EXILE – EXILE LOVE [6th Studio Album]

February 3, 2008 at 4:26 am (EXILE) (, )

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EXILE released their sixth studio album, entitled EXILE LOVE, on 12.12.07. Ranging from summery songs like SUMMER TIME LOVE and 時の描片~トキノカケラ~ to wintery ballads such as I Believe, the album gives many different moods. Among the most interesting offerings on the album are the opening track (What Is Love), Make Love and空から落ちてくるJAZZ. The singles preceding the album were SUMMER TIME LOVE,  時の描片~トキノカケラ~  / 24 karats – type EX – and I Believe.

What Is Love, is the opening track, and is a strong way to open up the album. Using violins and a slightly synthetic beat, an ethereal sound is achieved. The song has a midtempo approach while maintain an upbeat poppy appeal. The catchiest part of the song is the hook, when the beat slightly changes and the vocals grow a little stronger. The transition into the chorus is just a bit discontinuous but the chorus is still pretty strong. There’s something capturing about the song but there seems to be a small element missing that could take it to the next level.

I Believe, the second song, has a wintery feel that makes for a soft beautiful ballad. From the opening, the bells and chimes alongside the sparkling beat create the whole feeling of Christmas. The verses are nicely done even though the vocals could have had a little more power. The transition from the hook to the chorus is a bit abrupt but doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the song. The hook once again prevails as the strongest section within the song as it serves as a bridge between the more midtempo approach of the verses and the uptempo nature of the chorus. The song ends a cappella and finishes off the song quite nicely. Overall the song is relatively simple but a wonderful Christmas time song and a nice addition to the album.

The next song is the uptempo pop song, Beautiful. The hook is the strongest part as it balances between the sweetness of the chorus and the mellower vibe from the verses. The instrumentation features some slightly weird sounds that work for the song overall in this case (seen after the first chorus). The guitar during the pure instrumental section creates a certain flavorful flare to the song. Although the song is enjoyable and the hook is strong, it seems a bit generic. This is particularly seen by the ending as they sing “it’s a beautiful day, love is beautiful baby.” So it’s a nice attempt that doesn’t exactly hit but doesn’t miss either.

The fourth song, ~Hibiki,~ is a beautiful ballad. From the instrumentation, there is a fantasy atmosphere within the song. The vocals are more low-pitched but still hold great to the beat.  The hook particularly impressed me with amazing vocals, making it stand apart fantastically. The chorus is also very strong and showcases just how powerful these boys voices are. Their vocal strength lies in both their ability to project and their ability to impressively hit high notes. Even though the song has so much inside of it already, the third verse gives the song even more spirit. This is a wonderful addition to the album and is one of the strongest songs on the entire album.

君がいるから, the fifth track, follows in the vein of the previous song. The instrumentation is somewhat similar but doesn’t possess that magic element. Instead of following the trend of some of the songs on the album, the chorus stands stronger than the hook when the instrumental introduces with a flurry of sounds. The hook is where that instrumental change begins but it’s the chorus that brings it to the forefront. The piano plays a key role in the song and greatly assists the wintery feel that the song possesses. The vocals are great and although they don’t go to the great range that the boys of EXILE are capable of, it remains one of the stronger songs on the album.

Make Love, the sixth song on the album, is definitely the most interesting song on the entire album. The harmonization between the boys of EXILE blend perfectly with the hot beat of the song. The sexual energy that fuels the song is found both within the synthetic and electronic beat and the consistently strong vocals. Although the chorus is relatively simple, it’s very addictive. In fact, the chorus consists of only “let’s make love” and “I feel like making love…tonight/with you.” However the real sections that stand out are both the slick verses and the hooks, powered by extremely strong vocals. The pure instrumental sections really give the song the extra kick. Because of the hot synthetic beat and amazing vocals, Make Love is my favorite song on the album.

The seventh song, SUMMER TIME LOVE, is a strong pop number with a clear summer feel. From the title, the summer imagery jumps out strongly from the moment the song opens and stays throughout the entire instrumentation. The chorus is pretty catchy and even the verses are able to keep interest. During the instrumental section, the true summer spirit is found in the sparkling sounds and uptempo beat. This track is definitely not a typical summer song and is one to be remembered.

