Vickeblanka – Ponytail

3 out of 5

Label: Avex Trax

Produced by: POWER BOX (recorded and mixed by)

Enjoyable, but fairly bog-standard pop that doesn’t display much vocal or instrumental virtuosity. I mean, yeah, he’s a J-Pop artist, and he’s producing palatable singles, but even when Vicke errs toward full-on radio-ready, there’s normally something that makes him stand out above his peers. Ponytail’s two tracks – the title track and 天 (which I’ll interpret as ‘Heaven’) – don’t meet this mark, though. The former track is about as cut and dry and clean as it gets, predictable through chorus and verse, from start to finish; 天 is a bit poppier, and so would work well enough between more notable tracks, but isn’t especially repeat-worthy on its own.

Again, though – the songs are enjoyable. They’re pleasant. Vicke can still sing, of course, and 天, at least, has a clear hook; Ponytail I think functions more on the boyband love-song register, and so maybe just misses the mark for me. The instrumentals of each track, also included, back up this same feeling: Ponytail is pretty plain, 天 gets my toe tapping.