Sunday, July 31, 2016

ayaka - new/newly recorded material found in THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~

3 CDs

3 CDs + DVD

THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ was released on 13th July to commemorate ayaka's 10th anniversary in the business .

2 new songs & 2 newly recorded tracks are found/scattered in different discs in THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ .

New material wise , THIS IS ME is found as track #15 in disc 1 track #15 while Ambition is included as track #15 in the 2nd disc .

Prior to the physical release of THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ , Ambition was 1st released digitally on 6th July .

Between both new songs , I definitely prefer THIS IS ME over Ambition as I didn't know what to make out of Ambition as it took me quite a few listens before I get the hang of it .

THIS IS ME is more memorable . Ambition takes a while to grow on me as its melody is a bit weird as I wasn't sure whether is it supposed to be mid tempo or uptempo .

For the newly recorded material , both songs are found in the 3rd disc .

I believe 2016 ver. is a re-recorded version of ayaka's debut single & it's found as track #6 while Mikazuki 2016 ver. is a re-recorded rendition of ayaka's 4th single & it's track #7 in the 3rd disc .

Both I believe & Mikazuki are still singles songs that ayaka is best known to the general public so I wasn't surprised she chose to re-record them among the other singles in her discography .

When I listened to both the original & re-recorded versions side by side together , I'm amazed that ayaka's vocal quality has not deteriorated/changed even though it has been so long since both singles songs were released .

ayaka marks her 10th anniversary in the business with the best-of album THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ . Besides consolidating the singer's many popular singles & tie-in songs over the last decade , the album also includes new songs & newly recorded tracks which're spread over 3 discs divided into the concepts of Sun , Moon & Wind .

Knowing that it has been 10 years since ayaka made her music debut is daunting as it felt like yesterday when she 1st released I believe & let alone when she announced 7 years ago she had to quit the industry abruptly due to health problems , it was devastating as she was 1 of the most talented/prominent female solo acts at that time .

Fast forward 7 years later , a lot has changed for ayaka be it musically and/or personally so releasing THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ is a testimony of all the good/bad times she has endured from the start until now .

THIS IS ME ~ayaka 10th anniversary BEST~ is a neat package in celebrating this milestone of ayaka & I like the concept of her best album even though I'm not so keen that she mixed both her singles & album tracks together as to me , it's a big turn off for any artiste's best albums as I prefer a tracklist where they list their singles in chorological order while the non singles songs should be separated from them .

Aside from that , it's heartening to see ayaka is still in the business & I'm sure she's not going anywhere soon . Here's to more happy anniversaries & memories besotted on her !

Thursday, July 28, 2016

KinKi Kids - Bara to Taiyou




Bara to Taiyou is KinKi Kids's 36th single & it was released on 20th July .

The duo's last single release was last Nov's Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru . The A-side was written & composed by THE YELLOW MONKEY's Yoshii Kazuya , making this the 1st time Yoshii wrote/composed a song for another artiste .

The covers for Bara to Taiyou were shot by actor Saito Takumi .

To be frank , the duo's previous single Yume wo Mireba Kizutsuku Koto mo Aru was only ok & the release could have been turned into a mini album given the amount of B-sides made available .

But luckily , Bara to Taiyou is not a ballad & I was drawn onto the song the moment I heard it as it's really addictive & what intrigued me was the melody as it has a surprisingly strong Spanish flair coupled with Jazz swinging beats thrown in for good measure .

In addition , for THE YELLOW MONKEY's Yoshii Kazuya to work on something for the 1st time for another artiste , I think it says a lot about Bara to Taiyou . Some fans feel that this song even reminds them of the duo's older works too .

3 B-sides are available in the single . Fall Dance & Ima no Boku ga Aru Riyu are found in the CD only edition of Bara to Taiyou .

Fall Dance is a nice mid tempo song while Ima no Boku ga Aru Riyu is a heartfelt ballad which both Koichi & Tsuyoshi harmonise really well .

Unlock Baby is only available in the CD + DVD B edition of Bara to Taiyou & for this song , it was written by Base Ball Bear's Koide Yusuke .

With a title like that , Unlock Baby is a funky no. . I think out of the 3 B-sides , Unlock Baby is probably my favourite as it's a different music style that KinKi Kids undertook & also it's a memorable no. too .

2017 is KinKi Kids's 20th anniversary & Bara to Taiyou is their 1st release in celebrating this milestone . To commemorate the duo's 20th anniversary in the business , they have launched a KinKi Kids 20th Anniversary Campaign starting with this single until their 2017 releases . Through this campaign , points can be collected to receive a special present .

To say that I enjoy Bara to Taiyou tremendously is an understatement & it has been a while since I was really into their singles . Not that their past single releases were bad but something about Bara to Taiyou kicked things into high gear .

Let alone the video accompanying the song elevates its status as it has a 1/2 band 1/2 dance concept which I feel it's cool & unique .

Before I saw the video preview , KinKi Kids 1st debuted/performed Bara to Taiyou on NTV's THE MUSIC DAY Natsu no Hajimari. & I didn't understand why each of them spilt into doing different things but upon seeing the full video eventually , it makes sense .

KinKi Kids' last few single releases have been quite sporadic but I do hope that subsequently until next year , they will be more musically active & the fact that 2017 is their 20th anniversary since they 1st released Glass no Shounen , it's a surreal feeling .

For now I don't think there's a need to worry as they will release 2015-2016 Concert KinKi Kids DVD + Blu-ray next month on 10th Aug but until then , Bara to Taiyou is solid & highly recommended to listen on loop .

