AAA – depArture [4th Studio Album]

February 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm (AAA) (, )

departurecover

AAA’s fourth studio album, entitled depArture, was released on 02.11.09. The singles released before the album are as follows: BEYOND ~カラダノカナタ, MUSIC!!! / ZERØ and 旅ダチノウタ.

-introduction- is just weird. It features an airplane hostess announcing that the listener will be getting on Flight AAA. It’s just so strange and really not necessary.

MUSIC!!! allows the group to show their happy and positive sides. A sunny and happy section of pure instrumentation starts off the song, which introduces the chorus. The vocals are pretty good here and the definitely match the sweet atmosphere of the song, making all the English phrases pop and catch the listener’s ear. Similar vocal consistency is achieved during the verses. Normally, a rap section would seem out of place but not this time. It has both a cool and a fun feel to it so that it doesn’t sound so separate from the rest of the song. MUSIC!!! is an enjoyable number that finds a place on the album.

SAVE YOUR SOUL is actually a pretty good song and a nice follow-up to MUSIC!!! Misako and Nissy give some good vocals and the instrumentation is interesting, having a cool and sleek atmosphere to really enjoy. It’s one of the stronger numbers on the album.

Admittedly, Jamboree!! is a little cheesy and a little generic but there’s something very likeable about it. It has more of an interesting arrangement and instrumentation than some of the other upbeat tracks and thus it stands out. You can really hear the fun time that the members are having through their vocals and the combination of them with the music makes for an enjoyable listen.

Wonderful Girls lets the boys come together without the girls. As seen from the all boys mini album, they can definitely deliver some blow-out songs. Wonderful Girls is actually another great song from them and has kind of a funky dance vibe that AAA just seems to be so comfortable singing along to. All the vocals are enjoyable and everyone holds their own nicely.

出逢いのチカラ III is one of the album’s few ballads. Now it’s always nice to have some balance for an album and for some that means ballads as well as upbeat numbers (not always though as Namie has proved by having select ballads while still having incredible balance). But this is just not the one to stand out. It’s extremely long, clocking in at over six minutes and it’s just a little too cheesy and generic to really achieve the state of being memorable.

a piece of my word is sung by the two girls of the group. Opening the song is a very sweet and relaxing instrumental that has a natural feeling to it, which makes it memorable. Then it’s the first verse and the vocals are so pretty, really communicating emotions. Even though the chorus is a little generic, the girls’ vocals come together very nicely. The one problem with the song is that it does seem to drag on, clocking at over five minutes. It would have been nicer if it was shortened but it’s still a nice song.

ZERØ was released alongside MUSIC!!! as its darker twin. Rock sounds drive this danceable instrumental and they make a dangerously addictive combination. The whole dark atmosphere is perfectly supported by the powerful vocals that the members deliver, communicating desperation and the need to escape. It’s a strong idea to have the verses be more mellow with the power really exploding on the chorus since each section becomes distinct. This is one of the album gems for letting the group try something new.

HORIZON is also home to a certain funkiness that some of the other tracks have. Unfortunately, it’s not as catchy as the other ones. There’s just something magical missing from the instrumentation to really push it over the edge. Vocals are nice but nothing to really seperate them from any of the other songs. It’s an okay song but just not one that is amazing or anything.

I’ve never been a fan of BEYOND ~カラダノカナタ and my disinterest in the song hasn’t changed since its single release. The song is a pop number with light rock influences. On the first verse, the vocals are somewhat shaky and although there is some energy behind the music, the vocals don’t follow that lead. Much like the verses, the chorus isn’t interesting and the holding of notes gets to be a little annoying. Unfortunately, the vocals just aren’t able to handle that kind of strength on this song. At least the pure instrumental section was a little more fun although still nothing that great. It’s just not a great song and honestly, it’s not really one to look out for.

Up next is the fun and funky song, mosaic. The song starts off with a very funky instrumentation that will have the listener moving and smiling. Then it’s the verse and Nissy gives those great vocals that he can deliver, perfectly supporting the music and atmosphere. Misako also shows us what she can do since her vocals also compliment the music strongly. They dominate the chorus but they do such a good job and their voices come together just perfectly so it’s still enjoyable. Misako’s solo section on the third verse is definitely a standout part of the song and she sounds great when she repeats “missing.” Following is an addictive pure instrumental section that puts a spotlight on the guitar before re-introducing the chorus sung just by Nissy. Overall, mosaic is a very strong AAA song and it deserves a place on the album.

始まりのキセキ is the typical cutesy track that is all smiles. Well it’s actually not as bad as it might initially sound and the sections of pure instrumentation are actually kinda interesting. It’s not really one of the best songs on the album but it’s by no means a bad song.

With the  whole theme of departure comes the finale, 旅ダチノウタ. Beginning the song is a gorgeous instrumental with a naturalness to make it shine. Of course Nissy gets the biggest part in the song but since he has good vocals, it was a good idea to give so much time. He sounds great on the first verse and his vocals really portray genuine emotion and heart. Naoya and Misako sound great on their respective parts as well. One thing that was really not needed was the rap section since it just came off as sounding awkward and un-necessary, the last line in particular. Overall though, it’s a good song and the most appropriate way to finish off the album.

Album Ranking: B –

Well depArture was an all right album. It got a little too samey with a lot of the upbeat numbers having a funky atmosphere. However there were some standout songs like SAVE YOUR SOUL, mosaic and Wonderful Girls. A litle more diversity would have made this album much more enjoyable.

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1 Comment

  1. [Blogs] Rounding Up Some Reviews | International Wota said,

    […] Review] Kisshug – aiko (Ai Pod) AAA – depArture [4th Studio Album] (Amai Wana) Salyu – Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ / HALFWAY (Beyond The Sea) moumoon – love me? (Lost […]

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