Saturday, November 30, 2013
girl next door - URBAN DANCE
girl next door THE LAST ~ALBUM COLLECTION~
3CDs - contains all album tracks from their 5 studio albums + remixes
girl next door THE LAST ~A-SIDE SINGLE BEST~
2CDs - contains all A-sides from their 16 single releases + a new song titled URBAN DANCE
girl next door THE LAST ~UPPER & BALLAD SELECTION~
2CDs + DVD
Disc 1 -> uptempo singles + album tracks [+ new song URBAN DANCE]
Disc 2 -> ballad singles + album tracks
DVD - uptempo & ballad single videos + URBAN DANCE video
girl next door THE LAST ~PREMIUM COMPLETE BOX~ A-SIDE SINGLE BEST + ALBUM COLLECTION
9CDs + 5DVDs
Tracklist for all 4 editions of the best album - http://girlnextdoor.jp/discography/
URBAN DANCE is a new song that's included in girl next door's final release girl next door THE LAST .
girl next door THE LAST was released last week on 20th Nov in 4 different editions , namely
- girl next door THE LAST ~ALBUM COLLECTION~
- girl next door THE LAST ~A-SIDE SINGLE BEST~
- girl next door THE LAST ~UPPER & BALLAD SELECTION~
- girl next door THE LAST ~PREMIUM COMPLETE BOX~ A-SIDE SINGLE BEST + ALBUM COLLECTION
On 3rd Sept , it was announced on their website that they will be disbanding end of the year & they will be holding their final live concert together as a trio next month on 8th Dec at Tokyo's SHIBUYA-AX .
Lead vocalist Chisa will stop her showbiz related activities after that to focus in starting a family as she's expecting her 1st child with her husband , Olympic gold medalist swimmer Kitajima Kosuke .
When I found out that girl next door are going to be disbanding , I had a mixture of both sadness & expectedness in that they've been 1 of the artistes I've been supporting/following since their 2008 debut single .
But at the same time , I also kind of expected this to happen as in recent times , their charting power on Oricon (let alone music style/direction at times) have been stagnated & coming from a long time fan like myself , it's really unfortunate .
That said , I really like URBAN DANCE as it does have some Winter flair going on in it . It's not as out right Winter inspired as their other songs but it's still a fun catchy no. .
Savour URBAN DANCE if not girl next door THE LAST on the very best of what girl next door has to offer for the past 5 years of the band's activity .
I wish each of them all the best of luck to their future endeavours & as a fan of theirs , it has been an honour in supporting them .
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Acid Black Cherry - Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~
CD + DVD
1) Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~
2) Seishun no Regret
Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ is Acid Black Cherry's 17th single & it was released last week on 20th Nov .
Acid Black Cherry's latest single offering comes in 3 months + since the release of their previous single Greed Greed Greed . yasu started his Shangri-la project by releasing Greed Greed Greed & Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ is the 2nd part of this project .
Aside from the main A-side , Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ includes a cover of Matsutoya Yumi's Seishun no Regret which she provided for Reimy back in 1984 & Acid Black Cherry's rendition of Seishun no Regret will not be reviewed .
Regarding Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ , yasu commented , "You'll think it's black cat-like when you listen to it ."
To be frank , I didn't really like Greed Greed Greed that much but I must say that Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ is an absolute delight to listen to !
Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ is an upbeat rock number which's infused with big band jazz elements & in the process , yasu created a fun song that fits his Shangri-la project perfectly .
I really enjoy Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ a great deal & it feels like a combination of yasu's past singles , sound wise & his latest single is Black Cherry meets Chou since both songs are in almost the same music genre as Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ .
With such an entertaining song like this , it's definitely not hard to like Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ immediately that's for sure !
Sunday, November 24, 2013
BENI - Konayuki
2) Konayuki instrumental
Konayuki is BENI's 17th single & it was released on 20th Nov .
BENI's latest single offering comes about 4 months + since the release of her 5th album Red & unlike her previous singles , there're no B-sides available in Konayuki .
Konayuki is a cover of rock band Remioromen's 8th single of the same name . For Remioromen's version , Konayuki was released on 16th Nov 2005 in which the song was used for the drama Ichi Rittoru no Namida as an insert no. .
