02. Variation [Hensoukyoku] (1982.10.27)

01. (Introduction)

-Classical Instrumental-

02. Cancel!

Seemingly a energetic hold-over from the first album. Heh. Someone definitely got over their microphone jitters. While her singing isn't quite at it's peak, it's a vast improvement over anything from the previous album. Not to mention, it's only the first (real) track! Right out of the gate, there is a major change.

03. Moroi gogo

A nice mid-range song that is sung in a mid-range kind of way. I dig it, though it may be a little bit generic.

04. Aishuu Majutsu

Another well-produced upbeat track. It has lots of layers and the addition of background singers--something noticeably absent at this point. This could have been a single...or even a B-side...and still have been fairly successful. Alas, the big breakout single is on this album...and it ain't this.

05. Sakihokoru hana ni......

This is the earliest song of hers that I can call "sweet". The blend of breathy vocals and lively orchestra make for a pleasant track. The music is a little bit on the aggressive side...if that makes sense.

06. Yokohama A•KU•MA

...and this is the earliest song of hers that I can call funky. Sure she's had some disco tracks prior to this, but this one has it all. Also...that title. I think every album has to have one fantastic title. This is is Yokohama D•EV•IL. Hahaa. Does it beat Ginga Densetsu? Who can possibly be the judge of that?

Definitely a great song. This one gets a good amount of play from me.

07. Meruhen Location

This one is a little too sweet...especially as a follow-up to Yokohama A•KU•MA. I like the song just fine, I just question it's location on the tracklist. Granted, I am listening to this on CD...I think this may have been the first song on Side B in reality. Hmmm... Sometimes you have to remember that albums were engineered just a little bit different in the past.

08. Shojo A

From my review of the Singles Box Set 1982-1991: "While Slow Motion could be considered the soft debut of Nakamori, Shojo A is the song that catapulted her to stardom. Considering how little time passed between Slow Motion and Shojo A, it's kind of bizarre how different it is. Nakamori's voice is much, much deeper. This is basically what she would sound like from here on out (well, you also have to factor in time+smoking). To be perfectly honest, though, I'm not in love with this song. It's certainly a very good song...but it's just a little too gimmicky for me. This single peaked at #5, but I think the controversial lyrics helped give this song a bit of a bump (as this type of thing tends to do). Listening to this song is a lot like riding in a boat through waves. Does that make sense? There are peaks and valleys everywhere and the lyrics are shot out in long strings."

09. Dai nana-kan (Setiemu sansu)

Another mid-range groove. This one is dominated by that awesome bass line, which gives it an extra layer of enjoyment.

10. X³ Lulluby

This one has a good deal of energy, but it kinda sounds like a darker Shojo A. It has some good things working for it, but kinda lags elsewhere. It's not terrible, but I can't say I've listened to it a whole lot. The parts where the music cuts out and leaves the vocals hanging are really cool, though. For that...this song is at least memorable.

11. Catastrophe no amagasa

A ballad that just...misses. This one may have been juuuuust a little bit too heavy for her to take on. Not to mention, the music has some noticeable edits in it. Maybe not the greatest way to go out, but hey... No. This song just isn't good from any angle. I tried to give it a positive spin. It had to have been recorded early on, because this is a big leap backwards. Plus it never seems to want to end.

12. (Ending)

-Classical Instrumental-

OVERALL: While this album is undeniably better than Prologue in just about every way, I think I've listened to Prologue more than Variation at a ratio of about 5-to-1. Everything is better this time around, but sometimes an album doesn't quite match up with the sum of it's parts.

This album is the natural successor. I mostly found myself wondering why in the world I don't listen to it more often. It could be that Catastrophe no amagasa is almost enough to derail it, but maybe it's just I have to be in the mood to listen to Shojo A to want to give it a spin.

PREVIOUS: Prologue [Jomaku]
NEXT: Fantasy [Gensoukyoku]


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