Wednesday, January 28, 2015
KAT-TUN - Dead or Alive
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Dead or Alive is KAT-TUN's 23rd single & it was released last week on 21st Jan .
The quartet's 1st release of 2015 , Dead or Alive was chosen to be used as the theme song for movie Joker・Game starring member Kamenashi Kazuya .
In addition , Dead or Alive was picked to be used in the ads of Listen Radio .
Joker・Game will open in Japan theatres this coming Sat on 31st Jan . The movie is based on a mystery novel by Yanagi Koji that has sold over 800,000 copies .
This's the 2nd time KAT-TUN has provided a theme song for a movie , the 1st time was their 21st single FACE to Face which was used to promote Ore Ore that starred Kame .
Dead or Alive is described as a hard tune which depicts the paper-thin extremity between life & death as in Joker・Game , geniuses put their intelligence to the test in a dramatically impactful & large-scale game . In Dead or Alive , the song showcases how KAT-TUN continues to dig even deeper as they mature .
There're a total of 4 B-sides in Dead or Alive . WHITE LOVER & You are DELICIOUS ! are available in the CD only edition of the single .
WHITE LOVERS is a nice mid tempo track that contrasts the A-side quite well & despite the questionable title , You are DELICIOUS ! is a fun upbeat somewhat poppy no. that I find it enjoyable to listen to .
Polaris is only available in the CD + DVD A edition of Dead or Alive & just like WHITE LOVERS , it's a mid tempo track but equally as good as any other of past slow songs that KAT-TUN's known for .
The last B-side Hanasanaide Ai is only available in the CD + DVD A edition of Dead or Alive & for this song , it's a solo track sung by Kame .
Hanasanaide Ai has a music video & this song was performed live for the 1st time during KAT-TUN's concert 3 years ago during Summer . Song credits wise , it was written & composed by KinKi Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi .
Way before I found out who was responsible for writing/composing Kame's Hanasanaide Ai , I already had a strong feeling it was Tsuyoshi as his solo influences can be felt quite greatly in the song .
Still , Hanasanaide Ai is a great solo & it might took a bit longer than expected but for it to finally get the CD treatment , it's something worth the wait .
KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya is starring in the new spy thriller Joker・Game & KAT-TUN is providing the theme song to the movie ! Dead or Alive is an intense pulse-pounding song that is the perfect way to bring listeners into the film's world .
Dead or Alive is overall a great solid single release & it's a good 1 for KAT-TUN to kick off 2015 . Except for You are DELICIOUS ! , the other B-sides present a more mellow side of KAT-TUN in which I've said previously that I do feel that the guys shine in both tough hard rock songs + ballads & this's evident with the release of Dead or Alive .
I look forward to KAT-TUN's future music releases for 2015 & for now Dead or Alive is a highly recommended single worth checking out .
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
B'z - Uchouten
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD editions
2) Endless Summer
Uchouten is B'z's 51st single & it was released last week on 14th Jan .
This's the duo's 1st single release of 2015 & their last single release was 2012's GO FOR IT , BABY -Kioku no Sanmyaku- .
Described as a motivational rock tune , Uchouten was picked to be used as the theme song for NTV drama Gakkou Kaidan .
After 3 years of solo activities by the members , B'z are finally back together with brand new material ! Uchouten started off with slow sounding acoustic guitar riffs but slowly but surely the song transformed into a hard rock edge number which really ramped up things by a notch or 2 .
Endless Summer serves as the B-side in the single & likewise with the A-side , it's yet another enjoyable song that's filled with catchy hooks .
The best selling Japan act of all time is finally back with this stellar solid release in the form of Uchouten & frankly I can't think of any reason on not to respect B'z . If their staying power isn't testimonial to their still evergreen popularity , I don't know what else to say .
B'z's 19th album EPIC DAY will be released on 4th March with Uchouten included in the tracklist as track #2 .
On that note , welcome back B'z , you have been missed !
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
NEWS - KAGUYA
CD + DVD
KAGUYA is NEWS's 17th single & it was released last week on 7th Jan .
