Friday, September 30, 2011
Koda Kumi - Ai wo Tomenaide (Do Not Stop The Love)
CD Jacket A
CD Jacket C
CD + DVD
Ai wo Tomenaide (Do Not Stop The Love) is Koda Kumi's 51st single & it was released last week on 21st Sept .
Koda's latest single offering comes in about less than a month since the release of her previous single 4 TIMES .
The A-side is described as a love song & it was selected to be used as the theme song for the movie Second Virgin . The drama version previously featured her previous single Anata Dake ga (Only You) as its theme song .
Anata Dake ga is the 2nd A-side of her 48th single Suki de , Suki de , Suki de. / Anata Dake ga .
Ai wo Tomenaide follows the tradition of hit Koda ballads like Suki de , Suki de , Suki de. (Like You , Like You , Like You.) & Ai no Uta (Love Song) .
Koda's ballads are always known to be either really enduring/awesome if not boring & this boils down to a listener's preference at the end of the day .
For me , I don't really have any issues with Koda's ballads in general but I must admit Ai wo Tomenaide does sound like a cross hybrid mix of Suki de , Suki de , Suki de. & Anata Dake ga .
I don't know if that's a good or bad thing but these 2 ballads are some of Koda's strongest ballads that she released in recent times so there .
The 1st B-side You are not alone is an encouragement song that was written after the March 11th earthquake/tsunami & just like Ai wo Tomenaide , You are not alone also gets a music video too .
I thought it's a great idea for Koda to write such an inspiring no. & You are not alone is definitely encouraging to say the least , let alone it contrasts Ai wo Tomenaide really good as well .
The next 2 B-sides are only available in the CD only pressing of the single which're basically the Strings Version & Music Box Version of Anata Dake ga .
Honestly to me , Anata Dake ga is a really fantastic ballad but when the song was released alongside with Suki de , Suki de , Suki de. , I felt that Anata Dake ga got overshadowed a lot in the process .
I don't know if it's because Anata Dake ga is the 2nd A-side in Suki de , Suki de , Suki de. / Anata Dake ga but I'm really pleased in here , there're 2 really beautiful lovely versions of the song .
I don't really need to elaborate on both takes of Anata Dake ga in here as the remix for each of them is self explainatory .
After releasing the awesome single 4 TIMES , Koda Kumi is back in full throttle once more with this really solid single , Ai wo Tomenaide & it doesn't look she's slowing down in any single bit .
Especially since her next single aka her 52nd single Love Me Back will be released very soon on 30th Nov & for this , Love Me Back will be used as the opening theme song for the drama Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de , starring ARASHI's Sakurai Sho .
Thursday, September 29, 2011
CD Review :: BREAKERZ - GO
CD + DVD A ; DVD contents - music videos that were released last year & this year
CD + DVD B ; DVD contents - a GO making recording documentary & the live performance of GO which took place at Nippon Budokan this year on 22nd July
2) Gekijou (Passion)
3) Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou (Moonlight Magic Prank) (GO Version) 4) CHANGE THE WORLD
7) Zettai (Absolutely) ! I LOVE YOU
8) Smile 100%
9) Sabishigariya (A Person Who Is Scared Of Being Lonely)
10) BUNNY LOVE
11) LAST † PRAY
12) Hoshi no Tabibito (Star Wanderer)
13) Orange Iro no Sora (Sky)
GO is BREAKERZ's 5th album & it was released last week on 21st Sept .
The guys's last album release was 2009's FIGHTERZ & in GO , 4 double A-side singles are included even though in the tracklist , 2 A-sides hEaVeN & REAL LOVE 2010 have been excluded .
Except for 1 track , all lyrics in GO are written by frontman/lead singer DAIGO .
Sharing the same title as the album , it's the 1st track in the tracklist ie. GO .
GO was selected to be used as the ending theme no. for JAPAN COUNTDOWN starting this month in Sept & right now , it has been used in the ads of Fight Card ! Vanguard , with DAIGO appearing in the ads himself .
Just like the guys's previous album opening tracks such as in BIG BANG !'s BIG BANG ! & also FIGHTERZ's NEXT LEVEL , GO (the song) was written & composed by DAIGO .
GO doesn't have that strong impact on 1st listen but still after a few more listens , I can say it's 1 of the most interesting if not sliently strong opening track of an album .
It's a bit difficult to describe GO but all I can say's that lyrically & musically , it's really fantastic .
Gekijou (Passion) is the 1st A-side of the guys's 8th single Gekijou / hEaVeN & this song was used as the ending theme song for TV Asahi's Onegai ! Ranking last July .
As mentioned before , the 2nd A-side hEaVeN is not included in GO but the music video for the song is included in the CD + DVD A pressing of the album .
Despite Gekijou being the oldest single that's included in the album , I never fail to get a good kick or 2 after hearing Gekijou multiple times . It's a mean gritty aggressive song & the fact that DAIGO wrote & composed it , the song itself speaks volume (pun intended) .
Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou (Moonlight Magic Prank) is the 1st A-side of the band's 10th single Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou / CLIMBER x CLIMBER & it was used as the ending theme for the anime Detective Conan .
In here , Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou has been given a GO version but the treatment given is only minor in the sense that it's only the opening that's a bit longer than the single take .
