Friday, November 30, 2012

Kobukuro - Kami Hikouki (Paper Airplane)

1) Kami Hikouki (Paper Airplane)
2) Kami Hikouki (Instrumental)

Kami Hikouki (Paper Airplane) is Kobukuro's 22nd single & it was released on 28th Nov .

Released 1 year 7 months since the duo's previous single Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsudukeru You ni. (I Wish That Sun Continued Lighting Up This World.) , Kami Hikouki was selected to be used to promote the drama Kekkon Shinai , starring Kanno Miho & Amami Yuki .

The drama is produced by Nakano Toshiyuki , who has teamed up with Kobukuro twice in the past . Kobukuro has provided Tsubomi for Tokyo Tower ~Okan to Boku to , Tokidoki , Oton~ in 2007 & Ryusei for Nagareboshi in 2010 .

Regarding the concept of Kami Hikouki , Kobukuro commented , "It's a drama that realistically portrays the protagonists' philosophy of love , so we paid attention to the women's viewpoint & made a song with the images that came into mind ."

They continued , "What we arranged with the twinkling melody is the image of Kami Hikouki itself & our wish for people not to forget about laughter & find the 'wind of palpitation' . "

Unlike Ano Taiyou ga , Kono Sekai wo Terashitsudukeru You ni. , Kami Hikouki doesn't have any B-sides ie. it was released as a standalone song on its own alongside with the instrumental of the A-side .

After a string of health problems that plauged both members , it's great to see that they finally resumed their activities this year in April in the pink of health & just like their previous singles , Kami Hikouki is basically what Kobukuro does best .

Kami Hikouki is something that's soothing , uplifting & enjoyable on 1st listen . Also what I feel is 1 of Kobukuro's strong traits is that aside from releasing great music , the harmonisation of both the vocals of Kobuchi Kentaro & Kuroda Shunsuke is spot on & no exception goes for Kami Hikouki . Kobukuro returned from their 10-month hiatus with the release of their 2nd compilation album ALL SINGLES BEST 2 on 5th Sept . Now , the duo continues their music comeback with Kami Hikouki , their 1st original single in over a year & a half .

Welcome back guys ! You definitely been missed by fans & what better way than to have a solid comeback in the form of this lighthearted inspiring ballad Kami Hikouki .


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SID - V.I.P

CD

CD (Magi edition)

CD + DVD A

CD + DVD B

1) V.I.P
2) Sōmatō (Revolving Lantern)
3) Sympathy (Live from TOUR 2012 『M&W』)
4) V.I.P -Anime Ver.- (CD Only Limited Edition Track)
5) V.I.P -Instrumental- (CD Only Limited Edition Track)

V.I.P is SID's 13th single & it was released last week on Nov 21st .

The group's latest single offering was released about 3 months + after their 3rd album M&W .

SID's 3rd single of 2012 was picked to be used as the opening theme no. for the anime series Magi which started broadcasting on October 7th . In addition , unlike their previous singles , V.I.P was released in 4 editions instead of 3 .

2 B-sides are included in V.I.P in which Sympathy (Live from TOUR 2012 『M&W』) will not be reviewed .

Composed by bassist Aki , V.I.P took me quite a while to get used to as usually I like SID's main singles offering but just like S , V.I.P wasn't something I like immediately on 1st listen .

V.I.P is a grower but I will not consider it as a fave SID single but it's quite anime inspired that's for sure .

Sōmatō (Revolving Lantern) serves as the 1st B-side of the single & for this track , it's composed by guitarist Shinji .

This song is probably 1 of my fave SID B-sides in recent times & frankly , it's a big pity Sōmatō is not the main A-side seeing that I feel it's much better/memorable/stronger than V.I.P .

The Oriental feeling going on in Sōmatō is really refreshing & it's a great contrast against V.I.P . In short , Sōmatō is awesome .

SID wraps up 2012 with their latest single offering V.I.P & fast approaching their 10th anniversary in the business next year , the group has lined up a series of projects that will be released in due time to celebrate this milestone of theirs . The group's 1st best album SID 10th Anniversary BEST will be released on 16th Jan 2013 .


Sunday, November 25, 2012

CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - LOVE EP

CD

CD (Tales of Xillia 2 edition)

CD + DVD

1) Song 4 u
2) Missing
3) Melody
4) Song 4 u (Orchestra version)
5) You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA remix)
6) You & Me (Remo-con rmx - Extended)
7) Missing (Dubscribe remix)
8) Melody (BROKEN HAZE remix)
9) Song 4 u (-Instrumental-)
10) Melody (-Instrumental-)
11) Missing (-Instrumental-)
12) You & Me (-Instrumental-)

LOVE EP is ayumi hamasaki's 3rd mini album & it was released on 8th Nov .

Just like the release of last year's mini album FIVE , LOVE doesn't include any physical singles prior to the release of it .

Unlike FIVE , LOVE includes 3 new songs & 5 remixes but with regards to the original songs , only 2 of them has received music videos .

Celebrating months leading up to ayumi's 15th anniversary next year , a schedule of 5 months worth of releases has been planned , with LOVE being the 1st of 5 .

Every month on the 8th day of the month until the 15th anniversary since the release of ayumi's debut single poker face on 8th April 1998 , something new will be released on 11/8 , 12/8 , 1/8 , 2/8 & 3/8 respectively .

The 1st of 3 new songs is something titled Song 4 u & it was picked to be used as the theme song for the PSP game Tales of Xillia 2 .

Song 4 u is actually the 1st preview track I heard from LOVE EP & frankly I really like it , it's a nice rock song that has shades of guitar riffs thrown in for good measures & even if I didn't know the song has a promo game tie in , I would have guessed it as Song 4 u is very video game inspired .

