Wednesday, August 31, 2016
CD Review :: Hey ! Say ! JUMP - DEAR.
CD + DVD
3) RUN de Boo !
4) Dream Master
6) Kimi Attraction
7) Special Love
12) Tasty U
13) Slow Motion
14) Ai no Syubidova
15) KISS Diary
16) Brand New World
17) From. (CD Only Track)
2nd disc (only in the 2 CDs edition)
18) Konya Anata wo Kudokimasu (Inoo Kei & Yaotome Hikaru)
19) Mr.Flawless (Nakajima Yuto , Takaki Yuya & Yabu Kota)
20) Boku to Kei to (Chinen Yuri & Okamoto Keito)
21) My Girl (Yamada Ryosuke & Arioka Daiki)
DEAR. is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 5th album & it was released last month on 27th July .
The group's previous studio album release was last June's JUMPing CAR .
Only 1 single Kimi Attraction is included in DEAR . Their 16th single MajiSUNSHINE is excluded from the tracklist .
DEAR. was released 1 day before the group's new tour Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. started & the album includes a secret track (only available in the CD only edition of DEAR.) . The last album that included 1 was in their debut album JUMP NO.1 .
The new album kick things off with slightly under a minute introduction number titled Invitation which flows well into the next song Masquerade which's the only new album track to get a video .
It's easy to understand why Masquerade deserves to get a video made as it's a full on outright upbeat song that has plenty of attitude & for once , it's a very grown up track which sets the tone on what to expect in the later course of DEAR. .
Funnily enough when I 1st heard Masquerade , it reminds me a lot of Kimi Attraction's Shall We ? to a certain extent as both songs sounded almost quite similar except that Shall We ? has a rather strong Halloween inspired melody while for Masquerade , it sounds like something that could be used in an actual real life masquerade ball .
Despite the questionable title , RUN de Boo ! is actually a fun fast paced no. & there's none of the childish tone that can be found in this song .
Likewise , the same thing goes for Dream Master & B.A.B.Y. . Dream Master has traces of autotune while yet again B.A.B.Y. is like RUN de Boo ! where both songs are quite mature sounding even though I wished B.A.B.Y. could have been a bit longer .
Kimi Attraction is Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 15th single & it's the sole single song included in DEAR. .
This was used as the CM song for Kose Cosme Port's Softymo & it's described as a pop tune with a sense of speed about an intense love . As such , Kimi Attraction describes the rollercoaster ride that is of romance .
Special Love is track #7 & I find this song quite alright , it's frankly nothing special as there're other album tracks which're more stronger .
Sharing the same title as the album except it having lower caps is Dear. which's the 1st of 3 album ballads . After a series of fast paced songs , it's good to slow things down considerably .
Eternal is the 2nd album ballad & this was used in the ads of Kose's Cosmeport Clear Turn face mask .
I like Eternal a lot & it's surprising that the group did not perform this song during their current ongoing Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. . Why I don't know but they should have done so as it's a sweet no. .
From 2 ballads back to back , the pace is picked up again in the form of SUPERMAN which's 1 of my favourite album tracks in DEAR. .
If Masquerade didn't had a video made , SUPERMAN should have stepped in to fill things up as this's 1 mean aggressive song & I feel that it has traces of Magic Power's Beat Line in it somewhat . Not that it's a bad thing as I still consider Beat Line to be 1 of the group's best B-sides which should have outright replaced Magic Power as the A-side instead .
order is another pretty good song with the introduction having a trumpet sound before its melody changed into something edgy & rough .
As for Tasty U , it's a rather interesting if not weird song as it almost borderlines in sounding like a Bollywood inspired track but it's not like NEWS's Chumu Chumu where the Bollywood music influence can be felt strongly .
For a song that's titled Slow Motion , I was 1/2 expecting it to be a ballad but turns out it's not the case . Instead , it starts off with auto tune & it's an upbeat song although it gets quite repetitive along the way .
