Sunday, February 07, 2016
GLAY - G4・IV
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD
1) Kanojo wa Zombie
3) Supernova Express 2016
4) Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni
G4・IV is GLAY's 53rd single & it was released last month on 27th Jan .
This's the group's 1st release of 2016 & all 4 songs in G4・IV have music videos made .
The 1st song Kanojo wa Zombie was written & composed by guitarist HISASHI . Promo wise , it was picked to be used as the ending theme song for TBS's Ousama no Brunch for this & next month .
Scoop is the 2nd song & credits wise , it was written by guitarist TAKURO + composed by bassist JIRO . The track was picked to be used as the ending theme no. for TV Asahi's Onegai! Ranking last month .
The 3rd song Supernova Express 2016 was selected to be used as the theme song for Hokkaido Shinkansen that's scheduled to start its operation in March .
Written & composed by TAKURO , Supernova Express 2016 was created after GLAY received an offer from the Hokkaido Government Office and Hakodate City .
Supernova Express 2016 was released digitally last year on 9th Dec & this pop-rock tune describes the band's feelings toward their hometown Hokkaido .
Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni is the last song in G4・IV & this was released digitally last year on 2nd Nov .
Written & composed by vocalist TERU , Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni was used as the opening theme no. for the anime Daiya no A -SECOND SEASON- , making this the 3rd time for GLAY to provide the opening theme for the Daiya no A anime series after Hashire! Mirai & HEROES .
Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni is 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 ."
Eight months after their last single , GLAY returns with a new entry in its G4 series in G4・IV . As is standard in the series , the title track is a collaborative songwriting effort by all the members & Kameda Seiji has also returned to produce the group's latest single offering .
I've already reviewed Supernova Express 2016 & Sora ga Aozora de Aru Tame ni as both tracks were released digitally last year . Both are good songs but as for the other 2 new tracks available in G4・IV , I'm not so keen on them .
For starters I thought Kanojo wa Zombie might sound like I am xxx but it turns out to be a rather odd upbeat tune & I only find Scoop so so for my liking as I don't think it's a stand out song in the single .
But I do give GLAY credit in creating G4・IV as each of the 4 songs see the members having personal input into the tracks . In addition , it's hard to believe that G4・IV is the group's 1st single to get #1 on Oricon as the last single that obtained the top spot was 2008's VERB (which up to now it's still a great single song) .
All in all , it's still heartening to know GLAY is still going on strong as it's . Hopefully their next single offering wouldn't be saturated with digital released songs as that's 1 flaw that G4・IV suffered .
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Yamashita Tomohisa - Dreamer -New Recording Version-
CD + DVD
Dreamer -New Recording Version- is a new song that's included in Yamashita Tomohisa's 1st best album YAMA-P .
YAMA-P was released last month on 27th Jan & it includes solo material that Yamapi releases in the Warner Music era . Yamapi's solo material that he released when he was under Johnny's Entertainment is excluded .
Dreamer which's a fan favourite song was previously been performed at Yamapi's concerts , but it has not been released on any of Yamashita's physical material until now .
Promo wise , Dreamer -New Recording Version- was picked to be used as the ending theme song for the anime Itoshi no Muco .
The lyrics of Dreamer was written by Yamapi himself & it was arranged by Kameda Seiji . The music video was shot in an unexplored region in Arizona , USA in order to express the worldview of the song & to represent the positive lyrics of – believing in tomorrow to advance for the future .
The CD Limited edition of YAMA-P exclusively includes Dreamer -banvox Remix- .
It's a sigh of relief for Yamapi to finally release something new especially since he was musically inactive for 2015 . For Dreamer to finally see the light in getting the studio treatment , this probably made a lot of Yamapi's longtime fans nostalgic as the song itself is good .
On the other hand , I'm not so keen on Dreamer -banvox Remix- as not only it's longer , but it sounds like a weird tropical meets dance remix which doesn't do justice to the original take of the song .
And as for the release of YAMA-P , initially I was quite excited & considered buying it . But once I saw just how laughable & terrible the tracklist is , I decided not to .
Considering I've bought all of Yamapi's studio & mini albums that he released under Warner Music , buying YAMA-P is not worth it in any single bit . Likewise to exclude the solo material Yamapi released when he was under Johnny's Entertainment is quite insulting as it feels as though his team only concentrated on his Warner Music material .
I do hope Yamapi will consider to go back Johnny's Entertainment or switch to another record label because even though he released some of his best solo music material under Warner Music , Warner Music doesn't seem to know/care on how to market him properly .
Ironically when ex KAT-TUN's Akanishi Jin was signed to Warner Music before he left the agency & setting up his own indie record label , the same thing happened as well .
The release of YAMA-P was probably to fulfil a term/condition in Yamapi's contract & I do hope Yamapi has no plans to renew it . It somewhat saddens me that Yamapi's solo music career is now basically non existent and/or stagnant & I don't want to wait really long for new Yamapi music to surface again .