Missing is the 2nd new track & it's described as a medium rock tune overflowing with pain/sadness .

Originally , Melody was supposed to be the song that gets a music video but at the last minute , it was switched with Missing which I'm really glad that happened because Missing really deserves to get 1 .

For me , what I like about Missing is that you can feel the amount of emotions pouring into this song & I definitely can feel quite a lot of pain upon hearing it .

Melody is the 3rd / last new track available in LOVE EP & it's described as a medium ballad .

Like I said earlier on , Melody supposed to get a video but at the last minute , it switched places with Missing .

I frankly don't have any issues with Melody but I do understand why at 1st it supposed to get a video but it didn't as I don't think it's video worthy in getting 1 but it doesn't mean that the song's bad .

Rather , it's uplifting sounding & I feel that Melody contrasts the 1st 2 songs available in LOVE EP quite well to a certain extent .

There're a total of 5 remixes available in LOVE EP but I will only do a short summary for each remix as by right I'm not really a remix person but surprisingly , overall the remixes included are not bad in general .

Song 4 u (Orchestra version) - Self explained so I don't need to go on further but to say that it has a very grand orchestra feeling , it's an understatement .

You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA remix) - I don't really like the original of You & Me that much but it surprised me that for this remix , I do enjoy it quite a fair bit & it has a more poppy disco feeling .

You & Me (Remo-con rmx - Extended) - I actually already have heard this remix sometime back but the difference's that in here , as the remix title suggest , it's much longer . Neither good or bad to me .

Missing (Dubscribe remix) - This's probably my fave remix in LOVE EP as the Dubscribe remix completely transforms the original into something so sleek , futuristic & edgy sounding . It's overall a very cool addictive remix that I enjoy tremendously .

Melody (BROKEN HAZE remix) - Just like Missing (Dubscribe remix) , the BROKEN HAZE remix of Melody is very different from the original & here , it sounds like something that might (ironically) come straight from a video game . Kind of reminds me of some of the remixes available in ayumi's 44th single Days / GREEN .

To celebrate her 15th anniversary in the J-pop world , pop queen ayumi hamasaki is putting out 5 releases over 5 consecutive months ! Kicking off this ambitious project is the 12-track mini-album LOVE , which features the video game theme song Song 4 u and new remixes of You & Me . Join ayumi on her epic celebration with LOVE ! ayumi's 4th mini album again EP will be released next month on 8th Dec .


Saturday, November 24, 2012

SPYAIR - WENDY ~It's You~

Cover for both CD & CD + DVD's

1) WENDY ~It's You~
2) Blowing

WENDY ~It's You~ is SPYAIR's 9th single & it was released on 21st Nov .

Released 2 months + after the release of their 2nd album Just Do It , the A-side was picked to promote NHK's drama Koi Suru Hae Onna that started airing this month .

A producer for NHK was deeply impressed by SPYAIR's powerful music + heated concert & requested them to provide the drama's theme song .

Koi Suru Hae Onna stars Mimura who plays an elementary school teacher . By clearing unreasonable missions by mysterious men , she’s able to change her unappealing lifestyle . The theme song is based on this story & it's described as a medium-tempo rock tune with a message to push the backs of various people .

WENDY ~It's You~ is definitely much different from SPYAIR's usual works as when I 1st heard it , I was struck by just how catchy & interesting it's with it having a rather strong punk feeling .

But with that said , it's always good to release & experiment with new music styles & I guess the guys have proven this point with what they want to achieve with WENDY ~It's You~ .

Blowing serves as the B-side in the single & just like the A-side , both are completely different styles that the group never tried before .

In this case , Blowing is a chilled out mid tempo tune which has surprisingly shades of reggae influence which I thought it's very cool as just like WENDY ~It's You~ , Blowing showcases a new music side of what SPYAIR has to offer which I think it's great .

Set to rock out for the very 1st time in Nippon Budokan next month on Dec 18th , 2012 has definitely been a rewarding year for SPYAIR .

But in the midst of things , the guys's latest single offering WENDY ~It's You~ will be a bittersweet event alongside with next month's Nippon Budokan gig seeing that this single will be the last release to include DJ ENZEL☆ before his departure from SPYAIR .

No matter what will happen in 2013 , I hope SPYAIR will continue to hold their heads up high & release music as this's an artiste that has grown on me a great deal over the past year or so since I started listening/supporting them & I also wish all the best of luck to DJ ENZEL☆ for what he plans to do in the near future after his departure .


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kis-My-Ft2 - Ai no Beat

Ai no Beat is Kis-My-Ft2's 5th single & it was released on 14th Nov .

The group's latest single offering comes about 3 months + since the release of their previous single WANNA BEEEE!!! / Shake It Up .

This time round , Kis-My-Ft2 has conducted a musical experiment with the main A-side by releasing Ai no Beat in 2 different genres : dance & rock .

The 2 different versions of the song are titled Ai no Beat -Dance ver.- & Ai no Beat -Rock ver.- with both takes of Ai no Beat getting music videos that has completely different theme/concept attached to them .

This's probably the 1st time I've seen a single that is released in 2 different music styles which's unusual if not rare but I must say , this bold risky move paid off for the guys .

Honestly , I think both takes of Ai no Beat are equally strong but the dance version is somewhat more prominent/memorable sounding than the rock version .

But then again , I do enjoy both versions of Ai no Beat & I suppose it really depends on whether into rock or dance more but for my case , I like both music genres equally .

There're 2 B-sides in the single .

