Thursday, July 20, 2017
UVERworld - DECIDED
CD + DVD
3) DIS is TEKI
DECIDED is UVERworld's 31st single & it was released last week on 12th July .
The group's latest single was released 5 months + since their previous single Itteki no Eikyou .
DECIDED was chosen to be used to promote the new live action Gintama movie which opened in Japan theatres last Sat on 14th July .
The film is based on Sorachi Hideaki's popular manga Gintama that's currently being serialised in Gekkan Shounen Jump . Directed by Fukuda Yuichi , the film stars Oguri Shun as Sakata Gintoki , Suda Masaki as Shimura Shinpachi & Hashimoto Kanna as Kagura .
On providing the theme song , vocalist TAKUYA∞ commented , "We wanted to provide a trigger to liven up the world of Gintama , which is full of humour , action & emotion ."
RANGE is 1 of 2 B-sides found in DECIDED & for this , it was selected to be used in the ads of RED BULL BOX CART RACE TOKYO 2017 that featured UVERworld themselves .
UVERworld was appointed the ambassador for the upcoming RED BULL BOX CART RACE TOKYO 2017 in Tokyo that will take place on 22nd Oct .
Red Bull's soapbox race is a global event where amateur racers build their own soapbox car to race down a course , competing to get the fastest time . The event is know for the outrageous designs of its soapbox cars .
UVERworld recorded RANGE specially for RED BULL BOX CART RACE TOKYO 2017 . "We made this song to provide competitors with a boost . We wanted the song to make them say to themselves 'I won't give up and I want to keep going forward' ," TAKUYA∞ said .
DECIDED is 1 full on fast paced song which's different from Itteki no Eikyou as it was unusually mellow . This time round , UVERworld speed things up a lot more with their latest single offering , with some saxophone sounds thrown in for good measure too .
UVERworld's 9th album TYCOON will be released on 2nd Aug & DECIDED will be included in the album as track #7 with it tagged as DECIDED (Album ver.) .
TYCOON will be UVERworld's 1st studio album release since 2014's Ø CHOIR .
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - Precious Girl / Are You There ?
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Precious Girl / Are You There ? is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 20th single & it was released on 5th July .
The group's latest single was released 5 months + since their previous single OVER THE TOP while their last double A-side single release was 2015's / 14th single Chau# / Wo I Need You .
Unlike Chau# / Wo I Need You , both Precious Girl & Are You There ? respectively have videos made .
The 1st A-side Precious Girl was used in the ads of Kose Cosmeport's Fortune & it's described as a colourful song with a hint of strength + it's a fight song for women in love .
The 2nd A-side Are You There ? was used in the NTV drama Koshoku Robot starring members Daiki Arioka , Hikaru Yaotome & Takaki Yuya .
Are You There ? is only sung by Daiki , Hikaru & Takaki under the unit A.Y.T. . The song has heartwarming lyrics & a techno pop sound . This track will give listeners a boost & its simple melody will make the listeners hum it instinctively .
There're 4 B-sides in Precious Girl / Are You There ? & interestingly , all of them start with the same alphabet ie. S .
In the CD only version , 2 B-side songs are each sung by the 2 sub units of the group . Sweet Liar is sung by Hey ! Say ! 7 while Start Days is handled by Hey ! Say ! BEST .
Shakunetsu no Yume is only available in the CD + DVD A of the single while Smile in Summer is exclusively found in the CD + DVD B edition of Precious Girl / Are You There ? .
For Smile in Summer , it was used in the ads of Kose Cosmeport's SUNCUT starring Hey ! Say ! JUMP themselves .
2017 is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 10th anniversary & Precious Girl / Are You There ? is their 2nd single release of the year followed by Feb's OVER THE TOP .
The way they chose to release/market Precious Girl / Are You There ? is interesting especially since Are You There ? wasn't sung by the whole group .
