Friday, February 28, 2014
Matsushita Yuya - She's A Liar
1) She's A Liar
2) She's A Liar - English ver. -
She's A Liar is Matsushita Yuya's 3rd digital single & it was released on 22nd Feb .
After the digital release of Matsushita's 3rd album #musicoverdose last Aug , he's back with brand new material in the form of She's A Liar & as the song title suggests , it's a scornful dig at someone whom supposedly let Matsushita down by lying to him .
Song wise , She's A Liar is a mid tempo Jazz and R&B no. which's a little bit different from what Matsushita does but it's nonetheless smooth sounding & chilled out to listen to .
The digital single also includes an English version of She's A Liar in which everything's the same except in here , the song's sung fully in English by Matsushita .
I think Matsushita's English dictation has improved quite considerably although there're certain parts in She's A Liar - English ver. - that I still have trouble in trying to figure out what he says/sings .
Ever since ending his contract with Epic Records / Sony BMG , Matsushita Yuya has branched out to more different versatile music styles that he has never tried before which's evident in #musicoverdose & also now in his latest digital single offering She's A Liar .
I do hope that he will release something in physical mode soon but I'm sure Matsushita has his reasons for not doing this for the time being but on the other hand , I'm really glad to see him being more fearless/bold when comes to tackling more music genres instead of being pigeonhole as an R&B artist .
I definitely look forward to even more great material from Matsushita & now that he's in the zone of knowing what works/what doesn't work for him , I'm sure to expect nothing but the best coming from him in due course .
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
ayaka - number one
CD + DVD
1) number one
2) Through the ages (Self cover ver.)
3) Hajimari no Toki (2013/11/19 Nippon Budokan Live ver.)
number one is ayaka's 14th single & it was released last week on 19th Feb .
Originally supposed to be released on 12th Feb , number one is ayaka's 1st release of 2014 & her last single release was 2012's beautiful / Chiisana Ashiato .
The A-side was picked to be used as Fuji TV Sochi Olympics relay theme song . This no. that's brimming with lots of encouragement messages behind it is a positive pop sounding track which's 1 of those songs that will always lift up a person's spirit no matter how bleak things might get .
There're 2 B-sides included in the single in which the 1st one is something that's titled Through the ages .
Through the ages is actually a self cover song as the original was sung completely in English by singer/songwriter Gabrielle Aplin & in actual fact , this song was written by ayaka .
For Gabrielle Aplin's version , the rendition of Through the ages that she sung was used in the movie Kuroshitsuji starring ayaka's husband Mizushima Hiro .
Mizushima , who is also one of the producers of the film , recommended Gabrielle Aplin to sing Through the ages . Also , producer Matsuhashi Shinzo has always wanted ayaka to write a theme song for his movie & considered her to provide the music for Kuroshitsuji .
Matsuhashi then consulted ayaka's husband Mizushima , who agreed saying , "She has known about this movie since the first stages of planning & has the line to make English lyrics . I believe she will be able to meet our expectations ." In the past , ayaka has provided a song for Kudo Shizuka but this's her 1st time providing a song for a foreign artist .
I must say that ayaka's rendition of Through the ages is mind blowing . With a grand sweeping orchestra that backs her up in the song , things definitely do not go wrong in this aspect & songs like this are a very good reason on why ayaka's still vocally 1 of the best around .
Lastly , a live take version of Hajimari no Toki is included in the single & this's found as track #1 in ayaka's 3rd album The beginning . The live version of the song was recorded last Nov at the Nippon Budokan in which I will not reviewed/write about it .
ayaka starts off 2014 with this awe inspiring single in the form of number one . With soaring vocals coming from her , it's proof that ayaka doesn't need anything else aside from her great pipes to stand out from the crowd & number one is a true gem worth checking out .
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Kanon Wakeshima - signal
CD + DVD
3) signal (instrumental)
signal is Kanon Wakeshima's 4th single & it was released on 19th Feb .
Kanon's 1st release for 2014 , her last single release was 2012's Foul Play ni Kurari / Sakura Meikyuu .
Promo wise , signal was picked to be used as the ending theme no. for the anime Strike The Blood .