The 1st B-side is something titled Winter Lover & this's actually a sequel song of Summer Lover which's the CD only B-side track found in WANNA BEEEE!!! / Shake It Up .

In addition , Winter Lover was picked to be used as the theme song for their TV show Moshimo Tours .

I guess this's mentioned as so since song title association wise , it's there but other than that , Winter Lover is a pleasant soothing ballad which's obviously very different from both takes of Ai no Beat & the presence of a Winter sound is quite strong too .

Never End LOVE is the 2nd B-side & for this song , it's only found exclusively in the CD only pressing of Ai no Beat .

This's quite a mean sounding in your face track . Not as gritty aggressive driven as their other songs but it's something fun to listen to .

2012 has been quite a fruitful year for Kis-My-Ft2 with the release of their debut album Kis-My-1st & 3 singles with the inclusion of their latest single offering Ai no Beat .

Since debuting last Aug with their debut single Everybody Go , I've been following/supporting them & to think at 1st I perceived them as poor cousins of their seniors KAT-TUN but as time goes by , I realised that both groups's music styles are different to a certain extent .

At this point in time , I'm interested to see what will they be able to bring with their future releases but 1 thing's for sure , these guys are not going away anytime soon .


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kanon Wakeshima - Foul Play ni Kurari (Living In) / Sakura Meikyuu (Cherry Blossom Labyrinth)

CD

CD + DVD

1) Foul Play ni Kurari (Living In)
2) Sakura Meikyuu (Cherry Blossom Labyrinth)
3) Foul Play ni Kurari (Instrumental)
4) Sakura Meikyuu (Instrumental)

Foul Play ni Kurari (Living In) / Sakura Meikyuu (Cherry Blossom Labyrinth) is Kanon Wakeshima's 3rd single & it was released on 7th Nov .

This's Kanon's 1st physical release the release of her 2nd album Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ in 2010 . In addition , Foul Play ni Kurari / Sakura Meikyuu is her 1st double A-side .

The 1st A-side Foul Play ni Kurari was used as the ending theme no. for the anime To LOVE Ru starting from Oct while the 2nd A-side Sakura Meikyuu was used as the main theme song for the PSP game Fate / Extra CCC .

After contributing vocals to HALLOWEEN PARTY which the single was released under the name HALLOWEEN JUNKY ORCHESTRA , Kanon is back in releasing physical singles after a period of an unusual long hiatus which in between she also released 2 singles under a sub unit kanon x kanon which she joined forces with AN CAFE's bassist Kanon .

So it's needless to say that it's a relief for her to release a physical single as Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ did not include any but both A-sides are very different , sound wise .

For me , I'm not that fond of Foul Play ni Kurari that much initally as I did not fancy the way Kanon sings in this song as it's very anime inspired & her vocals tend to get over the top for me which I find it grating despite the melody being pretty & classical driven .

Thankfully the 2nd A-side Sakura Meikyuu is much more stronger if not reminds me of Kanon's older works quite a fair bit with this song being a no nonsense straight up dark sounding classical no. .

Back with a new record label & image , Kanon Wakeshima returns back with her latest release in the form of her 1st double A-side offering Foul Play ni Kurari / Sakura Meikyuu .

To me , I feel that Kanon is 1 of the very under-rated artistes & also probably 1 of the rare few that is difficult to classify the type of music she does as hers is not exactly mainstream but I'm glad that she's still releasing something despite her release pattern being unpredictable .

For now , I can only wait to see what she do next & I definitely hope the wait wouldn't be that long for her to come up with something new again next year .


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BENI - LAKuEN (Paradise) & I LOVE YOU

CD

CD + DVD

LAKuEN (Paradise) & I LOVE YOU are 2 songs that're found in BENI's 2nd covers album COVERS 2 which was released last week on 7th Nov .

COVERS 2 serves as a sequel to the hugely successful COVERS which was released earlier on this year on 21st March . Both albums includes covers of songs originally made famous by Japanese male artistes in which the tunes have been sung by BENI in English .

With the release of COVERS that has attained unexpected great success , it's now officially BENI's best selling release to date .

LAKuEN (Paradise) is included as track #5 in COVERS 2 & the song was originally sung by Ken Hirai .

Released way back in 19th Jan 2000 , LAKuEN is Ken's 8th single & is considered as his breakthrough hit .

BENI covered Ken's 20th single Hitomi wo Tojite (Close Your Eyes) in COVERS which's found as track #3 in the tracklist .

Honestly , I have no complaints towards the English cover that BENI did for LAKuEN especially since I enjoyed her own spin/take on what she did for Hitomi wo Tojite . In addition , Ken Hirai is someone I really respect/support & what she did for both songs have nothing been but great .

Found as track #9 in COVERS 2 , it's I LOVE YOU which the original was sung by the late Ozaki Yutaka which the song was released way back in 21st March 1991 .

Before BENI , I LOVE YOU was covered by many artistes such as Mika Nakashima which her rendition is included in both her 21st single Mienai Hoshi (Invisible Star) & 4th album YES .

Likewise , Kobukuro also covered I LOVE YOU in which their own take of the song is included in their 1st covers album ALL COVERS BEST .

But for BENI's case , she's the 1st artiste to cover I LOVE YOU from Japanese to English & just like what Mika & Kobukuro did for their own renditions of the song , BENI's version is really soothing & slow sounding , making this track really suitable in listening to it on a chilled out day .


