Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Click Five - Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday is the second single released by The Click Five & the song was the 2nd single to be released in Thailand and The Philippines . Similarly , Empty was released as the 2nd single in which it was released only in S'pore & Malaysia .
& now Happy Birthday has finally made its presence being felt in S'pore & it was released as the 3rd single officially just this week on 987FM . About time I say !
I'm real glad that Warner Music S'pore has decided to release Happy Birthday in S'pore as I have a feeling that it will do pretty well in the chart . Somemore who doesn't like a song that's titled Happy Birthday eh ?
Happy Birthday's a great track & in fact I feel that all the tracks in Modern Minds And Pastimes are brillant & are radio worthy material .
Monday, January 28, 2008
CD Review :: Koda Kumi - Kingdom
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
CD + 2 DVDs Cover :
1) Introduction For Kingdom
2) LAST ANGEL Feat TOHOSHINKI
3) Amai Wana (Sweet Trap)
4) Himitsu (Secret)
5) Ai no Uta (Love Song)
9) Koi no Mahou (The Magic of Love)
10) Aishou (The Proof of Love)
11) Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto (The Things You Did)
15) Black Cherry (Bonus Track) Kingdom is the 6th studio album released by Koda Kumi , after the massive success of her previous studio album Black Cherry .
Just like Black Cherry , Kingdom will be released in three versions , a CD + 2 DVDs , a CD + DVD & a CD Only version . The 1st DVD is a promotional video collection disc that is about 70 minutes long which contains 16 PVs in that Koda made a PV for every song on the album with an addition of Run For Your Life , 1 outta the 3 B side songs which're found on her FREAKY single .
The second DVD contains material from Koda's PREMIUM LIMITED LIVE IN HALL IN YOKOHAMA ARENA concert . You will get the 2nd DVD provided if you purchase the CD + 2DVDs edition & I suspect the CD + 2 DVDs edition of Kingdom only have limited prints unlike the other 2 editions .
Kingdom is scheduled to drop in Japan this coming Wed on the 30th . Prior to the release of Kingdom , 5 singles were released & they're highlighted in bold & outta the 5 singles , Koda released 1 double A side single which's Aishou (The Proof of Love) .
The album kick things off with Introduction To Kingdom which's a pretty lush introduction , something that I didn't expect from Koda cos so far the introductions that I heard from her Black Cherry & BEST ~second session~ are real upbeat so this one surprises me .
I'm pretty sure that the full version of Introduction To Kingdom might be available in her next album or maybe just like Get It On (the short version of Introduction to the second session on BEST ~second session~) where it will be available to be downloaded legally via the net .
Track 2's the 38th single that Koda released , LAST ANGEL which features TOHOSHINKI . I used to dislike the song a lot when it was 1st released but I like it now . However I realised that Introduction To Kingdom doesn't link & string things well with LAST ANGEL as there seems to have no connection with the melody of LAST ANGEL & Introduction To Kingdom .
Amai Wana (Sweet Trap) is next in line & I have to admit this's one very nice upbeat track . The melody of it's great , reminded me of 1 of Koda's eariler hits Candy which features Mr.Blistah where both of the songs have exotic egyptian influences going on in there which's great . Amai Wana was used in the Honda's ZEST SPORTS CM & Koda appeared in the CM to promote Honda's latest product .
Track 4's Himitsu (Secret) & it's quite a mellow no. . It's a pretty good song & it kinda reminded me of Tsuki to Taiyou (The Moon and the Sun) from her Black Cherry album but a more upbeat version of it .
The next 2 songs are ballads which Koda has released prior to the release of Kingdom . Ai no Uta's 1st in line . I always like her ballads so Ai no Uta (Love Song) is no exception . It doesn't match up to the brillance of Yume no Uta (Dream Song) but still it's a ballad that I enjoyed from Koda .
anytime followed suit after Ai no Uta . anytime was released just last Wed in Japan , a week before Kingdom's about to drop this Wed . I didn't really like anytime when I 1st heard it but now it's a grower on me . When you hear anytime , it's a song that will give you a warm & fuzzy feeling .
Apparently Rhythmn Zone/Avex Trax only printed 50,000 copies of anytime to be sold & distributed to the public .
Soon after , Koda decided to pick up the pace with Under . Under's 1 smoking track , I really like it when I 1st heard it , not to mention the PV of it's good . Under's used in the latest Kose Visee CM & Koda's the spokeswoman of the company & she appeared in the CM promoting its latest line of mascara .
