Thursday, July 31, 2014
BREAKERZ - Kokoro o Tsunaide
Kokoro o Tsunaide is a song by BREAKERZ which's included in a bonus CD that comes together with BREAKERZ's latest DVD release BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2012～2013 “BEST” -LIVE HOUSE COLLECTION- & -HALL COLLECTION- COMPLETE BOX .
BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2012～2013 “BEST” -LIVE HOUSE COLLECTION- & -HALL COLLECTION- COMPLETE BOX was released last week on 23rd July & Kokoro o Tsunaide was was performed live for the 1st time during the encore segment of the guys' final tour date of BREAKERZ LIVE TOUR 2013 "BEST" -HALL COLLECTION- that was held last year on 27th Feb 2013 at Tokyo's NHK Hall .
Song credits wise , Kokoro o Tsunaide was written & composed by frontman DAIGO while the song was arranged by the whole group .
The guys have been on hiatus since last Spring as they're currently pursuing solo projects & naturally I was missing new material from them so for them to include a bonus CD together with their latest DVD release is a real treat .
As for Kokoro o Tsunaide , it's a really earnest song that's done very simply with it being an acoustic guitar driven no. . I'm not sure if what I heard was recorded directly from the concert or if it's done in the recording studio but nonetheless , hearing Kokoro o Tsunaide is just great .
Although I like their solo stuff , it's frankly not the same when all 3 of them come together & Kokoro o Tsunaide is proof of that . And hopefully it wouldn't be soon before long that BREAKERZ will make a comeback & when that happens , I know it will be epic .
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Himuro Kyosuke - ONE LIFE
1) ONE LIFE
2) Nemuri Komu Maeni
ONE LIFE is Himuro Kyosuke's 30th single & it was released last week on 16th July .
Himuro's last single release was last May's NORTH OF EDEN . The release of ONE LIFE is to celebrate his 25th anniversary in the business & it was used in the ads of Volkswagen's Golf Variant .
Frankly I feel that ONE LIFE is a very fast thumping aggressive rock driven song & when I found out it was used to promote Volkswagen , I was not that surprised as oddly when I listened to ONE LIFE , I can somewhat visualised how fitting this song's used in the Volkswagen ads .
Nemuri Komu Maeni serves as the B-side in the single & this's a mid tempo song that contrasts ONE LIFE quite well .
After being in the business for almost 25 years , Himuro Kyosuke reached a milestone in his solo career with releasing his 30th single that's his latest release offering in the form of ONE LIFE .
During his Yamaguchi concert that was held on July 13 , Himuro surprised fans when he announced that he is planning to retire . Soon after , it was announced on his official website that he would be suspending all live activities after his live plans next year . Details on his future music related activities will be revealed at a later date .
Friday, July 18, 2014
GLAY - BLEEZE ~G4・III~
Covers for both CD & CD + DVD editions
2) Soto Nada SAPPHIRE
3) Kuroku nure !
BLEEZE ~G4・III~ is GLAY's 50th single & it was released last week on 9th July .
The group's last single release was last Nov's DIAMOND SKIN / Niji no Pocket / CRAZY DANCE .
There're a total of 4 songs (1 main A-side & 3 B-sides) found in BLEEZE ~G4・III~ in which each song is written & composed by each of the GLAY members .
The main A-side BLEEZE was written & composed by vocalist TERU . Promo wise , it was picked to be used as the theme song for the band's own event , GLAY EXPO 2014 TOHOKU 20th Anniversary .
BLEEZE is described as a fun rock number & judging from the single cover , it's quite evident that BLEEZE is Summer inspired .
Soto Nada SAPPHIRE is the 1st B-side included in the single . For this , it was written & composed by guitarist/keyboardist TAKURO .
TAKURO is mainly responsible for writing & composing most of GLAY's songs so it's no surprises that his presence can be felt a great deal in Soto Nada SAPPHIRE with the electric guitar being made the focal point of the song .
Kuroku nure ! is the 2nd B-side . This song was written & composed by guitarist HISASHI . While Soto Nada SAPPHIRE is a rather mid tempo song , this's not the case for Kuroku nure ! with it being an aggressive guitar driven no. .
YOU is the last B-side/final song in BLEEZE ~G4・III~ . This song was written & composed by bassist JIRO .