The quartet's 1st release of 2015 , the A-side is based on a theme of Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter , 1 of the best known folk tales in Japanese culture .
KAGUYA is described as an emotional love song that fuses the folktale with the NEWS of the present . The video for KAGUYA was directed by renowned photographer/director Ninagawa Mika & it portrays a colourful present day Princess Kaguya .
There're a total of 4 B-sides available in the single . Butterfly is a really nice mid tempo track that contrasts the A-side quite well .
Wasurenagusa & TOP OF THE WORLD are only available in the CD only regular edition of the single . Wasurenagusa is a lovely acapella driven song & the only downside is that this track's a bit too short . When I 1st heard it , I was surprised as the song ended abruptly just like that .
TOP OF THE WORLD is a fun upbeat number that has slight traces of EDM thrown in for good measure .
TRAVeLiNG is exclusively found in the CD only limited edition of KAGUYA . Out of the 4 B-sides , this's my least fave as there's something about TRAVeLiNG that doesn't feel/sound right to me .
1 of Johnny's & Associates most talented group NEWS kicks off the brand new year with the release of their latest single offering KAGUYA .
With the exception of TRAVeLiNG , KAGUYA is an otherwise really solid release & the A-side is just gorgeous to boot with it having a rather strong Oriental backing , something that I was immediately drawn to the moment I 1st heard it .
I do hope that in 2015 , NEWS will release more material as it's somewhat ironic that their releases have not been that frequent after the departure of their 2 most prominent members Yamashita Tomohisa & Nishikido Ryo . And to me it's a pity that I always feel that NEWS has always consistently put out good music which's evident in KAGUYA .
And speaking of new material , NEWS will release their 6th album White next month on 25th Feb , with their last album release being 2013's NEWS . To top it all off , NEWS will embark on a new tour NEWS LIVE TOUR 2015 White to support/promote the new album .
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Kis-My-Ft2 - Thank you Jan !
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Thank you Jan ! is Kis-My-Ft2's 12th single & it was released on Christmas Eve / 24th Dec .
The group's latest single was released about 4 months + since the release of their previous single Another Future .
Regarding Thank you Jan ! , member Tamamori Yuta commented , "We want to thank the fans who made Kis-My-Ft2 2014 Concert Tour『Kis-My-Journey』 possible ."
After being a bit disappointed with Another Future , in comes Thank you Jan ! which thankfully is more stronger/memorable . In addition , it's a lot more light-hearted & fun which's perfect during this festive period .
The video for Thank you Jan ! gives off quite a Winter feeling to a certain extent even though I still don't really consider Thank you Jan ! as Winter inspired unlike the guys' past Winter singles such as SNOW DOME no Yakusoku .
A total of 3 B-sides are available in the single . Kimi ni Aeru Kara was picked to be used in the ads of KOWA Nukunuku Touban while Holy night with you & Christmas Kiss are only available in the CD only edition of Thank you Jan ! .
Before I listened to the B-sides , I already had a feeling they were all going to be Christmas inspired & true enough it was . Kimi ni Aeru Kara is a really nice ballad while Holy night with you is heartwarming .
On the other hand , Christmas Kiss embodies the spirit of the holiday season in a good way .
Celebrate the achievements of another year with Kis-My-Ft2's Thank You Jan ! ! The group's latest single is a lively dance song that encourages everyone to give thanks all the events that happened over the course of the past year and wish for a great upcoming year .
2014 has been a really great fruitful for the guys & already the 1st week sales that Thank you Jan ! obtained is now their personal best which's really good for them .
I can't wait to see what else they have in stores for 2015 but for now Thank you Jan ! is worth checking out during this festive season , especially the B-sides which're all highly recommended .
Sunday, December 28, 2014
ayumi hamasaki - Zutto... / Last minute / Walk
2) Last minute
4) Zutto... (-Instrumental-)
5) Last minute (-Instrumental-)
6) Walk (-Instrumental-)
Zutto... / Last minute / Walk is ayumi hamasaki's 53rd single & it was released on Christmas Eve / 24th Dec .
ayumi's latest single release comes in about 2 months + since the release of her previous single Terminal .
Zutto... / Last minute / Walk is described as a Winter ballads trilogy . ayumi's last Winter ballad single release was 2009's You were... / BALLAD while her last triple A-side single release was 2003's & .
The fanclub edition of Zutto... / Last minute / Walk includes a remix track titled WINTER BALLAD MEDLEY (Days ~ CAROLS ~ No way to say ~ JEWEL ~ You were... ~ momentum ~ POWDER SNOW）.
Despite Zutto... / Last minute / Walk being a triple A-side single , only a video was made for Zutto... at this point in time .
Prior to the physical CD release , Zutto... / Last minute / Walk was released digitally on 17th Dec .
Each A-side are ballads but they're quite different from each other . Zutto... is quite a standard Winter ballad while on the other hand , Last minute is a rock ballad .
Lastly , Walk is a ballad that was composed by Komuro Tetsuya .
Generally , I like all the 3 songs but if I have to pick a fave , Last minute has my vote . There's just something about this track that reminded me of Memorial address to a certain extent . I'm not sure why but I find it quite nostalgic to a certain extent .
While Zutto... is pretty , the ending for Walk was a bit awkward which took me quite a while to get used after a few listens .
Before staging ayumi hamasaki COUNTDOWN LIVE 2014-2015 A Cirque de Minuit ~Mayonaka no Circus~ on the last 3 days of 2014 starting from tomorrow , ayumi hamasaki has released Zutto... / Last minute / Walk just in time for Christmas ! The superstar's latest single release features 3 heartwarming & distinctively different ballads hemmed by Komuro Tetsuya , Yukumi Tetsuya & Tago Kunio respectively . Have yourself a merry little Christmas with her latest single !
ayumi shows no signs of stopping down as she will release a new classical album exactly a month later on 28th Jan 2015 . More details from the album title to the tracklist will be revealed in due time but most likely it will follow a similar concept to A CLASSICAL .
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Saito Kazuyoshi - Endless
Endless is a song by Saito Kazuyoshi which was released digitally on 10th Oct .
This song was released digitally at the same time together with another digital single Wonderland .
Endless was picked to be used as the theme song for Mitsui Fudosan Residential's Time Slip ! Horibe Yasubei .
Saito is always known for taking his music to a different level & that speaks for Endless . This song if it ends up in the hands of another artiste , it might come across as a typical standard boring guitar driven number .
But that's not the case for Saito as he's known for creating very intriguing melodies for his songs & I guess that's 1 aspect of his long lasting appeal + after being in the business for so long , Saito knows what works best for him .
On that note , Endless is a song worth checking out from him .
Friday, December 19, 2014
CD Review :: FLOWER FLOWER - Mi
CD + DVD
4) Toumei na Uta
5) Ohayou no Kiss wo
7) Subarashii Sekai
10) Kimi no Koto
11) Start Line
13) Bye Bye
Mi is FLOWER FLOWER's debut album & it was released last month on 26th Nov .
FLOWER FLOWER's debut album includes 3 digital singles . Their 3rd & 4th digital singles Aki + Natsu are not included in Mi .
Prior to the physical CD release of Mi , 4 album tracks were released digitally week after week before 26th Nov .
The formation of FLOWER FLOWER is hemmed by singer-songwriter yui (previously stylised as YUI) who serves as the vocalist of the group .
Consists of vocalist/guitarist yui , bassist mafumafu , drummer sacchan & keyboardist/programmer mura☆jun , yui formed FLOWER FLOWER with other musicians she respects & the band started studio sessions last year . She said that with FLOWER FLOWER , she was able to purely enjoy the music that the band creates & from each new performance , she naturally gets new ideas for potential new songs .
yui commented, "I thought anything would sound good with these members , but it's true that there was some feeling of 'destruction' somewhere in my heart . I'm not sure how people will respond to it , but I hope to give some kind of shock ."
FLOWER FLOWER have released digital singles since last year , making Mi their 1st physical CD release .
