Square One (album)

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For album Square 1, see David Kitt.
Square One
Studio album by M-Flo
Released March 14, 2012 (2012-03-14)
(see release history)
Recorded 2011—2012
Genre Electro house, Electro-pop, Drum and bass
Length 67:51
Language Japanese, English
Label Rhythm Zone
Producer M-Flo
M-Flo chronology
M-Flo Inside: Works Best IV
(2010)
Square One
(2012)
M-Flo DJ Mix: Bon! Enkai
(2012)
Singles from Square One
  1. "She's So (Outta Control)"
    Released: February 29, 2012 (2012-02-29) (digital download)
  2. "Don't Stop Me Now"
    Released: May 26, 2013 (2013-05-26) (tour exclusive)

Square One is Japanese dance and hip-hop group M-Flo's sixth original studio album, released on March 12, 2012.[1] It was the group's first studio album in five years, after 2007's Cosmicolor.

Background[edit]

In the time between the release of Cosmicolor and Square One, M-Flo released two greatest hits albums, Award Supernova: Loves Best (2008) and MF10: 10th Anniversary Best (2009) and two outside collaborations compilation albums, M-Flo Inside: Works Best III (2009) and M-Flo Inside: Works Best IV (2010). DJ Taku Takahashi in 2010 launched his second record label, TCY Recording, featuring a collection of unsigned dance musicians.[2] He also produced the soundtrack for the Gainax animated series Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt in 2010, featuring the dance musicians of his newly formed label.[3] The Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt soundtrack was very successful, becoming the third most sold anime soundtrack in 2011 with 30,000 copies sold.[4][5]

Rapper Verbal directed his first music video in 2010, with MINMI's "Patto Hana Saku."[6] He launched his solo career in 2010 and 2011, with the album Visionair, featuring collaborations with Namie Amuro, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.[7] Takahashi also debuted with a solo project, under the name The Suitboys, releasing a non-stop DJ mix CD After 5 Vol. 1 in March 2012.

Taku Takahashi created a dance music web radio station called block.fm, featuring Japanese and overseas DJs as radio hosts, including Verbal. The radio station began airing on November 11, 2011.[8]

Conception and writing[edit]

The album was announced as a third stage in M-Flo's career, featuring Lisa as the group's vocalist between 1998—2002, and their "loves" era between 2003—2008, which featured billed guest vocalists on most of their recordings.[1] For this third stage, M-Flo saw this as a return to their roots,[1] which was the reasoning for the album title, Square One.[9] The album was produced without concerns for what the industry or their management were concerned about, which was similar to how M-Flo had pursued their career when they debuted.[10]

Square One took a lot of time to create compared to their previous albums, because Verbal and Taku Takahashi needed to get used to each other's styles and ideas again. Verbal believed that Square One showed off both of the work in their solo careers strongly.[11]

The songs were written and produced by M-Flo members Taku Takahashi and Verbal. Eight songs were written in collaboration with fellow Rhythm Zone artist Cream's vocalist, Minami, as well as two songs featuring lyrics by Cream's rapper Staxx T. The song "Don't Stop Me Now" featured lyrics former Hi-Standard vocalist Akihiro Namba, and FLJ music magazine producer Toshiya Ohno.

While the songs feature guest vocalists similar to their loves albums, the artists names were not announced. Verbal explained the reasoning behind this was that people attach a certain value and preconception to the name of an artist, and would pay more attention to the music itself if the names were not announced.[12]

The song "Sure Shot Ricky" sampled the viral commercial song "Shōshūriki no Uta" (消臭力のうた?), sung by 13 year old Portuguese boy Miguel Guerreiro. Verbal said the song was chosen as if it were played at a club, it would be a song everyone knows and everyone enjoys.[13]

Promotion[edit]

The song "Run" was first performed on September 15, 2011 with Mademoiselle Yulia at Reebok's Reethem & Lite launch party, when Verbal was chosen as the Asia creative director for Reebok.[14]

M-Flo held a concert and DJ event at AgeHa in Koto, Tokyo on December 22, 2011 called Bōnenkai (End-of-Year Party). The event featured a set with M-Flo's new material, as well as DJs Yasutaka Nakata (Capsule), Fantastic Plastic Machine, and a set with Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt collaborators TeddyLoid, Hoshina Anniversary and Booty Bronx.[4] The concert featured material from Square One, an excerpt of which was featured on the DVD of the album.

