Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BREAKERZ - Miss Mystery




1) Miss Mystery
2) Mr. Yes Man
3) Sekai wa Odoru (The World's Dancing) ~Acoustic Version~

Miss Mystery is BREAKERZ's 12th single & this was released last week on 25th Jan .

The guys's 1st release for 2012 , this's currently used as the 33rd opening for the Detective Conan anime & this makes the trio's 4th single to be used to promote Detective Conan , after Everlasting Luv , Hikari (Light) & Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou (Moonlight Magic Prank) .

Described as an interwining rock number with dramatic guitar riffs , Miss Mystery deals with mystery , truth , alibi & trick .

Written & composed by lead singer/frontman DAIGO , Miss Mystery is a rock number featuring vocals that straightforwardly sings of lovesickness towards an enigmatic woman .

DAIGO always has a knack for writing & composing great songs & the same thing applies for Miss Mystery .

Miss Mystery on whole is not a typical no. that DAIGO writes & composes but the way the song's , to say that it's unusual & not straightforward sounding is an understatement .

Beginning the song with piano beats , Miss Mystery breaks into an intensive heartpounding rate & my fave part of the song has to be the part after a guitar solo riff takes place in the midst of the song which a different melody overtook the original but only for a short while .

A strange combination of sounds found in Miss Mystery but this serves the A-side very well I must add .

There're 2 B-sides found in the single . The 1st 1 is something that's titled Mr. Yes Man .

Mr. Yes Man is written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist SHINPEI .

I must admit , I wasn't feeling the preview so much for Mr. Yes Man but the full version's not bad but it's 1 of those songs that's slotted in the random department that's for sure , lyrics wise .

Sound wise , Mr. Yes Man reminds me of a cross between SUPER-HI-TENSION!! & Drive the Ocean .

Sekai wa Odoru (The World's Dancing) ~Acoustic Version~ serves as the 2nd B-side for Miss Mystery & Sekai wa Odoru is the 1st A-side of the guys's 2nd single Sekai wa Odoru / Shakunetsu .

Just like the original take for the song , the acoustic version of Sekai wa Odoru is written & composed by guitarist AKIHIDE .

I have been waiting for quite a long time for the guys to include a studio version of the acoustic take for Sekai wa Odoru , especially since this's 1 song I know they've been performing quite often in the encore segments of their concerts , alongside with other tracks that haven't been given the studio treatment yet .

The original take of Sekai wa Odoru has a very grand orchestra like setting which never fails to blow me away even up to now .

As for the acoustic version , it takes on a more understated music route & AKIHIDE basically let DAIGO's voice to do most of the work which the melody has a lot of acoustic guitar layering .

The only minor drawback for Sekai wa Odoru ~Acoustic Version~ is that DAIGO's vocals tend to overpower the melody at certain parts of the song & also perhaps they've been including acoustic songs as B-sides from their 4th single GRAND FINALE until now , something about their latest acoustic offering seems to be not on par with the rest of their acoustic no.s .

1 of my most fave artistes BREAKERZ kicked off 2012 with this really solid single in the form of Miss Mystery & I'm very sure this will be the start of many great things for the guys , especially since this coming July will be their 5th anniversary since their debut .

I don't know what will be their next music step but something tells me they have nothing but big plans to celebrate their 5th anniversary with a bang this year . Only time will tell what will happen next but for now , I'm going to savour Miss Mystery as it's .

Sunday, January 29, 2012

CD Review :: Koda Kumi - JAPONESQUE


CD Limited + B4 sized 32 page photobook + 2012 organiser


CD + 2DVDs

1) Introduction ~JAPONESQUE~
2) So Nice Feat Mr.Blistah
3) Boom Boom Boys
4) V.I.P. Feat T-Pain (Album Version)
5) Slow Feat Omarion
6) Brave
7) Everyday
9) You are not alone (Acoustic Version)
10) Interlude ~JAPONESQUE~
12) Love Me Back
13) No Man's Land
14) Ai wo Tomenaide (Don't Stop The Love)
16) Lay Down
17) Love Technique
18) Poppin' love cocktail Feat TEEDA
19) All for you

JAPONESQUE is Koda Kumi's 10th album & this was released a few days ago on 25th Jan .

