Review: Tegomass – Neko Chuudoku テゴマス「猫中毒」

Neko Chuudoku is Tegomass’s 7th single and it was released on May 22, 2013. This was their 2nd single in 2013 following  their previous single released in March 2013, Sayonara ni Sayonara 「サヨナラにさよなら」. The direct translation of Neko Chuudoku is basically “Cat Obsession”.

Editions

Limited Edition A: CD + DVD

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Limited Edition A comes with the song Neko Chuudoku itself, as well as a テゴ.カラ、which stands for Tegoshi Karaoke. So that means that Only Tegoshi’s voice shows up on this track, rather than a regular Karaoke or both of them singing on the track. It also comes with a DVD of the Music Video and Music Video making.

Limited Edition B: CD + DVD

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Limited Edition B comes with the Neko Chuudoku song, as usual,  and this time マス.カラ、which stands for Massu Karaoke. So this time its just Massu’s voice on the track. The DVD that comes with this edition contains the dance version of the Music video as well as “Tegomass Sensei Catness” video, which is them teaching the fans how to dance the dace of Neko Chuudoku. Fun fact, if you press the cartoon cat on the DVD menu of this edition, it will give the whole dance music video of them facing backwards so that you can follow along dancing with them!

Regular Edition: CD

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The regular edition only comes with a CD but it contains 2 extra songs, plus the real karaoke track for Neko Chuudoku that doesn’t contain any vocals at all. The 2 extra songs are 「シュプレヒコール」”Shipurehicoru” (which means speaking in chorus, or together) and 「花に想いを」”Hana ni Omoi wo” (which means “Expressing feelings with flowers”.

My Thoughts

The Song

Neko Chuudoku is a upbeat “Ska” like song that really leaves you wondering “What the heck just happened in this song?” LOL! I truly love this song, when some others don’t, but I will say that its not my favorite song from Tegomass. Tegomass diverted from their normal type of music a bit and decided to do a dancing (well…. sort of dancing) song this time. Normally they have more mellow-like songs they release as singles, and on their album they have some other upbeat songs, but this is the first time they released a single with a really upbeat feel to it. The only exception to this I can think of is Tanabata Matsuri, but that wasn’t even upbeat as compared to Neko Chuudoku. It’s also really short compared to other Tegomass songs they have released in the past.

The B-Sides

I normally don’t pay too much attention to the B-sides on singles sometimes until they are performed live or they have a significant impact on the fans and this time was no different.  I didn’t listen to the B-sides of this single closely until I heard them during the live performance of their 4th Live Tour, Tegomass no Seishun. After they performed these songs at the concert, I fell in love with both of the songs. シュプレヒコール」”Shipurehicoru” is a very easy listening song  with a violin- like sound in the background and very nice guitar and piano. The vocals and harmony is amazing and the rhythm of the song is amazing as well! 「花に想いを」”Hana ni Omoi wo” is a different type of song that reminds me of the American south and spring and summer with a harmonica, guitar and fiddle- like sound in the background!

The Music Video 

The Music Video is very different from their past videos, as a reflection of the different style of song that they were trying out this time. I like how in the full version of the music video, they start out from being “cool” and then all of a sudden change into the big Cat Costumes and start dancing a cute dance and doing crazy things that they interpret themselves from the lyrics of the song. It’s vibrant and colorful and is a stark contrast to the previous single they released 2 months prior, Sayonara ni Sayonara, which was very mellow and them just singing without much movement. I am looking forward to when they have a concert to see how they will incorporate Neko Chuudoku into the normal way they do their concerts because they normally don’t dance (except for 1 song). I kinda wonder if they will actually wear the big cat costumes during the concert because they wore them in all of their promotions for the single release.

