Tuesday, June 30, 2015
NEWS - Chumu Chumu
CD + DVD
Chumu Chumu is NEWS's 18th single & it was released last week on 24th June .
The group's 6th album White was released in Feb . Chumu Chumu is the band's 2nd single release this year after they released KAGUYA in Jan .
Chumu Chumu has an Indian theme & it's described as an upbeat love song that everyone can sing & dance to . Chumu means kiss in Hindi , which is the official language of India .
To say that Chumu Chumu is instantly addictive on 1st listen is an understatement . There's frankly no way to escape the infectious song that's of Chumu Chumu .
Perhaps taking a cue from Ken Hirai's Sore Demo Shitai which's also Bollywood inspired , Chumu Chumu is an unique take/spin to NEWS's past Summer inspired songs (such as SUMMER TIME) , making this song 1 of their most boldest music risk they undertook which served them well .
There're a total of 4 B-sides available in all 3 editions of the single . Hi wa Mata Noboru is a grand sounding ballad that has a sweeping gorgeous Orchestra melody to boot .
Sweet Martini & Sasabune are available in the CD regular edition of Chumu Chumu . Sweet Martini is a nice smooth mid tempo track that's easy on the ears while Sasabune is the 2nd B-side which's a ballad with this piano driven no. being an understated song .
Megalomania is only available in the CD limited edition of the single & this track brought me serious dejavu vibes as when I 1st heard it , I feel it sounds like a long lost twin of ARASHI's Move your body (which's track #2 from their 9th album Dream"A"live) .
I thought I was the only 1 that Megalomania sounded very similar to Move your body but turns out I'm not the only 1 who felt this way . And frankly I will not be surprised if the writing/composing team worked on both songs but this's something I don't mind as Move your body was 1 of the standout tracks in ARASHI's Dream"A"live & likewise for Megalomania too .
NEWS declares Summer the season of romance with Chumu Chumu ! The title of the group's 2nd single of 2015 means "kiss kiss" in Hindi , is an Indian influenced peppy love song that's perfect to bop along to !
After being quite disappointed in their latest album release White , I'm glad to say that singles wise , NEWS are still in the A game as I feel Chumu Chumu overall is a solid single .
Aside from the A-side which's 1 of their most musically experimental to date , a special mention also has to go to the 4 B-sides in the single as each B-side are equally good & were able to stand up against Chumu Chumu .
In addition , to me the B-sides in Chumu Chumu should have been included in White as I consider them a lot more stronger as compared to most of the White's album tracks (except for BYAKUYA) which sounded too safe for my liking .
All in all , it's good to know that NEWS got back in the zone with their latest single release & if their future singles will have the same if not better/higher standard than what Chumu Chumu offered , then all's well .
Saturday, June 20, 2015
CD Review :: Namie Amuro - _genic
CD + DVD
CD + Blu-ray
2) Time Has Come
3) Golden Touch
9) B Who I Want 2 B Feat HATSUNE MIKU
11) Every Woman
12) Space Invader
14) What I Did For Love (David Guetta Feat Namie Amuro) -Special Track-
_genic is Namie Amuro's 11th album & it was released on 10th June .
Namie's last album release was 2013's FEEL & unlike her previous studio albums , no singles are included in _genic , ie. her 41st single TSUKI & 42nd single BRIGHTER DAY are excluded from the tracklist .
With the release of _genic , this's Namie's 3rd album that she sung mostly in English , after 2012's Uncontrolled & FEEL .
_genic contains a total of 14 songs & it centres on the theme revival . Namie worked with spirited producers from Japan & overseas where they incorporated the album with 80's beats & 90's R&B grooves .
A total of 5 songs in _genic received music videos .
Kicking off _genic is Photogenic in which lyrically it gives the album its name . Unlike Namie's past albums where the opening track will get a music video , Photogenic unfortunately didn't received 1 .
For me , I like Photogenic as it's a smooth mid tempo no. . While it's slightly not as upbeat/addictive sounding as FEEL's Alive , Photogenic is still pretty good & the special camera sound effects being used in the song gives off a nice extra edge/touch .
I'm not sure why Photogenic didn't received a video as frankly it should have gotten 1 .
