Monday, August 31, 2015
V6 - ~Koko Kara~ & Wait for You
3 CDs + DVD A
3 CDs + DVD B
~Koko Kara~ & Wait for You are 2 new songs available in V6's best album SUPER Very best .
SUPER Very best was released last month on 29th July & this release is to celebrate V6's 20th anniversary in the business .
V6's latest best album includes all the singles the group had released from their 1995 debut single MUSIC FOR THE PEOPLE until their latest single Timeless .
~Koko Kara~ is available in the 3 CDs + DVD A edition . Written by V6 & composed by member Inohara Yoshihiko , this 20th anniversary song was completely created , both lyrics & melody , through many discussions between the members .
Wait for You is available in the 3 CDs + DVD B edition . Written by Def Tech's Micro & composed by RedOne . Wait for You is described as an adult dance tune .
Both new songs from each edition of SUPER Very best have very different music styles . But to me , whichever music styles that V6 undertake , they always seem to nail it rather flawlessly .
For ~Koko Kara~ , it's a heartfelt emotional no. which lyrically sums up of the members' feelings/thoughts on their momentum celebration as for them to still continue to stay strong together as a group for 20 years is no mean feat .
As for Wait for You , the basis of the song is quite heavily autotune but it still managed to maintain the Summer aspect of the track . It's no doubt catchy & it's a great contrast to ~Koko Kara~ .
On that note , happy 20th anniversary to 1 of the most respected & established Johnnys in the agency ! May there be many more happy anniversaries ahead of them !
Saturday, August 29, 2015
UVERworld - I LOVE THE WORLD
CD + DVD
1) I LOVE THE WORLD
2) PRAYING RUN
3) CHANCE!04 -Memorial track-
I LOVE THE WORLD is UVERworld's 28th single & it was released on 26th Aug .
The group's new single comes in about 3 months + since the release of their past single Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba .
Promo wise , I LOVE THE WORLD was picked to be used as the theme song for the online action game Dragon Nest by Hangame .
It's been 5 years since Hangame started offering its services . As such , they have undergone a major renewal with the concept "to go back to the roots of action" . Vocalist TAKUYA∞ commented , "The concept this time is 'to go back to the roots,' & we are a band that formed through our love for music . Although this is our 15th year , we are continuously carrying out our activities while enjoying music ."
UVERworld celebrates the 10th anniversary of their major debut & 15th anniversary of their formation with I LOVE THE WORLD & to say that their latest single is dynamic is an understatement .
The last UVERworld single song I genuinely liked is 2013's Wizard CLUB as it's normally not easy to get into UVERworld's material but the moment I 1st heard I LOVE THE WORLD , it was something I immediately liked in an instant .
I LOVE THE WORLD has a great melody which makes this dance meets EDM rock no. extremely addictive . It's impossible not to get sucked into the song in a good way .
UVERworld's latest single offering is a joyous boisterous tune that is set to become a fans' favourite when UVERworld "15 & 10" Anniversary Tour kicks off next month .
On that note , happy 15 x 10th anniversary to UVERworld ! May there be many more happy anniversaries to them !
Monday, August 24, 2015
BENI - Forever
4) CAT'S EYE
Forever is BENI's 18th single & it was released on 12th Aug .
The last single that BENI released was 2013's Konayuki while her best album BEST All Singles & Covers Hits was released last June .
Prior to the physical release of the single , Forever was released digitally last month on 29th July .
Forever is an uptempo tune that BENI has already been performed during her concerts . The Motown-tinged song has the theme of bonds , not just between lovers , but also between friends & family .
There're a total of 3 B-sides that supplement the single . The 1st B-side BABY has a promo tie in with pachinko machine CR Cat's ♥Eye .
As for the 2nd B-side TATTOO , it's my favourite B-side out of the 3 with it sounding edgy & rather futuristic cool . If this single was released as a double A-side , it would have been great if BENI released TATTOO alongside with Forever as it's a strong memorable track that's A-side worthy .
CAT'S EYE is the last B-side found in the single . This song is actually a cover of ANRI's CAT'S EYE , which was used as the theme song for the Cat's♥Eye anime . ANRI's rendition was released as her 13th single in 1983 which's considered to be her most popular song .
Fresh off in celebrating the 10th anniversary of her debut , BENI returns with her 1st original release in over a year with Forever ! The title track is a boppy breezy tune about spending quality time with the most important people in your life that's perfect for the season .
It has been way too long since BENI last released new material & it was quite crazy back then she kept on releasing so frequently until I had problems keeping up with her releases .
As such for her not to release new material after BEST All Singles & Covers Hits was so unlike her but thankfully , Forever is worth the wait .