Extras

Another cool thing they did different this time was the “Tegomass Sensei Catness” video. On the LE B Edition, Tegomass teach you the dance to Neko Chuudoku themselves in a cute way that is very Tegomass like. I like that they did this because this IS their first dancing music video and the fans probably would want to learn the dance to it. The making of the Music Video was different this time because they put humor into it by having a competition between Tegoshi and Massu that was based around cat like things. They didn’t do it all at once either, so it made it interesting to do some behind the scenes and then some competition interchangeably, with a punishment game for the looser of the competition at the end.

The last thing that I liked is how they continued to do the TegoKara and the MassuKara thing. They started to do this with Sayonara ni Sayonara and they continued to do so with Neko Chuudoku. I really like this because I can sing the part that I like to sing and not feel awkward just with the regular Karaoke track and I can “pretend” that I am singing a duet with either Massu or Tegoshi. I think a lot of the fans feel the same way about it as I do and it became popular so they continued to do it on this single. I hope they continue to do so in the future because that was a brilliant idea!

Final Thoughts

I think Tegomass did a good job with this song and shook things up a bit by bringing something different to the table. The one thing I will say though is that I don’t know if they should have released it at this time because their previous album Tegomass no Mahou and their single before this Sayonara ni Sayonara were a huge step towards being more “Adult Cute-like”, and then they went straight to something like Neko Chuudoku. If someone wasn’t a Tegomass fan before, they might have been confused at the difference and not liked it. I personally love this song, but I think if they wanted to keep up with their image they should have released it before Sayonara or just not released it at all. All in all, as a decently long time fan of Tegomass, I like how they shook things up and I am looking forward to when they release a new album because I want to see how they want to present themselves after 2 years!

What are your thoughts? Feel free to tell me in the comments below or tweet me!

*DISCLAIMER* I am still learning Japanese and these translations of these song titles, Japanese content, or any other translations from Japanese aren’t perfect. Please bring to my attention if you think I have any errors.

NEWS LIVE TOUR 2013~10 Year Anniversary Event, Tokyo Dome, September 7th, 2013 Report

Hi Everyone! I am back with a report about the 10 year anniversary event in Tokyo dome! Since there have already been a lot of reports already released, mine will be short and to the point with some things that I personally noticed and enjoyed during the concert! So, lets get started!

-The show started about 5-7 minutes late because people were still flooding into their seats in the arena. Eventually everyone started to get anxious and started to do the NEWS call even louder and finally NEWS came on.

– The setlist was basically the same as Tokyo and Kobe, but with a few changes. The added a single medley where they did all of their singles they hadn’t done yet in the concert, as well as they had both marching bands from both the Kobe and Tokyo concerts come and perform with them.

-There was kinda of a Parade thing with the marching bands with NEWS on the floor of Tokyo dome and when the bands originally appeared on stage they did a kinda dueling band drum line show down and I knew right then that it was both bands from both the Kobe and Tokyo shows.

– During Tegoshi’s solo he had a live rock band backing him up and they continued to back up through the next song, Liar. The intro to Liar with the band reminded me of the beginning of the band segments of a KJ8 concert and it was super cool!

-Tegoshi also messed up in the beginning of his solo starting out with the 2nd verse instead of the 1st one and told everyone to stop and to restart and apologized cutely.

– For the event part of the concert, it happened during the MC and they did a variety of things. First they showed old footage of each of the members and then they came out in their real debut costumes for NEWS Nippon. Shige’s pants were so tight they wouldn’t zip up properly and he had to go and change during the 2nd part of the event.They also at one point showed a morphing of how each of the members have changed from debut to now through pictures. Everyone when Koyoama’s pictures came on started shouting “charai”

– Also during the Event, NEWS told us they gave us a present, which were the wrist bands that were handed out at the doors when we came inside the Dome. They gave away other things during it too to specific seat numbers. Massu gave away a signed copy of his solo winkup, Tamiya Plamodel Spray paint in each of the members’s colors, and a bracelet he was just wearing. Tegoshi gave away a soccer ball he used on tour and the Mini 4WD he made during the Album DVD. Koyama gave away his whole suit that he wore for a year on Mirai theater and Shige gave away 2 photos, 1 he took and 1 of himself that he signed. They also gave away signed concert goods but they had the seat numbers posted at the end of the show and didn’t announce it in person, probably for time sake.

