Wednesday, March 31, 2010
DAIGO☆STARDUST - Sakura no Kinoshita de (Under The Cherry Tree) (Daisy / SUMMER ROSE's B-side)
Sakura no Kinoshita de (Under The Cherry Tree) is found as the B-side no. in DAIGO☆STARDUST's 4th single Daisy / SUMMER ROSE .
Daisy / SUMMER ROSE was released 6 years ago on 21st July & this's the only double A-side DAIGO released in his solo career .
The single's debut position on the Oricon singles weekly chart was #84 & it charted only for a week .
Man Sakura no Kinoshita de is beautiful , really beautiful . I got chills down my spine when I 1st heard it as it's such a nice stripped down piano driven ballad & I love it that it's so emotional & touching .
It's not as epic/up there as compared to BREAKERZ's 6th single Hikari (Light) but it's on par I should say .
You can hear how somewhat raw & vulnerable DAIGO's when comes to Sakura no Kinoshita de & you get to hear a different side of DAIGO that you normally don't come across in this case .
Definitely 1 of my fave B-sides from his DAIGO☆STARDUST alter ego for sure & it's a keeper too !
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
UVERworld - GOLD
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
GOLD is UVERworld's 15th single . It will be released tomorrow & this's the group's 1st single release for 2010 .
After the release of the group's 1st best album Neo SOUND BEST last year , UVERworld returns back with their latest single offering GOLD .
GOLD is an engaging pop-rock song that even the band is calling one of their most energetic songs ever .
Frankly on 1st listen , GOLD somewhat reminded me of track #2 in the guys's 4th album AwakEVE ie. 99/100 Damashi no Tetsu (Satoru Of Fraud) to a certain extent cos of the extensive rapping & clapping attached to the song due to lead singer TAKUYA∞ .
You frankly usually wouldn't associate rock music that has pop & rap attached to it but somehow , this strange combination works in the group's favour .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the GOLD single :
CHANGE has been selected to be used as the image song for the movie Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie : A Wakening of the Trailblazer & UVERworld's 5th album LAST will be released on 14th April .
Sunday, March 28, 2010
ayumi hamasaki - Don't look back
Don't look back is found as track #8 in ayumi hamasaki's 11th album Rock'n'Roll Circus which will be released on 14th April .
This's the 2nd album track that receives a music video of its own , aside from Microphone (which I reviewed a while back ago) & also Lady Dynamite & Sexy little things too .
In this case , Don't look back which's a midtempo Arabian/Indian sitar infused track is used to promote the latest Panasonic digital camera LUMIX FX66 & ZX3 TV-CF in its ads which ayumi's the spokeswoman for Panasonic (yes that's the LUMIX FX66 camera that ayumi's holding in the picture lol)
It has been quite a long time since ayumi had an Egyptian tinge like song if you ask me & immediately , Don't look back reminded me of her 14th single vogue due to the similarities when comes to the music structure of both songs .
People might scoff at her for incorporating such sounds in her songs but personally I see nothing wrong with it & it shows that she's not afraid when comes to experimentation in her music discography which's something I admire that in her as it takes guts to break out of the music rut & she does with gusto , be it whether the final product of her songs sound good or bad .
And for Don't look back's case , it happens to fall in the former side of things which's a good sign .
Saturday, March 27, 2010
DAIGO☆STARDUST - WINGS (ROCK THE PLANET's B-side)
WINGS is the B-side song that's found in DAIGO☆STARDUST's 3rd single ROCK THE PLANET .
ROCK THE PLANET was released 6 years ago on 21st April & its debut position was #83 on the Oricon singles weekly chart .
Not to mention , the single charted only for a week .
Well there's not much further explaination I have to give with regards to WINGS as it's basically a mirror version of the A-side in the sense that both songs employ the same somewhat futuristic theme .
Except in this case , WINGS sees DAIGO utilising a lot more synth & less guitar riffs . It took me quite a while to warm up to WINGS as I wasn't used to hearing DAIGO's voice sound in this manner but I'm fine with the song now .
Friday, March 26, 2010
BREAKERZ - Shunrenka (Spring Love Song)
Shunrenka (Spring Love Song) is a new song taken from BREAKERZ's 1st mini acoustic album B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP which will be released on 7th April , a day before frontman DAIGO's 32nd birthday .
The song was written & composed by him & is the only song to receive a music video in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP .
Inspired by DAIGO's real-life experience of an unrequited love , Shunrenka's original working song title was Hisashiburi (Long Time) .
B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP consists in total of 8 acoustic songs in which , the acoustic versions of Dandelion , Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... (Thousand Times ... 10 Thousand Times ...) , B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~ (~Bridge For Tomorrow~) & Birdman were originally found as B-side tracks in the guys's GRAND FINALE , Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ , Hikari (Light) & LOVE FIGHTER ~Koi no (Love) Battle~ singles .
A healing album perfect for Spring , BREAKERZ's quiet side creates an occasionally painful & an occasionally pleasant atmosphere .
I was almost driven to tears when I finally get to view & listen to Shunrenka's music video alongside with each other .
Perhaps I can understand the significance of Shunrenka which probably means quite a lot to DAIGO in which explained how somewhat sad & emotional driven he sounded like in this beautiful acoustic guitar driven no. .
