Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Say Hello to Pla2me

It's been over three months since BiS disbanded, and their disbandment is no less sombre. The silver lining though is that all the members of BiS have pursued future projects, like Pour Lui's created a band, Tentenko's been DJ-ing, Nozomi's disappeared into the void, and Saki's teamed up with Izukoneko to form a duo! That duo? Pla2me. And their debut single? Plastic 2 Mercy!

When I first heard about the formation of Pla2me, I was excited. More because Pla2me gave me hope that not all the members of BiS were going to fade into obscurity. While Saki wasn't my favorite member of BiS, I liked her enough to be interested in Pla2me. As for Izukoneko, or Mizuta Mari as she goes by in Pla2me, I knew she was a solo idol whose Izukoneko persona revolved around cats. Many, many cats. I love cats, and I even downloaded her debut album. However, I don't think I ever actually listened to it... Maybe I'll come back to it later. So with a former member of BiS and a former solo idol who sang about cats together in a group, I'm certain Pla2me is bound to be interesting! Or maybe they're terrible! I hope not! I think the hardest thing for me as a reviewer will be to not compare Pla2me to BiS. BiS is gone. Kaput. Finito. I can't expect every post-BiS project to sound exactly like something BiS would release. I do hope Pla2me has something interesting to offer. So keeping an open mind, let's delve into Plastic 2 Mercy.


There's only one cover for Plastic 2 Mercy, which makes my job three times easier. The cover is pretty simple, just a circle and two triangles. There's not much to it, but I kind of like the simplicity. Very mod. The outfits carry on the same color palette as the cover. I like that Saki and Mari aren't dressed the same but still have the same general style. Saki's wearing a crop top and shorts and Mari's wearing a more girlish dress. They both look like they're promoting Crayola crayons or performing on children's television. If I were seven, I would love these outfits. But I am eighteen, and I just like them. Overall though, I like the visual style Pla2me is going for. It's very distinct. But does it match up with their music? Is their music even good? Let's see...

Plastic 2 Mercy

Oh yeah, this is a good song. And hoo boy, it's a catchy one too. I think the best way to summarize Plastic 2 Mercy sound is... imagine 9nine turned into a hardcore techno group. Remember how StupiG by BiS sounded? That's how Plastic 2 Mercy sounds only a lot more melodic and less nightmarishly loud. Which works perfectly for me. Plastic 2 Mercy has all the punch I liked about StupiG and none of the chaotic weirdness that put me off. I think the vocals sound good, the song has a solid hook, the instrumental is extremely catchy, and the general sound stands out. I guess this means Pla2me is a techno-oriented group? Plastic 2 Mercy definitely isn't as far into the realm of techno as Perfume or Curumi Chronicle but has a lot of techno sounds in the instrumental and maybe even a touch of noise. I'd bet my writing abilities fans seeing Plastic 2 Mercy performed live go crazy when the chorus starts. There's this burst of noise after the first verse, and it's a great transition. Plastic 2 Mercy has this overall loud, frantic pace, which is crazy when you realize the song is nearly five minutes long. Plastic 2 Mercy sounds like a song you'd hear at a rave. Were I at a rave, I would dance to this song. Poorly. But I would still dance.

Even not at a rave, I really like Plastic 2 Mercy. I like the general sound, and I think it's a strong song for Pla2me to debut with. I hope that this techno sound is what they're going to use for the rest of their songs. Judging by the quality of Plastic 2 Mercy, I think Pla2me works well with this sound. And I like that they're on the harder side of idol groups. Maybe not to the level of BiS or Babymetal, but definitely farther over than Terashima Yufu's music. Plastic 2 Mercy appeals to not only my techno side but also my edgy music side. Plastic 2 Mercy's been out for awhile, and I think it's grown on me. That melody in the instrumental sticks in my head. And the rest of Plastic 2 Mercy is full of great hooks (like "Say hello" in the verses, the entire chorus, that repeated melody). The replay value also helps. I've listened to this song over twenty times, and I'm still not tired of it. This is a fun song, especially if you like techno. Plastic 2 Mercy is a strong song to debut with, and it makes me excited to see what other music Pla2me has in store for the future...

