Thursday, December 31, 2015
ayumi hamasaki - Winter diary
Winter diary is a new song that's included in ayumi hamasaki's new classical remix album Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ .
Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ was released last week on 23rd Dec & in ayumi's latest classical remix album release , she hand picked 10 songs from her 16th album A ONE & 5th mini album sixxxxxx EP and gave them a classical arrangement . Among the 10 songs , 3 of them which're WARNING , NO FUTURE & The Show Must Go On features violinist Okabe Machi .
Winter diary was composed by Tetsuya Komuro . This song is described as a sequel to the singer's 2015 summer tune Summer diary that's found as track #2 in sixxxxx EP .
When I 1st heard Winter diary , I was like oh no not another Winter inspired song because the beginning of the track made me cringe somewhat .
Aside from that , for me personally I think Winter diary is something strictly to be enjoyed during the holidays season as I don't find myself listening to it aside from Winter . In addition , compared with ayumi's past Winter songs , Winter diary felt quite overshadowed and paled in comparison .
Also on a sidenote , I really like the fresh classical reinterpretation of songs that ayumi chosen to get 'remixed' in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ . Her previous classical remix album LOVE CLASSICS was quite weak and un-inspiring but not this time round .
Among the songs that I enjoyed being given the classical treatment are WARNING & Last minute which stood out a lot as I already like the original versions of both songs .
Even the songs in sixxxxxx like Step by step , Summer diary & Sky high which I didn't quite liked in the mini album , they sound really good & different in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ .
I only wished that ayumi would have given Story a classical spin as I think it's a very under-rated song in A ONE . Likewise , some of the songs chosen to be included in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ such as NO FUTURE , Out of control & The Show Must Go On , they're ok & not that great .
Lastly , ayumi's vocals were quite 'drowned' out by some of the gorgeous orchestra classical melodies in Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ as for some songs , I find myself listening to the melodies a lot more than her vocals .
2015 certainly has been a very productive year for ayumi as for her to release 1 studio album , 1 mini album and now Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ (excluding 2 tours & her annual countdown live concerts) , it has been quite a ride for her .
I'm curious to see what she has up in store in 2016 & likewise for Winter diary since she only went to Taipei to film the video at such short notice as it's quite obvious that marketing wise , it's almost like A SUMMER BEST where you have to buy it if you want to get hold of You & Me (that was before she released LOVE again) .
But that said , I'm sure ayumi will not stop herself from releasing new material in 2016 & I look forward to see what she plans to do .
On that note , this's my last review that I've written for 2015 & happy new year to everyone . Bring on 2016 now !
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
SPICY CHOCOLATE - SAKURA Feat KIRA & JASMINE
2 CDs Limited
SAKURA is a song found in SPICY CHOCOLATE's new compilation album Shibuya Junai Monogatari 2 .
Shibuya Junai Monogatari 2 was released on 23rd Dec & for SAKURA , the vocals of KIRA & JASMINE are featured in the song .
I enjoyed 2 songs that were previously included in SPICY CHOCOLATE's Shibuya Junai Monogatari (which were I miss you that featured Shota Shimizu & Sore Demo Kimi ga Suki that featured ASMINE , SKY-HI & Kotobuki-kun) so I didn't mind another similar compilation album that SPICY CHOCOLATE put out .
For SAKURA , before hearing it , I was assumed that it was going to be a Spring inspired song but turns out it's not the case . Instead it's a funky R&B driven upbeat no. . I don't know how KIRA sounded like prior to this but her vocals compliment JASMINE really well .
Perhaps after hearing SAKURA , I will consider to check out KIRA's solo material but this's yet another collaboration I enjoyed . And this's JASMINE's 2nd collaboration she has done , after she collaborated with SPYAIR on NO-ID which was a great 1 .
On a sidenote , I hope that JASMINE will put out new solo material in 2016 . I thought she wouldn't be that musically active after she released PURE LOVE BEST last Oct but for her to release 2 collaborations this year , it's better than nothing .
Sunday, December 27, 2015
L'Arc~en~Ciel - Wings Flap
CD + Blu-ray Limited Edition
CD + Blu-ray + Photobook Limited Edition
1) Wings Flap
2) HONEY -L'Acoustic version-
3) Wings Flap (hydeless version)
4) HONEY -L'Acoustic version- (hydeless version)
Wings Flap is L'Arc~en~Cie's 41st single & it was released on 23rd Dec .