Next after Under's 1/2 of the double A side single that Koda has released , BUT . BUT is described to be a destructive , four on the floor dance track & a time machine dance style song by the Japanese & it's easy to see why BUT's a damn good track .
In fact I think it's 1 of the stand out songs on the album & it's something that you can put it on loop & you can just listen to it over & over again .
Track 9's Koi no Mahou (The Magic of Love) is another cool track but somehow I find it to be 1 of the weaker links on Kingdom . In fact I think Koi no Mahou (The Magic of Love) & Track 11's Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto (The Things You Did) tend to sound too similar with each other . It's a good thing that the other 1/2 of the double A side single , Aishou (The Proof of Love) is sandwiched in between both songs or else I will be very confused between Koi no Mahou (The Magic of Love) & Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto (The Things You Did) .
& speaking about Aishou (The Proof of Love) , I really like this ballad when it was 1st released as a single alongside with BUT . You can definitely tell that BUT + Aishou displayed some fresh sounds from Koda , stuff that she usually tend not to do but when you listened to them , it sounds really refreshing .
If BUT's not your thing & you like ballads , then you probably should give Aishou (The Proof of Love) a shot . I like the electric guitar that was used in the song & it gives Aishou the edge that it needed .
Track 11's Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto (The Things You Did) & like what I said eariler , I thought Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto (The Things You Did) sounded too similar to its 'twin' Koi no Mahou (The Magic of Love) . Maybe I have to drill myself to listen to both tracks a couple more times in order to differentiate both songs in time to come .
Track 12's Wonderland & in here Koda really took the cuteness level to a whole new level . If you know how 1 of her eariler hits Birthday Eve sounded like , then you will know what I mean . Wonderland's a cute song & it's probably like a Koi no Tsubomi (Bud of Love) part 2 .
Next in line's FREAKY & this song's Koda's 4th no.1 single , after you , feel & Yume no Uta (Dream Song) + Futari de ... (2 Of Us ...). I was happy to see FREAKY included in Kingdom but I was a bit sore that Koda did not include the 3 B side singles that were found on the FREAKY single , namely Sora (Sky) , Run For Your Life & girls . Especially Sora (Sky) as I think it's a great B side single & for some weird reason , FREAKY to me is not a strong A side single as compared to the 3 B side singles which's strange because usually it's the A side songs that overshadow or are on par with the B side songs , not the opposite . That's a rarity in FREAKY's case but oh well .
The strange thing's that Koda included the PV of Run For Your Life in the DVD content of Kingdom but not the song in the CD which makes things even more weirder .
Track 14's probably my fave non single on Kingdom , MORE . MORE's definitely different from the usual stuff that Koda does because it contains Jazz influences which's something that I never hear from Koda before & she pull things off pretty well .
Just like Black Cherry where you got a non R&B track in the form of Ningyo-hime ( Mermaid Princess) which has Rock influences , in Kingdom , you got a non R&B track in the form of MORE & I'm quite anxious to see how the PV of MORE looks like . I only saw a snippet of MORE & it looks really interesting . The only gripe about MORE is that I thought it's a bit too short clocking in at 3:11 mins . She should have extended the song by a few more secs or so .
Closing the album is the bonus track Black Cherry . Now if you have Koda's previous album Black Cherry , the song of the same title is a full version of INTRODUCTION found on Koda's Black Cherry album . This's 1 track that I was waiting in anticipation to hear as I was curious to know how the full version of INTRODUCTION sounded like & I wasn't disappointed in it . The only grouse about it's the whole bong bong & heavy breathing sounds that's going on in the background of Black Cherry . I thought Koda over-used these 2 sounds by a bit too much . It tend to get a bit annoying at times but I like the fact that the music of Black Cherry changed when the song was about to end which's cool .
In general , I felt that Kingdom's a good & neat album although people will definitely say that it's not on par with Black Cherry in which I feel it's a great album . I was quite skpetical whether Koda can topped things up with Kingdom & so I decided to keep my expectations of Kingdom as low as possible & I'm glad to say that she more or less exceeded my expectations .
1 thing I realised about Kingdom's that the sound is not consistent & it's all over the place because if you never heard the singles that Koda has released , it tend to get very confusing because 1 moment you'll be listening to a fast uptempo no. & then the next the mood will suddenly switched to become a ballad no. . I personally feel that it will be better if Koda were to grouped all the fast , uptempo , mid-tempo no.s together & likewise do the same for the ballads that're available in Kingdom in a way to avoid confusion .
