Monday, September 30, 2013

Get the Star and Last Forever

Say, what's been going on with Tokyo Girls' Style lately? Have they been doing their lovely thing as usual, being all vocally talented and whatnot? I'd like to think so! The last time we saw our lovely Avex idols was in their sultry PV for Unmei, a hot, funky jam with an equally hot PV. But now we return to look at TGS with a new single, a double A-side to be exact. That double A-side consists of Get the Star and Last Forever. Of course, knowing how shit Avex is with promotion, only one of those A-sides is probably going to get any kind of promotion. I'd bet on Get the Star. Nonetheless, I'm always in the mood to review TGS, and what a better way to do that than a single review? That way I can review the entire single and not just the song that gets a PV! Of course, I do need to clarify that my single reviews don't look at remixes, so I won't be looking at the Orland Mix of Get the Star. I'm sure it's a fine remix and all; I just don't like reviewing remixes. With that aside, let's stop the stalling and take a look at this single!


The covers for Get the Star/Last Forever are pretty minimalistic. Like... super minimalistic. Like I could probably duplicate these covers if I had enough people. All you need is either a roll of black, red, yellow, or blue tape, depending on which cover you want to imitate. Then you just need to find a corner of a room with white walls and gray flooring. From there, all you do is spread the tape around said corner in one of four shapes. Voila! The covers for Get the Star/Last Forever! So yeah, the covers are minimalistic in the cheapest way possible. But... I kind of like them. I mean, I've seen much more creative covers, but the concept is still nicely executed and a somewhat clever idea. I like that the girls are all placed inside the tape, with some parts of their bodies just barely sticking out. There isn't much variety with each cover, save for the colors and shapes of the tape along with the positions each member is put in. All in all, the covers are a really simplistic idea, but I don't think they look that bad.

At least they didn't add like shitty puke yellow font to the covers either unlike some singles I've reviewed this year that start with "Sayonara" and end in "Crawl." Tokyo Girls' Style has gotten much tackier covers in the past, so I'm not complaining much about the ones for Get the Star/Last Forever. And then there are the outfits for the single, which really gave me my first indication of what the songs were going to sound like! The outfits for Get the Star/Last Forever are lot less polished and sleek than a lot of Tokyo Girls' Style's previous outfits. The girls are all dressed like members of an 80s rock band... if there was an 80s rock band consisting of Japanese girls. They're all wearing acid-wash jeans or fishnets gloves or combat boots, you know, grunge-y looking stuff! As someone who likes wearing grunge-y clothes (when I'm not in a girly mood), I think the outfits for this single are pretty cool. I like that the outfits all look different from each other and that they're not so uniform. It works when the songs you get are all pop-rock songs. Speaking of which...

Get the Star

What's this? A song by Tokyo Girls' Style that is... not funky and fresh!? Be still my beating heart, for I have looked into the abyss and it has stared back! In all seriousness though, Get the Star is a different A-side for TGS. Hell, it's a different sound in general for them. TGS has always been Avex's callback to the 90s, with groovy beats and rhythms you could have sworn you heard in a 1970s exploitation film. Unmei, their last A-side was just about as funky as TGS gets. Get the Star on the other hand is a pop-rock song of all things produced by the bassist from a band called Luna Sea. Being the diligent reviewer that I am, I did a little bit of research on Luna Sea and listened to a few of their songs, just to get a feel of their overall style. And they seem like a pretty cool rock band with some good songs. They reminded me a bit of The Cure, only a lot less New Wave and a lot more rock-oriented. From what I can tell, they're a pretty prestigious rock band so an idol group like TGS getting a member from the band to produce a song for them is a pretty big deal, for them at least.

The song the bassist (whose stage name is just the letter J) produced for TGS is definitely much more pop than any of the stuff this guys does with Luna Sea. As I said before, Get the Star is not only a pop rock song, but a definite change in style from Tokyo Girls' Style's... eh... style. However, the real question is if this is a good change or not. Personally, I found Get the Star to be an incredibly refreshing song. Don't get me wrong, I love TGS and their own funky 90s Avex sound, but it's nice for a song to shake things up for them, and Get the Star is perfect for that. Even as a standalone song, Get the Star is still great. It's very refreshingly upbeat but not dissonantly upbeat; it still sounds like something TGS would do. It's a happy song, but also an encouraging song. There's just something so... joyful about the chorus of this song; I feel like the girls were really into singing Get the Star. If you're looking for the groovy TGS, Get the Star does not fit into that mold but is still a wonderful song that's a breath of fresh air for Tokyo Girls' Style!

As usual, I'd considered reviewing the PV for Get the Star, but in the end opted not to. It's more because I wanted to talk about Last Forever than because there isn't much to talk about in the PV though. Still, I don't know if I could have made a full PV review for Get the Star. I mean, the PV pretty much consists of the girls singing in a garage-type set. It's definitely a bit grittier than some of the other PVs they've been in. The girls are surrounded by amps and wires and spotlights and ladders, all the stuff you associate with cool rock PVs! Or at least what I associate with cool rock PVs... The girls spend most of the PV singing around in a circle, looking happy, chilling out together. And then there are a few miscellaneous shots thrown in of them dancing individually. Really there's not that much going on in the PV. It's almost like the girls just got together in some random abandoned warehouse to record a jam session with no instruments. In fact, I wonder what this PV would have looked like if the girls were playing instruments... It'd probably look more awkward than AKB48's Give Me Five! PV, but in my head, it'd look pretty cool.

