2017/04/14

The CD Collection--GET WILD SONG MAFIA by TM Network


Welcome to a special CCLemon99 review of a single CD release. I know, I know--I usually review like sixty-seven CDs in a post, but I'm going to make a special exception for this week.

Hit songs are not unheard of...I mean, just turn on the radio right now. Whatever song is playing is a hit song. For a song to be celebrated thirty years after it's release (and arguably gaining momentum along the way) you really have something special.

Get Wild is the tenth single from a band called TM Network. The band consists of Takashi Utsunomiya, Tetsuya Komuro (who I promise to write much, much more on in the future), and Naoto Kine. All three members of the band are wonderfully talented multi-instrumentalists, however, Utsunomiya is behind the microphone and the others are usually behind their respective keyboard rigs during performances. On their own they each have had very different solo careers. Utsunomiya is the rocker, Komuro completely dominated JPOP for most of the 1990s as a mega-producer, and Kine...I have to listen to more of his work (I only have his first album...I really like it, though!).

While it's pretty clear that TM Network thrives on sentimentality (their second single is a sweet little diddy called 1974), Get Wild is a song that really could have survived on it's own. The Get Wild story truly begins two days before the single was even released. On April 6, 1987 an animated adaptation of a hit manga series called "City Hunter" debuted on television. Get Wild was selected as the series ending theme song. Every episode of City Hunter during it's five(ish) year television run had the same format at the end. There would be a slowly panning freeze-frame with continuing dialogue as the ending theme song (whatever it may be...there were many) started to wash in. None worked as perfectly as Get Wild did. It was like a gentle nudge out of the door rather than "here's who made the show you just watched...take it or leave it".

Thirty years after it's release, a lot has happened with not only TM Network, but also Get Wild. It's become a bit of a timeless relic that can also be adapted to fit every time and place. Do you want a version of it set to Eurobeat? Sure. How about a remix to make it actually sound like it came from the 80s? It's been done. A cover by a French singer? Oui. OK, OK...what about...a cover by the song's writer??? YES! In thirty years this song has become everything to everyone.


Which brings us to the point of this post. I am reviewing a brand new 4-Disc CD set which contains thirty-six versions of Get Wild spanning 1987 to 2017. It features all of the aforementioned covers (and more) plus remixes, live versions, and other studio releases. On top of that it contains a booklet (that I really haven't had time to breeze through...yet) containing a lot of information and interviews with the band and even Tsukasa Hojo, creator of City Hunter.

Happy Birthday, Get Wild. Life isn't so bad in your 30s...



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DISC ONE AVCD-93669

This disc covers the early releases from TM Network (and the time they were known as TMN). It's a bit of a mixture or remixes, new versions, and live versions.

NOTE: The CD set provides recording dates for all of the live versions of the song. I added EP/CD release dates for all of the studio versions/mixes just to show continuity.

Let's take a look at the first fifteen years of Get Wild.

01. Get Wild [1987/4/8]

You know...I was excited at the prospect of getting to review Get Wild proper until I realized I didn't have much to say about the song itself. Get Wild is a tough one to describe because it's a part of me. It has always been around, but it became important to me when I was going through something particularly rough. Even though it's a great song on it's own, I imagine it connects with people as well given it's accelerated popularity since it's release.

Get Wild is a song that can exist in any time. It has a way of latching on to memories, good or bad, and turns them into something worth remembering. I guess what I'm trying to say is...it's a life-changing tune. It's memorable, at least to me, in a very deep way. Lyrics like "Get Wild and Tough" don't really touch me as much as the overall message of the song does.

It's a beautiful song--start to finish, note to note. I know I might be overselling it, I feel the lyrics are as surgical as every note played. Everyone has been in a situation where this song is applicable...

All of this...and the song only peaked at number nine on the Oricon chart in 1987... Well, as of this writing, GET WILD SONG MAFIA holds the number one spot on the Oricon chart. How about that?

02. Get Wild ("FANKS CRY-MAX" Version) [1987/6/24]

I suppose I should explain what FANKS are (Hi, fportobr). FANKS are fans of TM Nework. The word is a loose portmanteau of FUNK, PUNK, and FANS. Yeah, I guess PUFUFANKS doesn't quite work.

This is the oldest live versions of the song included on the set. It's pretty damn great too. As it was recorded early on in the song's life, it sticks pretty closely to the original. That said, it is different enough to make it a unique version of the song.

03. GET WILD '89 [1989/4/15]

TM Network remixed Get Wild and re-released it as a single two years after it's debut. For whatever reason, this seemed to be the prevailing version of the song in the years after it's release. For a song as timeless as the original was, making a dance version of it at the end of the craze was a bold move.

Personally, I like this version of the song...but I prefer the original by a wide margin. I wonder why they didn't use GET WILD '89 for City Hunter '89. I mean...one has to have been named after the other, right? At least we got Running To Horizon for CH'89, right?

04. Get Wild ("CAROL TOUR FINAL CAMP FANKS!! '89) [1989/8/30]

Heh. TK was definitely having some fun with the sampler on this one.

Much like the previous live version on this set, it's the same and yet so different. As this is live, there is a more organic feel to the song than the studio remix. It gets pretty nuts when Utsunomiya starts battling the sampled version of himself to a GET-WILD-AND-TOUGH off.

My only complaint is that Utsunomiya's vocals are drown out for the duration of the track. Maybe that's the idea, though. '89 is a dance song first, and a vocal song second.

05. Get Wild ("RHYTHM RED TMN TOUR" Version) [1991/2/22]

Having never heard this version of the song before...I have to say I'm pretty amazed. Forty eight seconds in...you can hear a very quick version of the Rocky theme Gonna Fly Now. Wow! Snuck that one in eh, TK?

This is another live version of the song from the era when TM Network was now TMN and focused heavily on Rock/Prog Rock. Strangely enough, this fits so well. It's been an electronic song, a dance song, and now an early 90s rock song.

06. Get Wild ("tour TMN EXPO ARENA FINAL" Version) [1992/4/12]

A back-to-basics approach to Get Wild. This live version is as close to the original song as they could probably get it. The only real difference here is the rock drumming and Utsunomiya's vocals being a little washed out once again.

