CD Review :: ARASHI - LOVE
CD + DVD
1) Ai o Utaou
2) Sayonara no Ato de
4) Hit the floor (Ohno Satoshi's Solo)
6) sugar and salt (Sakurai Sho's Solo)
8) 20825 Nichime no Kyoku (Ninomiya Kazunari's Solo)
9) Rock Tonight
10) Endless Game
12) Yozora e no Tegami (Aiba Masaki's Solo)
13) Dance in the dark (Matsumoto Jun's Solo)
14) Starlight kiss
LOVE is ARASHI's 12th album & it was released last month on 23rd Oct .
The group's latest album offering comes in almost a year since the release of their previous album Popcorn . In LOVE , it includes a total of 16 songs .
The 16 songs in the tracklist consists of 3 single songs (inclusive of 1 double A-side single) , 8 group album tracks & 5 solos . P・A・R・A・D・O・X is the only album track that received a music video .
The album opens/kick things off with the haunting no. Ai o Utaou . Unlike their past album opening tracks , Ai o Utaou is a ballad & quite a lot of emotions can be felt in it . That combined with Sakurap , basically takes things up a notch or 2 .
Sayonara no Ato de is the 2nd group album track . This's a mid tempo no. & it's a bit more faster paced than what Ai o Utaou offers .
On the other hand , the next album track CONFUSION is a full on upbeat no. that's quite rock driven but it surprises me that there were slight Jazz influences thrown in , making CONFUSION quite standout song in LOVE .
Hit the floor is the 1st of 5 solos in LOVE & this song's sung by the group's leader Ohno Satsohi .
Ohno all the while always consistently has really good/strong solos & no exception goes for Hit the floor . Frankly speaking , Ohno pretty much is able to tackle most music genres & not necessarily just ballads . Hit the floor is testimony to that with it being a strong sounding dance driven no. & it's no surprises on why he's regarded as having the best vocals in ARASHI .
P・A・R・A・D・O・X is the 4th group album track & as mentioned earlier , it's the only new song in LOVE to have a music video that compliments it .
This song alone is enough to make me buy LOVE & it's possibly the best album track I've come across for 2013 , let alone from the guys as it's just a super addictive if not ridiculously insanely catchy no. . And P・A・R・A・D・O・X truly deserves to get a video with it being the best if not strongest/memorable sounding song in the album .
As per usual , the inclusion of Sakurap always make things sound a lot more better than the norm .
And speaking of Sakurai , his solo no. in LOVE ie. sugar and salt is slotted in as track #6 in the album .
Sakurai's solos in general are only OK for my liking . But for sugar and salt , I surprisingly enjoy it with it being a slow jam piano driven no. . The rap lyrics in the song are not surprisingly written by Sakurai but considering how things are , this's something I actually don't mind from him .
Breathless is the 2nd A-side of ARASHI's 40th single Calling / Breathless . Breathless was picked to be used as the theme song for the movie Platina Data , starring Ninomiya Kazunari .
Described as an aggressive dance number , Breathless is a mysterious song that's about the abyss in the human mind .
And speaking of Nino , his solo no. in LOVE ie. 20825 Nichime no Kyoku is slotted in as track #8 in LOVE .
Nino's solos generally could be very good if not just plain bad if not random . For 20825 Nichime no Kyoku , it's somewhere in between as in the beginning , I feel that it sounded way too happy for my liking & I'm not used to hearing Nino sounding this unusually peppy .
To be fair , Nino personally wrote & composed 20825 Nichime no Kyoku while he coarranged it with ha-j so personal input wise , I give him credit on that . I don't think it's as bad as Dream"A"Live's Gimmick Game but it definitely wouldn't be a fave Nino solo of mine as compared to his past ballads such as Time's Niji & Popcorn's Sore wa Yappari Kimi Deshita which were brilliant .
Rock Tonight is the 5th album track & like the song title suggests , this's 1 upbeat sounding no. . This song kind of reminds me of their older works slightly & it's also quite catchy as well .
The next 2 songs are 2 of 3 singles that were released prior to LOVE .
Endless Game is ARASHI's 41st single & it served as the main theme song for the TV drama series Kazoku Game starring Sakurai Sho .
The song is described as an upbeat song about finding the strength to overcome problems in the endless game that is everyday life .
Calling is the 1st A-side of ARASHI's 40th single Calling / Breathless . The song was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Last Hope starring Aiba Masaki .
Described as a rock tune , Calling has an impressive band sound with a somewhat nostalgic guitar phrase . The song talks about important themes such as equality , life & hopes .
And speaking of Aiba , his solo no. in LOVE ie. Yozora e no Tegami is slotted in as track #12 in LOVE .
Despite Aiba having rather weak vocals in the group , his past solos were always pretty good as he's able to choose songs that he knows that might/might not work in his favour .
But for Yozora e no Tegami , Aiba went out of his music comfort zone & this results in this heartfelt ballad , something that caught me by surprise in a good way as prior to this , Aiba has not done a ballad until now .
Aiba's weak vocals could be still felt in Yozora e no Tegami but the amount of emotions he conveyed more than makes up for things which makes me appreciate the song quite significantly .
Dance in the dark is the last solo no. in LOVE & this's sung by Matsumoto Jun .
Out of the 5 , MatsuJun's solos are my least fave simply because he generally chose songs that could be either weird/random sounding or just doesn't do justice to his already weak vocals which's different from the direction that Aiba undertakes .
But for his latest solo offering , Dance in the dark is already quite good by his standard . It's still a bit strange sounding but I suppose this Jazz influenced no. is a music step up or 2 from MatsuJun's previous solo offerings .
The last 3 songs in LOVE are all group tracks in which Starlight kiss is also the last album track to feature Sakurap .
FUNKY is the 2nd last album track & surprisingly , with a song title like this , I was expecting a really upbeat funky no. but I was a bit disappointed that it sounded quite mellow which I thought it kinds of contradicts things a bit.
Likewise , for the final song in LOVE , Tears is a bit of a weak no. in concluding things off in the album . I suppose since the in front group album tracks in LOVE were generally quite good , the last few album tracks somewhat suffered in this aspect although Tears is actually quite a nice ballad even though overall it's not a very strong track .
ARASHI concludes 2013 with their latest album offering LOVE which this new albums of their showcases different sides/types of the word Love in song mode .
Compared to their previous albums , the music style/direction presents in LOVE is a bit less mainstream if not more Americanised sounding .
Singles wise , LOVE easily has some of their best if not strongest sounding material to date & I thought after they released Face Down last year , they weren't able to release anymore songs that's on par if not suppress Face Down but the singles they released this year definitely proved me wrong .
Likewise the same thing in coming up with P・A・R・A・D・O・X as that song in recent times have more or less been their strongest if not most stood out album track to date .
And as before , the problem with ARASHI's albums is that by mixing solo no.s with group tracks , the sound consistency could be tricky because the group tracks could be very good while the solo no.s could be very bad & vice versa . This's something I hope they can work on in future .
I don't think LOVE will be an overall fave album of mine from the guys but it's definitely great to know that even up to now , they're still able to release/come up with songs that're still able to keep me surprised in a good way & for them to be still going on strong for the past 14 years , I think that's saying a lot .
2014 will be ARASHI's 15th anniversary & something tells me that nothing but bigger if not better things will happen to them next year .