Album review: Tommy February6 - Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me

Album review: Tommy February6 - Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me | Random J Pop

Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me is Tommy February6's first album which features a current top 10 sound and does away with much of the 80s throwbacks of her previous albums. Within the Western sound scape, this album is a dime a dozen - sounding much like something you'd get from the likes of Katy Perry. But within J-Pop it sounds wholly different because it doesn't feature the key fundamentals and nuances that you typically get with Japanese music; aside from the language of course. However, much like Namie Amuro, Tommy February6 is breaking the shackles of singing in Japanese by singing songs entirely in Engrish. Similarly, as with Namie Amuro, this woman does not age for shit and manages to take a contemporary sound and make it work for her in a way which doesn't feel contrived or desperate. Ayu needs to grab her iPad mini and take some notes.

Tommy February6's 'thing' has always been her love / fascination with US pop - always choosing to base her music on the sounds of North American pop. February had been doing this long before other acts began to take suit and mimic US chart smashing pop acts. But Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me marks her first album where the mimicking feels explicitly obvious, because the sound is so prevalent on the charts right now. Tommy runs a huge risk by shunting her sound into 2010, because the sounds of today aren't as definable as those of the 60s, 70s and 80s - which are once again making a comeback.

Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me feels like a grand tongue-in-cheek gesture on indulgence. The over arcing visual theme of sweets and food and Tommy delivering songs of a genre which she has avoided for years, yet her contemporaries have all made passes at signals as such. The entire album banks on the Euro, EDM and rock pop concoction which was popularized by the likes of Max Martin and Dr. Luke from 2010.

It's sometimes difficult to ascertain whether Tommy is just giving us a middle finger with some of these songs. Trying her hand at an urban club banger in the form of "Pink army" in which she semi sings / raps about her ratchet home girls hitting a party. Throwing a dubstep drop into "Spacey cowgirl" which sounds like it was cut and pasted straight out of Britney Spears' "Hold it against me". If Tommy is punking us, then she's punking well, because there is no song on this album which feels strange or too out of Tommy's depth. This album feels like a departure given that February's first three albums were very 80s focused, but there was always a window for February to jump through the decades and create a conceptual album of sorts based on the sound at the time. What this album shows is that I may have had Tommy February6's musical infatuations wrong. She was never obsessed with 80s pop. She was just obsessed with pop music in general. 80s Tommy is still here in the later half of the album, but the EDM-ccentricity of the first half of the album over powers it greatly, and sets the tone for the album as a whole.

Tommy also makes the brave decision to sing some of the songs in English, something which was inevitable with the increasing amounts of Engrish which was creeping into her songs. Her English isn't perfect (♪ Step up and join the parree ♪ - says she on "Pink army"), but it's easy to make sense of. At no point is she drowned in auto-tune, filters or multiple vocals layers - which ensures there is always clarity to her vocals.

February's fourth effort is much more consistent than the February half of February & Heavenly release, on which I preferred the Heavenly album and I usually hate all of the Tommy Heavenly6 songs. The production (as is always the case with every Tommy release) is pin-point. The arrangements are tight, the songs never feel as though they are outstaying their welcome, and at 10 tracks the album is lean. But where it suffers is that songs don't jump out at you because the general sound of the album as a whole feels very similar and symbiotic to the point where songs tend to bleed into one another, particularly within the first half. Tempos, feels and vibes between most of the songs aren't drastic and neither are the lyrics.

Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me is an enjoyable listen. Although I do wonder how one would feel about it if this was their introduction to Tommy February6. It doesn't showcase Tommy February6 in the best of lights and it would be easy to understand why somebody would be dismissive of her and this album because it's comprised of songs which could be considered generic, and we have all heard the songs on this album sung by some American wig wearing broad over the past 3 years.

I would have loved for Tommy February6 to have done a 90s sounding album, much like Annie's A&R EP, as I feel this is a sound which would suit February to the ground and dismiss comparisons with lesser act sin pop who are releasing the likes of "Runaway" and "Sugar me". None of the songs on Tommy candy shop ♥ sugar ♥ me are bad, but there isn't a song on this album which I find to be amazing. There are a couple of songs which I really like, but none which I love in the way I love "Lonely in gorgeous" or "Good night my sweet day". It took me several listens and 6 months to reach a point where I could solidify my feelings for this album and decide on whether I liked it or not; because on my first listen I thought very little of it. Where I currently stand with this album is that its good, but it feels a little pedestrian and by numbers. If it wasn't for Tommy February6 on the songs, I'd probably think less of it - because the songs aren't enough to carry this album on its own.

Album highlights:
■ Runaway
■ Spacey cowgirl ★ J's fave
■ Pink army
■ Ai no ai no hoshi
■ Summer bubbles


  1. My Lawd, I was waiting for you to drop this review since the day I listened to the album in full. I agree that this album is incredibly generic, but damn, is it the good kind of generic. Tomoko Kawase showed lesser bitches with Tommy Candy Shop Sugar me that she can work the EDM angle miles better than they can (this might be the stan in me, but I'd definitely say that she could snatch Name's tresses if she really wanted too XD), and she definitely threw down a damn gauntlet with Tommy Ice Cream Heaven Forever by bitchslapping hoes with her affinity of glam-rock (once again, most likely the stan in me speaking).

    I would definitely have to say that the opposite of yours; I was hooked the second I pressed play on this disc (I think it was all I listened to the week it dropped), but since the beats were really generic, like you said, my interest slowly faded into the wind (which, ironically, is the opposite of my reaction to Namiserable's Feel. I didn't really like it much the first few spins, but I grew to really love it).