Kanon doesn't have any piano cello driven ballads that she has released in her singles discography until signal so hearing it for the 1st time was a nice surprise as in actual fact , she does sound good doing both upbeat & ballad driven songs .
Mujuryoku serves as the B-side in the single & while signal is a ballad , Mujuryoku is completely upbeat which contrasts things a lot .
I think Mujuryoku is ok but I'm not so keen in certain parts of the song where Kanon's vocals can be a bit grating . It was a bit painful hearing Mujuryoku within the 1st few listens but now I'm quite ok with it .
Despite being around for 6 years , Kanon Wakeshima's latest offering signal is only her 4th physical single release to date .
I'm not sure why she takes a really long time to release new material , I suppose it's because of the unique type of music style she does which can be a good or bad thing .
While I admire the fact that now she writes & composes her material , I do wish that Malice Mizer/Moi dix Mois guitarist Mana would come back & oversees her work once again as frankly Kanon's best works are still the ones that Mana produced .
That said , there's no telling when Kanon will put out another new release so while she's back again for now , it's ideally best to check out signal .
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Kobukuro - Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo
1) Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo
2) Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo (Instrumental)
Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo is Kobukuro's 24th single & it was released on 19th Feb .
The duo's 1st release of 2014 , this's actually a recut single as this song was originally found as track #15 in their 8th album One Song From Two Hearts .
Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo was picked to be used as the theme song for the NHK broadcast of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics , which's held in Russia this month . The duo has already performed this song at the 64th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen last year on new year's eve .
To coincide with the release of One Song From Two Hearts + Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo , Kobukuro will be embarking on a nationwide tour KOBUKURO LIVE TOUR 2014 in May .
And unlike their past singles , there're no B-sides included in Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo .
Kobukuro are always known for inspiring uplifting songs & Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo is no exception .
The moment I 1st heard Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo , I know it's something that I was going to like immediately & Ima , Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo speaks volume as to why Kobukuro still got it in the business after being around for so long .
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
ARASHI - Bittersweet
CD + DVD
Bittersweet is ARASHI's 42nd single & it was released last week on 12th Feb .
The grouo's 1st release of 2014 , the A-side was picked to be used as the theme song for TV series Shitsuren Chocolatier starring member Matsumoto Jun . Shitsuren Chocolatier is a live-action drama adaptation of Mizushiro Setona's popular manga of the same name .
I guess after ARASHI's past single releases have been exceptionally good if not stellar , I couldn't help but felt quite disappointed when I 1st heard Bittersweet as it sounds really bland to me but over the course of time , the song has grown on me significantly .
There're a total of 3 B-sides in the single in which the 1st B-side is titled Road to Glory .
Road to Glory was picked to be used as the theme song for NTV Sochi 2014 Olympics coverage in which member Sakurai Sho was appointed as NTV's special Olympics caster .
Given the song title & the promo usage , it's not surprising that Road to Glory is an inspirational sports driven no. & it's those type of songs that will keep one self motivated upon hearing it .
The other 2 B-sides are only be available in the CD only edition of the single .
Sync is the only song in Bittersweet that has the inclusion of Sakurap . I think this track's interesting as it wasn't terribly exciting in the beginning but at least the later part of the song has this really cool futuristic vibe & any song that has rapping done by Sakurai always lift things up a notch or 2 .
The 3rd/last B-side Motto , Ima Yori is surprisingly not bad with an unique sounding opening but end of the day , this's essentially guitar pop driven which's pretty good .
2014 marks the 15th anniversary of ARASHI & they're starting their year of celebration with their latest single offering , a light dance no. titled Bittersweet .
ARASHI's past single A-side single releases's flaw was that it wasn't easy for most if not all their B-sides to sound good but this time round for Bittersweet , I kind of enjoy each of them as there's something for everyone to enjoy .
On the other hand , I'm still not so keen on the main A-side since I feel that I've been spoilt with their past single releases (from Wild At Heart onwards) so to say that I was disappointed when I 1st heard Bittersweet is an understatement .
That said , this definitely will not be the last release coming from the guys especially since this year's their 15th anniversary since their debut & let alone with the fact that members Ohno Satoshi + Ninomiya Kazunari will have new dramas to be aired on TV in due course , it really wouldn't surprise me if ARASHI would provide the theme song/s for each of Ohno and/or Nino's dramas .