Time Has Come is the 2nd song & this's 1 of the standout tracks in _genic . Likewise for Photogenic , a video should have been made for Time Has Come too as this song has a catchy memorable hook that I was instantly drawn into the moment I 1st heard it .
The next 2 songs are 2 tracks that received music videos . Golden Touch is 1 of the rare no.s in _genic in which it contains lyrics of both Japanese (not that much) & English .
Golden Touch is a rather straightforward sounding no. . I like the strong beats incorporated in the song , it's just that somehow I'm slightly not that blown away by it even though it's hard not to like it .
Whereas the next track Birthday , this's Namie's 1st birthday song that was produced by SeventyEight Productions . Concepted after birthdays , the lyrics expresses the feelings to spend that "One special day" in the "best possible way" .
Lyrically , Birthday is my fave in _genic as the lyrics managed to capture the essence/main core of the song . Namie doesn't have that many cutesy sounding songs but Birthday is nice without sounding childish .
It & Scream are the next 2 songs in _genic which're also equally good . I wasn't sure what to expect prior to hearing It but it's 1 of those songs that I find myself humming to as the whistling effect that accompanied the song makes It a class of its own , no pun intended .
As for Scream , the melody of the song is the draw factor as at times without knowing , I can get sucked into this vortex like sounding track . I thought Namie was literally going to scream in the song & while that didn't happen , Scream got a bit repetitive after a while .
Fashionista is the 3rd track to receive a video & this's 1 song that definitely deserves to get 1 . I was a bit disappointed with the video as I thought a different vision/concept should have been visualised but aside from that , Fashionista is 1 of the highlights found in _genic .
Another standout track , Fly is also another personal fave of mine as I like the melody of the song . Although lyrically it's quite questionable , if I chose to ignore that , Fly is actually another song that could have been considered to have been accompanied with a video .
B Who I Want 2 B was composed by upcoming UK underground producer Sophie who has worked with Diplo & Madonna . For this track , it features the vocals of Hatsune Miku who's a humanoid persona voiced by a singing synthesiser application that was developed by Crypton Future Media .
This song was originally credited as B Who I Want 2 B Feat U hum sneak it . U hum sneak it is an anagram of Hatsune Miku .
Depending on how you look/hear , B Who I Want 2 B could either fall in the strange random or just weird sounding category . For me I'm somewhere in between especially since I'm not familiar with Vocaloid sounding music but the fact that Namie sings a duet with someone that's not human , well that's for people to decide .
Stranger is the 4th track to get a video in _genic & it's the 2nd song after Golden Touch to have both Japanese + English lyrics .
This song without any doubt deserves to have a video made & it's easily the main star in _genic simply because it's an extremely catchy EDM driven no. . I like a bit of EDM music & Namie nailed it well when comes to Stranger .
Likewise the next song Every Woman is also stellar too as it's literally a no nonsense track that puts you in a good mood upon hearing it . Lyrically , Every Woman is also not that bad too .
From 1 weird sounding/random song title to the next (after It) , in comes another 1 which's titled Space Invader . I must admit before I heard the song , I had no idea what's Namie going to sing about but contrary to what I assume (being invaded by aliens from outer space ?) , Space Invader actually centres on a relationship where 1 party felt his/her space has been invaded .
Anything is the 2nd last track in _genic & it's also the final song in the album to receive a video .
From here onwards , things slow down considerably & Anything is a ballad which was produced by James Keyz Foye who has previously worked with Beyonce .
All the while I'm only partial to Namie's ballads as to me I feel that's not her main forte . But Anything is perhaps the most simplified sounding song in _genic in that it's just Namie mainly singing alongside with an acoustic guitar .
Lyrically , Anything is quite inspirational & empowering sounding as well .
Included as a special track in _genic , What I Did For Love is credited as David Guetta Feat Namie Amuro in which David Guetta is a French DJ/producer .
What I Did For Love was originally released as the 3rd single off David Guetta's latest album Listen & it featured UK recording artist Emeli Sande on vocals so Namie's version is somewhat a cover .
I thought What I Did For Love is quite a fitting track to conclude _genic & I assumed it was a ballad but it was a nice surprise that 1/2 way , it transformed into an aggressive dance sounding no. which's pretty cool .
