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New Single: ketchup mania's BAD! BAD! BAD!

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Anyway you look at it, it's going to be a big year for Japan's pop-punkers ketchup mania. So far they have a list of seven gigs in America, starting at Austin's SXSW this year as part of the awesome Japan Nite Tour, and ending at Seattle's Sakura-Con March 28th.

On February 20th, JapanFiles.com will be releasing the band's previous L.O.V.E. and U.R.G.E. albums, as well as the brand new single BAD! BAD! BAD! How does the new single hold up to the band's previous ventures? Put on your pink skull t-shirt and follow me to the jump to find out!

The single opens with the title track (obviously.) "BAD! BAD! BAD!" sticks closely to the tried and true ketchup mania formula, that being hyper beats and guitars under Hiro's high pitched vocal delivery. In fact it's Hiro's chirpy vocal melodies that drive the song over the rather subdued guitars. The chorus chant seems tailor-made to get the fists pumping, lights flashing and sweat flying. The video is the perfect visual representation for the music, being very clean with bold lines and flashy primary colors. The teddy bear sporting the Gurren Lagann-style sunglasses and the heart shaped gun also add to the apt tough-but-cute impression.

The first b-side is "Yes Freedom Yes My Life." This one has a slightly more earnest feel. While it's hard to call the blisteringly fast bridges "light," the choruses do have a more precious and sparkling feel. Hiro's vocals shift into a softer range from time to time, and the swing feel and twinkling bells also add to the softness.

The final track "Pink Water" is the foil to "My Freedom." It's the heaviest track on the single, with a steady, driving beat and surplus of guitar distortion. It manages to toss in a few surprises, like some techno passages and other odd instrumentation, all with a dark atmosphere. Personally, I feel that if ketchup mania did more of this sort of experimenting that it could propel them a bit beyond being simply a good pop band and on to something much more special.

Overall, BAD! BAD! BAD! is a solid single. While it does stick the the ketchup mania formula and delivers exactly the quality that fans have come to expect, it also shows signs of a shift into a slightly more interesting realm. It proves that there is still a lot to look forward to from this band.

The new single will be available February 20th from JapanFiles.com, along with their two latest albums L.O.V.E. and U.R.G.E. You can head on over there right now and stock up on several of their E.P.s and early albums.

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Zac Bentz
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Filed under... #music

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