Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - SUPER DELICATE
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
SUPER DELICATE is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 9th single & this was released last week on 22nd Feb .
The group's 1st single release for 2012 , this was used as the theme song for TV series Riso no Musuko starring Yamada Ryosuke & Nakajima Yuto .
The lyrics for SUPER DELICATE is written by scenario writer Nojima Shinji who also wrote the script for the drama as well .
I honestly didn't like the guys's previous single Magic Power that much but I have to say SUPER DELICATE is really awesome .
SUPER DELICATE on 1st listen sounds like where their 7th single OVER left behind in that it's a mature sounding dance track with a lot of edge & beats to it . With the release of this single , they have proven just how much they've matured a great deal .
There're 4 B-sides in the single with the 1st 2 songs that're only found in the CD pressing of SUPER DELICATE .
JUMP Around The World !!! is a cute song which plays a good contrast against the mature sounding A-side & I'm pretty sure their fans will have a lot of fun should the guys perform this track live as it's bursting with a lot of energy .
In the case of the 2nd B-side succeed , it's more grown up than JUMP Around The World !!! . Slightly less edgier than SUPER DELICATE , succeed is still able to retain that youthful sound that Hey ! Say ! JUMP is known for .
The next 2 B-sides are included in both CD + DVD's of the single respectively & just like SUPER DELICATE , both songs also get music videos as well .
Th・ri・ll is found in the CD + DVD A pressing of the single & this's sung by the older members within the group Hey ! Say ! BEST .
On the other hand , Wonderland Train is found in the CD + DVD B pressing of the single & this's sung by the younger members within the group Hey ! Say ! 7 .
I think both B-sides that each sub unit group delivered are equally enjoyable . Th・ri・ll has a really strong saxaphone backing while Wonderland Train is something that's also memorable .
Despite Wonderland Train that's delivered by Hey ! Say ! 7 , this song's still able to qualify as a standalone Hey ! Say ! JUMP song , with it being a class of its own right .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP starts off their 2012 with this pretty solid single offering , SUPER DELICATE . This's 1 group I've seen them grown musically & then some ever since their early days when they made their debut on the scene with Ultra Music Power .
I look forward to see what will be their next step be but something tells me 1 more single will follow up from SUPER DELICATE before they release their 2nd album .
Until then , SUPER DELICATE is a single that's worth checking out on the last day of Feb .
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
CD Review :: KAT-TUN - CHAIN
CD + DVD
1) LOCK ON
2) ONE DAY
4) ULTIMATE WHEELS
5) FINALE (Taguchi Junnosuke's Solo)
6) STEP BY STEP (Nakamaru Yuichi's Solo)
7) RUN FOR YOU
8) Ano Hi no You ni (As Of That Day)
9) Zutto (Always) (Kamenashi Kazuya's Solo)
10) SMILE FOR YOU
11) Hakanai Yubisaki (Fleeting Fingertips)
12) ~again (Ueda Tatsuya's Solo)
13) CHANGE UR WORLD
14) DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ (Tanaka Koki's Solo)
15) Hodoukyou (Pedestrian Bridge)
CHAIN is KAT-TUN's 6th album & this was released last week on 22nd Feb .
5 singles are included in the latest album offering of the guys & their last album release was 2010's NO MORE PAIИ .
Because of the way CHAIN is structured , I will be reviewing the group tracks & solos separately to prevent confusion from arising .
LOCK ON is the 1st album track & this's the only new song that received a music video although the original choice of song that supposed to get a video was another album track titled SMILE FOR YOU .
KAT-TUN are known for having really great opening no.s for their albums & LOCK ON is no exception . Immediately when the song starts , in comes a surge of mean in your face energy & let alone , it's a very catchy/memorable edgy rock tune .
LOCK ON is definitely the right song to start things & a no. that really deserves to get a video .
ONE DAY is the 2nd album group track & this was used in the ads of Suzuki Solio . Another strong sounding no. , ONE DAY has a much more faster paced beat , coupled with shades of electro & violin thrown in for good measures .
This song sounds a little bit like the group's 16th single RUN FOR YOU & I suppose it's a compliment since both ONE DAY & RUN FOR YOU are equally fantastic .
BIRTH is KAT-TUN's 17th single & this was used to promote NTV's Yokai Ningen Bem drama which starred Kamenashi Kazuya .
Described as a positive support no. that intends to provide encouragement for those who feel uneasy about the unpredictable nature of the world today , BIRTH is still 1 of those songs that I never get tired from , lyrically & musically .
ULTIMATE WHEELS is the group's 14th single & ; this was used in the ads of Suzuki's New Model Solio .
Looking ahead to the future , ULTIMATE WHEELS is about the bond between the members & working together as a group .
I think out of the 5 singles included in CHAIN , ULTIMATE WHEELS is 1 of my most fave & it's a bit unfortunate this comes across as being under-rated as I feel this's 1 track that's extremely grand sounding in terms of the various layering of different instruments & combining that with a rock & orchestra sound , makes ULTIMATE WHEELS a winner in its own right .
Jumping straight to track #7 , it's RUN FOR YOU which was KAT-TUN's 16th single .
