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- Age Rating: All
- Released By: ADV Music
- MSRP: 14.99
- Aspect Ratio: CD010
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
By Lauren Goodnight
August 22, 2004
Release Date: July 13, 2004
What They Say
© ADV Music
The Anime X-Plode! compilation CD was the brainchild of Rod Boaz and Mike Eckart, co-founders of Elastic Media Corporation - an anime dubbing and music production company based in Los Angeles. During the process of working with a variety of voice actors and musicians, Boaz and Eckert noticed that many artists had an interest in anime that reached farther than simply ADR production. The firm first initiated the concept by asking members of the eclectic band Jambalaya to write a song based on the Gunparade March series, which Elastic Media was in the process of dubbing into English. The idea to make a compilation CD featuring American music inspired by the best in Japanese animation was born.The Review!
For their music label's first release in months, I expected better from ADV. The packaging is a blatant rip-off of the insanely successful NOW That's What I Call Music! compilation series, featuring a 3D graphic of the title of the album and the number 1. Under this blue logo, which is displayed on a bland starburst-style explosion graphic, are the words "American Music Inspired by the Best in Japanese Animation". This text is in white and neither adds not subtracts from the design as a whole. Upon opening the case, the listener is greeted with a reiteration of the X-plode logo and a boring, basic looking filthy and beat-up amp. With a black cord. And a teeny-tiny ADV logo.
The back cover is the same amp after a badly photoshopped explosion. The track listing is in a very readable font, with black and blue text that is easy on the eyes. I like this color in juxtaposition to almost any other color in the spectrum, and it is so rarely used, that I give them points for this. Its easy to read, it stands out in a crowd, and it follows the theme, even if the theme isn't so good.
On the inside of the booklet, there are no lyrics, liner notes or copyright information. Rather, there is a very attractive graphic displaying the last 10 releases from ADV Music: Rebirth of Mothra 1-3, Spriggan, Destroy All Monsters, Nadia 1-3, Nadia movie, and Doomed Megalopolis. It?s a basic attempt to generate interest in older titles, and its presented in a simple and straightforward manner. Music Review:
One thing I'm going to clear up RIGHT NOW, before anyone gets in my face about it, is that I love music. I love music so much, in fact, that almost anyone can come up to me and start talking about music and I can talk with them intelligently about their genre. This is why I'm your Staff Music Reviewer: I don't just love music, I take pride in my knowledge of the vast reaches as well as my willingness to try new things. Compilation albums are a great way to dip your feet in the water of a new musical foray, and I own some of the best and some of the worst as well. I will listen with open ears and an open mind to anything from ambient gothic and classical to death metal and the most hardcore mysogynistic rap available. And I'll probably find something to like. Music is my passion and my obsession, and my love of art and acting stem from this.
This album shook my faith in the power and purity of music. I played this disc using iTunes, which attempted to give the tracks a genre. It came up with "Unclassifiable", but I can most certainly classify this disc.
Let's retreat back to the track-by-track method for this review. It's only fair to let you, the listener, know exactly what you're getting into.
1.Who Do You Choose to Be (Anime X-Plode! Theme) - Atom & Eve
Vaguely reminiscent of Gryffin Vance's excellent and memorable "Do It Now" theme for ADV Films' promotional spots, "Who Do You Choose to Be" is by far the best track on this disc. With a Mortal Kombat films vibe and an ambient vocal overlay, this bleepy track is almost cute! Too bad that the best 2:27 of the album is wasted right at the beginning. It gives the listener a false hope for quality.
2.Breathing Under Water (Beyblade) - Jenessy
This is a tolerable track that I rate as 100% Radio Disney fare, circa 2000. Jenessy's vocals sound like pop-princess fodder, four years too late. I like that sound, but then I listen to what she's singing and want to cry at the blandness of it. I tried to find a source to verify the lyrics I was hearing, so I could pass them onto you, but no such beast exists. Several words are a little smothered in the execution of this song, through the use of the best trick on any Britney Spears tour: have the backup singers muddle and/or drown out the main act. So, please take it on my authority that if you want pop, you should go elsewhere.
3.High Life (Stratos 4) - Starchild
This is almost tasty, almost palatable. It misses the mark by settling for such a bare and predictable bassline. Boring lyrics that wouldn't inspire even the most devout techno disco baby slither over sweet bleepy samples and that incessant bassline. The breakdown is nice, but I have this feeling that a word or two is muted. Welcome to censorship, maybe?