Before I heard the song , I thought it was going to be a ballad but I was surprised it's not . Not sure if it's because I missed BENI but there's just something about Forever that I liked on 1st listen . Likewise , the 3 B-sides in the single are all pretty good & it's the most number of B-sides I've heard from her single which I started listening her full singles from 2010's Sign onwards .
All in all it's great to have BENI back & hopefully she will not take this long to release something new again . And since she will be touring end of the year , maybe she might release a new single before that happens . I frankly will be surprised if it's a new album but I wouldn't mind it either way as it has been almost 2 years since she released Red .
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
flumpool - Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~
CD + DVD
1) Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~
2) Kimi ga Ita Kara
3) Let Tomorrow Be (Special Track)
Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ is flumpool's 14th single which was released on 5th Aug .
This's their 2nd single release of the year after releasing FOUR ROOMS in May . Back then it was assumed that FOUR ROOMS was a mini album release as it was billed a concept disc but now their official site stated that it's a single .
The CD only edition of Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ includes the instrumental for the 3 songs found in the single .
Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ was released in preparation for their 1st outdoor live flumpool Manatsu no Yagai★LIVE 2015『FOR ROOTS』~Osaka Fields Forever~ that was held on 8th & 9th Aug at Osaka's Oizumi Ryokuchi Park .
A sweet romantic Rock number , Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ was used as the CM song for SKY PerfecTV! 2015 J-League & the A-side was produced by Kameda Seiji .
There're 2 B-sides found in the single . The 1st one is something titled Kimi ga Ita Kara while the 2nd B-side Let Tomorrow Be was picked to be used as the theme song for BIMA-X which's an Indonesian super hero TV series .
While Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ is a full out Summer driven no. , Kimi ga Ita Kara is a heartwarming guitar driven acoustic song .
flumpool heats up Summer with the release of their latest single offering Natsu yo Tomenaide ~You're Romantic~ .
It has long overdue been for flumpool to release a new Summer inspired song seeing that their 1st Summer no. they released was 2009's Natsu Dive which's still a brilliant track .
Then again it's never too late to put out another ace no. & hopefully they will not take another 6 years to put out another great Summer song to jam to .
Sunday, August 16, 2015
CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - sixxxxxx EP
CD + DVD
CD + Blu-ray
1) Step by step
2) Summer diary
3) Sayonara Feat SpeXial
5) Shape of love
6) Sky high
sixxxxxx EP is ayumi hamasaki's 5th mini album & it was released on 5th Aug .
No singles are included in sixxxxxx . As the title of the mini album suggests , ayumi's latest release contains a total of 6 songs which all the titles start with the alphabet S .
The artwork for sixxxxxx was done in collaboration with fashion magazine Numero TOKYO . With the theme "au naturel Hamasaki Ayumi" , the photos were shot in a suite room at a hotel in Tokyo . ayumi's face can be seen close-up with natural make-up .
3 songs in sixxxxxx Step by Step , Summer diary & Sayonara received music videos ,
Preceded by the lead song , Step by Step is the 1st track in sixxxxxx .
Prior to the physical release of the mini album , Step by Step was released digitally last month on 1st July .
Promo wise , Step by Step was picked to be used as the theme song for NHK Sougou's drama Bijo to Danshi . ayumi who was offered by NHK to provide the theme song commented , "I depicted a positive message in my own way ."
This's ayumi's 2nd time in providing a theme song for a NHK drama since 2010's BALLAD & she revealed that she wrote the lyrics of Step by Step after reading the script for Bijo to Danshi .
The 2nd song to receive a video in sixxxxxx , Summer diary as the song title suggests , it's a Summer inspired song .
Compared to ayumi's past Summer songs , Summer diary is more towards the mid tempo side . I don't think it's as good as her other Summer inspired songs but it's still a rather decent sounding no. .
Sayonara is the 3rd song to have a music video & this song features the vocals of Taiwanese boyband SpeXial , making this the only collaboration track in sixxxxxx .
Prior to the physical release of sixxxxxx , Sayonara was released digitally last month on 20th July .
Composed by DAISHI DANCE , Sayonara is definitely 1 of the standout tracks in sixxxxxx . I'm quite DAISHI DANCE biased as I enjoy most of what he composed for other artistes . I know some don't like that SpeXial is featured in the song but I don't see any problems with it as I thought their vocals are not that bad , especially when they sing with ayumi together .
Sorrows is track #4 & it has traces of ayumi's past Rock inspired ballads . I thought it would be a rather un-inspiring no. but Sorrows still surprised me nonetheless .
Shape of love is the 2nd last track in sixxxxxx & this's my personal favourite seeing that it has been quite sometime that an ayumi song struck a chord in me .
What I liked about Shape of love was that melody wise , ayumi didn't went overboard & it has a rather simplistic sounding tune . The acoustic guitar riff that can be heard in the middle of the song elevate things to a certain extent .