The group's last single release was last Aug's EVERLASTING . Wings Flap was 1st premiered/debuted on L'Arc-en-Ciel LIVE 2015 L'ArCASINO which took place at Osaka's Yumeshima open-air special stage .
In association with the song's title , the covers were designed with the motif "wings" . Likewise , the band's new artist photo shows wings falling from the sky .
Wings Flap was written by vocalist hyde & he co-composed the song together with guitarist ken . The single also includes HONEY -L'Acoustic version- as a B-side track .
HONEY -L'Acoustic version- is a re-recorded version of the group's 11th single HONEY & it was produced by hyde .
Spread your wings and soar in Wings Flap as L'Arc~en~Ciel returns to present a most anticipated Christmas gift in the form of this inspirational anthem .
In recent times , L'Arc~en~Ciel's group activities have not been as active as before seeing that each member also has their own individual projects to juggle and not just hyde alone . So for them to return Wings Flag just before 2015 wraps up , it's a welcome change .
Strangely , all the while I have never been a massive L'Arc~en~Ciel fan but I always look forward to hear what they have put out and I really hope they will be more musically active in 2016 but somehow I doubt so .
Also considering they took almost 5 years to release their last studio album BUTTERFLY in 2012 , I wouldn't even wish of a new album for their next music release but I guess the only time I can do I to wait and see what they plan to do in 2016 .
Friday, December 25, 2015
ayumi hamasaki - Many Classic Moments & Koda Kumi - Wanderin' Destiny
Cover for both CD & 2 CDs Editions
Many Classic Moments & Wanderin' Destiny are 2 songs that were included in globe's tribute album #globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- .
#globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- was released on 16th Dec & this release was to celebrate the trio's 20th anniversary in the business .
Komuro Tetsuya decided to use a picture of globe's vocalist KEIKO , who is also his wife as the cover for #globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- . The picture was taken in 1997 & it currently hangs in the couple's house .
The 1st disc contains covers that have been done by various artistes while the 2nd CD includes the original tracks sung by globe .
And below is a list of artistes that contributed in covering their own renditions of globe's songs in #globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- :
- L'Arc~en~Ciel / VAMPS's vocalist hyde
- Kimura Kaela
- ayumi hamasaki
- Sakamoto Miu
- Toyama Mirei
- Koda Kumi
- NMB48's Umeda Ayaka
- Komuro Tetsuya himself
I will only review 2 songs that were covered/included in the 1st disc of #globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- .
Many Classic Moments is included as track #4 & this was originally released as globe's 26th single . The artiste that covered the song is ayumi hamasaki .
As for Wanderin' Destiny , it's included as track #9 & it was released as globe's 11th single . And Koda Kumi covered it .
I'm not very familiar with globe's material but I do know they're 1 of the most influential artistes in the industry . So hearing both covers of Many Classic Moments & Wanderin' Destiny was new to me .
For starters coincidentally or not , both songs are over 6 minutes long . Since I don't know how the original versions sound like , I will treat them as new songs .
For ayumi's rendition of Wanderin' Destiny , it's not bad but I like Koda's cover of Wanderin' Destiny a lot more as it has an extremely cool futuristic sound and there's even an inclusion of rap done by her which's something that Koda normally doesn't do in her music .
All in all hearing both ladies' covers of globe's songs might make me consider to check out how the original renditions sound like . Somehow or another I always have been eluded by not having the opportunity to listen to globe's material . Maybe I should start doing it now .
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
BREAKERZ - YAIBA
CD Limited With A5 Sized Photobook
CD + DVD
2) WINTER PARTY ~Acoustic Version~ (CD Regular Edition & CD + DVD Track)
3) CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ (CD Limited Edition Track)
YAIBA is BREAKERZ's 16th single & it was released on 9th Dec .
This's the guys' 2nd single release of the year after they released their 6th album 0-ZERO- in July .
In the single covers of YAIBA , vocalist DAIGO holds a "Yaiba (a knife)" in his hand which emits an intense flame & it showcases the group's surging inclination to keep going on in an attack mode even after the restart of the band's activities .
YAIBA was written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist AKIHIDE . The A-side was picked to be used as the opening number for the Cardfight!! Vanguard G anime which premièred on 11th Oct .
