Monday, March 31, 2014
CD Review :: JASMINE - Welcome to Jas Vegas
1) Welcome to Jas Vegas ~Opening~
2) Where U @
3) Handz Up !
5) R!de On
7) Panic ~Interlude~
10) High Flying (T.O.M Remix for Jas Vegas) [CD Limited Edition Track]
Welcome to Jas Vegas is an album that JASMINE released on 12th March .
Described as a concept album , Welcome to Jas Vegas was produced based on a theme of "live" . No singles are included except for a remix of JASMINE's 9th single High Flying that's only included in the limited edition of the album .
All songs in the album were written by JASMINE .
After the opening/introduction Welcome to Jas Vegas ~Opening~ , the album dives straight into Where U @ which's a sassy upbeat fun no. . The same thing goes for the next track Handz Up ! as well .
#AGARU serves as the lead track from Welcome to Jas Vegas & this was used as the ending theme no. for J-WAVE's Hello World from Feb 3rd onwards .
As for the next track R!de On , it's an edgy futuristic sounding song . Despite the song title , Dearest is unfortunately not a ballad but still it's something worth checking out .
After Panic ~Interlude~ , HIKARI is an uptempo upbeat no. while the 2nd last track in the album (in the regular edition ie.) , Hallelujah is a fun empowering catchy song .
High Flying (T.O.M Remix for Jas Vegas) is found exclusively in the limited edition of Welcome to Jas Vegas & the original take of the song was 1st released as JASMINE's 9th single .
Surprisingly , I do enjoy High Flying (T.O.M Remix for Jas Vegas) quite a fair bit . The original take of the song was something I was quite critical about to a certain extent as I don't really like JASMINE's most recent material but in this case regarding the remix , it fits the whole theme on what JASMINE was trying to achieve , concept wise .
Time to bring out the party mood in the form of JASMINE's latest album offering Welcome to Jas Vegas & honestly when it was announced she was going to release a new album rather so soon after her 2nd studio album Complexxx , I was really surprised .
On whole , Welcome to Jas Vegas is actually quite solid & for JASMINE to release this without including any singles prior to the release , it's a big risk she undertook as the music style presented/found in Welcome to Jas Vegas is quite different from what she usually does .
Let alone , it's commendable that JASMINE wrote all the lyrics for all the songs found in the album (except for the opening & interlude) . JASMINE has always been 1 of my fave R&B artistes as she dares to be different in what she does & likewise for the direction she chose to go for , be it when comes to her music or her image .
That said , Welcome to Jas Vegas is a nice surprise considering JASMINE tend to take quite a long time to put out new material but in this case , concept album or not , this's 1 album that definitely should be used + put to good use in a head banging club if not disco party .
Friday, March 28, 2014
CD Review :: SID - OUTSIDER
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
4) Akai Te
6) Summer Lover
7) Koi ni Ochite
OUTSIDER is SID's 4th album & it was released on 12th March .
SID's last original album release was 2012's M&W . In their latest album offering , OUTSIDER includes 5 singles & 6 new album tracks with a total of 11 songs found in the tracklist .
All songs in the album were written by frontman/vocalist Mao .
The album kicked things off with the 1st album track which's laser . laser was composed by guitarist Shinji while the next album track CANDY was composed by drummer Yuya .
V.I.P is SID's 13th single . This was used as the opening theme no. for the 1st season of the anime series Magi .
The next 2 album tracks Akai Te & MUSIC were both composed by bassist Aki . Akai Te is a heartfelt emotional no. while MUSIC is a fast paced song .
From 2 new songs , the focus now has been shifted to 2 singles that were released prior to OUTSIDER .
Summer Lover is SID's 15th single . Last summer , SID embarked on an outdoor concert tour across Japan in celebrating their 10th anniversary . To get their fans in the mood for a summer concert , Summer Lover is a light upbeat rock number perfect to listen to under the summer sun !
On the other hand , Koi ni Ochite is SID's 14th single . Out of the singles included in OUTSIDER , I still like both Koi ni Ochite & Summer Lover a great deal as both songs are music styles that SID has never tried before but the music risk definitely paid off for them .
