V6 – VIBES [DVD Single]

July 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm (V6) (, )

V6’s 1st DVD single, entitled VIBES, was released on 07.30.08. The single’s leading track, 常夏 VIBRATION, was used as the theme song for the boys’ show Gakkou e Ikou! MAX.

常夏 VIBRATION is the first song on the single. The single opens up with the sweet summery instrumental and the boys sound very nice on the chorus as they capture the breeziness of the song perfectly. The rap section during the first verse sounds great and the following section, which is sung is another great part. Both the rapping and the singing nicely capture the summer atmosphere of the song by spotlight a fun-ness that stands out to the listener. The pure instrumental section breaks things down nicely and highlights a prettiness before the happy chorus comes back in. 常夏  VIBRATION is an excellent song with the sounds of summer sparkling in the instrumentation. It’s definitely a great way to lead the single and stands out to the listener nicely.

The second song is the sweet jazzy song, プールサイド・マーメイド. The song starts off with the chorus, as the boys smoothly sing the lyrics and hook the listener over the jazzy instrumentation. Then the first verse begins and the there are continuous strong vocals that stand out to the listener. With the pure instrumentation sequence, the spanish guitar is spotlighted and then there is a smooth transition into the chorus again. Music along with a few vocalizations from the boys provide the song with a nice fade-out finish. The instrumentation is definitely one of the song’s biggest strengths as there are jazzy elements that direct the boys and their vocals follow suit perfectly with smoothness, power and control.

Up next is DIVE. The song begins with a fantastic and upbeat instrumentation with rock flares to really make it stand out to the listener. Soon the first verse begins and the vocals are smooth and fit with the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The chorus has a certain poppiness that makes it stand out and the instrumentation remains interesting and addictive. Coolness and sleekness are spotlighted during the moments of pure instrumentation and provide the listener for more addictive music. DIVE is a fantastic number with an addictive instrumentation that leaves the listener wanting more and is definitely a strong song to be put on this single.

The fourth song on the single is nostalgie. Opening the song is an interesting upbeat instrumental that fades softer and then grows louder again, directing the listener. The is a slight disortion on the boys’ voices and that sound really fits with the atmosphere created by the music. Once the chorus comes in, the boys give off more vocal power and it stands out as the distortion on their voices disappears. The relaxing feel of the song really emerges on the pure instrumental section and really captures the listener’s attention. A vibrating instrumental then finishes the song. notalgie is an excellent song and slows things down a little bit, which gives a nice change of pace from the previous singles.

The fifth track is 心からの歌. Powerfully, the chorus starts and the strong vocals go perfectly with the beautiful piano instrumentation. The emotions flow wonderfully and soon the tempo picks up. The boys then have smooth vocals that go with the midtempo atmosphere of the song very well. As the song goes on, the pure instrumental section is reached where both the softer elements and the more upbeat elements play together for an enjoyable experience. This song is another excellent addition to the single and really stands out to the listener.

VOLTAGE picks up the energy with an addictive instrumental. Opening the song is an aggressive pop sound and then the first verse starts. The boys’ voices sound absolutely great here and move with the music so well that the listener becomes addicted. With the chorus, the English phrases such as “shock wave” and “you’ve got my voltage” really pop nicely and help the chorus really stand out. VOLTAGE is a brilliant song and definitely one of the standouts on this single; a song definitely not worth missing out on.

サンキュー! ミュージック! is the single’s semifinale. There is a certain coolness and relaxing atmosphere that comes through the opening instrumentation that catches the listener’s ear before the first verse starts. The vocals are strong and go with the music so well. The poppiness of the chorus really stands out while the boys give more strong vocals to support the instrumentation and the English phrase “thank you music for my life” is a great way to open it. The relaxing feeling really comes out on the pure instrumental section and sounds great.  It’s another wonderful song and another real standout snumber on this single.

The single’s bonus track is きっとよくなる. Opening the song is a nice guitar instrumentation and then the first verse starts. The vocals are smooth and keep the listener interested. Stronger vocals and more diverse instrumentation make the chorus the real standout part of the song. Although this is the weakest song on the single, it does give a nice change of pace from all the upbeat numbers on this single.

Single Ranking: A

V6’s new single features many songs and the collection of them make this one fantastic single. The three biggest standout songs are VOLTAGE, サンキュー! ミュージック! and DIVE. The other songs are all great numbers and are definitely worth listening for old V6 fans and new ones as well.