4.Gunparade March (Gunparade March) - Jambalaya
The reason you've heard the names "Limp Bizkit", "Korn", and "Linkin Park" and not "Jambalaya" is simple. Sadly, this is the most explicitly anime-inspired piece on the album, if only evidenced in the title of the track. It is awful, with patently white-boy white boy rap over 11th grade in-his-parent's-basement electric guitar work. "Yo, enemies crumbling/and my bullets tumbling to the ground/crossing through the air/causing their despair/and their demise/I see fear in their eyes/and even though they're hard lies/the tales that they tell/and as their skin repels/and falls off the blade of life/my Achilles cut them like a knife". That's a direct quote. I wish I'd not ever heard it, let alone heard it four times as I ventured to give you an accurate representation of why this song is so bad.
5.Oceanic (Blue Submarine No. 6) - Kaleo
Dictionary.com defines "nadir" as "The lowest point; the time of greatest depression." As I listen to this track, I am reminded of Plato's teaching that, beyond this life, there are Forms, Forms of Justice, Forms of Happiness, Forms of the color Blue. One can see something blue and understand part of that one great universal Form from which all blue things obtain their blueness from, but one cannot comprehend the Form of Blue until after death. This song has negated my need to die to understand the Form of Really Crap Music. This may be the worst excuse for rap music I've ever heard, and it has no place in the pantheon of published and distributed music. "Our bodies are the same as the sea, you see/we talkin' evolution to the ninth degree". It gets worse.
6. Dying Day (Jin Roh) - Snapt
This song has merit in that it evokes Jonathan Davis' famed invocations of The Vampire Lestat in the musically-gifted-yet-devoid-of-talent Queen of the Damned film. I could respectably weave this track into a much stronger mix CD or compilation disc. Here, however, it sticks out. The talent and the musicality are there. The growling vocals and bleak lyrics ring true to the listener. This saves the "anime-inspired" tracks from utter ruin. Still there are moments that make me shake my head and wonder: "watch it all fall/it falls on my head/a-gain-gain". Wake me up, before you gain-gain?
7.Happy Day (Cowboy Bebop) - Rick Robles
Cowboy Bebop is hailed a having one of the most amazing soundtracks to cross genres and unite anime fans. So, I have to ask, what is this late-90's excuse for rock 'n' roll doing with any connection to that series? The lyrics can be loosely connected to the character archetypes within the anime: "I know that you're minds been racing/all your life feels like its wasting away/but I can't see behind your eyes/and behind your eyes you hide/the deepest and bluest skies". And still, I can't justify this boring Verve Pipe knockoff.
8.Change (Demon Lord Dante) - Elisa Fiorillo
This track has gotten a lot of bad press because Elisa has publicly stated that it was written about 9-11 and not Demon Lord Dante. If you wish to hear a song about 9-11, grab Tori Amos' "I Can't See New York" on her Scarlet Walk album and let "Change" never touch your ears. "Things gonna have to change/no one should live this way/every night and day/we're running to the TV/can't believe what we see/things gonna have to change/no one should be afraid/is this the world we made/do we really need a treaty/so that we can be free?" are the lyrics of the chorus. I'm only marginally offended at the naïveté and the ignorance within this song; I'm much more offended by its failed attempt at recreating an Alliyah-like sound out of such dreck.
9.Pass the Bones (Vampire Hunter D) - 8th Day Fall
Gratuitous use of the word "sh*t" and one of the most limp and lifeless attempts at earnestly rocking out turned me off almost instantly. This has so little to do with the vast and ambient horror of the Vampire Hunter D world as to make me question exactly which drugs inspired anyone to link this song to that anime. Maybe it?s the horror factor: D is a horror story, "Pass the Bones" is a horrible song.
10.Down (Akira) - Shawn Alexis
By the time "Down" rolled around, all I wanted was for this disc to be over. I enjoy Shawn Alexis' voice: she sings strongly and has the edge that many of the female rockers of the 1990's lost when they got famous. However, this track presents more bland lyrics and it has nothing to do with the classic Akira: "Six months of loving you/and twice as much time tryin to make it through/I was down". At the end, the song deflates, and by now, that's alright by me.
In summary, Anime X-plode has the number "1" prominently displayed on the cover, similar in fashion to the NOW That's What I Call Music! volume numbers. If a second volume of this wretched compilation comes out, I will take that as a sign that the Seventh Seal has broken and sign up for yoga classes at my university. I want to be able to bend over just enough to kiss my fish-belly-white butt goodbye when the Apocalypse comes to pass. The "smells like brimstone" Wrath of God (with a capital W and a capital G) is preferable to the musical gunk that is Anime X-plode! becoming a series.
Tracks by Adam & Eve and Snapt are savory, but they are nestled in too much bad company to make this disc a worthwhile meal. EVER. Investigate these groups on your own.
Who Do You Choose To Be - Atom & Eve ,Breathing Under Water - Jenessy ,High Life - Starchild ,Gunparade March - Jambalaya ,Oceanic - Kaleo ,Dying Day - Snapt ,Happy Day - Rick Robles ,Change - Elisa Fiorillo ,Pass the Bones - 8th Day Fall ,Down - Shawn Alexis