OUTGROW is the fourth album Japanese album released by BoA. It was her first after her hit best album released the year before. The album was yet another success, peaking at #1 and selling over 430,000 copies. The singles were all over the place. While the first one was BoA’s first number one, the subsequent ones were unable to replicate its success until the fourth, “Everlasting”.
Released: February 15, 2006
1. Silent Screamerz
2. DO THE MOTION
3. Kimi no Tonari de (ｷﾐのとなりで; By Your Side)
4. OUTGROW ~Ready butterfly~
5. make a secret
7. LONG TIME NO SEE
8. cosmic eyes
9. Dakishimeru (抱きしめる; Holding You)
10. Love is just what you can’t see
11. Stay My Gold
13. With U
14. First snow (Bonus Track)
Things open on an explosive note with Silent Screamerz. While this is funky dance/pop tune, I like that it tries to play around with its sound. It sounds like BoA’s usual style, but brings in some groovier synths and vocal distortion. The music is pretty fun and the melody is catchy as well. This is a pretty solid starter and BoA sounds great as well. This is her element. I actually was a bit worried going into this song after so many years, but it still holds up.
One of BoA’s biggest hits, DO THE MOTION is the album’s first single and was its biggest success. It continues the upbeat sound, but totally changes things up by bringing a jazzier sound. The verses are calmer, but help to bring a fun contrast to the seductive chorus. The chorus is especially catchy and I love the introduction of brass and a smooth guitar. It sort of reminds me of something Santana might do. This is easily one of the highlights and shows some variety in BoA’s sound.
Kimi no Tonari de was originally released on the first single as a B-side. It’s the first midtempo tune, but can get a bit on the slower side with its lighter strings-like arrangement. BoA has some quality B-sides and this is a great example. The verses are a bit empty, but the chorus is where things shine. The synths, floating piano and airy vocals all work together in harmony. It isn’t as impressive as the A-side, but I feel like it’s much needed and is quite beautiful.
If there is one really experimental song on here, it would have to be the title track, OUTGROW ~Ready butterfly~. It brings us back to the upbeat dance sound, but has an eeriness to it that is heightened by the dramatic synths and heavy beat. I’m not really sure what to think of this song. I like it tries to do more things, but it doesn’t quite hit the spot for me. The melody is a little lacking and gets overpowered by the music. It doesn’t feel complete. With that said, there are some really cool ideas here.
make a secret is one of BoA’s singles that was not recieved as well as others. As the second single, it was seen as a bit of a flop considering it failed to replicate the success of “DO THE MOTION”. I’ve always been on the fence with this one. Sometimes, I like it and sometimes I feel like it is a bit lackluster. It has a really funky beat and I love the sassiness of the vocals. The chorus is catchy, but it doesn’t quite push anything and it gets a bit drowned out by the heaviness of the music. It’s solid, but more B-side material.
It’s a bit weird to swing right into Everlasting. The album’s final single is its first full-fledged ballad. What I find interesting with this song is that it has a really full and complete arrangement but it can be a bit harder to take in. The melody isn’t particularly catchy, but I feel like it works wonderfully with the orchestral arrangement that helps it soar. It’s really beautiful and one of BoA’s most powerful ballads.
LONG TIME NO SEE was featured as the B-side to the album’s second single. It goes the midtempo route with a light pop song. I like that it has a bit of an acoustic vibe going on, but this song is just boring. The melody isn’t really catchy and the music doesn’t stand out that much either. Cute, but boring.
Finally getting to another album track, we get the spunky cosmic eyes. This one brings a brighter pop sound and I like the punch of the beat. Unfortunately, while the music is fun, the melody isn’t really my cup of tea. I feel like it isn’t as focused and the transition into the chorus is a bit jarring. I’m not really fond of how the vocals are edited either and I feel like things would’ve been much better without the distortion. It’s not bad, but could’ve been better.
Dakishimeru was the album’s third single and one of the album’s most exhilarating upbeat tunes. It feels like a continuation of “Silent Screamerz” with its funky beat and powerful punch of a chorus. The chorus is catchy, but the hooks quite aren’t as intoxicating. Instead, the song just seems to live on pure force and it’s so fun to hear that explosive opening. That and the verses are just so fun as well.
I like the bright energy of Love is just what you can’t see. It tries to bring a funkier groove to things and brings a few subtle R&B elements into the music and melody. The beat is fun and I like that it tries to bring calmer vibes to the album. I wish the chorus was just a bit more interesting though as I don’t think it quite takes advantage of the grooviness.
Bringing on the second ballad, Stay My Gold goes the R&B route. It has a bit more energy to it thanks to the beat, but I just find it somewhat unremarkable. There are some really nice parts to it like the pre-chorus where the melody swirls around a bit and really showcases BoA’s voice. However, the chorus is flat and I feel like it goes the cheesy route with the title.
I’m so thankful we have soundscape right after. The fourth single’s B-side is a quality light-R&B tune. It’s a bit more restrained and follows a similar sound to the last song, however, the chorus is much catchier. The verses are quite nice and show off BoA’s voice a bit more, but it’s that smooth melody that slides right in and hits the spot. It’s a style that BoA has done before, but it works.
With U was the second B-side off of “DO THE MOTION” and it goes the brighter pop route. I wasn’t particularly interested in this one as much as the other two songs from that single, but it’s still a solid track. The song has some a really nice arrangement and I love the sweeping strings tied with the fluffy beat and synths. It has a jazzier touch to it, but still has a lighter and more surgary focus.
first snow was added as a bonus track and was originally released on a special digital Christmas album. It’s a pretty generic R&B ballad, but it is surprisingly nice. I wasn’t expecting to really like this, but I like the melody and the song works nicely with BoA’s voice. It actually sounds more like a Korean ballad than a Japanese one to me. Anyways, it is a nice way to end things.
Overall: This album is sort of all over the place as it will go from amazing to flat right after. It doesn’t quite have the same consistent quality that LOVE & HONESTY has, but there are still some pretty stellar songs on here. At the same time, I feel like there are some album tracks that are just lacking and it has some of BoA’s most forgettable songs since her first album. Luckily, there are some gems that help to even things out.