Saturday, April 30, 2011
Mika Nakashima - A MIRACLE FOR YOU (2011) (Dear's B-side)
A MIRACLE FOR YOU (2011) serves as the B-side in Mika Nakashima's 33rd single Dear which was released a few days ago on 27th April .
Dear has been selected to be used as the theme song for the movie Youkame no Semi starring Inoue Mao & is said to express the feelings of an adult woman who notices the joys of loving even when grieving her own fate .
The original take of A MIRACLE FOR YOU was 1st found as track #13 in Mika's debut album TRUE in which it's dedicated to Mika's patient & loyal fans .
I never heard the original A MIRACLE FOR YOU but still , this newly updated version of the song is pretty impressive .
Mika is not dubbed 'The Voice' for nothing & with such a heartfelt earnest song , you can't help but feel how much emotions Mika has drawn from herself to deliver such a breathtaking & sincere no. .
After releasing her 6th album STAR last year & returning back after getting a clean bill of health , Mika Nakashima starts off 2011 with this solid offering Dear .
2011 is the 10th anniversary since making her music presence felt with her debut single STARS & I sure hope to see Mika doing something special to mark this momentum occasion in due time .
Friday, April 29, 2011
UVERworld - CORE PRIDE
CD + DVD
CORE PRIDE is UVERworld's 19th single & it will be released next month on 11th May .
The original release date for CORE PRIDE was supposed to be 27th April & this comes less than a month after the release of their previous single MONDO PIECE .
CORE PRIDE has been selected to be used as the opening theme no. for the anime Ai no Exorcist & lead singer TAKUYA∞ said that the song became synergistic between the world of UVERworld & anime .
Featuring powerful lyrics inspired by personal experiences , CORE PRIDE also features a rap section done by TAKUYA∞ .
I wasn't feeling that much love for MONDO PIECE as I found it quite safe but CORE PRIDE is pretty something .
The last thing I expected to hear in CORE PRIDE was the inclusion of a saxaphone which could have sounded a bit out of place but in here , somehow or another , it works in the guys's favour .
I thought hearing rap in a rock song was unusual & throwing in saxaphone sounds in the mix , it gives CORE PRIDE another edge to stand out from the rest of the singles UVERworld have released before in their career .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Kyouchi (Zen) Mantra
- UVER Battle Royale ~Ketahazure (Extraordinary) Mix~
Both songs will not be reviewed & UVERworld's 6th album LIFE 6 SENSE will be released on 1st June .
Monday, April 25, 2011
YUI - HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~
CD + DVD
HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ is YUI's 19th single & it will be released on 1st June .
YUI's latest release comes in about 5 months + after It's My Life / Your Heaven .
HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ has been selected to be used as the opening theme song for the movie Paradise Kiss .
YUI is a huge fan of Yazawa Ai's Paradise Kiss manga . She commented , "The melody came to my mind easily . They are songs that are full of hope" .
After YUI released It's My Life / Your Heaven which showcased 2 different sides of her which weren't prominent in her previous works , she repeats the same thing with HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ .
HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ is unusual as for once , I'm not able to compare this song with previous singles that she has released before .
I think it's a good thing as this allows YUI to slowly explore & leave her music comfort zone bit by bit but in terms of HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ , it's definitely catchy & more light hearted which I feel it's suitable in keeping with the whole mood that the Paradise Kiss manga has going on .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- It's My Life ~YUI Acoustic Version~
While HELLO ~Paradise Kiss~ is used as the opening theme for the Paradise Kiss movie , in this case YOU is used as the ending theme no. .
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Kobukuro - Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. (The Sun , To Keep The Light Of This World)
Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. (The Sun , To Keep The Light Of This World) is Kobukuro's 21st single & it will be released this coming Wed on 27th April .
The duo's new release comes about 2 months + since the release of their previous single Blue Bird .
Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. has been described as an inspirational ballad which provides a musical ray of hope .
Also , the song has been selected to serve as the theme song for the mountain climbing adventure movie Take - Gaku - , starring Shun Oguri & Nagasawa Masami .
Kobukuro has always been known for inspiring uplifting folk rock songs in their discography & Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. is another perfect example just how much harmony in synch both guys are .
Despite the rather long song title & let alone clocking in close to almost 6 mins in duration length , such little flaws can be overlooked , given just how soaring & memorable Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. is .
Between Blue Bird & Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. , I personally feel Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsuzukeru You ni. is much more memorable & stronger but still at the end of the day , you can always count on Kobukuro to deliver meaningful songs that will leave a long lasting impression on listeners .
Silhouette serves as the B-side in the single .
