Never give up girls | The history of Negicco

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There’s still a lot of confusion in recognizing Idol units in the midst of cute girls, shining smiles and sugary melodies: Someone says even Perfume are technically idols, and even though this might be true in a way, I don’t think the three girls from Hiroshima would fully agree with this. But does it even matter in the end? In all honesty, no. Labelling an artist is sometimes useless, as only music and talent is what makes the difference in the end, and Niigata based unit Negicco have lots of good music and passion to deliver, showcased in several of the trio’s discography with their 2013 studio album Melody Palette as the high peak of it and the best proof of what Nao, Kaede and Megu are made of. What makes Negicco so particular and, in a way, special, is their history and never-give-up attitude, and to understand this at the best, it’s necessary to take a few steps back.

Negicco formed in 2003 under contract of the Japan Agricultural Cooperative Group, as young promoters of the local Yawahada Negi, a particular kind of green onion related to Niigata’s typical food. While this may not sound like the most serious or enthralling beginning, the real intentions of these three girls were anything but a joke: Indeed, after the end of their promotional period, Nao, Megu, Kaede and Miku (who left the group in 2006) continued their activities together as an idol unit, keeping the green onion leaks as symbol of their identity.

Produced by their hardcore fan connie and creating the choreographies by themselves, Negicco continued to dance and sing for all the 2000s, and between change of formations and label shifts, in 2010 the three girls won the local idol award U.M.U. , a real turning point for their career. In 2011, after the release of their first Best album, they left their old label to join T-Palette, Tower Records’ indie label, finally getting more attention by the national audience. The three girls then started to release some very good singles, such as Ai no Tower of Love and Idol Bakari Kikanaide, to then release their first original album Melody Palette, a solid and consistent pop album with lots of variety and very good tracks emphasized by valuable collaborations, including tofubeats, Yasuharu Konishi (Pizzicato Five), RAM RIDER and many more, a factor that blessed the album with a very positive recognition in 2013.

After the release of their first original studio album, the girls explored new musical genres, a constant approach that always characterized their thirteen-year career, and started to adopt more acoustic and jazzy sonorities to their sound, with nice results like their classic track Sayonara Music and others like Sunshine Nihonkai and the most recent Hikari no spur, even though the same can’t be said for other tracks. The release of their second studio album Rice & Snow brought mixed feelings: While some tracks like some of the ones mentioned above are good, as well as others exploring new sonorities spacing from Techno-pop to a slightly Shibuya Kei feel, most of the other ones kinda resulted in less attractive compositions, leading to a controversial result represented by disappointment due to some shallow tracks and excitement for the future brought by some interesting and well done compositions exploring different sonorities. After all, this is what happens when an artist dares to explore new influences and constantly renew its sound, something that needs courage and tenacity, which are strong points of Negicco’s personality and something absolutely admirable: “Trying” can result into success or failing, but the will of constantly offering something different with great effort is what makes an artist alive, and that’s why Negicco are still a constant presence in the Idol scene. These girls are tenacious and incredibly passionated, and even now, after more than ten years, they still perform in small stages and put one hundred percent in their performances, something that definitely not all the short-life idol units out there can claim, and you can bet they will be like this for many years to come. Their strong personality is perfectly showcased in live performances where all the charisma of these three girls comes out, dancing and singing tirelessly, and constantly involving the audience: There are no special effects here, only lots of passion and fun, and their down-to-earth personality will make you love them instantly.

Let’s be honest: If they really wanted to, today Negicco could have been one of the most successful Idol acts of the mainstream scene: They have talent, passion, and their production team can craft valuable compositions, sometimes even above the standard of the Idol pop scene. And while all the most famous acts unavoidably move to Tokyo at a certain point of their career, Negicco decided to “protect” their identity and origins by remaining in Niigata, as their wish is still to represent their hometown at the best and with lots of love.

The truth is, Negicco are an anomaly in the Idol scene: in thirteen years they could have reached any milestone a standard Idol group dreams of, but at the same time, as local idols, they reached a national (and also global) fame that no other group in their category ever achieved, dancing, singing, crying and smiling for thirteen years, something that most of the Idol groups out there can only dream of. And despite their conservative, sometimes rebellious approach towards the Idol scene, they probably represent the most natural and human form of it, something that after all these years, judging from the tears they shed everytime they’re in front of their ever growing fanbase, is finally starting to pay off.

