Archive for the 'GIRL NEXT DOOR' Category

GIRL NEXT DOOR: GIRL NEXT DOOR

GIRL NEXT DOOR, GIRL NEXT DOOR

Winter Game – Fuyu no Propeller –

Drive away

Power of love

Shiawase no Jouken

WINTER MIRAGE

Jounetsu no Daishou

Fine after rain

Breath

Day’s…

ESCAPE (Album Edit)

Winter Garden

Climber’s high

NEXT DOOR

Guuzen no Kakuritsu (Album Edit)

*****

Songs in bold are previously released singles. Songs in blue (with a link) have already been reviewed. Those songs will, however, be reviewed in context of the album once more.

*****

GIRL NEXT DOOR is GIRL NEXT DOOR’s debut album, released on December 24th, 2008. It reached #3 on Oricon and has sold 171 165 copies. All tracks had a tie-up, making this album the most widely promoted debut album in the history of J-Pop/Rock.

While I didn’t like it when I first heard it, Winter Game – Fuyu no Propeller – (winter propeller), the main promotional track for this album, is actually quite catchy. Chisa’s voice is at an all-time low when it comes to annoying-ness, which is a great bonus. But otherwise, I think the chorus is insanely catchy. The most distinctive feature was definitely the beat, because although GND makes extensive use of powerful beats (Eurobeat), this song makes overly extensive use of them, and the result is surprisingly pretty good.

Winter Game – Fuyu no Propeller – flows seamlessly into, like many songs on this album, Drive away. I really think they should have sticked with the part in the opening sequence, which is one of the reasons I don’t really like this song, but I’ve started to have a change of heart recently.

Power of love is essentially Drive away mixed with Oriental instruments, and while the latter make this song quite interesting, I think the fact that they recycled the basic notes on Drive away to make this song pretty much ruins the overall quality of the song. Subjectively, though, I think this is one of the best tracks on the album.

Shiawase no Jouken (conditions for happiness) still sounds retro and cheesy to me, a lot. I never liked this song, and I don’t really see how I could. Everything about this song is horribly obnoxious, in particular that chorus. Why can Chisa not sound even the slightest bit sad?!

The first GIRL NEXT DOOR ballad since their debut B-Side is WINTER MIRAGE, a gentle lounge-music-inspired ballad with hints of island music. I thought Chisa couldn’t pull it off because of the nature of her voice, but her performance in this song, while not striking, is very good. But here again, the music sounds a lot like what GND served up previously, just slowed down.

Jounetsu no Daishou (compensation for passion) remains my favorite GND A-Side because of it’s tone and the difference it provides from most of their other stuff. The album gets a whole lot more diverse after this as well.

This track was what I wanted GND to do: something (slightly) different. Fine after rain ends up sounding a lot like Drive away, but I like it nonetheless.

Breath, one of the B-Sides on Guuzen no Kakuritsu, is a gentle ballad. I still feel like her vocals are a tiny bit too powerful, but she reminds me a lot of Yuna Ito in this song, which is reinforced by the island tune.

Day’s… is an extended interlude which I, frankly, hate. It has nice guitars and all that, but it ends up sounding amazingly redundant and the powerful beats should have just been left away for this song.

“Album edit” on this album means that they’ve modified the beginning and/or ending to fit with the previous/following song. ESCAPE sounds a lot like a mix of Jounetsu no Daishou and Drive away, AGAIN. Although the diversity has increased among songs, I felt like turning off the album after having to listen to this song again. Bleh.

Next is an island-inspired tune, Winter Garden, and most likely the most unique track on this album. But it doesn’t really help it because it’s dull, and more of a turn-off than ESCAPE.

Climber’s high is… fine. A lot say that it’s a highlight in the album, and with the tracks preceding it, I understand very well how this misconception can be born. In fact, this is another Drive away look-alike, which now annoys me to death, because it feels like I’ve been listening to the same track over, and over, and over again.

Before we reach the end of the album, a very nice interlude makes the transition, NEXT DOOR. The lavish ensemble of strings, the complete lack of beats and the harmonized piano make this the album’s best track, but, like all interludes, despite its excellence, it’s not even a minute and a half.

The last track on this album is Guuzen no Kakuritsu (Album Edit), which would’ve caught me off guard with its powerful beats had I not seen its title after NEXT DOOR‘s. I’m beginning to like this song more and more, and I have to say that for a debut single, it’s more than just decent.

At least GIRL NEXT DOOR known how to open and close, because this album sucks. Effort? 0. Absolutely none. Take Drive away, add a few different ingredients, make tons of experiments, add two or three completely new tracks, and voila!, you have GIRL NEXT DOOR. I am revolted by all the good reviews this album has gotten, because I dare say that it trumped many an album in being the worst of 2008. I thought that they’d be able to do some original stuff and perhaps do some non-Eurobeat stuff, but the only one of those was a short interlude. It had its ups, but they were almost instantaneously destroyed by the god-awful Drive away look-alikes. Chisa’s voice is obnoxious, and the two other guys seem to just mindlessly sit around and do whatever their avex producers give them (unless they composed it, in which case they have no musical talent). What kind of idea was it to pick up a dancer and make her into a singer?! If GND doesn’t serve up something good, and original, I will quit reviewing them, and that’s how simple it’ll be. This album is GODAWFUL, and not worth sitting through, or even listening to more than a minute of it. I didn’t even enjoy criticizing it! For a little bit more raving, see an article on my personal blog.