Guess this's why Shunrenka is the only (new) song to get a music video in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP as it really deserves to & I feel the video managed to convey the message of the song extremely well .
Shunrenka is a bittersweet song & frankly this's not the song for you to listen to if you have painful memories/experiences when comes to relationships & etc but you have to give props to DAIGO for writing/composing such a no. & when he writes/composes serious stuff , he gets things right downpat & the same thing goes for other songs he personally writes/composes himself other than Shunrenka , like Hikari (Light) , GRAND FINALE , Miss you & many others in the band's music discography .
B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP will be reviewed by me in due course & this will be the 1st acoustic mini album that I will review which I'm very excited to do so & there's always a 1st time for everything so yup .
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
ayumi hamasaki - Microphone
Microphone is found as track #2 in ayumi hamasaki's upcoming 11th album Rock'n'Roll Circus which will be released on 14th April .
This song , alongside with 3 other album tracks Don't look back , Lady Dynamite & Sexy little things received music videos of their own & it's currently been used in the ads for Honda ZEST SPARK .
Microphone has been described as a powerful and intense rock track which centres on ayumi's music career .
Wow , what a stunner of a song . The 1st thing that immediately grabbed my attention for Microphone is the usage of an organ which you can hear in both the opening & closing of the no. .
People have mentioned that the music structure for Microphone bears similarities to that of kiss o' kill which's track #13 in ayumi's 8th album Secret .
In my case , Microphone to me is like a combination of identity (track #9 in her 10th album NEXT LEVEL) & ayumi's 43rd single Mirrorcle World , especially for Mirrorcle World due to the somewhat subtle classical influences you can hear/feel in the song .
Microphone's not a typical rock song that ayumi usually dishes out but then again , I always have like her rock songs to begin with & for Microphone's case , it's gritty , aggressive & fierce which I absolutely adore & no surprises , this's 1 song that I have been listening to over & over & over again as it's just really top notch/solid .
And I also like the somewhat modern classical spin that was given to Microphone which transforms it from being a normal rock no. to something that's totally full of class & style .
The album Rock'n'Roll Circus will be reviewed in due time & the same thing will probably goes for the other 3 album tracks Don't look back , Lady Dynamite & Sexy little things , depending on when the song(s) are leaked out .
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
DAIGO☆STARDUST - ASH & DIAMONDS (Eien no (Eternal) Space Cowboy's B-side)
Cover For Both CD Only & CD + DVD's Editions :
ASH & DIAMONDS is found as the 2nd B-side in DAIGO☆STARDUST's 2nd single Eien no (Eternal) Space Cowboy .
Eien no Space Cowboy was released 7 years ago on 22nd Oct & it was DAIGO's only single that was released in 2 formats .
The single's debut position on the Oricon singles chart was #70 & it charted for 2 weeks .
I already have talked/reviewed the A-side & the 1st B-side D☆TRANCE in DAIGO's debut album The space toy so here I'm to talk about ASH & DIAMONDS .
On 1st listen , ASH & DIAMONDS is unusual . It's definitely not something I commonly find that BREAKERZ does & DAIGO's voice sounded a bit lower than usual in ASH & DIAMONDS too .
Also the music structure for ASH & DIAMONDS is unique in the sense that DAIGO utilised acoustic guitar beats & synth hooks . This combination might sound weird but it actually works in his favour which's nice .
Saturday, March 20, 2010
CD Review :: DAIGO☆STARDUST - HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN
CD Only Regular Edition Cover :
CD Only Limited Edition Covers :
1) HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN
2) STAND UP !
3) SUPER JOY
6) SUMMER ROSE
7) Eternity Summer
9) Ray ~Yume no Kanata e (Beyond Dream)~
10) ROCK THE PLANET
11) GOOD BYE FOXY LADY
12) Holy Holy (Limited Edition Track)
HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN is DAIGO☆STARDUST 2nd/last album . It was released 5 years ago on 23rd Nov .
The album's debut position was #258 & charted for a week & you can find DAIGO's last 4 singles in his last solo album offering .
Similarly for The space toy & in BREAKERZ now , all songs in HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN were written & composed by DAIGO himself & that goes for producing too .
Before I go onto the actual review of the album , some interesting facts to put across in the sense that some of the guitar pieces found in some of the songs on the album were played by the current guitarist of BREAKERZ ie. AKIHIDE who's credited as Akihide Saitou in the CD sleeves .
Also abingdon boys school's Toshiyuki Kishi had a hand in playing some of the keyboards pieces in some songs & he even arranged a song too which's really neat .
Just like The space toy , the 1st song to kick things off shares the same title as DAIGO's 2nd album HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN .
I prefer HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN a lot more than The space toy simply because of the fact that it's more well put together . It doesn't sound something odd/abnormal & also the music structure & lyrics are better in line/synth as well .
Also , cool usage of synth in HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN too .
Diving straight after track #1 , it's STAND UP ! which's a really great piece of catchy rock song .
It's more drum beats driven & this's 1 song I immediately sat up & take notice straightaway as it's just really good & I have no complaints about this as it's some serious top notch stuff .
SUPER JOY is DAIGO's 6th single . It's also the final single that he released before retiring his DAIGO☆STARDUST solo alter ego .
