KinKi Kids – 約束 [28th Single]

January 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm (KinKi Kids) (, )

kinkikids

KinKi Kids’ 28th single, entitled 約束, was released on 01.28.09.

約束 is a sweet love song that the boys bring to life. The song begins with a midtempo French influenced instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s ear. Then it’s the first verse and the vocals here are very smooth, supporting the music perfectly and illuminating a certain romantic aspect. There is a slight instrumental change on the chorus and it makes this section stand out and the boys show off their vocals more strongly, especially on that last note. The pure instrumental section is magnificent, spotlighting the guitar and re-introducing the vocals very nicely. 約束 is an excellent love song that will keep the listener hooked from start to end.

Present on both editions of the single is the first B-side, ユメハジメハナ. The song somewhat takes after 約束 in terms of sound although it feels like a watered down version of it. The instrumentation isn’t nearly as engaging as the title track though the vocals were still nice. I can appreciate the attempt to keep some uptempo stuff to this single but the execution was quite poor.

旅立ちの日 is only found on the limited edition of the single. It’s another slow song that follows a similar sound to Loving. It relies on a simplistic instrumentation so that the spotlight is on the boys’ voices. Unfortunately, the vocals aren’t anything amazing and the instrumentation just sounds so generic that it comes across as just another song.

Loving is the B-side exclusive to the regular edition. Opening the song is the piano, immediately presenting an emotional base for the listener. Then comes the first verse and the vocals are nice although there is something so “already done” about the instrumentation that it stands in the way of the song being very memorable. The chorus follows this same pattern as the boys show good vocal strength but the music sounds generic although the ending “loving you” was nice. The song is okay but it doesn’t really stand out as very memorable or engaging one.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 約束 was made. The video is extremely simple, generally just featuring the boys standing and singing the song. There are many special effects centering around light and darkness as the video is shot entirely in black and white. They could have made a much more enjoyable video but it’s okay for what it is.

Single Ranking: B –

It’s sad to say that KinKi Kids did not bring such a quality release last time. Only 約束 really stands out as being interesting while the three B-sides all sound generic and “done before.” This single release is made all the more disappointing after their last single, Secret Code, which was amazing from every angle.

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AAA – 旅ダチノウタ [20th Single]

January 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm (AAA) (, )

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AAA’s 20th single, entitled 旅ダチノウタ, was released on 01.14.09. Both the B-sides of this single were used as promotional songs: piece of my word was used the new CM song for Kyoto Kimono Yuzen Co. Ltd. while mosaic was the theme song for Mirai Seiki Shakespeare, featuring AAA themselves.

旅ダチノウタ is a sweet song centering around the concept of departure. The song starts off with a sweet instrumental that catches the listener’s ears and soon some vocals come in and they compliment the overall pretty and delicate atmosphere very well. Following is the first verse and Nissy does a very good job of portraying emotion as he’s given the biggest part here. Urata and Chiaki also do their job well and their line together really shines. Everyone comes together for the chorus and their vocals really go well together and Urata and Nissy’s solo lines sound great. The rap section did feel a little out of place (especially that last line, which was particularly awkward) but it did allow the listener to get a better feel for the instrumentation. 旅ダチノウタ is a great song primarily because of the openness and emotional presence that the members bring to it, allowing the listener to really connect with them.

The first B-side is piece of my word, a song sung by the two girls of the group. Opening the song is a relaxing and calm instrumental that also carries a certain nostalgic atmosphere to it. Then the first verse begins and the vocals here really portray emotion, catching the listener’s ear. The chorus is nice although a litle generic. The vocals are wonderful as the girls’ really sound strong together. piece of my word is a pretty good song but it does seem slightly generic and it drags on since it is a pretty long song, clocking in at over five minutes.