Other promo tie in's that YAIBA received included it being used in the new Cardfight!! Vanguard G CM that started airing this month on 20th Dec with DAIGO starring in the CM , Nico Nico online webshow Nico Visual selecting YAIBA to be used as the opening & ending theme for this month and Chiba TV's MUSIC LAUNCHER using YAIBA as the show's opening theme for December .
There're 2 B-sides made available in the single .
WINTER PARTY ~Acoustic Version~ is an acoustic version of WINTER PARTY , which's the 2nd A-side of BREAKERZ's 3rd single Angelic Smile / WINTER PARTY .
Both renditions of WINTER PARTY were written & composed by DAIGO . For WINTER PARTY ~Acoustic Version~ , it's available in both the CD Regular & CD + DVD editions of YAIBA .
WINTER PARTY is still 1 of the guys' signature staple songs , likewise for SUMMER PARTY . For the acoustic take , WINTER PARTY ~Acoustic Version~ is pretty good as it now has a Jazz sound while still keeping the true essence of the song and it was able to retain the feel good festive Christmas spirit of what the original take of WINTER PARTY had .
The 2nd B-side CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ is a remastered version of CLIMBER×CLIMBER , which's the 2nd A-side of BREAKERZ's 10th single Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou / CLIMBER × CLIMBER .
Both takes of the song was written by DAIGO & composed by guitarist SHINPEI . For CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ , it's only available in the CD Limited edition of YAIBA .
For people not in the know , upon hearing CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ , it might be a disappointment to you as while it sounds exactly the same as the original , I can hear some difference as the remastered version is more clearer and crisp .
I was somewhat hoping that CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ would at most have a different melody but unfortunately that's not the case . It's a bit strange for the guys to decide to remaster CLIMBER×CLIMBER as all the while I never really have been a big fan of the song as I always prefer the live renditions more .
2015 marks the year when BREAKERZ made their comeback after embarking on a 2 years solo project mission & they wrap up the year with the release of their latest single offering YAIBA .
Compared with what their previous single WE GO against YAIBA now , YAIBA is a lot more better as WE GO didn't had a clear concept unlike YAIBA as visually & song wise , the guys have a clearer idea on what to go for in YAIBA which I feel it's really crucial .
While I enjoy YAIBA , the downside is the lack of new original B-side material since both tracks included in the single were re-recorded renditions of their older works . At least WINTER PARTY ~Acoustic Version~ is another solid acoustic song added to their discography as I didn't liked Hikari ~Acoustic Version~ that much .
And I could do without CLIMBER×CLIMBER ~Remastering~ as I wouldn't mind an anime version of YAIBA like what they've done for Miss Mystery .
On that note , I do hope that 2016 will see the guys continue to be more musically active . While I'm happy that the guys finally made their comeback this year , the outcome hasn't been that great as both 0-ZERO- & YAIBA charted out of the top 10 on Oricon , which's a real pity as YAIBA ended their top 10 streak for their single releases .
Hopefully the guys wouldn't be so discouraged on this and like what they've envisioned for YAIBA , in continuing to keep the flame burning .
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Short review on Anna Tsuchiya's NAKE'd ~Soul Issue~ EP
CD + DVD
1) STAY WITH ME (Sam Smith)
2) I WANT IT THAT WAY (Backstreet Boys)
3) SUNDAY MORNING (Maroon 5)
4) Killing Me Softly With His Song (Lori Lieberman)
5) I Want You Back (The Jackson 5)
6) Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
7) Lady Marmalade (Labelle)
NAKE'd ~Soul Issue~ EP is Anna Tsuchiya's 1st covers mini album & it was released on 9th Dec .
Anna's last release was last Oct's LUCIFER EP .
In NAKE'd ~Soul Issue~ EP , all tracks in the mini album have studio live videos made to accompany the songs . Working with a live band THE GROOBEEES , Anna offers her own dynamic interpretations of songs .
Unlike other studio and/or mini albums I've reviewed over the years , this will be reviewed in a different manner as I've never really reviewed an English covers (mini) album and the songs that're bolded are the ones I'm most familiar with before I switched to listening to Japanese music .
Listening to Anna's own renditions of certain English songs she chose to cover is really nostalgic and the ones that she covered which I'm most familiar , most of them are done really well by her which have been given a really cool soulful sound .
I especially like Anna's take on Backstreet Boys's I Want It That Way and Maroon 5's Sunday Morning . I Want It That Way is still an evergreen BSB classic although the only downside for this is that I wished Anna's rendition was a bit longer .