It's a pity that just like DAIGO☆STARDUST's other releases , SUPER JOY pretty much tanked on Oricon because this's a really kick ass song & I actually find it really fun to sing alongside with .
Unravel is the 3rd album track & this's also another no. that I really dig . I just like the whole feeling that Unravel gave out as it's 1 of those type of rock songs that makes you feel good about yourself after giving it a listen .
The next 2 songs are 2 A-sides of DAIGO's 4th single Daisy / SUMMER ROSE . It's also the only double A-side that he released in his solo career too .
The 1st A-side is the only single ballad that was released . I love Daisy simply because it's mainly acoustic guitar driven & it's such a simple heartfelt song too & no surprises I was drawn into the song when I 1st gave it a listen .
SUMMER ROSE's the 2nd A-side . Despite being an A-side , this did not get a music video .
Wow , I had deja vu vibes of BREAKERZ's SUMMER PARTY when I 1st listened to SUMMER ROSE . I don't know if it's a concidence seeing that both songs were written/composed by DAIGO .
Then again I have no complaints since SUMMER PARTY was the song that started it all for me BREAKERZ wise but in this context , SUMMER ROSE is something that's bursting full of energy & it contrasts Daisy very well & nicely too .
Eternity Summer is the 1st album ballad & despite the title , it's actually somewhat winter inspired which's really cool which shows that you shouldn't judge a song based on its title alone .
But this's really beautiful . I can't help but feel captivated by Eternity Summer & I somehow find myself listening to it quite often even though Christmas wouldn't be around the corner anytime soon .
I also like the subtle electric guitar riffs & keyboards synths attached to Eternity Summer which makes things even more fantastic .
SCAPEGOAT is DAIGO's 5th single & this's probably the only single that has a much harder rock sound attached to it other than his debut single MARIA .
DAIGO's vocals is somewhat distorted in here which I think it's done on purpose but I love the beats & etc for SCAPEGOAT & it's a pity that this's his worst charting single as I think the single deserves so much more .
Ray ~Yume no Kanata e (Beyond Dream)~ is track #9 & it's the longest track in HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN , clocking in at 6:20 mins .
It's the 2nd album ballad after Eternity Summer . I thought I might get bored with Ray ~Yume no Kanata e~ as it's really long but surprisingly , I was being kept entertained by the song from the start to the end .
Ray ~Yume no Kanata e~ is quite emotional driven to a certain extent & there's a certain charm that it posessed which makes it a winner in its own right . I thought the melody might overdrown things & DAIGO's vocals but thankfully that didn't occured .
ROCK THE PLANET is DAIGO's 3rd single & the final single you can find in the album .
This's quite an unusual song because unlike DAIGO's other singles , ROCK THE PLANET's the only one that has a futuristic sleek sound attached to it while retaining its signature rock flair that DAIGO's known for .
Stil this's some neat stuff .
GOOD BYE FOXY LADY is track #11 & I find this to be the only weak link in the album .
It frankly took me quite a while to remember how GOOD BYE FOXY LADY because it wasn't as memorable as what I was hoping for & I find DAIGO's vocals to be a bit more grating than usual .
Only found in the limited edition of the album , it's Holy Holy & no surprises , it's a Christmas song .
Just like the other winter inspired like no.s that DAIGO did in BREAKERZ , Holy Holy is in the same music vein as Winter Bell which I absolutely adore .
Holy Holy's music structure is very simple & DAIGO basically let his vocals do the work in here which wraps up HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN very nicely .
Other than GOOD BYE FOXY LADY which's the only weak link , I find HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN to be a really solid album offering & it's not surprising that I prefer HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN a lot more than DAIGO's debut album The space toy .
You can tell that HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN's a lot more polished , mature & sleek & when you have AKIHIDE & abingdon boys school's Toshiyuki onboard to help DAIGO , only good things are well expected of & I'm glad that DAIGO didn't suffered the dreaded 2nd album music curse in this aspect .
I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that DAIGO retired his DAIGO☆STARDUST solo alter ego seeing that I consider both DAIGO☆STARDUST & BREAKERZ to be 2 separate entities even though both of their material are still rock at the end of the day .
But I suppose if he ever consider to go back being solo , I would welcome it as this's 1 guy that I really respect seeing that it's a rarity to find someone who does everything from writing to composing to producing his own material in a rather commericalised & manufactured music industry .
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
CD Review :: DAIGO☆STARDUST - The space toy
1) The space toy
3) Queen Stardust
4) Eien no (Eternal) Space Cowboy
5) dear sunshine
8) ruby & sapphire
9) I wanna be your star
11) heavy heavy
The space toy is DAIGO☆STARDUST's debut album . It was released 7 years ago on 21st Nov .
The album's debut position was #160 & it only charted for a week & DAIGO's 1st 2 singles & 2 B-sides are included in The space toy .
Just like in BREAKERZ now , DAIGO wrote & composed the whole record & in addition he produced The space toy which I say it's admirable & commendable .
Sharing the same title as the album , it's The space toy which kick things off . I honestly didn't know what to expect of The space toy but I guess it concides things with the album cover .
Also , I find the song pretty random & weird with Engrish/English words DAIGO thrown in but it more or less set the tone on what to expect for the rest of the album aka glam & colourful rock .
The ending for The space toy paves/dives straight into STARS which's the 1st B-side of DAIGO's debut single MARIA .
