Radio Star by Analogfish
Released: 22.07.20 / Label: Self-released
We’re finishing up the week of reviews here at J-Indie so I thought I’d throw in a group I’m already a fan of. This isn’t the kind of jacket cover I’d expected from them, but it peaked my interest so here we are. Before we get into talking about the band, I just want to say: This site has been going for about two months now, and it started out as a bit of an experiment. I’ve been trying to find my rhythm and voice for the posts and this week is the first time I’ve felt like things are going smoothly. So I wanted to say thanks for being part of the early audience. Expect some changes, little tweaks here and there, and feel free let me know what you think. And thanks for reading! Ok, let’s talk about the band.
Analogfish is a three-piece rock band formed in 1999. They’ve played some of the biggest festivals in Japan and have had a track used as a closing theme on Naruto. They debuted on a major label in 2004, but returned to the indie world just a few short years later in 2008, where they remain today. Which is perfect, because that means I get to review them! The group has released an impressive 11 albums to date. Each album has it’s own unique feel and their entire discography is definitely worth a deep dive. Today we’re listening to their latest single Radio Star, written for Idol Konoka Matsuda’s new radio show on Nippon Broadcasting System. If you’re like me and don’t know what any of that is, I researched it for us. It’s a theme song for a radio program. Now I bet the song title makes sense. Ok, let’s check it out.
Oh. Oh no. This isn’t what I was hoping for at all. Attempted J-Pop from an alt-rock group is not a good match. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of J-Pop when it’s good, but this just doesn’t cut it. It’s exactly what I would expect a group of guys who don’t listen to J-Pop to write if they were asked to compose a J-Pop theme for a radio show. The music is lifeless and feels uncomfortable, the range is too high for the vocals, and the whole thing is a never ending loop of boring. Man, talk about a let down.
It sounds like they attempted to shake it up a bit by adding some interesting harmonies. (They feel out of place.) They also mess with the meter for a split second at 1:24 and 1:53. (It just feels like a glitch.) They added a stylish effect to the solo. (I’m not even sure what instrument it is or what it’s playing now.) But they got a couple things right. The bass line is pretty spot on, grooving like it should. The last chorus is done right, with the band dropping out until the big climax. And the lyrics are dorky but completely on brand for this kind of music sung to a melody that fits the genre. They did forgot one of the most important parts of J-Pop though: Bells that play along an octave above the melody. You gotta have that somewhere if you’re making J-Pop. Instant classic.
So, what’s the takeaway here… Stick to what you know? Only make art if you have something you really want to say? You don’t have to take every job you’re offered? I don’t know. But I do know this. You should probably just skip this track and go listen to some of their other music, because it’s so much better to hear them in their element. I’m going to have to review another song by them to make up for this… I’ll see you next week.
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