Tohoshinki – TONE

January 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Posted in Tohoshinki | Leave a comment
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The cover of the CD+DVD type B edition

TONE is Tohoshinki’s 5th Japanese studio album and it was released on September 28, 2011. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 307,154 copies. It was preceded by 2 singles: Why? [Keep Your Head Down] and Superstar. This is also the group’s first Japanese album as a duo with just Yunho and Changmin.

♦ ♦ ♦

I always knew about Tohoshinki but never really paid attention to them. However, this was the album that made me a fan.

That being said, I never liked this group back when there when there was 5 of them. I honestly wasn’t. You could even say that I was a ~hater~ because I thought they ruined Koda Kumi’s LAST ANGEL back in the day (read the review LMAO). I also listened to BEST SELECTION 2010 to try them out and I only liked 2 or so songs. So why are things different now? I’m more open minded of course! ;DD It was probably curiosity more than anything but I do know that I really like Yunho and Changmin as a duo. Now onto the review!

The album begins with Introduction ~magenta~, a gorgeous opening ballad that is structured like a lullaby. It’s only a minute and a half long and it doesn’t really set the mood for what’s to come but it’s pretty so whatever. The lyrics are more fitting though.

B.U.T (BE-AU-TY) is my workout jam! I love the beats at the beginning and alongside the fast-paced singing by Yunho and Changmin. This an upbeat dance track and it’s chock-full of energy. Hell, I even like “dung dung dung” part in the chorus. XD This song served as one of the album’s promotional tracks.

The next track also has a slick dance vibe but with more electro-pop and house influences. I Think U Know is pretty catchy thanks to its chorus that is sung by Yunho (I think??). The instrumental sequences were actually my favorite part though since the synth and heavy beats come together.

Duet seems to be a fan favorite and I can see why. Yunho and Changmin certainly have the upbeat songs on point but what about when they try something a little slower? Thankfully, this song is very nice. It has a mellow R&B sound even though there’s a little too much going on during the chorus. I think I prefer the winter version.

I thought Thank you my girl was an interesting track. It samples a popular piece of classical music (I don’t know the name of it but I have certainly heard it before) and incorporates it into the synth-laden arrangement. You hear it in full effect during the chorus when Yunho and Changmin start singing alongside it and their voices bounce back and forth.

Out of all the new tracks, Telephone was the least memorable for me. The music has a calm acoustic sound and virtually stays pretty chill throughout the entire song. It’s not bad or anything but requires multiple listens to finally grab you.

Now that Telephone is out of the way, it’s time to bring in Back to Tomorrow. This was definitely a standout track and I like to think of it as a super dramatic version of Duet. The arrangement is a suspenseful mix of strings and piano and I really liked the buildup that leads into a strong chorus.

Here it is, my favorite track on the album! Why? [Keep Your Head Down] is the Japanese version of Wae (Keep Your Head Down), the duo’s comeback song in Korea, and it is so awesome. I mean, I can’t believe I missed out on this. The song is just relentless and full of intensity thanks to a constant beat and energetic vocals (especially near the end).

The next track is also a Japanese remake of a song off their latest Korean album and was originally the B-side on the Why? [Keep Your Head Down] single. MAXIMUM is extremely upbeat with an emphasis on faster paced vocals. I’m glad it’s on the album.

Unfortunately, I consider the next two tracks to be the album’s low point. The Superstar single makes its appearance starting with the B-side I Don’t Know. Besides the beat it’s nothing special but at least it’s not as bad as the upcoming A-side.

I mean seriously, how did Superstar get released as a single? LOL It’s arguably the worst song on the album. The autotune, the line about shouting like an eagle (or is it eel girl?), and bunch of other silly things make this song a dud.

It’s over, bbz! Now we can enjoy the rest of the album in peace because the next couple of tracks are good. The main gripe I’ve seen about Shiawaseiro no Hana was its length (it’s almost 7 minutes long) but I actually think it’s a really well-done ballad. The elegant arrangment has enough going on to keep you listening and the vocals are spot-on.

The tracklisting now branches off into different directions depending on the edition. The red CD+DVD type A edition ends with Easy Mind, a cheery and positive song. The whistling portions still kind of annoy me but the catchy chorus makes up for it.

The blue CD+DVD type B edition ends with Weep and I preferred this song over Easy Mind. Contrary to the title, this is not a sad song but actually quite the opposite. Once again, the chorus stands out and it’s pretty infectious. There’s also a nice adlibbing section near the end.

On the yellow CD only edition, Easy Mind and Weep are both included PLUS one more song! It’s a new version of the group’s 2nd Japanese single Somebody To Love. I vaguely remember this track when I listened to BEST SELECTION 2010 but I honestly can’t do a comparison with this new version that features only Yunho and Changmin. It definitely sounds a little outdated compared to the rest of the album but I thought it was still nice.

So there you have it. I have become a Tohoshinki fan…I’m still not sure how it happened but I totally love these two now. Tohoshinki as a 5 member group did nothing for me so I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this album. It’s very solid and shows what Yunho and Changmin are capable as a duo. TONE brings it all to the table in my opinion. Most of the upbeat songs are incredible, the mid-tempo tracks and ballads are nicely done, plus they can even pull off a pleasant pop song or two as heard in those final tracks. On the downside, I Don’t Know and Superstar are pretty bad and Telephone is just there. lol I also think Yunho and Changmin just need to perfect their craft as a duo because TONE is already a good indication of their talent. They did say that they wanted more male fans, too. ;D

Pros: An addicting album. I’ve been jamming to it for the past couple of weeks. I know I’m super late! XD
Cons: Those flop tracks that I already pointed out and I can already hear the old school fans telling me that “I’ve missed out”.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting (CD only edition)

1. Introduction ~magenta~
2. B.U.T (BE-AU-TY)
3. I Think U Know
4. Duet
5. Thank you my girl
6. Telephone
7. Back to Tomorrow
8. Why? [Keep Your Head Down]
9. MAXIMUM
10. I Don’t Know
11. Superstar
12. Shiawaseiro no Hana (シアワセ色の花)
13. Easy Mind
14. Weep
15. Somebody To Love -2011 Version-

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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