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Hey ! Say ! JUMP - AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 12th single & it was released on 5th Feb .
The group's 1st release for 2014 , their last double A-side release was 2008's Your Seed / Bouken Rider .
Both A-sides of AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life have videos unlike Your Seed / Bouken Rider where only Your Seed received a video .
The 1st A-side AinoArika is described as a spectacular number that sounds like it would be used as the theme song for a sci-fi movie or a RPG . It was picked to be used as the theme song for the TBS drama Dark System : Koi no Ohza Ketteisen (premiered last month on Jan 20th) & the drama stars members Yaotome Hikaru & Inoo Kei .
The rap lyrics in AinoArika was written by member Yaotome Hikaru .
The 2nd A-side Aisureba Motto Happy Life is described as a party tune full of high tension & it's an uptempo tune that was written/composed by Kawaura Masahiro , who's known for composing AKB48's Ue Kara Mariko .
Promo wise , Aisureba Motto Happy Life is currently used in the ads of House Foods Vermont Curry just like the group's 10th single Come On A My House .
I think both A-sides AinoArika & Aisureba Motto Happy Life offers something for everyone to enjoy but between both , I definitely prefer AinoArika as it's 1 of their more unique interesting A-sides that I've come across . Orchestra meet Rap & Pop might sound like a strange combination but it surprisingly works for Hey ! Say ! JUMP .
On the other hand , Aisureba Motto Happy Life is a cutesy song that contrasts the more grown up sounding AinoArika & it definitely sounds like where Come On A My House left behind since both songs have the same promo tie in but at this point in time , I like to see the guys do more grown up mature songs .
There're a total of 4 B-sides included in AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life .
2 B-sides that're found in the CD only regular edition are each sung by the sub units of Hey ! Say ! JUMP .
Oh ! My Jelly! ~Bokuraha OK~ is sung by Hey ! Say ! 7 who're the younger members in Hey ! Say ! JUMP . This kids friendly inspired no. was used in the ads of Bourbon "Jelly Series" .
On the other hand , Sugirusetsuna is sung by Hey ! Say ! BEST who make up the older members in the group & perhaps due to the fact that this song's sung by the older guys , Sugirusetsuna feels more grown up & less kiddy sounding unlike Oh ! My Jelly! ~Bokuraha OK~ .
The next 2 B-sides are found in the CD only limited edition & both songs are sung by the whole group .
Sakura , Saita yo is a mid tempo inspired no. in which the rap lyrics was written by member Arioka Daiki .
I've heard Hikaru rapped in quite a few songs in their discography such as in AinoArika but it definitely surprised me how natural sounding Daiki sounds like when he raps & I think it's cool for him to have some personal input in this Spring influenced no. & on that note , kudos to him .
OUR FUTURE is the final B-side available in the single . I think this's a standard uptempo Johnny's no. which I find it neither good or bad but between both group B-sides , I prefer Sakura , Saita yo by a long shot .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP kicks off 2014 with their latest single offering AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life which's now their overall 2nd double A-side single in their discography .
If you want to experience both the grown up & cutesy sides of Hey ! Say ! JUMP under 1 roof , then AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life is what you should look into .
I'm not sure what will their next music release but hopefully they will release a new album soon since it has been 2 years that their 2nd album JUMP WORLD was released .
Thursday, February 13, 2014
SID - hug
CD Limited (with a Mao photobook)
CD Limited (with a Shinji photobook)
CD Limited (with an Aki photobook)
CD Limited (with a Yuya photobook)
2) hug (Instrumental)
hug is SID's 17th single & it was released yesterday on 12th Feb .
The group's 1st release of 2014 , hug was written by lead vocalist Mao & composed by bassist Aki .
Unlike their previous past single releases , hug does not include any B-sides , the single only has the A-side standalone together with the instrumental .
hug feels like SID going back to their old music roots as this song's a nice soothing mid tempo track . I frankly don't really like their previous single ANNIVERSARY that much but for hug , I feel that it's a good song .
I don't think it's 1 of their best single releases but hug gives me the feeling of wanting to well get a hug from someone .