Meiro & darling are the last 2 album tracks found in OUTSIDER . Meiro is a chilled out mid tempo song that was composed by Yuya while darling is an aggressive song that was composed by Aki .
I noticed that between the members , I seem to prefer Aki's compositions as the album tracks he composed in OUTSIDER are great such as Akai Te & darling in which these 2 are my fave , new material wise .
hug is SID's 17th single & this was released prior to OUTSIDER while ANNIVERSARY is SID's 16th single .
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 when they faced their 10th anniversary last year .
SID had a fruitful 2013 with a string of activities & releases in celebrating their 10th anniversary . They carry the momentum to this year with the release of the band's 4th major album OUTSIDER .
Sunday, March 23, 2014
CD Review :: Shota Shimizu - ENCORE
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD editions
3) Kimi ga Mitsuketa Mono
6) Crazy Love
7) WOMAN DON'T CRY
8) You've Got A Friend
9) LOOKING FOR LOVE
10) Singer Songwriter no Uta
ENCORE is Shota Shimizu's 5th album & it was released on 12th March .
Shota's last original album release was 2012's Naturally & his latest album offering includes 11 songs inclusive of 2 singles .
Prior to the release of ENCORE , 2 album tracks Impossible & Shower were released digitally last month on 26th Feb in which it just so happens that Impossible happens to serve as the album's opening track as well .
I think Impossible is a great song to kick things off & it's probably by far Shota's best opening no. for an album .
What I like about Impossible is that it's an empowering song & it has a lot of positive messages which makes me think there's some truth in Shota singing that maybe in real life , 'nothing is impossible' after all .
DREAM is Shota's 15th single & it 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 .
Even up to now , DREAM is still a great single coming from Shota and I wasn't surprised that this's slotted after Impossible as both songs are encouragement theme no.s which I think it's great .
Kimi ga Mitsuketa Mono is the 2nd album track . This R&B uptempo song showcases Shota's ability to sing & rap at the same time rather seamlessly .
Shower is 1 of 2 album tracks that was released digitally last month on 26th Feb alongside with Impossible .
I definitely prefer Impossible over Shower . Not that it's a bad thing but I feel that Shower is quite a standard mid tempo R&B no. coming from Shota and there're other album tracks that have a more stronger identity/flair as compared to Shower .
Luckily the next song Natsunoowari is pretty good & enjoyable . Somehow or another , this gives me the feeling that Summer is about to come .
Crazy Love is an interesting song as Shota doesn't sound like himself in this track & this was probably done on purpose . Then again , it's 1 of the more unique no.s that's found in the album which's not necessary a bad thing .
WOMAN DON'T CRY is Shota's 14th single & it's the last single included in ENCORE .
This R&B piano driven no. is still a touching song & even up to now , I'm still not bored by it . There's something about WOMAN DON'T CRY that's quite charming for that matter .
You've Got A Friend is track #8 & this's a 1971 cover of originally sung/written by Carole King . It's also the only song in ENCORE that Shota sung completely in English as well .
Shota released his 1st cover album MELODY 2 years ago & You've Got A Friend could have been something that he recorded for it but perhaps it didn't made the cut so he probably chose to include this in ENCORE instead .
Luckily Shota's English dictation is quite good as I didn't get any weird/strange vibes when I listened to his cover of You've Got A Friend .
LOOKING FOR LOVE is track #9 & this's a nice soothing mid tempo song . It's almost in the same music vein as Shower but I personally prefer LOOKING FOR LOVE a bit more as it's more prominent sounding .
The 2nd last album track Singer Songwriter no Uta happens to be 1 of my fave album tracks simply because it's a very simple & acoustic guitar no. . Shota is more known for his R&B music style but he surprisingly sounds good doing something under-rated such as this which I really like .
Likewise the same thing goes for the last song that shares the same title as the album . Just like the opening no. Impossible , the closing no. ENCORE couldn't have been more fitting if not upbeat , making ENCORE (the song) the perfect track to wrap things up in a great way .