-The last present they gave us fans was a song that they wrote together called “Ai Kotoba”, which I think will officially be replacing Share from now on. It can be viewed on September 15th for 24 hours on the Johnnys Entertainment website (the record label) not the Johnnys and Associates website. There will also be special shop photos from the event on sale at the 4 Johnnys shops nation wide from September 15th until the end of the month.

-During the ending speeches I cried because Massu started crying as soon as he started his speech. As you all may know, Massu is my favorite member and I look up to him a lot so it was like I was crying in happiness with him and in disbelief with him that NEWS was able to stand in Tokyo Dome again. He said some of the same things he always says, like he couldn’t believe that so many people have the same plans to come to see them at the same time kinda thing and we all chuckled at that while crying with him. When he was going off stage, Koyama hugged him and it was the cutest thing ever. Koyama almost started crying during his speech but was like “No, I am the leader, I can’t cry!” Jokingly and changed the conversation to being really happy and playing around with the audience saying that since he was the leader of NEWS, he was also the leader of the NEWS fans and told us not to cheat on them with other groups jokingly! Koyama also said again that he wanted NEWS to be the ones that us fans come to in hard times to forget those hard things for a while and then tomorrow work hard again. I love that about NEWS so much and I feel that power from them always, even not during concert season. I don’t remember Shige or Tegoshi’s speeches very well, unfortunately.

– During the time between when they left the stage and the encore, us fans did a surprise for NEWS! Also when we came in, we received a glow stick with our wristbands and we were supposed to keep that a secret from NEWS. So we turned off our regular penlights and cracked the glow sticks and we surprised NEWS with glow sticks in all of their colors when they came out for the encore! The dome looked amazing all lit up in the member colors and they were so surprised! I ended up getting Shige’s at first, but my friend is a Shige fan so I traded her for the pink one! While walking back to the hotel, a girl stopped me and asked if I wanted to trade glow sticks because I was holding a Massu Uchiwa with a pink glow stick and she traded me for a yellow stick! Thank you to that very nice fan! NEWS fans are just amazing, Foreign or Japanese!

-The final encore song they did Koi Matsuri again and it was so much fun! It is my favorite song of this tour hands down! Even during the regular concert it was my favorite song to do in concert and I hope that they continue to have that song in concert from now on, as well as 4+Fan.

Thank you NEWS for an amazing experience. I will always be your fan, even when I become older and become more of an adult. You guys give me energy and the power to do what I love and become an amazing adult. Thank you, NEWS. Happy 10 Year anniversary!

I hope you guys enjoyed my short report! If you have any questions, as always, please comment below!

NEWS LIVE TOUR 2013 Kobe and Osaka Report

Hi Everyone! Here is my long awaited Fan report from the NEWS LIVE TOUR 2013. I was able to do to Kobe on August 9th and all 3 Osaka shows on the 23rd and 24th of August. I will be doing a combined report and explaining some of the differences I saw between Kobe and Osaka, which is big venue vs. small venue. This is in no particular order, just my thought about what I remember about the concert.

August 9th, 2013; Hotomoto Field, Kobe

This show I ended up being 2nd row from the main stage in the arena. Unfortunately, though they were good seats, NEWS didn’t do a lot of the show on the front stage, but mostly on the center stage that was behind me. I am too short so I had to look on the screen a lot unless they did stuff on the main stage. Luckily, all of them did come around my area a good number of times, so I was able to see them all up close! Since they were on the stage I didn’t get to touch their hands or anything, but it was an amazing experience! All of them are still the same looking in person as on screen or pictures.

Things I noticed:

-There was only 1 encore but it lasted for a REALLY long time and they ended up doing 3 or 4 songs + the fireworks. I think I remember they did Koi Matsuri, Happy Birthday, 4+Fan, and Quntastic.

