Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Let's Talk about One For YOU!

I originally wasn't going to write about or even look into this album but after reading the review on Selective Hearing, I thought it might be good to take a look at Kikkawa Yuu's debut album! The album includes her first three singles and three of her B-sides so that leaves eight new tracks to look at! Well, seven since I don't really count ~Ignition~. So how do these tracks sound to someone like myself? Dive into the musical depths of One for You! with me to find out!

2. Konna Watashi de Yokattara

After skipping ~Ignition~ (because really there's not much to talk about with that intro), the album immediately transitions into Kikka's most recent single! It's actually a pretty cool way to start the album! I said in a PV review how much I enjoy this song and my opinion pretty much stays the same! To sum it up, it's miles better than her previous two singles because of all the energy put into it! It's just right blend of electronics, vocals, and instrumentals to be really fun, happy song! The best part is Kikka sounds amazing in this song, sounding playful in the verses and so earnest and joyful in the chorus! This song always sounds better with each listen and I find myself loving it even more! If she can release another single like this I will be a happy camper!

My Rating: ★★★★★

3. Sweetie

I originally didn't even want to give this song a listen considering I refused to touch the Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ but for this album I finally decided to give it a listen! And of course, it's ten times better than the A-side! It's like Kikkake wa You! repeating all over again. Sweetie doesn't add much in terms of... innovation to the music industry but it's a very, very catchy listen. What really carries the song is how increasingly energetic it gets like this big crescendo ending with a bang. Kikka also sounds pretty good vocally throughout this song but she does switch into that falsetto that works so poorly for her in parts of the song. But mostly this is a very fun, upbeat song with a bunch of energy into it. It'll probably grow on me more as time passes but right now I'm really enjoying it!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

4. Kikkake wa YOU!

And next we have the single that started it all! A peppy, sweet little debut single that's actually... pretty lackluster. Don't get me wrong, it isn't terrible like that other single I intend to trash once we happen upon it but when I first heard it I thought "Kikka's debuting with this?" I really don't think it was strong enough for a debut single even though it was a pretty decent song. But it was too safe, too forgettable. It wouldn't bother me so much if it were say, Mano Erina. She's forgettable and the song would probably be a challenge for her! But Kikka has a bunch of potential and to see it wasted on this cutesy little single just makes me cringe a bit. The song itself isn't even as bad as I'm making it out to be but for a Kikka song it really bores me. Honestly, the best thing about this song is Kikka's vocals but even then they can only help out the actual song so much...

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

5. Knight Flight

Night Flight!? She covered Perfume!? That's so amazing- oh wait, it's Knight Flight. Too bad. I would love if someone besides Michishige Sayumi covered Perfume. Anyways, this song is a stark contrast from Perfume's catchy album track. It's a ballad and I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I would! Normally I'm not a huge fan of ballads because most of them come off as rather half-assed but I think Kikka pulls off this song very well! I think this song really shows off her voice very nicely, especially high notes. For once her falsetto is being used in a way that doesn't come off as annoying! My favorite part of the song is the chorus because I think that's where the song has the most feeling and the point where Kikka hits her peak vocally. Pretty good for a ballad!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

6. Time to zone
This song did not do much for me. It sounds more like album filler to me the more I listen to it. And it isn't terrible; it's just on par with Kikkake wa You! I do like genki songs but the problem I have is when they're genki but also boring. And this song bores me. Yet despite its blandness, Time to zone is still rather catchy. Special points go to the chorus. Admittedly, Kikka has sounded a lot better in the other album tracks and I think she relies just a little to much on what I call the "Kawaii Idol Desu! Desu!" voice. Unfortunately the KIDD voice does not flatter her vocally and just makes me less interested in the song. Time to zone is decent in comparison to PyokoPyoko Ultra some other idol songs I've heard, but I'd skip this one.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

7. Aitaku Nattara

This is a pretty sweet song. It's sounds very innocent and thoughtful, sounding a lot more toned down than the preview track. But I still feel like it's missing something. I just can't put my finger on what. I think my biggest problem with this song is that it's sounds like a weird combination of a ballad and something happier. It also sounds very, very sweet almost too sweet. And in the process of doing so it sounds fluffy. But overall it's nothing terrible, just nothing groundbreakingly awesome. I think I'll enjoy this song with a few more listens but right now it just leaves me feeling weird.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

8. Mizuiro

And here's the other B-side from Hapirapi ~Sunrise~. This is probably the most rockish B-side Kikka's but that's still kinda stretching it. The more I listen to this song, the more it sounds like some anime opening! Which I suppose isn't bad, considering most anime openings remain forever stuck in my head... But for some reason, there's something about this song that just isnt't making me really enjoy it which is odd because songs like this are usually right up my alley. I almost think that I think it didn't go all the way, if that makes sense. The vocals, the music, the composition, it all feels like a halfway effort. The song could have been so much better but they were focusing on the horrid A-side I'm close to ranting about! It isn't terrible for a B-side but it pales in comparison to some of Kikka's other songs. If I'm in the right mood, the song is listenable but I think I'll skip this track in the future.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

