Thursday, May 31, 2012
Ken Hirai - Kokuhaku (Confession)
CD + DVD
1) Kokuhaku (Confession)
2) Woman "W no Higeki" Yori (From The Tragedy Of W)
3) Itoshiki Hibi yo (Oh Endearing Days) ~the repose of souls~ (CD Only Track)
4) Onegai (Please) Jury☆ -Hyadain no Riririri☆Remix- (CD Only Track)
5) Kokuhaku (Confession) -less vocal-
Kokuhaku (Confession) is Ken Hirai's 35th single & it was released on May 30th .
Ken's 1st release for 2012 , Kokuhaku was released on the same day as Ken Hirai Films Vol.12 & its original release date for both was supposed to be 23rd May .
A ballad song produced by Tokyo Jihen's Seiji Kameda , Kokuhaku was selected to be used as the theme song for TV Asashi's drama W no Higeki which stars actress Takei Emi . This drama is based on a mystery novel by Natsuki Shizuko that was adapted into a film back in 1984 .
Regarding the song , Ken commented , "I made it with the themes ‘absolute darkness’ & ‘overwhelming despair’ , things that everyone holds somewhere in their hearts ." He continued , "Honestly , I've wrote a lot of songs , but this was the 1st song where I felt pain .”
After hearing the song , Takei expressed , "I felt that he wrote it while relating to my character , the protagonist Mako ."
3 B-sides are included in the single , the 1st one is something titled Woman “W no Higeki" Yori (From The Tragedy Of W) .
Woman “W no Higeki" Yori was also featured in W no Higeki .
Originally sung by Yakushimaru Hiroko way back in 1984 , in this context , Ken delivers a soulful version of this heartfelt enduring track .
The next 2 songs are found exclusively in the CD only pressing of Kokuhaku .
Itoshiki Hibi yo (Oh Endearing Days) ~the repose of souls~ is up first & this was Ken's previous single .
Despite the rather fanciful remix title , in reality , this's actually a really heartfelt piano driven no. & it matches on par with the amount of emotions Ken poured in , be it in the original or in here .
Originally found as track #4 in Ken's 8th album JAPANESE SINGER , in here , Onegai (Please) Jury☆ has been given a remix in the form of Onegai Jury☆ -Hyadain no Riririri☆Remix- .
I was quite a fan of the original but hearing this remix of Onegai Jury☆ was a bit shocking for me as it sounds really crazy & almost out of hand .
The last over the top song that Ken created was Kimi wa Su・Te・Ki♥ (You are Beau・ti・ful♥) which's certainly has almost the same music vibe that both Kimi wa Su・Te・Ki♥ & Onegai Jury☆ -Hyadain no Riririri☆Remix- give off respectively .
A year after Itoshiki Hibi yo which was used as the hit theme song for the 2nd season of the TV drama JIN , Ken Hirai returns with another powerful drama theme song .
This time , Ken delivers Kokuhaku , the theme song for the new remake of the 1984 television drama W no Higeki .
Honestly , I haven't enjoy a single that Ken released in such a long time & Kokuhaku speaks volume as I feel this's 1 of his best if not most unique works to date .
Even though by right Ken is more known for his soulful R&B ballads , something like Kokuhaku really pushed the music boundaries for him & for that , he should deserve credit for doing something experimental/different for a change .
He has been in the business for so long & he still stood the test of time with such a fine masterpiece in the form of Kokuhaku .
Saturday, May 26, 2012
GLAY - Bible
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD's
2) Ano Hi no Shounen (Boy That Day)
3) Thank you for your love
Bible is GLAY's 45th single & it was released on 23rd May .
The main A-side has been selected to be used as the theme song of the band's GLAY STADIUM LIVE 2012 THE SUITE ROOM in OSAKA NAGAI STADIUM that will take place on July 28th & 29th .
GLAY STADIUM LIVE 2012 THE SUITE ROOM in OSAKA NAGAI STADIUM is supported by glico , a confectionery company famous for Pocky . The font on the jacket cover is exactly the same as the company logo for glico .
