Monday, December 31, 2018
KinKi Kids - Aitai,Aitai,Aenai.
CD + DVD A
CD + DVD B
Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is KinKi Kids's 40th single & it was released on 19th Dec .
The release of Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. comes in about 11 months + since the duo's previous single Topaz Love / DESTINY .
Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. was used in the ads of Bijoude jewellery starring KinKi Kids themselves & it's KinKi Kids's 2nd song to be used to promote Bijoude after last July's The Red Light .
Not only Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. & The Red Light were both used to promote Bijoude , both songs were created by the same person ie. Kubota Toshinobu .
3 B-sides in total are included in Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. :
- Give me your love (CD Only Track)
- Namo Naki Mirai (CD Only Track)
- SNOW TEARS (CD + DVD B Track)
KinKi Kids' 40th single Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is a medium-tempo ballad created by Kubota Toshinobu . Different from the hard soul single The Red Light that the singer-songwriter wrote for the duo last year , this time Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is a simple and powerful love song that fuses Kubota & KinKi Kids's musical worlds .
Kubota Toshinobu did a great job creating The Red Light for KinKi Kids so it's not surprises he chose to do it again for them & this time in the form of a ballad .
Lyrically , Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. is sad sounding just like some of KinKi Kids's past single songs such as Mada Namida ni Naranai Kanashimi ga & Koi wa Nioeto Chirinuruwo where the songs are upbeat but lyrics wise they're sad .
Also the B-sides this time round showcase a considerable number of different music styles & SNOW TEARS is on par if not rival enough to compete with Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. as they're both really sad sounding songs .
On the other hand , Give me your love & Namo Naki Mirai are both equally good upbeat songs even though they're B-sides but they're able to stack up against Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. .
Overall once again KinKi Kids does not disappoint & they reached a 40th single milestone spectacularly with the release of Aitai,Aitai,Aenai. .
Hopefully 2019 will bring in even more great music from the dynamic duo & here's hoping Tsuyoshi will make a full recovery from his health issues soon !
Saturday, December 29, 2018
CD Review :: BENI - CINEMATIC
CD + DVD
2) Cinematic Feat SARA-J
4) Chasin' Feat IO
6) Got A Feeling
11) No one else like you Feat Michael Kaneko
12) Last Love Letter
CINEMATIC is BENI's 7th album & it was released last month on 28th Nov .
BENI's last studio album release was 2015's Undress while Mienai Start which was released digitally last Feb is not included in CINEMATIC .
Unlike BENI's past studio albums , she didn't released any physical singles that precede CINEMATIC . Instead , before CINEMATIC was released , BENI released 5 songs digitally from July until Oct .
In CINEMATIC , BENI compares her life to a movie so she played both the lead role & the director . The DVD of the album includes a short film titled CHASIN' the film .
CHASIN' the film features 3 songs being played in the backdrop - Chasin' , PULLBACK & Last Love Letter . Besides BENI , KANDYTOWN's IO is featured in the short film as well .
After a short introduction , kicking things off in CINEMATIC is the song that shares the same title as the album .
CINEMATIC (the song) also featured SARA-J which's the 1st of 3 songs that feature different collaborations BENI did with other musicians in the album .
MONEY is the 2nd album track & when I 1st heard it , I was surprised cos it's a different style of singing that BENI tackled and I feel it could have been a lot more upbeat .
Chasin' was 1st released digitally on 6th July & it's the 1st of 3 songs that served in the backdrop of CHASIN' the film .
Described as a Jazz R&B no. , IO is featured in Chasin' & KANDYTOWN's Neetz had a hand in arranging the song .
On Chasin' , BENI commented , "People are always chasing after something whether it's love or something else . The song + lyrics portray the sadness and impatience upon nearing that thing you're chasing , the excitement & expectation you get the moment you're about to obtain it & the feeling of emptiness when you realise that the game is over once you finally have it in your hands ."
S.U.K.I. is the next album track & for this , I find it to be an ok sounding mid tempo song which didn't really blew me away .
Got A Feeling was originally exclusively available via iTunes Japan if fans purchased songs as part of COVERS THE CITY .
When I saw Got A Feeling & CANDY included in CINEMATIC tracklist , I was surprised but at the same time I don't think a lot of people already knew these 2 songs existed way before BENI released any songs digitally for the last few months .
I guess instead of leaving both songs in digital format , BENI decided to include them in CINEMATIC if not it would have been a much shorter album .
CRY & Arigato are the next 2 album tracks . Ironically I thought CRY was going to be a ballad but instead , it's Arigato .
Arigato can be almost considered to be a ballad & I like the piano arrangement of the song's melody .
