Tommy February6: Be My Valentine

A new single by Tommy February6 isn’t quite the same event to look forward to that it was in the early 2000s, but in a world where otherwise rational people are claiming with straight faces that Uza by AKB48 is interesting and different, even bad Tommy is usually better than nothing. Be My Valentine seems to be shooting for a sort of 60s girl group vibe, complete with a (typically dodgy) English language spoken word interlude and a cover featuring a scooter (as any Japanese pop fan knows, scooters are the ultimate symbol of the 60s). It’s built around The Supremes’ Can’t Hurry Love/Lust For Life/Town Called Malice beat, which should add to the bouncy, 60s vibe, but in combination with the smooth-edged 90s-style Takeshi Kobayashi-lite vocal production and the fact it’s six fucking minutes long (The Supremes did it in half that and Phil Collins in even less) means that it comes out sounding more like a late 90s J-Pop tune, an era in which many chart acts like My Little Lover (and even Tommy’s own band The Brilliant Green) would occasionally channel the sounds of the 60s into their MOR pop. That it still sounds like something a bit different is more a sign of the narrowing of the J-Pop field since the 90s than it is of any inherent qualities of Be My Valentine. The shift in sound from the sparkly 80s synthpop that defined Tommy’s early 2000s material towards something closer to her 90s roots is something that might work out in the future, but it’s going to need a bit more fizz than this if it’s going to succeed.

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4 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Track

4 responses to “Tommy February6: Be My Valentine

  1. miffy

    You know, Tommy February6 is a better ambassador for Jpop than Kyary. An actual artist vs. a charismatic person. Pity the Tommy ship has passed.

    • I think Kyary was always going to be an easier sell though, since she plugs into a fashion scene that already has some exposure abroad. Also, with Tommy it’s not always clear when we’re supposed to be taking it seriously or not. I think there’s a danger that people in the West would hear Tommy as an imitation of British 80s pop gone wrong rather than as something fun in its own right. Tommy’s first couple of albums are genuine jewels of early 2000s J-Pop though. I reckon she ruined it by getting sidetracked with the pointless Tommy Heavenly6 project.

      • miffy

        Does Tommy knew that she made those genuine jewels of Jpop? Much of the “mainstream acclaim” of Jpop is nothing more of who sold the most CDs. Did she view her success based on how much she sold or by how much she influence other ppl?

      • I think the fact that Tommy Heavenly6 was more popular definitely influenced her. I never understood why Heavenly6 needed to exist. She was meant to be the “dark side” of the character, but I think February6’s dark side was obvious from the start (I mean, she made the cheergirl’s head explode in her first video for chrissakes!) Maybe it goes with what you said — fans were too thick to get it, so she did something bland and obvious.

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