Since this is my first time receiving a Draft King CD and my first time writing a review, I will be writing as much as I can about Just Say u.r.? in its entirety, including packaging itself, as well as the music. Part One will be a review on the packaging, and Part Two, which will be published next week, will be a review on the music itself.
Draft King’s first EP Just Say u.r.? was released at their Oneman Live ~2nd Mission to the DK~ on March 28, 2014. The EP was supposed to be a limited release, only available during Draft King’s Oneman Live and the Just Say u.r.? Release Tour, until Tower Records decided to distribute it and released it again on June 25, 2014. Currently, Just Say u.r. is only being distributed by Tower Records and is not available elsewhere outside Japan.
So far, it seems like this is the first copy of Just Say u.r.? to make it into the USA. Special thanks to Hirotana from Very Good Days (Twitter @hirotana_jp) for helping me purchase it and mailing it to me. Without him this review would not be possible.
The front cover design is split into four equal squares, each containing a brightly colored portrait of one of the Draft King members, whose heads point at different 45 degree angles from the center. Starting from the top-left to the bottom-right, we have erica, SHIHO, NOHANA, and MAO. The checkerboard style and bright colors definitely appear to be influenced by Pop Art from the Mid-twentieth Century, most notably of Andy Warhol’s style. Draft King’s logo mark is overlayed on top of the portraits at the center of the design, and Draft King’s logotype floats below it. The EP title “Just Say u.r.?”—in a distressed, chalk-like typeface, floats above the logo. The style of the CD cover is very characteristic of Koichi Tominuki (Twitter @roots_tommy), the art director and designer of the EP’s graphics, as well as hundreds of other CD covers, including the entire Stereopony discography.
The back cover design also contains the Pop Art influence, using the same values of yellow, cyan, magenta, and orange as the front cover; even the Draft King logos are in the same position. The biggest difference though, is that the girls’ portraits have been replaced by giraffe heads! There are literally photos of giraffe heads layered on top of the colored squares, which is a big contrast to the dichromatic design on the front side. Despite its peculiar design, the back cover still functions as every other regular CD back cover by communicating the contents of the track list to the listener:
- アブラカタブラ (Abracadabra)
- Hey My Love
- 真夜中メリーゴーランド (Mayonaka Merry-Go-Round)
Opening the CD for the first time is when you notice the removable spine of the CD (the “obi”), which has the Draft King logos, the EP title, and record label catalog number on its front side. NIKOTAMA RECORDS is the publisher. Curiously enough, the catalog number is NKTM-0001, and there is no information about the publisher available online—must be new. Unsurprisingly, the reverse side of the obi is a giraffe illustration and a short “Thank U!” message for the buyer.