Friday, April 30, 2010

GIRL NEXT DOOR - Freedom

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :





Freedom is GIRL NEXT DOOR's 8th single . It will be released on 16th June & it's the trio's 1st single release for 2010 after they released their 2nd album NEXT FUTURE on 20th Jan & it's the trio's 1st album to debut at #1 on the Oricon weekly album chart .

The A-side serves as the theme song for the ANB drama Jotei Kaoruko .

If you're expecting another same old sounding A-side material from the trio , prepare to get surprised when you hear Freedom .

I was definitely surprised in a good way when I 1st heard Freedom . For once , the trio has decided to release something different as what they normally put out .

Freedom is angsty , edgy & gritty & you don't get any sugary electro pop vibes while listening to it & to me , it's quite easy to compare Freedom against some of the tracks in NEXT FUTURE such as Tri△ngle & Muboubi na Jun'ai (Defenseless Pure Love) as all the 3 songs have that whole angsty vibes going on in them .

Not that I'm complaining as I'm happy to see for once they have come up with such a fast paced & mean in your face no. .

The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :

- Sayonara (Goodbye)
- Seeds of dream (BLOOMING REMIX)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ARASHI - Spiral (Monster's B-side)

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :



Spiral serves as the B-side no. in ARASHI's 30th single Monster which will be released on 19th May .

The A-side serves as the theme song to the TV drama Kaibutsu-kun starring Ohno Satoshi .

Spiral has been described as a dance no. & you can find the inclusion of Sakurap in the song .

I was expecting another Crazy Moon ~Kimi wa Muteki~ but on 1st listen , Spiral surprised me .

Just like Monster , what I like about Spiral is that even though both are pop , they have that edge/uniqueness that I was looking for in the single .

Spiral took a while for me to adjust to as it wasn't catchy as what I was hoping for as compared to Monster but I must admit Spiral's a grower as each listen goes by & somehow or another , the inclusion of Sakurap seems to make the song even more better in sounding .

After disappointing me with 2/3 of what their last single Troublemaker offered , I'm glad to say that ARASHI has restored my music faith towards the guys (for now) with this really smashing single offering .

I hope Monster will be the single to outsell Troublemaker in due time when it's out on 19th May as to me , I feel the former deserves it a lot more than the latter .

It has been 2 years + since the release of their last album Dream"A"live & really , they should release a new album , it's more or less about time it should happen .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CD Review :: school food punishment - amp-reflection

CD Only Cover :



2 CDs + DVD Cover :



Tracklist :

1) signal
2) goodblue
3) butterfly swimmer
4) future nova -album edit-

5) Densha (Train) , Suberi Ochiru (Slip) , Headphone
6) light prayer
7) after laughter

8) 04:59
9) Kakenukeru (Tear Through)
10) futuristic imagination -album version-
11) line
12) Percentage
13) sea-through communication



amp-reflection is school food punishment's debut full length album . It was released on 14th April & its original release date was 13th Jan .

The quartet's 1st 5 major label singles are included in amp-reflection with 2 singles getting album treatments in this context . All lyrics in the album were written by the lead singer/frontwoman Uchimura Yumi .

amp-reflection debuted at #9 with 1st week sales of 11,393 , making this the band's 1st ever top 10 release .

After a 55 seconds introduction in the form of Signal , the band dives straight into the 1st album track goodblue .

goodblue is to me 1 of the album tracks that stood out for me because I just like how fast paced the song's , with numerous guitars riffs being layered over for effects's purposes .

butterfly swimmer is the quartet's 2nd single . It was used as the ending theme for the TV program Shiodome Event-bu in July 2009 .

This's the 1st ever song that I 1st heard of the group when I started listening to school food punishment's material . I like it that butterfly swimmer started out slow/subtle then it transformed & lashed out into a full blown pop/rock no. with unique touches of ambient & electronica that the band added in which I really like .

future nova is the 1st A-side of the group's 5th single future nova / after laughter . future nova / after laughter is also their 1st double A-side single & best performed single on Oricon to date , peaking at #18 .

The 1st A-side was used as the opening no. for the movie Higashi no Eden Gekijouban II Paradise Lost & in here , it has been renamed as future nova -album edit- .

Frankly there's not much significant difference/changes as compared to the single & album versions of future nova . The only difference's that the album edit for the song , it's slightly longer .

But still , it's a good song & it has plenty of kicks & a lot of great guitar riffs & layerings too .

Densha (Train) , Suberi Ochiru (Slip) , Headphone is the 2nd album track & this's quite a lushed chilled out song .

Compared to other songs on amp-reflection , Densha , Suberi Ochiru , Headphone is 1 of the few tracks that's quite simplified in terms of the music structure . It's not as complicated & choppy sounding & it's pretty understated in its own unique right .

The next 2 songs are singles that the quartet has already released prior to amp-reflection .

light prayer is their 4th single & it was used as the theme song to the theatrical anime Higashi no Eden Gekijouban I The King of Eden .

I still find this song cool to my liking . It sounds very futuristic sounding despite the song title & as always , what striked me about the song's the music .

There're numerous layerings of different styles & synths being thrown into the mix which's really neat .

after laughter is the 2nd A-side of their 5th single future nova / after laughter .

While the 1st A-side was used as the opening track for the movie Higashi no Eden Gekijouban II Paradise Lost , for after laughter's case , it was the closing no. for the movie .

I still remembered when future nova / after laughter was released , I lamented that I wished both songs would have sounded a bit different in that 1 should have been a ballad to contrast things .

I'm fine with after laughter now & it seems quite logical to slot in here after light prayer as the sound consistency's there .

04:59 is the 3rd album track & I guess you can considered this as a ballad as it's mainly piano driven before it's being transformed to a synth driven no. .

Oddly/funnily enough , despite the song title 04:59 , it's not 4:59 mins but rather it's 5:27 mins long but in anycase , it's nice to tone things out after 2 fierce enpowering tracks .

Kakenukeru (Tear Through) is track #9 & this's yet another cool album song . You can hear slight shades of Orchestra beats going on in here aside from the band's signature sounds which adds a nice edge to this fast paced no. .

futuristic imagination is school food punishment's debut single & it was used as the ending theme for the anime Higashi no Eden .

In here , futuristic imagination has been given the -album version- treatment .

The difference between the single & album versions for futuristic imagination is that the album version begins with a gorgeous 20 seconds or so Orchestra like sounding backing before the original song stepped in to fill in things .

Still , futuristic imagination is a really solid song for a debut single & this established the band's presence in the music industry , debuting the unique music sounds that the band has it going on in them .

line is the 2nd last album track & this's 1 of the more aggressive & meaner sounding songs in amp-reflection .

Immediately when the song begins , it gives you an extremely edgy introduction that's full of bite & kicks & I just like the song for being extremely fast paced without going over the top .

Percentage is the final album track . It can be considered as a ballad or 2 just like 04:59 .

I frankly don't find Percentage anything special/memorable . It's probably should be slotted as a B-side material no. as it doesn't have any edge/bite as compared to the other album tracks I can cherry pick/listen to .

sea-through communication is the group's 3rd single & it's the final track in the album's tracklist .

I remembered when sea-through communication was 1st released , it sounded a bit different as compared to futurisitic imagination & let alone butterfly swimmer .

For once , sea-through communication sounded a lot more mainstream friendly & the usage of synth beats is a lot more heavily emphasised in this context too .

school food punishment established their unique music presence with this pretty slamming solid debut album offering amp-reflection .

I must admit that their music's probably not everyone's cup of tea to appericate/enjoy . For once , their music roots lies in post pop rock/electronica & ambient fusion . As a result , they're not mainstream to begin with since they have humble indie roots instilled in them .