-There were 2 sets of fireworks during the encore! 1 time during Koi Matsuri encore and then a little while afterwards they did some special fireworks that spelled out NEWS that they shot off on the side of the stadium.

MC was hilarious —>
-The MC started with a letter from “J” again and it asked them to act out something for the aucience. The audience was the “Onee-sama” and the boys have been waiting for 30 minutes for their “Onee-sama”, what would they say? They each did like 2 versions of it, a silly one and a “real” one. They had the audience vote on the best one by clapping and Shige won with him saying “your late, lets go” in a S way.
-Tegoshi was so hyper that Shige asked he had drank  before the show.
-There was a Tegomssu moment when Tegoshi was asked what he would do if he saw his girlfriend with another guy.  KoyaMassu acted it out with Massu being the girl and Tegoshi stealing him away again. It was at an inline skating rink and Koyama just skated away at the end. LOL!
-Shige Tego Massu were on the stage after Koyama left to get ready for his solo and they had the venue do a penlight wave before returning to the concert!
-At the end, all of them copied Tegoshi and did the “koneko chan” thing, but then massu said “baka neko chan” instead! Koyama and Massu also copied Shige’s ending of his ending speech when he said “Now, I will do the highlight of the MC” and said his line from earlier during the MC
-During the last Koi Matsuri during the Encore, Tegoshi was right in from of me and almost for caught up in the fireworks. His face was priceless! Apparently Koyama did the same thing on the other end of the stage!
-There were 3 VTR’s: One before Koyama’s Solo featuring him, the one for Compass beginning that each venue changed where they went, and then before the dance segment. The one before LIAR and the other dancing songs was a really sexy.
-They had a live marching band again this year  and think I remember they performed Kobou Yell, Taiyou no Namida, and NEWS Nippon with them.
-There was a Jazzy version of Summer Time and 2人/130000000の奇跡. I particularly enjoyed this because it gave the feel of the unplugged live songs they had done back during the LIVE LIVE LIVE era.
-Massu solo = INCREDIBLE. The choreography was amazing and I liked how after the solo the other members had their own dance segment before going into Shock Me.
-During Shige’s Solo, Shige had himself on the screen too during his solo, split screen with him on the stage and then a video version on the other half of the screen for about half of the song. Screen Shige and Stage Shige sang different parts of the song.
-Tegoshi played guitar on main stage for his solo, but the rest did their solos on the center stage.
-Shige did revenge for last year’s fail at holding the the chankapana note in last years’ s Kobe MC and kept holding a long note for a while during the encore with saying Arigatou.
 August 23rd and 24th; Osaka Jou Hall, Osaka. 
This time, Osaka Jou Hall was a pretty small venue compared to Kobe. I didn’t have the best seats for all the shows, but I could still see really well!
– Most of the show was performed on the center stage again, but they moved around to the side stages quite a lot.
– They cut out all the band songs and they put in another VTR instead. Each venue had their own VTR and Osaka’s was about Osaka food and them bullying Koyama to reenact place around Osaka such as the tower, USJ, and the Gilco Man with the members having a poker face after he did it. That was super funny! Then Koyama gets frustrated and tells them to listen to him and then says that Pokopon was to cute and then they talk about changing it to a more “Wild” version because the movements were too cute. Then they vow to not do it cute anymore and proceeded to do an intro to a “Wild” version of Pokopon, but then they popped out doing the regular version of the song! it was pretty funny because of the contrast from what they just said.
During some of the ending speeches:
-NEWS said that Osaka was the most fired up venue out of all of them so far.
-Massu mentioned how at the beginning he didn’t want to do Shock Me right after his solo because it was really hard on him to do all that dancing all together, but now he is glad they decided to do it because everyone was really fired up during both of the songs here in Osaka. He also cutely mentioned how in a part of the concert he was near the sitting kids section and he saw 2 kids asleep and he wondered what part of the concert they fell asleep in because NEWS seriously thinks about the audience reaction to the whole setlist, like “oh this part they will be silent and just listen. This part they will be really excited and fired up” and such.
