Phew. The big one. So…. first things first….
Let’s get this out of the way before I begin- my interest in Gesu no Kiwame Otome. verges on the ‘passing‘ or ‘casual‘. I’ve never been fully undertaken or blown away by their works and I’ve always thought of them to a younger, newer Tokyo Jihen (and yes, I know most people disagree with me there, but hey, it’s my opinion). But, now that’s aside, I will look at their latest album from as fair a light as possible. Also, while Enon is currently shrouded in scandal, I shall be taking the high ground and ignoring that detail too- and looking at the album solely as it is.
Gesu no Kiwame Otome. have been making ripples, no, waves in the Japanese music scene recently- so much so that this album is currently the number 1 selling domestic album in Japan as of the time of writing this review. Renowned for their funky and smooth approach to pop music, they offer the listener breezy and catchy tunes that are quite hard to resist. Knowing how big of a release this was, I went in cautiously, and tried not to raise my expectations TOO much- albeit a bit hard to do given the crazy amount of hype around it.
Let’s start with the positives. The band are undeniably tight. Here has some of the most smooth and funky tracks I’ve heard in the entire time I’ve been listening to jpop. The bass in particular stands out to me, it really adds a level of richness seldom seen in the genre. Songs are constructed perfectly for mass consumption. This is a hit pop song machine. If you’re after something instantly gratifying and easy to listen to, this is quite a good choice. Vocals are decent, and while quite nasally (something I don’t personally have a problem with), fit the music well. Production overall is oomphy and hits the mark on most tracks. The backing vocals are surprisingly a major feature here- they’re not just there to add a little bit of harmonizing, they’re used to push the songs to interesting places. So that’s a surprise I wasn’t expecting.
However… despite all these good qualities….
The album does falter quite heavily due to one major issue- it’s running length. What could have been tight and concise has been drawn out to 17 tracks. While this may please some fans for getting a large serving of Gesu, for a casual listener like myself, things become… tedious. By the halfway point I noticed myself constantly looking down to see how many more tracks were left. At the end I felt completely exhausted. Sure there were no major duds to speak of (albeit there are moments that do verge on being a teeny bit “elevator“), but I cannot really think of any major highlights either. Everything devolves into one smooth, ultra long funk-fest that frankly, kinda bored me (although this may actually be something that appeals to other listeners). It’s such a shame because if this album was a bit more streamlined, they may have won me over into more than just a passing fan.
Overall though, what does it matter what I say about an album that will no doubt be ridiculously successful? I may not have enjoyed it as much as fans will- but that’s just subjective opinion anyway. I look forward to seeing how the more hardcore fans react to this one- and to see if they have similar problems with the bloated 17 track playlist or not.
6.5/10– Gesu wa Kiwame Otome.‘s fans may shoot rainbows of joy for this one, but for everyone else, you better stretch and warm up before you attempt this marathon of similarity.
*Hides from incoming rocks*