STARS follows almost the same music structure as The space toy except it's less random & that at least it has a proper head & tail attached to it . It took me quite a while to remember STARS cos DAIGO didn't actually really said the word prior to the ending of the song .
Queen Stardust is track #3 & I like this song on 1st listen simply because it has a light hearted feeling attached to it . You still can feel some of the glam rock vibes in here but it's quite toned down to a certain extent .
Also , nice guitar riffs going on in Queen Stardust too .
Eien no (Eternal) Space Cowboy is DAIGO's 2nd single & this song's very catchy even though the video will make you cringe & be intimidated by DAIGO .
But if you don't watch the video & just take a listen to Eien no Space Cowboy , it's more or less old school rock at its best with plenty of synth beats to boot .
dear sunshine is track #5 & just like STARS , it took me quite a while to remember dear sunshine as I did not find the song as memorable as what I was hoping for but now I realised it has subtle violin strings attached to the song which's lovely I have to say .
D☆TRANCE is the 1st B-side taken from Eien no Space Cowboy & D☆TRANCE screams out coolness chic & David Bowie .
Also , this's the only song in The space toy that DAIGO made use of his falsetto , something that's not commonly seen in BREAKERZ & frankly in D☆TRANCE , he managed to pull things off quite well even though I was a bit freaked out when I 1st heard him using his falsetto in D☆TRANCE but I'm quite fine with it now .
Dolly is track #7 & this's a keeper because it's the only ballad you can find in the album .
It has a really simple music structure & it's just DAIGO singing alongside with simple synth & drum beats & he pretty much just make use of his vocals in Dolly & you don't need any extra methods to make Dolly sound good as it's already's .
ruby & sapphire is track #8 & just like Dolly , it's pretty laidback/chilled out to certain extent & it's more or less acoustic driven .
The only thing I don't like about the song's that DAIGO's vocals are a bit grating in here but other than that , the song's nice .
I wanna be your star follows after ruby & sapphire . This's actually 1 of my fave album tracks as it's so upbeat sounding & DAIGO sounded like he had fun recording this no. . Also I like I wanna be your star immediately when I 1st listened to it as there's just something about the song that drews me back in listening to it over & over again .
MARIA is DAIGO's debut single . Written by DAIGO , this song's composed by BOØWY's Himuro Kyousuke who was responsible for taking charge of KAT-TUN's 5th single Keep the faith where he composed it & cowrote it with SPIN .
It's also the only song in The space toy that DAIGO did not composed for that matter .
Way before I listened to MARIA , I already salute Himuro Kyousuke for doing such a great job for Keep the faith & this goes for no exception in MARIA too .
It's basically a mean angsty driven rock song & it's probably 1 of the more darker no.s you can find in The space toy & I really love MARIA the very 1st time I heard it & I know with Himuro Kyousuke onboard , things will & cannot go wrong at all .
heavy heavy is the final track to close off The space toy . Not as memorable as what I was hoping for & this took me quite a while to remember & it sounded a bit clunky to me which's a pity to end things in a not very good manner .
DAIGO☆STARDUST's debut album The space toy has a few hit & misses . To me , I feel that the 2 singles are probably the best tracks on the album . The album tracks that were hits were solid but the ones that're not , I'm slowly beginning to change my mind on this as each album spin goes by .
The space toy was a music solo stepping stone for DAIGO where he brought his own brand of glam & colourful rock to the music business during the time when he was DAIGO☆STARDUST .
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Yusuke - Lion's B-sides
The following songs serve as B-sides in Yusuke's 4th single Lion which was released last Wed on 10th March :
- Chikoku no Uta (Song Of The Late)
- Yume wa Genjouiji ! (Dream Status Quo !)
Lion debuted at #1 with 1st week sales of 92,085 & this's Yusuke's 2nd #1 single after Tanpopo / Kaizokusen / Sono Kobushi .
The A-side is a feel-good guitar number with a catchy melody and easygoing lyrics & I think the same thing can apply for the 1st B-side Chikoku no Uta too .
Except in this case , Chikoku no Uta takes on a more upbeat & pop route which's not the case for the A-side which's more acoustic guitar driven .
Still you have to admit that Chikoku no Uta gives off some positive vibes which I really like .
Yume wa Genjouiji ! is the 2nd B-side & this's an interesting one because it has subtle gospel flair attached to the beginning of the song .
I was a bit surprised when I 1st heard Yume wa Genjouiji ! as it sounds like nothing like what Yusuke has done before & let alone in his debut album Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo. but he managed to pull things off pretty nicely & I guess you can say that Yume wa Genjouiji ! is a pop song with a modern gospel touch .
2009 was a really good year for Yusuke as it was the year that he embarked on his solo career that spuns multiple top-selling releases & this goes for no exception for his latest single offering Lion as well .
If he keeps up with releasing good quality material for 2010 , then things will only get better if not bigger for him .
Monday, March 15, 2010
school food punishment - light prayer -AKXMIM Remix- (future nova / after laughter's B-side)
The -AKXMIM Remix- of light prayer serves as the B-side in school food punishment's 5th single future nova / after laughter which was released last Wed on 10th March .
future nova / after laughter debuted at #18 with 1st week sales of 3,344 & this's the group 1st single to crack the top 20 in the Oricon singles chart .