"She's So (Outta Control)" was released as the leading track from the album, two weeks before the album's release on February 29, 2012. It is a collaboration with South Korean pop/R&B group 2NE1 on vocals.[15] The song reached number 43 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart.[16] Three music videos were produced for songs on the album: "She's So (Outta Control)," as well as the tracks "All I Want Is You" and "Alive."[17][18][19] VERBAL appears in brief cameos in ALIVE and All I Want Is You. Due to digital downloads, the song "Alive" debuted at number 81 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.[20]

12 of the 19 album tracks were released for download on cellphone download provider Recochoku on February 29, 2012.[21]

A special edition of the album was released at Tsutaya[disambiguation needed], featuring a bonus CD with "Let Go (VIP Mix)," a remix by Taku Takahashi of their 2006 hit song.[22] Verbal held a special event at Shinjuku's Tsutaya store on March 18, 2012 where he acted as the store manager, and will hold another on April 14 at Okayama's Tsushima Mall Tsutaya store.[23]

Two of the songs featured commercial tie-ups. "She's So (Outta Control)" was used as the March 2012 opening theme song for the TV Asahi show Musicru TV, and was chosen as MTV Japan's March 2012 buzz clip.[24] "Don't Stop Me Now" will be used as the opening theme song for the drama Toshidensetsu no Onna, starring Masami Nagasawa. The drama began airing on April 13, 2012.[25] "Don't Stop Me Now" was released as a tour exclusive single at their M-Flo Tour 2012 'Square One'.[26]

On May 6, 2012, "Alive" was performed live by Verbal and Exile's Atsushi on Exile's weekly television show Exile Tamashii.[27]

Tours[edit]

M-Flo held a four-date tour Japan, M-Flo Tour 2012 'Square One' in May and June 2012, in the cities Chiba, Fukuoka, Osaka and Nagoya.[28]

M-Flo organised the first event at Avex festival A-Nation for 2012, Oto Matsuri held on August 3, 2012.[29] They also held their second annual Bonenkai end-of-year club party, on December 21, 2012, at the club Ageha.[30]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "□ [Sayonara_2012]"   M-Flo 3:00
2. "Perfect Place"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 3:56
3. "Alive"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 4:23
4. "□ [Frozen_Space_Project]"   M-Flo 1:18
5. "Never Needed You"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 3:49
6. "Oh Baby"   M-Flo 4:46
7. "□ [Square1_Scene_1 Murder_He_Wrote]"   M-Flo 2:03
8. "Don't Stop Me Now"   M-Flo, Akihiro Namba, Toshiya Ohno 5:09
9. "All I Want Is You"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream), Staxx T (Cream) 5:10
10. "Acid 02"   M-Flo 4:45
11. "Call Me"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 3:15
12. "□ [OK_I_Called]"   M-Flo 0:12
13. "Sure Shot Ricky"   M-Flo, Koji Kage, Maki Nishijima, Yosuke Fukui 3:41
14. "Run"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 5:01
15. "□ [Square1_Scene_2_Don't_Blink]"   M-Flo 2:35
16. "So Mama I'd Love to Catch Up, OK?"   M-Flo 4:19
17. "She's So (Outta Control)"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream) 4:33
18. "Yesterday"   M-Flo, Minami (Cream), Staxx T (Cream) 5:14
19. "□ [To_Be_Continued...]"   M-Flo 0:31
Total length:
1:07:51

Chart rankings[edit]

Charts
(2012)
Peak
position
Oricon daily singles[31] 4
Oricon weekly albums[32] 10
Oricon monthly albums[33] 31

Reported sales[edit]

Chart Amount
Oricon physical sales[5] 26,000

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Square One adapted from the liner booklet.[34]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Distributing Label
Japan March 12, 2012 (2012-03-12)[1] CD, CD+DVD Rhythm Zone
March 31, 2012 (2012-03-31)[35] Rental CD
Taiwan April 6, 2012 (2012-04-06)[36] CD+DVD Avex Taiwan
Hong Kong April 11, 2012 (2012-04-11)[37] CD+DVD Avex Asia

