Welcome back to the usual review corner! In the past 3 weeks I listened to almost everything BUTAOTOME offered to us during the last Comiket (with the only exception being the cover of Sekkenya’s ttewi!). Let’s take a look on them!
Okay. I wasn’t very excited about it ever since I learned it was a full SA album and it didn’t have any Violet Detector song. But hey, the pure and simple music is what should be put in first place. However, when the XFD was released, my hype reached the abyss (pun intended). Except for a couple of tracks, it sounded so uninteresting and samey. I was so few enthusiastic about this album that, for once, I decided to not buy it. If I managed to write this review and transcribe the lyrics is thanks to Jordi, who bought it at Comiket 95. With the full thing, I can say that while it has some strong points and is not as bad as certain older albums, it remains a not really interesting album. I could recommend it to fans of Subterranean Animism’s soundtrack.
First of all, the concept. BUTAOTOME never made anything for the 10th anniversary of pretty much every other Touhou work, and according to some interviews their favourite Touhou games are the first Windows trilogy, so why does SA get the special treatment? I know Daihinmin followed a similar concept, but albums based on fighting games are way rarer and there is not much focus on Akiyama’s compositions that aren’t Saigetsu. And Hifuu albums are fine because Hifuu is the official Touhou spin-off series :laughs: Honestly, with Abyss it just feels like they didn’t know what to do this time. Also, we finally learn that the Komeiji sisters are the true cursed and evil duo, even more than the Yorigami sisters! Here is the proof. (and let’s not forget how Hartmann’s Youkai Girl is a recurring theme in their entire track catalogue…)
But now let’s talk about the music itself. Comp’s tracks mostly feel very uninspired and lacking. The first two songs are basically Hartmann and 3rd eye number 10000 and it’s hard to get over that even with the other themes thrown in the mix. Chitei no Rakuen is basically the opposite of Makkuro na Yuki, but it has a too generic anime opening feel. Atsuki Seikan, while having some good vocal performances from Ranko, is a rushed ending.
The only two tracks with redeeming qualities are Yumeyuki and Chinpu Story. The first is a good and always appreciated ballad, with some Engen Kagura Uta vibes, while the second is an actually good and fun rock piece that despite being placed around the end of the album, it works better as intro track way more than the actual first song. The beginning of the story, of the journey into the abyss.
A good point those two tracks have in common is that they are arrangements of title/ending/credits themes, which are always rare in the BUTAOTOME track catalogue. I hope we’ll get more arranges of this type of theme in future, possibly of the more interesting ones!
With the Comp-arranged songs covering almost the entirety of this album, Paprika’s two songs are its highlight, at least in my opinion. Yokoshima na Honoo is a refreshing take on Nuclear Fusion and a jazzy number that improves the direction of Shizuku from the previous album. It’s also Ranko’s favourite track, by the way. And Hitotsubu no Kiseki is the better ballad of the album. It’s a beautiful and touching piece with just a gentle piano contrasting with Ranko’s powerful vocals.
In the end, I just hope BUTAOTOME won’t do a random “Ship” or “Treasure” album for UFO’s 10th anniversary. I prefer if they work better on the concepts, and leave the mainline Touhou game-themed albums to circles who are specialized on that. Tho, I’m fine if we get some love for Kogasa this year, right Comp? (inb4 Machibito super mega festival) Also, lift the Hartmann curse once for all. Leave Koishi to Digital Wing or someone else. :laughs:
Anyway, I will still buy this album one day, for my collection. As part of one of those “buy tot albums on Melonbooks, get a cool extra” promotions we’ll probably get with the next major album.
It’s paradoxical that the album with “old” material turns out to be the more appealing one of the duo. Usually the rearrange albums are made by making a bunch of songs in the same set style, but Guerrilla goes slighty more meta. Seija uses her power of inverting things and the style of the songs is reversed. Though, a better wording would be that some songs become faster, some others become slower. Perhaps that was the true intention.
The “Groovy” tracks are essentially punk takes of the old songs, while the “Mellow” tracks are acoustic versions. I think this is an album more recommended to people who are already familiar with BUTAOTOME’s music. Its strong point lies in being able to listen a different take of old and known songs. For example, I’m happy to listen generic anime opening AKA Rougetsu in a style more suited to my tastes. Unmei no Wa, that acoustic and mellow song from the second album, is now a punk and very fast song, its complete opposite. While Gekokujoujou and Chuudou Hokou, more typical BUTAOTOME songs, become acoustic and Paprilicious, slooooooooooooow and sweet. Ondeko no Namida gets a more standard acoustic take with the guitar. I also love this new version of Utakata, and this makes me ponder a bit about one thing. I wasn’t a fan of its rearrange on Ayakashi Yokochou because it felt like a filler track and it removed what made the original song so popular. But now I love this Groovy version, even if the original song remains the original. Perhaps, if the Rojiura version was released as a Mellow version in this album, I would have appreciated it much more.