Shota Shimizu couldn't have picked a more suitable title by naming his 5th album ENCORE seeing that he didn't release an original album last year & with the release of ENCORE , it's proof on why he's 1 really talented & sought after male solo artistes out there at this point in time .
I did enjoyed Shota's last album offering Naturally but in this case for ENCORE , the album tracks are really something & the new material showcases a lot of maturity + growth .
I feel that ENCORE is musically on par with my personal fave album of Shota (which happens to his 3rd album COLOURS) & just like COLOURS , ENCORE has quite a lot of wide musical styles that Shota tackled which he more or less delivered them with plenty of gusto & enthusiasm .
ENCORE is a solid album that's recommended to listen & Shota together with Miliyah Kato will be releasing their 1st/last album THE BEST next month on 2nd April so both are definitely not to be missed out on .
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Anna Tsuchiya - Sugar Palm , UP TO YOU & Melt Into Blue
Cover for CD + DVD
1) Sugar Palm
2) UP TO YOU
3) Melt Into Blue
【BONUS TRACKS 】 Limited Invitation Live at ABS RECORDING HALL 2013.01.20
4) STAYIN' ALIVE
6) FROM A DISTANCE
7) Brave vibration
Sugar Palm , UP TO YOU & Melt Into Blue are 3 new studio tracks from Anna Tsuchiya's 2nd mini album Sugar Palm .
Anna released her 1st mini album Taste My Beat 9 years ago on 24th Aug .
Sugar Palm was released on 11th March & while most new Japan single/album releases are dropped on a Wed , 11th March was a Tue . This was an exception for Anna's case as Sugar Palm was released on the same day as her 30th birthday .
Anna's latest mini album release feature songs that she only performed at her concerts . As for the 4 bonus tracks , they're taken from ABS RECORDING Studio in Tokyo in which they will not be reviewed .
Furthermore , the DVD contains live footage from Anna's concert that she held 2 years ago on Dec at Blue Note Tokyo .
The sugar palm is the birth fruit of March 11 . In fruit language , the sugar palm represents "freedom" and "peace" . The jacket cover of Sugar Palm has a spring-like feel as it features Anna being surrounded by bright flowers .
Sharing the same title as the mini album , Sugar Palm is a really nice soothing track that's very much Spring influenced while UP TO YOU is a catchy guitar driven no. .
Melt Into Blue is an emotional ballad that showcases a vulnerable side of Anna .
Despite the somewhat lack of studio tracks in Sugar Palm , I personally feel that the 3 new songs in the mini album are really top notch & perhaps it's just me as I haven't been listening to Anna for quite sometime but I feel she sounded much better if not more in control with her vocals in here .
When I listened to Anna's some of her older material & comparing to what I've heard in Sugar Palm , she sounded quite rough if not husky in her older works but in what Anna has offered this time round , she sounds much more stronger which I think it's great .
Anna has always been 1 of my fave female solo artists as she always dares to be different as compared to the rest & her latest release offering Sugar Palm is 1 of the reasons on why she continues to push herself to do/try new things & undertake bold new music risks whether the ending results turn out to be good or bad .
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Acid Black Cherry - Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ...
CD + DVD
1) Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ...
Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ... is Acid Black Cherry's 18th single & it was released last week on 11th March .
This's Acid Black Cherry's 1st release of 2014 & it's also their 3rd/last release as part of project Shangri-la .
The single includes a cover of Forget-me-not which's a 1985 ballad sung by the late Ozaki Yutaka . Ozaki's best known for his 1991 hit I LOVE YOU which has been covered numerous times over the years .
And unlike usual releases in Japan where new singles/albums gets released on a Wed , Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ... was released last Tue as its release date coincides with the 3rd anniversary of the Tohoku natural disaster earthquake/tsunami .
Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ... was written with the 2011 March 11th disaster in mind & the song's is about 1's longing for a loved one that has gone , whether that loved one is a significant other , a friend or a family member .
After the release of their previous single which was the excellent jazzy groovy Kuroneko ~Adult Black Cat~ , yasu has released this touching yet emotional uptempo song in the form of Kimi ga Inai Ano hi Kara ... . The amount of emotions that is poured into the song can be heard significantly , making this a sincere earnest no. that comes straight from the heart .
