Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Mika Nakashima - Koi wo Suru
CD + DVD
1) Koi wo Suru
3) Koi wo Suru instrumental
Koi wo Suru is Mika Nakashima's 41st single & it was released on 22nd Feb .
This's Mika's 1st single release of 2017 . The A-side was used in the ads of DHC's F1 Skin Care .
In line with DHC's F1 Skin Care's theme of "girl in love" , Koi wo Suru is a vivacious uptempo pop number .
Lyrically , Koi wo Suru is about the feelings of a girl in love & Mika commented , "It's a little embarrassing but fresh ."
Foolish serves as the B-side in Koi wo Suru . On 1st listen , Foolish sounds like a less angsty version of Mika's 34th single LOVE IS ECSTASY .
I feel that Foolish is not 1 of Mika's best B-sides even though it does contrast Koi wo Suru well . It's just that this time round , Mika somehow misses the mark in Foolish .
Koi wo Suru presents a different music side of Mika as her last few single songs have been quite ballad driven .
I was a bit taken aback when I 1st heard Koi wo Suru as it doesn't sound like Mika in the 1st place but seeing a light hearted , less serious side of Mika is really refreshing .
Mika's 8th album TOUGH will be released on 22nd March & Koi wo Suru will be included in TOUGH as track #3 .
Monday, February 27, 2017
Shota Shimizu - FIRE
CD + DVD
2) Knocks Me Off My Feet
3) My Boo -Acoustic ver.-
4) FIRE -Instrumental-
FIRE is Shota Shimizu's 22nd single & it was released last week on 21st Feb .
This's Shota's 1st single release of 2017 & it's his 1st release in celebrating his 10th anniversary in the business .
The theme of this single is fire . The A-side compares one's feelings with fire using lyrics , such as "burn anything & everything" and "I want to see you even if I lose everything."
Knocks Me Off My Feet serves as the 1st of 2 B-sides in FIRE . What makes this interesting is that this's possibly the 1st B-side song that Shota sang entirely in English .
Before Shota made his official music debut , he performed at New York's Apollo Theatre making him the 1st Japanese singer born in the Heisei era to perform there so I guess the gospel sounding no. Knocks Me Off My Feet is paying homage to his early days in the business .
My Boo -Acoustic ver.- is an acoustic version of Shota's previous / 21st single My Boo which was 1st released digitally on 18th Jan .
I like the acoustic take of My Boo when I 1st reviewed it so I'm not surprised this's eventually included in FIRE .
Shota Shimizu commemorates his 10th anniversary with FIRE , a smooth & emotional urban number characteristic of the R&B wunderkind .
Luckily Shota toned down the usage of autotune considerably in FIRE as he really went overboard with it last year & it's a shame because some of his best works in his discography have little if not no autotune involved .
FIRE is not bad overall but the standout are the B-side tracks which showcase a much more softer side of Shota . Both B-side songs are proof that Shota doesn't need to rely on over the top melodies to make good songs .
And I'm sure FIRE will not be the 1st & last release of Shota that he'll be releasing this year .
Monday, February 20, 2017
NEWS - EMMA
CD + DVD
EMMA is NEWS's 21st single & it was released on 8th Feb .
This's NEWS's 1st single release of 2017 .
The A-side was used as the opening track for Fuji TV's drama Kirawareru Yuuki starring member Kato Shigeaki . EMMA is described as an intensely catchy song that's full of sex appeal .
In addition , EMMA shows off the full range of expressions that the group can pull off & this uptempo tune has influences of "American hardboiled world" .
4 B-sides are included in EMMA with the 1st 2 Winter theme songs being titled Snow Dance & Snow Drop .
Snow Drop is only available in the CD only regular of the single .
The next 2 songs are only found in the CD only limited edition of EMMA which're re-recorded version of Sakura Girl & I・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI .
Sakura Girl was released as NEWS's 12th single while I・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI (still 1 of the group's best album tracks in their discography) is found as track #4 in the group's debut album touch .
In the updated versions , Sakura Girl -Represent NEWS Mix- & I・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI -Represent NEWS Mix- are re-recorded + sung by the current quartet .
NEWS's 1st single of 2017 , EMMA tells a dangerous love story with sexual & hardboiled themes . The overwhelmingly intense catchy title track is 1 of the group's strongest uptempo numbers yet .
I will not deny that I felt underwhelmed with NEWS's previous single Koi wo Shiranai Kimi e as for the 1st time I felt disconnected from the entire single .
Luckily EMMA is a lot more better even though I was quite shocked when I 1st heard the song as it doesn't sound like something NEWS might tackle as they don't portray themselves as sexy unlike their other Johnnys counterparts .
But after I got that out of the way , EMMA is actually pretty good . I also enjoyed Snow Dance & the ballad Snow Drop as well .
It's a rarity for Johnnys to re-record their older material & while it's good to hear the re-recorded/updated versions of Sakura Girl & I・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI , I felt that at most they should have different melodies as they sounded too similar to the original(s) .
That said , EMMA on whole is quite a good release which I like it so much more than Koi wo Shiranai Kimi e .
NEWS's 8th album NEVERLAND will be released next month on 22nd March & EMMA will be included in the upcoming new album .
Friday, February 17, 2017
Aoyama Thelma - My Only Lover
My Only Lover is s song released digitally by Aoyama Thelma on 8th Feb .
Aoyama will celebrates 10 years in the music business since her debut in Sept 2007 with My Only Lover kicking off her 10th anniversary year .
Promo wise , My Only Lover was chosen to be used as the 30th anniversary collaboration song for French cosmetics brand Guerlain's popular item Meteorites .