Man, can you imagine Scandal playing in a location like that? In fact, I think they've already done that... several time.s Okay, okay, I digress! So yeah, the PV for Get the Star isn't by any means the most interesting PV I've looked at this year, but it's not blatantly cheap or gaudy looking. The editing is nicely done, and the visuals match the tone of the PV well. The setting's dark but the girls' cheerfulness creates a nice contrast. There are a few layered effects spliced into the PV that look like illuminated dustballs, but those are pretty tastefully edited so they look like stars! Kind of. Use your imagination, okay? One thing I noticed about this PV was the attention focused on Yuri. She got both the opening and ending shots entirely to herself! It's probably nothing much to talk about, but I think it was kind of cool she "got the star" in the ending shot of the PV. So yeah, other than that the PV for Get the Star is cool, even there's not much variety in it.

I've got to give Get the Star five out of five apples. I like that it's a pop-rock song, a genre of music that TGS rarely approaches. But I also like that it's such an encouraging-sounding song, with a lot of energy and a very positive, if rather abstract message. Definitely one of my favorite TGS songs.

Last Forever

The other A-side on this single is Last Forever, despite the fact the Last Forever wasn't anywhere near as promoted as Get the Star. Unlike Get the Star, which is energetic and jubilant, Last Forever is much more toned down. Mainly because it's a ballad. That alone should give you a pretty clear idea of how Last Forever sounds. Now Tokyo Girls' Style has done several ballads before, the most recent being Tsuioku. Personally, I've found the few ballads TGS has done to be pretty underwhelming. Tsuioku was pretty but I've always found it to be a rather a dull song to my ears. In my opinion, it's way too slow. So I wasn't exactly jumping up and down to hear Last Forever. Luckily, all my preconceived hesitations were blown away when I finally listened to the song. Last Forever is a ballad, but it's the best kind of ballad: one that feels genuine. The members of TGS wrote the lyrics to Last Forever themselves, which I found to be very interesting. I don't think the girls of TGS have ever written a song, so I do like that they were able to contribute a little creative input for once, especially as an idol group.

While I've yet to find a translation of Last Forever, the way the girls sing the song give it such... emotion. I've said before that my favorite ballads are the ones that sound emotional, and Last Forever excels in that. It's the first ballad I've heard from Tokyo Girls' Style that really works for them. Funny enough, like Get the Star, Last Forever is kind of a different song style of TGS. It's a ballad but it's more of a rock ballad, very loosely speaking. However, the stylistic change is done well creating what's probably one of my favorite J-pop ballads. Yes, one of my favorite J-pop ballads. I think my favorite part (of several favorite parts) of Last Forever has to be the outro with the amazing guitar riff. And the chorus itself is the vocal highlight of the song. What else is there to say about this song? Last Forever is not only a great ballad, but an absolutely wonderful song, the kind of song that I can see myself listening to a lot. I highly recommend listening to it.

And it looks like another 5 apples are going to the other A-side of this single! For a ballad, Last Forever is one of the strongest idol ballads I've listened to and not just because of the good vocals. It's a heartfelt, emotional song

The Verdict

Well, this just might be the best single I've reviewed all year. That or Magic of Love. Get the Star/Last Forever consisted of two songs that are both a little different from what Tokyo Girls' Style normally does but different in a good way. What I really like is that both the A-sides on this single compliment each other. Get the Star is a very upbeat pop-rock tune while Last Forever is a much slower rock ballad. What ties both these songs together and makes them mix so well is the fact that both songs have emotion. The emotional levels of Get the Star and Last Forever are high, and there's something very genuine I felt from each song in both the instrumentals and the vocals. Get the Star felt like a very encouraging song to listen to, and I liked the collaboration between TGS and the bassist from Luna Sea. I think every now and then TGS needs to be pulled out of their comfort zone of groovy 90s Avex. A pop-rock song that sounds like something you'd hear from BiS or Scandal is in my opinion the perfect genre for such a mature idol group to deviate to.

Get the Star was a fun song while not sounding like something completely out-of-style for TGS. And I think the same can be said for Last Forever. This is probably the first ballad from TGS that I've really, really liked in part due to the genuine emotions from the song and the fact that it's a rock ballad. Overall, this single is absolutely amazing, and I try not to use that term lightly. Both songs represent a change in style from TGS that is a great change. I don't know if Tokyo Girls' Style's next single is going back to their traditional style of exploring this one more, but if it's the latter, I wouldn't mind in the least. I can't recommend listening to this single enough, even if you aren't a fan of Tokyo Girls' Style. When I say I'm a fan of TGS, songs like this are why I'm such a huge fan of them. The songs on this single are some of the best Tokyo Girls' Style songs I've heard, probably as good as Limited Addiction or Kodou no Himitsu. I don't know how TGS is going to top this, but Get the Star/Last Forever is probably one of my favorite singles they've released.

I said I thought this might be the best single I reviewed all year and I wasn't exaggerating. Get the Star/Last Forever gets a perfect five-out-of-five apples for me. And well-deserved apples are they too! Both songs on this single are top-notch, with each one distinct in sound yet complimenting the other nicely. It's singles like these that make me truly happy to be an idol blogger. So since the end of 2013 is coming soon, do you guys have any favorite singles that are so wonderful they make you cry sweet tears of joy? Obviously, I do...

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