Sky high is the final no. in concluding sixxxxxx . I think this song's ok , it's not something that I will go crazy over although it's a bit odd that when I 1st heard it , I thought Sky high sounded a bit like winding road (track #16 in ayumi's 6th album MY STORY) .
ayumi heats up the Summer with the release of her new mini album sixxxxxx ! This's her 2nd release of the year after releasing her 16th album A ONE in April .
There's definitely no signs of ayumi slowing things down & it's a bit daunting to know that sixxxxxx was released a mere 4 months after A ONE .
Concept wise , I think it's really cool for ayumi to utilise the alphabet S in so many different ways which's definitely clever & innovative .
Songs wise , some might feel that the songs in sixxxxxx sound like leftover tracks that didn't made the cut in A ONE . For me , sixxxxxx is quite ok , even though compared to her past mini albums , ayumi could have done a lot more better in some aspects .
I don't like all 6 songs in sixxxxxx but Sayonara , Sorrows & Shape of love are the tracks that stood out to me . As for the other 3 tracks , they sounded like something that I can find in her past music discography .
Given a choice , I would rather ayumi released the above mentioned tracks that I like as a standalone single as it's no point to keep releasing songs that she has already done before . It's 1 thing to keep her long time fans reminisce of nostalgia that could be found in her older works but it's not going to win her any new fans if this continues on .
The way I see it for her next release , ayumi should explore her options more wider/open & employ new people to work on her material because if she keeps relying on the same personnel to compose her songs , she will be stuck in a music bubble & even if the music risks that she undertook might be bad/sound terrible , at least she can said she has tried .
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Ken Hirai - Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai
CD + DVD
1) Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai
2) Ai ni Kodaware (CD Only Track)
3) Soredemo Shitai (tofubeats remix) (CD Only Track)
4) Ken Hirai 20th Anniversary Mega Mix Vol.1 (CD Only Track)
5) Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai (less vocal) (CD + DVD Track)
Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai is Ken Hirai's 38th single & it was released last week on 5th Aug .
This's Ken's 1st single release of the year after he released Sore Demo Shitai / Onnaji Samishisa last Dec . In addition , Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai was released to celebrate Ken's 20th anniversary in the business .
A medium-tempo ballad , Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai was picked to be used as the theme song for TBS's Naporeon no Mura . This is the 1st time Ken has written and composed his own single in about 3 years in which the last one he did both co-currently was 2012's Kokuhaku .
Ken's remarks on Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai , "I wrote this song especially for Naporeon no Mura . Lately , my songs have been dark , but this drama contains Napoleon in the title & is about never giving up . I pulled my passion out of my heart & wrote this song . It's unlike any of my recent songs . "
Kameda Seiji produced Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai in which it was described as having a powerful & beautiful sound that captures the spirit of Naporeon no Mura with it complimenting Ken's soulful voice .
The CD only edition of the single has 3 B-side songs while the instrumental of Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai is included in the CD + DVD edition .
Ai ni Kodaware was used in the ads of TOYO TIRES . This edgy poppy song is a good contrast against the A-side & the music style of Ai ni Kodaware is something Ken normally doesn't do but he does it quite well .
Soredemo Shitai is the 1st A-side of Ken's previous single & in Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai , it has been given a tofubeats remix .
The original take of Soredemo Shitai was heavily Bollywood inspired . For Soredemo Shitai (tofubeats remix) , most of that aspect is gone but the Bollywood influence still lingers on in the remix . Oddly , I actually prefer Soredemo Shitai as so , as up to now , it's still 1 of Ken's most unique sounding songs to date .
Lastly , Ken Hirai 20th Anniversary Mega Mix Vol.1 is the final B-side available in the CD only edition of the single in which this's over 10 mins long .
Ken Hirai kicks off celebrations for the 20th anniversary of his debut with his 1st single in over 8 months , Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai !
I've supported Ken for almost close to 10 years & it's definitely great knowing that he has been around for so long . And with the release of Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai , it showcases what he does best , which's releasing soulful R&B ballads .
Up to now , I still have not find another male solo artiste whose artistry mimic that of what Ken has accomplished over the years & likewise , Ken's voice is still 1 of the most distinct/unique out there .
I do hope that Ken will release a new album soon as it's hard to believe it has been almost 4 years since he last released JAPANESE SINGER but regardless of which , here's to many more anniversaries for Ken !
Friday, August 07, 2015
CD Review :: BREAKERZ - 0-ZERO-
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
2) WE GO (0-ZERO- Version)
4) RUN AND RUN
6) My Sweet Rose
7) Dark Night
8) Cry and Alive
10) WE ARE
0-ZERO- is BREAKERZ's 6th album & it was released last month on 29th July .
