Buono!’s 2nd studio album, entitled Buono! 2, was released on 02.11.09. This album comes after the singles Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!, ガチンコでいこう!, ロッタラ ロッタラ and co・no・mi・chi.
The album begins with the happy and cute song, Early Bird. Opening the song is a very pretty and sparkly instrumental that seems very representative of the girls’ overall style. Then they sing the first verse and their vocals come together perfectly, staying cute without going over the edge. Throughout, the instrumentation actually is pretty addictive and has a way of getting into the listener’s mind. Much like the verses, the chorus stands out particularly because of the vocals. All three girls sound great together. The only thing that does get annoying is the little shouting in the background. The pure instrumental section is pretty cool as the guitar is spotlighted and brings out the slight rock tints in the song. Early Bird is cute and catchy, perfect for opening the album and keeping the listener’s attention.
Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! is the first single to hit the album. Generally, it sounds like all of the other singles but the chorus features the girls singing in a higher range than usual and it’s nice to hear them switch up it up, if just in that one aspect. It does kind of drag on because there is no particular standout moment but it works well enough.
The next new song is キラキラ. The opening instrumentation focuses on a heavier rock influence, which is definitely ear-catching and has a sort of aggressiveness to it. When the girls come in to sing, it’s slightly cuter but it still maintains that cool edge that makes the song so good. Admittedly, the chorus is a little disappointing. If the girls would have reached a little higher, it actually would have served as a positive contrast to the cool rock sound of the music. They actually do reach high once but they should have done it more often. This is a great song and one of the album’s strongest tracks.
The girls slow it down for the next song, 消失点 -Vanishing Point.- The opening instrumental has a very pretty charm to it but that charm comes even more strongly on the following chorus. They sing wonderfully and manage to bring out the emotions very strongly. The image of the moon is evoked through the music and it’s always nice to have a visual to be associated with the music. On the verses, the music stays interesting and becomes more mellow. The girls adapt to this change and the vocals are a little deeper, still staying with the atmosphere of the music. There is a little section of pure instrumentation following the second chorus and the guitar really takes the music to the next level. Once again, the girls bring the great quality and really show what they can do.
ロッタラ ロッタラ is the first in a line of three singles songs. Again, it bears a similarity to the rest of the single songs but there is a certain calming effect in this one that makes it slightly different from the others. It’s certainly one of the weaker songs on the album but it’s worth the listen if you’re a fan of the upbeat pop-rock sound that the girls tend to bring.
Next is co・no・mi・chi. Out of all the singles, this one is without a doubt the most memorable. The relaxing atmosphere of the song as well as the girls’ strong vocals combine to make it one heck of a performance. It also is nice because it shows a different side of the girls’ music from the usual pop-rock upbeat stuff.
The c/w track of the Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! single, みんなだいすき appears next. This is probably the cutest song on the album and unfortunately it does have a sort of generic H!P sound to it that really doesn’t catch the listener’s attention.
The eighth song on the album is I Need You. The song starts off on a very relaxing note before moving into the first verse. Their vocals are enjoyable and have that naturalness to them that suits the music perfectly. It’s actually these slight different moments in the instrumentation that make the verses so enjoyable. What’s really strange is that suddenly, the music becomes quickly-paced and high-energy on the chorus. There is absolutely no transition between the two so it definitely comes as a surprise to the listener. The pure instrumental section is definitely one of the standout moments of the song as the guitar keeps the cool feel while maintaining the energy. I Need You isn’t a bad song but it feels a little messy because of the lack of transition between the verses and chorus.
ガチンコでいこう! is an upbeat and exciting poppish number that has that usual Buono! sound. It’s nothing stellar, vocally or instrumentally, but it’s somewhat enjoyable. One thing that can be said about the song is that it does sound better in the context of the album than during its release as a single.
Up next is You’re My Friend. The song opens up with a very Buono!-like instrumentation, featuring some rock tints to spice up the pop sound. They sound great on the first verse and they really shine when they sing “you’re my friend.” There is something very personable and likeable about that one phrase that catches the listener’s ear. Even though there isn’t much of a vocal or instrumental change on the chorus, it still sounds good and manages to keep the listener’s interest. The pure instrumental section is a little boring but overall, it’s nice. It may not be the greatest song on the album but it’s definitely worth the listen.
The album’s semifinale is Over The Rainbow. Opening the song is a pretty and almost magical instrumental, which suits the title of the song perfectly. Then comes the first verse and the vocals are great as the girls are able to reach the higher notes with smooth ease. Thus the atmosphere of the song comes through strongly. The chorus takes a slightly different turn as there is more of a cute feeling to it, which is a little disappointing since there is a certain emotional aspect to the verses that would have pushed for a great chorus. As usual, the pure instrumental section features the guitar coming in to spice up the music. Even though the chorus could have been better, Over The Rainbow is still a great song that finds its place on Buono! 2.
ゴール is the final song on the album. The song begins with a rock filled instrumental and the vocals seem a little out of place with such an aggressive quality to the music. Luckily, the music lets up a little bit and becomes lighter, better supporting the girls’ vocals. The chorus picks up the energy and happiness that would be appropriate for an H!P closing album song. Following is a little pure instrumental section and it sounds like the music is breaking almost and despite being a little weird, it’s absolutely addictive and probably the best part of the entire song. This song is a pretty good closing number. It wasn’t the most interesting song on the album but certain moments of instrumentation really made the song shine.
Album Ranking: A –
Buono! really surprised me with this album and you should all give them the chance to do it to you too. Don’t be fooled by the similar sounding instrumentals of the single tracks, the album offers quite a selection of interesting sounds. 消失点 -Vanishing Point- is one of the album highlights since it proves that the girls can hadnle slow numbers and communicate emotion well. Early Bird and キラキラ are also memorable numbers and keep the girls niche. It’s definitely a solid album and might come as a surprise to others.