Then Arashi comes in, and their first lines sound very Ohno-heavy (though all five of them are in there). The snazzy brass has exited the dance floor to graciously make way for the five beating hearts of the party, and what we're hearing the background now is an absolutely suave combo of a steady snare+bass drumstream with these jagged guitar accents and a deliciously subtle bass arpeggiating in the low range. Man, I love that bass. I love how subtle it is (because it's a bass!), how easy it is to miss it, but how once you hear it, you're always going to be looking for it. It's like that soft thick carpet that all the other melodies are thudding up against, and it's sexy, it's trendy and it adds a ton of life to the not-yet-opened-up Arashi voices in the main melody (I actually think that there isn't much harmonizing at all in the first verse, mostly just all five singing the same A-melody,with the individual volumes getting adjusted up or down according to the progression of the verse;while this sounds distinctly Arashi, it's really not their best sound; I like my Arashi's in harmony, thank you very much!).
The smooth synths round out the end of the first verse and there's just a slight brush of a tinkling instrument that breezes right through the swell of the surroundings (I adore the soundscaping throughout the song; you can really feel the depth and breadth of the accompaniment, making this party all the more vibrant!).
The Ohno-heavy fivesome comes back in with a cute little stepwise melody in "motto motto shiritai/ koi suru everyone" and I think I'm hearing Sakuraiba echo those last notes with a buoyant "so borderless!" They let that last "sss" sound linger just a bit longer than natural, just to dangle our appetites a bit as we continue bopping to the extremely bopp-able funk accents that seem to be popping out at us from every conceivable direction, forbidding us from resting our feet. Oh yes, this song doesn't want us to stop the bop for even a beat of breath as Arashi go on to the next "kotoba wa iranai/ mitsumete around the world" ("beautiful!" echo the autotuned members, sounding so so smooth it feels like a silk kimono slipping off Nino's narrow shoulders)... and then, oh brace yourselves, party people, because that little background swell in the guitar synth is not going to even half prepare you for the absolutely divine Ohno Satoshi that comes blossoming out in a cloud of glitter to arrest your heart, your lungs and all your poor gonads with that voice. Oh my god, that voice! "Motome au kokoro amazing" in that voice! Ahh! He sounds like honey but it's clear like dew, and there's this bright lilt to it that's weirdly tempered with something more soft... It's hard to describe it, and the best I can come up with is that if we could visualize Leader's voice here, that "motome a kokoro amazing" would be like a moonbeam glowing shrouded in some wispy silken material that's just thick enough to soften the brightness but not quite so thick that it darkens the light. I am making no sense here, but that's only because Leader's voice has stripped me of all my senses.
And that's just the beginning of the fun.
A delicate synth continues on from the "zing" of Leader's impossibly perfect "amazing" and it's like not only have we just fell into Wonderland, but we've also just opened a door to frickin' Narnia too! The synth dangles high and dribbles with an ethereal echo, making sure our minds are still half-delirious with that fairy-like voice of Ohno's before Sho comes in over the phone all low and sexy:
"So. Gimme more your love."
"OOO! MY BABY! Kono kimochi wa/
All because of you! Deatte shimatta kara/
Chippokena ai ja tarinai no sa/ motto ageru kara/
Kono sekaijuu no lady/ Give me more your love/"
Give me more your love. Hell yeah! Give me more your love! Are you feeling the love, my ladies of this world? Are you feeling that dangerously sexy undercurrent of Sakurai Sho coursing beneath the familiar timbre of Arashi voices in those "Gimme more your love"s? Holy mother of temptation, but that right there is what most of my seductive fantasies are made of: that voice, that low, smoldering, throaty and sensual voice (it totally reminds me his orgasmic Sakurapping in PARADOX)!
The first chorus isn't even over yet and already I think I'm out one ovary and have a heart floating out my rib cage like a lost soul waiting for a solid snip of a shinigami's scissors. Aaaahhhh~ What are you trying to do to us, Arashi? You better perform this song at your next live. You better have it choreographed. There better be some PARADOX-style "wanna make love wanna make love" hand motions for all the "gimme more your love"s, and yes, I want me some chikadzukitai MatsuJun a la "Love Situation" when he gets to his turn at the "So. Gimme more your love." And damn! since this entire song seems really Leader-heavy in terms of the vocal mix, let's make him show off some fancy footwork in addition to his slick hand motions. The funky bop is screaming for it, after all! The sekaijuu no ladies are screaming for it! And heck, I bet even Leader's own feet will scream for it once they get infected by this music.
Anyways, what I was trying to get across before Yama totally dissolved me was that once Leader did his otherworldly vocal blossom, all of Arashi opened up. The vocals prior to that were passable, but only so; with the first chorus, the Arashi voices got a much-needed shot of life (just listen to that swooshing "OOO! MY BABY!") and you really got the sense that the life of the party had finally woken up.
