Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saito Kazuyoshi - Always
CD Limited + Goods (original tote bag and 4 badges in a special package to celebrate Saito's 20th career anniversary)
2) Car Radio
Always is Saito Kazuyoshi's 42nd single & it was released on 18th Sept .
Released 5 months + after Saito's previous single One More Time , Always is his 2nd single to celebrate Saito's 20th anniversary this year in the business .
Saito is known for utilising great melodies for his songs & no exception goes for Always which's such a fun ditty . It's a real joy to listen to Always as it puts me in a really good mood .
Car Radio serves as the B-side for this single . The song was picked as JAPAN FM LEAGUE 20th ANNIVERSARY SONG & it has a music video despite being a B-side no.
I don't like Car Radio as much as Always as I feel the B-side is quite rowdy sounding as it's mainly Saito that's saying & not singing in the song . Hence , it's something I will not listen to on a regular basis .
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Saito Kazuyoshi & after the release of One More Time , he's back with his 2nd single release for this year in the form of Always .
Saito's 43rd single Kagero will be released next month on 16th Oct .
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
CD Review :: Yamashita Tomohisa - A NUDE
CD Limited + Goods
CD + DVD
1) SING FOR YOU
3) Ano Niji no Mukou Made
4) Kimi no Kaze ni Natte
6) EVERYBODY UP
7) Genshiteki Janai to ~Analog Love~
8) NEXTACTION Feat Kis-My-Ft2's Fujigaya Taisuke
11) Stand Alone
13) Natsu no Orion (CD Only Regular & Limited Editions Track)
A NUDE is Yamashita Tomohisa's 3rd album & it was released on 11th Sept .
Yamapi's latest album comes in about 1 year 2 months since his previous album Ero . Only 1 single Ke・Sera・Sera is included while his 8th single SUMMER NUDE '13 is excluded from A NUDE .
A wide variety of artists were involved with A NUDE , including AI , corin. , STY , Jeff Miyahara , ☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo) , Nakajin (SEKAI NO OWARI) , Passpied , Maeyamada Kenichi , MIYAVI , Mori Daisuke , MONKEY MAJIK , RYOJI (Ketsumeishi) , Rake & THE LOWBROWS .
The theme of A NUDE is "Autumn=Autumn's Nude" . The "A" in the title stands for 3 things : A for Autumn , "ee" in Kansai dialect & A for Analog .
SING FOR YOU kicks off as the album's opening track & what a song it's .
I think so far , SING FOR YOU has to be my fave album opening no. from Yamapi with it being very engaging & memorable .
Ke・Sera・Sera is Yamapi's 7th single . The only single included in A NUDE , the song is described as a jazzy uptempo pop number & it was chosen to be used as the theme song for the late-night drama Shinryochuu -in the Room- , a school drama starring SMAP's Inagaki Goro .
I still think Ke・Sera・Sera is a great single & it's 1 of the more musically versatile sounding songs which Yamapi released in recent times .
Ano Niji no Mukou Made is the 2nd album track & this's a rather chilled back sounding no. that's piano driven . I like it but somehow I feel Yamapi's vocals are not as good as what I was hoping for .
Kimi no Kaze ni Natte follows after Ano Niji no Mukou Made . Yamapi sounds quite dreamy in here . I don't think I will consider Kimi no Kaze ni Natte as a fave album track of mine as there're many other great songs that're available in A NUDE .
Parade is track #5 & as the title suggests , it's something that's pretty much pays homage , song wise . Plenty of parade/circus influences could be heard in Parade which makes things really fun if not entertaining .
EVERYBODY UP follows after Parade . This song is quite interesting with it being the only English/Engrish sounding track & let alone it has quite an Americanised hip hop meets guitar sound influences coming from it .
Despite this , I actually like EVERYBODY UP although Yamapi could work a bit more on his English pronunciation as certain words he pronounced were hard for me to understand .
Genshiteki Janai to ~Analog Love~ is track #7 & it's the only album track in A NUDE to get a music video .
Song credits wise , Genshiteki Janai to ~Analog Love~ was TRICERATOPS's Wada Makoto while the melody was composed by Kubota Toshinobu , with the song being arranged by Osawa Shinichi .
