Friday, 12 April 2019

The Little Idol And Her Big Voice - A Look at 'The Theory Of 2&' by 2& (Album Review)

*Pointing out my typos and mistakes is hella helpful, so feel free to call me out on that shit. Thanks.

With 2&'s second expedition to the UK coming ever closer, I say it's high time to finally get my ass into gear and review Saki's first overseas limited album release, and one of my favourite albums of the year 2018.

She's small, she's cute, and her voice is bigger than you would expect. We're finally reviewing The Theory Of 2&, and gosh darn'it, I'm excited to talk about it. Are ya ready?

It has been a good, long while since I wrote a proper album review - a whole year, almost - so, it's high time I remedied this issue I created for myself. And hey, what better album to resurface with than Saki's very own The Theory Of 2&, especially when you consider that we are just shy of a week before her second UK tour this coming April 20th? I mean, hey - it's better now than never. Plus it feels right to come back and review one of my favourite albums from 2018.

Truth be told, I'm quite surprised that I didn't review this sooner. I mean, I love this album (hi, spoiler alert), and it's an album I keep coming back to despite it being almost a year old. I just don't talk about it much, and I really should. This is such a joyful listen, at least to me it is.

Anyways, background check:

For those unaware of 2& / Saki, here is a little bit what she's all about; initially starting her career in December 2011, Saki became one half of a duo alongside Saya, and both debuted in January 2012 as 2& (DOUBLE AND). The girls went on to release their first two singles, Negaposi monster and Real/Dream, on July 17th, 2013, which would subsequently become their last two singles together as a duo unit, due to Saya leaving the group in September that same year. Despite her partners departure, Saki instead took on 2& as her solo project, ultimately rebranding the meaning of the name to 'Saki + You = 2&'.

Since then, Saki has pursued her solo activities both exclusively and alongside other idol activities. In June 2014 Guso Drop was formed, with Saki acting as the centre. Her solo activities lessened during this point, and though she was given various opportunities as a member of Guso Drop, Saki graduated from the group in December 2016 in order to focus on her solo project. From late 2017 until early 2019, Saki self-managed her activities before being signing to a new agency, REDMusic.

Saki's first expedition abroad was during her travels to Taiwan in 2016 in order to perform as both a soloist and a member of Guso Drop before embarking on her second overseas gig which took place in the UK back in June of 2018. One of two opening acts for the esteemed NECRONOMIDOL, the little idol with a big voice made her UK stage debut and introduced us all to her music and performance style. Through this venture, Saki also managed to produce a limited, UK exclusive album to all who attended the three shows that she would be opening for the headliner act, NECRONOMIDOL. Saki has also performed in Shanghai.

Featuring a compilation of various tracks, the songs included range from Saki's older music, as well as a few previously unreleased tracks and songs she has sung during her live shows in Japan.

Okay, gotta shut up now, otherwise this review will never begin, and Saki will have left England already by the time this piece gets published. SO, are you ready to sit down and read some more spiel on why I like music, because I am.

It's time to listen to some 2&. Will you become a part of the 2& Family by the end of this post? Let me know~

The Theory Of 2&

Release Date: June 4th, 2018 - June 6th, 2018
Availability: 100 copies

Track List:
  1. Negaposi monster (ネガポジmonster)
  2. Resu (レス)
  3. Machigai Darake (間違いダラけ)
  4. Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia (兎の奴隷とカシオペア)
  5. Katame no Liliy  (片眼のLiliy)
  6. Chippoke Hero (ちっぽけヒーロー)
  7. Real (リアル)
  8. Popping Shower no Ame (ポッピングシャワーの雨)
The Theory Of 2&
- Album Review -

1. Negaposi monster

In order to give us a dose of what 2& is all about, Saki kick-starts her UK album with Negaposi monster, the song that 'started' it all, at least release wise.

A re-recording of the original, Saki's rendition of Negaposi monster is a raw but powerful piece filled with emotion and, for lack of a better word, loudness. It's energetic, frenzied and fun, and the frantic instrumental break only adds fuel to the fire to create an even more dynamic, adrenaline-fuelled rush. It's an exhilarating song, to say the least.