Out of the 3 B-sides , YOU is my favourite as it's just a heartwarming ballad . After 3 back to back songs that're in the mid tempo/upbeat genre , to cap things off with a song like YOU is a refreshing change .
Celebrating their 20th anniversary in the music business , GLAY put out releases for 3 consecutive months in which the plan concluded in the form of the band's latest single BLEEZE ~G4・III~ which's also their 50th overall single release .
GLAY is a group that I really respect a great deal & being in the business for 20 years is not easy , let alone to release 50 singles within a span of a long but yet fruitful music career .
On the other hand , I enjoy BLEEZE ~G4・III~ & I also appreciate the individual group effort that went into each song , something that makes the experience when comes to listening to BLEEZE ~G4・III~ a lot more worthwhile if not great .
Among the many groups of rookies JRock bands , GLAY is living proof on why they're still here after 20 years & here's to even more anniversaries to come !
Monday, July 14, 2014
CD Review :: Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-Journey
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
1) "3rd" Overture
2) Seven Journey
5) Daisuki Desu
6) FORM (Kitayama Hiromitsu)
7) LU4E ~Last Song~ (Fujigaya Taisuke)
8) Only One... (Tamamori Yuta)
9) FIRE!!! (Kitayama Hiromitsu . Fujigaya Taisuke)
10) Tana Kara Botamochi (Busaiku)
12) Hikari no Signal
13) Bokura no Yakusoku
14) Agetekuze ! (CD Only Track)
Kis-My-Journey is Kis-My-Ft2's 3rd album & it was released on 2nd July .
The group's last album release was last March's Good Ikuze ! & in Kis-My-Journey , just 1 single Hikari no Signal is included .
Kis-My-Ft2's singles Ki・Su・U・Ma・I ~KISS YOUR MIND~ / S.O.S (Smile On Smile) , Kimi to no Kiseki & SNOW DOME no Yakusoku / Luv Sick are not included in Kis-My-Journey but these 3 singles are included in the group's 1st best album HIT! HIT! HIT! .
In addition in Kis-My-Journey , 2 album tracks received music videos .
After the album's opening track "3rd" Overture , the 1st 2 new album tracks back to back are the 2 new songs that received music videos in the form of Seven Journey & 3.6.5 .
Seven Journey serves as the lead album promo track & the song was written by Kimaguren while for 3.6.5 , it was used in the ads of DHC's 'Yakuyou Acne Control Series' with it being described as a cool comical number .
Honestly I can understand why both songs have music videos because each of them are pretty good although between the 2 , I prefer Seven Journey a lot more . Not that there's nothing bad going on for 3.6.5 though & the video accompanying the song is quite amusing .
Striker is the 3rd album track & this's quite an edgy number . It's not as aggressive sounding as the group's previous album tracks but this's still worth a listen .
On the other hand , the next song Daisuki Desu was picked to be used in the ads of Glico's 'Watering Kissmint Gum' & funny enough , I got Winter vibes upon hearing it as Daisuki Desu sounds like something from where SNOW DOME no Yakusoku left behind .
Not that it's a bad thing though but Daisuki Desu is a very nice mid tempo track & it's definitely 1 of my fave songs in the album .
The next 3 songs in the album are all mid tempo ballad driven numbers that're sung in solo mode by the 3 main personnel of the group .
FORM is sung by the group's leader Kitayama Hiromitsu while LU4E ~Last Song~ is sung by the group's rapper Fujigaya Taisuke . And after that , Only One... is sung by Tamamori Yuta .
In general , I feel that everyone in Kis-My-Ft2 can sing & the 3 back to back solos surprise me because I didn't expect them to be mid tempo songs but out of the 3 , Fujigaya's LU4E ~Last Song~ is a full on ballad .
But that said , the 3 solos are solid in each of their own right & even Tamamori's solo is not bad even though vocal wise , he's not the strongest in the group but I enjoy Only One... & likewise for Kitayama's FORM .
FIRE!!! is sung by Kitamaya & Fujigaya . I personally feel that this duet is 1 highlight in Kis-My-Journey as it's just an edgy memorable track . When I 1st heard the song , I immediately knew straightaway this was something that I was going to like a great deal .
With Fujigaya being the rapper of the group , it makes sense for him to showcase his rapping skills in FIRE!! which I think he does it well & that compliments Kitamaya's singing too .