With that said , the GO version of Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou is still fantastic & I love the slightly longer introduction piece that guitarist AKIHIDE incorporated since he composed it .
Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou is 1 of BREAKERZ's most unique sounding singles they have released in recent times with it having a really strong Japanese meets Oriental flair which's awesome .
CHANGE THE WORLD is the 2nd album track & just like Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou , this's also composed by AKIHIDE , with lyrics written by DAIGO .
On 1st listen , I thought CHANGE THE WORLD sounds like from where FIGHTERZ's DEAR LIAR left behind since both songs are equally mean aggressive sounding .
But what prevents CHANGE THE WORLD from sounding like a typical standard rock fare is the way the song's being composed , something that AKIHIDE's really good at since sometimes , his compositions might miss the mark but luckily that did not happen here .
CLIMBER x CLIMBER is the 2nd A-side of their 10th single Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou / CLIMBER x CLIMBER . This was used in the ads of Fight Card ! Vanguard , with DAIGO appearing in the ads himself prior to being replaced with GO eventually .
Perhaps due to the sheer brillance of Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou , it can be forgiven that CLIMBER x CLIMBER is quite overshadowed a lot in the process but it shouldn't stop listeners from enjoying this rather back to basics fuss free no. , with the melody that's composed by guitarist SHINPEI .
Present is the 3rd album track & just like CLIMBER x CLIMBER , SHINPEI composed it & it's also the only album track that he composed in GO as well .
I thought Present is such a sweet under-stated mid tempo ballad , especially after following a string of rather fast paced no.s in GO , it's nice to slow things down a bit .
In general , I really like SHINPEI's compositions . He doesn't compose as often as the other 2 but most of the time , for SHINPEI , it's quality over quantity for him .
Zettai (Absolutely) ! I LOVE YOU is the 2nd A-side of the guys's 11th single LAST † PRAY / Zettai ! I LOVE YOU .
DAIGO has a knack for writing/composing a variety of songs that suit different moods & in here , Zettai ! I LOVE YOU belongs to the fun peppy cheery category .
Zettai ! I LOVE YOU definitely contrasts the rather dark sounding LAST † PRAY extremely well & the song was written/composed by DAIGO under the theme that human beings really need love in life .
Concidentally or not , the next 2 album tracks are also written & composed by DAIGO too .
Smile 100% follows almost in the same vein as Zettai ! I LOVE YOU but what makes Smile 100% a real class of its own is 2 things . Firstly , the vocals of all 3 members can be heard in the song .
Secondly , 25 of their fanclub members serve as background vocals in Smile 100% which their voices can be heard after each of the member sings a line in the song .
As a result , I feel Smile 100% is 1 of the guys's most recent uniquely crafted tunes to date & it's definitely awesome that all 3 of them get to sing in Smile 100% , after they did such a wonderful job with regards to Arigatou (Thank You) ~Beautiful day~ .
Sabishigariya (A Person Who Is Scared Of Being Lonely) is the next song & for this , wow , I can't help but feel a rather big sense of nostalgia when I 1st heard Sabishigariya .
This song really reminds me a lot of the guys's older works , especially with regards to BIG BANG !'s Koko Kara Dashite (Let Me Get Out Of Here) & some of the songs found in their self titled debut album .
It has been quite a while since I heard such a song that DAIGO sung in a much lower vocal range than the norm too .
BUNNY LOVE is the 1st A-side of the group's 9th single BUNNY LOVE / REAL LOVE 2010 . The song was used in the ads for Rekochoku .
The 2nd A-side REAL LOVE 2010 is excluded in GO which's kind of expected , especially since the original take of the song was already found in their very 1st album .
Despite this , the music video for REAL LOVE 2010 is included in the CD + DVD A of GO , with it having an alternate plot that's different from the single take .
I had quite a fair bit of issue when BUNNY LOVE was released last Nov , as at that time , I felt it was not memorable on 1st listen with it being 1 of their weaker sounding A-sides at that time of release .
However naturally as time goes by , BUNNY LOVE stood the test of time & just like REAL LOVE (2010) , the lyrical content of BUNNY LOVE is pretty raunchy & can be considered as 1 of the group's most adult like no.s being offered in their discography .
LAST † PRAY is the 1st A-side of the guys's 11th single LAST † PRAY / Zettai ! I LOVE YOU & this song was used as the opening theme for TBS's CDTV this year in July .
This's also the last A-side single that's found in GO .
Just like BUNNY LOVE , LAST † PRAY was written by DAIGO & composed by AKIHIDE but to say that there's a difference between how both songs sound like , it's an understatement .
While BUNNY LOVE is a sexy sounding jazz inspired track , for LAST † PRAY , it takes on a more darker & gothic feeling .
BREAKERZ never had such a song in their discography before & perhaps it's no surprises that LAST † PRAY , alongside with Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou , are 2 of the band's most unique sounding songs they released recently & hats off to AKIHIDE for having a knack in composing both tunes respectively .
And speaking of AKIHIDE , the next song Hoshi no Tabibito (Star Wanderer) is something that he wrote & composed .
Hoshi no Tabibito is also the only song in GO that DAIGO did not provided the lyrics for too .
In a radio show broadcast , AKIHIDE explained that the inspiration that came when he wrote & composed Hoshi no Tabibito was that this song was inspired by March 11th earthquake/tsunami .