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GIRL NEXT DOOR: Jounetsu no Daishou/ESCAPE

Jounetsu no Daishou, GIRL NEXT DOOR1. Jounetsu no Daishou

2. ESCAPE

3. Jounetsu no Daishou (Shinichi no Osawa Remix)

3. Jounetsu no Daishou (icre cream mix)

Jounetsu no Daishou/ESCAPE is GIRL NEXT DOOR’s third single, released on November 19th, 2008.

Ending their GIRL NEXT DOOR era, the band gives us their best single yet, the catchy Jounetsu no Daishou (the price of love). It’s an interesting mix of techno and pop, much like their other two singles, but this time perfectly executed. The only problem with this song is that is sounds exactly like Guuzen no Kakuritsu with a piano and a more solid beat. In fact, they probably recycled the same melody of added a few things. Otherwise, it’s their best song yet.

ESCAPE has a similar problem, sounding like a blend of Guuzen no Kakuritsu and Drive Away. And those annoying vocals from Drive Away are back. Oh gosh. Well, besides that, it makes for a pretty good A-Side, even though here, too, the melody is pretty much like every GIRL NEXT DOOR song.

Ah… they won’t stop persisting with their damned remixes. And dear God, they’ve really done it this time. Or rather Shinichi Osawa has. What’s the point of completely flushing out the lyrics and making them sound horrible by cutting the lyrics every two-three seconds? The instrumentals toward the middle aren’t bad, but this sounds like some amateur trying to be Yasutaka Nakata.

The ice cream mix does mess the song up, but not as much as Shinichi Osawa did. The beginning was ridiculous, but it does get better throughout the rest of the song. Still, I don’t think this band should be doing full-blown techno songs. At all. Their area is pop, and it should stay that way. Every time, my rating gets dragged down by these really bad remixes, and it’s going to happen again.

GIRL NEXT DOOR: Drive Away/Shiawase no Jyoken

Drive Away/Shiawase no Jyouken, GIRL NEXT DOOR1. Drive Away

2. Shiawase no Jyoken

3. Drive Away (maximizor mix)

4. Drive Away (ice cream mix)

Drive Away/Shiawase no Jyoken is GIRL NEXT DOOR’s second single, released on October 8th, 2008. It reached #3 on Oricon and has sold 21 081 copies.

With that funky beginning, I was expecting something really good, but when I heard her voice and the sudden change of rhythm, I screamed “holy murder!” and ran away until the song was over. Well, not really. I came back for the chorus, which is really good. Especially the end, “drive away, doko made mo” (drive away, to wherever). Drive Away has its share of problems, like the previous single, but this time worse.

Shiawase no Jyoken (the condition for happiness) is more 80s than Drive Away, which was sort of disco music. But this particular track focuses on the retro much more, especially during the verses. My main problem with these two tracks is that they’re overwhelmingly cheesy, in a bad way.

Drive Away (maximizor mix) is completely different from the original, to the point where I don’t really recognize the same song. It’s a lot more bittersweet, for some weird reason, but its lack of the dynamics found in the original is this song’s main flaw.

The ice cream mix is another vanilla mix: really, nothing special. The focus on the piano is pretty good, but the problem here is those annoying bleeps and a massive section with no lyrics which bored me to death. Overall, this single is so disappointing. But what could I expect, with that horrible cover (get that expression away from me; now).

GIRL NEXT DOOR: Guuzen no Kakuritsu

Guuzen no Kakuritsu, GIRL NEXT DOOR1. Guuzen no Kakuritsu

2. Breath

3. Red Ribbon – Unmei no Hito –

4. Guuzen no Kakuritsu (ice cream mix)

Guuzen no Kakuritsu is GIRL NEXT DOOR’s debut single, released on September 3rd, 2008. It reached #3 on Oricon and has sold 30 025 copies. That’s the highest rank for debut single since Ayaka’s “I Believe” (#3 equally) and Utada Hikaru’s “Automatic/Time Will Tell” (#1).

I’ve heard a lot of people already worship this band for this single, but oh! surprise! though luck, GIRL NEXT DOOR, I’ve got a few problems with your debut single. Not that it’s a bad single or anything; but Guuzen no Kakuritsu (probability of an accident) has two problems:

  • The length; it’s a good song, but, being techno-based, it shouldn’t have been longer than 4:30; the song is five minutes and a half, which is an extra minute of boredom.
  • The annoying vocals during the chorus; I don’t have a problem with her voice during the verses, but during the chorus it sounds like she’s whining.

Now to the good parts; I love that piano that that comes in a few times, and the steady beat is great. It’s just too bad the piano wasn’t used more. Oh well.

Our first B-Side, Breath, is a gentle ballad. At first I thought it was going to be some lame ballad with some hints of R&B in it, but it turned out it was a great ballad with a pretty catchy chorus. But the verses are still too lame. And Chisa’s voice really reminds me of Yuna Ito in this song. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, it’s up to you.

Red Ribbon – Unmei no Hito – (red ribbon – fated person -) is the half-way between A-Side and first B-Side sond; it’s sort of ballad-inspired but with injections of the energy found in Guuzen no Kakuritsu. Chisa’s voice is very nice in this song, even better than in Breath. Out of the two B-Side, I think Red Ribbon – Unmei no Hito – definitely stands out as the better.

The ice cream mix of Guuzen no Kakuritsu is “vanilla ice cream”: nothing special. In fact, it’s pretty bad. Guuzen no Kakuritsu was catchy, but it’s far less catchy in this version. The piano is there, but it’s different, and that was my favorite part of the song.