Sunday, January 31, 2016
NEWS - Hikari no Shizuku / Touch
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Hikari no Shizuku / Touch is NEWS's 19th single & it was released on 20th Jan .
This's the group's 1st single release of 2016 & their last double A-side single release was 2012's WORLD QUEST / Pokopon Pekorya .
Both Hikari no Shizuku & Touch have videos made . In addition , the 2 A-side tracks showcase the quartet's refined classic style .
The 1st A-side Hikari no Shizuku was picked to be used the theme song for Fuji TV's drama Kasa wo Motanai Aritachi .
Kasa wo Motanai Aritachi is based on member Kato Shigeaki's short story of the same title . Shige himself stars in the drama & likewise for Kiryama Renn , Sakata Masanobu Adachi Rika , Watanabe Mai , Takeda Rena , Minamisawa Nao & Raita Ryu .
Hikari no Shizuku is described as an inspirational support song for young people who are troubled or hesitant that gently shines a light on the troubles & doubts of young people .
The 2nd A-side Touch was used in the ads of Nissen with NEWS appearing in the ad themselves . This light upbeat Pop love song is a good contrast against the ballad driven Hikari no Shizuku .
Hoshi no Tabibitotachi & whis・per serve as B-sides in the single which both of them are only available in the CD only edition of the single .
Both B-sides are equally strong sounding memorable upbeat tracks . I was hoping at most 1 of them would be a ballad but aside from this , I enjoy them a great deal .
NEWS kicks off 2016 with a new double A-side single Hikari no Shizuku / Touch ! . It's a great music start for the group as this's yet another solid single release added to their discography .
And they definitely shows no signs of slowing down as their 7th album QUARTETTO will be released on 9th March and both A-side singles are included in the new album .
I just hope that QUARTETTO will be a lot more better than White as I didn't liked their previous studio album that much so here's hoping NEWS will prove me wrong album wise .
Monday, January 25, 2016
Koda Kumi - On And On & NO ME WITHOUT YOU
CD + DVD & CD + Blu-ray
Both editions , the DVD & Blu-ray disc include music videos
On And On & NO ME WITHOUT YOU are 2 new songs included in Koda Kumi's new Winter ballad compilation album WINTER of LOVE .
WINTER of LOVE was released last week on 20th Jan & both songs have music videos made .
On And On is found as track #1 in WINTER of LOVE & the song was released digitally on 13th Jan .
This smooth sounding piano driven no. is a nice one and it's pleasant sounding on the ears . The only thing I don't quite like slightly on On And On is after a while , the 3 words get repetitive but aside from this , it's not bad .
NO ME WITHOUT YOU is track #17 & with the words "I'm here, because of you" , Koda used this as a platform to send a heartfelt message of appreciation to the fans that have continually supported her . Koda further commented , "I want to emotionally connect my feelings to the fans" .
I prefer NO ME WITHOUT YOU over On And On as it's a touching song & lyrically , it speaks just how much Koda's fans meant to her as title itself said it all . The piano driven song struck a chord in me when I 1st heard it & the preview didn't do justice to the final version of the track .
This Winter , indulge in some romance with Koda Kumi's WINTER of LOVE ! Following last year's SUMMER of LOVE , the diva returns with a new compilation featuring her most memorable moving ballads , including hands , you , Yume no Uta , Ai no Uta , Moon Crying & Suki de, Suki de, Suki de. .
I frankly didn't felt that surprised when WINTER of LOVE was announced and knowing it's avex , this bound to happen again . Both new songs add a fine addition to Koda's ever expanding music discography but like what I've mentioned when I reviewed the new material included in SUMMER of LOVE , On And On & NO ME WITHOUT YOU do just fine if they were released as standalone song singles .
It reminds to be seen if both new material included in SUMMER of LOVE & WINTER of LOVE will be included in a future studio album of Koda but for now , her next release KODA KUMI 15th Anniversary LIVE The Artist DVD/Blu-ray will be released on 23rd March .
Thursday, January 21, 2016
SID - Yumegokochi
2 CDs + 2 Blu-ray's A
2 CDs + Blu-ray B
Yumegokochi is a new song that's included in SID's 2nd best album SID ALL SINGLES BEST .
SID ALL SINGLES BEST was released last week on 13th Jan . Credits wise , Yumegokochi was written by vocalist Mao & composed by drummer Yuya .
Yumegokochi is a sorrow driven number & I was really drawn onto the song the moment I 1st heard it . Hyoryu wasn't a strong song to get released as a single & frankly Yumegokochi should have taken its place instead .
Also on a side note , I was surprised that SID chose to release another best album as they did so 3 years back for SID 10th Anniversary BEST which was to celebrate their 10th anniversary .
I'm hoping that SID will release a new album but I'm not sure since bassist Aki will be busy with his own solo related activities this year so yet again it's uncertain and things are up in the air .