Tanakara Botamochi is sung by Busaiku which's a special unit which comprises of members Yokoo Wataru , Miyata Toshiya , Nikaido Takashi & Senga Kento .
For this song , Tanakara Botamochi is Busaiku's debut single which was produced by SMAP's leader Nakai Masahiro .
Tsubasa is the 5th group album track & I like this song as it's a really uplifting empowering no. . As such , it's 1 of my fave songs in Kis-My-Journey as it's uptempo without going overboard .
Hikari no Signal is Kis-My-Ft2's 10th single & it's the only single included in Kis-My-Journey .
For this , Hikari no Signal was chosen to be used as the theme song for the anime film Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Daimakyou ~Peko to 5-nin no Tankentai~ .
Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Daimakyou ~Peko to 5-nin no Tankentai~ 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 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 !" .
Bokura no Yakusoku is the last song in the album (for both CD + DVD's editions) & the 2nd last track in the CD only edition of Kis-My-Journey .
With a title like Bokura no Yakusoku , it's quite evident that it's a ballad in which I feel it's a nice way of wrapping things up .
Agetekuze ! is included as a bonus track in the CD only edition of the album . With regards to this song , I think it's quite weak & not exactly a good memorable track as there're other better songs in Kis-My-Journey for me to enjoy . Hence , Agetekuze ! is something I might skip if I don't wish to listen to it .
For the 1st time this Summer , Kis-My-Ft2 will be touring Japan's 5 major domes ! In commencing this momentous rite of passage , the group released their latest/3rd album Kis-My-Journey to mark this occasion .
I was honestly surprised when it was announced Kis-My-Ft2 will release a new studio album especially since they released their 1st best album HIT! HIT! HIT! this year in March . As such I thought they might not release a new album due to this .
Let alone for Kis-My-Journey to only include 1 single , I was skeptical whether or not will the album sound good . And surprisingly overall the album's quite solid & in addition , the 1st week sales of Kis-My-Journey suppressed their previous album Good Izuke ! which's a rarity to happen at this day/age .
Another thing that surprised me was that the album's quite ballad driven and ironically the upbeat songs felt a bit overshadowed to a certain extent as compared to their previous 2 albums , it wasn't the case .
But all in all to have only 1 single in Kis-My-Journey , it's not easy but at the end of the day the guys managed to pull everything together quite well & with the release of this album , they actually prove that they are able to tackle pretty much any type of music styles with ease , especially on ballads .
On that note , Busaiku will release their 2nd single Tii Tii Tii Terette Tereti Ti Ti ~Dare no Ketsu~ on July 27th while Kis-My-Ft2's 11th single Another Future will be released next month on 13th Aug .
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - Colours
CD + DVD
CD + Blu-ray
1) Feel the love
3) What is forever love
4) Hello new me
10) NOW & 4EVA
Colours is ayumi hamasaki's 15th album & it was released last week on 2nd July .
ayumi's last album release was last year's LOVE again & in Colours , it only includes 1 physical CD single release Feel the love / Merry-go-round .
In addition , this's ayumi's 1st album not to include any introduction openings and/or interludes . And there're a total of 8 new album tracks with 3 of them that received music videos .
Prominent music personnel such as Rodney Jerkins , Armin van Buuren , Fedde Le Grand , DAISHI DANCE lent their expertise in the production of Colours .
Feel the love is the 1st song in the album & it's the 1st A-side of ayumi's 51th single Feel the love / Merry-go-round .
Described as an electronic dance music number , Feel the love was produced by DJ Hello Kitty & composed by Komuro Tetsuya . Promo wise , it was used in the ads of H.I.S Christmas Fair + as the opening theme song for TBS's CDTV for Dec 2013 & Jan 2014 .
XOXO is the 1st album track & this's 1 of 3 songs that received a music video .
This song is 1 of my fave in the album as it's a bold sassy no. & the music style ayumi went for in here is something she never tried before until now .
What is forever love is the 2nd album track & this song features the vocals of AAA's Urata Naoya . This's the 3rd time Urata collaborates with ayumi , in which previously he also collaborated with her on Dream ON & ANother song (from her 2nd mini album FIVE) .
Just like XOXO , What is forever love is another standout track in Colours & the credit really has to go to DAISHI DANCE for composing this great infectious tune .