It's kinda refreshing to hear a recreation of the original version of the song. Given the date of the performance, I imagine this was to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the song (if they even cared about such a thing back then).

07. Get Wild (techno overdub mix) [1993/8/21]

Yo Dawg, I heard you liked remixes. So here's a remix inside your remix.

Absurd. I really don't know how else to describe this one. I mean, the name of the mix describes it perfectly. It's GET WILD '89 with a 1993 techno beat and synths laid on top. That's it.

I'm...confused.

I love that this exists, but what in the name of hell is this?

08. GET WILD '89 ("TMN final live LAST GROOVE 5.18" Version) [1994/5/18]

TK really loves his samples...and Utsunomiya battling the sampler is always fun.

OK, now get this. This is the 1994 version of GET WILD '89. It's a live version of a dance remix with a rock and techno spin to it. *Mind blown* How DO they come up with all of these different variations? Wow.

That said, this one is a little bit too sloppy for me. The synth is a little bit overpowering and really not very nice sounding. The crowd was going absolutely bananas during the whole thing...so what do I know. Maybe I had to be there.

09. GET WILD DECADE RUN [1999/7/22]

Ummm...yeah. About two years too late...

I actually bought the single for this new...and was kinda let down when I preferred the coupling track It's Gonna Be Alright.

This is an all-new studio recording of Get Wild to close out the 20th Century. I suppose it was a little more timely to release it then rather than the nothing-ness of 1997. Besides, there was a new version of Get Wild in 1997 (I'll get to that later).

I think the best way to describe this one would be...it's much less optimistic than the original. The same lyrics are mostly there, but the music is kinda barely takes off. The singing is also much lower and *gasp* AUTOTUNE'D!. I suppose if you're going to remake your song for the first time legitimately you'd better go big or go home.

Frankly, this one has grown on me more over time. Maybe if I had heard all of the live versions on this disc before hearing DECADE RUN for the first time, I would understand it better. In the twelve years leading up to this, Get Wild has been the Swiss Army Knife of songs. It's kinda nice to hear something completely new...even if it isn't the strongest version.

10. GET WILD ("LIVE EPIC25" Version) [2003/2/23]

Remember how I was complaining about Utsunomiya's vocals being washed out on two previous tracks? They're on maximum attack this time around.

This live version is much like the TMN EXPO ARENA FINAL Version I talked about above. It's close to the original, but features a little more control. It's somehow a little more sedate than you would expect. Maybe they're all still on DECADE RUN mode.

Pretty solid live version. It's definitely a smidge more mature than previous performances.

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DISC TWO AVCD-93670

The second disc covers the second half-ish of Get Wild's life. Rather than just applying different genres to an old song, Get Wild has become something of an experiment later on it's life. It's fun to watch the journey continue...

01. Get Wild ("DOUBLE-DECADE 'NETWORK'" Version) [2004/4/21]

Remember how I was making fun of that techno overdub version from 1993? Well, the same exact beat is present here on this live version. How the hell did this happen? This is pretty much a live version of the techno remix of the dance remix...an entire decade later. I...don't have words. Needless to say, I have never heard this one before buying this set.

It isn't bad, but I have to wonder why that beat was used. It'd be pretty close to the EPIC25 version if the beat were absent.

02. Get Wild ("DOUBLE-DECADE TOUR FINAL 'NETWORK'" Version) [2004/6/24]

Based on the title, I assume this version is from the end of the DOUBLE-DECADE tour. Honestly, for being only two months after the previous track it's much different. The techno beat? Gone. YES. I really enjoy this version worlds more than the previous for that alone. It's a great performance. Two-thirds of the way through it actually changes up quite for the guitar solo.

This is what they should have been doing the whole tour! Good stuff.

03. Get Wild ("REMASTER" Version) [2007/12/3]

Prior to the song starting there is a nice piano intro. Then......SAMPLE OVERLOAD!!! Most live versions feature the same sample getting slammed. It only gets crazier over time.

It's hard to describe this version of the song. It's very different. It's a bit more of a rock version of the song, but features some neat variations including a more palatable tone of synth.

The only weird thing about this one is probably Utsunomiya's voice. It's higher pitched than usual.

04. Get Wild ("Incubation Period" Version) [2012/4/25]

Last time we got the nice piano intro. This time around it blasts right into it. Utsunomiya's voice is back on point, so all is right with the world.

I have to say, listening to these live versions chronologically is impressive whenever I get to a version where they play the song straight. Some bands get complacent over time and their playing gets sloppy. TM Network really does this song justice. They bring their experience to the table every time on the versions included here. This is the proper way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Get Wild.

05. Get Wild ("FINAL MISSION -START investigation-" Version) [2013/7/20]

Ohhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiii

I'm not up on newer music, but I believe this is what the kids are calling EDM. Yes, this is probably the first *true* techno version of Get Wild. It features lots of different elements of different versions of Get Wild, but manages to sneak in some of TK's recent EDM obsession.

Who would've thought this would be a good combination? I actually like it quite a bit.

06. Get Wild 2014 [2014/9/24]

This is more or less the studio version of the previous track. Most of the same elements are still there, but it isn't really as much fun as the live version was. The beat is just a little to harsh. *BANG BANG BANG BANG* Through most of the song.

It isn't a bad version of the song, but it kinda feels like it was something else first and then made into a new version of Get Wild. Especially as you get toward the end of it.

07. Get Wild 2014 ("the beginning of the end" Version) [2014/5/20]

These 2014 versions have something interesting that I never really noticed. It took them a really long time before they started to screw around with the intro. The original studio version has a different intro than the live versions did...but that was really it. Recently the intros have gone on to become these strange extended experiments in new music.

This is a live version and the first of a few that clocks in at over ten minutes. That's definitely not a complaint. If I went to a TM Network concert and they played Get Wild for twelve minutes, I'd definitely be more than alright with it.

This is more or less an extended version of Get Wild 2014. The last minute or so is pretty crazy. I like this one.

08. Get Wild 2014 ("30th 1984~ QUIT30" Version) [2014/12/20]

Another crazy intro into another really good version of Get Wild.