– Alex 

[LIVE REPORT] Negicco First Tour Never Give Up Girls!!! & Rice&Snow @ Okayama Crazymama Kingdom

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Negicco: how would you you describe them? (rhetorical question).

How do you describe these three girls that stayed in their native city of Niigata for something like 10 years, performing always the same songs written by the same lyricist/composer, performed at the same venues in front of the same audience, and still full of energy and dreaming for a bigger future? dreamers? How do you describe this trio made up to publicize some leek and so proud of this to take it as a symbol to print on fashion t-shirts and trendy designer tote bag? naïve? And then, how do you describe somebody who took more time than everyone else in Japan to rise to a national tour and probably gained more popularity overseas than in motherland? stubborn? Well, the fact is, these three dreamers, naïve, stubborn girls, are Negicco, and they are a take or leave, a unique case in the lavish idol scenery, and this is one of the biggest reasons to love them.

After a test national tour that you even can’t properly call “tour” (they performed in some minuscule live houses, and if you wanted to buy a ticket you had to send a mail to the manager asking him the possibility to join the concert and explaining the reason why you want to go…) Negicco leaved Niigata for the proudly called Negicco First Tour Never Give Up Girls!!! & Rice & Snow, merging together in this long title their humbleness, their motto and their second album title. Seventeen dates that started at Chiba and will finish at, guess where? Niigata, the navel of the world. During their national stroll, Negicco came to the lovely city of Okayama in Southern Japan for the second time (the first was during the infamous zero tour) and thank goodness this time you could buy the ticket at a normal store: so I bought it with reasonable advance and happily went to the concert.

Okayama Crazymama Kingdom is not so nationally famous, but a necessary step for all the little-medium artists coming to this area: it hosts every kind of artist from the most innocent teenpop singer to the dirtier metal band and it’s the most famous live house in the prefecture, rivaling only with Okayama Image which is the home of Visual Kei. Both venues are small like car boxes and the stages are not bigger than a bathtub, but this is quite good because the distance between you and the performing artist is incredibly short and you can enjoy in a unique and intimate way. Negicco are not so scrooge, and you could get the ticket for less than 4’000 yen, definitely cheap for the japanese standards, and the show was at afternoon: so it’s obvious that a well known place, cheap tickets and a early show attracted a large audience. I expected to find a lot of wota, and I found them, but different from what I thought: out of about 300 persons, 95% were men, but more than half of them was older than 35 or 40 years old and at least 20 people were over 65 and could be Negicco’s grandpas. The strong fans were in the first row, but the real deep hard-core wotas were at the end of the room, grouping together and leaving some space around them: when the concert started it was easy to understand the dimensions because of the dance and choreography going on with the songs, of course. The wotas are a kind of élite, a closed club: when I entered the club everybody saw me like an alien, because I’m a foreign man, or probably because for the first time a foreigner fan joined an idol concert in Okayama, or maybe because everyone knows everyone both on Internet and in real life, so I was definitely a three-times alien.

The concert started at 17:01 with what is probably the best song out from Negicco’s second album Rice&Snow: BLUE, GREEN, RED AND GONE, composed by a member of the electro-rap unit Kuchiroro, talking about a car trip on Yokohama’s free way, brilliant in its circular rhythm and flamboyant drums arrangement directly reminding that extraordinary remix for Pizzicato Five’s It’s a Beautiful Day, composed of a stunning and hypnotic song-long drums virtuoso performance. Enlightened only by headlights of the colours of the title of the songs, the performance was watched in complete silence by an enchanted audience, who woke up only from the second song, the funny Party ni tsuite, warmed up on the instant classic Sayonara music, and got completely on fire with Festival de aimashou. All the songs were literally fierce jumping routines and after 20 minutes the back of Nao☆ was completely sweat-soaked, but she continued to smile. From that moment on, the concert was simply no more a concert: it was a gathering whose participants were just part of the same united family. The wota élite broke up and everybody felt the same feeling: happiness. Negicco restlessly sang, jumped and sweated on the stage for a grand total of two hours and more, and so did the audience.

