"What happened to ºC-ute Time?" :o
Well, it's gone. For good.
I mean, the blog is still viewable and stuff but I figured I'd just post everything H!P related on this blog, including ºC-ute, because this is Calli Loves Hello! Project after all.
Nooooooooow my friend Mara (fellow Rio oshi, ayyyy gurl) wants to torture me. But you know what they say, you must face your fears.
Deep in the fiery pits of Tsunku hell lies this horrid, terrible, despicable, trash excuse for an album.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO, it's ºC-ute's "Shocking 5!"
Released during the awkward time between Umeda Erika's departure from the group and the birth of 5-nin ºC-ute, "Shocking 5" is no doubt ºC-ute's worst album to date (Dai Nana Shou is pretty damn close, but this one takes the cake).
But rather than just telling you all how horrible it is, I will also write a track-by-track review, because that's my style.
NOTE: A-sides are bolded.
1. EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!
2. The Party!
If you want a refreshing pop song that sounds like it belongs in a video game, listen to "EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!" I really like this song, I'm not gonna lie. When I initially got into ºC-ute, it was a song I ignored, and I'm not really sure why. The notes flow really nicely from one to the next. It's a song I can listen to and it will make life feel like life's all right for four minutes. Maimai and Erika are the only ones without a solo line in this song, which is surprising since it's a youthful song and they have young-sounding vocals. The only part of this song I'm not crazy about is the instrumental bridge, but I feel like Tsunku generally cheaps out on those anyway. (A really memorable one from ºC-ute, though, was Aitai Aitai Aitai na. That one was a masterpiece.) Overall, "EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!" is a great album opener and a sweet, feel-good song.
2. The Party!
"The Party!" is a song sung completely in unison, which is definitely not my favorite type of H!P song (with the exception of "Mikaeri Bijin" off Morning Musume's "TIKI BUN / Shabadabadoo~ / Mikaeri Bijin" single.) I think solo lines give a song more character, and unless the song itself already has character (again, think "Mikaeri Bijin,") a song can be ruined by lack of solo lines. This song definitely suffers from that problem. Another problem I find with this song is the notes are sung very choppily. I'm not sure if that was a stylistic choice, or if ºC-ute are just giving a poor vocal performance. Not to mention, after coming after unique power-pop piece "EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!," this song is just a bland disappointment. A lot of the melodies from this song sound borrowed from other H!P songs, which is a problem many H!P non A-sides suffer from. I think with this song, it was attempting to be funky, but it failed. An example of a great funk-pop song is SNSD's "Beginning," which was arranged a lot smarter than this song. Suzuki Airi is the only girl with solo lines in this song, as she gets adlibs at the end of the song. This is unfair to the other girls, since she sings 90% of the album anyway. The one compliment I can give to this song, though, is that the minor notes in the chorus work very well. Overall, a song to avoid from the album.
3. Aa Koi (Suzuki Airi solo)
"Aa Koi" is a rock song sung just by center and lead vocalist, Suzuki Airi. While this song is a huge step up from "The Party!," it's still lacking something. It lacks a certain "umph" that some H!P rock songs have (think "Abiru Hodo no Ai wo Kudasai" off ºC-ute's Queen of J-pop album.) I think this song doesn't flatter Airi's vocals as well as Buono!'s more watered-down rock does. This song, in my opinion, would've been better as a Chisato solo. Airi also sounds incredibly bored while singing this song. It sounds like she's just singing the notes, and not conveying any special message with her voice, which is something Airi is usually able to do but not in this song. The verses in this song are stronger than the chorus, in my opinion. The guitar solo in this song is GREAT, and I commend whoever did it.
4. Bye Bye Bye!
Although not a favorite among ºC-ute fans, "Bye Bye Bye!" is a favorite of mine, personally. I think everything in the song works, even the strange "You see, I'm better"s scattered across the song. A cool component to this song is the unique electro-chirp effect on Nakky's "Odorimashou" parts. Although this song is, as most old ºC-ute songs were, an Airi and Maimi lead, this song has a bit better line distribution than "EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!," and they are both A-sides. I really like the harmonies in the verses, done by all the members. They're very subtle, but pleasing to the ear. My only complaint about this song, is Maimi's strained "Bye bye~!" at the end. I think it should've been given to Airi, because you can tell Maimi is really struggling to hit the note. Otherwise, I think this song is awesome.
