Sunday, December 31, 2017
Kis-My-Ft2 - Akai Kajitsu
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Akai Kajitsu is Kis-My-Ft2's 20th single & it was released on 29th Nov .
This single was released 5 months + since their previous single PICK IT UP .
Akai Kajitsu was used to promote TV Asahi's Juuyou Sankounin Tantei drama starring member Tamamori Yuta & NEWS's Koyama Keiichiro .
This song was made for the purpose of being the theme song for Juuyou Sankounin Tantei . With its mysterious + mature charm , Akai Kajitsu is unlike any other single Kis-My-Ft2 has released .
Akai Kajitsu is described as having a mysterious & mature atmosphere that's reinforced by strong lyrics and the group's innovative performance .
The B-side tracks include everything from dance to pop tunes , mid tempo songs that's perfect for Winter . The songs that have been recorded allow fans to experience the various facets of the group .
HOT!×2 was used in the ads of Kowa's Hokkairo Shin Nukunuku Touban starring Kis-My-Ft2 themselves .
FUTURE TRAIN & Ima wa Mada Touku Hateshinai Yume mo are only available in the CD only version of Akai Kajitsu . For FUTURE TRAIN , it was used in the ads of JR Kyushu's GO! GO!! Kis-My-Kumamoto Oita starring Kis-My-Ft2 themselves .
Kis-My-Ft2 wraps up yet another fruitful year with their latest single offering Akai Kajitsu .
With Akai Kajitsu being their 20th single , I like that they chose to commemorate this milestone by doing something different ie. creating 2 different music videos for the same song which I thought it's interesting .
B-sides wise , I like Ima wa Mada Touku Hateshinai Yume mo the most followed by FUTURE TRAIN . Both songs have a strong Winter influence & it's bit unfortunate Kis-My-Ft2 didn't chose to release another Winter theme single as I thought both tracks have potential .
For Kis-My-Ft2 , even though I don't think this's possible but I hope that they can consider to slow down releasing new material in 2018 . This year was the 1st time I didn't like a studio album of theirs ie. MUSIC COLOSSEUM but at least singles wise they still got it .
Kis-My-Ft2 will kick off 2018 with the release of LIVE TOUR 2017 MUSIC COLOSSEUM DVD + Blu-ray which will be released on 31st Jan 2018 .
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Koda Kumi - NEVER ENOUGH
1) NEVER ENOUGH
2) NEVER ENOUGH -Instrumental-
NEVER ENOUGH is Koda Kumi's 62nd single & it was released on 6th Dec .
This was the last of 3 limited release singles Koda released just like last April's Shhh! , August's LIT & Oct's HUSH .
NEVER ENOUGH is described as a beautiful grand ballad & this single was released on the same day as KODA KUMI LIVE TOUR 2017 -W FACE- DVD + Blu-ray and also on Koda's 17th debut anniversary date .
I was assuming NEVER ENOUGH would be a Winter theme ballad but I was surprised it wasn't the case . Instead , NEVER ENOUGH is a very simplistic piano driven ballad which highlights Koda's vocals & some said this could have been included in W FACE which I agree .
All in all I generally like the new material that Koda released this year . W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~ were very interesting polar opposite album releases and I also like the 3 limited release singles she put out too in which I like HUSH the most out of the 3 .
I'm sure Koda will be releasing something new to kick off 2018 and I look forward to see what she will release next .
Thursday, December 21, 2017
KinKi Kids - Subete no Hitokakera & Next to you
3 CDs + DVD & 3 CDs + Blu-ray
Subete no Hitokakera & Next to you are 2 new songs included as bonus tracks in the 3 CDs version of KinKi Kids's best album The BEST .
The BEST was released on 6th Dec and this release was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of KinKi Kids's debut .
All single songs of KinKi Kids starting from their 1997 debut single Glass no Shounen until their most recent single The Red Light are included in The BEST & all songs have been remastered .