It's a bit freaky to say this but I couldn't help but had strong vibes of DAIGO☆STARDUST when I 1st heard Hoshi no Tabibito , especially since AKIHIDE did composed a few tracks in DAIGO☆STARDUST's 2nd/final album HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN as well .
I really don't know if that's a good or bad thing but I must admit Hoshi no Tabibito is very AKIHIDE . It's no Orion or Snow Rose but the closest I can describe Hoshi no Tabibito is that it's a more dreamier & peppier version of CRASH & BUILD's Hoshi ni Negai wo (Wish On A Star) .
Orange Iro no Sora (Sky) is the 2nd last track & I feel this's 1 of my fave album tracks in GO , simply because it's such an earnest sounding no. .
I love the preview of Orange Iro no Sora & I wasn't surprised that I was going to like the full version as it basically sounds like from where FIGHTERZ's Bokura (Us) left , except in this case unlike Bokura that DAIGO wrote & composed it , in here , Orange Iro no Sora is written by DAIGO while the melody's composed by AKIHIDE .
Then again , this combination usually works & it's evident when comes to Orange Iro no Sora & also in the CD sleeves , AKIHIDE is being credited as the 1 who plays the harmonica in the song too .
Destruction is the final track in GO & for this , it's written & composed by DAIGO .
I must admit , Destruction is the song that I was most unwilling to hear in full , especially since from the preview I have heard prior to the release of GO , it really does remind me of Ao no Mirai's DESTROY CRASHER , for it being rather random sounding .
However my opinion on Destruction kind of change when I heard the full song . Something about the melody in Destruction screams out being rather cool , even though I was a bit shocked at the end of the song , with DAIGO giving such a high pitched screech , something that was not present in any of their songs before .
DAIGO had to record Destruction twice , so much so that after the 2nd take , his throat suffered but I suppose the ending result speaks for itself , with the amount of energy & gusto he put into Destruction .
BREAKERZ will be celebrating their 5th anniversary next July & in the impending months before this happened , they finally released their new album GO after a 2 years wait .
During the time transition from FIGHTHERZ to GO , the guys have displayed a significant growth & maturity in their music . Also , as each release of theirs goes by , they have become much more stronger , musically .
I never fail to say this on my blog but they're the only artiste that I never fail to promote a great deal . Even though I listen/support other artistes , BREAKERZ is the only band I take a lot of pride & joy in promoting on a regular basis .
With regards to GO , I don't think it's fair to compare it against FIGHTERZ (which to me that's still a superb great sounding album) . Instead , I feel that GO borrowed quite a lot of elements from their older works & it's these traits that they incorporated in their new album , which gives a mixture of both the old & new sides of the group .
Just like FIGHTERZ , GO is a really enjoyable album to listen to from the start to the end & BREAKERZ has definitely come a long way from their early days & the fans have spoken also in that GO is now officially their best charting album to date in the Oricon album chart .
With the release of GO , BREAKERZ has cemented their position as 1 of the most handworking if not talented JRock groups in recent times .
Definitely a shoo in for album of the year & being a long time fan of the guys , I couldn't be anymore happier for them than anything else .
Monday, September 26, 2011
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - Magic Power
Magic Power is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 8th single & it was released last week on 21st Sept .
This's the group's 1st single release as a now 9 member band , after the departure/suspension of former member Morimoto Ryutaro .
Magic Power comes about 3 months + since the release of the group's previous single OVER .
Selected to be used as the theme song for the Japanese dub of the animated movie The Smurfs , Yamada Ryosuke & Chinen Yuri did voice acting for the main cast . Yamada provided the voice for Clumsy while Chinen provided the voice for Brainy .
Magic Power was written along the theme of the movie & has a motown sound that will make people happy just by listening to it . Using The Smurfs's saying , "Even if we are small , we can do anything if we work together !" , as the theme , the song conveys a 'magic power' that is created by the bonds of friendship .
Well obviously Magic Power is a stark contrast to the group's previous rather serious sounding singles , especially OVER & ｢Arigatou｣ (Thank You) ~Sekai no Doko ni Itemo~ (~No Matter Where In The World~) .
Then again , considering the circumstances , Magic Power is really fun to listen to , especially it has that very cheery & lighthearted feeling it gives off .
There're a total of 5 B-sides which're all scattered in the 3 editions of Magic Power . The 1st 3 songs are only available in the CD pressing of the single .
Beat Line is the 1st B-side & wow I have to say this is such a great contrast on what Magic Power has to offer .
It has been quite a while since I last enjoyed a B-side from Hey ! Say ! JUMP but Beat Line screams out being a very enjoyable , catchy & dancey track . It's very grown up without sounding over the top which makes Beat Line 1 of the group's strongest B-sides track they offer to date .
Nemori no Mori (Sleeping Forest) is the 2nd B-side & just like Beat Line , it's another very solid B-side . What makes Nemori no Mori unusual is that it has quite an strong Egyptian influence , something that I haven't heard in the group's discography before .
Then again , there's always a 1st for everything & the guys nailed this really well in this aspect .
BE ALIVE is the last B-side found in the CD only pressing of the single . Perhaps due to how awesome/fantastic sounding the 1st 2 B-sides sound like , BE ALIVE tend to get overshadowed a fair bit in here .
That's not to say BE ALIVE is a bad song but this's basically a very standard pop song that Hey ! Say ! JUMP offers at the end of the day .
