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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reviews (6) Twinkle Star

If there's one thing the internet has ruined for me by allowing me to listen to songs in advance it's the thrill of I used to get on release day, when you really had no idea what lay in store for you from your favourite band in the three minutes after you pressed play for the first time in tense anticipation. I should probably change that to "ruined for myself" though, I just didn't have the power to say no to Twinkle Star when it dropped on my lap a couple of weeks ago. Ideally I would have waited until yesterday.

On the other hand though, as I picked it up and looked at the sleeve (that's Haruka coming out of Yukari and vice-versa by the way, in case like me you didn't notice it) I thought "whatever", songs like this are just too good to be left to gather dust in some studio, unloved and unlistened too. This is especially true in the case of Twinkle Star isn't it? To think it was sat around in it's finished form for months while we were left to plod through Tip Taps Tip and wonder if Halcali were alive or dead.

In brief then, this gem has 'comeback single' written all over it. It's clever, brash, confidant and catchy with arguably some of the tightest and most impressive raps they've produced yet. In recent interviews, they've spoken about recapturing "ハルカリっぽい", the "Halcali sound" if you like, meaning that same addictive blast that made you listen to Tandem on repeat and wonder when the last time was that you heard pop music that good. Specifically they've spoken about how Ryo-Z knows that sound and about the importance of preserving it. Isn't that what this single is all about? I love this song, not just because it's great in itself but because it's destroyed all the cynicism in me that has been so prevalent in this blog for the past few weeks, the cynicism about how Halcali are going to fare after the inevitable change that always comes with the move to a major label, what's going to be lost, they're never coming back etc. etc.. The first signs were bad though- a mediocre song by a guy who seemingly forgot what band he was writing for, their individual spark buried beneath a layer of 'just another j-pop band' make-up and so on. Then this comes along and 3 and a half minutes later all is forgotten and forgiven. This is the right combination of old and new. I mean, I love that first album, but have you ever heard Halcali sound this assured? This confidant? Despite recent claims that they struggled with what Ryo-Z wrote for them, they've nailed it on record, flying through it with a brash, effortless strength that's easily up there with anything they've done before, if not better. I can't really elucidate the sense of relief that came after those three minutes were up following the first listen. This song will remind you exactly why you loved them so much back in 2003, it reminds me why I'm writing this blog, and finally it will make you wonder what this newer, fresher Halcali- the Halcali that have found their feet again with this glorious pop song -are capable of coming up with for the third album.

Here's a request though. The single is floating around on the internet and I'm sure you've already tracked it down. To those who haven't and who've ordered it, my advice is wait until it comes before listening to Nakamura's check!!check!!it!!. There's still something to be said for waiting for release day and preserving the mystery of that first listen. In some other universe Nakamura would have been able to take this sweeter, more vocally melodic Halcali and release an entire album with them all on his own. I hope that O.T.F. bring him along to the studio for album three.

Speaking of O.T.F., DJ Fumiya is still on his lengthy health-related break from Rip Slyme, and although his thoughts must be with that band, I hope it doesn't mean anything too bad for the immediate future of Halcali and O.T.F..


Blogger Jordi said...

I think what really didn't appeal to me about Tip Taps Tip was the fact that it didn't have the Halcali charm. It was a pity that it totally reaked of some sort of Heartsdales type song.

Nonetheless I feel that my biasness may compromise how much I like each of Halcali's songs. OTF seems most likely to want to end up letting go of Halcali eventually. After all their second album was a lot of non OTF music except for the singles and Continued. But I'll have to wait to see if the next non OTF concoction meets Halcali standards. I wonder if OTF's main aim is to become the sort of "special" group that writes songs for various pop groups or something like that :\

6:32 AM

Blogger jariten said...

I really hope that what happened on the second album, i.e loaning Halcali out to too many different producers with too many different ideas and ending up with an unfocussed album, doesnt happen on the next one. I don't know what OTF will do with Halcali, but I know that a Halcali without OTF will be a less interesting Halcali, although whether it will mean the death of Halcali i'm not sure. While TTT pointed to the dangers of a bland OTF-less Halcali, the Nakamura stuff they've been doing on the bsides of the recent singles points to the possibility of an exiciting OTF-less Halcali too. So who knows?

11:31 AM


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