The idea behind this one is the same as the previous version, but the execution is different. It doesn't sound a whole lot like the other 2014 versions. Something that becomes really obvious at this point is Utsunomiya adding two little "C'mon!" to the lyrics of all of the live 2014 versions (he'd done it sporadically over the years, but now it's more or less become an official lyric considering the 100% consistency in use and placement). I wonder what brought that on. The crowd seems to be having a really good time.

I guess the best description for this one would be 30% less EDM, but 100% the same in theory.

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DISC THREE AVCD-93671

The heavy hitters. There may only be three tracks on this disc, but they're all very long. Track 1: 19:20, Track 2: 11:53, Track 3: 27:12. Again, if I were seeing TM Network and was lucky enough to experience one of these mega-versions of Get Wild...I wouldn't be complaining.

01. Get Wild 2014 ("QUIT30 HUGE DATA" Version) [2015/2/8]

Intro Game: Next Level... Can you really consider the intro "the intro" anymore when it takes up over half of the song?

Once you get past the nine minute mark, it becomes what can now be identified as Get Wild 2014. The song itself hasn't change all that much from the previous 2014 versions, just the structure around it. It's important that it's all been preserved.

02. Get Wild 2015 -HUGE DATA- [2015/4/22]

Different from the previous 2014 version on this disc, but similar to a lot of the 2014 versions on the previous disc. I'm not entirely sure what makes this version "2015" other than the fact that it was performed in 2015. I guess they got me there...

UPDATE: I guess I have a pretty good ear. avex has issued an apology and opened an offer to exchange the third disc. This track is a slightly longer version of the eighth track on Disc 2. The catch is that they're only replacing discs within Japan (Booooo!) and that they will ship out the replacement only after they receive the defective disc you mailed in at your own cost. Yeah...screw that. Heh.

03. Get Wild 2015 ("30th FINAL" Version) [2015/3/22]

Wow! Right off the bat, the intro contains samples of...a different TM Network song! Self Control to be exact... I have to admit, it's kinda jarring to hear a different song among all of these versions of Get Wild. Heh.

This version of the song is less a song and more of a large chunk of concert. Again, it's easy to be impressed as you listen to these live tracks in order how much of an evolution TM Network has taken over the years. You can see Aerosmith and know what you're going to get. If you were to miss a TM Network show, you'll never know what you'll be missing out on. You could get a five minute version of Get Wild that sounds like a mildly updated version of the 1987 original...or you could be missing something like this--a half hour marathon.

There is no indication that this song is Get Wild until TK absolutely spams the sample button about thirteen minutes in. From there, it resembles Get Wild 2014. Again, this is really good. At this point, however, I think Get Wild is getting over shadowed by the hype around the song that has apparently taken it over.

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DISC FOUR AVCD-93672

Covers! Covers and Remixes! This disc goes over the covers of the song chronologically and closes out with some brand new remixes.

01. Get Wild / Victor Fantastic Orchestra [1989/6/7]

Oh! Oh! I actually know this one!

I suppose this is the first actual cover of Get Wild. The CD it comes from is loaded with covers of various TM Network songs. I bought it thinking it might be done with an actual orchestra. Ehhhh no. I was a fool, I'll admit. One of the early reviews of this set called this the "grocery store version" of Get Wild. That made me laugh.

This cover is a somewhat cheaply produced instrumental version of the 1987 original. The lack of vocals is replaced with a sax. It's a fun version of the song, but not all that exciting. The full CD that this came from is worth a listen if you enjoy the 80s TM Network singles.

02. Get Wild / Dave Rodgers [1992/9/23]

If you're a regular reader and the name Dave Rodgers sounds familiar...good on ya for paying attention. Dave Rodgers, a.k.a. Giancarlo Pasquini, is the bastard mastermind behind V6's Take Me Higher. Well, he had a go at a bunch of TM Network songs in the early 90s...including Get Wild.

To be perfectly honest...I think this version may have inspired some of TM Network's live performances. Maybe not so much the Eurobeatness, but some of the sample placement sounds pretty similar to what I heard earlier in the set.

Oh yeah, this song is in "English". Do with that what you will...

03. Get Wild / Mitsuko Komuro [1994/11/21]

So remember I mentioned that the writer of Get Wild has their own version of the song. Well, here it is. Mitsuko Komuro (no relation to TK) wrote quite a few of TM Network's early hits. Once again, I link to my recent Ultraman post since she also wrote Ultraman Gaia's ending song Beat On, Dream On.

This version is very of the time. Like, if I didn't already know this version was from 1994 I definitely would have guessed it. I like it quite a bit, since it absolutely has the same tone as the original. The fake violins are kinda lame, though. It's a very pretty version of the song.

04. Get Wild (CITY HUNTER SPECIAL '97 VERSION) / NAHO [1997/5/2]

Rather than use an existing version of Get Wild or ask TM Network nicely to come up with a new one, the City Hunter '97 Special "Goodbye My Sweetheart" used a newly recorded cover of Get Wild by NAHO. I don't know who NAHO is (admittedly a decent enough singer...kinda similar in style to Utsunomiya), but yeah...this version is kinda bland.

Personally, I think they should have just shelled out some extra money and used Mitsuko Komuro's version.

05. Get Wild / Nami Tamaki [2005/11/2]

Weird, weird, weird version of Get Wild.

Get Wiiiiiiild aaaand toooough. If you've heard this one, you know what I mean. Points for being unique and brave enough to try something new with a classic.

06. Get Wild / Megumi Ogata [2007/10/3]

If you want to have a memorable version of a classic song, you need to give it a spin that nobody knew they wanted to hear. This is a heavy rock version of the song.

There isn't a whole lot to say about this one. It's a rock version and it's pretty good.

07. Get Wild / Supernova [2010/7/21]

Korean boy band Supernova... Do I really have to say anymore?

Ehhhh the music is pretty good since it attempts to be faithful to the original, but did we really need a boy band version of Get Wild? When I first got this CD I texted my wife and asked her who Supernova is. She never got back to me and it hasn't come up since. I'm not sure how I should take that.

08. Get Wild / globe [2010/9/29]

There is some back story to this version of the song. globe is one of TK's (Tetsuya Komuro) side projects. Like I said, I need to write about him sometime...he's a fascinating dude. This version is somewhat a self-cover with his wife KEIKO and Marc Panther as globe. This was supposed to be released in 2008, but was shelved when TK ran into his serious legal problems (again...fascinating). It was instead released in 2010 as part of globe's 15th anniversary.