Monday, July 25, 2016

CD Review :: Ken Hirai - THE STILL LIFE



1) Plus One
2) Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ?
3) Kokuhaku
4) Kawaii no Youkai
5) Kikyo ga Oka
6) Missionary
7) Soredemo Shitai
8) Kyoi no Bonsai
9) Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai
10) ON AIR
11) Onnaji Samishisa
12) Grotesque Feat Namie Amuro
13) TIME

14) Sorede Ii na

THE STILL LIFE is Ken Hirai's 9th album & it was released on 6th July .

Ken's last original album release was 2011's JAPANESE SINGER . In THE STILL LIFE , there're a total of 14 songs & all lyrics were written by Ken .

6 singles (inclusive of 2 double A-side) & a B-side are included in THE STILL LIFE . In addition , videos were made for 2 tracks Kikyo ga Oka & ON AIR .

Kicking things off in THE STILL LIFE is Plus One which's the 1st A-side of Ken's 39th single Plus One / TIME .

Plus One was used to promote TV Asahi's Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi drama . It's described as a love song that Ken wrote while picturing various relationships that men and woman cannot express in words .

Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? is Ken's 40th single & this was the most recent single release prior to the release of THE STILL LIFE .

This single song was used in Panasonic's LUMIX 4K WORLD camera ads , starring actress Ayase Haruka & also in the ads of Panasonic Lumix GX7MK2 which both Ken + Ayase both appeared together .

Kokuhaku is Ken's 35th single & this's the oldest single song included in THE STILL LIFE .

A ballad song produced by Tokyo Jihen's Seiji Kameda , Kokuhaku was selected to be used as the theme song for TV Asashi's drama W no Higeki which stars actress Takei Emi . This drama is based on a mystery novel by Natsuki Shizuko that was adapted into a film back in 1984 .

Regarding the song , Ken commented , "I made it with the themes 'absolute darkness' & 'overwhelming despair' , things that everyone holds somewhere in their hearts ." He continued , "Honestly , I've wrote a lot of songs , but this was the 1st song where I felt pain ."

Kawaii no Youkai is the 1st album track & the song is only ok for my liking . It's cute though nonetheless but I think it wasn't meant to be taken seriously .

Kikyo ga Oka is the 1st B-side in Ken's 36th single Grotesque .

This song was used in the ads for Misawa Homes . Kikyo ga Oka was written specially for the ad & it perfectly suits Misawa Home's concept of "a home where we can grow up with the family" .

In this case , Kikyo ga Oka is described as a number that has warm-hearted lyrics & melody .

Missionary is the 2nd album track & it was used in the ads of TOYO TIRES .

Out of the new album material available , Missionary is the most serious sounding with it being an emotional no. .

Soredemo Shitai is the 1st A-side of Ken's 37th single Soredemo Shitai / Onnaji Samishisa .

This song was used as the ending theme track for NTV's Tokui to Goto to Uruwashi no SHELLY ga Konya Kurabete Mimashita .

A fun Indian-style dance song that showcases a very different side of Ken , with it having a distinctly Indian feel . Ken says that he was inspired by Bollywood films & also that he mentioned that he has been mistaken as an Indian by Indians residing in Japan .

Kyoi no Bonsai is the 3rd album track . While it's the shortest track in the album , it's also my least favourite song as this track proves that for some odd surprising reason , Ken can't handle the Rock genre well .

Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai is Ken's 38th single . A medium-tempo ballad , it was used as the theme song for TBS's Naporeon no Mura .

Ken's remarks on Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai , "I wrote this song especially for Naporeon no Mura . Lately , my songs have been dark , but this drama contains Napoleon in the title & is about never giving up . I pulled my passion out of my heart & wrote this song . It's unlike any of my recent songs . "

Tokyo Jihen's Kameda Seiji produced Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai in which it was described as having a powerful & beautiful sound that captures the spirit of Naporeon no Mura with it complimenting Ken's soulful voice .

ON AIR was used as FM Mie's 30th anniversary song & a video was made for the song .

Compared with other tracks in THE STILL LIFE , ON AIR is a full on pop song & the video accompanying it is really cute .

Onnaji Samishisa is the 2nd A-side of Ken's 37th single Soredemo Shitai / Onnaji Samishisa .

This song was used as the theme no. for the NHK drama Sayonara Watashi & despite it being a double A-side , a video wasn't made for Onnaji Samishisa .

Grotesque is Ken's 36th single & it features Namie Amuro , making this 1st time Ken's single features a collaboration .

This collaboration features powerful dark lyrics about the negative feelings lurking in the depths of human soul . Written by Ken , Grotesque is a dance song with a strong beat & a catchy melody that will get listeners singing + dancing along at the same time .

Ken shares , "It's a fight song for all the people struggling out there ." He continues , "We try to cover the real intentions behind the polite fiction of human interaction" .

Namie commented , "For Ken whom want to work with me in his 1st collaboration is a huge honour . Through representing a woman's view point as well I believe the song will strike a chord with people."

TIME is the 2nd A-side of Ken's 39th single Plus One / TIME .

Used as Ise Shima Summit Cheer Song . Ken was appointed as an artist for the G7 JAPAN 2016 Ise-Shima Summit in Feb & despite being just like Onnaji Samishisa , no music video was made for TIME .

Concluding THE STILL LIFE is the album final track which's Sorede Ii na . This soothing mid tempo track is a good way to wrap things up in the new album .