Next to you was written by Miyazawa Kazufumi (ex. THE BOOM) .
Both Subete no Hitokakera & Next to you are equally good and quite different from each other . Subete no Hitokakera is more upbeat while Next to you is a ballad .
That said , both new songs in The BEST demonstrate how musically versatile KinKi Kids are . And they most definitely had an eventful 2017 by doing so many different things in celebrating their 20th anniversary milestone despite Tsuyoshi's sudden health problems at the later part of the year .
The good news is that KinKi Kids will be kicking off 2018 with the release of their 39th single Topaz Love / DESTINY next month on 24th Jan 2018 . I've already heard both songs which they sound great & I look forward to hear the CD versions of the entire single in due time !
Saturday, December 16, 2017
CD Review :: ARASHI - 「untitled」
CD + DVD
1st CD tracklist
1) Green Light
5) Power of the Paradise
6) Ari no ma Made
8) I'll be there
12) Kanata e
13) Song for you
2nd CD tracklist (only available in the 2 CDs edition)
1) BazuriNIGHT (Aiba Masaki , Ohno Satoshi & Sakurai Sho)
2) Yoru no Kage (Matsumoto Jun , Ninomiya Kazunari & Ohno Satoshi)
3) UB (Aiba Masaki & Ninomiya Kazunari)
4) Come Back (Matsumoto Jun & Sakurai Sho)
5) Kanpai･Song (Bonus Track)
「untitled」 is ARASHI's 16th album & it was released on 18th Oct .
The group's last album release was last Oct's Are You Happy ? . 「untitled」 was released in 2 versions , 2 CDs & CD + DVD . The new album includes single songs Power of the Paradise , I'll be there & Tsunagu . Album track ｢Mikan｣ is the only new song to get a video .
The 2nd CD in the 2 CDs version of 「untitled」 has 5 bonus tracks , inclusive of 4 unit songs & a group track . The last ARASHI album not to include solo songs was 2006's / 6th album ARASHIC .
「untitled」 is purposely titled to suggest that it is 'unfinished' , thereby sublimating ARASHI's legacy in their 18th year since their debut through their bold challenge to produce this album .
In 「untitled」 , ARASHI makes their 1st attempt to create a 'suite' . An exceptional song was created by incorporating the melodies from various genres into a long song of over 10 mins . When listening to it in its entirely , you can sense ARASHI's past , present & future .
Kicking things off in 「untitled」is Green Light which I feel it's only an ok sounding album track .
Tsunagu is ARASHI's 52nd single & it was used as the theme song to promote leader Ohno Satoshi's movie Shinobi no Kuni .
For Tsunagu , it lyrically leans to a world's view & melody . The high energy song follows a path to an era of hope & love even to war torn countries .
The thrilling melody of prominent electric guitars & shamisen which perfectly melds 2 different music styles of past and present resonates an emptiness that matches ARASHI's vocals , making Tsunagu their 'ultimate love song' .
｢Mikan｣ which's 「untitled」 lead album track epitomises the album's title in every way as it has elements of Japanese Wa , Digital , Classics & Hip Hop . Sakurap is included in ｢Mikan｣ , which's a song that disperses all the themes ARASHI has ever taken on to create a single core out of that chaos that evolved into a musical piece brimming with the sense of speed .
Sugar is the next album track & I honestly feel this should have been the opening number as I like it much more than Green Light .
Power of the Paradise is ARASHI's 50th single & it was used as NTV's theme song in covering the 2016 Summer Olympics that was held last year at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil .
Member Sakurai Sho served as the main caster in covering last year's Olympics . Power of the Paradise is described as a support song for the athletes as well as for all the people who keep on challenging & it has a positive vibe that wraps around listeners with refreshing vigour & kindness .
Ari no ma Made & Fuun are the next 2 album tracks in which both of them are polar opposites . While Ari no ma Made is a mid tempo song , Rock influences can be felt considerably in Fuun which I miss that aspect in ARASHI's music as it reminds me of their older works which were very Hip Hop/Rock driven .