Saturday, April 23, 2011
School Food Punishment - RPG
CD + DVD
RPG is School Food Punishment's 6th single & it will be released next month on 11th May .
From RPG onwards , School Food Punishment goes by a 'new' name since they used to be known as school food punishment .
The group's brand new single has been selected to be used as the outro theme no. for the anime C & this's their 1st release in over a year & a month since the release of their debut album amp-reflection .
Honestly , School Food Punishment is 1 group that I have been waiting in anticipation for them to come back with something as I feel they're 1 of the most under-rated & talented musicians out there in the music world .
And true enough , they didn't disappoint me with their comeback single RPG which's basically what they does best , a straightforward & fuss free fusion ambient song which pairs well with bassist/lead singer Yumi's vocals .
Also , it helps that RPG is catchy & memorable on 1st listen while employing a stronger & more prominent synth as the base of the melody .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Slide show
- Transition period
Friday, April 22, 2011
Kanjani∞ - My Home
CD + DVD
My Home is Kanjani∞'s 17th single & it will be released next month on 11th May .
This's the group's 2nd of 3 back to back months single releases & for My Home , it has been selected to be used as the theme song for the drama Inu o Kau to Iu Koto , starring Ryo Nishikido .
My Home has been described as a song that talks about being grateful for the little things in everyday life .
I really like My Home on 1st listen & frankly , it sounds like a mixture of the 1st few album tracks found in their 4th album 8UPPERS & also their 15th single LIFE ~Menomae no Mukou e~ too .
Unlike LIFE ~Menomae no Mukou e~ which took me quite a while to get used to , My Home basically feels like home & presents the grown up mature side of Kanjani∞ very well .
Kanjani∞ is more known for their crazy over the top songs but it's stuff like My Home which really showcases the side of them in being fantastic musicians that're serious in their craft .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Baby Moonlight
- Futari no Hana (Two Flowers) (Maruyama Ryuhei / Okura Tadayoshi) (CD Only Track)
- Hanikami Obbligato (Yokoyama You / Murakami Shingo) (CD Only Track)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
GIRL NEXT DOOR - Silent Scream's B-sides
CD + DVD
The following songs served as B-sides in GIRL NEXT DOOR's 11th single Slient Scream , which was released last Wed on 20th April :
- fallin' angel
- Orion (Gold Remix)
- Destination Digest
The group described Slient Scream as 'a single that fans have been demanding to get it released in a physical CD . Anyone who hears the song will be able to feel the story through the magnificent sound & lyrics that will draw people in . '
Silent Scream served as the opening theme for NTV's Happy Music program thoughtout the month of Feb & then the ending theme song for 'Yoasobi Mishimai' from Feb through March .
The video is a 15 mins short story movie & the plot is written by actor Mizushima Hiro who also guest starred in the video after the director requested Mizushima to do so .
I already love the preview for Slient Scream's 1st B-side fallin' angel a significant deal & frankly , I was not surprised that the full version of the song was fantastic .
Just like the group's 8th single Freedom , fallin' angel has a lot of attitude , angst & plenty of spunk .
GIRL NEXT DOOR's B-sides are generally overshadowed if not average sounding as compared to the A-sides but fallin' angel to me is 1 of their best if not most memorable B-sides that they have included in their singles in recent times .
The Gold Remix of the group's 7th single Orion serves as the 2nd B-side in the single .
In general , I'm not a fan of remixes , especially when it comes to ballads that're being given the remix treatment .
I already love the original take of Orion & I was a bit worried on what to expect for the Gold Remix of the song but it's actually pretty a-ok . I was expecting something much worst but luckily the Gold Remix didn't mangled things further .
As the title of the last B-side suggests , Destination Digest is basically a track that contains montage preview snippets of new album tracks that will be available in the trio's upcoming 3rd album Destination which will be released next Wed on 27th .
Usually I don't listen to preview of songs because they normally don't do justice to the full version of a song(s) at the end of the day . However , based on what I have heard in Destination Digest , I have a feeling Destination is going to be much better than the group's 1st 2 albums .
I hope that my intuition will be correct , especially since Destination will include some of their best & most memorable singles which have been released til date , such as Freedom , Unmei no Shizuku (Drop Of Fate) ~Destiny star~ & then now Slient Scream .
For now while counting down to the release of Destination , I'm going to be listening to Slient Scream & fallin' angel to keep me company at this point in time .
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Kuroki Meisa - One More Drama's B-sides
CD + DVD
The following songs serve as B-sides in Kuroki Meisa's 4th single One More Drama which was released last week on 13th April
- Go Ahead
- LOL ! ARP Remix remix by dee.c
One More Drama has been described as an energetic flamenco-style dance tune with a modern electronica twist & it's currently used in the ads of Kit Kat which's the 2nd time Kuroki appears in the ads .