I almost thought that light prayer -AKXMIM Remix- was going to be a full blown instrumental piece until the conclusion of the song where I was proved wrong otherwise .
This's not bad really . Then again I didn't had any form of complaints with regards to the original take of light prayer too .
school food punishment's 1st double A-side single offering future nova / after laughter is not bad of a listen overall . I only wish that both A-sides will not sound so simliar to each other .
It might have been better if 1 will be a ballad to contrast & play things though .
The quartet's full length debut album amp-reflection will be released next month on 14th April . amp-reflection's original release date was 13th Jan & it's assumed that the group's 1st 5 major label singles inclusive of future nova / after laughter will make the cut in the album .
Saturday, March 13, 2010
DAIGO☆STARDUST - Feather (MARIA's B-side)
Feather is found as the 2nd B-side in DAIGO☆STARDUST's debut solo single MARIA which was released 7 years ago on 21st July .
MARIA's debut position was #64 & it charted for 2 weeks & out of the 6 singles that DAIGO☆STARDUST released , MARIA is the most successful in terms of chart ranking .
The song was written by DAIGO & composed by BOØWY's Himuro Kyousuke who was responsible for taking charge of KAT-TUN's 5th single Keep the faith where he composed it & cowrote it with SPIN .
Incidentally , BOØWY is 1 of if not the rock band that inspired DAIGO☆STARDUST to become a musician in a much later time/part in his career .
Feather is also found as track #11 in his greatest hits album DAIGO☆STARDUST BEST .
DAIGO☆STARDUST is of course BREAKERZ's frontman DAIGO past solo career alter ego & Stardust is the name of a karaoke company that he used to work for before he started his career in the music business some 13 years ago .
When I came across BREAKERZ in the beginning of their single debut SUMMER PARTY / LAST EMOTION almost 2 years back , I virtually had no idea DAIGO had a solo career at all until much later on & the same thing goes for the past bands that the 3 guys in the group were in prior to the formation of BREAKERZ .
I guess in way or 2 I was really itching to try out his solo material before he formed BREAKERZ seeing that I did that for NEVER LAND's case a while back ago but what was holding me back was the various terrible if not laughable/horrendous outfits he donned during his solo career , among other things too .
In terms of the music that he did for DAIGO☆STARDUST & BREAKERZ , his voice's still the same & it's still rock driven except that DAIGO☆STARDUST is a lot more 'colourful' & somewhat moody to a certain extent .
I guess the influences of DAIGO's idol David Bowie comes into the picture as that in a way or 2 inspired the numerous get up's DAIGO donned when he was DAIGO☆STARDUST .
Anyway , there're actually 2 B-sides in his debut single MARIA which I have to say that his idol Himuro Kyousuke did a great job as the A-side's a totally awesome kick ass rock song & the 1st B-side is called STARS .
I will not review MARIA & STARS in here since I will be talking about them much later on when I review his debut album The space toy in due time .
In this case , I will focus my attention towards Feather which's a really nice ballad & it's very simple . It's acoustic guitar driven which makes Feather even more enduring in its own right & then later in the song , it's replaced by a really great electric guitar solo which's very nice .
Feather definitely reminded me of some ballads that BREAKERZ's famous for but I don't want to compare BREAKERZ & DAIGO☆STARDUST in this context since they're 2 separate entities to me .
I never thought I would appericate/like the material that DAIGO chunned out in his DAIGO☆STARDUST days but I guess this shows that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover .
Sure I do not like the various intimidating if not cringe worthy/terrible images that he portrayed in the jacket covers & videos when he was DAIGO☆STARDUST but if you just focus on the music , it's still a good dosage of nice rock & roll numbers he offered with ballads thrown in for good measures .
DAIGO☆STARDUST's 2 albums The space toy & HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN will be reviewed in due time .
BENI - bye bye's B-sides
The following 2 songs serve as B-sides in BENI's 7th single bye bye which was released on 10th March ie. on the same day as her first live album/DVD Bitter & Sweet Release Tour FINAL .
- Sign DJ HASEBE REMIX
bye bye debuted at #57 with 1st week sales of 1,171 .
Stylish is frankly not as catchy as the 1st B-side in her last single Sign which was Gon' luv u .
Having said that , as each listen goes by , I began to feel that Stylish's a pretty hot no. & it seems to contrast the A-side quite nicely too .
The DJ HASEBE REMIX of Sign is the 2nd B-side found in bye bye .
There's not much significant difference between the original take & the DJ HASEBE REMIX of Sign .
In this case , more reggae beats have been added to Sign which I find that very cool . I'm not a remix person to begin with but from what I heard of DJ HASEBE that he did for KIRA☆KIRA☆ & let alone what was done for Sign , it's nice I have to say !
BENI has been on a music roll for 2010 & she once again delivered a really rocking R&B single in the form of bye bye & I'm just glad to have the chance to follow her as I think she's talented with great looks to boot .
Hopefully it wouldn't take that long for her to release a new album as BITTER & SWEET was really neat .
