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Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)

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Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (3)

YesAsia Editorial Description

No one could accuse Tokyo Incidents of being unproductive. After taking time out to release a solo album in early 2007, Shiina Ringo returned to the band, and they have been working non-stop since. OSCA in July, Killer Tune in August, and now September brings the band's third full-length album, Variety. It's their first album in one and a half years, and will coincide with their autumn concert tour.

Variety comes with 13 tracks, including their two summer singles and brand new songs like Ramp (Track 1), "Black Cat Road" (Track 6), and Metro (Track 13). This album is a complete Tokyo Jihen production with keyboardist Izawa Ichiyou composing five tracks, guitarist Ukigumo composing seven, and bassist Kameda Seiji composing one. All lyrics are taken care of by Shiina.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version) 娛樂 (Variety) (日本版) 娱乐 (Variety) (日本版) 娯楽 (バラエティ) (日本版) Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)
Singer Name(s): Tokyo Incidents (Tokyo Jihen) 東京事變 东京事变 東京事変 동경사변
Release Date: 2007-09-26
Publisher Product Code: TOCT-26350
Language: Japanese
Disc Format(s): CD
Other Information: Album
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004921517

Product Information / Track List

東京事変3枚目のアルバム! 今回のプロジェクトは何か違う。バンド・メンバー作曲の膨大な数のデモ音源の中から今作の為に厳選し、椎名林檎が作詞と歌唱に徹するスタイルでプロジェクトがスタート! 個性豊かなメンバーの作曲センスがフルに発揮されたポップ且つ弾けたトラックが盛りだくさん! 浮雲7曲、伊澤5曲、亀田1曲の全13曲収録予定。

初回盤: サックケース+ギザギザ仕様含む豪華パッケージ
*First press sold out.

01 ランプ
02 ミラーボール
03 金魚の箱
04 私生活
05 Osca
06 黒猫道
07 復讐
08 某都民
09 Ssaw
10 月極姫
11 酒と下戸
12 キラーチューン
13 メトロ
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)"

October 11, 2007

A Tokyo Jihen album is always thought to be a Shiina Ringo album in disguise because she has a say in every single aspect of the album. However, that assumption is proven wrong with Variety, their long-awaited third album after the rock diva took a short hiatus for her own solo album. While Shiina did pen the lyrics for a majority of the songs this time, she actually left the music aspect to other band members for the first time in the band's short history. The titles of Tokyo Jihen albums are often accurate: Their first album Kyoiku ("Education") shows the band trying to find its footing with raw rock tracks done mostly in one take; their second album Adult is an experiment in infusing big band elegance in rock. Like its title suggests, Variety is a surprisingly light-hearted album that might not be something one might expect from Shiina Ringo. Nevertheless, it's a fun set of music that may be the most listener-friendly thing she has ever done. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to you to decide.

While Variety abandons the piano-driven mature elegance of Adult for the conventional rock tone of Kyoiku, it also features the best production values out of the three. Unlike the other albums, the album's tone is lighter, and more "entertaining" for the masses. This is evident in opening track "Ramp" (Track 1), an upbeat bubble gum rock track driven by electronic keyboard and the usual Shiina-style electronic touches.

As the album continues on, it's hard to pin down the exact genre Tokyo Jihen wants to use. At times, the album seems to be in the tone of 70s psychedelic rock with tracks like "Mirrorball" (Track 2), Osca (Track 5), and Metro (Track 13). At other times, it goes down the path of 80s alternative pop meets bubble gum rock with tracks such as Boutomin (Track 8) and SSAW (Track 9). And sometimes it just returns to good old Tokyo Jihen-style treble-filled rock with "The Goldfish Box" (Track 3) and "Killer Tune" (Track 11). Regardless of the genre, it's a rare occasion where the listeners can actually tell that the musicians are having just as much fun as them. In that sense, Variety is a worthwhile alternative pop album simply for the fact that it manages to have the usual rock self-indulgence without sounding as such.

