Thursday, August 28, 2014
CD Review :: Yamashita Tomohisa - Asobi EP
2) PARTY'S ON
4) Moon Disco
5) Back to the dance floor
6) Dress Code:
7) LET IT GO
Asobi is Yamashita Tomohisa's 1st mini album & it was released last week on 20th Aug .
No singles are included in Asobi . Yamapi's last music release was his 3rd album A NUDE which was released last Sept .
All 7 songs in Asobi are dance numbers . This release is Yamapi's 1st attempt in having only dance music in a mini album .
Asobi is created with the concept 'Dance Tracks Mini Album' . Different genres of dance music are gathered in Asobi & Yamapi hopes fans will thoroughly enjoy all the songs found in the mini album .
Yamapi commented , "I've been wanting to release an album with a collection of dance music of various genres , so I'm very happy . Through Asobi , I hope that people who normally don't listen to dance will become familiar with it ."
HELLO is the 1st track in Asobi . This song was written by Hata Motohiro & composed by BACHLOGIC .
A strong catchy number , HELLO is followed by the next track PARTY'S ON which's a memorable track in Asobi . I prefer PARTY'S ON slightly more than HELLO & I prefer if both tracks were to switch in the tracklist .
I feel that PARTY'S ON is a lot more stronger than HELLO simply because I love the big bang swinging Jazz & edgy beats happening in PARTY'S ON which makes things really infectious . Not that HELLO isn't great .
The next song Mysterious was mixed by DAVE WAY while Moon Disco was composed by Shibuya Keiichiro .
In addition , the lyrics for Moon Disco was written by Yamapi himself .
I think out of the songs found in Asobi , Mysterious & Moon Disco are the 2 slightly weak links in the mini album as it took me quite a while to remember how both songs sound like .
Let alone , Moon Disco could have sounded much better if there wasn't a change in the melody towards the 2nd 1/2 of the song as the sound transition was quite odd but despite this , both songs are still worth checking out .
The 5th track in Asobi , Back to the dance floor was produced by capsule's Nakata Yasutaka & this's hands down my fave track in Asobi .
I guess in a way or 2 , I'm quite biased when comes to pretty much anything capsule's Nakata Yasutaka does & it's evident when comes to Back to the dance floor .
Back to the dance floor has so much character & a very strong identity which managed to distinguish itself from the rest in Asobi , there's really no complaints about it .
Dress Code: is the 2nd last song & this track was provided by Osawa Shinichi . 1 of the more slower paced dance tracks , it's also something that is really funky to boot .
LET IT GO is the final song available in Asobi & to be honest , I was scared if this was going to be a cover from the Frozen movie soundtrack but thankfully it's not the case as it's an original song .
As for LET IT GO itself , Yamapi couldn't have picked a better track to conclude Asobi as it's a great track that has a lot of attitude & packs a lot of punch , definitely a fitting song to conclude everything in his 1st mini album .
Yamashita Tomohisa wants you to get on the dance floor with Asobi , his first dance mini album ! Featuring compositions by BACHLOGIC , DAVE WAY , capsule's Nakata Yasutaka & Osawa Shinichi , Asobi comes with 7 dance songs that will make you want to dance with Yamapi .
Asobi is Yamapi's 1st mini album that contains nothing but dance music . It's a bold move that he undertook considering that his previous releases saw him covering a mixture of different music genres but not this time round .
Frankly , I feel that Yamapi's music gamble paid off quite well . Asobi is quite a solid release overall & Yamapi managed to break the stereotype that dance music is not just dance music but rather there're many different styles that defined what dance music is all about , which I think that was what he was trying to achieve with releasing Asobi as so .
And ever since Yamapi switched to Warner Music , his music releases have become less mainstream & a bit unusual such as releasing Asobi . I think if he were to stay put with Johnny's Entertainment , this might not be materialised at all .
Asobi might only be a mini album but this is shaping up to be 1 of my fave album releases that I've come across for the year & job well done , Yamapi , I can't wait to see how will be your next music release be like but until then , I will be jamming to Asobi !
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Hilcrhyme - FLOWER BLOOM
CD + DVD
1) FLOWER BLOOM
2) Summer Up
FLOWER BLOOM is Hilcrhyme's 16th single & it was released last week on 13th Aug .
The duo's 5th album FIVE ZERO ONE was released this year on 26th Feb & FLOWER BLOOM is the 2nd single release of 2014 in celebrating Hilcrhyme's 5th anniversary in the business .
Prior to the physical single release , the A-side was 1st released digitally on 16th July .
Promo wise , FLOWER BLOOM was picked to be used in NTV's Music Dragon Dragon ・ Eye .
Just like their recent single releases such as NEW DAY , NEW WORLD & Yell , FLOWER BLOOM has a very encouragement mood going on & it's 1 of those songs that upon listening to it , you will feel quite inspired after that .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is something titled Summer Up .
With a title like Summer Up , it's quite evident that it's a Summer inspired song & for this case Summer Up is a pop no. that is EDM driven .
Honestly I thought that Summer Up is pretty good & it's able to stack up against FLOWER BLOOM with it being A-side potential worthy .
