Tuesday, September 20, 2016
ARASHI - Power of the Paradise
CD + DVD
Power of the Paradise is ARASHI's 50th single & it was released last week on 14th Sept .
This single was released 4 months + since their previous single I seek / Daylight .
Power of the Paradise was used as NTV's theme song in covering the 2016 Summer Olympics that was held this year at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil . Member Sakurai Sho served as the main caster .
Past NTV Olympics coverage songs by ARASHI include :
2004 Summer Olympics (held in Athens , Greece) - Hero (2nd A-side of 13th single Hitomi no Naka no Galaxy / Hero)
2008 Summer Olympics (held in Beijing , China) - Kaze no Mukou e (2nd A-side of 23rd single truth / Kaze no Mukou e)
2010 Winter Olympics (held in Vancouver , Canada) - Yurase Ima wo (1st B-side in 29th single Troublemaker)
2012 Summer Olympics (held in London , England) - Akashi (track #15 in 11th album Popcorn)
2014 Winter Olympics (held in Sochi , Russia) - Road to Glory (1st B-side in 42nd single Bittersweet)
The A-side is described as a support song for the athletes as well as for all the people who keep on challenging . It has a positive vibe that wraps around you with refreshing vigour & kindness .
This time round , there's only 1 B-side made available in Power of the Paradise . Titled Hana , this ballad is only available in the CD only edition of the single .
Arashi channels the Power of the Paradise in their 50th single . Backed by a refreshing & resonant sound of strings + percussion , the uplifting track centres on courage & power .
Way before Power of the Paradise had the CD treatment , I already liked the song the 1st time ARASHI debuted it during NTV's THE MUSIC DAY Natsu no Hajimari. in July as normally , they don't tend to debut a new song live on TV shows before an official CD release .
To me it would have been better if Power of the Paradise was released during the Olympics coverage as releasing it now is a bit too late but aside from that , this's their 50th single which's a milestone & they couldn't have picked a better song to commemorate it .
Just that I wished a bit more effort would have gone into creating the single covers & the video as both aspects look really cheap but the song itself is something I really enjoy so I let this pass .
ARASHI's 15th album Are You Happy? will be released next month on 26th Oct & Power of the Paradise will not be included in the new album .
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
FLOWER FLOWER - Takaramono
2 CDs Limited
Takaramono is FLOWER FLOWER's debut single & it was released last week on 7th Sept .
FLOWER FLOWER's last physical release was last Feb's mini album Shiki EP . The band took a break after vocalist yui got married & gave birth to twin boys last Aug .
Takaramono marks the 1st time FLOWER FLOWER releases a physical single . Their debut solo album Mi & Shiki EP were physically released before , but all singles were released digitally until now .
Work on Takaramono began earlier this year with yui expresseing her excitement over the single . She commented , 'I wasn't expecting to be able to release this single. I'm honestly very happy about it," she said .
Takaramono has been part of the band's set list during their past concerts & it's generally considered 1 of their more popular unreleased songs .
Hono serves as the B-side in Takaramono while the 2nd disc of the 2 CDs edition includes 3 live recordings Toumei na Uta (track #4 in debut album Mi) , Takaramono & Start Line (track #11 in debut album Mi) from FLOWER FLOWER's 2013 secret live gig which was held in Tokyo's Shibuya WWW .
FLOWER FLOWER resume activities with the single Takaramono , a fan favourite that the band has been performing live since the start & they re-recorded the song for this single release .
It's great to have FLOWER FLOWER back with them returning back to the music scene & I understand why Takaramono is a personal favourite song of their fans as it's a very chilled out song which's quite different & less complicated sounding than their other songs .
Hono felt like an extension from Takaramono but all in all , I think both songs are pretty good . End of the day , it's heartening to see them back as I feel some of their material are good even though I still wish yui would go back to do solo material but hopefully that might happen in the near future ?
That said , here's hoping it wouldn't take long for FLOWER FLOWER to release something new again .
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Kis-My-Ft2 - Sha la la☆Summer Time
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Sha la la☆Summer Time is Kis-My-Ft2's 17th single & it was released last month on 24th Aug .
The group's 5th album I SCREAM was released in June .
The A-side was used in the ads of Unakowa & as the title suggests , Sha la la☆Summer Time is a full on bright Summer song .
There're a total of 4 B-sides in the single . 2 are found in the CD only edition while 1 different B-side are each included in both CD + DVD editions .
