NEWS is back! This time, with their first totally original album since they became”New” NEWS. In 2012, they released a BEST album that contained all of their old songs, but this album is the first album since they become 4 members to have all new songs with just the 4 of them. The album is self titled as「NEWS」and features 12 songs (13 on the regular edition). 3 of these song were released as singles in the past year: チャンカパーナ(Chankapana)、WORLD QUEST, and ポコポンペコーリャ(Pokoponpekorya). The album also features the WING Kirei Bra commercial song 「渚のお姉サマー」Nagisa no Onee-sama, which was not released as a single, as well as the B Side of Chankapana, Full Swing.
This album comes in 3 editions:
Limited Edition A: CD +DVD Combo
This Edition has 12 Songs, along with a DVD titled “LIFE OF NEWS”, which contains footage of the members going around Tokyo together and doing each other’s hobbies that they like to do on their typical day off.
Limited Edition B: CD + CD Combo
This Edition has 12 songs on the first CD (same as the regular edition and the edition above) and then 4 Songs on the 2nd CD which contains the member’s solo songs.
Regular Edition: CD
This Edition contains 13 Songs, which are the normal 12 songs from the other Editions + 1 extra song called “CRY”
Thoughts on the Songs
This is an intro to the album in english, basically telling the fans that NEWS wants to spread NEWS to all directions in Japan, and the world, and telling the fans the direction that want to go in and that NEWS is finally back! I had never heard something like this except on Yamapi’s Super Good Super Bad album where he had an intro like this as well. The first time I heard this song I giggled (and I STILL do) because it was in english and the way it was said was kinda funny to me, but all in all I really like the message they are trying to convey behind this; “we are new NEWS and we want to reach as far as we can. We are back”.
2. WORLD QUEST
This was the FIFA 2012 Club World Cup song that was released back in December 2012 as a Double A side single with ポコポンペコーリャ(Pokoponpekorya). At first, I really didn’t like this song to be honest. It was nice to listen to a few times, but I got bored with it easily, unlike Chankapana. After listening to it in the flow of the album though, my thought on the song changed a bit and I began to like it more! In the flow of the album, I like how it’s first because it fits as an opening song after Compass; a powerful intro into the album! I think if it were elsewhere in the album, it would be awkwardly placed.
This title is read as “For Fan”. This song was meant to be a call and response song for NEWS, like a lot of the other Johnnys groups have. NEWS asked to have one created and this was the result! It is a fun upbeat song with simple, but impactful lyrics from NEWS to the fans expressing their gratitude to the fans. This is going to be a fun song in concert because of the call and response component! If you didn’t notice, towards the beginning of the song it spells out NEWS in the build up to the chorus! I think it is s a perfect call and response song for NEWS and suits them very well!
4.「渚のお姉サマー」(Nagisa no Onee-sama)
This was the WING Kirei Bra commercial song and was only released on the album, not as a single. The title of the song is basically a whole bunch of plays on words and directly means “Woman of the Seashore”, but Onee-sama means “Older sister” in Japanese, but is often also used as a term for a woman older than you, but not necessarily in your family. Sama is an honorific ending to a name, but in this case its a play on words サマー (sama) in katakana and its referring to the english word “Summer”, thus a summer-like song! This is one of my favorite songs on the album because I think it is like a new version of their previous song “SUMMER TIME” and I think it fits NEWS’s style very well from the lyrics of the song to the style of music! The song is basically about a younger guy looking at an older woman and falling in love with her during the summer on the seashore and trying to appeal to her! It’s a fun, upbeat song with a very summer like feel!
This was the other Double A side to the WORLD QUEST single and wasn’t pushed as much. I personally like this song better than WORLD QUEST because I love cute-like songs and I thought it suited NEWS very well! The title of the song basically means to be hungry and is all about food and eating! The music almost reminds me of Ireland or Scotland because of the bag-pipe like sounds in the background. The lyrics and the music of the song are very cute-like, so if you don’t like cute-like songs, this song is definitely not for you.
6. 「恋祭り」(Koi Matsuri)
“Koi Matsuri” translates into “Love Festival” and just as the title implies, it is about love at a summer festival. Koi Matsuri has to be my favorite song on this album hands down for a few reasons: First, I love the fusion of old style Japanese festival music with the taiko drums and other instruments with current pop sounds . I love when songs fuse together 2 different types of sounds to make something that people wouldn’t have thought of before! Second, the pace of the song changes abruptly, speeding up and slowing down at many different times and it keeps you on your toes, kinda like fireworks at a Japanese summer fireworks festival! When I first saw the title of the song, I thought it was going to be a slow love song, but I was pleasantly surprised with this song and loved it from when Koyama played it on his radio show “Kei-chan NEWS”.
This is 1 of 2 slow songs on the album, not including the member solos. This is a soft R&B style love ballad and I love the light acoustic guitar and the soft, almost lullaby-like way they sing the song. The whistling at the beginning of the song and during some parts of the song, along with the sound of waves too periodically is also a very nice touch! I am not normally a fan of slow songs, but this song really made me smile and somehow made me fall in love with it!
8. ベサメ･ムーチョ～狂おしいボレロ～ ( Besame Mucho~ Mad Bolero)
This song has a classic boy band feel to it and in some interviews NEWS said this was supposed to be similar to a long time NEWS fan favorite, I ZA NA I ZU KI. This has a very spanish kinda feel to it, as the title might imply a bit! I am not totally aware of what the meaning of the title of this song is, but I really like the lyrics so far (as I have not translated them yet or looked at this particular song’s lyrics in depth quite yet) and from what I gather it seems to be a sensual song. I like the beat of the song, not too slow to be a ballad but not too fast to be a really fast song.