The original release date for Koda's latest album offering was supposed to be 1st Feb but it has since been pushed up to a week later than expected .

3 singles are included in the album & all the 4 tracks from Koda's 50th single 4 TIMES are included in JAPONESQUE which was released about 11 months + since Koda's previous album Dejavu .

Just like her 6th album Kingdom , all album tracks in JAPONESQUE get music videos with the exception of the introduction & interlude .

After a lush sounding Introduction ~JAPONESQUE~ , Koda jumps straight into the 1st album track which's titled So Nice .

So Nice is 1 of 4 collaborations found in JAPONESQUE & in So Nice , Koda teamed up with a familiar personnel that she used to work before in her career ie. Mr.Blistah .

Rapper Mr.Blistah provided the rap vocals in Koda's 25th single Candy & after close to a 6 years gap , both of them finally reunite to work on So Nice together .

So perhaps it's not surprising that I immediately viewed So Nice as a sequel to Candy & it's evident that both tracks have a very strong Egyptian feeling attached but with that said , So Nice is well really nice & thankfully , Mr.Blistah's rap vocals is not as gritty as what I've heard before in Candy .

Boom Boom Boys is the 2nd album track & this takes on a more club banging sound with rock beats thrown in .

This's actually the 1st album song I've heard from JAPONESQUE . I didn't like it that much in the beginning as the quality I've heard for Boom Boom Boys was quite low quality but now I've grown to like it a fair deal .

The next 2 tracks in the album features collaborations side by side together .

V.I.P. is 1 of the 4 songs found in Koda's 50th single 4 TIMES & in here , it features rapping done by T-Pain .

There's not much difference between the single & album take of V.I.P. , as everything's basically the same except with the inclusion of T-Pain's rap vocals .

As a result , I find this a bit un-necessary for T-Pain to be featured in the song . It would have been a different case should V.I.P. had a different melody hook attached to it .

Slow follows after the album take of V.I.P. & in here , Koda collaborates with US R&B singer/rapper Omarion who used to be in the now disbanded group B2K .

I really like Slow the very moment I 1st heard it & as despite the title , Slow is actually well not a slow no. but rather this's a rather mid tempo if not smooth sounding track .

I thought both their vocals might clash but the harmonisation of both Koda's vocals & Omarion's rap vocals work really well , making Slow a very memorable track worth listening to it over & over again .

Brave follows after Slow & in here , Brave is the 1st album ballad no. .

Koda's ballads tend to be either hit or miss but thankfully , Brave falls in the hit department .

It's very easy to compare Brave with previous ballads Koda has in her discography but I suppose Brave sounds like Ai no Uta (Love Song) to me to a certain extent . Also , the amount of emotions Koda poured into Brave is evident as well .

The next album track after Brave is titled Everyday & it seems that in each Koda album , there will be a cutesy song or 2 which I guess it applies for Everyday .

To me , Everyday sounds a bit like a much more cheery poppier version of Kingdom's Himitsu (Secret) but with that said , Everyday is 1 of those songs that will no doubt put a smile on a person's face when he/she listens to it .

IN THE AIR is 1 of the 4 songs included in Koda's 50th single 4 TIMES . The song was used as the theme no. for BEE TV's Rabusupotto ~Koi ga Minoru Basho~ .

Honestly before the tracklist for JAPONESQUE was released , I was hoping that IN THE AIR will make the cut on the album because IN THE AIR is something I extremely adore & I'm very glad all the tracks in 4 TIMES did so & that applies for IN THE AIR as well .

You are not alone was originally found as the B-side no. in Koda's 51th single Ai wo Tomenaide & in here , it has been given an acoustic take .

Lyrically , You are not alone is an encouragement song that was written after the March 11th earthquake/tsunami & despite it being a B-side , it also gets a music video just like Ai wo Tomenaide .