Thursday, March 11, 2010
CD Review :: Shota Shimizu - Journey
Cover For Both CD Only & CD + DVD Editions :
2) FOREVER LOVE (Shota Shimizu x Miliyah Kato)
3) Kimi ga Suki (Love You)
6) Sayonara wa Itsumo Sobani (Goodbye To The Usual)
7) Kimi ga Ita Kara (Because You Were)
8) Close to you
9) Utsukushii Hibi yo (Beautiful Days)
10) Sakura (Cherry Blossom)
12) Let's Groove (Bonus Track)
Journey is Shota Shimizu's 2nd album . It was released on the 3rd of this month & the album debuted at #1 with 1st week sales of 57,155 & this's his #1 album .
Pretty much all the singles that Shota released are included in Journey except for the following 2 songs which're incidentally duet no.s Love Forever (Miliyah Kato x Shota Shimizu) & Oyasumi no Kiss wo (Kiss Me Goodnight) ~Good Night My Love~ (DOUBLE & Shota Shimizu) .
The song that shares the same title as the album ie. Journey kicks things off & this sets the tone/bar on what to expect from Shota , a nice easy listening R&B meets pop no. . It's not something that's a full blown upbeat tune but Journey's something heartwarming to check out .
FOREVER LOVE is track #2 & this's the most recent single included in the album prior to the release of Journey .
It's an answer call song to Love Forever that he did with Miliyah Kato & FOREVER LOVE was released under the billing Shota Shimizu x Miliyah Kato .
No doubt I'm a bit sore that Love Forever is absent here but I can see why so aka to make room for more album tracks .
Anyway , when I 1st heard Love Forever , I love the harmonisation of vocals between Shota & Miliyah & this goes for no exception for FOREVER LOVE & I guess the fans have spoke in a way or 2 since it performed better than Love Forever , chart ranking wise which's great stuff .
Kimi ga Suki (Love You) is Shota's 5th single & I remembered the time when Kimi ga Suki was released , I felt that it was perfect for the holidays season . Even though Christmas's not around the corner anymore , I can't help but feel nostaglic whenever I get the chance to listen to this nice soothing R&B ballad .
CREAM is the 2nd album track & this's quite a cute song . I think it's quite something to hear Shota say/sing 'strawberry , chocolate cream' in the backdrop haha but you have to give props to Shota to tackle such a tune as not everybody can pull this off without sounding ridiculous .
Starlight follows suit after CREAM & I find Starlight captivating not just because of the song title .
But rather , there's just something about the song that draws you in on 1st listen . I'm not sure what it's but that's how sometimes things work & there's no deny that the song's catchy .
Sayonara wa Itsumo Sobani (Goodbye To The Usual) is the 2nd A-side of Shota's 4th single Utsukushii Hibi yo / Sayonara wa Itsumo Sobani & this's his 1st double A-side release too .
Compared with Utsukushii Hibi yo (Beautiful Days) , the 2nd A-side displays a more bittersweet feeling that's somehow being concealed with a rather positive rhythm . I'm quite sure there's some underlying messages surrounding Sayonara wa Itsumo Sobani but I leave it as it's .
Kimi ga Ita Kara (Because You Were) & Close to you are the next 2 album tracks & freaky enough , they both sound almost like identical twins to me in that they both have the same R&B mid tempo melody .
It frankly took me quite a lot of listens to distinguish both no.s but I'm fine with them now .
Utsukushii Hibi yo (Beautiful Days) is the last single you can find in Journey & I basically have no complaints towards Utsukushii Hibi yo at all .
Then again , I guess I can say that I like most of the singles that Shota has released from his debut single HOME til now .
Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is track #10 & this's the only album track that receive a music video but oddly enough , the video's not included in the DVD tracklist of Journey .
Then again you're not missing out on anything as the video's nothing to shout about but anyway , I can see why Sakura was chosen to serve as the leading album track for promotion as the song's very simple & heartfelt .
It's just Shota with a piano being played at the backdrop & he just lets his vocals do the work which's awesome .
DAYS is track #11 & this I feel is the only weak link in Journey as there's basically nothing going on in here .
It's very monotone & there's virtually no head or tail attached to it which's a pity . I wanted DAYS to work in Shota's favour but it doesn't seem so as no matter how many times I tried to listen to DAYS , I can't remember how it goes .
Maybe my opinion towards DAYS will change after I finish writing this album review , who knows ?
Found as a bonus track , Let's Groove is the final piece of Journey before things are being wrapped up .
I know I said before that I personally feel that Shota doesn't do well in the upbeat R&B music department but he surprised me when I listened to Let's Groove .
I love the additional jazz touches that he incorporated in the song in which the final product gives you this well groovy sounding no. that's still very much R&B driven .
Journey is the 1st proper album that I chose to listen to of Shota Shimizu . I did gave his debut album Umbrella a listen or 2 but I frankly was not impressed with it & I only feel that the singles saved Umbrella from becoming a total R&B snoozefest .
But this time round , I'm happy to say that the album tracks in Journey more or less is on par if not slightly better than the singles that made the cut . It's tough for R&B artistes to venture out of their music comfort zone but at least Shota did a bit of experimentation like in the case for Let's Groove which I like .
He's 1 talented JPop/R&B singer/songwriter to look out for in recent times & what better way than to experience his music journey in the form of his latest album offering Journey .