The next song Ai no Syubidova was used in the ads of Bourbon's caramel popcorn .
Aside from Kimi Attraction , Ai no Syubidova is a rather childish sounding song but given the title it's not surprising . However the difference is that I don't cringe when I heard it as it's quite a cute song .
KISS Diary is the album's 3rd ballad & it's another favourite song of mine . Just like Eternal , it's not performed during Hey ! Say ! JUMP LIVE TOUR 2016 DEAR. either which's a real pity as the group should have done so .
Brand New World is the last track in DEAR. (in the 2 CDs & CD + DVD editions) . Oddly , I have vibes of the group's debut single Ultra Music Power when I 1st heard it . I don't know if that's a good or bad thing but I only find this song ok for my liking .
From. is only available in the CD only edition of the album . I prefer this over Brand New World as this piano driven no. left a better impression on me .
The 2nd disc in the 2 CDs edition of DEAR. contains 4 songs which're done by duo/trio pairings within Hey ! Say ! JUMP . This was decided during a game of rock paper scissors of their JUMQ segment (which the footages are included in the CD + DVD of MajiSUNSHINE) .
Konya Anata wo Kudokimasu is handled by Inoo & Hikaru . Surprisingly , this's almost a full blown up Rock sounding song . I would have preferred it much more if they omitted out the girls' backing voices as along the way it was quite grating on me .
Mr.Flawless is handled by Nakajima , Takaki & Yabu . In the JUMQ segment , the 4 duo/trio pairings had to fight with each other in order to win a chance to get a video was made for their unit song & in this case , it was Mr. Flawless that won the competition .
The Mr.Flawless video is not included in the DVD of DEAR. . Instead both the video & making of clips were included in a lucky draw DVD where 10,000 copies were made . Only by purchasing the CD only edition of DEAR. it would allow you to have a shot in winning the DVD .
Do I feel Mr.Flawless deserve to get a video ? To a certain extent yes as I like the song before seeing the video . And I think Nakajima , Takaki & Yabu harmonise together quite well .
Boku to Kei to is sung by Chinen & Okamoto . Out of the 4 songs in the 2nd CD , this's my least favourite as compared to the other 3 duo/trio pairings songs , this's the only track that has rather strong cheesy childish vibes & in a way I'm glad this song didn't get a video if not I would probably cringe a lot more .
The last song My Girl is sung by Yamada & Daiki . Honestly if Mr.Flawless didn't had a video made , I feel My Girl should have 1 made instead as this's my favourite out of the 4 duo/trio pairing songs .
What I like about My Girl is that it has a grown up feel & the melody's really catchy . Bonus points for Daiki in rapping in between the song . The only downside is that My Girl is rather short as it ends quite abruptly .
Hey! Say! JUMP breaks from their previous style in their 5th album DEAR . Known for their fresh youthful image , the Johnny's group evokes a more grown-up atmosphere this time in the album's new songs .
To say that I heave a huge sigh of relief upon listening to DEAR. is a big understatement seeing that it's a better album than JUMPing CAR in so many levels with the biggest 1 being the quality + maturity of the new material found in the new album .
Compared to JUMPing CAR , DEAR. showcases a lot more music styles & dynamics . For JUMPing CAR , I frankly only like 2 album tracks (Boys Don't Stop & Dangerous) while the rest is just plain awful/cheesy sounding . I don't get that same feeling when I listen to DEAR. . Even the new songs that might sound childish still has that grown up tone to a certain extent .
In addition , DEAR. only has 1 single so this means that the album tracks have to be on par if not be more superior than Kimi Attraction which I'm glad to say that more or less exceeded my expectations .
I have a lot of fun listening to DEAR. as I enjoy the variety of different styles made available in the album . I don't think DEAR. is my favourite Hey ! Say ! JUMP album but it's now my 2nd favourite 1 after their 3rd album smart .
Not everything in DEAR. is perfect but to me it's definitely a big improvement over JUMPing CAR & let alone , the guys in the group are not kids anymore so they really should ditch releasing childish songs & release material that fits their age now .