A song about chasing a person's dreams & moving forward , RUN FOR YOU is an inspirational gift from the guys to their devoted fans & this's the successor from ULTIMATE WHEELS as RUN FOR YOU was the 2nd song that was in the ads of Suzuki's New Model Solio .
Without a doubt , RUN FOR YOU is an awesome track even up to now . I can never get enough of just how insanely catchy this tune's . It's a bit like THE D-MOTION & RIGHT NOW only that RUN FOR YOU is much more gritter & edgy .
With that said , this's still a song that I love from the guys so I have no complaints to add on for this .
Ano Hi no You ni (As Of That Day) is the 3rd group album track & this's written by singer songwriter miwa* & the presence of JOKER rap lyrics can be felt here .
Out of all the new group album tracks included in CHAIN , Ano Hi no You ni is the only song that include rap lyrics that's delivered by Tanaka Koki .
The 2nd song in KAT-TUN's discography to be written by miwa* after BIRTH's BABY B MINE , Ano Hi no You ni is quite a slow sounding no. & quite possibly 1 of the more mellow tracks included in CHAIN .
This's a pleasant sounding no. but I do admit I find Ano Hi no You ni a bit too slow for my liking but on the upside , it allows the haromnisation of vocals of the guys to get showcase here but I wouldn't consider this as a fave album track in CHAIN although I stil say this's something worth checking out .
Jumping straight to track #10 , it's SMILE FOR YOU which was used in the ads for Mobile Game Site's untag ! .
This's the song that was originally supposed to get a video before it was decided LOCK ON should get it instead & I'm actually glad that decision was made because while SMILE FOR YOU is something that I enjoy , I feel it's not song worthy to get a video .
SMILE FOR YOU is quite a cute song that leans more towards the pop side but at least this showcases another side of KAT-TUN , music wise .
Hakanai Yubisaki (Fleeting Fingertips) follows after SMILE FOR YOU & this's a song that I kind of like . Not as slow sounding as Ano Hi no You ni but then again , Hakanai Yubisaki is very calm & soothing which's pleasant to the ears .
Also a hint of sadness can be detected in Hakanai Yubisaki too .
Jumping straight to track #13 , it's CHANGE UR WORLD which's concidentally KAT-TUN's 13th single .
CHANGE UR WORLD was used as the theme song for NTV's Going ! Sports & News & this showcases the boys' strengthened bond in delivering this energetic dance tune .
Lots of guitar riffs were utilised for the song . KORN's Ray Luzier plays the drums for CHANGE UR WORLD .
The successor of the group's 12th single Going ! , promo wise , CHANGE UR WORLD is the oldest track to be included in CHAIN & it's also 1 of their most angsty driven singles .
Obviously comparing Going ! against CHANGE UR WORLD , the latter will win hands down as I still feel that KAT-TUN is best at delivering mean gritty edgy songs & it's evident in CHANGE UR WORLD .
The 2nd last group album track , Hodoukyou (Pedestrian Bridge) is track #15 . The 3rd slow sounding no. , Hodoukyou has a really good harmonisation of vocals that is showcased here .
Something about Hodoukyou just brings out a different music side of KAT-TUN . It can be easy to dismiss Hodoukyou as an album filler track but to me , I don't have any issues with this song .
WHITE is KAT-TUN's 15th single & this was used in the ads of SOFINA WHITENING LOTION ad & it's the last single included in CHAIN .
Described as a song that has a lively & refreshing melody , WHITE is a cheery sounding no. that the guys delivered which's such a change from their usual aggressive driven no.s .
Unlike their other non harder sounding tracks which took me quite a while to get used to , I didn't had any problems with regards to WHITE .
SOLDIER is the last group track & boy oh boy , this song's really something that I couldn't help but be in awe when I 1st heard it .
CHAIN has a great opening no. in the form of LOCK ON so it makes sense to conclude the album with a grand ending no. & SOLIDER definitely fits the bill .
SOLDIER is perhaps 1 of the most unusual songs I've heard from KAT-TUN in recent times with it being experimental , moody & quite dark but the way the guys delivered this song is brillant .
However , SOLIDER is not the last song included in CHAIN as shortly after the song concludes , there's a bonus hidden track that's supposedly titled CHAIN OF LOVE .
The group's very 1st album to include a hidden track , CHAIN OF LOVE is perhaps an ode to CHAIN .
A pretty cute sounding track just like SMILE FOR YOU , CHAIN OF LOVE I feel is 1 of those standard sounding Johnny's songs . I don't know if it's a good or bad thing but I was definitely surprised to hear this after SOLDIER .
To say that both songs contrast each other , it's evident in SOLIDER & CHAIN OF LOVE .
Now that the singles & group album tracks have been reviewed , it's time for me to review the solos that're included in CHAIN :FINALE (Taguchi Junnosuke's Solo)
Taguchi is not the best vocalist in the group but he's able to select songs that somewhat utilise the strength & conceal the weakness his voice has .
For FINALE which is cowritten by Taguchi himself & NAO , this's quite an upbeat no. . A lot more edgier than LOVE MUSIC , FINALE is 1 of those songs that allows Taguchi to showcase his dance moves onstage & I suppose this's what he's trying to attain with this no. .