Still , the single overall is quite strong . Precious Girl on 1st listen is fantastic & really catchy , it's very easy to get into the song the moment it starts playing . I'm surprised I like it as I didn't thought much about the preview but the full version changed my mind on it .
Likewise , Are You There ? that's handled by A.Y.T. is quite good although it's overshadowed by Precious Girl to a certain extent .
B-sides wise , this time round I don't like all of them as I find some quite childish sounding but I'm real surprised Sweet Liar has a grown up feel unlike Start Days .
And for once , I don't mind Smile in Summer slotted in as a B-side track as I feel it's not A-side worthy but it's a fun Summer song .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 1st best album Hey ! Say ! JUMP 2007-2017 I/O will be released on 26th July & both Precious Girl + Are You There ? are not included in the compilation .
Friday, July 07, 2017
ARASHI - Tsunagu
CD + DVD
Tsunagu is ARASHI's 52nd single & it was released last month on 28th June .
This single was released 2 months + since ARASHI's previous single I'll be there .
Tsunagu was used as the theme song to promote leader Ohno Satoshi's new movie Shinobi no Kuni that opened in Japan theatres last Sat / July 1st .
The last single song that ARASHI used to promote a movie was 2013's Breathless , which was used to promote Platina Data that starred member Ninomiya Kazunari
Tsunagu lyrically leans to a world's view & melody . The high energy song follows a path to an era of hope & love even to war torn countries .
The thrilling melody of prominent electric guitars & shamisen which perfectly melds 2 different music styles of past and present resonates an emptiness that matches ARASHI's vocals , making Tsunagu their 'ultimate love song' .
4 B-sides are made available in Tsunagu . Reach for the sky ~Ten Made Todoke~ , Dakishimetai & Under the radar are found in the CD only version of the single .
Reach for the sky ~Ten Made Todoke~ was used in the ads for JAL's Sakitoku 「Paper Airplane」 Summer Vacation starring ARASHI themselves . The song is described as a shout out no. that inspires all to come out into the summer sky .
Oki ni Mesu Mama is only available in the CD + DVD of Tsunagu & this was also used in the ads of JAL's Sakitoku that ARASHI also starred in .
There's definitely no stopping ARASHI in delivering 2 singles back to back within such a short period of time & Tsunagu most certainly didn't disappoint .
I wonder why it took so long for ARASHI to release an Oriental sounding song as a single song but it's better late than never and to say Tsunagu is fantastic is an understatement .
Just like I'll be there , Tsunagu is extremely catchy on 1st listen and it's great that ARASHI manages to make it modern sounding by combining traditional Japanese music elements that pays homage to their country & including electric guitar riffs for good measure .
Tsunagu definitely sounds like something it could have been included in Japonism as it would fit in very well with the album's theme/concept and visual/video aspects wise , Tsunagu suppress I'll be there in both areas .
The B-sides this time round are pretty good . Reach for the sky ~Ten Made Todoke~ gives me Everything vibes and I'm surprised Dakishimetai is not a ballad .
Under the radar & Oki ni Mesu Mama are both upbeat no.s and when I 1st heard Oki ni Mesu Mama , it doesn't sound like something ARASHI might do as it doesn't have a Summer vibe unlike Reach for the sky ~Ten Made Todoke~ .
All in all , I'm glad that ARASHI hasn't lost their touch when comes to their singles yet . I'm sure they will release another single next prior to another album although I rather they slow down the pace of releasing albums on a yearly basis but we'll see .
Friday, June 30, 2017
Hilcrhyme - After Story
After Story is a song by Hilcrhyme & it was released digitally on 10th June .
This song was used to promote the Shunkashuutou Monogatari movie & this release is in response to fans' request after they watched Shunkashuutou Monogatari .
Shunkashuutou is Hilcrhyme's most known song to date & for a movie to be made based on it , it's pretty something . Perhaps it's no surprises that there're some music elements that can be heard in After Story .
