Saturday, 1 August 2009

Don't dodge this hail of Love Bullets samples

Team Love Bullets' third opus 「にゃんこライダー」 (Kitty Rider) hit the streets yesterday, July 31st 2009. Now chances are, unless you live in Japan, you weren't able to walk into your local record store and pick it up in person. I share your pain, but there's no need to resort to wrist slashing just yet. Consider crying yourself to sleep to the tune of this lovely set of sample MP3s that was recently made public on GWAVE's website. Four out of the seven tracks are represented in short version, but you can also check out the original version of 「シスターまじっく!」, which is featured on this new album as a remix. Here's the final tracklist, with links to individual samples.

01. にゃんこライダー
02. 天華御免-TENKA・GOMEN-
03. どめすてぃっく・LOVE・まじっく REMIX ver
04. ねこ☆まっしぐら
05. かくも、青春とは美しい
06. アイリス-Iris-
07. にゃん×3 Love Bullets

The samples bode well, considering that the second album had a bit of a drop in the intensity department (but still very creative). The title track 「にゃんこライダー」 is clearly modeled after 「ドラゴンガール」 which was one of LOVE BULLET 2's highlights. Very... "asian" in its execution, for lack of a better word. In fact, I wouldn't dare use the term "recycled assets", but I guess I just did. More of the same is just what the doctor ordered in this case anyway. 「アイリス-Iris-」 may sound redundant, but pushes the R&B aspect to the next level for the budding duo. Maybe this song would have been better suited for a standard GWAVE album, but it is certainly more uplifting than, say, 「CALL MY NAME」. 「ねこ☆まっしぐら」 on the other hand, totally belongs on this album. It's as cheerful as they get, still not up to the intensity level previously set by 「1×8 ラブ・バレット」, but that's one hard song to top. 「天華御免-TENKA・GOMEN-」 would be your standard fare techno-pop if it wasn't for Miyu's passionate screams (ideas, get them) and TONAKAI様's eclectic arrangements.

Speaking of the big guy, we had a chat the other day about the state of Denpa in Japan. Serious business stuff, which will probably open the door to a second interview in the future, but one thing at a time. Basically I was just relaying to him that most Love Bullets reviews I've read usually enjoy pointing out that this is "much better than denpa". Which I really find strange, considering that GWAVE themselves are partially marketing this series as denpa. TONAKAI's answer to this problem certainly brought in some relief. He says that "many Japanese listeners don't really know what is and isn't denpa" and that more often than not, it is used to generate buzz around an article.

According to him, Love Bullet's producer KATO describes denpa as something that "accomplishes entertainment". Language barriers aside, I'm sure you get his point. Denpa can and should be used to describe a piece of music that gets people to talk about it, by the sole account of its eccentricity. Either way, he expects the pejorative use of the term to completely vanish in the coming years, much like the resurgence of "otaku" and "moe" as commonly-accepted terminology. Hell, I was told the other day that even Haruko Momoi, who was said to staunchly oppose the label, is starting to warm up to it. Remember my editorial "In defense of Denpa"? I strongly expected to have to write a follow-up, but it's been a year and a half and nothing's popped up. Haters be damned, denpa is here to stay.


GekkaMeron said...

I just listened and I like にゃんこライダー but then I was a big fan of ドラゴンガール (probably my favorite by them) so far. I like that kind of eastern pentatonic-scale sound. MOSAIC.WAV have pulled it off a few times and I loved it.

Unknown said...

" 「天華御免-TENKA・GOMEN-」 would be your standard fare techno-pop if it wasn't for Miyu's passionate screams (ideas, get them) and TONAKAI様's eclectic arrangements."

Not to criticize your writing or anything (this is a lie), but you're basically saying that it's standard techno-pop... except for both the vocals and the arrangement. Which would mean, logically, that it isn't standard techno-pop by any means.