Sunday, February 18, 2018
Shota Shimizu - Good Life
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD
1) Good Life
2) I'm in love
3) FIRE -TOYOMU Remix-
4) Good Life Instrumental
Good Life is Shota Shimizu's 23rd single & it was released last month on 24th Jan .
This's Shota's 1st single release of 2018 . Good Life expresses Shota's view of his life after a decade in the music industry .
2 B-sides are included in Good Life . The 1st B-side I'm in love was used to promote NTV's NNN Straight News programme while FIRE -TOYOMU Remix- is a remix of Shota's previous single FIRE .
Shota Shimizu starts off 2018 with the release of his latest single Good Life & this year is also Shota's 10th anniversary in the business .
This's 1 of the rare occasions where I like the B-side more than the A-side . I was hoping to like Good Life but unfortunately the over usage of auto tune was a big turn off to me as I thought for once Shota would cut down if not cut out autotune from his music as he has gone overboard with it the last few years but that wasn't the case .
I felt that I'm in love is so much better than Good Life as this song showcases Shota's vocals fine without him relying on autotune . I can understand if Shota is a terrible singer but he's not & most of the songs that I like of him had little if not 0 reliance on auto tune .
Also I didn't quite like FIRE but I find FIRE -TOYOMU Remix- annoying & ironically now I can somewhat tolerate the original version of FIRE .
Seeing that Shota is the 1 that writes & composes everything on his own , I hope that this year he would consider to scale back in using auto tune on his music as I think it's a shame that he hides his vocals in the background .
I like auto tune but not when comes to over usage of it .
Sunday, February 11, 2018
KinKi Kids - Topaz Love / DESTINY
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Topaz Love / DESTINY is KinKi Kids's 39th single & it was released last month on 24th Jan .
This's KinKi Kids's 1st single release of 2018 . Their last double A-side single release was 2013's / 33rd single Mada Namida ni Naranai Kanashimi ga / Koi wa Nioeto Chirinuruwo .
Both Topaz Love & DESTINY have videos made and also , both songs were used to promote the Time Bokan Gyakushuu no San Akunin anime .
Topaz Love was used as the 2nd ending theme song for Time Bokan Gyakushuu no San Akunin . This number was written by Tsuyoshi & composed by Koichi .
Described as a sad love song despite the KinKi Kids signature upbeat tempo , the last KinKi Kids single song that Tsuyoshi wrote & Koichi composed separately was 2010's / 30th single Family ~Hitotsu ni Naru Koto .
DESTINY was used as the 1st opening theme song for Time Bokan Gyakushuu no San Akunin . A love song just like Topaz Love , DESTINY overflows with power with its jazzed rock sound that subtly compliments the duo's singing .
4 B-sides in total are included in Topaz Love / DESTINY . Aishu no Buenos Aires & CLASSIC are only available in the CD only version of the single .
I like Aishu no Buenos Aires on 1st listen as it has a really cool uptempo melody , a bit similar to the duo's older singles , 11th single Boku no Senaka ni wa Hane ga Aru & 21st single Veludo no Yami while CLASSIC as the song title suggests , it's a classic mid tempo sounding track .
The other 2 B-sides in Topaz Love / DESTINY are exclusively found in the CD + DVD B version of the single and for these , they're solo versions of DESTINY sung by Koichi & Tsuyoshi respectively .
Tagged as DESTINY -Version K- & DESTINY -Version T- , Version K is sung solo by Koichi while Version T is sung solo by Tsuyoshi .
It's interesting that solo versions & the duo's version of DESTINY were all used to promote Time Bokan Gyakushuu no San Akunin on a monthly basis . While I like the duo's take of DESTINY , I also enjoy both solo versions of the song as well .
KinKi Kids start the 21st year of their career with the duo's 39th double A-side single Topaz Love / DESTINY . Topaz Love is a love song which integrates Rock & Jazz influences while DESTINY is an uptempo love song characteristic of KinKi Kids' style .
It's hard to believe the duo's last double A-side single release was 2013's / 33rd single Mada Namida ni Naranai Kanashimi ga / Koi wa Nioeto Chirinuruwo but Topaz Love / DESTINY overall is a great single that I really enjoy tremendously .