Naturally the music video for both the single & album takes of You are not alone are different but with that said , I really liked the original take of the song & giving it an acoustic makeover just makes things even more enjoyable for me to listen .

After Interlude ~JAPONESQUE~ , comes the next album track which's titled ESCALATE .

With a title like ESCALATE , naturally it bound to be a hot club banging track & I already like the preview for ESCALATE before I heard the full version of the song & when that came on , it didn't surprise me that I like it .

Love Me Back is Koda's 52nd single , which's her most recent release prior to the release of JAPONESQUE .

This single was used as the opening theme song for the drama Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de , starring ARASHI's Sakurai Sho & Kitagawa Keiko .

Like it or not , Koda's ero kawaii side is something that she does best & the same thing applies to the sexually suggestive Love Me Back .

No Man's Land follows after Love Me Back & to me , No Man's Land is probably 1 of the album's standout tracks as this's a music style that Koda never does before .

It's easy to compare No Man's Land with her past rock tinged no.s such as Can We Go Back & also Ningyo Hime (Mermaid Princess) but something about No Man's Land makes it a class of its own & it's great the video brought the song up to even greater heights .

Ai wo Tomenaide (Do Not Stop The Love) is Koda's 51st single & this was used as the theme song for the movie Second Virgin .

Out of the singles included in JAPONESQUE , Ai wo Tomenaide is probably my least fave as it's a known fact that Koda's ballads can either be in the hit or miss department .

In the case of Ai wo Tomenaide , it's 1 of those songs that I'm sitting on a fence . One day I like it , the next I wouldn't so I leave it as it's .

KO-SO-KO-SO is 1 of 4 songs found in Koda's 50th single 4 TIMES & this was used as the theme song for Nihon TV's Dorama -Piece Vote- .

The transition from Ai wo Tomenaide to KO-SO-KO-SO is pretty weird to say the least but to say that KO-SO-KO-SO is downright raunchy , that's an understatement , especially since the video for this song got banned due to its nature & content which's understood as KO-SO-KO-SO is not something for the faint hearted to listen , lyrically speaking .

Lay Down is the next album track & this's another very memorable upbeat song which's perfect to spin in a club .

Unlike the other album tracks that have a party vibe , Lay Down stood out in the sense that it has a much more stronger R&B flavour but with that said , this's something I like so I have no complaints about it .

With a rather amusing song which's titled Love Technique , it can be easily forgiven that this might be something erotic sounding coming from Koda but in actual fact , Love Technique is a cutesy no. just like Everyday .

Unlike Everyday , Love Technique takes on a much more video game inspired like music route & the video to accompany the song is downright funny but I suppose Koda wanted to show that in pretty much every album of hers , there will be a song or 2 that has a non serious vibe & I believe that's what she was trying to aim for with regards to Love Technique .

Poppin'love cocktail is the last A-side no. included in JAPONESQUE & it's also 1 of 4 songs included in Koda's 50th single 4 TIMES .

This no. features rapper TEEDA & it was used in the TV ads for H.I.S .

It can be unofficially considered that Poppin'love cocktail serves as the main promo track for 4 TIMES & even though it has been somewhat over promoted , this's something I can never get tired of as this no. screams out fun fun & more fun .

All for you is the final track before things are concluded in JAPONESQUE & this's basically simplicity at its best because this song is a very raw sounding track .

The video for All for you also paints this picture as All for you is a very nice understated acoustic no. & I don't know if I'm correct but I suspect this song was recorded on a 1 take basis which makes things even more raw .

All for you is the perfect song to silence Koda's critics that she can't sing but in reality , she can which I suppose this serves the purpose for All for you very well & I'm glad she incorporated such a no. like this before wrapping things up in JAPONESQUE .

Sexy diva Koda Kumi does what she does best in her ravishing 10th album JAPONESQUE . The highly anticipated album comes with a whopping 19 tracks , including her singles Love Me Back , Ai wo Tomenaide , all four songs from 4 TIMES & an acoustic version of You are not alone .

Judging from the number of rave reviews I've read about JAPONESQUE on the net , it's easy to see why & I honestly can say that I never have truly enjoyed such a versatile album coming from Koda in a very long time .

