A review of ‘Be Kind Rewind’ by lyrical school
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Rap music today is not like rap music in the past. While current rap music has a high production value, the popular songs involve people insulting each other and enacting rivalries—like the rivalry between Drake and Meek Mill for example. Back in the 1990s, rap’s lyrics discussed aspects of life, and the background music was dope. It was very cool during that time and everyone was doing it. That meaningful style set the standard for rap music back then.
There are a few groups that do rap the old school way, including a group from Japan called lyrical school. They follow the original interpretation of rap. They continue with this style in their recent fourth album, Be Kind Rewind.
The five-member group adds a bit of cuteness by incorporating pop music into their style. The members include Minan, Risano (who is very fluent in English since she lived in Los Angeles for a while), Yuu, Hime, and Hinako. The name of the album references the reminder stickers on video store rentals to rewind the VHS tape before returning it, and that sets the theme for the album.
The first five songs are very fun, have a nostalgic sound, and use a variety of music effects. Like in “Over Dubbing,” where a lot of the music effect is used, and in, “One Second Summer,” where the music in it sounds like early 1990s music. “Love Together Rap,” is definitely one of the songs that anyone could sing along to, and Minan and Risano display great vocals in it. Throughout the album, the two members are heard more than the rest of the members. But the rest of the members all have moments where they are spotlighted.
Two of the hit singles in the album: “Enough Is School,” and “Tokyo Burning,” are songs to enjoy at night. Especially “Tokyo Burning”—it sounds like a rainy evening day in the city, and the music video of the song reflects that scene also. My favourite song and another hit single in the album is “Last Dance.” I love it because of its use of strings, its resemblance to electronic 1980s music, and a catchy beat that will make you dance to it.
The music video for “Last Dance” is very interesting. It involves the members recreating famous scenes from films with practical effects including Back to the Future: Part 2, Mission: Impossible, The Usual Suspects, and Pulp Fiction. When you watch it, see how many references you can recognize. There is also random sampling in some of the songs like “Pyjama Party.” In the third verse, it cuts to music that is entirely different—and then it goes back to the song you can jam to.
The album ends with Risano giving the last word. Be Kind Rewind not only brings nostalgia of old school rap and VHS tapes, it is also an album that you can play at a party. Even if you are not a big fan of rap music, the singing sections in the songs and the orchestrations are also very enjoyable.