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Imai Tsubasa - BACKBORN
CD Only Regular Edition Cover :
CD Only Limited Edition + 52 Page Photobook Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
2) Kimi to Nara (With You)
3) [ASAP] (CD Only Regular Edition Track)
4) BACKBORN -instrumental- (CD Only Regular Edition Track)
5) [ASAP] -session ver.- (CD Only Regular Edition Track)
BACKBORN is Imai Tsubasa's debut solo single . It was released last month on 24th Feb & the single debuted at #2 with 1st week sales of 32,110 copies .
Tsubasa's debut solo single is a combination of the words Backbone and Born . This was first revealed at the 2009-2010 Johnny's Countdown concert & it was used as song promotion in the ads for dwango .
1 1/2 of the duo Tackey & Tsubasa , I guess this naturally sooner or later will happen for Tsubasa's case after his best friend Takizawa Hidekai (or Tackey as he's more affectionately known) released 3 solo singles last year .
Anyway , I went with an open mind with regards to Tsubasa's debut solo release & honestly , I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I 1st heard BACKBORN .
It's very different from what I visualised Tsubasa to do as I assumed he might tackle the same type of music that Tackey does but giving BACKBORN a listen , that's not the case .
Instead , the A-side is a mean kick ass rock song , coupled with shades of jazz & even harmonica to boot which's great & I find myself liking BACKBORN as each listen goes by & it has been a while since I last enjoyed a Johnny's solo A-side release from a senior in the Johnny's & Associates & BACKBORN sets the bar quite nicely for 2010 .
Kimi to Nara (With You) is found as the B-side for all 3 editions of the single .
It's still rock but it's more heavily synth emphasised as compared to BACKBORN but still I have to admit this's some mean cool stuff to jam alongside to .
[ASAP] is only found in the CD only regular edition of the single .
All the 3 songs in BACKBORN are all rock driven but for [ASAP]'s case , this has a more pop & electro flair attached to it . I don't find the song as catchy as BACKBORN & Kimi to Nara but this's still pretty ok for my liking .
Imai Tsubasa's debut solo single BACKBORN is a great pleasure to listen to . I guess since because rock's my fave music genre , I immediately was drawn into Tsubasa's solo stuff within a snap & Tsubasa to me seems to be more better & in control of his vocals as compared to Tackey & that goes for the choice of music he choose to pursue for the start of his solo career journey too .
Having said that , there's no deny that I find both solo material of Tackey & Tsubasa equally good/talented & I'm still hoping for the day that both guys can reunite together & finally released something .
It has been way too long since their last group release aka 2008's Koi Uta / PROGRESS so til then , I will be keeping myself accompany with each of their solo material for now .
Monday, March 08, 2010
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - Romeo & Juliet (Hitomi no Screen's B-side)
Romeo & Juliet is the 2nd B-side that's found in Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 5th/comeback single Hitomi no (Eyes) Screen which was released last month on 24th Feb .
Hitomi no Screen debuted at #1 with 1st week sales of 201,897 & it's the group's 5th straight #1 single since debut single Ultra Music Power .
Romeo & Juliet is only found in the CD only edition of the single .
Honestly , this's not a B-side I will listen often as compared to the A-side & let alone Kagayaki (Sparkle) Days as frankly , the vocals on Romeo & Juliet turned me off on 1st listen & it does not help matters that I find it a bit cheesy for my liking .
I thought that Romeo & Juliet might be sung by the original Hey ! Say ! 7 & let alone Hey ! Say ! BEST but it doesn't seem so after I checked JStorm's website on this .
Anyway , aside from the 2nd B-side which I do not warm up to that easily , I pretty much am pleased on what Hey ! Say ! JUMP has to offer after they come back with this pretty solid , mature & grown up release since 2008's Mayanoka no Shadow Boy .
I really hope I'm not going to wait for another 1 1/2 years for them to release something if you ask me as I think this group of kids have a lot of potential even though I do admit for a 10 piece group , that can be a bit daunting .
2 of the members Yamada Ryosuke & Chinen Yuuri will team up with Nakayama Yuma to release a 'new' single titled Yuki (Courage) 100% on 7th April under the band billing NYC .
Yuki 100% will not be released under the NYC boys tag suprisingly or not & the A-side serves as the opening no. for the anime Nintama Rantaro .
Past artistes that sung Yuki 100% include the now disbanded Johnny's duo Hikaru Genji , GENJI Super 5 , Ya-Ya-Yah & Hey ! Say ! JUMP .
NYC's version of Yuki 100% will be used as the opening theme in Nintama Rantaro from 29th March onwards .
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Aoyama Thelma - Anata ga Kiechaisoude (You Must Disappear And In The Aspect) (Kaeru Basho's B-side)
Anata ga Kiechaisoude (You Must Disappear And In The Aspect) is the B-side song you can find in Aoyama Thelma's 9th single Kaeru Basho which was released on the 3rd .
The A-side was chosen to be used as an ending theme no. for the movie Doraemon The Movie : Nobita's Great Battle of the Mermaid King which was released in Japanese cinemas yesterday & it's a commemorative work for the 30th anniversary of Doraemon .
Truthfully , I was expecting something different when it comes to Anata ga Kiechaisoude as I really like the A-side but the B-side is also nice too .
There's a slight bittersweet feeling that's attached to Anata ga Kiechaisoude just like Kaeru Basho but it's tunes like this that makes Aoyama's enduring in a way or 2 .