Only found in the CD + DVD A of the single , it's School Days which's sung by the older guys within Hey ! Say ! JUMP ie. Hey ! Say ! BEST .
I frankly find School Days ok for my liking . It's also nothing really special that Hey ! Say ! BEST has to offer even though I must say that both BE ALIVE & School Days are pretty much very easy listening pop songs that're pretty likeable to boot .
Found only in the CD + DVD B of Magic Power , it's GET !! which's sung by the younger guys within the group ie. Hey ! Say ! 7 .
GET !! is also the final B-side being offered in the single & I thought this's a really fun song that I enjoy . Despite the song being sung by the younger members in the group , GET !! is surprisingly pretty mature sounding for them which's not necessary a bad thing .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP is back with another single that's filled with positive energy ! Magic Power is a cheery , big band-style tune that encourages listeners to recognise the power they have when they're united as one !
Despite what has happened with regards to the departure/suspension of former member Morimoto Ryutaro , I do hope that the reminding 9 members of Hey ! Say ! JUMP will continue to carry on releasing music as this's 1 group I literally see them grow as each of their release goes by , be it musically & then some .
I don't know what will be their next move but I do hope next on their music agenda will be a 2nd album .
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Acid Black Cherry - Pistol
CD + DVD
Pistol is Acid Black Cherry's 11th single & it is released today on 21st Sept .
Acid Black Cherry's new single comes in about 3 months since the release of their previous single Shoujo no Inori III & it has been described as a rock tune with a powerful beat .
Pistol is the 1st single release that's conceived from a 5-consecutive-monthly singles plan (one single per month for five months) .
Honestly , Pistol is pretty much classic Acid Black Cherry & I don't really have that much issues with the type of music that yasu does in his solo project .
What I do like about Pistol is that it places a bit more heavier emphasis on the drum beats unlike Shoujo no Inori III but still , Pistol is 1 kick ass song to rock out to .
A cover of WANDS's 1993 hit Ai wo Kataru Yori Kuchizuke wo Kawasou serves as the B-side track in the single & for this no. , it will not be reviewed .
Acid Black Cherry's 13th single Shangrila will be released next month on 19th Oct .
Monday, September 19, 2011
BENI - Koe wo Kikasete (Let Your Voice) / crazy girl
Koe wo Kikasete (Let Your Voice) / crazy girl is BENI's 12th single & it was released last week on 14th Sept .
BENI's new single comes about 3 months + since the release of her previous single Suki Dakara. (I Like.) .
The 1st A-side Koe wo Kikasete has been described as a medium-tempo tune that expresses the painful feelings that sway between hope & insecurity from unrequited love .
Koe wo Kikasete is also currently used as the opening theme no. this month for NTV's Happy Music variety show .
On 1st listen , Koe wo Kikasete is a soft ballad track with delicate touches that bring out BENI's lovely voice which I find that very enduring from her . Just like Suki Dakara. which I enjoyed , Koe wo Kikasete is another of those songs that will bound to strike a chord in listeners .
Also , the melody that centres on Koe wo Kikasete is pretty unusual as most parts of the song utilises a musical box which's pretty .
crazy girl is the 2nd A-side & this plays such a great contrast to the otherwise dreary sounding Koe wo Kikasete .
In crazy girl , BENI really let loose in a good way . Unlike 2FACE which somehow didn't had that much of a oomph impact , crazy girl is much more feisty & upbeat that showcases BENI's fun loving party girl side & crazy girl is something that's perfect to spin at in a loud disco party for sure .
Koe wo Kikasete / crazy girl is BENI's 2nd single release for 2011 & this's yet another solid release delivered by this talented R&B songbird that I really enjoy .
Both A-sides are equally solid but crazy girl is quite a music breakthrough for BENI this time round .
BENI's 13th single Darlin will be released next month on 12th Oct .
Friday, September 16, 2011
Mika Nakashima - LOVE IS ECSTASY
CD + DVD
1) LOVE IS ECSTASY
2) You Knocked Me Out
3) LOVE IS ECSTASY (Instrumental)
4) You Knocked Me Out (Instrumental)
LOVE IS ECSTASY is Mika Nakashima's 34th single & it was released 2 days ago on 14th Sept .
Mika's new single comes about 5 months + since the release of her previous single Dear .
LOVE IS ECSTASY was selected to be used as the theme song for the movie Unfair the answer starring Shinohara Ryoko & the song's concept is based on Shinohara's character Yukihira Natsumi by drawing inspirations from Yukihira's cool , tough & competent personality traits .
The theme of the song is about the strength of a women who confronts life & its difficulties & LOVE IS ECSTASY is Mika's 1st rock song in 6 years since GLAMOROUS SKY .
Regarding Unfair the answer , Mika commented , "It is a fast-spaced & passionate movie ; it was wonderful . I can't believe it had that kind of conclusion !! I'm sure this movie will meet viewers' expectations !" She added , "I am honoured to take part in this movie through my music ."
Mika's voice blends well when comes to rock music , especially since what she does when she acted in the 2 NANA movies was amazing , particularly GLAMOROUS SKY which's still her only #1 single to date .
With regards to LOVE IS ECSTASY , the rock influences are still there evne though it's not completely full blown rock . Then again , LOVE IS ECSTASY is still a very nice no. to enjoy & let alone with it being catchy/memorable with most parts of the tune goes 'lalala' .
