Ambitions. I honestly am not sure where to begin with this album. If you are not sure of what album I am referring to it is Ambitions by ONE OK ROCK, released today (13/01/2017). ONE OK ROCK is a a Japanese rock band made up of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar, vocals), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). They have slowly been rising throughout the states in popularity. Ambitions is their second album debut in the United States, and wow, I am trying to figure out how I can describe the beauty that is Ambitions; I feel as the only way to do this is to do a track by track review...
1) Ambitions (Introduction) - The album opens with an eerie instrumental that really sets the vibe for the entire album. In it, you can hear the sound of car doors and footsteps. This, combined with the orchestra sounds provides the perfect introduction.
2) Bombs Away - The second track to this album is encased with perfect harmonies and a bridge sent chills down my spine.
3) Taking Off - The third track is one of self recognition, knowing you are involved with someone or something is nothing but toxic for you, but not finding the strength to give it up. It’s a powerful message that shows that the love for someone or something can truly blind you. It is a powerful rock melody that will have you emotionally head banging along.
4) We Are - This song is by far my favorite song on the entire album. Upon the opening of the powerful choir I was covered in goosebumps. Half-way through I was sobbing; emotionally ruined by the powerful message of this song. This is an anthem to those who are filled with self doubt or darkness. It’s a powerful reminder that no matter how hard life may get, or how hopeless you may be -- you can get through it. And I beg of you, if you listen to only one song from this album, please listen to this one.
5) Jaded - The fifth track on the album features a favorite of many, Alex Gaskarth (vocals and guitar for All Time Low). The theme throughout this track is going for what you want, with the line “I believe in you” showing that even when you may not believe in yourself, others will believe in you. The melodious and powerful bridge joining in with a build up will motivate you to go after anything and everything you want to achieve.
6) Hard to Love - I was lucky enough to hear them perform this track live this past year while they were on tour with 5 Seconds of Summer. The track itself is written in dedication to Taka’s father and hearing it live left me teary eyed. I never expected the track itself to get better, but oh how they blew my expectations away.
7) Bedroom Warfare - Bedroom Warfare is one of my personal favorites. One of the things I love about this track specifically, is the drum beats and breakdown. It's something special and unique to the track itself, and provides the true warfare vibe to this track.
8) American Girls - Track eight is one that just makes me simply happy. It’s one that provides a happy tune and will make American girls, like myself, feel special. With the lyric: “come on break my heart you American girls, how did you get the reputation for taking over the world?”, it will make every American girl feel as if she is one of a kind.
9) I Was King - I have always been a fan of strings used in any kinds of music, so it was no surprise that this track quickly one of my favorites with the opening and use of strings throughout the track. Lyrically, it reveals how hard it can be to move on and fight the demons of the past. It shows the struggle of leaving the past behind, which is something that many of us can relate too.
10) Listen - Track ten is a catchy tune, that although upbeat, is lyrically heart breaking. It shows the struggle of watching someone you love be in pain. Lyrically it shows us just how hard it is to watch the pain and how we can only wish we could take the pain away for them. Now there is an alternate version to this song that includes Avril Lavigne, and although she does not have a solo in the U.S. version of this track, if you pay close attention you can hear her voice in the background vocals.
11) One Way Ticket - This is a track for the lovers out there; especially to the lovers who endure long distance relationships. This provide a happy beat, but lyrically shows how just how hard a long distance relationship can be.
12) Bon Voyage - "Bon Voyage" is a track that to me sounded like something you would see in a really incredible video game trailer. Its pure rock beats and instrumentals had me head banging through out the song. The instrumental breakdown towards the end was by far my favorite part of this track.
13) Start Again - The thirteenth track is one of my other favorites from this album. Lyrically, it’s empowering. The chorus: “I'm not always perfect, but I'm always myself. If you don't think I'm worth, it find someone else. I won't say I'm sorry for being who I am. Is the end a chance to start again?” provides a message of ‘if you don't like who I am, then you can leave. I will not change for you’. It's an empowering message that you should not feel as if you should change for anyone.
14) Take What You Want - The final, and second favorite track of mine, features the incredible 5 Seconds of Summer. Listening to the track I was left speechless and in awe as I heard a side of 5 Seconds of Summer that I have never heard before. The rock pureness, and raw vocals blend together perfectly with ONE OK ROCK's sound. It has me wondering: Why has 5 Seconds of Summer never done anything like this before? This track is by far better than anything 5 Seconds of Summer has ever done; and I can only hope they learn from ONE OK ROCK and take whatever it is they used in this track and put it into their next album.
Overall, this entire album encompasses a pure rock sound from start to finish. Ambitions is by far one of the best albums I have heard in a very, very long time. It will leave you emotional, whether you cry real tears as I did or not, and will empower you to feel as if you can take on the world; and that whether you know them or not, ONE OK ROCK will be there cheering you on. If you’re looking for a source of motivation, I highly suggest you listen Ambitions. I promise you will not be let down.
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