Disc 1: Studio Mix
|Curry Nochi Rice (Yui MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki||3:16|
|Watashi no Koi wa Hotch-kiss (Yui and Mio MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki and Yoko Hikasa||4:23|
|Fude Pen ~ Boru Pen~ (Yui MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki||3:57|
|Fuwa Fuwa Time (Yui MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki||3:55|
Disc 2: Live Mix
|Curry Nochi Rice (Yui MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki||3:20|
|Watashi no Koi wa Hotch-kiss (Yui and Mio MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki and Yoko Hikasa||4:30|
|Fude Pen ~ Boru Pen~ (Mio MainVo.)||Yoko Hikasa||3:59|
|Fuwa Fuwa Time (Yui MainVo.)||Aki Toyosaki||4:04|
I’m some kind of closet K-ON! fan, because I always feel ashamed to admit that I enjoyed K-ON! more than I’m letting on. I thought I got over this after my final K-ON! review (I lied about that being the last K-ON! post ever by the way), but I suppose I still have lingering doubts that continue to withhold itself in that closet. It’s immensely retarded of me, and I know that I shouldn’t be afraid to support what I like. Well then, enough of this silliness… I’m a K-ON! fan, and the music is one of the things that draws me into it. I’ve been excited about this release for a long time because I knew it was going to contain the full version of two of my favorite songs from the show, but it also comes with a few sweet surprises (how fitting). The album wasn’t supposed to get released until the 22nd, but it got leaked onto the wonderful internet. I listened, I enjoyed, and I of course plan to buy it when the real deal comes out. Since I don’t endorse piracy at all, you should do the same if you enjoy what you hear. Anyways, let’s get to my thoughts of the album…
Let’s start with the only song insert song we never actually got to listen to in the show, Curry Nochi Rice. Each song has two versions on the separate discs: the Live Mix version is the full version of the song with a more LIVE feel to it, complete with song introduction, clapping, and some back-up chorus; the Studio Mix version is just the normal full version of the song sung by Yui. As for the actual song… well, I can see why this was the only insert song they didn’t perform during the anime. It’s a very upbeat song, so of course Yui was the perfect person to sing this, and I’m glad they smartened up and didn’t throw in an inferior Mio version either. However, apart from the correct vocal casting, everything else about this song feels underwhelming to me. The keyboard is the dominant instrument for this song (the guitar had another rocking solo in the middle of the song, but we’ve had enough of those in the other songs, glad to see them focusing on something else once in a while), as it carries the strong and catchy presence throughout the whole thing, but it gets watered down by a very cluttered everything else. It just doesn’t stand out to like the other K-ON! insert songs have, and I can’t help but feel like this was some rejected commercial insert song for curry. To be fair though, I had this same underwhelming feeling with Fuwa Fuwa Time when I first listened to it, but I eventually warmed up to that and it became something I can’t stop listening too. Perhaps this song will share the same fate? Who knows.
Speaking of Fuwa Fuwa Time, let’s move on to Watashi no Koi wa Hotch-kiss. As cool as I think transitioning is, I’d rather go in order for something like this, sorry guys. Anyways, there’s quite a few noticeable differences between the LIVE Mix and Studio Mix for this song. The Live Mix is just like the show, Mio starts us off and Yui joins in to form the duet for the rest of the song. The Studio Mix has Yui singing the first verse, Mio singing the second verse, and Yui finishing the song up with the final verse. There also seems to be either a second guitar or a heavier emphasis on the guitar in the Studio Mix version, but whether or not that’s just my overexerted imagination or not is still up in the air. This is where it gets exciting for me, because this song is one of two reasons why I was so heavily anticipating this album. I love this song, everything from the affectionate melody and lyrics to Yui singing most of it even though I think this isn’t her kind of song. I’m quite biased towards this song because they performed it in the anime at such a crucial turning point, and it affected me just as much as it did Azusa, so that episode’s charm would have to be quite a big contribution to my love for this song. Even though the strange yet brief heavy guitar ruined the flow of the Studio Mix, I would have to say that is my preferred version because Mio has her own vocal solo. Honestly, as much as I love Aki, it’s songs like these than further prove that Yoko is the better singer overall. Aki only surpasses Yoko when the song fits that character voice, but Yoko has proven that her voice can adapt to any kind of song, and it’ll always sound good at worst.
Moving on to Fude Pen ~ Boru Pen~, this song is similar the previous song because I was eagerly awaiting the full version of this song as well, and it has the novelty and charm of the last episode to back it up. What does this mean? It means that my opinion is biased from the get-go, deal with it. The wonderful song starts off just as I remember with the snazzy guitar that makes up the intro, but can also be found in the middle and end. That’s not where the what makes up the spine of this song though; that belongs to the much quicker tempo mixing in with Yoko’s wonderful voice as she adds even more beauty to the already beautiful lyrics. It has that quaint feeling of love in it’s melody that the previous song had, but it also laughs at the previous songs attempts and shows just how a pro does it. Everything about it is so perfect and huaaaarrrrggghh I’m a Yoko fanboy now, I will follow her works to the ends of the earth if I have to. She has fueled the flaming passion of a thousand Tamads, and there isn’t an ocean big enough to stop me now. That strange oddity aside, there’s no really question as to which version is superior for this song, as the Mio would totally take out Yui in a boxing match. I did give the Studio Mix version an honest chance, but Yui just doesn’t step up to the plate like Mio did; it feels like I was listening to a completely different and inferior song. They need to make these songs for the sake of being good, not because they just want more tracks on their album and they know the silly fans will buy 15 copies each. So yeah, the Live Mix version of this song is where it’s at, and I’ll even go so far as to say that I would place this song over Don’t Say Lazy as my favorite K-ON! vocal song. Yes, I went there.
Finally, the last two tracks on both CDs is the Live and Studio Mix of Yui’s Fuwa Fuwa Time. There isn’t really much to say here; it’s the same song we all know and love that spawned strange 60’s montages, and changed the very meaning of the middle fingers from very inappropriate terms to love and peace. The big question is… which version do I prefer: Yui or Mio? This is probably one of the few songs in where the superior version isn’t so obvious (I believe Let’s Go!! would be the only other song to date), so I’m going to have to dissect each character individually. Fuwa Fuwa Time is a very light, fluffy, and uplifting (I didn’t even try to make that irony) song so it fits Yui’s voice really well. However, remember when I said that Yoko’s voice adapts to any kind of song though? Well she delivers in spades here, and she makes for some very tough competition. In the end I would probably say it’s a tie, but you guys can go ahead and tells me which you prefer. Either way, it’s still a great song, even if it takes some time to warm up to.
So the overall winner of this album is the Live Mix version of Fude Pen ~ Boru Pen~, and the biggest loser is any version of Curry Nochi Rice.
So that’s all there is too it. Overall, I’m getting the real deal as I believe this album holds the best of what K-ON! has to offer.Yeah, the fact that 90% of the songs are sung by Yui might turn some people off, but Mio has already had her time in the spotlight, and this CD just might bring in a new age of Yui fans. Even if the songs on this CD aren’t your cup of tea (HAHAHAHA), the Ritsu, Tsumugi, and Azusa Character CDs are coming out fairy soon (sometime in August?) so you won’t have to wait long to continue getting your K-ON! fix. I’ll be back when the time comes, and I already can’t wait to hear what else After School Tea Time has to offer.