Saturday, February 28, 2015
ARASHI - Sakura
CD + DVD
Sakura is ARASHI's 45th single & it was released on 25th Feb .
The group's 1st release of 2015 , the A-side was picked to be used to promote TBS's drama Ouroboros that stars Oguri Shun & Ikuta Toma .
Sakura is described as an intense edgy dance song & this is ARASHI's 1st single that they provide for a drama that doesn't star any of the members .
Regarding Sakura , Ikuta Toma is glad that ARASHI has participated to provide the theme song as it's an encouraging boost . Ikuta who's good friends with ARASHI , talked about Sakura saying , "As the theme of Ouroboros is 'feel for others' , I am glad that my old friends participated in it by providing a song . They gave us a strong boost . Thank you ARASHI !"
Oguri Shun also commented , "It's a great support . I've had many opportunities to be part of works that ARASHI sings its theme songs , compared to other actors . Maybe , I'm also an ARASHI member ?"
There're a total of 3 B-sides available in the single . 2 tracks Onaji Sora no Shitade & more and more are available in the CD only while Rise and Shine is only available in the CD + DVD of Sakura .
Out of the 3 B-sides , Onaji Sora no Shitade is my fave as this mid tempo number is single potential worthy while the other 2 songs I feel are only OK & they don't stand out that much as compared to Onaji Sora no Shitade & let alone Sakura .
ARASHI got off to a pretty solid start to 2015 with the release of their latest single offering Sakura .
When I 1st found out they were going to release a single with a generic song title , I thought it might be something that's going to be un-inspired sounding but I was pleasantly surprised that the song itself is quite a dark sounding no. .
While Sakura is not as dark driven as compared to truth and/or Breathless , Sakura is able to stack up if not be on par with earlier on mentioned songs .
The only thing I don't like is that when I 1st heard Sakura , I didn't like that the song ended abruptly just like that but other than that , the song's great & it's stuff like this that ARASHI should continue to release & it's what they do best , putting out edgy tracks that have a distinct unique identity .
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Shota Shimizu - Harukaze
2 CDs + DVD
Harukaze is a bonus track that's included in the 2nd disc of Shota Shimizu's 1st best album ALL SINGLES BEST .
ALL SINGLES BEST was released yesterday on 25th Feb & Shota's 1st best album complies singles that he has released from his 2008 debut single HOME until his latest single I miss you -refrain- .
Shota performed Harukaze live before during his concerts but it was never released in a CD until now . Prior to the physical release of ALL SINGLES BEST , Harukaze was released digitally on 11th Feb .
Harukaze itself is an under-stated song in which Shota relies on very little musical instruments to bring out the song . And in this case , it allows the listener to appreciate Harukaze a lot more .
After being a bit disappointed with I miss you -refrain- , hearing Harukaze brings back to what Shota does best & hopefully this will not be the last release coming from him , seeing that I've been following/supporting Shota for a few years now .
Monday, February 23, 2015
CD Review :: FLOWER FLOWER - Shiki EP
CD + DVD
2) entr'acte 1
4) entr'acte 2
6) entr'acte 3
Shiki EP is FLOWER FLOWER's 1st mini album which was released last week on 18th Feb .
The mini album's title represents the 4 seasons . Shiki was released digitally on 11th Feb . The version that was released digitally followed the same format as the CD only .
The CD + DVD edition of Shiki features all 4 songs as well as 3 entr'acte & a postlude . An entr'acte is a piece of music performed between acts of a theatrical production .
FLOWER FLOWER was in charge of providing the theme songs for Little Forest starring Ai Hashimoto . The story is based on Daisuke Igarashi's manga which was released in 2 movies .
Little Forest : Summer & Autumn was released last year on 30th Aug & Little Forest : Winter & Spring was released on Valentine's Day / 14th Feb .
2 songs Fuyu & Haru were released digitally on the same day as Little Forest : Winter & Spring while the other 2 songs Natsu & Aki were already released digitally last year on the same day as Little Forest : Summer & Autumn .