As for Maroon 5's Sunday Morning , I'm glad Anna chose to cover it as it's 1 of Maroon 5's most under rated songs . I supposed Anna could have covered This Love and/or She Will Be Loved but I always have liked Sunday Morning so this do nicely .
For the other 2 songs that Anna covered , I feel that her cover of the late Amy Winehouse's Rehab was alright as it didn't blow me away that much .
While Anna's cover on Labelle's Lady Marmalade , it's good but not great as I still feel the rendition that Christina Aguilera , Lil' Kim , Mya , Pink covered/did together is still tops even up to now .
NAKE'd ~Soul Issue~ EP is a cool release that Anna Tsuchiya chose to put out although I think this release is not going to win her any new fans , especially since all the songs found in the EP are English songs .
Let alone , I wished Anna would have included more English covers as last Wed when she performed THINK ! FEEL ! and LIVE ! which took place at Tokyo's Shinagawa Church , Anna also covered Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer & The Beatles's Let It Be too .
On a side note , 2015 is Anna's 10th anniversary and it's quite strange that celebrations on a milestone moment for her has been really muted . It would have been great if she release new original material as in recent times , Anna's releases have become really rare and sporadic since her last full length studio album was 2010's RULE .
I don't know what're Anna's music plans for 2016 but as long as she released something original/new , I don't mind at all as it will be a waste for her not to do that .
Friday, December 18, 2015
Kobukuro - Mirai
2) Mirai (Instrumental)
Mirai is Kobukuro's 27th single & it was released 2 days ago on 16th Dec .
The duo's new single was released about 9 months+ since their previous single Kiseki .
Mirai was released on the same day as KOBUKURO LIVE TOUR 2015 "Kiseki" FINAL at Nippon Gaishi Hall DVD + Blu-ray . Prior to the physical release of the single , the A-side was released digitally last month on 28th Nov & no B-sides are included in the single .
The song was chosen to be used in the movie orange starring Tsuchiya Tao and Yamazaki Kento . orange opened in Japanese theatres last Saturday on 12th Dec & it's a love story based on a popular manga by Takano Ichigo . Its story revolves around a high school girl who receives a letter from herself of the future .
Mirai is one of the keywords of the story . Kobukuro who wrote the ballad number after reading the original manga commented , "No matter how difficult it is now , we want to reach a point in our future when we will reflect on today and laugh about it . With this thought in mind , we came up with the lyrics & melody ."
The movie's storyline focuses on a high school girl who receives a letter from herself 10 years into the future . As such , the CD cover for Mirai was designed with the duo's single Sakura (which was released 10 years ago) , as the concept .
Sakura was 1 of the 1st few Kobukuro songs I heard before I started supporting them and for them to draw inspiration from the single cover of Sakura and utilising that basis for Mirai , I think it's great and it feels as though everything comes back in 1 full circle .
2016 will be Kobukuro's 15th anniversary since they made their major label debut . Before 2015 wraps up , they released their latest single offering , the heartfelt no. Mirai .
I do hope that the duo will have something special planned for 2016 especially since they show no signs of slowing down . It will be nice for them to re-record some of their older material that I'm not familiar with or maybe they should collaborate with another artiste since they did it really well with ayaka a few years back .
Either way , I hope 2016 will shape up to be a rewarding year for Kobukuro .
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
CD Review :: BENI - Undress
CD + DVD
2) DO IT RIGHT
6) Kimi no Kakera
9) DEEP SWEET EASY
14) Fun Fun Christmas (Bonus Track)
15) CLOTHES OFF (Secret Track)
Undress is BENI's 6th album & it was released last month on 25th Nov .
BENI's last studio album release was 2013's Red . In Undress , just 1 single Forever is included in the album & so's the single's B-sides BABY & TATTOO .
All 4 songs in Forever had music videos made & Forever's 3rd B-side CAT'S EYE is excluded but the video is included in the DVD tracklist of Undress .
INTRO kicked things off & Undress wasted no time in diving straight into the 1st album track DO IT RIGHT .
DO IT RIGHT is 1 of my favourite album tracks as it has a strong memorable melody & it's something that I like the moment when I 1st heard it .
The next album track is BFF . Prior to the physical release of Undress , this song was released digitally on 11th Nov .
Described as a sequel to Forever , BFF is an ode to friendship which's dedicated to BENI's best friend . A video was made for the song but it's not included in the DVD tracklist of the album .
Forever is BENI's 18th single & it's the only single included in Undress .