Ehhhh I kinda like globe some of the time. This one I can kinda leave. Weird, right? The guy who INVENTED this song is in it...and yet...feh. The music is really good, but the singing doesn't lend it any favors. KEIKO is kinda all over the place and Marc Panther...yeah. There is a good song in here, but as-is it's kinda weak. Maybe he should have given this to TRF instead. That'd actually be kinda fun...

09. Get Wild / Clementine [2011/5/25]

French! This cover comes from an album of anime covers from French singer Clementine. It's about what you'd expect from a French version of Get Wild. I dig it! Given the monster popularity of City Hunter (and well, many other anime series) in France, this one is a no-brainer.

10. Get Wild / H ZETT M [2012/7/25]

This is the classical version I was hoping to get from the Victor Fantastic Orchestra...

A very nice piano version of the song. I'm surprised this hasn't been done sooner and often. Given the insane versatility that Get Wild has something like this would be more appealing over the "grocery market" version.

11. Get Wild / Purple Days [2010/3/17]

Putting aside the somewhat murky release date, I like this one. Of all of the covers, this is the only one that actually bothered to cover GET WILD '89. I mean, it's a loose cover...but none of the others even came close. Not bad, Purple Days...not bad at all.

12. GET WILD 2017 TK REMIX

Now we're in Remix Town...and one by Mayor TK himself.

As I mentioned earlier, TK has been on an EDM kick for a few years now. It's not surprising since he has always been in the genre of electronic music basically since it's inception. His current vision for Get Wild is actually a bit more subdued and almost trancier than I was expecting. Hmmm... Color me surprised.

Do I like it? Yeah, this is pretty good. I think I might have preferred something a little more upbeat, but this is quality.

13. GET WILD (Takkyu Ishino Latino Acid Remix)

The kind of boring remix I was afraid of getting in abundance when this set was first announced. It's isn't bad, it just doesn't go much of anywhere. It's also over seven minutes long...which, again, is a long time for a song that doesn't go anywhere.

14. GET WILD (SICK INDIVIDUALS Remix)

This set couldn't end without some kinda crazy EDM remix. It's almost funny to hear a song from 1987 wrapped inside something like this. It's a fun remix and doesn't over stay it's welcome at five minutes...

15. GET WILD (Dave Rodgers Remix)

Dave Rodgers again? It's not an ideal way to go out, but oh well.

Get Wild + Runnin' In The 90s

...except it's 2017, Dave.....


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Recommended Pick: This is tough. I am disqualifying the original version since that would be the obvious pick. I am going to have to go with... Rhythm Red TMN Tour version. That's my answer now. I'm sure if you asked me every week I'd have a different answer. The beauty of this set is that it has a version of Get Wild for any possible mood you can be in.

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Set Verdict: It's amazing that you can pick up a four-disc set of a single song and not be sick of it by the end. Get Wild is an incredible song and I'm curious to see what the future holds for it...whether it's with TM Network or with other bands.

I only have one complaint. It's a big complaint. Where's "Ver.0"? For those who don't know, a demo version of Get Wild was released as Ver.0 on TMN's Groove Gear. If you want to check it out, here you go...you'll need a Nicovideo account, though. It may be short, but it's very important to the history of this song. It proves that Get Wild was more than just a song

That said, this set is an absolute bargain for the amount of quality music you get. For me it worked out to less than a dollar per track...even after shipping (always preorder on Amazon.jp immediately...worry about canceling before release if you change your mind).


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There it is! Once again, a big Happy Birthday to Get Wild and congratulations to TM Network for 30 years of successfully giving us FANKS new and interesting ways to enjoy what has always been an amazing song.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed reading about the same song thirty six times.

-CC


2017/04/03

CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Four


It's been awhile since I've done one of these, so I figure it's a pretty good time to get this out there. If you're new to the site, this is the type of post I like to make to tie up a lot of loose ends that aren't quite good enough for a single post.

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The Future of CCLemon99 on Youtube

March 25th marked the one year anniversary of that fateful cookie-delivered message. Yes, things are slowly winding down for CCLemon99 on Youtube. The lack of any updates to my Google Calendar or any real plan on my behalf are pretty clear. I know what my next two videos are going to be...but I'm really not sure what's happening between now and my 10th anniversary in June. I have some eleven Sundays to fill between now and then... There will be some surprise stuff, some Kyuranger stuff, and of course my Aura Changer/Kiba Changer comparisons. I'm not sure what else I can do, though.

There will be a new video every week until I take a much needed break following the 10th Anniversary. Just keep in mind...I'm very tired. It's been a long road.

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The Future of CCLemon99.com

I can say that the site will continue going on strong. This post might not be the most exciting thing ever, but I intend to keep writing at the current pace. Some of the posts I have planned for the immediate future are...

-Get Wild Song Mafia Review: I am going to review all 36 versions of Get Wild... (April)
-Caaaaaaarranger! Finally! (All of May)
-10th Anniversary Posts (All of June)
-A monster review of a certain 28 CD set (All of July, dividing the box into halves--I *really* look forward to this. It's going to be part of a vacation from myself.)

Beyond that, I have a lot more CD reviews on the horizon. Maybe some Top 7 lists. Toy Stories... Business as usual for CCLemon99.com.

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Figuarts!

Is it me, or have interesting Figuarts really slowed down to a dribble? At the moment I only have two open SHF preorders (V Machine and Sky Turbo). Man, those stupid Winspector Figuarts really ruined it for all of us. Remember that exciting time when they previewed Spielban, Metalder, Janperson, and Kabutack? Gah! I would absolutely buy every single one of those over stupid Bikel and Walter (and that crazy overpriced weapon set).

It's kinda disheartening to see Bandai lavish so much more attention on Disney properties such as Marvel heroes and Star Wars. Doesn't the world have enough crap from those series? Does the world need another flippin Chewbacca figure?? I mean, I get that those are probably the money-makers. How about not doing so many damn web exclusives for domestic properties? Juspion was a web exclusive despite the fact that it absolutely would have cleaned up in Brazil alone if it were a standard release. Same goes for the aforementioned Spielban and Metalder. Of course nobody is going to bother if you lock these figures away and let only a few of them dribble out...