In short , I enjoy FINALE .STEP BY STEP (Nakamaru Yuichi's Solo)
Nakamaru's solos always have been consistently good ever since KAT-TUN decided to incorporate solos in their albums & the same thing applies to STEP BY STEP .
Just like his previous album solo FLIM , STEP BY STEP is a funky dance no. . A downside I feel that STEP BY STEP suffered is that this's not something new & it sounded like a song that Nakamaru used to do before .
Then again , Nakamaru has 1 of the best vocals in the talent agency & STEP BY STEP is still worth a listen . Zutto (Always) (Kamenashi Kazuya's Solo)
Even before I take a listen to Kame's latest album solo offering , I kind of have a hunch that Zutto was going to be a ballad .
Zutto is definitely a ballad but comparing this against his previous ballad solos such as Kizuna (Bond) , it's a lot more slower . It can get a bit boring but the upside's that Kame's able to control his voice well in here .
I wouldn't consider Zutto as my fave Kame solo . Zutto is still worth checking out but hopefully in the group's next album , he would deliver an awesome upbeat no. & I definitely don't mind another 1582 !~again (Ueda Tatsuya's Solo)
I consider Ueda as 1 if not the most musically gifted/talented in KAT-TUN but unfortunately for his case , his solos tend to fall either in the hit or miss category .
For Ueda's latest album solo offering ~again , this's written & composed by Ueda himself under the alter ego names MOUSE PEACE "Tatsuya" & MOUSE PEACE "Masami" .
As for ~again , I'm glad to say that this falls in the hit category & it definitely reminds me of another 1 of his solos which's Love in snow .
A very mid tempo smooth sounding track , ~again is definitely a big improvement over the recent solos he dished out in the group's singles & albums but I'm still hoping for the day when Love in snow gets the album treatment .DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ (Tanaka Koki's Solo)
The last solo included in CHAIN , it's the group's rapper Tanaka's solo no. DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ & the song's written under Tanaka's alias JOKER .
I frankly have a love/hate relationship with Tanaka's solos as his solo offerings are 1 of those where listeners might be stumped or just get completely grossed out & unfortunately , that's the case for DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ .
I thought his previous solos were really erotic sounding but DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ takes the cake in being up there on the weird department & it didn't help that with a song title like this , he decided to use cat & dog sounds to sorta amp things up .
Needless to say , DANGEROUS CAT ~MAKE ME WET~ is something I will be skipping as it's pretty random sounding . I'm still hoping for the day when Tanaka release a solo ballad for a change though .
After close to 2 years since 2010's NO MORE PAIИ , KAT-TUN unleashes their 6th album CHAIN with plenty of attitude & punch .
CHAIN was released a day before de facto leader Kamenashi Kazuya's 26th birthday & this is the group's 1st official album not to include any of former co-lead vocalist Akanishi jin's vocals , songs wise .
All in all , I feel that CHAIN is quite a solid offering & a neat follow up from NO MORE PAIИ . It wasn't easy for KAT-TUN when Akanishi Jin left as all along , they delivered songs with the help of 2 co-lead vocalists so after Akanishi left , the reminding members had to find ways in order to overcome this musical hurdle which I feel they did a great job as evident in the singles that're included in CHAIN .
I said this before in previous albums that include a mixture of group & album tracks in that it's tough for an album on whole to sound really great & that's where CHAIN suffered this fate again .
Group tracks wise , I feel that they're pretty good overall although a few tracks borderline on the album filler factor . On the other hand , the solos this time round are neither good or bad .
The solos could have sounded a lot more better or if they could be separated & put in a different disc as by putting both group & solos together in 1 disc , the sound consistency tends to get messed up .
All in all , CHAIN is a commendable effort coming from KAT-TUN & as the album title suggests , CHAIN refers to the strength of the link that ties the members together , promising that KAT-TUN will stay united as one .
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Shota Shimizu - Kimi Sae Ireba (As Long As You) Feat Kazumasa Oda
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD's
1) Kimi Sae Ireba (As Long As You) Feat Kazumasa Oda
2) Get Over U
3) Keshou (Makeup)
4) Kimi Sae Ireba (As Long As You) -instrumental-
Kimi Sae Ireba (As Long As You) is Shota Shimizu's 12th single & it was released a couple days on 22nd Feb .
Shota's 1st release for 2012 , Kimi Sae Ireba features the vocals of folk singer-songwriter Kazumasa Oda . The collaboration was put into effect after Shota appeared on the TBS annual Christmas program Christmas no Yakusoku back in 2009 . Shota directly approached Kazumasa , whom he respects both as a singer & a person .
Shota commented , “It's a really simple song that I made while feeling the greatness of ordinary music . It's a very positive song . I pray that it will reach the hearts of many people .”
I must say this song's really something different/refreshing . Kimi sae Ireba is such a warm ballad that's still able to retain the signature sound of Shota . Coupled with Kazumasa's vocals , Kimi sae Ireba is 1 of those songs that definitely will stuck a chord with listeners in a good way .
There're 2 B-sides in the single . The 1st one is something titled Get Over U .
Get Over U plays a really good contrast against Kimi Sae Ireba which's a mid tempo R&B track . On the other hand , Get Over U is a straight up R&B pretty upbeat no. that's no nonsense & basically classic Shota .