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Ishida Yuko – Changes [2nd Single]

July 29, 2008 at 11:38 pm (Ishida Yuko) (, )

Ishida Yuko’s 2nd single (under her real name, as opposed to her 1st single as JUAN), entitled Changes, was released on 07.30.08. The theme song was used as the theme song for Tenshi no Burasurimu Unmei.

Changes is a fantastic slow pop number with rock flares. The song starts off with a sweet instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s ear. Then the first verse starts and Yuko’s vocals sound great here, moving with the music perfectly. With the chorus, the instrumentation gives off a little more rock flare and Yuko shows a little more power in her vocals. The final phrase “I’ve got to change” leads out nicely and goes into that smoother and sweeter instrumental strongly. The music is so enjoyable and it definitely has a chance to shine on the pure instrumental section. Ending the song is the sweeter instrumentation and it provides the perfect finish for the song. Changes is a fantastic song and definitely an addictive one at that.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Changes was made. The video is pretty simple and features Yuko in a few scenes that show off her sexiness. It’s a great video and definitely fits the song’s atmosphere.

Single Ranking: A

Ishida Yuko brings strength to Changes and the rock sounds compliment her voice perfectly, making her a standout. From this single, the future definitely holds bright things for her.

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Aira Mitsuki – チャイナ・ディスコティカ [2nd Single]

July 29, 2008 at 10:44 pm (Aira Mitsuki) (, )

Aira Mitsuki’s 2nd single, entitled チャイナ・ディスコティカ, was released on 03.05.08. The title track was used as the “respect song” for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

チャイナ・ディスコティカ is the leading A-side, an enjoyable song with an electronic sound. The song starts off with a few lines and her vocals sound great as the distortion perfectly fits with the song’s overall sound. Soon the first verse begins and there is something almost comforting about the combination of vocals and music that the listener falls in love. The chorus is very enjoyable as there is a certain poppiness that stands out. Every moment of pure instrumentation is enjoyable as the music is just so addictive. The song is a fantastic song that shows off electronic sounds perfectly.

The B-side is ROMANTIC ROPE. Opening the song is the chorus, which sounds nice with some light electronic influences. Her vocals sound great here and are very ear-capturing. With the first verse, the distortion isn’t as strong on her voice as the A-side and it allows her voice to be spotlighted. During the moments of pure instrumentation, there is an element of coolness that comes through and stands out to the listener. This is a strong song and definitely a great B-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for チャイナ・ディスコティカ was made. The video is very strange and colorful, even featuring pandas. This is a very strange video and definitely a strange one. There isn’t much to say about it but it does match the sound of the song nicely.

Single Ranking: A

チャイナ・ディスコティカ and ROMANTIC ROPE make this single fantastically. While the A-side features heavy electronic sounds and an addictive beat, ROMANTIC ROPE is a lighter electronic song that really stands out to the listener. She delivers a wonderful single and certainly one to look out for.

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C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 II [6th Single]

July 28, 2008 at 5:40 pm (C-ute) (, )

 

江戸の手毬唄 II is a short and sweet pop song that is memorable. The song starts off with a cool and catchy instrumental before the chorus starts. The girls’ voices sound great here and they are able to hold their notes so well, which makes the chorus absolutely addictive. The first verse then starts and the vocals continue to be nice, moving with the music perfectly. The pure instrumental sequence sounds great and spotlights just how interesting and cool instrumentation is. Although the song is relatively short, it’s definitely one of the most catchiest songs from C-ute to date.

The single’s B-side, 忘れたくない夏, is a fun carnival-like song. The song begins nicely with a sparkling light rock sound  that leads into the first verse nicely. The girls’ vocals sound great over the carnival like instrumentation. The chorus is catchy as well as the girls harmonize well and their voices go with the music perfectly. The pure instrumental section sounds great as the guitar is spotlighted nicely, re-introducing the chorus. Overall the song is an enjoyable B-side and certainly a song to look out for.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 江戸の手毬唄 II was made. Colorful, fun and interesting, the PV is a perfect fit for the song. The video is pretty simple as it features the girls dancing in front of a carnival setting (with background dancers) and close-up shots of each girl intermixed throughout the video. The girls are dressed in colorful outfits, which only compliments the sound even more. The dance sequence is pretty simple but it’s very enjoyable and the girls hit their mark stronglly.

Single Ranking: A +

江戸の手毬唄 II is one C-ute’s strongest songs in their entire discography and is certainly has that cuteness element that stands out to the listener while not going off too far. 忘れたくない夏 is another enjoyable song with a cool instrumentation that hooks the listener. Another quality single release from C-ute, the girls do another great job and hopefully their future releases are just as strong.