Having said that , Kingdom's a very enjoyable album . Not on par & as good as Black Cherry but it's an album that I don't mind to listen to over & over again . I will for sure get my copy of Kingdom once the local press of the album will be released in S'pore via Warner Music . If you want to experience a dose of Japanese R&B with a touch of Jazz thrown in for good measures , then go & grab a copy of Kingdom .
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Koda Kumi - anytime
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
anytime's Koda Kumi's 39th single that's set to be released tomorrow in Japan , just a week before Koda's 6th studio album Kingdom is released on the CD shelves .
anytime's the 5th single that will be released from Kingdom . The other A side singles that she has released this year which will be included in Kingdom are BUT + Aishou , FREAKY , Ai no Uta & her previous single LAST ANGEL which features TOHOSHINKI .
After the somewhat weak LAST ANGEL , anytime is a not bad track in my books . I'm not sure if anytime's destined to be no.1 material on the Oricon single chart but hopefully it does a-ok & it's a pretty risky decision to undertake when you decide to release a single prior to a week before your album is released .
anytime's not as catchy as some of her earlier works but compared to LAST ANGEL , anytime's better .
Apparently Rhythmn Zone/Avex Trax only printed 50,000 copies of anytime to be sold & distributed to the public .
The B side of anytime is called Bounce & I enjoyed it as much as anytime . I felt that Bounce's album material but it's unfortunate that Bounce will not make the cut & that it will be included in Kingdom .
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Ken Hirai - POP STAR
POP STAR was the 23rd single released by Ken Hirai in Oct 26th '05 . POP STAR's 1 of Ken's biggest hits & when the song was released in '05 , it became his 4th no.1 on the Oricon singles chart after Ookina Furudokei (A Grand Old Clock) , Ring & Omoi ga Kasanaru Sono Mae ni ... (The Memories Pile Up Before Me) .
I adore POP STAR when I 1st heard it & the PV for it's awesome as well . The PV features Ken playing 7 different characters and animals including a racoon & bear mascot in which both the song & PV became an instant household hit .
The PV also helped Ken to break into the US and Canadian Markets where the PV was aired in these 2 markets despite the fact that it was in Japanese . To date , POP STAR remains Ken's best known single outside of Japan .
So far , POP STAR's 1 of my fave PVs from Ken & honestly I think he looks good in that blazing red/pink suit in the beginning of the PV . Not to mention , the white suit & the fedora hat too .
Ken Hirai - fake star
fake star was the 27th single released by Ken Hirai . It was released on 12th Sept '07 .
1st of all , before I go on , woo wee . Ken's hot with a capital H & he just turned 36 today . In case you don't know , Ken Hirai's a J Pop singer/songwriter/model/composer/record composer/spokesman who dabs in R&B , Soul & Jazz .
I only recently discovered his music since I'm constantly expanding my knowledge (well I try) when comes to J Pop & wow , he's pretty good . I gave a quick listen to the rest of the singles Ken has released in which all of them are found in his 10th Anniversary Complete Single Collection '95 - '05 album [with the exception of Bye My Melody , Elegy (Aika) , Kimi no Suki na Toko (The Place You Like) in which these 3 singles are not included in the album] prior to the release of fake star & he sounds pretty good .
When I 1st saw his pic , I couldn't believe he was Japanese at all cos he doesn't have that 'Japanese look' going on in him . In fact I personally think that he's a dead ringer for Maroon 5's Adam Levine from some of the pics that I saw of Ken on the net .
Also I gave his 1st cover album Ken's Bar a listen too which was released 5 years ago . In Ken's Bar , Ken selected his favorite songs and covered them in his own style .
The music style in Ken's Bar is primarily jazz oriented , but covers of many blues numbers were present as well & surprisingly Ken's English dictation's good . I wouldn't be surprised if he's fluent in English judging from his own take on some of the English songs that he chose to cover such as Norah Jones's Don't Know Why , George Michael's Faith , The Jackson 5's ABC & etc .
BUT ... anyway , back to the song fake star . fake star's a good song to me , it definitely sounded a bit different as compared to his previous old singles & unfortunately or not , fake star's his worst selling single to date despite a peak chart position of no.6 on the Oricon singles chart .
In the lyrics of fake star , Ken references the lyrics of his 23rd single POP STAR & fake star is served as a mirror-image of that single .
Last I checked , fake star only managed 32,009 copies d'oh but it doesn't matter , I definitely will check out more of Ken in the near future .
