Tuesday, 8 January 2013

[SINGLE REVIEW] NEWS are back and they're on a quest to take over the world!

AKA: Would you like some Pekora with that good news?

All opinions are my own and I don't expect you to agree with them, necessarily. You have your opinion and I have mine, so, let's keep it at that.

NEWS, the quartet boyband extrordanaire in what kind of looks like pajama bottoms
So, WORLD QUEST/Pokopon Pekorya is NEWS’ next single after their explosive, and extremely successful, comeback (an actual comeback, too, none of this K-Pop shit where they wait a couple of months before releasing and, then, smack the phrase ‘COMEBACK’ over everything to make everything seem far more exciting than it is, ignoring fully the fact that bloody group didn’t go anywhere and took a perfectly normally waiting period before putting out anything new `(*coughbapcough*)),and first release as quartet (after the tragedy of 7th October 2011 – yes, it was a tragedy; I very nearly cried, that makes it tragic), Chankapana, which managed to chart for a good nineteen (or so I’ve read) weeks. It was also the first single since the group’s only 2009 release, Koi no ABO, to hit the 200, 000 sales mark in its first week. Pretty good going, I’d say. And, now, NEWS have continued to impress, topping the Oricon charts with their 15th single, WORLD QUEST/Pokopom Pekorya. Let’s take a look-see~

This is the main track of the single – I don’t care that the title of the single clearly implies there’s some double A-Side business going on, the other song doesn’t even have a bloody PV, so, yeah, this one’s the main one. It will also be used as the image song for ‘TOTOYA presents FIFA World Cup Japan 2012’, much in the same way that KAT-TUN’s DIAMOND was used as the image song for ‘Dramatic Game 1844’, only, obviously, this is football and not baseball. I don’t give a flying fuck about footie but, just so you know, this World Cup is ‘a soccer tournament to determine the top club team from more than 300,000 club teams in the six continents’. On top of this, NEWS’ own Tegoshi Yuya will be working as a caster on the games, much like KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi Kazuya does with Dramatic Game. Oh, and Tegoshi will also be working as a host on a new sports show called ‘Soccer Earth’, much in the same way as, hm, KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi does with baseball for Going! – what is this, are NEWS trying to become KAT-TUN’s football-loving brother or cousin or something?

Anyway, all that aside, it’s time to focus on the song itself. This song is NEWS. Really. It just sums up everything NEWS are. Every aspect of it. Except for parts of the lyrics, seeing as their songs aren’t normally full of football references. But, seriously, I should think that anyone very familiar with NEWS would agree with me when I say that this song practically just screams NEWS at whoever gives it a listen. That isn’t to say, though, that it sounds like any other NEWS song – it’s definitely a brand-new song but it just captures that NEWS feeling so brilliantly. This song reminds me of everything that makes me love NEWS (except for Yamapi, because he is, pretty much, a reason to like the group but he’s not in the group anymore so whatever).

The vocals in this song are absolutely gorgeous, too. This is possibly the best I’ve ever heard from Shige – note that I’m not saying Shige’s bad in anyway at all, he just sounds really nice in this. And, of course, Tego’s bridge line is to die for. It’s absolutely stunning, he sounds so amazing. I do honestly believe that Tego is JE’s very best vocalist; his voice is so clear and powerful. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a botch note or anything like that from Tego, even live, in his entire NEWS career, which has, I must point out, lasted since he was 15 or so (so, basically, 9 years this September). His vocals never fail to impress, I swear. Also, the falsetto parts in the chorus are brilliant, too.

I really love the arrangement of this song, too. The piano is a really beautiful touch and I do love the clap-like beat in the build-up to the first chorus. The echo/overlaps in the chorus add a really nice touch to it.

The mood of the song is absolutely fantastic, too. The song manages to be extremely upbeat whilst remaining really quite calm. I can’t actually tell if this song is perfect for Summer or Winter (as I tend to associate certain songs with these seasons) because it seems to be a perfect blend of the two. It’s truly a song perfect for the entire year! Also, for a football song, it’s bloody good, seeing as most football-themed tracks seem to feel the need to incorporate crowd-chanting. That doesn’t work for me that well, that’s all.

  1. Pokopon Pekorya
This is the second A-Side of this single, the PV-less one. This song is actually pretty adorable in its own way and sounds an awful lot like something you’d hear from some kind of teen girl idol group. However, NEWS have managed to be a boyband who can do cute songs without pissing me off somehow, but that’s probably to do with the fact that all those 12-year-olds currently taking over Johnny’s Jr don’t actually interest me at all, and the fact that, however open I am to listen to young girls sing, I don’t really see myself buying into the whole squealing over underage boys thing. But that’s just me. God, I barely pay boys under the age of 20 much attention (the youngest that I’ll take interest in is 17, and that’s probably just an excuse to claim that a younger Kame is pretty). Let’s just ignore that I do think that Tego was entirely adorable straight from his debut and I actually liked him. I do make exceptions, but I can’t help that most of the young boys in Johnny’s are a little sickly to me. Besides, they spend their whole time trying to be both sexy and cute at once and it really isn’t working for me, However, NEWS are all in their mid to late 20s and aren’t going overboard with the cutesy thing. It’s just a cute song, that’s all. A properly cute song.

The song starts off with this little tune that doesn’t actually crop up anywhere else in the song and it’s a nice touch. And, then, it breaks off into bagpipes! I love when they’re used in J-Pop cause they do actually sound so nice in certain songs (MilkyWay’s Anataboshi’s another example of a song like this. The melody of all the instrumental parts is just so catchy and upbeat, it really wins you over, even though the big one in the middle does suddenly have a bunch of dog noises for some strange reason.