For Topaz Love , it's quite similar to both Mada Namida ni Naranai Kanashimi ga & Koi wa Nioeto Chirinuruwo in that all 3 songs are up beat sounding but yet lyrically they're sad .
Also I wouldn't deny that I like DESTINY a lot more than Topaz Love as it reminds me a great deal of the duo's 27th single Secret Code which's the 1st single I started to follow/support KinKi Kids onwards .
Seeing that last year KinKi Kids had a successful eventful 2017 in celebration of their 20th anniversary , I do hope they will continue to be musically active this year & since the next release is their 40th single , hopefully they will release something to mark the milestone .
Let alone I hope I wouldn't need to wait another 8 years for another single that KinKi Kids have personal input into their material too .
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
NEWS - LPS
CD + DVD
LPS is NEWS's 22nd single & it was released on 17th Jan .
This's NEWS's 1st single release of 2018 . LPS stands for Love Peace Smile & it's described as the group's most 'peaceful' song in their discography .
LPS was used as a special song to promote NEWSICAL . NEWSICAL featured NEWS creating a 6 minute long musical of the same name from scratch & the musical comprises singing , dancing & acting .
NEWS began working on NEWSICAL last Aug with each member making use of their own individuality & strength to fulfil different roles .
The mic relay making good use of the members' singing voices is showcased in LPS . This Winter , NEWS brings fans a warm & life sized fight song .
4 B-sides are included in LPS . The 1st 1 is something called NEWSICAL that shares the same name as the musical that NEWS worked on .
madoromi is found in the CD Regular version of LPS while the next 2 B-sides are only available in the CD Limited version of the single which're newly recorded versions of some NEWS old classic tracks .
Cherish -Represent NEWS Mix- is an updated version of NEWS's 3rd single Cherish while Mafuyu no Nagareboshi -Represent NEWS Mix- is a newly recorded take of Mafuyu no Nagareboshi which was originally found as track #14 in the CD Regular version of NEWS's 2nd album pacific .
NEWS sings of "Love Peace Smile" in their new single LPS . The group warms up the Winter with a supportive message in the title song .
LPS overall is a really solid release & unlike NEWS's previous single EMMA which took me a while to get into , that's not the case for LPS as it's a heartwarming song which brings out the best in NEWS , vocally .
Likewise , the B-sides included in LPS are pretty good . I have heard NEWSICAL prior to hearing the song in the CD & it's a fun festive track while madoromi is a touching ballad .
On the other hand while I'm pleased to see NEWS re-record Cherish & Mafuyu no Nagareboshi as both are still great no.s , I don't find anything special on the new versions of both songs which's the same problem I faced regarding them re-recording Sakura Girl & I・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI in EMMA .
Nonetheless , all the 4 songs NEWS chose to re-record are still timeless classic tracks but I still think the original versions are better .
2018 is NEWS's 15th anniversary & seeing that an Arena tour will commence end of March , I wouldn't be surprised if a new album will be released prior to the start of the tour .
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
CD Review :: B'z - DINOSAUR
Cover for CD , CD + DVD & CD + Blu-ray
3) Still Alive
5) Soredemo Yappari
7) Queen Of The Night
10) Yowai Otoko
11) Itoshiki Yuurei
12) King Of The Street
13) Purple Pink Orange
DINOSAUR is B'z's 20th album & it was released last year on 29th Nov .
B'z's last album release was 2015's EPIC DAY . Only 1 single Seimei / Still Alive is included in DINOSAUR & their 52nd single RED is excluded from the tracklist .
All songs in DINOSAUR were written by vocalist Inaba Koshi while all songs were composed by guitarist Matsumoto Tak .
Kicking things off in DINOSAUR is the track that shares the same title as the album .
Dinosaur was chosen to be used to promote the movie Geostorm when it opened in Japan cinemas on 19th Jan & this's the the 1st time that B'z provided a theme song for a Hollywood movie .