In fact before the album credits were released , I somehow had the feeling DAISHI DANCE was the 1 that composed What is forever love as the music style going on is quite similar to other songs that he composed for other artists (such as BENI & Mika Nakashima) . Also I frankly do not mind Urata collaborating with ayumi again as I feel the harmonisation of their vocals is good .
The next song after What is forever love is Hello new me which was 1st released digitally on 14th May prior to the release of Colours .
Hello new me was picked to be used as the theme song for the drama Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi . Up to now , I still think this song's average sounding as there're other better songs in Colours for me to enjoy .
Pray follows after Hello new me & for this , it was used as the theme song for the movie BUDDHA2 Tezuka Osamu no Buddah -Owarinaki Tabi- .
Honestly I think it's a pity that Pray was not released as a physical single as it has a lot of potential to be a good 1 but still , to see it included in Colours , it's better than nothing I suppose as it's 1 of the more better ballads included in the album .
Terminal is track #6 & this song was composed by Armin van Buuren .
With a name like Armin van Buuren , it's easy to see why Terminal is a great bold futuristic track that's perfect to listen to in a club . In fact , an English version of Terminal was also recorded but eventually it was scrapped in favour of the version that was eventually included in the album .
Angel is the 2nd of 3 album tracks that received a video . I like the melody of the song but what didn't made me in liking the track was the way ayumi sings as I did not like the way that she over stretched her vocals a bit too much . If not , this mid tempo ballad would have been something for me to like .
Merry-go-round is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 51st single Feel the love / Merry-go-round . In this song , ayumi teamed up in working with m-flo for the 1st time .
Described as an hip-hop flavoured dance tune , the melody for Merry-go-round was produced by ☆Taku Takahashi & it features a rap section from m-flo's VERBAL .
Even though there're only 2 collaborations in Colours , I think both of them are well put together . Likewise for Merry-go-round , I still prefer it a lot more than Feel the love & the music direction that was undertaken in Merry-go-round is something ayumi never tried before but it works really well in her favour in here .
Lelio is the 2nd last song in the album & it's also the last track that received a video .
This alongside with XOXO & Terminal are the 3 standout album tracks in Colours , especially Lelio as it's just too infectious & it's downright impossible not to get hooked onto this addictive sounding dance no. . Kudos has to go to Fedde le Grand for composing Lelio .
NOW & 4EVA is the final song in Colours & this was 1st released digitally on 21st May prior to the release of the album .
To me , there's nothing really special going on in NOW & 4EVA as I feel it's quite a boring no. . I suppose after being impressed with the upbeat songs in Colours , the mid tempo tracks do not stand out as much as the other tracks in which unfortunately in this case , NOW & 4EVA was overshadowed quite significantly .
After being in the business for 16 years , ayumi hamsaki released her latest album offering Colours .
I have to admit , her last album release LOVE again is easily my least fave album coming from ayumi as I disliked the way the album was marketed a great deal & the album tracks in her last album were something that were left to be desired about .
But for Colours , there're some really surprising if not great music styles going on in Colours which ayumi never tried before which made things rather enjoyable .
On the other hand , Colours felt really short as this's ayumi's 1st album not to include any instrumental openings and/or interludes in which it feels really odd as all the while her albums are known to have them so for not any of them this time round feels strange & I needed some time to get used to .
Also , this time round not all the new album tracks are good . I noticed that the standout tracks in Colours are the more upbeat ones while the mid tempo ballads are the weak link in the album .
All in all , Colours is not exactly ayumi's best album as I feel it's not an all rounder album as compared to her previous albums but for her to still keep on going in the business after so long , props to her .
Sunday, July 06, 2014
CD Review :: KAT-TUN - come Here
CD + DVD
1) COME HERE
4) ART OF LIFE (Ueda Tatsuya's Solo)
5) Fumetsu no Scrum
6) Crescent (Nakamaru Yuichi's Solo)
8) BREAK UR CAGE
9) Emerald (Kamenashi Kazuya's Solo)
11) WHENEVER I KISS YOU (Taguchi Junnosuke's Solo)
12) SUMMER EMOTION
13) TO THE LIMIT
14) HIDE and SEEK
15) FACE to Face
16) MY EVERY TIME
17) SUNRISE (CD Only Track)
18) Yasashii Ame (CD Only Track)
come Here is KAT-TUN's 7th album & it was released last month on 25th June .
