Tohoshinki – The Secret Code [4th Japanese Studio Album]

May 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm (Tohoshinki) (, )


Tohoshinki’s 4th Japanese studio album, entitled The Secret Code, was released on 03.25.09. The singles released before the album are as follows: Beautiful you / 千年恋歌, どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう?, 呪文 -Mirotic,- Bolero / Kiss The Baby Sky / 忘れないで and Survivor.

 Secret Game opens up the album on a very strong note. The song begins with a jazzy instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s ear, taking them into the world of the song before the first verse starts. That first little rap section has a certain sexiness to it because the vocals just sound so slick and deep that you can’t not love it. What’s interesting is the combination of the lower vocals of some members and the higher vocals of others because it really provides a song with a range that stands out. Proabably the most addictive part of the song is when they repeat “we get it baby if you wanna trap in the…” just because those vocals sound so great. It’s such a shame this isn’t a full song because it is absolutely fantastic and the boys bring this song to life.

 Moving onto the second track, the boys step up for FORCE. Opening the song is a cool instrumental with sort of a marching beat that is addictive and then the boys move into the first verse. Those first vocals are wonderful and carry a certain dark tone that matches the instrumentation perfectly, particularly the ominous sound in the background, contributing to very intense atmosphere. The hook features a repeating “coming up” and it serves the purpose of building up the listener for the chorus. What makes the chorus stand out is the dark instrumentation and the higher vocals so the contrast just works together so well. Like the previous track, there is a lot of English used and they stand out to the listener like “Do you have faith in yourself?” and “I know you’re a destroyer without a gun.” FORCE keeps the energy of the listener perfectly and commands attention and addiction.

 The boys slow thing down for the painful love ballad, どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう? A very gentle and sweet instrumental begins the song, instantly bringing out the emotions for the listener to hear. Then Jaejong comes in for the chorus and shows his connection with the song as his vocals portray the emotions of the song perfectly. The verses are strong as well as the other boys prove that they can connect with the song and although some parts sound a little too high, the vocals are pretty good. The one point that could have improved the song is the chorus is repeated a few too many times so they could have taken one or two out. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to slow things down and provide some diversity.

 They then pick up the pace again for the next song, Nobody Knows. That first “nobody knows” sounds great and definitely starts things off on the right foot. A little section of pure instrumentation follows and the standout part is the piano descending in tone, leading up to the chorus. There is a jazzy feeling established from the instrumentation and the boys’ vocals sound great in combination with the music. On the verses, it’s interesting to hear the different boys bring their own magic to the song and give the listener reason to just fall deep into the sound of the voices. The pure instrumental section sounds great and puts a spotlight on the hot jazzy instrumentation. Nobody Knows is a fantastic track and definitely one of the best songs on The Secret Code.

 Beautiful You brings the tempo down for a love song. The guitar does a great job of opening up the song and bringing a very natural feel that the boys shine with. Then comes the first verse and the vocals are wonderful, portraying emotions that the listener immediately picks up on. The opening line of the chorus, “you’re such a beautiful woman,” is probably the part of the song that stands out the most and sets up the rest of the section. Beautiful You is a great song, particularly for the emotions that the boys bring to life. It was strong when it was released as a single and it maintains that strength.

 Following is 忘れないで, keeping the low and gentle tempo of the last one. Beginning the song is the piano, starting off the song beautifully and giving the listener such a magical feeling that might bring out some tears. The first verse then comes and the vocals are fantastic, really shining against the gorgeous music. For the chorus, the instrumentation builds up a little so that the magic of the music comes beaming across and the boys give more wonderful vocals. This is one of the album’s best ballads and it keeps the streak of memorable tracks.

 9095 is the next song, changing the atmosphere a little bit to cause the listener to be addicted. The song begins with an absolutely breath-taking instrumental that soon moves into a more clear and even slightly jazzy sound, capturing the listener’s attention. Then the boys’ vocals provide more magic for the listener to pick up on. The third verse is wonderful and stands out perfectly, particularly because of the numbers (9095 and the boys even count to three in French). The chorus might have sounded messy if it was done by somebody else but somehow the boys manage to make it sound smooth and wonderful. It’s one of the best songs on the album and definitely deserves a listen.

 Sexiness oozes on the 呪文 -Mirotic,- a Japanese song adapted from their latest Korean album title track. The song starts off with Jaejong showing off those chops and managing to bring his sexiness for everyone to hear. His vocals are great and are a great way to start things off. The use of English in the song like “red ocean” and “chrome heart” are nice because they pop and shine in the surrounding Japanese lyrics. The chorus is filled with heat for everyone to drown in, particularly when they sing “I’ve got you under my skin.” The rap section is catchy and both boys carry their own perfectly. Following is a fantastic vocalization that will send shivers up the listener’s spine.

 TAXI has an almost depressing feeling behind it so that the listener can really get into the story of the song. The song begins with the piano and the fragility of it combined with the boys vocals is a dangerous combination for the listener since the emotions are quickly awakened. That chorus definitely stands out and makes sure the listener feels the boys as the vocals shine very strongly. The pure instrumental section is gorgeous and really is one of the standout points of the song. TAXI is another great song from the boys and has an emotional context that is extremely memorable.

 Stand Up! follows and the sexiness comes back for the crowd to enjoy. That beginning instrumental just has something very sexual about it and then they say “stand up,” continuing to reflect that strong sexual atmosphere for all to hear. They then move onto the first verse and sound great, really getting into the mood of the song and the listener can’t help but get into it as well. With a more aggressive instrumental, the boys shine on the chorus and the English phrases like “communication” and “vibration” really stand out. Stand Up! is a very enjoyable song and stands out on The Secret Code.

 Get ready to dance on the next track, Survivor. The song starts with some clapping before the song’s true instrumentation comes in and shines. Junsu then starts things off with the first verse and he sounds great, particularly on those notes that he holds on “survivor” and “don’t give up.” Changmin takes a turn and again, the English lines like “let’s try” are the ones that stand out the most. It was a good idea to have Jaejong to sing the chorus because his voice is so distinctive and he shines on the “smile” parts. Survivor is definitely one of the best songs on the album and really deserves a place here.

 Kiss The Baby Sky is just a sweet song that sounded stronger in its single release. It has a certain cuteness to it that seems somewhat out of place with the style that the rest of the album portrays. Nonetheless, it’s kind of a nice change of pace but it doesn’t really fit with the overall atmosphere of The secret Code. One good point about the song is that the opening part does sound very sexy.

 Bolero is a grand magical ballad and definitely one of the more emotional numbers on the album. All the boys sound great and it really draws the listener into the emotions of the song. It’s a very good song and a great part to the album.

 The album’s actual closing number is the secret track, 9096. It’s basically an instrumental track and it’s on the short side but wow. The music is beautiful and it’s one of the best instrumental parts of the whole album. Without a doubt, 9096 stands out and is a great way to finish off the album.

 Album Ranking: A +

 Tohoshinki really brought their A-game with The Secret Code. There are the sexy songs (FORCE, Stand Up! and 呪文 -Mirotic-), the gorgeous ballads (忘れないで, Taxi, Bolero) and the rest of the album is filled with interesting songs that prove irresistible to the listener. The boys show no signs of slowing down and if they can keep this quality music then they will be set.

 Most Memorable 6 Tracks: Secret Game / FORCE / Nobody Knows / 9095 / 呪文 -Mirotic- / Survivor

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