Or I could just shut up. We got Kamen Rider J after all this time, right?. He was at the top of my Most Wanted list for almost two years. They seem to be slowly making good on getting the Rider Bikes finished up. I just hope that they don't forget our boy Shin when it comes to his bike. He did have one after all...




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Stolen CD...or Crazy Coincidence?

OK, so here is a funny little story that I briefly posted to Twitter.

I ordered a CD from a marketplace seller on Amazon Japan. Usually the prices are better and shipping is faster than ordering through a Japanese seller on the US Amazon marketplace (they're only obligated to send items SAL while Amazon JP sellers are held to a smaller time frame, so they ship Air Mail).

Prior to this, there was only one other time where the item I ordered from Amazon JP's marketplace got lost in the mail. That's an incredible ratio considering I've ordered hundreds of CDs that way. This time...things are a little different.

I ordered this particular CD about a month ago as of this writing. Since this is an ongoing thing, I'm not going to say exactly what the CD was just yet. I will say this, though...it's obscure. Since I've been really looking forward to listening to it, I've been looking forward to the mail everyday with no luck. At this point, I decided that maybe it's a good time to start shopping for a replacement. Sure enough, none of the current copies for sale on Amazon Japan have marketplace sellers willing to ship to the US. I typed the UPC into Amazon US to see what sellers were charging there. The cheapest result was for exactly what I paid for the CD during my initial order AND from a seller in my State.

A quick look at this seller's site shows nothing but US market video games.......and the one Japanese CD that I was looking for. Without giving too much away about the CD, I will say that it really had absolutely nothing to do with video games or anything else on this sellers page.

So yes, I bought it AGAIN yesterday. I want more details on this mysterious person who likely stole my mail at some pre-delivery level (there is no way it could have been stolen once delivered...they would have to swim across my moat). I'm curious to see that, if it was in fact stolen, they put it together and give me a refund.

To be continued...

UPDATE

Wow...so not only was it a freak coincidence that someone very close to me was selling the CD.....but the lost CD showed up the same day as the reordered one. Yeah, so here it is...


Not an expensive CD, but it is long out of print and fairly uncommon compared to other live albums from Nakamori...

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New And Upcoming CD Releases

Columbia has done an utterly awful redesign of their website, so finding information on new CDs is pretty challenging these days...

Oh yeah... I find that whenever I tweet about upcoming CD releases it gets regurgitated to Facebook and other places. Some credit would be nice. You and I both know I'm the one spending all the time digging up the info. Don't be a dick, please. :p

Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger's Theme Song Single was released on the 15th of March. I have mine!.......admittedly still in the shrinkwrap. If you're still thinking of picking this one up, be warned--there are different versions. The regular edition is a 4-track CD with the theme songs and their Karaoke versions. There is also a Limited Edition, which is what I got, that comes in a neat pop-up case and comes with a Bonus fifth track, Lucky Miracle Paradise. Preordered Limited Editions also came with an external bonus item that is different depending on where you bought yours from. Since I got my copy from Neowing/CDJapan, it came with a large paper-craft item focused on Shishi Red. Amazon Japan's item seems to have been based around Chamelion Green. Check the Regular Edition here. Limited here.

TM Network's aforementioned Get Wild Song Mafia is being released this week (5th)! This four disc set contains 36 versions of the song. Get Wild is most notably known as being a fantastic friggen song, but it also happens to be the first ending song to my favorite anime, City Hunter. I will be reviewing the entire thing and complaining about versions of the song that are missing (and marveling at how things like the obscure instrumental Victor Fantastic Orchestra version were included). Check it here.

Ultraman Powered's once-delayed 3-disc CD set is still slated for release on the 19th of April. It's contents are still somewhat of a mystery...which leads me to believe it may be delayed once again. I have a preorder for this one, so we'll see what kind of email Amazon Japan sends me. Check it here.

Speaking of Ultraman CDs, Ultraman The Rocks is set to come out on the 7th of June. It has a promising track list of what looks to be new rock covers of some memorable Ultra series classics (and the Ultraman Great theme song). I preordered this one as well, but I'll wait until the samples get posted before I'm entirely sold on getting this. Tsuburaya's quality control is pretty lax when it comes to music and who they license their properties out to...(except Scat Ultraman)... Check it here.

Kamen Rider Amazons is back this week. On the 24th of May the theme songs single for Kamen Rider Amazons 2 will be released. There are very little details about it as of this writing, but it will once again be published by Columbia rather than avex. Also, the Opening theme song will be Die Set Down. Check it here.

Kyoryuger Brave theme song and soundtrack is out on the 24th of May. Do what you will with this information. Check it here.

Finally on the 14th of June two CDs will be released for the upcoming Space Squad V-Cinema thing with Gavan, Dekaranger, and Juspion...? Sure. There is a Song Collection, which is likely old songs bundled together and an Original Soundtrack which promises to include at least some newly recorded music.

Remember...honor system...

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That about does it for the fourth issue of CCLemon99 Magazine. Thanks for swinging by today and more importantly, thank you for your support over the years. If you're reading this, you're alright in my book.

-CC

CCLemon99 Magazine Issue One
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Two
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Three

2017/03/16

The CD Collection--Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Japanese Dub CD Singles


I die a little whenever someone uses the term "Japanese Power Rangers". In this case...they wouldn't be wrong...

Welcome back to the never ending parade of stuff from my too-large CD Collection. This time I'm only doing a mini-post (a scant five CDs) based on all of the CD Singles released for the Japanese Dub of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

So yeah, the series that was loosely made up of Japanese footage ended up getting a dub back into Japanese (the dub episode titles, for the most part, are exquisite). Now I can't speak too much for the dub itself--I've seen very little of it. I really don't know which episodes these songs were used for, only the order that they appeared. To make matters even weirder, the Japanese dub was aired out of order from the original US broadcast. If you happen to know which ending song belongs to which episodes, let me know and I'll update it.

Starting with the eighth episode of the dub, the series was given three local ending theme songs. These weren't made for the series, rather they were repackaged singles. Think of what Toei did with Dragonball GT. It was done out of convenience and probably a suitcase or two of money from the record labels for cross-promotion. Whatever the case was, I own all of these CDs...so I guess I better talk about them.

