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Finding the Answer

There’s so much I need to catch up on. Arashi’s 8 years of existence, KinKi Kids’ 10 (almost eleven, surprisingly), BeForU’s missing year (2005/2006, as far as I’m concerned, disappeared), the summer shows that I didn’t quite find time to watch, the music releases of the past three months, questioning whether or not my long-standing artist fandoms could really be considered fandoms anymore, video games, and of course, any corresponding posts for this blog. Let’s slide in the fact that it’s been a full month since there was any official music news from AAA, and I’d become a proper junkie to their new release information.

You’ll forgive me if I find myself a little overwhelmed and disinterested with Japanese media at the moment, of course. Luckily enough, FLOW‘s latest single provided the Answer. (You’ll also forgive me the blatant pun abuse. Right? I knew you would.)

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been avoiding FLOW for what may be a very stupid reason. They have songs associated with Naruto. This becomes even more stupid when you consider that I’ve listened to other bands and artists with songs tied into Naruto, but let us ignore my blatant tie-in prejudice. (Does that even count as prejudice?) The facts are, I only know of one FLOW song, it’s one they did for Naruto, and I’ve never actually listened to it.

And I still haven’t, but the sheer hook of Answer may get me on that soon. Also the opening theme song to summer drama Tantei Gakuen Q (just because Hey! Say! Whatever didn’t perform that one doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to get hooked on it), it makes for a fun karaoke song – I that learned firsthand. Let me be proud for a second.

Okay, moving on. FLOW is apparently (according to Wikipedia) classified as a mixture rock group, so I’m not quite sure how to describe their music. What I can say, though, is that while Answer’s simple musical background hides the fact that the group definitely knows what they’re doing. The stanzas are almost bare, letting KOHSHI and KEIGO take center stage with the infectious vocal melody, and then comes the chorus where there’s the surge of synth combined with the band’s instrumental accents. And the bridge with the displaced vocal echo ties the atmosphere of the song together. I don’t know if I’ve said this on any song review I’ve done so far on this blog, but this would be one of my nominees for song of the year. (Um… maybe Beautiful World would be a contender.)

The two B-sides on the single don’t disappoint, either. Electric circus starts out seemingly light and almost bossa-nova – until the guitars jump in with a strong riff. The stanzas take their time, but the end result is a soaring showcase that sounds at home during any circus act. (Unless the circus is Cirque du Soleil, and then it doesn’t count because that’s a work of art.)

Steppers high, the other B-side, doesn’t play around, jumping in with some fast guitar work and letting KEIGO’s slightly weaker vocals play with the pace before KOHSHI throws in some rap and then the chorus comes on. Or is that the other way around? Either way, it’s an upbeat song that’s practically overflowing with energy right down to the ending hooks.

Sure, this means I have another thing to add to the list of things I need to catch up on, especially as this single apparently celebrates FLOW’s 5 year anniversary in the business. But if the rest of their discography is as invigorating as this, you can bet I’ll be diving to catch the ball.

Categories: FLOW, Music, Reviews, SONY

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