Winter Game – Fuyu no Propeller –
Power of love
Fine after rain
ESCAPE (Album Edit)
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.