Teppei Koike – Jack In The Box

August 24, 2009 at 12:20 AM | Posted in Teppei Koike | 3 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Jack In The Box is Teppei Koike’s 2nd album as a solo artist and it was released on July 15, 2009. The album reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,580 copies.

No comment on the cover…but it looks kind of cheap. :x

♦ ♦ ♦

I’m (still) a WaT fan and I’m also still waiting for those two bitches to release a 2nd studio album. In the meantime, I guess I can enjoy Teppei Koike’s solo material. It’s a good thing he’s the better vocalist in WaT because I don’t think I could sit through an entire album of songs by just Eiji Wentz (his voice can be quite grating at times).

Much to my dismay, Koike’s first solo album pieces SUCKED, BLEW CHUNKS, etc. I didn’t like it at all because it was very boring and ~same-ish~. I did review that album on my old blog and gave it a C which would be like 2 stars since I do that rating system now (and that’s pretty bad, bbz). I was like “Oh greeeeat” when I found out he was going to release more solo material but later gave a sigh of relief after listening to Kimi Dake, the single released prior to this album. It was a step in the right direction and a glimmer of hope.

Now that I have listened to Jack In The Box, I can say that it’s a huge improvement over pieces. This album is much better and contains some nice material. The biggest change I heard was in the overall presentation of every track. The arrangements are stronger, more involved, and have variety in them. There’s also better instrumentation as well, especially in Koike’s use of electric guitars and strings. I thought the song AIR STYLE (track 2) was the best example of this. That’s not to say that there was a small case of “sameness syndrome”, which is what most of the album’s second half suffered from. Some tracks stood out more than others and with an album like this, that’s fine with me. I’d rather have album with a couple of noteworthy songs than one filled with music that just makes me want to doze off (that was pieces for you).

So I actually liked this album! It’s not amazing but not bad either. At least I got to hear something good come out from Teppei Koike’s songwriting abilities. He’s getting better in that department since his vocals are pretty much the same. Now I would like a new album from WaT, please. It’s long overdue.

Pros: Pleasant and exuberant pop rock that shows promise for any future solo material.
Cons: It has a little of the same bad residue and aftertaste that his first album left behind.

BASICALLY…try this album out for yourself. I sort of recommend it.

Overall Rating

 3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Aishitemo (アイシテモ)
2. AIR STYLE
3. Namioto (波音)
4. My Way
5. Kimi Dake (キミだけ)
6. Owarattahazu (終わったはず)
7. I’m Here
8. Smile
9. Synchro (シンクロ)
10. Don’t Stop The Music

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Teppei Koike – Kimi Dake

July 20, 2009 at 1:11 PM | Posted in Teppei Koike | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Kimi Dake (キミだけ)
2. Rough Writer (ラフライター)
3. Kimi ni Okuru Uta Acoustic version
    (君に贈る歌)

This is Teppei Koike’s 1st official single as a solo artist and it was released on June 24, 2009. The single reached #4 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 17,029 copies.

Teppei Koike has released solo material in the past, but Kimi Dake is his first single that is not associated with WaT (the musical duo consisting of him and Eiji Wentz). I can say that this song is definitely more interesting than his past solo stuff, particularly most of the songs off his debut solo album pieces. That album just bored me to death. </3
Anyway, the basic formula is here. Upbeat strings and piano are mixed with a bright band arrangement so I thought the music was pretty good. It shows that Koike is improving his songwriting abilities (yes, he writes all of his own songs and has been for a while).

The B-side is a teensy bit more aggressive thanks to the electric guitar. Rough Writer isn’t bad but Teppei’s vocals kind of annoyed me. While he sounded better than usual on the A-side, his voice is pretty rough here (no pun intended). The high note he does during the chorus is really bad and it just doesn’t work for him. Nice try though, Teppei!

A nice bonus on the single is an acoustic version of Kimi ni Okuru Uta, one of Koike’s earlier solo tracks. I really liked the original (I thought it was the best song on his debut album) so the feeling is mutual for this new version. The arrangement is pleasant with just the bare bones acoustics so I have no complaints here.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

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