Chankapana, released on 7.18.12, is NEWS’ 14th single. It’s the first single released after Yamashita Tomohisa and Nishikido Ryo left the group.
「チャンカパーナ (Chankapana)」 is an energetic mix of lots of different sounds like jazz and a neat mix of guitar (?). The boys do a great job with their vocals, though I think I’m starting to have serious problems liking Shige’s voice (more on that later). They do a nice job harmonizing together in the chorus and their vocals fit nicely together with each other as they call out to their “chankapana”. The third verse is sweet as they seductively say, “Let’s make a beautiful love, I promise you, chankapana.”
「Starry」 is Koyama’s solo. Similar to its title, the song starts with a beautiful orchestra instrumentation that emulates the feeling of the stars. Koyama sings along to the ballad, almost as if he was singing in a concert hall with his distant, slightly echo-y vocals.
「ヴァンパイアはかく語りき (Vampire wa Kakukatariki)」 is Shige’s solo. It starts with the sound of footsteps and the opening of a door along with some “spooky halloween” sounds including some classic “ghost” and wolf howling sounds. The instrumental is an somewhat upbeat take on a spooky song with synth and electronica and autotune whenever Shige actually sings. For most of the song, besides the bridge and chorus, Shige is just speaking dialogue and rap.
「PeekaBoo…」 is Massu’s solo and it reminds me a little bit of Pumpkin. It’s a full on synthesizer song and when Massu comes in, he is singing in a slightly sultry tone as he invites the listener in with his words. Later on, there’s a bit of autotune added to his vocals though its not really that noticeable.
「Addict」 is Tegoshi’s solo. It’s in a similar vein to PeekaBoo… with a prominent synthesizer instrumental and the same sultriness to it, but in a much quicker beat. Though Tegoshi sings his lines with a much more drawn out sultriness than Massu’s heated one.
Ending the single is 「フルスイング (Full Swing)」, which is more in NEWS’ vein of music with the boys starting off immediately with a harmonization and a strong orchestra ala Sakura Girl style. Massu starts off things first with a soft, but steady guitar beat bringing things along. Koyama, Shige, and Tegoshi sing after Massu in that order, with Tegoshi being the driving force in the bridge before going into the chorus.
I actually really like Chankapana but it’s different and unique. It’s a great sound to be hearing from NEWS while still maintaining that bit of “NEWS”ness to it. Out of all the solos, I like Koyama’s the most, but that’s my soft spot for ballads speaking here. About Shige, his voice is really starting to stand out and not in a good way. When Yamapi and Nishikido were still in the group, Shige’s hoarse vocals weren’t really a problem because there were other vocal types like him in the group. With the remaining 4-nin though, Shige is the only hoarse vocal left. Koyama, Massu, and Tegoshi all have pretty smooth and slightly higher pitches which makes Shige’s vocals stand out like a sore thumb. Not really sure how I feel about this right now, but he does sound alright when he’s singing with others. With solo lines though, it does feel a bit out of place.