Also , I was frankly disappointed initally on 1st listen with regards to the album tracks found in amp-reflection in that nothing stood out to me at 1st & the album tracks seems a lot more mellower as compared to their singles counterparts which most of the band's singles releases are quite upbeat in sounding .

But as time goes by , the album tracks began to paint an unique picture of their own & I suppose the reason as to why the album tracks are quite toned down / subtle is probably to balance & contrast things .

Regardless of which , amp-reflection's really worth a great listen from the start to the end & if you're looking for something that's not mainstream & unique in sounding , then school food punishment might be the band for you to check out .



Monday, April 26, 2010

CD Review :: Tegomass - Tegomass no Ai EP

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :



Tracklist :

1) Neiro (Tone)
2) Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara (If OO Disappears From This World)
3) Bokura no Sora (Our Sky)
4) Pasta
5) Cheetah , Gorilla , Orangutan
6) Yoru wa Hoshi wo Nagameteokure (For My Sake , Gaze At The Stars At Night Please)
7) Chu Chu Chu ! (CD Only Track)



Tegomass no Ai EP is Tegomass's 1st mini album & it was released last Wed on 21st April .

No singles are included in Tegomass no Ai EP . As such , you're not able to find their 4th single Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival) in here .

The mini album debuted at #2 with 1st week sales of 65,065 .

Tegomass share the love on their new mini-album Tegomass no Ai EP & it espouses on different kinds of love between families , friends & couples , as well as their love & appreciation for their fans .

The mini album's songs highlight the duo's harmonic voices & positive messages about life & love .

Neiro (Tone) is the 1st song to kick things off & oh this's such a fun groovy no. !

My 1st reaction when I 1st heard Neiro is that it sounded like a part 2 of Tatta Hitotsu Dake (Only One More) which's track #3 on the duo's debut album Tegomass no Uta .

Both songs are really fun & extremely party worthy material to plug onto loud & proud .

Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara (If OO Disappears From This World) is the 2nd track & it's the only song in Tegomass no Ai EP that got a music video .

I reviewed Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara a while back ago & up to now , I'm still very captivated by the song & it definitely deserves to get a video for sure .

Also the lyrics surrounding Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara is very touching/beautiful & both Tegoshi & Masuda's vocals harmonise very well in here .

Bokura no Sora (Our Sky) follows suit & just like Neiro , it's yet another fun poppy song .

It doesn't have that strong Carribean like beats going on unlike Neiro but it's still a nice one to bob your head along to .

Pasta is 1 funny song title . I was wondering is it going to be something weird to look out for but surprisingly , it's kind of dreamy in a way or 2 .

The song's still pop but thank goodness it doesn't sound like a joke song & I actually kind of like Pasta .

Cheetah , Gorilla , Orangutan is probably the craziest/funniest song you can find in Tegomass no Ai EP & I'm not going to like that I went LOL when I saw this on the tracklist of the mini album .

Frankly , this's a song that Kanjani∞ is more capable of coming up with as it's crazy & something that I do not see Tegomass sing at all but I suppose once in a while , it's OK to step out of your music comfort zone & experiment .

Yoru wa Hoshi wo Nagameteokure (For My Sake , Gaze At The Stars At Night Please) is another fantastic ballad just like Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara .

In fact , Yoru wa Hoshi wo Nagameteokure is the longest track in the mini album , clocking in at 5:44 mins but it's a really solid song . You can feel just how much emotions & feelings Tegoshi & Masuda poured into this song & I think it will be interesting if a video was made for Yoru wa Hoshi wo Nagameteokure as it really deserves so .

Only found in the CD only edition of Tegomass no Ai EP , it's Chu Chu Chu ! .

Honestly , only Tegomass can come up with something cute & not borderline cheesy/silly as Chu Chu Chu ! as this's definitely not the 1st song that they have done in this department .

It has those similar music beats you can find in Neiro & the trumpets that're blaring out in here are cool too .

As the saying goes , good things come in small packages & I think this saying kind of fits the overall feeling I have towards Tegomass's 1st mini album in that they place quality a greater emphasis as compared to quantity .

You get a mixture of feel good & serious ballads in the mix & they once again proven to me on why they're probably unofficially considered as the 2 best vocalists in NEWS since they have really good/strong vocals & combining the forces of both of them , it gives you quite a knock out musical punch .

Definitely a really solid mini album to check out for on a Monday !

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kuroki Meisa - 5-FIVE-





5-FIVE- is Kuroki Meisa's 2nd single . It will be released on 2nd June & this's Kuroki's 1st single release for 2010 after she released her 2nd mini album ATTITUDE on the 1st day of the year .

CDJapan described the song as a catchy party tune R&B track & that it's fit for the summer which I think it's more or less the right chosen words to describe 5-FIVE- .

5-FIVE- to me on 1st listen , it's a lot more catchier & stronger than Kuroki's debut single SHOCK -Unmei- (-Fate-) .

The mood & vibes that 5-FIVE- gives out , it's a bit different from the songs that Kuroki has dished out so far in her music career & the fact that 5-FIVE- will be released in June , this's 1 song that's perfect to plug out loud & proud in the beach during summer time .

The following songs serve as B-sides in 5-FIVE- :

- The Only One
- So Smooth

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Suga Shikao - Sayonara (Goodbye) Home Run

Cover For Both CD & CD + DVD's Editions :




Sayonara (Goodbye) Home Run is Suga Shikao's 27th single . It will be released next week on 28th April & it's Suga's 1st single release of 2010 .

All songs written & produced by Suga himself in his latest single offering .

Suga's back to doing what he does best & it's evident in Sayonara Home Run . It's an easy listening piece of mid tempo guitar driven no. but he added his own unique touches of funk & soul in this song .

As a result , you get such a no. with interesting flairs of funk & soul attached to it & salute to Suga as always for delivering the music goods .

The following songs serve as B-sides in the single but I will not be reviewing them :

- Sekai ga Owaru go 5 Byou mae (The World Will End In 5 Seconds)
- FAN-KEY-TRAIN request tracks (previously unreleased title)

Suga's 10th album FUNKASTiC will be released on 12th May & Sayonara Home Run will be included .



Monday, April 19, 2010

ARASHI - Monster





Monster is ARASHI's 30th single . It will be released on 19th May & this comes 2 months + since the release of their previous single Troublemaker which's currently the top selling single on the Oricon singles chart .

The guys's brand new single serves as the theme song for the TV drama Kaibutsu-kun starring the group's leader Ohno Satoshi . Kaibutsu-kun about a prince from the land of monsters who ventures into the human world .

I know I was very critical & somewhat harsh towards their last single Troublemaker as I wasn't impressed with the whole single with the exception for Mou , Ippo (One Step) but I'm very happy to say that my musical faith towards ARASHI has been restored (for now) in the form of Monster .

In fact , I feel Monster sounds like a distant cousin of Tokei Jikake no (Clockwork) Umbrella which's found as the 1st B-side in their 28th single My Girl which's unofficially considered as probably the best B-side & maybe let alone best song that they have ever dished out last year .

Unlike Troublemaker which I dislike til now , I'm really impressed with what Monster has to offer . It's somewhat dark but not as moody & depressing as truth but what really kept me interested in the song was the music structure .

It's still pop but this's the type of edgy pop that I like & I really like the somewhat alice in wonderland feeling after they belt out the 2nd chorus of the song which I think it's super cool & unique .

Spiral serves as the B-side in the Monster single & it's said to be a dance no. & there will be Sakurap included .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

YUI - to Mother

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :





to Mother is YUI's 16th single . It will be released on 2nd June & this comes in 5 months + since the release of her previous single GLORIA .

The A side's a piano no. with subtle orchestra influences & YUI mentioned in her blog that this is the first time for her to compose a song that's completely piano driven .

