Tuesday, March 31, 2009

abingdon boys school - JAP

Cover For Both CD Only & CD + DVD Editions :

JAP is abingdon boys school's 6th single . Scheduled for a release date on May 20th , JAP's the main theme song of the latest game of the "SENGOKU BASARA" series : "SENGOKU BASARA battle heroes" which will be released spring 2009 .

Their new single comes in about 3 months+ since the release of their comeback single STRENGTH. .

I'm so happy that the guys have decided to release JAP as an official single after STRENGTH. as I remembered when JAP was aired last year on Japan's radio , things weren't certain whether or not will it be released as a single & at the time when STRENGTH. was released , I was sore to find out that they didn't include it as a B-side but right now , JAP has finally see the day & light of being released as a single now .

This's more or less a standard fare that abs has dished out . It's slightly less catchy as compared to their other singles but it's still good in my books .

The very mysterious sounding Valkyrie will serve as a B-side in the JAP single .

Monday, March 30, 2009

ayumi hamasaki Premium Countdown Live 2008-2009 A DVD Details & Tracklist

Disc 1 Tracklist :

2) Will
3) vogue
6) End of the World
7) Heartplace
8) Real me
9) And Then
10) Naturally
11) In The Corner
13) HOPE or PAIN
14) Over
15) SCAR

Disc 2 Tracklist :

17) Hana
18) too late
19) UNITE!
20) SURREAL~evolution~SURREAL
21) Who ...
22) Trauma
23) independent
24) everywhere nowhere
25) Mirrorcle World
26) Days
27) For My Dear ...
28) +
29) flower garden
30) Boys & Girls
31) MY ALL


CDJapan sent me an email this morning regarding ayumi hamasaki's latest brand new DVD & this time it's footage from her Premium Countdown Live 2008-2009 A .

The DVD will be released on May 13th & from the looks of the 2 discs tracklist , it's shaping up to be yet another fantastic DVD set with many of my fave ayumi songs of hers making the cut from her old classic staples to her more recent hits like Mirrorcle World , Days & GREEN .

Until this DVD is released , her 10th (11th overall) album NEXT LEVEL was released last Wed so be sure to get a copy of her brand new album to support her .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

2 CDs + DVD Cover :

2GB Thumbdrive Cover :

Tracklist For All 4 Editions :

1) Bridge to the sky
3) Disco-munication
4) EnergizE
5) Sparkle
6) rollin'
8) Load of the SHUGYO
9) identity
10) Rule
11) LOVE 'n' HATE
12) Pieces of SEVEN
13) Days
14) Curtain call

NEXT LEVEL is ayumi hamasaki's 10th (11th overall) album . It was released last Wed in 4 different editions .

2 singles which're both double A-side singles are included in ayumi's brand new album . As such , you will not find her 43rd single Mirrorcle World in here & that goes for the B-side in the single , Life as well .

If you were to purchase the 2 CDs + DVD edition , the 2nd disc contains 16 songs which ayumi did live at her "PREMIUM COUNTDOWN LIVE 2008-2009" concert .

NEXT LEVEL consists of 6 new songs , 1 introduction & 3 interludes , the same setting like her previous album GUILTY & 2 album tracks receive music videos of their own .

Bridge to the sky is a really nice piece of introduction to start the ball rolling in which it contains shades of synth , slight pop/rock & trance . All these music genres are combined together to form a really interesting piece of material .

Track #2 shares the same title as the album ie. NEXT LEVEL . It's also the 1st album track to receive a music video of its own . NEXT LEVEL's currently being used in Panasonic's Lumix FX 40 camera ads .

The song's composed by D.A.I , making it the 1st song that he composed for ayumi since her 40th single BLUE BIRD .

It's great to have D.A.I back onboard as I was really missing some of his compositions & in NEXT LEVEL , he & ayumi doesn't disappoint even though she didn't had a hand in co-composing with her .

NEXT LEVEL is a cool song that's pop synth driven & it's the perfect song for you to listen to , if you're driving along the highway . Someone pointed out that it sounded a bit like ANGEL'S SONG though , see whether can you listen out any similarities pertaining to both songs .

Disco-munication is the 1st interlude in NEXT LEVEL & this's 1 hot piece of interlude . I was actually hoping that it might be a full song but that proved otherwise .

I love the various sounds that're used in Disco-munication . From the beats , to the synth , to the trance , Disco-munication is just HOT on all levels . You can definitely sense the change in sound transition from Disco-munication onwards as the next 3 songs on NEXT LEVEL are electro pop driven tunes .

EnergizE is the 2nd album track & this's an addictive piece of electro pop trance song with slight rock roots thrown in for good measures . I like it that ayumi starts things off with English chorus & it sounded like that she had a lot of fun singing in EnergizE .

She just brings in a lot of spunk & well energy in this song . I wouldn't be surprised if she were to use EnergizE in future concerts of hers when she sings this song to get the crowd pumped up & it does sounds rara for that matter , kinda like those songs that cheerleaders might use in their dance routine & all .

Sparkle is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 45th single Rule / Sparkle . The song's used in the Honda Zest Spark ad . Initally Sparkle did not receive a music video of its own when Rule / Sparkle was released but you can find the video for Sparkle in the DVD tracklist of NEXT LEVEL .

To say that Sparkle outshines Rule in almost every single music aspect's an understatement . The moment I 1st heard Sparkle , I know that it's going to sound like something very different from what she has done in the past .

While Rule's a straight up somewhat hard rock song , Sparkle's a slice of gritty , addictive & very catchy electro pop . It's hard for you NOT to get addicted to Sparkle in a matter of mins .

rollin' is the last electro pop tinged song in the album . The song opened with some really cool guitar riffs with great electro beats thrown into the mix & what you get as the final product is yet another fantastic piece of song .

ayumi sounded a bit distorted in rollin' which was probably done on purpose but in any case , she executed all 3 songs very well & nicely for that matter .

GREEN is the 2nd A-side of her 44th single Days / GREEN . GREEN was used to promote Panasonic's Lumix FX 37 camera in their ads .

This's the only song in NEXT LEVEL that has an oriental influence / flavor & Tetsuya Yukumi whom composed the melody for GREEN is the same person whom provided the melody for alan's Sakura Modern which's the B-side of her debut single Ashita e no Sanka .

I loved GREEN on 1st listen when the single was released last year on Dec 17th . Maybe because I'm pretty much a sucker for songs that have nice enka or oriental flavors which made me like GREEN real easily .

ayumi really should do more of such songs in the future as it will definitely serve her well .

Load of the SHUGYO is the 2nd interlude in NEXT LEVEL & despite the odd title which probably will make you go ? , this's pretty much a kick ass piece of tune .

While Disco-munication has disco beats & synths , Load of the SHUGYO is a straight up rock affair . I love the guitars & drums that're blaring from side to side in here .

From here onwards , the mood in NEXT LEVEL has changed once again from going on a roadtrip (Bridge to the sky to NEXT LEVEL) , dancing in a disco (Disco-munication to rollin') , dining in a classy Chinese restaurant (GREEN) & now bringing you to a place which's none other than a rock gig which brings you to the next 3 songs which're rock affairs no.s .

identity is the 4th album track . Nothing much to say about this song other than it's a mean gritty piece of rock song that ayumi has delivered . It probably sounds the same as other rock songs that she has done before but I still like this as I'm a big fan of rock music .

That & also I like the melody which has some great guitar riffs going on in here .

Rule is the 1st A-side of ayumi's 45th single Rule / Sparkle . The song's used as the international theme song for the movie Dragonball Evolution .

While Sparkle's an awesome piece of dirty electro pop , Rule's a classic straight up hard rock charged up no. which has plenty of attitute & zest .

LOVE 'n' HATE is the last rock song & the 2nd last album track . I find LOVE 'n' HATE on 1st listen very interesting because of the melody . It has shades of orchestra beats presented in here while being wrapped up in catchy rock & the ending of LOVE 'n' HATE kinda took me by surprise in a good way .

& in case if you wonder , yes ayumi did said '1,2,3,4,5,6,7' & then '0' in LOVE 'n' HATE in which I suspect it pays homage to the next song which's incidentally the last interlude on NEXT LEVEL .

Pieces of SEVEN is the final interlude on the album & it's also the longest one outta the 3 , clocking in at 2:31 mins . I guess you can say that Pieces of SEVEN is like a mash up of the other 2 interludes as you get all the elements that made up Disco-munication & Load of the SHUGYO .

The 1st 1/2 of Pieces of SEVEN is pretty much calm with cool synth beats . Then slowly but surely , the mood has changed quite drastically to an upbeat & fierce one which has traces of rock thrown in . Definitely an entertaining piece of interlude for sure .

The last 2 tracks on NEXT LEVEL are ballads before all the pieces are come together to form an album roadmap journey .

Days is the 1st A-side of ayumi's 44th single Days / GREEN & it's a winter ballad as compared to the chinese oriental sounding GREEN .

Frankly on 1st listen , Days didn't catch me at all as I thought her other winter ballads like No way to say , Together When ... , momentum were way better than Days .

It's only in recent times that I began to appericate Days from a different light & angle . It's still not my fave winter ballad of ayumi but at least the lyrics are more than enough to make up for an otherwise boring sounding melody .

Curtain call is such a fitting way to wrap things off in NEXT LEVEL & this's the 2nd album track to receive a music video of its own .

The song really captivated me on 1st listen because it's such a simple heartwarming ballad in which it's basically just ayumi singing with the tinking of the piano . I didn't expect that she threw in gospel influences at the midst of Curtain call which was fantastic as it immediately reminded me of Bold & Delicious which she used a simliar music technique except in this case , Curtain call's a ballad where Bold & Delicious is an extremely addictive peppy no. .

To say that ayumi hamasaki has taken things musically to the next level , that's an understatement for sure . I thought she wasn't able to top things up after last year's album effort GUILTY but she has proven me really wrong in NEXT LEVEL .

This time round , the overall mood you can tell is more upbeat & cheerier as compared to GUILTY which was pretty much a really dark , rock & somewhat solemn affair .

In NEXT LEVEL , she has more or less moved on & went on to do something fun , bright & cheery as evident in the electropop tinged songs in her new album offering which's more or less the highlight of the album .

That & also , the sound consistency's really solid & there & with the help of the introduction Bridge to the sky & the 3 interludes , it takes you on a pretty much wonderful music journey from the start to the end .

Do yourself a favor & buy NEXT LEVEL which has shaped up to be yet another really solid album effort that ayumi has delivered & after being in the business for 11 years + & counting , it's easy to see why she has this much staying power in the music business since her debut way back in '98 .

An album that's highly recommended to check out for 2009 for sure .

Friday, March 27, 2009


CD + DVD Type B Cover :

BAMBINO ~Bambino~ is the 2nd A-side of BREAKERZ's upcoming 5th single Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ which will be released on 8th April aka frontman DAIGO's 31st birthday .