This was BENI's 1st single release since 2013's Konayuki & the Motown-tinged song has the theme of bonds , not just between lovers , but also between friends & family .
MEOW is the 3rd album track & already before hearing the song , I had a weird feeling about it as I didn't know what to expect .
Turns out , MEOW is a dance number but it sounded like there're different melodies strung together to form it . At the end of the day , MEOW is a rather weird song .
On the other hand , Kimi no Kakera is a nice mid tempo number and after hearing MEOW , hearing Kimi no Kakera in a rather simplified form is a nice change .
The next song Yokogao is a heartfelt ballad & there're not that many ballads in Undress so Yokogao is a standout no. .
Following Yokogao , it's PAPA & before the physical release of Undress , this song was released digitally on 18th Nov .
PAPA is dedicated to BENI's dad & just like BFF , a video was made for the song but it's not included in the DVD tracklist of Undress .
DEEP SWEET EASY is another favourite of mine as it's 1 of those chilled out mid tempo songs that's easy and pleasant on the ears .
BABY is the 1st B-side originally found in BENI's 18th single Forever . Promo wise , it was used to promote the pachinko machine CR Cat's ♥Eye .
SAYONARA follows after BABY & despite the title , it's actually an upbeat number but lyrics wise , it's a break up song .
Unusually , BENI sung SAYONARA almost entirely in English & the lyrics booklet in Undress even has a English to Japanese translation of the song that BENI personally translated which I thought it's pretty cool .
TATTOO is the 2nd B-side originally found in BENI's 18th single Forever & I'm glad to see TATTOO made the cut in Undress as when I reviewed Forever , I highlighted that TATTOO is my favourite B-side out of the 3 .
ZERO is the 2nd last album track & just like SAYONARA , it's an upbeat song but the lyrics contrast the melody . It's a bit borderline filler for me though .
Fun Fun Christmas is available as a bonus track in Undress & this was used to promote Japanese home furnishing store Francfranc last year .
This song was 1st included in the tracklist of 『Welcome To Precious Christmas presented by Francfranc』 V.A. (Produced by Ryosuke Imai) CD . The CD itself have both an English & Japanese version of Fun Fun Christmas .
Perhaps it's due to the holidays season , I guess BENI decided to include Fun Fun Christmas in the album tracklist . I don't mind it that much but it would have been nice for her to include Two Hearts as well , instead of making that song available only digitally .
If you buy Undress online and not the physical copy of the album , there's actually a secret track found in the tracklist titled CLOTHES OFF .
After Fun Fun Christmas , there's a 1:26 minute silence in which after that , CLOTHES OFF can be heard .
It's the 1st time for BENI to include a secret song in her albums & lyrically , CLOTHES OFF is probably 1 of BENI's most raunchiest songs to date but it fits the album title if you know what I mean .
Having celebrated the 10th anniversary last year , BENI returns with her 1st album in 2 years in Undress . The new album shows off BENI's well-honed pop sensibilities with catchy tunes in her latest album release .
I have been waiting for BENI to release a new studio album especially since she didn't released 1 last year as she put out BEST All Singles & Covers Hits which was to commemorate her 10th anniversary in the music business .
Before I heard Undress , I was a bit skeptical as I wonder if the album will be good as for her to release it with only 1 single backing it up , it was a risky move but luckily Undress more or less lived up to expectations .
Compared with BENI's past albums , the material in Undress feels quite autographical seeing that BENI has songs that she dedicated to her dad and her best friend which I thought it was a really sweet thing for her to do .
To me , I feel that Undress is a solid comeback album from BENI and for her to also include a secret track , that was a nice surprise too . Some might feel that this album is not as good as Red but maybe because I've deprived of new BENI material , I'm biased on this to a certain extent .
On that note , I really hope that BENI will be more musically active in 2016 as it's quite surreal knowing that in the past she used to release new music so fast until I can't keep up at times but now it's the complete opposite .
Either way , I hope BENI will release something new in 2016 .
Saturday, December 12, 2015
CD Review :: SPYAIR - 4
Cover for all 3 editions
1) ROCKIN' OUT
2) Fire Starter
4) COME IN SUMMER
5) Far away
6) NO-ID Feat JASMINE
7) Dareka no Sei
8) EZ Going ♬
9) Someday , Somewhere
10) 4 LIFE
12) Stand by me
4 is SPYAIR's 4th album & it was released last month on 18th Nov .
