Wednesday, March 25, 2015
SPYAIR - ROCKIN' OUT
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD editions
1) ROCKIN' OUT
2) GLORY (Live at Zepp DiverCity 2014.12.30)
3) ROCKIN' OUT (inst.)
ROCKIN' OUT is SPYAIR's 15th single & it was released today on 25th March .
The group's 1st release of 2015 , ROCKIN' OUT was produced by Oshima Kosuke & it's described as an aggressive rock no. that signals a new musical approach for the band .
The single includes a live version of GLORY that was recorded from 30th Dec 2014's SPYAIR LIVE 2014 ~Fukkatsu~ sold out concert that was held at Tokyo's Zepp DiverCity .
After SPYAIR released their 1st best album BEST , I began to ponder on what will be their next move & thank goodness with the release of ROCKIN' OUT , they're not taking a hiatus anytime soon .
True to the song title , ROCKIN' OUT adds another cap to the group's discography with it being a tune that anyone can literally rock out to & have a great time while hearing it .
A song worth checking out & the video that accompanied the A-side is easily their best to date .
Sunday, March 22, 2015
KAT-TUN - KISS KISS KISS
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
KISS KISS KISS is KAT-TUN's 24th single & it was released on 11th March .
Released about 2 months+ since their previous single Dead or Alive , KISS KISS KISS was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Second・Love , starring member Kamenashi Kazuya .
A passionate Latin music-style pop number , KISS KISS KISS is further described as a sexy song that adds heat to Second・Love .
There're a total of 6 different B-sides which're available separately in 3 different editions of the single .
RACE GOES ON & NOTHING ELSE MATTERS are found in the CD only edition of KISS KISS KISS .
As the song title suggests , RACE GOES ON is quite a fast paced track while NOTHING ELSE MATTERS on the other hand is a smooth mid tempo no. .
PHANTOM is the only B-side included in the CD + DVD A edition of the single . This's also mid tempo driven but it has a more pop sound to it .
The last 3 B-sides are in the CD + DVD B edition of KISS KISS KISS .
RAY is the 4th B-side that's sung together by the whole group . Out of the group B-sides , RAY is the most EDM influenced which gives the song an edge over the rest .
Kirarito is handled by Taguchi Junnosuke & Nakamaru Yuichi . Both of them co-wrote the song together .
This song is quite interesting as it features Taguchi doing a fair bit of rap & this's further complimented by Nakamaru's beatboxing .
Arigatou is handled by Kamenashi Kazuya & Ueda Tatsuya . The lyrics of the song was written by Ueda .
I thought Arigatou was going to be a ballad as the intro had a rather grand setting but in the end , it actually turns out to be a cheery sounding guitar driven no. .
There's definitely no stopping KAT-TUN in delivering good music & they've already released their 2nd single of 2015 in the form of KISS KISS KISS .
KAT-TUN's previous single Dead or Alive was quite an emotional dark no. but this time round for KISS KISS KISS , they've gone a 360 degree music change by releasing this hot passionate sexy Latin driven no. which's easily 1 of their biggest music risk they've taken so far .
But in this case , it was worth the risk they undertook as KISS KISS KISS is unlike any other song they've done before in their discography . And there's no deny that this adult theme inspired no. is extremely catchy & memorable sounding on 1st listen .
Generally the B-sides they've done this time round are pretty good , especially with regards to Kirarito & Arigatou as before that , each pairing they've grouped together wasn't present before .
The only minor grouse I have towards this single is that I don't like the way it has been marketed as it's quite evident if you combine all the songs together into 1 release , KISS KISS KISS could have been released as a mini album ala Kusabi part 2 .
But other than that , it's still heartening to know that even up to now , KAT-TUN is still able to pull out really nice unexpected surprises & that couldn't have been more fitting in describing KISS KISS KISS .