The next 2 songs PULLBACK & CANDY were available digitally prior to the release of CINEMATIC .
PULLBACK was released digitally on 29th Aug while just like Got A Feeling , CANDY was the 2nd song exclusively available via iTunes Japan if fans purchased songs as part of COVERS THE CITY .
The next 2 tracks are the sadder sounding songs in CINEMATIC . No one else like you was 1st released digitally on 17th Oct & this featured Michael Kaneko while Last Love Letter was 1st released digitally on 31st Oct .
Concluding CINEMATIC is READY25 which was used as a cheer relay song for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars baseball team .
Tsutsugo Yoshitomo who plays for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars baseball team befriended BENI last year via a mutual acquaintance & Tsutsugo is the 1 that requested BENI to write a song for the baseball team he plays for .
BENI likens life to the movies in her new album CINEMATIC . She is the director and protagonist of this musical work which includes Chasin' featuring KANDYTOWN's IO , the progressive R&B track PULLBACK composed by Sunny Boy & No one else like you , a duet with Michael Kaneko .
It's quite hard to believe it has been so long since BENI last released a new studio album but I appreciate that this time round , she decided to take a different approach to CINEMATIC as compared to her past albums .
I feel that the songs that BENI released digitally prior to the physical release of CINEMATIC are much stronger + memorable , not to say that the other album tracks ain't bad but they don't stood out to me as much as I was hoping for .
I find that CINEMATIC is quite laidback perhaps due to the album's concept & some felt that BENI lacks energy in singing the songs in the album but I don't think it was done on purpose .
Normally ballads are put in to slow things down in an album . For CINEMATIC , it's the opposite which's a 1st for me .
Also given a choice , I would prefer not to see Got A Feeling & CANDY included in CINEMATIC but as I said before , if both songs were not in the tracklist , the album would have felt more shorter .
And I guess BENI prefer to end CINEMATIC on a high upbeat note as Last Love Letter is really sad sounding given the context of CHASIN' the film .
Overall with due respect to BENI , I appreciate the considerable amount of personal input BENI put into making CINEMATIC but unfortunately it's not the album I would recommend someone who's not familiar with her music .
But CINEMATIC is not my least favourite album of BENI so that in a way it's not so bad . Hopefully BENI's next album offering would be more better & a lot more energetic + upbeat .
Sunday, December 23, 2018
CD Review :: ayaka - 30 y/o
CD & 2 CDs
2 CDs + DVD & 2 CDs + Blu-ray
2) Neon Light
10) Ai Kotoba
11) Heart Up (ayaka & Miura Daichi)
12) Glory (ayaka & KREVA)
30 y/o is ayaka's 5th album & it was released last month on 14th Nov .
ayaka's last studio album release was 2015's Rainbow Road .
12 songs in total are included in 30 y/o , inclusive of 2 singles Kotonoha & Heart Up (duet with Miura Daichi) .
Besides that , ayaka also made videos for 3 album tracks .
30 y/o represents the singer's age . ayaka explained , "It's up to myself in the end . You only live once . As a 30-year-old , I want to confidently live my life while being proud of my decisions ."
Kicking things off in 30 y/o is the upbeat sounding Colourful!! which's the 1st of 3 album tracks followed by Neon Light & Pamala which're all 3 back to back upbeat cheery numbers .
Sentimental originally was included as the B-side of ayaka's 14th single Kotonoha . I still think it's a good B-side & I don't mind that it's included in 30 y/o .
And speaking about Kotonoha , it's slotted in the next song after Sentimental in 30 y/o tracklist .
Used to promote NHK drama 10's Tsubaki Bunguten ~Kamakura Daishoya Monogatari~ , Kotonoha was described as a medium tempo number with the theme letter that reflects hearts that are linked together through words .
The next 5 songs are album tracks and oddly if not coincidentally , 3 of them back to back each other had music videos made .
Woman is 1 of the more slower sounding album tracks in 30 y/o while Dizzy is a lot more upbeat .
1 of the 3 album tracks that had a video made is 365 & the song was used to promote The 22nd Notebook Grand Prize [Ashita Mata Tomodachi ni Naru] .
ayaka said 365 is based on what the future will be and it's demonstrated in the video that she sees it as colouring each page of the calendar organiser 1 day 1 page at a time .
365 is 1 of my favourite album tracks in 30 y/o as it's cheery sounding without sounding cheesy and I feel it's 1 of the standout tracks which definitely deserve to have a video made .
The next song Sakura was a special single released last year on 14th Oct & at that time , the physical copy of Sakura was sold at the concert venue/s of ayaka's Acoustic Live Tour 2017-2018 ~3-STAR RAW~ & it included the instrumental of Sakura .
