Wednesday, September 20, 2017
CD Review :: V6 - THE ONES
2) Setsuna-teki Night
4) Beautiful World
5) Cloudy sky
7) Round & Round
8) Remember your love
9) Atte Hanashi o (20th Century) [Bonus Track]
11) Can't Get Enough
12) Get Naked (Coming Century) [Bonus Track]
13) Boku ・ Sora ・ Kimi
15) Let's Go 6 Roku
16) The One
Limited A - CD + DVD & CD + Blu-ray
Limited B - CD + DVD
2) Setsuna-teki Night
4) Beautiful World
5) Cloudy sky
7) Round & Round
8) Remember your love
10) Can't Get Enough
11) Boku ・ Sora ・ Kimi
13) Let's Go 6 Roku
14) The One
THE ONES is V6's 13th album & it was released on 9th Aug .
V6's last studio album release was 2013's Oh ! My ! Goodness ! . 3 single songs are included in THE ONES but for their 47th & 48th singles only the 1st A-side in each single are included in the album .
14 songs are found in THE ONES , 11 album tracks and 3 single songs . All songs in THE ONES have videos made inclusive of the only album interlude DOMINO .
The CD only has 2 bonus tracks by 20th Century & Coming Century which're the 2 sub groups within V6 .
For THE ONES , this's an album that was completed by combining many individual parts . In 2017 , THE ONES represent V6 as they're 'now' & the theme for the new album's material is 'the things that we , V6 want to do' .
On the new songs in THE ONES , the members completely oversaw the production of 6 tracks in which they have a say in the choice of songs , the contents of the lyrics , who would be in charge of the solo parts of a song & the footage .
I will review THE ONES based on the CD only tracklist .
Kicking things off in the new album is never followed by Setsuna-teki Night .
Setsuna-teki Night was produced by Okada Junichi . The video was created by Team Lab who was also responsible for creating Kobukuro's Kokoro video .
never & Setsuna-teki Night were performed considerably on various music shows and it's easy to understand why because both tracks are really good & strong . I love just how never sets the tone and it's a great opening no. for an album .
As for Setsuna-teki Night , it's a very cool edgy aggressive track which sounds different from never and Okada did a great job in producing this song as I enjoy it a lot .
SOUZO is track #3 & for this song , comedian Watanabe Naomi made an appearance in the video . SOUZO is quite amusing + funny and it's meant not to be taken seriously .
Beautiful World is V6's 46th single & it was used as the theme song for TV Asahi's Keishicho Sousa Ikea 9 Gakari drama starring member Inohara Yoshihiko .
Written & composed by Hata Motohiro , Beautiful World is still 1 of my favourite single songs & I'm still not bored by it .
Cloudy sky is the next song and the video was shot in Okinawa . I like how uplifting and empowering it sounds . Also this track has been performed as the last song in the current V6 LIVE TOUR 2017 The ONES .
DOMINO is the shortest track in THE ONES which's less than 2 mins . It's also the only interlude in the album . Despite this , I'm surprised a video was made for it . I wished DOMINO was longer as I like just how intriguing it sounds .
The next 3 album tracks were produced by the members themselves . Round & Round was produced by Nagano Hiroshi while Remember your love was produced by Miyake Ken .
And Answer was produced by leader Sakamoto Masayuki & it was used as the image song to promote Spanish football .
All 3 tracks back to back are equally good and unique sounding from each other . Round & Round is a mid tempo song , Remember your love is a rather sad sounding no. & Answer is just a great angsty emotional driven track .
Can't Get Enough is the 1st A-side of V6's 47th single Can't Get Enough / Hanahirake . The song was used as 7net's Spring promotional song & it's described as a cool dance track .
Hanahirake is not included in THE ONES .
The next album track Boku ・ Sora ・ Kimi was produced by Morita Go . Out of the new album material in THE ONES , Boku ・ Sora ・ Kimi is my least favourite as I don't quite like how slow paced the song's but I give props to Morita for working on it .
COLORS is the 1st A-side of V6's 48th single COLORS / Taiyou to Tsuki no Kodomotachi , The song was used to promote TV Asahi's Keishicho Sousa Ikea 9 Gakari drama starring Inohara & also in the ads of Prince Hotels & Resorts Natsu Puri 2017 .
Oddly even though Taiyou to Tsuki no Kodomotachi is not included in the CD , the video is included in the DVD/Blu-ray and for once , I wished the song made the cut in THE ONES as I like the song .