To fit the movie's seasonal concepts , FLOWER FLOWER was commissioned to write 4 new songs for each chapter under the themes Summer , Autumn , Winter & Spring .
Yui watched scenes of the movie during production to get the proper images in creating the songs with the rest of the members .
I've already heard/reviewed Natsu & Aki as both songs were released last year so in this case Fuyu & Haru are the 2 new songs that're made available in Shiki . Fuyu is an emotional driven no. while for Haru , it's a cheery upbeat no. .
For film tetralogy Little Forest that stars Hashimoto Ai as a young women who learns to grow & cook her own food while living alone in the woods – rock band FLOWER FLOWER (featuring singer-songwriter YUI) has written 1 new theme song for each film . Now , all 4 songs are being released/complied in Shiki , the band's 2nd musical release .
Shiki overall is a nice music package in which all 4 seasons were able to do their best to convey how each of the 4 seasons are . My fave season inspired song has to be Natsu but the other tracks are equally enjoyable/fun .
Looks like FLOWER FLOWER will be sticking around for a while & as such , Shiki is a nice follow up to their debut album Mi .
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
DAIGO - ULTRA BRAVE
ULTRA BRAVE is a song sung by DAIGO . This song is included in Takamizawa Toshihiko Produce Ultra Hero Song Retsuden soundtrack that was released last month on 28th Jan .
Last year on 2nd Jan , ULTRA BRAVE was picked to be used to promote TV Tokyo's New Ultraman Retsuden . THE ALFEE's Takamizawa Toshihiko (known by his nickname Takamiy) produced & composed ULTRA BRAVE while the lyrics was written by DAIGO .
In Takamizawa Toshihiko Produce Ultra Hero Song Retsuden , ULTRA BRAVE is included in the soundtrack as track #2 . In the tracklist , it's credited as ULTRA BRAVE / DAIGO with Takamiy .
When DAIGO released his debut solo album DAIGOLD last March , ULTRA BRAVE is not included in the tracklist .
Upon listening to ULTRA BRAVE , I can understand why this song's excluded from DAIGOLD as it will sound very out of place & the music style is not something that DAIGO will personally composed .
That said , it doesn't mean ULTRA BRAVE is a great track & it makes sense for this song to be included in Takamizawa Toshihiko Produce Ultra Hero Song Retsuden soundtrack as it fits the whole Ultraman concept very well .
Will ULTRA BRAVE be included in DAIGO's future 2nd solo album ? It's hard to say but for now , I can say that ULTRA BRAVE is a fun song to listen to & kudos to Takamiy for lending his personal touch to compose/produce ULTRA BRAVE .
Sunday, February 15, 2015
CD Review :: AKi - ARISE
1) Day 1
2) Be Free
4) FREAK SHOW
5) Brave New World
7) Path of Light
9) Life is ...
ARISE is the 1st solo album released by SID's bassist Aki & in this case , the album was released under the name AKi .
Released last month on 28th Jan with no inclusion of singles , AKi is in charge of the lyrics , the composition , bass & vocals for all songs in ARISE . In addition to Japanese lyrics , he also challenged himself to writing English lyrics .
As guest musicians , GLAY's support drummer Toshi Nagai , THE MAD CAPSULE MARKETS's Miyagami Motokatsu , usagi's Kato Takayuki & MUCC's miya participated in the recording of ARISE .
Day 1 & Be Free are the 1st 2 songs in ARISE which're sung in full English by AKi . The melodies for both songs are something but lyrically wise , it's best to read the lyrics as I have some problems trying to understand AKi's English dictation .
LOOP is the 1st album track that's a mid tempo no. which's a nice change & it's quite soothing for that matter .
The lead promo track in ARISE is FREAK SHOW which's an edgy rock tune that AKi released as a free download last year in Dec & it's the only song in the album to get a video .
FREAK SHOW is also sung in full English but unlike the 1st 2 songs in ARISE , FREAK SHOW stands out because of its strong aggressive driven melody which I can understand why AKi decided to make a video of the song as it's catchy/memorable .