It's not that her previous albums weren't good but something about JAPONESQUE just put the rest of her records to shame & the sheer number of versatile music styles she displayed in her latest album is evident .

The singles that're included in JAPONESQUE are already pretty good but it's the album tracks that managed to carry the whole album to the next level . I was initally concerned if JAPONESQUE was going to be another Kingdom part 2 but thankfully , my fears were dispelled once I've listened to JAPONESQUE .

Reaching a 10th album milestone is no joke but I'm very happy that Koda was able to pull off such an enjoyable versatile album which proves that she's able to tackle pretty much every music style out there & this prevents her from being pigeon hole & stuck in a music rut .

All in all , JAPONESQUE is really a very solid album from the start til end & it's a highly recomended record to check out for the month of Jan .

It's an accomplishment to release 10 albums in Koda Kumi's music career & she celebrates this feat with style in the form of JAPONESQUE .

Saturday, January 28, 2012

BENI - Eien (Eternity)

1) Eien (Eternity)
2) Saigo no Uso (The Last Lie)
3) Eien (Instrumental)
4) Saigo no Uso (Instrumental)

Eien (Eternity) is BENI's 14th single & it was released 3 days ago on Jan 25th .

BENI's 1st release of 2012 , Eien was released on the same day as Jewel Concert Tour DVD & it was used to promote the drama Honjitsu wa Taian Nari .

Described as a happy love song , Eien showcases a really sweet enduring side of BENI . If this song was included in her 4th album Fortune , it frankly will feel a bit out of place but as a song on its own , Eien is really good .

With Valentine's Day approaching soon , Eien will make a suitable track to be played on this occasion .

The B-side is titled Saigo no Uso (The Last Lie) & it paints a complete different picture as opposed to the A-side .

Saigo no Uso is a bit depressing sounding but not as bad as Koe wo Kikasete (Let Me Hear Your Voice) . But still it's 1 of those heartfelt songs that can be good or bad , depending on the individual but to me I have no issues with such an emotional track with it being a B-side no. .

BENI is off to a good foot start to 2012 in the form of her latest single Eien & this's a single that I really enjoy listening to .

There're rumours going on she will be releasing an album on 21st March but speculations are arise that it might be a best album but details for this to be confirmed soon .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

KinKi Kids - Kawatta Katachi no Ishi (Odd Shaped Stone)



Kawatta Katachi no Ishi (Odd Shaped Stone) is KinKi Kids's 32nd single & this was released on 11th Jan .

The duo's new single is a ballad song written by AKB48's founder Akimoto Yasushi & composed by Mashiko Tatsuro .

KinKi Kids is known for their great harmony in synth vocals & this's no exception for Kawatta Katachi no Ishi which's such a heartwarming ballad that I couldn't help but be drawn into it the moment I heard it .

Also the fact that AKB48's founder Akimoto Yasushi is the 1 that penned the lyrics for Kawatta Katachi no Ishi , you know things are in good hands & an interesting fact is that Akimoto Yasushi was also in charge of writing the lyrics for the guys's 22nd single SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! too .

There're 3 B-sides in total that're found in Kawatta Katachi no Ishi , the 1st one is something that's titled Namida Sora ni Kagayaku (Tears Shining In The Sky) .

Namida Sora ni Kagayaku is 1 really peppy no. which paints a really good contrast against Kawatta Katachi no Ishi . It's 1 of those songs that gives off positive vibes which I like .

The next 2 B-sides are tracks that're only found in the CD pressing of the single .

Rinkaku (Contour) -l'e contour d'amour- is 1 song that really has quite a lot of edge & kick since Rinkaku -l'e contour d'amour- is a pretty fast paced upbeat track which has a lot of attitude .

In the case of Yukimushi , it's a ballad just like Kawatta Katachi no Ishi but it's a lot more slower & mellow . I'm not really sure if I can consider Yukimushi as something I would listen to often but something about Yukimushi brings out a rather different raw side of the duo .