Oh yes, I am throwing in a little bonus. I wonder why... It's not like there is a Power Rangers movie coming out this month or anything.....


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modern grey Sekai de ichiban hakanai yoru ni c/w Tenshi ga furu yoru
MVDD-32
1995.11.22

Our trip begins before the official single even came out. In late 1995 a band called modern grey released this single. I can't say a whole lot about modern grey because, well, I only know them for this song. They were pretty short lived anyway. Their entire discography falls within late 1994 until mid 1997. They sure tried to leave an impression it seems--seven singles and four albums in that short amount of time.


The first track on this single, Sekai de ichiban hakanai yoru ni, was used as the first ending song to the Japanese dub of MMPR. More on that song later...

Track two (of two) is a slower rock song called Tenshi ga furu yoru. There isn't too much to say about it. It's pretty decent, but kinda bland. Hmmm...I hope that first track was lively. Let's see how that one was...


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modern grey Sekai de ichiban hakanai yoru ni
MVDD-501
1996.01.24

Two months after it's initial release, Sekai de ichiban hakanai yoru ni was repackaged in a shiny new Power Rangers-themed tanzaku and shot back out into stores. I personally can't think of another instance where an anison CD single had a dual release juuust to change the artwork up a little bit. It's the same song. Yeah. About that song...


I happen to like Sekai de Ichiban hakanai yoru ni quite a bit. 1996 was part of a very...VERY dry period in JPOP. I've talked about songs sounding like "1996" in previous posts. The popular sound of the year was bland rock tracks largely released by bands that were gone by 1998. This song is of the time, but refreshingly upbeat. It features an aggressive synthesizer to keep things lively. On top of that...it's just well done. The singing is good, the music is good, hell...even the title is cool. While there was some obvious cross-promotion here, the label clearly had faith in this song. I dig it.

The second track is the Karaoke version rather than Tenshi ga furu yoru from the previous release. Yeah, only two tracks on this one. There is a sticker included, however.


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ROLL DAYS BREAK YOURSELF c/w LOVE CONFUSE
TKDA-70862
1996.04.05

ROLL DAYS is another band that didn't live past the 90s (barring a brief regroup in 2007). Their song BREAK YOURSELF was used as the second ending song to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. It's alright. I mean, it's kinda lively but just so...1996. Why did all music that year HAVE to sound like it was meant to be played on a Summer's evening?? You know what? I blame the composer. He clearly didn't do the song justice. Who was the composer anyway? ...... OK, looking in the liner it said that band's bass player composed this. WAIT. His name is JUNYA?


I thought he died! Whew. Well, personally I enjoyed his previous work...



The other song on this single is called LOVE CONFUSE, Again, it isn't a bad song--it's just boring (or boreing). I can't be certain that they didn't get the title of this song from a random word generator...same goes for the band's name.


Tracks three and four are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


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ZYYG GYPSY DOLL c/w BLOOD ON BLOOD c/w Hohoemi dake o kurenai ka
JBCJ-1010
1996.07.22

Much like the previous two bands. ZYYG was gone before the 90s were. Funny thing about this band...I actually have heard of them. Sometimes I'll buy a box of random CD singles from Japan. It's usually full of pretty lousy stuff or singles that sold in the hundreds of thousands. ZYYG has popped up a number of times, but I am under the impression that they haven't sold in the hundreds of thousands. Call it a hunch...

The title track, GYPSY DOLL, is actually pretty solid. The 1996ness is there, but rather faint. I kinda dig this one even if the singing is kinda dull. There is a problem though. This isn't the song I bought this single for. That would be...

BLOOD ON BLOOD is the third and final ending song for the Japanese dub of MMPR. Eh. Yeah, it is a harder track than the previous two ending songs. That really isn't saying much though. 1996 strikes again. This might as well be any of the ending songs to Dragonball GT. They all sound like the exact same damn song with only minor twists.


The final track is called Hohoemi dake o kurenai ka. If it wasn't for Tetsuya Komuro, Japanese music probably wouldn't have survived to see 2000. While he was off completely dominating the charts (i.e. the stuff people actually wanted to hear) bands like modern grey, ROLL DAYS, and ZYYG were releasing the same damn slog in 1996. I think I have found my new arch nemesis. It used to be Forte Music Entertainment...but now it's the year 1996 and it's godforsaken JPOP blandness.

So no, I do not like Hohoemi dake o kurenai ka...


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Power Rangers Orchestra GO GO POWER RANGERS
AMDY-5127
1996.04.25

Naturally "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie" was released in Japan. The soundtrack that was released in 'The States was also released in Japan. If you couldn't bare to hear things like the cover of Higher Ground that Red Hot Chili Peppers* did, then you could just get to the goods and pick up this single instead. Still though...isn't it kinda odd that this warranted a release as a single? Once you dig a little deeper, it alllll makes sense.

OK, so I know I knock Go Go Power Rangers quite a bit. It's a song I genuinely can't stand--just empty calories. The TV version, that is. This version rocks...and for very good reason. When your Power Rangers Orchestra is made up of professional musicians who aren't under an absurd time constraint, you tend to have just a little more depth. The singing in particular is done by one Eric Martin of the band Mr. Big.


Funny story: I was in Wawa during lunchtime not one week before writing this post and Mr. Big's To Be With You was playing. Everyone...EVERYONE started singing along to the chorus. I've never seen anything like it. It was a Number One song back in 1992 (this week, 25 years ago...what a coincidence)...but if you've heard it just once, it hooks into your brain like a parasite. Yeah, good luck not thinking about this song.

As it turns out, Mr. Big is just that...in Japan. Ahh, you see where I'm going? Now this single makes sense! Did anyone from Mr. Big do the theme song to the second Power Rangers movie?? I. Think. NOT!

I'm the one who wants to be with you. Deep inside I hoDAMMIT!


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Recommended Pick: I'm going to have to go with the MMPR version of modern grey's Sekai de Ichiban hakanai yoru ni. It comes with a sticker! Heh. It's a really cool song and the Karaoke version is also pretty great. The artwork also justifies the purchase for the collection too...even though the cover is a strange fuzzy still frame in which the Green Ranger is slowly killing Alpha 5 with his mind.