The song will be used in the new hair wax company men's Palty ad which will start airing from next Wed onwards .

BAMBINO ~Bambino~ is written by DAIGO , composed by guitarist SHINPEI & arranged by the whole group .

Oh man I got a shock when I finally manage to hear BAMBINO ~Bambino~ in full as this's so very different from what they have done in the past . For starters , I thought it might be something that Ricky Martin might have put out haha .

It sounds very 80's & old school to a certain extent , you have to give props to SHINPEI for composing such a melody .

Other than that , it's a very catchy piece of tune , a sharp contrast to the otherwise serious angsty sounding Everlasting Luv & I love the trumpets that're blaring in BAMBINO ~Bambino~ & I like that it's something different that the trio has dished out .

The acoustic version of Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... (Thousand Times ... 10 Thousand Times ...) will serve as the B-side for Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ . This's originally found as track #1 in their 2nd album CRASH & BUILD and you will only get this track if you were to purchase the CD only edition of the guys's new single seeing that both CD + DVD's doesn't have this tune .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CD Review :: Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER

Tracklist :

2) traveling
3) Shiawase ni Narou (Let's Be Happy)
4) Deep River
5) Letters
6) Play Ball
7) Tokyo NIGHTS
8) A.S.A.P.
9) Uso Mitai na (A Seemingly False) I Love You
11) Bridge (Interlude)
12) Hikari (Light)

DEEP RIVER is Utada Hikaru's 3rd album . It was released 7 years ago on June 19th .

4 singles are included in the album & that goes for a double A-side single too .

SAKURA DROPS is the 1st track on DEEP RIVER & it was used as the theme song to the drama First Love . It's also the 1st A-side of her 11th single SAKURA DROPS / Letters .

Even though it has been almost 7 years since the song was released , I still like this song as it never fails to sound fresh everytime I listen to it . That & I also like the numerous layers of different music styles pertaining to the melody for SAKURA DROPS .

traveling's Utada's 9th single & it was used in the DoCoMo FOMA ad . traveling's the most successful single in terms of sales wise that made the cut in DEEP RIVER & it was the 2nd most sold single 7 years ago , behind ayumi hamasaki's H single .

I remembered when the song was released , I really like how peppy & cheery this song sounds . It also sound futuristic to a certain extent & it helps that I really like the video for traveling & credits really had to go to her ex husband Kazuaki Kiriya .

Shiawase ni Narou (Let's Be Happy) is the 1st album track & this's a nice experimental tune which's pretty much piano driven . You can definitely tell as compared to SAKURA DROPS & traveling , Shiawase ni Narou is more calm & simpler in terms of music arrangement .

Sharing the same title as the album , it's Deep River . This's so far the only album track that she had made a music video for & it's quite easy to see why she chose to do that .

I was pretty much moved when I 1st heard Deep River as I like the emotions that Utada poured into this song & I suspect because of this , she decided to make a music video for this & the fact that she throw enka inspired tunes into Deep River just make the song sound even better in its own right .

Letters is the 2nd A-side of Utada's 11th single SAKURA DROPS / Letters . It was used in the Docomo Foma ad . The song featured a few guitarists including Char , GLAY's Hisashi & her own father Teruzane Utada .

It's weird that in the past I never like Letters in any single bit for some weird reason/s . I like this song & it has some nice reggae inspired like beats going on in here too .

Play Ball kinda reminded me of For You on 1st listen . It took me quite a while to remember how Play Ball sounds as it was a bit un-memorable for my liking but at least I'm ok with it now .

Tokyo NIGHTS sounded like traveling part 2 in that both are very upbeat & great pieces of R&B experimental tunes .

A.S.A.P. & Uso Mitai na (A Seemingly False) I Love You are 2 songs that I have heard long before I listened to DEEP RIVER in full so it was nice to finally know where both songs are found in this case .

A.S.A.P. is quite a poppy piece of R&B no. & as for Uso Mitai na I Love You , it's the only album track that has quite a strong rock influence which I really like .

The chorus of Uso Mitai na I Love You was originally intended to be used for her 10th single Hikari but the lyrics did not match the melody .

The melody was thrown out & a new one was written for Hikari & the original melody ended up in in the Eng version of Hikari titled Simple and Clean as well as Uso Mitai na I Love You .

Simple and Clean was used in the English release of the video game Kingdom Hearts .

FINAL DISTANCE's Utada's 8th single . Originally Distance from her 2nd album of the same title was supposed to be released as a single .

Utada heard of a school stabbing rampage in which the then 6 year old schoolgirl Rena Yamashita had died 7 years ago .

Rena had previously won an essay competition writing about how she wanted to become a singer just like Utada . Utada decided to rearrange the song into & created FINAL DISTANCE .

To say that FINAL DISTANCE's real empowering is an understatement , I really like FINAL DISTANCE as compared to the original Distance as it sounds more emotional driven & it's 1 of my fave ballads of Utada .

Bridge (Interlude) is well an interlude . It's quite a weird one which doesn't have a head or tail but I suppose it's slotted in here as the 2nd last track on DEEP RIVER so that it can flow nicely of sorts to the final track in DEEP RIVER in the form of Hikari .

Hikari's Utada's 10th single . It was the main theme song for the Japanese release of the Squaresoft (now Square Enix) & Disney Interactive video games Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories .

Utada was the only singer Tetsuya Nomura , the director of Kingdom Hearts , had in mind for the Kingdom Hearts theme song . This also marked the first time Utada had produced a song for a video game .

The English language version of the song , titled Simple and Clean was used in the English release of Kingdom Hearts . Although the two songs share a similar melody and background music , the meaning of the lyrics is significantly different .

DEEP RIVER is often considered as Utada's most acclaimed album to date by fans and critics & it's easy to see why with the quality of the material that you can find in here .

Even though it has been 7 years since DEEP RIVER was released , the album still sounds as fresh as always & brings you back to the time when as to why Utada was in such hot property back then when she revolutionised the Japan music scene with her brand of R&B pop influenced music .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CD Review :: Utada - This Is The One

Japanese Tracklist :

1) On And On
2) Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI
3) Apple And Cinnamon
4) Taking My Money Back
5) This One (Crying Like A Child)
6) Automatic Part II
7) Dirty Desire
8) Poppin'
9) Come Back To Me
10) Me Muero
11) Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit) [Japan Bonus Track]
12) Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit) [Japan Bonus Track]

US Tracklist :

1) Come Back To Me
2) Me Muero
3) Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI
4) Apple and Cinnamon
5) Taking My Money Back
6) This One (Crying Like A Child)
7) Automatic Part II
8) Dirty Desire
9) Poppin'
10) On and On

This Is The One is Utada Hikaru's 2nd full length Eng album . It was released in Japan on 2 Sat's ago ie. 14th March & the USA will see a release date for her new album on 12th May .

So far only 1 single's released from This Is The One & this's her 1st Eng album release in 5 years , after 2004's Exodus . Both of her Eng albums are released under her surname in a way to separate her Eng & Japanese works .

I will review This Is The One based on the Japanese tracklist as frankly I don't like the way the songs are being spread out with regards to the US tracklist . It's weird that both countries's tracklist are different for reasons that I can't put my finger on .

On And On is a nice R&B & somewhat mid tempo driven tune which more or less sets the mood & vibe on what you should expect for the album . It's not the type of opening that I was hoping for as I wanted something like Devil Inside with regards to Exodus but this's still ok in my books .

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI is 1 of my fave songs on the album as Utada sampled the famous classical tune Ryuichi Sakamoto of the same title .

I never thought she was able to blend R&B & Classical pretty well in this context & here I was being skeptical initially on whether will she be butchering such a classical piece of tune but thankfully , the end result was great .

Apple And Cinnamon is a nice mid tempo R&B no. . For me what I like about the song despite the weird title is the lyrics which're pretty meaningful & just like the next song Taking My Money Back , it's also another good tune .

This One (Crying Like A Child) is also another fave song of mine on This Is The One as the melody's pretty much unique as compared to the other tracks as it has a pretty much heavier synth factor & also a good guitar backing .

The lyrics pertaining to This One (Crying Like A Child) is quite bittersweet for that matter too .

Automatic Part II is an interesting title as she sampled her debut Japanese single Automatic which she released it alongside with time will tell 11 years ago .

Frankly I can't really hear that much of the original Automatic in Automatic Part II , maybe a few trances of the melody here & there but still it's an interesting concept that she has chosen to do with regards to Automatic Part II .

Dirty Desire is probably the only song that has remaining traces of songs which you can find in her debut Eng album Exodus . Unlike the lyrical contents of some songs in Exodus , Dirty Desire's quite kid friendly to a certain extent & I like the well dirty beats pertaining to the song .

Poppin' is just whack in either a good or bad way depending on how you feel about this song . It's pretty unique as compared to the other songs in This Is The One . The beats are fierce & the lyrics are pretty amusing to say the least .

Come Back To Me is the lead tie in single for This Is The One . I still have issues with the song in that it's really mainstream R&B stuff . I don't know if that's considered a good or bad thing but sometimes I have days where I like this mid tempo tune , some days I don't .

Me Muero is the last track on the album & just like Poppin' , it sounds different in that it's kinda lounge inspired especially in the beginning of the tune which I adore . At least in a way the album ended off pretty nicely .

Only found in the Japan edition are 2 remixes of Come Back To Me . You have the Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit & Quentin Harris Radio Edit remixes .

Frankly I'm lousy when comes to describing of remixes & it doesn't help that much I'm not really a remix person to begin with . But all I can say is that pertaining to both remixes of Come Back To Me , they're naturally more upbeat than the original take of the song .

After 5 years since the release of Exodus , the question's is This Is The One a good follow up ? Well to me , it's but to a certain extent . For me I like that this time round , the lyrical content for Utada's new album is more mature & more kid friendly unlike some of the songs on Exodus .

The bad thing I realised after I gave This Is The One a listen is that it's very mainstream sounding as compared to Exodus . Gone were the fast , fierce upbeats & heavily synth tunes you can find in Exodus . Instead they have been replaced with quite a lot of mid tempo tunes .

Other than a few slightly upbeat ones , the rest of the album are pretty much very R&B mid tempo-ish which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it . I guess this time round Utada decided to make an album that can reach out to people more easily as that's something I suspect she didn't managed to achieve with regards to Exodus .

With that said , go & do yourself a favor & pick up a copy of This Is The One to support Utada , that's the least you can do .