This year , GLAY is bringing back their Hotel Glay outdoor concert series with a two-day concert at Nagai Stadium , one of the largest sports facilities in the Kansai area .
Honestly I really didn't know what to expect prior to hearing Bible as I was skeptical on what type of song it will be , given the nature of the title but thankfully my fears were unfounded when I gave it a listen .
Bible is a really nice no. that's quite heavily piano driven . In fact for some reason , I actually prefer the video version as it included the backing vocals of several kids prior to before the song ends which's not included in the CD version .
There're 2 B-sides in the single , the 1st one that's titled Ano Hi no Shounen (Boy That Day) .
Ano Hi no Shounen is a pleasant mid tempo track that has the inclusion of slight saxaphone sounds which adds a nice touch & good edge to an otherwise plain sounding no. .
Thank you for your love is the 2nd B-side & for this , it was exclusively released for charity via digital download last May .
Despite being quite a long track clocking in at over 6 mins , I really enjoy Thank you for your love as it's simplicity at its best . It's just lead vocalist TERU being backed up by a simple acoustic guitar melody .
The acoustic guitar allows TERU's vocals to shine & it doesn't get any better than this .
After being in the business for close to 18 years , GLAY shows no signs of slowing down in any single way & it's evident in the release of their latest single Bible .
There's something for everyone in Bible to enjoy & I feel that they're still considered as 1 of the most influential jrock bands til this date & for that , they have my upmost respect .
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Aoyama Thelma - Kimi ni Aeru Kara (Because You Can Meet) Feat SPICY CHOCOLATE , RYO the SKYWALKER
1) Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... (Because You Can Meet) Feat SPICY CHOCOLATE , RYO the SKYWALKER
2) Yume no Tsuzuki e (To The Continuation Of A Dream)
3) Tokyo Lullaby
4) Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... Feat SPICY CHOCOLATE , RYO the SKYWALKER (Instrumental)
5) Yume no Tsuzuki e (Instrumental)
6) Tokyo Lullaby (Instrumental)
Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... (Because You Can Meet) is Aoyama Thelma's 14th single & it was released a few days ago on 16th May .
Aoyama's 1st release for 2012 , Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... features composer SPICY CHOCOLATE & rapper RYO the SKYWALKER .
Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... is Aoyama's 6th single overall to feature vocals of other artistes . While I feel the song itself is nice , somehow the appearance of rap vocals by RYO the SKYWALKER kind of downgraded the song a bit .
For some reason , I feel that both Aoyama & RYO were trying to achieve a contrast of singing & rap vocals in Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... which definitely served its purpose but I personally feel Aoyama is able to handle the song on her own as she has the singing chops to prove it .
There're 2 B-sides in the single , the 1st one is something titled Yume no Tsuzuki e (To The Continuation Of A Dream) .
Yume no Tsuzuki e is used as the theme song for the 2012 World Table Tennis & this's what I'm talking about as Aoyama is able to handle this rather gritty track on her own flawlessly as so .
Tokyo Lullaby is a cover of Yoshie Nakahara's Tokyo Lullaby that was released in 1978& Aoyama's rendition was used as the outro theme song for the film Kirin .
After 2 rather fast paced R&B tracks , Aoyama slowed things down with this mid tempo track . I never heard the original sung by Yoshie Nakahara but it didn't stop me from enjoying Aoyama's cover of the song which I feel it's a track that wraps up the single pretty well .
In 2011, composer SPICY CHOCOLATE scored a digital hit single with Kimi ni Aitai ... (I Want To See You) , feat Aoyama Thelma & rapper RYO the SKYWALKER . 1/2 a year later , the 3 reunite for the special prelude song Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... .
While Kimi ni Aeru Kara ... features the same composition & arrangement , it tells a new story that leads up to Kimi ni Aitai ... .
Sunday, May 13, 2012
SID - S
CD + DVD
2) Rainy Day
3) Utahime (Songstress) (Live from「3.16 SHOOTING LIVE」)
S is SID's 12th single & it was released a few days ago on 9th May . All songs in the single were written by lead singer Mao .