In certain parts of After Story , it's quite easy to hear influences of Shunkashuuto in the song especially in the melody . It's probably safe to say that After Story can be considered as an answer song to Shunkashuuto itself ?
B'z - Seimei / Still Alive
Cover for CD , CD + DVD & B'z x UCC edition(CD + Original goods) versions
2) Still Alive
3) Sekai wa Anata no Iro ni Naru
Seimei / Still Alive is B'z' 53rd single & it was released on 14th June .
The duo's last physical single release was 2015's RED while their last double A-side single was 2009's Ichibu to Zenbu / DIVE .
The 1st A-side Seimei was used in the ads of UCC BLACK Muto that featured B'z themselves . A video was made for the song but it's not included in the DVD of the single .
The 2nd A-side Still Alive was used as the theme song for TBS's drama A LIFE ~Itoshiki Hito~ that starred ex SMAP's Kimura Takuya .
This is B'z's 1st time in 17 years to provide a theme song for a drama . Their 2000 / 27th single Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni was used in Beautiful Life ~Futari de Ita Hibi~ that also starred Kimura Takuya . The duo commented , "We had the opportunity to have discussions with the drama staff & through trial-and-error , we were able to put together a satisfactory work . We hope it would add colour to this drama that's being filmed so earnestly ."
2 B-sides are available in Seimei / Still Alive which both of them were released digitally last year .
Sekai wa Anata no Iro ni Naru was released digitally last Oct & this song was used in promoting the Detective Conan : The Darkest Nightmare movie & also as the opening theme for the Detective Conan anime .
And Fukiarenasai was released digitally last Nov with it being used as the theme song for the movie Shippu Rondo .
After a period of solo activities , B'z starts up again with a rocking double A-side single in the form of Seimei / Still Alive .
It's great for B'z to return back with a new single & they definitely do not disappoint with their latest single offering . Between both A-sides , I like Seimei a lot more as it's a lot more edgier & fun . Not to say that Still Alive isn't good but I feel Seimei is more stronger & memorable .
Let alone I'm quite glad that B'z included Sekai wa Anata no Iro ni Naru & Fukiarenasai as B-sides in Seimei / Still Alive as I was wondering what will happen to both songs but it's better than being excluded .
Best album B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX will be released on 30th Aug & all of B'z singles that they have released from 1988 until now will be included in this grand scale release .
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Kobukuro - Kokoro
CD + DVD
2) HELLO , NEW DAY
4) Kokoro (Instrumental)
5) HELLO , NEW DAY (Instrumental)
6) LIFE (Instrumental)
Kokoro is Kobukuro's 28th single & it was released last month on 24th May .
The duo's last physical single release was last March's Mirai Spring Package which was a re-release version of their 2015 / 27th single Mirai .
Kokoro was used as the theme song for the movie Chotto Ima Kara Shigoto Yamete Kuru .
Prior to the physical release of Kokoro , the A-side was released digitally on 13th May .
For the accompanying music video , Kobukuro collaborated with NAOTO (EXILE , Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE) & Team Lab .
The Kokoro video was shot in one take in a large 360° set . On his appearance in the video , NAOTO commented , "I probably went on set after listening to Kokoro as many times as Kobukuro . It was a shoot that once again made me feel how wonderful song & dance is ."
Similarly , Kobukuro stated , "Through this video, we were able to portray various images that we were unable to portray with just lyrics & melody ."
2 B-sides are made available in Kokoro . The 1st B-side HELLO , NEW DAY was chosen to be used as the official song for RIZAP KBC Augusta Golf Tournament 2017 while the 2nd B-side is titled LIFE .
Kobukuro once again doesn't disappoint & Kokoro is a great empowering song . What they have chosen to do in the video is very interesting & the final output gives out an artistic vibe worth appreciating over .
Likewise both B-sides are equally good . HELLO , NEW DAY is an upbeat mid tempo song that contrasts Kokoro well while LIFE has a rather surprising laidback melody that's quite heavily harmonica driven .
