Give me an EFFIN Blow-Pop NAUUUU!
Looks like the age old battle between Hyde & Gackt has been reignited in explosive fashion. Who will win the battle of the play count???
X X X
Pick up your regular or limited edition at CD Japan.
At long last, I got my hands on a copy of this single, released earlier last week. In looking at the cover, I'm instantly reminded of a certain picture Hyde had out with VAMPS... you know the one I mean.... lying in plush darkness, cherries strewn about the place, one held enticingly between his lips while he gazes sexily straight at you. Yeah, that pic. Well, the cover of X X X is almost the same, sans cherries but plus the other members of L'Arc~en~Ciel. They are all dressed in black and they are laying on top of each other. As always, Hyde is stunning. Tetsu is looking amazingly cute this time around (he could almost be a guest member of Dong Bang Shin Ki, lol). Ken is well.... Ken... and I had to play "Find Yukihiro". Didn't recognize him with the short brown hair looking extremely hot O_O
So delving straight into the title song.... It is hard to describe what genre it is. It's neither straight pop nor is it straight rock. It isn't pop rock either. It's something I think is uniquely Larku. The strings providing a deep background, the strumming of acoustic guitars, and the boys playing their hearts out. The song has a wonderfully seductive beat. If someone has a "Music to Make-Out By" playlist anyway, this automatically needs to be on there. I haven't really analyzed the lyrics yet but they are sexy.. suggestive anyway.... risque factor to be assessed later. Hyde is belting out the words, punctuated by some throaty groans and soft, airy moans, once again accompanied by the orchestra and Ken's guitar. The melody is simple but addictive. At first, you may be wondering just who you're listening to, but the song quickly grows on you and you realize it was just Larku all along. Needless to say, the karaoke is epic.
The B-side of the single is an updated version of "I'm So Happy" from the 1996 single "Kaze ni Kienaide". This is an acoustic version. Just some electric piano work, Yuki working the drums very lightly and Hyde singing. Unfortuantely, there is only one way to accurately review this song it is VERY RATED R. So here it goes.... the new version of I'm So Happy is a lot like having sex. <_< I'm serious. It starts off slow and entreating, all foreplay like. Teasing and tempting but promising you something very good at the end. It goes on like that for a while.... very innocent and very nice. It's a slow start, slowly building as the song goes on. Then Hyde's voice starts fluctuating between just singing and becoming more intense. The lyrics start being delivered in a more sensual tone. By the time the instrumental solo roles around... and forgive me for saying it... Hyde is totally inside you... beautiful falsetto, groans, lofty sighs, beautiful melodious tones to your ears. Then after the solo, you honestly start wondering if Hyde is actually doing something naughty while singing. His voice is totally breathy, his normal even singing broken and full of emotion. Then just when you thought the end was coming, he gets all soft on you for a moment. Then after that, he just starts... screaming out? I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU in this amazing climax "I'M SO HAPPY WITH LOVE", his voice even rising a bit each time he says it until he just releases all his pent up emotions.... =O.O=. Was it good Hyde? And then afterwards, he snuggles with you while finishing out the song in this kinda cute voice, a little breathy sounding; definitely a good afterglow. It's all very intimate since Hyde's vocals are so prominent, even if they are slightly washed out by a grainy vocal layer. Shoulda just let the man sing without being fancy. (I guess that extra layer was some form of protection??? Take that to mean anything you want LOL.)
The karaoke of this song sounds like something that should be playing in Starbucks or at some cafe. It's warm and cozy. Makes you wanna drink hot coco and lounge around with a loved one or a good book or your pet.
Overall, if you couldn't tell, I actually like this single. X X X is damn addictive if you aren't careful. While I'm not so keen on "I'm So Happy," thinking of the vocal version in the fashion I described it above, it's not so bad. This single makes you happy karaoke tracks exist because you will want both of them. I think the single sounds a lot like L'Arc~en~Ciel, and I know some people (and even die hard fans) may disagree with me. Larku has been able to stay active for over 20 years because their music varies. Sometimes, you get something different and that is exactly what this is. I personally think X X X sounds like a song Dong Bang Shin Ki/Tohoshinki could have sung, but seeing as how they are now fragmented due to legal troubles back in Korea, I gladly accept this as a fine substitute. ^___^ The bottom line is, it may not sound like Larku, but no one else but Larku could pull off a single like this. I give it a 4.3 out of 5 (or a 8.7 / 10).