The group's last studio album release was 2013's MILLION . In their new album , 4 includes 4 singles & 8 new album tracks .
A video was made for JUST LIKE THIS 2015 (B-side of 16th single Fire Starter) which's included in the DVD tracklist of 4 but the song itself is not included in the CD .
The video footages of JUST LIKE THIS 2015 was recorded from August's JUST LIKE THIS 2015 concert that was held at FUJI-Q HIGHLAND on 8th Aug .
The 1st 3 songs are singles released prior to the release of 4 .
Kicking things off in 4 is ROCKIN' OUT which's SPYAIR's 15th single .
ROCKIN' OUT was produced by Oshima Kosuke & it's described as an aggressive Rock no. that signalled a new musical approach for the band .
The next song is Fire Starter which was released as the group's 16th single .
Fire Starter was picked to be used to promote NTV's drama THE LAST COP . A ferocious Rock number packed with energy , the lyrics of Fire Starter float on top of a big-boned wild sound & convey a piercing attitude that prevails even in this world full of conflict .
The most recent single release prior to the release of 4 is I'm・A・Believer which's SPYAIR's 17th single .
I'm・A・Believer was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the 2nd season of the anime Haikyuu . It was described as a positive tune that has the message 'Believe in yourself and clear the next path you should take .'
COME IN SUMMER is the 1st new album track . Surprisingly , SPYAIR has not released a Summer inspired single (yet) . As such ,
COME IN SUMMER definitely has potential to be a single song release .
Far away is another new album song that I enjoy . For this it's a ballad & vocalist IKE really stood out in this track .
Crossing the 1/2 way mark in 4 , it's NO-ID & this track is a collaboration with JASMINE .
NO-ID is SPYAIR's 2nd collaboration they've done , the 1st was with rapper SEAMO 3 years ago on ROCK THIS WAY .
When I saw the tracklist of 4 , I wouldn't deny that I was really excited when I saw NO-ID as I support JASMINE & let alone , this's the 1st duet SPYAIR has included in a studio album .
NO-ID is definitely a standout no. in 4 and it's a pleasant surprise that JASMINE's vocals compliment IKE's vocals very well . JASMINE actually sounds good in this aggressive Rock driven song .
And on a sidenote I wish JASMINE will return with something new soon but NO-ID is really an enjoyable no. that I like .
Dareka no Sei is the shortest track in 4 & it feels like where Fire Starter left off since there's some rapping going on in this track which probably came from guitarist UZ once more .
EZ Going ♬ is an adorable song . Title wise , it's creative and the song itself sounds like a sequel to Niji's B-side Are You Champion? Yeah!! I'm Champion !! which's not a bad thing as that B-side is still good up to now .
On the other hand , the next album track Someday , Somewhere is an empowering no. . There's just something about this song that I was really drawn onto the moment I 1st heard it . The addition of some auto tune was thrown in for good measure too .
4 LIFE is the 2nd last album track & this's an unusual no. as it's not sung by IKE . I'm not sure who sung it but it's an interesting no. and whoever sang it (I'm guessing it's UZ) , it's something unique .
Imagination is SPYAIR's 14th single & it was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the 1st season of the anime Haikyuu .
I'm not sure why Imagination is included in 4 as it was already included in the group's BEST album which was released last year . I supposed in order to keep up with the album's theme (4 = 4th album with 4 singles) , Imagination is slotted in to fulfil this requirement .
Stand by me is the final song that concludes 4 & this's a fitting number to wrap things up as it's a really under stated number . Just like Far away , both songs showcase IKE's vocals which he handled the two tracks effortlessly .
SPYAIR most certainly have a great year and before they kicked off their 1st Arena tour SPYAIR ARENA TOUR 2015 DYNAMITE ~Single Zenbu Yarimasu~ tomorrow at Nagoya's Nippon Gaishi Hall (which's sold out) , they wrap up their music journey with their latest album release 4 .
I've been waiting in anticipation for SPYAIR to release a new album since they didn't released 1 last year & 4 is definitely worth the wait .
What I realised for their past studio albums is that they mostly tend to base on quality over quantity . No exception for 4 which I enjoy tremendously and for them to include a collaboration duet with JASMINE , that made things even better .
The only drawback I don't like about 4 is the way the singles are included in the tracklist , especially since the 1st 3 songs are singles that they released prior to 4 , which made things quite awkward and strange as it would have been better if the singles were spread out more evenly alongside with the new album tracks .
