Tommy February6 - Tommy Airline
Despite the handicap of the 80s being over, Tommy February6 (Tomoko of the pop rock band The Brilliant Green) struggles on, making new 80s music on her sophomore solo album is "Tommy Airline", whatever that means. All I know is that this album is nothing new for Tommy - if you heard her somewhat bizarre blend of 80s pop on her first solo album, "Tommy Airline" is nothing startlingly new. It's certainly not a bad album, and Tommy herself seems to be doing well enough in Japan, but it's not really anything earth shattering. However, if you're looking for fashionable, catchy bubblegum pop, this CD might be right up your alley.
01. Attention Please
The CD starts off with an intro track, "Attention Please" where Tommy comes over the PA system to announce the boarding procedure for Tommy Airlines (in the background is what sounds like her first album). Nothing of note here, except Tommy's adorable accented English.
02. Je t'aime, Je t'aime
Track two starts off with some pumping bass, but comes down to earth pretty quickly. This song will immediately clue you into the character of the whole album; it's 80s synth pop from here on out. If that type of music drives you batty, you'd better just throw the album out now. "Je t'aime, Je t'aime" is catchy enough on its own. Indeed, it was released as a single.
03. Sepia Memory
"Sepia Memory" sounds like it should be from an 80s anime, as does much of the album. It seems reminiscent of something from the 80s action genre (Project A-ko, perhaps?). There's some interesting vocal work on the chorus for this one, which definitely adds to the audio pleasure. Doesn't seem like a single to me, as it's a little downbeat (as downbeat as synth pop can get) compared to the other singles from this album.
04. Futari no Shishaidou
"Seaside For Two" definitely reminds me of the seaside. The main draw on this song is Tommy's clear voice and the synth horns which make the chorus. The rest of the song has the almost laughable (but cute) synth vocals that seem straight out of old MIDI based DOS PC games.
05. Candy Eyes Doll
Another one that sounds like 80s anime (or a current Gameboy Advance game), "Candy Eyes Doll" is probably one of the least interesting tracks on the CD. It's not overtly bad, but the whole album is catchy, almost throwaway, bubblegum pop, and this track simply isn't as catchy as the other tracks on the CD.
06. Choose Me or Die
Probably the most interestingly named track on the CD, "Choose Me or Die" is similar to the other tracks on the CD in that the most interesting part of the song is the chorus - the song rest on the pure simplicity of a syth beat and Tommy's vocals. Cute and horrifying, the song has my favorite English lyrics on a J-Pop CD so far: "If you don't say you love me, I'll kill you / Tell me you want to choose me or die!" There seem to be hints of Tommy, leader singer of The Brilliant Green on this track.
07. Dancin' Baby
Out of the tracks on this CD, this one seems the most like a club song (played on 80s Night) because of the heavy bass. There is some good bass on this title, and this song probably has the most English of any track on this CD.
08. Sweet Dream
Tommy carries the dance club theme further; I swear she's lifting some vocal synthesizer from someone on that "Totally Dance!" CD they advertise on tv. This is my least favorite track on the CD.
09. The Rose Fragrance
"The Rose Fragrance" sounds exactly like a number of American 80s hits, whose names I can't put my finger on. I'd turn on MTV to find out, but I don't think they show music anymore. After the less interesting "Dancin' Baby" and "Sweet Dreams" (which put me to sleep, sweet dreams indeed!), "The Rose Fragrance" is a much faster, more upbeat, and much more interesting song. Parts of it seem that they should be music on a Saturday morning cartoon.
10. Magic In Your Eyes
"Magic In Your Eyes" was the most recent single from this CD before its release; currently it's serving as the theme music for a Japanese dorama remake of Bewitched. It's not terrible (though I'm sure the major draw is the instantly recognizable chorus), but I think the previous track, "The Rose Fragrance" was much better.
11. I Still Love You Boy
If I were a director in the 80s, making a teen movie, I would place this song at that very moment where the heroine realizes whatever momentous life decision that she's supposed to make. This song is definitely 80s faux powerful, and is as interesting as "Sweet Dreams"; which is to say that I prefer more upbeat, energetic music.
12. Love is Forever
Still slow, but more interesting than "I Still Love You Boy", the final track on Tommy Airline is definitely the most similar to Tommy's first album. Despite some missteps on the album, it feels like a great way to close out the album.
The 80s are cool again, I won't deny it that. But Tommy Airline isn't a collection of 80s style synth pop that you could play at a party - it's more like a retrospective of the 80s as a whole, and I, for one, don't have the patience for that. It's fun to emulate 80s style and fashion, but it's another thing to live out the whole decade again. Tommy Airline isn't a bad album, and I enjoyed a lot of the tracks individually -and I love Tommy like no one's business- but listening to this whole album at once is not something that I'm man enough to do again.