Saturday, May 31, 2014
Ken Hirai - Kazoku ni Narou yo , Virtual Insanity & My Way
2 CDs (2nd disc has live recordings from Ken's Bar 15th Anniversary Valentine Special!! concert held at Blue Note Tokyo on 14 & 15th Feb)
CD + DVD (DVD has live footages of Ken's Bar 15th Anniversary Special! Vol.1 concert that was held at Nippon Budokan on May 30th 2013)
Kazoku ni Narou yo , Virtual Insanity & My Way are 3 cover songs found in Ken Hirai's 3rd cover album Ken's Bar III that was released on 28th May .
Kazoku ni Narou yo is found as track #3 in Ken's Bar III . This song was originally sung by Fukuyama Masaharu & it's the 1st A-side of Fukuyama's 27th single Kazoku ni Narou yo / fighting pose .
Out of the songs Ken covered in Ken's Bar III , Kazoku ni Narou yo can be considered still as a relatively new song seeing that Kazoku ni Narou yo / fighting pose was released 3 years ago . But nonetheless , Ken's cover of the song is pretty good & he does justice to the original seeing that the song itself is already great .
Virtual Insanity is found as track #9 in Ken's Bar III & this song was originally sung by Jamiroquai . Virtual Insanity was released in 1996 & it's still considered as 1 of Jamiroquai's best known hits to date .
When I was still listening to English music , Virtual Insanity was 1 of the many songs that the radio stations would (and still do) kept playing even up to now as it's something that wouldn't go wrong at all so when I saw this in the tracklist of Ken's Bar III , I was stoked .
For Ken's rendition , his take on Virtual Insanity is pretty much spot on & he's able to hit the high notes with ease just like what Jamiroquai's Jay Kay did . And since this song's already a class of its own , for Ken to cover it , it definitely means something .
My Way is found as track #14 in Ken's Bar III . The song was originally sung by the late Frank Sinatra & it was released in 1969 which effectively became Frank Sinatra's theme song in the later stage of his career .
Unlike the 1st 2 above mentioned cover songs , Ken's cover of My Way is unique because his take on My Way is sung in Japanese & not in the original language which's English . Nevertheless , it didn't stop me from listening to Ken's rendition from a different language & for what Ken has done , it's commendable .
Thursday, May 29, 2014
flumpool - labo (Re-format) , Believers ・ High & Ashita e no Sanka
2 CDs + DVD
labo (Re-format) , Believers ・ High & Ashita e no Sanka are 3 new songs that're included in flumpool's 1st best album The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 .
The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 was released last week on 21st May , alongside with their 1st DVD single Believers ・ High .
labo (Re-format) , Believers ・ High are found in the 1st disc of the best album while Ashita e no Sanka is included in the 2nd disc .
Found as track #9 in the 1st disc in The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 , labo (Re-format) is a new recording of flumpool's 2nd indie single release .
labo was always 1 of my fave songs from the guys's older works but the updated version is also equally enjoyable/fun . In this case , labo (Re-format) has a more modern if not robotic sound which's probably done on purpose which's not a bad thing .
Believers ・ High is found as track #13 in The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 . Promo wise , it was picked to be used as the opening theme no. of the anime Captain Earth .
Prior to the release of The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 , Believers ・ High was 1st released digitally on 14th May .
Believers ・ High is a great empowering song & it's most certainly 1 of flumpool's most finest upbeat tracks they've put out to date . Immediately when the song begins , I get a sense of great rush upon hearing it & needless to say , I'm really impressed on what Believers ・ High has to offer as the whole thing just works very well in the guys' favour .
Ashita e no Sanka is found as track #1 in the 2nd disc in The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 . Promo wise , it was picked to be used as the Monday theme song for Fuji TV's morning news programme Mezamashi TV .
Prior to the release of The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 , Ashita e no Sanka was 1st released digitally on 16th April .
Unlike Believers ・ High , Ashita e no Sanka is a mid tempo ballad & it clocks in at a whopping 6 mins long which might be a bit daunting but it didn't stop me from enjoying this inspirational no. quite a fair bit .
All in all , the new material included in flumpool's 1st best album The Best 2008-2014 「MONUMENT」 are a real joy to listen to & it's a must get item to savour the best of what 1 of JRock most talented bands have to offer for the past 6 years of their career .
And here's to even more great successful fruitful years to flumpool !