Fresh off 2 months of consecutive single releases , Ken Hirai now presents his 1st album in 5 years. Packed with 14 tracks , THE STILL LIFE collects the singer's many hit singles over the last few years including drama theme songs Kokuhaku , Onnaji Samishisa , Kimi no Kodou wa Kimi ni Shika Narasenai , Plus One , his collaboration with Namie Amuro , Grotesque & the most recent Mahoutte Itte Ii Kana ? .

Knowing that it has been 5 years since JAPANESE SINGER was released is daunting but before that , it felt like forever that Ken hasn't release a new album so for THE STILL LIFE to finally see the light in getting release , it's a relief .

Already before THE STILL LIFE was announced , I lowered my expectations slightly as I already know upfront that there wouldn't be that much new material in Ken's new album as the album structure is quite similar to his 7th album FAKIN' POP .

But aside from that , it's evident that the new material in THE STILL LIFE is considerably overshadowed by the singles which in a way I don't mind as I like all the single songs unlike JAPANESE SINGER .

Hopefully I wouldn't need to wait for another 5 years for Ken to release a new album but with this release , Ken shows why he's still 1 of the most prominent established male solo artistes in the industry .

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saito Kazuyoshi - Himawari ni Tsumoru Yuki

Himawari ni Tsumoru Yuki is a digital single by Saito Kazuyoshi & it was released on 8th July .

The song was used to promote Shiseido's Snow Beauty 2016 Sakasa ni Furu Yuuki short movie .

Shiseido will be producing various short movies to coincide with the release of their upcoming Snow Beauty III whitening face powder that will be launched on 21st Sept .

I didn't quite like Saito's Muddy Water single but for Himawari ni Tsumoru Yuki , it's pretty ok I guess .

Himawari ni Tsumoru Yuki is a very dreamy chilled out song which I suppose it's to match the promo tie in .

Between both songs , Himawari ni Tsumoru Yuki to me is slightly better & hopefully this will not be the last I'll be seeing of Saito this year , music wise .

Tuesday, July 19, 2016




2) JUST ONE LIFE (Live at NHK Hall 2016.3.10)
3) U & I (Live at NHK Hall 2016.3.10)
4) THIS IS HOW WE ROCK (inst.)

THIS IS HOW WE ROCK is SPYAIR's 18th single & it was released last week on 13th July .

The group's 1st single release of 2016 , the A-side will be used as the theme song for the group's JUST LIKE THIS 2016 outdoor concert that will take place next Sat / 30th July .

The B-sides in the single were both recorded from the last date of SPYAIR TOUR 2016「4 -for -」 which took place on 10th March at Tokyo's NHK Hall .

JUST ONE LIFE is SPYAIR's 13th single while U & I was found as track #10 in their 2nd album Just Do It .

This is how SPYAIR rocks ! Before their JUST LIKE THIS 2016 concert commences , the band returns with their 1st single of the year , THIS IS HOW WE ROCK .

SPYAIR made a bold statement with the release of THIS IS HOW WE ROCK & with a song title like that , they made no apologises on how empowering this track is which has plenty of attitude & sass .

THIS IS HOW WE ROCK definitely resonates with fans with it becoming another Top 10 single for SPYAIR who deserves it as this's a classic feel good Rock song .

Also this's the 2nd time for guitarist UZ to rap in the verses of their single , the 1st being their 16th single Fire Starter .

The only drawback on the single is the lack of new B-sides seeing that in absence of that , live renditions of already existed songs are included to fill in the gap .

But aside from that , THIS IS HOW WE ROCK is yet another solid single added to SPYAIR's discography . Here's hoping to more great material from them in due course .

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

CD Review :: BENI - Shiki Uta summer

Cover for both CD & CD + DVD

1) Summer Lovers
2) Natsu no Omoide
3) Forever
4) Eien marriage ver.
5) Baby Blue
6) Hanabi
7) Summer・Night・Fever
9) Zenryoku Shounen
10) Natsu ga Owaru Koro

Shiki Uta summer is a concept album by BENI & it was released last month on 29th June .

BENI's previous release was last Nov's Undress / her 6th album .

Shiki Uta summer has a theme of seasons & love and is the 1st album in BENI's 'Shiki Uta (Four Seasons Songs)' series .

The concept album's tracklist consists of 5 new songs , 1 re-recorded no. , 1 new cover & 3 tracks which already been released previously .

BENI serves as the producer while Dohzi-T supervised the production of Shiki Uta summer .

The 3 songs which were included in BENI's past releases include her 16th single OUR SKY , 18th single Forever & Zenryoku Shounen which's an English cover of Sukima Switch's 2005 single .

BENI's English cover of Zenryoku Shounen was 1st included as track #5 in her 3rd English covers album COVERS 3 .

New material are indicated in bold in the above tracklist .

Summer Lovers was picked to be used in the ads of LAZONA BARGAIN which BENI was appointed as a special supporter .

Prior to the physical release of Shiki Uta summer , Summer Lovers was 1st released digitally on 22nd June .

Summer Lovers is a fun cheery upbeat Summer inspired song that sets the tone of what to expect in the subsequent songs found in Shiki Uta summer . BENI wrote the song & she co-composed it .

Natsu no Omoide is the 2nd new song & this's an English cover of Ketsumeishi's 2003 single .

This song was 1st released digitally last month on 15th June . A video was made but it's not included in the DVD of Shiki Uta summer .

BENI is bilingual in both Japanese + English so you don't get any weird Engrish pronunciation from her & her English cover of Natsu no Omoide is quite ok but the video is what made it even better as it has an amusing plot accompanying the song .

Eien marriage ver. is track #4 & this's a re-recorded version of BENI's 14th single .