I can understand why Genshiteki Janai to ~Analog Love~ is the only song to get a music video as it sounds very different if not unique . I thought the song sounds really good if not somewhat Autumn driven too .
NEXTACTION is the only collaboration track in A NUDE & this song features Yamapi's junior , Kis-My-Ft2's Fujigaya Taisuke .
I think it's great for both Yamapi & Fujigaya to team up together in NEXTACTION although I personally feel this song is something Kis-My-Ft2 might probably sing themselves as NEXTACTION is hard edge Rock driven .
That said , I give Yamapi credit for tacking a music genre that he usually doesn't do & Fujigaya's rapping skills are worth commending for in NEXTACTION .
PAri-PArA is track #9 . Song wise , it was written & composed by The MONSTERS in which Yamapi teamed up with SMAP's Katori Shingo .
This song is the shortest track in A NUDE & also the weirdest no. in the album as it's basically Yamapi saying/singing the same thing over & over again from start til finish , in different tone/settings . It's an interesting music style but it's not something I will go crazy over .
MAGIC follows after PAri-PArA & it's a fun upbeat song with it being catchy which leaves a good impression on me .
Likewise , the same thing goes for the next song Stand Alone which's actually 1 of my fave tracks in A NUDE as MIYAVI wrote & composed it .
In fact , when I 1st saw the album credits , the writing/composing credits for Stand Alone was the 1 that caught my attention & the ending results speak volumes . Once again Stand Alone is not a typical music style Yamapi undertakes but he managed to deliver in this aspect .
Shinkirou is the 2nd last song in A NUDE (provided if you purchase the CD + DVD edition of the album) . After a lot of upbeat no.s , it's great to slow things down significantly with Shinkirou .
I think Shinkirou is a very under-stated song & it's actually much more memorable than Ano Niji no Mukou Made which I thought that song was a bit on the boring side .
Only available in the CD regular + CD limited editions of A NUDE is a bonus track titled Natsu no Orion .
This song was cowritten by Yamapi with Kenn Kato & the melody for Natsu no Orion was composed by Yamapi himself .
Another stand out track , it's a nice soothing no. & considering it has personal input/contribution from Yamapi , Natsu no Orion is really a gem & it flows really well after Shinkirou too .
Yamashita Tomohisa , also known affectionately as Yamapi has most certain come a long way since the days when he was still the leader of NEWS . Now in solo mode , Yamapi has been more adventurous if not more daring in his solo career & his latest album release A NUDE is evident .
To me , I enjoyed Ero a lot but I feel A NUDE is much more musically versatile & more well put together , in terms of music & visual aspects . While Ero was an album I like , it suffered from a virtual aspect in which that was poorly executed .
But for A NUDE , everything's more well put together & the number of talented if not critically acclaimed musicians/artistes that worked on A NUDE speaks volume just how top notch production's .
As such , I guess that's why I enjoyed A NUDE tremendously & ever since Yamapi left NEWS for good to focus on his solo career , his solo material has become less mainstream but on the upside , he became much more braver to tackle/try new things he never explored before previously .
A NUDE is definitely an album highly recommended in checking out & hear what this group of musicians/artistes (Kubota Toshinobu , R&B artist AI , m-flo's ☆Taku Takahashi , MIYAVI , Kis-My-Ft2's Fujigaya Taisuke & etc) bring to the table by lending Yamapi a hand with their various versatile sounding expertise .
Sunday, September 15, 2013
CD Review :: Matsushita Yuya - #musicoverdose
2) Up To You
3) All MY LOVE
4) What Are We ?
6) Sweet Love
7) Go Get It
8) Wait For You
9) Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐
11) LAST ALUCARD SHOW by ALUCARD
12) Second World
13) Nobody Knows
14) It's my Day off
#musicoverdose is Matsushita Yuya's 3rd album & it was released digitally via iTunes last month on 28th Aug .
No physical singles are included in #musicoverdose . Matsushita's latest album release was preceded by Sweet Love EP which this EP was released digitally 2 months ago on 31st July .
#musicoverdose (the song) & Nobody Knows are tagged with Explicit on iTunes .