The guys' last album release was 2011's GO . 0-ZERO- includes a total of 10 songs & their 14th single RUSTY HEARTS is not included in the album .
The album's title refers to "restart = starting from 0" & BREAKERZ went back to their roots by creating "sounds that we (BREAKERZ) think are cool" .
The covers of 0-ZERO- portrays 2 meanings , "to restart = starting from 0" & "BREAK = to create something new by breaking" , which is the meaning incorporated into the band's name .
Kicking things off in the album is 0-ZERO- (the song) . Written/composed by vocalist DAIGO , 0-ZERO- (the song) is a mean aggressive in your face song with DAIGO placing a lot of emphasis on the number 0 in the background . Hence it sets the tone on what to expect in the later part of the album .
WE GO is BREAKERZ's 15th single & it was their 1st release as a trio after they reunited together from pursuing solo careers since Spring 2013 . Likewise for 0-ZERO- (the song) , DAIGO also wrote & composed WE GO .
Promo wise , WE GO was used as the 40th opening theme for the Detective Conan anime & in the Super Summer Sale ads of travel agency H.I.S . In the album , WE GO is tagged as WE GO (0-ZERO- Version) .
In the August 2015 issue of CD & DL Data magazine , the guys said the only difference between the single & album versions of WE GO is that the album version doesn't have the heartbeat sound effect in the beginning of the song .
Daydreamer is the album's 2nd track . Written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist AKIHIDE , lyrically the song sees DAIGO singing about certain Disney princesses which ironically does not justify the song title .
The next song RUN AND RUN was written/composed by DAIGO . For this track , DAIGO based/drawn inspiration from the fact that he was selected/picked to be the charity marathon runner for this year's 24 Hour TV programme .
RUN AND RUN definitely has a sports motivation feel and oddly enough before I found out the inspiration behind the song , I sort of sensed that the song was based from DAIGO's own experience & turns out I was right .
The next 2 songs fate & My Sweet Rose were written by DAIGO & composed by AKIHIDE .
fate is the only ballad in the album & it's no doubt the standout track in 0-ZERO- as it has a gorgeous breath taking melody which bears resemblances to some of the past ballads AKIHIDE previously composed .
As for My Sweet Rose , it has a smooth groovy Jazz feeling which reminded me of FIGHTERZ's SECRET GIRL to a certain extent .
Dark Night is the only song in the album that AKIHIDE wrote & composed . It's a bit on the weak side as it's not catchy on 1st listen . This reminded me of BIG BANG!'s Sentimental Scrap though .
Cry and Alive is track #8 in 0-ZERO- . The strange thing is that when I 1st heard this song , I got vibes of DAIGO's Mugen∞REBIRTH especially the way the opening of the track started .
The 2nd last song , OUTRAGE is the 1st song that guitarist SHINPEI contributed lyrics to in the group's discography , aside from him composing the song as well .
OUTRAGE on 1st listen was a bit amusing because it's the 1st time I heard DAIGO swearing in a song . And it seems that OUTRAGE is the new DESTROY CRASHER (2012) & Destruction as this track is something that I can imagine it will sound so much better in a concert which's accompanied by plenty of head banging .
WE ARE is the final song to conclude the album . This was written by DAIGO before the guys embarked on their solo careers . Lyrically , this touching no. sees DAIGO sings in that they will be back together musically stronger & then some after they went solo .
BREAKERZ enters a new stage with their 1st album in nearly 4 years with the release of their comeback album , 0-ZERO- . 0-ZERO- represents the band starting again at zero which also presents a new beginning to the group .
I've been a long time fan of the guys & it's quite surreal knowing that this's their 1st new album release in almost 4 years .
On 1st look , 0-ZERO- looks & sounds short especially since their comeback album has the least number of songs , in addition to only having 1 single preceding the album .
For me , I feel that 0-ZERO- is a combination of their older works together with what they learnt when they went solo . 0-ZERO- might not be as musically diverse as GO and/or FIGHTERZ but I still enjoy what 0-ZERO- had to offer .
I'm not sure why the guys chose to not include RUSTY HEARTS as if they do , at least the tracklist for the album will not look/sound stingy . But for them to release an album with only 1 single , it's risky but it's quality over quantity .
I'm sure the guys could have included the B-sides from RUSTY HEARTS if not WE GO but they have never done this for their past album releases so it should stayed in this manner .
Could 0-ZERO- sound/be so much better ? Probably but I'm just glad that the guys are back together in putting out a brand new album . I don't know what're their future plans after they finished touring next month especially since I heard they plan to resume going solo next year but I hope they will stick around for long as possible .
For now , I will still continue to support them as they're 1 of the few artistes that I've been supporting from their debut until now and I will wait in anticipation on what they have up in store next , musically .