After the first four songs, the girls took a short break to greet the audience, introduced themselves and talked about silly things like the cheap coffee at vending machines, the taxis of Okayama or how much Megu wanted to eat curry that very night. All of these things are just exactly what idols are: close yet untouchable dream girls. They speak the same simple language of the audience, interact with people asking lots of questions (during the second break there was a conversation about where to buy some stuff they need, asking the public the addresses of the shops and other minute details, and I was shocked) and act like little sisters or so. They are next-door stars which hearts are open to the ones who want to join them. It’s a beautiful sensation, it’s not like a concert, it’s just like seeing long-time friends.

The rest of the concert was a mix of a good half of Rice&Snow, some songs from Melody Palette and only one of their early songs,Attouteki na style, that featured a detailed and complex wota dance performed by the entire crowd in a collective hug, and yes, it’s been beautiful and touching. The songs from the Melody Palette era got some choreography with arms movements and most of all the typical wota screams calling the nicknames of the idols during their singing turn. The live experience of these tracks is definitely the best way to enjoy Negicco: while this could be said for live shows in general, here this is particularly emphasized because all of their songs are just thought to be performed rather than listened. So even the most boring songs from Rice&Snow, performed live, finally get a sense: Pajama Party Night is definitely going to be a strong suit, Futari no yuugi has that 80s vibe perfect to revitalize the setlist,Hadashi no Rainbow is perfect as connection song (and showcases a cute dance) and most of all, that unintelligible mess that is Jiyuu ni, that becomes an asbolute must of all their concerts from now on with all its styles and singing and rapping and speaking and hand clapping and lalala and so on, involving the audience in the choreography, representing what is definitely the best performance of the entire concert. It’s surprising to see how a not-so-well identified idol unit like Negicco get a perfect identity in the live performance, giving a shameless sense of fulfilling happiness to the audience with all of their choruses and letter spelling, and if in the albums you can’t stand them, well, at the concerts you want more more and more.

During the encore, the girls played with the audience (the oldest guy was the happiest) and performed the last two songs, the anthems Negative Girls! and that perfect song that is Tokimeki no headliner. Unfortunately they didn’t perform the masterpiece Idol bakari kikanaide, but you can’t say you’re unsatisfied after such a long setlist and the demonstration that Negicco are the best heir Shibuya kei successors survived until today with their unique and oblique mix of styles, genres, instruments and moods mixed together and glued by their smiles. Maybe this is their long-searched identity: the smiles. Kaepo’s naïve smile, Nao-chan’s dreamer smile and Poncha’s stubborn smile are the best common denominator of their long career, that I hope will last for a long time, full of amazing concerts like this one.


Negicco First Tour Never Give Up Girls!!! & Rice&Snow live @ Okayama Crazymama Kingdom

Setlist:

01 BLUE, GREEN, RED AND GONE
02 Party ni tsuite.
03 Sayonara music
04 Festival de aimashou
– MC
05 Anata to Pop With You!
06 Hadashi no Rainbow
07 Cream Soda Love
08 Jiyuu ni
09 Attouteki na style
– MC
10 Life Is Candy Travel
11 Futari no yuugi
12 Pajama Party Night
13 Triple! WONDERLAND
14 Hikari no spur
– Encore –
15 Negative Girls!
16 Tokimeki no headliner

– panapp

Negicco – Nee Badiya | SINGLE REVIEW

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Release Date: August 11th
Formats: CD, CD + DVD, Analog 7′ Vinyl
Number of Editions (5): Limited Edition Type A (CD + DVD), Type B (2CDs), Type C (CD – 1 track only) Regular Edition (CD only), EP Limited Edition (7′ Vinyl)

More than ever in the last couple of years, the story of Negicco has finally come to light and made the mainstream scene acknowledged of the reality and the struggles (and genuine successes) that composed the thirteen years-long career of the Niigata-based local Idol unit, an act that’s an anomaly in a genre that averagely sees the rise and fall of its groups in less than half of the time Negicco have been active.

