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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

O.T.F. & TF6

I noticed yesterday that Tommy February 6th is releasing a new single this month, and it came as a relief to know that she’s putting her Avril Lavigne B-Side Covers Project on hold, if only temporarily. I think that Tommy February 6th is a good example of a band doing what Halcali couldn't- knocking out two albums that had both a sense of development in the songwriting and a strong sense of stylistic continuity. When Tomoko Kawase made album two, it still sounded like Tommy February 6th at the same time as sounding like the second album.

It doesn't take much to get to the root of why that was, either. The same songwriting team (Malibu Convertible) was kept across both records. Although Bacon had multiple producers and songwriters behind the scenes, it also had an overall feeling of O.T.F. pulling the reins tight enough to ensure that nothing deviated too far from the template. I'd like to know what made O.T.F. ditch that idea and effectively let Halcali go for Ongaku No Susume. While I still enjoy listening to a few individual tracks on that album, it seemed as though O.T.F. had suddenly decided to loan Halcali out to the biggest names they could get to spend a spare Sunday or two knocking out a song. Like the upcoming debut by the Teriyaki Boyz, it was sold partially on whatever the music had to offer, but mostly through association with all the impressive names attached to the sticker on the front cover. OK, so superstar DJ Fantastic Plastic Machine was on Bacon, but the chief difference between that album and this one was that here, Halcali were largely shoved aside by the ego the songwriters, essentially becoming guests on their own album. Yuki's contribution sounds exactly like a Yuki song that just happens to have Halcali singing over the top. There’s often a shocking lack of effort on O.T.F.'s part to retain any of what originally made Halcali into Halcali. So we get ballads clumsily wedged in with anthems, Supercar writing a song that comes off like one of their old discarded album outtakes, a one year old single, and finally an O.T.F. song that just sounds like something left over from the first album.

The band was a mess, a rabble of odds and ends looking for attention in all the wrong places. I mean, what the hell was this band anyway? The cool j-pop act it's OK for indie kids to say they like? A real, pure, chart-troubling pop group? Serious balladeers? Something urban/street/hip-hop? All of the above?

Here's something that Kawase had figured from day one. She knew what Tommy February 6th was. Cute, retro, slightly tongue in cheek 80's pop. O.T.F. never knew what the hell they had. Now I can't help but feel that it's gone. Or was Tip Taps Tip just a blip, a written-for-anime bland bump in the road? Let's hope so. I just get the feeling that what's in Halcali's place now is something so far removed from the Bacon days that it seems like another band altogether. Unlike O.T.F. though, who effectively set-up and then ruined Halcali's chance at greatness, Sony knows what it wants. All the creases, all the weird side steps and quirks, all the Otsukare Summer's and the Strawberry Chips' are going to be ironed out, and what we're going to see is a band with a new coat of make-up that look like they're ready to make money. After all, isn't that the sole purpose of all manufactured pop bands?


Blogger Jesse Jace said...

A Halcali blog??! What an idea! I'll come back and read more carefully when I have time...maybe I'm silly, but I really like dancing Christmas trees.

6:40 AM

Anonymous qazmonster said...

So now who's going to be song-writing for Halcali?

11:24 PM

Blogger jariten said...

So now who's going to be song-writing for Halcali?

Malibu Covertible?

maybe I'm silly, but I really like dancing Christmas trees.

Jesse, everyone likes dancing Christmas trees. Or Japanese demons or whatever the hell they were.

1:51 AM


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