Monday, 19 December 2011

Check in with PASSPO☆! - PASSPO☆ 'CHECK-IN' Album Review~

All thoughts and opinions regarding this Album and group are my own. If you do not like my opinion, then that is your choice. However, we all have the freedom of thought. Please, enjoy what I write. If you don't, then go write a blog yourself~

One the seventh day of Christmas, Santa-san gave to me...

10 girls in uniform, HALLELUJAH!!!

PASSPO☆ are really proving themselves as one of the best groups of 2011. They are all talented, the girls are cute, and their theme is something which sets them apart from the rest of the girl groups in Japan right now. Whilst PASSPO☆ may not wear school uniforms like other girl groups, they instead wear flight attendant gear. It's refreshing, and they have a unique sound to their music. These girls... well, I love them. I really do.

Considering PASSPO☆ only debuted this year, they have done pretty well in terms of selling their singles and becoming a popular and known group in Japan. They have strong competitors right now, but this group is a strong force. And I'm really happy that PASSPO☆ were able to debut this year and get so much attention from it.

And, after 3 releases this year (Shoujo Hikou, ViVi Natsu, Kiss=SukiPASSPO☆ are presenting their first major album. Now, I absolutely adored their Indies album TAKE☆OFF, and hopefully I will love CHECK-IN just as much. So, let's take a flight with PASSPO☆ and officially CHECK-IN~

01. Boarding

I was surprised with the opening of the Album. Instead of a song, we instead have an introduction from the Chief of PASSPO☆, Ai. I don't know what she is saying, but I'm pretty sure it's something to do with fastening your seat belts for a fun PASSPO☆ filled ride of awesome. She sounds really cute, and at the very end we hear the rest of the members yell TAKE OFF, which I will say is a reference to their first album.

One thing that I do like about this opening is the music in the background as well as the sound effects to make you believe that you're in a plane, such as the Ding! and the sound of the plane flying in the background. The music itself is interesting, and I honestly thought that this album would open with a rocky type of song. If that had happened, I would have been quite happy to hear PASSPO☆ sing a rock song, but alas, it was not to be. However, the opening is still quite interesting.

02. Shoujo Hikou

Following the opening of the Album, we are greeted with PASSPO☆'s debut single, Shoujo Hikou. This was one of my favourite songs of the beginning of 2011. I was extremely happy for the girls to debut, as I absolutely adored their song Let It Go. When they debuted with this song, I was amazed by how great the girls sounded, and how colourful the PV was. Though the PV isn't the best to come out for 2011, I thought that PASSPO☆ really pulled off their flight attendant theme. The song is catchy, and the dance is cute. It's not the best song, but it will definitely make you smile if you like this sort of energetic, happy music.

03. Kiss=Suki

I recently reviewed this single here, and really enjoyed it. The song isn't as good as Shoujo Hikou, in my opinion, but it's still a really great song from PASSPO☆. It's pretty energetic, and all of the girls sound amazing together. The PV, though, is the best video from the group this year.

04. Hello

The first of the original Album songs. Hello sounds like an energetic and fun song. When it opened, I wasn't surprised to hear the sound of a flying plane start it up. It's kind of expected, really, considering the group is based on flight attendants and all.

After you listen to the song, it isn't as energetic as I first thought it would be. Instead, it's a very cute, and in a way rather soothing, song. The chorus is very catchy with its repetitive and catchy sound, one which makes me like the song more. It isn't annoying (imo) and I love how all of these girls sound together. They have beautiful voices, and they sound like a choir when they're together. For the opening song out of the newer tracks, this is a great start to the Album.

05. Street Fighter

Street Fighter is a more mature and cool type of song, one which I wouldn't situate with PASSPO☆ if I was going to pick a song for them. Strangely though, this type of song suits the voices of these girls. They sound strong and, in a strange way, alluring. I honestly wouldn't expect a song like this to appear in PASSPO☆'s album at all, however I am glad it did. This is a new sound from the group, but it proves how mature these girls can go in terms of music and how they sound. This new sound is refreshing, and definitely shows that PASSPO☆ can sing more than cute, generic Idol songs.

This leads me to hope that, at some point, PASSPO☆ will bring out an A-side track with a slightly rockier theme to their music, showing their maturity and a nice change to the music they are currently bringing out.

06. Turn Around

Turn Around is a playful and quirky song, one which I would definitely fit PASSPO☆ with. It has that energetic spark that GPP has, but this song is a little bit more catchy and jump-worthy than GPP is. The energy is definitely high here, and I could imagine a jumpy, very energetic and quirky dance to this song. It's fun, catchy and something you could dance to if you wanted to be a bit silly.

