Here's my review of Buono!'s first mini-album, partenza.
The last time I reviewed an album, it was hilariously horrible. How do I feel about partenza? Read on if you care.
So I was pretty critical of Natsu Dakara not because it's a bad song (there are far, far worse J-pop songs out there), but because my opinion of Buono! is so high and because of the fact that I've heard nothing short of musical genius from them in the past. This album is a new style for Buono!, but it is a prime example of that musical perfection.
The first track on the album is partenza ~let's go!!!~, the album preview from a month ago that fans either adored or hated. It's a quite obvious deviation from nearly anything Buono! has ever released and would probably be confused for a K-pop song if it were sung in Korean (or so I've been told; I never got into K-pop). There's a lot going on in this 5 minute song (yes, the studio recording is just over five minutes, nice) - we have wota like chants, auto-tune-y vocals, rapping (surprisingly Momo wins there), and probably other things I missed. To be honest, this track sounds more like an experiment (hey, let's cram as much stuff into five minutes as possible!) than an actual polished song, but there is something about its quirkiness that I can't get enough of. partenza ~let's go!!!~ really sets the tone for the rest of this mini-album.
Next is Miyabi's lead song (I'm skipping the singles), FrankincenseΨ (to be honest, these lead songs are basically solos where the other two members occasionally sings a line to remind you they are still there). If you were expecting another Vanishing Point, then you'll be disappointed; FrankincenseΨ isn't quite as ambitious as partenza ~let's go!!!~, but it's still not the "normal" Buono! (or Miyabi, for that matter) that we're used to. That, however, does not make this song any less awesome. Once again, I think Buono! hits it out of the park by trying something different. At the very least, this one is extremely catchy.
The fourth track is Airi's
And no, I won't upload the rest of the songs. You should totally buy it (or search harder).
Sixth up is the song Momoko was tasked with leading, called Kia Ora Gracias Arigatou. If you've been waiting for a more traditional Buono! song (or just some pure rock), then this song is for you. Momoko does a really great job with it, I think. I mean, I know that Airi and Miyabi will always deliver, but Momoko's talent has this habit of sneaking up on me. This song is the shortest on the album, which is a shame because it always ends right when I really get into it. This one is going to be a great concert song.
The final non-single song on the album is 1/3 no Junjo na Kanjo. It's a group song just like the first track. All of the girls did exceptionally well on their lead songs, but this song reminds me that Buono! is strongest when all three of its incredibly talented members come together to share a song. There aren't any gimmicks here; just more Rock'n Buono (horrible pun is horrible). It ends the album on a real high.
Overall, I enjoyed this album so, so much. Buono! always has the best albums (for all other H!P acts, I'll like one album then hate the other; I love all of Buono!'s) and despite it's abbreviated nature, this mini-album didn't disappoint me. Some of the songs will rub some fans the wrong way (partenza ~let's go!!!~ more so than others), but I admire the direction that this mini-album went in.
Because of their rock foundation, Buono!'s songs have the tendency to sound similar a lot more than the other H!P acts do and I appreciate this deviation off of their normal path. I wouldn't want it to be permanent because rock is what Buono! does better than anyone else in H!P, but I had a blast listening to partenza and I think the shortened format was the perfect platform for something like this. I don't buy albums (H!P or not) much at all, but one full listen was all the convincing that I needed.
If you act now, you can score a free poster by buying it from CDJapan. It's only 2000 yen. You would be paying that much if you bought Zassou no Uta/JUICY HE@RT and Natsu Dakara (the three singles that appear on this mini-album).