Ahh, the daunting prospect of reviewing an album that you would never usually even think of listening to. Guess it’s to be expected when I offer open review requests, so thanks Beaux for this album idea.
I am not completely oblivious to the producer tofubeats however. The name circulates the j-pop circuit frequently and I’ve watched a few MVs in the past. However, I will not claim to be a fan or even someone who doesn’t like it- I just don’t know much about it. So this review is totally based on my experience with the album and no outsider opinion or expectations will cloud these opinions.
Anyway- let’s get going shall we?
Positive is the latest album by Kobe based producer Tofubeats. Not really knowing what to expect I dived straight in. The opening track “Dance and Dance” starts up sounding like a live recording. And instantly it hits me- autotune creeps in and strangles out any listening pleasure- to the point of being excruciating. Musically, the track is fine- but reminds me of the pedestrian level melodies found commonly in late era Tokyo Jihen. But damn- that autotune– something I cannot get my ears past. I get about half way through the track and just give up and skip to the second track, which happens to be the title song.
This is much easier on the ears to me. Nothing special, but I’m not cringing- as much. The autotune is still audible on the male backing vocals- but not nearly as present. The song itself is gentle and inoffensive. I can understand the appeal this would have to the general audience, for a person like myself however, it leaves no scratches and quickly dissolves into background music.
The same happens with most following tracks- some have really nice grooves but all suffer from the autotune issue that swarms in like a plague of locusts. KREVA‘s track “Too Many Girls” stands out because of it’s (admittedly quite tight) rapping sections, but beat wise, it’s weak as piss. The chorus is a joke. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the ridiculous track that is “Throw Your Laptop on the Fire” which pretty much resembles the wannabe attempts of a brand new producer getting used to his equipment. The silliness of it all astounded me.
It carries on until finally, one track catches your humble reviewer’s attention- the absolutely beautiful and groovy “I Know You“. Damn, why couldn’t the rest of the album have been this pleasant? One thing that I notice when listening to it- it’s an instrumental. Could it be the choice of vocals on any given track here was the biggest mistake tofubeats had made? Surely not- it’s probably just me.
The rest of the album pans out in a similar fashion. Seems like all male vocals are terrible, female vocals are fairly decent. To it’s credit- I did really, REALLY enjoy it’s closing track regardless of my complaints before. There is just an overall sense of it being something bigger than what the rest of the album offers- and ventures into territory that I can appreciate a little more.
I’m not sure this is the kind of review Beaux wanted to read about this album (sorry if this is a bit too negative pal), but overall, I can’t really say I enjoyed it- for the most part I really, really was dying to switch it to something else. If there was a point to this album whatsoever, it was completely lost on this listener. I seriously wonder what the appeal of the group is, and am now keen on reading reviews by people that like it to see why.
My score- 4/10.
Mostly skippable but a few gems in the rough.