My thoughts on the 3rd album from 3-piece idol group Negicco. That’s a lot of 3s.
Release Date: May 25th 2016
1. Ne Vardia
3. Magic Mitai na Music
4. Koi no Shananana
5. Good Night Negi Soup
6. Kounan Yoi Uta
7. Kanauru no Madobe
9. SNS wo Buttobase
10. Mujun Hajimemashita
11. Doyou no Yoru wa
12. Oyasumi (Album Version)
13. Watashi e
Negicco aren’t the busiest idol group when it comes to actually releasing new music. We’re lucky if we get a couple of singles per year and maybe an album if the occasion calls for it. When I reviewed their most recent single “Mujun, Hajimemashita” a couple of months back, you would have been forgiven for thinking that we wouldn’t have much more to talk about on the Negicco front until nearer the end of 2016.
Well apparently that wasn’t the case, because here we are 2 months later and I’m about to review Negicco’s 3rd studio album. A bit of a surprise, but a welcome one for sure. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has actually listened to the other two Negicco albums and not found something enjoyable on them. They’re pretty versatile like that, the music is also generally of a very high quality.
That being said, I wouldn’t really rank this latest chunk of Negicco’s discography as some of my all-time favorite work of theirs. The song quality is as high as always, they’ve just gone a bit too mellow for me sometimes. Their past couple of singles definitely wouldn’t win if put in a contest with the “Rice & Snow” era singles for example. Again, that’s just my opinion and I still did like the latest batch of singles a decent amount.
So unsurprisingly “Tea For Three” features Negicco’s last three singles. These are the aforementioned “Mujun, Hajimemashita”, “Nee Vardia” and “Attoteki na Style -NEGiBAND ver.-” which is a rearranged version of an indie single they put out in 2006. Also featured are the b-side songs from “Nee Vardia” and “Attoteki na Style -NEGiBAND ver.-“, although the “Mujun, Hajimemashita” b-side does not feature for some reason. Seems a bit strange to me but I’m sure they had their reasons.
The album covers what I’m sure will be a significant period in the group’s history. They’ve really been increasing their use of a live band over the past year or so and I think it comes through in the music. You can tell it has a great group of people behind it and most importantly it sounds like the songs are being written with a live setting in mind. That is then reflected in their live shows, which from what I’ve seen are top notch.
Basically if you’ve been following Negicco even casually over the past year and a half then you’ll probably be familiar with about a third of this album. In this day, age and genre, where you’re lucky if an idol album has maybe a couple of new songs the fact that there’s almost ten here is incredible. To further break convention, the album is available in one and only one version. Not very idol-like huh?
What about the new material that’s on the album though? How did they end up doing on that front? Well, like I previously mentioned there is a lot of it so there was a pretty good chance of at least some of it being decent right? Well, I’m pleased to confirm that in my totally subjective opinion Negicco and their team of musicians and composers got a lot of things right with these new songs. I honestly don’t think there’s a bad one in the bunch.
That being said, I have to have some that I like more than others right? Well, if you want a “Top 3” of sorts then I’d definitely recommend checking out “Relish”, “Magic Mitai na Music” and “SNS wo Buttobase”. If you honestly only have 15 minutes out of your day (and somehow also only have part of the album) then these three songs should give you a pretty decent idea of what “Tea For Three” is all about. You’re missing out on a bunch of other great songs but that’s your decision.
Overall, the album has a very chilled out vibe going on while still being interesting to the ears. There’s lots of jazz elements incorporated into the songs and the instrumentals play just as big a part as the singing, something that’s not always the case one way or the other. The overriding impression I get from this album is one of quality and class. You can probably make a reasonable argument that it’s not really idol music at this point, but who cares. If anything Negicco should be applauded for such an evolution at this stage in their career.
One slight criticism of the album would be that it certainly finds a niche and really zeroes in on it. If you want a ton of variety then maybe you’ll be a bit disappointed. It’s a weird thing to make an issue of, but I know there’s people out there that will say something like that, even if the songs themselves are more than acceptable. Still, something to consider and you can’t say I didn’t warn you if an album having a bunch of similar sounding songs really gets to you for some reason.
Besides that, “Tea For Three” is way up there in my estimations. That’s no mean feat considering how many stupidly good albums have come out already in 2016. I guess all the idol producers just said “Fuck it” and decided to just crank out the killer tunes for some reason. I’m sure there’s some kind of financial reason behind it, but I’m not complaining.
I think now I can say pretty confidently that we’re probably not going to see much else from Negicco this year. Maybe a new single late in the fall or early winter, but I’m sure they’re going to be touring the hell out of this album in the meantime, and so they should.
Buy on Amazon JP: Regular Edition
Buy on CDJapan: Regular Edition