Sunday, August 31, 2014
CD Review :: Aoyama Thelma - Lonely Angel
2) We Fell In Love Feat Rook Monroe
3) My Little Angel
7) Turn Your Light On
8) Take It Slow
9) Missing You
10) Lonely Angel
11) SMILE AGAIN
Lonely Angel is Aoyama Thelma's 4th album & it was released on 6th Aug .
Aoyama's last original album release was 2011's WILL & in Lonely Angel , no singles are included .
Lonely Angel was created with the concept of "Girls Anthem" . The album includes TOKEYO which was made available for download via iTunes Store & Recochoku last month on 9th July .
Despite no singles included in Lonely Angel , 3 rather short videos were made for TOKEYO , HAPPY & SMILE AGAIN .
And speaking of TOKEYO , it's the 1st song that's found in the tracklist of Lonely Angel .
When I 1st heard TOKEYO , I thought it's a very unique style that Aoyama hasn't done before and it sounds quite Bollywood-ish . It's really addictive as each listen goes by which's the reason I guess she decided to start off the album with such a number .
Also , Aoyama surprisingly sounded quite good when she raps in TOKEYO as well .
We Fell In Love is the only collaboration found in Lonely Angel & this features Rook Monroe .
In addition , it's also the 1st of 2 songs sung completely in English . Aoyama is fluent in both English & Japanese so there's no weird English/Engrish going on in this mid tempo track .
I think both Aoyama & Rook Monroe's vocals compliment each other quite well . My only complaint about We Fell In Love is that when I 1st heard it , the song just ended abruptly as it's .
My Little Angel & PRAY are the next 2 songs in the album . These 2 songs are mid tempo but PRAY is a lot more slower with it being ballad/piano driven .
HAPPY is the 2nd song in Lonely Angel that's sung completely in English & this's a cover of Pharrell Williams's Happy taken from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album + also from Pharrell's 2nd solo album G I R L .
The Oscar nominated song Happy was a massive hit when it was released last year & even up to now , it's still really popular . I kept on hearing this song pretty much everywhere I go so in a way or 2 , I wasn't really surprised when Aoyama chose to cover + include it in Lonely Angel .
GIRLS & Turn Your Light On are the next 2 songs which're the more upbeat tracks in the album . GIRLS is more edgy sounding while Turn Your Light On has a more funky groovy beat .
On the other hand , Take It Slow & Missing You are the 2 slower sounding no.s in Lonely Angel . Take It Slow is basically a stripped down piano driven that emphasised Aoyama's vocals quite well while Missing You is a mid tempo track .
Sharing the same title as the album , Lonely Angel is another mid tempo song just like Missing You but I actually like it as Lonely Angel (the song) sounds really nice/chilled .
SMILE AGAIN is the final song in the album & it's the 2nd song that received a short music video after TOKEYO as a form of promoting Lonely Angel .
With TOKEYO as an edgy opening track , in comes SMILE AGAIN that serves as a heartwarming upbeat R&B no. in which this makes the perfect choice to conclude the album .
After a 3 years wait , Aoyama Thelma is finally back with a new album ! Lonely Angel is the young singer's 4th full-length original album & it's created under the concept of "girls' anthem" . The 11 songs on the album aims to reflect the lives & culture of contemporary girls , including their views & attitudes towards love .
It's a challenge to release an album that doesn't include any singles and that's what I had prior to listening to Lonely Angel but the album overall managed to hold itself quite well .
It's really unfortunate Aoyama's popularity has fallen greatly in recent times because up to now , I still feel that she's 1 of the most talented R&B singers around . It's not easy for female solos to sustain themselves at this point in time but at the same time , it's still heartening to know that Aoyama is still releasing music despite the music & non music hurdles .
But regardless of what happens , Aoyama still has my vote of support & Lonely Angel is an album worth checking out that has a good dosage of R&B themed music .
Thursday, August 28, 2014
CD Review :: Yamashita Tomohisa - Asobi EP
2) PARTY'S ON
4) Moon Disco
5) Back to the dance floor
6) Dress Code:
7) LET IT GO
Asobi is Yamashita Tomohisa's 1st mini album & it was released last week on 20th Aug .