Dean Devlin , the director of Geostorm , expressed excitement over working with B'z for the movie . He felt the band's guitar rifts & lyrics were the perfect fit for the disaster film & hoped that their energy would attract young audiences
Geostorm tells the story of a world whose weather was controlled by satellites . It improved the state of the the planet until the satellites malfunction & start creating disasters instead .
A video was made for Dinosaur but it's not included in the DVD/Blu-ray discs .
I didn't find Dinosaur as catchy as B'z's previous album opening tracks but the accompanied video changed my opinion on it considerably as it was 1 of the best videos I've seen that was released last year so that definitely helped .
Surprisingly B'z didn't sang Dinosaur as the 1st song during their current ongoing B'z LIVE-GYM 2017-2018 "LIVE DINOSAUR" which I thought it's a bit odd .
The next song CHAMP is the only new track that was included in B'z best album B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX . Promo wise , it was used to promote B'z x 7/11 fair collaboration campaign .
Just like Dinosaur , a video was also made for CHAMP but both videos are not included in the DVD/Blu-ray discs of DINOSAUR .
I'm relieved to see CHAMP made the cut in Dinosaur as I wasn't willing to buy B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX just for only 1 new song as the price to buy B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX is through the roof .
It's interesting that B'z chose to make music videos for both Dinosaur & CHAMP and both songs are side by side each other in the album too .
Still Alive is the 2nd A-side of B'z's 53rd single Seimei / Stil Alive & it was used as the theme song for TBS's drama A LIFE ~Itoshiki Hito~ that starred ex SMAP's Kimura Takuya .
Haruka is a pretty catchy mid tempo song while the next song which's the 1st album ballad ie. Soredemo Yappari is quite nice .
Seimei is the 1st A-side of B'z's 53rd single Seimei / Still Alive & this was used in the ads of UCC BLACK Muto that featured B'z themselves .
I earlier on said that Dinosaur was not the 1st song that kicked things off in the current ongoing B'z LIVE-GYM 2017-2018 "LIVE DINOSAUR" & that 'honour' actually goes to Seimei which in a way I'm not surprised as it's 1 of those songs that really set the tone on what to expect subsequently during a concert .
The next 2 album tracks Queen Of The Night & SKYROCKET are both equally good . Queen Of The Night is a mid tempo song while SKYROCKET is very catchy & has lots of great vibes attached to it .
Rooftop is 1 of the album more angsty driven songs but despite this I like it & it's 1 of my personal favourite song .
The next song Yowai Otoko is an interesting track as the 2nd 1/2 of it the melody changed briefly with saxophone beats kind of randomly thrown in . I wished that aspect was much longer though .
Itoshiki Yuurei is another mid tempo song . While it's not as slow ballad driven as Soredemo Yappari , I enjoy listening to it nonetheless .
The 2nd last track King Of The Street was chosen to be used as the theme song to promote the new Ma ・Sangoku Musou 8 video game that will be released next month on 8th Feb .
King Of The Street was love on 1st listen for me as I love how punchy & aggressive sounding it's due to the over the top guitar riffs in the melody . And in a way the song does sound it's used to promote a video game so even if I don't know about it , it's not surprising .
Purple Pink Orange is the last album track which's an emotional driven song & I feel it's a good track before concluding things in DINOSAUR .
When comes to good 'ol JRock music , B'z can do no wrong & the fact that this year's their 30th anniversary in the business , it's testament of their longevity as many JRock artistes have come & gone but not them .
Reaching an album milestone with their 20th album , DINOSAUR is similar with B'z's previous album EPIC DAY in that both albums only contain 1 single each . Despite this , their latest album is a very solid release so I wasn't worried if I was going to like it & thankfully most of the new songs are pretty good .
It would have been nice if B'z included RED as I like it a lot but I'm sure they have their reasons in excluding it from DINOSAUR . My only grouse about the album is that I wished B'z included more album ballads but other than that , they never disappoints .
2018 is B'z's 30th anniversary & I really hope they have something big planned be it music or non music wise . It would be fantastic if they were to perform outside of Japan . If so it's better late than never .
That said here's to even more longer longevity to B'z !