Sakura is a graduation song about the feelings of parents when their children leave the nest .
Instead of a typical music video , ayaka made a short movie with that accompanied Sakura .
Ai Kotoba is the last album track to have a video made & this was used to promote the movie Ningyo no Nemuru Ie .
ayaka wrote Ai Kotoba after reading the Ningyo no Nemuru Ie novel & the movie script . She commented , "While reading the book & script , I couldn't stop the words & melody to overflow within me . As I was done reading them, Ai Kotoba had already taken its form ."
Surprisingly , Ai Kotoba is the only album ballad in 30 y/o but yet it's such a great empowering number . I'm not surprised ayaka chose to perform this song on various music TV shows as it showcase her vocal powers extremely well .
The last 2 songs are 2 back to back duets prior to the conclusion of 30 y/o .
Heart Up is the 1st duet in the album & ayaka sung this together with Miura Daichi .
ayaka commented , "The heart experiences love's sweetness & its bitterness . It grows from experiencing both . That's where the title of the song comes from... The song tells the story of a man & a woman who come together as part of their destiny . I wrote from the perspective that a broken heart can fly higher than before & that people whose fates are connected can make things better . "
Heart Up had 2 promo tie in's . It was used in the ads of Find my Tokyo. starring Ishihara Satomi with ayaka making a cameo in the ad & it was also used as the theme song to promote NTV's Sukkiri!! morning news programme .
Wrapping things up in 30 y/o is the 2nd duet Glory and ayaka sung this together with rapper KREVA .
Prior to the inclusion of Glory in 30 y/o , the song was released digitally on 31st Aug .
Glory was originally performed just once at KREVA's 908 FESTIVAL 2017 event that was held last Sept at Nippon Budokan. At the time , ayaka was thrilled to be invited to perform at 908 FESTIVAL 2017 & as such , she wanted to do something that would make the crowd happy . She made a demo of Glory while imagining that she was singing together with KREVA . After receiving the demo , KREVA wrote the lyrics & arranged the song .
And at this year's 908 FESTIVAL 2018 , ayaka & KREVA sung Glory together onstage .
ayaka reflects on the themes of time and change in her 5th album 30 y/o . The singer , who debuted at the age of 18 & is now 30 , presents 12 songs that express her own self , including the singles Kotonoha & Heart Up
It's quite hard to believe it has been so long since ayaka last released Rainbow Road & at the same time , before I listened to 30 y/o , I did not know what to expect especially for the album tracks .
So to say that I was pleasantly surprised how the new material in 30 y/o sound like , it's quite reassuring as before that I assumed that the songs might be leftover tracks from Rainbow Road but luckily that's not the case .
Generally 30 y/o is good except that for some album tracks , they sounded quite similar which's why it took me longer than expected to at last write about the album .
Also , I would have preferred for the 2 duets in 30 y/o not to be together side by side as it kind of break the momentum or it would have been better for Heart Up to be the last track of the album instead .
But other than that , 30 y/o is another solid release that ayaka delivered . At this point in her life , ayaka is at a stage where she's at peace with herself & 30 y/o is proof of that .
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Saito Kazuyoshi - Colour
Cover for both CD Regular & CD Limited :
CD Regular Tracklist :
2) FISH STORY (Live Ver.)
3) Happy Birthday to you! (Live Ver.)
4) Mayonaka no Pool (Live Ver.)
5) Boku no Mita Beatles wa TV no Naka (Live Ver.)
CD Limited Tracklist :
2) Gekite Kina Shunkan (Live Ver.)
3) CAT STYLE (Live Ver.)
4) Lennon no Yume mo (Live Ver.)
5) Akogare (Live Ver.)
6) FISH STORY (Live Ver.)
7) Happy Birthday to you! (Live Ver.)
8) Sora ni Hoshi ga Kirei (Live Ver.)
9) Mayonaka no Pool (Live Ver.)
10) Ageha (Live Ver.)
11) Boku no Mita Beatles wa TV no Naka (Live Ver.)
12) Utautai no Ballad (Live Ver.)
Colour is Saito Kazuyoshi's 47th single & it was released last month on 28th Nov .
Saito's last physical single release was last Feb's Iden .
Colour was chosen to be used as the theme song for the movie Kazoku Iro -RAILWAYS Watashitachi no Shuppatsu- starring Arimura Kasumi & Kunimura Jun .
In order to compose Colour , Saito visited Kagoshima, where Kazoku Iro -RAILWAYS Watashitachi no Shuppatsu- was filmed .
In addition , the music video for Colour was also shot in Kagoshima as well .