-Koyama talked about how he wanted each of the fans to come to a NEWS concert and forget all their worries about school, work,  etc. and then be rejuvenated for tomorrow to work hard. He said doing live shows is hard, but they actually feel really refreshed after meeting the fans as well as they do their work for us fans.
– During 1 of the MC’s they talked about how Tegoshi was almost late for the first show on the 24th and arrived just 30 min or less before the concert started and they were about to just go on and do the first song without him and they proceeded to set up and do a version of World Quest (the first song) with him apologizing kneeling on the floor while the rest did the song. They also told the story about how Tegoshi was woken up by his manager by him banging on the apartment door and trying to basically break in because they worried and Shige was on the phone with the manager at the time. They even called Tegoshi’s mother, apparently. Tegoshi didn’t pick up the phone because his phone was on sleep mode (I think its the do not disturb mode) and it didn’t ring.
– They also talked about in one of the MC’s about how Shige doesn’t greet happily/ energetically anymore in the morning when they first meet and that its almost like no one is in the dressing room when Shige and Massu are there first in the mornings. They then proceeded to reenact their real morning greetings and Koyama and Tegoshi end up doing the the “po po po” thing. Shige then exclaimed “That’s REALLY what they do! No lie!” kinda thing.
-Massu ran off to the restroom during the beginning one of the MC’s and then the rest of the members talked about how he did it during the Tegomassu cons a lot apparently. When he came back on the stage, he kinda lurked in the shadows awkwardly until the spotlight came back on him and it was quite funny.
-Massu had a routine right before his solo song. Towards the end of Greedier all of them would go to the center stage and  Massu would be the last and be handed a towel to wipe his face, then he would chug some water, and then switch his mike to a headset where he would do the last part of greedier with that mike on. Massu drinks a LOT during the concert.  I even noticed it a while back at the Tegomassu concert I went to. Massu has always been bad on stamina and he had mentioned it before.
– There was a lot of dancing in this tour. More so than the other tours.
– On the 23rd show, Shige accidentally got on the wrong cart at one point and realized his mistake and quickly went back to his own!
– On the 23rd Concert, during the 2nd encore Koyama announced that there was heavy rain outside and to be careful going home. After that the staff told us all to wait for about 30 min to leave until the storm let up and we were able to get NEWS to come back out again for a special 3rd encore because we were all stuck there and we all did Koi Matsuri again.
– At one point Tegoshi was bullying Shige and then Shige proceeded to strike back by biting Tegoshi and tackling him to the ground at the same time during the Happy Birthday encore.
– At the end of the concert Shige held the long Arigatou note again and the other members proceeded to harmonize along with him.
– During Be Funky one of the Jr’s liked to bully Koyama and poke him and push him to the ground and such. Massu at the end pretended to be one of the Jr’s and Shige introduced him as one of them eventually! NEWS seems to be close to the Jr’s that they worked with on this tour.
– On the 23rd MC they were all doing gags and Massu started it out by doing many of them and Shige just stood there saying “…. scary….” the whole time he was doing it. Finally we got Tegoshi to do one and he did one about the types of Shinkansens and at the end he just sits down. he did it again at the end of the show and all of them went and sat on top of him and it ended up in a dog pile mess with Shige somehow being on the bottom and shouting ” OUCH OUCH”.
I hope you all enjoyed this post! I am sorry its kinda all over the place, but I wanted to get all of my thoughts out there and couldn’t think of a good way of organizing them other than this. Thanks for reading! If I remember anything else, I will add more later!