Saturday, January 09, 2016
CD Review :: AKi - EPHEMERAL EP
CD + DVD
3) Sing it Loud
4) In Vain
5) FAIRY DUST
6) Wait for You
7) The Inside War
EPHEMERAL EP is SID's bassist AKi's 1st mini album & it was released last month on 16th Dec .
AKi's debut solo album ARISE was released last Jan & just like ARISE , EPHEMERAL EP includes no singles but a video was made for FAIRY DUST .
EPHEMERAL EP was released on the same day as AKi's 1st solo DVD A Feeling Begins to Arise .
Kicking things off in EPHEMERAL EP is Ray which's a short introduction & the mini album wastes no time in diving straight into Fahrenheit .
Both Fahrenheit & Sing it Loud are 2 back to back uptempo Rock driven numbers which I find them neither good or bad . They're ok but I wouldn't consider them personal favourites of mine .
In Vain is 1 of my favourite tracks in EPHEMERAL EP as it has a really intriguing melody & I was drawn onto the song the moment I 1st heard it .
As mentioned earlier , FAIRY DUST is the only song that received a video in EPHEMERAL EP & it's also the only no. that AKi sings in English .
FAIRY DUST deserves to have a video made but it feels like something that could have been included in ARISE . Still , it's a cool song that I enjoy .
Wait for You is the 2nd last song and it's the only track that's a slow number . Personally if not for FAIRY DUST , a video should have been made for Wait for You instead as it's a nice change after uptempo numbers in the front of the mini album tracklist .
The Inside War is the final song in EPHEMERAL EP & for this , L'Arc~en~Ciel's guitarist Ken participated in playing the guitar melody wise .
I had a bit of a shock when I 1st listened to The Inside War as it has a really loud introduction but once I got used to it , this track is a good conclusion to wrap things up in EPHEMERAL EP & it's definitely a swell thing for Ken to play the guitar in the song too .
Just when I thought ARISE was a 1 off solo release from AKi , he wrapped up 2015 with the release of his 1st solo mini album EPHEMERAL EP & 1st solo DVD A Feeling Begins to Arise last month .
ARISE was a surprisingly good solo debut offering from AKi & likewise for EPHEMERAL EP .
I have a feeling that the songs in EPHEMERAL EP didn't made the cut in ARISE but nevertheless , I really enjoyed listening to EPHEMERAL EP as there's no doubt that AKi is really talented , solo wise .
I'm not sure if there will be anymore solo releases of AKi as I thought ARISE would be the only record he released . For now , EPHEMERAL EP is a mini album worth checking out .
Thursday, December 31, 2015
ayumi hamasaki - Winter diary
Winter diary is a new song that's included in ayumi hamasaki's new classical remix album Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ .
Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ was released last week on 23rd Dec & in ayumi's latest classical remix album release , she hand picked 10 songs from her 16th album A ONE & 5th mini album sixxxxxx EP and gave them a classical arrangement . Among the 10 songs , 3 of them which're WARNING , NO FUTURE & The Show Must Go On features violinist Okabe Machi .
Winter diary was composed by Tetsuya Komuro . This song is described as a sequel to the singer's 2015 summer tune Summer diary that's found as track #2 in sixxxxx EP .
When I 1st heard Winter diary , I was like oh no not another Winter inspired song because the beginning of the track made me cringe somewhat .
Aside from that , for me personally I think Winter diary is something strictly to be enjoyed during the holidays season as I don't find myself listening to it aside from Winter . In addition , compared with ayumi's past Winter songs , Winter diary felt quite overshadowed and paled in comparison .
Also on a sidenote , I really like the fresh classical reinterpretation of songs that ayumi chosen to get 'remixed' in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ . Her previous classical remix album LOVE CLASSICS was quite weak and un-inspiring but not this time round .
Among the songs that I enjoyed being given the classical treatment are WARNING & Last minute which stood out a lot as I already like the original versions of both songs .
Even the songs in sixxxxxx like Step by step , Summer diary & Sky high which I didn't quite liked in the mini album , they sound really good & different in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ .
I only wished that ayumi would have given Story a classical spin as I think it's a very under-rated song in A ONE . Likewise , some of the songs chosen to be included in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ such as NO FUTURE , Out of control & The Show Must Go On , they're ok & not that great .
Lastly , ayumi's vocals were quite 'drowned' out by some of the gorgeous orchestra classical melodies in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ as for some songs , I find myself listening to the melodies a lot more than her vocals .
2015 certainly has been a very productive year for ayumi as for her to release 1 studio album , 1 mini album and now Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ (excluding 2 tours & her annual countdown live concerts) , it has been quite a ride for her .
I'm curious to see what she has up in store in 2016 & likewise for Winter diary since she only went to Taipei to film the video at such short notice as it's quite obvious that marketing wise , it's almost like A SUMMER BEST where you have to buy it if you want to get hold of You & Me (that was before she released LOVE again) .
But that said , I'm sure ayumi will not stop herself from releasing new material in 2016 & I look forward to see what she plans to do .
On that note , this's my last review that I've written for 2015 & happy new year to everyone . Bring on 2016 now !