KAT-TUN's last full length album release was 2012's CHAIN . come Here is KAT-TUN's 1st full length album release as a quartet after the departure of member/rapper Tanaka Koki .
come Here includes 4 singles , 4 solos & 10 album tracks (2 of them are found as bonus tracks in the CD only edition of the album) . Their 22nd single In Fact is not included in their latest album release .
Sharing the same title as the album is the 1st song , COME HERE & it's also the only new song that gets a music video .
Despite debuting in the scene since 2006 , it's surprisingly to know that KAT-TUN has never put out a Summer inspired song in their discography up to now , so that's where COME HERE is brought into the picture .
COME HERE is quite an interesting song to start things off which's quite different from the group's past album opening album songs . I don't get the whole Summer feeling when I 1st heard it but the video accompanying the song is quite comical & managed to lift things up in making the whole experience fun + entertaining .
TRIANGLE is the 2nd album track & this song is more or less the typical rock stuff that KAT-TUN is known best for doing .
EXPOSE is KAT-TUN's 20th single . Promo wise , it was used as the TV CM tie up song for Suzuki Solio Bandit + it also served as last Feb's theme song for music show On Air .
This's still 1 of my fave singles from KAT-TUN as it's just in your face & a bit different from what they're normally known for doing but in this case , the music style they undertook paid off well for them .
ART OF LIFE is the 1st solo song in the album & for this , it's sung by Ueda Tatsuya .
Ueda's solos have always been a hit or miss for me . In this case , ART OF LIFE is somewhere in the middle as I didn't like it at 1st but gradually , I'm now used to this fast paced highly charged up rock song .
I still feel that Ueda's best solos are when he does ballads but I give him credit for trying out new different music styles .
Fumetsu no Scrum is KAT-TUN's 19th single . The song served as the main theme no. in the TV drama series Dragon Seinendan starring Kanjani∞'s Shota Yasuda & it has the inclusion of rap lyrics written by ex-member Tanaka Koki under his pen name JOKER .
Dragon Seinendan centres on a group of teenagers band together to save the world from the threat of dragons . With lyrics like 'Chase your dreams with your buddies !' , Fumetsu no Scrum is a positive affirmation driven song that describes the bond that exists among friends .
Crescent is the 2nd solo song in the album & for this , it's sung by Nakamaru Yuichi with lyrics written by Nakamaru himself .
Nakamaru's solos always has been consistently good as I feel he generally can sing well but for Crescent , it's an unexpectedly good solo which's very catchy .
Out of the solos included in come Here , Nakamaru's is my 2nd fave & there's no deny the layerings of synth + beat that goes into Crescent , making this song a very infectious no. that I can't stop humming to & kudos to him for penning the lyrics to the song as well .
Fake & BREAK UR CAGE are the next 2 album tracks . Fake is a mid-tempo sounding no. while BREAK UR CAGE has a cool jazz/pop sound which's something the guys never tried before but it's not bad .
Emerald is the 3rd solo song in the album & for this , it's sung by Kamenashi Kazuya & the lyrics of the song was written by Kame with the song composed/arranged by DAISHI DANCE .
Kame's solos , just like Ueda have been a hit or miss for me but this time round in come Here , Emerald is my fave solo after Nakamaru's Crescent .
To be frank , I was not really that impressed with Kame's previous solo Zutto that was found in CHAIN but for Emerald , to say that it's almost a flawless track is an understatement . I was really blown away by the song on 1st listen as this's Kame's best solo in recent times .
The opening for Emerald sounds like a ballad but in actual fact , it's a fast paced dance no. & it's very infectious . To me , I still feel 1582 is Kame's best solo but Emerald is enough to stack up against 1582 if not being on par with it so great job Kame !
And when you have DAISHI DANCE onboard , things will not go wrong at all .
STAR is the 5th album track & for this it's the 1st album ballad . From the beginning since I started supporting them , I always feel that KAT-TUN is able to sing well for both aggressive rock songs + ballads & this's evident for STAR .
WHENEVER I KISS YOU is the final solo song in the album & for this , it's sung by Taguchi Junnosuke .
Taguchi's solos have always been consistently pretty good & even though vocally wise he's not the strongest in the group , Taguchi is able to pick songs that utilise and/or hide his vocals's strengths & weaknesses .
For WHENEVER I KISS YOU , it's a smooth sounding mid tempo track . While it's nowhere just as good as FLASH , WHENEVER I KISS YOU is still something worth checking out .