Review: NEWS – “NEWS” Album


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.

Album Editions

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Album Editions Pictured Left to Right: Limited Edition A, Limited Edition B and Regular Edition

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

1. Compass

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.

3. 4+FAN

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!

5. 「ポコポンペコーリャ」(Pokoponpekorya)

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”.

7. Greedier

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.

9. チャンカパーナ(Chankapana)

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!

Thoughts on: Masuda Takahisa’s Stageplay 「ストレンジ・フルーツ」”Strange Fruit”

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see Massu’s Stage play, “Strange Fruit”! This was my first time seeing Massu in a stage play and I was really excited to see how he would perform!

Strange Fruits

Now, I will admit that I originally went to this play just because Massu was in it. As I read about the play itself and watched some of Massu’s TV appearances promoting the play though, I started to become really interested in the story line itself, as well as how Massu would play a character that is not similar to his normal personality.

The play was about 7 artists that were invited into a contest to win 100 Million yen to create an amazing work of art. They come from many different types of denominations of art, such as music, fashion, cinema, and more. The catch is that they must live in this old school for 1 year with no connection to the outside world and are not allowed to leave, or they will be disqualified because it is believed that those distractions take away from making great works of art. There is also the underlying mystery of what exactly is this “Strange Fruit” that is spoken of.

If you want the whole story line, you can click this link HERE to take you to a translation of the storyline from the actual stage play website. and Click HERE to go to the Strange Fruit Website.

*Spoiler Alert! Don’t read If you are going to see the play!*

This play was very artsy and very well done, in my opinion. Some people might find it confusing, but the play started from the very end of the storyline and then went back in time to show everything that had happened to lead up to what you saw at the beginning of the play. In my opinion, it was almost like watching a film backwards, because they made it like you were watching a movie that the main character’s (Chiba, Massu’s Character, because he was a film maker) perspective because they had movie clips in between each of the five “Chapters” to transition scenes.

From the very beginning of the play it was pretty intense, with a suicide scene opening up the play and then continuing with final part of the actual storyline with “Chapter 5”, which was a scene with the “funeral” of the main girl character who committed suicide and the final “picnic” to announce who won the contest (Which ends up being Chiba). The climax seemed to be at the beginning of the play (which is the end of the storyline) and then became lighter and lighter as the play went back in time to see why the characters became the way that they did and how everything ended up the way that they did. The first and last scene seem to be the the most impactful of the whole play, with the other scenes filling in the gaps of information that need to be known to develop the characters.

The final scene of the play is the very beginning of the storyline and this part is the part that clears up the most questions, in my opinion, with Chiba and the main girl character having almost a half of a scene together. You finally find out their original relationship (they had known each other from before the contest and maybe were going out before hand? I didn’t fully understand that part) and you find out that the girl has a heart problem that still hasn’t been cured. Despite this, she still wanted to complete in the competition because she would see Chiba again and spend time with him because she loves him.  Chiba wants to take her directly to a hospital, but she refuses saying she wants to be by his side and help him make the ultimate work of art, “Strange Fruit”, which has to do with the suicide at the beginning of the story. Basically, she committed suicide in order for Massu’s Character to re-make “Strange Fruit”, which involves the suicide at the very beginning of the play. This scene involves a kiss too, but it was different from a typical love story. Chiba was denying that he liked her the whole time basically until it is revealed that the girl really is in a bad condition and would die soon anyway. So, they decided to spend their last amount of time together during this contest.

Of course, there is more to this storyline that just this, but this was the main story that the play revolved around.

I throughly enjoyed this play and actually wanted to go see it a second time to see if I missed anything and can see anything else. Unfortunately I couldn’t, so I will have to fill in the gaps of the story I didn’t fully understand in my mind! Massu is quite talented and I really liked seeing him in a more dark role and a darker concept for acting that before. I think he did an amazing job, as did the rest of the cast.

*Disclaimer: This review is what I understood the play to be. I am still actively learning Japanese, so if I got something wrong about the play, please tell me so that I understand better! Thanks!*

Diary Post: ありがとう、テゴマス – Thank You, Tegomassu

Today’s concert wasn’t much different from yesterdays. The only thing different was the MC and that they came out after the 1st encore and did a walk around the arena 1 time waving bye to the audience.