This track was 1st released digitally on 25th May . A lyrics video was made but it's not included in the DVD of the concept album .

I always have liked Eien so I have no problems with the new version and Eien marriage ver. emphasised the sweet wedding vibes a lot more than the original take of the song . Also the lyrics video is heartwarming to say the least .

Baby Blue & Hanabi are both the slower new material which BENI wrote the lyrics to the former . Baby Blue is a cool chilled out no. while Hanabi is a really nice ballad .

Hanabi was co-written by BENI & Dohzi-T and BENI had a hand in co-composing the melody as well .

Summer・Night・Fever is the next new song & once again BENI wrote the lyrics while she co-composed the melody with UTA .

For a song that's titled Summer・Night・Fever , it's surprisingly quite subdued compared to Summer Lovers . Nonetheless , it's still quite a good no. .

Natsu ga Owaru Koro is the last new song/track in Shiki Uta summer . Credits wise , BENI & Dohzi-T cowrote the song together while BENI co-composed the melody .

I think Natsu ga Owaru Koro is a fitting no. in concluding the concept album although some might feel it's a bit of a weak link but I personally like it so I don't have problems with it .

BENI makes a Summer comeback with Shika Uta summer which's her 1st release of 2016 .

Shiki Uta summer is an interesting BENI release as this's the 1st time for her to do an album that centres on 1 of the 4 seasons which's Summer .

As such , the structure of Shiki Uta summer is unique & cannot be compared with her past releases (be it studio albums and/or English cover albums) .

The new material in Shiki Uta summer is generally solid & have strong Summer vibes which's what the concept album is gear towards . Also it's great that BENI has a considerable amount of personal input that went into creating the new songs which's something worth commending .

For me I don't mind that BENI's past singles OUR SKY & Forever are included in Shiki Uta summer as I like them & to me OUR SKY is still BENI's best Summer single song to date .

Since it's mentioned that Shiki Uta summer will be the 1st of such concept album from BENI , I will not be surprised if she will do another concept album based on Autumn and/or Winter next .

In addition , if this quality of BENI's concept albums is just as good as Shiki Uta summer , then I don't see why she should not/will not do another 1 .

But for now , Shiki Uta summer is something worth checking out during the fun Summer season .

Saturday, July 09, 2016

CD Review :: Kis-My-Ft2 - I SCREAM

2 CDs


2 CDs + 2 DVDs

1) "5th" Overture
3) Summer Breeze
4) Gravity
6) & say (Kitayama Hiromitsu & Fujigaya Taisuke)
7) Flamingo
8) Yuuzora
9) Saigo mo Yappari Kimi
10) AAO
11) Mega☆Live
12) MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru
13) NOVEL -Album ver.-
14) Re:
15) I Scream Night
16) WANTED (2 CDs Edition Track)

Solo songs (only available as the 2nd CD in 2 CDs + 2 DVDs edition)

1) Ima Naniwo Sou no (Kitayama Hiromitsu)
2) Get Ready (Senga Kento)
3) Wotakudattatte It's Alright ! (Miyata Toshiya)
4) Watta Bento (Yokoo Wataru)
5) You're Liar ♡ (Fujigaya Taisuke)
6) ALIVE (Tamamori Yuta)
7) Josshi Matsumura no SCREAM (Nikaido Takashi)

I SCREAM is Kis-My-Ft2's 5th album & it was released last month on 22nd June .

Released less than a year since previous album KIS-MY-WORLD , I SCREAM include 15 songs , inclusive of a bonus track WANTED that's only included in the 2 CDs edition .

1 album track YES ! I SCREAM has a video made while Re: has a production documentary accompanied by the group members' lyrics .

3 singles AAO , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi & Gravity + 2 B-sides NOVEL (from AAO) & MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru (from Gravity) are included in I SCREAM .

The 2nd disc in the 2 CDs edition has a Kis-My-Ft2 non-stop medley mix Kis-My-Ft2 NON-STOP MIX -Vol.1- featuring 30 tracks that looks back at their Johnny Juniors & singles days & the track duration is almost 21 mins long .

The 2nd CD in the 2 CDs + 2 DVDs edition includes 7 solo songs from each of the members in the group . No videos were made for Kitayama's & Fujigaya's solos , however their duo song FIRE !!! (track #9 in 3rd album Kis-My-Journey) has a video made .

The album kick things off with "5th" Overture which has a futuristic meets circus melody . It's an interesting mix mash of sounds which sets the tone on what to expect in I SCREAM later on .

YES ! I SCREAM is the main album promo track and this's the biggest video that the group has made to date which features a Kis-My-Ft2 parade to go along with the catchy tune of the song which's bursting with a lot of colours & with 100 people joining in the parade .

Compared with KIS-MY-WORLD's Brand New World , YES ! I SCREAM is on a different music league as it has a fun carnival like theme . There's no way in not feeling happy upon hearing this song which gives off plenty of positive happy vibes .

Summer Breeze is the 2nd album track and it has an upbeat Summer theme that has a catchy melody which's backed up with whistling sounds thrown in for good measure .

Gravity is Kis-My-Ft2's 16th single & this was used as the theme song to NTV's late-night drama MARS: Tada , Kimi wo Aishiteru. which's a live-action drama adaptation of Souryo Fuyumi's popular manga MARS. . Member Fujigaya Taisuke and actor Kubota Masataka were cast as the leads in MARS: Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru. , song is described as an uptempo dance tune with a sense of speed .