SUMMER EMOTION is the 6th album track & as the song title suggests , it's a Summer inspired no. .
Unlike COME HERE , I do get the whole Summer inspired vibes when I 1st heard SUMMER EMOTION which's a fun rock driven no. . I can imagine myself listening to this song if I'm driving down the expressway .
TO THE LIMIT is KAT-TUN's 18th single . The song includes the passionate message , "Don't be complacent & satisfied with your present state , grab your future & dreams while bravely facing difficulties ."
HIDE and SEEK follows after TO THE LIMIT . In this case , HIDE and SEEK is a mysterious if not intriguing no. . The song doesn't grab me initially but I'm ok with it now .
FACE to Face is KAT-TUN's 21st single . The last single included in come Here , FACE to FACE was used as the main theme song in the movie Ore Ore starring Kamenashi Kazuya & this's the 1st time for the group to provide the theme song for a movie .
This single is also the final single release that includes ex-member Tanaka Koki's vocals as well .
MY EVERY TIME is the final song included in the CD + DVD of the album . Just like STAR , MY EVERY TIME is a heartwarming ballad that will definitely a chord with fans .
SUNRISE & Yasashii Ame are the 2 bonus tracks available in the CD only edition of come Here . SUNRISE is a carefree Summer inspired no. while for Yasashii Ame it's another ballad .
Before starting their nationwide tour , KAT-TUN beckons fans with their 7th album come Here , which appropriately has a Summer theme .
I have to admit after KAT-TUN released their 1st mini album Kusabi -kusabi- , I was skeptical on whether or not are they able to release a full length album as frankly it's not easy especially after they've lost 2 key members .
But after listening to come Here , my doubts were cast aside as this album's generally quite solid and frankly , the solos included are some of the best if not strongest sounding I've come across from the guys in recent times .
That's not to say come Here does not have any flaws . 1 of the problems I have with this album is the duration as it's quite lengthy if not daunting as everything (inclusive of the 2 bonus tracks) is almost at 1 hour 20 mins long .
Other than this , it's a commending effort for KAT-TUN to put out come Here . They could have chose to disband and/or not to continue releasing new material after what has happened to them but I salute them for continuing on & for that , they deserve my upmost respect .
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
CD Review :: Hey ! Say ! JUMP - smart
CD Only (same cover with 1st press CD only + bonus disc)
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Disc 1 ::
1) ~Prelude of smart~
3) Ready Go
4) Come On A My House
5) Setsunasa , Hikikae ni
8) Yuto Tataite Mita.
9) Compass Rose
10) Ride With Me
11) Come Back ...?
13) Hajimari no Melody
Disc 2 ::
1) My World
2) Tomodachida yo
3) Yes ! / Kaitou y-ELLOW-voice (Yamada・Takaki・Hikaru)
4) Super Super Night / Night Style People (Chinen・Nakajima・Yabu)
5) Oh ! Idol ! / Ai Tsui I-tai (Okamoto・Daiki・Inoo)
smart is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 3rd album & it was released last month on 18th June .
The group's last album release was 2012's JUMP WORLD . In their latest album , smart includes 3 singles while 2 album tracks FOREVER & Setsunasa , Hikikae ni received music videos .
smart was released in 3 editions in which the CD only edition came with a 1st press bonus in the form of an extra disc . In this extra disc , there're a total of 5 songs in which 2 of them are sung together as a group while the other 3 are sung separately in a trio like setting . For that , the 3 songs will not be reviewed .
The album kicked things off with ~Prelude of smart~ which is an introduction opening , something that the group's 1st 2 albums didn't had . After in which it dives straight into the 1st album track FOREVER .
1 of 2 album tracks that received a music video , FOREVER truly deserves to have 1 as it's a great grown up sounding in your face no. which flows very well after ~Prelude of smart~ . I can see why it was chosen to have a video as FOREVER essentially has the whole package that showcases a more mature side of Hey ! Say ! JUMP .
Ready Go is the 2nd album track & this's a fast paced catchy no. . Slightly less mature sounding than FOREVER but still Ready Go is real memorable if not fun to listen to .
Come On A My House is Hey ! Say ! JUMP' 10th single & it was used in the ads of House Foods's Vermont Curry in which the ads were shot in Thailand .