I'll be there is ARASHI's 51st single & it was used to promote Fuji TV's Kizoku Tantei drama that starred member Aiba Masaki . It's described as a cool song with a dynamic melody that goes along with the drama's mysterious world of view .
Houyou sounded as though it borrowed elements from I'll be there as it's also another Jazz inspired no. that has Sakurap .
Pray is the only album track that's a ballad & this's something that I enjoy .
Hikari is the next new song & out of the new material in 「untitled」 , this's my favourite . I was expecting another ballad but instead it's an upbeat gospel inspired like song that I really like and this's another example where ARASHI took a typical boring song title & make it sound better than I expected (1st was Sakura) .
Kanata e is the 2nd last album track and this empowering no. is another song that I find myself liking quite a lot .
Concluding things in the 1st CD is Song for you & it's the longest album track in ARASHI's discography , clocking in at a whopping 11:29 mins .
Song for you is basically a mix mash of any type of music genres made known possible & it reminds me the same thing what V6 did for their 2012 / 40th single kEEP oN. except for ARASHI's case , it's twice as long & it sounds like 5-6 different songs rolled into 1 long track .
I will only do a short summary regarding the songs found in the 2nd CD in the 2 CDs version of 「untitled」 . Out of the 4 unit songs , I surprisingly like Come Back the most which's sung by MatsuJun & Sakurai . Also Sakurap is present in the song .
BazuriNIGHT that's sung by Aiba , Ohno & Sakurai is a fast paced number while Yoru no Kage is a mid tempo song that's handled by MatsuJun , Nino & Ohno .
UB is the only unit song that's a ballad & this's sung by Aiba + Nino . UB actually stands for Unit Bath and lyrically it's quite amusing .
Kanpai･Song is the only song in the 2nd CD that's sung by the whole group & it's a fun cheery number . And in a way it's not surprising that this's the last song to conclude their current ongoing ARASHI LIVE TOUR 2017-2018「untitled」 .
ARASHI boldly takes on new challenges & music styles in their 16th album 「untitled」 & ARASHI's latest album offering is so much better than I thought .
It's no secret that I was quite disappointed with last year's Are You Happy ? as that to me is their most boring album to date & for the 1st time I felt really disconnected from an ARASHI album .
Hence before listening to 「untitled」 , I kept my expectations for it as low as possible but I was overall pleased on how 「untitled」turns out to be .
Unlike Are You Happy ? , I feel that ARASHI took on a lot more music risks in 「untitled」& in this sense , it paid off as it's overall much more memorable & engaging .
Also I think switching up the album's format helps too as for once 「untitled」 doesn't have any solo songs since their 2006's / 6th album ARASHIC which's pretty crazy but I don't mind as normally ARASHI will only perform the new material once during each tour & after that they will not do so .
Overall 「untitled」 is better than I expected . As I said before I rather ARASHI release a new album once every 2 years as in recent years , their albums have been quite inconsistent sound wise but luckily they haven't lost their touch when comes to singles (yet) .
All in all I'm pleased with what ARASHI released this year & I look forward to see what they plan to do so in 2018 , music wise .
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hilcrhyme - Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana
CD + DVD
1) Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana
2) Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana［Violin&Piano Ver.］
3) Koi no Honou［TeddyLoid Remix］
4) Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana -Original Instrumental-
5) Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana［Violin&Piano Ver.］-Original Instrumental-
6) Koi no Honou［TeddyLoid Remix］-Original Instrumental-
Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana is Hilcrhyme's 22nd single & it was released last month on 22nd Nov .
The single was released a month + after their last single Koi no Honou .
Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana is a ballad & it was used to promote Tokai TV / Fuji TV's Sakura no Oyako Donburi drama starring Maya Miki .
Vocalist/rapper TOC said that he rewrote the lyrics of Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana a whopping 100 times & he drew inspiration from the Sakura no Oyako Donburi drama script .