Out of the 3 singles included in I SCREAM , Gravity is my favourite as something about this single song never gets old no matter how many times I listened to it & to quote the title , it still has a strong gravitational pull .

PSYCHO is the 3rd album track and aside from YES ! I SCREAM , this's 1 of my favourite album track as it's a crazy sounding song in a good way . It's basically an Oriental song that's full on overdrive & it would have been interesting if a video was made .

& say is the only non group track in the main / 1st CD and for this , it's handled by group leader Kitayama Hiromitsu & Fujigaya .

Kitayama & Fujigaya's previous duo song Akashi in KIS-MY-WORLD was a ballad but in & say , they brought back the aggressive factor .

PSYCHO is an Oriental sounding song full speed ahead while for & say , it's a rather strange Bollywood influence no. . I wasn't used to it in the 1st place but it's actually sounds not bad .

Flamingo is the 4th group album track & this's a nice mid tempo song with a finger snapping beat . And this's followed by the 1st group album ballad Yuuzora which's a heartwarming no. .

The next 2 songs are singles that were released prior to I SCREAM .

Saigo mo Yappari Kimi is Kis-My-Ft2's 15th single & it was used as the theme song for the movie Raintree no Kuni starring member Tamamori Yuta .

Described as a ballad number , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi was written by Tsunku♂ . Regarding the song , Tsunku♂ commented , "I am very happy that it turned out to be a heartwarming song that is full of the members' passion , innocence & amorousness ." Kitayama also stated , "We want you to be completely absorbed in Tsunku♂'s worldview & our song ."

Tamamori also commented , "I'm happy that I can be a part of both works as well from the music side , through the theme songs ."

AAO is Kis-My-Ft2's 14th single & it was used as the theme song for NTV's drama Seishun Tantei Haruya starring Tamamori .

Written & composed by Naoto Inti Raymi , AAO is a fun upbeat no. that reflects the talented cheery side of the group & kudos to the talented Naoto Inti Raymi for creating it .

Mega☆Live is the 6th group album track & a bit similar to YES ! I SCREAM , it's a fun fast paced number although in a way it's nothing special to a certain extent .

MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru was originally included as the 1st B-side from their 16th single Gravity . This song was used to promote Ginza Calla which Fujigaya stars in the ads . A recording movie video was made & included in the single .

To me while I feel MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru is ok , I would rather see Crystal Sky make the cut in the album as I like it a lot more but since MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru is chosen instead , I have to accept it .

NOVEL is the 1st B-side in their 14th single AAO & it was used in the ads of Kowa's Hokkairo Nukunuku Touban .

In I SCREAM , it has an album version with a different melody as compared to the version that was included in AAO .

Similarly , I would have preferred Let it BURN ! get included in I SCREAM instead of NOVEL but I must admit that NOVEL -Album ver.- is actually not bad .

Re: is the 2nd group album ballad & I enjoy this a lot as everyone harmonises really well even though for some odd reason , Re: sounds a bit like NEWS's Aikotoba to me .

I Scream Night is the last song in the CD + DVD & 2 CDs + 2 DVDs versions of the album and this's a standout no. which's fitting in concluding I SCREAM with a bang as it has a strong memorable EDM driven melody .

WANTED is only included in the 2 CDs edition of I SCREAM as a bonus track . To me , there's nothing special regarding this song especially when you compare it with other stronger sounding tracks in the album , this unfortunately falls short so there's no problem in skipping it .

For the solo songs , I will just do a short review on it but out of the 7 , I actually like Tamamori's a lot with it being an EDM song & I like the concept of the video accompanying ALIVE .

Also I feel it's a bit of a shame that videos were not made for Kitayama & Fujigaya's solos as they're actually quite good . I was surprised they chose to make a video on FIRE !!! instead but that's still a great duo song .

While for Senga's solo , Get Ready surprises me & the personal input that went into making the video for his solo was commendable .

As for the other 3 solos , I'm not really a big fan of them . Miyata's solo is dedicated to otakus like himself while for Yokoo , it's actually the 1st time I heard how he sounds like & frankly his vocals is quite weak/limited even though the video for Watta Bento is fun as it has a cooking theme .

And for Nikaido's solo , I was weird out by his the most and the video for Josshi Matsumura no SCREAM didn't helped matters & to put it nicely in the best way possible , I think it was made to accommodate even more fanservice to the group's fans .

Fans have plenty reason to scream because Kis-My-Ft2 marks their 5th anniversary with their latest 5th album I SCREAM .

Kis-My-Ft2 certainly spared no expenses & went all out with I SCREAM as their latest album has been amp out to the max .

Compared with their past albums , I SCREAM has the most amount of group input to date seeing that in the main disc , all except 1 song are group tracks unlike their previous records where it was not the case .

Also surprisingly , it took them this long to finally include solo songs for all members as previously , only Kitayama , Fujigaya & Tamamori have them but not the other 4 members / Busaiku until now .

Overall , I SCREAM is a really fun album and most of the new material is solid .

The minor downsides of I SCREAM is that I don't quite like that the 2nd 1/2 of the album is quite slow paced . Let alone this time round , I don't agree that MU-CHU-DE Koishiteru & NOVEL deserve to make the cut in I SCREAM as Kis-My-Ft2 have other/better B-sides in AAO , Saigo mo Yappari Kimi & Gravity .

Aside from that , I SCREAM is an enjoyable record & it's daunting to know that since Kis-My-Ft2 debuted 5 years ago , they've been releasing an album every year & as each album release goes by , they kept keeping me entice more & more , something that I rarely get from any Johnnys group as it's notoriously known that albums that Johnnys release are normally quite hard to listen/get into but somehow Kis-My-Ft2 is able to buckle that 'curse' & beat it .