Sunday, November 11, 2012

flumpool - Answer

CD Regular

CD Limited

CD + DVD

1) Answer
2) Kimi wo Tsurete (Brought To You)
3) Because ... I am (from the 5th tour 2012)
4) Answer (Instrumental)
5) Kimi wo Tsurete (Instrumental)
6) Boku no Sonzai (Of My Existence) (from the 5th tour 2012) (CD Limited Track)
7) Present (from the 5th tour 2012) (CD Limited Track)
8) Vega ~Kako to Mirai no Hokkyokusei~ (from the 5th tour 2012) (CD Limited Track)
9) reboot ~Akiramenai Uta~ (from the 5th tour 2012) (CD Limited Track)
10) MW ~Dear Mr. & Ms. Picaresque~ (from the 5th tour 2012) (CD Limited Track)


Answer is flumpool's 10th single & it was released on 7th Nov .

Originally supposed to be released on 31st Oct , Answer comes about 4 months+ since the release of the group's previous single Because ... I am .

All live tracks that serve as B-sides in the single will not be reviewed except for Kimi wo Tsurete (Brought To You) .

The A-side was chosen to be used as the theme song for TBS's drama Resident ~5-nin no Kenshui starring actress Naka Riisa .

Resident ~5-nin no Kenshui began its broadcast last month . The story takes place at a critical care center of a university hospital & it portrays the growth of 5 young medical interns . Aside from Naka , the cast also includes Hayashi Kento , NEWS's Masuda Takahisa , Omasa Aya & Ishibashi Anna .

It has been about 2 years since flumpool was in charge of a theme song for a TV drama with their last being Zanzou which was used to promote Bloody Monday Season 2 back in January 2010 .

I must say Answer is probably 1 of the most experimental tracks that flumpool has released to date & I was blown away on what Answer had to offer on 1st listen .

Answer is extremely upbeat & the guys utilise a lot of synth to compliment this rocking track , making the song a class of its own & that it's such a strong in your face no. without going over the top which I think it's wonderful .

Kimi wo Tsurete is the only studio track that serves as the B-side in the single & for this , it was picked to be used as the theme no. for Fuji TV's Mezamashi Doyoubi .

This is 1 really long B-side & clocking in at 5:41 mins , it's no joke & at 1st I had reservations in listening to it but thankfully my fears were squashed upon hearing it .

In this case , Kimi wo Tsurete to me sounds quite similiar to Fantasia of Life Stripe's two of us . It's a nice soothing fuss free no. that contrasts Answer very well .

After the release of Because ... I am , flumpool returned back with their 2nd single of 2012 in the form of Answer & I must say , it's a great single they've released before 2012 wraps up & I still feel that Answer is something they've never done before but yet they hit the nail right on the spot .

To me , flumpool rarely steps out of their music comfort zone but I'm sure for their future releases , that will change slowly & it's evident with regards to what they have to offer for Answer .

The group's 3rd album experience will be released next month on 12th Dec , with Answer included as track #2 in the tracklist .


Saturday, November 10, 2012

CD Review :: ARASHI - Popcorn

CD Regular

CD Limited

1) Welcome to our party
2) Kakenukero ! (Run Through !)
3) Wild At Heart
4) Face Down
5) We wanna funk , we need a funk (Matsuomoto Jun's Solo)
6) two (Ohno Satoshi's Solo)
7) Waiting for you
8) Rakuen (Paradise) (Aiba Masaki's Solo)
9) Tabi wa Tsudzuku yo (Journey Will Continue)
10) Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita (It Was You After All) (Ninomiya Kazunari's Solo)
11) Meikyuu (Labyrinth) Love Song
12) Your Eyes
13) Fly on Friday (Sakurai Sho's Solo)
14) Cosmos
15) Akashi (Proof)
16) Up to you

Popcorn is ARASHI's 11th album & it was released on 31st Oct .

The group's latest album offering includes 4 singles & this comes about 1 year 3 months since the release of their previous album Beautiful World .

In addition , 2 album tracks have promo tie in's & just like previous albums , Popcorn includes a mixture of singles , group album tracks & 5 solo songs that consolidates 16 tracks in the CD tracklist .

Kicking things off in Popcorn is a fun filled tune titled Welcome to our party .

Welcome to our party has the inclusion of Sakurap & it sets the tone on what to expect in later part of Popcorn but it's definitely a very entertaining no. which immediately got my attention on 1st listen .

This song is actually the 1st song I've heard from the album as Aiba Masaki played this track on his radio show but at that time , he only played a long short version of it as the track I 1st heard was under 3 mins , unlike the studio version which's longer .

But still , I like Welcome to our party as it's a strong opening album track .

Kakenukero ! (Run Through !) is the 2nd group track & it's the 1st of 2 songs that have promo tie in's .

In the case of Kakenukero ! , it was used in the ads of Nissan's Serena which some of the group members can be seen in the ads themselves .

Kakenukero ! is quite a smooth sounding no. but it's not really my fave group track in Popcorn but still the sound transition from Welcome to our party to Kakenukero ! is not bad .

The next 2 songs are singles that were released prior to Popcorn .

Wild At Heart is ARASHI's 37th single & it was used as the theme song for the drama Lucky Seven , starring Matsumoto Jun .

Described as an uptempo rock song , Wild At Heart is a playful , energetic tune that complements the fun , action-packed vibe of Lucky Seven .

Face Down is ARASHI's 38th single & it was used as the theme song for the drama Kagi no Kakatta Heya , starring Ohno Satoshi .

The song expresses the agony of facing your 'other self inside of you' with the theme of 'Who you really are ?' .

A fast-tempo upbeat song with elements of rap & dubstep in the mix , ARASHI takes on a mysterious journey with 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 next 2 songs are solo tracks with We wanna funk , we need a funk being the 1st up in line & this's sung by Matsumoto Jun .

