Once you listen to this album, you might never expect how awesome these cute in appearance kind of girls could produce such intense, emotional, moody, derivative, energetic and sometimes dark sounds. In their early career before they’ve gone professional label, they wore pajamas as a costume for their live performances just to emphasize their band name which is negoto, means “Sleep Talk” in Japanese. What would you think when you see 4 girls in stage wearing just in their PJs? you would think they are cute and somehow think that they’ll perform some kind of pop dancing song to match their cute display. These girls are actually really really talented. I’ve never seen a better talented bunch of girls with such great musical intercourse.
ex Negoto is their first debut album. Quite unique album title I say. The title might mean that they are already disbanded. According to Sachiko, they are well aware what the title implies to a normal person’s mindset. Firstly, they purposely want to surprise people with the title and make them assume literally, however that’s not the real case, ex has a lot of other meanings too, like “excellent”, “exciting” etc… and hoping to bring a new kind of sound to the ears of music lovers and the like. I personally think they are making their way to achieving such goal. It feels indeed that they are on their way in making a new kind of sound. It definitely shows they still have so much potential in them. I say give them 2-4 years. They’ll be better than any girl band.
Here are my thoughts of each songs in the album:
Saidaa no Umi(Sea of Cider) – A great song to kick start the album. A fast tempo sound that makes you want to run to refresh your mind and body. This song could make a good song of a Cider Soda drink ad. Everything is perfectly synchronized in this song. The keyboard, bass, the beautiful sound of the guitar and the tight drums. I personally salute Sachiko in this song cuz based on the slight complexity of the odd time signatures that she plays with the keyboard in this song while singing is no simple feat.
Ruupu(Loop) – their most played and famous song before their debut single Charon. As one of their early songs before making it to pro, this song is really good and have a certain derivative sound arrangement making sound as if they are already professionals. Well, this is no surprise, because in Japan, this is common. The indie music industry in Japan is one of the greatest in the whole world. Even bands playing in the streets are way better than to those in the mainstream. The song starts with a suitable bass line to start a song, just like the sound of a starting engine of a car, then enters the hi-hat rhythmically synchronizes with the bass and the beautiful plucking sound of the guitar with the vocals, and then the song jumps into a fantasy feel of electronic elasticity as the instruments intercourse into one awesome sound. I say one of the best songs they’ve composed. Whenever I listen to this song, I feel so light as if I’m floating in space.
Karon(Charon) – Their debut single that bypassed everyone’s expectations. This song is my most favorite song from them. This song is so… how shall I say it.. so EARGASMIC, addicting, and really uplifting. From the catchy and intense melody to the tight complex drums, this might be one of great songs composed in the 21st century. Call me bias all you want but this is surely an awesome song.
Beesaido(Beside?) – The word EPIC should describe this song. You know why? cuz Sawamura Sayako, the agile versatile drummer just played her heart out in this song with such EPIC drumming, and that doesn’t stop there, such EPIC drumming is accompanied by a beautiful EPIC sound of the guitar and smooth EPIC bass lines, plus an EPIC keyboard playing that brings an EPIC texture that softly glides along the song. It’s not surprising if this song is categorized as progressive because it is. One of great songs I say.
Merushiiru(Merci Lou) – Sachiko has indeed a knack of making abstract song titles xD. This song is dark. Beautifully dark in fact. The kind of darkness that you’ll find comfortable and safe being in. Song enters with a dark tone of heavily electronic keyboard riff synchronized with the beautiful sound of the guitar to balance the mood of the song, after the first cycle, the bass and drums enter making the song a little heavy on the feeling side however sets the right mood of dark sound as if were intensely longing for salvation within our own darkness. As the verse finishes, a violent storm of emotions come in the chorus, as the song preludes itself the end, the song gradually lights itself up like heading into the light in a completely dark tunnel. Its a great accomplishment if you can put such moods and emotions in such song.
Fuwari no Koto(Gently) – Another great piece. A Masterpiece in fact. The best ballad song they’ve composed. This is song is all about the piano keyboard and Sachiko’s so concerned and sincere voice and her way of singing. The piano directly echoes into the hearts of its listeners tugging their heart strings like playing a harp which harmonizes euphoria with the world. It feels like Sachiko poured her heart and soul and turned those feelings into a melody. The other instruments accompanies the feelings of the song as if they are vessels holding together the feelings that are ubiquitous through out the song. A masterpiece indeed.
Tanabata – a change of pace as we enter the middle track of the album. This song is quite cheery and has a bright mood. It also has a unique rhythm making the track a little bit jumpy. Still the great musical intercourse never fails to make this song tight. Performing this song would be fun as we would be jumping along the rhythm cheerfully enjoying the bright mood the song has given us.
Week…end – The dark edge masterpiece as musical critics say and they absolutely right. As Sachiko commented on the judgement of the song, “Yes, the song itself is indeed a great one”. Again we are engulfed by a wonderful comfortable and safe darkness while listening to this masterpiece. This is a song we would like listen when we are alone, and within that solitude, the feelings accompanying the song comforts our loneliness. The bass makes the song feel gloomy and dark, the guitar adds some tasty texture to the song, the drums maintains holds the song tightly with its beautiful and crisp ghost notes keeping it from breaking away, and lastly the keyboard gives a feeling of hope to the song like tiny lights flashing within the darkness carefully not to stray off to absolute despair.
Kisetsu(Seasons) – Another uptempo song. Another song that makes me want to run. This is really a good song. It gives us a kind of refreshing feeling that the weather is going to be a good one. Again, the drum never fails to hold the song taking the lead so that none of the instruments break off somewhere. The guitar maintains the rhythm and the bass thickens up the song while it synchronizes with the strong drums helping it to be more tighter, and keyboard brings out positiveness from the song.
AO – A slow paced ballad. I could listen to this song and do nothing all day. Such a relaxing song. Its the kind of song when you feel lazy and let the day pass by without effort while watching the clouds make their way to other parts of the sky. Even though its a ballad, the drums still inserts its strong complexity into the heart of the song.
Yureru(Sway) – a very melodic song with an earnest appearance. The mood for this song is kinda like coming out of a certain despair that has plagued you for sometime and now you have come to learn to accept and learn from the difficulties you’ve faced. The perfect ending theme song. Again, the drum prevails with its tight and strong musical fitness while all other instruments including the sincere vocals rightfully blend with each other. There’s no telling how far these girls’ talents potentially could grow.
Instrumental – the piece that instantly made me a fan of them when I first heard them in the Ontama Carnival Festival Concert. This song is usually performed by them every time they perform live and its usually the first song they play as make it also like a sound test to them too. This song also kinda fits to be the first song since it has feeling of a prelude musical piece, however, this song is being chosen as the last track of the album which makes it the postlude which actually also fit. A great ending to say the least. This is half instrumental. The vocal only comes from the beginning, after that its musical bliss, this version though, comparing to the one’s they usually perform in lives, they added a new segment where the guitar beautifully solos which makes the song more enjoyable to listen to.
Conclusion: This album is all about the drums. The drums takes the lead all the way. The drums holds and maintains every song. The drums prevails with its mighty strong fills, odd time signatures, tight rhythm, and incredible versatility with the bass as its accomplice and the keyboard and guitar supporting, molding, synchronizing and harmonizing to make each song sound incredible unique or awesome. Also, this album never disappoints, every song sounds great, as you listen to it over and over again, you don’t easily get sick of it. I listen to this album at least once a day and I never tire of it. Its actually addicting. A possible 2011 album of the year for me. This album also shows how much potential these 4 talented girls still lurking within them. I can’t wait for their next work. This album is definitely a recommendation for me.