And they definitely show no signs of slowing down as next month , they will release 17th single Sha la la☆Summer Time on 24th Aug & for that I can't wait but for now , I make do with their latest album I SCREAM which have me screaming for more new music from Kis-My-Ft2 .

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Hilcrhyme - Parallel・World



1) Parallel・World
2) Sousa
3) Parallel・World -Original Instrumental-
4) Sousa -Original Instrumental-

Parallel・World is Hilcrhyme's 19th single & it was released last month on 29th June .

This's the duo's 1st single release of 2016 . Parallel・World was used as the theme song for their 3D Hilcrhyme 10th Anniversary FILM 「PARALLEL WORLD」 which was released before the single .

Prior to the physical release , the A-side was 1st released digitally on 1st June .

Parallel・World is dubbed as Hilcrhyme's 10th anniversary single which explained why they've released this in conjunction together with a release of a 3D movie which I think it's quite cool as it looks back at their music journey from the past to the present .

Sousa serves as the B-side in the single & while this's under 3 mins long , it doesn't hold back with it being more aggressive & upbeat as compared with the A-side .

2016 is Hilcrhyme's 10th anniversary & the release of Parallel・World is a start of the duo's milestone celebration in the music business .

And they're not slowing things down as up next , they're releasing a live album Hilcrhyme 10th Anniversary LIVE 「PARALLEL WORLD」 next month on 31st Aug .

Friday, July 01, 2016

CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - M(A)DE IN JAPAN



CD + Blu-ray

1) tasky
3) Mad World
4) Breakdown
5) Survivor
6) You are the only one
8) Mr.Darling
9) Summer Love
10) Many Classic Moments (Bonus Track)

M(A)DE IN JAPAN is ayumi hamasaki's 17th album & it was released on 29th June .

While M(A)DE IN JAPAN was released physically 2 days ago , it was 1st digitally released on 11th May exclusively through the music streaming service AWA .

Launched a year ago & developed by Avex Trax and CyberAgent inc , AWA hopes to introduce music streaming to a much more broader audience in Japan and ayumi wants her fans to enjoy her new music in preparation for her nationwide tour ayumi hamasaki ARENA TOUR 2016 A ~MADE IN JAPAN~ that kicked off on 14th April at Nagoya's Nippon Gaishi Hall .

ayumi's last album release was last April's A ONE . No singles are included in M(A)DE IN JAPAN but 2 album tracks FLOWER & Mad World received videos .

The video of Winter diary is included in the DVD/Blu-ray but the song itself is excluded from the CD tracklist .

tasky kicks things off in the album & it definitely fits the album title as it's a great Oriental meets Enka instrumental piece .

FLOWER & Mad World are the 2 album tracks that received videos & it's easy to see (hear) why . FLOWER has some Oriental elements but it's still a Rock song at the end of the day .

Nonetheless , I do feel that FLOWER is good & that goes for Mad World as well .

Breakdown is a dark emotional song & surprisingly this's the only song that ayumi did not perform during her current ongoing tour . Maybe it's too emotional for her to sing it live ? That I'm not sure .

Survivor is the 4th album track & honestly this should have a video as it's something that I enjoy a lot . It reminds me of a cross between talkin' 2 myself & decision somewhat even though both songs weren't composed by the same person .

Things slow down considerably in the form of You are the only one . I think this's quite a sweet song although some does not like the way ayumi sings in here but I'm ok with it .

TODAY brings back some nostalgic memories for me as when I 1st heard it , I couldn't help but feel it sounds like Who... in some parts of the song .

Mr.Darling starts off with guitar riffs & its melody changed into a mid tempo melody . Out of the new material in the album , this's a bit of a weak link .

Summer Love is the last new album track & yet this's 1 of my favourite songs in the album as it's a really fun upbeat EDM track . And it's surprising to know that the composers for both TODAY & Summer Love have not worked on ayumi's material before so kudos to them for breathing in new life into M(A)DE IN JAPAN .

Many Classic Moments is the final song in the album & this's a cover of globe's 26th single .

ayumi's cover of Many Classic Moments was originally included in globe's tribute album #globe20th -SPECIAL COVER BEST- , which was released last Dec .

I enjoyed Many Classic Moments so I wasn't that bummed out to see this slotted into M(A)DE IN JAPAN as this's to make up for the lack of interludes .

ayumi hamasaki surprises everyone 2 months ago with the online digital release of her latest album M(A)DE IN JAPAN which features dark heavy songs that lay bare her emotions & present a deep view of the world .

Just like everyone else , I was definitely surprised when M(A)DE IN JAPAN was released digitally as ayumi has never released a full album online prior to its physical release .

Material wise , I feel M(A)DE IN JAPAN is 1 of her more stronger/put together releases to date as I haven't been impressed with a full album of hers for quite a long time now .

I think what made M(A)DE IN JAPAN stood out this time round for me was the quality of the songs and most importantly if not finally , ayumi enlisted help from composers she has not worked before which was much needed as she kept on using the same composers to work on her past music material until it became overkill .

That's not to say M(A)DE IN JAPAN doesn't have its flaws as for starters , the covers/photos don't match the album title as ayumi should have done for the Oriental Geisha/Kimono look and likewise , the videos for FLOWER + Mad World didn't do anything much to further elevate the songs which's a shame as the tracks themselves are already good .