Well I can say's that it's a nice change for YUI to go the piano route this time round & I think this's probably her 1st song that's in this manner since her choice of instrument's the guitar .

To mother reminded me of Sea on 1st listen because both songs give off similar music vibes to me but after a while , it's clearly evident that 1's piano driven while the other's acoustic guitar driven .

Considering that this's her 1st attempt at composing a piano driven song , I said that she did a pretty good on it & since she's the one that writes & compose all of her material , you can't go wrong with her basically at the end of the day as she's really talented & gifted .

The following songs serve as B-sides in the to Mother single :

- Tonight
- GLORIA ~YUI Acoustic Version~

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NYC - Yuki (Courage) 100%

CD Only



CD + DVD



1) Yuki (Courage) 100%
2) Yume no Tane (Seed Of Dream)
3) Yuki 100% (Original Karaoke)
4) Yume no Tane (Original Karaoke)



Yuki (Courage) 100% is NYC's 1st single & it was released on 7th April .

The single debuted at #1 with 1st week sales of 92,330 & the A-side serves as the opening theme for the anime Nintama Rantaro from the March 29 episode of the anime onwards .

Past artistes that sung Yuki 100% include the now disbanded Johnny's duo Hikaru Genji , GENJI Super 5 , Ya-Ya-Yah & Hey ! Say ! JUMP .

In fact you wonder why does this trio look familiar , that's because it was a temporary Johnny's unit which featured B.I. Shadow which goes by the name of NYC boys in which Nakayuma Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow & NYC boys released the single Akuma no Koi / NYC together in hand in hand .

Also it just so happened that NYC form the initals of each guy's 1st name :

N Nakayama Yuma
Y Yamada Ryosuke
C Chinen Yuuri

While the A-side is used as an opening theme for Nintama Rantaro , the B-side Yume no Tane (Seed Of Dream) is used as the ending theme for the anime .

Both songs are in the same music vein in that both are pop songs except that Yume no Tane is not a cover but the A-side's .

I'm frankly surprised that this time round only NYC is being left intact as the 'boys' part was handled by B.I.Shadow . I'm not sure why this's the case but I could see why the 3 of them are being left intact .

The 3 of them can sing pretty well & there're some good harmonisation vocals going on between Nakayuma , Yamada & Chinen for both songs found in Yuki 100% . It's frankly something Hey ! Say ! JUMP can come up with but I leave it as it's .

It reminds to be seen if NYC still stands as a temporary or permanent grouping for now . I think I'm going with the former .


Friday, April 16, 2010

DAIGO☆STARDUST - SUPER JOY's B-sides





The following 2 songs serve as B-sides in DAIGO☆STARDUST's 6th & final single SUPER JOY :

- I fall in love ... again
- JUST BEGUN !!

SUPER JOY was released 5 years ago on 26th Sept . Its debut position was #130 & charted for a week .

I fall in love ... again is really love on 1st listen . Just like previous B-sides ballads found on DAIGO's past singles like Feather & Sakura no Kinoshita de (Under The Cherry Tree) , this's a really great touching ballad .

DAIGO's voice basically just works very well in his favour in I fall in love ... again . He just need to utilise some guitar riffs & subtle synths in this song & the ending product gives you this really emotional & beautiful song that I like !

The 2nd B-side JUST BEGUN !! is really weird & strange . Clocking in at 2:29 mins , I probably consider this as an interlude of sorts . It does get a bit random at times too .

DAIGO made use of even more synths in JUST BEGUN !! as compared to I fall in love ... again . There's frankly not much going on in JUST BEGUN !! & that goes for lyrically too .

Considering that JUST BEGUN !! is so short to begin with , I guess DAIGO was trying to make the best out of the short time frame for the song .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tegomass - Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara (If ○○ Disappears From This World)





Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara (If ○○ Disappears From This World) is found as track #2 in Tegomass's 1st mini album Tegomass no Ai EP which will be released next Wed on April 21st .

This song's in fact the only album track getting a video & the duo's 4th single Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival) is not included in Tegomass no Ai EP .

Tegomass share the love on Tegomass no Ai EP & it espouses on different kinds of love between families , friends & couples , as well as their love & appreciation for their fans .

The mini album's songs highlight the duo's harmonic voices & positive messages about life & love .

Well I guess it's easy to see (hear) why Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara really deserves to get a video as it's such a heartwarming & touching song .

It has nice shades of orchestra attached to it too & I feel the song sounded a bit like their 2nd single Kiss ~Kaeri Michi no Love Song~ (~Going Back Home Love Song~) .

Not that it's a bad thing as I really like Kiss ~Kaeri Michi no Love Song~ but in such songs , you can hear what great harmonisation both Tegoshi & Masuda have with each other & it's proof in the pudding after you give Moshimo , Kono Sekai Kara OO ga Nakunattara a listen .

The duo's 1st mini album Tegomass no Ai EP will be reviewed in due time .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Matsushita Yuya - YOU

CD Only Limited Pressing Cover :



CD Only Limited Edition Cover :





YOU is Matsushita Yuya's 5th single . It will be released on 5th May & this comes 3 months + since the release of his 1st top 10 single Trust Me .

The A-side is a medium dance number produced by Jin Nakamura whom also produced Trust Me .

I guess I can hear some similarities going on in both Trust Me & YOU which's not surprising as it's produced by the same guy .

In the case of YOU , it's a lot more darker than Trust Me . YOU is not as catchy & memorable on 1st listen but I must admit it's still a great groovy R&B track delivered by Matsushita with plenty of gusto & energy .

Hallucination serves as the B-side for the single & it has been selected to be used as the theme song for the musical Kuroshitsuji -The Most Beautiful DEATH in The World- Sen no Tamashii to Ochita Shinigami .

Monday, April 12, 2010

BENI - Gimme Gimme♥





Gimme Gimme♥ is the 2nd A-side of BENI's 8th single Yura Yura (Slowly Shaking) / Gimme Gimme♥ which will be released on 5th May .

Yura Yura / Gimme Gimme♥ is BENI's 1st double A-side single & it's her 3rd single that she will release for 2010 , after sign & Bye Bye .

The 2nd A-side has been selected to be used as the brand KAO Violet Body Deli ad song & it's about "confessing your feelings to the one you love" .

Hmm on 1st listen , Gimme Gimme♥ sounded quite similar to KIRA☆KIRA☆ & let alone Gon' luv u to me . Not that it's a bad thing seeing that I really like both songs coming from BENI & I just like how carefree she sounded like in Gimme Gimme♥'s case .

Then again , she hasn't disappoint me ever since I got onboard her music & Gimme Gimme♥ is something that I really like from her .

Yura Yura & the B-side of the single ie. the DJ HASEBE REMIX of bye bye will be reviewed soon .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

CD Review :: BREAKERZ - B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :



Tracklist :

1) Shunrenka (Spring Love Song)
2) Ao no Mirai (Blue Future)
3) Dandelion
4) BAMBINO ~Bambino~
5) B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~ (~Bridge For Tomorrow~)
6) Birdman
7) Miss you
8) Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... (Thousand Times ... 10 Thousand Times ...)



B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP is BREAKERZ's 1st mini acoustic album which was released on 7th April , a day before frontman DAIGO's 32nd birthday .

No singles are included in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP & Shunrenka (Spring Love Song) is the only album track that received a music video & the mini album debuted at #9 with 1st week sales of 9,094 .

The guys's 1st mini acoustic album 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 & pleasant atmosphere .

As I said earlier on , Shunrenka is the only new song in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP & it was written & composed by DAIGO .

This song was inspired by his real-life experience of an unrequited love & this song was materialised before the formation of BREAKERZ 3 years back so it's not exactly a new song to begin with .

