It’s been a LONG time since I’ve reviewed anything, so what better way to change that than to start with YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz’ first album?
I bought both Types A and C, and though the covers/booklets/cases are completely different from each other, they also show off the two sides of YFCz – the crazy, fun boyz that make me laugh and shake my head in disbelief and out of dorkiness, and the unbelievably sweet, touching, and beautiful souls that they all possess… anyway, here are my thoughts on each of the tracks:
1. CIRCLE [.com]
I think Circle is the perfect opening for the album. You immediately get a sense for the triple guitar effect, acting as the path or gateway into the world of YFCz, and the band’s incredible rhythm section following close behind. The music then leads you into the twin vocals – wow. GACKT’s English has improved sooooo much, it’s wonderful (thank you Jon!). Admittedly, I could understand GACKT perfectly but Jon’s first lines I had no idea what the hell he was saying LOL. This is another song that perfectly showcases how well GACKT and Jon’s voices work together; they duel, harmonize, race around each other and compliment each other so well, it’s crazy. The lyrics also serve as another reminder of how YFCz are their own band – opening the album with purely English lyrics is quite an interesting way to go! They’re quite beautiful and fit the music so well… overall a great track to start off with (congrats YOU!).
2. 最終通告COUNTDOWN [.jp] (Saishuu Tsuukoku COUNTDOWN)
WOW. Considering I’m quite an avid listener of the VK scene, it’s probably no surprise that I immediately fell in love with this track. The mix of hard rock and the electronic/auto tune/electronic bits reminds me a lot of LM.C, NoGoD, and a couple of other bands but it still manages to stand out on it’s own. I can only bow down to Shinya and U:zo here, the drum work and bass lines in this track are superb. From the English of the last track, we do a complete flip to Japanese and the twin vocals don’t duel, but come together to weave you through this spiral of music. In fact they blend together so well, I can’t even tell who is who until the brief break before each chorus… and even that is hard to judge. Anyway, I’ve seen people compare the style of singing to MIYAVI here and I can see what they’re talking about haha. I applaud the two for getting through these fast-lyrics together, it’s a really neat, kick-ass track.
3. 恋愛DRIVER ～Fooさんの歌～ [.jp] (Renai DRIVER ~Foo-san no Uta~)
This song is a lot of fun too, and a nice transition from heavy rock to something lighter. I think that both the music and lyrics both convey that sense of just wanting to have fun, forgetting your troubles, and just be your own crazy self – those who don’t like it can well, “kiss my ass” XD. Personally, I kind of think of this song as a little bit like Mirror Pt.2, in terms of lyrics… and the fact that the music actually sounds like you’re flipping people off haha. I like Jon’s little rap moment and the use of Foo-san’s voice clips later on, they’re great additions to the track. I think my only complaint for this track is that I would like to hear a bit more Jon in the chorus, just because GACKT is a bit too prominent at times. Also, why is this song [.jp] if there’s a bit of English here and there? 😄
4. LAST KISS [.jp]
This was my favorite song for a while after hearing it in the Berlin and Makuhari lives. The CD version is veeeery different from the live version, and I think I prefer live much more. It sounds like the music is a tad bit faster, and also GACKT and Jon have upped the key in their singing (maybe it’s mostly GACKT), so it’s lighter overall. Hmmm.. with the slightly faster and lighter feel, the song loses that sense of heartbreak and regret I got from the live version, but it adds something different – a sense of ultimate longing, desperate and needy. It sounds like a breaking point, and in terms of lyrics, the music and key actually fit well. It’s kind of a different take on the emotions behind the song, so it’s pretty interesting. I like how GACKT pronounces the lyrics a bit more clearly here as well, it’s cute and well-done. It’s still a great song – I’ve just been spoiled lol.
5. UNTIL THE LAST DAY [.eu] (BONUS TRACK)
This song is only available as a Bonus Track on Type C. I thought GACKT was singing in the beginning along with the guitars.. he could very well be, I’m unsure haha. Anyway, this is… interesting? Again, I’m so used to the regular version that it’s strange to hear it with the added vocals, changed lyrics, and heavier music to an already heavy song. The lyrics come across nicely though, you still get that same feeling from the Japanese original. I do like Jon’s vocal work here too, he does a good job. It’s a nice addition to the album and the changes are fun, but I prefer the original.
6. YOU ARE THE REASON [.eu]
This song has the strangest melody when you first listen to it. It was hard to understand how the flow of the music went, the shift is so sudden and in strange places… but, when you do figure it out, it’s actually a really neat piece of work (nice job Takumi~). Once again the twin vocals come together beautifully. They’re duel and harmonize so well in this song, if you don’t pay attention you could easily mistake GACKT for Jon and vice-versa. The lyrics are simple but so beautiful, and the simplicity of it mixed with the ever-changing music makes for a great dynamic for the entire song. I only wish it were longer and we got a second verse or something, but as is this track is wonderful and moving.