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AZU – 時間よ止まれ [4th Single]

July 27, 2008 at 11:57 am (AZU) (, )

AZU’s fourth single, entitled 時間よ止まれ, was released on 07.02.08. The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime series Itazura na Kiss.

AZU teams up with SEAMO for the title track, 都会っ子 純情. The song starts off with a sweet and romantic instrumental that takes the listener into the world of the song before SEAMO comes in with a little rap. AZU then sings the first verse and her vocals are somewhat deep but smooth and go with the music nicely. The chorus is nice although there isn’t much instrumental variety and AZU doesn’t really show off any more vocal power than before so it doesn’t pop. SEAMO then comes in with his rap sequence and there is a certain poppiness to it that is nice but once again, it doesn’t realy catch the listener’s ear. Overall it’s a nice song but it doesn’t engage the listener as strongly as it should.

あなたのスペシャルになりたい is the first B-side. The song starts off with a light and upbeat intsrumental with a cuteness. AZU’s vocals during the chorus sound nice but it doesn’t sound like there is much power. Soon the first verse starts and AZU’s vocals are smooth and suit the overall atmosphere a little bit stronger. Much like the A-side, the song is nice but it doesn’t capture the listener and it begins to feel a little repetitive as the song progresses.

最後の恋 is the second B-side. A sweet instrumental starts off the song that immediately catches the listener and then the first verse begins. AZU’s vocals, which are somewhat deep, fit with the music perfectly here and really demands attention. The chorus allows her to bring just a little more vocal power but it does all the difference, keeping the interest high. This is the best song on the single and definitely has the potential to lead the single as the A-side.

Single Ranking: B –

This single’s biggest problem is the lack of leaving the strongest impression. Both the title track and the first B-side don’t catch the listener’s attention while 最後の恋 does a good job of maintaining the interest. Hopefully her future releases will bring that catchy factor.

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Hey! Say! JUMP – Dreams come true [2nd Single]

July 26, 2008 at 11:54 pm (Hey! Say! JUMP) (, )

Hey! Say! JUMP’s second single, was released on 05.21.08. 俺たちの青春 was used as the insert song for the dorama, Gokusen 3. The regular edition of the single features the third song, Chance to Change.

The first song on the single is the title track, Dreams come true. The song begins with an upbeat and hopeful instrumental, nicely set off by the guitar. Then the chorus kicks off and the vocals are very nice here, moving with the music very well and capturing the listener’s ear. The boys continue strongly with the first verse, which sounds very nice and the higher-pitched vocals in the background add a real cute touch to the song that fits with the overall atmosphere. There is a certain coolness factor that emerges on the pure instrumental section, which is divided into two different parts. The first part has an edgy flare to it that stands out to the listener and then the song’s regular hopeful instrumentation comes in again. Ending the song is that high-spirited instrumental that takes the listener out of the song perfectly. Dreams come true is a great song and is certainly a strong song.

俺たちの青春 is the second song sung by group-member Takaki Yuya. Opening the song is a sweet and sorrowful instrumental, highlighted by the beautiful piano. The vocals that then start the first verse sound great and capture the song’s emotion very strongly. The chorus features even stronger vocals and a more persistent instrumental section as the listener really becomes wrapped up in the vocals. The song finishes off with a wonderful instrumental that takes the listener out of the song after leading them through so effortlessly. Yuya really shines here and the this song showcases his vocal abilities over a beautiful instrumental.

Chance to Change is present only on the regular edition of the single. To start off the song, a very happy and upbeat instrumental brings in the chorus strongly. The vocals hold a certain cuteness to them that goes with the song’s atmosphere perfectly. The first verse is really interesting as the music changes slightly and there is almost a video-game quality to it that suits the boys’ vocals very well. The third verse features some great vocals and leads into a very interesting and addictive pure instrumental sequence that the listener can’t help but love. Chance to Change is an excellent song that the boys bring to life with energy and cuteness.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Dreams come true was made. The video is very simple as it features the boys singing in a room (which is white along with some orange panels as well). There are various scenes of the boys singing together and then later in the video there are scenes of certain members doing things such as hula-hooping, playing with big yellow balls, etc. It’s a nice and simple video that goes with the song nicely.

Single Ranking: A

Hey! Say! JUMP’s 2nd single features three good songs. The A-side is a upbeat and hopeful tune that the boys do a great job of bringing. Yuya steps in for 俺たちの青春 and emotes wonderfully, capturing the listener’s ear. Chance to Change features another upbeat sound that stands out as the music is certainly highlighted and matches the boys’ voices. It’s another great song that adds to the single’s strength.

