Un-Go OP Single – How to Go – Review

Album Title: How to go
Anime Title: Un-Go
Artist: School Food Punishment
Catalog Number: ESCL-3783
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: December 7, 2011
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. How to go School Food Punishment 3:46
2. Kaeru School Food Punishment 4:33
3. Kimi ni, Mune Kyun. -Uwaki na Vacances- School Food Punishment 5:16
4. How to go -anime edit- School Food Punishment 1:29

Review: Un-Go is the third Noitamina series to showcase as one of its theme songs a work by School Food Punishment, a band that continues to go from strength to strength. School Food Punishment has made their name so far by mixing pop-rock with electronica to produce catchy and well-executed tunes that are eclectic and energetic. “How to Go” is more of the same, and while I wouldn’t quite put it in the same tier as “RPG” or “futuristic imagination”, it’s still a solid and worthy entry in the band’s growing list of hits.

“How to Go” opens with an explosive mix of guitar, jazzy piano and a synthesized motif which carries through pretty much the entire song. Lead singer Uchimura Yumi is fairly subdued through most of the first verse, but this allows the little musical variations and embellishments to shine through, giving the arrangement a balanced feel. It’s when the pre-chorus strikes that the tension rises, with a rhythmic, staccato synth melody that makes for a distinctive moment within the song. The chorus is a bit more even, but manages to avoid being predictable, showcasing Uchimura’s excellent vocal ability. The only part of this song I didn’t enjoy much was an instrumental bridge in the middle of the song, which was a bit awkward in its arrangement, going for a high-pitched synth solo that comes off as jarring and scratchy. Fortunately, the rest of the song is great, and never runs out of energy.

“Kaeru” takes a slightly different approach, maintaining a sense of energy but without the raw intensity of “How to Go”, as it goes for a sense of sophistication instead. It’s a pop song, but it’s smart, particularly in the way it allows its very melodic synth line to carry the song. After the subdued first verse, the intensity of the song starts to build at the pre-chorus, with Uchimura singing melodically and hitting notes across a large range. The chorus is the highlight of the song; it’s incredibly infectious and Uchimura’s execution is very good. The song is kept interesting through the use of small effects and flourishes, both vocal and instrumental, that help support the main melody.

Unfortunately the second B-side, “Kimi ni, Mune Kyun. -Uwaki na Vacation-“, isn’t so impressive. School Food Punishment chooses to slow down the pace considerably, but it comes off as uncharacteristically laconic. Among the samples used in this song is what I can only describe as a croak like sound, which would be more in place in a generic R&B song but just feels tacky here. The verses in particular feel directionless and while the chorus is listenable (ignoring the croaking), it’s a forgettable, almost lamentable song considering School Food Punishment’s otherwise high standards.

Rating: Good


Guest Contributor & Editor-in-Chief of The Nihon Review.

8 thoughts on “Un-Go OP Single – How to Go – Review

  • December 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I agree that the third song isn’t very good but it’s probably due to the fact that it isn’t one of their original songs.

    The first two songs are original and were composed and written by Yumi Uchimura, Ryo Eguchi, and School Food Punishment. The third song is actually a cover of a song originally by Yellow Magic Orchestra.

  • December 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I prefer “How to Go” to “RPG” actually, the good thing about having these songs as openings is that you get exposed to them for a while, so “How to Go”, a song I initially thought was clunky and disappointing, grew on me so that I now love it. When the full version came out, it took time for me to fully appreciate that song to. Bass booster all the way on that song I might add, it sounds so much better to my ears.

    I’ve yet to listen to the other two tracks, but I’ll attempt to do so shortly and will post my thoughts then.

  • December 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Ah, OK, I didn’t realize that, but it does make a great deal of sense. It’s such a different song to what they usually do, I thought they were experimenting with styles or something.

    “How to Go” is very infectious, but I think “RPG” is a tad more sophisticated (for lack of a better word). With that said, I think “Futuristic Imagination” is better than both of them.

    • December 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      I was kinda surprised you didn’t realize that since I thought you saw Maria+holic. “Kimi ni Mune Kyun” was the ending theme for that anime 😛

  • December 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    What a lot of people don’t seem to realize is how jazz-influenced School Food Punishment is. Their style is rooted much more in the jazz tradition than pop, in my opinion, and it’s their highly successful combination of these sounds that really makes them stand out, even on a mediocre track of theirs. Given, I haven’t heard the B-sides yet, but SFP songs that seem to wander a bit are actually quite good after a few listens (for example, “Flow”). That said, I thought “How to Go” was just ok.

  • December 26, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Ah, I thought “How To Go” was good. Not the best, but not too bad.

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