Ah, Berryz工房 (Berryz Kobo). 7 years in the idol business, their latest single nabbed the 7th spot in the Oricon Charts and now they’ve released their 7th album. It’s like it was written in the stars (if you believe that kind of stuff). Of course I have to review it but since this is an album and I’ve only reviewed singles before let me explain the rating system.
!!! Warning, long-winded explanation below!!!
The cover equals one point (I’m reviewing the physical album, besides even on iTunes the cover is the first thing that people see). Every song has the chance to nab one point. No half points, it’s either 0 or 1. That’s not to say that the songs that haven’t earned a point are bad, it’s just that they don’t want to make you play them on an endless loop until your playback device explodes into a burst of flames. Maximum total amount of points is ten which means the actual points gained will be adapted for each album and rounded up or down on a case-by-case basis i.e. if an album has 13 songs (+ the cover) each point actually only equals 0.71 point. This way, albums with more songs on them don’t have a huge advantage. This also means that to me an album really has to have a minimum of 9 songs. Lastly I’ll also mention any extras that come with the album (First-Press or otherwise).
!!! Long-winded (and boring) explanation over!!!
On to the review. First up the cover (click to go bigger).
Yeah, not much I can say here. It’s awesome and not at all what I expected. The little black dress theme nicely matches Berryz工房’s new mature image (hey, with S/mileage going ultra cute and Morning Musume returning to genki, someone has to carry the torch). Captain looks hot, Maasa looks fierce and Chinami’s smile never fails to dissapoint. Yurina is the most elegant in my opinion and Miyabi fits that dress perfectly, but Risako strikes a nice pose as well. Momoko looks like… well Momoko. Year after year, she never seems to age.
The only niggle I have is that Yurina seems to stick out a bit and should be more center but that’s just because she’s so freaking tall next to her fellow members. The cover really deserves its point here.
For the songs I’m dividing them into three categories.
Songs I don’t need to review
Heroine ni Narou ka! (ヒロインになろうか!; Should I Become a Heroine!?), Maji Bomber!! (本気ボンバー!!; Serious Bomber!!) and Shining Power! (シャイニング パワー!) are all singles Berryz工房 released in 2010 and 2011, all of them ranked in the top 10 of Oricon, all of them sold more than 22000 (physical) copies and all of them are great. Interesting factoid I learned from the booklet: apparently some members of Canary Club sang in the chorus of Heroine ni Narou ka! Nice to know. A full three points here.
First up: Magical Future! Well, technically it’s not that new since it was released elsewhere before, but I consider that to be more an Inazuma release than a Berryz工房 release. Suffice to say this song is awesome. It’s like the girls are leading you through a magical musical tunnel of epic awesomeness (did I take it to far there?). Only niggle is that it’s shorter than the usual Berryz工房 song. This song earns its point with ease though.
Next: Joshikai The Night (女子会 The Night; The Girl’s-Only Night). I think I’ve come up with a great way to describe this song. Joshikai The Night is to 7 Berryz Times as Moonlight Night is to Morning Musume’s 10 MY ME. It’s an electronic powerhouse of a song that makes you spontaneously leap out of your seat. I can’t wait to see a live version of this. Special props to Momoko. Anyone who doubts if our PuriPuri princess can sing has to listen to this song. The girls has some pipes. Full point here as well.
The next two songs are Icchoume Rock! (一丁目ロック!; Block 1 Rock!) and Girls Times (ガールズタイムス). I’m treating them as a pair because they’re both happy-go-lucky songs. Both of them approach it in their own way, with Icchoume Rock! being very upbeat rockish (dare I say Buono!ish?) while Girls Times is more sedate and retro-styled. With Icchoume Rock you feel like going to a party while Girls Times makes you wanna go out to the park and gaze at pretty birds and flowers while giggling. Two full points here.
The not so good
I’m not saying that BOMB BOMB JUMP, Masshiroi Ano Kumo (真っ白いあの雲; That Pure White Cloud) and Onna no Pride (女のプライド; The Pride of a Woman) are bad songs, they just come over as a bit meh. It’s dissapointing because Onna no Pride and BOMB BOMB JUMP especially are songs which really don’t live up to their song titles. No point here.
So in conclusion, after all the calculation and rounding up (or down) what do we get?
Pretty good, but I’m not that surprised since H!P albums usually offer a pretty good bang for the buck. In my opinion they only have two albums that could be considered bad and those would be Shocking 5 and No. 5.
I’d buy this album for Magical Future and Joshikai The Night alone though, they are such great songs.
What’s up next. Well I’ve got another GETS!!! post in the works as well as two more reviews. I’m hoping to get those out by the end of next week at the latest.