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
CD Review :: B'z - EPIC DAY
Cover for CD only , CD + DVD , LIVE-GYM 2015 Edition (includes live goods) & Analog Edition (includes download card)
1) Las Vegas
3) Exit To The Sun
4) NO EXCUSE
6) EPIC DAY
8) Black Coffee
9) Kimi wo Kinishinai Hi Nado
10) Man Of The Match
EPIC DAY is B'z's 19th album & it was released on 4th March .
The duo's last album release was 2011's C'mon . Only 1 single Uchouten is included in EPIC DAY . Their 50th single GO FOR IT , BABY - Kioku no Sanmyaku- is excluded from the tracklist .
There're a total of 9 new album tracks in EPIC DAY such as Rock tunes (Las Vegas , EPIC DAY) , Pop numbers (NO EXCUSE , Amarinimo) & medium-tempo ballads (Exit To The Sun , Classmate , Kimi wo Kinishinai Hi Nado) .
In EPIC DAY , the 1st 5 songs are classified as Side A while the 2nd 1/2 of the album are classified as Side B .
All songs in the album were written by vocalist Inaba Koshi while guitarist Tak Matsumoto handled the compositions for all tracks in EPIC DAY .
Served as the album's opening track is Las Vegas . This was picked to be used as the theme song for the motor sports event Red Bull Air Race Chiba 2015 & it's 1 of 3 album tracks that has a short video .
There's nothing like an energetic number to kick off the album & Las Vegas sets the tone in what to expect next in EPIC DAY .
Las Vegas is a very entertaining no. that leaves a strong memorable impression on me & it definitely deserves to get a short video .
Uchouten is B'z's 51st single & as mentioned before , it's the only single included in EPIC DAY .
Described as a motivational Rock tune , Uchouten was picked to be used as the theme song for NTV drama Gakkou Kaidan .
The next album track Exit To The Sun was used as the theme song for NHK's drama Dark Suit in which this mid tempo orchestra driven track was specially written for the drama .
Regarding Exit To The Sun , the drama's chief producer Yaguchi Takayuki commented , "While 'Dark Suit' is a tough & profound business suspense drama , what underlies the story is the mental theme of believing in hope & holding onto dreams . Exit To The Sun is a wonderful song that provides a physical form for that mental part . "
NO EXCUSE was picked to be used in the ads of Kirin's beer Smirnoff . Just like Las Vegas , it's a fun energetic number except in this case , NO EXCUSE has a more Summer influence flair attached to the song .
On the other hand , Amarinimo was used in the ads of travel agency H.I.S. . I've already heard a slight preview of it & the full version of Amarinimo does not disappoint .
Sharing the same title as the album , EPIC DAY (the song) is a highly charged up rock driven number . Surprisingly , to me this's 1 of the weaker tracks & it's probably because it doesn't have any promo tie's in to help it stand out from the rest but still it's a track worth checking out .
Classmate is the 2nd of 3 new album tracks that has a short video . 1 of the more slow down numbers in EPIC DAY , Classmate itself presents a more vulnerable emotional side to B'z & the song is a class of its own right , no pun intended .
Black Coffee follows after Classmate & just like EPIC DAY (the song) , Black Coffee is 1 of the slightly weaker songs in the album but after a few listens , it's a track that has attitude & spunk .
The 2nd last track in the album , Kimi wo Kinishinai Hi Nado is the 3rd new album tracks that has a short video . Similar to Classmate , Kimi wo Kinishinai Hi Nado is 1 of the more slow down no.s in the album except in this case , Classmate is more simplified while Kimi wo Kinishinai Hi Nado has a rather grand sweeping Orchestra sound .
Man Of The Match is the final track in EPIC DAY & on 1st listen , I thought it sounded awkward as the beginning + ending were quite strange but the main body of the song is a heart thumping no. which's the perfect no. to wrap things up in the album .
The beginning & ending of Man Of The Match are my least fave parts of the song but I suppose they were meant to sound like that but generally it's a good no. that I like .
After a brief detour into solo activities , Japan's best selling artiste of all time B'z is back together with a new album ! EPIC DAY is the duo's 1st album in over 3 1/2 years & it features a total of 10 tracks – including hit single Uchouten .
