Lyrical School – Date Course Review

Lyrical School Date Course

Release Date: September 18, 2013

Track Listing

  1. Drive
  2. Sorya Natsu da
  3. Wow
  4. Ribbon no Kyutto
  5. Nagareru Toki no You ni
  6. Parade
  7. Turn
  8. Demo
  9. P.S.
  10. Hitori Bocchi no Labyrinth
  11. Taxi
  12. Oide yo
  13. My Kawaii Nichiijoutachi

Review

Idols and Hip-Hop. An impossible, probably ridiculous combination, right? I mean, who would expect the stereotypical cutesy members of these groups to be rhyme-spitting machines? In recent years, there seems to be this movement into a territory one would not expect idols to be a part of.

Formed in 2010, Lyrical School (formerly Tengal6) fit within the wave idol MCs’ waxing poetic over phat beats. Others involved in this movement are former Usa Usa Shoujo Club sub-group Rhymeberry, who debuted a year after Lyrical School.  But you can probably also include members of the “bandol” SCANDAL as part of the club as well, I guess, if you want. Although they rarely really do this kind of thing seriously. At least Mami and Tomomi have a decent flow, even if they are just goofing off.

Anyway, forget Lyrical School’s past affiliation with Tenga. You’ll not hear any rhymes about eggs, lube and sexual innuendo. Think of this as a group reboot without the unfortunate corporate sponsorship.

If you’re a Japanese Hip-Hop fan, you’ll probably laugh at this release. And if you expect something on the level of, say, Heartsdales, Miss Monday, A.I. or COMA-CHI, you’re in for some disappointment. That’s not to say that Lyrical School is horrible MCs; the members tend to stay on point and in their pocket regarding their rhymes. They are easily above other idol groups who try to add a bit of street to their sugary pop.

Where this group tends to fail is actual singing. Sure they’re competent at rocking the mic, but these girls certainly are not divas. I won’t go as far as to say they are horrible when they attempt to harmonize or pull a solo. That would be mean. I’ll just say that they are a little rough around the edges when it comes to expressing themselves in a non-rapping manner.

Of course, if you don’t like anything in regards to the vocals, you can always take comfort that the music these girls are doing their thing over is pretty damn good. It’s not typical idol pop, and that should be refreshing for most listeners of this genre of Japanese music.

Those who like female Japanese idols as pure sweet squeak machines may not appreciate the world of Hip-Hop invading such holy territory and may turn away from the idea of any of this being any good without giving it a chance.

I suggest giving this album a listen even if you are not a fan of Hip-Hop or (heaven forbid) idols. What makes idol pop so catchy is still present, and the lacklustre singing can be forgiven for the most part. Give this a go if you’re interested in a unique twist on two well-worn genres of music.

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.