And that scream. That scream only further intensifies the song and I, for one, love it. In fact, I love all that this song creates in terms of feelings and adrenaline surges and more.

though it doesn't need to be said, I'll still say it; this song is better when heard live. It's an experience, and the loudness - as well as the rush - of the track is simply so much better when sung live. Plus you get the full effect of Saki's vocals mixed with the calls of the fans, as well as the rush that she herself is feeling during the choreography and the louder parts.

It's a fun song both in stereo and live, however this is one you need to hear live, in my opinion. Then again, that goes for all of her tracks, but this one was clearly made to be sung on a stage. It's amazing, especially when you realise you can hear how close Saki's live voice is to that of her studio recordings!

In regards to the original song itself, I feel like there's a little less power in the instrumental versus the current, Saki-only version. It's just as good of a listen as the version I'm used to is, and if I'm being honest here, I do adore the vocal layering for both Saki and Saya's vocals. The two singers balance each other out beautifully, with Saya's softer tone working well against Saki's rawness.

I also love this music video. It suits the rush and adrenaline of the song perfectly, though let's be real; seeing those two run in those giant-ass heels makes my feet hurt.

In a nutshell: This song is freakin' awesome, especially when sung live. It's heavy on the adrenaline, the instrumental is a rush of pure greatness, and Saki's raw vocals are the best.

2. Resu

It's sad to say, but this is one of the only songs that I could not find a video for in order to accompany this review, and that's a freakin' shame because - and I say this with absolute honesty - holy shit, Resu is amazing! Though I must confess, this is one of those songs that completely falls under the radar for me sometimes because, shamefully so, I forget about how good Resu is until I listen to the album in full again.

I know, I know... I'm dishonouring my friends and myself.

Still, Resu is such a fabulous track. It's fun, energised and, not to discredit Saki in any way, the most 'commercial' track of the lot, though that has more to do with the studio quality the sound itself holds. Of course I am fairly optimistic that this will be a great song when performed live, but I can't deny the fact that this song has more effects layered onto Saki's vocals when I hear them. It's just how it is.

Resu is a lot of fun though, a lot more jumpy and maybe a little more 'idol' in its sound when compared with Negaposi monster, and for that I love it. I love the style and the energy, the subtle cuteness it has the little whispers that are scattered throughout the songs duration. It's a lot of fun to listen to and sing along with, and I can see this one being a crowd pleaser for its pleasant sound and spirited nature.

In a nutshell: Upbeat, dynamic and a little less raw than the previous track, Resu is a lot of fun to listen to, as well as a great bop in an already incredible album.

3. Machigai Darake

I'm having a hard time choosing a favourite song in this album because - let's be real - no matter what song I listen to, I think that all of these tracks are fantastic and favourite-worthy. And yeah, that includes Machigai Darake, another adrenaline-fuelled song that's as hyperactive as Saki is after a sugar binge. Thankfully, this one foregoes the after-effects on her vocals, delivering yet another raw and emotive performance from the tiny idol with a big voice.

Mahigai Darake is yet another power-house song that is worthy of being heard live because, let's be real, it's made to be sung on a stage. With Saki's husky vocals and powerful delivery, this song creates the perfect atmosphere for a fun, raucous live performance from both Saki and her fans. Unlike the previous two tracks however, this song does have its quieter moments, allowing for Machigai Darake to build itself up towards its crescendo when needed.

Also, I must note this: listen to this song with headphones, that way you can pick up the dull thrumming of a second guitar in the background. It's subtle, but it adds a beautiful amount of depth to the song.

PV-wise, this is a pretty fun video to watch. Self-produced and edited by Saki herself, the simple in execution and limited in budget Machigai Darake gives us a great look into the personality and antics of Saki. It's cute, fun and a nice touch amidst all those professional idol videos out there. I enjoy the pacing and movement of the MV as well, mostly because it follows Saki on what seems to be a typical day, but also because it fits nicely with the song. It has its quieter moments in the imagery, as well as its more energetic sequences. Overall, it's a fun watch and a nice look into Saki as a person versus a performer.

Machigai Darake is a great song, one which has a few slower moments to contrast the upbeat sound the rest of the track holds. I can understand why this song is a leading track for one of Saki's singles, and I can hear why it is a fan favourite during lives. It's epic in sound and holds a great amount of depth if you care to further your knowledge of the song by listening to it with headphones on. I adore it, and once again it's another great track on this incredible album.