It has been almost 4 years since B'z last released C'mon & honestly when it was announced that there'll be only 10 tracks in EPIC DAY , I was a bit disappointed as on 1st look , 10 songs seemed very little & let alone they excluded GO FOR IT , BABY - Kioku no Sanmyaku- .
Thankfully , the songs themselves in EPIC DAY are overall top notch & credits has to go to guitarist Tak Matsumoto for composing the entire album . And in this case , they subscribe to the quality over quantity mantra .
Having 10 songs with only 1 single preceding the album on paper might seems like a recipe for disaster but that's not the case for B'z & after being in business since 1988 , they're still able to draw in people to like their music which's testimony to their everlasting longevity .
Overall , EPIC DAY is a really enjoyable album & if you fancy old school Rock 'n' Roll music then this album might be something you'll enjoy .
On that note , welcome back B'z !
Sunday, March 15, 2015
CD Review :: Acid Black Cherry - L
CD + DVD Live Edition
CD + DVD Documentary Edition
1) Round & Round
2) liar or LIAR ?
3) S to M
4) Kimi ga Inai, Ano Hi Kara...
6) Greed Greed Greed
7) 7 colors
8) ~Le Chat Noir~
9) Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~
10) versus G
11) Nemurenu Yoru
14) & you
L is Acid Black Cherry (ABC)'s 4th album & it was released last month on 25th Feb .
Originally supposed to be released on 4th Feb , the release date of L was subsequently changed to 25th Feb due to production issues .
ABC's last album release was 2012's 『2012』 & 4 singles are included in L .
A concept album with the theme of love , L centres on the story of an imaginary woman named L who has had many ups + downs throughout her life & just wanted love .
Round & Round is the opening track of L & it's also the longest track in the album too . This thought provoking no. definitely sets the mood on what to expect in the subsequent tracks found in L .
Likewise , the next 2 songs liar or LIAR ? & S to M are mean gritted aggressive Rock driven tracks . S to M has an amusing song title & it sounds a bit similar to their 11th single Pistol .
Kimi ga Inai, Ano Hi Kara... is ABC's 18th single . It was written with the 2011 March 11th earthquake/tsunami disaster in mind & the song's is about 1's longing for a loved one that has gone , whether that loved one is a significant other , a friend or a family member .
Sharing the same title as the album , L (the song) is 1 of 2 songs that lyrically talks about the imaginary woman L who's the inspiration of the album .
Perhaps due to this , it's no surprises that L (the song) is intriguing & something that deserves to shine in the spotlight .
Greed Greed Greed is ABC's 16th single . It was picked to be used as the theme song for MBS・TBS's drama Akuryo Byoutou .
Described as a groovy song that will attack a listener on all the 5 senses , Greed Greed Greed is an uptempo rock tune & a bright cheerful rock no. that will make fans dance & be kept on their toes .
7 colors is the 5th album track & it's 1 of my fave songs in L as it has a fun cheery personality . It's not as full right upbeat as ABC's 12th single Shangri-La but it didn't stop me from listening to 7 colors with a smile on my face .
~Le Chat Noir~ is a 20 seconds short interlude that precedes Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ .
Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ is ABC's 17th single . Described as an upbeat rock number which's infused with big band jazz elements , yasu commented , "You'll think it's black cat-like when you listen to it ."
versus G & Nemurenu Yoru follows after Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ . versus G is another standout track as it features yasu doing a bit of rap which surprised me as prior to this , he hasn't done rapping until now .
That said , maybe yasu can consider to do a full rap rock song in future as he actually sound quite convincing even though the rapping portion in versus G is a bit short .
On the other hand , I feel that Nemurenu Yoru is the weak link in the album as this song doesn't really do anything much for me . It borders line on filler mode & considering that there're other more prominent stronger tracks in L , given the chance I will skip Nemurenu Yoru if I have the choice .
INCUBUS is ABC's 19th single & this gripping powerful rock number was the most recent single included prior to the release of L .
