Album Review: Tommy heavenly6 - Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever

Album Review: Tommy heavenly6 - Tommy Ice Cream Heaven Forever | Random J Pop

The one thing I’ve always liked about Tommy heavenly6, is that much like Tommy february6, she portrays a stereotype on one hand and then dashes them with the other. On the surface of heavenly6’s music is angst, but a core and consistent theme of her music is longing. You’d think that heavenly6 would be the more forward and aggressive character of the two, but she’s not, despite her sound for the most part telegraphing that

All of february6’s songs are about her having her shit together (according to her) and taking the lead of her potential lover. Whereas heavenly6's songs are about not always being able to express her desires and wanting to be wanted. It adds an interesting layer to the songs, because it’s so at odds with her image. Laying all of your feelings and desperations out there for all to know isn’t something that many would perceive as ‘cool’. Although at a time like now when honesty and any display of genuine feeling is encouraged, maybe the cool criteria would shift a little differently. But the thing that ties the Tommy's together is that by eschewing things which are deemed cool, they inadvertently become cool. And the 2 albums with the ice scream sundae covers that Tommy february6 and Tommy heavenely6 released seem to ask the question 'What if I actually made these girls care and actually try to be cool?'. Or at least that's how it seems to me.

This image, sound and lyrical content paradigm has always been the case with Tommy heavenly6’s music, more so than Tommy february6's. The sattire of february6 is far more obvious than that of heavenly6's, which is partly down to the consistency of february6's image and sound, which heavenly6 hasn't always shared. Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever feels like an attempt to try and consolidate and package heavenly6's sounds into one album, which makes sense. But it results in an album which feels unfocused despite it having a clear objective contextually. And because of this is causes the energy of the album to vary to a point where some of the songs sound more like fits for february6 than heavenly6. “Forever and Anywhere” and “Can You Hear Me?” could easily be Tommy february6 songs.

This closing gap between the sounds of the two Tommy’s became noticeable on 2012’s February & Heavenly album. The gap closed to such a point where there were february6 songs which could have been heavenly6 cuts, and visa-versa. I don’t think it’s a problem as long as the music is good. There's more to what makes a february6 or heavenly6 cut than JUST the sound, which I think February & Heavenly did a great job of highlight. And I also think it’s great to hear Tommy heavnely6’s sound evolve, because it had been locked into a set vibe for far longer than Tommy february6’s was, and the suite of sounds that february6 got to play in always felt far broader than heavenly6’s. But the problem here is that whilst the variations and a heavy lean into brighter sounding pop / rock makes for one of Tommy heavenly6’s best entry point albums, it lacks direction and a theme.

Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a love story album, a Halloween album or just a generic take on a top 20 chart album, or all three. The interludes and the opening of songs such as “Ruby Eyes” want to pull on the Halloween threads and give you spooky castles and candelabras. But then you have songs like “Forever and Anywhere” which wanna give you white girl twirling alone in a farmhouse bathed in sunlight. This push and pull from track to track causes the album to sound as though it doesn’t know what it wants to be, even though Tomoko seems sure of what she wants Tommy heavenly6 herself to be. The uncertainty as to how to package heavenly6’s songs on this album undersells her in comparison to february6, whose counterpart album Tommy Candy♥Shop Sugar♥Me (whilst not great) at least had a clear direction with its sound and what the narrative was - a preppy bitch living her best pop star in the 2000’s fantasy.

Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever highlights what I’ve always thought, which is that Tommy february6 is the better package. Her albums always have a clear theme and through line which goes beyond just the persona. Her albums are easy to frame. Tommy heavenly6 has layers and nuances just as Tommy february6 does, but her angle and standpoint isn’t always as clear. She’s the rock one. And that’s all she seems to be pushed as, even though her songs tell a much deeper story and she’s as satirical as february6 is. The problem is that when you place heavenly6’s songs on an album which feels more like a singles collection than an album, it robs heavenly6 and the album of a clearer identity. And then when you put Tommy Candy♥Shop Sugar♥Me beside it, it’s robbed of even more.

The music on Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever is really good. There is not a single bad song on this album. Tommy is committed to every song. Shunsaku Okuda’s production is great, as it always is. No song ever lulls or outstays its welcome, and the choruses always stick. But despite every song being decent singularly, collectively they make up an album that’s not all that memorable. And this is not a heavenly6 thing, because february6’s Tommy Candy♥Shop Sugar♥Me is the same shit. Decent songs, but not memorable as a whole. But at least Tommy february6 still comes across as a character. There’s a theme there. With Tommy heavenly6, the lines blur so much to a point where some songs may as well be songs by The Brilliant Green. It makes me wonder how much Tomoko Kawase really wants to commit to the goth girl deal and how much she’d rather pull Tommy heavenly6 into the sounds of the I Kill My Heart album, which was far more Sheryl Crow and The Cardigans-esque. I like the hard rock shit, but it’s the lighter stuff that sticks out to me on this album. Not only do they feel like respites from the hard rock, but they’re also the songs with the best melodies. “Forever and Anywhere” is sublime; starting off sounding like a James Bond theme and then turning into some ♫ Toot-toot ♫ Sonic the Hedgehog shit for the chorus!? It shoulda been a single.

The unfortunate thing with Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever is that it’s not an album void of effort. It comes and goes, and doesn’t stick in the same way other heavenly6 releases do - but I can see and hear what was trying to be achieved. And one thing I could never say about this album is that it feels phoned in. But somewhere, at some point, a vision for what this collection of songs should be was lost. As a 5 track Halloween EP or a 5 track Gothic Valentine album (same thing I guess), Tommy♥Ice Cream Heaven♥Forever would have worked far better. But as a whole, this album doesn’t really say anything, and is wholly unremarkable. It’s just a collection of songs, bookended in a theme that it doesn’t even stick to.

Verdict: Tommy♥Claire's accessories♥Forever

■ I Want Your Blood
■ Let Me Scream
■ Lovin’ You 🔥
■ Forever and Anywhere 🏆
■ Can You Hear Me?