The B-sides included in both versions of Colour are all live tracks that were recorded from KAZUYOSHI SAITO 25th Anniversary Live 1993-2018 25 to 26 ~Korekara mo Yorochi Kubi Chiku ~After Party at Zepp Sapporo 2018.09.19 .
Saito Kazuyoshi rarely disappoints and his latest single offering Colour is no exception . What starts out as a rather normal sounding acoustic guitar driven song soon gives way to a more complex melody with a lot of different layers attached to it which's now more or less Saito's signature when comes to his music .
Seeing that I've been listening/following Saito Kazuyoshi for quite a long time now , perhaps for once he can work on something for another artiste I support as that was how I came upon his music years ago .
I would love to see that happen once more & it will be great as it will benefit both parties .
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Ken Hirai - half of me
CD Tracklist :
1) half of me
3) even if (everlasting ver.)
CD + DVD
CD + DVD Tracklist :
1) half of me
2) half of me -less vocal-
half of me is Ken Hirai's 45th single & it was released last month on 28th Nov .
This was released about 6 months + since Ken's previous singles Todokanaikara & Shiranai ne Desho? .
half of me is an answer song to Ken's 11th / 2000 single even if but it has not been released in a physical CD single of Ken until now .
Despite this , Ken has performed half of me numerous times during his concerts/tours & he 1st debuted the song in his Ken's Bar concept concert way back in July 2009 .
The A-side was 1st released digitally on 11th Oct on the same day as when Tasogare Ryuuseigun ~Jinsei Orikaeshi , Koi o Shita~ drama begin airing on Fuji TV which half of me was chosen to promote the drama .
half of me is Ken's 17th overall song that he provided to be used in dramas .
The CD only version of the single includes 2 B-sides that the CD + DVD does not have :
- even if (everlasting ver.)
Promo wise , HOLIC was used as to promote J-WAVE 30th Anniversary while even if (everlasting ver.) is a rearrangement/newly recorded version of Ken's 11th / 2000 single even if .
Credits wise , Ken wrote the lyrics for HOLIC while he wrote + composed both half of me & even if (everlasting ver.) .
It's hard to believe it has been almost a decade that Ken has been performing half of me in his Ken's Bar concerts & for him to at last decide to put it out on a physical release , that means something .
I know that Ken has performed half of me numerous times over the past decade but for some odd reason he never revealed the song's title in the official setlist(s) .
Why I'm not sure but it's very easy to tell why half of me is an answer song to even if as both songs compliment each other so well .
B-sides wise , Ken stepped out of his music comfort zone with HOLIC . When I 1st heard it , I can sense it's not something that Ken composed as it's not his music style but the music transition from half of me to HOLIC , it's a very seamless transition .
Lastly the original take of even if was and is still so good & the same thing goes for even if (everlasting ver.) which stuck a chord in me .
I'm curious to see if Ken will release a new studio in 2019 . Considering he has already put out 5 singles last year & this year , it's now more or less time time for a new album in Ken's next music release agenda .
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Kobukuro - Kaze o Mitsumete
1) Kaze o Mitsumete
2) Natsu no Shizuku
3) Shira Yuki
4) Kaze o Mitsumete (Instrumental)
5) Natsu no Shizuku (Instrumental)
6) Shira Yuki (Instrumental)
Kaze o Mitsumete is Kobukuro's 30th single & it was released last month on 7th Nov .
This single was released 7 months+ since Kobukuro's previous single ONE TIMES ONE .
The A-side was used to promote TV Tokyo's drama Harassment Game while the accompanied music video was directed by Nishiura Masaki who also directed the drama .
The accompanied music video for Kaze o Mitsumete starred actress Nakamura Yuri & child actress Yamazaki Ririna . It tells the story of a mother who realises how important her relationship with her child & with others .
Director Nishiura Masaki commented , "I made this while thinking that Kobukuro's songs have always been with us the past 20 years & always will be from now on ."
2 B-sides are available in the single , Natsu no Shizuku & Shira Yuki . Natsu no Shizuku is a lot more longer & slower than the A-side while Shira Yuki is a nice upbeat contrast against Kaze o Mitsumete .
Celebrating their 20th anniversary in the business , Kobukuro concludes 2018 with the release of their latest single offering Kaze o Mitsumete .
Kobukuro started out in the business with humble beginnings & it's so great to see how much impact they've left in the industry and I hope they can continue to have longlasting success in many more years to come .
Not every artiste is lucky to lurk out in the music industry for so long & Kobukuro is definitely doing something right .
On that note , Kobukuro concludes 2018 with the release of their new Best album ALL TIME BEST 1998-2018 that's out today & Kaze o Mitsumete is included in it .
Here's to many more anniversaries to come for the dynamic duo !