Now, after more than a decade, the “Never give up girls” are still active and more vital than ever, cause their story evolves slowly but with consistence and genuine results: From the struggle of getting the well deserved recognition they’re starting to achieve now, to the search of a sound that could represent their identity that made their pre-T-Palette era a mixture of different sounds, it really seems like Negicco finally found their recognition and music stability they’ve been seeking for years, and their new single Nee Badiya is the proof of it: The title track sums up the sound that represented the unit for the past few years, now improved and finally getting rid of misleading elements like the sometimes forced idol chants in all benefit of a structure that remains simple but functional, flowing much better if compared to their past compositions; the instrumental sounds great and “alive”, with every instrument putting out the best to give a jazz/funky charisma (sometimes slightly reminding of 90’s Shibuya Kei) to a track that delivers an happy and thoughtless vibe in a catchy key, mainly thanks to the chorus that will easily get stuck in your head in no time. The singing of the girls sounds improved as well, and better balanced between the verses/bridge too, which is something that comes to the ear in the whole single more than once.

Singing is indeed the most surprising part of the second track Oyasumi, a slow paced ballad that detaches itself from everything we’ve heard in Negicco’s discography for its pleasant and classy feeling. Despite being five minutes long and pretty much repetitive, it’s simply a pleasure to listen to it, and the above mentioned vocals are what makes it kind of unique for Negicco, reaching levels of expression rarely shown by the girls, showcasing an interesting improvement in vocal skills that backed by a soft and relaxing instrumental make Oyasumi a nice piece to add to their discography, and a good variation of their sound.

It’s clear that both track on this single are the result of a now well developed sound that Negicco decided to make their own, improving it one release after another and reaching interesting and very nice levels with Nee Badiya. Without a shade of doubt, this is Negicco’s most convincing single in a while, and I can’t wait to see how the girls will manage their new and finally stable music identity. The fact this release already reached the top of the Oricon Daily Chart, and their future participation at the Perfume FES!where the girls will hit the stage together with their beloved role model J-pop group Perfume, makes it feel like Negicco’s long awaited success and recognition has finally arrived. And with all the passion and love they show with every release and concert, we can only wish to Nao☆, Megu and Kaede all the best for their future, sure that they’ll never give up.

Vote: 7 / 10

Tracklist

[CD]

01. Nee Badiya
02. Oyasumi
03. Nee Badiya (Instrumental)
04. Oyasumi (Instrumental)

[CD 2 | ReNegi – Limited Edition Type B exclusive]

01. Summer Breeze (Royal Mirrorball remix)
02. Festival de Aimashou (bo en remix)
03. Negi-sama Bravo☆ (Tomggg remix)”

[DVD]

01. Nee Badiya (Music Video)
02. Oyasumi (Music Video)

* Note: The Limited Edition Type C only contains the Nee Badiya track. The Regular Edition contains both songs and instrumentals.

– Alex

Negicco – Rice & Snow | ALBUM REVIEW

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Since 2003, Negicco have delivered music and performed live on a regular basis on several stages between Tokyo and their beloved city of Niigata with no sign of slowing down, always keeping up their work with a smile on their faces and occasionally some tears. Negicco isn’t a common group after all, and in all honesty, as the most popular local Indie Idol unit of Japan, they are an anomaly in the music industry: Being active for thirteen years (we’re talking about girls who performed with Perfume in the early days), gathering a very attached fanbase, and still keeping their local identity intact while performing on the same kind of stages they were hitting when they were barely teenagers, shows how much these girls love what they do, but also casts a shadow on their future and on their real intentions as artists, because at the moment, it isn’t exactly clear what direction Nao, Megu and Kaede are taking. Their contract with well known indie label T-Palette and the release of their first, impressively good album Melody Palette looked like the beginning of a new era and the turning point they deserved as talented Idols and veterans of the scene, but as anticipated by the weak series of singles released in the past year, with their second full length album the result is unavoidably and sadly weaker.