Keshou (Makeup) is the 2nd B-side & this's a cover of folk singer-songwriter Nakajima Miyuki's of the same no. .
The slowest sounding track in the single , Keshou takes on a more organic piano sound . The amount of emotions that Shota poured into this cover of Nakajima Miyuki's is evident in here , 1 couldn't help but feel goosebumps upon hearing Shota's rendition of Keshou .
Shota Shimizu kicks off 2012 with a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration ! This time , the R&B singer performs a duet with the legendary Kazumasa Oda on the single Kimi ara Ireba .
Another solid single Shota has brought to the table & what a better way to kick off 2012 with this really neat collaboration in the form of Kimi Sae Ireba .
Shota will be releasing his 4th album Naturally on 21st March & Kimi Sae Ireba will be included in the album as track #3 .
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
CD Review :: Kuroki Meisa - UNLOCKED
CD + DVD A (DVD contents - music videos + making offshots)
CD + DVD B (DVD contents - 1st national tour THE MAGAZINE SHOW + live tour documentary)
1) Hit the Road
2) Shake it Off
3) Wired Life
4) One More Drama
5) Take Me Away
6) Flash Light
7) Woman's Worth
8) Breeze Out
9) LAST CODE
10) Happy to be ME
12) S.O.S -Watashi Sagasanaide Kudasai- (Don't Try To Find Me)
13) UPGRADE U !
14) Aimaide Zeitakuna Yokubou (Vague Desire Luxury)
UNLOCKED is Kuroki Meisa's 2nd album & it was released last week on 15th Feb .
Kuroki's follow up album after the release of her debut album MAGAZINE last Jan , UNLOCKED contains 3 singles & a B-side . A total of 9 new songs serve as album tracks .
The 1st 2 songs are new album material , with Hit the Road kicking things off in UNLOCKED .
Unlike in MAGAZINE where Kuroki's debut album had an introduction piece , it's not the case for UNLOCKED as Hit the Road is a full track on its own .
Honestly , I don't think Hit the Road is her best opening track for an album but it's still something worth checking out . Somehow Kuroki's vocals sounded a bit off in here , I'm not sure if it's done on purpose but I give her the benefit of doubt .
Shake it Off is the 2nd album track & this's 1 hot groovy R&B track on 1st listen . This reminds me of MAGAZINE's SWITCH⇔ to a certain extent as element traces of SWITCH⇔ can be heard in Shake it Off .
Not that it's a bad thing but I adore SWITCH⇔ so for me to compare Shake it Off to this song , it's a good thing .
The next 2 songs are singles that have been released prior to the release of UNLOCKED .
Wired Life is Kuroki's 5th single & this was used as the ending theme for the anime Ao no Exorcist .
Produced by the same group of people who's responsible for some of Namie Amuro's works , it's easy to get that dejavu vibes of Namie upon hearing Wired Life & I must admit , Wired Life does sound like something Namie would sing herself .
But song wise , Wired Life is 1 of Kuroki's more interesting if not darker R&B tracks that she has put out to date .
One More Drama is Kuroki's 4th single & this was used in the Kit Kat ads featuring Kuroki herself .
Her 2nd song to be used to promote Kit Kat after her 3rd single LOL ! , One More Drama is still an awesome track even up to now & I just cannot get enough of the Spanish influences that're heavily emphasised in the song .
Take Me Away is the 3rd album track & this's quite a mid tempo driven no. . A lot more slower paced sounding than the 1st 2 album tracks , hearing Take Me Away after a few fast paced no. in the album makes it a pretty good refreshing change .
Flash Light is the next track & when I 1st heard this song , I was a bit surprised if not feeling very dejavu as I thought this's something BENI might sing & true enough , when I checked the writing/composing credits for Flash Light , it's indeed the same group of people that does BENI's works .
As such , I thought it's interesting for BENI's composer to work on Flash Light & I think it's cool if not important for Kuroki to work with other people aside from the usual group of people that she has been relying to write/compose her works since there's a dangerous tendency to get stuck in a music rut if she depends on the same group of people to work on her music .
The next 2 songs are A-sides taken from Kuroki's 6th single Woman's Worth / Breeze Out .
Her 1st double A-side single , the 1st A-side Woman's Worth was used in the SEIKO LUKIA ads while the 2nd A-side was used in the SUBARU BRZ ads which both ads feature Kuroki herself .
I know there were a lot of criticism surrounding Woman's Worth / Breeze Out because I know of a few people that commented that this single's 1 of her weaker sounding no.s but personally I don't see what the fuss's all about .
Woman's Worth leans towards a more electropop sound which probably didn't sit well with people but to me , I like it & find it to be a refreshing change from Kuroki's usual R&B works . Somemore , I thought Woman's Worth to be really enpowering too .
As for Breeze Out , I wouldn't deny that I find Kuroki's vocals to be pretty weak but the killer angsty melody that Breeze Out has more or less make up for things .
LAST CODE is the next song & this track can be considered as paying a homage to the album title since the word Unlocked could be heard quite a lot of times in the no. .
As for Happy to be ME , it reminds me of ATTITUDE's Awakening to a certain extent , judging from the way the song sounds & I don't have any issues since Awakening was a track that I like .