This song sounds pretty adorable, and the instrumental is good, but also misleading. The opening guitar made me believe that there would be another rock-y type of song, like Street Fighter, and I was actually hoping for it. However, this song is just as up-beat and cute as any other PASSPO☆ song. It certainly reminds me of what PASSPO☆ are like in terms of their sound.

07. Material Girl

This track is a lot heavier than the others. It starts off with that rocky opening once again, and starts off pretty heavy with how the girls sound, then gets softer towards the chorus before going into an energetic and fun chorus. This will probably become one of my favourite tracks on the album, simply for how the tone changes in the song from hard to medium to soft. I love the transition from a heavy tone to a softer, more girly and energetic tone.

In fact, listening to this song makes me really happy. It's up-tempo and really nice to listen to. It's a pretty fun song, and I was initially thinking that I would be disappointed with this song, but I really enjoy listening to it! Material Girl was going to be a song that I expected to be just like any other Idol song, but it is anything but.

If I had to recommend a song to you, I would definitely say that you should give Material Girl a try.

08. Uhae!

Uhae! is another song that starts off with a rocky instrumental, and in all honesty, if this keeps happening I might hit my desk.

Anyway, regarding the song itself, Uhae! starts off heavier than the other songs, and very fast-paced as well. It's as if the girls are talking with a little bit of a tune rather than singing, before they really get into the lyrics. The instrumental then becomes a lot softer and slower, and then we kick into the chorus! The chorus is also a lot slower than the opening parts of the song, but they are very sweet and make me like the song. I actually don't really care for this song, but that is my personal opinion. I do, however, enjoy the guitar rifts starting from 02:12. It adds a nice touch to the song, and gives it a bit of a rockier and more mature feel.

If you prefer something heavier than a regular Idol song, but it still has that softness to it, try this song out.

09. Starting Over

Staring Over sounds like Uhae! opening wise... However, this song is a lot slower and more... depression? I have no other way to describe the opening, but the instrumental itself sounds sad, as well as the girls when they sing the slow parts of the song. However, it sounds quite beautiful and I really like it. Especially as there are heavy drums in the background. The song really picks up after the beautiful opening though, but the girls keep the same tone of voice throughout the song, but just pick up their energy more and more.

Sadly, this song isn't one of my favourites. I don't like the tone of the song, because it bores me. However, the acapella solo at 03:29 is absolutely unexpected and gorgeous. I also love how they suddenly return with energy after the acapella solo is finished, but really, that's all I like about the song. It's beautiful, and quite touching, but it isn't my favourite.

10. ViVi Natsu

ViVi Natsu is not my favourite song from PASSPO☆, nor is it my favourite video... hence why I never reviewed it.

However, ViVi Natsu does follow that PASSPO☆ sound of energetic and cute with a fun flare added to it. The song is very up-tempo, and it has the added raps (which I do like, a lot...) that give the song a distinct sound. In fact, when I first heard this song, I was surprised that there were raps. PASSPO☆ + Rapping = Mind blown. I never expected it.

After a few listens of the song, I do like it, but again, it isn't the song I go to listen to when I am bored. That's Kiss=Suki or Go On A Highway.

PS This is their second single xD

11. Jaa Ne...

The start of Jaa Ne... was unexpected, considering I thought it would start off slow and sweet. However, the opening is fun and energetic, almost childish. The opening vocals are some of the deeper voices of PASSPO☆, which is always nice to hear. We then get a few harmonies thrown in, and the amazing sound that is PASSPO☆.

I was really surprised by how this song sounds. It's absolutely wonderful in a girly, energetic kind of way. This is the sort of song I would probably listen to when I'm unhappy, or something I would want to run around and dance to. It has a different sound to the usual PASSPO☆, but still showcases their fun and happy sides. This is a somewhat refreshing sound, much like Street Fighter. This song is extremely enjoyable, and will probably fight with Material Girl for my favourite.

Actually, thinking about it, I think that this sounds like something from Idolling!!!, but better.

12. Hakana

Hakana is PASSPO☆ all over, in my opinion. It starts off energetic and fun, but softens itself for the starting vocals, which PASSPO☆ seem to do quite well in my opinion. When I listen to the song, I'm not exactly impressed with it. It won't be memorable for me, however, it isn't a bad song. In fact, I feel that it has a magical sort of sound to it. The instrumental has this sort of sound that reminds me a bit of 'fairytale' kinds of music, but it's quite subtle. Maybe it's just me imagining it, who knows, but it's what I hear.