It's a known fact that MatsuJun's solos are my least fave as compared to the other members & it's not helping matters that when I 1st saw the title of his latest solo no. , I thought it was a big joke as it sounds vulgar in a subtle way .

But with that said , when I manage to hear We wanna funk , we need a funk I was surprised as it's not as terrible as what I thought it might be & I'm sure the reason on why this's a heavily dance meets autotune track is that it's to conceal MatsuJun's vocals since vocals wise , he's the weakest in the group .

To sum it up , We wanna funk , we need a funk is actually quite tolerable for my liking .

two is the next solo track & for this , it's sung by the leader Ohno Satoshi .

Ohno always has consistently good solos & with him having the best vocals in the group , it's hardly surprising but still hearing two for the 1st time was surprising to me .

For once , two is not the typical standard ballad that Ohno usually does & it has quite a bit of an edgy vibe attached to it . In short , two is kind of like a hybrid mix of a ballad meets upbeat dance tune .

Unusual combination but somehow or another , Ohno manages to work two very well & the way that he delivers the song speaks volume in that it's a great track worth enjoying .

Waiting for you is the 3rd group track & personally , this's my fave song in Popcorn .

Compared to the other group tracks , something about Waiting for you on 1st listen really made me like the song in an instant & it somehow reminds me of ARASHI's older works to a certain extent too .

I guess the old fan in me really misses their old stuff which might explain why I had that nostalgic feeling upon hearing Waiting for you .

Rakuen (Paradise) is the 3rd solo song & for this , it's sung by Aiba Masaki .

Even though Aiba is not the best singer in the group , his solos in general are pretty good as he knows what works & what doesn't work for him .

In the case of Rakuen , it's much different from his past solos which definitely surprised me as I thought it was going to be something Aiba usually does but not in this case .

For Rakuen , it's quite an angsty driven no. which in the beginning it has a soft side but slowly but surely it transformed itself into something edgy driven . A nice surprise but a good 1 that Aiba delivered .

Tabi wa Tsudzuku yo (Journey Will Continue) is the 4th group track & at 1st I thought this was going to be a ballad but turns out I was really wrong .

In addition , it's probably the most quirky track in Popcorn as it sounds extremely loopy but at the same time it gives off a very strong carnival circus vibe .

Coupled with Sakurap , Tabi wa Tsudzuku yo puts itself up there really high in the experimental level . It's a song that either will be liked or disliked but you have to hand it to ARASHI for tackling something new like this .

Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita (It Was You After All) is the 2nd last solo track & for this , it's sung by Ninomiya Kazunari .

Written by Nino & with him co-arranging the song with ha-j , Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita is hands down the best solo in Popcorn , with Ohno's two coming at a close 2nd .

For Nino's case , his solos might fall in the hit or miss category but when his songs are in the 1st category , it gets done exceptionally well & likewise the same thing goes for Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita .

Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita is emotional , haunting & so beautiful which reminds me from where Nino's previous solo Doko ni Demo Aru Uta. (Song That Exists Anywhere.) left behind which's brillant .

No doubt that Niji (Rainbow) is still Nino's best solo but no complaints should be filed against a simple understated piano driven ballad in the form of Sore wa Yappari Kimideshita .

Meikyuu (Labyrinth) Love Song is ARASHI's 36th single & it was used to promote the drama Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de , starring Sakurai Sho .

The oldest single included in Popcorn , Meikyuu Love Song is described as a positive tune about the bond of family , friends & lovers .

Your Eyes is ARASHI's 39th single & it was used in the drama Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri , starring Aiba Masaki .

Described as a mellow & contemplative mid-tempo tune , Your Eyes is the most recent single released prior to Popcorn . Even up to now , this song's still something that I really like .

Fly on Friday is the final solo track & for this , it's sung/rapped by Sakurai Sho .

With rap lyrics written by Sakurai himself , naturally Fly on Friday is quite heavily rap driven .

Sakurai's solos usually are a hit or a miss but in the case of Fly on Friday , I think it's quite decent even though I can't help but feel that this song oddly sounds like something that might be used in a World Cup football competition .

Likewise , the same thing goes for the next track Cosmos which's a group offering & I guess this might explain why both songs are included side by side together as they sound almost quite identical , sound wise .

But at the same time , Cosmos includes Sakurap so there .

Akashi (Proof) is the 2nd last group track & it's the 2nd song that has a promo tie in with it serving as the theme song for NTV during the time when the TV station did coverage on the 2012 London Olympic games .

The only ballad track in Popcorn , Akashi is definitely a keeper & I like the way that the guys's vocals are in synch with each other . Coupled with a really grand sounding melody , it doesn't get any better than this .

Up to you is the final song in the tracklist . While Welcome to our party served as a fun opening track for Popcorn , Up to you on the other hand served as a pretty good closing no. in wrapping things up on what Popcorn has to offer .

After being in the business for 13 years , ARASHI shows no signs of slowing down & it's evident in the release of their latest album Popcorn .

I must say that I had a few surprises when I listened to Popcorn as this album exceeded my expectations on a few issues , especially on the solos which're probably the group's best in quite a long time .

Compared to their previous album Beautiful World , Popcorn somehow feels much more well put together , with the singles included in Popcorn are more top notch if not better which's evident in the best single that the group put out for this year ie. Face Down .

Even if so , with regards to the group tracks , they're also a class of their own right which leads to the final input of Popcorn being entertaining & enjoyable from the start to finish .

Definitely an album worth checking out before 2013 swings by !


