03 January 2015

NEWS - ONE -for the win- LE A/RE single review

Regular Edition
Artist: NEWS
Title: ONE -for the win-
Release date:  11 JUN 2014
Type: single
Version: Limited Edition type A & Regular Edition

Limited Edition type A
Packaging: Being a Johnny's Entertainment release the RE is the usual slim CD case then the LE Type A is a regular CD case for a CD & DVD combination release.

I much prefer the RE's cover even if we do not see the members' faces, but at least it looks like it has a concept behind it. Plus the booklet has a couple of pictures where we get to see everyone's faces, so that kinda makes up for it. Other than that all the RE booklet has are the lyrics for the four songs included on the CD.

The LE booklet is even more basic with only one set of pictures of the four members inside with the lyrics for the two songs included on the CD. The back of the booklet is just the names of the members printed sporadically on it. It really feels like JE felt that the DVD was more than enough content for this version and went cheap with everything else.

And while I am not usually one that pays a lot of attention to such things I really think the font used on both covers looks ugly. It is so plain and have the numeral 1 on there just confuses me. "1" is not even used in the actual song title, and the sub title that does go with the title, `-for the win-` , is oddly no where to be seen.


Tracks*:

1. ONE -for the win-
There is little doubt from the start that this song is meant for a sporting event with the use of the sound of a crowd and a horn. The rap part actually has no jarring affect to it and works quite well. It just sounds a bit strange with Masuda Takahisa doing it instead of Kato Shigeaki, as he has been the member stuck with the rap parts in NEWS songs for the most part. But overall it is a solid song and a fun one to listen to if you do not mind the fact it is obviously about soccer.

2. SEVEN COLORS
I actually like this song better than the A-side though I love them both. Honestly this could have stood as its own single and while I am disappointed it was not released as one. I am glad it was at least released on CD though. I enjoy that it launches right into the song with almost no instrumental intro before Tegoshi Yuya takes his usual lead. Like the title track it is also a soccer related song though this one not as obvious but still one meant to pump you up with its energy.

3. 君がいた夏 (Kimi ga Ita Natsu)
I love the music box opening to this song. It really sets the tone for the whole song nicely. The verses have a nice laid back sound to them that contrasts well with the chorus that is full of flourishes of music. And I was surprised to hear Kato Shigeaki start off the song instead of Tegoshi or Massu. It is a nice change though and it then comes as no surprise that all the members feature rather equally in this song.

4. FLYING BIRD
More upbeat than Kimi ga Ita Natsu but like that song it really takes off during the chorus of the song. While like the soccer songs on the single it is an uplifting track it is not as energetic. But getting through hard times and trying your best is not a message that always needs to be surrounded in fanfare. I also love the strings used in the song at the start and in the chorus. It really makes the song soar, which is perfectly fitting with its title.

*For the RE as the LE Type A only has the first two tracks.


DVD:
The DVD has the PV for the title track as well as a making of feature to go with it. And it has a menu screen. This is worth noting as not all these LE DVDs have one so it is nice to see a release that put that tiny bit of effort to actually make one.

Have to say that I love these scenes with the CGI ribbons and the guys walking. I just love the effect and the colors of the ribbons are a nice contrast to the white background. And the fact that they use it to show who is singing what parts. I may know everyone's voices by heart by now but I can imagine that for a new fan this would be very helpful in matching voices to members outside of listening to their solo songs.

The PV really works with the tie-in for the song as it is willing to break from the group to showcase the soccer. Most tie-ins rarely showcase what they are promoting but this PV basically does the opposite and leaves you with very little question. Much like the song itself.

The green screen is used to good affect overall. Not only do we get the stadium and walking scenes but there are also others that work to tie in the World Cup to the PV. The variety is nice and while there is a lot of CGI in this it is done well and rarely feels jarring.

The use of extras is a nice touch as this is meant to be a cheer song so having cheering fans just makes sense. There is also some nice interactions between NEWS and some of them, like the scenes with the kids.

The making of breaks down the shooting to the scenes that where shot and the order of shooting them. Most of the first half focuses on the actual shooting with some breaks to talk about some various points about the PV.

I personally have always loved seeing how things are done especially when it comes to filming so I really enjoyed that we get to see a bit of it, with at least seeing how things were set up for certain scenes.

Since Massu designed the outfits that the group wears in the PV he gets to talk about them. It is nice because he does point out some things that would be missed, like everywhere he incorporated a "1" on them and the fact that the stars on the back of the jackets when added up equal the number of countries participating in the World Cup.

Between the filming of the scenes we get some focus on the guys off stage and some really fun moments. One of the highlights is Koyama eating some curry and Tegoshi giving commentary which leads to Koyama calling "hayashi", which quickly gets pointed out is not a type of curry. In fact Koyama in general is the most interesting member of this as not only do we get his airheadedness there but he also manages to kick a soccer ball into one of the lighting equipment, but thankfully does not manage to do much damage to it.

Though overall in the second half of the making of we get to see more of the guys having some fun and really get to see how comfortable they are in general with each other. And we get a group talk near the end to sum things up.

But instead of ending there Koyama gets to do something a bit fitting of a leader and gives his final thoughts about the single and PV between takes on one of the scenes. There is some video from other parts of the making of edited in which gives this a nice touch and makes it work nicely as the final portion of the segment. And it is with that the making of wraps up.


Overall: While I do wish the group released more than the one single for 2014 I cannot complain with this release. It has the types of songs that I love from the group and the single I turn to if I am feeling down. I feel in love with NEWS when they did not have much more than their early discography, which had its fair share of songs for sports events, and this single feels like it is in that vein. And for them it feels natural as they have changed styles repeatedly throughout their history, though never straying far from pop music.

The title track and its PV are about as in your face as they can get about their subject matter while still maintaining a balance to show the group. The making of is a great watch as a fan, though most of the group interaction is found in the second half but the first half does have the commentary from members about the PV itself. I am so glad that NEWS has these now that they have become a four member unit. I never understood why they never did before but it makes me appreciate their inclusion now. Especially because the remaining members are fun to watch together as they have become so comfortable being around each other after so many years.

The B-sides of the RE are nice to have to give something a bit different than the two tracks on all the editions and are strong additions of NEWS' discography.

If anything the covers leave something to be desired with how plain they are and that font that does them no favors. But everything else makes up for them.

So a great release from the group and makes me hope that next year we will be getting more than the one already announced single.

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