Mr. Children

Bolero

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Containing no fewer than five number one hit singles, Bolero, the third of a trio of multi-million selling albums begun with 1994's Atomic Heart, saw Japanese rock band Mr. Children at the peak of their popularity as well as at their most creatively expansive, with songs like "Everything (It's You)" demonstrating that they were just as comfortable with power ballads capable of setting stadiums swaying from side to side, lighters aloft, as with more progressive, esoteric material such as the subtly dub/trip-hop-influenced "Alive." Bolero is far from a slow, ponderous album, however, and the bandmembers demonstrate there is plenty of fire left in them, with the anthemic rock chorus of "Brandnew My Lover" and the spine-tingling rock & roll of "Everybody Goes -- Chitsujo no Nai Gendai ni Drop Kick." In addition to the rock and ballad elements, there is also a clear influence of '70s and '80s British and North American new wave guitar acts, as in "Seesaw game ~Yuukan na Koi no Uta~" and "Kasa no Shita no Kimi ni Tsugu," the latter of which weds the same Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson melodic power pop style to a jangling guitar reminiscent of Martha and the Muffins' hit "Echo Beach." In a sense, Bolero can be seen as a bridge, giving a final farewell to the youthful energy that propelled Mr. Children to superstardom, and ushering in the more refined approach that has come to typify much of their subsequent work.

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