Friday, July 31, 2015

Jpop Mix: Juice=Juice, First Squeeze!

Juice=Juice is a Japanese idol group I introduced previously here. After more than 2 years since their debut, the group has finally dropped their first album. While there were many editions available, with the limited editions containing dvd content and even an extra CD filled with cover songs, due to financial issues, I settled on just buying the CD from iTunes instead of splurging on a physical copy. This is one purchase I definitely do not regret! 

The first CD is filled with songs previously released as singles from the group. As each song has been promoted significantly, there isn't a single one I would say I dislike. There were even a couple songs I hadn't listened to much when they were released and after listening to them I've realized what amazing songs they are and they have become new favorites. Songs such as Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru, Senobi, Ten Made Nobore, Date jyanai yo uchi no jinsei wa and Kaze ni Fukarete are all songs I developed a new appreciation for. My favorites though are definitely: Watashi ga iu mae ni dakishimenakya ne, Ijiwaru shinai de Dakishimete yo, and of course, Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no Kiss. Here is the track list that also links to the music video for each song so you can tune in and listen!: 

1. Ten Made Nobore (the video features the version sung with Hello Project! trainees)
11. Senobi

The second disk is where you are given a whole new set of songs, aside from the previously reviewed, Wonderful World and Ca Va? Ca Va? The second disk starts with Wonderful World but is immediately followed with what is one of my favorite of their newly released songs: Choice & Chance. This song is one of only two new songs from the album that got a music video. To be honest, Hello! Project are known for not promoting their albums too well, so the fact that Juice=Juice got two new music videos to promote their album is kind of a big deal. This hasn't necessarily translated into increased sales within Japan though, as their album has sold what is pretty standard for Hello! Project acts. 

Anyway, Choice & Chance is a fast paced song with a catchy hook. I really like the lyrics, which refer to life being essentially a collection of choices you make and chances you either take or don't take. I love the guitar riffs in this song and the dance break really sealed the deal for me. This is followed by Ai Ai Gasa It has a very, "sunny summer day" feel to it. It's refreshing and quite laid back. I quite like the harmonies, but I wouldn't say this song in particular stood out to me, partly because I find the chorus kind of annoying. It's not a bad song, but it's a pretty standard idol song. For the next song, we're giving a funky feel good song, Umareta te no Baby Love. To be honest, I quite like these funky songs, but the "boogie woogie baby" in the chorus will forever make me laugh. Nevertheless I find it catchy and it gets stuck in my head once in a while. It's definitely the type of song I would play on a drive or while riding my bike. 

Erabareshi Watashitashi is the "cool" song on the album. Many fans have noted that is feels like it could have been a song for C-ute. I have to agree, it definitely has that "C-ute" feel to it, but I feel like Juice=Juice do an amazing job delivering the song. I really loved this song as a whole altogether. I really like songs that have this intense, cool feel to them, so of course I liked this song. Skipping over Ca Va? Ca Va?, we come to the 7th song on the album, Girls Be Ambitious. I LOVE THIS SONG. It has this really weird country-like feel to it, but it's freaking amazing! I love the way the girls sing the lines right before they shout, "C'mon!" The chorus is great and by far my favorite part in this song is when Tomoko says her "C'mon" in a flirty voice instead of shouting it powerfully. Basically, this song is super fun and I can't help but love it~ 

Ai No Diving is a song that falls into the "standard idol song" tag again. It's pretty catchy but can get annoying after a while. It's not horrible though, like I said, it's pretty standard. Tick Tock Watashi no Shun uses strings when it first opens and sounds just like another fresh spring day. I love these songs that just reflect the concept and name of Juice=Juice. I love how the song starts with, "Watashi baka jyanai", like yes, let's start a song with the words, "I'm not an idiot." xD But seriously speaking, I really love this song. I love the way the girls deliver this song and it has many elements that come together nicely. The second to last song is titled, Mirai E, Saa Hashiridae. THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG! Seriously! I love this song because it is basically a message song to the girls of Juice=Juice to go toward the future, and not just move forward, but run forward. It encourages them to move on to bigger and better things. And you know that it's meant for them because they sing, "Watashitachi no mirai" which translates into "our future" and after that sing, "Juice=Juice" over and over. It's such an amazing song because it's not a song just anyone can sing. This is Juice=Juice's song darn it! And I for one, LOVE IT.

The final song is a heartfelt ballad named Tsudzuiteiku STORY. This is the other song that received a music video. I like the simplicity of the video and I felt that girls like Sayuki, deliver the lyrics very well. It's a nice song, I really like it. I don't listen to it too often because I really like upbeat songs more, but I really liked this ballad, it's very beautiful :) 

So overall, this is an amazing release from Juice=Juice. It's very high quality and really shows their versatility. Let's not ignore the fact either that I only referred to two songs as "standard" idol songs. This was a wonderful album through and through and definitely worth my money. It's an amazing first album and I can't wait to hear how they'll follow-up this release. 5 stars! 

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