Review Summary: Gackt finds out that more can in fact, mean less.
As he got further into his career and his popularity increased, it would appear that Gackt figured out exactly what his niche was: big, theatrical art rock. To presumably accomplish some air of freshness, Moon has a much stronger guitar punch to it than Gackt’s previous outings. In addition, Moon also boasts itself as a concept album that the listener had to “feel” (achieved simply by Gackt not providing lyrics in the album liner), so it would certainly seem that Gackt had no desire to slow down.
Unfortunately, Moon actually ends up being one of Gackt’s least satisfying albums for these reasons. Thankfully, Moon has enough memorable moments to be an enjoyable listen, but it’s constantly plagued with an air of stagnation. Opening the album with "Noah"
, another short transition piece with no actual lyrics, but lyrics accompanying it (in the liner notes of Gackt’s follow up effort) nonetheless for the third time in a row, is the first of many signs of stagnation showing in Moon. Through what seems like nothing short of a miracle, the following two tracks open the album with an iron fist, Gackt’s signature talent for audience grabbing hooks and melodies shining. "Speed Master"
is the best example of what the added guitar punch does to Gackt’s lavish compositions; sharp, gripping chords backing the flamboyant singer’s vocal passages nails home what is one of the most memorable choruses in his discography. Mood and atmosphere is the modus operandi on the album’s highlight "Fragrance"
. The acoustics coupled with the inorganic synths and beats drip with sensation as Gackt seductively croons into his microphone.
Moon has to be one of the most ridiculously top-heavy albums I’ve ever heard, since the rest of the album doesn’t provide nearly anywhere near the same level of satisfaction as the first six tracks do. The catch 22 to Gackt’s drive for success on his albums is that it gets predictable and the second half of Moon gets very predictable. Songs like "Death Wish"
build up into nothing, or build into something that, if you’ve listened to Gackt’s music before, you can hear he’s done better in the past on songs like “OASIS” or “Seven”. Perhaps Gackt’s penchant for penning the perfect pop song also backfires on him here, since a lot of the songs just sound like J-rock in general. "Doomsday"
has some nice dynamic shifts, but these moments have really boring bookends and “Missing
” is essentially just a watered down version of “dears”. There are parts in the first half of the album that do this as well, "Soleil"
taking the cake as potentially the least memorable song in Gackt’s catalogue.
There are some breaths of fresh air in the slow second half however and the album overall has some real bangers. It’s unfortunate though that despite these excellent songs showing off a new take on Gackt’s colourful art rock, Moon leaves the listener without a hell of a lot to say about it. The concept is effectively lost on anyone who can’t speak fluent Japanese and I’m sure even for those who can, the fact that almost half of Moon is a pretty uneventful pop-rock album would make it hard to “feel” the concept regardless. Despite saying this, Moon does have its and is still Gackt doing as Gackt does. Though still an imperfect creation, fans of the artist will find what they’re looking for in songs like the triumphant "Rain"
or the unquestionable charisma of “Luna
” and works as a good starting point to anyone looking to get into Gackt’s work due to its overall sense of… um… Gacktness.