Genki Rockets I -Heavenly Star-
Genki Rockets I -Heavenly Star- was Genki Rockets’ debut album. It was released on July 2, 2008 and debuted at no. 15 on the charts and has sold over 14,935+ copies. Genki Rockets is classified as a virtual band, similar to the band Gorillaz.
1. Prologue -Earth Rise-
4. Star Line
5. Heavenly Star
6. Intermediate -Orbit Swimming-
7. I will
8. Star Surfer
9. Never Ever
11. Star Line (Japanese Ver.)
12. Breeze: Summer Afternoon Mix
13. Breeze: Star Breeze Mix
Getting things started is the transcendent Prologue -Earth Rise-. I would say that this is an intro, but it basically just features the vocals and music of Heavenly Star, just small fragments though. Although the music is slower and sounds more space oriented, with some incredible synth riffs. A flawless opening, although I wish it was a little newer.
Well I can’t say I’m surprised that Breeze is on the album. It’s grown a bit on me since I last listened to it. The lyrics seem more magical and heartfelt than before, so that’s a nice change. The atmosphere is still lovely dovy, and yet still ethereal and calm. I still love how it’s all entirely English, makes it more enjoyable. I do wish though that there was more variety in the vocals, I guess the vocoder hinders that a bit though. It’s still a great addition to the album.
I can honestly say that Smile lacks the energy and strength that made me love Genki Rockets. Sadly this song hasn’t grown on me all that much. The music just isn’t fast enough for me, I’m still waiting for that energetic burst of energy and an extremely catchy chorus. Whenever I listen to this is just seems as though it’s dragging on and on.
Finally the album develops an edgy side with Star Line. This song is probably one of their best songs to date mostly because it’s so different. There are still plenty of synth / electronic elements yet this song features electric guitars and the percussion. The rock influences do a lot for this song, there’s more variety and a little aggressiveness. And compared to the previous songs, the vocals are a lot better. There’s still a sense of the vocoder but overall it’s stunning. This song is just really energetic and exciting, just perfect really.
Just when things couldn’t get any better they do! Heavenly Star follows shortly. This was originally their debut single and you don’t have to gues why. It set the tone for the entire genre, namely synth / electronic. The music is a fusion of synth riffs, distortions, and electronic beats, the perfect combination in other words. The up-beat mood is just right for the playful lyrics and stellar arrangement. It’s by far one of their catchiest songs to date.
Separating the old and new tracks on the album is Intermediate -Orbit Swimming-. It seems to borrow some of the instrumental lines from Heavenly Star but still has a distinct flavor. The various synth lines and electric beats really go well together. There were some vocals though, just repeating for the most part. I did love how towards the middle things got a little better and how you could even hear the bubbles, best part ever.
Starting off the new tracks is the laid-back I will. Besides the long intro the song is very good. The instrumentals are a little different for the most part. It’s sounds completely different from Heavenly Star with the new instrumentals, that seem to have some acoustic and percussion backing. Don’t get me wrong still the same synth / electric style, just a different style. The lyrics are as always really sweet and lovely. Mentioning “I will sing for you” and “gaze into the sky” just various adorable lyrics.
The waves crashing on the shoreline begin Star Surfer. And I really have to stay that this is THE best new song on the entire album. There are some acoustic backings as well as various synth beats and even some percussion. And the best part is that the vocals are so crisp, the vocoder doesn’t actually hinder the song for once, you can actually understand most of it. As for the chorus, well it’s infectious. The melody could use some work but for the most part it’s fantastic, and right before the bride you cane even hear some waves. And the lyrics, magical as always, they mention passion, happy vibes, and twilight. A must listen for everyone.
Never Ever is the bands attempt at a ballad. This song is for the most part devoid of the techno backings and the random synth beats, instead the piano is the driving force. The vocals sound completely normal, no distortions whatsoever, and for once there’s some strength and emotion. The chorus was just s0 beautiful and moving, really profound with the strings. But what I wasn’t expecting was that the second verse and on is in Japanese. Overall a worthy attempt at a ballad, that hits it dead on.
Now onto another rock inspired track with Fly! This song reminds me of Star Line in the sense that there’s some newfound rock elements. But besides all of that this song is sounds really pop. It’s not nearly as aggressive as Star Line but it does having a southing quality to it. There also appears to be some strings during the chorus in addition to all the electric elements. This song is different yet it’s so catchy. It’s definitely worth your time.
And now we get to the Japanese Ver. of Star Line. The instrumentals are completely the same, except this time the lyrics are in Japanese, who would’ve thought? The lyrics are different in some ways, it’s not a direct translation, probably to make it flow better. But the chorus does still feature some English, which is nice. I for one LOVED the Japanese lyrics, it sounded so much better with the vocoder and distortions. The only problem is that it might seem a little choppy at times.
Oddly enough I like the Summer Afternoon Mix of Breeze. This remix just speeds everything up while adding in some great acoustics and various light beats. I found this remix to be very consistent and much better than the original. It’s more southing and more calming for sure.
Eww it’s the Star Breeze Mix. As heavenly as that name sounds it turns out the remix isn’t all that great. It’s just an instrumental for the most part with the occasional vocals. The instrumental sounds great but I want a song, not a some dance track. Somewhat of a letdown and a sad way to close the album.
Overall Review: Genki Rockets I -Heavenly Star- was surreal synth paradise! This has got to be one of the most refreshing as well as astounding debut albums. Then again the style and genre is so different that it’s no surprise. The singles were just so energetic and memorable, not to mention incredible. And the tracks on this album were really high quality, it’s obvious they’re album only tracks but a few could have been singles easily. I loved the fact that there was some variety even though the overall sound is the same. The vocals could have been less choppy at times but overall I was pleased with them. For any fan of Ami or even Sowelu now I suggest you give this band a listen, they’re worth your time.
Final Grade: 96A