I like to think that Happy to be ME is the upbeat cousin of Awakening since Awakening was a rather slow paced no. but for Happy to be ME , the utilisation of synth is heavily emphasised .
PARADE is 1 hot R&B track that's perfect to spin in a club . Almost on par sounding as Shake it Off , PARADE is 1 of those songs that's great to listen to if you want to let your hair down .
S.O.S -Watashi Sagasanaide Kudasai- (Don't Try To Find Me) is an unusual title for a song & the song itself is evident just how interesting this no. goes .
I wasn't sure what to expect for S.O.S -Watashi Sagasanaide Kudasai- but I do admit this's something Kuroki has never tried out before & I love the sasshy sounding vibes that this song gives out .
Kuroki's vocals is a bit jarring here which I think it was done on purpose to match up with the fast paced sounding melody but still , I don't deny that S.O.S -Watashi Sagasanaide Kudasai- has plenty of attitude & punch .
UPGRADE U ! serves as the B-side of Kuroki's 5th single Wired Life & this's the 2nd last track in UNLOCKED .
This's 1 B-side I'm happy to see it being included in the album as I really liked UPGRADE U ! the moment I heard it so I don't have any further complaints to add on for this track .
Aimaide Zeitakuna Yokubou (Vague Desire Luxury) is the finale song in UNLOCKED & this's the album only track that's a ballad .
This kind of reminds me of ATTITUDE's Awakening since both Aimaide Zeitakuna Yokubou & Awakening are slow sounding tracks & concidentally are the last tracks in each album .
I know I mentioned before that I was hoping that Kuroki would do more ballads in her discography & I sorta got my wish fufilled when I heard Aimaide Zeitakuna Yokubou .
Perhaps this's the last track in UNLOCKED but I couldn't help but felt that Aimaide Zeitakuna Yokubou was a bit forgetable . However , given a few more spins , this does stood out & I thoguht it's pretty fitting to conclude UNLOCKED with this track .
A year & a month after her debut album MAGAZINE , model / actress Kuroki Meisa unlocks her musical talent once again with her second album UNLOCKED .
Honestly , I find that UNLOCKED is a solid follow up after MAGAZINE & the new album tracks included in Kuroki's latest new album offering is evident on how much maturity she has shown over the last year & a month .
The only drawback's that this time round , the album tracks are a bit more mellower than usual but aside from that , I frankly feel UNLOCKED does MAGAZINE justice in various ways or so & kudos to her team of people that has been responsible in working on her music from the very 1st day til now .
See what Kuroki Meisa has in store for you when her talents are UNLOCKED in her latest album offering .
Aqua Timez - MASK
MASK is Aqua Timez's 14th single & the single is released today on 22nd Feb .
Selected to be used as the ending theme for the anime BLEACH , MASK has been described as an encouraging message that describes the importance living as your true self .
It has been a while since the group released something new after a relatively fruitful 2011 & now here they're back with this really positive sounding no. .
Aqua Timez always tends to have a knack of creating catchy pop/rock songs that're combined with inspiring lyrics & the same thing applies to MASK .
MASK is classic Aqua Timez & this's some catchy stuff the group delivered that I like without a doubt .
The following songs serve as B-sides in the single :
- Sora ni Tsudzuku Michi (An Empty Sky Leading A Road)
Both B-sides will not be reviewed .
Sunday, February 19, 2012
V6 - Bari Bari BUDDY !
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Bari Bari BUDDY ! is V6's 39th single & this was released a few days ago on 15th Feb .
An energetic tune , the A-side was used as the CM song for Eabara’s “Ougon no Aji” in which V6's sub unit Coming Century is starring in .
The single also included a B-side track titled POISON PEACH which is currently being used as the ending theme song for V6’s regular program Otoko no Hen search !! .
Alongside with POISON PEACH , the other 2 B-sides found in the single titled Hands UP ! OK ? & Bokura no Tenohira (Our Palms) will not be reviewed .
To say that I was quite shocked when I 1st heard Bari Bari BUDDY ! is an understatement & frankly on 1st listen , this's something I thought their juniors Kanjani∞ might release as Bari Bari BUDDY ! is just a crazy over the top no. .
Then again for longtime V6 fans , Bari Bari BUDDY ! might sound like something straight from the past & on familiar ground since V6 started out as a group that released eurobeat sounding influence no.s .
I don't think I will consider Bari Bari BUDDY ! as my fave V6 single song in recent times but no doubt this's something that's mindlessly catchy & something to listen to if you don't take yourself seriously .
Sunday, February 12, 2012
CD Review :: L'Arc~en~Ciel - BUTTERFLY
Cover for both CD only & 2CDs + DVD
2) X X X
3) Bye Bye
4) GOOD LUCK MY WAY –BUTTERFLY Ver.-
6) shade of season
7) DRINK IT DOWN
8) wild flower
10) NEXUS 4
11) Mirai Sekai (Future World)
BUTTERFLY is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 11th major label album & this was released a few days ago on 8th Feb .
The group's last album release was 2007's KISS & in their latest album offering , 6 singles are included in BUTTERFLY , inclusive of a double A-side single .
CHASE is the group's 39th single & it was used as the theme song for the movie Wild 7 .
The most recent release included before BUTTERFLY , perhaps it's no surprises that CHASE is slotted in as the 1st song in the tracklist .
