Single Review: Tohoshinki – “Stand by U”

 Tracklist:
1. Stand by U
2. Tea for Two
3. Sky
4. Stand by U (Love Behind the Mld Mix)
5. Stand by U (Less Vocal)
6. Tea for Two (Less Vocal)

Tohoshinki’s twenty-eighth Japanese language single, Stand by U, will be released on July 1, 2009. It is to be sold in two versions, a CD-only and a CD + DVD, the latter of which will have an extra B-side, titled Sky, which will be included in this review.

Stand by U presents yet more proof of Tohoshinki’s strength on ballads.  The song has a distinctly sentimental feel, with piano accents and subdued vocals during the verse. All of the boys sound very good in their respective sections, and their performance definitely succeeds in creating a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.

While still a ballad like the Stand by U, Tea for Two stands out because its overall sound is much funkier and more straightforward R&B. When comparing the choruses of both songs, they do start to sound more similar, however this particular song is great because it maintains the laid-back vibe while still being a unique song in and of itself.

With Sky, we get more of the signature Tohoshinki upbeat pop sound. It’s a fun and mildly uplifting summer-type track, exactly the kind you would expect from the likes of Hero, U-Know, Micky, Xiah and Max. That said, it’s not the catchiest or most groundbreaking song we’ve ever heard from them. You would not be missing much of anything by skipping it.

Summary: All things considered, this is a fairly strong release from Tohoshinki. They tend to really deliver on ballads and mid-tempo songs, and while neither Stand by U nor Tea for Two are instant classics like, say, “Love in the Ice”, the two combined are a pleasant listen and more than enough to compensate for the lackluster, formulaic pop of Sky.

Single Grade: A

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