LAST ANGEL (Tohoshinki Version)
Love in the Ice
Forever Love (Acappella Version)
Lovin’ you -Haru’s “deep water” mix-
Song for you
Day Moon ~Harudal~
Beautiful Life (Japanese Version)*
You’re my miracle (Japanese Version)
Kiss Shita Mama, Sayonara
The album starts off with everything including the kitchen sink TRICK. I’ll give this song this its the best start to one of their Japanese albums that I have ever heard, so I give it points for that. The arrangement is pretty much a lot of things, so its almost like where do I start? It holds a lot of variety, but a lot of times it got pretty absurd. I mean they were really trying to be badass with this track and I’m not sure if they succeeded. I would say the chorus (and JaeJoong’s parts) are the best, but what was the chorus? It sounds like they are saying, ‘break a tree’ or ‘break a dream, now’ then I believe its U-Know on the verses and he’s doing some sort of weird talking in rapping in the most emotionless voice I have ever heard. It seems to pop up out of nowhere and it should be cool, but it just comes across as creepy and corny. I believe I only heard ChangMin and YooChun during the chorus and maybe the ad-libs, but that’s it I think. Also, why the hell does Junsu come in singing the hook to ‘smooth criminal’? What the heck was the point of that? Its more random than YunHo’s parts! This song isn’t bad, I kind a like it, mostly because it holds so much variety and though its cheesy and all over the place it does manage to hold and keep my attention. It was an exciting start to the album.
The next track on the album gratefully brings the pace down with No?. This is one of my personal favorites and solidifies the fact that Tohoshinki should do more rnb based tracks. This had me thinking longingly of ‘hey girl’ I got so nostalgic. The arrangement is rather nice and smooth, I mean really smooth… wow. The vocal performances were gold, I didn’t have a problem with anyone and even ChangMin blew me away, because he has such a strong voice, that he sometimes doesn’t use correctly and he ends up sounding weird, but his vocal performance in this was really good. The chorus is the high light and JaeJoong’s ad-libs at the end, loved it.
The next track on the album is the up-tempo Purple Line. I don’t like this song and I kind of think I’m the only one. The arrangement is pretty much nothing we haven’t heard from them before, its a bit synth rock in a sense, but I find it hard to describe, because its pretty dark but edgy at the same time. Its a sure fire dance track though, that’s something I’m sure of. The vocal performances were all right for a song like this, but honestly I felt no connection–the verses were pretty uninteresting in my opinion, though the chorus is a bit nice, it just isn’t enough. The only part I really liked was when YooChun says: ‘i want to touch myself’ how hot is that? I don’t understand why people thought that was odd. This song is just underwhelming to me and in truth I wish they’d come out with another track with this vibe similar to ‘choosey lover’ that’s there best Japanese dance track in my opinion.
The next track on the album is its first real ballad Forever Love. I’m a fan of Tohoshinki/DBSK ballads as I’ve stated before, but when this song first came out, I really didn’t care for it and in all truth I still don’t. It does not mean however, that I don’t like the song, because I do. The arrangement is pretty heavy and invokes an air of extreme sadness, so maybe they are talking about a love that is gone but will last forever? The vocal performances were OK, a bit weepy though and not as strong as I would have liked them to be. I recall hearing JaeJoong the most, but that isn’t really a problem, his voice suits songs like this. I liked the end of the song the most. This is a nice ballad, but by no means is it their best.
The next track on the album is the of course summer-y Summer Dream. Its like ‘sky’ all over again, except less cheesy. I think. I’ve always liked this song, but it seems as if the novelty has wore off a bit. The arrangement is light and gives off a very summer-y and fun carefree vibe. The vocal performances were all right, but a bit weak. I thought the chorus was the highlight. YunHo’s rap made me cringe and YooChun’s voice sounded a bit too deep during his. I mean I know he has a deep voice, but it was all a bit unsettling. This is a nice song, if not a bit generic.
The next track on the album is the edgy Ride on. Well, as edgy as a song like this with Tohoshinki singing it can get anyways. I really dislike this song, its just so very lame to me. The arrangement should be neat, but it sounds just so amateurish and I kept thinking about that one episode of Doug where him and Skeeter were running around town singing: ‘beating on a trash can, drumming on a streetlight!’ and I just couldn’t take it serious. I mean do I hear glasses clinking together? I also recall hearing hand clapping or something. It was just a really weak beat. I didn’t care about any of the vocal performances, yes, not even Junsu’s or JaeJoong’s. They just did not sound right to me and I just wanted to turn my ears off every time someone came up to sing. I also hated the ‘oh oh oh’ sounds, I mean it just made the song even lamer. I just can’t see how anyone can take this song seriously, its a clunky mess of forgettable-ness.