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That's it for the newest installment of the CD Collection posts. If you're going to see the new Power Rangers movie, enjoy it I guess. I'm going to watch Blade Runner every weekend until the sequel comes out instead.

-CC

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*For the record, I like that cover. It was back when they were a pretty fun band (i.e. wasted).

2017/03/02

The CD Collection--Ultraman Tiga, Dyna, and Gaia 8cm CD Singles


Welcome back! This is the still very much alive series of posts where I skim through my expansive CD Collection and report my impressions back to you. This time around I am finally going to be giving Ultraman CD Singles some attention. I really could start at the beginning, but I thought I would change things up a little bit by cutting right into the middle-ish of the list and reviewing the CD singles from Ultraman Tiga, Dyna, and Gaia!

As a quick reminder, this series of posts is designed for research purposes only. I'm doing this to help your physical music collection, not your digital one. So please, please don't ask for anything that I have listed anywhere on my site. Save yourself the disappointment when I never reply to you.

With all that said...let's get into some Ultraman CD Singles!


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V6 TAKE ME HIGHER / Coming Century Suki sa sukkyanen
AVDD-20143
1996.09.16

Oh...my God...

It really is no secret that I despise this song. The very core of my being seethes hatred for every note of this cheesedick diddy. Yet, there is quite a lot for me to say about it...so here goes...

Ultraman Tiga marked the Ultraman franchise's big return to television after only a smattering of activity since the end of Ultraman 80. I like to think of Tiga as Kamen Rider Kuuga before Kamen Rider Kuuga...it's different, but oh so familiar. The biggest departure, however, comes in the form of it's theme song TAKE ME HIGHER by an upcoming pop group called V6. There isn't a single mention of Ultraman in the entire thing and it feels like the backing track was smuggled out of the worst Italian cruise liner disco on the planet. It's just so damn.......avex (See also: Initial D).

I can see the appeal of the song, but I just don't have it in me to like it. It doesn't need six singers shouting through the entirety of the song. It doesn't need the shrillest setting on the synth. The guitar work is pretty sweet at least. As this is the most covered song in Tokusatsu history, there is likely a more suitable version out there for you. I personally prefer the "Dave Rodgers" version, which is actually a self-cover by producer Giancarlo Pasquini (Ha! My Italian cruise liner theory isn't all that whack afterall!). The singing is pretty awful on that one too, but it's less in-your-face and is structured more like a real song. As for the original, I'm going to invoke a little American into this Italian with a hearty "fuhgeddaboudit".

Oh yeah, I have to talk about the other song on this piece of shit I guess.

The coupled song on this single is by Coming Century, who is the younger half of V6 (the elder half recorded as 20th Century). The funny thing about V6 is that in their 22 year run the lowest charting single they've had was #4. 4th! When you break the group down into half, you can see where the weak links are.

If V6 really were a V6 engine, Coming Century would be the dead cylinders.


Nevermind TAKE ME HIGHER--this song is the real shit on this godforsaken CD. Not only is the music pretty much the blandest mid-90s drivel, but the singing is unbelievably bad. Maybe the whole six-singers-shouting-through-the-song spiel was used to mask the under-performance of individual members, but then why does Coming Century even exist at all (outside of tripling record sales by turning one group into three...OK, I just answered my own question)? Also, why is there a (probably illegal) sample of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's It Takes Two throughout the duration of the song? You know this song is bad when you no longer consider Action 52 to be the worst thing to happen to It Takes Two...

Karaoke tracks for both of the aforementioned songs are included if you're into doubling the pain.


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Chikyu Boei-dan Brave Love, TIGA
AYDM-120
1996.10.21

I'm not sure what to say about this one. The ending song to Ultraman Tiga is this little song called Brave Love, TIGA. I can honestly say I'm not much of a fan of it, but I kinda dig what they were doing. The group behind it, Chikyu Boei-dan is a bit of a super group consisting of 2/3 of my beloved...OUR beloved TM Network among several others. Proceeds from the single went to fund AIDS research, which is pretty noble. On one hand you have the flashy JPOP group singing the OP, on the other...charity.


Considering how many people worked on this song, it's surprisingly hollow. If Tetsuya Komuro were involved it wouldn't have been, that's for sure. It isn't terrible, but the Ichiro Mizuki and Takayuki Miyachi Columbia Cover is far more enjoyable.

The second track is the Karaoke version of the song. 


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Ultraman Dyna c/w Take Off!! Super GUTS
TYDY-2103
1997.10.08

Things very much pick up here. Making his Ultra series return is Tatsuya Maeda who previously sung the theme songs to Ultraman Powered, the Metal Hero series Blue SWAT as well as several other Ultra series songs and even the random Carranger IN song.

I love the hell out of this theme song. It's hard to speculate why they decided to go JPOP for Tiga, but the return to the traditional anison was very much welcome. This one manages to be upbeat and kinda glum at the same time. Cautiously optimistic, I suppose. It almost feels like it copies TAKE ME HIGHER and corrects ALL of it's sins while keeping the great guitar work.


Take Off!! Super GUTS is the coupled song and it's pretty cool, to be honest. I never cared for many of these "Wandaba" songs from the older shows, nor do I like anthems that have crept into various Tokusatsu series soundtracks since 2000ish, but this one is actually really engaging and quite majestic in parts. I like it.

Tracks 3 & 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


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Kimi dake o mamoritai c/w Love & Peace
AYDM-140
1997.09.20

Kimi dake o mamoritai is the first ending song from Ultraman Dyna. Awesome, awesome song. Man, Ultraman Dyna is really bringing it to make up for Tiga's themes. This song is one of only two Tokusatsu credits by Fumiaki Nakajima (both of which reside on this disc). I really don't know much about the singer, but the music was composed by The Alfee, who released their own self-cover version (that was the thing to do in the 90s, I guess...write a super-popular song for someone else and then record a far less popular self-cover). This song feels like it could've come out in 1981, but manages to compliment the opening theme song perfectly. It even includes a little "SHUWATCH!".


The second track is an IN song called Love & Peace. It's pretty painful...and kinda in the same vein as Tiga's Coming Century abomination, but I wouldn't say it's that bad. Overbearing children...that's all I'm going to say... I mean, the title kinda serves as a warning.