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
CD Review :: Hilcrhyme - FIVE ZERO ONE
CD + DVD
1) NEW DAY , NEW WORLD
3) Your Smile
5) Theme of "6"
6) BAR COUNTER
7) SEA BREEZE -Instrumental-
8) Tsuginaru Oka E
9) Ao Tennjyou
10) Lost love song
11) We Like It
12) Welcome Back
FIVE ZERO ONE is Hilcrhyme's 5th album & it was released last month on 26th Feb .
The duo's latest album was released on the same day as their 2nd music videos DVD Hilcrhyme Theater vol.2 .
FIVE ZERO ONE includes 3 singles & 2 B-sides . This album , together with the prior release of their 15th single Yell / Lost love song (their 1st double A-side single release) were released in celebrating their 5th anniversary this year .
2nd singles back to back kicked off FIVE ZERO ONE , starting with NEW DAY , NEW WORLD which's Hilcrhyme's 14th single .
On the other hand , Yell is the 1st A-side of the duo's 15th single Yell / Lost love song . This song was picked to be used as the ending theme no. for TBS TV's Super Soccer for Feb & March .
In the single , the video of Yell is included in the DVD but not in Hilcrhyme Theater vol.2 . On the other hand , the video for Lost love song is included in Hilcrhyme Theater vol.2 but not in the single's DVD .
I think both single songs are equally solid & very encouraging sounding . NEW DAY , NEW WORLD is a mid tempo piano driven no. while on the other hand , Yell is an uplifting song but nonetheless both are on par with each other sound wise .
Your Smile is the 1st album track & it's considerably much more mellow as compared to the 1st 2 single songs in FIVE ZERO ONE .
Sosoka is Hilcrhyme's 13th single . This was specifically written & composed for TV Asahi's special drama Yurichika e Mama Kara no Dengon .
Regarding the song , vocalist/rapper TOC commented , "With the theme ‘to retain feelings’ , we left our ‘feelings’ that will not fade even after tens of years in ‘music’ ."
Theme of "6" is the 2nd album track & this's a really funky catchy no. . Likewise , the same thing goes for the next album track BAR COUNTER .
After the only album instrumental SEA BREEZE -Instrumental- , in comes Tsuginaru Oka E which served as the B-side of Hilcrhyme's 14th single NEW DAY , NEW WORLD .
Tsuginaru Oka E is 1 of the duo's more harder sounding B-sides in which it gives DJ KATSU the chance to showcase what he does best . Likewise , the same thing goes for the next album track Ao Tennjyou as well .
Lost love song is the 2nd A-side of Hilcrhyme's 15th single Yell / Lost love song & it's also the last single song to be found in the album .
Compared to Yell , Lost love song is much more chilled out with surprisingly slight Oriental influences which surprised me when I 1st heard it . All in all , both A-sides from their 1st double A-side single release are equally solid & have strong character .
We Like It is the last album track prior to wrapping things up in which Welcome Back which originally served as the B-side in Hilcrhyme's 13th single Sosoka being given the honour in doing so .
2014 is Hilcrhyme's 5th anniversary since their major label debut & in their latest 5th album FIVE ZERO ONE , it's 1 of many releases that they will be releasing in commentating this milestone landmark .
The duo's 1st remix album BOOST UP! ~Hilcrhyme Non-Stop MIX vol.1~ Mixed by DJ KATSU will be released next month on 2nd April & here's to wishing Hilcrhyme a very happy yet fulfilling 5th anniversary !
Sunday, March 16, 2014
CD Review :: DAIGO - DAIGOLD
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
1) THEME OF DAIGOLD
2) STAY GOLD
4) Mugen ∞REBIRTH
6) Ima Aitakute ...
9) I Wish
10) REVOLUTION EVOLUTION
11) Itsumo Dakishimete
DAIGOLD is DAIGO's debut solo album & it was released on 5th March .
Prior to the release of DAIGOLD , 2 double A-side singles were released & all 4 songs are included in the album .