Brave New World follows after FREAK SHOW . This song is neither good or bad as I feel there're better songs in ARISE to look out for but not this .
pray is track #6 & it's an understated song with just AKi singing alongside an acoustic guitar which's simplicity at its best .
Likewise , the same thing goes for the next track Path of Light which's 1 of my fave songs in ARISE with it being a cheery sounding upbeat no. .
Midnight/Kyousou/DARLING: is the shortest song in ARISE clocking in at 2:13 mins . This track's a bit random sounding but it still managed to pack some serious attitude .
Life is... is an empowering track . It's upbeat sounding just like Path of Light but in this case , Life is... managed to stand out on its own .
The 2nd last track in ARISE , Jiu is a moody sounding track & it's 1 of the more darker no.s in the album which's something worth checking out .
tonight. is the final track to conclude things in ARISE . A mid tempo ballad , this song couldn't be more fitting to wrap things up nicely .
SID's flamboyant member Aki makes his solo debut presence felt with the release of his 1st album ARISE & when this news was announced , I was surprised as I thought SID's lead singer Mao might be the 1 to do something like this .
Considering that Aki is responsible for composing some of SID's most prominent songs , in a way I wasn't surprised on why Aki decided to embark on this solo musical release .
ARISE overall is very different & should not be compared to SID's material . For once , Aki's singing voice is unlike Mao's & let alone , Aki has a lot more personal input in ARISE where in SID he was mainly in charge of composing .
Aki's debut solo offering is quite a nice surprise as he actually can sing pretty well & upon listening to ARISE , it's quite evident Aki is very talented + it's proof on the personal touches that went into making ARISE .
That said , ARISE is not without flaws with the main 1 regarding the songs that Aki sings in English . While I respect him for challenging himself to write/sing in English , somehow his English dictation is not that good & I had to look at the lyrics to see what Aki is singing .
But other than that , ARISE is a pretty solid release for a debut album & for longtime SID fans , this's definitely a treat . As for non SID fans , people will be in for a surprise or 2 upon listening to it .
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Shota Shimizu - I miss you -refrain-
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD
1) I miss you -refrain-
3) SNOW SMILE -Jazzin'park Spring Snow remix-
4) I miss you -refrain- Instrumental
I miss you -refrain- is Shota Shimizu's 17th single & it was released last month on 21st Jan .
Shota's 1st release of 2015 , I miss you -refrain- is a rearrangement of I miss you that Shota contributed to DJ/producer SPICY CHOCOLATE's album Shibuya Junai Monogatari which was released last year on 22nd Oct .
Prior to the physical release of I miss you -refrain- , the A-side was released digitally on 14th Jan .
If fans did not listen to I miss you , I'm sure they will enjoy I miss you -refrain- but for my case , I still feel that the original take of the song is better .
Not that I miss you -refrain- isn't great but something about the rearrangement of the song is lacking something & it doesn't help that it's a lot more slower than I miss you . Given such a situation , I definitely prefer I miss you over I miss you -refrain- .
life & SNOW SMILE -Jazzin'park Spring Snow remix- serve as B-sides in the single with SNOW SMILE -Jazzin'park Spring Snow remix- being a remix of Shota's 16th single SNOW SMILE .
Even though I don't like the A-side that much , both B-sides in the single are stellar . life is a simple acoustic guitar orchestra driven no. which's simplicity at its best while the Jazzin'park Spring Snow remix of SNOW SMILE is able to retain the essence of the original take of the song that's complimented with an upbeat melody .
Shota Shimizu got a head start to 2015 with the release of his latest single offering I miss you -refrain- . In this case , the B-sides are the standout tracks . The A-side is not bad but as I've said earlier on , in this case I prefer I miss you anytime .
On that note , Shota's 1st best album ALL SINGLES BEST will be released on 25th Feb , with I miss you -refrain- included as track #2 in disc 1 of the best album .