No singles are included in Asobi . Yamapi's last music release was his 3rd album A NUDE which was released last Sept .
All 7 songs in Asobi are dance numbers . This release is Yamapi's 1st attempt in having only dance music in a mini album .
Asobi was created with the concept 'Dance Tracks Mini Album' . Different genres of dance music are gathered in Asobi & Yamapi hopes fans will thoroughly enjoy all the songs found in the mini album .
Yamapi commented , "I've been wanting to release an album with a collection of dance music of various genres , so I'm very happy . Through Asobi , I hope that people who normally don't listen to dance will become familiar with it ."
HELLO is the 1st track in Asobi . This song was written by Hata Motohiro & composed by BACHLOGIC .
A strong catchy number , HELLO is followed by the next track PARTY'S ON which's a memorable track in Asobi . I prefer PARTY'S ON slightly more than HELLO & I prefer if both tracks were to switch in the tracklist .
I feel that PARTY'S ON is a lot more stronger than HELLO simply because I love the big bang swinging Jazz & edgy beats happening in PARTY'S ON which makes things really infectious . Not that HELLO isn't great .
The next song Mysterious was mixed by DAVE WAY while Moon Disco was composed by Shibuya Keiichiro .
In addition , the lyrics for Moon Disco was written by Yamapi himself .
I think out of the songs found in Asobi , Mysterious & Moon Disco are the 2 slightly weak links in the mini album as it took me quite a while to remember how both songs sound like .
Let alone , Moon Disco could have sounded much better if there wasn't a change in the melody towards the 2nd 1/2 of the song as the sound transition was quite odd but despite this , both songs are still worth checking out .
The 5th track in Asobi , Back to the dance floor was produced by capsule's Nakata Yasutaka & this's hands down my fave track in Asobi .
I guess in a way or 2 , I'm quite biased when comes to pretty much anything capsule's Nakata Yasutaka does & it's evident when comes to Back to the dance floor .
Back to the dance floor has so much character & a very strong identity which managed to distinguish itself from the rest in Asobi , there's really no complaints about it .
Dress Code: is the 2nd last song & this track was provided by Osawa Shinichi . 1 of the more slower paced dance tracks , it's also something that is really funky to boot .
LET IT GO is the final song available in Asobi & to be honest , I was scared if this was going to be a cover from the Frozen movie soundtrack but thankfully it's not the case as it's an original song .
As for LET IT GO itself , Yamapi couldn't have picked a better track to conclude Asobi as it's a great track that has a lot of attitude & packs a lot of punch , definitely a fitting song to conclude everything in his 1st mini album .
Yamashita Tomohisa wants you to get on the dance floor with Asobi , his first dance mini album ! Featuring compositions by BACHLOGIC , DAVE WAY , capsule's Nakata Yasutaka & Osawa Shinichi , Asobi comes with 7 dance songs that will make you want to dance with Yamapi .
Asobi is Yamapi's 1st mini album that contains nothing but dance music . It's a bold move that he undertook considering that his previous releases saw him covering a mixture of different music genres but not this time round .
Frankly , I feel that Yamapi's music gamble paid off quite well . Asobi is quite a solid release overall & Yamapi managed to break the stereotype that dance music is not just dance music but rather there're many different styles that defined what dance music is all about , which I think that was what he was trying to achieve with releasing Asobi as so .
And ever since Yamapi switched to Warner Music , his music releases have become less mainstream & a bit unusual such as releasing Asobi . I think if he were to stay put with Johnny's Entertainment , this might not be materialised at all .
Asobi might only be a mini album but this is shaping up to be 1 of my fave album releases that I've come across for the year & job well done , Yamapi , I can't wait to see how will be your next music release be like but until then , I will be jamming to Asobi !
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Hilcrhyme - FLOWER BLOOM
CD + DVD
1) FLOWER BLOOM
2) Summer Up
FLOWER BLOOM is Hilcrhyme's 16th single & it was released last week on 13th Aug .
The duo's 5th album FIVE ZERO ONE was released this year on 26th Feb & FLOWER BLOOM is the 2nd single release of 2014 in celebrating Hilcrhyme's 5th anniversary in the business .
