× The Beach Boys The Beatles David Bowie BUCK-TICK The Cure Fleetwood Mac HYDE Janne Da Arc Laputa L'Arc~en~Ciel LUNA SEA MALICE MIZER MUSE The Police Porno Graffitti Rayflower S.O.A.P. Sting SURFACE TETSU69 Brian Wilson X (JAPAN) ZIGZO


I am not sure how I came to know this duo. They achieved moderate success early on, but they probably came across to many as trying to be B'z. Well, I never got much into B'z, but this combo I quite liked. Their style is guitar-heavy pop, often with lots of horns overlayed. They also let the music go in funky and jazzy directions frequently, which I love. After their first four albums, SURFACE seemed to disappear for awhile, but later came back with a couple more albums, which I don't yet own.

Album Reviews

This album seems to have two types of songs: those which are richly adorned with horns, mostly the singles, and those which aren't. The singles are all quite fine. Of the songs that aren't, they can be more acoustic guitar focused, or more rock, with hitotsu ni nacchae leading the way in volume, but they generally don't vary a whole lot. Most all of the songs are pretty good. There's a few points where the album drags a bit, such as in the middle after the great nani shitenno, but overall its still a listenable album. Comparing it with their following releases, this album feels less slickly produced, and has a little more stripped down "band sound."

Best tracks:
1. nani shitenno
2. hitotsu ni nacchae
3. sore ja BAI BAI

Fate was the peak of SURFACE's success. It's clear when you listen to the singles, like GOOINGU my ue e and naa naa, that the production is slicker and the melodies are even more accessible and catchy than the previous album's. It's overall more diverse as well, with only a few songs not supplemented with piano, horns, strings, or both. But in the end, Fate has the same problem as its predecessor: it starts to drag after its best moment, kimi no koe de, kimi no subete de.... It's not that the songs are bad, they just aren't as good as the first 5, and I start to lose interest. And frankly, it takes longer to pick up again: tamariba, the second to last song, a nice slow jazzy number. It may be slicker and with some insanely catchy songs, but it isn't a whole lot better than its predecessor.

Best tracks:
1. kimi no koe de kimi no subete de...
2. dete kuru na yo
3. GOOINGU my ue e

Although SURFACE started to decline in popularity around this point, I cannot tell why. ROOT is the sort of natural progression of the last two albums. Better production, lots of funk, jazz, and even some disco, and the tightest songwriting of any SURFACE album. There isn't a single bad song on here. The intro song, which can't really qualify as an instrumental since it has an abundance of background vocals, really sets the tone for the rest of the album: it's a funky, upbeat groove, and that good feeling just continues throughout this album. The singles were also particularly good: .5 (HALF) and about love were among their best pop songs, BOKU WA MITASARERU was a cool, heavy and dramatic song, and sono saki ni aru mono their best ballad. If there's anything to criticize this album for, it's that it doesn't have as much variety as Fate. The songs all have lots of strings, horns, and piano, but since they all have it, the songs blend together just a bit.

Best tracks:
1. sono saki ni aru mono
3. about love

It wasn't clear from the singles, but a very different SURFACE emerged with this album. I am not sure what the reason was for the sudden change in direction, but gone are the horns and strings for the most part. The drums and bass play simpler parts, and there are fewer jazzy and funky interludes. Most distressingly, there are no guitar solos at all, even though there seem to be parts that just scream for them. The only song that has one is uta, and it totally steals the show. One of Nagatani's best. Basically, many of my favorite aspects of the band were gone! This just sounds totally different than the previous three albums. But in spite of that, there's some great tunes here, and I rated it higher than the first two albums just because the songwriting is really strong here, even if the song arrangements are not as interesting.

Best tracks:
1. uta

Top 10 Songs

  1. kimi no koe de kimi no subete de...
  2. uta
  3. nani shitenno
  4. sono saki ni aru mono
  6. about love
  7. dete kuru na yo
  8. .5 (HALF)
  9. GOOINGU my ue e