I never heard the original version sung by Remioromen but from what I understand , their version is 1 of their most prominent songs in their discography & let alone considering it was used to promote Ichi Rittoru no Namida , it's saying a lot .
For BENI to cover Konayuki & sung it completely in English , it's a refreshing take on things as from her perspective , she took the non conventional route to cover songs & singing them from Japanese to English , same as what she has done for her 1st 2 cover albums .
And to me , I think her version of Konayuki is not bad , it's just that length wise it could have been shorter . In addition , I feel that certain parts of the song sound quite awkward to me but other than that , I do enjoy this upbeat Winter version of her rendition of Remioromen's Konayuki .
BENI's 3rd cover album COVERS 3 will be released next month on 18th Dec & her cover of Konayuki will be included in the album as track #1 .
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Kis-My-Ft2 - SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick
From left to right : CD + DVD A , CD + DVD B & CD Only
SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick is Kis-My-Ft2's 9th single & it was released last week on 13th Nov .
The group's latest offering comes in 3 months + since the release of their previous single Kimi to no Kiseki & SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick is their overall 4th double A-side single .
The 1st A-side SNOW DOME no Yakusoku was picked to be used in the ads for Seven Eleven's Seven Eleven Fair & this Winter ballad was written by TRICERATOPS' vocalist Wada Sho .
On the other hand , the 2nd A-side Luv Sick was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Kamen Teacher starring member Fujigaya Taisuke .
Kis-My-Ft2's past double A-side single offerings were really good & no exception this time round for SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick which each song presents a very different musical side of the guys .
SNOW DOME no Yakusoku is their 1st Winter inspired no. & it's a heart enduring ballad which's completely different from what Luv Sick offers .
For Luv Sick , it presents what Kis-My-Ft2 does best which's a no nonsense in your face rock no. that's aggressive that contrasts SNOW DOME no Yakusoku extremely well .
Motetaize Tonight is the only B-side available in the single & this song's only found in the CD only edition of SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick .
Promo wise , Motetaize Tonight was picked to be used as the theme song for NTV's Saiban Nagatsu ! Onaka Akimashita ! starring leader Kitayama Hiromitsu .
To me , Motetaize Tonight is a fun B-side & it's just 1 of those songs that puts me in a good mood so I don't really have any complaints towards it .
Kis-My-Ft2 wraps up their 2013 with their latest single release SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick & from each release to the next , they've been going on strong seeing that this year , they've put out quite a considerably number of releases .
And if their 2014 release schedule will continue to be around the same as 2012/2013 , then I guess their 10th single release should be out on Feb 2014 followed by a 3rd album release in March 2014 .
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
SPYAIR - JUST ONE LIFE
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD editions
1) JUST ONE LIFE
3) JUST ONE LIFE (inst.)
4) Radio (inst.)
JUST ONE LIFE is SPYAIR's 13th single & it was released last week on 13th Nov .
The group's latest single offering comes in about 4 months + since the release of their 3rd album MILLION .
JUST ONE LIFE was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the anime Samurai Flamenco & it's a rock tune that was produced by agehasprings's Tamai Ken .
Bassist/leader MOMIKEN commented on JUST ONE LIFE , "It would make me happy if the song would become a source of courage & power for people living out each day to best of their abilities ."
Radio serves as the B-side in the single & this no. was selected to be used as ZIP-FM20 anniversary collaboration song .
With JUST ONE LIFE being a straight up no nonsense rock tune from the guys , Radio presents itself to be on the uplifting cheery side , making this song a really good contrast against the A-side .
2013 is a very productive year for SPYAIR with them putting out many releases back to back with JUST ONE LIFE assumingly their last release for the year .
While I do enjoy JUST ONE LIFE overall , I hope that in 2014 the guys will slow down the pace in releasing their material as I notice/feel their recent material is starting to lose a bit of edge as compared to their older works which were more prominent/distinct .
In the midst of SPYAIR releasing their material quite considerably fast , I feel that in the process the quality of their songs suffered .
That said , I still think they're great . I just hope that next year , they will take their own time/pace to put out material as even sometimes I do find it hard to keep up the pace with them as evident since last year until now .
Monday, November 18, 2013
Koda Kumi - Dreaming Now !
CD + DVD
1) Dreaming Now !