In a nutshell: Listen to this one with headphones for a better listening experience. Though it might feel familiar in terms of energy, this one does produce its quieter moments, allowing for a beautiful build-up throughout.

4. Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia

If I had to say anything about Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia, I would begin with it's a rollercoaster', because Jesus, I don't think that this song is aware of what it needs to be. That's not a bad thing, per say, because I rather enjoy tonal changes in my music, however it might put some people off. Still, I think if you need to hear any song from Saki, then this is it; it's a great representation of what she can do as a singer, given how it showcases her range as a singer and performer.

Delivering a mixture of quieter moments, higher moments and her usual flare of energy and power when singing, Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia allows us to experience Saki singing in both her usual raw voice, as well as a surprisingly higher cadence during the beginning verse of the song. After that, we're thrown into a mixture of up-tempo and mid-tempo ranges, a little bit of shouting and perhaps some screaming from Saki and her fans, and a lot of flurried drumming and strumming. It's extremely interesting, and certainly one of her more intriguing tracks.

Most interesting has to be Saki's use of intonation throughout the song, especially when her voice (and the instrumental) drops rather rapidly during the highest point of the song. I doubt I could explain it any further than this, but I do think that this is one of the best parts of the song as a whole - how Saki uses her voice and the instrumental to paint such a memorable image of the song itself.

Though I initially regarded this track as one of my least favourites, I have to take that back; this song is so intriguing and textured that I can't help but love it, but also - it's incredible. Like every other track on here I return to it with a fonder outlook, and I'm reminded just why I love this album so much. That, and I hold some fond memories of seeing this song performed live last year and how incredible, harried and fun the performance itself was.

Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia is a an incredible experience, one that needs to be heard and seen live, not only for the song but also Saki's incredible energy and change of character each time to tone switches. This song definitely switches it up and may confuse some, but for those who enjoy a good tonal change throughout, this is the one for you.

In a nutshell: A mixture of tones both vocally and via the instrumental, this song will take you on a bit of a trip. Saki truly creates an experience with this song, and she wants to showcase everything she has in one track. It's definitely worth a listen.

5. Katame no Liliy

I keep wanting to add into each review of the songs that certain tracks are 'not my favourite', but that's hard to do when Saki continually proves me wrong each and every time I hear something again, so I'm giving up on even trying to find a song I don't care about. Still, I do believe that Katame no Liliy is probably my least-listened to track on this entire album, and that doesn't mean it isn't epic it is, it's just that I'm not as keen on the opening verse, or any verse after that.

It is what it is.

That said, the chorus for this - and Saki's yelling during the last minute or so of the song - are great, and so is the bridge. Still, I do think that Saki's use of shout-singing is one of the reasons for why I care a little less about this song against the others. I have never been keen on screamo or shout music, so it makes sense to me why this might be the song I don't care about as much. Regardless, there is a lot to enjoy about this track, but once again I do think that it is best listened to live.

Some of my favourite aspects of this song include the chorus and the bridge. I think that Saki creates such a beautiful setting, and whilst I may not be the best person to comment on the verses, I do think that Saki does a damn good job. This is a rock song after all, and she creates the emotion and power necessary to pull off a song like this.

To end my thoughts on this song, I do think there is a lot to love about it - it feels frustrating in a sense, as if the song itself is one big wave of varying emotions, and Saki truly puts her all into it, from being rather passive to throwing herself into the screams and showcasing the emotions she's been keeping pent up inside. Katame no Liliy is powerful in its own right, and whilst it might not be my favourite track on this album, I can still appreciate it for what it creates for me emotionally as a listener.

In a nutshell: This song is one of the roughest (vocally) within the album, and whilst it is not my personal favourite, the chorus, the bridge and Saki's yells are key points. One to listen to live, fo' sure.

6. Chippoke Hero

Chippoke Hero might be my favourite track from the entire album, but let's be real; that has been my line of thought for most of the songs on The Theory Of 2&. With that said, no other song has been in my head for the past week quite like Chippoke Hero has, and by that I mean I have not awoken and immediately begun thinking about any other song aside from this one. I suppose that's the power of Saki's theme tune, huh?