SID's 4th album OUTSIDER will be released next month on 12th March & hug is included in the album as track #10 which now can be explained on why SID's latest single offering is a bit different from their past single releases , as they will be gearing up to release OUTSIDER which's their 1st original album release since 2012's M&W .
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Shota Shimizu - DREAM
CD + DVD
3) WOMAN DON'T CRY -T.O.M Remix-
4) DREAM -instrumental-
DREAM is Shota Shimizu's 15th single & it was released last month on 29th Jan .
Shota's 1st release of 2014 , DREAM was picked to be used as the theme song for TV Tokyo's drama Nazo no Nazo no Tenkousei , which was produced & written by director Iwai Shunji .
DREAM is such a heartwarming love song , 1 couldn't help but be drawn into this mid-tempo ballad instantly . What I like about this song is that it's very emotional & heartfelt in which I really like it upon hearing it for the 1st time .
2 B-sides are found in the single . The 1 is something titled Jealous . Unlike the A-side , Jealous is a slow smoothing R&B mid tempo song which compliments DREAM quite well .
On the other hand , WOMAN DON'T CRY -T.O.M Remix- is the 2nd B-side found in the single & this's actually a remix of Shota's previous single prior to the release of DREAM .
Honestly the difference between the original & T.O.M Remix of WOMAN DON'T CRY is not that greatly varied . I think this remix's ok , it's just that it didn't wow me if not have anything that stood out as compared to what the original take of the song offered .
In short , WOMAN DON'T CRY -T.O.M Remix- is an ok remix that's neither good or bad but if you ask me , I definitely will pick the original over the remix if I was given a choice .
Shota Shimizu kicks off 2014 with this inspiring no. in the form of his latest single DREAM & next month , he will be releasing his 5th album ENCORE on 12th March , in which both WOMAN DON'T CRY & DREAM will be included in his brand new record .
Monday, February 03, 2014
CD Review :: Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun
CD + DVD
1) Aoiro Jubunairu
3) Itsuka no Machi
6) Time Machine
7) Saynonara ni Sayonara
8) Shounen ~Re: Story~
10) Neko Chudoku
11) Iro Azayaka na Kimi ga Egaku Ashita no e
13) Kireigoto (CD Only Track)
14) Tsuki no Tomodachi (CD Only Track)
Tegomass no Seishun is Tegomass's 3rd album & it was released last month on 22nd Jan .
The duo's last original full length album release was 2011's Tegomass no Mahou .
Tegomass's latest album offering includes 2 singles . Tegomass no Seishun is a collection of nostalgic & refreshing music . Songs are provided by popular artists such as The Gospellers and DEPAPEPE . In addition , the album features former Tokyo Jihen member Kameda Seiji as an arranger .
The concept of Tegomass no Seishun centres on songs about youth & written for youth .
Tegomass no Seishun kicks off with the 1st album track , titled Aoiro Jubunairu which's a pleasant mid tempo sounding no. that has a really nice soothing guitar melody .
Harumeki follows after Aoiro Jubunairu & this song is a fun peppy no. that's memorable + catchy sounding .
The 3rd album track , Itsuka no Machi is a piano driven no. . 1 of the strong points about this song is the harmonisation of vocals brought together by both Tegoshi & Masuda respectively which I enjoy .
With a song title like DONUTS , I was expecting a cheesy track but I was surprised that it's not the case . Instead , it's a cool finger snapping ditty that feels very old school which displayed a different music side from Tegomass that was not seen/heard before until now .
Fantasia is track #5 . This is actually 1 of my fave tracks in the album . It's piano driven just like Itsuka no Machi but to me Fantasia stands out more as it's more memorable & the melody is more prominent/easy to recall .
Time Machine follows after Fantasia . 1 of the album's slower sounding no.s , this ballad has an under-stated feeling which allows Tegoshi & Masuda's vocals to shine a great deal .
Saynonara ni Sayonara is Tegomass's 6th single . Produced by prolific music producer Matsuo Kiyoshi , Sayonara ni Sayonara is a mid-tempo ballad that enfolds a listener with a soft & happy atmosphere .
Shounen ~Re: Story~ is the 7th album track & it's 1 of the few songs in the album that its melody emphasis is on the guitar + not on the piano .
