L'Arc~en~Ciel has had an amazing run of high quality singles over the past year: "Seventh Heaven", "My Heart Draws A Dream", "Daybreak's Bell", "Hurry Xmas" and "Drink It Down", all of which were 5-star songs in my opinion, so its with a little disappointment that the new double A-side single "Nexus 4 / Shine" doesnt quite reach those highs.
"Nexus 4" is a messy, over-produced song that just doesnt cut it. It has its moments and its undeniably catchy but its not one of their better singles. In fact just before the solo, it almost runs out of steam, not quite knowing where to go musically.
"Shine" however, is much better. Its not brilliant but right from the start its much more sure of itself with a synthesizer intro morphing into a laid-back, summer anthem. Its quite "Jojoushi"-esque only cheerier. Hyde's singing is also stronger on this track, reminiscent of older-L'arc songs.
Its obvious that neither song was strong enough to be a single in its own right (moreso in the case of "Nexus 4", "Shine" might have had a chance) so a double A-side was really the only way to go for a band who in all likelihood wont be releasing an album in the next 3 years. They would have served better as album tracks but I guess we can cut Laraku some slack. They are just coming down from a stellar year of five 5-star singles and a 5 star album. They've earned their break. Lets just hope when they eventually come back (2011?) that they return with a stronger single.
Verdict: *** (3/5)
You can watch the videos of "Nexus 4" and "Shine" here:
I quite like the videos actually. "Nexus 4" doesnt really take any chances. The whole skyscraper idea is nice but the making-of footage inserted into the video is a tad boring. "Shine" has an awesome video though. Its very "Zephyr Song" (Red Hot Chili pepeprs) but the cg-lushness is in-keeping with the song's style. Its gorgeous to look at too.