ZONE’s “O”

by spellcheck on September 3, 2005 · 6 comments · AddThis

O cover 1. Akashi
2. SARARIIMAN
3. Sae Zuri
4. For Tomorrow
5. GO!
6. Yume no Kakera
7. + . – . × . ÷
8. Hitoshizuku
9. Confidentially
10. Ashiato

ZONE’s sophomore release “O” came out on November 27 of 2002. The jacket photos have a fall theme which is fitting for that time of year. The pictures are beautiful and this is actually one of the best jackets I’ve ever seen in an album. After gaining success with hits like “Hitoshizuku” and “Akashi”, when sitting down and planning this album an idea was to have each member of the band perform a solo song. But the question is this: will the members be able to sing a song on their own without the vocal support of the other members? Will each girl shine on her own or fall flat on her face, bringing with her any positive thoughts about the album itself? Let’s see!

 

1. “Akashi”

The album starts off with “Akashi”, a fast-paced rock song that screams teenage angst. I think this song is very well done. It’s dark, which is something you wouldn’t automatically expect from ZONE based on some of their past singles. It’s not so dark that you can’t take it seriously though, and is overall very well composed. The only small problem I have with this song is that the guitar solo was a little weak. It’s too simple for my liking.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

2. “SARARIIMAN”

This song seems to fit well as the second song and I don’t think I’d put it anywhere else. It’s a little more upbeat than “Akashi” so after you’re done being all angsty from that song, you can smile a little from this one. The guitar part is nice and doesn’t get repetitive at all. The chorus is pretty catchy almost to the point of annoyance, though, and after listening to it a few times you’ll be walking around for the rest of the day saying “shinya no TV show”.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

3. “Sae Zuri”

“Sae Zuri” is an excellent song. It’s calming and gentle on the ears. The sound of the birds chirping in the background was a very nice addition to the song and will put you in a good mood and make you think of spring even in the middle of winter. I couldn’t say enough good things about “Sae Zuri”. The arrangement is superb and I wouldn’t change a thing in this song.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

4. “For Tomorrow”

“For Tomorrow” brings us back to an upbeat mood. The song is well composed in terms of instrumentation but the chorus seems a little boring and repetitive at first. It may sound really strange but for some reason this is the type of song that makes me think of a person from a foreign country walking around a Target and being amazed by all the varieties of potato chips. Random? Maybe. I apologize if that kind of caught you off guard. Uhh…anyway, overall it’s an all right song.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

5. “GO!”

I like this song a lot! You can definitely feel the ZONE “genki-ness” in this song. While it is a bright and happy song, the bass and drum part does give it a bit of a jazzy feel which is a pretty interesting match. This is MIZUHO’s solo song on the album and it really suits her personality well. This is definitely the song for her and I wouldn’t have chosen any other one.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

6. “Yume no Kakera”

I’m just going to come straight out and say it: the vocals really suck in this song. The “kimi ga kureta mono” part will make you cringe a little if you listen to it too loud. It sounds like they are all singing the song at once with the exception of some parts which is a bad choice. Their voices aren’t really blending the way I think the composer meant them to and it’s a little overpowering. Some elements of the song are all right, though, when not all of the members are singing at once.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

7. “+ . – . × . ÷”

This is a nice song to bring your blood pressure down after hearing those screechy vocals on “Yume no Kakera”. It’s a lot like “Sae Zuri” but is a little more acoustic. TAKAYO’s vocals could have been just a tad better but I think I’m just being picky. The other parts of the song really make up for it. This song is good for just chilling out and taking it easy on a Saturday afternoon or stopping for a break when you’re busy with a million things at once. It’s great.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

8. “Hitoshizuku”

“Hitoshizuku” is a cute little song that’s great for multiple replays. MAIKO supplies a lot of the main vocals in this song and she does a great job. Her voice is very refreshing to your ears. Listening to the song once will make you crave more and more, it’s just a wonderful song. The keyboard solo or whatever the heck it is is a little cheesy, but if you get used to it, it’s not a big issue. The lyrics are very sweet and ZONE did a great job on this song.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

