After many delays because of the lockdowns that happened in Japan earlier this year, lyrical school released their new album Wonderland.
lyrical school’s newest album goes back to the 1990s
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The Japanese rap group lyrical school brought back the spirit of old school rap while adding a bit of cuteness to make it fun. Throughout the pandemic, the group did web freestyle rap sessions on the group’s YouTube channel and released an EP called OK! alongside a summer mixtape. After many delays because of the lockdowns that happened in Japan earlier this year, the group released their new album Wonderland.
In the group’s 2019 breakthrough album Be Kind Rewind, they brought the nostalgia of the 1980s. However, in Wonderland they transition to the 1990s and have a more modern sound that is still enjoyable to listen to. The album is also a metaphor for the pandemic which is a storm in a way but has some bright spots along and that is how the album begins. The album uses a lot of synths throughout it and shares vibes with their contemporary female rap group chelmico. In fact, Risano’s vocals in the album sound a lot like one of the members in chelmico.
The music videos accompanying the hit singles “OK!” and “Time Machine” show what a day in the life of the group looks like. The unity of the group shows when all the members sing in the chorus as well as in “Bring the Noise” which is an optimistic and cheerful type of song. They have a bit of excitement in “OK!” near the end of the song when they say “Okie Dokie”.
Hinako adds the cutesiness to the songs especially in “Danger Treasure” while Minan, Yuu and Hime have their moments as well. “Yabai Summer (Yabainatsu)” does sound like summer which makes you want to jump which is why I wish it had a music video. There is a surround effect in “Shark Fin Soup” where Minan whispers from the right speaker to the left speaker.
The song in the album that sounds most like chelmico is “Fantasy.” Its music video has a lot of imagination and visions that mimic a hallucination. The heavy use of electronic music in “Five Shooters” makes it the most electronic song that the group has made which made it sound dope. It gets more epic in the album’s climax “Curtain Fall” as the storm ends and the orchestrations in the song sound brilliant.
The album ends with “See the Light” which is a hopeful song that creates optimism that things will get back to normal soon. It does have the vibes of the music of the late rapper Biz Markie. The songs in the album will sound great when they are performed live in concert. I was hoping to watch the group perform at Tokyo Idol Festival this year, but their concert was cancelled due to the typhoon that happened last month.
Wonderland highlights the bright moments during difficult times with the fun that you would expect from lyrical school.