2nd ~Shimiwataru Omoi~ is the second album released by Abe Natsumi. It features four singles that were released prior to the album, with all four charting in the top 10. The album wasn’t a big hit though and sold significantly less than her first album, peaking at #9 and selling 23,000 copies.
Released: March 29, 2006
1. Gakusei Jidai (学生時代; Student Days)
2. Koi no Hana (恋の花; Flower of Love)
4. Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi (夕暮れ作戦会議; Team Meeting at Midnight)
5. Yume Naraba (夢ならば; If There Are Dreams)
6. Nichiyoubi What’s Going On? (日曜日 What’s Going On?; Sunday What’s Going On?)
7. Tokyo Michikusa (東京みちくさ; Tokyo Wayside Grass)
8. Datte Ikitekanakucha (だって 生きてかなくちゃ; ‘Cause I’ve Gotta Keep on Living)
9. Elevator Futaripocchi (エレベーター二人ぽっち; The Two In The Elevator)
10. Koi no Telephone GOAL (恋のテレフォンGOAL; Love’s Telephone GOAL)
11. Chottozutsu ne. (ちょっとずつね。; A Little Bit)
12. Ending (エンディング)
Gakusei Jidai is a lighthearted midtempo pop tune. It starts off with some weird talking, but soon goes into the song. I do find that it feels a bit old and almost like an 80’s J-Pop sound. The chorus is the highlight of the song, but even then it is a bit flat. It isn’t particularly catchy and relies mostly on that 80’s guitar riff to really get the job done. Unfortunately, this is a lackluster opening and I’m surprised it is so long (almost five minutes). Luckily, Koi no Hana comes popping up. The album’s fourth and final single is a bright uptempo pop tune that reminds me a little of something by Shimatani Hitomi. I do find that the chorus just zooms by, but it is catchy and at least quite memorable. It has some traditional elements in it that make it stand out and works really nicely with Abe’s vocals. I also like the brightness of the music. F.O. is a nice surprise. I was expecting something a bit lackluster, but the song is a stomping and explosive bright pop tune. I love the heavy beat tied with the flashy synths and blasting brass. The melody isn’t that memorable, but the music definitely has enough energy to keep the song rolling. Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi brings some heavy guitars in at the start, but transforms into a dreamy pop song for the verses. It really reminds me of something by ZARD or another 90’s J-Pop artist. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite have the nostalgic charm of their best songs. The chorus is boring and the music doesn’t really elevate things either. Yume Naraba storms in as the album’s third single and is easily the album’s highlight. It’s a dreamy midtempo pop tune. While the verses aren’t the most exciting, the chorus definitely makes up for it. It’s a bit dragged out, but the melody fits perfectly with the heavy bass and vocal heavy backdrop. It definitely grows. Nichiyoubi What’s Going On? is something I’m not a big fan of in H!P, which is a Tsunku heavily-featured tune. While he makes some good songs, the background vocals he usually adds make some songs come off super cheesy and ruins certain sections. While this song is a bright pop tune, the odd chanting vocals just doesn’t do it any favours. Just not my kind of tune. Tokyo Michikusa is much better just because it doesn’t have those odd background vocals. With that said, it’s not the most exciting ballad either. It’s really calming and sort of just slowly moves along. I do like the more traditional elements that come up during the music and the song does get better as it progresses, but it does get a bit boring. Datte Ikitekanakucha is a big change as it has some latin elements in it with its faster-paced music and touches of spanish guitar. However, the beat really overpower things here and the pop elements definitely stand out more. I wasn’t too keen on this song at first, but this time through I can definitely say it sounds much better. It’s catchy and I love how Abe sounds. It’s an exciting tune and is the album’s first single. Elevator Futaripocchi is just a lighthearted pop tune and while I want to like it, it just does not stand out. The melody is nice and the music has some nice aspects like the guitar, but there is really nothing that makes me want to go back to this song. Just forgettable. Koi no Telephone GOAL is the album’s second single and it is definitely the most Hello!Project of the singles to me. It has a funky vibe to it and has the signature Tsunku vocals. I do think the background vocals aren’t as bad here and don’t overpower things and help the catchiness of the melody to stand out. With that said, it’s my least favourite of the songs because I wish the music just sort of stays at a consistent pace throughout and doesn’t really excite me as much as I want to be. Chottozutsu ne. is a nice surprise. While it is a ballad, it has a really nice jazzier melody to it that stands out and works great with Abe’s voice. I do find the verses to be a bit dull, but that chorus helps to bring some energy to the laid back pop ballad. It’s one of the stronger album tracks. Ending is just an outro with a bunch of talking. It’s an interesting way to end things.
Overall: The thing with this album is that I found it less consistent than her debut album. While her debut didn’t have many stand out tunes, the fillers weren’t as weak. Here, the album jumps up and down constantly with some stellar songs and some boring tunes. With that said, I do like this album a tad more just because most of the songs don’t have those odd background vocals.