1 song titled ULTRA BRAVE is not included in DAIGOLD in which the song was picked to be used to promote TV Tokyo's New Ultraman Retsuden .
All songs in DAIGOLD were written & composed by DAIGO , inclusive of him in charge of producing the album too .
After the album introduction/opening THEME OF DAIGOLD which more or less fits the whole Napoleon Bonaparte concept/theme of DAIGOLD , the album wasted no time in diving into its 1st album track STAY GOLD .
Serving as the album lead promo track , STAY GOLD was picked to be used as the theme song for Hokkaido's 2014 STV ski jumping relay which the ad started airing from 3rd Jan 2014 onwards + the song also promoted NTV's FIS Jump World Cup Ladies 2014 Sapporo programme .
STAY GOLD sounds like nothing like what DAIGO has done before , be it when he was DAIGO☆STARDUST and/or in BREAKERZ . In this case , STAY GOLD is an 80s sounding no. which thankfully doesn't sound dated . DAIGO managed to keep this song quite modern sounding & the result gives this really fun catchy ditty onboard .
BUTTERFLY is the 1st A-side of DAIGO's 2nd single BUTTERFLY / Ima Aitakute ... .
Promo wise , BUTTERFLY received the following in the form of :
- TV Asahi nationwide broadcast 「Break Out」 December 2013 opening track (BUTTERFLY was used to promote Break Out from 5th Dec 2013 onwards)
- TVCM Cardfight!! Vanguard appearance tie-up song
Of all the single songs included in DAIGOLD , BUTTERFLY definitely stands out from the other 3 as just like STAY GOLD it's nothing like what DAIGO used to do & even up to now , everytime I hear this song I couldn't help but chuckled as it's not like DAIGO's character to dance in real life but despite having 2 left feet , at least he still doesn't mind releasing something as crazy as BUTTERFLY .
Mugen ∞REBIRTH is the 2nd A-side of DAIGO's debut single Itsumo Dakishimete / Mugen∞REBIRTH .
Promo wise , Mugen∞REBIRTH received the following in the form of :
- TV anime Cardfight!! Vanguard Link Joker Hen opening theme ; 1st premiered on 30th June 2013's episode of the anime
- Cardfight!! Vanguard DAIGO Special Set CM song
It's funny but when I 1st heard Mugen∞REBIRTH , I actually had quite a rather strong unusual dislike towards it . I'm not sure why but perhaps it's because I thought this song sounded way too similar to the other Cardfight!! Vanguard songs that BREAKERZ has done/provided for .
But in due time , Mugen∞REBIRTH has grown on me significantly .
Realize is the 2nd album track & this was originally found as track #6 in DAIGO☆STARDUST's DAIGO☆IMPACT DVD but this song was not given a studio version with regards to DAIGO☆STARDUST's discography .
BREAKERZ's guitarist AKIHIDE played the guitar riffs in Realize .
I was definitely surprised to see Realize in the album tracklist as I know this song's something that DAIGO sang before in his DAIGO☆IMPACT DVD but a studio version of it was never made until now .
For DAIGO to include/finally make a studio version of Realize , it definitely means a significant deal to him although I personally feel that other songs that he sang live before in DAIGO☆IMPACT DVD should have gotten the studio version as Realize is not really 1 of my fave DAIGO☆STARDUST songs .
That said , it's great that AKIHIDE had some personal input that went into Realize which makes things even more better .
Ima Aitakute ... is the 2nd A-side of DAIGO's 2nd single BUTTERFLY / Ima Aitakute ... .
Promo wise , Ima Aitakute ... received the following in the form of :
- Yomiuri TV ・ Nippon TV nationwide broadcast every Saturday night at 6pm Japan time 「Detective Conan」 anime ending theme (Ima Aitakute... was used to promote Detective Conan from 14th Dec 2013 onwards as the anime's 46th ending theme song)
- Opening theme song for MUSIC LAUNCHER for the month of Jan 2014
Ima Aitakute ... contrasts the really dancey driven BUTTERFLY extremely well & it's 1 of the saddest sounding songs in DAIGOLD which showcased an emotional vulnerable side of DAIGO that's not seen in him until now .
