Thursday, November 26, 2015
ayaka - A Song For You
A Song For You is a digital single that was released by ayaka last week on 18th Nov .
ayaka's latest song offering was chosen to be used as the ending theme for the Japanese-dubbed version of The Peanuts Movie which will open in Japan's cinemas next Friday on 4th Dec .
This's ayaka's 2nd song to be used to promote something Snoopy related , after Have fun!! which she created for MetLife Life Insurance's manned airship Snoopy J-gou last year .
The movie studio commented , "Requirements for the ending theme were a beautiful melody that gives people peaceful mind , having unlimited grace & lyrics that makes people feel a strong bond and resonates with one another . We believe only ayaka could express the world of Peanuts , which consists of children wrapping around the world with gentleness and big heart ."
A Song For You is described as a number with a slow melodic line & a powerful message . ayaka commented , "It's a song that was born by linking the movie's theme 'everyone is important to someone' & my feelings of becoming a mother . I wrote this hoping that it will become a song that will stay by your side when you're sad or discouraged ."
ayaka further said , "I am very honoured to engage in Snoopy related products , because the character has been loved worldwide . The theme of the movie Minna Dareka no Daiji (everyone is important to somebody) & my feeling as a mother are linked . With that feeling , I created A Song For You . I hope it could give some kind of support when somebody important to you feels depressed or lonely ."
Due to this , ayaka felt empathy toward the world of The Peanuts Movie and created A Song For You specially for it .
A Song For You is ayaka's 1st new material after she gave birth to her 1st child in June . As such , this song is ladled with a lot of genuine emotions attached to it .
At the end of the day , A Song For You is a heartfelt emotional no. that's piano driven . ayaka's vocals are on point & it definitely stuck a chord in me when I heard it . From 1 Snoopy fan to another , it couldn't have been a more fitting song to be used to promote The Peanuts Movie .
Monday, November 23, 2015
Hilcrhyme - HAKU-SAN
CD + DVD
HAKU-SAN is a new song that's available in Hilcrhyme's new concept album Shunkashuutou ~Hilcrhyme 4Seasons Collection~ .
Shunkashuutou ~Hilcrhyme 4Seasons Collection~ was released last week on 18th Nov & HAKU-SAN is included as track #15 .
Prior to the physical release of Shunkashuutou ~Hilcrhyme 4Seasons Collection~ , HAKU-SAN was released digitally on 11th Nov .
The tracklist in Shunkashuutou ~Hilcrhyme 4Seasons Collection~ consists of a selection of the duo's songs that centres on the 4 seasons - Spring , Summer , Autumn & Winter & their 18th single Ienai Ienai is included as a bonus track , as track #16 .
HAKU-SAN was 1st conceived during FM-NIIGATA's FES.19 radio programme where DJ KATSU serves as a regular personnel .
Song wise , I think HAKU-SAN is ok even though I feel nothing much stands out from it . Also for it to be included in such a release , it oddly doesn't fit into any of the 4 seasons as it sounds like a typical normal Hilcrhyme song .
That I feel is a waste especially since Shunkashuutou ~Hilcrhyme 4Seasons Collection~ consolidates some of the duo's best season inspired no.s like My Christmas Carol & their most prominent hit Shunkashuutou .
All in all , HAKU-SAN is a decent track but given the chance , I would skip it as there're much better songs available in Hilcrhyme's discography .
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Kis-My-Ft2 - Saigo mo Yappari Kimi
CD + DVD
Saigo mo Yappari Kimi is Kis-My-Ft2's 15th single & it was released last week on 11th Nov .
This's the group's 2nd of 2 consecutive back to back single releases after they released their 14th single AAO last month on 14th Oct .
Saigo mo Yappari Kimi was picked to be used as the theme song for the movie Raintree no Kuni starring starring member Tamamori Yuta .
Raintree no Kuni which's a romance movie is based on the bestselling novel by Library Wars author Arikawa Hiro .
Described as a ballad number , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi was written by Tsunku♂ . Regarding the song , Tsunku♂ commented , "I am very happy that it turned out to be a heartwarming song that is full of the members' passion , innocence & amorousness ." Kis-My-Ft2 leader Kitayama Hiromitsu also stated , "We want you to be completely absorbed in Tsunku♂'s worldview & our song ."
Tamamori also commented , "I'm happy that I can be a part of both works as well from the music side , through the theme songs .”
There're a total of 3 B-sides available in the single . The 1st 1 is titled Last Lover .
Saigo mo Yappari Kimi is a ballad & Last Lover plays a good contrast against the A-side , with this B-side being an angsty driven no. .
The next 2 B-sides are only available in the CD only edition of Saigo mo Yappari Kimi .
On Your Mark is a fun sports inspired number which kind of reminds me of their 2nd album Good Izuzke!'s JET ! SET !! GO !!! to a certain extent .
As for Kimi no Iru Machi , it's a great Winter driven song which's perfect to be played during Christmas & Kimi no Iru Machi is on par with SNOW DOME no Yakusoku as both are strong numbers that're suitable to listen if you're in the festive jovial mood .
The 2nd of Kis-My-Ft2's consecutive single releases , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi is a touching track that serves as the theme song for the film Raintree no Kuni .
2015 has no doubt been a fruitful year for Kis-My-Ft2 with them releasing 3 singles , inclusive of AAO & Saigo mo Yappari Kimi after they released their 4th album KIS-MY-WORLD , in addition to embarking on 2015 CONCERT TOUR KIS-MY-WORLD too .
And speaking of which , their 2015 CONCERT TOUR KIS-MY-WORLD DVD + Blu-ray will be released next year on 20th Jan 2016 which fans will definitely look forward to get a hold of it .
I enjoyed both of what AAO & Saigo mo Yappari Kimi offered respectively & I can't wait to see what're their plans for 2016 . KIS-MY-WORLD was a surprisingly nice enjoyable album & hopefully their future 5th album will be even better .
For now , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi is a single worth checking out .
Saturday, November 14, 2015
CD Review :: ARASHI - Japonism
2 CDs Regular Edition
2 CDs Limited Edition
CD + DVD
Tracklist for all 3 editions
2) Kokoro no Sora
3) Kimi Hen Oomoi
4) Don't you love me? (Matsumoto Jun's Solo)
8) Mr. FUNK (Aiba Masaki's Solo)
9) Akatsuki (Ohno Satoshi's Solo)
10) Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari
11) Rolling days (Sakurai Sho's Solo)
14) MUSIC (Ninomiya Kazunari's Solo)
15) Tsutae Tai Koto
2 CDs Regular Edition's 2nd Disc
- Bokura ga Tsunaide Iku
- the Deep End
- Make a wish
2 CDs Limited Edition's 2nd Disc
- Nihon Yoitoko Maka Fushigi (Shounentai)
- Original talk track "Arajapo Talk"
Japonism is ARASHI's 14th album & it was released last month on 21st Oct .
The group's last album release was last Oct's THE DIGITALIAN & in Japonism , 2 singles are included in the album .
In the 1st disc , there's a total of 2 single songs , 9 group album tracks & 5 solos . While the 2nd disc has different material included , depending on whether the 2 CDs Regular and/or 2 CDs Limited Edition(s) gets purchased .
ARASHI's 47th single Ai wo Sakebe is excluded from Japonism & the last album that was released in a 2 CDs format was 2010's Boku no Miteiru Fuukei .
In their 16th year , ARASHI expressed their interpretation of the wonderfulness of Japan in their unique way through Japonism . The new record showcases the group's ambitious challenging spirit & continuous evolution .
In the 1st disc of Japonism , Sakura kicked things off in the tracklist & this was released as ARASHI's 45th single .
Promo wise , Sakura was picked to be used to promote TBS's drama Ouroboros that starred Oguri Shun & ARASHI's fellow colleague Ikuta Toma .
Sakura is described as an intense edgy dance song & it was ARASHI's 1st single that they provided for a drama that doesn't starred any of the members .
The next 2 songs are new album group tracks & both have the inclusion of Sakurap .
Kokoro no Sora is the only album track that gets a video & the song was written & composed by ex BOØWY / ex COMPLEX's Hotei Tomoyasu .
Based with 'Japan seen from the outside' as the theme , ARASHI expresses the 'wonderfulness of Japan' through song on top of a tense Hotei sound , where the battle of (ARASHI) x (Hotei) x (Japanese instruments) sounds takes place .
Out of the new group material in Japonism , it's easy to see (hear) why Kokoro no Sora is the only new track that gets a video which rightfully deserves so . And Hotei Tomoyasu definitely captured the essence of this great Oriental Rock sounding no. .
Kokoro no Sora is very different from the group's past album tracks that were given music videos (like THE DIGITALIAN's Zero-G & LOVE's P・A・R・A・D・O・X) but the song itself is brilliant & I enjoyed it tremendously .
As for Kimi Hen Oomoi , it's another group album track that I enjoy . In keeping with the Oriental theme just like Kokoro no Sora , Kimi Hen Oomoi is emphasised more on the melody with it having a rather strong Enka sound backing it up .
Don't you love me? is the 1st of 5 solos included in the 1st disc of Japonism & this's sung by Matsumoto Jun .
MatsuJun's solos in ARASHI's albums have always been in the very low priority list for me . For Don't you love me? , it's ok but not great .
Then again given MatsuJun's weak limited vocals , Don't you love me? is considered not bad already but it's not something I will go wow over .
miyabi-night & Mikazuki are the next 2 group album tracks that continue the Oriental concept . miyabi-night is actually really cool & upbeat while Mikazuki surprisingly is EDM driven which feels like a leftover track from THE DIGITALIAN .
Bolero! follows after Mikazuki & unlike the other group album tracks , Bolero! feels very sports inspired with all the whistling , chanting going in the background .
The next 2 songs are solo tracks with Mr. FUNK being sung by Aiba Masaki .
I enjoyed the previous 2 solos of Aiba that were included in LOVE & THE DIGITALIAN . But unfortunately this time round , I'm not liking his latest solo offering that much .
For a song that's titled Mr. FUNK , it's surprisingly rather mellow sounding which's a bit odd . The saving grace of it is hearing Aiba rap which's not something that he's in charge of in the group .
Akatsuki is sung by Ohno Satoshi & all the while Ohno's solos in the group's past albums have been rather consistently good .
In Japonism , Ohno's solo is my favourite . Akatsuki is not a typical sounding ballad as it has a really gorgeous Oriental sounding melody which elevates things to another level .
Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari is ARASHI's 46th single & it's the last single included in Japonism .
Promo wise , Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Youkoso , Wagaya e starring member Aiba Masaki & actress Sawajiri Erika .
The song is described as an upbeat pop number . Combining lyrics that give a real sense of how precious the connection between people is & a dramatic melody overflowing with positive energy , its music gives optimism to people living in this cooped-up modern society .
Rolling days is the 2nd last solo in the album & this's sung by Sakurai Sho .
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Rolling days as Sakurai's solos are either a hit or a miss . I enjoyed the last 2 solos of his in LOVE & THE DIGITALIAN though .
Rolling days is pretty good & the inclusion of Sakurap is always a good thing .
In・The・Room & Masquerade are new group album tracks . In・The・Room has the inclusion of Sakurap but end of the day , it's quite a typical standard Johnny song .
On the other hand , Masquerade is nice & catchy . Before hearing this in full , I actually liked the preview snippet that was uploaded on JStorm's website & glad the song didn't disappoint .
MUSIC is the last solo in Japonism & this's sung by Ninomiya Kazunari .
Unlike Nino's past solos , MUSIC takes on a more fun jovial approach as it sounds like something from a Tetris video game . After doing a series of back to back solos which're mainly ballads , it's good to see Nino embarking on another music direction with MUSIC .
Tsutae Tai Koto & Japonesque are the last 2 group album tracks in the 1st disc of Japonism & ironically , they're my least favourite songs .
ARASHI has some good Christmas / Winter inspired songs & Tsutae Tai Koto can probably be counted as 1 although it's rather on the un-inspiring side .
As for Japonesque , I was quite disappointed with it as I thought it would be an Oriental sounding no. to conclude things but instead it's an upbeat pop song .
Now I will be reviewing the material that's included in both the 2 CDs Regular and/or 2 CDs Limited Edition(s) of Japonism .
The 2nd disc of the 2 CDs regular edition have 4 songs with the 1st 1 titled Bokura ga Tsunaide Iku .
Bokura ga Tsunaide Iku is a pleasant sounding ballad but aside from that , I only think it's ok .
On the other hand , the Deep End is an edgy aggressive driven number which packs a lot of attitude . As for Make a wish , I feel it's neither good or bad , just that I will not consider it as a favourite track in Japonism .
Furusato is the last song included in the 2nd disc of the 2 CDs regular edition of Japonism & this was 1 song I was most excited to hear .
The song was written by Koyama Kundo & it expresses the nobility of hometown . Furusato was created for the special corner in 2010's Kohaku Uta Gassen .
ARASHI sang Furusato 3 times during Kohaku Uta Gassen , in 2010 , 2011 & 2012 . As such , for Furusato to get the studio CD treatment , it's extremely long overdue but the wait is definitely worthwhile .
The 2nd disc of the 2 CDs limited edition includes a cover of Shounentai's Nihon Yoitoko Maka Fushigi & a members' talk track Arajapo Talk .
This's the 1st time ARASHI has included a cover song in their albums & for them to cover something from their seniors , it's quite risky .
As for their rendition of Shounentai's Nihon Yoitoko Maka Fushigi , let's just say that it's not to be taken seriously as I find it rather amusing when I heard it . The somewhat good thing is that the song's rather short .
Celebrate Japan with ARASHI in Japonism ! After reaching their 15th anniversary milestone , the group takes a step forward in the spirit of renewal & helps listeners discover the many wonderful sides of Japan through music with their latest album release .
1st of all , let me start with the positives on Japonism . I like Sakura + Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari that're included in the album & I can understand why Ai wo Sakebe is excluded because it will feel out of place in the record .
And I like the Oriental sounding group album tracks & Kokoro no Sora is a class of its own . Solos wise , I genuinely enjoyed them even though Aiba & MatsuJun's solos are on the borderline of ok only .
As for the downsides of Japonism , there're quite a few pointers which're not good starting with the duration of the album .
Length wise , Japonism is long & at almost 1 1/2 hours for 21 songs from all 3 editions , it's a struggle for me to be kept interested from the start until the end .
Also , the covers of the album are bad . ARASHI claims that they want to convey the spirit of their home country but based on the covers alone , for that I'm not buying it .
Lastly perhaps the biggest disappointment is the new album material . The 1st 1/2 of Japonism has very strong Oriental sounds which I like . After that from Bolero! onwards , the 2nd 1/2 of the record has very random sounding songs which felt like they're included for the sake of filling in the missing gaps .
Likewise for the solos which Ohno's is the only 1 that is Oriental sounding . I personally feel all the solos should be as so to a certain extent as it felt a bit unfair that only Ohno's solo is as so .
THE DIGITALIAN had a lot of group album tracks that tend to sound almost the same as each other but at least they kept the EDM concept throughout the album , unlike what happened in Japonism .
Overall , my impressions on Japonism is that it's not as good as THE DIGITALIAN & LOVE which I surprisingly liked both but something about Japonism is just missing the mark for me & the covers probably contributed to that to a certain extent .
And it's a big shame since Kokoro no Sora is hands down the main star in Japonism but somehow the other album tracks felt extremely overshadowed by it .
Let alone , if all the new album tracks in Japonism have a strong Oriental sound that would have been better but in this case , my expectations for their latest album is probably a lot higher than I expected .
For ARASHI's next album , I hope they will scale down on the songs because having 2 CDs in an album is frankly not a good thing & maybe for starters , they should ditch the solos as for every tour they embark on a yearly basis to promote their album/s , they will only perform the solos once during the tour & that's that .
And hopefully in their next album release , they will streamline a more clearer approach to the sound consistency of the new album material .
Sunday, November 08, 2015
GLAY - Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni
Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni is a new GLAY song that was released on 2nd Nov .
Promo wise , Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni was used as the opening theme no. for the Daiya no A -SECOND SEASON- anime .
This is GLAY's 3rd time to provide the opening theme for the Daiya no A anime series after Hashire ! Mirai & HEROES . The anime's production team attended one of GLAY's lives & were impressed by their performance of the songs which resulted in requesting GLAY to create Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni .
Like Hashire ! Mirai & HEROES , Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni was written & composed by vocalist TERU . It's described as a refreshing rock tune that "expresses the agonising feelings of the high-school baseball players , who get back up with hope after being beaten ."
I'm not sure why Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni was released digitally as Hashire ! Mirai & HEROES were released in physical CD mode . Nonetheless just like the previous 2 songs that GLAY provided for the Daiya no A anime , Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni is another good 1 that they've nailed effortlessly .
In keeping up with the positive uplifting theme , Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni is an empowering no. which's fitting to be used in promoting the 2nd season of the Daiya no A anime .
Perhaps Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni will be included as a B-side in GLAY's next single ? I'm not sure but I do know that they will release a new single in the beginning of 2016 so here's hoping Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni will make the cut .
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Shota Shimizu - Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo
CD + DVD
1) Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo
2) Kaze ni Fukarete
3) BYE×BYE REMIX
4) Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo -Instrumental-
Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo is Shota Shimizu's 19th single & it was released last month on 28th Oct .
Shota's latest single offering was released about 3 months+ since his previous single BYE x BYE .
The A-side was chosen to be used as the theme song for NHK's new drama Designer Baby that premiered on 22nd Sept .
Designer Baby is a suspense drama that stars Kuroki Meisa as an 8-month pregnant detective and Watabe Atsuro as an obstetrician . As the drama's theme is "love of parent and child" , NHK chief producer Iso Tomoaki chose Shota with the hopes that he could entrust him with the drama's theme .
Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo is described as a warm yet painful love song about universal love .
Regarding Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo , Shota commented , "It's a fantastic love song that I wrote with the thoughts , 'a love song that I can only write now after striving towards music all this time .' I want many people to listen to it ."
There're 2 B-sides found in the single , the 1st 1 is something titled Kaze ni Fukarete .
Kaze ni Fukarete feels like a sequel to the A-side since both songs are almost in the same music vein , except in this case , the B-side emphasised a lot more on its chilled out Bossa Nova inspired like melody .
BYE×BYE REMIX is the 2nd B-side & the song title is self explanatory .
While the original take of BYExBYE is a sad breakup song , the remix takes it to a whole new level . For starters , the remix is Winter inspired & it's really upbeat which I found it strange when I 1st heard it as it doesn't sound like the same song .
Shota Shimizu wraps up 2015 with the release of his latest single offering Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo .
Both Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo & BYExBYE are polar opposites of each other . And for Shota to do a 360 degree turn , it's something .
I enjoy Hanataba no Kawari ni Melody wo a lot & lyrically it's really touching . And based on the video that accompanied the song , it will make a great addition to be played during weddings .
Before 2015 wraps up , Shimizu Shota LIVE TOUR 2015 DVD + Blu-ray will be released next month on 16th Dec .
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Mika Nakashima - Hanataba
CD + DVD
2) Ai no Uta
3) Hanataba (Instrumental)
4) Ai no Uta (Instrumental)
5) Hanataba (Drama version)
Hanataba is Mika Nakashima's 39th single & it was released this week on 28th Oct .
Mika's last single release was last June's Fighter / Gift which was a joint single release together with Miliyah Kato .
Individual single wise , Mika last released Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no Wa 2 years ago .
Hanataba was picked to be used to promote Fuji TV's drama Otona Joshi & the A-side was written + composed by Tamaki Koji .
Described as a heartwarming number that will change the hesitation & pain of every day into joy + gratitude , Shinohara Ryoko who stars in Otona Joshi , commented on Hanataba , "With Mika singing to Tamaki's song , I thought it would be a wonderful fit . I am already looking forward to how this mature ballad will add grace to the drama ."
Ai no Uta serves as the B-side in the single .
Written & composed by Kariyushi58's Maekawa Shingo , Ai no Uta was originally released as a digital single last month on 25th Sept .
Ai no Uta was used as the insert song for TBS's drama Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu . Mika made a guest appearance in the 8th episode of the drama which was aired last month on 11th Sept .
In Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu , Ai no Uta is a song that has been passed down in Omotesando High School's chorus club . Instead of having the cast just sing it in the drama , the producer also wanted to use it as the insert song . Thus, he called Mika up to request her to grace the drama with her beautiful singing voice .
In the 8th episode of Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu , Mika played a popular artist Kamishima Kana who is an alumni of Omotesando High School . With the members of the chorus club , she also sang a cover of BEGIN's Koishikute . This marked Mika's 1st drama appearance since 2010's Unubore Deka .
A drama version of Hanataba is also included in the single . This's actually misleading as I assumed that it would be a shorter version of the A-side to promote Otona Joshi but turns out it has a slightly different melody .
In addition , the way that Mika sings in Hanataba (Drama version) is also not the same as well but it still managed to retain most of the original charm that the A-side has .
After the success of her concert tour Mika Nakashima Concert Tour 2015 "THE BEST" DEARS & TEARS , mounted in support of her 2 best albums DEARS & TEARS , Mika Nakashima returns with a new single in Hanataba .
It's hard to believe it has been 2 years since Mika last released Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no Wa & not counting Fighter / Gift , it was definitely overdue for Mika to release something new again & what a single Hanataba is .
For me , what struck me about Hanataba was the way Mika sings the song . It's not easy but the way Mika delivered this emotional ballad is pretty something .
Prior to this , I actually 1st heard Ai no Uta & I initially thought it was going to be a cover but luckily it's an original song . I didn't think that it was A-side worthy but for it to be included as a B-side instead , I think that's not so bad .
All in all , I'm just glad that Mika has finally released something new as after she finished her tour to promote her 2 best albums , there was that uncertainty if she will continue to put out new music or not but with the release of Hanataba , she's not going anywhere now , for sure .