CD Review :: Kanjani∞ - KJ1 F·T·O

2 CDs Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

Disc 1 Tracklist :

1) F·T·O
2) Kanashi Koi (Sad Love)
3) Osaka Romanesque
4) Taiyou no Kodomo [Children Of The Sun] (Yokoyama You , Murakami Shingo , Maruyama Ryuhei & Okura Tadayoshi's No.)
5) Carnival (Okura Tadayoshi & Maruyama Ryuhei's Duet)
6) Mugendai (Infinity) [KJ1 mix]
7) Hatenaki Sora [Endless Sky] (Ryo Nishikido & Shota Yasuda's Duet)
8) Heat is on
9) Misetekure (Show Me)
10) Oh ! ENKA [KJ1 mix]
11) Sorede Linjyanai [That's All Right] (Okura Tadayoshi , Ryo Nishikido & Murakami Shingo's No.)
12) ONE (SubaruBAND's Song)
13) Osaka Rainy Blues [ver.KJ1]
14) Sukiyanen (And The Annual Favorite) , Osaka.

Disc 2 Tracklist (SanKyoudai's No.s) :

1) Purin (Pudding)
2) Onigiri (Rice Ball)

KJ1 F·T·O is Kanjani∞'s 1st full length album . It was released 3 years ago on 15th March .

The album consists of 2 1/2 singles in which 1 of them's their 1st triple A-side single & the other 1/2 is the 2nd A-side of their 4th single Osaka Obachan ROCK / Osaka Romanesque .

Aside from that , you have 5 album tracks that're not sung by the whole group .

F·T·O is the 1st album track & it stands for Funky Town Osaka & as the song title suggest , it's a funky blues inspired tune & it also has shades of enka thrown in for good measures which's cool .

Kanashi Koi (Sad Love) follows in the same vein as All of me for you which was found as track #3 in their Kansha ni Eight mini album in that both songs lie in the same angsty mood driven direction .

Osaka Romanesque is the 2nd A-side of the guys's future 4th single Osaka Obachan ROCK / Osaka Romanesque & a single version of Osaka Romanesque is made available in the single tracklis .

Hmm I'm not sure why the guys chose to release Osaka Romanesque as a recut single alongside with Osaka Obachan ROCK but it doesn't matter to me so much because it's 1 of my fave ballads of the guys & the fact that it has slight enka traces in the melody makes the song even more outstanding in its own right .

Taiyou no Kodomo (Children Of The Sun) is the 1st album song not to be sung by the whole group . Instead you have Yokoyama You , Murakami Shingo , Maruyama Ryuhei & Okura Tadayoshi taking charge of the song in here & I must say that it's a nice somewhat funky mid tempo tune & I also like the trumpets going on in the tune .

The guys have some nice harmonies going on in them which's really good .

Carnival is the 2nd non group album track & it's only sung by 2 of them who're Okura & Maruyama Ryuhei . It's pretty much a really chilled out song which's perfect for kicking back & relaxing when you listen to Carnival .

Mugendai (Infinity) is the 3rd A-side in the guys's 3rd triple A-side single Sukiyanen , Osaka / Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai & in here you have a KJ1 mix of the tune .

I always have like Mugendai on 1st listen & basically I really like all the 3 A-sides on Sukiyanen , Osaka / Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai as they all present different music styles delivered by Kanjani∞ & in this case Mugendai falls under the ballad category & the fact that it's quite enka tinged , it's another winner in my books .

The KJ1 mix of Mugendai does not feature vocals of their former member Uchi Hiroki & that goes for the album version for Osaka Rainy Blues too .

Hatenaki Sora (Endless Sky) is the 3rd non group album song & in here you got Ryo Nishikido & Shota Yasuda singing this somewhat poppy blues inspired tune . It's kinda carefree sounding just like Carnival & it's basically another cool song .

Heat is on is the 2nd album song that's angsty driven just like Kanashi Koi . I like this equally as much as Kanashi Koi but if you were to compare both songs , Heat is on is more simpler in terms of music arrangement but still this's good stuff .

Misetekure (Show Me) is another star track in KJ1 F·T·O as it presents something different that Kanjani∞ delivers & this's in the form of an electro inspired pop/rock tune .

I must admit that Misetekure reminded me of ARASHI's earlier works like Jidai & PIKA☆NCHI to a certain extent probably because the style is quite similar with regards to all 3 songs .

But regardless of which , Misetekure is a keeper seeing that I like & enjoy such songs .

Oh ! ENKA is the 2nd A-side of the group's 3rd single Sukiyanen , Osaka / Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai & just like Mugendai , you also get a KJ1 mix of Oh ! ENKA .

Unlike the KJ1 mix of Mugendai in which I can't tell the difference between the single & album version , this time round for Oh ! ENKA I can in which it's basically the beginning of the song is said by someone else .

Other than that , this's another fave single of mine of the guys as it's a very catchy & mid tempo enka influenced tune .

Sorede Linjyanai (That's All Right) is the 2nd last non group album track & this's sung by Okura , Ryo & Murakami . Just like their other non group album tracks on KJ1 F·T·O , this's another nice song that I like .

For me what I like about Sorede Linjyanai is that the trio's vocals & the melody managed to go in hand in hand together which's great & song wise , it's a nice peppy tune .

ONE is probably the most interesting song in KJ1 F·T·O because it's sung under the name SubaruBAND which's basically a band within a band .

In here you have the lead singer of the group Subaru Shibutani on who's in charge of vocals , guitar , lyricist , Shota on guitar & composer , Maruyama on bass & Okura on drums .

When you get 4 guys being banded together to form SubaruBAND , you know you will expect something good & they have delivered a really good rock influenced tune in the form of ONE & it does help in a lot of ways that Subaru worked his magic in here & I considered him in that he no doubt has the best voice in the group .

Osaka Rainy Blues is the group's 2nd single & in here you have a ver.KJ1 take of the song . The single version of Osaka Rainy Blues contained vocals of their former member Uchi Hiroki but you will not get to hear his vocals in the album take of the song .

I really like the opening of the ver.KJ1 take of Osaka Rainy Blues as it's awesome for Subaru to sing a bit of the chorus at the beginning of the song & it's kinda old school & James Bond inspired with regards to the introduction's melody & that lasts for the 1st 30-40 seconds of the song .

After that's outta the way , the song's more or less the same if you compare it against the single version & Uchi's vocals have been omitted in here . Other than some minor adjustments , this's still a nice one .

Osaka Rainy Blues's 1 of my fave Kanjani∞ tunes as it showcase a really strong electric guitar backing pertaining to the melody & it's quite a groovy chilled out tune for that matter .

The final track on KJ1 F·T·O is Sukiyanen (And The Annual Favorite) , Osaka. which's the 1st A-side of the group's 3rd single Sukiyanen , Osaka / Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai & Sukiyanen , Osaka's a classic Kanjani∞ song in that incorporates "konto" (comical skits) which are always ad-libbed .

Sukiyanen , Osaka's no doubt a fun & whack song that I like & you can tell the mood pertaining to Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai is so different as compared to their 1st A-side which's great as there's something for everybody in here .

Disc 2 Tracklist (SanKyoudai's No.s) :

1) Purin (Pudding)
2) Onigiri (Rice Ball)

Only found in the normal 2 CDs edition is this disc which consists of 2 songs that're both sung under another band within a band called SanKyoudai .

SanKyoudai consists of Yokoyama You , Shota Yasuda & Subaru Shibutani & the trio's an acoustic music unit in which Yokoyama writes the lyrics and Shota composes and plays the guitar accompaniment to the songs , which Subaru sings .

I always thought that the normal edition came with only 1 disc & I didn't expect this 2nd disc which contains 2 songs Purin & Onigiri & yes both are types of food in the form of pudding & rice ball .

I don't know why the guys have chosen to sing about pudding & rice ball of all things . I find it real enduring & cute .

Song wise , I really like it as I always have a soft spot for acoustic songs & as always Subaru worked his great voice in both songs real nicely . I would have wished Purin was a bit longer but aside from that , both Purin & Onigiri are keepers .


KJ1 F·T·O is an enjoyable debut album from the start to the end . I thought I was impressed with their Kansha ni Eight mini album but then the guys have stepped things up a level or 2 in KJ1 F·T·O .

I really like the diverse of music styles that Kanjani∞ came up with in KJ1 F·T·O & it's no doubt tough for non group album tracks to sound equally as good as the singles but somehow or another , they managed to pull things off very nicely & at the end , you get an album that takes you on a really fun & enjoyable music joy ride .

Monday, March 23, 2009

GIRL NEXT DOOR - Seeds of dream

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

Seeds of dream is GIRL NEXT DOOR's 4th single . It will be released on 15th April & it's the group's 1st release of new material this year & the 1st single after they released their self titled debut album last year on Christmas Eve .

Before I go on to talk about their new single , let me just say that this has to be 1 of the prettiest single covers that I have come across this year so far & it's quite original to a certain extent , I love the concept of those giant shoe props that were used in both single covers for Seeds of dream .

That & also frontwoman Chisa looked super cute in both covers & it's probably my fave GND cover be it for single or album for now .

Anyway back to the music , unfortunately even though the trio this time round have really good single covers , I can't say the same thing about Seeds of dream .

It's probably their weakest sounding A-side to date as frankly it took me about 5 times or so before I can recall how Seeds of dream sounds like . While I like the melody as it's still in the pop/rock synth vein , there's just something a bit off this time round that's not working in GND's favour .

Maybe in days to come , I will remember how Seeds of dream sound like as it's definitely lacking the spunk & oomph factor as compared to their 1st 3 singles .

Reasons for tears , Guuzen no kakuritsu (Oh My Gold Mix) & ESCAPE (ice cream mix) round up the rest of the single . I'm not sure if I will be reviewing the Oh My God & ice cream mix of Guuzen no kakuritsu & ESCAPE in due time as honestly , I'm lousy when comes to describing remixes of songs & it doesn't help that I'm not a remix person to begin with too .

Johnny's 29th April New Releases

I thought this might be a more fitting title seeing that you got not 1 , not 2 but 3 new Johnny's releases on the same day & oddly enough , it will be different releases in the form of a new album , a new single & a new DVD respectively .

1st up in line is KAT-TUN whom just celebrated their 3rd music anniversary yesterday & they will be releasing a 4th album that's currently untitled . There probably be a KAT-TUN IV somewhere in the title seeing that they made use of the band's name & also the roman symbols in their past 3 albums .

4 singles made the cut in their 4th album (quite fitting since their 1st 3 albums consists of 1 , 2 & 3 singles respectively . If not it probably is just a concidence) & that goes for DON'T U EVER STOP , an album version of White X'mas , ONE DROP & their most recent hit RESCUE .

Other than that , there will be 15 songs in total with the regular edition getting a bonus track while the limited edition will come with a 36 page booklet .

Apparently within the tracklist , there will be a batch of 6 solo songs . If that's so , that leaves only 5/6 album tracks , group wise .

Well frankly I'm not surprised a 4th album release has been officially confirmed as they will be touring the Tokyo Dome for 8 days straight this coming May . If not , it doesn't make sense to me if they're touring but they have no new material to deliver .