In reference to the choice of a song title , Kuroki explained that "girls are always looking for some other sort of drama" .
The 1st B-side Go Ahead is currently used in the ads of Rukia SEIKO in which Kuroki herself is featured in the ad .
Described as a cool R&B no. , Go Ahead is a perfect compliment to Kuroki's powerful & stylish charisma .
Go Ahead plays a very nice contrast to One More Drama indeed . I really like Go Ahead on 1st listen for being really simple & fuss free .
Sound wise , Go Ahead kind of reminded me of Awakening , except Go Ahead is much more polished & stronger .
The ARP Remix remix by dee.c of Kuroki's 3rd single LOL ! serves as the 2nd B-side of the single .
I'm not usually a fan of remixes but LOL ! ARP Remix remix by dee.c is pretty interesting .
I wasn't sure what to expect at 1st but it's definitely more cooler & edgier than the original take of the song .
Kuroki Meisa shows no signs of slowing down in the music business . After releasing her ultra hip chic debut album MAGAZINE this year in Jan , she followed her with another solid single offering that's of One More Drama .
Hopefully I wouldn't have to wait that long for another single release to roll by .
Monday, April 18, 2011
B'z - Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo (Goodbye , The Days Of Wounds)
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD's editions
1) Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo (Goodbye , The Days Of Wounds)
2) Dawn Runner
Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo (Goodbye , The Days Of Wounds) is B'z's 48th single & it was released last week on 13th April .
The original release date for the single was 30th March . However it was postponed due to March 11th's earthquake/tsunami disaster .
Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo was selected to be used as the new song for the latest Pepsi NEX ad which the duo appears in the ad alongside with model Kagami Reina .
After spending 2010 on their concert tour & respective solo works , B'z is back with their first single release in a 1 1/2 years .
Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo is basically a mean bad ass rock song that has plenty of attitude & spunk . I wasn't surprised that I enjoy this no. on 1st listen , especially since I admire guitarist Tak Matsumoto's compositions a significant deal .
The B-side is something that's titled Dawn Runner .
Dawn Runner is an interesting B-side & similarly like Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo , it's an uplifting thumping rock tune .
The only difference's that Dawn Runner has slight traces of orchestra influences thrown in for good measures which surprised me , especially at the prior ending but still , this's 1 B-side that I enjoy .
After being in the business for close to 23 years , B'z still proves that they have got it after all this while & Sayonara Kizu Darake no Hibi yo is a testimory at their everlasting long staying power in this fickle minded industry .
Artistes come & go but B'z has been able to withstand ever changing music changes & stick to what they does best ie. making great music .
The duo's 49th single Don't Wanna Lie will be released on 1st June & for this , Don't Wanna Lie has been selected to be used as the theme song for the new Detective Conan movie Detective Conan Chinmoku no Quarter .
Thursday, April 14, 2011
BREAKERZ - CLIMBER x CLIMBER
CD + DVD B
CLIMBER x CLIMBER serves as the 2nd A-side of BREAKERZ's 10th single Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou / CLIMBER x CLIMBER which will be released on 27th April .
The 1st A-side Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou (Moonlight Magic Prank) is currently being used as the 38th ending theme song for the anime Detective Conan .
For CLIMBER x CLIMBER , it has been selected to be used as the theme song for the cardfight game Cardfight !! Vanguard in which frontman lead singer DAIGO appears on the ads for Cardfight !! Vanguard .
CLIMBER x CLIMBER is written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist SHINPEI & it has been described as a loud energetic rock number that the trio is better known for .
Honestly , I had low expectations prior to hearing CLIMBER x CLIMBER in full because Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou is already fantastic in its own respective right so I wasn't sure what to expect when comes to CLIMBER x CLIMBER & let alone , the short preview I heard on their website wasn't helping either .
Hence , I was no doubt surprised when I finally got the chance to hear CLIMBER x CLIMBER . No doubt it's a standard rock song that the guys are known for but what intrigues me about CLIMBER x CLIMBER is that it has subtle orchestra influences .
Also , I feel there're quite a lot of elements of their older works being found in CLIMBER x CLIMBER which I think it's a good thing since I'm quite an old school fan of the trio .
At the end of the day , CLIMBER x CLIMBER is a really refreshing & positive sounding tune which plays a perfect contrast against Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou .
Considering the fact that SHINPEI doesn't compose as much as the other 2 in the group , I always look forward to see what he has up his sleeves & true enough , SHINPEI didn't disappoint me .