I suppose it makes sense just why this song would be the one to stick for me, because of all the songs, this is probably the most 'idol' of them all. A little more commercial than the others in its tone, Chippoke Hero is an abundance of energy and happiness. It feels hopeful, maybe even a little cute, all thanks to its jumpy, expressive attitude in its sound. It will also come as no surprise to anyone that this is the song everyone jumps to during Saki's liver performance of this song. It's just so hard not to bounce along to it and pump your fist in the air!

Heck, I'm even dancing as I write this. This song is so damn catchy!

PV wise, I like the use of a performance style mixed with her personal life, though it does feel almost similar to her PV for Machigai Darake, though a lot less idol in its nature this time around. This video feels a lot more raw and real, as if we are peeking into the process that Saki goes through when writing lyrics and designing some of her merchandise. It's an interesting video, to say the least, and I like that this one takes place at night vs the day, a nice contrast to Mahigai Darake.

Also, bonus! The PV for her song 3pun is paired with the official MV for Chippoke Hero, too. Enjoy!

In terms of its energy, its fun factor and how catchy this song is, Chippoke hero is definitely one of the most memorable tracks from this album, as well as one of my absolute favourites. That is probably not saying much, given this has to be (one of) the most commercial track out of the eight given, but it's the truth; I like my catchy tunes, and I like it when it's easily remembered and a fun, upbeat listen that will get me dancing. There is no shame in liking what I like.

In a nutshell: Catchy, memorable and fun, this is (one of) the most commercial track on the entire album, but it's still unique to Saki and showcases just how energetic and awesome she is as a singer and performer.

7. Real

Another one to listen to with your headphones, more-so for the left-right separation experience this song has going on in the beginning, as well as to truly immerse yourself in the 2& experience, especially if you are a fan of something a little more rock oriented in its sound. Sad to say, this is another track that, despite enjoying every now and again, is one I don't tend to lean towards. It's probably the tempo more than anything this time around however, though the small amount of shout-singing Saki delivers does not help as much.

Those thoughts of what I don't care for regarding this song aside, Real definitely stands out as a rather unique track amongst the other songs in The Theory Of 2&. With a duller sound to its instrumental, the rough and raw quality to Saki's vocals are truly enhanced here, allowing her to sound louder than ever whilst still delivering her trademark energy and style. I like the balance between Saki's voice and the instrumental this time around, and I can't deny that it sticks out musically on this album, more-so for its slower pace than previous songs.

WARNING: This live video contains a lot of flashing lights. Watch with caution.

Where all of the other songs deliver a rush of energy, Real creates a vision of a journey with Saki as she sings. It's a much needed change of pace, especially so close to the end of the album, and that is something I truly appreciate about the song Real.

I feel a little polarised when it comes to Real, because there is something about this song that I certainly enjoy, but likewise there are aspects to it that I don't care for. Still, I can appreciate it for the emotions it creates, the power Saki showcases in her singing and the 'journey' this song creates. Of all the songs, I feel like this is the one that feels more personal than others.

Still, this is one people should listen to, and it's one that really does need to be witnessed live, especially for Saki's gymnastics on stage during the instrumental break.

In a nutshell: Real feels a little more personal to Saki as a song and, whilst it may not be my favourite track on here, this is a track that I think other people need to listen to in order to understand Saki as a performer. Be sure to check it out~

8. Popping Shower no Ame

Closing the album with a song masquerading itself as an idol-esque bop, Saki delivers her final track in the form of Popping Shower no Ame, a cute song that packs a punch in its chorus and showcases the relationship between Saki and her fans in the last quarter of the song. To say it's a beautiful end to a great album would be cheesy, but it would also be true. So, yeah: This is a beautiful end for a great album.

Much like Chippoke Hero, this track is catchy, memorable and a fun (and repetitive) listen, but what makes this Popping Shower no Ame different in terms of its sound and style is that, whilst lighter and undeniably more saccharine compared to the other tracks, this one includes fan participation in its recording to showcase Saki's bond with her fans, if you will. As someone who listens to idol tracks, loves Japanese music and also has no idea when to sing along to the music or chant at specific cues, this kind of track is helpful. At least now I know where I can shout out during Saki's performance for this song specifically.

Oh, and the song is a little less rock and roll than Chippoke Hero. I feel that must be said, though Popping Shower no Ame does have its own rock flare to it during the introduction, as well as the chorus.

This is a great song for crowd-participation if ever there was one, because that's literally what it was made for, but I honestly love Popping Shower no Ame for its undeniable cuteness, the adorable ad-libs and its overall sound. It's light, energetic, cute and ever-so idol, and it's something you would not expect to be the last 'hurrah' for an album that is as raw and spirited like The Theory Of 2&. Yes, it's predominantly a pop-rock album, but it's nice to end on something as fluffy and cavity-inducing as this track, in my personal opinion.

Mind, I could be wrong about this song being rather idol, but those are my thoughts. Still, I can appreciate how Saki brings out both her cuteness as well as her rock n' roll in this song. She does a damn good job, and I'm glad that she brings the crowd in to help her with it, too.

Also, remember when I said that Chippoke Hero was the most commercial track on this album? Yeah, I need to move statement to this song. I got it all wrong, despite listening to this album so much already.

In a nutshell: Popping Shower no Ame is the idol-track you did not know you needed on this album, and it only gets cuter the more you listen to it. It's a nice break from all of the other songs and showcases that 'idol' side to Saki we don't get to see as much.


I am thankful that The Theory Of 2& began and ended the way it did, because overall this is a great album. I love the energy of Saki in each track, I enjoy the rawness of her vocals, and I love how, despite being so punchy and passionate individually, all of the tracks are so different to one another in delivery, tone and style. Sure, they may encompass similar traits, but no two tracks are the same.

It probably helps that this album has been curated to flow a certain way, too. I love how each song flows into the next one, and despite the dip in tone with songs such as Katame no Liliy and Real, there is still a sense of structure throughout the album. It's an almost seamless album in my opinion, though I will admit there are tracks I would skip over others, namely the two aforementioned songs that give The Theory Of 2& a small break in energy and punch. That said, this is down to personal preference and differing musical tastes. I'm already aware that a lot of fans love those two tracks, and I don't fault them for it at all. It just so happens that I'm a little less keen on them, is all.

I have already listened to this album more than once, and each time I feel like I learn a little bit more about the songs. Each new listen delivers a new discovery, and through these discoveries I come to appreciate Saki's music even more. In terms of listening to this album for new listeners, I do personally feel like each song is better experienced with headphones, though it would be preferable to attend one of Saki's lives if possible. As stated in most of the review for each song, a lot of them need to be heard live in order to gain the desired experience, but honestly, your headphones will be just as good. So, yeah. Listen with headphones and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of 2&.

As an entire album, The Theory of 2& is a great introduction into Saki's style and range and allows for fans old and new alike to dip into her flavour of music. From energetic to a more touching, personal style, Saki showcases the raw power of her vocals as well as a roughness that is not typically associated with someone of her cuteness level and short stature. For those unaware of Saki's truly incredible voice, it may be a little startling to know that such an adorable young woman has a husky, raw voice, or that she predominantly sings rock music. No matter what though, whether you are surprised or not, Saki is an impressive performer and singer and I do think that she created an amazing album here.

And yes, I am looking forward to the next album she delivers come April 20th.

To conclude: I thoroughly enjoyed this album and found each song entertaining in its own way, and whilst there are a few songs that I am not as keen on sound-wise, I want to learn more about them in order to fully appreciate Saki as a singer. This is a good album, one that is well worth your time. Give it a listen and enjoy the raw quality of Saki from 2&. You're welcome.

Favourite Songs: Machigai Darake, Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia, Chippoke Hero, Popping Shower no Ame


Money well spent.

For those who have listened to album, what are your thoughts on it? Have you heard of Saki or 2& before this, and if yes, how did you discover her? And if you were unaware of her until you stumbled upon this post... well, you're welcome ;)

Thank you very much for reading and visiting my site. I hope that the post wasn't too boring, but above all I hope that I introduced you to a great singer and a wonderful album today. Until the next time I see you though, please take care and stay happy and healthy. I will see y'all in the next post~

Au'revoir and Adieu, lovelies.


  1. It's Usagi no Dorei to Cassiopeia (The Rabbit's Slave; not The Rabbit's Virginity). Yes I know Saki's handwriting is hard to distinguish between r and t.

    1. Hey, thanks for letting me know! I've changed it now so that the name is correct. I truly appreciate your help here! :D