Well, that was the end of my Tegomassu no Mahou Live experience. I can’t describe the feelings that I have inside right now from this live because it is so strong. From here, I want to write a letter to Tegomassu attempting to express these feelings.

Dear Tegomassu,

This weekend has been one of the best I have had in a really long time. This weekend, I was able to come and see you in concert for the first time. The anticipation of this live was keeping me going for the past 2 months or so, and it had lived up to my expectations and much much more.

It wasn’t just your performance, it was also meeting many different people and experiencing the same thing with them together and sharing the same passion for music.

Tegomassu, Thank you for your amazing music.

Thank you for bringing people together to see you perform and share their love for the music you make.

Thank you for your bright smiles that give me the passion to keep on moving towards my own dreams.

Thank you for your passionate performances and love for your music that transcends language barriers.

Please never loose your passion and energy. It meant so much to me to feel so much warmth and genuineness from you. Not many artists these days have that and I love you for it. Even though I see your maturing from the other two tours to this one, you still have that same passion and same energy that I can only describe as Tegomassu.

I hope that one day I can see you live again. I will wait for that day to come in anticipation.

Thank You, Tegomassu. Thank You.

-Lauren

Tegomassu no Mahou 3rd Live Tour- Kobe World Hall, December 10, 2011

Today was one of the best days that I have had here in Japan!

It started out with the hour and 15 minute trip to Kobe World hall. After that, we bought goods and went back to Sannomiya to eat lunch and to wander around a bit.

The concert started at 5:00pm and we got there at about 4:45pm.

So, I will talk about the concert as best as I can remember. No set list, but I will give some highlights. This really isn’t a concert report, just somethings that I want to share with other fans. Its in no particular order, just how I remembered it in!

*Stage Set Up*

-Kobe world hall is so small compared to the big domes. Our seats were the 3rd row from the top towards the center and they were AMAZING!

-The stage was centered with 2 big “runways” jutting out and 2 small ones. The 2 big ones are what had the Miso Soup bowls and moons that they rode on.

-The main center stage is where they mostly performed on and that rose up and rotated many times throughout the concert.

– The band was under the rotating main center stage and you could see them very well!

– 4 big screens on top of the center stage that showed such cute animations with every song!

– There were stars EVERYWHERE in the hall! They lit up at different times in the concert.

*The Concert* 

-Tegomassu look hotter in person. Just sayin’

-I LOVED their costumes!

-During Miso Soup, they were in Miso Soup Bowls. Tegoshi stayed put for the most part, but Massu was playing with the chop sticks and even pretended to play the guitar with one of them at one point!

-Hajimete no Asa started acapella because the hall was so small. I could hear their voices perfectly when they sung it.

-The did a really funny rap thing in order to get us to sit down for the MC! I was laughing so hard the whole time they did it because Tegoshi was using his “magic” to get us to sit down. They can’t be gangster … hahaha!

-My favorite part of the concert is when they had us sit down for like 3 songs and they sat on stools and sung. I was tearing up really and I never do. Most people stopped moving their penlights or turned them off and were just listening to them sing. It was amazing.

-During the encore, the Tegomassu Band was REALLY getting into the Orengatang Cheeta Panda song! It was really fun!

-Tegoshi was controlling our volume for the “la la la”‘s during that song.

-During the MC, Massu said that he had been to see the Kobe Illumination the night before (which me and my friend went to after the concert) and Tegoshi went on a mountain near Kobe earlier that day with some of the Tegomassu band. He showed a picture.

-After the MC was almost over and the band had come back, Massu talks to Tegoshi without the microphone and the says he forgot something or had to do something and rushed off stage for a few minutes, leaving Tegoshi there talking to the audience. I think he had to go to the restroom because he had been drinking a lot of tea or something during the concert. It wasn’t water because it wasn’t clear.

Well, that is all that I can remember right now. If I remember anything else, I will put an edit to this post! I will be posting again tomorrow about tomorrow’s events and then a video about my feelings of the concert and such as well.

Thanks and I hoped you enjoyed!!