Aikawa Nanase [R.U.O.K?!] (Third Mini Album)

June 2, 2009

aikawananaseruokjw8FOOLISH 555
R.U.O.K?!
FLY TO RAINBOW RAY
ROCK STAR’s STEADY
RED WHEEL
Snowfall
EVERYBODY GOES

The mini album starts off with the grating FOOLISH 555. Wow, this song is pretty nerve-wracking. I actually think I liked this song when I first gave this mini a listen, now I’m wondering why. I’m not saying its bad, but this is just one of those songs I advise you not to listen to if your head is hurting, it just might split open. The arrangement is hard, chaotic rock, primarily the drums, I didn’t care for it. Aikawa was trying to do too much with her vocals and after a while it was almost like, ‘i get it, you’re a rocker chick and the best at that’ this song isn’t bad and I can see a lot of rock fans really getting into it, me? I really can’t see myself listening to this again and enjoying it, its just too loud and all over the place for me, even for an Aikawa rock tune.

The next track on the mini is R.U.O.K?!. I don’t too much like this song either, but I do like the mild flow of it. The arrangement is like a more tamer version of the previous and it plays in a smooth manner, despite being rock-based. Aikawa’s vocal performance is a lot better this time around, its not great, but its definitely tolerable. I had to listen to this song twice, because I wasn’t sure I liked it the first time, I think it’ll grow on me, especially considering I like how calm is seems, which kind of contradicts the exclamation mark in the title.

The next track brings things up a notch with FLY TO RAINBOW RAY. I’m surprised I like this song, but its pretty fun. The arrangement is rock: drums, bass, guitar, its loud, its consistent and it’ll certainly keep your head banging. Aikawa gives a good an enthusiastic vocal performance, really getting into the song during the chorus. I love when the backing vocals comes in, makes the song almost epic and a really memorable rock tune.

The next track on the album keeps the pace going with ROCK STAR’s STEADY. This is the type of rock I don’t like, because honestly no matter how many times I listen to this, it just doesn’t sound good. The arrangement is typical rock, it sounds like they recorded it in their garage band and I mostly heard the drums. Aikawa’s vocals were pretty much nonsensical, even in Japanese. I guess its safe to say I like this even less than ‘foolish 555’.

The next track on the album is the pseudo-dark RED WHEEL. This song gave me such an ‘black angel’ vibe, especially when she would get to the chorus. I enjoyed this song quite a bit, had the right amount of angsty rock in it to be tolerable. The arrangement is primarily the guitar and its pretty heavy. Aikawa’s vocal performance was top notch, she seemed really into the song. I’ve never really paid attention to this track, but it looks like that’s going to change.

The next track keeps the low-tempo rock tunes coming with Snowfall. I don’t know why I thought this was going to be some sort of down-tempo ballad. Anyways, its more like a rock ballad. The arrangement consists of the drums and the guitar, always a nice combination. Aikawa gave a good vocal performance of course and I like how she sounded so dramatic during the chorus.

The last track on the mini is the up-tempo EVERYBODY GOES. I’m on the fence with this track, because one part of me thinks its a more tamer version of the first track and another part of me finds it endearing. Its your typical loud rock arrangement and though it fits, it seemed to oddly clash with Aikawa’s rather straight-forward vocal performance. I don’t know this song is pretty all right, but its no ‘fly to rainbow ray’ eh, maybe it’ll grow on me.

-GRADE: B
Rating: ** stars

Aikawa Nanase’s third mini album R.U.O.K?! was all right, but nothing new. Aikawa went the rock route with this mini as oppose to the two ballad mini’s she came out with before this and I must say for Aikawa to be such a kick-ass rocker chick her down-tempo’s certainly seem to appeal to me more and its not just because I love ballads, its just her ballads seem to speak to me more than her up-tempo rock tunes. I liked the majority of this mini, but the song that stood out the most to me was, ‘fly to rainbow ray’ and as it stands its the only one I remember. R.U.O.K?! played better than a couple of her full-length album releases, so I’m not complaining too much about the typical-ness of it, but I do wish that it would have left more of an impression, like her ballad mini’s did.

*This is an old review, this is the first of a slew of reviews I did before I decided to go on my hiatus. [April 14th, 2009]

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