Tegomass, L-R: Tegoshi Yuya, Masuda Takahisa
Product Code: JECN-120/122
Release Date: 2006.12.20
Highest Ranking: #1
Label: Johnny’s Entertainment
Limited Edition: Photo booklet, DVD
Johnny’s Entertainment had always had many of its popular singles written by Swedish songwriters. After Seishun Amigo by Shuuji to Akira became a major success in Japan and also a minor hit in Sweden, the company decided to promote itself more overseas. Tegomass was formed to promote Johnny’s Entertainment internationally. In November of 2006, they held a press conference for both reporters and fans, and released a single, Miso Soup, written by Swedish songwriters and sung completely in English. The single debuted at a surprisingly high #12 on the Swedish charts and enjoyed a bit of overseas publicity.
Tegomass consists of Johnny’s Entertainment band NEWS members Tegoshi Yuya and Masuda Takahisa. Even amongst NEWS, they were considered two of the group’s best singers and often had solo parts in singles and duets during concerts. A month after their Swedish debut, they also debuted in Japan as テゴマス (Tegomasu). They released the Japanese Miso Soup single in two formats, a regular and a limited CD+DVD. The limited edition contained a 3-page, 6-sided jacket booklet, while the regular contained an extra track and the title song’s original karaoke.
1. Miso Soup
This is the Japanese version of the same song that had been released in Sweden. The song starts off with an accordion intro, setting off a melody that sounds like a holiday or children’s song. Indeed, the lyrics fit with that aspect, as Tegoshi and Masuda sing about a mother’s love, shown through their care, subtle gestures, letters, and – what else? – their homemade miso soup.
The PV narrates this by showing Tegoshi and Masuda living by themselves in a supposedly foreign country, getting letters and instant food, and reminiscing about their mothers. And, as standard in most Johnny’s Entertainment PVs, there’s Tegomass singing and smiling as the camera zooms onto them for simple but beautiful shots.
The song shows off their individual voices as well as their harmonizing. However, despite their singing, I found the song mediocre – the melody was repetitive and although somewhat catchy, it was more catchy in the way of an annoying commercial jingle than a mainstream hit. (Subsequently, in 2007, it was used in a commercial for – don’t be too shocked now – miso soup.) It didn’t seem like singing about a mother’s love shown through food – especially with such a childish melody – would serve to be a smart release in mainstream music. The song has good vocals and production, but is lacking compared to Tegomass’ other works.
2. Hajimete no Asa
The second track translates to A New Morning and is a midtempo ballad. It’s a strong display of the depth and tone of their voices, displayed through both solos and harmonizing, with both Tegoshi and Masuda taking up the melody at times. The instrumental itself starts out majestically, drops to simple piano and percussion, then like a sunrise becomes more complex and layered with orchestral strains. I thought Hajimete no Asa was a much better song than Miso Soup, both in displaying their voices and the composition.
Chocolate is jazzy, more fast-tempoed song. There’s interesting new-age sounding accents and percussion – I think I hear bongos. The song has interesting sound and some nice touches, like a small beat change in the middle of the song, jazz instruments, and female background vocals. It’s a fun but sophisticated song, and definitely something more unique in a Jpop release.
Sunadokei (hourglass) is the extra track on the Regular Edition single – which probably was probably a ploy for fans to buy both the limited and regular editions, because it’s arguably one of Tegomass’ best songs. It had been one of Tegomass’ duets during previous NEWS concerts, and had been performed by Tegoshi as a solo on national television before appearing on this single. It’s a beautiful ballad with orchestral strings, guitar, and ambient percussion that all become more and more layered, as Tegomass’s voices range from soft and light singing into rich harmonies, and perfectly convey the pain of trying to stop time towards a fading love.
This single contains some wonderful songs, but had one of the more lacking songs as its title track. Miso Soup was good in generating publicity from its Swedish debut, connection to Swedish songwriters, and its unique subject. The title song does do a good job as a debut single by showcasing their vocal abilities and gaining publicity. However, what really shine on this single are the B-sides, which are some of Tegomass’ best songs. Musically, it is excellent, high quality, and definitely worth a listen.
- Miso Soup
- Hajimete no Asa
- Sunadokei *
- Miso Soup (Original Karaoke) *
* Only available on regular edition
- Miso Soup PV
- Miso Soup (Making of)