X X X is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 38th single & this was the 2nd single release of 2011 in celebrating their 20th anniversary .
Pronounced as Kiss Kiss Kiss , X X X is still something that I enjoy & it's 1 of the more recent unique tracks I've ever come across from the group . It's hard to describe X X X but think of it as a mix mash of a slow meet fast paced rock song coupled with fanciful gorgeous orchestra beats .
Bye Bye is the 1st album track & this song was actually 1st performed 5 years ago at the 15th L'Anniversary live .
Since I never heard the live take of Bye Bye , all I can say's that Bye Bye is a very enduring beautiful track & I suppose what captivated me in liking Bye Bye instantly has to be the melody .
Immediately when Bye Bye starts , there's this really memorising orchestra sound that's combined with trumpet & drum beats , the final result that gives rise to this really solid track .
GOOD LUCK MY WAY is the group's 37th single & promo wise , it was used as the ending theme song for the Fullmetal Alchemist movie Hagane no Renkinjutsushi : Milos no Sei-Naru Hoshi & as the commercial song for Rekochoku .
In here , the song has been renamed as GOOD LUCK MY WAY –BUTTERFLY Ver.- specially for the album tracklist .
This's yet another solid single that I like & something about GOOD LUCK MY WAY is very cheery sounding . Mixing no nonsense guitar riffs & subtle touches of orchestra , the result gives GOOD LUCK MY WAY .
BLESS is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 36th single & this was used as the theme song for the NHK broadcast of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver .
The only single release that they put out 2 years ago , BLESS is a heartwarming ballad & it definitely embodies the spirit of the Winter Olympics very well . Even though BLESS has been released for quite a while , I still never fail to get captivated with this song .
shade of season is the 2nd album track & this's quite a moody sounding track which's drastically different from the 1st few songs of BUTTERFLY's tracklist .
In here , shade of season presents a rather sombre mood & I couldn't help but wonder that this song would be something pretty suitable to be used in a blood thirsty video game .
DRINK IT DOWN is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 34th single & this was used as the theme song for the PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 game DEVIL MAY CRY 4 .
The oldest single included in BUTTERFLY , DRINK IT DOWN was 1 of the 1st few songs I heard of L'Arc~en~Ciel before I eventually became a fan of the band .
With a video game that's titled DEVIL MAY CRY 4 , to say that DRINK IT DOWN is a downright bad ass sounding track is an understatement .
Even though this has been released close to 4 years ago , I still tend to get the chills & shivers from hearing DRINK IT DOWN & definitely it's not something to listen at night & that goes for seeing the video of the song too .
wild flower is the 2nd last album track & this's quite a dreamy sounding track . It tend to tread on the boring side as in the beginning , I wasn't impressed with this song .
But after a while , wild flower actually grown on me a fair bit but I wouldn't consider this as my fave album track but it's still something worth checking out for .
The last 2 songs are concidentally the only double A-side single included in BUTTERFLY except in this case , both double A-sides have been interswitched with each other .
NEXUS 4 / SHINE is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 35th single & this's the final single included in BUTTERFLY .
In BUTTERFLY's tracklist , SHINE follows suit 1st followed by NEXUS 4 .
SHINE was used as the opening theme for the anime Seirei no Moribito & I credit the music video of this song as the 1 that turned me into a fan of the guys as before that , I was merely a casual listener of L'Arc~en~Ciel .
But after hearing/seeing the SHINE video , I was really blown away by just how beautiful everything's , from the visual & hearing aspects of SHINE . Despite the fact that it has been a good 4 years since NEXUS 4 / SHINE was released , this's still intact in my memory .
On the other hand , NEXUS 4 was used in the ads of SUBARU Legacy .
I still remembered NEXUS 4 was actually the 1st L'Arc~en~Ciel song I've heard but at that time , I wasn't really impressed with the song so much . Even up to now , I still find NEXUS 4 a-ok sounding , especially since there're many other L'Arc~en~Ciel singles that I prefer/like over NEXUS 4 .
The final track in BUTTERFLY is also the last album track which's titled Mirai Sekai (Future World) .
To say that Mirai Sekai is a dreamy winter sounding track is an understatement & that's exactly what I felt when I 1st heard Mirai Sekai . I couldn't help but compare Mirai Sekai with Hurry X'mas since they're almost similiar sounding though .
But with that said , I think they couldn't have picked a better song to conclude BUTTERFLY with Mirai Sekai which I feel it's great .
After close to 20 years in the music business , L'Arc~en~Ciel can be still considered as 1 of the most affluent rock bands to ever grace the jrock scene as they've inspired countless musicians with their sound & with the release of their new album BUTTERFLY , it comes at a time when they've plans to celebrate 20 years of being in the business in 2012 .
Album wise , I suppose for L'Arc~en~Ciel fans , they might find BUTTERFLY pretty much of a rip off since 6 singles are included in this album & comparing the number of new material available in BUTTERFLY against KISS , it's not helping matters either .
The release gap between KISS & BUTTERFLY is also very long as well . KISS was 1 of the 1st few Japanese albums I've heard & it's still an album that I enjoyed til date .