You know what? I think Plastic 2 Mercy warrants five apples! It's fun, it's energetic, it's edgy, and it has an irresistibly catchy melody. If you like dance songs, I strongly recommend Plastic 2 Mercy. Same goes if you like techno songs, serious idol songs, or good songs. Plastic 2 Mercy offers all of that in four minutes and forty seconds of amazing music.

too misery

An A-side is only part of a single, and I was even more curious to hear how the B-side to Plastic 2 Mercy would sound. Would Too misery carry on the same techno sound Plastic 2 Mercy utilized so well? Or would Pla2me pull a Himekyun Fruit Can and have a B-side that was a complete 180 in tone and sound? Too misery is a change in tone. Luckily, Too misery is not different-sounding enough to warrant musical whiplash. Plastic 2 Mercy is an awesome but an intense, heavy, and loud song. The song is practically an explosion when I play it through my earbuds. Too misery has the same techno sound as Plastic 2 Mercy but in a much lighter dose. I wouldn't classify Too misery as a happy song... but it is a more uplifting one when compared to Plastic 2 Mercy. Plastic 2 Mercy is a head-thrashing kind of song, whereas Too misery is a swaying kind of song. Too misery actually reminds me of some American alternative synthpop bands like Capital Cities and maybe even MGMT if I really, really squint my ears.

I can compare sounds all day. Do I like Too misery? ...yes. But I don't like it as much as Plastic 2 Mercy. While Plastic 2 Mercy and Too misery are obviously different songs, they have similar structures: techno songs with some form of catchy, instrumental hook. Of the two, Plastic 2 Mercy simply has the better instrumental hook. Too misery's isn't a bad one either, but coming right after Plastic 2 Mercy, Too misery pales in comparison. That isn't the only problem with Too misery. For me, Too misery takes too long to build up its energy, and the chorus doesn't fit in as well with the rest of the song. It's too upbeat. Like I said, I can't get those generic alternative synthpop bands out of my head when I listen Too misery. Even the vocals in the chorus sound painfully generic. I think individually, I like the verses and the chorus, but together, they just don't clique. The coolest part about Too misery is the instrumental; I love all the random stuff going on in it. As a whole though, Too misery isn't my favorite song on this single. I do think it's still a worthwhile listen, and it does match well to Plastic 2 Mercy's sound. Listening to it isn't a waste of time!

I like Too misery, but only enough to give it four apples. Which is by no means a terrible rating to get! Of the two songs on this single, I think the A-side sounds better. Still, Too misery is a good song and it's a nice change of pace after the very heavy Plastic 2 Mercy.

The Verdict

I didn't know what to expect from a duo made up of Saki from BiS and Izukoneko, and Plastic 2 Mercy definitely wasn't at the top of my expectations. I thought maybe the duo's music would sound similar to what Mari released as Izukoneko: a weird blend of pop, electronica, and cat noises. I was probably a little off on the cat noises... But if Plastic 2 Mercy is the type of music they're going to keep releasing in the future, then I am excited. I think this is a great debut single and even one of my favorite releases this year. That mainly has to do with the sound; I just like the general sound of this single. It's techno, one of my favorite genres. However, Plastic 2 Mercy is techno in the way that BiS approached techno. With heavy-hitting production and catchy melodies, Plastic 2 Mercy has a thoroughly impactful sound. Both songs on this single have their own distinct qualities while still tying themselves into a cohesive-sounding single. Too misery is the lighter of the two songs but both Plastic 2 Mercy and Too misery are equally memorable. And both songs fit together nicely; Plastic 2 Mercy starts out the single with a harder and edgier sound, while Too misery lightens the mood.

If you're a BiS fan looking for something a little heavier than Terashima Yufu's solo material, I wholeheartedly recommend Plastic 2 Mercy! Even if a former member of BiS wasn't involved in Pla2me, I would still recommend this single. It's just good. I think the one criticism I might add is that the production on this single is very heavy, so I don't now how that rests with production nuts. As someone not lenient on production quality, I'm not bothered by it. Also, of the two songs on Plastic 2 Mercy, the A-side is the stronger one. I think after such a loud, memorable song, Too misery can sound a little underwhelming. Even then, both songs are still worthwhile listens. Visually, this is also a great single. The costumes, the album art, and the live promotional video all match the music nicely and help create an even more distinctive image for Pla2me. Overall, I am impressed by Pla2me's debut. This is an awesome single, and I can't wait to see what Pla2me's follow-up to Plastic 2 Mercy will be.

I'm gonna give Plastic 2 Mercy four and half apples! I'm so happy that the BiS members are still doing projects after BiS' disbandment, and I'm even happier that they're doing good projects. Yufu's gone the more traditional idol route, Pla2me's going in a more unconventional direction, and Pour Lui's in a rock band. Now if only Tentenko and Uika would appear...

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