I'm quite interested to check out the album version of White X'mas in which I'm so happy that they have leave it intact on here as that's a great ballad . I wonder does this mean it will be rearranged differently , music wise ? Only time will tell & til then I can't wait for their 4th album to be released in due time :D

Regular Edition

Limited Edition

After like FOREVER as it might have seen , NEWS will be releasing their 11th single Koi no (Love) ABO & this's the guys's 1st release of new material for the year & it comes almost 5 months since the release of their 3rd album color .

Koi no ABO is currently used in the new RUSS-K ad which the guys are the spokespeople for the clothing company & it follows in the same direction when their previous singles weeeek & SUMMER TIME were used to promote RUSS-K .

It will be the 2nd time for NEWS to release a single of theirs in CD & CD + DVD format , the 1st being their 6th single Hoshi wo Mezashite .

The DVD features footage from their live stage performance on December 31st '08 which took place at their NEWS WINTER PARTY DIAMOND in TOKYO DOME concert & the setlist is as follows :

1) Happy Birthday
2) weeeek
3) Gan Gan Ganbatte
4) Hadashi no Cinderella Boy
6) MC

CD Only Tracklist :

1) Koi no (Love) ABO
2) Labyrinth
3) OPEN YOUR EYES (CD Only Track)
4) Share (Live at TOKYO DOME) (CD Only Track)

CD + DVD Tracklist :

1) Koi no (Love) ABO
2) Labyrinth
3) Koi no (Love) ABO -karaoke track-

Man I'm really happy that NEWS's finally releasing something after they have gone all quiet on me . I know that they were touring with regards to their NEWS WINTER PARTY DIAMOND in TOKYO DOME concert & CDJapan stated that the single will feature discotic numbers which's quite interesting .

I'm looking forward to hear the live version of Share as that's the 1st song that the whole group has wrote & composed together & speaking of their NEWS WINTER PARTY DIAMOND in TOKYO DOME concert , I wouldn't be surprised if a DVD release for this will be out in due time .

CD Only


Last but defintely not least , Hey ! Say ! JUMP will be releasing their brand new DVD titled Hey! Say! Jump-ing Tour '08-'09 featuring footage from their live stage performance on January 5th '09 at Yokohama Arena .

I'm frankly still hoping for a debut album release from this 10 piece band but I suppose this's a good stepping stone for them as this's their 1st release for 2009 .

The tracklist for their new Hey! Say! Jump-ing Tour '08-'09 DVD as follows :

1) Ultra Music Power
2) Dreams come true
3) Your Seed
4) FLY
5) Wonderland Train
6) Uruwashi no Bad Girl
7) Moonlight
8) Kawaii Kimi no Kotodamono (It's Cute You)
9) Deep night Kimi Omou (I Think You)
10) Mayonaka no (Midnight) Shadow Boy
11) School Kakumei (Revolution)
12) Star Time
13) Thrill
14) Switch
15) Kumo no Ito (Of Spider Silk)
16) Itoshi no Playgirl (Good-Time Girl In Love)
17) SUMMARY Medley
18) Bouken (Adventure) Rider
19) Hey ! Say !
20) Memories
21) Yuuki (Courage) 100%
22) Tobira no Mokou (Across The Door)

Looks pretty good even though I only know 9 outta the 22 tracks on the tracklist which's BAD on my part (I know *sheepishly* & that's referring to their 1st 4 singles & the B-sides) .

I was hoping to see Too Shy or maybe even Chance to change or Takaki Yuya's solo Oretachi no Seishun but since all 3 songs are excluded , tough luck on my part I guess .

Hey! Say! Jump-ing Tour '08-'09 DVD

Sunday, March 22, 2009

CD Review :: ARASHI - Dream"A"live

Regular Edition Cover :

2 CDs Limited Edition Cover :

Disc 1 Tracklist :

1) theme of Dream"A"live
2) Move your body
3) Happiness
4) Niji no Kanata he (Rainbow's Edge)
5) Do my best
6) Sirius
7) Flashback
8) Dive into the future
9) Koe (Voice)
10) My Answer
11) Life goes on
12) Step and Go
14) Once Again (Regular Edition Track)

Disc 2 Tracklist (Limited Edition) :

1) Hello Goodbye (Aiba Masaki's Solo)
2) Gimmick Game (Ninomiya Kazunari's Solo)
3) Take me faraway (Ohno Satoshi's Solo)
4) Naked (Matsumoto Jun's Solo)
5) Hip Pop Boogie (Sakurai Sho's Solo)

Dream"A"live is ARASHI's 8th album . It was released last year on 23rd April & this's currently the group's 2nd best selling album .

2 singles are included in the album & the regular edition contains a bonus track Once Again while the limited edition features solos songs for each member , making this the 3rd time for them to feature solo material , after their 5th album One & 7th album Time .

In a March 2nd '08 airing of member Sakurai Sho's radio show ShoBeat , it was revealed that the Dream"A"live title was created by Sakurai & Matsumoto Jun . The original title was "Alive" , then "A Live" ; purposely divided to indicate the group's name and the live performance . Matsumoto added "Dream" to the title to signify how "dreams can turn into reality .

theme of Dream"A"live is the introduction song which starts the ball rolling & it has a very nice & cool circus carnival feeling .

Move your body follows after theme of Dream"A"live & it's 1 of the more stronger & prominent tracks in the album & it flows really well from the introduction for that matter .

It's a dancey & rather upbeat tune & the appearance of Sakurap just makes the song even better as each listen goes by .

Happiness is the group's 20th single & this's a really peppy tune as the song title suggest & it's 1 of my fave singles of ARASHI too . The instrumental mix for Happiness can be considered to be quite unique with the utilisation of an electric guitar & an organ in the background which's cool .

Niji no Kanata he (Rainbow's Edge) on 1st listen was real bland & un-memorable for my liking . It took me quite a long time to remember as to how this somewhat upbeat tune sounds but at least Sakurap saved the song from falling short of expectations .

Do my best is 1 of my fave album tracks on Dream"A"live & just like Move your body , it also falls under the dance/upbeat category & the beats , the groove for Do my best are the strongest at max .

Definitely 1 of the star tracks on the album for sure .

Sirius is the 1st album ballad in Dream"A"live & it's a real tender no. . I like the way the guys harmonise their vocals together in Sirius even though I frankly can say that this's not really my fave album ballad that the guys have delivered .

Flashback & Dive into the future hand on 1st listen both sounded real boring for my liking just like Niji no Kanata he .

It took me quite a while to remember as to how Flashback & Dive into the future sounded like as to me I thought both these upbeat & thrown back into the future music styles of the songs doesn't seem to go well with the guys's vocals .

Koe (Voice) is the 2nd album ballad & between Sirius & Koe , Koe is definitely my fave ballad in Dream"A"live as it just employed the simple use of an acoustic guitar & some percussion melody wise & it's nice to hear Aiba opening the song . Koe's another star track on the album & a keeper .

My Answer is a great upbeat peppy tune & it's quite fitting for Sakurai to start the song seeing that he tend to sound good in doing such tunes & of course the appearance of Sakurap helped the song to propel to even greater heights .

Life goes on follows in the same music vein as Niji no Kanata he , Flashback & Dive into the future except unlike these 3 songs that I mentioned , I actually prefer Life goes on because at least it's somehow more stronger sounding & not to mention memorable as compared to the rest .

Step and Go is the group's 21st single & the last single included in Dream"A"live . I guess you can say that Step and Go was the beginning of the ARASHI boom as it became the group's single to sell over 300,000+ copies in the 1st week when it was released last Feb & since then , every single release of theirs after that has propel them to even greater heights & popularity , sales & then some .

Song wise , I adore Step and Go big time . I just like how funky & different it sounds as compared to their other singles . The Sakurap in here is 1 of my faves as Sakurai just makes the song sound even better than before as each listen goes by .

YOUR SONG is another fave album track of mine as it's a very simple song boosted with strong vocals & harmonisation of the whole group . The overall mood for it is real heartwarming & sweet that's for sure .

Only found in the regular edition pressing of the album is Once Again & well once again , this's another fave song of mine in Dream"A"live . It sounds pretty angsty driven boosted by strong strumming guitar riffs which's a sharp contrast to the other album tracks .

It sorta reminded me of a milder version of Cry for you which was found in their Time album . I love the Sakurap on here too .

Now to review each of the guys's solo material which're only found should you purchased the 2 CDs limited edition of Dream"A"live .

1) Hello Goodbye (Aiba Masaki's Solo) - This's a pretty upbeat guitar pop/rock tune that Aiba sang . I supposed the style of Hello Goodbye fit him pretty well in a bid way to conceal his somewhat weak vocals .

Still he make up for his lack of vocal power with such spunk in this tune & for him I have to give him credit for delivering quite a decent solo no. .

2) Gimmick Game (Ninomiya Kazunari's Solo) - Nino's solo songs are either a hit or a miss for me & unfortunately Gimmick Game falls into the latter category .

I honestly don't like the way Gimmick Game sound as the music style doesn't seem to go in tune with his vocals which's quite a pity .

The only saving grace for Gimmick Game is that he had a hand in writing & composing this which's commendable .

3) Take me faraway (Ohno Satoshi's Solo) - Ohno has never disappointed me with his solo songs since the beginning when it was Incorporated into their 5th album One & Take me faraway has proven the fact as to why he's the best singer & also the best dancer in the group .

The group leader really shined a great deal in Take me faraway where he delivered such a heartfelt & pretty much aching ballad . Definitely my fave solo in Dream"A"live .

4) Naked (Matsumoto Jun's Solo) - This is my least fave solo song on the album & it doesn't help that with a song title like Naked , it's quite ugh .

I wouldn't go much detail as to how bad this song's seeing that MatsuJun doesn't have good solos to begin with (other than I Want Somebody) so my suggestion's to skip this at all costs & I thought his previous solos were bad .

The only saving grace for this is that he cowrote it but other than that , a thumbs down on my part .

5) Hip Pop Boogie (Sakurai Sho's Solo) - just like Nino , Sakurai's solos are also a hit & miss on my part & I guess I can slot Hip Pop Boogie in the middle . Sometimes I have issues with it , sometimes I don't .

I suppose the admirable fact on Hip Pop Boogie is that it sticks to what Sakurai does best which's rapping . It's tough doing a full rap solo song but you have to give Sakurai credit for pulling off such a stunt .


Dream"A"live is frankly 1 of ARASHI's weakest albums that they have put out to date . I feel that the production was really rushed & some of the album tracks tend to sound the same if not samey .

Not to mention with just 2 singles , it's tough to strike a balance & to make the album tracks sound on par if not even better than Happiness & Step and Go . Some of the album tracks managed to accomplish that feat while others just fell flat beyond expectations & that goes for the solos songs too .

After the brilliance that's of Time , I'm quite sure that long time ARASHI fans might feel a bit short changed/disappointed in Dream"A"live . I did had that feeling at 1st but I eventually began to change my perception towards it in due time . I wouldn't call it my fave album of the guys but I'm very sure that they can come up with something even better than this .

