Released: July 5, 2017 (Rhythm Zone)
Now here’s a tongue twister. The much-younger prospects for the LDH brand, GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE have released their rather glorious titled-fourth studio album, Namida wo Nagasenai Pierrot wa Taiyou mo Tsuki mo nai Sora wo Miageta (which is loosely translated to: ‘A Clown that Can’t Shed Tears Looked up at a Sky Without a Sun and Moon’). Yes, a very intriguing title indeed. But with a newly-released record, the boys have changed up their eclectic twists and turns for something more mature and well-pieced together.
Unlike their previous release Speedster, this record features only two singles and two B-side numbers, which gives enough room for the group to expand with surprises rather than predictability—which, to my memory, is a lil’ bit of a formula with those LDH acts. Opening the album is the heavy rock tune “Taiyou mo Tsuki mo”, which is a pretty catchy track if I have to be honest! It’s a little more well-rounded than their previous rock anthems (apart from “Hard Rock Days” of course), so it’s nice to see an improvement within that music genre. But apart from that, nearly half the record is riddle with dance tracks; we get the glittery disco-pop jams “Make You Mine” and “Togetherness”, a Japanese twist to the generic tropical house phenomenon on “Sound of Love”, and the quintessential EDM BANGERS “Run This Town” and “Pierrot”. In my opinion, the album’s biggest highlight “Pierrot” is… lord, a banger. A banger that spits F.I.R.E. as well beats, mixed in with a sophisticated house undertone and dubstep break. Yes y’all, the J-dudes snatched my edges with this one!
Then we heard onto the ballads. For a group within the Exile brand, it’s the ballads that can be a tricky result to conquer, considering every bloody sub-group from the EXILE TRIBE smash at least half their studio record’s as damn ballads (sigh). My god, I wouldn’t be surprised if every ballad from now on sounds the same (gaaaasssppp). Luckily, GENERATIONS do a fairly good job, especially in the romantic love number “Sora” or the feel-good jam “Next”, and even the EDM wave rides within the beat of “Stupid”, which can either be a mixed bag or a pretty decent track. Only the melodramatic “Namida” sounds like some off-cut from a late-2000s Exile album, and does really nothing for the group.
Then… the duds. The bad ones. The mehhhs. To start off, the biggest “what-the-hell-was-y’all-thinking” moment was the album closer, an extremely cheesy cover of the Village People’s track “Y.M.C.A.”. Like dudes, what the hell is that? To close a pretty great album with something messy as this? Bro, bye… no, no, no. But the tackiness only spreads to songs including “Be the One”—which sounds like some B-side that was already recorded by Exile like… DECADES AGO (no tea no shade…), and features the cheesy “Change the world” theme. But that’s the issue that a lot of the LDH acts face these days; a monochromatic formula which clearly takes notes from the classic Exile days without anything innovative. It’s nothing particularly new or fresh-out-of-the-oven, which is a shame because a band like GENERATIONS have so much potential to incorporate a lot more. And the result of those tracks keeps the album from being consistent, which is, yet again, another flaw from the LDH brand.
Nevertheless, Namida wo Nagasenai Pierrot wa Taiyou mo Tsuki mo nai Sora wo Miageta (oh my god, that took a while to say properly…) is actually a pretty good album, and definitely shows better moments than anything else. The singing of each member—Exile’s Ryuto and Ryota—manage to float nicely without any type of strains or issues, and the performing members, of course, know how to perform the HELL out of these tracks. The sound, as mentioned before, isn’t particularly new, but are still presented as solid, hard-pumping numbers that you could literally dance your damn ass off to! Another good one in the bag boys!
Track list (Bold means best tracks):
- Taiyou mo Tsuki mo
- Sound of Love
- Make You Mine
- Stupid ~Makkana Bracelet~
- Pierrot *Liam’s Favourite*
- Run This Town
- be the ONE