Prior to the physical single release , the A-side was 1st released digitally on 16th July .
Promo wise , FLOWER BLOOM was picked to be used in NTV's Music Dragon Dragon ・ Eye .
Just like their recent single releases such as NEW DAY , NEW WORLD & Yell , FLOWER BLOOM has a very encouragement mood going on & it's 1 of those songs that upon listening to it , you will feel quite inspired after that .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is something titled Summer Up .
With a title like Summer Up , it's quite evident that it's a Summer inspired song & for this case Summer Up is a pop no. that is EDM driven .
Honestly I thought that Summer Up is pretty good & it's able to stack up against FLOWER BLOOM with it being A-side potential worthy .
Kodou is the 2nd B-side found in the single & it's a ballad . A lyrics music video was specially made for this song that's uploaded on YouTube . Even though the music video is not included in the DVD tracklist of FLOWER BLOOM , it shouldn't stop you from appreciating the meaning on what Kodou is all about .
Set to perform for the 1st time at the prestigious Nippon Budokan next month on 6th Sept as part of their sold out Hilcrhyme in Nippon Budokan ~Junction~ , Hilcrhyme has definitely come a long way since debuting in the scene 5 years ago with their major label debut single Jun'ya to Manami .
To me it's quite surreal that I've been supporting them for almost 4 years & Hilcrhyme is 1 of the rare group of artistes that I support that does mainly rap driven songs . But on that note , I suppose that's what makes their music unique from the very beginning .
Hilcrhyme has definitely paid their dues & for them to performing at Nippon Budokan next month , it's 1 of those moments as a musician that signifies he/she has already made it , career wise .
That said , happy 5th anniversary Hilcrhyme & may there be even more anniversaries in time to come !
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Kis-My-Ft2 - Another Future
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Another Future is Kis-My-Ft2's 11th single & it was released last week on 13th Aug .
The group's latest single release comes in less than a month after releasing their 3rd album Kis-My-Journey .
The A-side was picked to be used as the theme song for the 2nd season of the drama Nobunaga no Chef starring member Tamamori Yuta . The drama began airing from 10th July onwards .
I was very surprised when Kis-My-Ft2 announced the release of Another Future so soon as at that time , I barely got into Kis-My-Journey & then in comes another new single .
To be frank , I feel Another Future is 1 of the group's weakest sounding singles to date . Unlike their past singles where they're quite strong sounding , Another Future felt as though it's 1 of the songs that didn't made the cut in Kis-My-Journey .
Despite this , the song's being compensated by a really entertaining video that's worth checking out .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is titled Perfect World .
Perfect World was picked to be used in the ads of DHC Yakuyou Acne Control Series . This's the group's 2nd B-side to receive a video after Tanagokoro which's the B-side of their 8th single Kimi to no Kiseki .
Unlike Another Future , Perfect World was hands down a home run to me on 1st listen . While it contrasts the A-side really well , it's a shame that Perfect World is only a B-side as it has so much potential to be released alongside with Another Future .
Perfect World is 1 of those songs that will instantly perk up your mood if you're having a bad day & it has a great happy go lucky feeling which I really like .
Kanjiru Mama ni Kagayaite is the 2nd B-side & it's exclusively found in the CD only edition of the single .
Just like Perfect World , Kanjiru Mama ni Kagayaite is also another peppy no. but melody wise it's a lot more synth driven .
Kis-My-Ft2's latest single Another Future was released to celebrate the group's 3rd anniversary in the music business & there's definitely no stopping them in bringing out the goods .
This single surprises me in rather unexpected ways as Another Future is 1 of the rare times that I enjoyed the B-sides a lot more than the A-side .
If I have it my way , I prefer if Kis-My-Ft2 wouldn't release Another Future so close if not so soon after their latest album as it felt as though they were releasing things too fast & I've seen it in other artistes where they put out material really quickly until their music gets compromised to a certain extent .
That said , this still will not stop me from listening to Another Future & hopefully down the road , my opinion towards the A-side will change gradually but for now , the 2 B-sides are on loop in my playlist .
