2020/10/29

Song Collection: Hikari Sentai Maskman

Welcome back to the Song Collection. This time around I'm reviewing a song collection that I could've sworn I reviewed already. Alas, no. I wrote a scathing take on the incredibly poopy BGM, however.

Yeah, so the theme of my dual-posts this month is "Two Song Collections from 1987 that I was certain that I covered, but really haven't...yet...". Be sure to check out my 100% Hironobu Kageyama-less review on the Kamen Rider Black Song Collection!

For this review I'll be listening to my copy of Hikari Sentai Maskman Complete Song Collection from 1997. I previously talked about this disc briefly here.

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01. Hikari Sentai Maskman / Hironobu Kageyama

The series theme song. While Hironobu Kageyama still brings it with the energy, he does so while somehow matching the somewhat glum tone of the music. It's upbeat, but the emotion is driven by the horn. The little bursts of action with somewhat jazzy little riffs smattered in that have a tinge of tragedy. I know I say this a lot in these reviews, but it's really important for the theme song to be memorable and tolerable. Once it's out there, it's the song everyone at Toei is going to be living with for an entire year. It'd better be good.

It's also a great beat to run to...just FYI...

02. Moeru ze Fire / Hironobu Kageyama, SHINES

Ehhhh let's get the sole stinker out of the way.

This song is early 80s cheese in 1987. I'm hard-pressed to think of a song like this that existed after. It's a peppy little thing that really would feel more at home on the Bioman Song Collection. Sure, we've had these soft motivational songs in shows since then, but they at least sounded contemporary. I feel like the Turboranger song collection did a better job of this type of song.

03. Oretachi Ungler / The Unglers

The Unglers = Koorogi '73

If you've been following along with my series of posts here, you know that I have an odd relationship with Koorogi '73. They've been around forever, but only through writing these posts I've noticed that I really, really don't care for them.

This is one of those rare situations where I actually love the damn song.

It's a mess in all the right ways. My complaint about the previous track being out-of-date? This song is extremely OF the date. The beat is chaotic and the singing is suitable for the rare grunt theme song. This one will definitely have you wondering what the hell you listened to the first time around, but man is it a fun track to periodically revisit.

Really, the few times that I do get along with a Koorogi '73 song, I really do get along with it.

04. Lady Action Kimetara Oshare / Satoko Yamano

This is heroine track of the series. I've been kinda hit or miss on the genre, but this one gets a solid 'hit' from me. It's VERY catchy and Satoko Yamano, who had a previous Toei earworm with Pink Pink Pink! from Dokincho! Nemurin, delivers the goods.

I think the pace is the biggest strength this song has. It kinda simmers for a bit and then BAM. It really gets to the fun chorus. 

05. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

This weirdness is the opening theme song to the Maskman movie. It has a very similar feel to the OP, but it's the fairly silly theme song the the Shot Bomber weapon. The odd backgrounds provided by Koorogi '73 and SHINES really heighten the weirdness.

Even if it was a one-off, this has to be up there with one of the strangest Sentai opening theme songs...that's for sure.

06. Action Fantasy / Miracle Bombers

I think this very well be the final Super Sentai Disco song. Yeah...in 1987. Whoever said disco died in 1980 forgot about the world outside of America.

This isn't much more than a rollcall of all of the Maskman equipment and attacks performed by "Miracle Bombers", which is a super group of basically everyone who performs on this song collection. Koorogi '73 kinda pads the whole thing out with the lead male vocals by Kageyama and lead female vocals by..... I have no idea, to be perfectly honestly. If I really listen to the song like fifty more times than the hundred or so times I've heard it over the years I could probably I.D. the mystery woman from the Columbia team.

Either way, it's a fun song...and the end of an era.

07. Aura ni kagayake! Great Five / Hironobu Kageyama

From: The CD Collection-- Gattai Tamashii ~Super Sentai Robot Song Perfect Collection~:

"This is Hironobu Kageyama's second Sentai mecha theme song and probably his most forgettable. I know I said I wasn't very impressed by his Changerobo theme from Changeman, but this one is just bland. My criticisms with that one were only magnified with this one. Well, he does sound like he was just a little bit closer to the microphone, but it's still distracting how low his vocals sound versus the music."

08. Telepathize shite kure / Katsuya Miura

A pretty solid ballad. I know this song is quite popular, and I can't really argue with that. I will just say that the vocalistic stylings of Katsuya Miura are pretty lacking. The music is quite good, though. The moody bass along with the backing vocals are the main feature.

Otherwise, I remember spending nights aimlessly cruising the streets of Havana in Driver 2 with this playing. Is it a fitting song for that situation? No, but...it happened.

09. Dashitemiyo ze! Aura Power / Hironobu Kageyama

I like the dreary optimism in the music. 

On the surface it's a pretty standard rock song (with a pretty long intro for some reason) but I always dug this the most on this song collection. This is the type of song that Kageyama can do perfectly in his sleep (I almost wrote with his arm tied behind his back...). The structure is just so damn good...the whole package is just great. 

This is the closest link to Kageyama's outside work than any other anison, IMO. If you pick up any of Kageyama's solo music from the 80s, this is pretty much what it sounds like. Yes, there was a point where his career became anison, but there was that fun era where he sang corny love songs. I kinda really like that Kageyama in a weird way...