Kodou is the 2nd B-side found in the single & it's a ballad . A lyrics music video was specially made for this song that's uploaded on YouTube . Even though the music video is not included in the DVD tracklist of FLOWER BLOOM , it shouldn't stop you from appreciating the meaning on what Kodou is all about .
Set to perform for the 1st time at the prestigious Nippon Budokan next month on 6th Sept as part of their sold out Hilcrhyme in Nippon Budokan ~Junction~ , Hilcrhyme has definitely come a long way since debuting in the scene 5 years ago with their major label debut single Jun'ya to Manami .
To me it's quite surreal that I've been supporting them for almost 4 years & Hilcrhyme is 1 of the rare group of artistes that I support that does mainly rap driven songs . But on that note , I suppose that's what makes their music unique from the very beginning .
Hilcrhyme has definitely paid their dues & for them to performing at Nippon Budokan next month , it's 1 of those moments as a musician that signifies he/she has already made it , career wise .
That said , happy 5th anniversary Hilcrhyme & may there be even more anniversaries in time to come !
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Kis-My-Ft2 - Another Future
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Another Future is Kis-My-Ft2's 11th single & it was released last week on 13th Aug .
The group's latest single release comes in less than a month after releasing their 3rd album Kis-My-Journey .
The A-side was picked to be used as the theme song for the 2nd season of the drama Nobunaga no Chef starring member Tamamori Yuta . The drama began airing from 10th July onwards .
I was very surprised when Kis-My-Ft2 announced the release of Another Future so soon as at that time , I barely got into Kis-My-Journey & then in comes another new single .
To be frank , I feel Another Future is 1 of the group's weakest sounding singles to date . Unlike their past singles where they're quite strong sounding , Another Future felt as though it's 1 of the songs that didn't made the cut in Kis-My-Journey .
Despite this , the song's being compensated by a really entertaining video that's worth checking out .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is titled Perfect World .
Perfect World was picked to be used in the ads of DHC Yakuyou Acne Control Series . This's the group's 2nd B-side to receive a video after Tanagokoro which's the B-side of their 8th single Kimi to no Kiseki .
Unlike Another Future , Perfect World was hands down a home run to me on 1st listen . While it contrasts the A-side really well , it's a shame that Perfect World is only a B-side as it has so much potential to be released alongside with Another Future .
Perfect World is 1 of those songs that will instantly perk up your mood if you're having a bad day & it has a great happy go lucky feeling which I really like .
Kanjiru Mama ni Kagayaite is the 2nd B-side & it's exclusively found in the CD only edition of the single .
Just like Perfect World , Kanjiru Mama ni Kagayaite is also another peppy no. but melody wise it's a lot more synth driven .
Kis-My-Ft2's latest single Another Future was released to celebrate the group's 3rd anniversary in the music business & there's definitely no stopping them in bringing out the goods .
This single surprises me in rather unexpected ways as Another Future is 1 of the rare times that I enjoyed the B-sides a lot more than the A-side .
If I have it my way , I prefer if Kis-My-Ft2 wouldn't release Another Future so close if not so soon after their latest album as it felt as though they were releasing things too fast & I've seen it in other artistes where they put out material really quickly until their music gets compromised to a certain extent .
That said , this still will not stop me from listening to Another Future & hopefully down the road , my opinion towards the A-side will change gradually but for now , the 2 B-sides are on loop in my playlist .
Sunday, August 17, 2014
L'Arc~en~Ciel - EVERLASTING
EVERLASTING is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 40th single & it was released on 13th Aug .
The group's last single release was 2011's CHASE . Unlike their previous singles , EVERLASTING was released as a standalone song & no B-sides and/or instrumental are included in their latest single offering .
This single was released as a special edition titled 'MUSIC & PHOTOS -National Olympic Stadium Concert Memorial Edition-' that includes a hard cover photo book .
EVERLASTING was 1st performed during their 2 days sold out L'Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Stadium event that was held on 21st & 22nd March .
In recent times , new releases from L'Arc~en~Ciel have become a rarity & for them to finally reach the milestone 40th single release landmark , it's no easy feat .
I don't quite like EVERLASTING on 1st listen as to me , I feel that L'Arc~en~Ciel should have done something that stands out more . Despite this being not 1 of my fave single releases from them , there's no doubt the amount of influence the quartet has shaped the numerous JRock groups & it takes a lot for them to sustain in the business for over 22 years + .
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Koda Kumi - HOTEL
CD + DVD
1) Introduction ~Check IN~
3) Interlude ~Secret Room~
4) MONEY IN MY BAG
5) Interlude ~Last Night Dream~
6) TURN AROUND
HOTEL is Koda Kumi's 57th single & it was released last week on 6th Aug .
Koda's 11th album Bon Voyage was released this year in Feb 26th .
Prior to the physical single release , HOTEL was 1st released digitally last month on 30th July . Just like Koda's previous Summer inspired singles , there's the inclusion of an opening introduction & interludes which go well with the whole hotel inspired theme of this single .
