Sunday, June 26, 2016
Mao from SID - Tsuki / Hoshi
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
3) Tsuki ‐Instrumental‐ (CD Only Track)
4) Hoshi ‐Instrumental‐ (CD Only Track)
Tsuki / Hoshi is SID's vocalist Mao debut solo single & it was released this week on 22nd June .
Released under the name Mao from SID , this release makes Mao the 2nd member in the group to go solo , the 1st being bassist Aki (who release his solo material using the name AKi) .
Despite it being a double A-side single , only the 1st A-side Tsuki has a video .
In addition , no B-sides are included in the single . Instead , instrumentals of both A-sides are included in the CD only edition of Tsuki / Hoshi .
Honestly , I was not surprised that Mao will be next to go solo as when Aki did that 1st , for that I was surprised as Aki is not the main vocalist of SID .
As for Tsuki / Hoshi , both A-side songs are ballads with Tsuki being almost close to a whopping 7 mins long .
For now , it's hard to tell the music direction that Mao is planning to go for his solo material but it's not a bad start although I wished Hoshi would have been an upbeat no. to contrast Tsuki .
With 1/2 of SID already embark on solo releases , it definitely put things in limbo for SID's group activities seeing that they have not released any new material since last Nov's Hyoryu .
At this point in time , it reminds to be seen how long both Mao & Aki will continue to do their solo activities or will they be handling both solo & non solo stuff at the same time ? Only time will tell .
Monday, June 20, 2016
DAIGO - K S K
CD + DVD
1) K S K
2) K S K ~Piano Version~ (CD Only Track)
3) K S K ~Karaoke~
K S K is DAIGO's 4th single & it was released last week on 15th June .
DAIGO's last solo single release was 2014's CHANGE !! / Shinpaishou na Kanojo .
And unlike DAIGO's past solo & past BREAKERZ single releases , K S K includes instrumental tracks to make up for no B-side songs .
The A-side was written & composed by DAIGO . K S K which stands for Kekkon Shite Kudasai is a song that DAIGO performed for the 1st time during his & Kitagawa Keiko's wedding ceremony/reception on 29th April .
DAIGO wrote/composed K S K for Kitagawa as a second proposal with hopes she would also respond in "DAIGO language" . Kitagawa did so by using HI (Hai ; Yes) .
The CD only cover of K S K is the same 1 used as the CD that was given to the 500 guests that attended the couple's wedding ceremony/reception .
During the occasion , DAIGO received numerous offers from music show producers to perform K S K on TV & many people commented on his blog saying that they would love to hear the song & use it in their own wedding ceremonies . Many people also contacted ZAIN RECORDS asking if the song would be released .
Fans also requested for its release after DAIGO asked on his blog , "Should I release it ? What do you think ?" . These were the determining factors in ZAIN RECORDS's decision to release K S K .
K S K ~W Version~ was released digitally on Recochoku from 20th May - 14th June . This version is not the same as the version that's included in the physical CD release of K S K .
I think this version is the 1 that was released in the CD that DAIGO & Kitagawa Keiko gifted to their guests .
K S K ~Piano Version~ is only available in the CD only edition of the single & this track does not have no vocals , it's simply just an instrumental piano no. .
During his wedding reception on 29th April 2016 , DAIGO surprised his wife , actress Kitagawa Keiko , with the proposal song K S K which , in DAIGO lingo, is short for "Kekkon Shite Kudasai" (marry me) and also carries the meaning of "kiseki" (miracle) . Due to popular request , this meaningful song is now being publicly released as DAIGO's 4th single .
K S K is without a doubt 1 if not the most personal song that DAIGO wrote/composed to date seeing that K S K was written/composed specially for his own wedding ceremony/reception .
As such , it comes straight from DAIGO's heart & the amount of emotions that's poured into the song can be felt significantly/evidently .
In a way K S K felt like a rushed last minute release given the circumstances but this's something the public wants from ZAIN RECORDS so hence the unusual structure of the single's release .
Lyrically , K S K is really touching so it's no surprises on why many people would love to use this song during their own weddings as well & for DAIGO to share a part of such a joyous occasion , it doesn't get any better than this .
And on a personal level , I myself never imagine DAIGO would 1 day settle down and get married as he's frankly the last person in my mind to do so but as a fan to see him begin this new chapter with Kitagawa Keiko , I'm happy for both of them & here's wishing them many more wonderful years of them together ahead of life as husband & wife !
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
V6 - Beautiful World
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Beautiful World is V6's 46th single & it was released last week on 8th June .
This's the group's 1st single release of 2016 & their last single release was 2014's Timeless .
The A-side was chosen as the theme song for the drama Keishicho Sosa Ikka 9 Gakari starring member Inohara Yoshihiko .
Beautiful World was provided by singer-songwriter Hata Motohiro , making this the 1st time V6 collaborated with Hata . It's a medium-tempo tune written and composed by Hata . In addition , Hata was also in charge of the chorus & guitar performance .
There're 3 B-sides available in the single , as noted below :
- by your side ; a video was made . It was used as the CM song for smartphone game app Love Cen ~V6 to Himitsu no Koi~ as well as the ending theme for V6's programme Amazipang! that's broadcast on TBS
- Fuwaku (20th Century) (CD Only Track) ; Written by KIRINJI's Horigome Takaki , the song conveys the message , "Continue to be yourself no matter your surroundings" & it has a 1980's disco music feel
- Telepathy (Coming Century) (CD Only Track) ; Described as a nostalgic song with warmth that portrays the will to move forward
Inohara Yoshihiko returns for the 11th season of Keishicho Sosa Ikka 9 Gakari & V6 once again provides the series' theme song . Beautiful World is a warm medium-tempo ballad written by Hata Motohiro , who also participated in the song's chorus and instrumentals .
After celebrating 20 years in the business last year , it's great to see V6 continue on releasing music & Beautiful World is well beautiful .
In addition , the music style found in Beautiful World is very different from their past singles .
There's no way not feeling happy in listening to Beautiful World & kudos to Hata Motohiro for creating this light cheery sounding song for the group .
I hope V6 will continue to work with other musicians on their material because not only it keeps things interesting , it also allows them to experimental musically , be it good or bad .
So far that doesn't seem to be a problem and here's to more solid music to be added to 1 of Johnnys' most established group's music discography .
Monday, June 06, 2016
CD Review :: MUSCLE ATTACK - HERCULES ROAD
2) Hercules Road
3) LIVING DEAD
5) I WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL
6) BLUE SKY BLUE
7) LAST TRAIN
8) WHO I AM
9) TIME GOES ON
HERCULES ROAD is MUSCLE ATTACK's 3rd album & it was released last month on 11th May .
Released on the same day as BREAKERZ's guitarist SHINPEI's birthday , the group's previous album ATTACK was released last March .
Up to now , there's still no studio versions of CYCLE & LIFE GOES ON but the acoustic version of LIFE GOES ON is included in the DVD footages of ATTACK .
All songs in HERCULES ROAD were written & composed by SHINPEI except for :
- PROLOGUE ; written & composed by bassist Jong
- WHO I AM ; composed by guitarist Shunp
While songs that're sung in full English include :
- LIVING DEAD
- WHO I AM
Kicking things off in HERCULES ROAD is SURVIVE & it's the only track that received a studio live video .
It's easy to see why SURVIVE has 1 out of the rest (although some other tracks deserve it) as it sets the tone on what to expect in the later part of the album .
Sharing the same title as the album , it's Hercules Road & just like SURVIVE , it's another hard thumping in your face song .
As for LIVING DEAD , the emphasis of the drum beats can be heard considerably in it .
PROLOGUE is the only track in HERCULES ROAD that's not sung by SHINPEI seeing that the vocals are different here & I have a feeling it's bassist Jong as he was the 1 that wrote + composed it , similarly to what he did for My BLOODY BUNNY in their debut album MUSCLE (with him composing the song) .
The next 2 songs are my favourite tracks in the album . I WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL has a great upbeat cheery feeling while BLUE SKY BLUE is the closest thing you can get as a ballad in HERCULES ROAD .
From another upbeat song to another , in comes LAST TRAIN followed by WHO I AM .
WHO I AM is considered the oldest song in HERCULES ROAD as before it was given the CD studio treatment , it was 1 of the songs that the group performed live quite constantly in their past concerts/tours .
Concluding things off is TIME GOES ON . While it started off mellow , the mood changed to a full out rock song after the introduction .
MUSCLE ATTACK showcase their muscles , brains & brawn in their latest release HERCULES ROAD & frankly , I feel happy for SHINPEI that despite the odds , they're still able to release another album .
Writing my opinions on MUSCLE ATTACK's music has not been easy as at times I have problems using the right words to describe their music but at the end of the day , it's good old fashioned rock music with an Americanised flair .
For HERCULES ROAD , it's not a bad release just that I wish there were more ballads in the album & some of the songs don't stand out but the ones that I like , they're real gems .
Not everyone will like/enjoy their music but I admire each of the members' decision to continue to release music . Not everything in their discography is great but for the selective few tracks from their records that're good , they're home runs to me .
It reminds to be seen if they will release another album next as it's surprisingly odd that CYCLE & LIFE GOES ON have no CD studio versions yet .
Perhaps they will be eventually made to the group's next release , only time will tell .
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Ken Hirai - Plus One / TIME
CD + DVD
1) Plus One
3) Ken Hirai 20th Anniversary Mega Mix Vol.2 (CD Only Track)
4) Plus One -backing track- (CD Only Track)
5) Ise Shima Summit Cheer Song -less vocal- (CD Only Track)
Plus One / TIME is Ken Hirai's 39th single & it was last week released on 25th May .
This's Ken's 1st single release of 2016 & Plus One / TIME is his 3rd double A-side single .
Ken Hirai 20th Anniversary Mega Mix Vol.2 serves as the B-side in the single and this's only found in the CD only edition , likewise with instrumentals of both A-side's .
The 1st A-side Plus One was used to promote TV Asahi's Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi drama . It's described as a love song that Ken wrote while picturing various relationships that men and woman cannot express in words .
The 2nd A-side TIME was used as Ise Shima Summit Cheer Song . Ken was appointed as an artist for the G7 JAPAN 2016 Ise-Shima Summit in Feb & despite being an A-side , TIME has no music video .
Originally , this single was labelled Plus One & frankly I'm glad that it has been changed to a double A-side release as both songs are equally good/strong .
Plus One is a catchy finger snappy upbeat song which's memorable while for TIME , it's a really nice ballad which felt like it has 2 different melodies .
The 2nd part of TIME is my favourite as the melody suddenly changed into a Gospel like music direction , which reminded me of Gaining Through Losing to a certain extent & it brought back nostalgic memories .
All in all , I enjoy Plus One / TIME . It's a pity that TIME does not have a video and it's strange that the same thing happened for the 2nd A-side in past both double A-side singles of Ken as well .
And Ken's not stopping here as his 40th single Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? will be released next month on 22nd June .
Saturday, May 28, 2016
ARASHI - I seek / Daylight
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
I seek / Daylight is ARASHI's 49th single & it was released on 18th May .
Released 3 months + since their previous single Fukkatsu LOVE , the group's last double A-side single release was 2013's Calling / Breathless .
The 1st A-side I seek was used to promote leader Ohno Satoshi's Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi drama . Described as a love song , I seek centres on the dilemma + sadness of a clumsy man in love & it's sung in a bright positive way that's accompanied with groovy feelings .
The 2nd A-side Daylight was used to promote member Matsumoto Jun's 99.9 ~Keiji Senmon Bengoshi~ drama . MatsuJun personally requested fellow member Sakurai Sho to provide rap verses in the song .
2012's Face Down was the last single song that Sakurai last rapped in . Linked to the world of drama , both strength + kindness are wrapped inside the warm melody found in Daylight .
With regards to the rap lyrics included in Daylight , Sakurai said MatsuJun went to talk to him in the dressing room & let him read the script of the 1st 2 episodes in order to give Sakurai a glimpse of the plot in 99.9 ~Keiji Senmon Bengoshi~ before he proceeded to write the Sakurap in the song .
2 B-sides are available in I seek / Daylight . Both tracks are exclusively found in the CD only edition of the single .
The 1st B-side is titled Tadaima & this serves as the theme song for ARASHI's current ongoing ARASHI "Japonism Show" in ARENA .
According to Sakurai , the lyrics of Tadaima are a message to their fans . ARASHI wanted to do small-scale concerts this time to go back to where they started as the last time they did an Arena tour was 9 years ago . Before they got to perform at huge venues like Tokyo Dome and National Stadium , Arenas used to be ARASHI's playground with their fans .
Tadaima is their way of saying , "We never forget our starting line & our fans from back then ."
As for the 2nd B-side supersonic , it's an upbeat song with lots of edgy beats & it's quite memorable sounding .
ARASHI brings their 49th single in the form of the double A-side I seek / Daylight . The theme song of Ohno Satoshi's drama Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi , I seek is a bright groovy positive number about the dilemmas of a man who is clumsy in matters of love while Daylight is the warm theme song of Matsumoto Jun's drama 99.9 ~Keiji Senmon Bengoshi~ .
The group's last double A-side single Calling / Breathless was quite a stellar release & luckily I seek / Daylight was able to live up to expectations .
Although I must admit I did not like I seek that much (the video didn't helped matters) but the performances they did on various TV shows (including their own ones) subsequently changed my opinion on the song .
It's different for Daylight as I actually liked it when I 1st heard it and anything with the inclusion of Sakurap is always good although it's quite crazy knowing that it has been 4 years since Sakurai last rapped in Face Down (which was & still is a great single song) .
Both I seek & Daylight are very different music styles wise which's a good thing because there's no point to release 2 songs as A-sides if they follow the same music pattern although there're exceptions .
B-sides wise , it's unusual for them to use a song as a opening number for their tour but then again it makes sense given the context of Tadaima . Luckily (for better or worst) , there're only 2 B-sides this time round which I don't mind as I rather ARASHI focus on quality rather than quantity .
Overall , I enjoy I seek / Daylight and I guess their next music release should be a new album ? Since ARASHI "Japonism Show" in ARENA has not concluded yet , I will not be surprised if they chose to do another Dome tour at the end of the year & if so , that will signify another new album seeing that they've been releasing 1 on a yearly basis since 2010's Boku no Miteiru Fuukei .
If so , hopefully their next album will be better as Japonism was unfortunately a mess to me .
Monday, May 23, 2016
Namie Amuro - Mint
CD + DVD
2) Chit Chat
3) Mint -Instrumental-
4) Chit Chat -Instrumental-
Mint is Namie Amuro's 42nd single & it was released last week on 18th May .
Namie's 1st single release of 2016 , the A-side was picked to be used as the theme song for Kansai TV / Fuji TV's drama Bokuno Yabai Tsuma which's a suspense drama that revolves around a husband and wife (played by Ito Hideaki and Kimura Yoshino) .
The drama's production team approached Namie and asked her to provide the theme song . Namie commented , "I'm grateful to receive the offer to provide the theme song for Bokuno Yabai Tsuma . I'd be happy if Mint captured the essence of the drama . It's a fast-paced thrilling track told from a women's perspective . By singing this thrilling track with a sense of speed from a woman's point of view , I hope to deliver the drama's charm even more . "
Ito Hideaki who acts in Bokuno Yabai Tsuma remarked , "From her singing and dancing debut days , Namie had this cute image and now she has a sophisticated adult image . The sound of the guitar which starts off the song , is heart pounding & the song conveys the feelings of liking someone but feeling trapped . The lyrics also reveal the malicious thoughts of Maria (Kimura Yoshino's character) . I think it's a good fit for Bokuno Yabai Tsuma . "
Chit Chat serves as the B-side in the single . Strangely there was no B-side information included initially when early details on Mint were released but aside from that , Chit Chat contrasts the A-side quite well although the melody sounded like something it comes from a computer video game .
Namie Amuro's 1st single of 2016 , Mint is a serious thrilling dance rock number with a memorable melody that's accompanied by a mysterious guitar phrase .
I actually liked Namie's previous single Red Carpet but I feel that it has a mismatched concept & all the while I'm not a big fan of her ballads .
But I like Mint a lot as it's what Namie does best which's upbeat songs and the sound that Mint has is not a typical hip pop track . In addition , Mint is edgy and aggressive which fits the Bokuno Yabai Tsuma drama really well .
It reminds to be seen what Namie's next music move will be seeing that she's going to embark on a new tour namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2016-2017 in August which will take place until March 2017 .
If not , in between namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2016-2017 , Namie might release another new single ? Only time will tell .