In fact , he's scheduled to release his new single Canvas on 20th Feb in which incidentally Utada Hikaru will be releasing her 20th Japanese single HEART STATION / Stay Gold .
Canvas will served as the ending theme song to the anime drama Honey & Clover drama based in a popular manga . It has been decribed as a pop-ballad and was written and composed by Ken himself and arranged by Tomita Keichi & Canvas is the lead-in release to Ken's 7th still yet untitled album which will hit stores on March 12th in Japan .
The PV of fake star features Ken in Prague in the Czech Republic & it features his first kiss scene .
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Anna Tsuchiya - cocoon
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
cocoon is the 7th single that is set to be released by Anna Tsuchiya 2 Weds from now in Japan ie. on 30th Jan .
cocoon will served as the theme song for the NTT DoCoMo CM . It has been described as an energetic/upbeat song to sing at her rock festival appearances . NTT DoCoMo is a mobile phone operator in Japan in case you don't know , just like me .
1st of all before I go on any further , let me say something regarding the singles covers of cocoon . 1 word : freaky . If you're reading this at night , I apologise . Hopefully you wouldn't get any nightmares when you sleep tonight .
I really miss hearing new stuff from Anna ever since the release of her previous single BUBBLE TRIP / sweet sweet song so I'm really happy when I found out that she's back with new material & she definitely doesn't disappoint .
It seems to me that she's going back to her roots in rock & I definitely welcome that again . cocoon's a good song but honestly I'm having doubts as to whether can cocoon will be a big success on the Oricon singles chart but only time will tell .
Sunday, January 13, 2008
CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - GUILTY
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
2) (don't) Leave me alone
3) talkin' 2 myself
7) Together When ...
8) Marionette -prelude-
10) The Judgement Day
12) MY ALL
14) untitled ~for her~ GUILTY is the 9th studio album released by Japanese singer/songwriter ayumi hamasaki . Prior to the release of GUILTY , 3 singles were released from the album which's highlighted in bold .
1st of all before I go on any further , I bought GUILTY for my 21st birthday 2 days ago & incidentally last year , my mum bought for me ayumi's previous album Secret on my 20th birthday so it's a bit of a deja vu experience for me .
Somemore I figured what better way to start the brand new year than to review ayumi's latest offering .
The album kicks off with a fantastic opening no. called Mirror . Just when I thought the opening no. Not yet from Secret was great , ayumi exceeded my expectations with an even bigger & better opening track for an album .
Mirror sets off the initial tone of GUILTY in which 3 different types of mood traits namely angry , angsty & feisty are shown & are in evident for the 1st few tracks on the album after you listened to Mirror .
Track 2's (don't) Leave me alone & it's a feisty rocking no . If you're very familiar with ayumi's previous & older works , (don't) Leave me alone might somehow reminds you of a cross bred between 1 LOVE , is this LOVE ? & GAME musically in which incidentally these 3 tracks that I mentioned are considered a few of the many fave songs that I like from ayumi & naturally , I feel (don't) Leave me alone is a stand out track as I really like the music arrangement of the song .
Track 3's the 42nd single that ayumi released , talkin' 2 myself . The opening of the song presented a more aggressive rock side from ayumi & I really like the song the moment when I 1st heard it . The song was used in the CM to promote Panasonic's LUMIX FX33 camera in Japan which incidentally ayumi is their spokeswoman for the company .
After talkin' 2 myself , it's the B side which was found on the talkin' 2 myself single & it kinda makes sense to put talkin' 2 myself & decision side by side together .
decision's another great solid no. from ayumi & I really like the music arrangement of decision . Even though it's in the same vein as talkin' 2 myself , at least when I listened to either 1 of the songs , I can differentiate both of them from each other real easily .
Track 5's the title track of the album & I absolutely adore this no. simply because of the music background of GUILTY where she incorporated big drums which're normally used in big bands / orchestras into this no. which makes things very refreshing & also the backing vocals of GUILTY added a more unique twist to the song .
From here onwards , the mood of the album slowly began to change & it shifted towards a more subdued form & fated sets the tone of it . fated's 1/2 of the double a side glitter + fated single which ayumi released prior to the release of GUILTY . For some reasons , she decided to spilt glitter & fated up together . It kinda makes sense since fated's a ballad & glitter's an uptempo no. .
Next's in line after fated is ayumi's 1st digital single & an amazing ballad titled Together When ... . Together When ... sorta marks a return to ayumi musically seeing that glitter + fated & talkin' 2 myself seems sub par single/s material wise so Together When ... cemented ayumi's position as 1 of the most respected Japanese female singer / songwriter once more .