But aside from that , the new material in the album is really solid and I enjoy most of what was found in 4 . SPYAIR has gone from strength to strength since they debuted in 2010 and for them to be able to do an Arena tour (even though there're only 2 dates) , it's a great sense of accomplishment for them .
And to kick off 2016 , they will release their new DVD JUST LIKE THIS 2015 DVD next month on 13th Jan 2016 but before 2015 concludes , go check out 4 which's highly recommended .
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Namie Amuro - Red Carpet
CD + DVD
1) Red Carpet
2) Black Make Up
3) Red Carpet Instrumental
4) Black Make Up Instrumental
Red Carpet is Namie Amuro's 41st single & it was released last week on 2nd Dec .
Namie's 11th album _genic was released in June . Single wise , her last single release was last November's BRIGHTER DAY .
Red Carpet is described as a positive neo soul tune with "walking on the red carpet known as life , to everyone of you" as its theme .
A mid-tempo song with powerful yet gentle vocals , Red Carpet is a soulful contemporary grown-up ballad with an accessibly mature sound that's perfect for the season & promo wise , it was picked to be used in the ads of KOSE COSMEPORT OLEO D'OR featuring Namie herself .
Black Make Up serves as the B-side in the single . It's described as an up-tempo song with a danceable edgy R&B beat that contrasts the A-side .
Promo wise , Black Make Up was picked to be used as the theme song for the One Piece special One Piece ~Adventure of Nevlandia~ which Fuji TV will broadcast it on 19th Dec .
Black Make Up is Namie's 2nd song to be used to promote One Piece , after 2011's Fight Together where it was used as the opening theme for the One Piece anime series .
Namie Amuro wraps up a successful 2015 with the release of _genic & now her latest single offering , Red Carpet .
While I enjoy Red Carpet , this single feels a bit confused as for starters , the song itself doesn't match up to the title & jacket covers + promo picture . Likewise , the music video that accompanied Red Carpet , it has a Winter setting .
When I think of the words Red Carpet , I would visualise a song that's something more towards the vein of _genic's Fashionista . Instead for Red Carpet to be a mid tempo Winter inspired no. , it's a bit strange .
But aside from these minor mis steps , it's another single that I enjoyed from Namie & with the release of Red Carpet , Namie has attained yet another Oricon record seeing that Oricon reported that Namie now officially has consecutive Top 10 singles for the past 21 years .
That achievement is impressive & most certainly a great accolade besotted to Namie as she really deserves it . That said , I can't wait to see what her music plans are for 2016 now .
Sunday, December 06, 2015
Kanon Wakeshima - Kimi wa Soreiyu
CD + DVD
1) Kimi wa Soreiyu
2) Princess Charleston
3) Kimi wa Soreiyu (instrumental)
4) Princess Charleston (instrumental)
Kimi wa Soreiyu is Kanon Wakeshima's 8th single & it was released last month on 25th Nov .
Kanon's latest single offering was released 7 months+ since her previous single RIGHT LIGHT RISE .
Promo wise , Kimi wa Soreiyu was used as the ending theme for Strike・The・Blood OVA anime .
Kimi wa Soreiyu is actually not bad and unlike RIGHT LIGHT RISE , this song is a lot more softer and less uptempo . As such , it has a rather chilled out feeling attached to it .
Princess Charleston serves as the B-side in the single & this song was originally found as track #8 in Kanon's 2nd album Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ .
The version that's included in Kimi wa Soreiyu has been re-recorded .
It was a surprise to see Princess Charleston in the single and let alone it was also odd that Kanon chose to re-record it . Nonetheless , Princess Charleston was 1 of my favourite tracks in Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~ as it has a less serious fun approach .
As for the re-recorded version found in the single , it's a bit longer and it doesn't stray too much from what the original take offered .
Kanon Wakeshima concluded 2015 with the release of her latest single offering Kimi wa Soreiyu & the past 2 years have seen Kanon being more musically active than ever , as compared to when she was still in her previous record label .
I had a feeling that Kanon's previous record label had trouble on how to market & promote Kanon as she's not the typical female solo that you would expect .
Kanon debuted in 2008 but her discography is still considered small as compared with other established acts . That looks set to change since her music releases have been gaining ground over the past 2 years & Kanon will kick start 2016 with the release of her 9th single which's titled Love your enemies .