Loves is the 2nd last track in the album & it's the 2nd song after L (the song) that lyrically talks about the imaginary woman L . Another standout track , Loves is an emotional slow down no. in L & the simplicity of it makes it a winner in its own right .
& you is the last song & a good 1 to wrap things up in the album as it's quite an empowering no. . In addition , & you brings back the album to full circle in which it couldn't be more better to conclude L .
For their 4th album L , Acid Black Cherry tells the tumultuous & fictional life story of L , a woman consumed by love . Learn the moving story of L with Acid Black Cherry's new album !
yasu always put a considerable amount of thought into making his solo albums & no exception this time round for L . The songs in the album are entwined with the story of the imaginary woman L's life , making the album a very interesting one to listen to .
All the while I always feel that Acid Black Cherry's albums are not that easy to listen to but after I get the hang of things , L is actually an enjoyable listen from start til end .
I enjoyed 『2012』 a lot but I think what makes L a notch or 2 better than 『2012』 was that sound consistently wise , it's there as 『2012』 felt quite inconsistent even though it was more musical diverse .
All in all , L is a solid album release & if you're into albums that have deep thoughts together with an album concept that you want to dive in deeper to explore hidden meanings & agendas , then L might be the album to satisfy your curiosity senses .
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Kobukuro - Kiseki
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD editions
4) Kiseki (Instrumental)
5) Twilight (Instrumental)
6) Shinkokyuu (Instrumental)
Kiseki is Kobukuro's 26th single & it was released last week on 4th March .
The duo's 1st release of 2015 , all songs except the instrumentals were 1st released digitally last month on 25th Feb .
Kiseki was picked to be used as the theme song for TV Asahi's drama DOCTORS 3 Saikyou no Meii starring Sawamura Ikki . Kobukuro wrote Kiseki after watching the previous seasons of DOCTORS Saikyou no Meii . Sawamura gave rave reviews of the song saying , "It's as though this song was here for the drama from the very beginning . I understood very well that they watched the series ."
2 songs served as B-sides in the single . Twilight served as the theme song for Aragaki Yui's starring film Twilight Sasara Saya & it was 1st released digitally last year on 8th Nov .
Twilight Sasara Saya is based on Kanou Tomoko's novel Sasara Saya & it tells a family love story of Saya (Aragaki Yui) , a woman who struggles with child-rearing in a town called Sasara & her deceased husband Yutaro (Oizumi Yo) , who borrows other people's bodies in order to support Saya .
Kobukuro wrote Twilight specially for Twilight Sasara Saya after reading the original novel . The song is described as a medium tempo number that was written from the perspective of Yutaro .
The 2nd B-side Shinkokyuu was used in the ads of Japanese convenience store Seicomart & Miyagi's wedding company MJQ .
After being in business for almost close to 16 years , Kobukuro shows no signs of showing down with the release of their latest single offering Kiseki .
Kiseki pretty much brings the duo back to basics on what they do best which's folk music with slight rock influences . Folk music tends to get a bad reputation for being boring & un-exciting but Kobukuro has managed to defy odds after so many years with their music .
And with the release of Kiseki , I don't think they're going away anytime soon .
Monday, March 09, 2015
CD Review :: Kanon Wakeshima - Tsukinami
CD + Blu-ray
1) killy killy JOKER
3) San Sukumi
6) Foul Play ni Kurari
7) Sakura Meikyuu
8) Geijutsuka no Kawaii Souzou-Tachi
10) world's end, girl's rondo
Tsukinami is Kanon Wakeshima's 3rd album & it was released last month on 25th Feb .
Kanon's last album release was 2010's Shojo Jikakeno Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ & this's Kanon's 1st album that's released under her new record label Warner as previously she was managed by Sony .
4 singles inclusive of 1 double A-side are included in Tsukinami . All songs in the album were written & composed by Kanon herself .
killy killy JOKER kicked things off in Tsukinami & this song was released as Kanon's 5th single . The song was used as the opening theme no. for the anime selector infected WIXOSS .
Sharing the same title as the album , Tsukinami is the only song to get a video .