However, some fans will probably spend the length of the album searching for the old angst-filled Shiina, who is sorely missing on Variety. Even the traditional Shiina-style tracks such as "Goldfish Box" and "Vengeance" (Track 10) lack the singer's usual vocal energy that would have lifted them into powerhouse performances. While this is what some listeners might tune in for, the inclusion of such vocals would have been inappropriate for Variety. Since the rest of the album's tone remains lighthearted, more serious tracks such as "Vengeance" and mid-beat ballad "Private Life" (track 4) actually clash with the general tone, taking away the musical consistency in the rest of the album.

While Variety is more accessible to general listeners, I'm more intrigued about how Shiina Ringo fans would respond to it. Without the lead vocalist writing any of the songs, Tokyo Jihen seems to be trying to prove that they are more than just "Shiina Ringo and company". Thankfully, the results prove to be mostly successful. While this isn't the best Tokyo Jihen album in my book (the raw and loud Kyoiku continues to hold that title), the number of genres that Variety manages to cover successfully makes the band one of the best pop rock groups in Japanese pop. In fact, the only problem I have with this album is that I can no longer decide whether I want Shiina to return to solo work or to continue on with Tokyo Jihen. As long as she doesn't stop making music, I'll probably keep listening anyway.

by Kevin Ma

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (3)

j-obsessed
See all my reviews


December 9, 2007

3 people found this review helpful

hire aya kamiki Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5 out of 10
since shiina ringo has never adhered to the "less is more" adage, one might think that having the band write the music would help matters. except for a few original moments of psychedelia here and there, the music is just a tamer version of things past. although it makes the cd easier to listen to, it also exposes the cd's main fault, which is shiina ringo herself. along with her stagnant singing style and nonsensical songs, her voice is absolutely annoying more often than not. she/the band needs to take a lesson from the defunct "do as infinity" on song writing. while they are at it they should bring in a new producer, and most important, they should hire aya kamiki as the new vocalist.
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Richie
See all my reviews


September 25, 2007

A Challenging Sonic Collage Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
Challenging because it is definitely going to take more than a few listens to get into Variety/Goraku. Much like a variety music show, the sounds here are disjointed not only from song to song, but verse-to-chorus. Within the duration of a song and throughout the album, you'll hear happy then angry bundled with fast and slow, lite and heavy.

Imagine a music show with guests like Red Hot Chili Peppers (Mirrorball), George Benson (Boutomin), Linkin Park (Fukushuu), Barbee Boys and a bunch of other 80's jrock bands, toss in a polka band (Kronekodow) for fun, and you have a good idea of what you get here.

What die-hard Shiina Ringo fans will notice is that the Ringo-ness we've become used to isn't here just in case you feel something is missing and can't figure out what. This is because she didn't compose any of the music. That aside, we witness the pure strength of her bandmates individual songwriting skills. There are many gems here, but be patient and open-minded, and disregard the idea of what could have been if Mikio Hirama were still in Tokyo Jihen. This is a very good album.
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Raito
See all my reviews


September 17, 2007

Tokyo Jihen amazes again!! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Pop, rock, techno, jazz, R&B - this album has it all. Tokyo Jihen's massive success with their previous album, Adult (#1 on Oricon charts) proved that their change of direction from hard rock to adult alternative can demonstrate their bevy of style change. This time, their latest album Variety focuses on "pop" sounding songs, featuring catchy songs to a "hard rock" feeling captured by their first album, Kyouiku. Variety features a soft, almost 80s inspired song - "Metro" to fast pop rock of "Kingyo Hako" and "Mirror Ball". I urge anyone interested in Japanese music, or ANY music in general to search for Tokyo Jihen on YouTube, such as the songs "Killer Tune" or "OSCA" - both which are featured on this album. This artist packs 13 tracks, each very different from each other, and each showcasing each band member's talents and aptitudes.

Because this album is so well constructed, and full of instantly lovable and catchy tunes, if you were to only buy one album in 2007, Tokyo Jihen's 3rd album - Variety - would be the one.
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