I would love a Guerrilla 2. To keep with the amanojaku theme, it will probably have Sagume in the cover art. Though, I’m not sure if a Groovy version of Watashi Nokoshi sounds like a good idea. They should explore more styles in that cases (I’m still waiting for a metal Minna no).
However… HOLD IT! [BGM: Pursuit ~ Casting Magic from Prof. Layton vs Phoenix Wright. Or any Pursuit theme you prefer.]
So, I had some suspects during the past releases that Ranko no Ane, or whoever sends her the lyrics to put in the booklet, copies the lyrics from other sources instead of having them conveniently saved in the PC. This was kinda noticeable with Ayakashi Yokochou, where Koi no Yamai used half-width spacing instead of full-widh like every other song.
“Violet, those are small details, come on!” Well, I could agree, but let’s get to another point. The source of that seems to be the Japanese Touhou Kashi wiki, which was a primary source of BUTAOTOME lyrics until Ayakashi Yokochou. I myself admit that in the past I took the lyrics for new releases from there, if I didn’t get my copy earlier. But not before accurately checking them. And trust me, other than the different spacings, there was always at least one typo in every album. Now, the problem is that those typos were carried over Guerrilla’s booklet. We see どろどろ on Tsumi to Batsu becoming とろとろ (though I myself admit I catched that mistake a couple of years later, the booklet wasn’t really helpful). And a を got added in the first refrain of Gekokujoujou. But not in the final one, and this is because the Touhou Kashi Wiki had the lyrics written in that way. Ironic, because you can download that track from the official BUTAOTOME website, along with a pdf containing the lyrics. These aren’t even among the worst typos found on that website, but I’m someone who gets easily triggered when people mistype lyrics. Ane, please, use another source next time. Like this website! :laughs:
Touhou Nekokenban 17
In the 17th episode of Paprika’s piano journey, we go into space. Original theme-wise, this is the perfect album for me, since it mostly covers tracks from Hifuu albums with a bit of Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom (aka “the game I love everything about it, except the game”).
The style of this one is more similar to those in the Neko 5-6-7 albums, where the piano was an accompanying instrument for Paprika’s weird programmming things. Honestly I don’t get that much “space” vibes, except for the first and the last tracks, but I appreciate its stylish sound. It was defined as a house album, but I thought house music was something more akin to disco dance… I suck at genres. Anyway, I recommend to listen this one during calm nights, maybe while drinking something.
By the way with this album Tiramisu Cowboy got a special error page! Try to find it!
A new song made for the latest Melonbooks compilation. Its title is hard to pronounce and I have a simpler nickname for it, but we’ll get to it later.
September Pumpkin is a great source for very upbeat, rocking and trick-or-dango arranges. It could have been perfect for a generic BUTAOTOME compilation track. But instead… we get the entire opposite. It’s a quite atypical take to Ringo’s theme, with loose connections to it. The style is heavily reminescent of a certain song we find in the major albums. So, the nickname for this song is “Yodare 2”. This is a perfect song to represent the end of summer and I think it’s also one of their better Toranoana/Melonbooks Touhou compilation tracks and truly deserves to have its place in an album. Omatome 2 when?
Help me Erin cover
A cover version of that song about Kaguya needing a laxative. I listened some of the other versions in the album before the BUTAOTOME one, to prepare myself. The highlight was how each vocal circle personalized the break chanting before the final refrain. We had TUMENECO singing “Hifuu! Hifuu!”, Shinra-Bansho being on drugs or Girls Logic Observatory being ultra serious by removing the part. The song is a trashy meme, but since I have fun by listening those versions, then why can’t I have the same with my favourite band? And so I listened to it. And what I got was Ranko singing the same exact thing from the original version. Neither some trashy “BUTAOTOME! BUTAOTOME!” chantings. Sure, it might be funny to hear Ranko chanting “oppai!” (albeit censored), but its complete unoriginality leaves me unamused.
Tomo ni Aruku Sono Kokoro
The third time we have Ranko singing for a RD song. I’m a fan of RD’s works, but back when the album was revealed, I was so excited for Ranko’s track that it pretty much overshadowed everything else in the album. Even though, from the sample, it sounded like Uso to Doukoku 2. The comparisions were not limited to just the sound of the song or the vocalist, but also due to the character choice (Suika and Yuugi are both onis) and the album Metori being about the marriage between humans and youkai/non-humans (while Uso to Doukoku was a love story about Suika and a human). With the full thing, I can say this song is Uso to Doukoku 2 indeed. But without the final part. Which (and this might be a controversial opinion) it was the thing that made that song so popular. Without it, it’s just a good Ranko song.
And that’s all. :pap_lobster: