Friday, February 15, 2019
FLOWER FLOWER - Tsuki -band acoustic ver.-
Tsuki -band acoustic ver.- is a song by FLOWER FLOWER & it was released digitally last month on 30th Jan .
I think it's quite fitting for FLOWER FLOWER to decide to release a band acoustic version of Tsuki as this was their very 1st song they released digitally when they made their debut in 2013 .
Compare with the original & band acoustic versions , both of them still have the same music element of chilled out vibe but in this case , Tsuki -band acoustic ver.- is a lot more laidback which's not necessary a bad thing .
Seeing that FLOWER FLOWER supposedly has plans to release more of such band acoustic versions of their songs in time to come , I'm most definitely curious to hear how they will sound like .
Saturday, February 09, 2019
SPYAIR - B-THE ONE
B-THE ONE is a song by SPYAIR which was released digitally last month on 18th Jan .
This no. was created specially to be used as the theme song for the basketball league B.LEAGUE 2018-19 SEASON .
SPYAIR rarely disappoints & B-THE ONE is no exception . B-THE ONE is very catchy on 1st listen & even if I didn't know it was used to promote B.LEAGUE 2018-19 SEASON , it has a strong sports theme going on .
Also it's always fun to hear guitarist UZ rap alongside with vocalist IKE & most importantly , I like B-THE ONE the moment I 1st heard it .
It reminds to be seen if B-THE ONE will be released as SPYAIR's next single or maybe it will be a B-side coupling song as it would be a waste to leave it digitally as so .
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Aoyama Thelma - In This Place~Futari no Kizuna
CD + DVD
1) In This Place~Futari no Kizuna
2) In This Place (Japanese Version)
3) Konna ni mo
4) In This Place~Futari no Kizuna (Instrumental)
5) Konnanimo (Instrumental)
In This Place~Futari no Kizuna is Aoyama Thelma's 15th single & it was released on 16th Jan .
Aoyama's new single is her 1st physical single release in 7 years with her last single release being 2012's Kimi ni Aeru Kara... that featured SPICY CHOCOLATE & RYO the SKYWALKER .
In This Place~Futari no Kizuna was chosen to be used as the ending theme song for the Japan release of Ralph Breaks the Internet .
The Japanese release of Ralph Breaks the Internet opened in cinemas last year on 21st Dec & the movie was released under a different name in Japan ie. Sugar Rush : Online .
Besides writing the lyrics , Aoyama also arranged In This Place~Futari no Kizuna . The single's DVD included 2 videos of 2 album tracks found in Aoyama's last 2 albums 10TH DIARY & HIGHSCHOOL GAL ie. Isshou Nakama & Sekai no Chushin ~We are the world~ .
In This Place~Futari no Kizuna has a slightly different arrangement from the movie version . Aoyama commented, "No matter how old you are , it's not lame to have a dream . It would make me happy that through this song , you will feel how fun it is to live positively ."
Aoyama Thelma , who has mainly put out albums & EPs in recent years released her 1st single in over 7 years ! In This Place ~ Futari no Kizuna is the official song for the Japan theatrical release of Ralph Breaks the Internet . This remake of In This Place is rearranged with a future disco sound + features Japanese lyrics written by Aoyama herself after she watched the film . The single also includes a Japanese version of In This Place that uses the same instrumental arrangement as the original Julia Michaels version .
Frankly it's quite hard to believe it has been so long since Aoyama last released a single but at least she kind of make a pretty good return with In This Place~Futari no Kizuna .
Before I go on further , both the A-side & In This Place (Japanese Version) are sung in Japanese . I assumed that Aoyama sung the A-side in English but that's not the case .
The difference between the A-side & In This Place (Japanese Version) is that the latter is a lot more slow paced while the A-side itself is more upbeat with a futuristic twist .
On the other hand , the B-side Konna ni mo is a good contrast against the A-side with this being quite a long yet nice ballad .
All in all I enjoy what In This Place~Futari no Kizuna had to offer & the accompanied video is very comical which showcased Aoyama not taking herself seriously in it .
Hopefully I wouldn't need to wait another 7 years for Aoyama to release her next single .
Sunday, January 20, 2019
V6 - Super Powers / Right Now
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Super Powers / Right Now is V6's 50th single & it was released on 16th Jan .
This's V6's 1st single release of 2019 & it's also their 4th back to back double A-side single release .
Both Super Powers & Right Now had videos made .
The 1st A-side Super Powers was chosen to be used as the opening theme song for the One Piece anime .
The song was written with the theme "to live diligently with friends" . The lyrics of Super Powers includes words such as "friend" , "courage" & "adventure" , emitting the message "by combining friend's powers , it will become an even bigger power ."
The 2nd A-side Right Now is described as a mature love song with a sexy dance number .
Written & composed by Shota Shimizu , Right Now incorporates rap which is a new sound for the group .
2 B-sides are included in Super Powers / Right Now which're both sung by the 2 sub unit groups within V6 :
- Lady, Lady, Lady (20th Century)
- Sonna Kao Shina Kutatte Ie (Coming Century)
At last reaching the 50th single milestone , V6 most certainly have come a long way & they once again put out another solid single .
Both Super Powers & Right Now are very different and contrast each other quite well . Between both songs , I was more sceptical in hearing Right Now at 1st given that Shota Shimizu created it and knowing that the last few years I didn't liked the direction change of his music didn't helped matters either .
But after giving both songs a listen , I'm quite relieved to say that I actually thought Right Now is pretty good & it definitely sounds like something Shota would sing himself . Seeing that this's something V6 has not tackled before musically , Right Now is not bad on whole .
On the other hand , Super Powers has a very anime feel & even before hearing it , I already knew it was going to be the more radio friendly A-side as compared to Right Now which're more experimental .
For me , it's not easy to like V6's past double A-side singles but the last 4 back to back double A-side singles they put out inclusive of Super Powers / Right Now , I surprisingly don't have any issues which's a good thing .
I wonder what are V6's music plans for the rest of 2019 . I hope for a new album if not maybe 1 more new single to precede it ?
Either way hopefully Super Powers / Right Now will not be V6's only music release of 2019 as they only put out Crazy Rays / KEEP GOING last year .
Thursday, January 10, 2019
CD Review :: Yamashita Tomohisa - UNLEASHED
CD + DVD FEEL version
CD + DVD LOVE version
2) You Make Me
4) Right moves
5) LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME
11) With you
12) Ano Hi no Kaori (CD Only Track)
UNLEASHED is Yamashita Tomohisa's 5th album & it was released last year on 28th Nov .
Yamapi's last studio album release was 2014's YOU .
No singles are included in UNLEASHED but 2 album tracks had music videos made .
UNLEASHED is Yamapi's 1st album that's released via SME Records that's owned by Sony , so he's not managed by Warner Japan anymore .
After Yamapi released his best compilation album YAMA-P in Jan 2016 , he had been focusing on his acting career . He at last made comeback with a new tour and UNLEASHED last year . Yamapi commented , "I want to responsibly deliver music that I think is cool and wonderful while I am in my 30s ."
Yamapi himself was involved with the songwriting & composition of most of the songs in UNLEASHED .
For other tracks included in UNLEASHED , Yamapi cowrote with other songwriters .
Kicking things off in UNLEASHED is the album opening track . It's almost titled the same as the album except for the way it's spelt .
UnleAsHed felt more like an album rap track & another unique thing about it is that Yamapi talked/rapped entirely in English . Surprisingly , Yamapi's English pronunciation is quite spot on as I'm able to understand what he's talking/rapping about and the lyrics at least make sense .
You Make Me is 1 of 2 album tracks to have a video made & in the video , Yamapi challenges himself to contemporary dance for the 1st time .
Same with UnleAsHed , You Make Me is also entirely in English & Yamapi once again sounded convincingly good in it . For You Make Me , it's simplicity at its best as it has a very understated mid tempo melody & in here , less is more .
Paraíso is track 3 and this's another funky sounding number that has a strong saxophone melody which I like .
Right moves is the 2nd album track that has a video made & in the video , Yamapi plays a salaryman dancing in the office .
Unlike You Make Me , Right moves has a comical feel to the song & the video itself shows that Yamapi is able to poke fun at himself & not take himself seriously .
The next song LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME is 1 of my favourite album tracks & it's the only song that Yamapi did not wrote/cowrote .
The moment I 1st heard LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME , I really like it on 1st instant & it would have been great if a video was made for the song as it has a lot of potential .
Byoushin is the next song . Yamapi wrote the lyrics by himself while he co-composed it with UTA . Despite this , this's actually 1 of my least favourite tracks as I feel it's ok for my liking as there're other better stronger sounding tracks in UNLEASHED .
The next track Dancer can be considered as a ballad of sorts as it's a lot more slower sounding unlike the 1st few songs in UNLEASHED & for this , Yamapi cowrote it with KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya & KOUDAI IWATSUBO .
I thought it was neat for Kame to have some personal input in UNLEASHED as he & Yamapi gone way back in their Johnnys days . I enjoy Dancer a lot & after a series of back to back upbeat songs , it's good to slow things down with Dancer .
The next 3 songs are back to back upbeat tracks , starting with the weird sounding titled "H" , followed by StrAwbErry & AI .
I'm not really sure what does H stands for in this context but judging from the lyrics , I think "H" is 1 of the more racier sounding songs in UNLEASHED .
On the other hand , StrAwbErry has quite a strong guitar backing melody . This alongside with Byoushin is almost borderline filler tracks for me .
Just like LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME , AI is my 2nd favourite album track which really should had a video made . With a title like AI , it's not surprising that it has a very cool edgy futuristic tone & it could have been something that almost made the cut in Yamapi's 1st dance mini album Asobi EP .
Concluding things in both CD + DVDs of UNLEASHED is With you . The 2nd track written by Yamapi solely , With you is a great empowering number & alongside with Dancer , both are the closest that can be considered as ballads .
Only available in the CD only version of UNLEASHED is Ano Hi no Kaori & this's the 3rd track that Yamapi wrote entirely by himself .
Similarly with You Make Me , Ano Hi no Kaori applied the less is more concept where it's just a simple acoustic guitar melody that backed Yamapi up which I really enjoy .
After it feels like forever , Yamapi at last is back with a new album UNLEASHED & frankly I find it hard to believe it has been so long since Yamapi released something on his own (not counting 2017's Senakagoshi no Chance which he released as part of Kame to Yama P) .
But to say that it was worth the long wait is an understatement as I really enjoy what UNLEASHED had to offer . To me , the tracks in the new album felt like an extension of what he put out from Asobi EP , only that they're much better in almost all aspects .
Quite a lot of songs in UNLEASHED are sung almost entirely in English but based on what I've heard , Yamapi's English dictation/pronunciation has improved tremendously unlike his older solo works where he tried his best to sing in English but in the process his pronunciation sounded quite cringy/muddled up .
Also I appreciate that Yamapi has a considerably amount of personal input in UNLEASHED , in fact this's probably the most amount of personal contribution he has as compared to his previous albums .
I guess the reason on why Yamapi took so long to at last come back with something new besides focusing on his acting career is because of label changes seeing that now it's Sony & not Warner that's managing him .
Hopefully Sony will do a much better job in taking care of Yamapi . When Yamapi was under Warner , he no doubt released some of his best solo works to date but Warner unfortunately didn't know how to market him properly which frankly sucks .
Lastly , the decision not to include any singles prior to the release of UNLEASHED is tricky but most of the new material is quite singles potential worthy . In a way I somewhat feel that You Make Me & Right moves don't really deserve to have videos made but I suppose Sony wanted something more mainstream/safe as if Yamapi made videos for LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME and/or AI , it might be a drawback for some .
All in all , it's great to have Yamapi back & the wait for him to put out even more new solo songs wouldn't be that long as he will release his 9th single Reason / Never Lose next month on 13th Feb .
Monday, December 31, 2018
KinKi Kids - Aitai,Aitai,Aenai.
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is KinKi Kids's 40th single & it was released on 19th Dec .
The release of Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. comes in about 11 months + since the duo's previous single Topaz Love / DESTINY .
Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. was used in the ads of Bijoude jewellery starring KinKi Kids themselves & it's KinKi Kids's 2nd song to be used to promote Bijoude after last July's The Red Light .
Not only Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. & The Red Light were both used to promote Bijoude , both songs were created by the same person ie. Kubota Toshinobu .
3 B-sides in total are included in Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. :
- Give me your love (CD Only Track)
- Namo Naki Mirai (CD Only Track)
- SNOW TEARS (CD + DVD B Track)
KinKi Kids' 40th single Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is a medium-tempo ballad created by Kubota Toshinobu . Different from the hard soul single The Red Light that the singer-songwriter wrote for the duo last year , this time Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is a simple and powerful love song that fuses Kubota & KinKi Kids's musical worlds .
Kubota Toshinobu did a great job creating The Red Light for KinKi Kids so it's not surprises he chose to do it again for them & this time in the form of a ballad .
Lyrically , Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is sad sounding just like some of KinKi Kids's past single songs such as Mada Namida ni Naranai Kanashimi ga & Koi wa Nioeto Chirinuruwo where the songs are upbeat but lyrics wise they're sad .
Also the B-sides this time round showcase a considerable number of different music styles & SNOW TEARS is on par if not rival enough to compete with Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. as they're both really sad sounding songs .
On the other hand , Give me your love & Namo Naki Mirai are both equally good upbeat songs even though they're B-sides but they're able to stack up against Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. .
Overall once again KinKi Kids does not disappoint & they reached a 40th single milestone spectacularly with the release of Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. .
Hopefully 2019 will bring in even more great music from the dynamic duo & here's hoping Tsuyoshi will make a full recovery from his health issues soon !
Saturday, December 29, 2018
CD Review :: BENI - CINEMATIC
CD + DVD
2) Cinematic Feat SARA-J
4) Chasin' Feat IO
6) Got A Feeling
11) No one else like you Feat Michael Kaneko
12) Last Love Letter
CINEMATIC is BENI's 7th album & it was released last month on 28th Nov .
BENI's last studio album release was 2015's Undress while Mienai Start which was released digitally last Feb is not included in CINEMATIC .
Unlike BENI's past studio albums , she didn't released any physical singles that precede CINEMATIC . Instead , before CINEMATIC was released , BENI released 5 songs digitally from July until Oct .
In CINEMATIC , BENI compares her life to a movie so she played both the lead role & the director . The DVD of the album includes a short film titled CHASIN' the film .
CHASIN' the film features 3 songs being played in the backdrop - Chasin' , PULLBACK & Last Love Letter . Besides BENI , KANDYTOWN's IO is featured in the short film as well .
After a short introduction , kicking things off in CINEMATIC is the song that shares the same title as the album .
CINEMATIC (the song) also featured SARA-J which's the 1st of 3 songs that feature different collaborations BENI did with other musicians in the album .
MONEY is the 2nd album track & when I 1st heard it , I was surprised cos it's a different style of singing that BENI tackled and I feel it could have been a lot more upbeat .
Chasin' was 1st released digitally on 6th July & it's the 1st of 3 songs that served in the backdrop of CHASIN' the film .
Described as a Jazz R&B no. , IO is featured in Chasin' & KANDYTOWN's Neetz had a hand in arranging the song .
On Chasin' , BENI commented , "People are always chasing after something whether it's love or something else . The song + lyrics portray the sadness and impatience upon nearing that thing you're chasing , the excitement & expectation you get the moment you're about to obtain it & the feeling of emptiness when you realise that the game is over once you finally have it in your hands ."
S.U.K.I. is the next album track & for this , I find it to be an ok sounding mid tempo song which didn't really blew me away .
Got A Feeling was originally exclusively available via iTunes Japan if fans purchased songs as part of COVERS THE CITY .
When I saw Got A Feeling & CANDY included in CINEMATIC tracklist , I was surprised but at the same time I don't think a lot of people already knew these 2 songs existed way before BENI released any songs digitally for the last few months .
I guess instead of leaving both songs in digital format , BENI decided to include them in CINEMATIC if not it would have been a much shorter album .
CRY & Arigato are the next 2 album tracks . Ironically I thought CRY was going to be a ballad but instead , it's Arigato .
Arigato can be almost considered to be a ballad & I like the piano arrangement of the song's melody .
The next 2 songs PULLBACK & CANDY were available digitally prior to the release of CINEMATIC .
PULLBACK was released digitally on 29th Aug while just like Got A Feeling , CANDY was the 2nd song exclusively available via iTunes Japan if fans purchased songs as part of COVERS THE CITY .
The next 2 tracks are the sadder sounding songs in CINEMATIC . No one else like you was 1st released digitally on 17th Oct & this featured Michael Kaneko while Last Love Letter was 1st released digitally on 31st Oct .
Concluding CINEMATIC is READY25 which was used as a cheer relay song for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars baseball team .
Tsutsugo Yoshitomo who plays for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars baseball team befriended BENI last year via a mutual acquaintance & Tsutsugo is the 1 that requested BENI to write a song for the baseball team he plays for .
BENI likens life to the movies in her new album CINEMATIC . She is the director and protagonist of this musical work which includes Chasin' featuring KANDYTOWN's IO , the progressive R&B track PULLBACK composed by Sunny Boy & No one else like you , a duet with Michael Kaneko .
It's quite hard to believe it has been so long since BENI last released a new studio album but I appreciate that this time round , she decided to take a different approach to CINEMATIC as compared to her past albums .
I feel that the songs that BENI released digitally prior to the physical release of CINEMATIC are much stronger + memorable , not to say that the other album tracks ain't bad but they don't stood out to me as much as I was hoping for .
I find that CINEMATIC is quite laidback perhaps due to the album's concept & some felt that BENI lacks energy in singing the songs in the album but I don't think it was done on purpose .
Normally ballads are put in to slow things down in an album . For CINEMATIC , it's the opposite which's a 1st for me .
Also given a choice , I would prefer not to see Got A Feeling & CANDY included in CINEMATIC but as I said before , if both songs were not in the tracklist , the album would have felt more shorter .
And I guess BENI prefer to end CINEMATIC on a high upbeat note as Last Love Letter is really sad sounding given the context of CHASIN' the film .
Overall with due respect to BENI , I appreciate the considerable amount of personal input BENI put into making CINEMATIC but unfortunately it's not the album I would recommend someone who's not familiar with her music .
But CINEMATIC is not my least favourite album of BENI so that in a way it's not so bad . Hopefully BENI's next album offering would be more better & a lot more energetic + upbeat .