Guitarist SHINPEI commented in his blog that for Shunrenka , you're saying "Thank you , good bye" for a new start & that you face the future and you're thankful for what had happened in the past .

I reviewed about Shunrenka a while back ago & I was driven to tears when I heard the song as it's really touching/emotional & somehow or another , emotionally I felt somewhat settled after I heard the song .

I'm not sure if it's because it's something that anyone & myself can relate to but you can feel how much emotions that DAIGO poured into Shunrenka . Even in here , he sounded a lot more vulnerable & somewhat hurt & raw too but nevetheless , it's still a great song & it totally deserves to get a video for sure .

Sharing the same title as their 1st mini album , it's Ao no Mirai (Blue Future) .

This's 1 of the many songs that the guys never fail to perform live in concerts & it's also 1 of my personal faves too & that goes for SHINPEI as well .

In fact , SHINPEI has deep fond memories of Ao no Mirai as it was the 1st song he composed , so he was really happy it's included in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP .

The tempo is slower than the original take in which the acoustic is calmer . For the opening , a "Future in blue" phrase has been added in the chorus .

Ao no Mirai is already a great song but it's these few little added touches which makes the acoustic take on par if not even more better than the original take of the song .

The guitar solo also changed from the original melody . For SHINPEI's solo , he played along with the piano and the same phrase .

1st found as track #4 in their 2nd album CRASH & BUILD , it's Dandelion & it's the oldest acoustic song you can find in B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP seeing that it was the 1st acoustic no. that they included as their 1st B-side in the group's 4th single GRAND FINALE which was released last year in Feb 18th .

I always have like Dandelion way before the guys made an acoustic take of the song as CRASH & BUILD was a really top notch 2nd album offering of the trio so I wasn't really surprised when they chose to 'acoustic-fic' Dandelion & included it in GRAND FINALE .

It's a great piece of work which reminds you of guitarist AKIHIDE's jazzy guitar influenece : Wes Montgomery .

DAIGO's voice is much more deeper in the acoustic take of Dandelion & it's a sad and painful song .

BAMBINO ~Banbino~ is the next song & is found as the 2nd A-side of their 5th single Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ .

Ok unlike Dandelion , BAMBINO ~Banbino~ is probably the last song I expected the guys to make an acoustic take of things & I never thought I would use the words hot , sexy & passionate to describe an acoustic song too but this really fits & applies very well for BAMBINO ~Banbino~ .

No acoustic guitar strings were used & nylon strings were utilised instead .

With the flamenco dancers in the background , SHINPEI feels like a spanish guitarist while playing (lol don't ask) . As a result , this passionate atmosphere with a piano is cool & I have to agree with what SHINPEI commented & DAIGO sounded a lot more erm sensual in here as compared to the original .

I don't know why or what but it's probably has to do with the way he ended the chorus after he sang it , be it the 1st or ending of the song .

Also if you notice , BAMBINO ~Banbino~ has the honour for being the only single track that's given the acoustic treatment in the mini album .

1st found as track #3 in the group's 2nd album CRASH & BUILD , it's B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~ & this acoustic version was already found in the guys's 6th single Hikari as a B-side no. , in the CD only edition of the single .

Just like Ao no Mirai , it's also 1 of the band's many song staples that they never fail to perform live & for B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~'s case , they love to perform the song in their encore segments & I know that they did an acoustic take of this song as their 1st encore no. last July when they finally got the chance to perform at the Budokan in which they celebrated their 2nd year anniversary .

As what SHINPEI described , B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~'s a theme song , to the fans and them & the acoustic take's a reggae dance no. .

In the beginning of the song , you can hear auto-tune which's a vocal special effect being utilised & this's something which's not used that much extensively in their discography (yet) . Nevertheless , I still like the acoustic of B.R.Z ~Ashita e no Kakehashi~ til now & it's something refreshing to boot too .

1st found as track #2 in the band's debut self titled album , it's Birdman & the acoustic take of the song was already made available as a B-side in their 7th single LOVE FIGHTER ~Koi no Battle~ .

Honestly even up to now , I still don't really have that much love towards Birdman . I figure it's because I didn't like the original take of Birdman that much when I listened to their 1st album .

But for the acoustic take , I appericate that it's a simple arrangement between DAIGO's vocals and the acoustic guitars .

In fact , AKIHIDE had difficulties in playing the guitar pieces for Birdman which surprised me (that happened for Hikari where he had quite a bit of trouble in capturing the electric guitar riffs for his solo part after the 2nd chorus was belted out by DAIGO) & so are the drums pieces , while SHINPEI played a dazzling arpeggio .

And at the ending , SHINPEI has a solo guitar part to close things off which I think that's cool .

Similarly like Birdman , Miss you was also found in the trio's debut album as track #6 .

I was really happy that the guys decided to do an acoustic take of Miss you as it's 1 of the few gems in their debut album which I unfortunately didn't really like most of the songs there .

In here , the acoustic of Miss you became a splendid ballad ! It's a 2 pairs of A melo which SHINPEI really like . (some guitar lingo that he used which I have no idea what it's all about)

I thought Miss you is already great in their debut album but in here , the acoustic is on par if not more superior than the original & DAIGO sounded a lot more hurt & vulnerable in here , I think even I myself might & would tear up , upon hearing this too .

Also it's such a beautiful piano ballad that's chokeful of emotions , it's no surprises that I really really have a great due of new respect towards Miss you now .

The final track to close off B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP , it's Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... . This was originally found as the very 1st track in CRASH & BUILD & acoustic wise , it served as a B-side in the group's 5th single Everlasting Luv / BAMBINO ~Bambino~ which can only be found in the CD only edition of the single .

Another gem in CRASH & BUILD which deservingly received a video , the original take of Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... was a very fast paced guitar driven no. which I adore & acoustic wise , it has been transformed to a magnificient ballad which's orchestra driven .

Even though the acoustic of Nanzenkai ... Nanmankai ... is more or less a year old or so , I'm still captivated over it even til now as it's seriously beautiful .

In fact I think it's the only acoustic song that has elements of orchestra attached to it in the mini album which I like it as it makes things a bit more exclusive & I think AKIHIDE did an amazing job in composing both the original & acoustic take of things alongside with writing it .

After releasing a totally kick ass album in the form of FIGHTERZ , BREAKERZ hanged up their electric guitars for the time being & decided to embark on this fantastic project by re-recording some of their songs into acoustic versions .

I always have like acoustic songs way before I crossed over to listen to JPop/JRock full time so I say this's a great mini album for acoustic music lovers to enjoy listening to while chilling out at home .

I might be a bit greedy seeing that I'm a really huge big fan of BREAKERZ but I thought it might be interesting for them to re-record even more songs of theirs into acoustic versions .

Like I would love to hear acoustic takes maybe Sekai wa Odoru (The World's Dancing) (especially this as it's already a fantastic masterpiece in its own right) , Angelic Smile & probably even GRAND FINALE .

Regardless of which , I had a great time listening to B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP & just like FIGHTERZ , it's not a full straight up acoustic album . They mixed various sounds in the songs such as pop , reggae , orchestra alongside with giving the songs cool acoustic treatments which're great .

I look forward to what the guys has in store next & if I'm going to be right on this , I think they might release a new single in July as they have did so for the past 2 July's so if this's going to happen again this year , then nothing will surprise me on this .

B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP is in fact the 1st acoustic album that I reviewed in my music blog & I'm happy & honoured to have done so as there's always a 1st time for everything & like what I said , this's 1 awesome project that the guys have delivered .