Out of the 4 B-sides , 3 of them are done by 3 different sub duo/trios within Kis-My-Ft2 .
DREAM STAGE is the only B-side sung by the whole group & this was used as the theme song for Fuji TV's Moshimo Tours .
This's 1 of 2 songs that're only available in the CD only edition of Sha la la☆Summer Time . The sub duo song found in it is Touch which's sung together by Fujigaya Taisuke & Tamamori Yuta .
Snack SHOW wa is included only in the CD + DVD A edition of the single & this's handled by Kitayama Hiromitsu , Yokoo Wataru & Miyata Toshiya while in the CD + DVD B edition , you can find 70 Oku-bun No 2 which's sung by Nikaido Takashi & Senga Kento .
Kis-My-Ft2 shake things up with their latest single offering Sha la la☆Summer Time . While I feel the A-side is not their personal best , it's the structure of their new single that catches my attention as it's something they haven't done before , singles wise .
Out of the 3 different sub duo/trios songs , the only 1 I dislike is Kitayama , Yokoo & Miyata as Snack SHOW wa is just a really strange song & I find it really odd that in between takes , there's talking dialogue involve which makes me confused .
On the other hand , Fujigaya & Tamamori's duo track Touch is really edgy & catchy which I enjoyed a lot while I'm surprised the most by Nikaido & Senga's duo song as 70 Oku-bun No 2 is a ballad .
70 Oku-bun No 2 is a complete departure from what Nikaido & Senga did together in Double Up (found as track #10 in Kis-My-Ft2's 4th album KIS-MY-WORLD) but it's nice nonetheless . The only thing I don't like is that it should have been a bit longer .
All in all , it seems that surprises just keep coming from Kis-My-Ft2 & that's not necessary a bad thing as it feels like whatever they do next , it keeps my interest on check constantly & I'm already waiting to see what else they have plan next .
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
CD Review :: Hey ! Say ! JUMP - DEAR.
CD + DVD
3) RUN de Boo !
4) Dream Master
6) Kimi Attraction
7) Special Love
12) Tasty U
13) Slow Motion
14) Ai no Syubidova
15) KISS Diary
16) Brand New World
17) From. (CD Only Track)
2nd disc (only in the 2 CDs edition)
18) Konya Anata wo Kudokimasu (Inoo Kei & Yaotome Hikaru)
19) Mr.Flawless (Nakajima Yuto , Takaki Yuya & Yabu Kota)
20) Boku to Kei to (Chinen Yuri & Okamoto Keito)
21) My Girl (Yamada Ryosuke & Arioka Daiki)
DEAR. is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 5th album & it was released last month on 27th July .
The group's previous studio album release was last June's JUMPing CAR .
Only 1 single Kimi Attraction is included in DEAR . Their 16th single MajiSUNSHINE is excluded from the tracklist .
DEAR. was released 1 day before the group's new tour Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. started & the album includes a secret track (only available in the CD only edition of DEAR.) . The last album that included 1 was in their debut album JUMP NO.1 .
The new album kick things off with slightly under a minute introduction number titled Invitation which flows well into the next song Masquerade which's the only new album track to get a video .
It's easy to understand why Masquerade deserves to get a video made as it's a full on outright upbeat song that has plenty of attitude & for once , it's a very grown up track which sets the tone on what to expect in the later course of DEAR. .
Funnily enough when I 1st heard Masquerade , it reminds me a lot of Kimi Attraction's Shall We ? to a certain extent as both songs sounded almost quite similar except that Shall We ? has a rather strong Halloween inspired melody while for Masquerade , it sounds like something that could be used in an actual real life masquerade ball .
Despite the questionable title , RUN de Boo ! is actually a fun fast paced no. & there's none of the childish tone that can be found in this song .
Likewise , the same thing goes for Dream Master & B.A.B.Y. . Dream Master has traces of autotune while yet again B.A.B.Y. is like RUN de Boo ! where both songs are quite mature sounding even though I wished B.A.B.Y. could have been a bit longer .
Kimi Attraction is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 15th single & it's the sole single song included in DEAR. .
This was used as the CM song for Kose Cosme Port's Softymo & it's described as a pop tune with a sense of speed about an intense love . As such , Kimi Attraction describes the rollercoaster ride that is of romance .
