Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Little Glee Monster - Little Glee Monster iTunes mini-album

Artist: Little Glee Monster
Title: Little Glee Monster
Release date:  16 MAR 2014
Type: mini album
Version: iTunes

Packaging: None, purchased from U.S. iTunes store.


1. What Time Is It
Japan was hit by High School Musical fever back when those movies were a thing and the fact that this track is even on this mini-album is a reminder of that fact. It was always a light pop song and that has not changed with this cover. It does have some of the best English pronunciation for all the songs on this and is not a bad song to kick things off with. It has energy to it, which works perfectly for the age of the girls and they add some harmonies that do well to show off their vocals even though this is probably one of the least vocally challenging songs included.

2. 能動的三分間 (Noudouteki Sanbunkan)
Tokyo Jiken is the band that popular female J-rock artist, Sheena Ringo, had for a few years before going back to being a soloist but they put out some great songs and Noudouteki Sanbunkan is definitely one of them. It has that distinct Sheena sound to it that makes it a stand out track and the girls do not sound like they had any trouble with the vocals of the song. Personally I love it when artists cover Sheena Ringo songs as they are great songs on their own so it is hard to go wrong with them as long as the singer is good.

3. 女々しくて (Memeshikute)
If you have been following J-pop in the past couple of years than there is a high chance you have heard this Golden Bomber song. In fact the group is still milking the song for all it is worth on the end of year music programs this year as well. That aside if you wanted to know what this song would sound like with good vocals LGM gives you your answer. They also add some vocal layers to the song that really helps the group make this version of the song their own. I honestly care very little of the original but have no trouble with listening to this cover of it, especially as they add harmonies that I do not believe were in the original but still manage to fit the song well.

4. If I Ain't Got You
The other all English song covered on this mini-album and the girls tackle an Alicia Keys song. This also gives us an abrupt switch in song style as we get into ballad territory from more quick tempo fare. It does get a bit Engrishy at times but that seems to depend on who is singing and it is probably understandable that Manaka tends to be the worst as she is also the youngest of the group. But a solid cover of the song over all and I love some of the harmonies in this.

5. 果てなく続くストーリー (Hatenaku Tsuzuku Story)
It seems rather fitting that after an English language power house the girls would cover a song from one of Japan's power house vocalists, MISIA. If you have not listened to MISIA before you are missing out as her five octave range makes an impressive singer no matter what she sings. That said I am quite glad that I am not so familiar with this song of her's as talented as the girls are they are no MISIA. But they do sound great even though they seem to lack the deep and rich tone of MISIA's voice but having more than one vocalists for this track kinda helps make up for that by making sure the places that are meant to sound full do, if just by having someone harmonizing with the lead vocal.

6. あとひとつ (Ato Hitotsu)
The album finishes the cover tracks with a song from Funky Monkey Babies. This is a rather basic J-pop ballad and LGM really don't seem to do much with it to put their own mark on the song. Sure it sounds nice but it is easily the most forgettable track on the mini-album, as there really was nothing all that special about the original song in the first place.

7. Harmony
This is the one original song on the mini-album for the group and ends it on a high note. Not to mention it gives the girls a song that really lets them shine as it is something actually specifically written for them. So with this we really get to hear what makes this group really stand out, harmonies and big voices. This is a fun song that probably would fit better near the beginning of the mini-album with the other uptempo songs.

Overall: Since Little Glee Monster is not an idol group, but rather a female vocal group, my expectations for them are a bit different than for an idol group. Especially when it comes to vocals, but LGM hits all the right notes for me with this mini-album. While it is mostly cover songs it helps give a good idea of the range of the girls and I do not believe these songs have been covered to death, which is nice, as on their youtube channel they have plenty of other covers with some of those overly covered songs.

Being mostly cover songs there is no real flow to this mini-album. There seems to be some kind of attempt with most of the uptempo songs being at the start with the ballads near the end. But placing Harmony at the end does not quite work then as it is no ballad. So it is probably better to listen to the songs one their own or shuffled with others than to listen to this as a whole.

Overall though it still works well in showcasing the group and the skill of the members and Harmony gives a good hint at what to expect from the group as they make the switch to doing more original songs for their major debut.

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