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hilcrhyme - Kaleidoscope

1) Kaleidoscope
2) Kaleidoscope -KARAOKE ver.-

Kaleidoscope is Hilcrhyme's 12th single & it was released yesterday on 7th Nov .

Released 2 months + since the release of the duo's last single Jigsaw Puzzle , Kaleidoscope is unusual in the sense that unlike Hilcrhyme's previous single releases , no B-sides are included in this single .

In addition , no music video was shot for Kaleidoscope too .

Unlike Jigsaw Puzzle & Hotaru (Firefly) , Kaleidoscope took a while for me to sink in as I didn't find it as memorable as what I've hoped for on 1st listen .

Kaleidoscope is definitely a grower but as to whether this's a fave Hilcrhyme single of mine , it's a different matter altogether since there're many better if not stronger/memorable singles that the duo has to offer besides their latest single offering .

With that said , Hilcrhyme's 4th album LIKE A NOVEL will be released on 28th Nov with Kaleidoscope being included in the tracklist as track #3 .


Friday, November 02, 2012

Namie Amuro - Damage

Damage is Namie Amuro's 2nd digital single & it was released on 24th Oct .

Namie's new song was picked to be used as the theme no. for the movie Ougon wo Daite Tobe starring Tsumabuki Satoshi .

The movie is based on the award-winning debut crime novel of the same name by best-selling author Takamura Kaoru . Set in Osaka , it follows 6 men as they plan & accomplish 1 of the boldest bank heists in order to steal gold bars worth billions of Yen from a bank's basement . In addition to Tsumabuki , the team is made up of Asano Tadanobu , Kiritani Kenta , Mizobata Junpei , TOHOSHINKI's Changmin & Nishida Toshiyuki .

Namie's last movie tie-in was around 10 months ago with Tempest that was used to promote Gekijoban Tempest 3D . Director Izutsu commented about Damage , stating , "It's a story about men who are putting their lives at stake , so I thought an emotional female singing voice would be the best for the theme song as it is a about men tackling a challenge they have no intention to lose . "

Described as a hard rock number , Damaged was written & composed by music producer Nao'ymt whom already produced numerous songs for Namie before .

Nao'ymt commented about Damage saying , "Am I falling or is the world around me rising while I'm being left behind ? You become anxious when feeling such an ambiguity . This song describes the heat as well as the irrepressible power & the lingering loneliness that you possess when trying to escape from that feeling . "

Director Izutsu also added , "Contrary to what you'd expect from Namie , this song is being delivered with an unusual punchy & strong sound that you can even feel in your stomach . It's both a heavy & cool song ."



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Karen Pang

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# 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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Upcoming New JPop/JRock Releases


GLAY's 57th single G4・V-Democracy 2019- , 020719 , Tue

# UVERworld's UVERworld KING'S PARADE at Yokohama Arena 2018.12.21 DVD + Blu-ray , 100719 , Wed

# UVERworld's UVERworld QUEEN'S PARTY at Nippon Budokan 2018.12.21 DVD + Blu-ray , 100719 , Wed

# Kis-My-Ft2's 24th single HANDS UP , 100719 , Wed

# SID's SID 15th Anniversary GRAND FINAL at Yokohama Arena ~Sono Mirai e~ DVD + Blu-ray , 240719 , Wed

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP's Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR SENSE or LOVE DVD + Blu-ray , 240719 , Wed

# KAT-TUN's 9th album IGNITE , 310719 , Wed

# GRANRODEO's GRANRODEO LIVE 2018 G13 ROCK☆SHOW "Don't show your back!" Blu-ray , , 210819 , Wed

# ayumi hamasaki's ayumi hamasaki 21st anniversary -POWER of A^3- DVD + Blu-ray , , 280819 , Wed

# Hilcrhyme's 23rd single Jijitsu Ai Feat HY's Nakasone Izumi , , 280819 , Wed

# SID's 6th album title tbc , in 2019

# BREAKERZ's 20th single title tbc , Summer 2019

# GLAY's best album REVIEW II , 2020

# NEWS's 11th album STORY , 2020




Album Reviews


# Kis-My-Ft2 - FREE HUGS!

# Matsushita Yuya - BLACK NEVERLAND

# NEWS - WORLDISTA

# Hilcrhyme - Hilcrhyme

# Yamashita Tomohisa - UNLEASHED

# BENI - CINEMATIC

# ayaka - 30 y/o

# GRANRODEO - M・S COWBOY no Gyakushuu EP

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - SENSE or LOVE

# Koda Kumi - DNA

# Shota Shimizu - WHITE

# SID - Ichiban Sukina Basho EP

# Aoyama Thelma - HIGHSCHOOL GAL

# ayumi hamasaki - TROUBLE EP

# Hilcrhyme - One Man EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Yummy!!

# NEWS - EPCOTIA

# FLOWER FLOWER - Spotlight

# Koda Kumi - AND

# B'z - DINOSAUR

# ARASHI - 「untitled」

# BREAKERZ - X

# Aoyama Thelmas - 10TH DIARY

# SPYAIR - KINGDOM

# SID - NOMAD

# V6 - The ONES

# Shota Shimizu - FLY

# Ken Hirai - Utabaka Dake ni.

# Acid Black Cherry - Acid BLOOD Cherry

# Kis-My-Ft2 - MUSIC COLOSSEUM

# Mika Nakashima - TOUGH

# NEWS - NEVERLAND

# Koda Kumi - W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~

# GRANRODEO - Karma to Labyrinth

# GRANRODEO - Pierrot Dancin'

# Hilcrhyme - SIDE BY SIDE

# Kanon Wakeshima - luminescence Q.E.D

# ARASHI - Are You Happy?

# Mao from SID - Maison de M EP

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - DEAR.