Likewise , it's ayumi's 2nd time to include a cover song in her album as she 1st did that for A ONE . I hope she wouldn't do that again for her next album release . Not that I don't mind ayumi covering other artistes' works but hopefully this wouldn't beome a habit of hers .

But all in all , M(A)DE IN JAPAN is quite a solid release & it's 1 album that I've been listening quite regularly , something that I used to do with ayumi's past albums so for that it's definitely a good sign .

Blog Personnel

Karen Pang

# 10th Jan

# #1 BREAKERZ fan in Singapore since 2008 debut single ♥

# My music blog consists of JPop/Rock singles & albums reviews that I put my heart , efforts & soul into writing them as I'm disgusted with the way that JPop/Rock music is being treated/written/reviewed in Singapore so to the local media (yes you TEENS , Teenage Magazine & The Strait Times) , screw you all . I basically can write better JPop/Rock reviews , period

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Upcoming New JPop/JRock Releases

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 7th album PARADE , 301019 , Wed

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# Koda Kumi's 17th album re(CORD) , 131119 , Wed

# Kis-My-Ft2's 25th single Edge of Days , 131119 , Wed

# ayumi hamasaki's LOVEppears / appears -20th Anniversary Edition- , 101119 , Mon

# Ken Hirai's 46th single #302 , 041219 , Wed

# Hilcrhyme LIVE 2019 "MILESTONE 10th" DVD + Blu-ray , 181219 , Wed

# Hilcrhyme LIVE 2019 "MILESTONE 10th" live album , 181219 , Wed

# BREAKERZ × Detective Conan COLLABORATION BEST , 181219 , Wed

# UVERworld's 10th album title tbc , 2019

# GLAY's best album REVIEW II , 2020

# NEWS's 11th album STORY , 2020

# flumpool's 5th album title tbc , 2020

Album Reviews

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# B'z - NEW LOVE


# Kis-My-Ft2 - FREE HUGS!

# Matsushita Yuya - BLACK NEVERLAND


# Hilcrhyme - Hilcrhyme

# Yamashita Tomohisa - UNLEASHED


# ayaka - 30 y/o

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# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - SENSE or LOVE

# Koda Kumi - DNA

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# Aoyama Thelma - HIGHSCHOOL GAL

# ayumi hamasaki - TROUBLE EP

# Hilcrhyme - One Man EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Yummy!!


# FLOWER FLOWER - Spotlight

# Koda Kumi - AND


# ARASHI - 「untitled」


# Aoyama Thelmas - 10TH DIARY



# V6 - The ONES

# Shota Shimizu - FLY

# Ken Hirai - Utabaka Dake ni.

# Acid Black Cherry - Acid BLOOD Cherry


# Mika Nakashima - TOUGH


# Koda Kumi - W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~

# GRANRODEO - Karma to Labyrinth

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# Hilcrhyme - SIDE BY SIDE

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# ARASHI - Are You Happy?

# Mao from SID - Maison de M EP

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - DEAR.

# Ken Hirai - THE STILL LIFE

# BENI - Shiki Uta summer

# Kis-My-Ft2 - I SCREAM

# ayumi hamasaki - M(A)DE IN JAPAN


# Aoyama Thelma - PINK TEARS EP

# Shota Shimizu - PROUD

# flumpool - EGG



# BENI - Undress

# SPYAIR - 4

# ARASHI - Japonism

# Aoyama Thelma - GRAY SMOKE EP

# ayumi hamasaki - sixxxxxx EP


# Domoto Koichi - Spiral

# Kis-My-Ft2 - KIS-MY-WORLD

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMPing CAR

# Namie Amuro - _genic

# ayaka - Rainbow Road


# ayumi hamasaki - A ONE

# Hilcrhyme - REVIVAL


# Koda Kumi - WALK OF MY LIFE

# B'z - EPIC DAY

# Acid Black Cherry - L

# Kanon Wakeshima - Tsukinami

# NEWS - White





# Anna Tsuchiya - LUCIFER EP

# Yamashita Tomohisa - YOU

# Aoyama Thelma - Lonely Angel

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Asobi EP

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-Journey

# ayumi hamasaki - Colours

# KAT-TUN - come Here

# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - smart

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# Miliyah Kato x Shota Shimizu - THE BEST

# JASMINE - Welcome to Jas Vegas


# Shota Shimizu - ENCORE

# Hilcrhyme - FIVE ZERO ONE


# Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun


# KAT-TUN - Kusabi -kusabi- EP


# Yamashita Tomohisa - A NUDE

# Matsushita Yuya - #musicoverdose

# JASMINE - Complexxx


# BENI - Red



# Namie Amuro - FEEL

# AKIHIDE - Amber

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Good Ikuze !

# girl next door - Life of Sound

# V6 - Oh ! My ! Goodness !

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE again

# Mika Nakashima - REAL

# flumpool - experience

# ayumi hamasaki - again EP

# Hilcrhyme - LIKE A NOVEL

# ayumi hamasaki - LOVE EP

# ARASHI - Popcorn

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# SID - M&W

# Yamashita Tomohisa - Ero

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# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP WORLD

# Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-1st

# Acid Black Cherry - 『2012』

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# ayumi hamasaki - Party Queen

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# ayaka - The beginning

# Koda Kumi - JAPONESQUE

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# ON/OFF - Legend Of Twins II -Zoku Futago Densetsu-

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# ARASHI - Beautiful World

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# Mika Nakashima - STAR

# Kanjani∞ - 8UPPERS (Pacchi Uppers)


# Anna Tsuchiya - RULE



# Domoto Koichi - BPM

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE ! 2

# Hilcrhyme - Recital

# ARASHI - Boku no Miteiru Fukei

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shoujo Shikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~


# Hey ! Say ! JUMP - JUMP NO.1


# BENI - Lovebox

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# Acid Black Cherry - Q.E.D.