The second verse sounds much better than the first, even though it's essentially the same melody. It might be a personal thing, but I like Arashi miles and miles more when they sing solo or in duos for particular lines in songs. The emotion just gets conveyed so much more directly that way. With the five-strong ensemble chorus, Nino's delicate quaver gets covered up, Ohno's fine-tuned sleekness gets roughened, Jun sounds hollower, Sho is out of his sexy range and Aiba simply disappears altogether. So it was with joy that I heard MatsuJun starting off Verse 2 solo: "Baby it's a magic..."
Something about the way Jun is autotuned sounds really nice. I'm not saying that he can't sound good without autotune, because he can and he has (I always think of that one solo line he has in "Boku ga Boku no Subete" where he goes arinomamade mou ikkai arukidasou kanashimi koete and it sounds nasal, yes, but tugs at my heartstrings no less than Leader's perennially gut-wrenching semaru shinjitsu and kirakira to hana ga mau koro/tabidachi wo kimetta omoi wa, but I'm digressing here), but I do think that autotune suits him in the way that big flashy sunglasses suit rock stars; after all, MatsuJun is the showiest Arashi member; he has an incredibly strong instinct for performance and is always hyper-aware of his own stage presence. These instincts extend to his vocal performances, and he likes to give every note his all, often straining his voice rather unflatteringly. The autotune helps, and because he has such a strong nasal quality to his voice, it actually sounds less fake on him, too. I mean, I think it's pretty noticeable that Jun is the one that sounds closest to his natural voice when all five members go under the autotune machine.
Leader takes on from Jun, with "dore dake hanaretatte" and even as a huge fan of the natural Leader voice, I have to say that autotuned Leader is pretty slick to listen to too. I flailed my ovaries out when I first heard it in Hit the Floor from the phenomenal LOVE album, and this little line in "more and more" has that same quality. Loved the little melodic steps in "everywhere."
Sho is next up at in the autotune relay, and he's stretching his voice for range in the way that I don't find very attractive, but I still love him, because after those sexy gimme more your love accents, he can really do anything he wants in this song and I'll still be doe-eyed and putty-like before him. Sho's never really been one for those higher pitches anyways.
Nino sounds pretty unremarkable here. I'm actually kind of sad that Nino didn't get much of a standout part to play in this dazzling party of whack and fun, but Nino, unlike Sho, is in his comfort range here so he sounds a lot more relaxed singing this line, and I, being the weird OT5er that I am, just love being able to hear each and every one of the five beloved voices in melodic succession. Maybe in the next single, Nino, I hope you'll get a good solo part, because I do love flailing to your voice, too!
And finally, oh finally (are you ready for this?), we get Aiba. Oooohhhh Aiba. Maaaannn Aiba. Okay, if I thought Leader had already taken out an ovary back when he did his glittery moonbeam blossom thing, then Aiba pretty much KO'ed every last remaining bit of composure I still had with his rendition of what was essentially the same line.
"Niji kakeru kokoro amazing" zing zing zing...*Clink!**Sparkles* *Melty goodness drizzling all over your body*
I literally did the aural version of a double take when I first heard that last "zing!" Like, wait, what was that I just heard? Was that-- Could it be-- Aiba? As in, that familiar velvety teddy-bear Aiba? That breathy giggly Aiba? Did that Aiba just zing me with a puff of romantic glitter and an impossibly girly pitch?
Yes, he did. Oh, you bet he did. This wonderland is fast becoming my favorite place, and I'm already thinking of permanently moving to the bottom of this rabbit hole, because oh god! Aiba's voice. Aiba's high, sweet and innocent voice telling me about rainbows hanging across hearts while the soundscape does that blooming shift from funky bop to sparkling magic = assavfebawourbworbvaawr!
Go away, sanity. I don't need you anymore.
Oh wait, no, actually, please hang on just two seconds longer... because hey, I think I hear MatsuJun trying to get through to me in this viscous soundscape here:
"So." Awhoosh. "Gimme more your love."
And WHAM! (dead)
"OOO! MY BABY! Kono tsuzuki wa
It's up to you! Subete, mi wo yudaneru unmei wo
ukeireta nara, umare kawaru no sa
kono sekaijuu no lady! Gimme more your love!"
The choruses continue, repeat and we end the song on several repeats of the sexy-as-hell "Gimme more your love."
Perfect. Thanks, Arashi, for reducing me to incoherence. I now have a worm in my ear and no choice but to let it wreck its havoc in what remains of my brain.
You five life-ruiners.
Note: I have had very little musical training, so please don't quote me on what instrument is used where, because honestly I mistake flutes for oboes and harps for xylophones, so kids, don't use this for your music homework! I'm just a fangirl writing whatever ridiculous things that come to her mind as she listens to the music of her favorite artist. Forgive my wild imagination.