31 December 2014

Johnny's WEST - Ee Jya nai ka LE WEST/RE single review


Regular Edition

Artist: Johnny's WEST
Title: Ee Jya nai ka
Release date:  02 APR 2014
Type: single
Version: Limited Edition Type C & Regular Edition

Limited Edition Type C

Packaging: The RE comes in a slim CD case while the LE gets a full sized one as it has to hold the CD and the DVD it comes with. The LE does have a couple of group shots for the back of CD.

The booklet for the RE gives us a few pages for group shots and three pages to divide the seven individual pictures on, as well as signatures from the members. It also contains the lyrics for all four songs included on the CD.

The LE Type C booklet is mostly a photo booklet. The lyrics to the two songs the CD has is just on a sheet of glossy paper that is not even attached to it. Instead we get a couple of group shots then a solo shot of each member with the DVD specs on the final page with one of the group shots.

The first press bonus for both was a poster. Each poster was different and based off the photo shoot for the cover. Though in the Type C it looks a lot like the group photo in the booklet but it is the same setting and outfits and the covers.

Tracks*:

1. ええじゃないか (Ee Jya nai ka)
When you are debuting a loud and boisterous group then it only makes sense to go with a loud and boisterous song. This song is just charged with energy and the chorus is really catchy. It really helps start the group on a strong note for this to be their debut song. The calls and responses in the song give it a festival feeling which just adds to the feeling of fun it is infused with. Plus everyone sounds good in it, which is nice as not everyone has the best range in the group even though there are some strong signers.

2. バンザイ夢マンサイ! (Banzai Yume Mansai!)
While not as strong a song as Ee Jya nai ka, BYM is still a fun energetic song. It has a bit more of a general pop sound to it but the instruments, like the horns, used in it help make it stand out and give it some nice flares. The rap parts feel a bit weak in the song but are not too distracting and are worked in to go with the flow of the song instead of breaking it up. Plus with all the switching of sounds in the song it is hard to argue that they do not fit.

3. その先へ… (Sono Saki e...)
Sono Saki e... gives the group a chance to show they can do more than energetic pop by being a nice ballad. Even though it is quite the switch in style following BYM it is still nice to have something this calm on the single. Also I never really felt things like having a musical flow really ever factored into singles like it does with albums so I do not have that expectation. But all that aside it is a nice standard pop ballad that helps show off another side to the main vocals of the group. My main issue would be that Shigeoka Daiki's voice sounds almost too soft for his solo lines and even with the softer music it seems to over power it. Sure the rest are singing softly as well but I do not have to strain myself to hear them.

4. 浪速一等賞! (Naniwa Ittou Shou!)
And after a ballad to slow things down Naniwa Ittou Shou! comes in full of the same kind of energy the first two tracks had. I personally love this song and it has a catchy chorus that is easy to sing along with. It is also a fun song to watch the group to perform live, which is where I fell in love with it.


* Just covering the RE as the LE only has the first two tracks and their karaoke versions.

DVD:

I think my project to review all the Morning Musume PVs has let me come to appreciate Johnny's PVs more. Sure nobody's back was being broken for the PV for Ee Jya nai ka, but it looked good and had enough going on with it to not only make it interesting but also want to watch again to see if you cannot catch something you missed before.

The PV gives the group two different settings, a set with their names in the background and a mock red carpet where they have reporters waiting to interview them. The first set they have casual clothes for while the other they are mainly in their red outfits, which were also used for the group's concert performances as well, and black suits.

Hamada Takahiro, Fujii Ryusei and Kamiyama Tomohiro have additional outfits as they play characters in the crowd of reporters. Hamada is a police man, Kamiyama as a blonde girl and Fujii in a business suit and afro.

There is a lot of little things going on in the PV that it keeps things visually interesting and the goofiness of it matches the song well.

The making of has the standard behind the scene footage of the guys actually having the PV filmed, watching others being filmed, goofing off around the set and getting to talk to the camera from time to time. Everyone gets a good amount of time to be seen and get a feel for their personalities.

There are also "interview" scenes included, which is basically each member of the group is asked some, usually basic, things about them like their name, age, hometown, hobbies and such by the other members of the group. These are good in matching member colors as each is bordered by the color of the member being interviewed.

Because the guys typically speak in Kansai-ben (a dialect of Japanese) there are plenty of subtitles thrown on the screen to help viewers follow what is being said. This is probably more help for those who know Japanese but they do have them color coded to match the members' group colors so you know who is saying what easily.

It ends with the group talking about the debut and PV shooting together which works out nicely as usually you have individual members doing so on their way out. So I appreciated that they spent the time to do so together on the set.


Overall: A great debut single with songs that do well to reflect the image the group is going for, fun and energetic. There is not a song on this that I do not like and will not usually listen to instead of skipping. The only one I might would be Sono Saki e... if just because it is an odd fit between all the energetic songs. I like ballads and all but usually I am in either a fun/energetic song mood or a ballad mood and do not tend to mix the two much.

The DVD with this LE version is a great for not only fans but even for those new to the group. It does well to introduce the members and figure out their personalities. Even though there clearly are members that are getting pushed more than others, like there is for any idol group, both the PV and the making of features still manage to give everyone a good amount of time in front of the camera so no one looked like they were getting shafted.

Listening to the CD and watching the DVD reminded me why I love this group so this is one release I am really glad I revisited for this.

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