9. Hirahira Hoshi

So after, the three songs I personally found unimpressive, here's something more interesting! Hirahira Hoshi was actually very surprising to me because it laid so heavily on the electronic especially Kikka's voice! Normally I'd find this to be a thinly-veiled effort to distort someone's voice with the hopes that they'll sound better but for this song I think it was done to make the song sound cooler. And I think it worked pretty well! At first I was a little skeptical, but the more I listen to this song the more I enjoy it! Much like Knight Flight, the best part of this song is the chorus because that's where the electronic effects really explode! There's a lot instrumental, a lot vocal distortment and overall it's just a very cool, intersting song. It's quite different from the typical idol fare Kikka's done in the past!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

10. Sayonara Namida

Finally! A B-side from her debut single! And the strongest one in my opinion. One of the saving graces of Kikkake wa You! was it's high-quality B-sides the pretty Fuyuzora Hanabi, the upbeat Candy Pop, and the sweet Sayonara Namida. I first heard this song in a concert preview and I already loved it because of Kikka. With Kikkawa Yuu, her songs work the best when both the instrumentals and her vocals can play off each other like they do in Sayonara Namida. Not only is the background music nice but it matches up with the vocals quite well! Overall, I really love how sweet this song is and I can practically hear the happiness in Kikka's voice! In fact, why couldn't this have been the debut single!? Why'd they put it as a B-side!? I suppose I'll never know... but I still love this song!

My Rating: ★★★★★

11. Arinomama no I LOVE YOU

This was another interesting song! It has a very R&B sound to it! There's also a few tiny little electronic elements added to the song but mostly it's very, very R&B. And I'm okay with that! Normally, I'm not a huge fan of the R&B genre since it's so very prevalent where I live but I think Kikka pulls off this song very well. It's also not 100% just R&B and there are some idol music elements in it! I think this song has a great beat and my favorite part is the chorus and the extended notes Kikka sings over the instrumental. This is one of the better songs that showcases Kikka's vocals and the way it's recorded makes it sound almost like a tape recording but it's done in a very neat way. If you like R&B, I think you'll enjoy this track and if you don't I'd still give a chance!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

12. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~

This song. It makes me rant. Of the three singles Kikka has released, Kikkae wa You! was okay, Konna Watashi de Yokattara was amazing, and Hapirapi ~Running Out of Ideas~ is absolutely crap. Well... that's a little harsh. But I can't help it if it's true! The song is generic, boring, and can be tossed in the trash bin containing a gazillion other idol songs that sound just like it. Not even Kikka sounds good in it; her voice sounds very forced and strained. Then again, I'd sound strained if I was worried about my career still being intact after releasing this single. I really wish this hadn't been included on the album; I'd have preferred it even as a B-side but I can't always get what I want. And I wanted a less half-assed single. But oh well. Moving on.

My Rating ★★☆☆☆

13. Hako no Nako no Blue

I think of all the new album songs, this one is probably my favorite! It has a very Buono!-sound to it and I really love the rock undertones to it! There's also a bunch of electronica added to the instrumental and it just sounds completely amazing. Kikka's vocals are just as energetic as the song and it's so much fun to get up and dance to this song! This songs sounds a lot like Sweetie to me because it has the same energetic buildup but HnNnB just has a more rock-influenced sound to it! This song is probably the peppiest track on the album and I think Kikka works it really well! That's the thing about Kikka's voice; she sounds her best when she goes all out. If you're going to look at any of the songs on One for You! I'd definitely start with this one!

My Rating: ★★★★★

14. Make YOU!

The final track called Make You! is a pretty decent way to conclude the album. It's definitely an idol song but considering Kikka is and idol that's to be expected. But I still wish they'd gone with a more distinct song to end the album like Konna Watashi de Yokattara or even Hako no Nako no Blue. I think that's partially because of the flaws with this song. At some points, Make You! almost sounds a bit whiny, particularly in the chorus and the vocals in general are also very meh. I can tell Kikka's really straining in this song to hold those high notes. However I really adore the instrumental in this; I think it sounds very flowing and calm. But as the final track? It doesn't really impress me and I think one of the best ways for an album to end is with a bang! Unfortunately, Make You! just doesn't really cut it...

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

And there you have it! The debut album of Kikkawa Yuu, using another pun on her name! And for her first album, it's actually pretty good! Like I said before, I'd intended to skip on it but now I'm glad I gave it a listen! While it is lacking in some parts, the new songs are what really drive the album along with the inclusion of some very good B-sides! The tracks flow nicely together too! My favorite songs on this album would have to be Konna Watashi de Yokattara, Sweetie, Knight Flight, Sayonara Namida, and Hako no Nako no Blue! As for songs I don't like... Hapirapi ~Sunrise~. Overall, the album is a very light, but fun listen and I'm glad I took the time and gave it a chance! And in the future, I can't wait to hear more from Kikka!

My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

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