    Even though Tomoko works EDM like she was pop's greatest, I kind of want this to be the furthest she goes into it. I definitely think this album was a huge middle finger to critics (where they are, I have no idea, I'm hard pressed to find people who actually know she is besides the stans on JpopSuki), because the dubstep breakdowns in the '80s-pop songs and the entirety of Pink Army (I never for the life of me would have thought Tomoko would ever drop a song like that and much less pull it off); it ought to feel like a bastardization of everything she's done up until now, if she didn't amass wigs, Namie style, with how well she rides these songs.

    Idk, yo. There isn't really much for me to say about this album besides, "Good job Tomoko, now get your ass back into the '80s where it belongs" XD I do find it odd how she basically smothers herself in her usually styling as Heavenly6 on Tommy Ice Cream Heaven Forever, but decides to take such a crazy change of form as February6 on this album. I wonder if it was her choice or if it was her management's. She *did* recently switch labels from Sony to Warner. Hmm... #MinhoShrug

    Great review, as always :D Keep up the good work ^^ You ever gonna review BENI's Red or was that labeled a lost cause from the beginning?

  2. yep, instantly forgettable

    disappointing from someone as creative and fun as tomoko

  3. I actually would LOVE if she did another album like this. But I agree with basically everything else you said.

  4. Finally you reviewed this!

    I LOVE this album to death. I feel like I'm in a minority because I actually prefer this album to anything else she's done. It's modern, it's melodic, it's Tommy! Omg yes bitch.

    Like you said everything with her musically is always on-point. The arrangements on a lot of these songs are really nice. I LOVE the bridges in Fairy Dust and SPACEY COWGIRL. The hook in Runaway is amazing. The pseudo-instrumental break in ANGEL FADE is awesome to my ears.

    J, I wouldn't really be comparing some of these songs to american pop girls. I could not picture most, if not any western pop girls pulling these songs off and not having it sound off. Even if Britney Spears sang Fairy Dust, it just wouldn't sound right. It has a J-Pop tinge to it, even though it crosses over into modern EDM territory; THAT'S what I love.

    What I love most about this album is how solid the melodies are, and how songs like Fairy Dust have have this J-Pop charm to them, WHILE slaying me with HARD EDM beats. Every song is solid in it's own right AND consistent. One of my favorite things is CONSISTENCY.

    Also, the bridges to me are very well constructed and awesome. I love how the bridge in SPACEY COWGIRL just keeps building up and has variation to it, and at the end of the bridge, it includes the chorus's synth melody and it transitions so smoothly back into the chorus and OMFG. *Dies From Fangirling*

    Tommy's voice and melodies just have this sugary sweet, yet haunting sound to them. It just works so well for me in this album. I could go on and on about this album but I'll stop because I've been rambling way too long.

    tl;dr: I LOVE THIS FUCKING ALBUM *Blasts Fairy Dust*

  5. Eh... A part of me would really enjoy another album like this, because I really did enjoy it; this EDM/top 40 pop sound is something I'm crazy into, but another part of me started hankering for more of the '80s-pop style material that was present in the latter half of the album. Just without the copious amounts of dubstep.

    I honestly wonder what this woman was thinking when she was in the production stages of this album; it goes against the grain of everything she's done before. It's like, did she do this because she didn't want people to think that she was a one trick pony or something? Because we know you ain't no one trick pony, Tomoko. The way you pull off sweet (and a lil slutty) '80s pop confections, and then flip the script and go all punk/glam/Avril Lavigne rock on our asses is not something to be ignored or downplayed. It's just confusing and a lil weird, yo XD

  6. She can't make a post without shading Ayu..STAY PRESSED when she just outsold big boys cry in two weeks and Hikki and Koda. Maybe they should grab their iPad minis and oe how to release a lack luster single with a phone in performance and still sell more

  7. Ayu's newest singles has yet to outsell Namie's BBC. Ayu will probably do it, but we know BBC was not even a half assed effort and Tsuki will probably outsell Feel The Love/Merry Go Round.

    Still, its getting boring to see *Him* shading Ayu in every single post, does he wants her to fail or what?

    And where dat chatbox at?!

    And related to the album, Runaway is awesome. But I haven't listened to the album yet, only the previews on CdJ. I did like those, but I didn't order the album. I'll probably do it together with Kumi's Bon Voyage.

  8. I'm not even sure if she was trying to prove she wasn't a one trick pony. It's kinda a given that she's not. I almost feel like she did it just because she can. She's like, "I'm Tommy, I can do whatever I want, see?" Lol idk

    As for the 80s stuff, I'm not really a fan of that sound in particular. I do like Tommy's 80s stuff, but I'm much more of a sucker for Dance/Pop/EDM stuff, especially when done RIGHT, like she did.

  9. "The bridge in Fairy Dust left me paralyzed from how hard Tomoko ripped my soul from my being."

    LOL. Omg where you at? Let me pick you up and we can blast that shit till my neighbors call the police.

    "I honestly feel like it's because J-Pop has always been more melodic than western pop music; even when you're looking at the dance-pop cuts some artists do."

    That's why I prefer JPop over western pop. The melodic quality just seems higher. One of the best combinations is hard EDM beats with a tight melody, it's hard to come by those as far as western music is concerned, at least at the level JPop takes it. OR MAYBE I'M JUST BIASED BUT I MUST BE FOR A REASON. LOLOL

  10. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's "instantly forgettable". There's plenty of artists who've made a similar type of album, only less cohesive and melodic. If you're in love with her 80s stuff, I can understand where you're coming from though.


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