Filled with outbursts of cheer & energy , Come On A My House is a uptempo dance song that fits perfectly with the group's young & bright image .
Setsunasa , Hikikae ni is the 2nd album track that received a video alongside with FOREVER . In this case , Setsunasa , Hikikae ni is a mid tempo song that shows a different music of the group .
Candle is the 1st album ballad & the lyrics of the song was written by member Yamada Ryosuke . Aside from the nice personal input touch , Candle is fantastic as this song allows the group to shine a great deal , proving that they're equally adaptable when comes to doing upbeat songs and/or ballads .
Pastel is the 5th album track and this's 1 of my least fave songs in smart as I feel it's quite poppish for my liking . Let alone there're other better tracks in smart for me to enjoy aside from Pastel .
Yuto Tataite Mita. is the album's interlude track . After this little drummer boy inspired instrumental no. , it dives right into Compass Rose .
Compass Rose was written by member Hikaru Yaotome & just like Pastel , I do not really like Compass Rose that much as it sounds like a weak attempt for them to do rock music but I have to give credit to Hikaru for penning the lyrics to Compass Rose .
Ride With Me is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 11th single . The song is described as a cutting edge dance tune which was composed & produced by ☆Taku Takahashi (block.fm , m-flo) , making this the 1st time for ☆Taku to be in charge of a Hey ! Say ! JUMP song .
Promo wise , Ride With Me was picked to be used as the theme song for NTV's special drama Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Gokumon Juku Satsujin Jiken , starring members Yamada Ryosuke & Arioka Daiki .
Come Back ...? follows after Ride With Me & just like Compass Rose , Hikaru also had a hand in writing the lyrics but he went 1 step further + composed the song as well .
I must say I respect the personal input touches coming from Hikaru as for him to do either writing and/or composing , it's not easy but Come Back ...? is quite something in that the song's edgy sounding which I like .
On the other hand , RELOAD features lyrics written by member Arioka Daiki & for this case , the song's mid tempo guitar driven .
Hajimari no Melody is the last album track found in disc 1 & as the name suggests , it's a ballad , the 2nd one after Candle .
In this case , Hajimari no Melody allows the group's vocals to be more flashed out in which it showcases some great harmonisation of everyone's vocals that can be felt greatly in this song .
AinoArika is the 1st A-side of Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 12th single AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life in which the 2nd A-side Aisureba Motto Happy Life is not included in smart .
Described as a spectacular number that sounds like it would be used as the theme song for a sci-fi movie or a RPG , AinoArika was picked to be used as the theme song for the TBS drama Dark System : Koi no Ohza Ketteisen & the drama starred members Yaotome Hikaru & Inoo Kei .
In addition , the rap lyrics found in AinoArika were written by Hikaru .
Honestly I can't think of any other song other than AinoArika to conclude things in the 1st disc of smart as up to now , I'm still blown away just how different if not great the song's . In a way I'm glad that Aisureba Motto Happy Life is not included in the album as I still prefer AinoArika a lot more .
As such , I think the group's team did a great job in picking the right song/s to start & conclude the 1st disc of smart .
My World & Tomodachida yo are the 2 group songs found in the 2nd disc of smart . The 2nd disc comes as a 1st press bonus item .
Both songs are equally good but between both , I prefer My World as it's an upbeat mature sounding song while for Tomodachida yo , it sounds quite a lot like their older works which basically showcases the cutesy side of them . Once in a while , I don't mind such songs given that all of them are already young adults but I generally will skip them if I'm given a choice .
2 years after the release of their last album JUMP WORLD , Hey ! Say ! JUMP returns with their 3rd album , smart . It has been 7 years since the group's debut & the guys who are now all over the age of 20 , are eager to show fans how much they've grown .
Overall I enjoy listening to smart & compared with JUMP WORLD , there's a considerably amount of mature/growth that can be felt significantly in smart especially since the release time gap between both albums is 2 years .
JUMP WORLD did not had that much strong album tracks but thankfully that's not the case for smart . Aside from some album tracks that I did not like , the overall quality of the group's latest album is quite solid & also a special mention has to go to some of the members for giving their personal input touches to lift smart up a notch or 2 in which of course it is a smart move to do , pun intended .
Hey ! Say ! JUMP has been 1 group that I've followed/supported since their debut single Ultra Music Power & it's heartening to see them made the transition from awkward small boys to mature teens & now finally fine young gentlemen .