Review by David Cirone
Powerhouse pop-punk vocalist Yoko Yazawa always brings her A-game, but the heavy production on title cut “Bad Cat” works against Yazawa’s natural earthy style. While it’s clearly the most commercial choice to be featured as the 5-track EP’s music video, it easily falls into Paula Abdul territory and gets a little repetitive near the end. Props to Yazawa for swinging for the fences on this one and still having fun — her alley cat-like “Nyahhh” is 100% punk.
Yazawa’s voice is loaded with authentic soul, and her sultry notes in “Spider Web” are hypnotic. Supported by smooth, blues-rock guitar riffs, she’s super-confident and in control on this track.
We get a double-dose of cover songs on Bad Cat. Yazawa pulls off a low-key, flawless English rendition of the Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” but the prize for unusual and awesome goes to the surprising choice of Tracey Ullman’s “Breakaway,” with new Japanese lyrics. The high energy level is a great fit for her natural style.
“Aoki Kibou”, like the title track, is heavy on production, but this time Yazawa’s vocals soar above the heavy synth and electro-drums to create a wonderfully moving ballad. “Aiko Kibou” wins a spot along with “Spider Web” as one of my favorites on the EP.