Sunday, May 25, 2014
FLOWER FLOWER - Kamisama
Kamisama is a digital single from FLOWER FLOWER that was released on 21st May .
FLOWER FLOWER's latest release after releasing their 1st digital Tsuki last July is an older song that the band has played during live performances . Because of the band's lack of activities , it was decided that a recording of the song would be released .
"I'm used to only play an acoustic guitar , but I've been playing the electric guitar a lot lately . Kamisama was one of the 1st songs I played on the electric guitar , so it's important to me . I hope Kamisama lifts your spirits when you listen to it ," Yui wrote on the band's blog .
Yui & by association FLOWER FLOWER , has been on hiatus since March when she had a panic attack . The singer has been receiving medical treatment for her panic attacks . She plans on resuming activities little by little .
Thursday, May 22, 2014
ayumi hamasaki - Hello new me
Hello new me is a digital single of ayumi hamasaki that was released last week on 14th May .
ayumi's new song serves as the opening theme for Fuji TV's drama Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi .
Honestly , I think Hello new me is only ok for my liking . It's nothing mind blowing if not ground breaking as this sounds like ayumi's previous works . It's pleasant sounding but there's not really much of any X factor going on in this mid tempo piano driven no. .
On this note , Hello new me will be included in ayumi's 15th album (currently untitled) that will be released on 2nd July .
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Matsushita Yuya - Slow Dancin'
1) Slow Dancin'
2) She's A Liar -Route A REMIX-
Slow Dancin' is a digital single released by Matsushita Yuya in which his latest single offering was released last month on 25th April .
Matsushita's latest digital offering comes in about 2 months + since the release of his previous digital single She's A Liar .
With a title like Slow Dancin' , I thought it was going to be a sappy mid tempo ballad but I was surprised it's not the case . It's a ballad yes but it's 1 of those R&B no.s that packs a lot of emotions which's quite different from what She's A Liar offered .
And speaking of She's A Liar , a Route A REMIX serves as the B-side in the digital single . It contrasts Slow Dancin' really well & the remix is essentially more club driven with the lyrics being sung in English .
Ever since Matsushita Yuya departed from his previous record label & setting up his own independent record label , his music has become more grown up & mature . Frankly I think it has been great seeing him grown musically & then some for the past 5/6 years since I started to support/follow him .
Likewise for his latest digital offering Slow Dancin' , I think both songs are really solid & enjoyable . I just wish that Matsushita would go back to release his music in physical mode . Not that releasing music digitally is a bad thing but the feeling is not the same when you purchase a physical CD copy & holding it in your hands .
Friday, May 16, 2014
AKIHIDE - RAIN MAN
CD + DVD
RAIN MAN is found as track #2 in BREAKERZ's guitarist AKIHIDE's 3rd solo album RAIN STORY .
RAIN STORY was released on May 14th & AKIHIDE's latest release is a concept album that's based on the theme of rain .
In addition , RAIN STORY is AKIHIDE's 3rd original album release to date after the release of his previous 2 solo albums , Amber & Lapis Lazuli .
RAIN MAN is the only song in RAIN STORY that has lyrics + being given a video . The other songs in RAIN STORY are instrumental , similar to AKIHIDE's 2nd album Lapis Lazuli .
In this case , RAIN MAN serves as the 47th ending theme no. for the Detective Conan anime from this month onwards .
I honestly have no idea how AKIHIDE is able to release 3 albums within a span of 11 months but based on his solo releases , it's evident on just how talented he actually is in reality & the same thing goes for RAIN MAN .
In this case , RAIN MAN is a mid tempo track that's piano & electric guitar driven . The whole feeling that the song gives pays homage to what the album RAIN STORY is all about + the ending result gives you this really heartfelt emotional driven no. .
For BREAKERZ to go solo since last April , it allows each of them to showcase a different musical side that's not often seen when the 3 of them are together & for AKIHIDE , this lets him to be able to do what he does best , ie. creating lyrical poetic songs that have intriguing melodies to boot .
Sunday, May 11, 2014
ARASHI - GUTS !
CD + DVD
GUTS ! is ARASHI's 43rd single & it was released last month on 30th April .
The group's latest single offering was released about 2 months + since their previous single Bittersweet .
The A-side was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Yowakutemo Katemasu ~Aoshi Sensei to Heppoko Koukou Kyuji no Yabou starring member Ninomiya Kazunari in which the drama started airing from last month on 12th April onwards .