Promo wise , HOTEL was picked to be used to promote NTV's Sukkiri!! for this month .
HOTEL is described as a Summer tune in which it's a mid-tempo dance song that showcases a more mature side of Koda .
The A-side is a medium tempo number with a mixture of different music genres such as Reggae , Soul , R&B & Hip Hop . Through her vocals , Koda attempts to break new grounds .
Regarding HOTEL , Koda commented , "If you think about it , the 2nd song MONEY IN MY BAG is more 'the Koda Kumi' , but I thought it would be boring if I was within the expectations . In that sense , I don't think HOTEL fits under the category of so-called Koda Kumi-ish songs , but I wanted to push my limits ."
HOTEL is a very different type of Summer song that Koda delivered . It's quite unusual as her previous Summer songs tend to be very upbeat if not uptempo but not this time round .
To me it's not a bad thing as HOTEL is a music risk that Koda took , something that I felt it was worth it . If not it would have been easy to compare HOTEL with her past Summer songs . Not a lot of people would like it but I personally adore it .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is titled MONEY IN MY BAG .
MONEY IN MY BAG is described as a Hip Hop R&B no. . A video was made for the song but it's only available in the fanclub edition of the single .
Despite the rather amusing song title , I can understand why Koda said MONEY IN MY BAG is more towards her music comfort zone & from the video preview accompanying the song , it's pretty much on what Koda does best which's Ero Kawaii .
Koda could have picked and released MONEY IN MY BAG as the single & not HOTEL but I think it would be something that she has been there + done that before which she herself has acknowledged it .
TURN AROUND is the 2nd B-side available in the single & for this , it's a ballad .
This song to me is a really nice wrap up in HOTEL & for TURN AROUND , it's a really nice chilled out sounding no. .
Koda just lets her vocals do most of the work in this earnest sounding ballad & I would have loved to see a video made for TURN AROUND as I feel it deserves to have 1 .
Summer would not be the same without the release of a Summer single coming from Koda Kumi & this's where her latest single offer HOTEL comes in .
Honestly , I like this single overall especially props to the A-side as this's something different Koda has brought to the music table . It's a pity that the Japanese audience doesn't seem to be that responsive to it which I feel is such a shame .
Also , each of the 3 songs available in the single are able to carve an distinctive identity from each other which makes HOTEL an enjoyable experience overall .
Koda's 15th anniversary in the business is looming around & I'm sure HOTEL will not be the last music release I'll be getting from her .
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BREAKERZ - Kokoro o Tsunaide
Kokoro o Tsunaide is a song by BREAKERZ which's included in a bonus CD that comes together with BREAKERZ's latest DVD release BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2012～2013 “BEST” -LIVE HOUSE COLLECTION- & -HALL COLLECTION- COMPLETE BOX .
BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2012～2013 “BEST” -LIVE HOUSE COLLECTION- & -HALL COLLECTION- COMPLETE BOX was released last week on 23rd July & Kokoro o Tsunaide was was performed live for the 1st time during the encore segment of the guys' final tour date of BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2013 "BEST" -HALL COLLECTION- that was held last year on 27th Feb 2013 at Tokyo's NHK Hall .
Song credits wise , Kokoro o Tsunaide was written & composed by frontman DAIGO while the song was arranged by the whole group .
The guys have been on hiatus since last Spring as they're currently pursuing solo projects & naturally I was missing new material from them so for them to include a bonus CD together with their latest DVD release is a real treat .
As for Kokoro o Tsunaide , it's a really earnest song that's done very simply with it being an acoustic guitar driven no. . I'm not sure if what I heard was recorded directly from the concert or if it's done in the recording studio but nonetheless , hearing Kokoro o Tsunaide is just great .
Although I like their solo stuff , it's frankly not the same when all 3 of them come together & Kokoro o Tsunaide is proof of that . And hopefully it wouldn't be soon before long that BREAKERZ will make a comeback & when that happens , I know it will be epic .
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Himuro Kyosuke - ONE LIFE
1) ONE LIFE
2) Nemuri Komu Maeni
ONE LIFE is Himuro Kyosuke's 30th single & it was released last week on 16th July .
Himuro's last single release was last May's NORTH OF EDEN . The release of ONE LIFE is to celebrate his 25th anniversary in the business & it was used in the ads of Volkswagen's Golf Variant .
Frankly I feel that ONE LIFE is a very fast thumping aggressive rock driven song & when I found out it was used to promote Volkswagen , I was not that surprised as oddly when I listened to ONE LIFE , I can somewhat visualised how fitting this song's used in the Volkswagen ads .
Nemuri Komu Maeni serves as the B-side in the single & this's a mid tempo song that contrasts ONE LIFE quite well .
After being in the business for almost 25 years , Himuro Kyosuke reached a milestone in his solo career with releasing his 30th single that's his latest release offering in the form of ONE LIFE .
During his Yamaguchi concert that was held on July 13 , Himuro surprised fans when he announced that he is planning to retire . Soon after , it was announced on his official website that he would be suspending all live activities after his live plans next year . Details on his future music related activities will be revealed at a later date .