SUITE NOVEMBER by TETSU69 a.k.a. Tetsu or Tetsuya (2002)
Despite that I love White Out~a memory of a color~ this blast will cover the more upbeat version (i.e. the ‘album version’ and the b-side to the actual single), they are both really good pop rock songs by Tetsu69 or rather Tetsuya (seriously can he stop with the name changes already, it’s confusing my iTunes!). TETSU69 was without my favorite incarnation of Tetsu, he was not as poppishly saccharine or humorous as he is now nor did he bring the hype and any truly residual influences from L’Arc except his own. Rather TETSU69 was Tetsu at his most experimental but without losing his core essence (which is usually pop-rock). Despite that the vocals are not of the highest caliber, somehow they work excellently with each track perhaps due to Tetsu’s stoic somewhat bland vocals.
Some highlights from this great album (and era since TETSU69 did not last long, by the time Tetsu comes back to do another solo round he already had changed his name) are the following:
White Out: Great pop-rock track, Tetsu shows some of the higher ranges he can do with his vocals plus it’s really catchy and even endearing.
Wonderful World: This track shows exactly what TETSU69 was all about, great song composition and arrangement but really bland vocals. Regardless of this, for some reason it works, instead of sounding bland he comes off more like he is *very* relaxed. The song itself enhances his vocals which I rarely see in Jrock artists these days.
TIGHTROPE: Probably one of my favorite TETSU69 tracks, the song feels like an urban-rock-electronic mix and Tetsu starts to ‘rap,’ some tidbits also have some prototypical Tetsu influences that were seen in L’Arc in previous years.
SCARECROW: Simply put, *the best* song TETSU69 ever composed and the best track on the album, it’s eerily magnificent with an underlying sense of melancholy and as the track builds to the chorus (which is almost 3 minutes into the song) it becomes absolutely brilliant! Tetsu’s vocals become even more melancholy and full of yearning but its subtle, stoic, and mature (i.e. there is no melodrama or any overly dramatic tones).
Empty Tears: This track is almost surreal and a type of Tetsu we have rarely seen before and after this album was released, the track is so elegantly melancholy that it verges on MALICE MIZER intonations yet tetsu is in his most stoic voice here. The composition is so reminiscent of MALICE MIZER’s Klaha era that if it did not have Tetsu’s vocals I would have thought Mana composed it!
15 1/2: This song essentially encapsulates Tetsu’s essence and the concept he was going for with this album, it brilliantly closes off the album, it’s beautifully subtle in its pop influences and the chorus is full of hope and replenishment.
Overall, Suite November is quite a gem from Tetsu and I don’t think he will ever top himself like this again, TETSU69 showcased not only that he is a brilliant composer but perhaps the main influence for L’Arc’s success (though this is to be debated due to Ken’s own amazing contributions). TETSU69 went on to have one more great track after this album but they were rare like the gem REVERSE from the Love for Nana~Only 1 Tribute~ album. This is because he had to start to prep himself for L’Arc’s official big comeback in 2004 which put an end to TETSU69 as we knew him.
Will always get an A+ from me.