Aoyama Thelma has been striking the music iron when it's hot with her 2nd single release for 2010 , Kaeru Basho . After the hot duet Fall in Love that she did with BIGBANG's SOL , she goes back to R&B basics with Kareu Basho .
It's a bit unfortunate that this latest release of hers is not getting enough respect the way it should but sometimes at the end of the day , the measure of a good single does not lies in the sales/chart position department .
Friday, March 05, 2010
SID - sleep's B-sides
The following 2 songs serve as B-sides in SID's 5th single sleep which was released 2 days ago on the 3rd .
- Utahime (Songstress)
- Aikagi (Master Key) (Live from SID TOUR 2009 hikari)
While the A-side is a grand and angsty rock no. , you will not get the same thing when you take a listen to the 1st B-side Utahime .
Instead , you get a pop & dance pimped out tune & I don't know if it's just me but I feel lead singer Mao sounded like abingdon boys school's frontman Takanori in Utahime to a certain extent .
Not that it's a bad thing but I honestly was surprised when I 1st heard Utahime . Then again , for their last single one way , the B-side(s) were surprises but of the good kind which I like .
Aikagi is the 2nd B-side & this was recorded & taken live from the guys's Live from SID TOUR 2009 hikari gig .
I really like Aikagi on 1st listen . I don't know if it's a song that was made available in their older discography before they went major but this's some really lovely stuff .
I like the no nonsense & straight forward way that the band bring the song across the border & it's just Mao singing Aikagi with minimum acoustic & electric guitar riffs & drum beats .
Once again , rock band SID delivered a fantastic single release for 2010 . I love it that there's something for everyone to enjoy in their latest single offering sleep & to me , this's the single that should be getting the #1 spot on the Oricon singles chart & it's a pity that they're so close but yet so far .
I always like to root for the underdogs & considering that rock's my fave music genre , these guys get my stamp of approval & it's nice to see that they're improving musically as each release goes by .
I sure hope a new single or let alone a new album will materialise soon as they're really talented in my books .
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
ARASHI - Mou Ippo (One Step) (Troublemaker's B-side)
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
Mou Ippo (One Step) is the 2nd B-side that you can find in ARASHI's 29th single Troublemaker which's released officially today on 3rd March .
Except in this case , Mou Ippo is only found in the CD only edition of the single .
This's the 1 spark in Troublemaker that I was looking for in Troublemaker seeing that I was not impressed & let alone bored with the A-side & Yurase , Ima wo (Shake It Now) .
Mou Ippo reminded me of the group's older hip hop / rock works which I really like & no surprises , I enjoyed Mou Ippo on 1st listen as it has a lot of attitude , spunk & plenty of character .
It's a pity that Mou Ippo is not the A-side & instead , this's slotted as a B-side song as out of the 3 songs found in Troublemaker , this's the song that I have been playing the most frequent number of times .
I never would have thought that I can almost flunk Troublemaker as I grew weary & tired of ARASHI's boring & safe pop route that they have underwent musically during the past 2 years since they experienced an tremendous spike in popularity but thankfully , Mou Ippo saved their latest single from flopping musically to me .
No doubt that their new single will move a lot of copies by the masses & I'm not going to deny that I'm happy for them that gone were the days where people don't care squat about them & I was a big fan of the group & let alone Johnny's in general .
I'm just disappointed that even though their popularity has shot though the roof , they unfortunately sell out to the masses & ditched their music roots in the process . I'm frankly waiting for the day (if that ever comes) for them to return back to their hip hop / rock roots as it's definitely not fair to alienate their fans whom liked what they were doing & not like what they're doing now .
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Yusuke - Lion
Cover For Both CD & CD + DVD Editions :
Lion is Yusuke's 4th single & it will be released next Wed on 10th March .
Yeah I had that funny odd look when I was informed of Yusuke's latest solo single offering title wise & this's 1st single that follows after the release of his debut album Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo. .
But other than the song title , this's 1 song I have to say it's pretty good .
It's spring influenced to a certain extent but you can feel how much emotions Yusuke has poured into this positive cheery guitar driven no. & you can't help but be drawn into Lion on 1st listen .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Chikoku no Uta (Song Of The Late)
- Yume ha Genjou Izi ! (Dream Status Quo !)
Monday, March 01, 2010
NEWS - Sakura Girl
Sakura Girl is NEWS's 12th single . It will be released on 31st March instead of 24th March & it's a spring song with a sakura (Japanese cherry) theme .
YesAsia described it as a refreshing spring-themed number likening the season of sakura with encounters and separation .
If you were put off by their last single Koi no (Blood) ABO , rest assured you will not get any post after effects of sorts when you listen to Sakura Girl .
I have to admit initally I felt that the song title is a bit lame but after I gave the song a listen , I must say that I really like it .
As the song title suggest , it has a very spring inspired vibe & I think this's the sort of music that NEWS excels in singing .
It does have music resemblances to some of ARASHI's B-sides mainly Still ... & Snowflake to me but considering that I like both B-sides which were taken from their 20th single Happiness , it's ok I suppose .
Sakura Girl's a nice cheery song that's bound to put a smile on your face once you give it a listen .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de (Just Having You By My Side)
- FREEDOM (Regular Edition Track)
- Love Melodies (Limited Edition Track)
- Sakura Girl (A Cappella version)(Limited Edition Track)