Karaoke of each song rounds out the disc.


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Imakoso Flash
TYDY-2105
1997.12.22

Before I get into the songs, I just want to point out the bullshit of putting out three CD singles on the same day with only one song each on them. What the hell, Toshiba EMI...


Imakoso Flash is an IN song by Tatsuya Maeda. It is pretty similar to the OP song, but isn't quite as grand. Still a pretty solid song. Not enough to warrant an entire CD, but good.

The Karaoke version is also included.

What in the world is going on here?

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Miracle no kaze ni nare
TYDY-2106
1997.12.22

Another Dyna IN song here, and definitely not one worth it's own CD. Here it is, though. It's...alright. The singer is Fumiichi Miyashita...who may not even exist based on how little information I have on him.


Again, it isn't a great song. I would probably skip this one unless you're after a full set.

Oh yes, and there is a Karaoke version on it.


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Dyna no akai kagayaki ni
TYDY-2107
1997.12.22

This time I am willing to give them song slack for releasing a single song on a single. When it's Shinichi Ishihara, it's suddenly alllll OK.


It's actually a really damn good song too. I would say it's very much on par with his GoGo Five work in terms of passion. In fact, I would say that this is probably his earliest song where he just became a belter. The early 90s Ishihara was focused on being sex-ay. Once he broke free from B-Fighter he really went all-out whenever he stepped up to the mic.

Even if the song is great, sadly there is only one of it...unless you count the Karaoke version, which is included.


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LAZY ULTRA HIGH c/w EVERYBODY WANTS LOVE
AYDM-146
1998.03.21

YES!

For the uninitiated, LAZY is the band that Hironobu Kageyama cut his teeth on. LAZY formed in 1977 and lasted only until 1981. Kageyama broke out on his own and became...Kageyama. However, in 1998 they regrouped to release the single for the second ending song from the latest Ultraman series. Yes, THIS is the first single from the legendary band in seventeen years. It took Ultraman to bring this band back together.


First off, ULTRA HIGH is amazing. Like even if it weren't an Ultraman theme song, this song would be a remarkable return of a beloved band. Between the pre-ruined Kageyama vocals and that signature guitar work, this is the return of LAZY.

How do you go from 'amazing' to 'even better'? Boom. The second track on this is called EVERYBODY WANTS LOVE. Man, you can tell these guys genuinely loved getting back together. Their reintroduction to the public sounds as if they never missed a beat, yet they all honed their craft in their years apart.

Karaoke versions of both tracks are included.


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Ultraman Tiga & Dyna Hikari no hoshi no senshitachi Shudaika
CODC-1484
1998.03.21

It has truly been a long time since there was an Ultraman team-up, so why not give the latest two series a go of it. It's GUTS and Super GUTS! The Ultraman Tiga & Dyna film has a brand new theme song called SHININ' ON LOVE by Hironobu Kageyama and Tetsuya Maeda--an excellent combination! It's the catchy and upbeat song that you really want your movie to have, Wooowooo~wooooo!


The image song, Kimi no ai to boku no yuuki~mo kanashimi nankanai is a duet/ballad by the same duo. It's a bit of a generic borefest, but pretty decent when you stand it next to songs of similar weight. I mean, you might as well listen to this if you want a novelty ballad. Granted, I think Kageyama and Maeda might have better chemistry than those two.


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Ultraman Gaia! c/w Gaia no chikara
TYDY-2120
1998.09.23

Another flippin' awesome theme song! Ultraman Gaia's theme song is purely meant to pump you up. It would even say it's on par with Ultraman 80's theme song in cheeriness, while updating it to a late 90s horn-fest. It's actually a duet between Masayuki Tanaka (who you know from Kamen Rider Kuuga's theme song as well as .......THIS) and Kazuya Daimon of the future Project DMM. Without looking, I think I have this one on my Top 7 Ultraman theme songs. If not, it's definitely Top 10 worthy.


Gaia no chikara is the second track on this disc. Despite being an IN song, it is painfully obvious that this was intended to be the ending song. If there was ever a paint by number ending song, it's this one right here. It complements the Opening song perfectly, and is even sung by the same duo. It's a really good song, but maybe a little bit boring. I like it well enough.

If there is one Karaoke track you have to listen to on any of the CDs mentioned here today, it's the Gaia theme song. It's included here, as well as Gaia no chikara.


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B.B.WAVES Lovin' You Lovin' Me
AYDM-158
1998.09.21

Oh boy...

This is TAKE ME HIGHER all over again. OK, maybe not that bad. Clearly there was a decision somewhere that they needed to shoehorn in some more of the sweet JPOP synergy into the Ultra series. Project DMM wasn't ready yet, so they took on B.B.WAVES, who...never really took off.


Lovin' You Lovin' Me managed to sneak solos in, but is like a thousand other songs I've heard from groups of similar annoyance to me. I begrudgingly have to make this relationship work, however, since it is an Ultraman song. Feh.

This CD is rounded out by a lousy remix and a Karaoke version of the original. I suppose it's better than just two tracks like the Dyna IN songs singles...


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Tomohiko Kikuta Beat On Dream On c/w Aoi okami
AYDM-166
1999.03.21

Despite the title that makes me snicker every time I see it, Beat On Dream On is an incredibly decent song. It also happened to be the second and final ending theme song from Ultraman Gaia. I definitely buy this one over the previous ending song. It has that feeling of "well, that was enough adventure for this week...see ya next time". I really dig it. It has a lot of momentum and some pretty solid singing.


The IN song, Aoi okami, is an incredibly smooth track. It kinda peters out at points, but it is a very chill song. It might be a few years late (I'm getting a very 1996 vibe) but very enjoyable.

Naturally there are Karaoke versions of both songs.


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Recommended Pick: LAZY's ULTRA HIGH......easily. It's a multipurpose single that really should have a place in the collection of all Tokusatsu and metal fans. This is really the only time they got the whole crossover appeal thing right, IMO. Sure, TAKE ME HIGHER sold a bajillion copies, but I bought ULTRA HIGH much earlier in my collecting for a reason.

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Thanks for sticking with me during my break from the CD Collection series. There is much more to come. For the second post in March I plan on doing a small CD post based on...let's just say "current events".

See ya!

-CC