On the other hand , the next album track innocence is an interesting no. & it's quite upbeat driven . Just like DONUTS , innocence is those type of songs that drawn into you immediately & it's also a new type of music style that Tegomass never tried before but surprisingly in this case , it worked quite well for them .
Neko Chudoku is Tegomass's 7th single & it's the last single release included in Tegomass no Seishun .
Without a doubt , Neko Chudoku is still the duo's most craziest if not over the top single release to date . Suffice to say it's completely different from what they've done in the past . Hence , including Neko Chudoku in Tegomass no Seishun might be a bit of a sore thumb with it being the odd 1 out but I suppose you need a bit of randomness in order to balance out the serenity of the overall feeling the album offers .
Iro Azayaka na Kimi ga Egaku Ashita no e is an unique sounding no. & this's definitely a standout track in Tegomass no Seishun as I can't compare it with the other songs found in the album . As such , this mid tempo song with a lot of great things going on in the melody is something worth checking out .
Hikari is the last song in the CD + DVD edition's tracklist of Tegomass no Seishun . It's also the only album track that gets a music video .
I think out of so many great songs in the album , I can see why Hikari is the only 1 that has a music video as it's an inspiring soaring uplifting ballad . There're others that should have gotten a video too but Hikari deserves so without question .
Kireigoto & Tsuki no Tomodachi are 2 songs that're found exclusively in the CD only edition of Tegomass no Seishun .
I feel that Kireigoto is the most simplest sounding track in the album but yet it's done very well . It's just Tegomass being backed up by an acoustic guitar but the result turns out in the form of this heartfelt no. which struck a chord in me .
Tsuki no Tomodachi stands out in Tegomass no Seishun as this's the only song in the album that has personal input from the duo .
This song was written by Masuda while both Tegoshi + Masuda composed the melody together . I frankly was expecting a ballad but definitely not this slightly crazy sounding no. . Not that Tsuki no Tomodachi is a bad song but I guess after hearing the majority/bulk of how Tegomass no Seishun goes , I thought so otherwise .
That said even though Tsuki no Tomodachi is not a fave song of mine , I have to give the duo credit for having personal input into the song .
3rd time is definitely the charm for Tegomass who's back again with full force in the form of putting out their latest full length album Tegomass no Seishun .
With the release of Tegomass no Seishun , this album can be seen as their most mature if not defined sounding record to date & I definitely can sense just how far the duo has come since they make their presence felt some 8 years ago when they released their debut single Miso Soup in 2006 .
Tegoshi & Masuda all the while always have some if not the best/strongest sounding vocals in NEWS if not in the whole Johnny's & Associates talent agency so it's not really a surprise when you pair both of them together , their strongest focal point lies in great sync in harmony , vocals wise .
Getting a lot of established artistes such as The Gospellers and DEPAPEPE to work + leave their mark on Tegomass no Seishun is a huge music gamble but I feel it pays off a great deal as now Tegomass is at a stage where they're ready to progress to the next level , be it music or lyrical themes found in their material .
As such it's not a surprise that the album tracks in Tegomass no Seishun stand out a great deal significantly against the 2 singles included in the album which ironically are the duo's weakest if not my most disliked singles they've put out to date .
That said , Tegomass no Seishun is Tegomass's most mature/finest sounding album to date & it's 1 record to kick off 2014 nicely . This's 1 album that's well recommended to try if not listen & it's a testimonial just how well both Tegoshi + Masuda gel well together as a duo .
Sunday, February 02, 2014
ayumi hamasaki - Pray
Pray is ayumi hamasaki's 3rd digital single & it was released last month on 27th Jan .
This song was picked to be used as the theme no. for the animated movie BUDDHA 2 .
After the physical release of her 51st single Feel the love / Merry-go-round last year on Christmas , ayumi has went back the digital route in releasing Pray & to me it's a pity that this does not get a physical single release because I personally feel it's a strong emotional ballad .
I suppose after she released Feel the love / Merry-go-round which might scared off some for being quite if not too experimental , Pray sees ayumi going back to basics in the form of a power ballad .
I guess the only consolation is hoping that Pray will be included in ayumi's next album since it did happened for her 1st 2 digital singles . It will be a shame should Pray be excluded that's for sure .