The B-side is something titled You Knocked Me Out . Just like the A-side , You Knocked Me Out still treads on the rock terriority but this's more laid back & lush sounding .
Mika's vocals basically does most of the work in You Knocked Me Out & something about the melody captivated me a great deal & it paints a great contrast against LOVE IS ECSTASY .
After making her return from a health-related hiatus with Dear , Mika Nakashima lets loose with her latest single LOVE IS ECSTASY . In the vein of heavy rock hits like GLAMOROUS SKY , LOVE IS ECSTASY is a powerful rock tune that shows a more wild side of the stylish singer .
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
girl next door - Dada Para !!
CD + DVD A ; DVD footages contains the music videos of Dada Para !! & Yume no Katana (Beyond Dream)
CD + DVD B ; DVD footages contains live footages of Freedom , Yume no Katana & Unmei no Shizuku ~Destiny's star~
1) Dada Para !!
3) Summer Breeze (CD Only Track)
4) Dada Para !! (Instrumental)
5) Pure (Instrumental)
Dada Para !! is girl next door's 12th single & it was released last week on 7th Sept .
This's the trio's 1st single release after they released their 3rd album Destination this year on 27th April .
Dada Para !! is the 1st of 3 back to back monthly single releases , with the next 2 getting released in Oct & Nov , the same thing that happened to their 1st 3 singles & it will be the 1st of a trilogy of songs that seeks to encourage & enliven the world .
The A-side has been described as an uptempo song . The dance for Dada Para !! features parapara , synchronised dancing that mostly uses arm movements & it specifically features the use of fans .
Featuring a hip dance beat & an addictive hook , Dada Para !! will make listeners hum its catchy "dada" hook everywhere .
Dada Para !! has been compared to the group's 5th single Infinity , but with an increased speed . The members commented , "We think it's a song that will liven things up in many places , starting with our participation in ‘a-nation’ this summer ."
In addition , Dada Para !! is the trio's 1st release onwards for the group's name to be changed to lowercase letterings (from GIRL NEXT DOOR to girl next door) in celebration of the trio's 3rd anniversary .
Honestly , I have no idea why the comparison of Dada Para !! has been made with Infinity because I can't really find any similiar traits with both songs but I definitely prefer Dada Para !! over Infinity anytime of the day .
The trio's known for creating catchy electro pop songs & it's either songs that people love to hate or end up hating to love & I believe Dara Para !! is no exception here , especially the chorus which can get very addictive .
There're 2 B-sides in the single , the 1st one is something titled Pure .
Pure was selected to be used for the NHK's TV series Kingyo Club & it has been dsecribed as a medium-tempo ballad which talks about a person's painful love .
Compared to Dada Para !! , Pure paints a complete different picture since it's a ballad . I do feel that Pure sounds a bit like their previous B-side ballads , such as Breath .
I thought Pure might be a straightforward sounding ballad but the song surprised me by moving towards a slightly more uptempo beat in the later 1/2 of the no. . I would have prefer Pure to be strictly a ballad track but something like this , I'm alright with it .
Only found in the CD pressing of the single , it's the 2nd B-side that's titled Summer Breeze .
Summer Breeze sounds like Winter breeze which's found as track #6 in Destination . Except in this case , Summer Breeze has the same melody as Winter breeze but with different lyrical content .
I definitely had a sense of dejavu when I 1st heard Summer Breeze because in my mind , I thought , didn't I heard this before somewhere ? & sure enough , after I found out more information background on Summer Breeze , this has been put to rest .
I like Winter breeze that's found in Destination so I didn't had that much issues with Summer Breeze . Both songs do sound almost the same but there's a little bit of difference for Summer Breeze , lyrically speaking .
girl next door debuted 3 years ago on September 3rd with Guuzen no Kakuritsu (Accidental Probability) & they just recently welcomed their 3rd anniversary as a band . By turning over a new leaf with their change of name , they plan to walk a new road as a musical unit .
Destination was a very enjoyable & amazing album the trio released & I'm really glad they haven't lost their music touch with regards to the release of their latest single offering , Dara Para !! .
Their 13th single ROCK YOUR BODY will be released on 19th Oct .
Monday, September 12, 2011
flumpool - Akashi (Proof)
CD + DVD
1) Akashi (Proof)
2) Kakusei (Awakening) Identity
3) for no one
4) Akashi (Proof) ~flumpool×Choir~ Gasshō (Chorus) ver.
5) Akashi (Proof)(Instrumental)
6) Kakusei (Awakening) Identity (Instrumental)
Akashi (Proof) is flumpool's 7th single & it was released last week on 7th Sept .
The quartet's new single comes in less than 2 months after the release of their previous single Donna Mirai ni mo Ai wa Aru (Love Is In Any Future) / Touch .
The 1st A-side Akashi was chosen to be used as the insert song for NHK broadcast Minna no Uta between August & September .
The song was also assigned to the junior high school division of the 78th NHK National School Music competition .
On 1st listen , Akashi sounds like a more mellow & quieter version of the band's past single Kimi ni Todoke except in this case , Akashi somehow sounds more stronger & grander , maybe it's because of the really inspirational choir backing that was provided in the background .
