FRIENDS II

From B'z Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
FRIENDS II
Mini album by B'z
Released November 25, 1996
Recorded 1996
Genre Adult rock
Length 27:35
Label Rooms Records
Producer Tak Matsumoto
B'z chronology
4th Mini
04m.jpg

FRIENDS
(1992)
5th Mini
05m.jpg

FRIENDS II
(1996)
Korean Mini
devil cover.jpg

DEVIL
(2002)

FRIENDS II is the fifth mini album by B'z, released on November 25, 1996. Unlike its predecessor and fellow mini album FRIENDS, the album does not follow a continued narrative throughout its tracks. The songs included live up to the "AOR" genre: a well-publicized sub-genre in Japan that was an initialism for "adult oriented rock". This allowed the band the opportunity to utilize instruments and techniques not common within the band's discography. These include the flute and sax alongside falsetto vocals and bossa nova grooves. This would also be the band's final mini album release for the Japanese market, not including the DEVIL mini album released in South Korea in 2002.

According to Tak Matsumoto, all of the band's mini albums were used to grow as a band, and for this work in particular, the idea was to attempt a genre B'z had not previously explored. That genre would be "adult rock" and indeed, the lyrical content is less universal and more centered on adult content. Each song is written from the perspective of a difficult romance and building a future despite the tribulations of balancing adult life with the wants and needs of a relationship.

Interestingly, most of the album's songs have not been performed live. Third track "Shoushin" was performed on television, but never at a LIVE-GYM. This performance came as part of Music Station Special SUPER LIVE '96 in which the song was paired with the album's most popular track, "SNOW". The song is the only from the album to later be performed at one of the band's concerts, and while it has never appeared on one of their home videos, it was collected on one compilation album: The Ballads ~Love & B'z~. This would be the only track from the mini album to appear on a subsequent work.

At release, FRIENDS II debuted at the top of the Weekly Oricon Album chart with 966,140 copies sold, which was a noted increase over the 706,950 sold by preceding holiday effort FRIENDS. As with all other B'z mini albums released to date, FRIENDS II has been certified Million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan for sales in excess of 1,466,650 physical copies sold.

Track listing

All music and guitar by Tak Matsumoto. All lyrics and lead vocals by Koshi Inaba.

  1. Friends II
    The first of two instrumental tracks on the album, "Friends II" is a solo guitar rendition of the melody from the title track to "FRIENDS".
  2. SNOW
    As a first in the B'z catalogue, the vocals for "SNOW" are performed almost entirely in falsetto. The light ballad's arrangement is relatively simple, with piano and light guitar playing throughout. Apart from the solo, there is no sign of Tak's usual raw electric guitar sound with him instead offering acoustics and a clean tone. It was performed for a few years after its initial release at B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'97 "FIREBALL" and B'z LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE" before being revived a decade later for select dates on B'z LIVE-GYM 2008 "ACTION".
  3. ShoushinHeartbreak, 傷心
    Utilized as the first opening theme to the short-term TV Asahi variety-game show Choujiken Time Bomber, "Shoushin" is undoubtedly the most upbeat song on the entire album. The song was actually planned as a single initially, in that it would be released just prior to the album. However, this idea was ultimately discarded to give the album itself a greater individual identity. Overall, the song has a very different sound to virtually any other song in the B'z discography. The song does not rely so much on the usual electric guitar the band was known for to that point, with as much extending to the soft-timbre guitar solo and other portions utilizing wah guitar extensively—including for the entire outro. To date, this would also be the only B'z song to feature a flute, and it is also one of the few to feature conga drums as part of its percussion. Though still not performed live despite one television appearance alongside previous song "SNOW", the song finished tenth in a fan club poll held for B'z LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT- when asked for songs fans had not heard at a LIVE-GYM but would like to in the future. A short music video was prepared for the song that utilized the photoshoot for the album cover of the young woman depicted.
  4. BABY MOON
    As a first for the band, "BABY MOON" incorporates elements of bossa nova music first popularized in the middle of the 20th century. The song has not only the customary guitar solo but a preceding piano solo as well. As with other songs on the album, it does not rely on the distortion guitar sound that drove much of the band's output in their early years to today: instead, it utilizes a clean electric guitar selectively at various points. The song has never been performed live nor has it been collected elsewhere.
  5. sasanqua~Fuyu no HiWinter Sun, 冬の陽
    Undoubtedly one of Tak's signature solo compositions now, "sasanqua~Fuyu no Hi" actually premiered first here. It would later appear on two of his solo albums: House Of Strings in a guitar-led orchestral arrangement and later on Strings Of My Soul. The latter used this version as a basis but was deemed as not needing a great deal of updating, with Tak electing only to change the harmony in the final solo and nothing else. The song has not been collected on a B'z album.
  6. Aru Hisokana KoiA Secret Love, ある密かな恋
    Unlike virtually no other B'z song, "Aru Hisokana Koi" begins with a sax solo and is essentially a fusion of funk and slow rock. Guitar is utilized in the track more so than others as a secondary instrument to strings and sax, with the latter appearing numerous times throughout the song. The freeform-style guitar solo is played over a walking bass jazz breakdown with a straight 4/4 rhythm structure. The song has never been performed live nor has it been collected elsewhere.
  7. Kimi wo TsureteBrought to You, きみをつれて
    As the first B'z song to incorporate elements of reggae music, "Kimi wo Tsurete" is a unique entry in the B'z catalogue. As with others on the album, guitar is used somewhat sporadically with one portion being an obbligato of fifth track "sasanqua~Fuyu no Hi". The song contains three separate sax solos and an extended electric guitar solo that lasts almost a minute and half, complete with a sound more reminiscent of previous B'z ballads than other songs present. A piano outro closes then closes out both the song and the album proper. The song has never been performed live nor has it been collected elsewhere.

Live appearances

Live Performances

SNOW [47 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'97 "FIREBALL" [9/9 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z SHOWCASE "GO! GO! HEAVEN" [1/1 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE" [29/49 SHOWS]
crossbracket.png B'z LIVE-GYM 2008 "ACTION" [8/53 SHOWS]
Shoushin redx.png
BABY MOON redx.png
sasanqua~Fuyu no Hi redx.png novid.png
Aru Hisokana Koi redx.png
Kimi wo Tsurete redx.png

Home Videos

SNOW novid.png
Shoushin redx.png novid.png
crossbracket.png Performed on television
BABY MOON redx.png novid.png
sasanqua~Fuyu no Hi redx.png
Aru Hisokana Koi redx.png novid.png
Kimi wo Tsurete redx.png novid.png

Sales data

No. Cover Mini Album Physical Copies Sold Chart Positions Certification
FIRST WEEK LIFETIME WEEK MONTH YEAR
5 05m.jpg

FRIENDS II
1996.11.25

966,140+

1,466,650+

1

Million

Personnel

B'z

  • Tak Matsumoto: Guitar, Music Composition, Arrangement
  • Koshi Inaba: Vocals, Lyric Composition, Arrangement, Chorus (Tracks 2-4, 6, 7)

Support Members

Production