddy radio rips that sound like static). The brief clip above reassures us we probably aren’t missing much, just a machine-generated hop perfect for soundtracking random scenes from a movie. Welp, maybe the missing portions save it, the world may never know!
Rarely does having fun sound so tedious. Kanjani8 bust out all their playtime toys for this, a track serving some relation to what I assume is the new Crayon Shin-Chan movie, including “rocking” guitar, cowbell, harmonica and a general ‘tude I often associate with t-shirts featuring Bugs Bunny wearing a backwards baseball hat. Despite all these touches and a video focusing on the group goofin’ out like nuts, “T.W.L” ultimately just sounds like another Johnny’s single coated in a thin layer of “good times,” the higher ups clearly saving all the splurge money for Arashi and KAT-TUN. Despite how badly Kanjani8 want you to understand they are having fun, this is just the same old song as before.
Meisa Kuroki “One More Drama”
Props to Meisa Kuroki for at least trying to embrace Western pop trends while so many of her J-Pop contemporaries go on oblivious to anything outside of Tokyo. “One More Drama” messes around with the Euro-club synths oh-so prevalent in American pop at the moment, while also dabbling in some Spanish-tinged (?!) guitar and a healthy dose of Auto-Tune. Whereas the two tracks above stay within the confines of well-worn Japanese music tropes, this sorta sounds different and that alone nets “One More Drama” some points.
Now, let’s get to the glaring problem with Kuroki’s latest. The two extremes of Auto-Tune (and, just to cover my bases, all means of manipulating vocals down to singing in front of a fan) in pop are those who fully embrace the software like Kanye West circa 808s And Heartbreak or T-Pain (and, in a similar way, Perfume and indier acts like √thumm) and those who just use it like PhotoShop, a way to clean up some imperfections. “One More Drama” falls into the worst category of all – the middle, where Auto-Tune can plainly be heard but adds absolutely nothing to the song. This is what a whole bunch of rappers did late last decade and folks like Ke$ha do today, simply apply it to their voices but for no real reason besides to say “hey, hear that, I’m a robot!” That same problem gurgles beneath this song, becoming a bit of nuisance the more you listen to it. Either drop it or embrace the computer future.
You ever happen to be walking down a road on a rainy day, contently walking along umbrella in hand trying to ignore the drip-drops? And as you are walking you come across a big puddle in the middle of the path you were walking on? You look to the left and right hoping for some sort of alternate path, but none appears. You stare at this mass of rainwater and decide “hey, it can’t be that bad to walk through, it doesn’t stretch out that long” before attempting to walk through it. The moment your shoes splashes down, though, you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake as the inside of your shoe has now been filled with gross water. Now you have to walk all the way home with soggy socks on and its miserable. Bad times.
This song is a lot like that experience, nearly six minutes of patience-testing rock rife with guitar solos and ugly vocals. At least the sound of precipitation battering down on an umbrella sounds pleasant.
Uhhhhh can’t find this one. Sorry.
Winner Of The Week – I GUESS Meisa Kuroki. Enjoy the new Heavenstamp video below to make up for this sub-par collection.