The next track on the album is the thrilling DARKNESS EYES. I always get the feeling that this song should have been featured in a movie, a suspense thriller or one of those dark action movies, it just gives me that vibe. This is a really good song and arguably the stand-out track on this album. The arrangement is pretty intense and dark and gives you the feeling of a thousand things happening at one time. Its really engaging and creates a rather exciting atmosphere. I loved the vocal performances, they went so well with this song: ‘darkness on my eyes’ what does that mean? I don’t even care, I liked it. I even liked the rap that was thrown in there, the breathy way in which it was spoken was appropriate and it didn’t sound lame in the least. Ah, this is a good song.
The next track on the album is the down-tempo Lovin’ you. Its another ‘forever love’ only a bit more interesting. I like this a lot more than ‘forever love’ mostly because its less of a wangst-fest, but even so they both still manage to play the same. This song bores me a little, but I still like it enough to want to listen to it every once in a while. The arrangement is a bit sparkly and wistful, but not to the point that it weighs you down with grief or exasperates you. I heard JaeJoong more than anyone else, and I didn’t really have a problem with that because his voice suits ballads more than anything. Junsu sounded a bit too breathy, but good. I’m glad he didn’t overdue it much, like he tends to do. I didn’t have a problem with the other three either, and found that I really enjoyed ChangMin’s parts. The chorus was a bit annoying, but I like it anyways. This is a nice song, on occasion.
The next track on the album is the poppy Rainbow. This song is pure pop candy, I’m serious. However, it doesn’t make my teeth rot or make me cringe at the sheer cheesiness of it. The arrangement is sparkly and like I said before, pure pop. Its rather nice on the ears though. I once again recall hearing JaeJoong’s voice more than anyone else’s, but he certainly sounded sweet and a bit sad, though that could be just me. I mean this song despite how cute it may sound, it seems to play awfully wistfully to me. I like it though, its a nice listen.
The next track on the album is SHINE. I think… this song has grown on me. I use to dislike it as much as ‘ride on’ but I don’t know, it sounded pretty decent this time around. They’ve done nothing new or original with the arrangement, because it sounds nearly as sparkly as ‘rainbow’ sounded, just not so sugar sweet. JaeJoong must have been the main vocalist, because I honestly heard no one but him and I listened to this song twice. I liked his voice in this though, I don’t know, JaeJoong’s voice is better suited for ballads, but he did a good job with this. I tried to find a reason to keep on disliking it, but ‘it sounds like all their other songs like this’ is a pretty weak argument.
The next track on the album is LAST ANGEL (Tohoshinki Version). I didn’t too much like the one with Kuu so I was wondering if I was going to like this, I mean I admit to double-taking when I saw this on the track list, but I certainly wasn’t surprised that they had decided to take their hand at it. Its pretty much the same song, just Kumi-less. I really like this, I don’t know, it just all sounded so sexy to me and I just really enjoyed listening to them take on this song. The beat as well as the music is very infectious and I believe that this song is really growing on me.
The next track on the album is the loud CLAP!. This track is like ten different kinds of annoying. I mean I don’t know what it is about Tohoshinki and their up-tempo tracks, but they’re always so hit or miss and mostly miss. The arrangement sounds like a whole bunch of clapping, surprise, surprise. It gets irritating an old after a while. Then the vocal performances were I don’t even know, I only recall hearing Junsu and well Junsu is cut out for power ballads but this, not so much so, it just kind a sounded like he was yelling. Ah, let’s not forget the tired ‘oh oh oh oh oh oh!’ shouts throughout. Yeah… I’ll pass on this track.
The next track on the album is the down-tempo Love in the Ice. This song honestly blew me away when I first heard it and for the life of me I could not stop listening to it. The arrangement is very engaging the way it starts out with the chimes, that sound like sparkles and then goes into the piano piece, its pure love. It really reflects the title. I love the vocal performances, especially at the very start of the song. I always thought that was YooChun, but I believe its JaeJoong. The only thing I don’t like is when everyone starts breaking down in the bridge, its just bad and very all over the place–the English mixed with the Japanese was just not good and they clashed something awful. Otherwise this is a good track and always a nice listen.