Matsushita's last physical album release was his 2nd album 2U which was released last Feb while his most recent physical release was his 1st best album U ~BEST of BEST~ which was released last Dec .
From Sweet Love EP onwards , all future material of Matsushita will be released under his own independent label Japanese Dream Records & distributed via tunecore JAPAN .
Sharing the same title as the album , #musicoverdose is the 1st song in the tracklist . 1 of 2 explicit labelled songs , it's actually a very fun energetic R&B dance tune , something great to warm things up .
And frankly I don't find #musicoverdose (the song) explicit as the certain choice of swear words Matsushita said/sang in the song is quite commonly accepted although I couldn't help but find it rather amusing hearing him swear in English .
That said , the 1st 4 songs in #musicoverdose (the album) are solely written by Matsushita & he had a hand in co-composing #musicoverdose (the song) with √A so kudos to him on that note .
Up To You is the next song & another strong memorable R&B dance tune , it most certainly flows well after #musicoverdose (the song) .
On the other hand , the next song All MY LOVE has plenty of character if not attitude with it having such an aggressive if not very cool melody . I haven't heard any past album tracks of Matsushita that sounds like what ALL MY LOVE offers so it's definitely a nice change hearing this never before side of Matsushita .
What Are We ? originally serves as the B-side in Matsushita's Sweet Love EP in which this song was written by Matsushita + with him sharing co-composing duties with √A .
I still think What Are We ? is a really solid B-side & I definitely have no complaints seeing this song being included in #musicoverdose as it has a great contrast to Sweet Love .
Helpless is the next song . After 4 back to back rather upbeat R&B tunes , it was good for Matsushita to slow things down quite a fair bit in the form of Helpless .
This song is a nice mid tempo tune but I don't think it's a fave album track of mine seeing that there're other more great songs in #musicoverdose .
Sweet Love is found in Matsushita's Sweet Love EP , in which this mini album was released digitally on 31st July .
I still like Sweet Love & up to now , I feel that this song is on par with Matsushita's other Summer inspired song which's 4 Seasons . This track is 1 of 2 songs that Matsushita's long time composer Jin Nakamura composed which didn't surprise me but that said , Jin Nakamura still has it even up to now .
Go Get It follows after Sweet Love . Another rather unusual song , I wasn't sure what to expect before hearing Go Get It but turns out it's another fun sounding no. . Once again , Go Get It was written by Matsushita with him co-composing the song with √A .
From another self penned song to the next , in comes Wait For You . 1 of the more slower sounding songs in #musicoverdose , this piano driven no. was composed by Yuuki Odagiri whom also arranged the song too .
The next 2 songs are new re-recorded versions of tracks in which both of them originally serve as B-sides in 2 of Matsushita's past single releases .
Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ was originally found as the B-side track in Matsushita's 3rd single Honesty . This served as the ending theme song for the musical adaption of the manga series Kuroshitsuji in which Matsushita portrayed Sebastian Michaelis .
I was definitely surprised to see Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ in #musicoverdose because with regards to the original take of Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ , it was 1 of my least fave B-sides of Matsushita .
That said , the updated/newly recorded version of Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ is actually better than the original & when I listened/compared both , I prefer the updated version as Matsushita sounded more stronger vocally , unlike the original take where he sounded quite weak .
In addition , the version of Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ found in #musicoverdose has a much more polished orchestra driven melody which's plain lovely to boot .
Hallucination was originally found as the B-side of Matsushita's 5th single YOU . This served as the theme song for the musical Kuroshitsuji -The Most Beautiful DEATH in The World- Sen no Tamashii to Ochita Shinigami in which Matsushita portrayed Sebastian Michaelis for the 2nd time .
I actually like the original take of Hallucination but what I didn't expect for the updated version , it's much more longer , duration wise .
The original take of Hallucination was 5:51 mins but for what's offered in #musicoverdose , it's 7:11 mins which's easily the longest track in #musicoverdose . It's also the 2nd song that Jin Nakamura composed in the album , after Sweet Love .
Just like the updated version of Kanata e ‐Dokushou‐ , Matsushita brings Hallucination more up to date in #musicoverdose & it's interesting to note that both songs back to back were originally previously used in both musicals that were related to Kuroshitsuji .
