Monday, April 30, 2018
KAT-TUN - Ask Yourself
CD + DVD
Ask Yourself is KAT-TUN's 27th single & it was released on 18th April .
KAT-TUN's last single release was 2016's UNLOCK which was the last single that featured former member Taguchi Junnosuke .
Ask Yourself is the 1st single release by the now trio KAT-TUN & the A-side was used to promote the drama FINAL CUT , starring member Kamenashi Kazuya .
The song was performed for the 1st time at Johnnys Countdown 2017 - 2018 , when KAT-TUN made a surprise appearance which they announce restart of band activities after they underwent a 'charging process' in May 2016 .
The sexy & melodious tune is typical KAT-TUN & the lyrics express the feeling of continually groping for a path & believing in the future as you walk on into tomorrow .
There're a total of 6 B-sides in Ask Yourself .
These 3 B-sides are only available in the CD regular of the single :
- Sweet Birthday
The song was chosen to be used in JR Hakata City AMU Hakata's 7amuse , 7colours , 7th anniversary ads with Kamenashi Kazuya starring in it .
The song has 2 promo tie in's
-- Broadcast tie in song for NTV's professional baseball broadcast Fun! BASEBALL which Kamenashi Kazuya serves as the baseball special supporter
-- theme song for NTV's Going! Sports & News
- Real Face#2 which's a newly recorded version of KAT-TUN's debut single featuring the now trio's vocals
These 3 B-sides are only available in the CD Limited of Ask Yourself & they're all solo songs :
- Wonderful World (Kamenashi Kazuya's solo) ;
Wonderful World was also used as the theme song for NTV's Going! Sports & News .
- Ore Melody (Ueda Tatsuya's solo)
- The way (Nakamaru Yuichi's solo)
KAT-TUN is back ! The group returns from their recharging hiatus with the anticipated new single Ask Yourself , the theme song of Kamenashi Kazuya's TV drama FINAL CUT . The sexy & melodious title song features strong lyrics about perseverance & believing in the future .
To say that I'm so ecstatic that KAT-TUN is back is an understatement as 2 years ago when they were supposed to celebrate their 10th anniversary , it was overshadowed considerably by the impending departure of Taguchi Junnosuke .
To see KAT-TUN go from 6 members to now 3 members over the years , it's a really awful feeling & fans who supported them from their pre debut days felt it even more than me .
Nonetheless for KAT-TUN to finally make a proper comeback after their surprise appearance at Johnnys Countdown 2017 - 2018 , it's a great feeling & they didn't disappoint with their comeback single , Ask Yourself .
Just like their past singles , Ask Yourself is full of angst & attitude . My concern was how the now trio will pull things off but after hearing what they did with Ask Yourself , my fears are now squashed in that yes they're able to carry on KAT-TUN's name as per say .
Group B-sides wise , I think Sweet Birthday & FUNtastic contrast the A-side quite well & it's surprising that the now trio KAT-TUN chose to re-record Real Face .
While I thought it's a commanding effort with Ueda who did the rapping portions of the song , somehow I feel Real Face#2 doesn't have enough gruff & angst as compared to what the original offered .
In fact , I didn't quite liked Real Face#1 either so in this case if it ain't broken , why fix it ?
Solo B-sides wise , Ueda's solo is my least favourite as it's just noise which's a shame as I was hoping to like Ore Melody . Somehow , Ueda's solos that're Rock driven are not good which in a way is ironic .
On the other hand , the other 2 solos are pretty good . I'm surprised I like Kamenashi's Wonderful World . After last year's ~Follow me~ (which's still a fantastic song) , I thought he might go for another song with a similar music route but guess not .
As for Nakamaru , all the while his solo songs have been consistently good so I don't really have much complaints over The way .
All in all , it's great that KAT-TUN are back . While I don't like all the B-sides , the A-side itself is stellar & the accompanied video elevates things to another level .
I'm sure Ask Yourself will not be the trio's last music release seeing that they will be going on tour in the later part of 2018 but I'm already looking forward to what they have plan in store next .
Welcome back KAT-TUN !