Sunday, August 17, 2014
L'Arc~en~Ciel - EVERLASTING
EVERLASTING is L'Arc~en~Ciel's 40th single & it was released on 13th Aug .
The group's last single release was 2011's CHASE . Unlike their previous singles , EVERLASTING was released as a standalone song & no B-sides and/or instrumental are included in their latest single offering .
This single was released as a special edition titled 'MUSIC & PHOTOS -National Olympic Stadium Concert Memorial Edition-' that includes a hard cover photo book .
EVERLASTING was 1st performed during their 2 days sold out L'Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Stadium event that was held on 21st & 22nd March .
In recent times , new releases from L'Arc~en~Ciel have become a rarity & for them to finally reach the milestone 40th single release landmark , it's no easy feat .
I don't quite like EVERLASTING on 1st listen as to me , I feel that L'Arc~en~Ciel should have done something that stands out more . Despite this being not 1 of my fave single releases from them , there's no doubt the amount of influence the quartet has shaped the numerous JRock groups & it takes a lot for them to sustain in the business for over 22 years + .
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Koda Kumi - HOTEL
CD + DVD
1) Introduction ~Check IN~
3) Interlude ~Secret Room~
4) MONEY IN MY BAG
5) Interlude ~Last Night Dream~
6) TURN AROUND
HOTEL is Koda Kumi's 57th single & it was released last week on 6th Aug .
Koda's 11th album Bon Voyage was released this year in Feb 26th .
Prior to the physical single release , HOTEL was 1st released digitally last month on 30th July . Just like Koda's previous Summer inspired singles , there's the inclusion of an opening introduction & interludes which go well with the whole hotel inspired theme of this single .
Promo wise , HOTEL was picked to be used to promote NTV's Sukkiri!! for this month .
HOTEL is described as a Summer tune in which it's a mid-tempo dance song that showcases a more mature side of Koda .
The A-side is a medium tempo number with a mixture of different music genres such as Reggae , Soul , R&B & Hip Hop . Through her vocals , Koda attempts to break new grounds .
Regarding HOTEL , Koda commented , "If you think about it , the 2nd song MONEY IN MY BAG is more 'the Koda Kumi' , but I thought it would be boring if I was within the expectations . In that sense , I don't think HOTEL fits under the category of so-called Koda Kumi-ish songs , but I wanted to push my limits ."
HOTEL is a very different type of Summer song that Koda delivered . It's quite unusual as her previous Summer songs tend to be very upbeat if not uptempo but not this time round .
To me it's not a bad thing as HOTEL is a music risk that Koda took , something that I felt it was worth it . If not it would have been easy to compare HOTEL with her past Summer songs . Not a lot of people would like it but I personally adore it .
There're 2 B-sides in the single in which the 1st 1 is titled MONEY IN MY BAG .
MONEY IN MY BAG is described as a Hip Hop R&B no. . A video was made for the song but it's only available in the fanclub edition of the single .
Despite the rather amusing song title , I can understand why Koda said MONEY IN MY BAG is more towards her music comfort zone & from the video preview accompanying the song , it's pretty much on what Koda does best which's Ero Kawaii .
Koda could have picked and released MONEY IN MY BAG as the single & not HOTEL but I think it would be something that she has been there + done that before which she herself has acknowledged it .
TURN AROUND is the 2nd B-side available in the single & for this , it's a ballad .
This song to me is a really nice wrap up in HOTEL & for TURN AROUND , it's a really nice chilled out sounding no. .
Koda just lets her vocals do most of the work in this earnest sounding ballad & I would have loved to see a video made for TURN AROUND as I feel it deserves to have 1 .
Summer would not be the same without the release of a Summer single coming from Koda Kumi & this's where her latest single offer HOTEL comes in .
Honestly , I like this single overall especially props to the A-side as this's something different Koda has brought to the music table . It's a pity that the Japanese audience doesn't seem to be that responsive to it which I feel is such a shame .
Also , each of the 3 songs available in the single are able to carve an distinctive identity from each other which makes HOTEL an enjoyable experience overall .
Koda's 15th anniversary in the business is looming around & I'm sure HOTEL will not be the last music release I'll be getting from her .