mosaic is the second B-side. The song begins with an upbeat and fun instrumental that is a welcome change from the previous two tracks. After a funky introduction, the first verse arrives and although upbeat, there is a still a mellow feel to it that sounds great. The vocals coming from each member or wonderful, particularly Nissy’s and Misako’s. The chorus is absolutely wonderful since those vocals continue to portray the fun atmosphere of the song and the “how does it feel?” really pops.Misako’s solo section is wonderful since her vocals are shown off strongly and the following pure instrumental section puts a spotlight on the guitar, adding to the song’s true funkiness. mosaic is a perfect song and it really should have been the title track.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 旅ダチノウタ was made. The video is very simple, fitting with the simplistic and sweet atmosphere of the song. The main setting is of the group standing around / sitting on a play structure under a beautiful night sky as they remember fond memories. All of the members show their emotions very well, showing off their ability to connect with the music. The theme of the song as seen from the title is “departure” and there is a very nostalgic feeling about this song communicated through this PV.

Single Ranking: A –

AAA’s first single of the year certainly starts them off on a good note. The A-side and piece of my word both carry a nostalgic feeling that have fueled rumors of the group’s breakup. mosaic is the real star song of the single, showing the group’s strength: upbeat numbers. Hopefully their new album will deliver the same quality and the rumors of their split are just that: rumors.

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Takizawa Hideaki – 愛・革命 [Debut Solo Single]

January 29, 2009 at 12:32 am (Takizawa Hideaki) (, )

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Takizawa Hideaki’s debut solo single, entitled 愛・革命, was released on 01.07.09. The title track was used as the theme song for the musical Shinshun Takizawa Kakumei.

The A-side is the catchy Spanish influenced track, 愛・革命. Opening the song is the piano, immediately bringing an emotional presence. Soon Tackey dives into the first verse and there is something so charming about his vocals here, that the listener can’t help but feel the magic of the song. Soon, the instrumentation changes and turns into a Spanish upbeat number. His vocals sound great here, staying very sweet and still portraying the emotions of the song perfectly. The chorus has a sort of typical feeling that somehow works here instead of coming across as just generic. Like many other songs prove, Spanish influences perfectly suit Johnny’s boys’ voices and 愛・革命 is no exception.

With Love is a wonderful love song that Tackey gives life to. The song starts off with a very pretty instrumental that gives off a sweet magical feeling. There are some traditional sounding instruments that make their way into the music and they add to the interest level. His vocals on the first verse are nice and they go nice with the simplicity and beauty of the piano. He shows off his vocal strength on the chorus and the emotions coming flowing out with love. He hits his notes on the last phrase “with love” perfectly and it makes the listener believe him. There is more of a beat during the second verse and it adds to the song’s sweet quality. With Love is a great song that shows off Tackey’s ability to communicate the emotion of love.

Single Ranking: B +

Tackey certainly brought a quality release for his debut single. The title track takes on Spanish influences to make a catchy upbeat number while the B-side sticks to the more emotional path for a ballad. It’s a great way to introduce the world to Tackey’s style of solo music.

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AZU – いますぐに… [5th Single]

January 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm (AZU) (, )

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AZU’s 5th single, entitled いますぐに…, was released on 01.28.09.

いますぐに… is a sweet love song. The song starts off with the chorus and AZU’s vocals are very light and pretty, supporting the music well although there is something missing that makes it really appealing. This continues onto the verses as her vocals are basically the exact same but there is just a certain element that holds the song back from being good. I think the biggest problem with this song is that the emotions don’t come strongly enough and AZU’s voice just remains too soft and sweet the entire time.

恋におちて -Fall In Love- is the single’s B-side, originally rumored to be the A-side. There is a relaxing and breezy atmosphere about this song and her vocals are much better supported. It shows a different side to AZU’s music and this tropical song should have been the single’s title track without a doubt.

In order to promote the single, a PV for いますぐに… was made. The video is extremely simple, featuring AZU writing the lyrics to the song and working. It’s so boring that it supports the atmosphere of the song.

Single Ranking: C

AZU falls flat with this uninteresting and unappealing song. It feels so generic and “done before,” only pushed to the worst by a lack of emotional presence. The B-side is a huge step up so hopefully she’ll bring something stronger with her next effort.

