Tohoshinki [Heart, Mind and Soul] (First Japanese Album)

November 21, 2008

Kotoba wa Iranai (言葉はいらない; Words are Unneeded)
Asu wa Kuru Kara (明日は来るから; Because Tomorrow is Coming)
Somebody To Love
My Destiny
HUG (Japanese Version)
Break up the shell
Stay With Me Tonight
Aisenai Aishitai (愛せない 愛したい; I Can’t Love, I Want to Love)
One (Japanese Version)
Rising Sun (Japanese Version)
Heart, Mind and Soul

The album starts off with the intro track Introlude. Its like a mish mash of some of their songs, playing to the sound of a thumping heart beat. Then it ends with YunHo I believe saying: ‘OK, here we go!’ its all pretty lame.

The first full length track on the album is the down-tempo Kotoba wa Iranai (言葉はいらない; Words are Unneeded). There use to be a time when I didn’t like this song, I’m wondering why? The arrangement was pretty warm and sparkly. I thought it flowed very nicely and really gave off an atmosphere of love. The vocal performances in this song, were soft and very lovely. Their harmonies was spot on, and it made this song all the more charming and enjoyable.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo Asu wa Kuru Kara (明日は来るから; Because Tomorrow is Coming). I didn’t like this song when I first listened to this album, and in truth it took quite a while for this to grow on me. I thought the arrangement was lovely and simple, a bit sparkly but very nice on the ears. The vocal performances were really nice as well. I liked how they went the slow approach concerning the verses, and then got a bit higher with the chorus. I thought they did some great harmony in this song too, really made it stand out and added a bit of warm charm.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Somebody To Love. I use to really hate this song, I honestly did, but it has truly grown on me. The arrangement is a bit interesting, has some variety in it, its fresh and manages to keep your attention. The vocal performances in this song were really good I thought, especially the harmonies. Though I heard Junsu more than I heard anyone else, and that was a plus, since he’s my favorite singer in the group. I thought this was a very interesting song, and a surprisingly good one.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo My Destiny. This song really has the potential to come across as a very cheesy song, I mean honestly, ‘my destiny’. However, this song is saved by a simple, sparkly but rather nice arrangement and good vocal performances.

The next track on the album is the limp HUG (Japanese Version). I knew there was a reason why I loath translated songs, and this is a perfect of example of why I hate them. They took everything out of the Korean version that made this song work, and turned it into an even lighter version of crap. This song has no personality, lacks the warmth of the Korean version and sounds very hollow and weak. I wonder why they even bothered?

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Break up the shell. This is a pretty baseless song, and one that becomes forgettable as soon as you finish listening to it. The arrangement is a bit experimental rock, but it does nothing to snag your attention, and after awhile becomes annoying. The vocal performances were I guess what this song required, but like this track they were also forgettable. I heard Junsu clearly, I believe I heard JaeJoong at one point as well. The other three, not at all really.

The next track is another mid-tempo one, Stay With Me Tonight. This song use to just go over my head, and to me sounded like another version of Somebody to Love. Its grown on me. The arrangement is oddly bland to me for some reason, its almost as if its not even there, but you know its there, because you keep hearing that same sound over and over. The vocal performances went well with this, it seemed like JaeJoong and Junsu had duel vocals at one point. This sounds like a video game song, I don’t know why but it just does, and I believe that’s why this song appeals so much to me now, that and because its a pretty good song.

The next track on the album is the rather interesting Aisenai Aishitai (愛せない 愛したい; I Can’t Love, I Want to Love). This song really surprised me. The arrangement is very smooth, I mean glass smooth, its really unique in a sense, as it has a very experimental vibe about it, that makes it seem very dark. The vocal performances were also smooth, though I admit I found myself paying attention to Junsu’s voice strictly. This is a really nice and different-sounding track that I find myself quite enjoying this time around. I actually expected it to play like Asu wa Kuru Kara music-wise. I’m glad it didn’t.

The next track on the album is the second Korean translated to Japanese song, One (Japanese Version). I was very wary going into this, because I really like One and didn’t want a bad Japanese version to ruin it. Luckily it does not, unlike the trash that was HUG (Japanese Version), this one is actually good.

The next track on the album is the last Korean translated to Japanese song, thank goodness. Rising Sun (Japanese Version) is a favorite of my from Dong Bang Shin Gi, though its not as bad as it could have been, it just doesn’t sound right in Japanese.

The second to last track on the album is the down-tempo Eternal. This song just sounds so watered down and uninspired to me. I mean the arrangement was nice, very simple, but nice. In a way it went with the song, in a way it didn’t. The vocal performances were decent, though I only heard JaeJoong in this particular song. This comes across as a good song, but I just found that I didn’t really care for it.

The last track on the album is the moving Heart, Mind and Soul. I honestly cannot believe I use to dislike this song at one point. What made me change my mind was a live I seen of this, I believe it was the live performance at their Heart, Mind & Soul concert. The performances from all parties just blew me away, and I fell in love. The arrangement is so intimate, yet heart-breaking at the same time, especially when it opens and when it ends. Its just so fitting. The vocal performances were top notch, every member did such a good job, and though Junsu and JaeJoong blew me away, especially Junsu, my favorite part of this whole song is YunHo’s part. I thought he did such a good job to be the weakest singer of the group. He’s the reason why I love this song so. Him, and the ‘heart, mind and soul’ uttered by all at the closing of the song.

Rating: * star

Tohoshinki’s first Japanese album Heart, Mind and Soul is still as underwhelming today as it was when I first listened to it, and as it stands their worst Japanese album and worst album period. I’ll cut this album some slack though, I do like it more this time around than I did when I first gave this album a listen, because then I don’t think I liked one song. I’m not sure what went wrong for their first Japanese album, because their first Korean album was just really good, and you have this and even the good songs like: Kotoba wa Iranai, Asu wa Kuru Kara, Somebody To Love, Stay With Me Tonight and Aisenai Aishitai are pretty average and mediocre. The Korean translated to Japanese tracks were really not very good (and played like lazy filler), and drug this song down more than the original songs that weren’t very good to me. The exception being ONE. The stand-out track on this album is of course Heart, Mind and Soul and is the reason why I even remember this album. I’m really glad that their Japanese material only improved from here, with only a few mishaps here and there. Heart, Mind and Soul is not a good album in my opinion, not by any means, but like all albums some of the tracks on here do shine, and thankfully a lot more this time around.


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