Saturday, April 10, 2010

CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus

CD Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :



Tracklist :

1) THE introduction
2) Microphone
3) count down
4) Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
5) BALLAD
6) Last Links
7) montage
8) Don't look back
9) Jump !
10) Lady Dynamite
11) Sexy little things
12) Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
13) meaning of Love
14) You were ...
15) RED LINE ~for TA~ [album version]



Rock'n'Roll Circus is ayumi hamasaki's 11th album & it will be released this coming Wed on 14th April .

2 singles which are both double A-sides are included in ayumi's latest album offering . Even though the album is not released officially yet , Rock'n'Roll Circus has already leaked out on the net .

Rock'n'Roll Circus consists a total of 15 songs & the recording for the album took place in London which was a 1st for ayumi .

4 album tracks received music videos of their own & also , Rock'n'Roll Circus will be released on the same day as her ayumi hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A -Next Level- DVD .

Unlike her previous albums NEXT LEVEL & GUILTY where there were 3 interludes & an introduction , for Rock'n'Roll Circus's case , you get an introduction opening piece & 2 interludes , which's the same album structure as what her 8th album Secret had & that goes for her older releases such as (miss)understood , MY STORY , RAINBOW & I am ... .

With a title like THE introduction , is it any better to kick off Rock'n'Roll Circus as so ? I believe it's & it's an introduction with a feel of a live opening track which sets the bar on what to expect for Rock'n'Roll Circus .

You dive straight into the 1st album track aka Microphone . It's the 1st album track to get a video & it was used to promote Honda ZEST SPARK in their ads which ayumi's the spokeswoman for the brand .

Microphone has been described as a powerful and intense rock track which centres on ayumi's music career .

I still remembered when this song was leaked out , I was captivated by the song even up to now . I really like the subtle usage of an organ being utilised in Microphone & the ending result's that it's a rock song with plenty of class & style .

It's 1 of the more angsty driven rock tracks in the album for that matter .

The next 3 songs you can find in the album are ballads .

count down follows after Microphone & it's a rock ballad which the lyrics of the song centres on ayumi's ear issues which she revealed in her TeamAyu fanclub blog that she unfortunately became deaf in her left ear some 2 years back , during the time when her 9th album GUILTY was released .

I was really impressed with count down & my 1st thought was that it sounded like criminal which's taken from her 7th album (miss)understood .

count down is not as solemn , dark & depressing as criminal but it's around the same wave length . Also , I like the usage of the guitar in count down which accompanied the piano & this's some great stuff I feel .

Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 46th single Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ . It was used in the Panasonic LUMIX FX60 camera ad in which ayumi's the spokesperson for the company .

It's a midtempo nostalgic summer love ballad & both songs utilised the same melody but with obvious music arrangements you can expect from both A-sides .

I like Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ , I really do & I feel that it contrasts Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ very well for that matter & the arrangements going for the song is plain lovely & under-stated .

BALLAD is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 47th single You were ... / BALLAD . It was used as a drama tieup no. for NHK's serial Soukyuu no Subaru , a fictional historical drama based on Jiro Asada's book & it was aired on NHK BS hi from Jan 2nd .

I guess you can say that BALLAD is the successor of GREEN seeing that it's a ballad with traces of Asian/Chinese flair attached to it .

Oh sure I know that people will be going ??? when the titles You were ... / BALLAD were announced since it's obvious that BALLAD is going to be a ballad but for my case , I didn't expect such a different type of ballad coming from ayumi .

I thought it was going to be another typical Winter inspired like ballad from her (that goes to You were ... actually) but for her to incorporate & make use of Asian/Chinese sounds again in her music , I like & respect that .

I'm not sure if it's because I'm Chinese but I leave it as it's . BALLAD is touching & I still like the song even up to now .

Last Links is the 3rd album track & it's a hopeful song that encourages to live with love . Sounds poetic & deep but in truth , the song's a really nice acoustic guitar driven no. .

I think Last Links is the only album track to be given such a treatment & it's cool .

montage is the 1st album interlude & boy oh boy this's 1 hot interlude I have to say .

It's a really mean kick ass dark orchestral interlude that leads into the next album track Don't look back & for me what I like about montage's that it has a lot of kicks & throw a lot of punches at the right curve .

Like what I said , montage leads straight into Don't look back , which's the 2nd album track to get a music video .

Don't look back was used to promote Panasonic's latest digital camera LUMIX FX66 & ZX3 TV-CF & it's a midtempo Arabian/Indian sitar infused track .

This's the only album track that's so in Rock'n'Roll Circus & I'm glad that Don't look back is exclusive in this sense .

It really reminded me of ayumi's 14th single vogue in terms of the fact that both songs utilised more or less the same exotic beats for each song .

Not bad it's a bad thing but it was like taking a trip down to music land as it has been close to 10 years since vogue was released .

Jump ! is the final interlude & it's a digital rock no. with ayumi saying "JUMP" a lot .

While Jump ! is not as epic grand sounding as montage , you still can hear traces of those video games programming synth like sounds in Jump ! , something that was used quite often in her last album NEXT LEVEL .

I actually am quite neutral over Jump ! though even though I got turned off a bit by ayumi who said JUMP a lot in the backdrop .

Anyway , the next 2 album tracks are also incidentally the last 2 songs that got music videos of their own .

Lady Dynamite is an impacting rock track for women & no surprises , it's a rock song that makes a big impact .

Lyrics wise , it's in the same vein as her previous songs that're very women inspired like Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN .

I do admit that Lady Dynamite didn't sat well with me initally but I actually like it now . It's such a fun song to groove along to & music structure wise , it's a bit different as compared to Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN .

Sexy little things is track #11 & it's an upbeat swing pop number which has an electro tinge to it .

This song's the successor of last year's Sparkle seeing that you can hear quite a fair bit of autotune running though Sexy little things .

I can see why ayumi made a video for Sexy little things as it's extremely extremely addictive . I was instantly hooked onto the song on 1st listen . Even though by right I'm not really a fan of autotune & dance music , a little bit of it is ok & this's evident for Sexy little things & she probably had a lot of fun recording this too .

Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is the 1st A-side of her 46th single Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ .

This song served as the theme song for the drama Dandy Daddy ? & it's a summer upbeat song with shades of electronic beats .

I still remembered when this single was released after NEXT LEVEL , I admit that Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ sounded like something that's taken from that album .

But compared to ayumi's most recent summer inspired songs , Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ had something different to offer , especially when you compare it against glitter & BLUE BIRD which both songs sounded eerily the same .

But nevertheless Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is really good & contrasts Sunset very nicely with Sunset being a touching ballad .

meaning of Love is the final album track & it's a song about overflowing love .

This's probably somewhat the weak link in the album as I did not find meaning of Love as memorable as what I was hoping for but I must admit that it's a really touching song .

It doesn't have the same spark as previous album ballads of ayumi but that's ok .

You were ... is the 1st A-side of ayumi's 47th single You were ... / BALLAD .

It had a tie-up with music.jp and was used as the theme song for the Japanese version of the Disney movie Tinkaberu to Tsuki no Ishi (Tinkerbell and The Lost Treasure) .

You were ... is a really enpowering winter love ballad . Even though both A-sides are ballads to begin with , somehow or another , ayumi's able to make both songs into a proper class of their own .

With BALLAD being an Oriental sounding ballad , it's You were ... that brought out the Christmas spirit in a person when this single was released last Dec .

Found as the B-side in You were ... / BALLAD , it's RED LINE ~for TA~ & in here it has been given an album version .

RED LINE ~for TA~ is an upbeat ballad which plays against both A-sides very nicely .

Compared to the single version , there's not much difference going on for the album take of RED LINE ~for TA~ except the fact that ayumi closed things off acapella style which I really like & I think this song wraps up Rock'n'Roll Circus very well .

After being in the business for 12 years , ayumi hamasaki still has it going on & this's evident in her latest album offering Rock'n'Roll Circus .