7. MIND FOREST [.com]
I love this version so much. GACKT said a while back that Mind Forest was his favorite song that he wrote, so it’s really not surprising to see it back on the album or released so many times. Mind Forest was always a beautifully composed song, and the first time we had an English version forit, it only fueled the love for it more. Of course, I had no idea that it was Jon who helped GACKT translate that song into English, so in many ways having the two of them sing it together is even more beautiful and somehow long-overdue. GACKT is of course, the more prominent vocal in this song but after hearing Jon’s only version, I can only wish we could hear his voice more in the track. I love hearing them harmonize, they work so well together. As for music, I love the way this track opens, it’s so captivating. And I love the heavier sound to it as well, it works really well. Great work boyz.
8. 妄想GIRL [.jp] (Mousou GIRL)
Oh this song…. XD. The album version is complete and utter fun, just like Koakuma Heaven was. The auto tuning and electronic/techno additions work perfectly for this song. It sounds a bit like a video game and it makes you really want to get up and dance. Honestly as soon as the music started I saw sparkles, shojo bubbles, roses, glitter… all of that LOL. Again, Shinya is a beast in this song, soooo gooooood~!!! He really helps keep that beat going on and on, and the triple guitars did a fantastic job too! The auto tuning makes it a bit hard to know whether it’s Jon or GACKT singing, but it doesn’t really matter – the two join together perfectly. The added umm, girl moans and sounds really help get the point of the song across. Honestly if you didn’t know what this song was about before, it’s not that hard to figure out at all – especially with Jon’s insert towards the end ;P. Also, applause for Chacha’s screaming; it’s probably more noticeable live but I just like pointing out it’s Cha haha. I kind of wonder what the English version would sound like in studio, but I like this one a lot too. Also, what the heck was so bad that they bleeped it out? XD; My only complaint is that the vocals sound really far away and drowned out in comparison to the music, but I also feel like that was intentional. A really fun, crazy number.
9. THE END OF THE DAY [.jp]
Ah, our very first glimpse into YFCz… kind of crazy how far they’ve come since then, ne? I don’t know what to say about this song other than it’s perfect. GACKT and Jon’s dueling vocals work so well together, complimenting each other and creating an overall balance between the two. It’s songs like this that showcase their work together so well. Actually, this song is perfect for showcasing each member of YFCz – each of the guitars get their moment, Shinya remains powerful throughout, and even U:zo can be heard clearly~ I thought this song was amazing the first time it came out, and it still remains just as great.
10. また、ここで逢いましょッ [.jp] (Mata, Koko de Aimasho)
Yet another completely perfect song. First time I heard it on V-Rock, I thought it was really cute and a good, uplifting number. Reading the lyrics moved me and I had a bigger appreciation for it, but when the PV came out… I don’t think I’ve ever cried over a song so much before. Maybe it was mainly the addition of the visuals that had me bawling, but this song is so incredibly special now, I don’t know how you could dislike it, knowing what it means. There’s no dueling to be found in this song, just perfect harmonizing between the two leads and even with the rest of the band. And everyone even comes in to do the “Whoa-oh-oh-oooh,” it’s so beautiful. I like how the little girl’s voice from the PV still remains present, I think that’s really precious. The orchestra in the background also makes this song that much more beautiful… nothing but love for this song, and I’m so amazed that YOU composed it. It’s also worth noting that from here on the rest of the album goes from that feeling of strength and fun, the slight breaks of longing and reminiscing, to just full on love.
11. ALL MY LOVE [.jp]
Perfection again. Incredibly beautiful. You can understand right away all of the feelings in this song, and I think that’s most important. The single version was beautiful as is, but I think the added minutes with the rest of the chorus was a wonderful delight and made the song that much more powerful. Once they all came together and joined together to sing the “Close you eyes” part, I started crying a bit. Those simple lyrics hold so much meaning and love in them, you know? And GACKT’s extra little singing towards the end… be still, my heart and emotions. Beautiful, beautiful song.
12. NOT ALONE 「キミは一人じゃない」 [.eu] (NOT ALONE [Kimi wa Hitori janai])
So, this song was the one I was looking forward to the most out of the previews, and I’m happy to say that I’m not disappointed at all. In the preview I could sense so many feelings right away, and with the full version it’s only increased tenfold. You know, I don’t like auto tune when it’s used willy-nilly, but when it’s used like this, the results are really beautiful. This song is filled with such love, nostalgia, sadness, hope, comfort… it makes me cry from how pure these feelings are. And the lyrics only add to that, so sweet and simple once more. I’m once again impressed with YOU’s ability to compose wonderful songs, and I’m happy he got the chance to create such music. I’m really happy the album ends on this note, it’s really wonderful.
So, my overall thoughts for this album is that it’s a great mix of rock, pop, and techno, from the heavy rock jam to the heart-clenching ballad. Personally, I think the “OMG AUTO TUNE DIIIEEEE” opinions are a liiiittle exaggerative – there’s only three tracks that use it. I think my only complaint overall is that I wish there was a bit more balance between GACKT and Jon’s vocals. GACKT is featured so prominently sometimes, he ends up overpowering Jon; if you really want to hold true to the idea of “twin vocals,” you need to be able to hear the second vocalist.
This album perfectly describes who YFCz is and what they’re all about, and I couldn’t be more proud of the boyz for what they’ve done and accomplished within the past year. Well done ♥