If they were able to release great grown up single songs like Your Seed , Mayonaka no Shadow Boy , Hitomi no Screen back when they were still kids , I don't see why not as it's not a good thing that some of their recent singles have the opposite effect where they sound inappropriate for their current age .
That said , 2017 will be Hey ! Say ! JUMP's 10th anniversary & hopefully they will do something special to commemorate it . For now , DEAR. is an album worth checking out & I can safely say it's 1 of my favourite albums of 2016 .
Thursday, August 25, 2016
KAT-TUN - BRAND NEW STAGE
2 DVDs Regular
2 DVDs + Bonus CD Limited
BRAND NEW STAGE is a song available as a bonus CD in the limited edition of KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIVE TOUR "10Ks!" DVD which was released on 17th Aug .
This song was used as NTV's Going ! Sports & News theme no. + NTV's Russia baseball relay Tsugi no Shunkan , Atsukunare THE BASEBALL 2016 theme song .
BRAND NEW STAGE is the 2nd song that the now trio KAT-TUN has recorded together , after Kimi no Yume Boku no Yume that's included in their 1st best album KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY BEST "10Ks!" .
Honestly when I 1st heard BRAND NEW STAGE , I thought it sounds quite similar to TRAGEDY's B-side Atsukunare given the upbeat tone of the song but I'm not surprised as both songs were used to promote Going ! Sports & News .
The only thing I don't like is that I wished BRAND NEW STAGE could have been a bit longer as it ended quite abruptly .
Given that KAT-TUN has been on hiatus after they finished KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIVE TOUR "10Ks!" , this's the next alternative as I suppose they rather release BRAND NEW STAGE together with the DVD instead of waiting until they (hopefully) return back which I'm sure they will do so eventually .
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Fukuyama Masaharu - 1461 Nichi
1461 Nichi is a song by Fukuyama Masaharu & it was released digitally on 5th Aug .
This song was picked to be used as TV Asahi's theme song in covering the 2016 Summer Olympics that's held this year at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil .
Considering that Fukuyama has not been musically active after he released his 31st single I am a HERO last year , it's great that there's finally something new from him .
What surprised me when I 1st heard 1461 Nichi is that it's not a typical sports theme driven song (unlike Namie Amuro's Hero) . Instead , it's a very simplistic acoustic guitar driven no. which's actually nice .
I'm not sure why Fukuyama chose to release 1461 Nichi digitally as this sounds like a late last minute rush release but I guess it's better than nothing . I do hope I wouldn't need to wait almost a year for something new from him though .
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
AKI - HEADZ UP
1) HEADZ UP
2) Fx$k the WORLD!
HEADZ UP is a special single by AKi & it was released on 1st May .
AKi kicked off his HEADZ UP & DO IT! solo tour on 1st May . Among the concert goods made available for sale , a T-shirt + CD combo was sold at 5,000 Yen .
In the HEADZ UP CD , 2 songs are found in the tracklist .
Sharing the same name as the CD , HEADZ UP is a straight up fun upbeat rock song while despite the title for the 2nd song , Fx$k the WORLD! is actually an instrumental no. & no vocals are found in the track .
For now , it's not known if both songs will make the cut in a future AKi release . I hope AKi will consider to include them as not many are able to buy the CD during his solo tour & let alone for it to be sold together with a T-shirt , it's a bit unscrupulous but end of the day it's a marketing tactic .