# Ken Hirai - THE STILL LIFE

# BENI - Shiki Uta summer

# Kis-My-Ft2 - I SCREAM

# ayumi hamasaki - M(A)DE IN JAPAN

# MUSCLE ATTACK - HERCULES ROAD

# Aoyama Thelma - PINK TEARS EP

# Shota Shimizu - PROUD

# flumpool - EGG

# NEWS - QUARTETTO

# AKi - EPHEMERAL EP

# BENI - Undress

# SPYAIR - 4

# ARASHI - Japonism

# Aoyama Thelma - GRAY SMOKE EP

# ayumi hamasaki - sixxxxxx EP

# BREAKERZ - 0-ZERO-

# Domoto Koichi - Spiral

# Kis-My-Ft2 - KIS-MY-WORLD

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMPing CAR

# Namie Amuro - _genic

# ayaka - Rainbow Road

# THE TURTLES JAPAN - ELECTRONIC HUMANITY

# ayumi hamasaki - A ONE

# Hilcrhyme - REVIVAL

# MUSCLE ATTACK - ATTACK

# Koda Kumi - WALK OF MY LIFE

# B'z - EPIC DAY

# Acid Black Cherry - L

# Kanon Wakeshima - Tsukinami

# NEWS - White

# FLOWER FLOWER - Shiki EP

# AKi - ARISE

# FLOWER FLOWER - Mi

# ARASHI - THE DIGITALIAN

# Anna Tsuchiya - LUCIFER EP

# Yamashita Tomohisa - YOU

# Aoyama Thelma - Lonely Angel

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Asobi EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-Journey

# ayumi hamasaki - Colours

# KAT-TUN - come Here

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - smart

# Fukuyama Masaharu - HUMAN

# Miliyah Kato x Shota Shimizu - THE BEST

# JASMINE - Welcome to Jas Vegas

# SID - OUTSIDER

# Shota Shimizu - ENCORE

# Hilcrhyme - FIVE ZERO ONE

# DAIGO - DAIGOLD

# Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun

# MUSCLE ATTACK - MUSCLE

# KAT-TUN - Kusabi -kusabi- EP

# ARASHI - LOVE

# Yamashita Tomohisa - A NUDE

# Matsushita Yuya - #musicoverdose

# JASMINE - Complexxx

# SPYAIR - MILLION

# BENI - Red

# ON/OFF - DICE EP

# NEWS - NEWS

# Namie Amuro - FEEL

# AKIHIDE - Amber

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Good Ikuze !

# girl next door - Life of Sound

# V6 - Oh ! My ! Goodness !

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE again

# Mika Nakashima - REAL

# flumpool - experience

# ayumi hamasaki - again EP

# Hilcrhyme - LIKE A NOVEL

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE EP

# ARASHI - Popcorn

# Domoto Koichi - Gravity

# SPYAIR - Just Do It

# SID - M&W

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Ero

# Namie Amuro - Uncontrolled

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP WORLD

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-1st

# Acid Black Cherry - 『2012』

# Shota Shimizu - Naturally

# ayumi hamasaki - Party Queen

# Matsushita Yuya - 2U

# KAT-TUN - CHAIN

# Kuroki Meisa - UNLOCKED

# L'Arc~en~Ciel - BUTTERFLY

# ayaka - The beginning

# Koda Kumi - JAPONESQUE

# Kuriyama Chiaki - CIRCUS Deluxe Edition

# girl next door - Agaruneku !

# Hilcrhyme - RISING

# ON/OFF - Legend Of Twins II -Zoku Futago Densetsu-

# BENI - Fortune

# YUI - HOW CRAZY YOUR LOVE

# Saito Kazuyoshi - 45 STONES

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Mahou

# SPYAIR - Rockin' the World

# BREAKERZ - GO

# ayumi hamasaki - FIVE EP

# B'z - C'mon

# School Food Punishment - Prog-Roid

# ARASHI - Beautiful World

# Aoyama Thelma - WILL

# Ken Hirai - JAPANESE SINGER

# GIRL NEXT DOOR - Destination

# Tackey & Tsubasa - TRIP & TREASURE EP

# Shota Shimizu - COLORS

# Koda Kumi - Dejavu

# SID - dead stock

# flumpool - Fantasia of Life Stripe

# Yamashita Tomohisa - SUPERGOOD , SUPERBAD

# Kuroki Meisa - MAGAZINE

# ayumi hamasaki - Love songs

# BENI - Jewel

# Hilcrhyme - MESSAGE

# Saito Kazuyoshi - ARE YOU READY ?

# Mika Nakashima - STAR

# Kanjani∞ - 8UPPERS (Pacchi Uppers)

# GLAY - GLAY

# Anna Tsuchiya - RULE

# NEWS - LIVE

# JASMINE - GOLD

# Domoto Koichi - BPM

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE ! 2

# Hilcrhyme - Recital

# ARASHI - Boku no Miteiru Fukei

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shoujo Shikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~