I really like Together When ... when I 1st heard it & her ballads are great as well . The song reminded me of her previous ballads such as CAROLS , Dearest , JEWEL , Voyage & I'm glad that she decided to release Together When ... as a single . Somemore she also shot a PV for it in which the final product is fantastic .
Track 8's Marionette -prelude- & it makes another 1st for ayumi as this's probably the 1st time she has a prelude in an album . The prelude of Marionette is kinda creepy as it's in the tune of a musical box but at least it sets another shift in the mood / tone of the album & also on what to expect on the real McCoy itself aka Marionette which's definitely the star of the album .
When I saw the tracklisting of GUILTY , the 1st song title which caught my attention was Marionette & not to mention , there's also a PV to accompany the song too & I wasn't disappointed with Marionette , PV & song wise . The song started off slow & eventually it lashes out & became a mid tempo rock track which ended things off really really well .
Outta the PVs that're found in the GUILTY DVD , I personally think that Marionette's the best PV outta the whole lot . Somemore for a non-released single , it's impressive so to speak .
A bit case of f.y.i , the choreographer for Marionette's the same person who choregraphed ayumi's dance moves in the PV for talkin' 2 myself . His name's ZIN & he also danced alongside with ayumi for both PVs as well . For more info , you can watch the making of the PVs in which the contents of it are found in the DVD of GUILTY .
Track 10 is The Judgement Day in which it's 1 of 2 interludes found on GUILTY . I was hoping that it wouldn't be an interlude but guess not but The Judgement Day sets off another shift in the mood / tone for GUILTY .
Initally the album was all angsty , feisty , angry & slowly , it shifted to a more subdued form & around this point , it becomes happy , relaxed & carefree . The Judgement Day flows things extremely well as to what to expect in the next 2 tracks to come which falls in the whole happy go lucky vibe .
Track 11's the other 1/2 of the double A side single ayumi has released which's glitter . I think glitter's the 'successor' of BLUE BIRD which's the summer song found on ayumi's Secret album . Some people complained that glitter's like a replica of BLUE BIRD but I don't think so .
For once , the melody of glitter wasn't composed by D.A.I & not to mention , I feel that glitter's more edgier , music wise & I really like the bridge in the middle of the song so from day 1 , I didn't have problems with glitter & not to mention fated .
Maybe I'm not picky with what ayumi has released . I'm not sure but that's how things goes . Unlike ayumi's other PVs , glitter + fated strings together a short flim titled Kyo Ai (Distance Love) in which she went to Hong Kong to flim the movie & it stars hottie Shawn Yue as the lead actor in Kyo Ai where Shawn plays her bodyguard & ayumi falls in love with him in Kyo Ai .
Track 12's another song that falls under the happy go lucky vibe titled MY ALL . It's funny but when I 1st heard MY ALL , I thought it sounded strangely overdosed on the happiness factor & it reminded me of HONEY which's found on ayumi's 6th album MY STORY .
Not that it's a bad thing but it has been a while since I last heard such songs from ayumi & I definitely missed that feeling so it was good that she incorporated such a song back into her album .
Soon after that , it was followed by the 2nd interlude in GUILTY titled reBIRTH . I'm not sure why ayumi chose to put an interlude here seeing that it's the 2nd last track on her album but I suppose she has a reason as to why she did that because it leds to the final track on GUILTY which's titled untitled ~for her~ .
untitled ~for her~ was specially written & dedicated to 1 of ayumi's friend who unfortunately passed away last year . In fact , the album was dedicated to this deceased friend of ayumi's that's if you bought & looked at the album sleeves of GUILTY . I feel that the song's great . The opening of untitled ~for her~ sounded very grand & it slowly translated into a slightly mid tempo no. slowly bit by bit & I think untitled ~for her~ closed the album in a very good manner .
Just when I thought ayumi couldn't outdone on what she accomplished with her previous album Secret , she came back with an even bigger & better sounding album . Unlike Secret in which I feel the sound was inconsistent from the start to the beginning , GUILTY flows extremely well because you know what you will expect from the album from the start to the very end & not to mention you can tell that the consistency of the album is there .
GUILTY contains some of ayumi's darker & most serious material to date because I suspect that due to the passing of her friend , the inspiration from her friend's death probably inspires on how GUILTY turned out to be but it doesn't stop you from enjoying the whole album .
