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Janne Da Arc

Janne Da Arc

I discovered this band when they had just released their first full album, D.N.A. I really enjoyed their version of rock, which didn't rely entirely on guitar. Instead, while some songs were based primarily on guitar riffs, a number were actually built around keyboard parts, or even a mix of keyboard and guitar. This led to me being a huge fan of the group. But, as time passed, I feel like they moved away from that original sound, and several albums later, I found I wasn't really into their newer music. So here is what remains of my Janne Da Arc collection.

Album Reviews

This is the most bipolar album I may have ever heard. The highs are ridiculously high: So Blew is unmatched as an upbeat, catchy pop tune, and Fantasia truly does lift up the listener as if heading into a land of fantasy; a perfect opener. It's the songs that try to be more rock oriented that I think Janne Da Arc are still finding their feet. Judgement, More Deep, and Confusion are maybe listenable at best. Being JDA, there are some cool riffs and progressive parts, but they can't save these songs. yami no tsuki... is a great, long closing tune, which finishes with a fantastic guitar solo. This album is worth it for its really great songs, but expect some duds as well.

Best tracks:
1. So Blew
2. Fantasia
3. yami no tsuki o anata ni...

A couple albums later and JDA is still doing mostly the same thing. This time, the valleys are not quite as deep. The heavier rock songs, -R-Type and Labyrinth, are OK. It seems when they try to get heavy, the melody just isn't as strong. ....song is also the first real "ballad" of the group, built around a memorable little guitar riff. It takes a simplistic approach, which works. Perhaps most disappointing is that the ending song, Strange Voice, is just OK, and doesn't really feel like a proper closer. The album just seems to stop.

Best tracks:
1. Desperate
2. Psycho Dance
3. ....song

To me, Janne Da Arc's major album is their absolute pinnacle. They just simply got everything right here. The keyboard/guitar balance is just right, and their sound feels really unique as a result. Furthermore, EVERY TRACK is great! There is not one song that approaches bad, and there are an incredible amount of great tunes. My favorite song is the anime theme, EDEN, which features a distractingly catchy chorus, their best since So Blew. The closing long ballad, Heaven's Place, is also masterfully crafted and an impressive accomplishment for such a young band. Finally, the heavier songs are all great too. There is simply little to complain about, except maybe the long and unnecessary opener, Deja-vu.

Best tracks:
1. EDEN ~kimi ga inai~
3. Heaven's Place

I am not sure what happened in-between these two albums, but I feel JDA started taking a new direction after D.N.A. Guitar became the main instrument in nearly all tracks, and keyboards simply add to the background. The entire songwriting seemed to take a new direction as a result. The songs are mostly still quite good, but they just lack that unique sound that we heard on their previous effort.

Best tracks:
2. 7-seven-
3. Mysterious

For the most part, the trends on the last album continue here. Most of the songs seem dominated by guitar and there is less of that distinct JDA feel as on the first album. Songwriting is still mostly good, but some of these tracks feel uninspired. Probably the best part of this album is the great opener. No filler instrumental track as on the last two albums, but the nice adventurous title track which seems like it's going to be an instrumental due to its long and cool build up. Aside from that, the three singles from the album were all fantastic, and I like the ballad still, but most of the rest of the album is just OK.

Best tracks:
1. feel the wind

Top 10 Songs

  1. EDEN~kimi ga inai~
  2. So Blew
  4. Heaven's Place
  5. DOLLS
  6. Desperate
  7. Fantasia
  9. feel the wind
  10. sakura