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Arashiro Beni – Southern Star, Mellow Parade + BIG BANG [New Songs]

July 25, 2008 at 2:52 am (Arashiro Beni) ()

In order to promote Arashiro Beni’s latest BEST album, three new songs were included: Southern Star, Mellow Parade and BIG BANG. Southern Star was used as the Orion Beer CM song; Mellow Parade was used as the theme song for the movie Bra Bra Bran Bran (starring Beni herself) and BIG BANG was used as the theme song for Mainichi Housou’s TV broadcast of the Kouhien Bowl.

Beni shows off a more light and happy sound for Southern Star. The song begins with the chorus, nicely showing her vocals, which go nicely with the instrumentation. A more mellow feeling comes through on the verses and Beni’s vocals sound great. The pure instrumental section has an out-of-this-world feeling to it that sounds really nice and makes for a good re-introduction of the chorus. Southern Star is a nice song, although not the strongest, but it’s a nice listen.

Mellow Parade is the standout new song that Beni delivers grace and beauty to. The song starts out with a beautiful instrumentation highlitghted by the flute and soon the vocals start, instrumentation changes slightly. Beni’s vocals sound very pretty and move with the music perfectly. The light jazz influences that run through the instrumentation keep the listener hooked and Beni’s vocals help lure them. English phrases such as “come to mellow parade” and “tell me” pop very nicely and stand out. The pure instrumental section is a nice break between the vocals and then makes for a smooth re-introduction. Mellow Parade is an excellent song and one of the best songs in Beni’s discography.

BIG BANG is the last new song. The song starts off with a cool instrumental and a voice speaking in English that creates the feeling of a spy mission and then the chorus comes in. With some rock flares, the chorus stands out nicely and Beni’s vocals sound great. The verse features a slight distortion on the vocals and then Beni comes in and delivers her lyrics with an attitude to make them pop. BIG BANG stands out as Beni gives out the attitude and personality that it needs to be memorable.

Song Rankings: A –

These three songs show off Beni’s personality and vocals nicely. The strongest number is the sweet and enjoyable Mellow Parade as Beni brings her sweet vocals to a very pretty instrumental. BIG BANG is a very strong number as Beni’s attitude carries the lyrics to fit with the music. Southern Star has a lighter tone that stands out to the listener although it does feel a little slow at points. Overall though these are three good songs that the listener can enjoy.

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aiko – KissHug [24th Single]

July 24, 2008 at 12:26 am (aiko) (, )

aiko’s 24th single, entitled KissHug, was released on 07.23.08. The A-side was used as an insert song for the Hana Yori Dango movie.

KissHug is a sweet ballad that aiko brings to life. The song begins with a very pretty instrumental that takes the listener into the world of the song. The first verse starts and aiko’s vocals sound very sweet here, capturing the song’s atmosphere perfectly. The chorus stands out as aiko begins to show a little more vocal power and the instrumentation becomes more varied, showing off some nice light rock flares. The listener really does fall in love during the pure instrumental section, spotlighting how pretty and enjoyable the music really is. aiko’s final note sounds beautiful as it held strongly and then pure instrumentation brings the song to a close. KissHug is another great song from aiko that resonates with the listener strongly as they follow the song from start to finish.

The first B-side is 線香花火. The song starts off with a dreamy instrumental that really hooks the listener from first listen and soon the chorus starts. Her vocals sound perfect with the music and she sings with a certain rapidity that stands out to the listener very nicely. Soon the instrumentation becomes more varied with the guitar standing out more a more energy coming through. The song closes much like it began with the sweet and lulling instrumental, making 線香花火 an enjoyable song from start to finish.

水とシャンパン。is the second B-side. The song starts off with a midtempo instrumental with the piano as the focus and then the first verse begins. There is something simple but really sweet and enjoyable about the music and that simplicity really compliments aiko’s vocals. The chorus stands out as aiko gives out a little more vocal strength. Although pretty simple, aiko sounds very comfortable on it and it catches the listener’s attention well.

In order to promote the single, a PV for KissHug was made. The video is very simple as it follows aiko as she takes a ride and there is a personal feeling that arises from watching it that it doesn’t feel boring at all. At the end, she comes to meet her band as they perform the song.