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Kobukuro - ONE TIMES ONE
Cover for both CD Regular & CD Limited
CD Regular tracklist
1) ONE TIMES ONE
3) Kimi ni Nare
4) ONE TIMES ONE (Instrumental)
5) Baton (Instrumental)
6) Kimi ni Nare (Instrumental)
CD Limited tracklist
1) ONE TIMES ONE
3) Kimi ni Nare
4) Kimi to Iu Na no Tsubasa (LIVE from 2017.8.21 Tokyo Kokusai Forum A)
5) Aoku Yasashiku (LIVE from 2017.8.22 Tokyo Kokusai Forum A)
6) Kokoro (LIVE from 2017.8.22 Tokyo Kokusai Forum A)
7) Tsubomi (LIVE from 2017.10.28 Tokyo Dome)
8) STAGE Acoustic ver. (LIVE from 2016.6.7 Shidax Culture Hall)
9) ONE TIMES ONE (Instrumental)
10) Baton (Instrumental)
11) Kimi ni Nare (Instrumental)
ONE TIMES ONE is Kobukuro's 29th single & it was released on 11th April .
This's Kobukuro's 1st single release of 2018 & their last physical single release was last May's Kokoro .
The CD limited version of ONE TIMES ONE contains 5 live audio tracks that were recorded during 3 concerts that Kobukuro performed last year .
Promo wise , ONE TIMES ONE was used in the ads of Asahi Beer .
2 songs served as B-sides in the single . Baton was used in the ads of Ono Pharmaceutical .
Both Baton & Kimi ni Nare were released digitally on 28th March . Videos were made for both songs but Kobukuro do not appear in them .
Kobukuro is finally back with a new single ONE TIMES ONE & it's worth the wait as the A-side is a great empowering no. .
ONE TIMES ONE is very different from Kokoro as it's a lot more upbeat sounding & I can definitely see this song being used in marching bands if not maybe in carnivals / circus festivals as that's the type of vibes I get when I 1st heard it .
I also like both B-sides in the single as well . Baton is a heart warming ballad while Kimi ni Nare is almost in the same music vein as Kokoro but it's not as angsty sounding .
Hopefully I wouldn't need to wait that long for yet another Kobukuro release but they've been doing this for a long time so I rarely get disappointed on what they put out .
KOBUKURO LIVE TOUR 2017 "Kokoro" at Hiroshima Green Arena DVD + Blu-ray will be released next month on 16th May .
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Fukuyama Masaharu - Rei -ZERO-
Rei -ZERO- is a song by Fukuyama Masaharu & it was released digitally on 7th April .
The song was chosen to be used as the theme no. for the latest Detective Conan Zero no Shikkounin movie that opened in Japanese theatres on 13th April .
The plot of Detective Conan Zero no Shikkounin centres on the values of truth & justice set against each other as the titular detective clashes with the police over the arrest of a suspect in a bombing incident .
Rei -ZERO- captures the essence of that conflict while refusing to necessarily take one side over the other .
After last Dec's heart warming ballad Tomoe Gakuen , Fukuyama Masaharu is back in full force with Rei -ZERO- .
I thought Rei -ZERO- was going to be a ballad as the introduction was quite mellow but that changed real soon after as it became an aggressive in your face rock song that's fun & engaging .
Rei -ZERO- is able to sum up what the Detective Conan Zero no Shikkounin movie is all about & it's an empowering song that I enjoy a lot .
Seeing that Fukuyama doesn't release music as often as I hope he would , he makes up for that with quality & Rei -ZERO- is proof of that .
Monday, April 16, 2018
SID - ASH
CD + DVD
ASH is a song that's included in SID's compilation album SID Anime Best 2008-2017 that was released on 4th April .
SID Anime Best 2008-2017 includes all songs that SID provided to be used in animes over the years which includes Monochrome no Kiss , Uso , V.I.P & etc .
For ASH , this was 1st released as LiSA's 14th single last Nov .
Credits wise , Mao wrote the lyrics while Aki composed ASH .
Last year when it was revealed that both Mao & Aki contributed their expertise to LiSA's ASH , I wasn't really that surprised they decide to eventually self cover the song .
