#1 Song Review: Week of 1/14 – 1/20

Hello AramaJapan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw NEWS come out on top against SEKAI NO OWARI in what may very well be the biggest point margin yet. This week, we have a returnee plus a newcomer. Find out what various staff members thought of the songs that topped the physical and digital charts this week and share your thoughts on them too!

Oricon #1: B’z – Uchouten (not released digitally til 1/21)

Ronald: This is decent enough. I listen to rock but I’m much more of an indie listener as opposed to a hard rock listener. B’z is a much more traditional rock act than what I normally listen to. There’s a lot of energy here, which I like. I also like the touch of softness that comes with the stringed segment at different times in the song. It’s a nice bit of contrast against the general more aggressive feel of the song. I would have liked to had seen a bit more experimentation, something to make the song fresher. But then again, these guys have been around forever and clearly have a formula that works for them seeing as how they are the best selling Japanese act ever. If it ain’t broke… 6/10

Ryusenkai: This has been a good couple of weeks for physical singles, since we’ve actually had a pair that I genuinely do like, which is rare. I’ve enjoyed B’z’ music for a pretty long time now; they produce solid and fun rock that almost always gets my blood pumping and my head bobbing, and “Uchouten” is no exception. The duo’s latest single finds them dabbling once again with the mixture of acoustic and electric guitar that I really enjoyed on the lead track for their last album, “C’mon”, though in a much more overtly energetic fashion. Put simply, “Uchouten” is one of those songs that you can tell was written to be played at concerts, since I can just imagine the crowd getting so very excited while listening to this (and we got a bit a glimpse of that during their Music Station Super Live performance).

Koshi’s vocals sound as strong and spirited as ever; the years have surprisingly left his voice pretty untouched, his tone still clear and distinct and his breathing surprisingly well-placed. As for Tak’s guitar work, I don’t really have any complaints about it from a technical perspective, since the guy’s playing ability is pretty top notch. No, my only real gripe with this song is that its melody is somewhat… static I suppose would be the word; for all its energy, the song doesn’t really “go anywhere” when compared to other upbeat B’z songs like “DIVE” or previous single “GO FOR IT BABY ~Kioku no Sanmyaku~” (my favorite of their recent A-sides). Lastly, the lyrics for this track appear to merge classic rock sentiments with just a bit of modernity for some rather interesting results. I don’t think that they’re superbly written, but at the very least they’re enough of an anomaly that it’s worth giving them a nod of appreciation even so.

On the whole, I think that “Uchouten” is without a doubt a high-energy romp of a track that’ll almost certainly be a staple on the setlist for their upcoming tour and a song that I’m sure I’ll be playing a lot myself in the coming months. However, the melody problems that I believe it possesses prevent me from liking it quite as much as I would otherwise. 7.5/10


Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night (Oricon #41)

Ronald: Same review as before – Generic in a way that this isn’t likable. I’m not here for this Avicii Japan-only bonus track featuring SEKAI NO OWARI. And the banjo, WTF is that? It was like a bad sound effect on one of those Fisher Price kid’s toys. This is so generic that they’ve ripped of Avicii’s country/EDM hybrid shtick. There’s something about this band that I just really don’t like. They’re like the band version of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, childish and gimmicky. It’s makes sense that the singer is banging her… 2/10

Ryusenkai: Same review as before – I’ve a weird relationship with SEKAI NO OWARI as a band, since I actually do quite like their compositions for the most part; there’s clearly a lot of work put into them. Where the problem begins to creep in is with their (in my opinion) overuse of auto-tune and lyrics which are frankly… really not very good. I’ve had the auto-tune described to me as a stylistic part of their music, and if so, it’s possible that said style just isn’t for me; I don’t mind artists experimenting with auto-tune as an effect, and I’ve even supported it when BUMP OF CHICKEN and Southern All Stars have dug into it in the past. However, it’s not something that I feel goes with every song and should not “replace” singing, so to speak. Those two factors end up making a lot of SEKAI NO OWARI songs feel repetitive to me fairly quickly. This brings us to “Dragon Night”, which contains both of the above problems PLUS a composition that’s been invaded by EDM stylings. Throwing yet another repetitive element into a style of song that already ends up somewhat repetitive for me probably isn’t the best of ideas, and this is honestly one of my least favorite SEKAI NO OWARI songs. This song at least has one moment within its instrumental that shines – the impressive banjo run followed by what sounds like a few notes on a xylophone. 4.5/10


Ronald’s Rank

1. Oricon #1: B’z – Uchouten

2. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: B’z – Uchouten

2. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night