5. Lonely girl's night (Yajima Maimi solo)
"Lonely girl's night" is a solo sung by Yajima Maimi. This song is one of the stronger songs on this album. I think this song is very fitting for Maimi's deeper singing voice. It's mature-sounding and has a strong hip-hop R&B feel. A minor but nice touch to this song is the sprinkling of guitar and classical instruments in the verses. It really gives the song an extra push. A criticism of this song would be that on certain adlibs, Maimi's voice sounds resonant, but on others, it sounds very strained. Straining is a problem Maimi has always struggled with, but she's improved over the years. Overall, "Lonely girl's night" is very pretty and a well-produced H!P R&B song.
6. Kimi no Senpou (Okai Chisato, Nakajima Saki, Hagiwara Mai)
"Kimi no Senpou" is, no doubt, the strongest song on the album. This song is amazing, and a huge standout from the others on the album. The guitar in this song is gorgeous, and the talking parts at the beginning of the verses are adorable. I think this song is especially fitting for Maimai's voice. Chisato, however, I believe is too good for this song; her vocals are too superior to the other two girls. This song has a masterpiece of a chorus, that I could listen to forever. It's a fun summer song, and it builds major excitement when you listen to it. 10/10.
7. SHOCK! (Suzuki Airi solo...kinda?)
"SHOCK!" is a promotional song widely hated by fans. Why? Because it's a bad song? Nope, it's really not a bad song at all. It's just the fact that it was an A-side where Airi sings all of the solo lines. The other girls only get group lines and "Chyaa~"s. Musically, this song is pretty well-done. It kind of sounds like a spy-ish song, I don't know how to describe it. Airi hits the notes very well, which you can always depend on her for. The song has nice guitar incorporation. Out of all the A-sides included on this album, though, it's probably the weakest.
8. Shigatsu Sengen
Now, let me just say, when I first heard the beginning of "Shigatsu Sengen," I thought it was going to be a stellar song. The opening guitar chords are extremely pleasing to the ear...but then the girls started singing. Now, this song isn't the weakest of the album, in fact, I really like it, but the instrumental to this song is just so much better than the vocals. It doesn't sound like it should be a ºC-ute song, which is a major problem with it. Also, the melody of the chorus just drags on and on, it's not exciting. The guitar solo is wicked, though. The guitar overall in this song is very well done. I like that everyone has exactly two solos each, which is unique of ºC-ute's old songs, where line distribution was not the best.
9. "Zansho Omimai Moushiagemasu." (Suzuki Airi solo)
I know what you're thinking...ANOTHER Airi solo on this album? Well, yes, unfortunately. Although, this doesn't count as much, because it was just the B-side to "Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu." Why did they include it on the album? I have no clue. Especially since the original version of "Shochuuu Omimai Moushiagemasu" was not even on this album, just a remix (which I won't review.) They could have just replaced it with a new and better song. Not that this song is horrid, in fact it's quite pretty, but it's like a filler. It has a similar feel to Maimi's "Lonely girl's night," but is less R&B and is more ballad-like. I personally think this song would've shined better as a group song with Airi lead, where there is no group lines and just composed of each member's solo lines, but that's just my opinion.
10. Yume ga Aru Kara
"Yume ga Aru Kara" is a boring ballad that is a poor excuse for an ending song. Want to hear an amazing ending song for an album? Listen to f(x)'s "Ending Page." This song is poor, cliched, and boring. The instrumental is pretty, but it adds little substance to the already tasteless song. Not to mention, it's ANOTHER song sung in unison, which gets old quickly. The positives about this song, however: the harmonies sound really nice and the song ends with a bang.
Overall? ºC-ute's Shocking 5 is an album composed of mediocre song after mediocre song, with the exceptions of "Lonely girl's night" and "Kimi no Senpou" (not counting the A-sides.) I would not recommend this album, unless you want to critique it like me. Listen to their other albums instead.