In a way it's nice to know that SID decides to include at least a new song in SID Anime Best 2008-2017 , if not it will feel a bit pointless to buy it but that said this release features still some of the group's best songs they provided to be used for animes .
Uso was the very 1st SID song I heard of them so in a way this comes full circle for me .
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
CD Review :: Koda Kumi - AND
CD + DVD
CD + Blu-ray
2) SWEETEST TABOO
3) GOT ME GOING'
5) OUTTA MY HEAD
6) NEVER ENOUGH
7) ALL RIGHT
10) IT'S MY LIFE
AND is Koda Kumi's 15th album & it was released on 28th Feb .
Koda's 2 joint 13th & 14th albums W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~ were released together on the same day last March .
AND is the 1st of 2 albums that was released in 2018 & 10 songs are included in the new album .
Limited single songs LIT & NEVER ENOUGH are included in AND but not HUSH .
The concept of AND follows the same concept for Koda's upcoming Koda Kumi Fanclub Tour ~AND~ (originally named Koda Kumi Fanclub Live Tour ~Let's Party Vol.3~) that will begin this month on 29th April .
Kicking things off in AND is PARTY which's also the only album track that gets a video made .
PARTY was chosen to be used as the opening song for Music B.B. music show .
As the song title suggests , PARTY is a very fun catchy song which sets the tone on what to expect in the later parts of AND .
The next 4 songs are a series of back to back upbeat tracks which's packed with non stop energy . SWEETEST TABOO is aggressive sounding while GOT ME GOING' is a cool mid tempo track .
WHO & OUTTA MY HEAD are 2 of my favourite album tracks in AND and before hearing the album , there was actually a snippet of WHO being featured/played in the 2nd 1/2 of the video for PARTY .
At that time , I didn't know what was the song featured in the video but now that I know , it's easy to see why WHO was featured as it's a great no. & in a way it's unfortunate a video wasn't made for WHO .
Same thing with OUTTA MY HEAD as the way Koda sings in this song , it's quite different in the way she delivered but she nailed it .
NEVER ENOUGH was released as Koda's 62nd single & this's the only ballad sounding no. in AND .
The next album track ALL RIGHT is also another pretty good song . Promo wise , this smooth sounding no. was used in the ads of Jutaku Johokan housing company & Hyogo's Minamiawaji City .
LIT was released as Koda's 60th single & this was released last year as part of 3 back to back limited single releases , alongside with HUSH & NEVER ENOUGH .
BRAIN & IT'S MY LIFE are the last 2 album tracks in AND . BRAIN is probably my least favourite album track & it doesn't help that the way Koda pronounced brain as 'blain' made me a bit cringe over it .
Concluding things in AND is IT'S MY LIFE & it's a strong sounding in your face track which wrapped things up quite fittingly in the album .
Koda Kumi released 2 studio albums on the same day last year which I thought it was quite daring of her to do something like this . Even though I don't like all the songs in both W FACE ~inside~ & W FACE ~outside~ , overall it's a commanding effort .
So for Koda to decide to release yet 2 more albums this year , I'm surprised & the same thing goes with AND .
Koda mentioned that her objective for AND is that she wanted to make a fun filled party theme driven album & she was able to accomplish that to a certain extent . I like most of the new material as it's non stop fun with some mid tempo tracks thrown in for good measure .
AND does has some flaws in that for starters , I'm a bit disappointed Koda didn't include HUSH as I like it a lot & also for the album to be under 35 minutes , it's somewhat underwhelming but now that she decided to do away with interludes in her albums , I shouldn't be complaining about it so much .
That said , AND has some great album gems such as WHO , OUTTA MY HEAD & IT'S MY LIFE , it would have been great if Koda made videos for them instead of just PARTY only but since this's an album that was made for partying , quite a few songs are something that probably could have been included in W FACE ~outside~ .
The 2nd album that Koda will release later on in 2018 is titled DNA & 1 of the new songs that will be included in the upcoming new album is HAIRCUT .
Hopefully HUSH will be included in DNA as it would be a shame if it's excluded .