Let's Go 6 Roku & The One are the last 2 album tracks and Let's Go 6 Roku was produced by Inohara Yoshihiko .
Unlike the other new songs , Let's Go 6 Roku has a fun jovial sound & The One is a nice heartwarming fitting track in concluding THE ONES .
V6's 13th album The ONES to signify that the album was created by combining many different individual elements together . The album's composers include Hata Motohiro , Ishino Takkyu , Ohashi Trio , Rekishi , Hamano Kenta & Akimoto Yasushi .
It's hard to believe it has been 4 years since V6 last released a studio album but to say the long wait has been worth it is an understatement as I'm pleasantly surprised how unexpectedly good THE ONES is .
V6's last album Oh ! My ! Goodness ! saw them going quite excessively over the top crazy which I didn't quite liked . In THE ONES , it showcases a considerable different number of music styles which V6 tackled them surprisingly relatively at ease , making their new album a very musically diverse , slick & well polished record .
Prior to THE ONES , I was concerned if there will be enough new material in the album & I'm glad V6 decided not to include Kimi ga Omoidasu Boku wa Kimi wo Aishiteiru Darou ka , Namida no Ato ga Kieru Koro , Sky's The Limit & Timeless as these 4 single songs are already in SUPER Very best so it makes no sense for them to get re-included in THE ONES .
Unlike what happened with ARASHI when they tried to incorporate their own personal input which backfired with regards to last year's Are You Happy? album (which gave rise to 1 of their most boring album to date unfortunately) , it's a relief to know that V6 didn't suffer the same fate as their juniors .
All in all , I really enjoy THE ONES tremendously & this release is proof on why V6 still got it after 22 years & counting in the business & it's no doubt THE ONES is hands down 1 of my favourite albums of 2017 .
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
ayumi hamasaki - WORDS
WORDS is a new song by ayumi hamasaki which was released digitally via mu-mo on 6th Sept and it's available for online purchase until 30th Nov .
ayumi performed WORDS for the 1st time during the encore segment of the 1st date of ayumi hamasaki Just the beginning 2nd chapter ~sacrifice~ which took place on 6th Sept at Pacifico Yokohama .
It felt a bit strange that ayumi didn't released any new music for 2017 prior to WORDS so it's better than having no material at all .
That said , I feel that WORDS is a nice heartfelt song . There's a somewhat old school vibe that reminds me of some of ayumi's past mid tempo ballads and lyrically it's touching too .
Seeing that the Just the beginning tour is currently ongoing until Feb 2018 , I frankly didn't expect any new songs coming from ayumi so for her to release WORDS was a bit of a nice surprise .
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
SPYAIR - MIDNIGHT
2) The Way of My Life
3) MIDNIGHT (inst.)
4) The Way of My Life (inst.)
MIDNIGHT is SPYAIR's 21st single & it was released on 30th Aug .
SPYAIR's new single was released 5 months + since their previous single Be with . The A-side was used to promote Fuji TV's Utsubokazura no Yume drama .
MIDNIGHT is described as having Jazz influences & the A-side was released digitally on 30th July prior to the physical release of the single .
Who would have thought SPYAIR sounded pretty good in handling a Jazz driven no. & to say MIDNIGHT is very catchy it's an understatement as I really like it the moment I 1st heard it .
The Way of My Life serves as the B-side in the single & this's quite an upbeat song . There's no Jazz influence in here but it shouldn't stop you from enjoying this fun perky no. that has rapping done by guitarist UZ .
MIDNIGHT showcases a different music side of SPYAIR but I enjoy their latest single very much . MIDNIGHT is unlike Be with as they don't sound the same but despite this both single songs are equally good .
SPYAIR's 5th album KINGDOM will be released next month on 11th Oct & MIDNIGHT will be included in KINGDOM as track #3 .
Thursday, September 07, 2017
CD Review :: Shota Shimizu - FLY
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD versions
1) Sorry Not Sorry
3) My Boo
4) Drippin' Feat IO & YOUNG JUJU
5) Yume ga Samenai You ni
6) Interlude -Yume no Tsudzuki-
7) Because of you
8) milk tea
FLY is Shota Shimizu's 7th album & it was released on 28th June .
Shota's last album release was last March's PROUD . FLY includes 2 single songs & a B-side track .
All songs in FLY were written & composed by Shota himself .
