My copy of the NYC/Nakayama Yuma single came in today so I figured I might as well give it a quick review, as I already have listened to the tracks so I have opinions to share on them.
I got the regular version of the single, as it came with the B-side track which is not on the limited edition. I admit I was excited about the single having two covers so it was a disappointment that the back cover featuring Nakayama Yuma is actually just a wrap around obi. Because this is the first press edition I have the two photos that the single comes with and I like them even though there is not anything special going on in either but the boys look good.
If you read my PV review for Wonderful Cupid you already know that I do not like this song. At all. And it is not because it is a cutesy song, because I typically like cutesy songs, I liked Magic Power and Aiing -Aishiteru- and other songs like them. Nor is it because it sounds like a children's song, because I like some children's songs, like Utada Hikaru's Boku no Kuma and some tracks off of Barenaked Ladies' children's album, Snacktime. But Wonderful Cupid until those tracks is ultra simple and sounds like the kind of children's song that people play for them because they do not think kids can appreciate music that is more complex or they do not think they are mature enough for the music adults like.
The main saving grace of this single is Nakayama Yuma's solo song and the other A-side to the single, Garasu no Mahou. It was a solo song that came from 2011's PLAYZONE musical and this is actually the third time it has been released, the first being on the soundtrack for PLAYZONE '11 and then as a digital single. The song really is a good fit for Yuma's voice and I love how he brings a nice tenderness to one of the lines at the beginning. He is no way a power house vocalist but using his voice like that shows he has skill and really brings emotion across in his singing. I like the beat of the song and while it sounds like the kind of song that is typical of a Johnny's musical it is one that really can stand as a single track and I am glad has been given the treatment it has. I really hope we keep getting tracks like this from Yuma with future releases and he is able to eventually go solo as that really seems to be where Johnny's is pushing him towards.
I am really glad to have gotten the regular edition as Jungle Life is a return to the fun cute songs that I like from NYC. It's fun and energetic and has a sound of it that reminds me of pop songs from the early-mid 90s. I think it's the woahs in the chorus. I would much rather have had this as the A-side for NYC, random animal sounds and all. Though to be completely honest I am glad it is not an A-side as it is definitely B-side material but it is still much better than Wonderful Cupid.
So even though I sincerely believe this is NYC's worst single, Nakayama Yuma really shines with his solo song and the B-side is a good reminder of what the group is usually about, cute fun.