LAST ALUCARD SHOW by ALUCARD is track #11 . The shortest track in #musicoverdose , this song is actually 1 of my fave album tracks with it having plenty of attitude & spunk .
Just like All MY LOVE , it's another music side of Matsushita I've never seen before & LAST ALUCARD SHOW is just plain aggressive sounding/in your face . It feels as though it's almost like a full blown out Rock track & this could have been mistaken easily if not for the fact that Matsushita's music roots still lies in R&B .
The next song is something titled Second World & it's actually a resung/rearranged song as the original title for this track was Bird .
Bird was the 1st A-side of Matsushita's 6th single Bird / 4 Seasons in which this song was used as the ending theme for the anime Kuroshitsuji II .
Once again with relations to Kuroshitsuji , Matsushita presents another song in this aspect & I definitely didn't expect him to resing/rearranged Bird & transforming it into Second World .
Bird is actually 1 of my least fave singles of Matsushita but for Second World , it's quite nice . It's a lot more slower than the other tracks in #musicoverdose but it's still worth a listen .
In addition , I appreciate the extra efforts Matsushita put into resinging/rearranging Second World as he's the one that wrote & composed Second World .
Nobody Knows is the 2nd last song & it's the 2nd song in the album that's tagged with an explicit label on iTunes after #musicoverdose (the song) .
Actually I don't know what's so explicit sounding about Nobody Knows but what I do know is that it's just a really weird if not creepy no. as it doesn't feel Matsushita is the 1 that's singing (or is it rapping ?) in it but the upside is that for Nobody Knows , Matsushita cowrote it with √A & √A arranged it .
It's my Day off is the final track in #musicoverdose & it's the 2nd song that Matsushita wrote & composed after Second World .
I like what It's my Day off offers & I think from the 2 compositions that Matsushita contributed in #musicoverdose , it's definitely a big time as writing & composing are 2 entirely different matters but I do enjoy both compositions from him . Hopefully for his future releases , he will have a more bigger input on the composing aspect of his material .
Matsushita Yuya's latest album offering #musicoverdose could be seen as a rebirth if not a start of a new chapter for him since this's his 1st album release to get released digitally .
I must say I really like what #musicoverdose offers overall & Matsushita is 1 of a few artistes I've been supporting/listening to since pretty much his debut . And with the release of #musicoverdose , he has definitely come a long way since his foolish foolish days .
Matsushita's 1st 2 albums I AM ME & 2U were great but the 1 drawback I have from both albums were the inclusion of many singles & B-sides , something both albums suffered which didn't leave much room for Matsushita to showcase/display his music potential .
But from what #musicoverdose offers , it allowed Matsushita to be more musically versatile than ever before & unlike in the past where most if not all of his songs were composed by Jin Nakamura , in #musicoverdose more people were involved in the creation/production .
That said , the personal input that went into creating #musicoverdose can be felt quite significantly & I think it's great that Matsushita has a lot more say on what should/shouldn't be included in #musicoverdose , something that I feel Epic Records didn't allowed him to do so .
Overall , #musicoverdose is a really solid album & I hope that Matsushita will release #musicoverdose in a physical CD format because I know for sure I will buy a copy should that idea materialised & I can't wait to see what else he has up his sleeves in due time .
This's not the end but only the beginning of a new music chapter for Matsushita Yuya .
Monday, September 09, 2013
ayaka - Hitomi wo Tojite (Close Your Eyes)
CD + DVD
Hitomi wo Tojite (Close Your Eyes) is found as track #5 in ayaka's 1st cover album Yu-on Club ~1st grade~ that was released last week on 4th Sept .
Yu-on Club ~1st grade~ features covers of various songs that have inspired ayaka & 1 of the songs she has covered is originally sung by Hirai Ken .
Hitomi wo Tojite is Hirai Ken's 20th single & it was released 9 years ago on 28th April . The song was used as the theme no. for the movie Sekai no Chushin de , Ai wo Sakebu . Despite not reaching #1 on the Oricon weekly chart (with it settling for a peak position of #2) , it became the best selling single in 2004 .