Released exactly a week after the group's previous single Nokoriga (Scent) , S was picked as the theme song to be used in the horror movie Sadako 3D , making this the 1st time for the guys to provide a theme song for a movie .
Sadako 3D is the long-awaited new installment to The Ring series & is based on an original story by Suzuki Koji .
Composed by bassist Aki , S is a very different type of song that SID did & it's for sure a sharp contrast to what Nokoriga has to offer .
SID has its humble beginning roots in Visuel Kei so for S , it does sound like something from their early days . The A-side is not really something that I fancy so much with it being quite an intense rock no. but I applaude them for stepping out of their music comfort zone in what S has to offer .
There're 2 B-sides in S with both songs that're composed by guitarist Shinji .
Rainy Day plays a really good constrast to S . Unlike the A-side where it's much more grittier & angsty sounding , Rainy Day sees SID taking a much more back to basics music route , with it sounding mid tempo driven .
Originally found as the B-side track in the group's 5th single sleep , it's Utahime (Songstress) & in here , SID has included a live version of the song which was recorded from 3.16 SHOOTING LIVE .
Utahime is 1 of my fave B-side tracks so naturally , I was thrilled to see a live take of it being included in S . I will not add anything further as Utahime itself is already great & the live version's nothing short of magical .
SID unleashed the release of 2 singles back to back on a weekly basis 1st with Nokoriga & now their latest single offering S .
It's definitely a risky move in putting out 2 singles within such a short time frame but they're 1 group that haven't really disappoint me so much . SID undertook a gamble but in most parts , it has paid off well for them .
It reminds to be seen what will be their next move but I do hope they can release a new album soon & it's quite fitting at this point in time to put out a good follow up after dead stock .
Friday, May 11, 2012
ARASHI - Face Down
CD + DVD
Face Down is ARASHI's 38th single & it was released 2 days ago on 9th May .
The group's new single comes in barely 2 months + since the release of their previous single Wild At Heart & for Face Down , it has been selected to be used as the theme song for the drama Kagi no Kakatta Heya , starring Ohno Satoshi .
Face Down expresses the agony of facing your 'other self inside of you' with the theme of 'Who you really are?' & with release of this song , ARASHI set a new record by providing the theme song for a ‘Getsu9′ drama for two seasons in a row . Last drama season , the group's 37th single Wild At Heart was the theme no. to Matsumoto Jun's drama Lucky Seven .
At the press conference , Ohno commented on Face Down , “Fitting in well with this drama , the lyrics are mysterious . That is brand-new for us . ARASHI has been singing many kinds of songs & this new single makes me feel like we’re seeing a new side of ARASHI . '
Ohno's co-star Sato Koichi agreed , “The song goes well with the drama“ , while Toda Erika stated , “This is a really cool song . I makes the drama world seem like it’s expanding & it raises my spirits .”
In addition , Face Down has the inclusion of Sakurap , making this song nearly 3 years since the group last released a single that includes it , the last one being 2009's Believe .
Face Down is such a fast-tempo upbeat song with elements of rap & dubstep in the mix & as what Ohno mentioned , this's definitely a music style ARASHI has never tried before until now .
But it's a music gamble which definitely paid off as Face Down is probably their most unique & undeniable addictive singles they've released in recent times .
There're 2 B-sides no. included in Face Down , with the 1st track that's titled Mezashita Mirai e (Aim For The Future) .
Only found in the CD only pressing of the single , Mezashita Mirai e is an energetic song with a distinct guitar solo .
Found exclusively in the CD + DVD pressing of Face Down , Hitori Ja Naisa (I Will Not Be Alone) is a beautiful mid-tempo featuring a short piano segment at the end . It's a pretty song which strangely bears resemblances to the group's 24th single Beautiful days to a certain extent .
Also to make things even more interesting , Hitori Ja Naisa has a phrase ‘Mezashita Mirai e‘ included the lyrics & also likewise , Mezashita Mirai e has a phrase ‘Hitori Ja Naisa’ in the lyrics of the song .