Kicking things off in FLY is Sorry Not Sorry which was 1st released digitally on 7th June . The 1st new album track is followed by the song that shares the same title as the album .
My Boo is Shota's 21st single & it's described as a message song to loved ones & for that important person in life .
Drippin' is the 3rd album track & it's also the only song in FLY that featured a collaboration . For this , Drippin' featured the vocal rap contributions of IO & YOUNG JUJU .
After a considerable amount of auto tune driven tracks , things are slowed down in Yume ga Samenai You ni prior to Interlude -Yume no Tsudzuki- .
The next album track Because of you was 1st released digitally on 21st June followed by milk tea which was originally included as a B-side in My Boo .
After milk tea , the next album track ItsumoBlue is 1 of the more heavily auto tune driven tracks in FLY as compared to FLY (the song) .
FIRE is Shota's 22nd single . The song compares one's feelings with fire using lyrics , such as "burn anything & everything" and "I want to see you even if I lose everything ."
speechless is the last 2nd album track & it's also my favourite song in FLY as it's a very simple piano driven ballad which showcases what Shota does best without the reliance of auto tune . It's a shame that speechless is also the shortest no. in the album .
Concluding FLY is Tokyo & just like Sorry Not Sorry , it was also released digitally on 7th June and unlike the other album tracks , Tokyo is the only 1 that has a video made .
Over a year since his last , Shota Shimizu returns with his new album FLY . Continuing his musical roots of soul & hip-hop , the album comes with 12 tracks including the singles FIRE & My Boo .
I did not quite like Shota's previous album PROUD as he went overboard with the usage of auto tune . FLY overall is a bit better but the fact that Shota still relied on autotune considerably in the album tracks , that's something I can do without .
While I like the use of autotune , sometimes too much of it can backfire which's evident on Shota . Shota himself is a good vocalist & some of my favourite songs from him have little if not no autotune involved . I'm not sure why in recent times Shota wants to market himself as a vocaloid driven artiste as that doesn't suit him , likewise with the whole hip hop sunglasses image he undertook recently which made himself look like a hip hop reject artiste .
End of the day , FLY felt underwhelming for me . If I want to listen to Shota's best works , I rather go back to listen to COLOURS & ENCORE which're still 2 of my favourite Shota's albums . I do hope that Shota would consider to go back to his older music roots in his future releases (ideally toning down if not eliminating the use of autotune) as that's what Shota does best as right now , his current image doesn't sit well with me .
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
FLOWER FLOWER - Mannequin
Live at SHIBUYA CLUB QUATTRO 2013.10.07
2) Subarashii Sekai
3) Bye Bye
Mannequin is FLOWER FLOWER's 2nd single & it was released on 2nd Aug .
The group's last single release was last Sept's Takaramono . The A-side was written & composed by vocalist yui .
Drama serves as the B-side in the single while the 2 CDs version of Mannequin also include 3 live tracks that were recorded 4 years ago at Tokyo's SHIBUYA CLUB QUATTRO .
FLOWER FLOWER returned last year with Takaramono but did not carry out much promotion or activities . This Summer , the yui fronted band is back in force with 1 man lives & music festival appearances .
It's good to have FLOWER FLOWER back & Mannequin presents a more harder edgier sound which's quite different from Takaramono . Despite Mannequin being quite lengthy , I actually do not mind this time round .
Likewise , Drama plays a different contrast against the A-side as the B-side is more laidback & relaxed .
I still wish yui would go back to her old YUI solo days but she seems to be doing just fine in FLOWER FLOWER . Hopefully someday or another that will change in the near future .
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
CD Review :: Ken Hirai - Utabaka Dake ni.
3 CDs + Blu-ray
1) READY FOR YOUR LOVE
3) Dance with you
4) Yatterannai ze
5) Ichiban Hajimete no Koibito
6) Don't Kan ・ Don't Kan
9) Negative Boy
Utabaka Dake ni. is a special disc that's included in Ken Hirai Singles Best Collection Utabaka 2 .
Ken Hirai Singles Best Collection Utabaka 2 was released last month on 12th July . The 1st 2 CDs tracklist in the 3 CDs & 3 CDs + Blu-ray versions of the best album include single songs that Ken released from 2006 until present while the 1st 3 CDs in the 4 CDs version contain single songs Ken released from 1995 until present .