They did so for their past albums & hopefully they will be able to release another new album soon & this might be a challenge for them to live up as the singles that they released after Step and Go were really fantastic but I have faith in them in that they'll be able to bounce back with something really good .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

OLIVIA - Sailing free

CD + DVD Cover (- OLIVIA ver. -) :

CD + DVD Cover (- BASARA ver. -) :

Sailing free is OLIVIA's 11th single . Scheduled to be released next month on the 15th , this will be her 1st single in 3 years after she released Wish / Starless Night under the billing OLIVIA inspi' REIRA (TRAPNEST) .

Her brand new single will serve as an insert song to the hit game series Devil Kings (Sengoku Basara) & is a collaboration with INORAN .

This's also her 1st release for 2009 , 6-7 months after the release of her 6th mini album Trinka Trinka .

I'm so happy that this girl's back with something new as I was really missing some OLIVIA whom I considered her as 1 really under-rated musician .

Frankly on 1st listen , Sailing free is not as catchy nor grabbing as her previous material like Wish , a little pain , Stars shining out but at least in due time , Sailing free somehow becomes a much more memorable pop/rock tune in due time after I gave the song a listen .

The video for Sailing free is worth the watch & it's very entertaining that's for sure & despite this , I still say that it's great that OLIVIA's back on the music scene seeing that her material releases can get very unpredictable .

Love Love Love & Undress will serve as B-sides in her Sailing free single .

Sailing free's writing & composing credits : 

Lyrics by OLIVIA , Masumi Kawamura
Arranged by INORAN , H.Hayama

alan - Kuon no Kawa (River Of Eternity)

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

Kuon no Kawa (River Of Eternity) is alan's 9th single & it's scheduled for release on 8th April & this's her 1st release single wise a month after the release of her debut Japanese album Voice of EARTH .

Her brand new single is a Japanese take of Chi Bi (赤壁 ; RED CLIFF) ~Da Jiang Dong Qu~ (~大江东去~ ; ~The Great River Surges East~) which was used to promote the 2nd installment of the John Woo movie RED CLIFF .

She did the same thing when she released her 6th Japanese single RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ in which the Chinese take of the song Xin·Zhan ~RED CLIFF~ , was used in the 1st RED CLIFF movie .

Wow , just when I thought RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ was epic , she stepped things up a notch or 2 with Kuon no Kawa & it's just awesome to say the least .

The beginning of Kuon no Kawa just took my breath away & I absolutely adore the instrumental for the song & of course alan worked her magic extremely well & displayed powerful pipes of hers in Kunon no Kawa & yes her signature yodelling present too .

An awesome awesome ballad that she has delivered , you will be blown away in an instant once you hear Kunon no Kawa .

Just so you know , the tracklist for Kunon no Kawa is already up via her
official site

Tracklist for both editions

1) Kunon no Kawa (River Of Eternity)
2) Chi Bi (赤壁 ; RED CLIFF) ~Da Jiang Dong Qu~ (~大江东去~ ; ~The Great River Surges East~) [OST RED CLIFF II]
3) RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ (~Heart·War~)
4) Xin.Zhan (心战 ; Heart.War) ~RED CLIFF~ (OST Red Cliff)
5) Kunon no Kawa (Instrumental)
6) Chi Bi ~Da Jiang Dong Qu~ (Instrumental)

Hmmm I don't know why she decided to include both RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ & Xin.Zhan ~RED CLIFF~ once again in Kunon no Kawa seeing that both songs are already found in her RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ single but in anycase , it doesn't matter that much to me as I adore both tunes so I can let this slide .

Yusuke - Himawari (Sunflower)

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

Tracklist :

1) Himawari (Sunflower)
2) Sakura Monogatari (The Story Of Sakura)
3) Soyokaze (Breeze)
4) Himawari -Instrumental-

Himawari (Sunflower) is Yusuke's debut solo single . It was released last Wed & the A-side is used for his biopic drama Kamiji Yusuke Monogatari .

Yusuke was in the trio Shuchishin which has since been disbanded from Jan 2nd this year onwards .

Himawari debuted at #2 in the 1st week behind KAT-TUN's RESCUE & its 1st week sales was a very healthy 219,230 & he's the guy who caused KAT-TUN for the 1st time in their career not to get a full #1 on the weekly Oricon chart when Himawari went head on with RESCUE last week .

As of now , Himawari is still selling very well & clinging onto the same position as last week ie. #2 behind Namie Amuro's WILD / Dr. .

Looks like Shuchishin has helped Yusuke extremely well in getting his solo career a good headstart & an admirable fact is that he's responsible for taking care of the single's lyrics , jacket design & the music video .

I guess you can say this's partially the reason as to why I decided to find out for myself as with regards as to why Himawari's doing so well at this point in time after I saw how daring & bold it upstaged RESCUE .

Himawari is a slice of easy listening guitar pop/rock song & surprisingly , it's quite old school to a certain extent & that's in a good way . Yusuke is more or less at ease singing Himawari .

The 1st B-side Sakura Monogatari (The Story Of Sakura) is a cute B-side which features voices of children talking at the beginning & end of the song . Song wise , it's a very nice & uplifting piano driven & guitar pop/rock tune . Sakura Monogatari's real catchy & I like the fact that kids are singing at the background chorus wise which makes the B-side even better as each listen goes by .

Soyokaze (Breeze) is the 2nd B-side & this's another great tune that's very Enka influenced . It's no doubt catchy on 1st listen & I find the melody for Soyokaze gorgeous & Yusuke sounds very carefree in delivering this no. .

I was pleasantly surprised as to what Yusuke had to offer for his debut single Himawari . I thought his solo material might be the same stuff that he did when he was in Shuchishin but I was proven really wrong after I gave Yusuke a listen .

Given the right amount of promotion & exposure , I think he can go pretty far & also for a debut single , the overall package's commendable & also each of the songs managed to carve an unique music identity of its own .

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kanjani∞ - Saite Ikyo (Bloom And Live)

Saite Ikyo (Bloom And Live) is found as track #11 in Kanjani∞'s 3rd brand new album KJ3 PUZZLE which's scheduled for release next month on the 15th .

Band members Yokoyama You & Murakami Shingo played the song on their radio show Kanjani Eight Yokoyama You – Murakami Shingo no Recomen ! 2 Thurs's ago .

I really like Saite Ikyo on 1st listen when I downloaded the radio rip of the song . At that time , nobody knew whether or not Saite Ikyo will be included in KJ3 PUZZLE .

It was only recently when the covers for KJ3 PUZZLE & the tracklisting were officially released on the group's official website & that it was confirmed as an album track which's great .

The song's catchy & it kinda reminded me of a distant cousin of their 6th single Zukkoke Otokomichi in that melody & style wise , they tend to sound almost identical but thankfully each song has an unique niche .

Good stuff , I look forward to the release of KJ3 PUZZLE in due time now .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL & Curtain call

NEXT LEVEL & Curtain call are found as track #2 & #14 in ayumi hamasaki's upcoming 10th album NEXT LEVEL which's scheduled to be released next Wed .

These 2 songs are the only album tracks that received music videos of its own , alongside with Sparkle which's the 2nd A-side of her 45th single Rule / Sparkle .

Initially only Rule received its own music video & that it was at 1st the only double A-side of ayumi where she didn't made a music video for both songs but in due time she decided to make a video for Sparkle which's included in the DVD tracklist of NEXT LEVEL .

NEXT LEVEL is currently used for promotion in the ads for Panasonic's Lumix FX40 camera & it's a nice spring influenced tune , I like it that it's very carefree & easy listening on the ears .

The tune has a splash of slight electro & synth thrown in for good measure & it's a nice overall neat little package .

Curtain call is the last track on the album & such a simple & heartfelt ballad . It's piano driven & the last part prior to the end of the song just surprised me as ayumi thrown in some gospel for good measure , kinda reminded me of Bold & Delicious in a way without the funk factor which's really cool .

ayumi's new album NEXT LEVEL is shaping up to be yet another really good album after last year's GUILTY . Judging from both tracks , I wouldn't be surprised if she were to take things well to the next level & that I'm pretty sure the overall mood for NEXT LEVEL will present itself to be more cheerier & upbeat unlike GUILTY .

Monday, March 16, 2009

BREAKERZ - Everlasting Luv

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Type A Cover :

Everlasting Luv is the 1st A-side of BREAKERZ's upcoming 5th single Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ & this's the trio's overall 4th double A-side single release .

Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ is set for an 8th April release date & it will be released on the same day as frontman DAIGO's 31st birthday .

The 1st A-side is served as the 26th opening theme song for the popular long-running Detective Conan anime series & & this comes less than 2 months since their last single was released , the awesome GRAND FINALE .

DAIGO incidentally also did voice acting for the new Detective Conan movie Shikkoku no Chaser .

Written by DAIGO in which melody wise he composed it together with guitarist SHINPEI , Everlasting Luv is a straight up rock affair no. & here I was thinking it might be a ballad because of the title . Boy was I wrong on this assumption .

I must say that I love Everlasting Luv on 1st listen , at least it's not as moody/depressing driven unlike LAST EMOTION , there's still a hint of angst displayed in here but it's all good .

I love how fast paced & driven Everlasting Luv sounds & hats off to DAIGO & SHINPEI who composed Everlasting Luv together .

After the somewhat mellow & pepppy driven no. GRAND FINALE , I'm so glad that they returned back with this somewhat angsty driven rock no. in the form of Everlasting Luv .

The 2nd A-side BAMBINO ~Bambino~ & the B-side of the single which's the ~Acoustic Version~ of Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... (Thousand Times ... 10 Thousand Times ...) will be reviewed in due time .

ayaka - Yume wo Mikata ni (Make Your Dream(s) Your Ally)

CD Only Regular Edition Cover :

CD Only Limited Edition Cover :

Yume wo Mikata ni (Make Your Dream(s) Your Ally) is the 1st A-side of ayaka's upcoming brand new 10th single Yume wo Mikata ni / Koi Kogarete Mita Yume & this's her 1st release of 2009 .

Her brand new double A-side single will be released next month on 22nd . Single wise , it comes in almost 11 months since the release of Okaeri & 7 months since the release of 2nd collaboration single with Kobukuro , Anata to under the name ayaka x Kobukuro .

Album wise , it has been almost 10 months since her 2nd album Sing to the Sky was released .

I'm so happy that 1 of my fave pop/rock singer/songwriter is back with something new as I was really missing some ayaka & in here she doesn't disappoint me .

On 1st listen , Yume wo Mikata ni sounds like a cross between her previous singles such as Okaeri & a bit of Te wo Tsunagou but still it's ok seeing that the singles that I mentioned are some of my fave ayaka songs even though I can say that it's slightly less catchy than her previous material .

The song's no doubt a grower & it seems to sound better as each listen goes by which's great & I also like the tinkling of the piano in the music background too .

The 2nd A-side Koi Kogarete Mita Yume (The Dream You Yearned For) & the B-side of the single , a (2009/2/13 SHIBUYA-AX LIVE ver) of Kimi ga Iru Kara (Because I Have You) aka track 13 from Sing to the Sky will be reviewed in due time .

Friday, March 13, 2009

Aqua Timez - Niji (Rainbow) ~Album ver.~

Found as track 15 / a bonus track in Aqua Timez's 3rd new album release Utai Sarishi Hana which was released 2 days ago , it's the ~Album ver.~ of the group's 6th single Niji (Rainbow) which was used as the theme song for the 3rd season for the dodrama Gokusen .

I really adore the ~Album ver.~ of Niji despite being longer than the original version of the song . The original take of Niji is 5:39 mins while the ~Album ver.~ clocks in at 6:28 mins .

The difference between the original & ~Album ver.~ of Niji is the music structure of the tune . While the original version of the guys & girl's 6th single is quite an upbeat peppy pop/rock no. , the ~Album ver.~ sees a more acoustic , calm & poppy setting which's frankly very cool & here I was wondering why they decided to include 2 different versions of Niji in Utai Sarishi Hana & now I know why so .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aoyama Thelma - Todoketai ... (I Want To Send ...) Feat KEN THE 390 / Konomam Zutto (This Much Remains)

CD Only Regular Edition & CD + DVD Covers :

CD Only Limited Edition Cover :

Tracklist :

1) Todoketai ... (I Want To Send ...) Feat KEN THE 390
2) Konomam Zutto (This Much Remains)

Todoketai ... (I Want To Send ...) Feat KEN THE 390 / Konomam Zutto (This Much Remains) is Aoyama Thelma's 6th single & it was released yesterday .

This's her 1st single release of 2009 & also her 1st double A-side release too & it comes about 5 months+ since the release of her last single Daikkirai Demo Arigatou & also a month since her 1st compilation album LOVE ! .

You probably can count Todoketai ... as the 2nd answer call song of sorts that Aoyama has dished out after Soba ni Iru ne (I'm By Your Side) feat SoulJa because I found out that KEN THE 390 released Todoketakute ... on the same release date as LOVE ! & yes Todoketakute ... featured Aoyama on vocals so there .

Thankfully I like Todoketai ... & the melody's pretty & it's a very easy listening R&B piece of tune & like what I said for both Soba ni Iru ne , Aoyama sound perfectly fine on her own without KEN THE 390 & SoulJa respectively .

Found as track #6 in LOVE ! , it's the 2nd A-side of Aoyama's new single Konomam Zutto . Hmmm I'm not sure as to why she choose to release this as a single alongside with Todoketai ... but I'm actually real glad that she choose this among the new songs in LOVE ! as this's my fave album track outta the lot .

Konoman Zutto's currently used as the theme song for the dodrama Q.E.D. .

The only B-side in the single is a cover of the famous Disney tune SOME DAY MY PRINCE WILL COME which was taken from Walt Disney's 1937 animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs .

I'm surprised that Aoyama chose to cover this song , she probably's a big Disney fan just like I'm but in anycase , I like that she added her own R&B spin/twist to this classic & seeing that she's fluent in Eng , she sounds really good in here & she did a pretty good job covering this classic Disney tune .

Todoketai ... Feat KEN THE 390 / Konomam Zutto is another good single that Aoyama has released although I'm quite sure that fans that have been following her since her debut single ONE WAY will appreciate if she can release another fast furious R&B upbeat single since so far ONE WAY's the only single that she has released which falls under this genre & the rest of the singles that she subsequently released have been mid tempo if not R&B ballads .

I just hope she will release another upbeat R&B single , it will suck if she were to be pigeonhole as an artiste that's only best remembered for releasing mid tempo slow R&B no.s . as she's equally good in singing fast upbeat R&B no.s as evident in ONE WAY , GOOD TIME & also HIGHER .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CD Review :: Kanjani∞ - Kansha ni Eight EP

CD Only Regular Edition Cover :

CD Only Limited Edition Cover :

Tracklist :

2) Naniwa Iroha Bushi
3) All of me for you
4) Tabibito (Travelers)
5) 10 Nengo no Kyou no Hi mo (Today , Even After)
6) Fuyu no Riviera (Winter Of The Bank)
7) Eden (Regular Edition Track)
7) Naniwa Iroha Bushi (Winter Rock Mix) (Limited Edition Track)
8) Naniwa Iroha Bushi (Trance Mix) (Bonus Track)

Kansha ni Eight EP is Kanjani∞'s 1st mini album & it was released 5 years ago on Dec 15th . This's the lst & last studio offering featuring vocals of their former 8th member Uchi Hiroki .

Just 1 single is included in Kansha ni Eight EP & depending on which edition you get , you get a different track pertaining to track 7 in the album so your eyes are not deceiving you in this context with regards to the tracklist .

DREAMIN' BLOOD is the 1st track to kick things off in this mini album & I think it's such a great way to start things musically simply because I find DREAMIN' BLOOD to be a very catchy , uplifting soaring piece of tune .

Naniwa Iroha Bushi is the group's debut single & it more or less established Kanjani∞'s trademark sound in that it incorporates a very strong Enka feeling pertaining to the melody & this's 1 of my fave singles of the guys .

Subsequent Enka inspired tunes were found in their future singles like Osaka Rainy Blues , Oh ENKA ! (2nd A-side in their 3rd single/1st triple A-side release Sukiyanen , Osaka. / Oh ! ENKA / Mugendai) .

All of me for you is a great piece of angsty pop driven no. . Its mood is quite vaguely different as compared to DREAMIN' BLOOD although it's a bit similar to Naniwa Iroha Bushi mood wise but still I like this song .

It's great to see Kanjani∞ or should I say hear that the group can deliver angsty tunes just as well as cheery upbeat good pop songs .

Tabibito (Travelers) is track #4 & I guess you can slot Tabibito in the same music genre as DREAMIN' BLOOD since both of them are equally catchy upbeat tunes . Except in this case , I find Tabibito to be a bit un-memorable for my liking as it took me quite a while to remember how it sounds like but after a few listens or so , I can safely say that I enjoy Tabibito just as much as DREAMIN' BLOOD .

10 Nengo no Kyou no Hi mo (Today , Even After) is a very nice Christmas inspired tune & I find it really cute on all levels . I suppose they did such a song because at that time when Kansha ni Eight was released , it was out 10 days before Christmas hence that's probably the only explaination I can give as to why you find such a no. in here .

Regardless of which , 10 Nengo no Kyou no Hi mo is a cool song to listen to , be it whether you're in a festival mood or not .

Fuyu no Riviera (Winter Of The Bank) is a nice somewhat mid-tempo poppy inspired tune even though just like Tabibito , I had trouble remembering just how it sounds like & I can safely say that both songs are somewhat the weak links in Kansha ni Eight on 1st listen .

Having said that , both songs in due time start to gain prominence in my mind as the more I listen to Fuyu no Riviera & Tabibito , I was able to pick up bits & pieces as to how each song sound like to prevent myself from blanking out in case I see a song title on their mini album & then in return I couldn't recall how they sound like .

Only found in the regular edition of Kansha ni Eight EP , it's Eden & it's the only ballad in this mini album . I guess you can say that this's no doubt my fave album track simply because it's such an awesome powerful ballad that the guys delivered .

I really like Eden on 1st listen & in the midst of Eden when the song gained momentum , it's really magical & the bridge of Eden just pushed things up an notch or 2 higher than before .

Eden's definitely 1 of the star tracks on Kansha ni Eight EP for sure .

The Winter Rock Mix of Naniwa Iroha Bushi is only found in the limited edition of the mini album . Nothing much to comment about the Winter Rock Mix of the guys's debut single except instead of the original Enka melody that was used , you get a well Rock & winter inspired tune in this context .

It's quite unusual mixing Rock & a winter inspired tune with regards to this remix but somehow or another , it works in favor for the group .

Found as a bonus track in both editions of Kansha ni Eight EP , it's the Trance Mix of Naniwa Iroha Bushi . I'm not really a remix person to begin with & surprisingly with a remix titled as Naniwa Iroha Bushi (Trance Mix) , it doesn't really emphasised that much on the Trance factor .

It still has traces of the original melody for Naniwa Iroha Bushi & you mixed it up with Trance music & some of the guys's vocals tend to sound quite far back if you listen to the Trance Mix of their debut single .

I usually can't tolerate Trance music but this Trance Mix of Naniwa Iroha Bushi's pretty OK & then it faded out at the end of the background .

Between the Winter Rock Mix & Trance Mix of Naniwa Iroha Bushi , I prefer the Winter Rock Mix as it presented something different that Kanjani∞ brought to the music plate .

Wow , I can say that I was very surprised when I 1st gave Kanjani∞'s mini album Kansha ni Eight EP a listen & here I was , being so very reductant to try out their music for the longest time .

Before I decided to give their album material a shot , I assumed that it will be the same crazy whack stuff that they chunned out with regards to some of the singles that they have dished out like Wahaha , Musekinin Hero & Osaka Obachan (Auntie) ROCK but they have proven me very wrong , music wise .

I'm impressed with the various styles of music genres that were found with regards to Kansha ni Eight EP & considering that it's a mini album & there's only 1 single in the tracklist , musically it's really strong & it showcased how versatile the guys are , be it when comes to Pop/Rock , Enka .

Expect album reviews on their 1st 2 albums KJ1 F·T·O & KJ2 Zukkoke Daidassou to be up & running in due time .

Until then , do yourself a favor & give Kansha ni Eight EP a listen .

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Utada - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI is found as track #2 in Utada's upcoming 2nd album This Is The One in which it will be out this coming Sat .

Who would have thought she sampled the famous classical tune Ryuichi Sakamoto's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence , melody wise & being brought up with classical music , I was real stoked when I found out about what Utada has done .

So song wise , how does it stake up ? I can safely say that I really enjoy Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI a more lot than the lead tie in single Come Back To Me .

I never thought she was able to blend R&B & Classical pretty well in this context & here I was being skeptical initially on whether will she be butchering such a classical piece of tune but thankfully , the end result was great .

I don't know if Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - FYI will be getting a music video just like Come Back To Me so it reminds to be seen in due time .

Until then I can't wait for This Is The One to be released officially this coming Sat !

Monday, March 09, 2009

GReeeeN - Ameagari (Right After Stopped Rain) [Setsuna's B-side]

Ameagari (Right After Stopped Rain) serves as the B-side for quartet GReeeeN's 10th single Setsuna which will be released this coming Wed .

The beginning of Ameagari is quite unexpected with the ringing of a phone . The music is a nice mix of strings , piano & synth which blends together real well & the end product gives you a pretty catchy mid tempo tune even though frankly I can say that this's not my B-side of the guys but considering the fact that it's B-side material , it's still pretty decent .