The next track on the album is Forever Love (Acappella Version). I never really enjoy Tohoshinki’s acappella tracks, they always come across as very weak to me. This one was pretty boring.
The second to last track on the album is Lovin’ you -Haru’s “deep water” mix-. I actually really like this remix, its actually better than the original in my opinion. They have more bass in their voices, so they sound less whiny and the arrangement sounds less annoying. I’d take this over the original any day, surprise, surprise.
The last track on the album is the bonus Together. I really did not like this song when it first came out, I thought it was just one of the most pointless and cheesiest songs I had ever heard. It was further enhanced by the video which creeped me out, I mean the video was freaky. I think its grown on me, though I don’t listen to it at all really. I like the marching band sound of the arrangement and how nice their vocals sound. This is a pretty cute song. It ends the album happy on a rather happy and content note.
Rating: ** stars
Disk II opens with the down-tempo Song for you. This was my least favorite song off their triple a-side single and it still is. I find that I can only recall liking this song once, every other time after that I disliked it. Its boring. The arrangement seems a bit weird to me as it sounds very light and a bit sparkly and I’m wondering if they were trying to go for a somber atmosphere or one of love, possibly the latter. The vocal performances I honestly can’t comment on them, because I literally only heard JaeJoong and I didn’t too much like his vocal performance, because it sounded really tired to me. They have way better down-tempo tracks than this. This is a hit or miss song, but its pretty forgettable to me.
The next track on the second disk is Day Moon ~Harudal~. They have a song called ‘harudal’ so I’m wondering if this is some sort of remake of that song, I haven’t heard it in a while, but I do believe I like that one more. This track is pretty all right, I’m inclined to like it despite it offering nothing much but the typical Tohoshinki ballad fare. The arrangement was nice. The vocal performances, I heard JaeJoong the most, but the others sung too, though I don’t recall hearing Junsu. The vocal performances, especially JaeJoong’s were a little weak, he sounded a bit tired to me and I mean a: ‘he needs to sleep’ type tired. This song is all right, I think given a few more listens it’ll grow on me, since it does have a nice sound.
The next track on the album is Beautiful Life (Japanese Version). This is one of my favorite DBSK songs so I wasn’t too enthused to find that they had translated it to Japanese, but this version is actually really good.
The second to last track is You’re my miracle (Japanese Version). This is a nice translated version of their original Korean song of the same name, but I find that I don’t too much care for it.
The last track on the album is the heart-stopping Kiss Shita Mama, Sayonara. I am speechless, I mean Tohoshinki simply blew me away with this emotional ballad. I mean this is quite possibly the most depressing song I have ever heard by them. I seriously had to get myself under control, because they were making my heart race and my eyes kind of water, especially with the whole: ‘lonely people’ its just so real. The vocal performances accompanied by the silent piano was so felt, I mean wow. This is one of their best vocal performances ever, every member brought their a-game, but I must give a shout out to ChangMin and most definitely JaeJoong… JaeJoong, woah… when he said: ‘sayonara’ at the end I almost started clapping, but then I had to catch myself. This is one of the best tracks in their entire discography, I really hate that its so underrated.
Rating: ** stars
Tohoshinki’s third Japanese album T was very half and half to me. Their Japanese album Heart, Mind and Soul was a disaster, but their second Japanese album Five In The Black they seemed to have gotten it at least somewhat right, so I had only high hopes for T. I was a bit disappointed. I think what ultimately ruins this album is the fact that they tried to do too much with it; we have pop, rock, rnb…etc. all these different types of genres and there seems to be no balance. It was like they recorded a few dozen tracks, picked their favorites and slapped them on the album. I mean not to say I didn’t enjoy this album, because in all truth there were a few stand-out tracks on here, most notably: No and DARKNESS EYES, so I’m not saying the album was a complete failure, but I am saying it could have been a lot better than this, especially considering how much they’ve improved. T is an all right album, but like the previous two it just pales in comparison to their Korean albums.
In concerns to the second disk, I really didn’t see much of a point to it. They could have put ‘a song for you’ and ‘kiss shita mama, sayonara’ on the album and left off the ‘forever love’ acappella and the ‘loving you’ remix, those are better suited for singles anyways. ‘Day moon’ is practically a remake of an original song and the other two are simply their Korean songs translated to Japanese, so yes, the second disk was a bit pointless.