3) Ai no Uta (LIVE @ a-nation stadium fes.2013) (First Press Bonus Track)
Dreaming Now ! is Koda Kumi's 56th single & it was released last week on 13th Nov .
Koda's latest single offering comes in about 4 months + since the release of her previous single Summer Trip .
Dreaming Now ! was released on the same day as Koda's 31st birthday .
Promo wise , Dreaming Now ! was used as the theme song for NTV's Volleyball World Grand Champion Cups 2013 that started airing last week on Nov 12th . The song is described as a cheer no. with a dance sound that was written for all people who challenge the world .
Koda wrote the song after watching an actual volleyball match & meeting with coach Manabe Masayoshi & volleyball player Kimura Saori .
Regarding the upbeat dance no. , Koda commented , "I wanted to make a support song to give energy to the players on the Japanese national team . I think it turned out to be a song that will also unite volleyball fans ."
XXX serves as 1 of the B-sides in the single . A live version of Koda's 37th single Ai no Uta is included as a 1st press bonus track in which this was recorded from a-nation stadium fes.2013 + it will not be reviewed .
I think XXX is super sexy & it contrasts the rather PG rated sounding A-side extremely well . Frankly I think both songs are equally good but for XXX , it showcases what Koda does best which's a straight up highly charged no. that has plenty of aggressive R&B beats with a raunchy underlining tone .
Koda Kumi wraps up her 2013 with the release of her 2nd single release for the year in the form of Dreaming Now ! .
Overall , I really enjoy what Koda brought to the music table with Dreaming Now ! as the A-side is something different from her usual works & it will be great if in future this song will be picked to be used for any sports related events as I definitely have that feeling upon hearing the A-side .
Hopefully Koda's next music release will be an original album seeing that she did not release 1 this year so it will be great if she can kick start 2014 with her 11th studio album as so far , the singles she has put out after JAPONESQUE have been relatively solid .
Saturday, November 16, 2013
SID - ANNIVERSARY
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
2) Suna no Shiro
3) V.I.P (Live from 『SID 10th Anniversary LIVE』)
ANNIVERSARY is SID's 16th single & it was released last week on 6th Nov .
SID's latest single offering comes in 4 months + since the release of their previous single Summer Lover .
ANNIVERSARY is the group's 3rd single release of 2013 in celebrating SID's 10th anniversary in the business . All songs were written by frontman/vocalist Mao .
The single includes 2 B-sides in which V.I.P (Live from 『SID 10th Anniversary LIVE』) will not be reviewed . V.I.P is SID's 13th single & it was used as the opening theme song for the 1st season of the anime Magi : The Labyrinth of Magic .
These 2 tracks are only available in the CD limited edition of ANNIVERSARY :
- ANNIVERSARY -Anime Ver.-
- ANNIVERSARY - Instrumental -
Composed by bassist Aki , ANNIVERSARY was selected to be used as the opening theme song for the 2nd season of Magi : The Labyrinth of Magic .
Mao commented that they were delighted to return for the 2nd season after contributing V.I.P for the 1st season for Magi : The Labyrinth of Magic . He added that he thinks that ANNIVERSARY worked out well because it reflects how the anime characters Aladdin & the others are embarking into a new world in Magi & it reflects the band's own feelings on facing their 10th anniversary too .
Suna no Shiro serves as the B-side in ANNIVERSARY & this song is composed by guitarist Shinji .
I don't quite like ANNIVERSARY as I'm not used to SID releasing happy go lucky songs . Suna no Shiro is slightly better as it's quite an angsty no. but compare with their other B-sides , this track's somewhat misses the mark for me .
2013 has been a fruitful year for SID with it being their 10th anniversary & they've put out a series of releases in celebrating this big milestone with ANNIVERSARY being their last physical single release for the year .
To be frank , out of the 3 singles they've released this year , ANNIVERSARY is actually my least fave . I also feel that it's their weakest sounding single overall as for some odd reason , even the B-side Suna no Shiro misses the mark for me as usually SID's B-sides are quite good but not this time round .
On the other hand , I'm happy for the guys because for them to stick around for 10 years in the business , it's no laughing matter & it's great that they've come a long way since their early days together in the group .
Here's to even more happy fruitful years for SID in time to come !
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Hottake BAND - Sayonara☆Arigatou
From left to right : CD + DVD , CD
2) Sayonara☆Arigatou (Original Karaoke) (CD Only Track)
Sayonara☆Arigatou is a special collaboration single released by Hottake BAND in which this single was released last week on 6th Nov .
On Sept 22nd , it was revealed that KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya & actor/singer Tamaki Koji have formed a new unit called Hottake BAND . This was announced during a press conference for NTV's drama Tokyo Band Wagon ~Shitamachi Daikazoku Monogatari~ .
In Tokyo Band Wagon ~Shitamachi Daikazoku Monogatari~ , Tamaki + Kamenashi plays a father & son duo who always fight with each other . Their unit in the drama is called Hottake BAND & they are in charge of providing the drama's theme song Sayonara☆Arigatou .
Composed by Tamaki , Sayonara☆Arigatou is described as an light upbeat rock tune that carries the drama's themes of love & family .
On his 1st time collaborating with Tamaki , Kamenashi commented , "I bought Tamaki-san's CDs when I was a child , so I was nervous to sing a song with someone I used to watch . I was able to have an exciting experience ."
When the unit was announced , Tamaki's 1st words were , "We will disband Anzen Chitai & KAT-TUN ." Immediately , Kamenashi said , "We won't !" & brought laughter among the crowd .
Kamenashi also reflected on the recording with Tamaki , "We recorded it a total of about 10 times , but it didn't even take an hour ." Tamaki added, "I thought we had to live up to expectations so we remade it 3 times ."
The first episode of Tokyo Band Wagon ~Shitamachi Daikazoku Monogatari~ was aired last month on Oct 12th .
Despite this single having no B-side/s , I think Sayonara☆Arigatou is a great collaboration between Kame & Tamaki . Song wise , it's 1 of those type of songs that will put a smile to anyone's face , no matter how good/bad his/her day went by . Vocals wise , both Kame & Tamaki compliment each other extremely well .
And based on their chemistry in the video , it's evident how seamlessly both of them worked together & as a result , I think Sayonara☆Arigatou overall is a winner . It's a bit unfortunate this's a 1 off thing but I'm sure should both of them collaborate again in the near future , it will be something I will not object to .
Sunday, November 10, 2013
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 .
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Kuriyama Chiaki - 0
3) 0 Moonbug Remix
4) voice Moonbug Remix
5) 0 instrumental
6) voice instrumental
0 is Kuriyama Chiaki's 7th single & it was released last month on 23rd Oct .
Kuriyama's latest single offering comes in about 6 months + since the release of her previous single Toyosu☆Luciferin .
0 was released only in a CD + DVD limited edition pressing that's made available for sale until next month on Dec 21st .
The DVD tracklist of 0 includes 2 music videos made for 0 & Toyosu☆Luciferin . The music video for 0 is an animation video produced by Nanpo Kenkyujo .
0 was originally released digitally on 22nd May . This song was picked to be used in the ads of Zenyaku Kogyo Company Limited's Jikinin IP series which started airing from 21st Sept onwards & Kuriyama appeared as the image character in the ads herself .
voice serves as the 1st B-side in the single . While 0 is a futuristic sounding track with lots of synth/autotune , voice is pretty much what Kuriyama does best which's a rock driven no. that also relied on synth/autotune too . Despite this , both songs contrast each other well & frankly I like both tracks equally as much as the other .
Likewise , the same thing goes for the Moonbug Remix for both 0 & voice . Usually I'm not so into remixes but I thought that both remixes in the single are equally fun if not entertaining to listen to .
But between both remixes , I like voice Moonbug Remix more as it has a lot of bite if not attitude than the original take of voice . The remix of voice is much more heavily synth driven with Kuriyma's voice being distorted a significant great deal . On the other hand , the 0 Moonbug Remix is only ok for my liking .
Overall I think Kuriyama Chiaki's latest single offering is solid & I personally am happy to see that 0 gets a physical release as at that time when I reviewed/wrote about this song , it was released digitally so to see the song now being released in CD format , it's definitely good for Kuriyama !
And as such I definitely look forward to see what else she has up in store in her next music release . I doubt she will release her 2nd album anytime soon but I never know , it might happen sooner than I think .