That doesn’t mean everything is bad, but it’s clear that Rice & Snow is an album with no coherence or consistence at all, despite its clear approach: What Negicco tried to do is to create a structured album featuring songs showcasing both their classic synth-pop sound and their delicate, simple and instrumental pieces repeatedly proposed during this era, with a result that gives mixed feelings but also clear answers on what these girls and their long time producer connie can do in terms of choices. With a smart and almost coherent flow going through the entire record, Rice & Snow alternates sections of electronic and upbeat pieces and slower tracks, for a various experience composed of songs that sometimes reach their achievement, and sometimes not. Despite its clear flaws already analyzed in my previous review, Triple! WONDERLAND finds its place in the album as an energetic opening and a nice way to kick off the album with the formula the girls still keep close to them, also well represented by the following Tokimeki no Headliner, one of the best tracks on the album and of their recent catalogue, featuring a very particular, almost melancholic vibe balanced by a nice structure and catchy choruses, leaving behind the sometimes too cheesy attitude found in several tracks of their discography. But while the album kicks off nicely, the central part of it is dominated by the softer and more instrumental approach adopted in most of their recent productions, matching their image of “pure girls” and local idols greatly, but with shallow and honestly boring results on the musical side. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s entirely bad: The production is crystalline and some ideas are really nice and well developed, like the nice guitar riffing and rythmic section in Sunshine Nihonkai or the catchiness of 1000% no Kaotomoi, but in the midst or repetitiveness and exaggerated length of these tracks, these are sadly details that get lost in generally shallow and excessively cheesy songs that will just get through your ears unanimously with no real highlight or charisma to entertain; What’s even worse, one of the most famous and played tracks of their catalogue, Sayonara Music, isn’t present here, a real shame as this excellent track could have well represented this side of their sound way better than half of the tracks present in this record.

Looking at the bright side, the flow in this album luckily brings the listener to more interesting sounds, despite not free of flaws: Futari no Yuugi and Pajama Party bring very nice 80’s synth-pop sonorities that can entertain despite suffering from a way too lengthened structure where a more direct approach could have worked better, while BLUE, GREEN, RED AND GONE and Space Nekojaracy represent the most interesting part of the album, as experimental tracks playing with electronic sonorities and particular structures, probably the first real series of tracks on the album that while shamelessly betraying what proposed just two tracks before, can actually entertain and offer a new, unexplored and actually promising side of the Negicco sound that works way better than anything these girls did in the last year. The album reaches its end with the nice and catchy Hikari no Spur and a delicate ending, but the feeling left by this album is mixed and uncertain: Their classic synth-pop sound works well but it comes in a very little dose here, while the delicate and instrumental sounding tracks weren’t fitting their musical identity in their singles as well as in this album; Interesting experimental sonorities brought by some tracks towards the end of the record give hope to the future of this group and bring up the album from the overall dull and shallow feel that permeates most of its tracklist.

Hardly an album has been so various yet confusing at the same time, but while several flaws stain its composition, there are also some good tunes to listen to it, and what’s most important, it still shows that these girls and their production team have talent and strength to stand up despite the uncertain and confusing result brought by this album. The hardcore fans will probably appreciate Rice & Snow, while the others will hardly come back for a full in-depth listen, but they will still keep hope alive for the future as some promising signs are hidden in this album.

Verdict

Rice & Snow confirms what every Negicco fan already knew, and the controversy brought by this album (with all its pros and cons) gives clear answers to these girls’ musical directions: Their classic synth-pop sound still works well, their delicate and more instrumental approach is shallow and doesn’t bring interesting results, and their talent is still there as represented by some interesting experimental vibes that we hope to see more often in the future. Rice & Snow barely reaches a sufficient result, but it brought light to what these girls can do best and the road they may want to take to finally reach what they didn’t achieve in thirteen years of career: A clear musical identity.