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Kuraki Mai – touch Me! [8th Studio Album]

January 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm (Kuraki Mai) (, )

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Kuraki Mai’s 8th album, entitled touch Me!, was released on 01.21.09. The singles released before the album are as follows: 夢が咲く春 / You and Music and Dream, 一秒ごとに Love for you and 24 Xmas Time. The title track was used as a promotional track for the album.

The album opens up with the title track, touch Me!, a smooth upbeat number. She sings part of the chorus, which starts off in English “there’s a secret, my first touch” and the rest follows in Japanese. That last note is held with such beauty and strength and then a section of pure instrumentation comes after, giving off a sort of dark vibe that the listener can enjoy. On the verses, Mai gives smooth vocals that generally remain in the lower range, staying with the atmosphere of the music. Before the chorus, the music becomes fuller and Mai gives a stronger vocal performance to match. The chorus is what makes this song so memorable as there is something so catchy and fun. The “touch me” is sung so commandingly and with such vigor that it lingers on the listener’s mind from the chorus. There is a slight instrumental change during the pure instrumental section, which is great since it kind of leads the listener through a story. touch Me! is a great way to open up the album and it channels Mai’s old sound well.

一秒ごとに Love for you, released before the album, comes up next as summer bliss. That summery atmosphere comes alive straight off from the first opening moment with the drums and Mai’s vocalizations over a very cool instrumental. Then comes the first verse and Mai brings that coolness in her vocals that makes the listener stand up and take notice. One interesting part of the song is that before the chorus, she sings “一秒ごとに” and then “Love for you” is the start of the chorus. The chorus features essentially two parts, one sung more in the background and the other with more prominent vocals and the combination of these two really make it memorable. This is a great song that will definitely have you moving and feeling summer no matter what time of the year it is.

mai1Up next is the insanely cathy upbeat number, Break the tone. Opening the song is a very funky and addictive instrumental that will stay in the listener’s head. Then she dives into the chorus and her vocals are so smooth and edgy at the same time so that it makes a very strong combination. She sounds absolutely fantastic when she sings “break the tone” and the following pure instrumental section puts a spotlight on the guitar, an interesting choice to push the music. On the verses, it feels like she’s telling a story as her vocals stay strong and she constantly says things in the background to add to that fun flavor. The hook features a slight instrumental change along with some angelic breathy vocals. She even delivers a little rap section that shows her cute attitude, definitely a memorable part of this song. She closes the song with some words that show more attitude, particularly the second to last line: “If you don’t like it, that’s too bad.” Break the tone is definitely one of the best album offerings and certainly one to remember.

We come to the sounds of spring with the fourth song, 夢が咲く春. We begin with a sweet and calming instrumentation that carries a bit of funkiness to it. On the verses, Mai’s vocals go perfectly with the music and it’s clear that this type of song supports her very well. However it’s the chorus that makes this song so loveable. Particularly when she sings the title of the song, her vocals portray this emotion that is so likeable and infectious. She also holds that last note of the chorus strongly. 夢が咲く春 is a wonderful spring song that is one of the album’s most memorable tracks.

Moving onto I can’t believe you!!, which is more of an autumn sound. The song starts off on an interesting note as there is a slightly mysterious sound to it. It really does feel like she’s telling a story when she comes in with the first verse and that’s what makes this song so addictive. Her vocals are wonderful as usual and when she sings “do I know I can’t believe you?,” there is a certainbreathiness that comes through her vocals that work. The chorus is enjoyable with the slight instrumental change and the more poppy feeling established by the way she seperates the words. The English phrases such as  “you can be yourself” add a nice touch to the song before she delivers that final chorus. Overall, this is another great song that is catchy and seems to channel her older sound while still keeping it up to date.

Next is Secret Lover. The song starts off with a sweet and relaxing vibe similar to the one from the previous track. Her vocals sound so pretty and calming here that it sounds great. There is this little part before the chorus where the instrumentation spirals up for a moment and even though it doesn’t last very long, it stands out and has that little bit of magic that works. The chorus is nice particularly because she reaches up and hits the higher notes very well and the Spanish guitar gets a nice spotlight. Secret Lover is a very enjoyable song and a good follow-up to I can’t believe you!!