Saturday, August 13, 2016
GLAY - DEATHTOPIA
Cover for both CD & CD + DVD
2) Chonsoku Destiny
3) JUSTICE [from] GUILTY (GLAY Special Live 2013 in HAKODATE GLORIOUS MILLION DOLLAR NIGHT Vol.1)
4) Binetsu (A)girl Summer (GLAY Special Live at HAKODATE ARENA GLORIOUS MILLION DOLLAR NIGHT Vol.2)
5) Kuroku nure ! (GLAY ARENA TOUR 2014-2015 Miracle Music Hunt)
6) everKrack (GLAY HIGHCOMMUNICATIONS TOUR 2016 "Supernova")
7) coyote, colored darkness (ROCK’N’ROLL SWINDLE at NIPPONBUDOKAN)
8) WOLD’S END (GLAY ARENA TOUR 2007 "LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL")
DEATHTOPIA is GLAY's 54th single & it was released last week on 3rd Aug .
This was released 7 months + since GLAY's previous single G4・IV .
Desutopia was 1st released digitally on 9th May which topped various online charts at the time of release . This was picked to be used as the 1st opening theme no. for the anime Kuromukuro & it was composed by guitarist HISASHI .
There're 7 other songs in DEATHTOPIA & the 2nd song in the tracklist Chonsoku Destiny received a video , just like Desutopia .
In addition , Chonsoku Destiny was also used as the 2nd opening theme no. for Kuromukuro after Desutopia .
The other 6 songs are live tracks which were recorded from different concerts over the years & all of them were composed by HISASHI as well .
GLAY's latest single DEATHTOPIA packs in plenty of bang for the buck . I enjoyed Desutopia at the time when it was released digitally so I'm pleased that it made the physical single cut as it deserves so .
It would be better if Chonsoku Destiny was a ballad to contrast Desutopia but aside from that , this's another solid single coming from 1 of the most respected JRock groups .
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
UVERworld - WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE
CD + DVD
1) WE ARE GO
2) ALL ALONE
3) Colors of the Heart (Live at Marine Messe Fukuoka 2015.12.30)
4) Kokoro ga Sasu Basho to Kuchiguse Soshite Kimi ga Tsuite Kuru (Live at Zepp Tokyo 2008.06.02)
WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE is UVERworld's 29th single & it was released last month on 27th July .
UVERworld's last single release was last Aug's I LOVE THE WORLD while their last double A-side single release was 2013's Fight For Liberty / Wizard CLUB .
The 1st A-side WE ARE GO was picked to be used as the opening theme for TV Tokyo's anime Pazudora X . Vocalist TAKUYA∞ commented , "We felt it was our mission to create a song that thoroughly pursued our individuality . I think it's a song that we can enjoy with our friends during our concerts ."
Pazudora X is an anime adaptation of the Nintendo 3DS game software Pazudora X Kami no Shou / Ryu no Shou which was released on 28th July .
The 2nd A-side ALL ALONE is used as the 1st theme song of UVERworld's original footage project 1byousaki Mukau Mono to Tada Otozureru Mono . This project was originally drafted by TAKUYA∞ & Nakamura Teppei who has worked on many of UVERworld's music videos , serves as the director and scriptwriter .
Instead of new B-sides material , 2 live audio tracks are included in the single . Colors of the Heart is UVERworld's 4th single & the live take of the song was recorded almost 11 years ago at Marine Messe Fukuoka .
While Kokoro ga Sasu Basho to Kuchiguse Soshite Kimi ga Tsuite Kuru is found as track #16 in UVERworld's 2nd album PROGLUTION & the live rendition was recorded 8 years ago at Zepp Tokyo .
Almost a year since their last single release , UVERworld is back to break some new ground with their latest single WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE .
I LOVE THE WORLD is still a great UVERworld single song & luckily WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE managed to live up to expectations especially since UVERworld hasn't release anything this year , until now .
UVERworld's music is notorious to get into as all the while their music is not easy to get into but thankfully , WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE is a win in the bag .
I liked Fight For Liberty / Wizard CLUB & although as usual it took me a while to get into WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE , end of the day I enjoy the single .
Preference wise , I prefer WE ARE GO as it has a great upbeat melody that's heavily drums driven with saxophone sounds thrown in for good measure while ALL ALONE is a bit difficult to get into initially as it's almost 6 mins long but this mid tempo song contrasts WE ARE GO quite well .
