2019/06/30

Song Collection: Chojuu Sentai Liveman


Welcome to my series of reviews where I talk about Tokusatsu Song Collections. I'm breaking the seal and doing my first Super Sentai review! This time around I am visiting the song collection of 1988's Chojuu Sentai Liveman. I'm especially fond of 1988 as a year for a myriad of reasons... The cars were rad, the Sony D-88 was out, and some of my favorite music was released. You know what else was great? Liveman!

How exactly did I pick Liveman? Well, my Youtube Channel recently hit it's 12-year milestone. I figured...why not hit up the 12th Super Sentai? Coincidentally that series is Liveman, which I am delighted to review. That's not to say there are many subpar Super Sentai song collections in the 1980s...but we are approaching the nebulous early-90s Super Sentai Song Collections. I love the shows, but the songs leave a lot to be desired there...

For this post I'll be listening to my Complete Song Collection disc from 1997. The first twelve tracks are vocal with the remaining seven being Karaoke versions of select songs. I'll denote those song with an asterisk(*).


-------------------------

01. Chojuu Sentai Liveman* / Daisuke Shima

Was there a bad Tokusatsu theme song in the 1980s? Even the Fushigi Comedy Series had some good ones. Chojuu Sentai Liveman probably goes a step further by being probably the all-time best theme song sung by a lead cast member. It helps that Daisuke Shima has some singing chops versus how they plopped a fresh-faced Tetsuo Kurata in front of a microphone just a few months prior to this to sing the Kamen Rider Black theme song.

This one has a lot of energy and the perfect pacing for a Tokusatsu theme song. The only detraction I can possibly think of is that it isn't different enough from the Maskman theme song. If you listen to theme back-to-back you might feel what I'm feeling with the beat. 

02. Susume! Live March / Koji Kaya & Koorogi '73

Koji Kaya is a large part of this song collection. Considering he was a large part of Metalder's excellent song collection, I see this as a big plus.  His first appearance here is a little subdued, but a song I genuinely enjoy for it's somewhat brooding instrumentals. It's easily my favorite Tokusatsu song with the word "March" in the title. It may not be above name-dropping some of Liveman's toys, but it is still a nice groove.

03. Knock! Nekkyo no Live* / Koji Kaya

An action song...and a great one! The intro carries the energy through most of the song, but the horns, rockin' guitar, and Koji Kaya definitely assist in it's greatness. It sounds a little bit unconventional for what a lot of action songs of the era sounded like, but this is what makes the Liveman song collection stand out.

04. Utsukushiki Dreamer / Daisuke Shima

The lone non-theme song by Daisuke Shima. While it's my least favorite of his trio of tunes, I love this song dearly. Hell, if you visited my Youtube channel on day one, this is the song that would have greeted you. Come to think of it, it would have greeted you on my 10th anniversary as well. Fond memories...

This is a rock tune that honestly is probably the best-sung of the three Shima songs (note the lack of reverb). He *really* gets into it...and I can appreciate it solely on that merit. The only problem is that his other two songs are the themes...and they're just dynamite. This sweet rock song is easily one of the brightest highlights on the IN/IM songs, though!

05. Dash! Liverobo* / Koji Kaya

I don't remember what I ranked this on my list of Top Seven mecha songs, but I do know it was there and will have a permanent spot on the list. The intro? Perfect. The mood? Epic. It manages to be a favorite in a sea of mecha songs. For perspective, I think the Sentai Mecha song is the one they spend the second most amount of time on outside of the themes. This is the song that sells the toys between the theme songs. It *has* to be great...and this one is!

GATTAI!

06. Seigi wa Fumetsu sa Liveman / Koji Kaya

Ehhhh...I typically skip over this one. It's kinda lame and boring. Listening to it now, yeah... I think I'll continue skipping it. The guitar work in the middle is pretty good, but other than that it's Koji Kaya singing over a synthetically weak beat.

07. Spark! Umi e* / Megumi Mori

Love it. In a disc full of heavy hitters, this one manages to shine a little bit brighter. Like Daisuke Shima, Megumi Mori had the chops for this and does just as well crushing it. Like damn. Honestly, this song is too good for a Super Sentai song collection. It truly is. How this never got a single on it's own is a missed opportunity. If they did that, we at least could have gotten another track from Megumi...

08. Live Century ~Oretachi no Shiseiki~ / Koji Kaya

A strange song that kinda feels like something we would have heard on the Flashman song collection. The structure is just...strange. It's not a bad song, though. It just exists in a weird place...

09. Hop Step Love Jump! / Makoto Kosaka

Another cast member song...but this one is a little unexpected. This is Koron's theme song. I typically hate the theme songs of robot helpers, but this one is pretty solid. The instrumentals are good and the vocals are there as well. This isn't gimmicky like previous songs like Bioman's Peebo or Flashman's Mag. Koron was given the dignity of a genuine ally like Dappu from Carranger with a decent song...and I appreciate that. 

I also appreciate that Kosaka can sing. What's with seiyuu that can't sing? It's shockingly common and, especially these days, they usually end up singing a track on the song collection... Yeah, yeah, yeah... Singing and acting are two different things...

10. Ashita ni ikiru ze!* / Daisuke Shima

Who knew that a Super Sentai ending song could have such a beat? I love all three of Shima's songs, but this one is easily my favorite. This track is a perfect storm of weirdness. Part dance song, part action track. I think early in my CD collecting I sought out everything Liveman first so that I could have every version possible of this song.