Even though it has been 9 years since Hitomi wo Tojite was released , its long lasting musical impact/influence can still be felt even up to now , be it when BENI did an English cover of the song in her 1st cover album COVERS & right now for ayaka in which it speaks volume as it's still considered as 1 of Hirai Ken's most well known/famous songs to date .
Honestly , I love both the original (even up to now as it's something that never fails to strike a chord with me) & also what BENI + ayaka did respectively in covering Hitomi wo Tojite .
For ayaka's case , she went back to basics & basically let her voice do most of the work for her own rendition of Hitomi wo Tojite . As such , she only needed to utilise a very simple acoustic driven melody to back her up as it could be very easy to overdo a cover as the original's already very good in its own right .
I personally think ayaka did justice to what Hitomi wo Tojite offered & hopefully her next release will be something original . Not that I dislike cover albums but I thought it's a bit of a waste for her to sing covers & I rather she put out original material instead .
Saturday, September 07, 2013
CD Review :: JASMINE - Complexxx
CD + DVD
1) High Flying
2) Best Partner
4) Touch me on the Beach
6) I Hate You
7) Weekend High
8) ONLY YOU
12) I'll be there
Complexxx is JASMINE's 2nd album & it was released last month on 28th Aug .
JASMINE's debut album GOLD was released in 2010 & this time round for her 2nd album , Complexxx includes 5 singles , 3 B-sides & 4 new album tracks .
High Flying is JASMINE's 9th single . The 1st song slotted in the tracklist of Complexxx , it was JASMINE's 1st single to get released in 2 formats ie. CD regular & CD limited editions .
The song was picked to be used as the opening theme no. for CDTV in April & High Flying is described as an upbeat song which's an EDM tune that overflows with elation .
High Flying was produced by UTA , whom has worked with other artistes that include AI & Miura Daichi .
Best Partner is JASMINE's 8th single & it was the only release she put out last year .
I think singles wise , Best Partner is very inspirational if not meaningful sounding . The video that accompanied this mid tempo tune speaks volume which says a lot coming from JASMINE .
The next 3 songs are all B-sides no. .
Addiction served as the B-side in JASMINE's 7th single ONLY YOU while Touch me on the Beach + B*TCH*S served as B-sides no.s from Best Partner .
JASMINE's B-sides have always been top notch sounding to me , no exception goes to the above mentioned 3 B-sides so I really do not mind that she included them in Complexxx .
I Hate You & Weekend High are 2 of 4 album tracks included in the album . I Hate You is as expected a rather mean spirited in your face song while on the other hand , Weekend High is a fun spirited no. .
I thought Weekend High was interesting as towards almost the end of the song , it changed into a mini mash up , tune wise which I thought that was cool & it added a bit of an edge for what Weekend High offered .
ONLY YOU is JASMINE's 7th single & it was selected to be used in the ads of Sony Walkman's Play You . This song was the 2nd song of JASMINE to get used for promo with regards to Sony Walkman's Play You , the 1st was of her 6th single ONE .
Realize is the 3rd album track . Another standout strong no. , JASMINE definitely poured a lot of emotions if not plenty of spunk while delivering this song .
ONE is JASMINE's 6th single & it was selected to be used in the ads of Sony's Play You Walkman alongside with label mates YUI & Shota Shimizu .
The oldest single to be included in Complexxx , the 3 singers went out to find an inspiring sound to use in each of their songs . YUI chose to head for Sweden , while Shota & JASMINE went to New York City . All three used the experiences from their journey to help create their new tracks at the time of release .
JASMINE chose her theme to be reflective of words and sound – or how one must journey into themselves – resulting in the creation of ONE .
In addition , JASMINE worked with Grammy-winning producing team Stargate who's worked with the likes of Rihanna , Beyonce , Ne-Yo & Katy Perry .
I still like ONE even up to now & it was the last release of JASMINE that she adopted the whole colour coordination scheme as subsequently she dropped that idea .
HERO is JASMINE's 10th single . Her most recent single release prior to the release of Complexxx , HERO is described as an EDM track . A party anthem , this track was produced by m-flo's ☆Taku Takahashi .