There're 3 B-sides found in the single . The 1st one is something titled Kakusei (Awakening) Identity .
Kakusei Identity will be used as the theme song for this fall's Rugby World Cup 2011 & this's the 1st B-side of flumpool that gets a music video as well .
This song plays a really good contrast to the A-side . I haven't heard this side of flumpool until I heard Kakusei Identity .
Basically , Kakusei Identity is pretty funky sounding & it's much more experimental than the group's previous works which I like . I can understand why it gets a music video as this's 1 no. that deserves so .
for no one is the 2nd B-side & for this song , I find it to be a typically standard fare that flumpool offers .
This is nothing groundbreaking but it's those type of songs that when it's there , I wouldn't mind listening to it .
The ~flumpool×Choir~ Gasshō (Chorus) ver. of Akashi is the final B-side & as the title suggests , this's a team combination effort of flumpool & a choir group belting out Akashi together .
This concept is quite similiar to what alan applied for her 3rd single Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ but for her case , she did not sing with a choir group (it's just the choir group themselves that belted out Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ in the single) but anyway , I thought the ~flumpool×Choir~ Gasshō ver. of Akashi is something nice & refreshing .
I was worried if the addition of a choir group would clash lead singer Ryuuta's vocals but surprisingly , something about this strategy was able to enhance the A-side & take things to a whole new level .
After releasing Donna Mirai ni mo Ai wa Aru / Touch , flumpool release a 2 months + follow up from the single , in the form of Akashi .
Truthfully , I was real impressed with what they had to offer for Akashi , especially the B-sides which I thought are on par if not more superior sounding than what the A-side has to offer .
I'm glad that they still haven't lost their touch when comes to their singles & I hope this will continue to stay that way .
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Hilcrhyme - Personal COLOR
CD + DVD
1) Personal COLOR
2) Ake no Sagi (Red Heron)
Personal COLOR is Hilcrhyme's 9th single & it was released a few days ago on 7th Sept .
The duo's new single comes about 3 months + since the release of their previous single no one .
Personal COLOR was selected to be used as the outro theme song for the drama IS ~Otoko Demo Onna Demo nai Sei~ & the song's about using colour to define the uniqueness of individuals .
Hilcrhyme always has a knack of releasing songs that're unique , catchy & lyrically inspirational & Personal COLOR is no exception .
Just like no one , Personal COLOR is quite piano driven to a certain extent except in this case , it has a lot more R&B hip hop influences attached & Personal COLOR is more up tempo driven too .
Ake no Sagi (Red Heron) serve as the B-side of the single & this's basically a very catchy full throttle no. that Hilcrhyme dishes out .
Compared to the A-side , Ake no Sagi is more heavily drenched in R&B + Hip Hop , 2 music genres that Hilcrhyme is best known for & coupled that with lead singer/rapper TOC , the results give an memorable no. to remember .
Hilcrhyme already have released 3 solid singles this year & Personal COLOR is no exception & once again , this's another single that I enjoy from the duo .
I'm curious to see what will be their next move but I do hope next on their agenda will be a new album .
After all , this's 1 artiste I feel that brings nothing but the best R&B hip hop tunes from their discography .
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Fukuyama Masaharu - Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family) / fighting pose
Cover for all 3 editions
1) Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family)
2) fighting pose
3) HARD RAIN from WE'RE BROS. TOUR 2011 「THE LIVE BANG !!」
4) Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family) Wedding Ver.
5) Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family) (Original Karaoke)
6) fighting pose (Original Karaoke)
7) Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family) Wedding Ver. (Original Karaoke)
Kazuko ni Narou yo (Let's Be A Family) / fighting pose is Fukuyama Masaharu's 27th single & it was released last week on 31st Aug .
Fukuyama's last single release was last Aug's Hotaru (Firefly) / Shounen (Boy) . Unlike Hotaru / Shounen where Shounen did not get a music video , in this case for Kazuko ni Narou yo / fighting pose , both A-sides had music videos to accompany each song .
The 1st A-side Kazuko ni Narou yo was picked up by Zexy to be used in their ads . Zexy is a Japanese wedding magazine & Kazuko ni Narou yo has been described as a heartwarming acoustic guitar ballad .
This's Fukuyama very 1st wedding song & he wrote it with the theme of family in mind . The star was forced to stop his nationwide tour for a month after the March 11th earthquake .
When he resumed the tour on April 16th in Mie prefecture , he performed Kazuko ni Narou yo for the 1st time . It's said that it caused a lot of his female fans to tear up .
Fukuyama commented , "I believe many people started reconsidering about family bonds with this situation & I wrote Kazuko ni Narou yo using family as the theme . I hope you think about your loved ones while you listen to this song ."
I do admit on 1st listen , Kazuko ni Narou yo sounds like nothing of what I expect of a typical wedding song but it's actually the lyrics that speak volume .
Lyrically , Kazuko ni Narou yo is very touching which I wasn't surprised a lot of his female fans were really moved when Fukuyama performed this song live for the 1st time on April 16th .
Sound wise , Kazuko ni Narou yo eerily sounds like an identical twin of Hotaru . Not that it's bad since Hotaru is still very enjoyable even up to now despite the fact that it was released a year ago alongside with Shounen .
The 2nd A-side fighting pose was written to aid the March 11th earthquake relief with a portion of the sales donated to relief funds .