After letting loose with Wild At Heart , ARASHI takes on a mysterious journey with the release of their latest single Face Down . The upbeat electronica song revolves around a scenario in which a man embarks on an introspective journey & discovers that there is another side of him that he'd never knew it existed .
The group's next single Your Eyes will be released next month on 6th June , making Your Eyes their 39th overall single release .
Monday, May 07, 2012
Saito Kazuyoshi - Gekkou (Moonlight)
Cover for both CD regular & limited editions :
1) Gekkou (Moonlight)
2) Metro ni Notte (Riding On The Metro)
3) Konya , Ringo no Ki no Shita de (Tonight , Under The Apple Tree)
4) Yasashiku Naritai (I Want Gently) (Live at Nippon Budokan 2012.2.11) (Limited Edition Track)
Gekkou (Moonlight) is Saito Kazuyoshi's 40th single & it was released last week on 2nd May .
Except for the live version of Yasashiku Naritai (I Want Gently) which will not be reviewed , the other tracks in the single will be reviewed .
Saito's 1st release for 2012 , Gekkou was chosen to be used as the theme song for Odagiri Joe's drama Kazoku no Uta .
Saito received the offer to provide the theme song last Dec & created a song that would suit the story line . Regarding Gekkou , he commented , “I made it while overlapping the image of the rock musician protagonist & my image of rock’n'roll ” .
Gekkou is basically classic Saito since he's known for layering a lot of instruments in his songs while creating a sound that's very distinct to him . Due to this , it really didn't surprise me that I enjoyed Gekkou a great deal .
Metro ni Notte (Riding On The Metro) is the 1st B-side in the single . For this , it was used in the ads of Tokyo Metro's We are the Tokyo Navigator which started broadcast on April 1st .
I couldn't help but feel that Metro ni Notte is such a charming no. . Unlike Gekkou , this song presents a much more chilled out laidback style Saito displays since it's just him & a simple acoustic guitar melody backing him up musically which's great .
The 2nd B-side Konya , Ringo no Ki no Shita de (Tonight , Under The Apple Tree) was selected to be used as the theme song for the movie Potechi .
With the 1st 2 songs in the single being rather upbeat no.s , Saito slowed things down with this mid tempo track Konya , Ringo no Ki no Shita de which I feel it's a suitable song in wrapping up Gekkou .
After being in the business for close to 19 years , Saito Kazuyoshi has proven why he still has staying power upon reaching the 40th single milestone in the form of Gekkou .
Gekkou is perhaps 1 of his most promoted single to date since all the songs inclusive of the B-sides received tie in's but I enjoyed his latest single a lot & it's something worth checking out .
Saturday, May 05, 2012
SID - Nokoriga (Scent)
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
1) Nokoriga (Scent)
3) Higasa (Parasol) (Live from JACK IN THE BOX 2011)
Nokoriga (Scent) is SID's 11th single & it was released a few days ago on 2nd May .
The group's 1st release for 2012 , the A-side is described as a melodious number with a sakura motif .
All lyrics in the single are written by lead singer Mao .
Composed by drummer Yuya who was also responsible for the composition of Uso (Lie) & Rain , Nokoriga is a gentle mid-tempo ballad about bidding farewell to the annual sakura season , making this song pretty refreshing .
Unlike their previous single Fuyu no (Winter) Bench which took me quite a while to get used to , I have no problems liking Nokoriga on 1st listen .
There're 2 B-sides included in the single . The 1st no. is something that's titled Graduation .
Graduation is composed by bassist Aki & it's more or less a typical standard song that SID is known for . It's neither good or bad but to say it's slotted in as B-side material , it's an understatement .
Recorded from JACK IN THE BOX 2011 , it's the live version of Higasa (Parasol) which's composed by guitarist Shinji .
Higasa is known as a fan favourite in SID's discography & it's easy to see why because it's such a heartfelt song which Mao showcased this aspect very well in the live take of Higasa .
SID kicks off their 2012 activities with two consecutive weeks of single releases with Nokoriga being their 1st release of the year , followed by the group's 12th single S which will be released a week later on 9th May .