9. “confidentially”

This mid-tempo song is all about MIYU. Sometimes in other ZONE songs, the general sound of her voice irritates me a little but in this song it’s a whole other issue. It’s not very flattering for her. The vocals are pretty mediocre and I think she could have done better. It sounds like the whole thing was hastily put together. The sound is pretty boring and I think it’s channeling “Yume no Kakera”.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

10. “Ashiato”

I’ve never read the translation of the lyrics for this song but based on what I hear in the introduction “Ashiato” (“Footprints”) is a bit of a strange title for this song. It’s upbeat, kind of like “GO!” but the verses have a flute part that sounds like “Sae Zuri” or “+ . – . × . ÷”. It’s good to hear all of the members singing individually at some point because after hearing the solo songs, I really just want to hear them all together again. The brass part at the end of the song is pretty cool. I don’t know why I don’t give this song more chances because it’s pretty good.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Overall, I think this is a pretty good album. I like all the calm songs like “Hitoshizuku” but I would love to see some more of the dark stuff like “Akashi” and less of whatever you could classify “Yume no Kakera” as. The concept of relying more heavily on actual instruments like guitars, drums, etc. makes this a huge improvement over ZONE’s first album. The member solo idea was a good idea, but I really wish that “confidentially” hadn’t murdered MIYU’s vocal abilities. I could say that some of the songs that I gave mediocre scores to bring down this album’s overall score, but songs like “GO!”, “Akashi” and “Sae Zuri” really hold it together and makes “O” much more of a memorable album.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Click here to buy the album!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Riz UNITED KINGDOM May 19, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Good Album, arrangement is superb and vocals excellent. I also do like Yume no Kakera even though it got a bad review here! ^_^

This album has everything in it, from rock, to mellow music, shows the range and delivery skill that ZONE as a band have! Excellent.

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Glay UNITED STATES April 12, 2007 at 2:37 pm

I’m listening to it now. It’s a great CD so far. I really enjoyed Yume no Kakera though. I like the outro of the song alot. It’s supposed to be the Album Version, but there isn’t really much of a difference. The other new songs I really liked as well. Sae Zuri is great, so is Sarariiman. GO! I also love. For Tomarrow is such an uplifting song, and I like the main guitar riff. So I really like that one as well. This is the first time hearing + . – . × . ÷, I like it, it’s really peaceful. Actually, I love it. I liked all of the songs, really.

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nadir September 26, 2005 at 6:54 am

Oo, I really like Yume no Kakera

XD , hehe, but yeah ill agree o is an excellent album.
I think it’s more the time though, when O came out, we had all the other songs that were delayed and put on N , like boku no tegami , Shiroi Hana, H.A.N.A.B.I.
This was the best time for zone, we had so much, ZONE Pota Jyu was on and we had Takayo

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Lainay UNITED STATES September 5, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Another great article! ^^ This album is really good (from the sounds of the tracks you posted) :) Thanks!

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eyn CANADA September 5, 2005 at 1:13 am

Great article spellcheck, very informative, but you forgot to mention the solo singer in some of the songs, like MAIKO is the solo in “Sae Zuri” etc.

For this album, my favourite track is TAKAYO’s “+ . – . × . ÷”, it’s just so amazing that I have to stop suddenly to ask myself what song is currently playing while listening through the album. I also enjoy MIZUHO’s “GO!”, it’s very lively and happy, great track indeed!

Thanks for spreading the ZONE love, you know you’re pretty successful so far. *wink*

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Leanne UNITED STATES September 3, 2005 at 9:20 pm

I really like the first song and the song “GO!” is really happy-like! I really like this review. I like how you described each of the songs so I could clearly understand each song’s good and bad points. I like your conclusion paragraph, too. Overall really great review!

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