But for BUTTERFLY , while I do like most of the singles that're included , I couldn't help but felt a bit disappointed that the number of new songs here is very little & as a result , for the album tracks to stack up against the singles , it's tough holding the fort .
With that said , I still feel that BUTTERFLY is an enjoyable album coming from L'Arc~en~Ciel & the only drawback I felt this album has was the lack of new material that had potential to get overshadowed by the singles but thankfully that's not the case .
Hopefully I wouldn't have to wait for another 4 more years for the group to release their next album but until then , here's another 20 more years of living legacy that will befall on L'Arc~en~Ciel !
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
CD Review :: ayaka - The beginning
CD + DVD & 40 page photobook
1) Hajimari no Toki (The First Moment)
3) Akai Sora (Red Sky)
4) The beginning
6) Sora Yoo Onegai (I Beg The Sky)
7) Tsunagaru Kokoro (Connected Hearts)
8) THIS IS THE TIME
9) Soko Made Aruite Iku yo (I Will Go There)
10) Egao no Kyanbasu (Canvas Of Smile)
11) Magic Mind
12) Kimi e (To You)
13) Yasashii Ao (Gentle Blue)
The beginning is ayaka's 3rd / comeback album & this was released last week on 1st Feb .
This's ayaka's 1st self produced work & The beginning was released under her own independent label , A stAtion .
The beginning marks ayaka's 1st release in close to 3 years after she went on hiatus to seek treatment for Grave's Disease .
No singles are included in The beginning but the album was supported with promotion in the form of 4 songs that were used in ads of companies & 1 album track getting a music video .
Hajimari no Toki (The First Moment) is the very 1st song in the album & this's the only track that received a music video .
I can understand why Hajimari no Toki gets a video in line with promotion for The beginning because this brings back to what ayaka does best in the form of inspirational uplifting songs that showcased her crystal clear powerful vocals extremely well .
Coupled with a beautiful piano melody , Hajimari no Toki feels like bringing back the good old times of ayaka's older works , except that her vocals take centrestage here which's fantastic .
Hello is the 2nd track & this was used in the ads of Yamazaki's Lunch Pack . Once again , this is another great catchy no. that has a positive sounding melody backing the song real nicely .
On the other hand , Akai Sora (Red Sky) is a mid tempo track & it's much slower than the 1st 2 songs of the album . I figure ayaka slotted Akai Sora here to act as a barrier of sorts , if not having 3 straight up tempo tracks might have been a bit too much for me to handle .
Sharing the same title as the album , The beginning was used in the ads of Yokohama Tire's Blue Earth .
The beginning is also slow sounding just like Akai Sora except that in this case , the song started to change its sound from a rather quiet mellow to an emotional piano driven track .
Likewise for HIKARI , it's another mid tempo track too but in here , HIKARI utilised a much more heavily emphasis on guitar instead of piano . What I find interesting about HIKARI is that prior to the conclusion of the song , french words could be heard in the background .
Sora Yoo Onegai (I Beg The Sky) is 1 song that to sum it up in 1 single word - raw . What makes Sora Yoo Onegai great is that ayaka basically let her vocals do most of the work here which the song's backed up by a simple under-stated piano melody .
This song allows ayaka to showcase her vocals at its very best & I think that was what she tried to achieve with Sora Yoo Onegai which she hit the nail on the head .
For Tsunagaru Kokoro (Connected Hearts) , this's quite an unusual song as I couldn't help but get folk country vibes upon hearing the song .
Not that it's necessary a bad thing after a string of mid tempo / slow sounding tracks from ayaka , I'm actually kinda glad for Tsunagaru Kokoro to come into place , if not things might get a bit samey sounding .
THIS IS THE TIME is possibly 1 of my fave tracks in The beginning as it presents a much more angsty vibe as compared to the other songs in the album .
Coupled with a rather unusual sounding orchestra driven melody , THIS IS THE TIME most certainly sits well with me the 1st time when I heard it & I find myself liking it so much more as each listen of the song goes by .
Soko Made Aruite Iku yo (I Will Go There) was used in the ads of the Kubota Corporation .
The Kubota Corportation is a manufacturing company that provides a variety of products that contributes to people’s lives & communities worldwide . The concept of their latest ad revolves around the theme concepts of Food , Water & Environment .
Heart-warming scenes were filmed featuring shots of parents exchanging smiles with their children .
Kubota Corportation reached out to ayaka as they felt that the image of the song fit well with the ad's concept & the attitude of the company .
Egao no Kyanbasu (Canvas Of Smile) is an inspirational sounding track that follows after the mid tempo Soko Made Aruite Iku yo .
In Egao no Kyanbasu , the mood that the song has is somewhat cheerier & light hearted which makes it real enduring .
Magic Mind is another really strong no. in The beginning & it just so happened it's also 1 of my fave tracks in the album as well .
Immediately when Magic Mind starts , I was drawn into just how catchy the song goes & it's 1 of those tracks that makes you feel good after listening to it , which's how I feel towards Magic Mind .
The only somewhat weak link in The beginning , Kimi e (To You) is surprisingly not as catchy as the other songs in the album .
I'm not sure why but something about Kimi e didn't leave me a very good impression of the song . Also , it didn't help that I had to take longer than usual to get the hang of Kimi e too .
