CD Review – NEWS “KAGUYA”

It’s no secret that I have a weakness for boy bands. Japanese boy bands especially. I’ve been a fan of the group NEWS for somewhere around 7 years. It’s been a rough road for NEWS, but I’m not going to get into that.

NEWS released a new single, KAGUYA, on January 7th, and being the fan I am, I ordered it! Since it was coming from Japan I only got it today, but I was so excited to receive the package!

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The single came in three versions; Regular, Limited A, and Limited B. They are all slightly different and if you bought all three you received three special clear files. Which ones did I get? All three of course!

Each version has a different cover. The regular version is the simplest, yet comes with more songs. It has KAGUYA, Butterfly, ;, Top of the World and a Karaoke version of KAGUYA. That’s pretty much it. The CD insert is very simple also; just a group shot of the group members.

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The Limited A version comes with a DVD! Because it only has the DVD it only comes with two songs (KAGUYA and Butterfly). The DVD includes the music video for the main single and then the making or “behind the scenes” of the music video. The music video making is really fun! It’s really great to see how hardworking the group members are, but the best part is just seeing them screw around. The four members of NEWS get along really well so they are always making fun of each other and doing silly things.

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The music video is awesome! Honestly it seems a little ridiculous, but it’s really cool too! It has a very effeminate feel to it, but that may have to do with the director Ninagawa Miki who is known for that kind of thing. It’s full of traditional Japanese imagery and they do some cool dancing with Japanese umbrellas. There are some weird shots of them sitting in a pond, but I think I can forgive them for that. Tegoshi (the one with the blonde hair) really shines the video! This really is his style. In the making portion they were asking Tegoshi how he thinks of things to do, but Tegoshi says he has no idea! His brain just switches off and he does whatever!

The Limited B version is the version where if you like pictures, this is the one for you. It comes with a 12 page booklet (mostly pictures) and four special cards! The Limited B version comes with three songs, KAGUYA, Butterfly and TRAVeLING.

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I know it sounds like a lot of the same thing, but for a die-hard fan like me, each version is unique and special. Plus, after the initial press of the limited versions runs out you can’t get them again!

 

I’m going to try my best to describe the songs and how I feel about them (if you are really curious, you can probably find them around the internet somewhere).

1. KAGUYA

This is the title track. It is a love song based on the tale “Princess Kaguya” from the “Tale of the Bamboo-cutter” It’s a pretty basic song, and if you read the tale then it makes sense. I think the main point of this song is how it sounds. It’s got influences of tradtional Japanese music with a great pop base. It sounds sort of dark and mysterious. It’s a really fun song. Probably my favorite out of all of the songs on the cds.

2. Butterfly (バタフライ)

This is a medium tempo ballad. It’s got a lot of piano and acoustic gutair. Honestly it’s a very sickeningly sweet love song, but it’s the kind that you want a group of cute boys to sing. This is pretty much a standard Bside song, but I really like it! It’s really happy sounding!

3. TRAVeLING

Don’t ask me why it’s spelled like that. Jpop is weird sometimes. This is a really fun sounding song. It’s light and bouncy, lots of trumpets. Honestly I’m a little confused about the lyrics. It’s either about meeting a girl while traveling the world, or missing a girl at home while traveling the world. Probably some combination of the two. You can hear a lot of Masuda and Koyama in this song. It really fits their happy and sunny voices. The more I listen to this song the more I don’t really like it. I don’t hate it or anything, it’s just not really the type of song I like?

4. Wasurenagusa (勿忘草) (Forget me not)

This is the shortest song out of all of them. There is only one verse. This really is a ballad. Piano and strings everywhere. There is a lot of flower imagery in this song. Basically about lost love and not forgetting it. I feel like it’s lacking something by being so short. I want it to be longer.

5. TOP OF THE WORLD

This is a fast paced pop song. It’s got a lot of techno sounding elements to it and some autotune. The lyrics are about reaching for your dreams, picking yourself up after you fall down, that sort of thing. It’s simply a fun song.

Here are some more pictures of the extras and packaging!

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All in all I think this is a great release from NEWS. The main track is super fun, and the music video is really cool. Each version of the single was unique enough to warrant getting and the extras are really cool!

KAGUYA debuted at number 1 on the Oricon charts (Japan’s Billboard-type charts), continuing NEWS’s streak of #1 singles. International sales don’t count towards the Oricon ranking, but I’m still happy to support NEWS regardless!

Overall I give KAGUYA by NEWS a 4/5!

 

You can purchase KAGUYA and other Jpop cds at cdjapan, yesasia, or HMV (those are the three I recommend)