Jerarumin is the 3rd album track & in this song , BREAKERZ's guitarist SHINPEI had personal input in that he played the guitar riffs , did programming & arranged the song .
I think out of the many new DAIGOLD album tracks , Jerarumin is hands down my fave as it's just so in your face + aggressive sounding . It definitely helps that SHINPEI had a lot of input that went into Jerarumin & way before hearing the full version , I already enjoyed the preview a lot .
Hence , Jerarumin alone is more or less a very good reason if not excuse to buy DAIGOLD .
After a serious sounding track , in comes something rather comical in the form of the next album track POP☆CORN .
Way before hearing POP☆CORN , I already had a feeling it's going to be something that's amusing & sure enough , this sounds like something that's straight from playing a Tetris game .
DAIGO wrote POP☆CORN as he mentioned it's something that he really loves to eat & he would ordered it everytime he goes to the cinemas to catch a movie . And if DAIGO can write a song all about ice tea & now on popcorn , POP☆CORN is something not to be taken seriously upon hearing it .
The next track I Wish is a song that DAIGO wrote/composed a few years ago , which he wrote specially for PenPen the penguin whom he took care of during the variety show Tensai ! Shimura Dobusten .
SHINPEI played the guitar riffs & did programming in I Wish while DAIGO arranged the song .
Just like Realize , I Wish is considered an old song that never had a studio treatment until now & it's also another song that holds significance to DAIGO seeing that this's something that he wrote about his feelings + thoughts in caring for PenPen the penguin .
As such , I'm sure DAIGO feels really happy in putting out a studio version of I Wish in DAIGOLD which I think it's something that's in the making for a very long time . And the result is I Wish is a very touching song that DAIGO holds it really dearly to his heart .
REVOLUTION EVOLUTION is track #10 & another standout track in DAIGOLD , REVOLUTION EVOLUTION is an aggressive edgy sounding no. . I actually didn't cared that much for the preview but my perception towards REVOLUTION EVOLUTION definitely changed upon hearing the full version of the song .
Itsumo Dakishimete is the 1st A-side of DAIGO's debut single Itsumo Dakishimete / Mugen∞REBIRTH & it's also the last single included in DAIGOLD .
Even up to now , I still have a warm fuzzy feeling everytime I listen to Itsumo Dakishimete . The lyrics to this mid tempo ballad might sound as though DAIGO is singing about going on a date but in actual fact , it's inspired by his experience in taking care of Sakura the monkey during Tensai ! Shimura Dobusten .
Sawatte is the 2nd last album track . This song was arranged by DAIGO while the programming was done by SHINPEI .
There's just something about Sawatte that is really charming & in this month's episode of DAIGO's once a month webshow DAIGO P , a lot of fans commented that it's 1 of their fave songs in DAIGOLD , alongside with Jerarumin .
YELL is the final song in DAIGOLD & just like Sawatte , it's 1 of those songs that put you in a good mood upon listening to it , making this the perfect no. in wrapping things up in the album .
After being in the music business for almost 17 years , DAIGO has come of age in the release of his very 1st solo album DAIGOLD .
If you look past the somewhat ridiculous over the top album covers/concept , DAIGOLD in its main music core element is very solid & it showcases a wide variety of music styles that DAIGO has never tried before when he was DAIGO☆STARDUST and/or in BREAKERZ .
It's easy to dismiss DAIGO as a flash in the pan but for me being a fan of BREAKERZ for so long until now , to see DAIGO grow musically & then some , is something I don't take for granted at all .
Although BREAKERZ are currently on hiatus , it's heartening to know that AKIHIDE & SHINPEI had some personal input towards certain aspects in DAIGOLD & before listening to the album , I was wondering how things will go since DAIGO's the main vocalist of BREAKERZ .
At the end of the day , what I can say's that the music styles found in DAIGOLD are definitely traits I hopefully will not see them being spilled over to BREAKERZ's discography & for DAIGO to do everything from writing to composing , it's no easy feat as not everyone's able to do that so rather seamlessly .
