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OverView: Stereopony Music, Vol. 10

Here’s a world without borders, restrictions or dilemmas

Four exciting singles later, we have finally reached another milestone here in OverView: Stereopony’s second full album. But before talking about this record, I would like to reflect upon its components for a while. For example, we could start by talking about the singles that made an appearance there. We have four of them listed: “Tsukiakari”, “Smilife”, “Hanbunko” and “OVER DRIVE”. Counting only by the numbers, we can see an improvement in terms of singles present in the final track list: four, compared to the first three that were included in A Hydrangea Blooms that was released just in the previous year. Going by their quality, it is easy to see how much Stereopony has grown not only as a band, but as professional musicians after approximately two years of being in the industry. It is a great feat, save for the fact that they had access to better equipment at that time, compared to when they started.

Undoubtedly, for Stereopony, much had happened since A Hydrangea Blooms, but I feel like their essence remained intact. This means that when you compare the two albums you will be able to notice how the first one represented their very own debut in Japan’s music scene, and how the second represents their ambition, willingness and courage to reach out and take the world by storm, with a cheerful attitude. OVER THE BORDER then hit the stores in June 9th, 2010, marking Stereopony’s third release during that year. This time around they decided to split credits on the lyrics, meaning that all three of them had a chance to shine. And just like we did with Hydrangea, we will split this review in two parts, covering only the songs that have not been covered yet on the other reviews.

Tracklist

1. OVER THE BORDER
2. Tsukiakari no Michishirube
3. Smilife
4. happy “A”
5. Never Look Back
6. Tomodachi no Koibito
7. Mousou Jet

I remember reading in an interview (my memory fails me in remembering which one) that AIMI wrote the album’s song title – “OVER THE BORDER” – as a way to express gratitude to their overseas fans, as well as explain how much she would like to reach all of them with their music. That is a lovely sentiment and I think she did a good job with that. Not only is the song musically enjoyable, but also the lyrics make sense and are coherent with the intention behind them. I also really like the way her vocals was arranged: beginning with a kind of rhythmically fast talking, then progressing to a full sung chorus and alternating between the two. Overall, this is a great song, so I think its use as the album’s title is justified.

Next, we have one of NOHANA’s contribution at lyrics writing. Coming after “Tsukiakari” and “Smilife”, “happy ‘A’” is a cheerful, carefree song, just like it states in the title. We have grown accustomed to AIMI’s subjective writing, so I think it is interesting to notice how different NOHANA’s style is in comparison. She seems to focus more on the simple, everyday tasks in life, leaving AIMI to worry about bigger, existential questions. NOHANA seems to be the kind of person who lives in the moment and her work shows it. Personally, I prefer AIMI’s approach to writing, but I can also recognize how a “feel good” song may be needed once in a while. Talking about its musical and vocal arrangements, they are coherent with the lyrics in terms of being mostly upbeat. It is definitely not my favorite song, but it does not disappoint either.

On the other hand, “Never Look Back” is by far my favorite new addition in the album’s track. Much like “Niji Bashi”, its rocking tune gets me all excited the moment it starts playing. I think the only difference between the two is in how soft the guitar feels in “Never Look Back”, compared to a more pronounced sound we can hear in “Niji Bashi”’s recording. This is me being picky, though. There is absolutely nothing wrong or unpleasant about how they arranged musically and vocally both songs. AIMI also takes the credit for writing this one; therefore you can imagine its lyrics talk about some life experiences and how one feels toward them. This time, she tells us about her wishes of living life not by following someone else’s footsteps, but by her own. And that is a feeling I’m pretty sure we all can relate to at some point in our lives.

If “Never Look Back” sets out a rocking feeling and leaves you wanting more, “Tomodachi no Koibito” does not deliver it. Okay, I have to admit that it is a good song overall and AIMI did a good job with the lyrics, but I think this track would be better placed by the end of the track list, given the fact that we are talking about a “heartbreak song”. I remember talking about this song extensively with Mr. Destonus, mostly about the lyrics’ meanings. At the time of this conversation, we did not have an accurate translation of the lyrics, so we had to content ourselves with our colleague’s – ButterflySparkles – analysis. Now that we got a translation, we can say we were correct in our assumption that it talks about falling in love with your close friend’s lover, and how much it hurts. It is a well-structured song, music arrangement going well with everything else, plus AIMI’s performance. The only downfall is that it left me wishing for another rock song like “NLB”.

Last but not least, “Mousou Jet” comes in 7th place, bringing the energy and good spirits that “Tomodachi” lacked, and marking NOHANA’s second contribution to the album. Like I said, it is a full of energy song, musically speaking, so I still enjoy listening to it. All I have to say about the lyrics is that it looks like she’s having fun, and that’s all that matters to me. In the end, AIMI’s vocals complement the song, making for a good listening experience.

All in all, I’m really liking Stereopony’s second album so far. We got the hits, the happy-go songs and some rock so I’m looking forward to the analysis of the second half. Let’s see if it can hold to this one.

Here’s a world without borders, restrictions or dilemmas Four exciting singles later, we have finally reached another milestone here in OverView: Stereopony’s second full album. But before talking about this record, I would like to reflect upon its components for a while. For example, we could start by talking about the singles that made an appearance there. We have four of them listed: “Tsukiakari”, “Smilife”, “Hanbunko” and “OVER DRIVE”. Counting only by the numbers, we can see an improvement in terms of singles present in the final track list: four, compared to the first three that were included in A…

Review Overview

OVER THE BORDER - 95%
Tsukiakari no Michishirube - 96%
Smilife - 94%
happy - 92%
Never Look Back - 96%
Tomodachi no Koibito - 92%
Mousou Jet - 93%

94%

Good job!

All in all, I’m really liking Stereopony’s second album so far. We got the hits, the happy-go songs and some rock so I’m looking forward to the analysis of the second half. Let’s see if it can hold to this one.

User Rating: 3.93 ( 3 votes)

Break Down

Break Down

OVER THE BORDER – 95%

Music – 94/100
Lyrics – 95/100
Vocals – 96/100
Overall execution – 96/100

Tsukiakari no Michishirube – 96%

Music – 96/100
Lyrics – 95/100
Vocals – 96/100
Overall execution – 97/100

Smilife – 94%

Music – 95/100
Lyrics – 92/100
Vocals – 95/100
Overall execution – 95/100

happy “A” – 92%

Music – 92/100
Lyrics – 91/100
Vocals – 92/100
Overall execution – 93/100

Never Look Back – 96%

Music – 96/100
Lyrics – 95/100
Vocals – 97/100
Overall execution – 97/100

Tomodachi no Koibito – 92%

Music – 90/100
Lyrics – 93/100
Vocals – 93/100
Overall execution – 93/100

Mousou Jet – 93%

Music – 94/100
Lyrics – 91/100
Vocals – 93/100
Overall execution – 94/100

About the author

wannasalad is a Very Good Days member from Brazil. She manages the Very Good Days’ Tumblr account along with Dereko, co-manages the Facebook and Twitter accounts and is involved in The Encyclopedia Project with Destonus.
 

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