The only thing I don't like was that What I Did For Love ended quite abruptly without knowing but other than that , Namie's take on the song is quite good .
J-pop's queen of "hip-pop" is back ! After a wait of nearly 2 years , Namie Amuro unleashed her 11th album _genic ! Unlike her previous albums , all songs in _genic are never-before-released new songs .
After getting in touch with her emotional side with Namie's 1st ballad compilation album Ballada , _genic takes a 180-degree turn to the style of retro 80's dance music & 90's R&B groove beats .
1st of all before I go on further , let me say that I've been a fan of Namie's music for almost close to 10 years . As such , to me I really like _genic a lot as for Namie to release an album without the inclusion of singles , it takes guts if not a certain amount of risk to do that .
To me I personally feel almost every single song in _genic is equally solid/good . It's not easy to create an album where there're no singles & let alone in making sure each of them has their own unique identity but to a certain extent , _genic managed to accomplish that quite flawlessly/effortlessly .
Namie's strength in her music all the while mainly lies in upbeat dance tracks which I suppose it's what she tried to emulate for _genic . Describing a song as a dance track is 1 thing but releasing an album that has many different music elements that defined it as so is another .
Namie's previous album FEEL was & is still amazing but for _genic , it feels more like a throwback to what 80s/90s music sounded like unlike FEEL where its overall mood was more futuristic sounding .
On the other hand , _genic is Namie's 3rd straight album she released that sees her singing mainly/mostly in English . As such I'm very sure naysayers / Namie's English speaking fans will nitpick the way Namie sings in _genic & that goes for her English pronunciations and likewise lyrically on the way certain songs sound like in the album .
While Namie's Japanese speaking fans might question why Namie is once again singing in English where in the 1st place Japanese is her main language as when she released Uncontrolled , it was an unusual if not unheard move for a Japanese female solo artist to do something like this & subsequently she did it again with FEEL & now for _genic .
I'm in no position to critic what Namie should/will do in her next move in her music career but regardless of what it happen , I will respect her actions as not everybody is as lucky as her to have a resurge in popularity & Namie definitely worked very hard to get back in the zone after what she experienced in the past .
On that note , is _genic a shoo in being the best album to have been released this year ? Probably so , that's if you're into sleek sounding dance music that pays homage to what 80s/90s music sounded like .
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Domoto Koichi - INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER
DVD/Blu-ray Type A
DVD/Blu-ray Type B
INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER is Domoto Koichi's 1st DVD/Blu-ray single which was released last week on 10th June .
Koichi's last solo release was 2012's 3rd album Gravity . For INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER , both A-sides are dance numbers & with it being his 1st DVD/Blu-ray single , no B-sides are included .
INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER consists of 2 very different types of dance numbers . INTERACTIONAL is medium tempo , while SHOW ME UP MONSTER is more upbeat .
I enjoy Koichi's solo material & I was excited when it was announced he has returned with brand new material as Gravity was a surprisingly good album . And he definitely didn't disappoint with the release of INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER .
Both A-sides are equally good & memorable . INTERACTIONAL is more mid tempo with traces of Jazz while SHOW ME UP MONSTER has an early Halloween feeling based on the video contents of the song .
Koichi shines a lot when comes to dance numbers & that's no exception with the release of INTERACTIONAL / SHOW ME UP MONSTER . Both songs might be tracks that showcases his dance moves but the different genres each song had , it makes this latest release of Koichi a real enjoyable 1 .
And Koichi definitely shows no signs of slowing down as his 4th solo album Spiral will be released next month on 8th July . Both INTERACTIONAL & SHOW ME UP MONSTER will be included as bonus tracks in the CD edition of the album , with SHOW ME UP MONSTER included as track #15 while INTERACTIONAL is denoted as track #16 in the tracklist .
Friday, June 12, 2015
B'z - RED
Cover for CD only , CD + DVD & CD + Wristband
RED is B'z's 52nd single & it was released 2 days ago on 10th June .
Unlike their past single releases , there're no B-side(s) included in RED .
RED was picked to be used as the entrance theme for Hiroshima Toyo Carp's pitcher Kuroda Hiroki with it being the 1st time that B'z created a song for an athlete .
