Be it heavenly or february, I ♥ Tommy

 

A few favorite Tommy february6 songs
ChOOSe mE or Die / je t’aime ★ je t’aime / daNCin’ bABY / I still love you boy
Love is forever / Is this feeling love?

 

A few favorite Tommy heavenly6 songs
+gothic Pink+ / GIMME ALL OF YOUR LOVE !! / fell in love with you
2bfree / Lost my pieces

The thing about Tomoko Kawase is that I used to hate her. Once lead singer of the now defunct rock group the brilliant green, I found her voice high-pitched, annoying, and much too perky for the genre she was attempting to represent. I even remember watching one of their live performances on Hey! Hey! Hey! and rolling my eyes in exasperation, praying to God they would hurry and finish their set so the next guest could come on.

So you can imagine my surprise when, after the band disbanded, Kawase announced her solo career under the moniker Tommy february6 (Tomoko = Tommy, obvious, february 6 = her birthday, not so obvious but in an obvious kind of way). Unlike her singing in the brilliant green, she decided to take a whole new approach to her style; 80s synth pop revival. Before the Gwen Stefani’s of the world began churning out the same, Kawase was conjuring the techno-ridden, newly discovered computer sounds made famous twenty years ago by popular American and European artists. Although Tommy february6 was supposed to be a one-off digression, her popularity was enough to warrant a second album in 2004. To this day, Kawase continues releasing singles, her latest, Lonely In Gorgeous, in November 2005.

On the flipside is Tommy heavenly6, the Avril Lavine-esque rocker, who harps back to Kawase’s days in the brilliant green. Unlike Tommy february6, who pens vapid, but catchy budding-teenage-romance lyrics that start with a shy glance from across the street and end with a first kiss at the bus stop, Tommy heavenly6 is angry, relating feelings of abandonment, hurt, revenge, and pain. Kawase released music under both names simultaneously, from 2001 to present day.

But just what makes Tomoko Kawase’s projects so appealing? After all, I thought she was completely annoying until a few months ago. I had even heard some of her music back when je t’aime ★ je t’aime was released, and I didn’t understand the appeal. A few years later, I heard “Lonely In Gorgeous.” It was love ever since. Despite the 80s revival, the music is very refreshing and new; after listening to a lot of songs directed towards adults with themes expressing that purpose, it was just so nice to be able to put on music that was both cuss-free and trite-free. The music is catchy, nostalgic, and for once, her high-pitched tone finds its niche amidst the bubblegum infused pop. For Tommy february6, it’s pretty clear why it’s so good: all the elements are there for me from the synth sound to the innocent, sometimes cheesy, yet romantic lyrics and most importantly, the sentiments that can be gleaned from those two combined; anything that can take me back to a time in my childhood that didn’t suck wins.

As far as Tommy heavenly6 goes, it’s a completely different story. I like what Tommy heavenly6 stands for; I like that she’s angry, that she seems to say all the things I feel at the times I listen to it, and did I mention that I like that she’s angry? The music is alright, most of it is mediocre, or sounds like Avril Lavigne, or just doesn’t make sense in its Engrish state of being…but the songs that are awesome, aren’t just awesome, they’re exceptional. That combined with the fact that Kawase is able to pull off both polar extremes showcases her talent and ability. You know, not like when she’s dressing up as Hermione from Harry Potter or posing with huge Pokemon dolls. But…that’s just another one of those things in an artist’s career I choose to ignore, like Ayumi Hamasaki in the “Ladies Night” promotional video, or Ayumi in the “my names WOMEN” promotional video, or basically anything Ayumi has put out that has to do with the empowering side of a woman (too contradictory to be taken seriously). Make like Kawase does when she sings about Cafe Ole. Or tells you to ChOOse her or Die.

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