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Stereopony- Over the Border

2010年 6月 22日

I totally called it when I said that this would be a series of cover designs.

Let’s start right away: Over the Border is a progressive rock track with an uplifting quality. It has a n awesome guitar intro that transitions into soft verses. The chorus is very energetic and AIMI suspends a lot of her vocals. I thought this song was a little too ballad-like to open up a ballad. If only it had kept the same action in the beginning.

Go here for my review of Tsukiakari no Michishirube.

Smilife is the oldest A-side on the album, and coincidentally one of my favorite Stereopony songs. I like how it follows Tsukiakari no Michishirube because these are the two songs that convinced me to follow Stereopony. Smilife is as upbeat and energetic as you can get. I love how this song places so much emphasis on the guitars (including bass) (as opposed to vocals).

Second new track of the album is happy ‘A’. Whenever I hear the intro I instantly think of Yaida Hitomi’s STARTLiNE. With a title like happy ‘A’ it’s a given that the song is going to be, well, happy. I thought this was a good song, but I would have liked to hear more interchange in harmony between the guitars during the chorus. Also, the constant beating of the drums got a little annoying. Even though it does well in following Smilife, I probably won’t listen to this track much.

Never Look Back has to be one of Stereopony’s best songs yet. AIMI does her job and maintains strong vocal vigor throughout the whole song. This song is one of the more rock-heavy tracks of the album and it just does not let up (which, in this case, is a good thing). The guitar work is just great in this song and keeps you constantly interested.

When I heard the beginning of Tomodachi no Koibito I was like “Oh no..” because it sounded like a Western folk song. Fortunately AIMI and NOHANA step up their bass/guitar work the song really comes to life. I thought AIMI’s vocals were a little weak, but NOHANA and SHIHO do a great job with sustaining the energy through the song.

More with the happy. Mousou Jet brings back the standard Stereopony fare. It took almost an entire minute to get me involved in this song. The chorus is very strong, but the verses feel empty and stale. Passable, but they could have done so much more with this song. The one thing I really didn’t like in this song was the scream-thing right before the final chorus (it sounded more like a dying animal). Really… that is not how we scream AIMI!

Go here for my reviews of cherry my… and hanbunko.

Hoshikuzu Cantera (Kandelaar) is an interesting track because it’s a mix of dark and light. The beginning instrumentals and verses show us that dark side while the chorus brings more of that happy quality.  This track is very lovable because of the great mixture of techniques used. AIMI even uses autotune… which doesn’t bother me too much.

Next is 100 Pararhythms, which actually brings us in with what sounds like an alarm clock. This song is much more slowly paced than most other songs on the album. I’m always seduced into listening to the song because of the cool title, but then I have trouble making it through the song. It’s so slow and lacks anything memorable. There a couple nice spots in the song, but mostly just a very average track.

Last A-side is OVERDRIVE. With that kind of title you’d expect a high-octane rock track. Instead it’s a calm, mid-tempo pop-rock song. I still think it’s A-side worthy, but it’s not as good as the others.

Now here’s the mother of all tracks, spanning almost 13 minutes: Sakine. I actually really like this song because it’s the album’s one true ballad. It’s weird because the actual song ends around 3:35, and you’re left with a bunch of empty space until the last minute or so. I don’t know the title of the “secret track” (which is a nice live acoustic mix)… but I wish it were longer.

Overall: A lot of good songs, but also a great number of flaws that hurt the album.

Best tracks:

  • Tsukiakari no Michishirube
  • Smilife
  • Never Look Back
  • Hoshikuzu Cantera

Track list:

  1. OVER THE BORDER
  2. tsukiakari no michishirube | ツキアカリのミチシルベ [the guiding moonlight]
  3. スマイライフ | Smilife
  4. happy’A’
  5. Never Look Back
  6. 友達の恋人 | tomodachi no koibito [my friend’s lover]
  7. 妄想ジェット | mousou JETTO [daydream jet]
  8. cherry my…
  9. はんぶんこ | hanbunko [split down the middle]
  10. 星屑カンテラ | hoshikuzu KANTERA [stardust torch]
  11. 100パラリズム | 100 PARARIZUMU [100 para-rhythm]
  12. OVER DRIVE
  13. 咲音 | sakine
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