The song is a cutting-edge dance track that holds a strong message for a friend who is going through hard times .
I remembered when I reviewed HERO , I did said that it was my least fave single release of JASMINE . Although the song has grown on me quite a fair bit since then , I still don't really like it as much as her other single offerings but I will give JASMINE some credit on what the song offers , lyrically .
I'll be there is the final song/last album track in Complexxx & this song was actually released digitally via iTunes on 14th Aug , 2 weeks before Complexxx .
This's actually the 1st album track I've heard & I think I'll be there is a good no. in wrapping up Complexxx pretty nicely . Somehow , I prefer this a lot more than GOLD's Why even though the Why (T.O.M Remix for JAS VEGAS) (that's found as the 2nd B-side in HERO) was enjoyable .
Finally after it seems like forever , R&B singer JASMINE has finally released her rather super long overdue 2nd album in the form of Complexxx !
JASMINE has always been 1 of my fave R&B artistes as she offers something a little bit more unique/extra as compared to the other R&B artistes I support/listen . But the 1 grouse I have on her is that she takes her own time (sometimes even longer than I expected) in putting out her release & at times it can get quite disheartening .
That said , I thought that Complexxx is really solid & it flows very well from the start til finish . Just like JASMINE's debut album GOLD , both albums have rather heavy emphasis in the inclusion of many singles & B-sides , no exception goes for Complexxx .
Thankfully , the 4 new songs in Complexxx are able to stack up against the singles & B-sides . I'm not sure if it's a Sony BMG thing (since Mika Nakashima also adopts the same thing for her albums) but I would have loved it if JASMINE included more new material in Complexxx .
But other than that , it's great to have JASMINE back in the music scene & here's hoping that I will not need to wait for another 3 more years for JASMINE to release her 3rd album .
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Mika Nakashima - Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa
CD + DVD
1) Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa (The Reason Why I Thought I'd Die)
3) Sakurairo Mau Koro (When The Cherry Blossom Colours Dance) -natural edition-
4) Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa -Instrumental-
Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa is Mika Nakashima's 38th single & it was released last month on 28th Aug .
Mika's new single comes in 3 months + since the release of her previous single Ai Kotoba .
The covers of Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa is a collaboration with illustrator YKBX .
Mika approached amazarashi's Akita Hiromu for this collaboration as Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa originally belonged to amazarashi . It's an important song to Akita because he's held onto it for many years . Mika , who received the demo from Akita , commented , "It's a wonderful song . I want this song to be heard until the very end . If not , [the full emotion of it won't be conveyed] ."
On 1st listen , Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa sounds like nothing what Mika has done previously . I must admit I couldn't tell it's actually Mika as she sounded very different in the song .
Not that it's a bad thing but I could understand why Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa means a lot to Mika & this song is sung by her from a guy's perspective as in Japanese , only guys will use 'Boku ga' & not ladies .
There're 2 B-sides in the single , the 1st 1 is something titled Today .
Today is a light hearted no. that's acoustic guitar & piano driven , something that contrasts the emotional Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa quite a fair bit . Mika sounds totally at ease with herself while belting out Today which's great .
Sakurairo Mau Koro (When The Cherry Blossom Colours Dance) -natural edition- is the 2nd B-side in the single & the original version was 1st released on 2nd Feb 2005 as Mika's 14th single .
I always have a soft spot for Sakurairo Mau Koro as it was 1 of the 1st few Mika songs I've listened/heard when I started supporting her & for her to include an updated version of the song in Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa , I couldn't be any happier about it .
And be it for the original or updated version , both versions of Sakurairo Mau Koro are equally good with Sakurairo Mau Koro -natural edition- sounding a lot more laidback/chilled .
After collaborating with Nakajima Miyuki on Ai Kotoba , Mika Nakashima collaborates with amazarashi's guitarist/vocalist Akita Hiromu in her 2nd single release of 2013 in which her latest single release Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa is a rock ballad with an intense message in its lyrics .
Compared to Ai Kotoba , Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa offers something a little bit different from what Mika usually does . Although it's still a ballad , Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa presents a type of music style that Mika did not undertake until now which I think the music risk/gamble paid off .
All in all , Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa is a solid release coming from her .