Single Ranking: A –

aiko’s 24th single features three songs that show aiko’s wonderful vocals. KissHug is a great ballad that aiko brings to life strongly. 線香花火 is a very enjoyable number, picking up the energy a little more and standing out to the listener strongly. 水とシャンパン。is a nice and simple song that the listener just connects to from the moment the song opens. Overall, it’s a solid single from aiko and certainly worth checking out.

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alan – ひとつ [2nd Single]

July 23, 2008 at 5:02 am (alan) (, )

alan’s 2nd single, entitled ひとつ, was released on 03.05.08.

The single’s title track takes a slightly different route from the previous single while still being enjoyable. The song opens up with a very pretty instrumental and then the first verse starts. alan’s vocals sound great here and compliment the music very well. The fragility and beauty that her voice carries really entrances the listener strongly and stands out. The chorus features some great vocals from alan as she hits her notes with power and beauty, catching the listener’s attention. Moments of pure instrumentation show off just how pretty the music is and stands out to the listener strongly. The beautiful instrumental closes the song beautifully, making the song strong from its first moment to its last moment.

The tempo picks up with, 君想フ空, the first B-side of the single. Opening the song is a beautiful instrumental that takes the listener into the world of the song. As the chorus starts, the tempo picks up slightly and there is a hopeful feeling established from the music. There is a certain light-heartedness that the song emotes that really catches the listener’s ear. The first verse features some very pretty vocals that move with the music. The chorus comes in again and sounds great with alan’s continuing strong vocals. The pure instrumental spotlights just how enjoyable the music really is and it hooks the listener, making a smooth re-introduction for the chorus.

東京未明 slows things down a little bit. A sweet R&B sounding instrumental starts the song off and smoothly melts into the first verse. alan’s vocals are very pretty and they match the music perfectly. alan holds her note greatly before the chorus comes in and alan shows off her voice very nicely, hitting her notes with a little more power. The pure instrumental section is really pretty and has a sort of dreamy feeling to it that is unmistakable to the listener. The song is an enjoyable number and a great addition to this single.

The last song on the single is the musically focused and creative, sign. The song starts off with a very mysterious feeling and alan’s vocals creep into the picture. Soon the song begins its true sound and the spotlighted on the instrumentation here, which is absolutely gorgeous. The listener is taken on a journey while listening to the song and it definitely is an enjoyable listening experience. Although there isn’t much vocalization, sign is definitely one of alan’s most unique songs with a fantastic instrumentation.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ひとつ was made. The video is pretty simple as it features alan singing in the snow. She looks very pretty and the whole snow atmosphere is actually a strong fit for the song so it’s not only visually appealing but it connects with the song. There is a scene nearing the end when alan places her necklace on a statue and immediately, rose petals begin to fall from the sky. The video is wonderful and a great match for the song.

Single Ranking: A +

alan’s 2nd single features four different songs to show off what alan can do. The title track is great ballad featuring some great vocals from alan. While 君想フ空 exutes a happy and hopeful atmosphere, 東京未明 is a softer song that has a more dreamy and cozy feeling that the listener can enjoy. The single closes with sign, which puts a spotlight on a truly strong instrumental. The single features great songs that combine to form an enjoyable piece from alan.

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Hirahara Ayaka – さよなら 私の夏 [15th Single]

July 23, 2008 at 3:49 am (Hirahara Ayaka) (, )

Hirahara Ayaka’s 15th single, entitled さよなら 私の夏, was released on 07.16.08.

さよなら 私の夏 is a sweet summer song with a pop beat. The song starts off with momentary slow sweet instrumentation before the chorus comes in with a more dance beat. Her vocals sound very nice here and she holds the final note very strongly. The first verse is softer and holds a certain sweetness that really appeals to the listener. The pure instrumental section sounds very pretty and the guitar is a perfect addition to the song that stands out strongly. The song is different from Ayaka’s latest singles so it’s definitely a nice change of pace that she brings to life.

The B-side of the single is 空に涙を返したら. The song is a great compliment to the A-side as it is another sweet song with a pop sound. Ayaka’s voice sounds great here and moves with the music perfectly. It also has somewhat of a summer vibe that goes with the overall summer atmosphere of the single.

In order to promote the single, a PV for さよなら 私の夏 was made. There is a certain personal element to the video that really works in capturing the song’s atmosphere. Scenes include Ayaka driving her car, blowing bubbles and typing on a typewriter among other things.

Single Ranking: B +

Ayaka’s 15th single is a combination of the sweet summer songs さよなら 私の夏 and 空に涙を返したら. Both songs give off a summer vibe and show off a more pop sound and is a nice change of pace from her previous singles that feature ballads.

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