Following the release of their 12th album K Album , KinKi Kids kicks off 2012 with their 32nd single Kawatta Katachi no Ishi . The A-side is a ballad for music fans of all ages to enjoy .

With the release of Kawatta Katachi no Ishi , KinKi Kids have extended their own Guiness World Book of Records with their 32nd consecutive #1 single since their 1997debut single Glass no Shounen .

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Acid Black Cherry - Yes



Yes is Acid Black Cherry's 15th single & it was released a few days ago on 18th Jan .

This single was released less than a month + since their previous single CRISIS & it's the last single from a 5-consecutive-monthly singles plan (one single per month for five months) .

Yes has been described to be the ultimate love ballad & the single also includes the long awaited Stop it love which yasu wrote for a radio show 10 years ago which Stop it love will not be reviewed .

I wouldn't deny that I didn't like CRISIS as much as I hoped for , so naturally my expectations for Yes were lowered but luckily , I find Yes a lot more better than CRISIS .

On 1st listen , Yes kind of reminds me of their 7th single Nemuri Hime (Sleeping Princess) which was the very 1st song I've heard but only a lot more heartwarming & heart wrenching .

The amount of emotions yasu poured into Yes is evident & I couldn't help but be drawn into such a power ballad . Yes deserves to be a very fitting single to wrap up Acid Black Cherry's 5-consecutive-monthly singles plan , that's for sure .

Acid Black Cherry's 3rd album 『2012』 will be released on 21st March & all the singles from Re:birth all the way til Yes will be included in their highly anticipated new album , their last album release being 2009's Q.E.D. .

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CD Review :: Kuriyama Chiaki - CIRCUS Deluxe Edition

Cover for both CD & CD + DVD's

1) Roulette de Kuchizuke wo (A Kiss At Roulette)
2) Tsukiyo no Shouzou (Portrait Of The Moonlit Night)
3) Kuchi ni Shita (Love In The Mouth) LOVE
4) Seishun no Mabataki (Blink Of Youth)
5) Oishii Kisetsu (The Creamy Season)
6) Cold Finger Girl
7) Mirai no Hikari (Future Light)
8) Ketteiteki Sanpunkan (The Decisive 3min.)
9) Shinkai (Deep Sea)
10) Kanousei Girl (A Girl With Potential)
11) Gokoku Houjou (Harvest Rock) ROCK
12) Ladies & Gentlemen
13) New Moon Day

CIRCUS Deluxe Edition is a re-release edition of model / actress Kuriyama Chiaki's debut album CIRCUS which was released a few days ago on 11th Jan .

The original release date for CIRCUS was last year on 16th March & CIRCUS Deluxe Edition includes Kuriyama's 2nd - 5th singles & a B-side .

Just like in CIRCUS & CIRCUS Deluxe Edition , Kuriyama's debut single Ryuusei no Namida (Meteor's Tears) is excluded from the CD tracklist but the video of the song's included in the DVD tracklist .

There's not much significance between CIRCUS & CIRCUS Deluxe Edition aside from the inclusion of the entire single of Kuriyama's 5th single Tsukiyo no Shouzou & the video in the DVD .

Each track on the album was produced by a famous rock band or artist , with 2 of them being foreign acts : Chris Cester & Mark Wilson of the Australian band Jet & Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind .

Roulette de Kuchizuke wo (A Kiss At Roulette) is the 1st track to kick start CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) & this song pretty much is the basis on what to expect for the other tracks in Kuriyama's debut album ie. a mean gritty aggressive rock no. that's full of attitude & plenty of kicks .

I was quite impressed when I 1st heard Roulette de Kuchizuke wo because prior to this , I had no idea how does Kuriyama sounds like but after hearing this track , I became more interested on what she has to offer in CIRCUS which follows the next track .

Tsukiyo no Shouzou (Portrait Of The Moonlit Night) is Kuriyama's 5th single & this was used as the theme song for the TV drama Himitsu Chohouin Erika starring Kuriyama herself .

Shiina Ringo is responsible for this cool stylish rock tune & she was also in charge of Kuriyama's 4th single Oishii Kisetsu / Ketteiteki Sanpunkan too .

