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BUCK-TICK, if you don't know, is a long-lived and popular Japanese rock group. They were some of the earliest pioneers in the visual rock movement, thanks to sticking their hair straight up during their early years. They quickly grew out of that look as well as the sound; they don't quite sound like the other visual rock groups of the time. Having been around for decades, they have a huge discography with a range of different styles. They have some songs I really love, but for the most part, their albums usually have some low points, too. As a result, while I have snapped up a nice portion of their albums, I am fairly satisfied with what I have, and haven't pursued the rest.

Album Reviews

This album plays the role of culminating and perfecting the band's early sound. It's several steps above their previous efforts and so seems like a good place to start. Their poppy/punky rock sound is brought to its natural conclusion here. Most of the songs sound pretty similar and it's hard to remember which one is which, sometimes. But the cool thing is that none of them are bad. My favorites are basically the ones that stand out a bit more: ORIENTAL LOVE STORY is a slow, romantic ballad which some might find too plodding and sappy, but I get drawn in. PHYSICAL NEUROSE is the really fast-paced and crazy sounding song. Everything else kinds of falls into the same category. Nonetheless, a surprising consistent album for the band.

Best tracks:
2. ...IN HEAVEN...

This album took awhile to grow on me. It was hard to get into because I find the first two songs pretty lame. But after that, it's steady. The last song, JUST ONE MORE KISS, is the last remnant of their old sound. It's a fast, punky/poppy song, plopped onto the end of this album. Probably the best song from their early period. The rest of this album is much darker and moodier. However, it displays enough variety to keep it interesting. FEAST OF DEMORALIZATION is a speedy and frantic crazy song. ANGELIC CONVERSATION is a medium tempo catchy number in a major key. SILENT NIGHT is then a quiet, although somewhat disturbing, acoustic piece about killing someone. The variety keeps this album interesting, and so although I didn't rate it highly, I actually listen to it a fair amount.

Best tracks:

I'm pretty sure this was BUCK-TICK's biggest selling album and their most popular. But as usual, this was for commercial reasons rather than musical. The band had just become big news due to a drug related scandal. But musically, I actually think it's one of the weakest albums from this time. As the title (flowers of evil) indicates, it's another dark rock album. But unlike TABOO, a good half of these songs do basically nothing for me. The title track is a nice, fast rocker, and the closing track is a long, moody piece which builds to a nice guitar finish. Everything else is really hit or miss. I like basically everything from SABBAT to the end, but tracks like maboroshi no miyako, MISTY BLUE, and DIZZY MOON aren't compelling at all.

Best tracks:
2. aku no hana

BUCK-TICK allow themselves to lighten up just a bit on this album. The first three songs are upbeat, catchy tunes, each better than the last. But then the album turns dark. The songs mostly fare pretty well from here on, though. ENJERU FISSHU is a little weird, and Brain,Whisper,Head,Hate is Noise drags on. Other than those, everything is pretty good. The main thing going for this album is the two spectacular tracks right in the middle: JUPITER, a space-rock acoustic guitar driven song which is probably the most fantastic tune in BUCK-TICK's catalog, and then sakura, a slow rock mood piece lamenting the death of Atsushi Sakurai's mother. Overall, I like it more than aku no hana, but mostly due to the two amazing songs aforementioned.

Best tracks:
2. sakura
3. taiyou NI koroSARETA

Suddenly, BUCK-TICK turn up an album I wouldn't hesitate to call great. The only track I'm a little on the fence about is yuuwaku, which tries to be an old jazz song. It's not terrible, but it's not my favorite. Everything else is good. There's a number of somewhat standard rock songs on this album, which give it its overall character. ao no sekai is probably the best, LION the worst, but they're all quite good. THe best song is DORESU, though it stands out quite a bit. It's this repetitive drum and bass driven song, with some ethereal piano and keyboard and very little guitar. It's definitely a mood piece, and it works really well. My next favorite is Madman Blues, which is another fast, aggressive, and crazy rocker. Also notable is the 82 blank tracks that lead up to a "hidden track" at the end: d-t-d, which is a strange, exotic sounding rocker, but cool nonetheless. Overall a great disc.

Best tracks:
2. Madman Blues -MINASHIgo NO yuuutsu-
3. d-t-d

Here's the White Album for BUCK-TICK. Every song is of a pretty unique style, and perhaps most notably, Atsushi tries a wildly different vocal style for every song, too. Also like the White Album, it totally works because of the fact every song is so crazy different, and most of them are quite good. There's only a few I'm not as pleased with: hosoi sen is unimpressive, as is aikawarazu no..., and the heaviest tune, kagirinaku nezumi is OK but gets a little boring after awhile. When I'm in the mood for it, this is probably my favorite BUCK-TICK album. When I'm in the mood for something a little more compact and less crazy, I go to darker than darkness.

Best tracks:
1. kodou
2. rakuen (inori negai)
3. love letter

This album is harder to characterize. I think of it as the "noise" album, as there's just a lot of noise plastered all over the songs for some reason. There's a number of "typical '90s BUCK-TICK rock" songs, such as Ash-ra, there's some songs that hint at the heavy electronic style to come, and then there's the two really spacey ballads which probably lent the album its name: Tight Rope and the title track. As with many of their albums, it ends up being overall "pretty good". The first two tracks are great, and the last four are fine, but the middle section only has Tight Rope to redeem. Songs like SANE and Living on the Net are just too weird for me. Overall, there just aren't enough standout tracks. Most of the album is just OK. I listen to this album mainly when I want to hear the aforementioned spacey ballads.

Best tracks:
1. Tight Rope
3. Foolish

This is another album I frequently listen to. Unlike COSMOS, this one has a lot of character: it's the "let's be a techno-rock band" album that most rock bands seemed to go through during the '90's. BUCK-TICK did it pretty well. Sure, there's the usual assortment of boring tracks: RIZAADO SUKIN no shoujo and Schiz-o gensou fill that role. There's also the unnecessary and uninteresting instrumental title track. But other than that, I daresay everything is good, if not great. There's even another great space ballad: rasen mushi. Again, thanks to its unique sound and character, I go to this album about as much as my other favorites, darker than darkness and SIX-NINE, just depending on my mood.

Best tracks:
2. chouchou
3. rasen mushi

My most recent of BUCK-TICK's albums. This one was new when I was getting into them. It's another surprisingly strong album. All of it is listenable, although TRIGGER and GHOST don't do a whole lot for me. Everything else is good if not great. This album has plenty of loud parts: TRIGGER sticks out as annoyingly raucous, Long Distance Call has a powerful rock chorus to an otherwise quiet song, and kyokutou yori ai o komete is a desperate rocker, somewhat like a more modern aku no hana. Much of the rest of the album is quieter though, giving it an overall calm feeling. Brilliant is a very nice short, acoustic ballad, and oukoku Kingdom come is this dreamy acoustic pop ballad which I love. Overall a surprisingly strong collection of songs from BUCK-TICK.

Best tracks:
1. kyokutou yori ai o komete
2. shippuu no BUREEDO RANNAA
3. oukoku Kingdom come ~moon rise~

Top 10 Songs

  2. kodou
  4. kyokutou yori ai o komete
  5. sakura
  8. zangai
  9. shippuu no BUREEDO RANNAA
  10. rakuen (inori negai)