In conclusion , DAIGOLD is a well versatile album that's really enjoyable from start til finish & DAIGO has definitely paid his dues to get to where he's at . He might have found success rather late but it's better to be late than never .
Saturday, March 15, 2014
CD Review :: Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage
CD + DVD
CD + Blu-ray
1) Introduction ~Bon Voyage~
2) SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA
3) LOADED Feat Sean Paul
4) Winner Girls
8) Let's show tonight
9) Interlude ~Bon Voyage~
10) TOUCH DOWN
11) CRANK THA BASS Feat OVDS
13) Go to the top
14) Dreaming Now !
15) On Your Side
16) U KNOW
Bon Voyage is Koda Kumi's 11th album & it was released last month on 26th Feb .
This's Koda's 1st original album release since 2012's JAPONESQUE as she released her 2nd cover album Colour The Cover last year .
Bon Voyage serves as the album's theme , meaning "have a nice trip" & it includes 4 singles . IS THIS TRAP ? which's found in Koda's 55th single Summer Trip is excluded in the album while 2 album tracks received music videos .
After the introduction/opening Introduction ~Bon Voyage~ , the album dives straight into the 1st album track that received a music video in the form of SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA .
Prior to the release of Bon Voyage , SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA was released digitally last month on 12th Feb .
SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA is hands down easily 1 of Koda's strongest if not most catchy & memorable album track to date . It's no wonder it received a music video as it truly deserves to have 1 .
Upon 1st listen , I already knew this was something I was going to like immediately & SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA somewhat reminds me of Christina Aguilera's Candyman with both songs having that really addictive + super fun big bang jazz swinging melody hook .
LOADED is the 2nd album track & this's 1 of 2 songs that features collaborations . For this song , it features Jamaican Reggae artist Sean Paul .
Before I crossed over to listen to JPop full time , Sean Paul was 1 of the artistes I listened/supported so to see his name on the album credits & that he's featured in a song of Koda made me really excited .
And turns out , just like SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA , LOADED is another ace stellar no. with it being very catchy + perhaps paying homage to Sean's music roots , LOADED definitely has that Reggae influence going on which makes things really fun to listen to .
Personally , LOADED should have received a video but it's unfortunate that didn't materialised as it would have been interesting how it went , video wise .
Winner Girls follows after LOADED & this song was used in the ads of Netz Toyota .
I think the 1st 3 album tracks in Bon Voyage are equally distinct & Winner Girls is no exception . Despite SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA , LOADED & Winner Girls being all dancey upbeat no.s , they're able to distinguish themselves from each other with no problems which I think it's a good sign .
At this point in time , the album has slowed down considerably in the form of the 1st mid tempo track Imagine .
After a series of solid upbeat songs , it's nice to hear something soothing & that's where Imagine comes in . Koda's ballads/slow songs can get quite generic sounding but thankfully Imagine doesn't fall into the category .
Koishikute is Koda's 54th single . Described as a love ballad that conveys the painful feelings of men & women who are going through heartbreak , Koishikute is a winter ballad conveying the pain people go through when their hearts are broken .
This is a sorrowful ballad that draws the story between 2 lovers that realise their feelings upon the distance between them . Yet rather than regret , the feeling of gratefulness is a main element in the song .
As such , Koishikute is a touching song about longing & showing appreciation to the one you love .
LALALALALA is found in Koda's 55th single Summer Trip . This served as the lead promo track in Summer Trip as LALALALALA gives off the feeling of Summer .
Let's show tonight is track #8 & it's the shortest track in Bon Voyage . Despite this , Let's show tonight is very catchy & it somewhat continues from where SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA left behind with both songs having quite similar music traits .
That said , it's quite a pity that Let's show tonight is not a full song & both this track + SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA showcased just how Koda sounded surprisingly good when she belts out big bang swinging jazz no.s .
After Interlude ~Bon Voyage~ , it dives straight into the next song in the album which's TOUCH DOWN .
TOUCH DOWN is found in Koda's 55th single Summer Trip & it's described as a hip hop dance no. .
