Album Review: BRIGHT – “Real”

Tracklist:
1. Theme of BRIGHT ~Real~
2. I Like That
3. キライ…でも好き ~アイシテル~ (Kirai…Demo Suki ~Ai Shiteru~; I Hate You…But I Like You ~ I Love You~)
4. Shining Butterfly
5. 言葉にできなくて (Kotoba ni Dekinakute; Can’t Describe It)
6. Warm It Up (Interlude)
7. Dance With Us
8. I Know
9. Secret
10. Feelin’ You
11. Promise You ~卒業~ (Promise You ~Sotsugyou~; Promise You ~Graduation~)
12. 美女と野獣 (Bijo to Yajuu; Beauty and the Beast)

This is BRIGHT’s second full-length album, which was released on February 24, 2010. It peaked at #38 on the Oricon Weekly Chart.

I really like how the girls’ wardrobe on these covers is classy, yet very contemporary. A+.

~

A little-known fact about BRIGHT is that they began as a choral group, with original members Meg, Nagi and Mimi, and this musical background really comes into play in Theme of BRIGHT ~Real~. This opening song, short but sweet a cappella song with lyrics all in English, helps the listener get a good idea of the level of vocal skill that these girls possess. The harmonies in this song are gorgeous and their vibratos are to die for. One couldn’t ask for better introduction from a former choral ensemble.

Now it’s time to cut to the chase with I Like That, an upbeat, jazzy song that gives us something to move to. Aside from just being a really catchy song, it’s pleasing to hear how each member holds their own and doesn’t let the rapid-fire verses get the best of them. Seeing as it was meant to segue into the real meat of the album, this was a great song.

I have a special fondness for キライ…でも好き ~アイシテル~ since it was the song that introduced me to BRIGHT, but also because it is a great song in a number of ways. For one, the lyrics are about not being able to express your feelings to the one you love because they’re with someone else, which is something I think a lot of girls can relate to. Then there’s the music, a lovely pop song reminiscent of Yuna Ito’s 今でも会いたいよ...complete with sweeping key change, and of course, the girls’ vocals, soaring to convey the emotion of the text. It’s an awesome song to represent BRIGHT’s young, girlish image as well as showcase their vocal talent.

Shining Butterfly is a nice way to rebound from the heartbroken previous track. With an electronic, easily danceable instrumental, it’s instantly catchy in all its pop glory. The girls’ vocals are really nice on this one, and it shows how versatile they are. I feel the song could have done without the rap section, which was a little distracting since Nagi’s English isn’t so great. All things considered, though, this is a pretty catchy dance song and I wouldn’t skip it over.

With 言葉にできなくて, we begin to recognize where BRIGHT’s strengths lie. This song is a gorgeous midtempo R&B ballad, with a gritty beat and almost music box-esque synths. I think the only thing that could be improved on in this song would be the overuse of English phrases. Here, the simple and sentimental meaning being conveyed by the Japanese lyrics is being complicated by random English words thrown all about. It’s something the song definitely could have done without.

At well under a minute long, Warm It Up (Interlude) is a short but sweet segue into Dance With Us, a go-for-the-throat dance song in the style of, say, Koda Kumi only less…provocative. Beats and synths combined with confident vocals make for a very contemporary track. Interestingly enough, the English phrases in this song have the opposite effect as they did in 言葉にできなくて, since there really is no deeper meaning to complicate here, lol. In any case, this is a good song.

I Know is a pretty straightforward, traditional R&B song. As one can pretty much expect, the vocals in this song are very good, but I guess you could say I was left a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. Admittedly, it’s a nice song, but there really is nothing special about it. Basically, this song is forgettable.

Coming back to the dance genre, Secret picks the pace up quite a bit. This is the most electronic of all the songs on this album so far, so that’s very interesting to hear. The music in this song has a certain futuristic sound to it, and the girls adjust their performances accordingly. Pretty good song.

The breezy, refreshing Feelin’ You, is next, and since summer is just around the corner (for me, at least, since I’m in school and I always want to believe summer is close), it really fits my mood at the moment. Sometimes a simple pop song is all you really need, and this song certainly fits into that category.

And sometimes a simple ballad is all you really need as well. Enter Promise You ~卒業~, a ballad that wears its heart right on its sleeve. It comes off as a stereotypical, generic ballad at first, but its sentimental value can’t be denied. Plus, who can resist these vocals? They’re gorgeous. There’s so much to like here.

Call me a sap, but 美女と野獣 might be my favorite song off of this album. Basically, what we’ve got here is a contemporary R&B/J-Pop version of Beauty and the Beast – yeah, like Disney. The vocals in this song are simply spectacular – the harmonies are flawless as usual, and the ad-libbing is gorgeous (I heard whistle register. Be still my heart). Using this song to close out this album was a risky one, but I loved it and I can’t imagine the album ending on any other song.

Summary: Because BRIGHT are a vocal group, it should come as no surprise that the vocals on this album are brilliant. There’s no denying that these girls can sing. However, it almost feels like real vocal technique has become a novelty in pop music, to the point where hearing it is a treat in itself. BRIGHT has stepped in to give us an album that is vocally excellent, from beginning to end, matching the music when it’s at its best and filling in for it when it leaves something to be desired. As far as J-Pop goes, it’d be hard for me to find another group or solo artists with talent this obvious. Anyone who even has a passing interest in BRIGHT or this album, please listen to it. I bet you’ll find something to like.

Album Grade: A
Recommended Tracks:
キライ…でも好き ~アイシテル~
| 言葉にできなくて | Dance With Us | 美女と野獣

6 thoughts on “Album Review: BRIGHT – “Real”

  1. Yay BRIGHT! This is most likely my favourite album of the year so far. These girls deserve a much larger fanbase, so many people have yet to hear their talent!😦

  2. Pingback: Album Review: BRIGHT – “Real” « a song for xx Information

  3. Wow, great review. I think the girls’ vocal ability was what struck me the most about them when I first listened to this album. Definitely agree they should be more popular with the amount of talent they have.

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