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Day 43: Yasuha Kominami – “Do Do Airaku” (2014)
Genre: Rock / Pop
Tracklist: 3355411 / ボーダーライン / 終わりなき炎症 / キャットダイバー / 水子ペテン師 / 美少女戦士カメレオン
Yasuha Kominami is one of those artists that hipsters put hope into. She is a skilled musician performing an alternative Poprock style with enough appeal to cross over into the mainstream. That’s beautiful, it really is. I think the best thing about Pop music is that it enables you to cross a variety of genres and influences and package them for the public. But lately, I’ve seen some disappointment regarding her work – and specifically this EP.
The EP opens on the oddly titled 3355411, a very upbeat, energetic track. I quite enjoy Yasuha’s soft but raspy vocals, giving texture to the rather usual guitar backdrop. It’s a catchy song, made for repeat listenings. Rather generic in its “girl with a guitar” style, but well-composed and interesting enough to not get bland.
ボーダーライン lacks some of the quality of the prior track, resulting in a song with less personality, a less detailed production and a vocal performance that seems to emulate the common Japanese “high-pitched and cute” ideal rather than trying to express anything. It’s a decent pop song, but nothing to write home about.
A foray into soft rock and a tiny bit of punk, 終わりなき炎症 features an expressive melody and arrangement, however, I can’t help but feel I have heard this song many, many times before. It lacks any unique, defining factor. Content at delivering something rather unnecessary.
A minimalistic, playful piano track at heart, キャットダイバー is a welcome break from the adult contemporary sound that dominates most of the EP. キャットダイバー focuses on Yasuha’s delivery, which by itself is enough to express quite some emotion, though at times a bit piercing. It’s a cute little song.
At only two minutes, I wish 水子ペテン師 was significantly longer. It’s a rougher song, feels more personal, less polished for pop audiences. Essentially just Yasuha playing a repetitive guitar pattern and singing over it, it simply works and serves to show that there’s plenty of potential left in this girl, potential not really explored on this EP.
I always enjoy it when albums end on a high note rather than a downer. 美少女戦士カメレオン employs the former strategy, creating a catchy, guitar-and-vocals only Pop track that doesn’t need anything else. Yasuha feels genuine, she sounds like she’s feeling the song – and that makes it a beautiful experience.
When Yasuha’s personality, her playful attitude to guitar music and pop melodies, her rough, expressive vocals, come through, she shines bright. However, Do Do Airaku features mainly overproduced poprock tracks, feeling far too safe. Yasuha is good at making such pop tracks, but in the end the result is competent and little more. Competent generic songs lacking personality are still generic songs lacking personality. 3355411 (for it’s ridiculously catchy melody and gorgeous production) and 美少女戦士カメレオン (because it lets her do what she does best) are memorable high points – the rest is rather forgettable.