Yuki Ono “Party Man 2” (Review)

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Yuki Ono gets ready for this summer as well as for his birthday with his comeback release “Party Man 2 ~Shiosai no Uta~“. Entertaining and addictive, the second instalment of the “Party Man” concept is a sure upgrade in fun and diversity.

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Mini-album: Party Man 2 ~Shiosai no Uta~
Label: Lantis
Release date: 22/06/2016 
Genre: J-Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

1
 Overcharge ~Overture~
2
 ソーラン Night
3
 限界BOY
4
D.K.Y
5
 Oh! My Mermaid
6
 フラれ男にあすは来る
7
 Mr. Thank You

Track by track analysis (instrumental tracks aren’t rated):

1 – Overcharge ~Overture~

In a completely traditional fashion, taiko drums open this track while the frenetic shamisen makes its way in with the shakuhachi. Soon electric guitars join in and the whole track simply shines. Awesome intro track.

2 – ソーラン Night

Keeping up with the same instrumental from the intro, ソーラン Night is a fun track with a lot of enka influences to it. Think of this track as a modern day rock and enka fusion track. Replacing the taiko drums from the previous track for splashy drums and also putting the shamisen and shakuhachi aside, it’s the guitar’s job to deliver the same melody but dressed in a rock fashion. Vocally this track exceeded our expectations. Yuki Ono singing rock while molding his singing to that of enka? This is the most unexpected thing coming from one of the most unexpected seiyuu in the music business. ソーラン Night managed to grab our attention and despite its goofiness, we were drawn to it. 4.5/5

3 – 限界BOY

Lending a bit of the edge that the 80’s pop-rock scene had, Yuki Ono mixes the simple rock elements to minimal synths (that are there more as a cosmetic addition than as the core of the track). Splashy fast paced drums, melodic guitar riffs and a noticeable bass are joined buy the exciting brass elements and it’s almost like we’re reliving the 80’s. With such a fun and fast paced instrumental, Ono juggles keeping the fun going, with delivering an incredibly solid and melodic performance. 4.5/5

4 – D.K.Y

Putting aside all rock elements here’s that we’re surprised with a dance track. Yuki Ono singing a dance pop track is really a first for us (at least solo wise). A massive long intro where dirty synths take the lead – basically sums up this fast paced track. It’s only when we’re one minute into the track that Ono lays the first verses into the track. Still keeping up with his entertaining lyrics, Ono‘s vocal performance has a lot of manipulation on it, at times making it hardly audible. It might be because of the mix or the arrangement, but it’s only on the chorus that he’s completely audible in the middle of all those synths. Although it’s a track that could have easily been a good one, D.K.Y turns into an over repetitive track (yeah, we know that dance/electronica tracks are like this but still… it was hard to listen to). Fun? Certainly. A song to put on repeat? Most definitely not. 3.5/5

5 – Oh! My Mermaid

In an acoustic fashion embracing bossa nova influences in the instrumental, it’s with funky acoustic guitars, bongos, cowbell, cabasa and a whole lot of latin instrumentals that give this danceable, laid back and jazzy instrumental, its identity. The vocal track is a lot more melodic than any of the previous tracks. Sounding on his element, Yuki Ono delivers each of his verses alongside a melodic female voice and the result couldn’t be better. The harmonization between the two tones impressed us, and the fantastic instrumental was even catchier for us. 4.5/5

6 – フラれ男にあすは来る

What initially seemed to be a ballad – judging from the intro – was actually a mid-tempo rock track with some sprikles of ballad on it. This is a song that certainly strays away from ballad territory. A bright piano melody plays in the background, joined by strings, simple drums, relaxed guitar riffs and the bass. With a simple formula together with the sort of hopeful lyrics sang with total control, this track actually is the quietest of this whole release and the most “conventional” – doesn’t seem like it but in fact it is. 4/5

7 – Mr. Thank You

And to complete this release Yuki Ono delivers yet another fun acoustic rock song. Mr. Thank You has a certain country rock edge to it, mainly from its fast paced drum work and piano melodies. Joining in are the tambourine and the minimal bass in what is the simplest track of them all on this release. Thanking everyone, Ono delivers each of his verses with complete control, resorting at times to his vibrato (which we really weren’t expecting since this album is a bit on the goofy side), in the end contributing with a melodic performance. Although a bit different from what we’re used to listen to (from any seiyuu in general), this song actually sounded incredibly solid. 4/5

Final rating:4 stars

This mini-album had so much of unconventional that we don’t even know where to start. Ranging from enka to bossa nova even to electronica and country rock, Yuki Ono seemed to be on a mission to try everything he could on this mini-album.

This is a music release with lot of goofiness to it. Funny lyrics often made us laugh but the instrumentals were really something. A bit of hit or miss in our opinion. While there were times we were extremely impressed by how new or fresh some things sounded, there was always another instrumental piece that lacked any logic sense. He’s been exploring a lot of Brazil’s sounds – first with Party Night last year (had some Samba elements to it) and now with a full out Bossa Nova track in Oh! My Mermaid. Honestly it’s interesting to people risking and trying music genres that aren’t so popular where they live. Bossa Nova done in Yuki Ono‘s fashion is quite entertaining. After all that madness going on in the previous tracks, it was a nice intermission for us.

Going in the same direction as the instrumental opening track Overcharge ~Overture~, ソーラン Night unexpectedly showed us that guitars can also make the instrumentals sound just like those of enka, replacing the shamisen, shakuhachi and taiko drums for a full live rock set of instruments – but the feeling that we were listening to enka was the same – mainly due to Ono‘s unexpected performance.

D.K.Y was a nice attempt to deliver a dance track, the problem is, the arrangement was badly done, at times Ono wasn’t easily audible.

Looking at this release up close was enough for us to understand that Yuki Ono only makes music for fun – the idea is simple behind it: celebrate his birthday in a funny way. That he certainly achieved it. “Party Man 2” is a hands down fun release where anything and everything can happen. Expect the unexpected when you listen to this.

We’re late but “Happy Birthday Yuki Ono”.

Party Man” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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