④ Akogare My STAR is °C-ute’s 4th album and it was released on January 28, 2009. It reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and has sold 13,724 copies.
1. ★Akogare My STAR★
2. One’s LIFE / Umeda Erika, Okai Chisato, Hagiwara Mai♠♠
3. Yes! all my family / Suzuki Airi
4. Namida no Iro♠♠♠
5. Aishiteru Aishiteru / Nakajima Saki, Arihara Kanna♠
6. Seishun Song / Yajima Maimi
7. Big dreams
9. Yakusoku wa Toku ni Shinai wa
10. FOREVER LOVE♠♠♠♠♠
11. Edo no Temari Uta II♠♠♠♠
If there’s something Tsunku has gotten good at doing recently, it’s making awesome opening/main album songs. ★Akogare My STAR★ was the perfect way to open up the album. It has a really great, repetitive hook, a really upbeat rhythm and a high-octane chorus. Line distribution is nice and even, and the girls sound great. If Tsunku wanted to start the album with a bang, he certainly did it with this song.
I can understand if you get turned off by One’s LIFE droopy and horrendous intro but don’t let that drive you away from this great track. It’s sung by Hagiwara Mai with rapping by Okai Chisato and Umeda Erika. Yes, having Mai sing and Chisato+Erika might seem weird(one would expect Chisato to sing) but they manage to pull this track off really well. I actually enjoyed the verses more than the chorus ’cause of the nice piano in the background and the H!P style rapping. Definitely impressed me.
Suzuki Airi did a nice job with the next track. Yes! all my family is her solo song(awkwardly placed after the prior track) and just overflows of typical H!P pop. There’s some electric guitar here and there, along with some Tsunku vocals, the which don’t add much to the song. Overall, even though Airi vocals were listenable, the song itself isn’t that impressive.
The first single of the era is also the first to appear on the album. Namida no Iro still maintains it’s magic with it’s Spanish guitar sound and amazing chorus. So far, I’m not enjoying the way Tsunku is organizing the tracks on this album. It’s all too disjointed.
Arihara Kanna and Nakajima Saki team up for Aishiteru Aishiteru. In a way, it reminds me of One’s LIFE because of the general feel you get from the song but this one is actually slower while concentrating on delivering an impressive chorus. You shouldn’t get your hopes too high for the vocals on this song but their good enough to not make me dislike the song. I actually really enjoy this song and not just because Kanna is in it.
Seishun Song is once again another solo, this time by leader Yajima Maimi. Compared to Airi’s solo, it’s a lot more rock sounding, making good use of percussion and electric guitar. Maimi’s vocals are better than Airi’s were although she doesn’t break any borders. This song has a really catchy, chanting type hook that along with the overall pumping sound of the song makes for an enjoyable listen.
With Big dreams we’re finally back with the girls singing as a group. Even though the vocals are extremely solid in the song, I just can’t help but feel that this song is nothing more than filler material. The instrumental is really uninspired(they could have gone with the rockier FOREVER LOVE sound on songs, for example) and just bores me.
SHINES is a step in the right direction however. It’s filled with awesome, gritty synth and a stronger beat. The intro is pretty great too, ignoring the crowd cheering which unfortunately reminds me of some kind of soccer game. The verses are smooth but the bridge just feels like it’s part of some other song. The chorus however is a real treat, although I would have like for the girls to have sung in solo parts in it instead of as a group.
Ending off the new material on the album is the ballad Yakusoku wa Toku ni Shinai wa. Ignoring the once again placement problems, I could have really done without this song on the album. It’s composed of piano and strings and even though the girls manage to give off their best vocal performance out of all the new songs, the song just bores me. It doesn’t have, for example, a memorable piano composition or an interestingly sad mood. It’s just slow, droopy, boring and uninspired.
No matter how out-of-place FOREVER LOVE is, it saved the album after that last track. The song has grown on me A LOT since it was released as a single, securing it’s place as my favorite song on the album with its high energy, rockin’ chorus and that hardcore °C-ute sound, the one I hope Tsunku would continue to produce with them.
Finishing off the album is the single Edo no Temari Uta II. If I could have chosen any song to end the album with, it would be this one. Even though I’m a believer in having a ballad end the album, there’s no way I was going to like Yakusoku wa Toku ni Shinai wa finishing off the album.
°C-ute’s 4th album in the music industry was both a hit and a miss for me. There’s absolutely no complain on the singles for the era, they were varied and well composed but it’s the album tracks that ruined my impression on the album. Both solo songs didn’t impress me in any way(Airi’s actually annoying me to some extent) but the album songs on the first half of the album definitely outshine those on the later half(the which was only saved by the final two tracks). I really think Tsunku should find a genre to stick with for the girls. I’d love if they continued with the aggressive/rock sound heard in 2/3 singles, although Edo no Temari Uta II wasn’t bad at all. Overall, only half of the album was any good.