Arigatou (Thank You) ~Beautiful day~ serves as the B-side for the single & for this , it also gets a music video too & this's their 2nd B-side to get 1 after LOVE FIGHTER ~Koi no Battle~'s Winter Bell .
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
CD Review :: Tackey & Tsubasa - TRIP & TREASURE EP
CD Limited With Hardcover Photobook
CD + DVD
1) Jikan Ryokou (Time Travel)
2) Billions of You
5) Hanahana (Flower Flower) ~Boku to Anata~ (You & Me) (Takizawa Hideaki's Solo)
6) Chance to Dance (Imai Tsubasa's Solo)
7) TINY PIRATES
8) Luv The Shangri-La
9) Seaside Romance
10) Yamanotesen Sotomawari (Clockwise Direction) Feat GUSSAN
TRIP & TREASURE is Tackey & Tsubasa's 2nd mini album & it was released on 16th March .
No singles are included in the duo's latest mini album offering . As such , their 11th single Ai wa Takaramono (Love Treasures) is excluded from the tracklist .
2 songs from the tracklist get music videos . TRIP & TREASURE takes its listeners through a trip into the music world .
Jikan Ryokou (Time Travel) is the 1st song to kick things off & it's also incidentally the 1st track from TRIP & TREASURE to get a music video too .
I wasn't sure what to expect for a song that's titled Jikan Ryokou but it's actually a light hearted cheery track & it's almost in the same music vein as Ai wa Takaramono except in this case , Jikan Ryokou I feel is less cheesy for me to handle .
Billions of You follows after Jikan Ryokou & this's actually 1 of my fave tracks found in TRIP & TREASURE because it's such a catchy memorable song .
When I 1st heard Billions of You , I really like it on 1st listen , I guess what stood out in Billions of You from the other album tracks is that it's a simple fuss free feel good pop no. .
L.O.V.E is track #3 & for this song , I'm sitting on the fence on this because 1 moment I like it & the next I might not like .
1 thing that gripped me about L.O.V.E is that it can get cheesy if not rather kiddy sounding at times , which's a problem I had when I 1st heard L.O.V.E & let alone Ai wa Takaramono .
As such for L.O.V.E , it really depends on my mood as it's 1 of those songs that I will either like or dislike on a particular day .
Spotlight is track #4 & for this , I probably can consider this as 1 of the major highlights of TRIP & TREASURE simply because it's written & composed by capsule's producer Nakata Yasutaka who also produces Perfume's material .
Now I don't listen to capsule & Perfume but given how much of a status Nakata Yasutaka has , I was pretty sure Spotlight was going to be something & turns out I wasn't disappointed .
Spotlight has something different to offer in TRIP & TREASURE . Both Tackey & Tsubasa were able to make this song unique on their own & the ending result's very memorable & enjoyable .
The next 2 songs are solo songs sung by each guy respectively in the group & for each solo tune , the lyrics are written by the person who sung the song himself .
Hanahana (Flower Flower) ~Boku to Anata~ (You & Me) is Tackey's solo & I have to say this's such a simple fuss free ballad .
What I like about Hanahana ~Boku to Anata~ is that it's a no frills & straightforward song to like . Unlike other Tackey solo songs that I have heard before which I kind of cringe at some of them , Hanahana ~Boku to Anata~ is a very pleasant easy listening no. which should do nicely for fans & non fans of Tackey .
Chance to Dance is Tsubasa's solo & unlike Hanahana ~Boku to Anata~ , Chance to Dance is quite an enjoyable peppy tune .
I wasn't sure what to expect when comes to Chance to Dance but I do admit at times , it can get a bit cheesy for my liking but considering Tsubasa wrote the lyrics for the song , I suppose I can close an eye or 2 on this .
TINY PIRATES follows after the 2 solo songs & this's 1 really upbeat cheery sounding no. .
With a title like TINY PIRATES , I was expecting something much worst but it's 1 of those songs that screams out fun all over .
Likewise , the same thing goes for Luv the Shangri-la except in this case , Luv the Shangri-la employs a much more harder sound which's more than enough for itself to stand out from the rest of the songs found in the mini album .
Seaside Romance is the 2nd last song & on 1st listen , I somewhat had strong vibes of the duo's 2nd single Yume Monogatari (Account Of A Dream) .
Not that it's a bad thing since Yume Monogatari is 1 of my fave singles of the group but I suppose I did a comparison for both songs because the bridge in Seaside Romance has that very familiar nostaglic feeling being instilled .
Yamanotesen Sotomawari (Clockwise Direction) is the final track found in TRIP & TREASURE & just like Jikan Ryokou , it's the 2nd song to get a music video & Yamanotesen Sotomawari features GUSSAN who's the guy that's talking over the microphone on the song .