KOBUKURO LIVE TOUR 2016 "TIMELESS WORLD" at Saitama Super Arena DVD + Blu-ray will be released next month on 5th July .
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Kis-My-Ft2 - PICK IT UP
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
PICK IT UP is Kis-My-Ft2's 19th single & it was released on 7th June .
The group's 6th album MUSIC COLOSSEUM was released on 3rd May . Promo wise , PICK IT UP was chosen to be used to promote Fuji TV's Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatte Iru drama starring member Fujigaya Taisuke .
PICK IT UP is described as a bright dance pop number & the accompanying video has a cool + sexy theme .
4 B-sides are included in PICK IT UP . Zukkyuun & PICK IT UP -Jazzy Step ver.- are only available in the CD only version of the single .
The fun upbeat sounding Zukkyuun was used in the ads of Una Kowa Cool starring Kis-My-Ft2 themselves while the Jazzy Step version of the A-side is very interesting & differs quite a lot from the original take of the song .
The next 2 songs are only found in each CD + DVD of PICK IT UP . Made available in the CD + DVD A version of PICK IT UP is Up&Down and Up&Down,Yo Dance ! & All Around The World is only found in the CD + DVD B version .
I wasn't sure what to expect when I came across Up&Down and Up&Down,Yo Dance ! as it has a weird song title but it's actually quite enjoyable .
As for All Around The World , it was used as the theme song to promote Fuji TV's Moshimo Tours . Out of all the B-sides in the single , this's my favourite as it's a very simplistic no. with only an acoustic guitar driven melody & it's a pity it's quite short as I thought at most it should have been a bit longer .
Kis-My-Ft2 has released material at relatively quite fast successive pace ever since they made their music debut in 2011 & after they released MUSIC COLOSSEUM , they show no signs of slowing down in the form of PICK IT UP .
I'm quite sure PICK IT UP could have been something included in MUSIC COLOSSEUM but all in all , the group's latest single is quite good . I thought the melody of the A-side is really futuristic & cool sounding which the concept , outfits & video go hand in hand very well together .
I don't think PICK IT UP will be the last music release I'll be seeing this year from Kis-My-Ft2 but seeing that their next single release will be their 20th , maybe they could do something to mark the milestone ? I for once don't mind another INTER part 2 .
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Ken Hirai - Non Fiction
1) Non Fiction
2) Brand New Bike
3) Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? (VaVa Remix)
1) Non Fiction
2) Non Fiction (less vocal)
Bonus live audio tracks - 2017 Special Live !!「THE STILL LIFE」 at Nippon Budokan April 2017 ; include 10 songs
Non Fiction is Ken Hirai's 42nd single & it was released last week on 7th June .
Ken's latest single was released 3 months + since his previous single Boku no Kokoro o Tsukutte yo .
Prior to the physical release of Non Fiction , the A-side was released digitally last month on 14th May .
Promo wise , Non Fiction was used to promote TBS's drama Chiisana Kyojin .
2 B-sides are made available in the CD Regular version of Non Fiction . The relaxed sounding Brand New Bike contrasts the A-side quite well & there's even subtle whispering thrown in the background for good measure .
Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? (VaVa Remix) is the 2nd B-side & this's a remix of Ken's 40th single .
While the VaVa Remix of Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? is quite entertaining , I still feel the original take of the song is more superior as at times a song doesn't need to have a complicated melody to sound great & the simplicity of Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? still shine even up to now .
Ken Hirai's 42nd single Non Fiction is used as the theme song of the drama Chiisana Kyojin starring Hasegawa Hiroki . The ballad's lyrics about life's conflicts and doubts echo the hearts of the drama's characters .
There's no doubt Ken has been releasing material on a regular basis as there was a period of time where his releases was quite sporadic .
Non Fiction is yet another single I enjoy & this's definitely not the last music release coming from Ken as his Ken Hirai Singles Best Collection Utabaka 2 will be released next month on 12th July & Non Fiction will be included in this release .