I still feel like a noob when it comes to Japanese PVs. Just what the hell are the artists/directors/producers thinking sometimes?! LOL. This IS NOT one of those moments. If you remember the PV for "Drink it Down", then get that image in your mind, except making it white instead of black; toss in a few more random chicks, make the Larku members look like the modern version of the Beatles, toss in a bit of "DEVIL SIDE" by VAMPS and add some white feathers from "Black Swan" and there is your PV!!!! Confused? Don't be!!!
No, the PV takes place in this crowded hall with good natural lighting. The sun is out. The girls are drinking, dancing and having a good time. The boys are grouped kinda closed together in clothes that unfortunately remind you of the Beatles (yes... they do. I'm sorry. There's no getting around it.) Tetsu is so damn cute and hot it's insane. He's strumming on a giant pink bass (YES. PINK. Breast Cancer Awareness month ne? LOL). Yukihiro is playing the drums... I forgot what type they are; it's not a set, just two individual drums. Snare drums? I'm not sure. Ken... looks as aloof playing his guitar while surrounded by beautiful women as ever. And Hyde is decked out in white with his hair completely in braids with white cords weaved in. AND THAT IS WHERE I GOT LOST. I was expecting something dark given the cover the single alas, I got something white. Did I mention the girls were supplied with Blow Pops. Yes. Pun intended. Yes. I literally mean they were erotically licking Blow Pops. Green Apple and Watermelon flavors <---- (yes, I have a thing for Blow Pops). Anyway, the PV matches the song perfectly. The song sounds like its orgy music. The PV is pretty much your high school prom revisited but with better dancing and Larku providing the tunes. There really isn't much else to be said other than the girls rubbing all over each other having fun, Hyde looking sexy, Tetsu looking sexy, Yuki looking SURPRISINGLY sexy and Ken just doesn't care!!! XD Plus Blow Pops. Hyde should have eaten one! Oh... and there is a moment where they switch out of the party and place the boys with their normal instrumental in an all white background. Hyde must have come from a YFC concert. SWAYING TIME. Hyde can sway better than Gackt. THERE I SAID IT. Needless to say, with the catchy melody and Hyde going side to side like that, don't be surprised if while watching, you too begin to sway. It's natural. Just go with it. Hyde will be happy for you. Near the end of the PV, the girls have tired themselves out. They are sprawled all over the place. They start waking up... creating a writhing mass, to find out they've all been branded with X X X (in various spot on their body). The final seen is a close up of Hyde's eye. He's wearing a beautiful, sparkly grey-blue contact and what is that?! Low and Behold a beautifully branded X X X right on the white of his eye. SOMEONE GET ME THAT CONTACT AND A BLOW POP.
Verdict. I STILL don't understand Japanese PVs but at least there is no real story involved here. Go to a prom, get Larku to sing for you, eat candy, drink champagne, rub up on your fellow party-goers while also getting some flirtatious looks and maybe a little skin time with the boys, then pass out and wake up to find you've been branded (mostlikely by Hyde). Not a bad party. You'll forgive Hyde for reverting back to his 2005 look with the braids and all. It's not so bad. You'll also be okay with the fact the PV just DOES NOT MATCH THE COVER OF THE SINGLE. Which was a tad disappointing. I would have liked to see the boys splayed out on each other in the PV...just like I wanted Gackt and Jon to honestly kiss each other in "END OF THE DAY".... but again, I digress. I would have liked there to be some black involved instead of the white scheme. Makes it hard to relate this PV to "Drink it Down" without the black... but it still does remind you of that PV sans the vampires.
Final thoughts:In the end, the PV and the single is different yet familiar feeling. Give it a try. If anything, you'll just end up humming the song while swaying when you least expect it. Overall, the whole package gets a 8 out of 10 for me. The draw backs would be a lack of black in the PV and the slightly raw and unrefined rendition of "I'm So Happy". The title song, however, as I've said before, is too addictive. Even if you don't like it, I swear you'll end up listening to it over and over and over again. It's just that type of song. Hell, it already has 10 plays on my ZUNE count. I'm definitely getting me a hardcopy of this one. So very different from "I Love Rock n' Roll" but so very awesome.
The web wasn't so keen on this single nor the PV but, as a die-hard fan and as an objective reviewer, believe me people who complained, it could have been A LOT WORSE. Hyde could have just gone straight Lady Gaga on you. THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE LIKED. So shut up and enjoy!
X X X
Pick up your regular or limited edition at CD Japan.