# Acid Black Cherry - BLACK LIST

# school food punishment - amp-reflection

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Ai EP


# ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus

# V6 - READY ?


# DAIGO☆STARDUST - The space toy

# Shota Shimizu - Journey

# Koda Kumi - UNIVERSE

# NEVER LAND - Beautiful Days EP

# abingdon boys school - ABINGDON ROAD

# BENI - Bitter & Sweet


# LANDS - Olympos EP

# flumpool - What's flumpool !?

# Kuroki Meisa - ATTITUDE EP

# Yusuke - Ano .. Konnan Dekimashita Kedo.

# KinKi Kids - J album

# Namie Amuro - PAST < FUTURE


# alan - my life


# B'z - MAGIC


# Saito Kazuyoshi - Tsuki ga Noboreba

# Aoyama Thelma - Emotions

# SID - hikari

# Kobukuro - CALLING

# Domoto Koichi - mirror

# Tegomass - Tegomass no Uta

# ON / OFF - Legend Of Twins I -Futago Densetsu-

# Fukuyama Masaharu - Zankyou

# Kanon Wakeshima - Shinshoku Dolce

# GReeeeN - Shio , Koshou -SALT & PEPPER-

# flumpool - Unreal EP

# Yuna Ito - DREAM

# Kanjani∞ - PUZZLE

# KAT-TUN - Break the Records -by you & for you-

# Kuroki Meisa - hellcat EP

# Kanjani∞ - KJ2 Zukkoke Daidassou

# ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL

# Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER

# Utada - This Is The One

# Kanjani∞ - KJ1 F·T·O

# ARASHI - Dream"A"Live

# Kanjani∞ - Kansha ni Eight EP

# alan - Voice of EARTH

# Aoyama Thelma - LOVE !

# Koda Kumi - TRICK

# Aoyama Thelma - DIARY





# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Ohisashiburi Desu


# GReeeeN - A , Domo. Hajimemashite


# ai otsuka - LOVE LETTER

# Mika Nakashima - VOICE


# NEWS - color

# Anna Tsuchiya - NUDY SHOW !

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 3 : Senior Year

# L'Arc~en~Ciel - KISS

# BREAKERZ - Ao no Mirai EP

# ai otsuka - LOVE PUNCH

# ai otsuka - LOVE COOK

# ai otsuka - LOVE JAM

# KAT-TUN - cartoon KAT-TUN II You

# OLIVIA - Trinka Trinka EP

# NEWS - touch

# NEWS - pacific

# ARASHI - Iza , Now

# ARASHI - One

# NANA Triple Billing

# OLIVIA - The Cloudy Dreamer EP

# Anna Tsuchiya - strip me ?


# KAT-TUN - Best of KAT-TUN

# Anna Tsuchiya - Taste My Beat EP

# ARASHI - Time

# Electrico - We Satellites

# ayaka - Sing to the Sky

# ayaka - First Message


# Koda Kumi - BEST ~BOUNCE & LOVERS~

# Jesse McCartney - Departure

# The Veronicas - Hook Me Up

# Ken Hirai - LIFE is ...

# Ashlee Simpson - Bittersweet World

# Ken Hirai - gaining through losing

# Yuna Ito - HEART

# Utada Hikaru - HEART STATION

# Ken Hirai - FAKIN' POP

Yuna Ito - WISH

# Ken Hirai - SENTIMENTALovers

# Koda Kumi - Kingdom

# ayumi hamasaki - GUILTY

# ai otsuka - LOVE PiECE

# abingdon boys school - abingdon boys school

# ayumi hamasaki - I am ...

# ayumi hamasaki - RAINBOW

# The Great Spy Experiment - Flower Show Riots

# Koda Kumi - BEST ~second session~

# The Click Five - Modern Minds And Pastimes

# Soundtrack Of High School Musical 2

# Koda Kumi - Black Cherry

# Namie Amuro - PLAY

# Maroon 5 - It Wouldn't Be Soon Before Long

# ayumi hamasaki - Memorial address EP

# NANA starring Mika Nakashima - THE END

# Mika Nakashima - YES

# Jamie Michael - People Watching

# ayumi hamasaki - A BEST 2 -BLACK- & A BEST 2 -WHITE-

# ayumi hamasaki - (miss)understood

# ayumi hamasaki - Duty & MY STORY

# Muse - Blackholes And Relevations

# Utada Hikaru - ULTRA BLUE

# ayumi hamasaki - Secret

# Utada - Exodus

# Vanessa Hudgens - V

# The Veronicas - The Secret Life Of The Veronicas

# Jesse McCartney - Right Where You Want Me

# Maksim - Electrik

# McFly - Motion In The Ocean

Other Posts Worth Checking Out

# Fave Songs Of 2010

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2010

# Fave Albums Releases Of 2010

# Fave Songs Of 2009

# Fave Singles Releases Of 2009

# Fave Albums Releases For 2009

# The Best Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2009

# Fave New Acts Of 2008

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# The 1st Song I Heard From My Future JPop Acts

# The Best & The Worst Music Releases For The 1st 1/2 Of 2008

# Fave Albums Of 2007

# The Click Five - The Band Behind The Band Documentary

# 987 Control Songlist Set

# Hot Review Of Maksim's Electrik

# Lu Yong Find My Shoes Journey

# Eric Dill Of The Click Five Got Punk'd !


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