Just like Hotaru / Shounen , fighting pose plays a great contrast against Kazuko ni Narou yo & as the song title suggests , fighting pose packs quite a lot of punch & attitude which compliments Kazuko ni Narou yo very well .
The live rendition of HARD RAIN serves as the 1st B-side of Kazuko ni Narou yo / fighting pose & this was recorded from Fukuyama's WE'RE BROS. TOUR 2011 「THE LIVE BANG !!」 .
I never heard of how HARD RAIN sounds like before so this's new to me but all I can say's that I have seen live performances of Fukuyama before & basically , he sounds almost the same if on par , be it when I hear him sing in a CD or if I watch a live performance of him .
Song wise , HARD RAIN is quite similiar to fighting pose , with both songs being quite fast paced & kicking .
The Wedding Ver. of Kazuko ni Narou yo is the 2nd / last B-side before wrapping things up in the single & for this as the title suggests , Kazuko ni Narou yo has been given a wedding influence treatment .
I honestly like the Wedding Ver. of Kazuko ni Narou yo since it basically brings out the song even more than ever before & I thought this would have been a much better choice for it to be the main A-side track instead .
After 22 years in the music business , Fukuyama Masaharu still has it going on in his long lasting successful career & with the release of Kazuko ni Narou yo / fighting pose , this has officially made him the best-selling male artist in Oricon history .
With the release of Kazuko ni Narou yo / fighting pose , it's evident that Fukuyama does not show signs of slowing down with what he does best , ie. writing/composing songs that are meaningful , emotional & striking a chord with his fans .
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Kuroki Meisa - Wired Life
CD + DVD
CD Regular & CD + DVD Tracklist's :
1) Wired Life
2) UPGRADE U !
3) One More Drama -PINGPONG REMIX remixed by dee.c-
4) Wired Life (Instrumental)
CD Limited Tracklist :
1) Wired Life
2) Wired Life (No Escape Remix) Feat Okumura Rin
3) Wired Life (Animation Size version) -2分13秒- (2:13 mins)
4) Wired Life (Instrumental)
Wired Life is Kuroki Meisa's 5th single & it was released last week on 31st Aug .
This new single comes about 4 months + since the release of her previous single One More Drama .
Wired Life was selected to be used as the ending theme no. for the anime Ao no (Blue) Exorcist & the song's written & composed by Nao'ymt who works on Namie Amuro's material .
This's Kuroki's 1st single to be used for an anime promotion but I must say , the Namie influences in Wired Life is very high & who couldn't blame Nao'ymt on that ?
Then again , Wired Life is very unusual unlike the Spanish heavily influenced One More Drama . It's definitely something Namie is able to do & Wired Life has a rather dark feeling it gives off which I suspect this's done to compliment Ao no Exorcist very well .
There're 3 B-sides in total . The 1st 2 tracks are found in both the CD only regular & CD + DVD's pressings of Wired Life .
UPGRADE U ! is up 1st & this's actually the 1st song from the single that I've heard , before I managed to take a listen to the A-side .
Unlike Wired Life , UPGRADE U ! presents a more fun & upbeat side of Kuroki which's nice . I also can hear a bit of gaming like sounds that can be quite felt quite significantly in UPGRADE U ! as well .
The PINGPONG REMIX remixed by dee.c of her previous single One More Drama serves as the 2nd B-side .
Unlike the original take which was very Spanish driven , this remix for One More Drama has a more electro vibe attached & it's also very Pop drenched too . I wasn't sure what to think about when I 1st heard the PINGPONG REMIX remixed by dee.c of the song but I must say , in general , I really like Kuroki's remixes .
I'm not a remix person but there's just something about Kuroki's remixes of her songs that I actually find very enjoyable to listen to .
The No Escape Remix of Wired Life is only found in the CD only limited pressing of the single & for this , it features dialogue that's narrated by Okumura Rin (who's voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto) , who's actually the main protagonist of the Ao no Exorcist anime .
To be frank , the remix is actually quite interesting but it would have been better if Okumura Rin is excluded from this song as I feel it's quite un-necessary but I suppose to keep things in line with the anime , that's that in this case .
Kuroki Meisa has been on a non stop musical roll & she doesn't show any signs of slowing down , especially with regards to her latest release Wired Life .
I already have followed/like Kuroki way before she began her singing career & it's really nice to chart her musical progress as each release of hers goes by . I thought One More Drama was great but she managed to kick things up a notch or 2 with regards to Wired Life .
It's said that she's currently in the studio recording new material so it wouldn't surprise me if something new will follow up real soon .
Monday, September 05, 2011
CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - FIVE EP
CD + DVD
2) ANother song Feat URATA NAOYA
3) Why ... Feat JUNO
6) beloved (Orchestra version) (CD Only Regular Edition Track)
FIVE is ayumi hamasaki's 2nd mini album & it was released last week on 31st Aug .
ayumi's 1st mini album Memorial address was released on 8 years ago on 17th Dec . However unlike Memorial address , FIVE does not include any singles .
As the title of ayumi's latest mini album suggest , FIVE contains a total of 5 songs & all the songs receive music videos of their own .
Also , all the songs on FIVE have different promotion tie in's respectively as well .
progress is the 1st song on the tracklist & this was selected to be used to promote the PS3 game Tales of Xillia .
