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Review: It’s A Wonderful World

August 4, 2008

It’s A Wonderful World

It's A Wonderful World Album Cover

It's A Wonderful World Album Cover

For track listing, prices and shipping details, go to Amazon.com

Ijah’s Note: Aaaah yes. This was the album that I had a lot of problems with. Amir gave me this one, during one of his short holidays home. I asked him, can I pay you for this? He said, no. So, I took him out to Alexis and we had red rubies there instead. The problem is not that the album is no good. It’s that I didn’t get it. It sounded too mature, too sophisticated, too… well, not dark, but a little pessimistic? I listened to it and listened to it and listened to it and I felt it didn’t have the same carefree, easy style like the other albums did. It’s almost like Mr Children was trying too hard to put together a good, seriously mature album.

That’s not saying I didn’t like it, just that I didn’t like it as much as I wish I did. There are some stuff that I like here and there. Fasunaa (Zipper) was cute and when I found out what it meant (esp. the part about Ultraman) it made perfect sense (Sakurai has this knack of writing lyrics that suit the melodies to a T. I wonder how he does it….). I like Drawing a lot, it has a certain melancholy that resonated very deeply in me and there was even a certain point in my life where I actually associated Drawing to a person (i.e. whenever I hear this song, a person’s face popped into my mind). Drawing’s lyrics is achingly beautiful. And the other song that stood out for me would be Bird Cage, but it was more of its music arrangement than the song as a whole.

Still, I could not shake the feeling that this album (to quote the JFan reviewer below) just refused to get better even after repeated listening. I tried, and lost, and in the end just listened to the 3 songs that I mentioned above.

And yes, I watched Antique (we have the DVDs of most Japanese doramas in recent times). 4 men and a cake shop, the dorama itself is a very strange, very funny work. Get this dorama instead if you don’t think you’re ready for a sombre Mr Children.

Jan 10, 2003: tohnoy

If u love this TV series “Antique”, this album is a must. The CD contains songs from the soundtrack. Also include 3 recent singles (Youthful day, Kimi ga suki, and Yasashii Uta. ). The soundtrack was well composed and really add to the story. The album has 15 songs, all great Japanese pop. That’s why they are still one of the best after so many years. We love it even though we don’t understand japanese.

Oct 5, 2002: : J-Fan Jpop Staff

After Mr. Children released their previous album, “Q”, it took almost a year before they released their next single, “yasashii uta”, which was the beginning of an incredible run of great smash-hit singles. After three singles were released, they released the album we are now reviewing, “It’s a Wonderful World”. Of course, we had high hopes for this album, since the preceding singles had been so great, but can they retain both quantity and quality at the same time?

As you could probably guess by the title of the first track, “overture”, it is another string intro track. Almost every Mr. Children album begins with one of these. This time they included some techno sounds as well. As usual, this intro track leads into the first real song of the album, “sosei”. And the dramatic intro track seems justified, because “sosei” really builds into a great song. It’s another slow, dramatic song from Mr. Children, of near-single quality. The chorus is unforgettable. What a great way to start this album! You’ll love “sosei”.

The transition to the next track is also very smooth. After “sosei”, the album needs to stop and take a breather with a very slow track called “Dear wonderful world”. “Slow” doesn’t even begin to describe the pace of this song; it kind of feels like it’s going nowhere. It would have been really nice if they had put a hard rock song here. Luckily, it only goes on for about two minutes, so it’s more of a transition than a song. It ends with some sound effects, and the voice of a waitress bringing someone a cappuccino. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard the last of this song…

“one two three” is a very happy sounding song. They have a brass section in this one. At the end of the song, they mixed in what sounds like it’s probably a speech from a Japanese politician. I’m not really sure what they were trying to say by doing this. It’s a pretty typical Mr. Children song, but not really in a good way. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. An easily forgettable track.

