11 January 2015

Johnny's WEST - go WEST Yoidon! RE album review


Artist: Johnny's WEST
Title: go WEST Yoidon!
Release date:  06 AUG 2014
Type: album
Version: Regular Edition

Packaging: Standard CD jewel case but it is used to maximize the amount of pictures used as the back cover has a group picture on both sides. The lyric booklet comes with solo shots for each member of the group, and they all look great, as well as a couple of group pictures. So it is far from a barebones release for the regular version though nothing overly stand out about it.

Tracks:

1. ええじゃないか (Ee Jya nai ka)
Already reviewed this track with the single review (as well as the final three tracks on this) so you can read it there. But this is a good way to kick off the album as it is a good track to sum up what kind of group Johnny's WEST is, a lot of fun and plenty energetic. And one would probably not guess that this is one of the four bonus tracks for the regular version of the album.

2. Summer Dreamer
Lots of energy with this song that makes it a good song to follow Ee Jya nai ka. Or in the case of the limited edition lead off the album as it is the first track for that. Light and poppy with song nice energy, or basically what one would expect for a summer pop song. While it is a nice start to the album it is a song that I tend to forget as I move on to listen to the other songs that come off as stronger than this one.

3. 粉もん (Kona Mon)
Kona Mon picks up the energy and goes with a style that has the verses rapped/speak sung before going into a sung chorus. It has a bit of a funky sound to it that fits the sound of the group and the style difference between the verses and chorus. I would not think it would work as well as it does but it is a really fun song to listen to.

4. Wake up!
Probably the song that I like the least but I do like it. It just does not click with me as well as the others so if I had to leave a song off this list it would be this one. The use of a clock alarm is a cute touch and overall it does fall on the cute side of things, but not overtly cutesy.

5. LET'S GO WEST ~KANSAI!!~
This song has been used more or less as the theme song for the Kansai Juniors in general for a while now but I guess that will have to change as it has become a JW song. It is noticeably shorter than the rest of the songs on this album, clocking in just under three minutes, but it is probably better that way. This song has always come off to me as the kind of song meant for live performances, so while it is still a fun listen it would really shine watching an actual performance of it. Which can be seen with all the performances the Kanjuu have done of it.

6. P & P
One of the two new songs that make up the four bonus tracks of the regular edition. It is also one of my favorite songs on the album as it has one of the catchier choruses. Overall it is just a great solid pop song and I love the brass instruments in it.

7. Break Out!
I do not think there is anyway to transition to this song with it feeling a bit jarring. Break Out! is a change in style from everything so far and has a bit of an edgey sound to it, or as edgey as Japanese boy groups get. In fact you could place it with early KAT-TUN and even some early Kanjani8 songs and it would fit well with them. Like other songs on the album the song has a mix of rap and singing but in this there is more mixing with both being present in the verses and the chorus. It also has a haunting music break about half way through that works well with it.

8. Criminal
Criminal complements Break Out! by not being too different in style with it being more of a dance pop song so it also has an edge to its sound. It has a good driving beat that runs through the verses before having things changed up to lead into the chorus. And the chorus brings that beat back to continue to drive the song forward.

9. ちゃうねんっ!! (Chaunen!!)
And then there is a sudden switch back to the earlier pop styles on the album with Chaunen!! The song has a bit of a Latin beat to it, but it fits with the earlier pop songs as it continues the trend of fun pop music that does not take itself too seriously. And it helps a lot that the chorus is really catchy.

10. バンバンッ!! (Bang Bang!!)
As a Junior fan it seems a bit strange for JW to get this song as this has been used as the theme song for the program the members of Kin Kan and Naniwa Oji have. So I associate it more with those Kanjuu than I do the JW members. But whatever the reason behind it JW now has the song, much like how they inherited LGWK, so at least there are a couple Kanjuu songs getting a CD release with this group. But the recorded version gives us the full song, with slow solo intro before it launches into the energetic pop song it is. The verses are done in a rap/speak-sing way for most of it that works well with the song as it keeps up the pace of the song. There is also a nice break where things slow down a bit again before it reverts back to the main tempo of the song. It is a song I enjoy a lot, especially the changes in it as it keeps it from getting boring.

11. Olé Olé Carnival!
And we get the next bonus track on this album and the other one that is a new song. It is another poppy track that continues with the energy that the previous track brought in. And it has a song that it is a bit of a throw back sound to it. It also helps have the album end as it started being another summer themed song. but overall a strong song with a nice build up and the slow down at the start and near the end gives the song some added spice.

12. 浪速一等賞! (Naniwa Ittou Shou!)
What is nice about this song is that it actually works to be a follow up to either Bang Bang!! or Olé Olé Carnival!, which it does depending on which version of this album you got. What is not so nice is that it starts off the rest of the songs that were included on the group's debut single so it is not a new song. It is a fun song and I love it, but I just wish the album would not have used so many songs from the debut single release.

13. その先へ… (Sono Saki e...)
I can understand why this song would be stuck on the album where it is. For the limited edition it would be the final track and ending with a slow song is a common thing. Unfortunately it is the only slow song on the album and the song it follows is very different in style that it does not escape the feeling that it was simply tacked on because it could be.

14. バンザイ夢マンサイ! (Banzai Yume Mansai!)
This is the final bonus track and with it there is little reason to get the debut single of the group unless you are getting one of the limited editions or really want the lyric booklet for it. Also while the previous two tracks do not mesh well enough together to be a goof finish of the album the addition of BYM does not help at all. In fact it just makes it an even greater mess as it dramatically switches tone again.


Overall: This is one of those albums that I enjoy the songs but not as an album. While I do not mind a variety of song styles on an album I believe there should still be some kind of flow to it so nothing sounds jarring. Like having songs that are a mix of two to be a bridge or even having instrumental interludes to do just that. But I do like the songs and enjoy listening to them, just not together so much.

At this moment I would say that JW still needs to figure out what they are going to be when it comes with their music. At this early stage I doubt they are getting much choice in what they sing but I do hope the members are thinking about it so when they do begin to get some input they can create a sound that they can claim. Right now they definitely feel like they are as K8 were when they first debuted and listening to K8's early albums there is a shared issue of musical styles being all over the place.

Yet the songs are fun and I do love them, just not together as an album.

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