NEWS in 2007.11.12 issue of Oricon Style
Product code: JECN-0149/0150
Release date: 2007.11.07
Highest Ranking: #1
Label: Johnny’s Entertainment
Limited Edition: 2 extra tracks, photo booklet
After two members were put onto suspension for underage drinking, NEWS were taken out from public view despite their upcoming single “SAYAENDOU/Hadashi no Cinderella Boy” and, after the release of the single with almost no promotion, went on hiatus in spring of 2006. During this time, the remaining six members continued on with other musical and acting projects. They rejoined on New Years Eve 2007 as a six member group, at which time the ban of NEWS images and promotion were lifted.
In spring of 2007, they released their first comeback single as a six-person group, “Hoshi wo Mezashite” to great success, outselling many of their previous releases. They then launched a successful tour and tour DVD, “Never Ending Wonderful Story.” In November, two and a half years after their last album with eight members, NEWS as a six-member group released pacific, their sophomore album.
1. Ai no Matador
Like its Spanish-infused name suggests, “Ai no Matador” starts off the album with a Latin-flavored song. It’s a fast-paced and spirited start off to their new album. It’s a new type of song for the group as it features pretty erotic lyrics as opposed to their usual bubblegum themes. Musically, while it starts off unmemorable, the chorus is really catchy and it has great Spanish guitar and percussion sounds scattered around in it. It’s a driving track and really sets the excitement at a high level.
This was one of their A-sides of the double A-side “SAYAENDOU/Hadashi no Cinderalla Boy” single, and was used as the theme in the One Piece movie. It’s a unique pop song that has a Caribbean feel by integrating steel drums, heavy percussion, and brass with the pop tune. The lyrics are sometimes silly – “we’ll be like peas!” – and sometimes meaningless – “gandarada” – but the song as a whole is unique, well composed, and one of their most dynamic singles.
The version of “TEPPEN” on the album is a rerecording of their “TEPPEN” single, using the vocals of six members instead of eight – but unless you really listen for it, there aren’t too many distinguishable differences. The song was used for women’s volleyball promotions – and like all sports promotional songs, it’s motivational, danceable, and catchy. And this song is exactly like that – it doesn’t break any expectations, but does deliver a great melody, cheerful lyrics, and nice rock inserts.
4. Change the World
The song starts off heavily rock, but turns out to alternate between standard synthesized pop chorus and rock-backed rap. It’s just an okay song; the heavy rock sequence at the start was amazing, and the rapping matched the mood, but the pop chorus seemed to suddenly change the direction of the song and was rather uninspiring.
5. Kimi Omou You
“Kimi Omou You” blends together a haunting instrumental sound, even adding in traditional flute, koto, and taiko sounds. Altogether though, the song is somewhat lackluster – the melody and vocals are nothing special in this song. I was expecting a more powerful buildup of tension in the vocals to match to the grandeur that the instrumentals promised, but it never reached that height.
This is a duet of Kato Shigeaki and Koyama Keiichiro and is a lighthearted pop song. It has a mellow mood but is cheerful, catchy, and amusing – the lyrics are about giving excuses about what they’re doing for a significant other and even have funny references to their band mates. Despite being sung by the two members not particularly admired for their singing skills, the vocals are surprisingly pleasing. The jazzed-up retro sound make the song especially special.
This is Nishikido Ryo’s solo, a rock song written by himself. The song is guitar based with orchestral backing, and Ryo’s vocals are raw, with him just singing and screaming “yeah” in parts. It’s a more acoustic and raw track than most of NEWS’ discography although it does still feature some synth and orchestral backing. Ryo’s voice is more unpolished in this song – usually not a measure of good singing, but it matches with the rock atmosphere of this track.
This is the second duet by Kato Shigeaki and Koyama Keiichiro on the album and employs some fun beats with big band backing. This song is nothing but catchy fun – the melody is infectious, and the lyrics are giggle-inducing as they sing about seeing girls’ panties; behind the poppy tune, the lyrics are actually really perverted. However, the song is so fun and bouncy you’ll find yourself singing along to them urging girls’ skirts to go up a little more in no time.