Next is another new song called “kawaita kiss”. We’re all the way up to track 5 and we still haven’t heard any singles or B-sides yet. That’s pretty impressive. “kawaita kiss” is a light, jazzy song with a very nice chorus. It builds nicely as the song goes on. It’s a good song, but again, it’s not particularly striking or memorable.

Next is their late 2001 single, “youthful days”. This is one of those great singles they released prior to the album. You’ll love this well-balanced song with its great melody. The instrumentals are great in this track. It will certainly be remembered as a great Mr. Children single.

Next is a very carefree little tune called “FASTENER”. Like “one two three”, it’s good, but not especially great. There are some nice little touches with the strings, piano, and keyboard, but it’s very forgettable, even after listening to this album many times.

Next is probably the best new song of the album, “Bird Cage”. This is the first song on the album that sounds a bit angry, and not incredibly happy. Mr. Children is, of course, best known for their feel-good singles, but their darker-sounding songs on their albums can also be extremely good. This song begins very quiet and builds to a very powerful chorus, as many Mr. Children songs are very good at doing. This is a great song, but after many listens it can begin to feel a bit tired and repetitive.

After the best new song of the album, comes the worst song of the album, “LOVE hajimemashita”. The song begins with some weird “ethnic” sounding noises and sound effects, with a computer voice saying “LOVE hajimemashita”. Later, when Kazutoshi reaches the chorus, he also sings “LOVE hajimemashita” to the same tune. This song doesn’t really go anywhere, and it can be almost painful to listen to.

It feels really good to get “LOVE hajimemashita” over with, and move on to the second-best new song of the album, “UFO”. It’s another very dramatic song, with a string accompaniment. (The majority of Mr. Children songs must have strings in them by now.) The mixture of strings with some more synthy-sounding instruments (as has been done on much of this album so far) works very well here. It’s a great song, but not nearly as original as “Bird Cage”.

Drawing – LIVE

Included next, is the B-side from the “youthful days” single, “Drawing” [see video above]. This is a pretty good song as well. It is very slow and quiet, but features some parts in the chorus where Kazutoshi will suddenly belt out a few words. The sparkly keyboard sound gives this a song a nice relaxed sound. It’s nice to hear a slow song on this album that isn’t too boring.

This is followed by the smash-hit single that took Japan by storm, “kimi ga suki”. It’s hard not to love this song. Everyone loves to sing along with the “kimi ga suki” part, even if they don’t know the rest of the words. It’s just great. There is nothing more to say about it.

Next is the most happy and carefree song of the album (and you thought it had already been happy and carefree enough), “itsu demo hohoemi o”. The song begins with a weird noise that sounds at first like a baby crying, but after a little while, it sounds more like a lady singing, but you can’t make out the words. It might be an old blues singer scatting or something. It’s just a weird noise. Not sure what to make of it. The keyboard sounds in this song are almost ridiculous, as if they are making a parody of something. There is also the sound of someone whistling a melody after all of the stanzas. This song just sounds a bit too happy and ridiculous. It’s not a very good song to listen to.

Next is the single, “yasashii uta”. This might be the best of the three singles, but it’s a little bit short. It’s an excellent song though. Kazutoshi gets about as worked-up as he ever gets in the chorus. It would be nicer if they had made it go on longer somehow.

As a closing track, we have “It’s a wonderful world”, which is basically just a refrain of “Dear wonderful world”. It’s almost as boring as it was the first time, but this time it seems to reach more of a climax. It isn’t really the best way to end the album. Well, it is if they wanted to make sure the listeners didn’t forget how mediocre the rest of the album was.

Although there are some good songs on this album, as you can see if you read the review, the album doesn’t warrant anything more than lukewarm feelings from this reviewer. It wasn’t very good on the first listen, and it didn’t get any better over time. The album’s refusal to get better upon subsequent listens is annoying. Listening to the album seven or eight times before reviewing it was not very much fun. Mr. Children has released much better albums before. After you have bought those, you can think about purchasing this one. Buy it here.

Overall Rating: 6 – Okay, but has some problems

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 13, 2008 8:09 am

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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