Basic Info: BRIGHT is a vocal and dance group made up of four childhood friends from the Caless School of Vocal and Dance. They “originally” formed in 2001 while they were still in school but it wasn’t until 2006 when Rhythm Zone (subsidary of Avex) decided to add them to their roster. The girls list their genres as “R&B/gospel” since “that were the genres that they liked singing best” but really, their music is more pop with a slight r&b flavor. All the girls were born in either ’91 or ’92.
Here’s another dry summary. Now let’s run down their music career and see what makes BRIGHT the best Japanese girlband.
In the Begining…
BRIGHT was the local indie girlband with talent, enthusiasm, and a load of good songwriters. “Brightest Star”, their first mini-album under Rhythm Zone, is a compilation of their indie songs. Each song is a girly r&B track with arrangements that are all pleasing to the ears but varied enough to not sound like rehashes of each other. They also were able to display their vocal talents but in my opinoion they were still rough at parts and the beauty of the songs came more from the arrangements than BRIGHT themselves.
Then came their major label debut and their first three singles. All three singles turned out to be ballads, though the second one had an upbeat-pop track “One Summer Time”. While the first single “Sora Iro” was good for what it was, the pattern soon became and dull and bland. Similarly, their debut album Notes 4 You, kept the same pattern with a lot of ineffectual midtempo and slow jams. While none of the songs were bad and I first really liked the album, I got bored of Notes 4 You within a month and soon started to forget about BRIGHT. That’s when their next single was announced…
Kotoba ni Dekinakute (The words I can’t express):
Their newest single and their best one by a mile. Kotoba ni Dekinakute is actually a very simple song with a soft lullaby-like piano line and light R&B beats to give it flavor. It’s a good arrangement but in the wrong hands it can be ineffective and dull.
What really makes the song awesome is the girls’ vocals. Sweet, polished, and full of passion- this song would only be 1/2 of what it was without them. And their vocals is their strong point.
Unlike most groups, BRIGHT likes to alternate on the solos for the girls-even for the choruses. The typical BRIGHT song will usually have different girls singing different verses and a soloist singing the choruses while the others blend in harmony. Therefore, it’s rather important to know the vocals of each girl.
The easiest member to spot in the group because she’s usually the one in the front, hogging all the choruses and melodies to herself. Definitely the “Beyonce of BRIGHT”; she’s the prettiest, the best dancer, and her vocals are good-but not the best- to match up. She’s got a rather high voice that occasionally tends to border on nasally but she’s got decent chops and training to match.
While not the real leader of the group in name, MI-MI’s the one in charge apparently and runs their blog. While her voice isn’t necessarily as “showy” as the others at first, she’s got a smooth and sexy tone of mid-range that’s perfect for R&B. On their earlier songs, she seems sound kind of parched and ready-to-crack on certain notes but lately it’s been smooth sailing for her vocally. The easiest way to point her out is to look at her teeth though, she’s got a nasty set of vampire-like chompers.
Officially known as the “Leader” of the group because of her age. NAGI’s got the big, deep bass vocals and in my opinion, has the richest tone. I favored her vocally at first but after repeated listenings I started to notice how she often sounds like she’s holding back. It’s quite a shame really because I think she’s the best vocalist based on potential.
Oh dear lord, this bitch should just be kicked out of the group. While she’s fine in the harmonies as the soprano of the group, she sounds like a banshee in her solos. Even more annoying, she tries to prove her notes with whistle notes edit: ad-libs akin to the noise of a cat in heat. Why the other girls never kicked her out is beyond me. Thankfully she’s been regulated to background harmonies for now and hopefully it’ll stay that way.
As a whole:
Overall, they’re still the best girlband, vocals-wise. While all four girls have their strengths and faults (well maybe except MEG), they’re really best at harmonies. They’re able to blend their vocals really, really well and as a collective whole they sound smooth, rich, well-balanced, and powerful. I wish they harmonized more in the choruses, even if it’s more of a “cliche girl band thing”. While “I’ll be there…” is the worst single they’ve put out so far, their choruses are amazing to listen because they harmonize completely and perfectly.
Yeah, it’s easy to forget they can dance because they hardly ever do it, but they’re actually really good. And their dancing is not cutsey idol-style let-me-remember-the-moves-like-in-fourth-grade type of dancing either, but REAL hip-hop dancing. They don’t seem to like dancing too much and perfer to just sing in front of four mikes for some reason. Why? I’m not quite sure but Rhythm Zone needs to force these girls to put out some up-tempos and club-bangers so they can flaunt off their dance moves.
While BRIGHT may not be as popular or successful as some othe groups, it’s fair to say that they’re the most talented Japanese girlband currently out there. A big part of this is because there isn’t much competition-most girlbands are idol bands like H!P, AKB47 FIXED: AKB48. Thank you Cat. SweetS, and etc. who favor image and public persona over actual musical talent. And even the few other girlbands that aren’t idol groups aren’t really good either, SPEED seems to equate harmonizing with shouting (though thankfully they’ve toned it down lately) and all four girls in MAX have paper-thin vocals.
The only group that I actually see as a “threat” for BRIGHT talent-wise is the Korean girlband Tenjo Chiki. They both have many many similarities from being 4-member girlbands on Rhythm Zone to having tall bitches with nasally voices (guess who). While BRIGHT is made up of better vocalists, Tenjo Chiki has the better dances and songs. Part of thsi stems from the amount of bland ballads and mid-tempos BRIGHT has put out. WIth better songs and more dancing, BRIGHT can meet its match with Tenjo Chiki and possibly win.
Overall, BRIGHT is still relatively unknown in Japan as of the moment. Sales-wise, they’re usually stuck around the thirties range. Nevertheless, as far as quality goes, BRIGHT is still one of the best, if not the best, girlband that Jpop Land has to offer. With their talent, the right amount of promotion, and better song choices; BRIGHT’s future could be “shining oh so bright”.
P.S: Shining Butterfly was a bit of disappointment. While it’s catchy, it’s also very average. The bridge is amazing though.