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - White Love
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
White Love is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 21st single & it was released last month on 20th Dec .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 1st best album Hey! Say! JUMP 2007-2017 I/O was released last July .
White Love was used to promote the movie Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai that member Chinen Yuri starred in which opened in Japan cinemas last month on 23rd Dec .
A song about forever love sung by Hey ! Say ! JUMP for Christmas in their 10th year , they bring fans a 4 minute long love story about the beginning of love which brings colour to a white world like magic .
The uptempo A-side is described as Hey ! Say ! JUMP's most loveable love song .
A total of 5 B-sides are available in White Love as follows :
- Good Life (CD Only Track)
- Spark×2 (CD Only Track)
- Usual Soldier (CD Only Track)
- Hoshi no Furu Yoru ni (CD + DVD A Track)
- Rock U Baby ! (CD + DVD B Track)
Hey ! Say ! JUMP no doubt had a successful great run in celebrating their 10th anniversary last year & White Love was a good release to conclude their celebratory milestone .
I don't know why it took Hey ! Say ! JUMP so long to finally release a Winter theme single but it was worth the wait . I was surprised how grown up sounding White Love is and the accompanied music video also surprised me . While it's not as festive driven as what I was hoping for , I like the overall concept .
Likewise , the B-sides are pretty good and each of them are quite memorable in their own respective right . Out of the songs , I like Hoshi no Furu Yoru ni the most as it could have been released alongside White Love as a double Winter theme A-side single .
Good Life has an upbeat Latin flair while Sparkx2 is a typical sounding upbeat song . Usual Soldier has an interesting harmonica driven sound while Rock U Baby ! is a downright aggressive track .
2017 is 1 of the rare times that I enjoyed most of the new material that Hey ! Say ! JUMP released and hopefully that will continue on this year .
That said , Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 22nd single Mae wo Muke will be released next month on 14th Feb & I cannot wait to see how their new single will sound like .
Thursday, January 11, 2018
flumpool - Toutoi
CD + DVD
2) To be continued...
4) Toutoi (Instrumental)
5) To be continued... (Instrumental)
6) WINNER (Instrumental)
Toutoi is flumpool's 18th single & it was released last month on 26th Dec .
This single was released 9 months + since flumpool's previous single Last Call . Toutoi originally was supposed to be released on 27th Dec .
The covers & promo picture of Toutoi are illustrations that represent the world view of the song . The Toutoi video is like a drama & it stars actress/ex Momorio Clover Z Hayami Akari as a manga artist who faces challenges as she works on her manga , flumpool themselves do not appear in the video .
2 B-sides are included in Toutoi which were both released digitally prior to the single physical release .
To be continued... was released digitally last year on 4th Oct & it was used to promote the Infini-T Force anime .
On the other hand , WINNER was released digitally last year on 14th Sept & it was used to promote TBS's S☆ sports programme .
flumpool concluded 2017 with the release of 2 pretty solid singles .
On whole Toutoi is actually not bad as it kind of reminds me of EGG's Ubugoe cos both songs have quite a strong Folk sound .
This's 1 of the rare times that I like both B-sides on par if not a bit more than the A-side as I wasn't liking the B-sides of Last Call that much .
I hope flumpool will make a comeback soon as right now they're on hiatus as vocalist Ryuuta is currently recuperating due to problems with his voice once again & here's wishing Ryuuta a speedy recovery .
Saturday, January 06, 2018
Fukuyama Masaharu - Tomoe Gakuen
Tomoe Gakuen is a song released digitally by Fukuyama Masaharu last month on 1st Dec .
The accompanied video for Tomoe Gakuen was filmed in Fukuyama's Alma mater Nagasaki Shiritsu Inasa Shou Gakkou .
Tomoe Gakuen is very different from Seiiki in that Tomoe Gakuen is a ballad & I thought it was nice of Fukuyama to pay tribute to his Alma mater .
When I saw and heard Tomoe Gakuen , I felt real touched and the video is very heartwarming to speak of .
It remains to be seen if Tomoe Gakuen will be included in a future physical release of Fukuyama . Hopefully that will happen as it would be a bit of a waste to just let it be released digitally .