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "[CD] SQUARE ONE [CD+DVD] / m-flo". Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "m-flo's Taku launches new label". Tokyo Graph. July 1, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ "m-floの☆Taku Takahashi、ガイナックスの新作アニメで音楽を担当" [M-Flo's Taku Takahashi in charge of new Gainax anime's soundtrack]. Tower Records. September 9, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "秋葉原のMOGRAがm-floのパーティをジャック!?" [An M-Flo Party Jacked by Akihabara's Mogra!?]. Mu-Mo. December 20, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」". Oricon. Retrieved March 17, 2013.  (subscription only)
  6. ^ "MINMIのPVをVERBALが初監督" [Minmi's PV featured Verbal in his directorial debut]. Mu-Mo. August 27, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ "VERBALソロ作品にリル・ウェイ&安室奈美恵ら参加" [Verbal Solo Work features Namie Amuro and Lil Wayne]. FMVS. February 28, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "block.fm". Artimage. October 13, 2011. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ "m-flo 5年振りのニューアルバム『SQUARE ONE』3月14日リリース決定!!" [M-Flo's first new album in five years, Square One, to be released on March 14!!]. Artimage. February 29, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  10. ^ "'Verbal Exchange' An Interview with Verbal". Tokyo Dandy. March 16, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ "m-flo VERBAL VANITYmix 2013 SPRING Cover Interview". Kazuhiro "Sukao" Ikeda (Luck'a Inc.) (in Japanese). Vianity Mix. 2013. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Power Push - M-Flo". Natalie. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ "ミゲル アルバム「チカラにかえて」急遽発売&春に来日決定" [Miguel, album Chikara ni Kaete hurried release and Spring arrival in Japan]. Musicman-Net. September 17, 2011. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ "VERBALがReebokアジア地域クリエイティブ・ディレクターに就任!" [Verbal inaugurated as Reebok's creative director for Asia!]. Yahoo! News Japan. September 17, 2011. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ "作品コード 704-3406-9 SHE’S SO(OUTTA CONTROL)" [M-Flo "She's So(Outta Control)" tie-up information]. JASRAC. 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Japan. March 21, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  17. ^ "アーティスト名 m-flo 楽曲タイトル She's So (Outta Control)". Space Shower. 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ "アーティスト名 m-flo 楽曲タイトル All I Want Is You". Space Shower. 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  19. ^ "アーティスト名 m-flo 楽曲タイトル Alive". Space Shower. 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Japan. March 21, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ "■2/29(水) Album"SQUARE ONE"より先行配信!" [Pre-release songs from album Square One on February 29]. Artimage. February 21, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  22. ^ "VERBALがTSUTAYAの1日店長に!" [M-Flo special bonus campaign exclusive to Tsutaya Records]. Artimage. March 6, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  23. ^ "VERBALがTSUTAYAの1日店長に!" [Verbal, Tsutaya store manager for a day!]. Artimage. February 21, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  24. ^ "m-flo "She's So(Outta Control)" タイアップ情報" [M-Flo "She's So(Outta Control)" tie-up information]. Artimage. February 28, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  25. ^ "m-floがボーカリスト非公開!?『都市伝説の女』オープニングテーマ曲決定!!" [M-Flo vocalists kept quiet!? Chosen for Toshidensetsu no Onna opening theme song!!]. MyNavi. March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  26. ^ "m-flo、ツアー会場限定シングル「Don't Stop Me Now」をリリース" [M-Flo released tour exclusive single, 'Don't Stop Me Now']. Rockin' On. May 24, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  27. ^ Verbal, Exile Atsushi (May 6, 2012). EXILE魂 [Exile Tamashii] (Television production) (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Mainichi Broadcasting. 
  28. ^ "m-flo TOUR 2012「SQUARE ONE」チケット先行予約受付中!!" [M-Flo Tour 2012 'Square One' Preorder Tickets]. Artimage. February 29, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  29. ^ "m-flo、東京女子流ら出演の「a-nation」、2NE1やアイドリング!!!など第2弾出演者を発表" [M-Flo, Tokyo Girls Style, etc, appearing at A-Nation. 2NE1 and Idoling announced in second round!]. Netokaru. May 23, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  30. ^ "m-flo、3月アルバム&先行シングルはあの人が歌うバラード" [M-Flo, March album and pre-release single, a ballad with that singer]. Natalie. January 10, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  31. ^ "2012年03月17日のCDアルバムデイリーランキング(2012年03月17日付)" [March 17, 2012 CD Album Daily Rankings] (in Japanese). Oricon. March 17, 2012. Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  32. ^ "2012年03月12日~2012年03月18日のCDアルバム週間ランキング(2012年03月26日付)" [March 12-March 18, 2012 CD Album Weekly Rankings] (in Japanese). Oricon. March 20, 2012. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  33. ^ "2012年03月のCDアルバム月間ランキング(2012年03月度)" [March 2012 CD Album Monthly Rankings] (in Japanese). Oricon. April 2012. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  34. ^ Verbal, Taku Takahashi (March 14, 2012). Square One (Album liner booklet) (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Rhythm Zone. 
  35. ^ "SQUARE ONE/m-flo". Tsutaya. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  36. ^ "重新啟動(CD+DVD)". Avex Taiwan. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  37. ^ "m-flo SQUARE ONE (CD+DVD)". Avex Asia. Retrieved March 17, 2013.