Well that's no doubt that TOUCH DOWN screams Ero Kawaii & this song proves that Koda is still able to release raunchy no.s even up to now , which's evident in the music video for TOUCH DOWN .
The next 2 album tracks are unfortunately my least fave ones in the album .
CRANK THA BASS is the 2nd song that features a collaboration & for this , it featured OVDS .
I did not like CRANK THA BASS on 1st listen & even up to now , I still feel that it's actually quite annoying if not noisy . The saving grace of the song is that after Koda belted out the 2nd verse , the melody changed for a while in which ironically that part of CRANK THA BASS is the only part that I can tolerate .
Likewise , the same thing goes for LOL which's the 2nd album track to get a music video . Unlike CRANK THA BASS , I was actually quite freaked out when I 1st heard LOL .
With a song title like LOL , it's easy to dismiss this as a joke song but upon hearing it & let alone watching the video , I was scared due to the video content (which's due to my own personal fears of clowns) .
I rather another album track be given a music video instead and not LOL though .
The next 2 songs are singles that were released prior to Bon Voyage .
Go to the top is Koda's 53rd single & it was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the anime Total Eclipse .
Described as a dance pulsating electronica tune , Go to the top tells a message for people living in conflict & that it's being directed at people who do live with constant conflicts within themselves .
Dreaming Now ! is Koda's 56th single & it 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 year 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 ."
On Your Side is the 2nd last album track & it's quite an interesting song , something that Koda never tackled before music wise .
I did enjoy On Your Side & so does the last album track U KNOW which's a power thumping track that concludes Bon Voyage in a rather satisfying tone .
Everyone , all aboard the Koda Kumi cruise express as she takes her fans on a musical joyride trip in releasing her latest album Bon Voyage !
I wouldn't lie that I was quite sceptical to give Bon Voyage a listen as Koda's last album JAPONESQUE was literally flawless from start til finish & also on a non musical level too .
But prior to the release of Bon Voyage , I really like the singles that made the cut in Koda's latest album & except for 2 album tracks , I enjoyed what Bon Voyage has been brought to the music table .
For an artiste that can make 1 or some albums that stand out a great deal in his/her discography , to do a follow up after that ain't easy but Koda Kumi is living proof that can be done in the form of Bon Voyage .
Sunday, March 09, 2014
Kis-My-Ft2 - Hikari no Signal
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Hikari no Signal is Kis-My-Ft2's 10th single & it was released on 5th March .
The group's 1st release for 2014 , Hikari no Signal was chosen to be used as the theme song for anime film Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Daimakyou ~Peko to 5-nin no Tankentai~ that opened yesterday in Japanese theaters on March 8 .
This new Doraemon anime film is a remake version of Nobita no Daimakyou which was released back in 1982 . It tells a story of Doraemon , Nobita & his friends' great adventure to an unexplored region together with a dog named Peko .
Hikari no Signal is described as an up-tempo pop number with the themes of the "importance of friendship" & "the intention to keep going forward with friends" that match with the world view of the film .
Kis-My-Ft2 expressed their great joy to be able to sing for the film & said that they would like Doraemon to appear at their Dome tour .
Member Tamamori Yuta commented that , "Doraemon is a popular anime that has been around since way before we were born & I personally love it , so I am really honoured ." He also commented on Hikari no Signal , "It is a fast-beat song about being optimistic and moving forward . I hope everyone from children to adults can enjoy it !" .
There're 2 B-sides found in the single in which the 1st one is something titled Zutto ~You are my Everything~ .
With a title like this , it's easy to assume that Zutto ~You are my Everything~ is a ballad but in actual fact , it's an upbeat fast paced driven no. .
Likewise , the same thing goes with the 2nd B-side Crush ! Crush ! Crush ! . For this B-side , it's only available in the CD only edition of the single .
Kis-My-Ft2 kicked off 2014 with them reaching their 10th single release milestone , in the form of Hikari no Signal which's a warmhearted song that emphasises on the importance of friendship .
Their 1st singles best collection album HIT ! HIT ! HIT ! will be released later on this month on 26th March but Hikari no Signal is not included in it .