Vote: 6 / 10

– Alex

Negicco – Hikari no Spur | SINGLE REVIEW

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Release Date: December 2nd
Formats: CD, CD + DVD, 7′ Vinyl
Number of Editions (4): Limited Edition Type A (CD + DVD), Limited Edition Type B (2 CDs), Regular Edition (CD only), Analog Limited Edition (7′ Vinyl)

In their eleven years career, Negicco experienced lots of changes in terms of music directions, spacing from classic Idol music to Techno-pop, Jazz and Pop rock, and even a bit of Trance, all of them built on their solid J-pop core sound; But despite this numerous and sometimes repentine change of directions, the three girls from Niigata always managed to deliver good music and expose their pure and down-to-earth personalities their fans love, giving coherence and excellent flow to their bigger productions mainly represented by their 2013 album Melody Palette, able to unite several music influences under the same roof and make them work greatly, for a result that represented one of the best Indie Idol albums of 2013.

Lately, though, this loss of a precise music direction and trademark sound started to influence negatively the Niigata-based group, with their last two singles falling in bland tracks that, while still finding some value during their energetic live concerts, don’t even represent half of what these really talented girls and their long time producer Connie can do. In this sense, Hikari no Spur doesn’t represent the revolutionary single some fans were waiting for, and not even the birth of a definitive style that could widen the girls’ popularity, but it’s a step in the right direction that brings Negicco outside that sense of monotony and shallowness that recently hit their career for the first time, despite the shadow of it still slightly lurking around.

The truth is that Hikari no Spur is a nice single that fully achieves its main goal, which is to be a Winter/Christmas release to warm your bones during the shivering season and to enjoy these girls’ adorable personalities in such a festive period of the year. The first track and A-side takes a little step back to the Negicco classic formula, that first of all brings back the order with a standard structure finally free of the repetitive Idol chants and replaced with the classic verse-bridge-chorus that works just fine with this kind of tracks. Nao☆’s solo singing welcomes the listener with a catchy and happy chorus, later followed by verses where each girl gets her spot, showcasing once again their different but cute and not excessively cheesy singing, well balanced during the whole length of the track. The above mentioned chorus comes to full life as all the girls’ voices join in, with a melody that will easily get stuck in your head while summoning happy and thoughtless feelings, for a simple but definitely well made passage enriched by a shiny and delicate instrumental that shyly gets the spotlight in different parts of the track, giving the right feeling and variousness to it.

The following track 1000% no Kataomoi keeps the wintery and festive atmosphere alive, but differentiate itself with a funnier and upbeat vibe; The entire track exposes its identity with the happy and thoughtless singing of the girls and with an instrumental that emphasizes each instrument delicately, from the piano to the electric guitar, coupled by occasional more exposed bass notes and dreamy synths that refine the atmosphere with class and delicacy, with a very nice result that elevates this entire single as a perfect Negicco Christmas single.


Verdict

Hikari no Spur wants to be nothing but a cheerful and happy single to listen to during the Christmas season, and it achieves this goal with simpleness and delicacy, composed of quality instrumentals and good interpretation by the girls, who literally fit the festive atmosphere in the best possible way (who wouldn’t feel like it after traveling to Finland?). Negicco fans will love it, while occasional listeners will find a pleasant single that will deliver great atmosphere and an adorable personality. It’s great to see Negicco going back on track with a nice single, and we hope the new year will ultimately see the three girls from Niigata coming back with more quality music, leaving behind the shallow sounds that represented their most recent period. For now, we can enjoy this single and wait for a thoughtless and happy Christmas to come. Konnichi Negi Negi!

Vote: 7/10


Tracklist

[CD]

01. Hikari no Spur
02. 1000% no Kataomoi
03. Hikari no Spur (Instrumental)
04. 1000% no Kataomoi

[CD 2 – Limited Edition Type B only]

01. Koi no Express Train (ayu toky0 arrange version)
02. Soushisou Ai (Ara Koi remix)

[DVD – Limited Editon Type A only]

01. Hikari no Spur (Music Video)
02. Hikari no Spur (Making of MV)
03. T-Palette Records president prank (!)

Negicco – Triple! WONDERLAND | SINGLE REVIEW

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The girls from the Niigata based idol unit Negicco definitely made themselves notice during the last year in the indie idol panorama: After the release of the strong Melody Palette album and Tokimeki no Headliner single, Nao☆, Megu and Kaede are now back stronger than before with a new single packed by their long time producer connie and a team of talented musicians that made us appreciate their previous releases under the T-Palette label. The three girls proudly hailing from their hometown will need all their strength to show once again their talent and energy, not only to satisfy all the fans that longly awaited for this single, but also to continue the line of good releases and get the exposure they need and deserve for being active for over ten years. Was the waiting worth it?