This collaboration came about after guitarist Matsumoto Tak had a meal together with Kuroda in Los Angeles earlier this year in February . The offer was laid out on the table during this meeting . Afterwards , Matsumoto & vocalist Inaba Koshi willingly agreed to sing the entrance theme for Kuroda .
Kuroda will make his return to the Carps after playing in the major league from 2008 to 2014 . To commemorate this occasion , B'z wrote RED , which symbolises the baseball team's image colour .
Described as an energising Rock number designed to get everyone fired up , RED is definitely a catchy uplifting song that will definitely get listeners pumped up prior to the start of a baseball session kick off .
RED is quite sports inspired & it's quite a fitting song to be used to welcome back Hiroshima Toyo Carp's pitcher Kuroda Hiroki into the major baseball league .
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
GLAY - HEROES / Binetsu (A)girl Summer / Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD
2) Binetsu (A)girl Summer
3) Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ (Live from Miracle Music Hunt 2014-2015)
4) Album 「MUSIC LIFE 」reprise
HEROES / Binetsu (A)girl Summer / Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ is GLAY's 52nd single & it was released last month on 25th May .
Unlike Japanese new material where it's usually released on a Wed , this single was released on a Mon to commemorate the band's 21st debut anniversary as their debut single RAIN was released 21 years ago on 25th May .
Despite being a triple A-side single release , the 2nd A-side Binetsu (A)girl Summer does not have a video . The single also includes an Album 「MUSIC LIFE 」reprise which're a music montage of their 13th album MUSIC LIFE that was released last Nov .
The 1st A-side HEROES was used as the opening theme song for the anime Daiya no A . Written/composed by lead vocalist TERU & produced by Kameda Seiji , it's described as a support song that will push the backs of those who chase after their dreams .
HEROS is the group's 2nd song to be used for Daiya no A after Hashire ! Mirai .
The 2nd A-side Binetsu (A)girl Summer was written/composed by guitarist HISASHI . The song was picked to be used in the ads of contact lens store Eye City .
The 3rd/last A-side Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ was written/composed by guitarist TAKURO . Promo wise , it was used as the campaign song for the JFN disaster prevention campaign & the version made available in the single was recorded live from their GLAY ARENA TOUR 2014-2015 Miracle Music Hunt .
With the release of HEROES / Binetsu (A)girl Summer / Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ , it's easy to see why GLAY has been around in the business for 21 years & counting as their latest release offers something for everyone to enjoy .
From the uplifting/inspiring HEROES to the Summer inspired Binetsu (A)girl Summer & the emotional driven ballad Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ , each of the A-side are equally strong sounding & able to compliment 1 another without satisfying on quality .
Rock bands come & go but for GLAY to sustain itself for so long in the business , it's not easy but with the release of HEROES / Binetsu (A)girl Summer / Tsuzureori ~so far and yet so close~ , they have proven why they're still 1 of the most respected veteran Rock bands in the industry .
Here's to many more anniversaries for GLAY !
Sunday, May 31, 2015
UVERworld - Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba
CD + DVD
1) Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba
2) Iwanakute mo Tsutawaru Are wa Sukoshi Uso da
4) Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba (TV size)
Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba is UVERworld's 27th single & it was released on 27th May .
Originally supposed to be released on 13th May , Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba is the group's 1st single release of 2015 & their last single release was last June's Nanokame no Ketsui .
The A-side was picked to be used as the opening theme for the anime Arslan Senki . The staff of Arslan Senki also previously worked on the anime BLEACH , which UVERworld provided the opening theme for it during the time of their major debut . As such , Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba is a special one for both the staff & band .
1 of the B-sides included in the single is titled Collide . For this track , it was used as the insert song for the movie Shinjuku Swan .
July 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of UVERWorld's major record label debut & they've began the celebration with the release of their latest single Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba .
Aside from the really long song title , I wasn't sure what to expect from Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba as the 1st few listens of it , I was a bit confused as it sounded really random .
But along the way , I slowly get the way the song goes . I don't know if Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba was made to sound unconventional but if so , UVERworld did nailed this aspect right . It's an intriguing no. but 1 that does grow on me as each listen goes by .
On that note , an early happy 10th anniversary to UVERworld !