The concept of the video that accompanied Tsukinami (the song) is intriguing & it gives a sneak peak to Kanon's rather eccentric music style/get up .
San Sukumi & Chocolate are the next new album tracks . San Sukumi has a rather poppy feel while I prefer Chocolate as it's more mid tempo & classical driven . The melody of Chocolate has a familiar orchestra sample that I like .
The next 3 songs are singles that Kanon has already released prior to Tsukinami .
signal is Kanon's 4th single & it was used as the ending theme no. for the anime Strike The Blood .
On the other hand , Foul Play ni Kurari / Sakura Meikyuu was released as Kanon's 3rd single with this being her 1st double A-side single release .
Foul Play ni Kurari was used as the ending theme no. for the anime To LOVE Ru while Sakura Meikyuu was used as the main theme song for the PSP game Fate / Extra CCC .
Geijutsuka no Kawaii Souzou-Tachi is another pop driven number & this track is more over the top as compared to San Sukumi . Kanon's vocals are a bit too screechy & high pitched in Geijutsuka no Kawaii Souzou-Tachi though .
Nightingale is the 2nd last album track & this alongside with Chocolate are my fave 2 new songs in Tsukinami .
The reason on why I like Nightingale is that it's 1 of the more serious sounding no.s in the album & frankly this song should have gotten a video .
world's end, girl's rondo is Kanon's 6th single & this was used as the opening theme no. for the anime selector spread WIXOSS . Commercial wise , world's end, girl's rondo is Kanon's most successful charted single to date .
Monster・Star is the final song in Tsukinami & this track has a fun vibe that's accompanied with trumpet beats which conclude things quite well in the album .
Since making her debut in 2008 with her debut single still doll , Kanon Wakeshima delivers something that's unique/distinct , be it when comes to her choice of music instrument the cello and/or her style of music .
Album wise , I have to give Kanon props for writing & composing Tsukinami entirely as doing 1 if not both is not easy . On the other hand , her new album presents quite a radical departure from her older works .
For Kanon's older works , they're considered much darker as previously MALICE MIZER's Mana had a hand in composing most of Kanon's older material & as a result , Kanon was portrayed with wearing Lolita inspired outfits .
But after Kanon switched to Warner , I feel that she was given more creative control as since then she does almost everything herself which's evident as along the way , there was a change in her style of music & image .
In addition , I had a feeling Sony didn't know how to market/promote Kanon well as previously when she was with them , her releases were very little if not unpredictably slow . But since switching to Warner , Kanon's releases have been quite regularly put out .
That said , I know I will end up comparing Kanon's recent works against her older stuff . Some people might feel that Kanon's older songs are still the best while on the other hand , other people might think otherwise .
To me , I will look at each of Kanon's albums documenting her from having little/no creative control to now having almost 100% control on every single aspect . Her music style & image might have changed but it's heartening to see that despite her rather unusual music/look , Kanon is still continuing to do what she feel works for her .
On that note , Kanon's 7th single RIGHT LIGHT RISE will be released next month on 29th April & she's not going anywhere anytime now .
Friday, March 06, 2015
CD Review :: NEWS - White
CD + DVD
4) SEVEN COLORS
5) Weather NEWS
7) Black Jack -Inter-
9) ONE -for the win-
10) White Love Story
Available in the CD only edition
12) Romeo 2015 [Vocal：Koyama Keiichiro]
13) Skye Beautiful [Vocal：Masuda Takahisa]
14) Anata [Vocal：Tegoshi Yuya]
15) ESCORT [Vocal：Kato Shigeaki]
White is NEWS's 6th album & it was released last month on 25th Feb .
The group's last album release was 2013's NEWS & this time round in their latest album offering , White includes 2 singles & 1 B-side , making White their 2nd album release as a quartet .
The CD only edition of White has 15 songs which includes 4 solos while the CD + DVD edition has 11 tracks that excludes the 4 solo songs .
White was produced with the theme "white" & it showcases new music styles that NEWS delivered .
The album lead promo track & also opening number is titled MR.WHITE .
