18 May 2012

Sexy Zone - Lady Diamond CD RE review

I do not do these often but I felt that for Sexy Zone's sophomore release deserved one as the B-sides are worth talking about. I am only just now getting to it as I only just got the CD earlier this week as I had it with my pre-order of NMB48's Nagiichi CD single.

I got the regular edition of the single as it has all the B-sides and while I like the group, I do not like them enough to buy the extra editions for DVD extras.

While I have the regular edition I did manage to get the first press edition of it so I have the picture labeled disc and the trading card. I have Sato Shori this time, so with any bit of luck they continue having the cards as a bonus for the next three singles and I can get the other three I need, Nakajima Kento, Kikuchi Fuma and Matsushima Sou.

Lady ダイヤモンド (Lady Diamond)

The title track of the CD and one that is good at getting stuck in your head for days. I much prefer this song over their debut song, Sexy Zone, as this has the more playful and cute feeling and sound to it that I would expect from a group with young members. It is also a song I can see them singing for a few years and having it still fit the group even when the younger members grow up a bit.

It makes me feel like this song is a bit of a through back to 90s J-pop, as the first thing that sprang to my mind that it sounded like the kind of song early-SMAP would have. Not because it sounds like one of their songs but because the sound is like something from that era of J-pop and SMAP was the youthful group of that time as SZ is the current youthful group.

I also love that Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma are the lead singers for this single. I think it is a smart move as their voices have definitely broken and settled by now. I know there was a very awkward stage with some of Hey! Say! JUMP's early songs that were written to feature Chinen Yuri's young voice at parts and suffered when performed when his voice broke and he really could not hit those notes anymore. I think for SZ they will be fine with Sato Shori as his voice definitely sounds like it has broken at least but the younger two do not sound like theirs have so relying on their voices for songs could end up being an issue when they do.

If there is anything I do not care for so much in the song it is the haiku break in the middle of it. It rather breaks the flow of the song and I think the song would be better without it. It really feels like it is only there to highlight Shori, not because it fits with the song like his "Sexy Rose" line did in Sexy Zone.

But it is a minor quibble compared to how fun the rest of the song is.

風をきって (Kaze wo Kitte)

I love how this song starts off sounding like it will be a slow tempo song but then quickly switches tempo to something much faster. I love songs with this kind of driving beat as they have so much energy to them and that makes me feel more energetic.

Of course this song is not just the beat as it drops back to calmer moments throughout the verses but it all flows so well it does not seem disjointed. It keeps the song from sounding too repetitive and uses Shori's speaking parts so much better than any of their songs so far.

High!! High!! People

I was really surprised to learn that this song had a tie-in as well as the theme song for Yu Marius' drama series, Kodomo Keisatsu. With that then all tracks on this single have tie-ins, which is a bit uncommon. But I think for SZ it can only help as they are still trying to get noticed as a fledgling group with not nearly as much pre-debut popularity as other groups.

I just have to say that I love this song. It continues on from the songs before it the fun and energy of the group. And Marius' "Yes!" lines are adorable, just like he is. This is definitely the kind of song I expect from this group for this era of the group and hope they have more like this for the next couple of years at least.

Also I have been using this song as one of my workout songs as it has that feel that you just want to get up and do something while listening to it. So this is probably the song I have listened to the most from this single because of that.

勇気100% (Yuuki 100%)

This song is a Johnny's classic, originally a song for Hikaru Genji in the 90s and has been covered in the past decade quite a bit by youthful groups from the Junior group Ya-Ya-Yah, to Hey! Say! JUMP and then to NYC. It is now SZ's turn to cover this song and they do a good job of it.

This versions seems to borrow quite a bit from the Yax3 version with the fact there are actual solo lines, and not just one solo line that the Hikagen and HSJ version have. NYC's version uses no solo lines at all in comparison. Also with the really young voices of SZ it sounds more like Yax3 version as well when that is concerned, even though Nakaken and Fuma's voices throws that off. But like all versions of the song it has its own tweeks to it so it does not sound exactly like the other versions.

Overall it is a great sophomore single for the group that I found myself enjoying more than their debut single. I really adore Kaze wo Kitto and High!! High!! People and enjoy Lady Diamond and Yuuki 100%. I now look forward to their next single, which I hope we do not have to wait too much longer for.

And because I had to hunt this down to make sure I got things right here is the Yuuki 100% comparison post I did back when HSJ were doing their version of the song back in 2009. I think I mainly wrote it because there was quite a bit of grumbling from Yax3 fans about HSJ doing the song as it was the title track of Yax3's one and only CD single. So if you are wondering why there is such an emphasis on HSJ not doing what Yax3 did that is why.

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