The album title Mi mean a seed , a fruit . On why they chose to name their debut album Mi , FLOWER FLOWER explains that it's because they're growing & then they are getting it + sharing it .
Negai is the opening track of Mi . This mid tempo number more or less sets the rest of the music style found in other tracks in the album .
Kamisama is FLOWER FLOWER's 2nd digital single . yui commented , "I'm used to only play an acoustic guitar , but I've been playing the electric guitar a lot lately . Kamisama was one of the 1st songs I played on the electric guitar , so it's important to me . I hope Kamisama lifts your spirits when you listen to it ." .
Kuuki & Toumei na Uta were released digitally before Mi was physically released . Kuuki was released digitally on 5th Nov while Toumei na Uta was released digitally on 29th Oct .
Both songs showcase rather interesting music styles . Kuuki is quite a gritty sounding number while Toumei na Uta is more or less a straightforward mid tempo number that's quite piano driven .
Ohayou no Kiss wo & Suiteki are the next 2 songs after Toumei na Uta . Ohayou no Kiss wo is quite a chilled out number while Suiteki was accompanied by a rather strong Xylophone driven melody which I found it quite charming .
Subarashii Sekai is FLOWER FLOWER's 5th digital single . It was picked to be used as the ending theme for TV Tokyo's late-night drama Tamagawa Kuyakusho OF THE DEAD that premiered on 3rd Oct . The drama starred Hayashi Kento & was directed by Kawahara Masahiko .
Sekiwotatsu is yet another edgy sounding number which's almost in the same music vein as Kuuki .
The longest track in Mi , Hikari is 7:07 mins which's quite daunting . I would have preferred this song if it didn't sounded as though it's 1 long track that kept going on & on without stopping .
Kimi no Koto was released digitally on 12th Nov before Mi was physically released . It's 1 of the more simpler sounding tracks in the album as the melody of the song is just an acoustic guitar backing yui up . Kimi no Koto is also equally long like Hikari but it's not that bad on whole .
Start Line follows after Kimi no Koto . It's a straight forward sounding track & I feel it's 1 of the less complicated songs in Mi .
Tsuki is FLOWER FLOWER's 1st digital single & it was picked to be used in the ads for au titled au PERFECT SYNC./REAL . This song was the 1st release that showcased the start of the band's subsequent future music releases .
Bye Bye is the final track available in Mi & it was released digitally on 19th Nov , a week before Mi gets released .
Surprisingly with a title like Bye Bye , I thought it was going to be a ballad but turns out I was wrong as it starts off rather calm but along the way , the song gets really amped up big time although on whole the overall feeling is that Bye Bye felt like a mixture of various sounds were mashed up/thrown in .
In 2012 , despite having huge commercial success , YUI announced her retirement as a solo artist . Luckily in 2013 , she re-emerged as a member of rock band FLOWER FLOWER . YUI (now stylised as yui) aimed to make a new start & began her musical journey anew with the release of her new band's debut album Mi .
I'm sure the 1st reaction when people found out that YUI has came back in the scene with a new look + a new band , they ultimately going to assume that what FLOWER FLOWER does will be almost the same if not identical to what YUI used to do during her solo days .
But it turns out that YUI & FLOWER FLOWER's stuff are not the same despite being sung by the same person . I feel that what FLOWER FLOWER does , it's something completely out of yui's music comfort zone as certain things they've done , I can't imagine yui doing it should she still be a soloist & vice versa .
On whole Mi is quite an interesting release although I must admit it's not an easy album to listen to as quite a lot of the songs do not sound mainstream & let alone , another drawback is that almost 1/2 of Mi comprises of songs that're over 5 mins long which perhaps let me not to enjoy it as much as I thought I would .
That said in a way it's still heartening to know yui is still in the business even though more or less she has already left her solo days behind . It reminds to be seen whether will she head back to being solo or if she will continue her activities with FLOWER FLOWER as a long term venture .
But at the end of the day , Mi is a commendable effort & it's a new chapter laid out coming from someone that used to be known as YUI .