Unlike most album tracks that usually receive music videos , MR.WHITE was instead accompanied by a short action film that starred all 4 NEWS members . In the short film , NEWS becomes heroes in order to save children who were dragged into the world of darkness of the internet & they received instructions from the mysterious boss MR.WHITE .
The short film was written by Shige while the outfits were designed by Masuda .
KAGUYA is NEWS's 17th single & the song was based on a theme of Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter which's 1 of the best known folk tales in Japanese culture .
Released a month before White , KAGUYA is described as an emotional love song that fuses the folktale with the NEWS of the present .
NYARO is the 2nd album track in White & this song was used in the ads of Kirei Bra . I 1st heard preview snippets of NYARO last year but for some odd reason , NEWS chose not to release it as a single & in the end NYARO ended up as an album track .
Not that it's a bad thing as NYARO itself is quite a edgy track . It's supposed to be Summer inspired but I'm not getting any Summer vibes upon hearing it .
SEVEN COLORS was originally found as 1 of 4 B-sides that was included in NEWS's 16th single ONE -for the win- . In addition , a video was made for the song that's only included in a special NEWS Music Clip gift campaign that serves as a lucky item for 10,000 fans .
Weather NEWS & SuperSONIC are the next 2 new album tracks . While Weather NEWS is a rather straightforward listening no. , SuperSONIC has a more funky upbeat side in which I'm sure it will be a real crowd pleaser .
Black Jack -Inter- is the only album interlude in White & this leads onto the next album track titled BYAKUYA .
On 1st look , I thought BYAKUYA is a strange sounding song title & I assumed it was going to be a sequel to KAGUYA . In actual fact , BYAKUYA is the romanji of 百夜 ; Byakuya .
BYAKUYA itself is 1 of my fave album tracks as it's a dark mean gritty number . If MR.WHITE was not the main album promo track , NEWS should have selected BYAKUYA instead to promote White as it's an interesting & mysterious track that kept me entertained from start til finish .
ONE -for the win- is NEWS's 16th single & it was created with the theme "to become one" .
An uplifting encouraging sports theme no. , ONE -for the win- was picked to be used as NTV's theme song for the TV station's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil .
2 album ballads conclude in the CD + DVD edition of White . White Love Story is a slowed down lovely mid tempo number while Aikotoba is another song that's 1 of the highlight tracks in the album .
Aikotoba was written & composed by NEWS & this song was 1st performed during their 10th anniversary event .
After Share , Aikotoba is the 2nd track that has personal input from the guys , be it when comes to writing & composing . And hearing the studio version of Aikotoba is definitely a real treat , especially as lyrically it's meaningful that talks about their history from their debut until now .
NEWS adds some colours into their fans' life with White ! The quartet's 6th full-length original album refers to the colour of a blank canvas & the boys are ready to spread some colour on it with a fresh musical style .
On whole , I enjoy White but personally I feel that overall it's not as good as their previous self titled album offering due to a couple of reasons .
1st of all , the duration of White is a bit too short & 2nd , while the new album tracks are not outright bad , they don't seem to have the wow factor unlike the album tracks in NEWS that displayed a considerable amount of different music styles that were fun , memorable & engaging to the listener .
And last & definitely not least , visually White is possibly NEWS's most bland if not boring album covers to date .
Visual aside , it's not that White is a bad album but I suppose if you're new to NEWS , then White has got you covered as the overall feeling I get is that it's quite simplistic sounding & more guarded .
Except for BYAKUYA which I feel is the most experimental sounding song in White (besides the 2 singles that're already stellar in their own right) , the other album tracks were quite safe for my liking .
To me I would have preferred if NEWS were to release 1 or 2 more singles before White as overall ONE -for the win- & KAGUYA were the ones that tried their best to pull the whole album together but somehow things felt a bit shortchanged .
On that note , I hope that for NEWS's next album , they will consider to put in more singles before they decide to put out a new album . They were able to do that quite seamlessly for their self titled album but this time round for White , not so much .