Chankapana is one of my favorite NEWS singles of all time. This was their first single as 4 members and I think they came back with a bang! This song was supposed to be a message to the fans that they are very important to NEWS, and Chankapana is a made up word that means – 愛しい人, or beloved person. This is a very upbeat song that I thought was perfect for representing new NEWS!
10. Dance in the Dark
NEWS almost always has 1 dance song on their album and this time is no different! Dance songs like Bambina, Dancing in the Secret, and Ai no Matador are always fan favorites, and I think this one is sure to become a fan favorite as well! My favorite aspect of this song is how the vocals are very “husky” as compared to a lot of the other songs on the album that are more “sweet” and is an especially stark contrast to “Greedier” which has a very soft, almost lullaby -like vocals. The vocals in the song weren’t really auto tuned at all (except for a few small parts) and I liked that because you can focus on the nice husky vocals instead. I can see this performed with fire and be very sensual on stage because the lyrics themselves are very sensual and I have heard many people saying that they think this is “Bambina part 2” because the lyrics imply very similar things! (LOL!)
11. HIGHER GROUND
This is the only really Rock-like song on the album and its more of an upbeat “Pop-rock” type song. Its an inspiring song about moving forward and I think that is one of the biggest themes of this album: Gratefulness to the fans, as well as being stronger and pushing forward. I think its a great song to be towards the end of the album.
12. 「フルスイング」(Full Swing)
This song is fitting to be last on the album (besides the regular edition, of course, which has 13 songs) and this was actually a B side on the Chankapana single. It was so popular in the concerts last year and so moving to both the fans and NEWS, that NEWS decided it should be on the album as well. I am so glad they decided to put this on the album because I think it fits with the overall theme of new NEWS and the album as well. The song is basically NEWS’s feelings about the departure of the other 2 members and them kinda pushing forward after being at a standstill for so long wrapped up into one song. I really like how this was the last song on the limited editions of the album because it really shows how far NEWS has come and its such a meaningful song to both NEWS and the fans.
(Only on the Regular Edition) 13. CRY
This is their 2nd of 2 slow songs on the album, and its not even THAT slow to be honest. I really like the beat of the song and the lyrics are also very inspiring. I think this was a good way to wrap up the album because if it ended with a really upbeat song I don’t think it would have fit into the flow of the album. If I had to pick a song that would end the tour coming up (before the encore) , I think that this song would be perfect for it!
14. Beautiful Rain – by Koyama Keiichiro
This is Koyama’s solo song on the album and it is an R&B love song. The first time I heard this song it reminded me of Nakamaru from KAT-TUN’s solo songs and I could see Koyama dancing to this song this year, unlike last year where he had a ballad and just stood at a mic and performed it. I think this song has strong vocals, but when Koyama goes higher at points I can’t help to think that its too high for his range a bit or if thats supposed to be the vocal style for the song. I want to think that it is the latter though because it seems to be similar for other R&B type of songs. I think this is a really sweet song and I really like this song better than his solo song from Chankapana last year because I find this eaiser to listen to more than last year’s slow song.
15. Dreamcatcher – by Kato Shigeaki
Shige does a complete 180 degree turn from his Vampire song from last year with a Jazzy R&B “lullaby for adults” as he describes in interviews. The vocals in this song are perfect for him with his falsetto and then going deeper at a small rap part in the middle. I think Shige did an amazing job on this song and his voice suits the style perfectly. I like the little bit crazy lyrics, and with the combination of his vocals its a very sensual lullaby and I especially like the touch at the end with him saying “Oyasumi”, or goodnight, which he said he got that idea from his radio show where he always says oyasumi at the end of it.
16. Remedy – by Masuda Takahisa
This is hands down my favorite solo song out of all of them and not just because Massu is my favorite member of NEWS (and in Johnnys….). Its an hard dance song and the vocals are just so well done! I love the beat and maybe its because I am attracted to faster songs that this is my favorite solo song. Massu tends to always do solo songs that he can dance to and I think its maybe because he doesn’t get to do it as much in Tegomass (as its a very different style than dance music) and limited in NEWS. The lyrics basically mean that “you are my poison and my remedy for it too” which I think is a very interesting concept. I also like how the chorus is really easy to remember!
17. Lovin’U – by Tegoshi Yuya
This is a pop-rock ballad and it sounds like something that would be a Tegomass single or apart of a Tegomass album, so I was very surprised when I first heard it. The song is written in the perspective of a girl and its about the guy that she loves choosing work over her and she has always supported him, but now she decides that they need to break up and move on, though she still loves him. I was surprised at how soft the vocals of the song were, especially for a song that Tegoshi alone sings, but when I thought about it I realized it was in the perspective of a girl so thats why he decided to go for more soft vocals.
Final Thoughts about the Songs
I thought that overall, this was a very solid album, if not the most solid album that NEWS had released. Everyone was at the top of their game vocal wise and the songs were chosen very well for the combination of their 4 voices. I love each and every song on this album and that is very rare for a Johnnys group for me. This album must have been in the works for a very long time because I can tell it was very well thought out. I have had this album on repeat since I received it and I still haven’t gotten tired of it at all. The thing I was most surprised about was the huge improvement in Shige’s vocals on this album, as well as how Tegoshi’s voice wasn’t at the center of attention. I was so impressed with Shige and his solo song, as well as how strong his vocals were on this album. I can tell he worked very hard overall and his confidence has rises big time and it was conveyed through this album. This album is my favorite NEWS album, with Pacific and then LIVE after that.
NEWS, welcome back! Us fans have been waiting and you certainly delivered above and beyond my expectations!