The Blue Hearts
Review by David Cirone
You’d think the Clash had a Japanese brother, so brace yourself. When you crack this open this 17-track CD for the first time, you’re jumping in with legendary opening track “Linda Linda”. Brash, relentless, and unquestionably male, it set the standard for the upbeat. guns-blazing hits “Train-Train” and “Owaranai Uta”.
Blue Hearts made lots of room for harmony, too (“Shalala” and the great ballad “Aozora”) but the energy stays constant throughout, so much so that you might find yourself suddenly joining the shout of “Ganbare!” on “Hito ni yarashiku”.
The moving a capella live performance of “Blue Hearts ai wo komete” is included in the collection, and while only 2 minutes long, it shows why Japanese fans would leave a Blue Hearts show even more in love than when they started.
Sometimes a greatest hits compilation emerges front-loaded with exciting, recognizable tracks at the beginning, the trailing off into a few “huh?” numbers in the final half. I’ve tested this album again and again by shuffling the song order and just letting it play, and The Blue Hearts Super Best is impressive matter where you land. Sharp, tight riffs and Hiroto Komoto’s killer whiskey voice bring it home every time.
The Blue Hearts left their meteoric mark on Japan’s indies scene, and there are hundreds (no exaggeration) of copycat (or at best, “inspired by”) bands worldwide that have emerged as a result. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there’s no replacement for the original. When you’re in the mood for whiskey rick n roll, go top shelf.