Tsukiyo no Shouzou sure is interesting & in the hands of a veteran such as Shiina Ringo , Kuriyama is in good hands , especially since this's the 2nd time Shinna works in producing this slick no. for Kuriyama .

Kuchi ni Shita (Love In The Mouth) LOVE is the shortest track in CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) , clocking in at 2:40 mins . In here , the usage of synth is much more heavily emphasised & Kuriyama sounds prety dreamy in here .

I'm not sure if it's due to the way Kuchi ni Shita LOVE sounds like but it's interesting to say the least .

Seishun no Mabataki (Blink Of Youth) is the B-side track of Tsukiyo no Shouzou & I really like this no. as it compliments the A-side really well .

When I 1st heard Seishun no Mabataki , I like just how vulnerable if not raw sounding this goes & it's fuss free sounding as well .

The next 2 songs on the album are singles prior to the release of CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) .

Oishii Kisetsu (The Creamy Season) is the 1st A-side of Kuriyama's 4th single Oishii Kisetsu / Ketteiteki Sanpunkan & just like Tsukiyo no Shouzou , this's also produced by Shiina Ringo .

I feel that Oishii Kisetsu has a very childlike innocence attached to it . Besides being a rather cool sounding rock track , Kuriyama was still able to carry this track off with gusto .

Cold Finger Girl is Kuriyama's 3rd single & this was used as an opening theme song for the anime Level E .

This single is 1 of my fave Kuriyama tracks because I find the whole song really cool & unique . It's not a typical straightforward rock no. but combining with aggressive guitar riffs & an interesting melody , it gives rise to Cold Finger Girl .

Mirai no Hikari (Future Light) is the next album track & I only find this a-ok for my liking .

Then again , I feel that Mirai no Hikari is quite a standard rock no. . Comparing to the other songs found in CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) , there's definitely better songs available for me to like & appericate .

Ketteiteki Sanpunkan (The Decisive 3min.) is the 2nd A-side of Kuriyama's 4th single Oishii Kisetsu / Ketteiteki Sanpunkan .

As the song title suggests , Ketteiteki Sanpunkan clocks exactly 3 mins on the dot duration wise but aside from this , it compliments the pleasant sounding Oishii Kisetsu well , with Ketteiteki Sanpunkan being a mean gritty track , with Kuriyama's vocals that can be heard in the background .

Shinkai (Deep Sea) follows after Ketteiteki Sanpunkan & to me , I consider Shinkai as 1 of my fave tracks in CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) simply because it's such a beautiful soft tempo ballad .

There's not really a lot of slow sounding tracks in the album but Shinkai most certainly sounds extremely chilled out if not lush sounding . The fact that it's pretty much piano driven gives this song a total class of its own .

Kanousei Girl (A Girl With Potential) is Kuriyama's 2nd single & this was used as an opening theme song for the anime Yorinuki Gintama-san .

Alongside with Cold Finger Girl , Kanousei Girl is also another awesome track that I enjoy coming from Kuriyama & Kanousei Girl screams out nothing but fun fun fun .

Also , a special mention has to go to COMPLEX's Hotei Tomoyasu for doing such a great job in composing Kanousei Girl & downright at the end of the day , I adore Kanousei Girl in giving out so much postive energy .

Gokoku Houjou (Harvest Rock) ROCK is the longest track found in CIRCUS (Deluxe Edition) , clocking in at 5:59 mins .

This's quite an unusual if not a bit random no. because in Gokoku Houjou ROCK , Kuriyama's vocals sounds a lot more deeper than usual . Let alone this has a very space dreamy feeling .

I'm not sure if this's a good or bad thing but I guess it's 1 of those tracks that falls in the off beat direction , depending on whether this's interpret in a good or bad way .

With a cool title such as Ladies & Gentlemen , it can be certain that this song has the word fun being stamped all over .

Likewise , the same thing goes for the last track in the album which's New Moon Day which presents this very energetic & straightforward rock vibes that makes me want to sing & hum along .