# YUI - HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP NO.1

# KAT-TUN - NO MORE PAIИ

# BENI - Lovebox

# Matsushita Yuya - I AM ME

# Acid Black Cherry - Q.E.D.

# Acid Black Cherry - BLACK LIST

# school food punishment - amp-reflection

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Ai EP

# BREAKERZ - B.R.Z ACOUSTIC EP

# ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus

# V6 - READY ?

# DAIGO☆STARDUST - HELLO CRAZY GENTLEMAN

# DAIGO☆STARDUST - The space toy

# Shota Shimizu - Journey

# Koda Kumi - UNIVERSE

# NEVER LAND - Beautiful Days EP

# abingdon boys school - ABINGDON ROAD

# BENI - Bitter & Sweet

# GIRL NEXT DOOR - NEXT FUTURE

# LANDS - Olympos EP

# flumpool - What's flumpool !?

# Kuroki Meisa - ATTITUDE EP

# Yusuke - Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo.

# KinKi Kids - J album

# Namie Amuro - PAST < FUTURE

# BREAKERZ - FIGHTERZ

# alan - my life

# LOVE - LOVE.IT EP

# B'z - MAGIC

# Dew - PRESENT

# Saito Kazuyoshi - Tsuki ga Noboreba

# Aoyama Thelma - Emotions

# SID - hikari

# Kobukuro - CALLING

# Domoto Koichi - mirror

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Uta

# ON / OFF - Legend Of Twins I -Futago Densetsu-

# Fukuyama Masaharu - Zankyou

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shinshoku Dolce

# GReeeeN - Shio , Koshou -SALT & PEPPER-

# flumpool - Unreal EP

# Yuna Ito - DREAM

# Kanjani∞ - PUZZLE

# KAT-TUN - Break the Records -by you & for you-

# Kuroki Meisa - hellcat EP

# Kanjani∞ - KJ2 Zukkoke Daidassou

# ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL

# Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER

# Utada - This Is The One

# Kanjani∞ - KJ1 F·T·O

# ARASHI - Dream"A"Live

# Kanjani∞ - Kansha ni Eight EP

# alan - Voice of EARTH

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE !

# Koda Kumi - TRICK

# Aoyama Thelma - DIARY

# YUI - I LOVED YESTERDAY

# YUI - CAN'T BUY MY LOVE

# BREAKERZ - BREAKERZ

# GIRL NEXT DOOR - GIRL NEXT DOOR

# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Ohisashiburi Desu

# YUI - FROM ME TO YOU

# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Hajimemashite

# BREAKERZ - CRASH & BUILD

# ai otsuka - LOVE LETTER

# Mika Nakashima - VOICE

# BREAKERZ - BIG BANG !

# NEWS - color

# Anna Tsuchiya - NUDY SHOW !

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 3 : Senior Year

# L'Arc~en~Ciel - KISS

# BREAKERZ - Ao no Mirai EP

# ai otsuka - LOVE PUNCH

# ai otsuka - LOVE COOK

# ai otsuka - LOVE JAM

# KAT-TUN - cartoon KAT-TUN II You

# OLIVIA - Trinka Trinka EP

# NEWS - touch

# NEWS - pacific

# ARASHI - Iza , Now

# ARASHI - One

# NANA Triple Billing

# OLIVIA - The Cloudy Dreamer EP

# Anna Tsuchiya - strip me ?

# ARASHI - ARASHIC

# KAT-TUN - Best of KAT-TUN

# Anna Tsuchiya - Taste My Beat EP

# ARASHI - Time

# Electrico - We Satellites

# ayaka - Sing to the Sky

# ayaka - First Message

# KAT-TUN - KAT-TUN III -QUEEN OF PIRATES-

# Koda Kumi - BEST ~BOUNCE & LOVERS~

# Jesse McCartney - Departure

# The Veronicas - Hook Me Up

# Ken Hirai - LIFE is ...

# Ashlee Simpson - Bittersweet World

# Ken Hirai - gaining through losing

# Yuna Ito - HEART

# Utada Hikaru - HEART STATION

# Ken Hirai - FAKIN' POP

#
Yuna Ito - WISH

# Ken Hirai - SENTIMENTALovers

# Koda Kumi - Kingdom

# ayumi hamasaki - GUILTY

# ai otsuka - LOVE PiECE

# abingdon boys school - abingdon boys school

# ayumi hamasaki - I am ...

# ayumi hamasaki - RAINBOW

# The Great Spy Experiment - Flower Show Riots

# Koda Kumi - BEST ~second session~

# The Click Five - Modern Minds And Pastimes

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 2

# Koda Kumi - Black Cherry

# Namie Amuro - PLAY

# Maroon 5 - It Wouldn't Be Soon Before Long

# ayumi hamasaki - Memorial address EP

# NANA starring Mika Nakashima - THE END

# Mika Nakashima - YES

# Jamie Michael - People Watching

# ayumi hamasaki - A BEST 2 -BLACK- & A BEST 2 -WHITE-

# ayumi hamasaki - (miss)understood

# ayumi hamasaki - Duty & MY STORY

# Muse - Blackholes And Relevations

# Utada Hikaru - ULTRA BLUE

# ayumi hamasaki - Secret

# Utada - Exodus

# Vanessa Hudgens - V

# The Veronicas - The Secret Life Of The Veronicas

# Jesse McCartney - Right Where You Want Me

# Maksim - Electrik

# McFly - Motion In The Ocean




Other Posts Worth Checking Out


# Fave Songs Of 2010

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2010

# Fave Albums Releases Of 2010

# Fave Songs Of 2009

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2009

# Fave Albums Releases For 2009

# The Best Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2009

# Fave New Acts Of 2008

# Fave Songs Of 2008

# Fave Singles Of 2008

# Fave Albums Of 2008

# The 1st Song I Heard From My Future JPop Acts

# The Best & The Worst Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2008

# Fave Albums Of 2007

# The Click Five - The Band Behind The Band Documentary

# 987 Control Songlist Set

# Hot Review Of Maksim's Electrik

# Lu Yong Find My Shoes Journey

# Eric Dill Of The Click Five Got Punk'd !




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music - radioblogclub

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