In Utabaka Dake ni. , it has 10 new songs which're all contributed by 10 different artistes that Ken personally admires . Ken takes the "baka (foolish)" part of the album’s title & entrust the artists with the creation of the collaborative songs , while he just sings them .
Here's the writing & composing credits for all songs in Utabaka Dake ni. :
1) READY FOR YOUR LOVE ; written , composed & arranged by tofubeats . Used in the ads of TOYO TIRES
2) Blanket ; written & composed by Kusano Masamune , arranged by Kameda Seiji
3) Dance with you ; written & composed by TOKO , arranged by Toomi You
4) Yatterannai ze ; written & composed by CRAZY KEN BAND's Yokoyama Ken , arranged by Yashiki Gota
5) Ichiban Hajimete no Koibito ; written , composed & arranged by Makihara Noriyuki . used in the ads of Choya's Choya Natsuume
6) Don't Kan ・ Don't Kan ; written , composed & arranged by Denki Groove's Ishino Takkyu
7) Emmm... ; written & composed by BONNIE PINK , arranged by Murata Yoichi
8) Gift ; written , composed & arranged by LOVE PSYCHEDELICO
9) Negative Boy ; written , composed & arranged by Nakata Yasutaka
10) Uta ; written , composed & arranged by KAN
Utabaka Dake ni. is quite similar to Acid Black Cherry's Acid BLOOD Cherry as both releases include various musicians contributing their own personal input as Ken + Acid Black Cherry tend to mainly write & compose most of their own material .
But in this case unlike Acid BLOOD Cherry where it's not so musically diverse , it's a different case for Utabaka Dake ni. as Ken tackled an extensive wide range of music styles & he surprisingly managed to relatively handle well with ease .
From upbeat songs to ballads to simplistic tracks , Utabaka Dake ni. is a very entertaining disc from start til finish & it frankly can passed off as a standalone Ken studio album but I guess Ken didn't want to make a typical best album so he decided to incorporate this in Ken Hirai Singles Best Collection Utabaka 2 .
I don't really have any bad thing to say about Utabaka Dake ni. as I really enjoy all the tracks as they sound very different from each other & let alone , some of the music genres Ken has never done before until now . The only song I don't quite like is Don't Kan ・ Don't Kan as it gets repetitive after a while but aside from that , it's a solid release as there's something for everyone to enjoy .
Utabaka Dake ni. itself is worth buying Ken Hirai Singles Best Collection Utabaka 2 & in this case , Ken definitely proves that he's no musical idiot that's for sure .
Saturday, August 19, 2017
GRANRODEO - move on ! Ibaramichi
CD Anime version
CD + DVD
1) move on ! Ibaramichi
2) Koi wa mirage
3) Endless Summer
4) move on! Ibaramichi (OFF VOCAL)
5) Koi wa mirage (OFF VOCAL)
6) Endless Summer (OFF VOCAL)
move on ! Ibaramichi is GRANRODEO's 27th single & it was released on 2nd Aug .
The duo's latest single was released 5 months + since their previous single Glorious days .
The A-side was chosen to be used as the opening theme for the anime Saiyuki RELOAD BLAST .
I was surprised when I 1st heard and saw the video to move on ! Ibaramichi as I didn't expect GRANRODEO to incorporate a rather strong Oriental influence in the song & there's even some Mandarin speaking words after the 2nd verse and being Chinese , I can understand what was being said & they made sense , unlike it being inaudible .
I'm not sure how the music influence in move on ! Ibaramichi is linked to Saiyuki RELOAD BLAST but it's interesting & very different from Glorious days in a good way .
Koi wa mirage & Endless Summer both serve as the 2 B-sides in the single . When I 1st heard Koi wa mirage , I immediately get vibes of Volcano (track #4 in GRANRODEO's 6th album Karma to Labyrinth) while Endless Summer is an outright very fun upbeat Summer song that has a great catchy Caribbean inspired melody .
GRANRODEO delivered yet another solid single release in the form of their latest offering move on ! Ibaramichi & I'm real glad I've decided to finally try their music a try .
My sister has been their fan for quite sometime so she knows that quality wise , GRANRODEO tends to deliver . What surprised me is even though this's their 2nd single I listened in full , the B-side/s are on par if not better than the A-side/s which's quite rare as normally B-side/s tend to be filler tracks .
It would be nice if GRANRODEO release 1 more single before 2017 ends but as I said , it's better late than never for me to get into their music .