I took the decision of waiting for the release of Wonder Future LP version before writing an article about the new album. Since April 2015, we got many info about this new album. Actually, right after the release of Easter single we started to wonder, what is Asian Kung-Fu Generation doing ?
After the 7th album Landmark came out, fans, listener, never agree on the fact this album to be a masterpiece. There might be 2 reasons for that, the first one would be that Landmark is an engaged album, against politicians and nuclear power stations. When an artist starts to be engaged in a cause, many people stop supporting him, which is a mistake to do so. If an artist isn't engaged in something, he would be a mere product of the industry, turning everything around him into commercial. Money would be his/her only cause and nothing else.
I don't really think that this is the main reason why fans think that Landmark is, overall, average.
The second reason would be that on the music side, Landmark is a compilation of music style, just like Magic Disc is, but in Landmark case we alternate between pop and rock sound so we start thinking "where exactly are you going to with Landmark, AKFG ?". We are confused and end up liking a bunch of songs and no more.
People "feared" to have another Landmark album, getting bored by this lack of clear direction. Since March 2006, Asian Kung-Fu Generation keep surprising us and do something different every-time they release a new album, crossing our fingers that something is going to change with the new album.
When Easter single came out, we were triple surprised: The band released 3 emo rock songs, Seaside Sleeping is sung by Kita Kensuke and the album has no art but a simple Asian Kung-Fu Generation Easter written on it.
Gotch said about it and the new album that the new songs are going to have an "emo" sound. If you never listened to Easter single, its sound is like Houkai Amplifier and Kimi Tsunagi Five M albums with more experience and work. Fans were excited, when the single was out, a lot of fans loved this new single.
We love Asian Kung-Fu Generation as much as Yusuke Nakamura's work. Many thought that he stopped drawing for the band and seeing that Wonder Future, the new album, had no artwork too, fans started asking questions.
When Wonder Future came out, the band started the promotion doing interviews and going in radio shows. After doing radio shows in Osaka and Kobe, Masafumi Gotoh and Yusuke Nakamura ate together in a restaurant and spoke a lot about few things. It was the first time they went out together just like that.
(About the restaurant, Nakamura chose it with coincidence, it was good and all but Nakamura didn't want to eat actually, just to talk with Gotch, I quote "Nakamura tells me that he has no interest in eating... no interest in eating, a little like me who bears no interest in cricket", he was shocked to know that he had no interest in eating and just wanting to talk with him.)
Wonder Future jacket is fully white, Easter jacket is black, a very sober artwork. Nakamura took a pen and drew an artwork with its green pen given when you purchased the new album.
Gotch said that Nakamura's artworks are so cool and many people think so too. He is a huge fan of him, he wanted a cover made by him and he did it (you lucky four-eyes).
About this whiteness, this is an atmosphere (white) that can be found on the cover and also in the songs. Asian Kung-Fu Generation and the staff intentionally remote Yusuke Nakamura from doing the artwork. That is why the white colour has been chosen and the idea of drawing your own cover was found just before the album release.
Wonder Future is Asian Kung-Fu Generation 8th album, having an emo sound like Houkai Amplifier and Kimi Tsunagi Five M, the album was released on May 27th in CD and CD with DVD, and on June 24th in LP.
Inside the CD version can be found the usual booklet with the Japanese and English lyrics, the limited edition, costing 700JPY more than the regular version, has a DVD with a 15 minutes documentary about their recording in LA in Studio 606 and Gotch going in Tennessee for the album mastering.
This DVD, no matter how fan of the band you are, do not worth that price. The documentary is pretty much useless compared to the one in Magic Disc.
The LP version has a booklet, a huge one with a few pages where can be found pictures of them and usual lyrics. The LP edition is limited to 3000 copies, Asian Kung-Fu Generation announced 10 days before the release date that they will sign every LP.
Let's have a look at the credits and the staff behind Wonder Future. The first thing that is surprising is that the producer of the album is Masafumi Gotoh, not AKFG. The songs were recorded in Japan, Tokyo and in the USA, LA. The main people behind the recording are John Lousteau, and Kenichi Nakamura who went in LA with the band, he is the man who has recorded almost every Asian Kung-Fu Generation albums.
The song Easter and Standard are both different from the respective CD single and Nano Mugen Compilation 2014. The sound mixing is enough different to have 2 different songs with the same lyrics.
On the music side, Wonder Future has no rhythm problem, a couple of soft songs and end with Opera Glasses, a very energetic song, just like Anemone no Saku Haru ni, giving us energy, not a single touch of nostalgia or regret.
Some like its American sound, others don't, Gotch voice is clearly at its best. Sometimes we wish we had some "woohoo" like in KnMM, N°9, and less "talking", though it's clearly not a big deal.
Gotch wrote the lyrics after the music and it's quite beautiful, both in every song definition and meanings, it's talking about various topics from suicide, hope, fears and anxious things with a touch of hope, we might live in a world that is still dangerous and vague, the future is in our hands and we can change it, hope isn't lost and that's the main message of the album. Check them out it's amazing.
Wonder Future is overall a very good album that has a clear direction unlike Magic Disc and Landmark. An album that we will remember for years like KT5M, Sol-Fa or World World World.
Come onto the forum and let us know your appreciation about this new album !