I think this album might be more liked than her last album NEXT LEVEL in which she got quite experimental with video game like sounds & also the fact that it had 3 interludes & 1 introduction just like GUILTY , perhaps both attributes put off people from trying to like NEXT LEVEL .

To me , I really like NEXT LEVEL but for Rock'n'Roll Circus's case , I think ayumi has returned back to what she does best .

The singles themselves are already great while for the album tracks , they're great if not are more superior than the singles which I think it's fantastic .

I'm not sure whether this has to do with her going all the way to London to record Rock'n'Roll Circus but if so , I think her efforts have paid off well & I overall think that it's a great album that's really well put together .

Great stuff , I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeves next .



Friday, April 09, 2010

CD Review :: V6 - READY ?

CD Only Cover :



2 CDs Only Cover :



CD + DVD Cover :



Tracklist :

1) Portraits ~prologue~
2) GUILTY
3) Spirit

4) Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo (In A Star Spangled Night)
5) Swing !
6) Chou (Butterfly)

7) will
8) Air
9) RADIO MAGIC
10) way of life
11) LIGHT IN YOUR HEART

12) Bouquet
13) Portraits
14) SILENT GALAXY (First Press CD Only Track)



READY ? is V6's 11th album . This was released last week on 31st March & this's the group's 1st album release in 2 1/2 years since 2007's Voyager .

The album debuted at #2 with 1st week sales of 67,951 . The 2 CDs only edition of READY ? includes a bonus disc featuring the solo songs from each member , and the songs from the 2 sub trio units in V6 ie. 20th Century & Coming Century but I will not review the 2nd disc in here , I just will focus in reviewing the main disc .

Portraits ~prologue~ is the 1st track to kick off READY ? & I really love this no. & if you realise in the tracklist of the album , Portraits is found as track #13 which will be reviewed by me later on .

In fact to sum up Portraits ~prologue~ , it's basically a 1:06 mins acapella version of the song which's very nice/lovely & the guys's vocals harmonise very well for that matter .

GUILTY is V6's 36th single & it was used as the theme song for the 4th season of the dorama Keishichou Sousa Ikka 9 Gakari which starred member Inohara Yoshihiko .

This's the last single included prior to the release of READY ? .

I still like GUILTY even up to now . It's a somewhat dark angsty pop driven song & I appericate the rap which happened after the 1st chorus of GUILTY which I feel members Miyake Ken & Morita Go did a really good job in rapping .

The only thing that turned me off slightly for GUILTY was the way that the guys sang like robots . I'm not sure if that was done on purpose but I'm not going to lie that this's 1 song I really like .

Spirit is the group's 35th single & it was used as the Waseda Academy ad song and also the theme song for Fuji TV's program VivaVivaV6 .

Even though Spirit is almost going to be a 1 year old + song , I still cannot get enough of it .

Somehow or another , Spirit reminds me of summer & I like that it's such a nice enpowering song too . You can't help but feel that the song gives you some really good positive vibes after you listen to it & that's a good sign I say .

Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo (In A Star Spangled Night) is track #4 & it's the 1st album track you can find in READY ?

It's also the only album track that receives a music video for that matter & I guess I can see (hear) why .

It's a really nice ballad & after 2 uplifting songs , it's good that the guys slow down with this really nice ballad Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo which's piano driven .

After Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo , the next 2 songs are singles .

Swing ! is the 2nd A-side of V6's 34th single LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing ! & it was used as the theme song for VivaVivaV6 .

Honestly out of the singles that made the cut in READY ? , I think this's probably my least fave . Even up to now , I still do not really like Swing ! as it's quite cheesy & sounded like some 90's dated song & the rapping going on in Swing ! , that kind of turn me off in more ways than other .

Chou (Butterfly) is V6's 33rd single & it was used as the theme song for the 3rd season of the dorama Keishichou Sousa Ikka 9 Gakari .

This's 1 hot passionate song . I love the somewhat Spanish latin influence vibes that Chou gives off & I really can see this song being blasted out loud & proud in dance clubs as it's just so dancey & seriously catchy .

The next 3 songs are album tracks .

will is a really fresh sounding pop song . I like it that it's upbeat & it's virtually fuss free for that matter & the guys's vocals are pretty good/strong in here too .

The same thing goes for the next track Air . I actually find will & Air pretty simliar as both are pop driven but somehow or another , both songs have their own unique flair attached to each other which I like .

RADIO MAGIC is also on the pop side of things but unlike will & Air , RADIO MAGIC is a lot more poppy & somewhat piano driven .

I also realised that RADIO MAGIC is a lot more fast paced than the other tracks in READY ? too . I actually had quite a hard time to try to sing along in this song but I somehow failed lol but this's nice , I really like it .

The next 2 songs are the final 2 songs which served as singles .

way of life is the group's 32nd single & it was used as the theme song for the dorama SP which starred member Okada Junichi .

In fact , way of life is the oldest single that's included in READY ? seeing that it was released some 3 years ago .

I considered way of life as like the 1st proper song I heard from V6 . I listened to their other classics songs like CHANGE THE WORLD & Darling but that time I wasn't really into jpop & I didn't even know about V6 & the other Johnny's so I suppose way of life can be counted as my V6 music ticket to their music discography .

As a result , I still have quite a lot of fond memories whenever I hear way of life . Even though the song's 3 years ago , I think this great ballad sounds awesome even up to now .

It's probably due to nostaglic feelings I guess .

LIGHT IN YOUR HEART is the 1st A-side of the band's 34th single LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing ! .

This's the final single included in READY ? & it was used as the theme song for the movie Daikessen ! Chou Ultra wa 8 Kyoudai which starred Nagano Hiroshi .

I prefer LIGHT IN YOUR HEART a LOT more than Swing ! in every single aspect . It's quite a dark angsty song like GUILTY . But nevertheless , I remembered when this single was released , I was really impressed with LIGHT IN YOUR HEART more than Swing ! .

Bouquet is track #12 & like the other album tracks , it's also pop driven with shades of subtle rock thrown in for good measures .

Frankly , it took me quite a while to remember how Bouquet sounds like as I didn't find it as memorable as what I was hoping for but I'm fine with it now .

Portraits is the 2nd album ballad after Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo & you can hear the guys doing an acapellla version of Portraits in the 1st track of READY ? aka Portraits ~prologue~ .

In here , you can finally get to hear the song in full version & I think this's probably 1 of my fave tracks in the album .

It's really beautiful & it's sorta like a wedding theme driven no. . I was really captivated when I 1st heard Portraits as it's just well really touching & emotional .

Too bad Portraits didn't get a music video as I feel it really deserves so , even though I'm not saying that Hoshi ga Furu Yoru demo doesn't deserve to get 1 .

Only found as a 1st press track in the CD only edition of the album , it's SILENT GALAXY .

Man on 1st listen , SILENT GALAXY reminded me of a cross between LIGHT IN YOUR HEART & GALAXY . Only thing's that , SILENT GALAXY has a more harder angsty sound attached to it .

Not that I mind as I think this song closed off the whole READY ? album quite well .

READY ? is the 1st full length album I listened to from V6 & I have to say that I was really surprised at the quality of the album .

All the songs are pretty solid & the guys have really strong harmonisation with regards to their vocals .

The only thing I don't like about READY ? is the way the album flows . The sound consistency's not there , especially with a ballad sandwiched in between two upbeat songs .

But other than this , I really enjoyed listening to READY ? . Then again , this year it will be 15 years since V6 was formed so they definitely have come a long way since then .

Definitely a really good solid Johnny's album to check out for 2010 .



Thursday, April 08, 2010

GLAY - Apologize





Apologize is a digital single released most recently by GLAY & this's their 3rd digital single release .

I really like Apologize on 1st listen . It's such a nice fuss free acoustic guitar driven no. & there's just something about lead singer TERU's voice that never fails to impress me whenever I listen to GLAY's material .