空から落ちてくるJAZZ is the eighth song on the album and uses a slick tempo to make a strong track. Strangely enough, the song isn’t as reliant on jazz as the title leads one to believe. It’s an uptempo track with a certain element that sounds very dark and the combination of the two creates a very interesting feel. It sounds like there is a slight jazz influence that runs throughout the song and keeps the song fresh. The third verse sparks even more creativity when they sing “do you feel the touch of love?” There is a slight sexual energy there that is subtle and works in the overall favor of the song. The vocals compliment the music perfectly by keeping to a lower pitch. This song is one of my favorite songs on the album for keeping it interesting.

love, the ninth song on the album and is a track that borders on the line between midtempo and upbeat. The transition between the verses and the hook is very strong and seems almost continuous. The chorus is a bit more striking as it’s sung in all Japanese, excluding the song’s title, drawing attention to it. With phrases “I’ll love you for the rest of my life” and “you are the sunshine of my life,” there is a cuteness charm within the song that works very well. The vocals are at their usual strength and keep with the beat well as always. Overall this was a pretty good song and again, there seemed to be just a small something holding it back from being amazing.

The tenth track, entitled sayonara, is a ballad with a guitar as the central instrument. The strength of this song is found within the arrangement of the song, which takes certain twists and turns that keep the song interesting. The boys of EXILE are consistently strong with their vocals and here, their vocal capabilities shine. The transitions throughout the song, including verses, hooks and choruses sounds effortless but the arrangement shows the change between the sections. At the final chorus, the emotion comes across so strongly, it almost sounds like the tears are beginning to fall. This song is very enjoyable and possesses one of the most interesting arrangements on the entire album.

Track number eleven, entitled 変わらないモノ, is an enjoyable pop song with R&B influences. While the verses are more mellow, the chorus gives the song that extra kick. The vocals are well maintained throughout the song and blend well with the instrumentation, which also carries the imagery to it as well. After a small instrumental break, a certain energy comes to the song that didn’t shine as much earlier. This song continuously grows stronger, making it enjoyable from the beginning until the very end.

時の描片~トキノカケラ~, the twelfth song, is a midtempo pop number that has a summer feel to it. The opening is a bit strange since it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the song but it doesn’t detract from the overall theme. The actual song begins off with a midtempo twist but then goes into the pop sound during the chorus. It has that sweet pop charm that reminds me of Tohoshinki. Between a back-to-back chorus, the instrumental changes up a bit and gives it an unexplainable magic. Overall it’s a nice listen that is perfect for the summer time.

The thirteenth track, Touch The Sky, features Bach Logic and is an uptempo track. The chorus really stands out as impressive as the vocals are consistent despite being sung somewhat quickly. The verses are well done and flows perfectly into the hook. Back Logic offers the rap nearing the end, which is kind of low-pitched but doesn’t clash with the uptempo beat of the song. Because the chorus plays a central role in the song, it keeps the song fresh and not at all repetitive. It’s a wonderful addition to the album and a memorable effort.

The final song on the album, entitled 24 karats – type EX, – is a great way to end the album. The song opens up with the sound of a screeching car and then flows nicely into the actual song. The song has a very aggressive beat so the opening rap fits perfectly. The transition from rapping to singing is effortless as the singing maintains a hip-hop flavor. The hook utilizes strong vocals, making it very memorable. The chorus consists of a catchy rhythm that blends perfectly with the beat, making it stand out. Sowelu is introduced in the chorus and her vocals are a little soft but mesh well with the boys. Up next, Sowelu sings her part and the slight similarity from the vocals from the chorus make for an incredible transition. Her vocals aren’t amazingly strong but they work very well in the context in the song. On the next chorus, Sowelu steps up to the plate in terms of vocals. The next rap isn’t as strong as the first one but it still has great energy. This is the perfect party song and a great way to end the album.

Album Ranking: A –

EXILE’s latest album offers a variety of sounds and feelings but there is a slight repetitiveness to some of the tracks that leaves the listener wanting more. On songs such as What Is Love and Make Love, EXILE proves that they can give unique songs with effortlessly. Their vocals are consistently particularly on the album’s ballads and perhaps that is their strongest asset. While the boys shine on hot dance tracks and beautiful ballads, the pop songs with R&B influences could have performed a little stronger.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Nick said,

    I agree with you again 😀 Although there were songs I didn’t care for, it was overall a cohesive effort. I’m glad they had so much success with it.

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