Here's a random link to his cover of Jon Parr's St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion).

10. Ten Eyes ~5nin no hitomi~ / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

Weirdly they saved the action-hype song for the end of this tracklist. This is the only real action song of the series, to be perfectly honest. 

It's alright. I used to be hotter on this one, but really it's just another rollcall song...this time hyping up each character. Koorogi '73 is sparsely featured, which is acceptable, and SHINES cover the Yellow Mask and Pink Mask segments.

11. Ai no Soldier / Hironobu Kageyama

The series ending song. I know that Kokoro wa Tamago from Jetman is the best of the four Kageyama ending themes, but this is a close second. 

Personally...it also saddens me quit a bit. I don't know why I remember this, but this is the last song I listened to before starting my day on 9/11. That has always kinda haunted me, especially since it has the same underlying bleakness of the other Maskman songs, but it hasn't stopped me from enjoying the song in the years since.

It's definitely not bouncy, but it does carry along briskly. For extra fun, be sure to check out the Karaoke version. I almost prefer it that way...it's a different experience. 

12. Hikari Sentai Maskman [Original Karaoke]

13. Oretachi Ungler [Original Karaoke]

14. Lasy Action Kimetara Oshare [Original Karaoke]

15. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu [Original Karaoke]

16. Aura ni kagayake! Great Five [Original Karaoke]

17. Dashitemiyo ze! Aura Power [Original Karaoke]

18. Ten Eyes ~5nin no hitomi~ [Original Karaoke]

19. Ai no Soldier [Original Karaoke]

20. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu Type B -Bonus Track- / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

This is an alternate version of the Shot Bomber theme that replaces "Fire~! Shot Bomber!" with "Fire~! Jet Cannon!" in the lyrics. I guess that's the easy way to double your weapon theme songs.

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OVERALL: If you've been following my site long enough, you might be wondering what I'm smoking. How can the guy who utterly trashed the music collection from Maskman two years ago sing it's praises about it's song collection?

*shrug*

I'm just as baffled as you are. Don't blame me, though. The song collection is strangely 100% competent while the BGM, you know...the fuel and lifeblood of the series, is so weak. The BGM is just...so bad. Haha. Meanwhile, we basically have a pretty solid Hironobu Kageyama album with a few guest singers for the song collection. 

This is Hironobu Kageyama's second outing as Super-Sentai-Series-Songster...Superior (?) and he definitely had a pinch of maturity snuck in since his Changeman songs in 1985. He may have started with Changeman, but I think his Maskman songs are really where his anison career kicked off. The same year he basically did the whole song collection for The Headmasters, Saint Saiya was the following year, and was CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA'ing the year after that and beyond.....

So, yeah, I can safely recommend this one. It has some minor flaws, but it's otherwise an easily enjoyable album. 

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That's it for now. Please stay safe and I'll be back soon with more posts!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black
Song Collection: Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop REVISED

Ghost Warrior--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Fish-Out-Of-Water Action ThingK2--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie

2 comments:

  1. I love the main themes on this album -- OP, ED, mecha theme, movie/weapon theme. Everything else is a mixed bag, IMO. (The OP and ED are my favorite Sentai OP and ED. It was nice that this year's Chou Eiyuu Sai concert got Kageyama; it sucks that he just did the TV Size version of Maskman, but since he performed it to the karaoke track...it sounded pretty good. Maskman's OP is one song that they can never get to sound right live.)

    You're right about Moeru ze Fire, though. So bad. So goofy. And I can't believe the show has the nerve to use it in an episode! And in a fight scene! There's a song on the Changeman soundtrack that sounds *just* like it (track 2), but I can take that one more. I don't know why that is. I'd say it's my love for Changeman, but that doesn't help me from hating "Wakasa de Changeman."

    But I wanted to say about "Telepathize shite kure"...I'll listen to that song and be like "This is a good song...too bad they got a Xanax'd-out zombie to sing it." I have no idea who Miura is or how he got the job, but it's a song that's obviously from Takeru/Red Mask's point of view, and Ryousuke Kaizu couldn't have been a worse singer, so they were better off just having him do it.

    Isn't it funny that you hate the BGM so much, but you like the two songs that were composed by Goro Oumi? (I just looked up the song writing credits for all of the songs, because I didn't know if he was involved with any of the main themes -- turns out, he only composed the Angler and Lady Action songs and arranged one other. I also didn't remember Kageyama composed one of the songs! "Dashitemiyo ze! Aura Power" was the one he did, which would explain why it sounds like his solo stuff. I like when the singers show enough interest to write a song on their anison soundtrack.)

    Wouldn't it be awesome if they were able to get Kageyama to do Zenkaiger's theme? I know he's not the same anymore, but...it would be nice for the anniversary.

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  2. I think the only reason why the two Oumi songs work is because they're pretty conservative. The BGM is just packed with that "drum machine scat". Like...do you really want your children's drama BGM to be labeled as "experimental"? Hahaa. Sure you get a lot of that weird percussion in both songs, they just are pretty coherent.

    Honestly I would love modern Kageyama over the bores they keep using lately!

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