The intro is just magic. I know the cool kids these days will say that this one has a "bubble sound", but I always found that to be a bit dismissive when music is described that way. Just enjoy the damn song. Heh. Though, it has taken me a lot of restraint not to call The Beatles "Boomer crap" at times...

11. Makenki Manten! Liveman* / Koji Kaya

A later song that I kinda question. This song is a little too cheesy-upbeat, but it isn't terrible. This song and the Liveboxer theme were released after the initial Hit Song disc were released. For as special and progressive as the rest of this song collection is, this is a step back almost.

12. Liveboxer no uta* / Koji Kaya

A mecha theme song that is *almost* as good as the other mecha song. Liveman? 2 for 2 on mecha theme songs. While it isn't too different from the Liverobo theme song, it is amazingly good. It didn't make the Top 7 list back in 2012 (yeah, I decided to check), but it definitely would have made a Top 10 I think. 

-------------------------

This is probably as close to perfect as a Super Sentai song collection gets on paper, but I don't know if I can call it my favorite. Immensely great? Absolutely. A regular on the playlist? Definitely. I don't get the greatest amount of pleasure from it, though. It's just a little bit dry. What I will give it massive points for is being incredibly timely. While there is always a childish aspect to soundtracks from, well, children's show, it doesn't mean they can't be contemporary. 

I kinda tapped out of being a hyper fan of Sentai song collections after listening to the dogshit Dekaranger song collection. It's truly the antithesis of great song collections like Liveman's where it can be for kids without pandering to them. The Liveman song collection is a genuine good listen. There isn't a single song that is poorly sung and the duds are scarce. This is definitely a recommended listen.

-------------------------

Have a good one!

-CC

4 comments:

  1. Ooh, ooh! I know this one. (I'm overly familiar with this soundtrack. Despite being a former Aniki-head, I can't say I'm too familiar with Skyrider's song collection, and based on the themes, I don't know if I could tolerate a whole album of Super 1's flat droning.)

    I'm actually kind of surprised to see give the entire album a passing grade. I didn't expect you to be so favorable to certain songs. I love Liveman, but have some issues with its song collection...

    I love the themes and Megumi's song, and I remember buying the song collection in the late '90s -- for a disgusting amount of money because I didn't know better -- not really knowing what was on it, but expecting more great songs from Shima and Mori and...getting Koji Kaya's Greatest Hits. I've always blamed him, but you can't really, because he's given such a weird variety of songs to sing. (My favorite of his songs here is Live Century. I think he does a good job and the mood of the song is more fitting for Liveman. Although, as goofy as it is, I do enjoy Makenki Manten!) I can't help but be disappointed, though, knowing that he'd probably have done the OP and ED if not for Shima.

    What do you think of the idea of Megumi Mori doing the ED, though? Since so much of her music is dance-oriented, I feel like she'd be a better fit for that song. I like the song, but you can tell Shima's just a little out of his comfort zone.

    Congratulations on your 12th anniversary, by the way! I lost a response I was typing up, which is probably a good thing since it was going into a nutty rant about how much more fun YouTube used to be before people realized there was money to make off of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dude! Yeah, you nailed it when it comes to Youtube. Outside of my thinly-veiled complaint about a specific channel, the ones that came from simple origins and are still around today went from uploading when they were able to craft together a solid video to pretty much shitposting multiple times a week to stay within the algorithms good graces. It's pathetic. The only exception I can think of is JonTron.

      I think the thing that really attracts me to this song collection is the evolution. The distance between Goggle Five and Liveman is only as big as Kyoryuger and now, and the songs are night and day different. You bought the Goggle Five songs on LP, but Liveman was only available on CD. The content reflected that, IMO.

      Megumi Mori singing the ending song...I never really considered it. That would've been fun! I thought Shima did a serviceable job on it, though. I tend to go for the Karaoke and Instrumental versions a lot. I've always liked this kind of whack dance music, so to hear it as an ending song is a treat. Like...in my mind I think Nine Inch Nails SIN is the cracked-out distant cousin to Ashita ni ikiru ze.

      I thought Koji Kaya was great on the Metalder song collection as well. It's kinda curious that he virtually disappeared following Turboranger. I kinda see your point about his songs being considered filler between the heavy-hitters if the cast is what you're looking for in the album. I'm not nerdy enough to know who they were signed with at the time, so I guess minimal songs were better than nothing. That said, I don't know what a Daisuke Shima version of the Liverobo theme would sound like. Haha.

      Delete
  2. Nice review! I like the Liveman OST, but compared to Maskman before it and Turboranger afterwards it feels like a slight step backwards, production and vocal wise. The opening is still awesome, and I always love the songs where they remove one instrument layer for part of the final chorus (Kamen Rider Black, Juukou B Fighter).

    Has there ever been a good Robot Helper theme in Sentai besides Colon’s? The Peebo and Mag ones are pretty obviously crap, and the Goggle V Comboy one is pretty bad too. The Fiveman Arthur song is just silly but the backing music is fairly good, and I think that’s really it.

    I’m not sure which mecha song is really better between the two. Live Robo goes for more of the dramatic sweeping feel to it, but Live Boxer works really well as a fast paced action song. I’ve noticed that most of the time Mecha songs seem to fall into the former.

    The only other notable songs I think Koji Kaya did outside of Sentai were the Transformers Victory Opening and the Saiyan insert song from the first DBZ Hit Song Collection. I’ve always thought he was good, but I never felt like his voice had enough range compared to others at the time like Kageyama or Miyauchi.

    Still, great review!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope one day you can do more Kamen Rider video reviews.

    P.S. Have you heard about fair use? Apparently, in case your videos get copyright strikes, you can appeal it with fair use.

    ReplyDelete