I suspect these 2 traits more or less form the basis of a catchy memorable track which's evident in New Moon Day .

Kuriyama Chiaki brings her own brand of fun , edgy & energetic songs in a rock music carnival offering in the form of CIRCUS Deluxe Edition & overall I find this album to be pretty solid .

I was actually skeptical to try her music even though she isn't the 1st model/actress that I've listen/support with regards to in their music careers & I didn't even know how she sounds like prior to this .

But after giving CIRCUS Deluxe Edition a listen , I definitely can detect traces of another model/actress that does the same style of music just like Kuriyama ie. Anna Tsuchiya .

It's easy to dismiss a model/actress in carving out a music career but considering that Kuriyama has some pretty big names in backing her up if not producing her music , I say she's in good hands .

Given a little bit more time , I guess Kuriyama's able to go far in this tough fickle industry but for now , I'm going to be enjoying this re-released edition of her debut album CIRCUS .

CIRCUS takes on a fun musicial ride from the start to the end & this album might be a good 1 in starting off 2012 on the right musicial note .

Sunday, January 08, 2012

CD Review :: girl next door - Agaruneku !




1) Dada Para !!
2) No.1
3) Summer Time
4) Boogie-Woogie Night
5) Kimi no Moto e (To Your Original)
6) Kimi no Tomodachi (Your Friends)
8) my own path
9) Zutto (Forever)
10) Kiss Kiss Kiss
11) Yume no Hana (Dream Flower)
12) Your Story
13) snowflakes

Agaruneku ! is girl next door's 4th album & it was released about 2 weeks ago on 28th Dec .

The trio's latest album is actually their 2nd album release of 2011 & this comes in 8 months + since the release of their previous album Destination .

Agaruneku ! is a pun on Agaru (uptempo) & their shortened nickname Garuneku . Agaruneku ! is their 1st album to be released under the new stylisation of the band's name in lower caps .

This release is the culmination of a 4 consecutive months release campaign with the theme of Progress ! & in Agaruneku ! , 3 singles that were released over 3 consecutive months that are designed to cheer up the Japanese people are included in the tracklist .

Dada Para !! is the group's 12th single & it was used as the theme song for the NHK mobile drama Kingyo Club & as the commercial song for ABC Mart .

Featuring a hip dance beat & an addictive hook , the song will make listeners hum its catchy "dada" hook everywhere .

No.1 is the 1st album track & this was used as promo in the ads of Sanrio's Yumemiru My My Melody TV .

I only find No.1 pretty so-so for my liking as this's something pretty standard fare coming from the group & the same thing goes for Summer Time too .

Summer Time I feel is something that tend to get repetitive especially when comes to the chorus that can be a bit overwhelming for me to handle .

Boogie-Woogie Night's the group's 14th single & this was used as the theme song for the drama Watashi no Host-chan ~Shichinin no Host~.

girl next door completed their trilogy of bright , upbeat singles with Boogie-Woogie Night which sees the avex electropop trio doing the time warp to the 70s with their spin on disco dance music .

Kimi no Moto e (To Your Original) is a really upbeat peppy electro pop no. with positive vibes which basically screams out fun fun & more fun .

On the other hand for Kimi no Tomodachi (Your Friends) , this's a pretty slow mid tempo track & it's 1 of the more slower tracks found in Agaruneku ! .

ROCK YOUR BODY is the trio's 13th single . After the eurobeat tune Dada Para !! , the series' continues with ROCK YOUR BODY which's a rave music-style no. .

Designed to get a person's body jumping to its ultra-fast rhythm , Agaruneku ! includes an extended version instead of the original version to keep the party moving .

my own path is quite an edgy sounding track which flows quite good from where ROCK YOUR BODY left .

While in the case for Zutto (Forever) , this reminds me a bit of the guys's 7th single Orion to a certain extent .

Kiss Kiss Kiss was used as promotion in the ads of Tinkiss WEB-CM & this's 1 of the more harder sounding tracks in Agaruneku ! & this sounds as though it picks up from where Destination's Yume no Katana left behind .

