Album Review: Ambitions by One Ok Rock

Ambition is nonetheless fitting for One Ok Rock as they push their career towards the next level.

Japanese rock band One Ok Rock have started the year off on the right foot with the release of their eighth album, Ambitions. The album is the second English-language record the band has released following 2015’s 35xxxv. The 14 track album is also the band’s debut after signing with New York City record company, Fueled By Ramen. With the American record company backing the Japanese quartet, it has allowed the band to recruit some big names for guest features on Ambition, including All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth in Jaded and Australian pop punk band, 5 Seconds of Summer, in Take What You Want. The men of One Ok Rock are ready to finally break down the wall and take on the Western Hemisphere by storm.

The album begins with an instrumental title track. Now instrumental openings can go two ways: they can build up the momentum and energy of what’s to follow on the album, or they can be a complete waste of space on the album. The strings, beats and ticks lead smoothly into the following track Bombs Away that erupts into a 3 minute burst of punk rock. Lead vocalist Taka Moriuchi’s anthemic hooks, along with the driving guitar and a children’s choir add a cosmic layer to the song, all proving the track to be a success.

One Ok Rock shows that they’re more than capable of crossing genres and tying them together to create a rocking album. American Girls proves just that. The title may sound like it was just pulled off of a One Direction album, but listening to the track it’s well known that there’s more to the song than a poppy title. The radio friendly track is full of catchy lyrics that will end up stuck in your head regardless if you want it to or not. Come on, how could, “Come on break my heart you American girls/ How’d you get that reputation for taking over the world,” not be catchy enough to sing in your head every two minutes?

For English not being Taka’s native language, his vocals are phenomenal and again shows the ambition the band has to break down the Western wall. One track that received a large amount of attention was Take What You Want featuring 5 Seconds of Summer. The quartet’s guest spot on Ambition led to 5 Second of Summer fans around the world picking up their phones and discovering just who One Ok Rock was. Take What You Want quickly became the most played One Ok Rock track in Apple Music and Spotify. The track was fully composed of endless guitar riffs, and infectious vocals bring the record to an epic ending.

Ambitions has landed One Ok Rock on the radar for many people around the globe, predominantly the West. Even if you aren’t a fan of pop rock or alternative rock, there’s undoubtedly something for everyone on Ambitions. In an interview with Kerrang Magazine in December, Taka had discussed the three themes he wanted to focus on with Ambitions: Hope, Ambition, and Singing together. One Ok Rock gave us exactly what they promised Regardless, it has quickly become a landmark for their career. They’re a band that understands what their audience wants, and believe me, this won’t be the last time you hear the name One Ok Rock.

Track listing is as followed….

  1. Ambitions (Instrumental)
  2. Bombs Away
  3. Taking Off
  4. We Are
  5. Jaded (feat. Alex Gaskarth)
  6. Hard To Love
  7. Bedroom Warfare
  8. American Girls
  9. I Was King
  10. Listen
  11. One Way Ticket
  12. Bon Voyage
  13. Start Again
  14. Take What You Want (feat. 5 Seconds of Summer)

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