9. Ai Nante
Pacific suddenly shifts moods into a slow ballad. Led by Tegoshi Yuya and supported by Nishikido Ryo and Kato Shigeaki, “Ai Nante” is one of the best songs on the album. It strays from the usual happy-pop sound that NEWS usually go with, instead opting for a heart-wrenching and emotional power ballad that perfectly blend melancholy into delicate piano chords and rock guitar riffs. Really, nothing bad can be said about this song – it has beautiful composition, beautiful lyrics, and beautiful vocals.
10. Nanto Kanarusa
This track is led by Masuda Takahisa and supported by Yamashita Tomohisa and Koyama Keiichiro. A stark contrast to “Ai Nante”, “Nanto Kanarusa” is cheerful and reminds listeners that whatever happens, it’ll be alright. The song has a lighthearted, tropical feel to it: a ray of sunshine in the album.
11. Gomen ne Juliet
Yamashita Tomohisa sings this as a solo. The ethereal instrumentals nicely complement the heartfelt melody. Yamapi’s voice is also top-notch in here, not only hitting all the right tones but also conveying the longing emotion of the lyrics. However, I felt the background track was a bit light until the song reached the chorus, and the rap portion wasn’t powerful enough, which takes away a bit from the overall effect of the song.
12. Hadashi no Cinderalla Boy
This was another single on their double A-side with “Sayaendou”. It’s high-powered song that is a mix of a techno dance track and a rock song. From start to finish, it’s energetic and infective. It’s not particularly special in its composition, but its made up with powerful beats and singing.
13. Hoshi wo Mezashite
“Hoshi wo Mezashite” was the first single NEWS released upon their re-debut, and was used as the insert song in the Japanese release of Happy Feet. It’s starts off with delicate piano, then the sound swells and the mid tempo beat comes in. It’s fairly synthesized, but there’s a lot of orchestral inserts too. As one of the few slower songs they release as singles, it is able to showcase some of the greatest vocals on a single release. It has a optimistic message – “Let’s reach for the stars” – and the song reaches five stars with its overall beautiful package.
14. Mafuyu no Nagereboshi
“Mafuyu no Nagereboshi” was a song that been used in NEWS’ early past live performances; it is only available on the regular edition of the album. It’s a synth midtempo has a nice melody line. The instrumentals aren’t as complex as in midtempo songs like “Hoshi wo Mezashite,” and the song sounds like a common over-synthed Johnny’s pop song, but it is catchy in its chorus and the vocals do sound good in this.
15. Sono Egao no Misete (acapella)
NEWS sings this as an acapella, with Nishikido Ryo and Yamashita Tomohisa as lead vocals; this was only available on the regular edition. I prefer their previous acapella song on their Touch album a bit more for the song itself, but they do a wonderful job on this with all the vocals perfect. It’s a soft, calming song – a tender end to an upbeat album.
Conclusion: pacific contains some of the group’s best singles and also showcases the NEWS members on their own, giving each member chances to shine in either solos or collaborations. It is these tracks that allow the album to shine, giving the songs unique and interesting styles that can match individual members’ style and singing. The album tracks that feature all of NEWS are decent – all of them catchy but very stereotypical of the synth dance-beat pop that Johnny’s are well known for.
Like Touch, what pacific lacks is unity: the album may as well be a collection of haphazardly arranged best-of songs. To its credit though, the songs on pacific could actually warrant being a best-of because they all sound much more well produced and high quality. Despite the lack of general coherence, the individual tracks themselves are great. pacific is a good pop album and a definite improvement over their debut.
- Ai no Matador
- Change the World
- Kimi Omou Yoru
- Ai Nante
- Nantoka Naru Sa
- Gomen ne Juliet
- Hadashi no Cinderella Boy
- Hoshi wo Mezashite
- Mafuyu no Nagareboshi*
- Sono Egao Boku ni Misete*
* Available on regular edition only