This song can be considered as the oldest track in FIVE because even before FIVE was announced to get released , preview snippets for progress have already been floating around the net for quite sometime now .
I really like the preview clips for progress & needless to say hearing the full version of the song was really worth it .
What I like about progress is that the song started out as a ballad but later on , it breaks into a really angsty gritty track & given the tone of progress , it's easy to see why it has that video game tone like setting which's fantastic .
ANother song is the 2nd track & for this , it has been described as a sad ballad with lyrics that'll touch a person's heart .
Promotion wise , it is currently used as the theme songs for BeeTV & sweetTV .
ANother song is the 1st collaboration track in FIVE & this features AAA's leader URATA NAOYA .
This marks the 2nd time ayumi collaborates with URATA , the 1st being Dream ON which was released last Dec .
I know ANother song received a lot of criticisms in that various negative comments I have read include that this no. sounded really cheap , URATA's vocals ruined things & etc but personally to me , I'm 1 of the rare few that really enjoy listening to ANother song .
Perhaps the saying 1 man's trash is another man's treasure fits this scenerio but I really don't have any problems with ANother song in any single bit & I feel that fans should cut URATA some slack in this aspect .
Why ... is the 3rd track & it's the 2nd collaboration no. found in FIVE .
Described as a medium upbeat no. , this song features JUNO who's the older/twin brother of TOHOSHINKI / JYJ's JUNSU .
Promotion wise , Why ... is currently used in the TV ads for HIS Taiwan Campaign & Recochoku TV .
This's a really pretty no. & I like it that Why ... started off with some nice piano beats & then it transformed into a rather good sounding mid tempo no. . I never heard of JUNO sounded like before but I thought his vocals compliment ayumi's quite nicely .
beloved is the 4th track in FIVE & this's a ballad which was composed by Hoshino Yasuhiko that fans have been expecting .
Promotion wise , beloved was used as the theme song for Japan TV's Sukkiri !! last month .
On 1st listen , beloved reminded me of Rock'n'Roll Circus's meaning of Love to a certain extent except in this case , I feel that beloved is much more prominent & stronger .
It took me quite a while to warm up to meaning of Love but for beloved , I really like it when I 1st heard it & this's a pretty ballad .
BRILLANTE is the final track in FIVE & it has described as a song that has a mysterious & impressive atmosphere .
Promotion wise , it's currently used in the ads of music.jp TV-CF .
Alongside with progress , I feel that BRILLANTE is probably 1 of the stand out tracks in FIVE .
It's a bit hard to describe BRILLANTE but all I can say's that this's a style that ayumi has not tried before in her music until now .
The chanting & Egyptian like sounds going on in BRILLANTE can get a bit creepy but it's 1 of those songs that does blow people's mind off & it did for me when I 1st heard BRILLANTE .
In addition to the 5 'normal' tracks found in FIVE's tracklist , there're 2 additional songs found in different pressings of FIVE .
The CD only regular edition includes an Orchestra version of beloved while the CD + DVD pressing of FIVE contains a hidden track after BRILLANTE , which's a remix for Why ... but it features URATA NAOYA on vocals instead of JUNO .
The Orchestra take of beloved is basically self explainatory but with regards to the version of Why ... that features URATA's vocals , I thought that's pretty cool .
I assumed that this version was going to sound the same as the version that ayumi sang with JUNO but for the URATA version of Why ... , it's more uptempo & poppier .
Somehow or another , both versions are equally nice & obviously depending on a person's preference , either the JUNO or URATA versions of Why ... is here for fans to critic on which version is better than the other & vice versa .
After 13 years in the music business , ayumi hamasaki shows no signs of slowing down when comes to releasing music .
She has been relatively quiet in 2011 after she got married early this year but she came back in releasing her 2nd mini album FIVE .
I must admit when it was 1st announced she was going to release a new mini album , I didn't had any expectations on what to expect for FIVE but I must say I was pretty blown away on the quality she has to offer in FIVE .
No doubt fans will tend to compare what she has done then for Memorial address & now for FIVE but I feel that as each release goes by , ayumi just keeps on progressing on & maturing as an artiste .
At the end of the day , FIVE is a really solid mini album & with an awesome photoshoot & covers to boot , who couldn't ask for more ?
Friday, September 02, 2011
Tackey & Tsubasa - Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ (The Future Of Us)
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ (The Future Of Us) is Tackey & Tsubasa's 12th single & it was released a few days ago on 31st Aug .
The duo's last single release was Ai wa Takaramono (Love Treasure) which was released on 24th Nov last year but they released their 2nd mini album TRIP & TREASURE was released this year on 16th March .
Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ has been described as an uplifting song , mixing smiles & softness with a pop beat that will make a person's heart race .
Bringing back the travel concept from TRIP & TREASURE , Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ is being labelled as the duo's first encouragement song .
Unlike the duo's previous single Ai wa Takaramono (Love Treasure) which I find it a bit cheesy for my liking , Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ presents a more light hearted & fun without going over the top side of the duo .
What struck me about Journey Journey ~Bokura no Mirai~ was that lyrically & musically , both go very well hand in hand together & as stated earlier on this's their 1st encouragement no. which should put a smile to anyone's face the moment she/he listens to it .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Tomo yo (My Friend)
- Love Is All
- Ai wa Takaramono (Love Treasure) (Remix)
All B-sides will not be reviewed .