Sunday, December 5, 2010

R.G.W. Single Review

I finally got my copy of Puffy's 30th single R.G.W. and after a few listens through I can finally put some thoughts down on a page. I am very pleased that the two extra songs are not an instrumental, karaoke or remix. Double so that Yumi and Ami wrote the lyrics for the extra tracks and co-wrote with Tamio for the title track. Anyways, here is the track list:

1. R.G.W. (lyrics: Tamio Okuda & Puffy, music: Tamio Okuda)
2. Jet Love (lyrics: Yumi Yoshimura, music: Shigeo Naka)
3. Koi no Yama Arashi (lyrics: Ami Onuki, music: Taka Aoki)

R.G.W. is readily identifiable as a Tamio Okuda collaboration with Puffy. He offers up his signatures of a throwback sound, modern sensibilities with a Japanese wrapper. This is something that has been overlong so far as Puffy songs go. Maybe it is a good thing his return to Puffy is a holiday song, which as a gimmick sort of song has slightly lowered expectations...

Tamio delivers a rocking song with what I believe are elfin boot stompin rockabilly tinges. The back 40 seconds of the R.G.W. sort of gets a little lost, think padding as opposed to wrapping up a present during holy Christmas time. The lyrics tilt a little to the listing of colors, and listing of stuff has worked better in other songs* (Oriental Diamond or Beginnings come to mind). Also Ami and Yumi's voices feel slightly over processed. End result is I am a tough sell for a holiday song but I liked R.G.W.

The first ten seconds of Jet Love hooked me and in a totally good way dragged me into the rest of the song. Of the tracks on R.G.W., Jet Love I think is the most cohesive in regards singing, instruments and production. The sound comes closest to a 60's beach movie, but interspersed in the chorus is a tinge that I can only compare to the 1970's UK band The Vapors. Ami and Yumi deliver with Jet Love, but sometimes the instruments feel are tad a touch strong and every so slightly wash out their singing.

For the life of me I was trying to figure out where I had heard Koi no Yama Arashi before. I rooted around YouTube and it dawned on me to look up Pink lady songs. The nail in my head was struck by the hammer (the Pink Lady song I stumbled upon was UFO...). Of the three songs on the R.G.W. single Koi no Yama Arashi is the one that I think Ami and Yumi deliver the most notable vocal performance of the three tracks on R.G.W. The music backing them was a mixed lot, however.

I appreciated the heavy 70's guitar sound in Koi no Yama Arashi but I felt the rest of the instruments were either over powered or too quiet. While decent, of the three tracks production fell slightly short by comparison. There is a weird hiccup or change of pace at the three minute mark, not certain what they were trying to do. It is almost like the song was short so they bolted on an extra minute which was also a slight issue of mine for the R.G.W. track.

Overall R.G.W. is a good effort but I am happier that it is a consistent effort. I am not sure if all three songs shared producers or were even supported by the same musicians, but the three tracks felt that way. I wound up liking the Jet Love and Koi no Yama Arashi b-sides (now kind of an anachronistic term given the format...) slightly more than R.G.W. itself.

Singing: B
Instrumentation: A-
Production: B

Jet Love
Singing: A-
Instrumentation: A
Production: A-

Koi no Yama Arashi
Singing: A
Instrumentation: B
Production: B

h/t to PuffyAmiYumiworld for the track info.

* edited to clear some confusing writing.

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