Both Jikan Ryokou & Yamanotesen Sotomawari are lighthearted songs but for Yamanotesen Sotomawari , I feel it's more amusing because you're able to hear a few famous hot spots that're known for in Tokyo , such as Shibuya , Harajuku & Shinjuku .
TRIP & TREASURE is the 1st Tackey & Tsubasa (mini) album that I have listened to & I have to say , at 1st I went in with low exceptions as this's 1 (mini) album that I didn't want to review/listen at 1st .
But after I saw the videos for Jikan Ryokou & Yamanotesen Sotomawari , that spiked my interest to check out TRIP & TREASURE . Turns out it's quite a solid album from start to the end .
As what TRIP & TREASURE promised , the mini album takes its listeners through a trip into the music world which I feel this concept was nailed downpat .
The only drawback I feel TRIP & TREASURE suffered is that some of the album tracks are a bit too cheesy / kiddy sounding for my liking , considering that both Tackey & Tsubasa are fast approaching the 30 age mark & some of the songs sound as though they're trying a bit too hard to stay young & to keep up with their younger peers in Johnny's & Associates .
At the end of the day , you have to give Tackey & Tsubasa props in releasing music considering that in recent times , their release pattern has been getting somewhat a bit sporadic so it's best to savour whatever they release for their fans before anything else happens .
Monday, April 04, 2011
Matsushita Yuya - Naturally
CD + DVD
6 CD limited editions
Naturally is Matsushita Yuya's 8th single & it will be released next month on 4th May .
Matsushita's new single comes about 3 months + since the release of his previous single Paradise & Naturally has been selected to be used for promotion in the ads for NATURAL BEAUTY BASIC .
With Paradise being a mid tempo ballad , Naturally presents elements traces of familiarity that Matsushita fans can take comfort on .
To me , Naturally sounds like a cross between his previous singles Trust Me & YOU , except in this case , Naturally has traces of pop & a surprise rap being thrown in .
I was definitely surprised to hear a rap that's being done by Matsushita after he belted out the 2nd chorus of the song . I thought it was going to be a straight forward R&B tune but I was proven wrong on that .
Then again , it's not the 1st time subtle rap lyrics are present in his songs but I guess for Naturally , this's so far the most prominent I have heard which I thought it's ain't 1/2 bad at all .
Back to Love serves as the B-side in the single & also , there're 6 cover songs being scattered in 6 CD only limited editions pressings of Naturally .
All 6 cover songs will not be reviewed but here's a list of the 6 cover songs as follows (1 cover song in each limited pressing jacket)
1) Makihara Takayuki - Donna Toki mo
2) Seiko Matsuda - Himitsu no Hanazono
3) BOØWY - Kisetsu ga Kimi Dake wo Kaeru
4) Tokunaga Hideaki - Koware Kake no Radio
5) Oda Kazumasa - Love Story wa Totsuzen ni
6) Yoshida Minako - Yume de Aetara
Friday, April 01, 2011
Kanjani∞ - T.W.L / Yellow Pansy Street
T.W.L / Yellow Pansy Street is Kanjani∞'s 16th single & it will be released on 20th April .
This single is the 1st of 3 back to back months single releases for the group , with 2 more being scheduled for release next month & also in June respectively .
The 1st A-side T.W.L has been selected to be used as the theme song for the anime Crayon Shin-Chan while the 2nd A-side Yellow Pansy Street will be used as the main theme of Crayon Shin-Chan's theatrical anime .
As such , there're no B-sides included in T.W.L / Yellow Pansy Street .
I think having a promotion tie in with Crayon Shin-Chan is smart on Kanjani∞'s part as both the anime & the group themselves each portray a very fun light hearted image .
In the case of both T.W.L & Yellow Pansy Street , both songs doesn't stray that much from the usual crazy over the top songs that Kanjani∞ is known for .
But between both A-sides , I prefer T.W.L as it's much more stronger , memorable & it's just downright catchy . Yellow Pansy Street took me a while to get used to because it sounded much more grown up , kind of like the milder version of LIFE ~Menomae no Mukou e~ (~Looking Forward~) .
Still at the end of the day , you can count on Kanjani∞ to deliver the music goods as both A-sides present different sides of the group on what they have to offer .
Kanjani∞'s next 2 back to back single releases will be released on 11th May & 8th June respectively .
The group's 17th single My Home will be used to promote the drama Inu o Kau to Iu Koto starring Ryo Nishikido while their 18th single 365 Nichi Kazoku (Days Family) will be used to promote the drama Umareru starring Okura Tadayoshi .