Love your enemies will be released on 10th Feb 2016 & Kanon's next single will be used to promote the selector destructed WIXOSS anime movie .
Thursday, December 03, 2015
NEWS - Yonjuushi
CD + DVD Regular
CD + DVD Limited
Yonjuushi is NEWS's 1st DVD single & it was released last month on 25th Nov .
The A-side was picked to be used as the opening theme song for the 2nd season of the anime Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R .
Yonjuushi is described as a Classical Pop song which sampled Sergei Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini . It was arranged by female conductor Nishimoto Tomomi . Conducted by Nishimoto , IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra was in charge of the music .
Its release coincides with the group's 12 year anniversary since the release of their 1st single NEWS Nippon in 7th Nov 2003 .
A Classical meets Pop song might sound like a music recipe for disaster but that's not the case for Yonjuushi . It's another music risk that NEWS undertook but it certainly paid off for them .
For me , what I like about Yonjuushi is that even if you don't like Classical music , it's still appealing . There's a fine line that has been stuck for this track as if it's too Classical sounding , it might not be appreciated by mainstream listeners while if it's too Pop sounding , Yonjuushi might be written off as a rip off track .
There're a total of 3 B-sides available in the DVD single . The 1st B-side ANTHEM was chosen to be used as the official song for FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2015 .
ANTHEM follows in the same music footsteps as WORLD QUEST & ONE -for the win- with all 3 tracks chosen to promote soccer . Depending on how you look at it , it might be a good or bad thing but for me , I like the above mentioned songs & likewise for ANTHEM .
Eien & SPEAKER are only available in the CD + DVD regular edition of Yonjuushi .
The only ballad in the single , Eien definitely stands out . The only thing I don't like about it is the abrupt ending when I 1st heard it .
As for SPEAKER , it's an upbeat no. that has plenty of auto tune thrown in for good measure . I enjoyed this song & that goes for the other 2 B-sides in the DVD single .
2015 has been a fulfilling musical year for NEWS & it's the 1st time they released a DVD single in their discography but Yonjuushi is overall a solid release .
NEWS has been very experimental with their single music releases this year . From going Oriental in KAGUYA , to Bollywood in Chumu Chumu and now Classical meets Pop in Yonjuushi , it has been very fun in listening to what they've released this year as each of them are very different from one another .
Their 6th album White is the only downside as I feel it wasn't as good as their previous self titled album but singles wise , they have been more engaging than ever .
And they're not showing any signs of slowing down when 2016 kicks off as their 19th single Hikari no Shizuku / Touch will be released on 20th Jan 2016 .
That's something I look forward to hear . For now , Yonjuushi is a DVD single worth recommended to check out .
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
KinKi Kids - Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru is KinKi Kids's 35th single & it was released last month on 18th Nov .
The duo's last single release was last Dec's Kagi no Nai Hako . All songs included in Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru were created with the concept "support song" . It features participation by Akimoto Yasushi , Matsui Goro , Ijichi Hiromasa , Makaino Koji , Oda Tetsuro & Dojima Kohei .
As such , Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru is a concept single with an entire roster of inspirational songs that can help you cheer on your favourite teams and causes .
In total , there're 6 B-sides scattered in all 3 editions of Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru as follows :
- Kotae (CD Only Track)
- Kokoro ga Attanda (CD Only Track)
- Alright ! (CD Only Track)
- Chigau Michi , Onaji Sora. (CD + DVD A Track)
- Kodou , Chiji ni (CD + DVD B Track)
- Mou Ichido Shinjite (CD + DVD B Track)
In recent times , KinKi Kids have not been musically active as before so Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru was a nice welcome back song from them .
Unlike Kagi no Nai Hako , Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru is a sorrowful ish sounding ballad which both Tsuyoshi & Koichi harmonise together very well and after being in business for 18 years , I still feel that they're 1 of the most respected Johnnys groups .
As much as I enjoy Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru , what I don't like about this release is the way it was marketed as for them to include 6 B-sides in all 3 editions of the single , it could have been marketed as a mini album instead .
I suppose that's done to make up for the duo's lack of music release activity , in addition to booster sales which worked to a certain extent but what I can say is that for all 6 B-sides , for KinKi Kids to get hold of established artistes to work on the songs , the end result becomes a rather enjoyable entertaining music experience .
2017 will be KinKi Kids's 20th anniversary so hopefully they will be planning to do something special to mark this momentum occasion . For now , sit back & enjoy Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru .