Hello! Project / Jpop

Review: Kikkake wa YOU! by Kikkawa Yuu

Ahh, Kikka’s debut single!  I’m so excited about her solo career, especially after this single!

I still remember watching the Morning Musume 8th generation audtions, on the edge of my seat.  I was gunning for Kikkawa Yuu since I watched the first video with her.  She was who I wanted in Morning Musume.

We know how that ended.  Morning Musume got Aika, who has gotten considerably cuter since her audition, and little else.  She unfortunately has failed to really do anything else to catch my attention.   Kikkawa was still unrefined and a little awkward back then, but she shone with potential in voice, looks, and personality.  Sigh.

Anyway, she ended up being put in the Hello! Project Eggs, where she was a favorite of mine for a number of years as she honed her talents.   Her parts in Milky Way marked the only tolerable thing in a sea of painful Kusumi Koharu songs put out for Kirarin Revolution.  Boy was she good live, too.

So, when they announced that she was going solo in January, I pretty much had a heart attack and died.

After being revived, I had to wait many months for her first release, and then wait some more because of the tragedy that came with Japan’s earthquake.  But, finally it came.  And I am happy to announce that I am still in love with this girl.

Kikkake wa YOU! (‘The reason is YOU!’) comes in 4 editions, each with the title song and one additional song.  A comes with Sayonara Namida (‘Goodbye Tears’), B comes with Candy PoP, and C comes with Fuyuzora Hanabi (‘Winter Sky Fireworks’).  There’s edition D with a remix of the title track, but I generally don’t bother with those.  For the purpose of this review, I will discuss all the original tracks, regardless of edition.

The title track, Kikkake wa YOU!, is a pleasing, happy pop tune.  It’s relatively generic, but has quite a few parts that are catchy and give interest.  I’m a fan of her line near the beginning referencing the title – “Kikkake wa sou, kimi da yo!”.  I also like the refrain, it’s cute and the little xylophone dings are fun.  Kikkawa’s vocals through the whole song are spot on.  She’s charming in the PV as well, if just a little awkward dancing all by herself.  As much as I do like the title track, though, I think it’s still probably the weakest out of all 4 songs that were released, just because it is a bit generic.

Sayonara Namida is a strong B-side that I liked immediately.  The tune right from the beginning caught me and kept me listening.  This song is also a bit generic pop, but it’s so nice that I can’t fault it for that.  It’s very catchy and worth listening to again and again.

Candy PoP shows Kikkawa’s vocals more strongly than some of the other tracks, you can hear the depth and strength of her voice as she sings it.  The words are a bit silly for a song sung so powerfully, but it’s a good tune.  Lots of english thrown in the lyrics.  This is probably the most “mainstream” sounding of all the songs she released.  It would be a good song to get on the radio.

Fuyuzora Hanabi saves the best for last.  This song is by far my favorite of all of them, and if it had been me, I would have made this the single instead.  Kikkawa’s voice is gorgeous, hitting high and low and leaving me spellbound for the whole song.  The song is less generic and predictable than the other tracks, it’s different, and I like that.  After I got this single, this song quickly amassed more than double the plays than all the other tracks.  Amazing.

Overall, it’s a strong start as a soloist in my book.  Although to me there is no question that Kikkake wa YOU was not the strongest track released, all of them are quite good, and I love the direction she is taking as a solo artist.  If the material continues to be this good, her spot on my list of favorites is guaranteed.

–Jess♫

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