2 remixes serve as B-sides this time round . The 1st is a violin & piano version of the A-side and the 2nd B-side is a TeddyLoid Remix of Koi no Honou .
This's 1 of the rare occasions that I like the B-side remixes quite a lot more than the A-side , not that the A-side is bad but both remixes elevate the qualities of both Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana & Koi no Honou to another level .
I have mixed feelings in writing this as Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana is possibly Hilcrhyme's last music offering after they experienced an unexpected setback last week .
And the fact that I've been supporting them for almost 7-8 years , it's a terrible feeling as now their releases (be it physical and/or digitally) no longer can be purchased which I thought it's ridiculously drastic .
I'm thankful that my friend managed to help me purchase Namida no Tane , Shiawase no Hana digitally before this happened (which I didn't saw it coming) and I personally feel it's unfair for TOC to endure this as well .
Seeing that Universal Japan own the rights to Hilcrhyme's material , should this be considered as the end of Hilcrhyme , I think it's only fair for Universal to put out 1 more release of them as currently it's impossible to buy their discography and that will proper signify the end of the duo's career .
It's unfortunate that things have to come to such an end for Hilcrhyme as they were on a roll celebrating their 10th anniversary just last year & just 1 major big mistake sent everything crashing down for them .
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Namie Amuro - new material in best album Finally
3 CDs + DVD & 3 CDs + Blu-ray
6 new songs are included in Namie Amuro's best album Finally which was released last month on 8th Nov .
The release of Finally is to celebrate Namie's 25th anniversary in the business .
The 6 new songs included in the 3rd disc of Finally are :
- Hope ; used as the opening theme song for the ONE PIECE anime . Described as a inspirational song where Namie showcases a 'powerful' singing voice . The lyrics talk about the bond between friends & how that bond becomes the 'light of hope' which leads us to the future . Namie also commented saying that she hopes the song will fully compliment the unique charm that One Piece brings
- In Two
- How do you feel now ? ; special collaboration with mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo who is also celebrating their 25th anniversary
Tetsuya Komuro appeared in the How do you feel now ? video
- Showtime ; used to promote TBS's Kangoku no Ohimesama drama . Namie's remarks on Showtime , "This is an honour . When looking at the revenge plan that unfolds in the drama , I decided to make Showtime a feminine pop song . I am happy that it will add excitement to the drama "
Showtime is been described as being an upbeat catchy party tune
- Do It For Love ; used in the ads of Hulu starring Namie herself
- Finally ; used to promote NTV's NEWS ZERO
All new songs have music videos made except for Hope . 39 songs in Finally have new recordings & Christmas Wish has a video made .
New material wise , I like Showtime & In Two the most . Showtime showcases a very different music side of Namie & the video is possibly her most comical 1 to date as she dares to poke fun of herself & not take things seriously .
In Two on whole is awesome as it has a great electro pop sound that reminds me of Alive & Stranger considerably .
The other new material are alright to me . Hope & Do It For Love get repetitive after a while and I find How do you feel now ? nothing that special . Finally (the song) is the only new ballad & I'm sure this will be a tear jerker number when Namie sings it during her final last tour .
New recordings wise , I like the new versions of Dr. & Break It . The new rendition of arigatou is quite good too . The rest are ok if not quite bad as in some tracks Namie sounded quite lacklustre and at times the originals still sound better than the new recordings .
On whole Finally is a great release in celebration of Namie's 25th anniversary but at the same time , the feeling is bittersweet as Finally is Namie's last release before her unexpected retirement in Sept 2018 .
It was said that Namie had thoughts of retiring 5 years ago but she has decided to do so now . While it's saddening to know so , I respect her decision as for her to be basically doing this from her teen years until now , it's no easy task .
The JPop world will be losing 1 of the best celebrated irreplaceable female solo acts & Namie will be leaving behind a wonderful legacy which future fans will come to know about her in years to come .