I suppose Ameagari might sound even better if they were to do away the ringing of a phone in the beginning of the song but still you have to give props to GReeeeN for delivering catchy pop/rock material .

Setsuna is overall another top notch single that the quartet has released & the A-side is already something that I loved on 1st listen & Ameagari is ain't 1/2 bad itself .

The guys will be singing the theme song for the ROOKIES movie & the title has been already been confirmed in the form of Haruka (Far) . It makes sense for them to sing for the ROOKIES movie as their 7th single Kiseki was used as the theme song for the ROOKIES drama & it's that song which propel them to even greater heights than ever (1st was of course their 3rd single Ai Uta which has been credited as their breakthough hit) & frankly I wouldn't be surprised if Haruka will shoot their popularity up even higher than ever when it's released in due time .

I'm assuming that Haruka will be their next single release after Setsuna . So far a release date is not set for Haruka yet but their official website put it as during Spring/Summer 2009 .

Regardless of which , I can't wait to hear Haruka in due time & I suppose a 3rd album will materialise sooner or later than I expected .

Hidemi Uematsu - Ryo-kun (Jidai's B-side)

Ryo-kun is the B-side no. found in indie artist Hidemi Uematsu's 2nd single Jidai which was released last Wed .

Before I go on , I should say that this really talented lady wrote & composed both songs in her new single & the same thing applies for her debut single Dear My Friend / Trauma too .

I really like Ryo-kun on 1st listen . Hidemi utilise strong guitar backing for this B-side & it's equally as catchy as the A-side Jidai .

Ryo-kun is quite an emotional mid tempo pop/rock driven no. unlike Jidai where it's a calm R&B/folk driven song in which both of them are opposite parallels of each other which's perfect I say .

Once again Hidemi has delivered another solid single . I'm still thankful to my friend Roxanne for getting me hooked onto her music as I really feel Hidemi's an under-rated but yet extremely talented singer/songwriter .

I hope she can release her debut album or maybe another new single in due time . Given the right amount of promotion & exposure , I believe Hidemi can go really far .

Sunday, March 08, 2009

CD Review :: alan - Voice of EARTH

CD Only Cover :

CD + DVD Cover :

CD Tracklist :

1) Tennyo (Celestial Maiden) ~interlude~
2) Ashita e no Sanka (A Hymn For Tomorrow)
3) Sora Uta (Sky Song)
4) Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~
5) Hitotsu (One)
6) Kaze no Tegami (Letter Of Wind)
8) Yume no (Dream) Garden
9) Gunjou no Tani (Ultramarine Valley)
10) my friend
11) Liberty
12) Tsuki ga Watashi (The Moon Is Me)
13) RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ (~Heart.War~)
14) Megumi no Ame (Blessed Rain)
15) Together (First Press Track)

Voice of EARTH is Tibetan-Sichuan born singer alan's Japanese debut album & it was released last Wed .

All of alan's singles ie. 8 of them are included in Voice of EARTH inclusive of her most recent hit Gunjou no Tani & excluding Tennyo ~interlude~ , you will expect 5/6 new songs of alan (depending whether you get the 1st press track of Together or not) .

YesAsia described the album as 'it's all about "love & peace" , which is a running theme in the works of the singer from Tibet' .

Tennyo (Celestial Maiden) ~interlude~ is the only instrumental introduction in Voice of EARTH & for an introduction piece of material , it's surprisingly long at 3:09 mins but this's a really nice no. which has strong Tibetan influences & also alan's signature yodelling thrown in for good measures I would say .

It somehow reminded me a bit of sign (the 3rd B-side in her 2nd single Hitotsu) but only Tennyo ~interlude~ is a lot more powerful/better .

Ashita e no Sanka (A Hymn For Tomorrow) follows straight after Tennyo ~interlude~ is finished & I think it's a perfect way to slot in Ashita e no Sanka as track #2 seeing that it's alan's debut Japanese single & also the sound transition is there .

Has it really been 2 years+ since Ashita e no Sanka was released ? I wouldn't have guessed it & to think at 1st I disliked Ashita e no Sanka (of horrors I know) but right now it's officially 1 of my fave alan singles simply because it established alan's classic & signature music style & of course the fact that she has a powerful voice as she yodels as displayed in Ashita e no Sanka speaks it off too .

Sora Uta (Sky Song) is her 4th single & it's the 2nd song in her five-single traditional elements set & it emphasised the element Sky (hence the title) .

This was actually the very 1st song that I heard of alan & I remembered that I was very impressed with it as it has strong Tibetan & somewhat Enka beats being thrown into the song for good measures .

I like that it's a very uplifting & well soaring piece of work .

Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ is alan's 3rd single & it's the 1st song in her five-single traditional elements set & it emphasised the element Earth . The song was used as the theme song for NHK special , Save the Future , for World Environment Day .

So far this's alan's most successful single in terms of chart position wise where it debuted at #19 on the 1st week in the Oricon singles chart & in the music background , you can hear traces of an Erhu coutesy of alan (since she's an accomplished Erhu player) .

Frankly this's not really my fave alan single but still I appericate the fact on how Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ comes about in terms of its music style & that it's quite a gentle calming piece of tune for that matter .

Hitotsu (One) is alan's 2nd single & I know some people doesn't like this single of hers but for me this's something I don't mind even though somehow or another , the melody's quite plain but alan makes up for the lack of music variety with her sheer powerful vocals & it's a nice mid tempo ballad .

Kaze no Tegami (Letter Of Wind) is her 5th single & it's the 3rd song in her five-single traditional elements set & it emphasised the element Wind .

This's actually 1 of my fave singles of her because it has quite a hard pop/rock edge to it & she does justice to Kaze no Tegami & she seems pretty much at ease singing this song with great spunk .

BRAVE is track #7 in Voice of EARTH & this's the album's 1st new song . This's probably 1 of my fave album tracks because it's a very upbeat & catchy tune which has very strong traces of Tibetan Enka music which's great .

For me I like it that BRAVE gets better as each listen goes by . She should be doing more of such tunes , not that I don't like her ballads of course .

Yume no (Dream) Garden follows after BRAVE & yes it's a ballad . The beginning of the song was quite boring for my liking but thankfully the song began to pick up the pace & mood as time goes by .

Like the song title , Yume no Garden is a dreamy piece of no. that alan has delivered . I like it that before the song concluded , it transforms from a ballad to a somewhat mid tempo tune & somehow or another it's quite Chinese oriented too which's cool .

I should add that Yume no Garden is the only track that alan had a hand in cowriting in Voice of EARTH .

Gunjou no Tani (Ultramarine Valley) is alan's 8th single & this was the last single release of hers before Voice of EARTH was released . Written & composed by Cocco , this song was conceived specifically for the people of Sichuan after the massive earthquake that took place last year .

The whole package of Gunjou no Tani , from the lyrics to the melody to the music video , it's just perfect & for me I like the fact that it's not a single ballad that alan delivered & the music for Gunjou no Tani kept me extremely enchanted from the start to the beginning . Hats off to Cocco for coming up with such a great piece of work .

my friend is track #10 on the album & it's the 3rd album track . I appericate the fact that it's a very simple & fuss free piece of no. . It's just alan singing with the backing of an acoustic guitar & some keyboards thrown in for good measure .

Liberty is track #11 & it's the 4th album track . The song is used as the theme song for the Japanese drama , Hikon Dōmei (Non-Marriage Alliance) . I kinda have a bit of trouble remembering how Liberty seeing that the music styles for my friend & Liberty are almost similar as both are mid tempo ballads .

But in due time , I was able to tackle & solve this problem pretty much so since for Liberty's case , there's an electric guitar being used in the tune unlike for my friend .

Tsuki ga Watashi (The Moon Is Me) follows after Liberty & this's actually the 1st album track that I have heard before the album was released & as such , I find this song really enduring & somemore , you have to admit the song title's cute .

RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ (~Heart.War~) is alan's 6th single & it's the 4th song in her five-single traditional elements set & it emphasised the element Fire . The song was used to promote the Japanese release of the movie RED CLIFF & alan also had the honour of singing the Chinese take of the song which's called Xin.Zhan (心战 ; Heart.War) ~RED CLIFF~) & Xin.Zhan ~RED CLIFF~ is used for the international release theme song for the movie .

I adore this song , be it the Chinese & Japanese take that she delivered but 1 noticeable difference for both renditions is that RED CLIFF ~Shin·Sen~ has her yodelling at almost the end of the song which gave the song a much needed edge .

Megumi no Ame (Blessed Rain) is alan's 7th single & it's the last song in her five-single traditional elements set & it emphasised the element Water .

I remembered when Megumi no Ame was 1st released , I find it to be quite un-inspiring for my liking but in due time , I grew to appericate the song & not to mention , the erhu in the melody saved Megumi no Ame from becoming another typical alan ballad .

Only available as a 1st press track , it's Together & it's the only song on Voice of EARTH to be composed by alan & the only album track that received its own music video .

Considering that this's the 1st song that alan has composed , I have to take my hat off her as the melody's beautiful . It has slight traces of Tibetan influences & her yodelling & both attributes really give Together the edge it need for a mid tempo ballad to sound even better as each listen goes by .

So the question's after 2 years+ since alan debuted in the Japanese music scene , is Voice of EARTH worth the wait ? Absolutely . For me , I like that the album flows pretty well from the start to the end .

If I have issues to nit pick about Voice of EARTH is the obvious lack of new songs & out of the new songs that're found in alan's debut album , all except for 1 (which's BRAVE) are ballads which's quite a pity because I also enjoyed alan's upbeat/up-tempo tunes that she dished out .

The 1st part of Voice of EARTH is quite mid tempo/upbeat & the album slows down in a rather drastic manner from my friend all the way to Together . I'm not sure whether was it done intentionally or not but I like that the sound transition's there .

She shouldn't have sandwiched 3 album tracks that're all in the same music genre (ie. my friend together with Liberty & Tsuki ga Watashi) as I had quite a hard time telling apart the tunes from each other but other than that Voice of EARTH is a solid Japanese debut offering that alan has delivered & the 8 singles that're found in Voice of EARTH are all great in their own individual right .

Here's to more fantastic & great Japanese stuff that this extremely talented , young & beautiful singer will dish out in the near future .

