#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm 🌪

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people’s differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, “They yell, they preach, I’ve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I’ve heard it before.” It’s definitely a track that’s going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, “Let’s live like we’re immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,” is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, “Hey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.”

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, “I want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,” which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or join the conversation via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: Netta – ‘Toy’


   

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This year’s Eurovision 2018 winner, Netta (who represented Israel 🇮🇱) has created one heck of a monster song, ‘Toy’.

The track itself is wonderfully bizarre and the type of perfect pop song you would expect to hear at Eurovision, with her odd vocal sounds and interesting instrumentation. I particularly love the references to Japanese culture and odd chicken noises…so quirky.

Some critics have claimed that the live performance of the track, at Eurovision, was cultural appropriation of Japanese imagery (due to her kimono and buns, with Maneki-nekos as stage props) however Netta herself has been quoted as being a keen follower of Japanese popular culture (particularly the Pokémon franchise). Personally, I think the Japanese would appreciate the admiration of their culture; what you make of this?

The music video is a bit of fun too; she seems like a fun and interesting character – someone you could have a good laugh with.

Whatever you make of the track, she won this year’s Eurovision; was she the right winner for you?

What are your thoughts of this rather different track? Do you think she was the right winner? Have you got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Toy’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/%D7%98%D7%95%D7%99-single/1358448327


#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Bars & Melody


   

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With the recent release of their second album, Generation Z (check out our review), and currently touring around Europe, we were lucky enough to catch up with Bars & Melody about their recent release, how their writing process has developed, who they’d most like to collaborate with and what Charlie’s most disgusting habit is. It’s all here…


Hey guys, how’s it going?
Hey, we’re great!!!

So you released Generation Z in September and the reception seems to have been incredible, how exciting has that been for you?
Generation Z is an milestone in our career. It’s our second album, we’ve grown so much since our first album, and it’s amazing to see the reception, as it is so great.

Where did the idea for the album title come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
So we were out in Florida writing a song called ‘Scream’. The song was about all the problems of the world, and how unfair it was that our generation (Generation Z) have to live with all the mistakes that the people before us had made. One of the lines for that song is “Generation Z more like Generation Dead” and we found that lyric very powerful, so we decided to name the album Generation Z in honour of that.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording an album?
Our creative process when making an album usually consists of us playing around with a guitar, or listening into some ideas our producers have came up with. We take a lot of time writing lyrics and thinking of meanings for every song.

How did this compare to the experience of recording your debut album?
Generation Z‘s recording process was completely different to our debut album. During our debut album, we were very young and didn’t put as much thought into the writing as we did on Gen Z. Although we love our first album 143, Generation Z is our favourite.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
When we write our music we take a lot of inspiration from the thought process of teenagers. All of the obstacles you encounter going through the teen phase. We also take inspiration from heartbreak, love and the beauty of the world.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I think if ‘Bars and Melody‘ were to collab with anyone, we would love it to be Justin Bieber, we love his music!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
We love to listen to all different types of music, from Pop to Rock, Rap, Electronic, LoFi and Jazz. We love Music!

If you had to cover a recent chart song (not on your ‘Covers’ album), which song would it be and why?
If we were to cover in the charts right now it would be ‘rockstar’ by Post Malone, We love that song.

You’re heading out on tour at the moment, where are some of your favourite cities/countries to perform at?
We love Asia! Japan is a personal favourite of ours. But we love performing everywhere!

You’ve done shows across the globe but what makes a show particularly amazing for you?
There was one show in Japan where we supported Big Bang, an amazing KPOP group. We performed to over 80,000 people.

Has anything really scary ever happened to you on tour? If so, what?
Nothing really scary has happened to us on tour, luckily.

What are some of the best things that have come out of BAM?
I would say the best thing to come out of BAM is our lifelong friendship. Even after BAM ends, we’ll always have each other.

Have either of you got any disgusting habits?
Leo: Charlie likes to burp a lot and then blow it in my face.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Leo: I love to play video games and skateboard!

What really grinds your gears?
I really hate mess!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, in life?
The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me was when I did a school play when I was 5 years old…I wet myself on stage! Oops!

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
The best film I have seen lately is a movie called Nerve, I watched it with all my friends! It was amazing.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your lives, who would you want to play each of you?
If a movie was made about us, I would like the cast from Stranger Things to play us.

If you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
Leo: If I was a chocolate bar, I would be a Lion bar because I’m an animal!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Leo: The best advice I’ve ever been given is to always listen to your mum!

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat, good luck with the tour and next time you’re doing a show down near Brighton I’ll have to come and review it.
THANK YOU GUYS!


Bars & Melody‘s releases are all available:


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Muzik Speaks Interviews