Hopefully it wouldn't take UVERworld this long to release another single again but for now WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE is worth checking out .
Saturday, August 06, 2016
Namie Amuro - Hero
CD + DVD
2) Show Me What You've Got
3) Hero -Instrumental-
4) Show Me What You've Got -Instrumental-
Hero is Namie Amuro's 43rd single & this was released last month on 27th July .
This was released 2 months + since Namie's previous single Mint .
Hero was picked as the theme song for NHK's broadcast of the Rio 2016 Olympics & Paralympics . It's described as an uplifting song filling the listener with hope & courage inspiring them to become their own hero .
Imai Ryosuke & SUNNY BOY were in charge of the lyrics & composition respectively .
NHK requested Namie to sing the theme song because "her powerful voice has the ability to make an impression in people's hearts" & also because "she has supporters from many generations ." Namie commented , "I'm very honoured . I want to sing this song with a feeling of support ."
Hero was also used on NHK's broadcast of the All-Japan Artistic Gymnastics Competition on 3rd April & the Japan Swim 2016 on 4th April .
Show Me What You've Got is the B-side in the single & a video was made for the song . It's described as a sing-a-long party track that tells you to have confidence in yourself & have fun as you are .
Namie Amuro champions a message of hope and courage in her latest single offering , Hero . The moving song begins with a slow tempo and elegant melody to symbolise the sanctity & grandeur of the Olympics + then switches to dance beats that signifies Namie's presence .
To say that Hero has a patriotic tone is an understatement seeing that the 2016 Summer Olympics officially kicked off yesterday & the release of this single to coincide it was a smart marketing tactic .
All the while , I never been a fan of Namie's ballads but something about Hero is different . I thought it would be a straight out ballad but it's only the 1st part of the song that's so while subsequently , it's surprisingly upbeat .
What actually surprised me of Hero also is the duration as it's almost close to 6 mins long . I think it would have been better if Hero was shortened as towards the end it get a bit repetitive .
Also , I know quite a lot of people don't like Show Me What You've Got but it's a rare occasion where you don't see the aloof Namie but the fun loving Namie instead .
Show Me What You've Got is fun , cheery & meant not to be taken seriously . If not , what's the purpose of having a B-side that's different & contrasts the A-side in the 1st place ?
All in all just like Mint , I enjoy Hero a lot . I'm curious to see what Namie plans to do next since her upcoming new tour namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2016-2017 will start this month until end of March 2017 .
I will be surprised if in between Namie might release a new studio album if not then I probably have to wait until her tour finishes .
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
NEWS - Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he
CD + DVD
2 CDs + 2 DVDs special box
Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he is NEWS's 20th single & it was released last month on 13th July .
NEWS released their 7th album QUARTETTO in March .
Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he was used as the ending theme for member Kato Shigeaki's live action drama adaptation of the novel and popular animated film Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo .
Shige described Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he as "a ballad about the sadness of summer ending" on the official NTV website for the drama .
There're a total of 3 B-sides in the single . Smile is available in all 3 editions while Samaraba & Distance are only available in the CD only edition of Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he .
Out of the 3 B-sides , Samaraba is the only 1 that's upbeat sounding while the other 2 are mid tempo but not as depressing sounding as the A-side .
NEWS offers the ultimate sad Summer love song with their latest single Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he .
It's ideal not to listen to Koi wo Shiranai Kimi he if you feel depressed/emotional because this song conveys a lot of sad emotions which's very different from NEWS's past Summer single , SUMMER TIME which was cheery & jovial .
For this single , I'm not liking it as much as I was hoping for . I guess after they released Hikari no Shizuku / Touch , I was hoping for an upbeat Summer single but apparently that's not the case .
Likewise I only find the B-side songs ok & for the 1st time , I felt disconnected when I listened to them .
I do hope that NEWS can release something upbeat in their next single although I'm not saying they shouldn't release ballads as they had some good ones but for now I go back to listen to Touch instead .