Also , I felt that GUILTY was not a rushed project unlike Secret which was supposed to be ayumi's 2nd mini album but it eventually became a full length album due to the fact that ayumi worked overtime to transform the EP into a LP in which I felt she should have stick to the original plan ie. release Secret as an EP , not LP even though I still think Secret's a great album .
GUILTY's another top notch album from ayumi & if you have not make your acquittance with ayumi's material , then it's probably about time you do that with GUILTY .
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Singles Released From Kobukuro's 5296 Album
Members From Left To Right : Shunsuke Kuroda (Vocals) & Kentarō Kobuchi (Guitar & Vocals)
5296 Album Covers :
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
Not exactly the best album covers that I have seen but if you look over this minor issue there shouldn't be a problem .
Kobukuro's a Japanese folk rock duo who has been around since 1998 . The band's name is a portmanteau of the two members' family names , Kentarō Kobuchi and Shunsuke Kuroda .
I 1st came to know about Kobukuro when they did a collaboration with fellow label mate ayaka on a great song called WINDING ROAD which peaked at no.2 on the Oricon singles chart & naturally curiosity gets the better of me & I decided to check their material out only most recently as I held back checking out Kobukuro's music for a while already .
Kobukuro were formed way back in '98 & they didn't went mainstream til 2001 when they inked a record deal with Warner Music Japan . They didn't really hit it big until they released Koko ni Shika Sakanai Hana (A Flower That Only Blooms Here) in 2005 , which was used as the theme song to the dorama Ruri no Shima .
It was so sucessful that it became the #15 single of 2005 . Their next single Sakura also continued on with the extreme sucess that they had gained , reaching #61 on the 2005 yearly charts yet still charting highly throughout 2006 .
They had 2 albums in the top ten of 2006 , being the only artist to do so . In October 13 of 2007 three million copies of Kobukuro's 1st greatest hits album ALL SINGLES BEST were shipped to stores , becoming the 4th male artist to do it , being preceded by other established Japanese acts such as B'z (the best selling Japanese artist of all time) , Southern All Stars & GLAY .
Considering the fact that physical CD sales are declining all over the world even in Japan , it's a rarity that Kobukuro has defied the odds & continue to sell extremely well ever since the release of Koko ni Shika Sakanai Hana (A Flower That Only Blooms Here) in 2005 .
In fact , Kobukuro's 1st greatest hits compliation ALL SINGLES BEST sold 1,748,682 copies in 2006 & it became the #3 album of 2006. The album sold a further more 852,637 copies last year & it became the #3 album of 2007 . So far , ALL SINGLES BEST has sold over 2,612,990 copies in Japan and an estimated 150,000 copies has been sold in Taiwan , China & Hong Kong .
Which brings in their latest 6th major studio album 5296 & it has been selling extremely well . So far , almost 800,00 copies were shifted in Japan alone & nowadays for an album to sell that amount , it's a rarity & Kobukuro's sales figures has been strong & consistent . You can say that selling 1/2 a million copies of your album in Japan is the new million .
Kobukuro's music's something that you will or will not appreciate as honestly I don't think their material's everyone's cup of tea seeing that they're folk rock but if you dig this kinda music then I think you will bound to like their material .
Another grip's that the songs tend to stretch towards the 5-6 mins mark so if you're someone with short attention span when comes to music then you probably should give Kobukuro a miss .
But anyway , 5296 contains 3 singles that Kobukuro has released prior to the release of the album which consists of Kimi to Iu Na no Tsubasa (Wings That Are Named You) , Tsubomi (Flower Bud) & Aoku Yasashiku (Blue, Kindly) .
Outta the 3 singles that Kobukuro has released from 5296 , I would highly recommend Tsubomi (Flower Bud) simply because it's an amazing song & it's a powerful ballad . Somemore , it's the 1st no.1 single for the duo so it's saying something . Not to mention , Kobukuro won the Grand Prix award at the 49th Japan Record Awards for Tsubomi just last year .
Tsubomi sold 441,799 copies , making it the 3rd best-selling single for 2007 behind Utada Hikaru's Flavor Of Life & the top selling single for last year which's Akikawa Masafumi's Sen no Kaze ni Natte .
The other 2 singles Kimi to Iu Na no Tsubasa (Wings That Are Named You) & Aoku Yasashiku (Blue , Kindly) are good too . Kimi to Iu Na no Tsubasa is very nice & it's a good uptempo no. .
With that said , I'm off to listen to Kobukuro's older material especially their major breakthough single Koko ni Shika Sakanai Hana (A Flower That Only Blooms Here) .