Written by Aoyama , the lyrics of My Only Lover show the singer's true feelings about wanting to fall in love .
PINK TEARS EP was the only physical release Aoyama put out last year & it's great that she resurfaces again with something new .
My Only Lover showcases the warm bubbly side of Aoyama & it's a fun upbeat song .
And knowing that this year's Aoyama's 10th anniversary is daunting as it feels like yesterday when Soba ni Iru ne was literally aired everywhere & even though success came + go for Aoyama , I still feel she have some good songs in her discography as frankly there's so much more to Aoyama than solely just Soba ni Iru ne .
Hopefully My Only Lover will not be the only new song that Aoyama will release for this year .
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
BENI - Mienai Start
Mienai Start is a song released digitally by BENI last week on 8th Feb .
BENI's latest new song was used in the ads of Dynamite Boat Race .
After BENI's last physical release Shiki Uta summer last June , it's great to have finally something new from her & surprisingly she didn't release an Autumn and/or Winter theme concept album(s) after Shiki Uta summer .
Nonetheless , Mienai Start is a really beautiful ballad that has a grand sweeping Orchestra melody .
What I find it surprising is that Mienai Start has both equal parts of English & Japanese lyrics and since BENI is fluent in both languages , I don't get an awkward feeling when I listen to it .
In addition , some feel that Mienai Start sounds like a Disney song which I do agree to a certain extent .
Hopefully BENI wouldn't take this long to release something new again .
Sunday, February 12, 2017
UVERworld - Itteki no Eikyou
CD + DVD
Both editions' tracklist
1) Itteki no Eikyou
3) Forever Young (AK-69 Feat UVERworld)
1) Itteki no Eikyou
3) CORE PRIDE ; 19th single
4) REVERSI ; 23rd single
5) Itteki no Eikyou (short ver.)
This edition includes 2 past single songs of UVERworld that were used to promote Ao no Exorcist
Itteki no Eikyou is UVERworld's 30th single & it was released on 1st Feb .
This's UVERworld's 1st single release of 2017 & the A-side was used as the opening theme no. for the Ao no Exorcist Kyoto Fujouou-hen anime
Back in 2011 , UVERworld released their 19th single CORE PRIDE which was used as the 1st opening theme song for the Ao no Exorcist anime . Fittingly, the band now also provides Itteki no Eikyou as the opening theme for the anime's 2nd season , Ao no Exorcist Kyoto Fujouou-hen . For the B-sides , the band includes Emu , an insert song for the movie Shinjuku Swan II & Forever Young , a collaboration with rapper AK-69 .
Itteki no Eikyou is interesting on 1st listen because unlike WE ARE GO / ALL ALONE , it's a lot more uplifting & less moody . I was a bit taken aback when I 1st heard it as I wasn't sure was this UVERworld in the 1st place .
But after I got that out of the way , Itteki no Eikyou is actually not bad on whole . Don't think it's 1 of my favourite single songs of UVERworld but close enough .
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Acid Black Cherry - Mikazuki
CD + DVD
Mikazuki is found as track #6 in Acid Black Cherry's 4th covers album Recreation 4 .
Recreation 4 was released last month on 25th Jan . For this , Mikazuki is a cover of ayaka's 2006 / 4th single .
Shota Shimizu & Kobukuro covered ayaka's Mikazuki before but what sets this latest take of Mikazuki apart is that Acid Black Cherry gave it a Rock edge which's very different from the original .
As such , Acid Black Cherry's rendition of Mikazuki is pretty refreshing as Shota Shimizu & Kobukuro's versions were quite mellow / mid-tempo driven .
2017 is Acid Black Cherry's 10th anniversary in the business & their next release 10th Anniversary Live History -BEST- DVD + Blu-ray will be released next month on 22nd March .
Sunday, February 05, 2017
SID - Glass no Hitomi
CD Limited Anime Version
CD + DVD
1) Glass no Hitomi
2) Chiisana Tsubasa
3) Glass no Hitomi ‐Instrumental-
Glass no Hitomi is SID's 21st single & it was released last month on 18th Jan .
SID's last group single release was Nov 2015's Hyoryu .
Glass no Hitomi was used to promote the anime movie Kuroshitsuji Book of the Atlantic .
In the past , SID has provided their single songs Monochrome no Kiss & ENAMEL as the opening theme no.s for the Kuroshitsuji anime series . On Glass no Hitomi , vocalist Mao commented , "We produced the music & lyrics as if we were creating the worldview of Kuroshitsuji together with the movie ."
Chiisana Tsubasa serves as the B-side in the single . Unlike the A-side which's a bit gloomy sounding , Chiisana Tsubasa contrasts Glass no Hitomi quite well with it sounding relatively upbeat .
After vocalist Mao & bassist Aki focused on solo projects the last 2 years , SID made a return this year with the release of their latest single offering Glass no Hitomi .
I don't know why but I was expecting a bit more from Glass no Hitomi especially since the last 2 single songs SID provided for Kuroshitsuji were good & let alone , they set a really high bar at the time when they released Monochrome no Kiss 9 years ago (which up to now it's still a great single song) .
On 1st listen , Glass no Hitomi sounds unusually mellow but perhaps lyrically it fits the plot centring on Kuroshitsuji Book of the Atlantic .
Hopefully it wouldn't take so long for SID to release something new again . The last 2 years no doubt threw the band's release schedule off the loop as I didn't expect Aki & subsequently Mao to release solo material so I do hope this year they will focus more on band related activities instead .