Hiroshi Kamiya misses all opportunities to impress with the forgettable “Kamisama Connection“.
Title: 神様コネクション Label: Kiramune Release date: 11/10/2017 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
1. 神様コネクション 2. 大吉中吉小吉 3. 当たり前なんかない
Track by track analysis:
Kamisama Connection puts Kamiya in the middle of a groovy pop-rock instrumental, slightly different from the sound he’s been experimenting with. The instrumental is rather simple: acoustic guitars, snary drums, the noticeable bassline and minimal synths. The instrumental alone was rather uneventful, nothing much happens to it during those 4 long minutes, for a pop-rock song we were expecting at least a guitar solo on the bridge but what we got was a pale try for a solo (yes, rock songs don’t always need solos but if this is an already uneventful song they could have put in a good enough solo to change things up). The vocal performance is not even close being good. Kamiya struggles to hit high notes and sounds more like he’s screaming those rather than singing them. If only he had sang in a different way this song could have been good, but the way he tackles the chorus makes us want to skip this song. 2/5
Country rock comes to light with this song, or so we thought. Ever heard of country disco? You know, the music genre? I don’t know about you but never in my 12 year career as reviewer have I heard of such a mix or music genre. If there’s something I know is that country rock doesn’t blend well with music genres outside of the rock genre. There are some exceptions but as mentioned, those are rare. For this track, country rock mixes with disco and pop and what we get is an odd sounding, slightly danceable country disco mix that is far from being entertaining. The highlights in the instrumental are, undoubtly, the funky bassline and the wah wah guitar riffs. Other than that this instrumental is a complete mess. For one moment let’s forget about the verses, the god awful pre-chorus, intro, outros or bridges. The chorus alone was pretty good sounding, if that idea (the whole “Kamiya goes disco” concept) had been fully explored, then we might have had a really fun song to listen. Sadly, that isn’t the case. This song falls in the same pit as the title track. 2/5
当たり前なんかない is the kind of bright song that doesn’t go overboard with its brightness but also doesn’t bother with showing anything new, it’s just comfortable and laidback. The song consists basically in acoustic guitars, brass, strings, simple bassy drums and minimal synths. This is the kind of instrumental we’d say it’s perfect to listen to during a drive. Although this song is not close to being one of one of his best, it certain that it is the best song on this release. Kamiya also sings slightly better in comparsion with the appalling performances in the previous songs. An upgrade but still a sub-par song. 3.5/5
“Kamisama Connection” failed to be on the same level as most of Kamiya‘s previous releases. It’s like a step back in his solo career, almost to his debut days. Something was clearly wrong with his vocals. They sounded strained at times, off key at others, and in result, the vocal performances ranged between bad and mediocre. This single is filled with disappointing pop-rock tunes that failed to deliver anything meaningful to the listener. We get that Kamiya isn’t the best of singers in the music business but he surely has released some good tunes in the past, some of them extremelly well performed, which gave us hope that all other following releases would rise in quality. Then comes the sloppy and messy “Kamisama Connection” to throw away almost all work Kamiya has put in over almost 10 years.
Out of all the songs part of this release I need to make some considerations about 大吉中吉小吉.
I get the feeling that there were too many ideas on the table when they were composing this song. They wanted something playful, that is a given. They needed something contrasting with the title track, as it is common with Kiramune‘s releases. Dance music sounds too repetitive at times and, by the looks of it, Kamiya is not that fond of the genre because once he worked with it during “START AGAIN” he never once touched upon it again, so that wasn’t an option for them. Disco sure sounded appealing to them (as we can tell by the fact that this song is, basically, a disco song) and knowing that Kiramune is lately handing songs like these to almost every artist of theirs was a given that Kamiya would get stuck with this genre. But it was not enough. They needed something edgy or unique to spark an interest in the listener. Traditional japanese instrumentalization is usually the go-to element to impress but nowadays is over used. So they picked country rock elements. Those are not common, we could even say those are rarely used in the music business in Japan. If that wasn’t enough, here’s some sprinkles of pop to finish it. So we have country, disco and pop in the mix. A recipe for disaster. While pop and disco work incredibly well together, country doesn’t – easily noticeable with only one listen to the song. The lyrics are nothing out of the ordinary and the fact that the pre-chorus is annoyingly repetitive doesn’t help this song get any better. There was, deep down, a good idea for this song but what we got was a mess from start to finish.
On our end we can only say that “Kamisama Connection” is, at best, a release to forget. This never happened and let’s hope the next release can, somehow erase this stain of a release.
“Kamisama Connection” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.