GUTS ! is described as an encouragement song to spur you on to pursue your dreams & hopes . A no. that will inspire anyone's youthful spirit , regardless of age .
There's no question that GUTS ! is a lot more upbeat if not fun as compared to Bittersweet in which I wouldn't deny that upon comparing both songs now , GUTS ! is more better + super catchy .
I definitely didn't expect this type of music style when I 1st heard GUTS ! but now this's something I really enjoy a great deal . The whole 'nanana' going on in GUTS ! is very infectious which's plain hard to ignore .
There're 3 B-sides found in the single in which 2 of them are found exclusively in the CD only edition of GUTS ! .
Kimi ga Waraeru Youni is the only B-side that's a ballad which contrasts the A-side quite well . On the other hand , Love Wonderland is mid tempo song . It's a bit cheesy for my liking but it still doesn't stop me from listening to it .
Fly is the only B-side that's found in the CD + DVD of the single . I think out of the 3 B-sides , this's probably my fave as it has a lot of attitude and is a catchy uptempo no. which's good .
2014 is ARASHI's 15th anniversary & after the release of their latest single offering GUTS ! (which's quite a solid single overall) , you can be assured there will be even more material coming from them in due course .
And before you can say anything else , ARASHI's 44th single Daremo Shiranai will be released later on this month , at the last week of May ie. on 28th May .
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Kanon Wakeshima - killy killy JOKER
CD + DVD
CD + DVD comes with alternate selector infected WIXOSS jacket cover
1) killy killy JOKER
2) moonlight party
3) killy killy JOKER (instrumental)
4) moonlight party (instrumental)
killy killy JOKER is Kanon Wakeshima's 5th single & it was released last month on 30th April .
Kanon's latest single offering comes in about 2 months + since the release of her previous single signal .
The A-side was picked to be used as the opening theme no. for the anime selector infected WIXOSS . Both the A & B-sides were written + composed by Kanon .
Honestly , I didn't like signal that much as it is quite boring for my liking but luckily killy killy JOKER brings back a bit of the old spark from Kanon's older works .
While killy killy JOKER is still not as good as Kanon's older material , at least it's somewhat more memorable/catchy than signal although the anime presence found in killy killy JOKER is quite evident .
On the other hand , moonlight party which serves as the B-side in the single is just weird if not strange on every single level . For starters , Kanon can be heard singing (or rather saying) a bunch of phrases in broken English in the beginning .
I think moonlight party could have been better as this song doesn't live up to expectations and let alone it sounds really bad if you were to compare it against the A-side .
I was frankly surprised that Kanon Wakeshima released a new single so soon after signal , especially since her release pattern of her material can be quite unpredictable .
That said , at this point in time , Kanon should consider to get Malice Mizer/Moi dix Mois's Mana to work on her music again . Not that Kanon's own effort in writing/composing is bad , it's just that when I listen & compare Kanon's older + current works , what Mana did was really something .
Let alone , it's also about time for Kanon to release a brand new album too as it's daunting to know that it has been almost 4 years since she last released her 2nd album Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ .
With a release pattern that can get unpredictable at times , it reminds to be seen what will Kanon's next music move will be like .
Sunday, May 04, 2014
SPYAIR - Imagination
CD + DVD
2) Trust your anthem
3) Imagination (inst.)
4) Trust your anthem (inst.)
Imagination is SPYAIR's 14th single & it was released last month on 30th April .
The group's 1st release for 2014 , the A-side was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the anime Haikyuu .
Imagination is possibly SPYAIR's shortest A-side single to date seeing that both the A & B-sides are under 3 mins long . That said , it doesn't mean they skimp on quality as Imagination is a stirring rock number that brings listeners into the band's colourful musical world .
Trust your anthem serves as the B-side of the single & just like their previous B-sides , this's yet another highly entertaining engaging song .
Honestly , frontman/lead singer IKE does sound surprisingly good when he raps as evident in their 3rd album MILLION's STAND UP & the same thing goes for Trust your anthem which he sounds so seamlessly good , be it when he sings or when he raps .
For their first single of 2014 , SPYAIR shows off their Imagination ! And good things do come in small packages seeing that as mentioned earlier on , this's their shortest release to date , duration wise .
But on whole , Imagination is a solid release & a good way to kick off their 2014 . I'm excited to see what else they have up in store as they're 1 group that has been going from strength to strength as each release of theirs is put out .