You can't help but be charmed & won over by Apologize & I really like acoustic songs as it shows a different side of an artiste that you might not usually comes across & this coming from seasoned rock veterans like GLAY , they definitely wouldn't go wrong for that matter .

I sure hope that GLAY will release something new soon , either a single or maybe even an album as last year was quite a fruitful year for them as they celebrated their 15th anniversary in the business in 2009 .

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

DAIGO☆STARDUST - RAINY DANCE (SCAPEGOAT's B-side)





RAINY DANCE is the B-side no. taken from DAIGO☆STARDUST's 5th single SCAPEGOAT .

SCAPEGOAT was released on 5 years ago on 22nd June & its debut position on the Oricon singles weekly chart was #174 & it only charted for a week .

Compared to the A-side which has a harder rock sound attached to it , this's not the case for RAINY DANCE .

In fact , you can hear the usage of autotune being used quite generously in RAINY DANCE & this happened way before the autotune boom in Japan .

Well considering that so far BREAKERZ hasn't really used autotune that much in their music discography , it was a surprise when I listened to RAINY DANCE & it's quite cool that DAIGO's voice gets distorted on purpose & it contrasts the A-side pretty well for that matter .

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

ai otsuka - Zokkondition (Marriage Tension)

Cover For Both CD & CD + DVD's Editions :





Zokkondition (Marriage Tension) is the 1st A-side taken from ai otsuka's 20th single Zokkondition / LUCKY☆STAR which will be released tomorrow on 7th April .

The 1st A-side was used to promote Asahi Slat beer in which the ad features otsuka herself as their spokeswoman .

Frankly I tried to like Zokkondition but it didn't work in my favour . otsuka sounded a lot more worst than usual & I find it odd that her voice was unusually weak & off tune in the introduction of Zokkondition .

Song wise , it's frankly nothing special & sounded like something that you might have heard of in her older works & it's like a poor cousin of let's say Rocket Sneaker .

It's quite unfortunate that ai otsuka's material hasn't been up to mark to me ever since she released her 5th album LOVE LETTER & the same thing goes for Zokkondition / LUCKY☆STAR .

It seems to me that she's trying to shake off the crazy somewhat wacky image that she portrayed when she debuted in the scene some 7 years ago . While I agree she's already more or less should stop portraying such an image , her fans doesn't seem to buy this image overhaul from otsuka & I realised in her older works , she was able to carry both the serious & crazy sides of her quite seamlessly/effortlessly .

If not , if all else fails , she probably really need to recharge her creativity batteries & return back with something she-banging as the last single that really wow me from her was Kurage Nagareboshi (Jellyfish , Shooting Star) .









Monday, April 05, 2010

ayumi hamasaki - Lady Dynamite





Lady Dynamite is found as track #10 in ayumi hamasaki's 11th album Rock'n'Roll Circus which will be out on 14th April .

This's the last album track which received a music video that I will review after I did so for Microphone , Don't look back & Sexy little things .

For Lady Dynamite's case , it's an impacting rock track for women , in the same lyrical vein as ayumi's past hits which dealt in this matter like Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN .

I'm not sure why Lady Dynamite didn't sat well with me initally which surprised me because I really like the other 3 album tracks which're getting music videos in Rock'n'Roll Circus .

Maybe it's because of the music video ? I'm not sure but I'm not going to lie that Lady Dynamite's such a fun song to crank up in full volume when you're in a club .

Also musically if you compare Lady Dynamite against Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN , it's quite unusual in sounding too even though against my name's WOMEN , both are rock songs at the end of the day .

I have to say that the 4 album tracks that have gotten music videos for Rock'n'Roll Circus are really great/fantastic/top notch & it seems to me that a lot more people are generally more excited for ayumi's upcoming latest release as compared to NEXT LEVEL .

Considering that the recordings for Rock'n'Roll Circus were done in London which was a 1st for ayumi , I guess that factor in a way or 2 plays a part in this & even the music videos's qualities have a lot more style/factor attached to them which's great .

Rock'n'Roll Circus will be released next Wed on 14th April & I look forward to hear the rest of the album tracks in due time .

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Suga Shikao - Ameagari no Asa ni (The Morning After Rain)





Ameagari no Asa ni (The Morning After Rain) is Suga Shikao's 1st digital single release & it was released online last month on 17th March .

Ameagari no Asa ni has been selected to be used as the theme song for the movie SWEET LITTLE LIES & this no. will be made available in Suga's upcoming 10th album FUNKASTiC which will be released next month on 12th May .

Oh this's a really beautiful piano driven ballad ! Despite this , Suga's still able to maintain the classic trademark sounds of soul & funk that he's famous for to begin with & he incorporated both genres into Ameagari no Asa ni .

As a result , Ameagari no Asa ni sounds modern without sounding as if it's dated & it's refreshing to hear such a touching ballad coming from Suga . Then again , I'm not familiar with his older works so for him to roll out something like Ameagari no Asa ni , it's great I have to say .

Before FUNKASTiC will be released next month on 12th May , Suga's 27th single Sayonara (Goodbye) Home Run will be released this month on 21st April so keep a lookout for that .



Friday, April 02, 2010

ayumi hamasaki - Sexy little things





Sexy little things is found as track #11 in ayumi hamasaki's 11th album Rock'n'Roll Circus which will be out on 14th April .

This's the 3rd album track to get a music video after Microphone , Don't look back & Lady Dynamite .

3 words to describe Sexy little things - Sexy , fun & flithy ! This song's an upbeat cut electro swing no. & it's a swing pop number which has an electro tinge to it .

In fact , I feel that in some parts of the song , Sexy little things sounds like something you can hear/find from a video game in which ayumi made use of this type of sound in her previous album NEXT LEVEL .

Not that it's a bad thing because I have to admit I really like the whole feeling Sexy little things gave on 1st listen & it's so insanely catchy , there's no stopping Sexy little things when all hell breaks loose .

Lady Dynamite will be the last album track that I will review from Rock'n'Roll Circus before I proceed onto reviewing the whole album as planned .

Thursday, April 01, 2010

NEWS - Sakura Girl's B-sides

CD Only Regular Edition Cover :



CD Only Limited Edition Cover :





The following songs serve as B-sides in NEWS's 12th single Sakura Girl which was released yesterday on 31st March instead of 24th March :

- 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)

It has been quite a long time since NEWS dished out a fantastic , touching & emotional ballad for a B-side no. . I think the last time they done so was in their 8th single Taiyou no Namida (Tears Of The Sun) ie. Utsukushisugite (Too beautiful) Beautiful Eyes .

Anyway Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de , is like awesome really awesome . It has that certain old school vibes attached to it & it reminded me of the group's older works , especially Zutto (Much) which you can find it in the group's debut album touch .

Listening to Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de , it's evident & further proof in the fact that NEWS's still 1 of the best/vocally in synch group in Johnny's & Associates . You don't need to have any extra fancy 'flavors' to make Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de sound good as it's already in its own right & really , a video should have been made for Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de I feel .

Found only in the regular edition of Sakura Girl , it's FREEDOM & boy oh boy , I had deja vu vibes of another Taiyou no Namida's B-side aka Bambina .

Concidence ? Maybe but seeing that I really like Bambina , it goes for no exception for FREEDOM's case & this's a hot catchy no. , I frankly wouldn't be surprised if I hear this being blased loud & proud in a club .

The next 2 songs are only available in the limited edition pressing of the single . The 1st one is something called Love Melodies .

Love Melodies did not sit well with me initally because I find it really cheesy & it's probably something ARASHI & let alone Hey ! Say ! JUMP might come up with . Also , the introduction for Love Melodies kind of turned me off in a way or 2 .