Special Love is track #7 & I find this song quite alright , it's frankly nothing special as there're other album tracks which're more stronger .
Sharing the same title as the album except it having lower caps is Dear. which's the 1st of 3 album ballads . After a series of fast paced songs , it's good to slow things down considerably .
Eternal is the 2nd album ballad & this was used in the ads of Kose's Cosmeport Clear Turn face mask .
I like Eternal a lot & it's surprising that the group did not perform this song during their current ongoing Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. . Why I don't know but they should have done so as it's a sweet no. .
From 2 ballads back to back , the pace is picked up again in the form of SUPERMAN which's 1 of my favourite album tracks in DEAR. .
If Masquerade didn't had a video made , SUPERMAN should have stepped in to fill things up as this's 1 mean aggressive song & I feel that it has traces of Magic Power's Beat Line in it somewhat . Not that it's a bad thing as I still consider Beat Line to be 1 of the group's best B-sides which should have outright replaced Magic Power as the A-side instead .
order is another pretty good song with the introduction having a trumpet sound before its melody changed into something edgy & rough .
As for Tasty U , it's a rather interesting if not weird song as it almost borderlines in sounding like a Bollywood inspired track but it's not like NEWS's Chumu Chumu where the Bollywood music influence can be felt strongly .
For a song that's titled Slow Motion , I was 1/2 expecting it to be a ballad but turns out it's not the case . Instead , it starts off with auto tune & it's an upbeat song although it gets quite repetitive along the way .
The next song Ai no Syubidova was used in the ads of Bourbon's caramel popcorn .
Aside from Kimi Attraction , Ai no Syubidova is a rather childish sounding song but given the title it's not surprising . However the difference is that I don't cringe when I heard it as it's quite a cute song .
KISS Diary is the album's 3rd ballad & it's another favourite song of mine . Just like Eternal , it's not performed during Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. either which's a real pity as the group should have done so .
Brand New World is the last track in DEAR. (in the 2 CDs & CD + DVD editions) . Oddly , I have vibes of the group's debut single Ultra Music Power when I 1st heard it . I don't know if that's a good or bad thing but I only find this song ok for my liking .
From. is only available in the CD only edition of the album . I prefer this over Brand New World as this piano driven no. left a better impression on me .
The 2nd disc in the 2 CDs edition of DEAR. contains 4 songs which're done by duo/trio pairings within Hey ! Say ! JUMP . This was decided during a game of rock paper scissors of their JUMQ segment (which the footages are included in the CD + DVD of MajiSUNSHINE) .
Konya Anata wo Kudokimasu is handled by Inoo & Hikaru . Surprisingly , this's almost a full blown up Rock sounding song . I would have preferred it much more if they omitted out the girls' backing voices as along the way it was quite grating on me .
Mr.Flawless is handled by Nakajima , Takaki & Yabu . In the JUMQ segment , the 4 duo/trio pairings had to fight with each other in order to win a chance to get a video was made for their unit song & in this case , it was Mr. Flawless that won the competition .
The Mr.Flawless video is not included in the DVD of DEAR. . Instead both the video & making of clips were included in a lucky draw DVD where 10,000 copies were made . Only by purchasing the CD only edition of DEAR. it would allow you to have a shot in winning the DVD .
Do I feel Mr.Flawless deserve to get a video ? To a certain extent yes as I like the song before seeing the video . And I think Nakajima , Takaki & Yabu harmonise together quite well .
Boku to Kei to is sung by Chinen & Okamoto . Out of the 4 songs in the 2nd CD , this's my least favourite as compared to the other 3 duo/trio pairings songs , this's the only track that has rather strong cheesy childish vibes & in a way I'm glad this song didn't get a video if not I would probably cringe a lot more .
The last song My Girl is sung by Yamada & Daiki . Honestly if Mr.Flawless didn't had a video made , I feel My Girl should have 1 made instead as this's my favourite out of the 4 duo/trio pairing songs .
What I like about My Girl is that it has a grown up feel & the melody's really catchy . Bonus points for Daiki in rapping in between the song . The only downside is that My Girl is rather short as it ends quite abruptly .
Hey! Say! JUMP breaks from their previous style in their 5th album DEAR . Known for their fresh youthful image , the Johnny's group evokes a more grown-up atmosphere this time in the album's new songs .
To say that I heave a huge sigh of relief upon listening to DEAR. is a big understatement seeing that it's a better album than JUMPing CAR in so many levels with the biggest 1 being the quality + maturity of the new material found in the new album .
Compared to JUMPing CAR , DEAR. showcases a lot more music styles & dynamics . For JUMPing CAR , I frankly only like 2 album tracks (Boys Don't Stop & Dangerous) while the rest is just plain awful/cheesy sounding . I don't get that same feeling when I listen to DEAR. . Even the new songs that might sound childish still has that grown up tone to a certain extent .
In addition , DEAR. only has 1 single so this means that the album tracks have to be on par if not be more superior than Kimi Attraction which I'm glad to say that more or less exceeded my expectations .
I have a lot of fun listening to DEAR. as I enjoy the variety of different styles made available in the album . I don't think DEAR. is my favourite Hey ! Say ! JUMP album but it's now my 2nd favourite 1 after their 3rd album smart .
Not everything in DEAR. is perfect but to me it's definitely a big improvement over JUMPing CAR & let alone , the guys in the group are not kids anymore so they really should ditch releasing childish songs & release material that fits their age now .
If they were able to release great grown up single songs like Your Seed , Mayonaka no Shadow Boy , Hitomi no Screen back when they were still kids , I don't see why not as it's not a good thing that some of their recent singles have the opposite effect where they sound inappropriate for their current age .
That said , 2017 will be Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 10th anniversary & hopefully they will do something special to commemorate it . For now , DEAR. is an album worth checking out & I can safely say it's 1 of my favourite albums of 2016 .
Thursday, August 25, 2016
KAT-TUN - BRAND NEW STAGE
2 DVDs Regular
2 DVDs + Bonus CD Limited
BRAND NEW STAGE is a song available as a bonus CD in the limited edition of KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIVE TOUR "10Ks!" DVD which was released on 17th Aug .
This song was used as NTV's Going ! Sports & News theme no. + NTV's Russia baseball relay Tsugi no Shunkan , Atsukunare THE BASEBALL 2016 theme song .
BRAND NEW STAGE is the 2nd song that the now trio KAT-TUN has recorded together , after Kimi no Yume Boku no Yume that's included in their 1st best album KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY BEST "10Ks!" .
Honestly when I 1st heard BRAND NEW STAGE , I thought it sounds quite similar to TRAGEDY's B-side Atsukunare given the upbeat tone of the song but I'm not surprised as both songs were used to promote Going ! Sports & News .
The only thing I don't like is that I wished BRAND NEW STAGE could have been a bit longer as it ended quite abruptly .
Given that KAT-TUN has been on hiatus after they finished KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIVE TOUR "10Ks!" , this's the next alternative as I suppose they rather release BRAND NEW STAGE together with the DVD instead of waiting until they (hopefully) return back which I'm sure they will do so eventually .
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Fukuyama Masaharu - 1461 Nichi
1461 Nichi is a song by Fukuyama Masaharu & it was released digitally on 5th Aug .
This song was picked to be used as TV Asahi's theme song in covering the 2016 Summer Olympics that's held this year at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil .
Considering that Fukuyama has not been musically active after he released his 31st single I am a HERO last year , it's great that there's finally something new from him .
What surprised me when I 1st heard 1461 Nichi is that it's not a typical sports theme driven song (unlike Namie Amuro's Hero) . Instead , it's a very simplistic acoustic guitar driven no. which's actually nice .
I'm not sure why Fukuyama chose to release 1461 Nichi digitally as this sounds like a late last minute rush release but I guess it's better than nothing . I do hope I wouldn't need to wait almost a year for something new from him though .
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
AKI - HEADZ UP
1) HEADZ UP
2) Fx$k the WORLD!
HEADZ UP is a special single by AKi & it was released on 1st May .
AKi kicked off his HEADZ UP & DO IT! solo tour on 1st May . Among the concert goods made available for sale , a T-shirt + CD combo was sold at 5,000 Yen .
In the HEADZ UP CD , 2 songs are found in the tracklist .
Sharing the same name as the CD , HEADZ UP is a straight up fun upbeat rock song while despite the title for the 2nd song , Fx$k the WORLD! is actually an instrumental no. & no vocals are found in the track .
For now , it's not known if both songs will make the cut in a future AKi release . I hope AKi will consider to include them as not many are able to buy the CD during his solo tour & let alone for it to be sold together with a T-shirt , it's a bit unscrupulous but end of the day it's a marketing tactic .