[A-SIDE] Triple! WONDERLAND

An A-side generally needs to be strong, and Negicco totally did everything possible to follow this concept with Triple! Wonderland. Beginning with a shiny melody, the song kicks in with one of the “idol chants” Negicco have been using for a while, a great boost for live performances, but that kinda slows down the mood set up by the brilliant and exciting introduction during a normal listening session. The verses are definitely the most well developed part of the song, featuring a groovy, slapping bass and a funky guitar that perfectly couple the singing of the girls, each one getting their spot in every verse with great excitement, giving the perfect touch to the upbeat and almost over excited atmosphere. The pre-chorus bridge pretty much follows the same concept, exactly as the chorus, now filled with synths to make everything even more shiny and brilliant. The song goes on with another chorus, a standard vocal-only bridge and a final chorus, for a simple structure that’s almost convincing… or, better, could have been convincing.

To make it brief, Triple! Wonderland isn’t that bad, but there are two major problems. First of all, while the shiny and upbeat mood is surely exciting and good, they went a bit too far with it: Don’t get me wrong, you’ll go insane if you’re a fan attending one of their intimate and funny concerts, but it sounds a bit too cheesy and almost forced during a normal listening session. Second, probably the thing that kills the structure of the track and gets really annoying with time, are the above mentioned “idol chants”; Negicco always used them accurately without exceeding too much, and almost always appropriately, but this time they exaggerated and played with it too much: In all the 4 minutes and half of the song, there are four of these chants, one at the beginning, one before the main bridge, one after the final chorus, and another, probably the only one placed correctly, at the end of the first chorus. All of this not only lengthen the song unnecessarily but ruins what would have been a standard and nicely structured song, ruined by these chants popping out of nowhere when you less expect it. Without these issues, Triple! Wonderland would have been a maybe too cheesy but still good song, and it’s a shame when these girls can express all their personality and the production team craft detailed and good instrumentals. Not bad, but it could have been way, way better.

[B-SIDE] LIFE IS CANDY TRAVEL

The fans of that great song that is Sayonara Music will be happy to know that the production team behind Negicco decided to make the B-side of this single pretty similar from a stylistic point of view, but sadly, the excitement will probably disappear as the song will reach its end.LIFE IS CANDY TRAVEL has a soft mood, definitely relaxing after all the synth euphoria of the previous song, and the instrumental (without considering the way too plain structure) is still on good levels, but the whole song is just forgettable. It doesn’t catch the attention in any way, and it fails in giving something at least interesting to make it enjoyable, and you’ll hardly press the replay button for this track. It’s still convincing in the production and quality fields, but when the singing of the girls is unexpectedly lifeless and the song just plain boring, that alone isn’t just enough to bring up the hopes for this track. Really, there isn’t anything much to add, and there’s no way this song will get stuck in your head or simply be interesting enough to give it a second listen. Totally forgettable.


Verdict

The biggest issue of this entire single is the exasperation of the formula that made Negicco’s song great, with a messy result that’s disappointing, especially if compared to the previous great releases from the Niigata trio. From the way too over pumped and badly structured A-side to the plain and almost lifeless boring B-side, this single fails in creating a good balance and it doesn’t reach a sufficient or at least reasonable result in none of the two tracks. Triple! Wonderland is still a song with its own live potential, but not that suitable for continuous lonely listens, while LIFE IS CANDY TRAVEL is a failed attempt in proposing the successful Sayonara Musicmood in a softer key that just doesn’t work.

Perhaps what these girls need is to either continue with their own style in the right way as they always did, or take a step forward and evolve their sound into something more mature and fresh. Whatever Nao☆, Megu and Kaede will do, we hope they won’t repeat the same errors and take this single only as a moment of weakness.

Vote: 5.5/10


Tracklist

1. Triple! WONDERLAND
2. LIFE IS CANDY TRAVEL
3. Triple! WONDERLAND (Instrumental)
4. LIFE IS CANDY TRAVEL (Instrumental)