I'm ok with it now , it's just that I don't see myself listening to Love Melodies as often as FREEDOM & let alone Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de .

The last song to wrap up this review of Sakura Girl's B-sides , it's a cappella of the A-side , well not for the full song but it just centres on the chorus .

The last time NEWS included an a cappella song of theirs was in their 2nd album pacific .

I don't really need to comment anymore further for the a cappella of Sakura Girl as it's already very nice in its own right . I just wish that they would have omitted the fingers snapping beats in the background as that was a bit un-necessary but it's still good for me .

After a 11 months hiatus from last year's single release Koi no (Blood) ABO , NEWS returns back to the music scene in fine form with Sakura Girl .

I frankly enjoy all the songs in the group's latest single offering . The A-side's already a winner & I also feel the B-sides are a lot more radio friendly/accessible as compared to Koi no ABO & stronger too .

Definitely a solid & well put together single to check out on the 1st day of April .


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

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Upcoming New JPop/JRock Releases


GLAY's 57th single G4・V-Democracy 2019- , 020719 , Tue

# UVERworld's UVERworld KING'S PARADE at Yokohama Arena 2018.12.21 DVD + Blu-ray , 100719 , Wed

# UVERworld's UVERworld QUEEN'S PARTY at Nippon Budokan 2018.12.21 DVD + Blu-ray , 100719 , Wed

# Kis-My-Ft2's 24th single HANDS UP , 100719 , Wed

# SID's SID 15th Anniversary GRAND FINAL at Yokohama Arena ~Sono Mirai e~ DVD + Blu-ray , 240719 , Wed

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP's Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR SENSE or LOVE DVD + Blu-ray , 240719 , Wed

# KAT-TUN's 9th album IGNITE , 310719 , Wed

# GRANRODEO's GRANRODEO LIVE 2018 G13 ROCK☆SHOW "Don't show your back!" Blu-ray , , 210819 , Wed

# ayumi hamasaki's ayumi hamasaki 21st anniversary -POWER of A^3- DVD + Blu-ray , , 280819 , Wed

# Hilcrhyme's 23rd single Jijitsu Ai Feat HY's Nakasone Izumi , , 280819 , Wed

# SID's 6th album title tbc , in 2019

# BREAKERZ's 20th single title tbc , Summer 2019

# GLAY's best album REVIEW II , 2020

# NEWS's 11th album STORY , 2020




Album Reviews


# Kis-My-Ft2 - FREE HUGS!

# Matsushita Yuya - BLACK NEVERLAND

# NEWS - WORLDISTA

# Hilcrhyme - Hilcrhyme

# Yamashita Tomohisa - UNLEASHED

# BENI - CINEMATIC

# ayaka - 30 y/o

# GRANRODEO - M・S COWBOY no Gyakushuu EP

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - SENSE or LOVE

# Koda Kumi - DNA

# Shota Shimizu - WHITE

# SID - Ichiban Sukina Basho EP

# Aoyama Thelma - HIGHSCHOOL GAL

# ayumi hamasaki - TROUBLE EP

# Hilcrhyme - One Man EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Yummy!!

# NEWS - EPCOTIA

# FLOWER FLOWER - Spotlight

# Koda Kumi - AND

# B'z - DINOSAUR

# ARASHI - 「untitled」

# BREAKERZ - X

# Aoyama Thelmas - 10TH DIARY

# SPYAIR - KINGDOM

# SID - NOMAD

# V6 - The ONES

# Shota Shimizu - FLY

# Ken Hirai - Utabaka Dake ni.

# Acid Black Cherry - Acid BLOOD Cherry

# Kis-My-Ft2 - MUSIC COLOSSEUM

# Mika Nakashima - TOUGH

# NEWS - NEVERLAND

# 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

# MUSCLE ATTACK - HERCULES ROAD

# Aoyama Thelma - PINK TEARS EP

# Shota Shimizu - PROUD

# flumpool - EGG

# NEWS - QUARTETTO

# AKi - EPHEMERAL EP

# BENI - Undress

# SPYAIR - 4

# ARASHI - Japonism

# Aoyama Thelma - GRAY SMOKE EP

# ayumi hamasaki - sixxxxxx EP

# BREAKERZ - 0-ZERO-

# Domoto Koichi - Spiral

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

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMPing CAR

# Namie Amuro - _genic

# ayaka - Rainbow Road

# THE TURTLES JAPAN - ELECTRONIC HUMANITY

# ayumi hamasaki - A ONE

# Hilcrhyme - REVIVAL

# MUSCLE ATTACK - ATTACK

# Koda Kumi - WALK OF MY LIFE

# B'z - EPIC DAY

# Acid Black Cherry - L

# Kanon Wakeshima - Tsukinami

# NEWS - White

# FLOWER FLOWER - Shiki EP

# AKi - ARISE

# FLOWER FLOWER - Mi

# ARASHI - THE DIGITALIAN

# 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

# SID - OUTSIDER

# Shota Shimizu - ENCORE

# Hilcrhyme - FIVE ZERO ONE

# DAIGO - DAIGOLD

# Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun

# MUSCLE ATTACK - MUSCLE

# KAT-TUN - Kusabi -kusabi- EP

# ARASHI - LOVE

# Yamashita Tomohisa - A NUDE

# Matsushita Yuya - #musicoverdose

# JASMINE - Complexxx

# SPYAIR - MILLION

# BENI - Red

# ON/OFF - DICE EP

# NEWS - NEWS

# 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

# KAT-TUN - CHAIN

# 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

# YUI - HOW CRAZY YOUR LOVE

# Saito Kazuyoshi - 45 STONES

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Mahou

# SPYAIR - Rockin' the World

# BREAKERZ - GO

# ayumi hamasaki - FIVE EP

# B'z - C'mon

# School Food Punishment - Prog-Roid

# ARASHI - Beautiful World

# Aoyama Thelma - WILL

# Ken Hirai - JAPANESE SINGER

# 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)

# GLAY - GLAY

# Anna Tsuchiya - RULE

# NEWS - LIVE

# JASMINE - GOLD

# Domoto Koichi - BPM

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE ! 2

# Hilcrhyme - Recital

# ARASHI - Boku no Miteiru Fukei

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

# YUI - HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP NO.1

# KAT-TUN - NO MORE PAIИ

# 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

# BREAKERZ - B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP

# ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus

# V6 - READY ?

# DAIGO☆STARDUST - HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN

# DAIGO☆STARDUST - The space toy

# Shota Shimizu - Journey

# Koda Kumi - UNIVERSE

# NEVER LAND - Beautiful Days EP

# abingdon boys school - ABINGDON ROAD

# BENI - Bitter & Sweet

# GIRL NEXT DOOR - NEXT FUTURE

# LANDS - Olympos EP

# flumpool - What's flumpool !?

# Kuroki Meisa - ATTITUDE EP

# Yusuke - Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo.

# KinKi Kids - J album

# Namie Amuro - PAST < FUTURE

# BREAKERZ - FIGHTERZ

# alan - my life

# LOVE - LOVE.IT EP

# B'z - MAGIC

# Dew - PRESENT

# 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

# YUI - I LOVED YESTERDAY

# YUI - CAN'T BUY MY LOVE

# BREAKERZ - BREAKERZ

# GIRL NEXT DOOR - GIRL NEXT DOOR

# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Ohisashiburi Desu

# YUI - FROM ME TO YOU

# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Hajimemashite

# BREAKERZ - CRASH & BUILD

# ai otsuka - LOVE LETTER

# Mika Nakashima - VOICE

# BREAKERZ - BIG BANG !

# 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 ?

# ARASHI - ARASHIC

# 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

# KAT-TUN - KAT-TUN III -QUEEN OF PIRATES-

# 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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