Thursday, May 28, 2015
BREAKERZ - WE GO
CD + DVD
1) WE GO
2) Hikari ~Acoustic Version~ (CD Regular Edition Track)
3) WE GO -TV Size Edit- (CD Regular Edition Track)
4) Ai × Ori (CD Limited Edition Track)
5) Byakuya no Tsuki (CD + DVD Track)
WE GO is BREAKERZ's 15th single & it was released last week on 20th May .
The last single the guys released was 2013's RUSTY HEARTS & WE GO is dubbed as their comeback single after the members embarked on solo careers in Spring 2013 .
Written & composed by vocalist DAIGO , WE GO was picked to be used as the opening theme for the anime Detective Conan .
The guys 1st debuted/played WE GO at their 1st countdown live BREAKERZ COUNTDOWN LIVE 2014-2015 & the fact that I attended it , I somewhat have a soft spot towards WE GO . I know a lot of fans dislike the song & likewise for Miss Mystery (which I cannot understand why) but I personally feel WE GO is a bit different from their previous single releases .
The strength of WE GO lies in the chorus & also the guitar solo prior to the end is my fave element of the song .
There're a total of 3 (technically 4) B-sides available in the single . The CD Regular edition includes Hikari ~Acoustic Version~ , which's an acoustic take of the guys' 6th single . Likewise for WE GO & the original/acoustic takes of Hikari , all 3 different renditions were written/composed by DAIGO .
Hikari is 1 of my most fave singles of the guys , let alone 1 of the songs that DAIGO wrote/composed extremely well due to the significant meaning behind the song . Sekai wa Odoru & Hikari were both really good grand sounding singles . The problem is that when you make an acoustic version of either 1 of them , things get dumbed down quite significantly .
As such , despite Hikari ~Acoustic Version~ being rather pleasant sounding , it's not 1 of my fave acoustic tracks of the guys .
The CD Regular edition also includes a TV Size Edit of WE GO which essentially is a version created specially to promote Detective Conan .
Ai × Ori is only available in the CD Limited edition . Lyrics wise , it was written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist AKIHIDE . The last B-side , Byakuya no Tsuki is only available in the CD + DVD edition of WE GO . Lyrics wise , it was written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist SHINPEI .
The guys previously said that the 3 B-sides that each of them composed were inspired by their solo projects experiences . I'm not so sure about Hikari ~Acoustic Version~ but I definitely can sense it when I listened to both Ai × Ori & Byakuya no Tsuki .
Ai × Ori definitely sounds like something AKIHIDE might sing himself in solo mode . The melody of the song is really nice as it started out quite subtle but the aggressive guitar riffs took things up a notch or 2 .
As for Byakuya no Tsuki , I thought it was going to be a ballad but I was surprised that it was quite emotionally charged . This song felt as though it belongs to MUSCLE ATTACK but in the process , SHINPEI took what he learnt in solo mode & the final result leaves with an unique sounding B-side .
After the announcement of pursuing solo careers in Spring 2013 , BREAKERZ are finally back with the release of their comeback single WE GO .
I've been a longtime fan of the guys & honestly when they announced on the last date of their BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2012 "BEST" -LIVE HOUSE COLLECTION- they were going solo , I was gutted as at that time it was uncertain how long their group hiatus will be .
At the same time , as much as I enjoy each of their solo material , I don't get that same feeling/excitement as compared to when the 3 of them come back together to release material .
WE GO itself is an overall enjoyable release & there were a few surprises with this single . For once , it has been almost 2 years 4 months since they last released RUSTY HEARTS & during the group's hiatus , each of the members experienced different things when they went solo .
I suppose for WE GO , the single contains traces of both the band & each of the members' solo experiences which's evident when comes to the B-sides . I thought it's really cool for them to implement what they learnt in solo mode & utilising their newfound knowledge into creating the tracks .
A slight downside is that the B-sides in return are not as mainstream sounding as their past B-sides but if they chose to replicate that , it will feel really meaningless .
That said , I'm just really glad that BREAKERZ are back & they're not holding back on anything as in July , they will release their 6th album in ushering their long awaited comeback .
Welcome back , guys you've been sorely missed ! (by me mainly)