The voices are great, as always, but this song isn't one of the best on the album, and doesn't really impress me as much as other songs do on this album. However, it's still a good song, and I would definitely listen to it again.

13. Rock Da Week

Oh, great, more rock rifts...

I enjoy the sound change from PASSPO☆, and in this song, we get more of a change with their sound. Their voices sound significantly lower, and the instrumental is a lot slower than some of the other songs. This song, though, relies mostly on the girls shouting out some words and singing in lower, duller voices. This is, most likely, going to be the song I avoid the most. I just don't like rock-based songs that are slow and painful to listen to.

I'm turning this song off now.

14. See You Again

See You Again is quite a laid back song, and it sounds beautiful from the start. It has a sort of romantic feeling to it, one which I know I like. If there was a PV to this song, I could imagine the setting is a beach or a ballroom, somewhere that's romantic.

The melody is very sweet and entrancing, and it makes me feel happy. You can hear the emotion in the girls' voices here, and their voices, as well as the instrumental, are very soothing to listen to. It's almost like they're a choir.

See You Again is a very beautiful song, one which I might listen to over and over again on a loop. The voices, the melody and the soothing tone are really memorable, and the emotion portrayed in the song is beautiful. I love that in the song, you hear some of the girls say 'Thank you' (Arigatou Ga) throughout it, as if they're saying 'Thank you for everything you've done...' It's sweet, and very meaningful, and just makes the song so much more beautiful.

And, whilst writing this, I had a thought - this sounds so much like a graduation song, and it does make me wonder why this type of song was written for the group... I am only saying this, as Mushu will be graduating soon, and it just seems that the song is quite sentimental in a way...

15. Hareru yo

The last track from PASSPO☆'s debut major album, Hareru yo is another laid back and soothing song, but with a little more happiness tied into the tune and the sound of the girls' voices.

I honestly don't know how to describe this song and its sound, however, it is very nice to listen to, and the girls' voices together are absolutely beautiful. There is an almost angelic quality to the girls when they sing together, which I didn't expect. In fact, I am honestly surprised by this song. I was pretty sure that there would be something overly up beat and energetic as the ending track, however, PASSPO☆ have surprised me with this beautiful, soft song which ends the album beautifully.

So, to conclude the Album review of CHECK-IN, I will be giving my final thoughts on the album and anything else~

As a PASSPO☆ fan, I will find myself being a little biased with this group, however, I truly do think and feel that this is a very strong album. From beginning to end, the girls have really impressed me, especially with the songs where they went out of the Idol-zone and entered a heavier, more rocky type of music. It was a really nice change of pace for me as a fan, and it showed me how flexible their voices are.

One of the things that I really like about this album is how the songs are ordered. We start off with some of the more energetic songs before going into some rock-type songs, and then return to the energetic music before finishing off with slower, more ballad-type tracks. I honestly don't know why I like this, but it's probably because of how we start off really lively and then just slowly and gradually fade into slower and more melodic songs. It's kind of letting us go gently. The ending song was surprising, and I am glad that they chose Hareru yo as the final song. It's almost like a slow, unwanted goodbye that has to happen, but it's still beautiful.

I really like this album - TAKE☆OFF was undeniably my favourite album before, but now that PASSPO☆ have two albums out, I will have to decide which I like more, especially with See You Again and Material Girl being my two favourite songs on this album.

This album is incredible - there are a variety of songs to fit everyones tastes, from the slightly heavier rock to softer rock, as well as ballad-type songs and PASSPO☆'s regular, Idol-like songs which we are used to hearing. This album is something I didn't expect from this group. It was surprising with the different tunes I heard, but it was very fresh and new for me. This album made me realise how strong PASSPO☆ are as a group, and how great they sound together, even when singing with a new tune that I am not used to. This album has made me love the group more, and when Mushu leaves, I wonder how different this group will sound without her, or if they will change at all.

Definitely give this album a go! You might be surprised, and find a few songs that you really like.

So, if you've listened to this album, what's your favourite song? Do you have a favourite member at all, and if you do, who is it!? Tell me~~~~



  1. The girl that is talking in the intro. track 'Boarding' is actually Ai, who also opens every PASSPO show by talking off-stage with a similar introduction to that.

    PASSPO are a rock unit which explains all the rock rifts too.

  2. @Jo Hey! Thanks for that, it helps xD I'm still getting used to their individual voices right now, but thank you very much ^^

    And really, they're a rock unit o-O?