Perhaps it's not very surprising I will not consider Kimi e as a fave track of mine in The beginning . The song's nice yes but that's that .
Wrapping things up , Yasashii Ao (Gentle Blue) is a beautiful inspirational no. & I remembered ayaka sang this song live at last year's MUSIC STATION SUPER LIVE .
The live rendition of Yasahii Ao was fantastic but hearing the studio version just brings out the goodness that's of the song & I couldn't pick a better no. other than Yasahii Ao in the conclusion of The beginning .
In 2009 , singer-songwriter ayaka left the music world to seek treatment for Grave's Disease . Close to 2 years later , she kicked off her comeback with an appearance on the New Year's Eve music spectacular Kohaku Uta Gassen , followed by the release of her first original album in over 3 1/2 years !
Produced by ayaka herself , The beginning is also the first album released under the singer-songwriter's own record label A stAtion & it features 13 brand-new tunes from the talented young songstress .
ayaka was 1 of the 1st few female solo artistes I've been supporting for a really long time & I remembered I felt really gutted when I found out she was going on an indefinite hiatus to focus on her health & marriage .
But now that she's finally back with new material , to say that I'm thrilled at her comeback is an understatement .
Releasing an album without any singles is tricky but given ayaka's midas touch on her older works , I had faith in her that ayaka knows what she does best & The beginning speaks volume on how much maturity & growth she has displayed from then til now .
The only drawback about The beginning is that I felt this album's a lot more mellower than her 1st 2 albums , especially with regards to the 1st few songs that were in the mellow/uptempo league .
The album lost a bit of steam at 1st but it slowly pick up the pace as each song goes .
Still , do yourself a favour & listen to The beginning . Don't miss a brand-new chapter in the journey of one of Japan's most talented young musician .
Welcome back ayaka , you've been missed !
Friday, February 03, 2012
Matsushita Yuya - Kimi e no (Your) Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ (Even 10 Years After)
CD Limited + Photobook
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
CD + DVD C
Kimi e no (Your) Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ (Even 10 Years After) is Matsushita Yuya's 10th single & it was released last week on 25th Jan .
Matsushita's 1st release for 2012 , the A-side is described as a mid-tempo R&B ballad song & it was used as the ending theme song for MBS's MUSIC EDGE + Osaka style in Jan .
With the release of Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ , this's now officially Matsushita's best charting release to date as the single debuted at #8 in the 1st week , suppressing that from his 8th single Naturally which peaked at #9 .
Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ is a sweet love song that's written from the perspective of a shy , awkward man . I thought lyrically this's a really meaningful no. & you can feel just how much emotions Matsushita poured into this track if you ask me .
There're a total of 4 B-sides that're scattered in all 8 editions of Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ .
Found only in the CD regular edition , the 1st B-side track is something titled Fuyuzora (Winter Sky) . Just like the A-side , Fuyuzora has a video to accompany the song .
This makes Fuyuzora the 3rd B-side of Matsushita to get a video , after Lonely Rain & Negai ga Kanau Nara ... (If My Dream/Wish Comes True) ... .
Title wise , it's easy to compare Fuyuzora against some of Matsushita's winter inspired no.s such as LAST SNOW & also first snow but aside from this , Fuyuzora is actually a pretty nice mid tempo track .
Fuyuzora is something that I actually enjoy although skeptics might say this's 1 of those songs that might put a person to sleep in a bad manner .
Life in the dark is the 2nd B-side track & this's 1 funky R&B no. that I like . I personally feel that Life in the dark compliments the A-side well & I find myself grooving along to the beats of the song the moment when the song starts .
Likewise the same thing goes for Dream on dreamer which's exclusively only available in the CD type D limited edition pressnig of the single . I find both Life in the dark & Dream on dreamer extremely memorable if not catchy to boot .
Only available in the CD type E limited edition , it's the last B-side track which's titled Virtual World .
To say Virtual World is a really unusual B-side is an understatement because this's probably 1 of the rare songs that Matsushita gets to rap a great deal .
Generally rapping isn't something Matsushita didn't do that much in his songs even though he does a little bit of it in Trust Me , Koe ni Naranakute (It Doesn't Become A Voice) & first snow .
But in Virtual World , Matsushita pretty much raps in the whole song from the start til end & he actually sounds very convincing in this really fast paced rap influenced track .
Virtual World is something unusual that's offered but this's 1 song that I really adore & I'm glad Matsushita took a bold risky music move which paid off for him .
After a year of releasing upbeat dance songs in 2011 , Matsushita Yuya kicks off 2012on a gentler note with the ballad Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ .
Putting 4 B-sides in a single is no joke but personally I enjoy them just as much as the main A-side . I suppose Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ is a testimony just how Matsushita is musically diverse in , be it when comes to singing R&B upbeat dancey tunes or ballads .
Also the fact that Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ is his 10th single release overall , this's definitely a milestone that he celebrated well & indeed he has since Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ is officially his best charting release to date in his career .
I've seen Matsushita grow & mature as each release of his goes by & it's great to see him come of his age at this point in time which's awesome .
Matsushita's 2nd album 2U will be released on Feb 22nd with Kimi e no Love Song ~10nen Saki mo~ & Life in the dark included as track #12 & #8 in the CD respectively .