The chorus is also extremely catching and easy to remember. The lyrics are simple and fun and the entire song seems to be about food. Songs about food are always fun~! The chorus does actually have a fantastic melody, though, in terms of catchiness. The song may not be your thing, necessarily, but you’d still have to admit that at the very least. The bridge, a big Massu solo, is also pretty nice. The way it breaks into gibberish at the end is cute, too. I could honestly see some girlgroup singing this yet NEWS do it so perfectly as well that I don’t even care.

It’s actually a dead shame this song doesn’t have a PV, because I’d love to see it, granted that they shoved Tego in pink tartan somehow (same goes for the other three, but in their respective member colours – platinum blonde and pink just seems like a nice combo). Though, I don’t actually know what kind of bagpipes they are. Coloured tartan’s just cute.

  1. Hello
This is the first of the single’s three B-Sides and it’s a calm, almost ballad-like song. This song is also very typically NEWS (though, I can’t say that it would impossible to see KAT-TUN singing something like this, or even Arashi). It’s a very peaceful and emotional track. I have to say, I’m a sucker for songs like these. They make me want to cry, just a little, and I don’t know why. I mean they’d be nice tears but still. It’s just such a pretty song. Honestly, this song, to me, is flawless. The vocals are absolutely fantastic in this song and feature the members at their peak of vocal prowess, especially at the bridge. Every single member just smashes their solo lines there and it sounds really, really nice.

The melody of the entire song is really sweet and pretty and, while not necessarily being the most memorable or catchy, it all definitely has an impact. The chorus is simply gorgeous, too. It all has such a dramatic calmness to it that I can’t help but feel completely drawn in by it all. This is a song I’d love to fall asleep to, it’s that calming. But, it’s important to remember that, as calm as it is, this song is also pretty powerful. It’s a really sweet little song and it’s in a style that NEWS are always brilliant at. They do have a bunch of songs in this same kind of style, after all, and they’re all wonderful as well.

  1. 36°C
The single’s next B-Side is another peaceful, ballad track, which opens with a really nice solo from Massu. He suits this kind of song very well. In fact, this song is very similar in style to Hello, only this songs a lot more NEWS-ish, to the extent that it’s harder for me to see KAT-TUN or anyone else singing this one. In fact, while Hello was a perfect example of an amazing album track (even though that’s not what it was), this is the kind of song that would do really well as an A-Side ballad. This song is a lot catchier than Hello and would do really well just as a single, I feel. It also sounds like it deserves a PV, in my opinion.

The melody and arrangement of this song are beautiful, I do have to say. It’s all very sweet and relaxing but it’s still rather upbeat, though not in the same way as WORLD QUEST. 

Speaking of PVs, the kind of PV I would see this song having (and, yes, that counts as an expression of how I feel about the song, shut up) is one that either features a lot of warm-toned flashback kind of scenes of nice romantic things with close-ups by windows or doorways or parks or something, or one with not very much plots but lots of close-ups and group lip parts against starlit backdrops with other shots involving the members being all friendly and being excited about falling stars or something. I don’t know, regardless of the lyrics, that’s the image with which this song provides me and it’s a total endearing set of images in mind head, so, no complaints there. Basically, it’s a gorgeous little song that doesn’t more than the life of a B-Side (even though I’m a person who actually thinks B-Sides and albums tracks are just as important as any other song).

  1. Quntastic
This song is completely different in style to the other two B-Sides but is still very NEWS-esque. It’s a much dancier song, akin to the likes of tracks like FREEDOM and Dancin’ in the secret, at least in the verses. The whole song is actually really catchy and I do mean it this time. Actually, when I first heard this song, it was stuck in my head for a while and I kept getting the urge to just listen to it (along with the single’s A-Sides). Tego’s first solo is brilliant too; I just thought I’d point that one out, even if his pronunciation of ‘MY WORLD’ is a little off. This song is very upbeat but much less calm than the other tracks on this single. Actually, it’s probably my 2nd favourite song on the single (with WORLD QUEST being 1st), regardless of how beautiful I may find the two ballads and how cute I think the other A-side is. This song really won me over from the very moment I heard it. Besides, it’s got a good name – it’s a play on words of some description! Kyun (meaning boom, in some cases, but is also a shortening of the phrase ‘kyunto’, which is something along the lines of the pure feeling of falling in love and is often associated with a very cute and sweet romance - it’s that instant feeling of attraction a young girl (typically) feels when they see someone they like) is changed to Qun, and obviously, whatever is being referred to is tastical in its kyunfulness and is, therefore, Quntastic. Ta-dah! The ‘boom’ aspect might be backed-up, though, in the line ‘blowing blowing blowing blowing up’. The vocals in this song are very good but they’re less crisp than in some of the other tracks – quite simply, this is not a song that could ever act as a vocal showcase for the members. However, the blending is fantastic and the emotion and energy in the members’ voices works extremely well with the backing, so, there’s really no issue with that. This is fun and catchy song and I seriously love it.
The Four Kings of Pout - excluding Kame and Pi, of course, but that's hardly a fair competition

This entire single is nothing short of a glorious, glorious success on NEWS (and the writers)’ part. I’d take this single over Chankapana any day, though, this is possibly less comeback-worthy. This whole single is, though, in my opinion, much better and I love every single track. Honestly, they’re all flawless. This is probably, to me, the best combination of tracks in a NEWS single in a long time. Actually, this is probably one of my favourite combination of tracks in one single ever. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am that this group is back – really, they’re back and they’re still going seriously strong. Even if people immediately assumed otherwise upon Pi and Ryo’s departures, I knew that losing members wouldn’t hold NEWS back (it’s not like it’s a first for them, even if this time round it was the two most popular ones). They’re, quite simply, unstoppable.



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