Blog Personnel

Karen Pang

# 10th Jan

# #1 BREAKERZ fan in Singapore since 2008 debut single ♥

# My music blog consists of JPop/Rock singles & albums reviews that I put my heart , efforts & soul into writing them as I'm disgusted with the way that JPop/Rock music is being treated/written/reviewed in Singapore so to the local media (yes you TEENS , Teenage Magazine & The Strait Times) , screw you all . I basically can write better JPop/Rock reviews , period

# My LiveJournal

# Tagboard has been removed as I can't be bothered to deal with un-necessary spam comments any longer ~_~

♥ ♥ ♥ BREAKERZ ♥ ♥ ♥

Upcoming New JPop/JRock Releases

# Kis-My-Ft2's 22nd single Kimi,Boku. , 031018 , Wed

# GRANRODEO's 1st mini album M・S COWBOY no Gyakushuu EP , 241018 , Wed

# ARASHI's 56th single Kimi no Uta , 241018 , Wed

# SPYAIR's SPYAIR TOUR 2018 -KINGDOM- Live at NIPPON BUDOKAN 2018.4.18 DVD + Blu-ray , 241018 , Wed
# Kobukuro's 30th single Kaze o Mitsumete , 071118 , Wed

# ayaka's 5th album 30 y/o , 141118 , Wed

# GLAY's 56th single title tbc , out in November

# Yamashita Tomohisa's 5th album UNLEASHED , 281118 , Wed

# Kobukuro's best album ALL TIME BEST 1998-2018 , 051218 , Wed

Album Reviews

# Aoyama Thelma - HIGHSCHOOL GAL

# ayumi hamasaki - TROUBLE EP

# Hilcrhyme - One Man EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Yummy!!


# FLOWER FLOWER - Spotlight

# Koda Kumi - AND


# ARASHI - 「untitled」


# Aoyama Thelmas - 10TH DIARY



# V6 - The ONES

# Shota Shimizu - FLY

# Ken Hirai - Utabaka Dake ni.

# Acid Black Cherry - Acid BLOOD Cherry


# Mika Nakashima - TOUGH


# Koda Kumi - W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~

# GRANRODEO - Karma to Labyrinth

# GRANRODEO - Pierrot Dancin'

# Hilcrhyme - SIDE BY SIDE

# Kanon Wakeshima - luminescence Q.E.D

# ARASHI - Are You Happy?

# Mao from SID - Maison de M EP

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - DEAR.

# Ken Hirai - THE STILL LIFE

# BENI - Shiki Uta summer

# Kis-My-Ft2 - I SCREAM

# ayumi hamasaki - M(A)DE IN JAPAN


# Aoyama Thelma - PINK TEARS EP

# Shota Shimizu - PROUD

# flumpool - EGG



# BENI - Undress

# SPYAIR - 4

# ARASHI - Japonism

# Aoyama Thelma - GRAY SMOKE EP

# ayumi hamasaki - sixxxxxx EP


# Domoto Koichi - Spiral

# Kis-My-Ft2 - KIS-MY-WORLD

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMPing CAR

# Namie Amuro - _genic

# ayaka - Rainbow Road


# ayumi hamasaki - A ONE

# Hilcrhyme - REVIVAL


# Koda Kumi - WALK OF MY LIFE

# B'z - EPIC DAY

# Acid Black Cherry - L

# Kanon Wakeshima - Tsukinami

# NEWS - White





# Anna Tsuchiya - LUCIFER EP

# Yamashita Tomohisa - YOU

# Aoyama Thelma - Lonely Angel

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Asobi EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-Journey

# ayumi hamasaki - Colours

# KAT-TUN - come Here

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - smart

# Fukuyama Masaharu - HUMAN

# Miliyah Kato x Shota Shimizu - THE BEST

# JASMINE - Welcome to Jas Vegas


# Shota Shimizu - ENCORE

# Hilcrhyme - FIVE ZERO ONE


# Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun


# KAT-TUN - Kusabi -kusabi- EP


# Yamashita Tomohisa - A NUDE

# Matsushita Yuya - #musicoverdose

# JASMINE - Complexxx


# BENI - Red



# Namie Amuro - FEEL

# AKIHIDE - Amber

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Good Ikuze !

# girl next door - Life of Sound

# V6 - Oh ! My ! Goodness !

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE again

# Mika Nakashima - REAL

# flumpool - experience

# ayumi hamasaki - again EP

# Hilcrhyme - LIKE A NOVEL

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE EP

# ARASHI - Popcorn

# Domoto Koichi - Gravity

# SPYAIR - Just Do It

# SID - M&W

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Ero

# Namie Amuro - Uncontrolled

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP WORLD

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-1st

# Acid Black Cherry - 『2012』

# Shota Shimizu - Naturally

# ayumi hamasaki - Party Queen

# Matsushita Yuya - 2U


# Kuroki Meisa - UNLOCKED

# L'Arc~en~Ciel - BUTTERFLY

# ayaka - The beginning

# Koda Kumi - JAPONESQUE

# Kuriyama Chiaki - CIRCUS Deluxe Edition

# girl next door - Agaruneku !

# Hilcrhyme - RISING

# ON/OFF - Legend Of Twins II -Zoku Futago Densetsu-

# BENI - Fortune


# Saito Kazuyoshi - 45 STONES

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Mahou

# SPYAIR - Rockin' the World


# ayumi hamasaki - FIVE EP

# B'z - C'mon

# School Food Punishment - Prog-Roid

# ARASHI - Beautiful World

# Aoyama Thelma - WILL


# GIRL NEXT DOOR - Destination

# Tackey & Tsubasa - TRIP & TREASURE EP

# Shota Shimizu - COLORS

# Koda Kumi - Dejavu

# SID - dead stock

# flumpool - Fantasia of Life Stripe

# Yamashita Tomohisa - SUPERGOOD , SUPERBAD

# Kuroki Meisa - MAGAZINE

# ayumi hamasaki - Love songs

# BENI - Jewel

# Hilcrhyme - MESSAGE

# Saito Kazuyoshi - ARE YOU READY ?

# Mika Nakashima - STAR

# Kanjani∞ - 8UPPERS (Pacchi Uppers)


# Anna Tsuchiya - RULE



# Domoto Koichi - BPM

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE ! 2

# Hilcrhyme - Recital

# ARASHI - Boku no Miteiru Fukei

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shoujo Shikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~


# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP NO.1


# BENI - Lovebox

# Matsushita Yuya - I AM ME

# Acid Black Cherry - Q.E.D.

# Acid Black Cherry - BLACK LIST

# school food punishment - amp-reflection

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Ai EP


# ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus

# V6 - READY ?


# DAIGO☆STARDUST - The space toy

# Shota Shimizu - Journey

# Koda Kumi - UNIVERSE

# NEVER LAND - Beautiful Days EP

# abingdon boys school - ABINGDON ROAD

# BENI - Bitter & Sweet


# LANDS - Olympos EP

# flumpool - What's flumpool !?

# Kuroki Meisa - ATTITUDE EP

# Yusuke - Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo.

# KinKi Kids - J album

# Namie Amuro - PAST < FUTURE


# alan - my life


# B'z - MAGIC


# Saito Kazuyoshi - Tsuki ga Noboreba

# Aoyama Thelma - Emotions

# SID - hikari

# Kobukuro - CALLING

# Domoto Koichi - mirror

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Uta

# ON / OFF - Legend Of Twins I -Futago Densetsu-

# Fukuyama Masaharu - Zankyou

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shinshoku Dolce

# GReeeeN - Shio , Koshou -SALT & PEPPER-

# flumpool - Unreal EP

# Yuna Ito - DREAM

# Kanjani∞ - PUZZLE

# KAT-TUN - Break the Records -by you & for you-

# Kuroki Meisa - hellcat EP

# Kanjani∞ - KJ2 Zukkoke Daidassou

# ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL

# Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER

# Utada - This Is The One

# Kanjani∞ - KJ1 F·T·O

# ARASHI - Dream"A"Live

# Kanjani∞ - Kansha ni Eight EP

# alan - Voice of EARTH

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE !

# Koda Kumi - TRICK

# Aoyama Thelma - DIARY





# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Ohisashiburi Desu


# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Hajimemashite


# ai otsuka - LOVE LETTER

# Mika Nakashima - VOICE


# NEWS - color

# Anna Tsuchiya - NUDY SHOW !

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 3 : Senior Year

# L'Arc~en~Ciel - KISS

# BREAKERZ - Ao no Mirai EP

# ai otsuka - LOVE PUNCH

# ai otsuka - LOVE COOK

# ai otsuka - LOVE JAM

# KAT-TUN - cartoon KAT-TUN II You

# OLIVIA - Trinka Trinka EP

# NEWS - touch

# NEWS - pacific

# ARASHI - Iza , Now

# ARASHI - One

# NANA Triple Billing

# OLIVIA - The Cloudy Dreamer EP

# Anna Tsuchiya - strip me ?


# KAT-TUN - Best of KAT-TUN

# Anna Tsuchiya - Taste My Beat EP

# ARASHI - Time

# Electrico - We Satellites

# ayaka - Sing to the Sky

# ayaka - First Message


# Koda Kumi - BEST ~BOUNCE & LOVERS~

# Jesse McCartney - Departure

# The Veronicas - Hook Me Up

# Ken Hirai - LIFE is ...

# Ashlee Simpson - Bittersweet World

# Ken Hirai - gaining through losing

# Yuna Ito - HEART

# Utada Hikaru - HEART STATION

# Ken Hirai - FAKIN' POP

Yuna Ito - WISH

# Ken Hirai - SENTIMENTALovers

# Koda Kumi - Kingdom

# ayumi hamasaki - GUILTY

# ai otsuka - LOVE PiECE

# abingdon boys school - abingdon boys school

# ayumi hamasaki - I am ...

# ayumi hamasaki - RAINBOW

# The Great Spy Experiment - Flower Show Riots

# Koda Kumi - BEST ~second session~

# The Click Five - Modern Minds And Pastimes

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 2

# Koda Kumi - Black Cherry

# Namie Amuro - PLAY

# Maroon 5 - It Wouldn't Be Soon Before Long

# ayumi hamasaki - Memorial address EP

# NANA starring Mika Nakashima - THE END

# Mika Nakashima - YES

# Jamie Michael - People Watching

# ayumi hamasaki - A BEST 2 -BLACK- & A BEST 2 -WHITE-

# ayumi hamasaki - (miss)understood

# ayumi hamasaki - Duty & MY STORY

# Muse - Blackholes And Relevations

# Utada Hikaru - ULTRA BLUE

# ayumi hamasaki - Secret

# Utada - Exodus

# Vanessa Hudgens - V

# The Veronicas - The Secret Life Of The Veronicas

# Jesse McCartney - Right Where You Want Me

# Maksim - Electrik

# McFly - Motion In The Ocean

Other Posts Worth Checking Out

# Fave Songs Of 2010

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2010

# Fave Albums Releases Of 2010

# Fave Songs Of 2009

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2009

# Fave Albums Releases For 2009

# The Best Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2009

# Fave New Acts Of 2008

# Fave Songs Of 2008

# Fave Singles Of 2008

# Fave Albums Of 2008

# The 1st Song I Heard From My Future JPop Acts

# The Best & The Worst Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2008

# Fave Albums Of 2007

# The Click Five - The Band Behind The Band Documentary

# 987 Control Songlist Set

# Hot Review Of Maksim's Electrik

# Lu Yong Find My Shoes Journey

# Eric Dill Of The Click Five Got Punk'd !


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