Yume no Hana (Dream Flower) is quite a standardised nice track even though it took me quite a while to remember how this sounds like because it doesn't sound as memorable as the other tracks in Agaruneku ! .

Your Story is a pretty sweet sounding track & what I like about this song is that unlike the other album tracks , it's less electropop driven & it tend to be more guitar driven which I find it nice to listen .

snowflakes is the last song found in Agaruneku ! & this was used as promo in the ads of H.I.S. Xmas campaign which the trio themselves are featured in the ad .

In keeping up unofficially with a knack of having winter song titles in their past albums , snowflakes is no exception . I actually like the preview when I 1st heard it in the H.I.S. Xmas campaign ads & when I finally got the chance to hear the full version , it's nice I say .

snowflakes is not as outright Winter sounding as their previous Winter inspired no.s but this's something pretty laidback & chilled .

girl next door concluded 2011 with probably their most music productive year to date , seeing that they released 2 albums within last year .

Truth be told , I was expecting Agaruneku ! not to sound as great as Destination (which was a downright amazing fantastic album) & unfortunately true enough , I was right on this .

I frankly feel releasing 2 albums within a year is really rushing & in Agaruneku ! , most if not all the album tracks are pretty weak & I suspect these tracks are probably the rejected if not leftovers songs which were not included in Destination .

Unlike Destination where each album track is solid & has its own unique identity/flair , that's not the case for Agaruneku ! where I had to take probably close to 10 times in order to get some of the songs registered in my head .

As a fan of girl next door from their debut single Guuzen no Kakuritsu til now , it really saddens me to see that gone are the days when they were able to sell decently & that also securing top 10 positions in the Oricon charts for them now are a thing of a past .

That's not to say I haven't completely give up hope on them . What I hope to see for their future releases is something unexpected & no disrespect to keyboardist Daisuke Suzuki (who composed all of the group's music from day 1 til now) , I would like to see external composers to work on their stuff , in order to switch things up a notch or 2 .

Electropop can be a very difficult music genre to deal with but if girl next door was able to put out some of their best works after releasing their 1st 2 albums , I don't see why it cannot happen for their future releases .

For now , I'm anxious to see what will be their next step & it wouldn't surprise me if a best album might follow suit .

Monday, January 02, 2012

Akanishi Jin - Seasons


CD + DVD featuring 4 alternate jacket covers according to the 4 different seasons

1) Seasons
2) The Fifth Season
3) Season (Instrumental)
4) The Fifth Season (Instrumental)

Seasons is Akanishi Jin's 2nd single & it was released last week on 28th Dec .

Akanishi's new single was released exactly 3 weeks after he released his debut mini album TEST DRIVE & 9 months + since the release of his debut single Eternal .

Written & composed by Akanishi himself , Akanishi commented that Seasons is "a love song , but it is not only for men & women or lovers . It's a song of love toward everything , including family or friends who you cherish ."

The ballad is his touching tribute to all the people he loves .

Well honestly I did not really like Eternal so much as I liked the B-side Murasaki (Purple) so much more than the A-side but in the case for Seasons , I really like it on 1st listen .

What striked me about Seasons is that it's a simple heartfelt ballad . Unlike his English solo stuff which speaks otherwise , I still feel Akanishi's Japanese solo material has a lot more depth if not substance attached to it .

Even though both Eternal & Seasons are somewhat piano driven , Seasons is much more stronger in terms of the lyrical content & melody .

The Fifth Season serves as the B-side in the single which Akanishi performed this track before during his series of solo concert tours .

This's a pretty odd if not strange song . I wasn't sure what to expect when I 1st heard it but it's quite random & a total sharp contrast against Seasons .

I think all & all , The Fifth Season is quite interesting but it doesn't seem to have a clear structure in terms of the way it sounds but I leave it as it's .

Akanishi Jin may be working hard to make it in the United States music industry , but he's also staying close to his native home Japan . Just after releasing his first English-language debut mini album TEST DRIVE , Akanishi ended 2011 in Japan with his second Japanese solo single Seasons .

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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Other Posts Worth Checking Out

# Fave Songs Of 2010

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