March 20, 2012

Review: Yellow Fried Chickenz - "I" ("One")

Gackt's seven-man boygroup Yellow Fried Chickenz has released their first full album, the 11-song compilation "I" ("One"), and after their latest single flop "Mata, koko de aimasho" my expectations weren't that high to begin with.

But it's not completely awful. In fact, some titles like the opener "Circle" or "Mousou Girl" are quite what you would expect from an album like this: straight-forward, sweeping party rock that is instrumentally flawless. Gackt's potential for catchy melodies is noticeable here as it is on his solo records, and the first YFC single "The End Of The Day" is a prime example for that.

Since at least half of the target audience is female, though, we also get some boring ballads near the end, which are not the strength of those guys in combination. Even worse: the blatant use of auto-tune, which, as an artist like Gackt, is quite an insult to fans who want to hear their favorite singer, not some weird digital version of him. This is taken way too far on the closing ballad "Not Alone", which is an unlistenable snoozefest full of digital crap over an astonishingly underwhelming instrumental.

The worst decision, though, was probably the inclusion of Gackt's former solo track "Mind Forest" in the middle of the album. For once, it's the worse YFC version (naturally) with its clumsy English vocals, but it also humbles every other song on the disc with its way superior songwriting. Especially downers like the overdone and weird "Saishuu tsuukoku Countdown" or "Renai Driver", which is as monotonous as it is stuffed with every possible crap.

Given the title of the album, Gackt will probably continue to underwhelm fans with his YFC project, but in the end, those who need to have this album will probably be happy with it. The few moments of goodness (like my favorite, the rousing "Last Kiss") are not enough to make me happy, though, so I keep looking forward to Gackt's next solo surprise.

Yellow Fried Chickenz – "Last Kiss" (Live)

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