After a string of amazing tracks, Hello! is the first one to fall flat. It’s a ballad driven by a pretty instrumentation but there’s something very generic and “already done” about this song, so it doesn’t catch the listener’s ear very well. Mai’s vocals are nice but the song just feels so done before that it doesn’t find a proper place on touch Me!

Luckily, we fall into wintery bliss on 24 Xmas Time. The song starts off with a sweet upbeat instrumentation with wintery traces, still maintaining a normal pop sound. She then goes into the chorus, which is great. Her vocals portray emotion, particularly on English phrases like “special for me” and “don’t break my heart.” However, it’s the verses that make this song so wonderful. There is a real laid-back feeling that supports Mai’s smooth vocals and connect with the listener’s ears. There are three parts in this song that are absolutely addictive, each in one of the verses. There is a slight instrumental change on these lines and it makes all the difference. It’s first seen when she sings 何時間のファッション.ショー (What time is the fashion show?). Although it’s hard to describe, there’s something magical about it that is extremely likeable. KEN-RYW joins Mai for a few rap sections and his presence gives the song a little more attitude. 24 Xmas Time is actually the album’s strongest song and definitely should not be skipped over.

Catch is the following track. The song begins on an interesting note as there is something cold and mysterious about the instrumentation as the beat slowly comes in with Mai repeating ‘catch.” She sticks to the lower register on the verses, in keeping with the dark atmosphere of the song. Beofre the chorus, the instrumentation takes a more aggressive and catchy approach, which sounds wonderful. This part carries over to the chorus as we get a very catchy and crimson instrumentation with Mai giving wonderful vocals to support it, both showing off her power and her range. A guest rapper jumps on board and provides some sleekness to the track, which is very welcome. This song is a very strong addition to touch Me! and is one of the ones to listen to for sure.

The album’s semifinale is You and Music and Dream. The song starts off with a very pretty instrumental that gives off a feeling of grandeur and magic. Soon Mai sings the first verse and her vocals here are very strong, portraying both beauty and true emotion, supporting the music perfectly. There is a real feeling of hope that comes through and resonates with the listener. There is one part right before the chorus in which the instrumentation spirals upwards and it really is beautiful, leading the listener into the chorus. That grandeur comes full force here and mai’s vocals are shown off perfectly, particularly as she hits the higher notes angelically and with ease. You and Music and Dream was amazing when it was released as a single and it hasn’t lost any of its steam on the album release.

Mai’s cover of TOP OF THE WORLD comes as the album’s closing number. Since Mai is fluent in English, her pronounciation is perfect and it makes the cover all the better. Her vocals are strong and it sounds like she’s really having fun with it, which makes the song all the more enjoyable.

Album Ranking: A

Mai definitely started her 10th anniversary with a bang! touch Me! features different styles to keep the listener interested but overall, the album stays pretty upbeat, which is interesting. Tracks like Break the tone, touch Me! and Catch show that Mai is extremely comfortable with that style. All the seasons get represented here and they end up being some of the album’s strongest material:  夢が咲く春 (Spring), 一秒ごとに Love for you (Summer), I can’t believe you!! (Autumn) and 24 Xmas Time (Winter). She delivers great vocals and emotion on the ballads like Secret Lover and You and Music and Dream as well, offering a strong balance. touch Me! is a very strong collection of songs that show off just what kind of artist Mai is.

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C-ute – ④ 憧れ My STAR [4th Studio Album]

January 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm (C-ute) (, )

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C-ute’s 4th studio album, entitled  ④ 憧れ My STAR, was released on 01.28.09. The album was released after the following singles: 涙の色, 江戸の手毬唄Ⅱand FOREVER LOVE.

憧れ My STAR is the album’s opening track and definitely a strong one. The song starts off with the hook, which is extremely addictive as the girls sing somewhat rapidly over a relaxing upbeat pop instrumental. On the verses, the girls continue to give strong vocals and there are just certain moments when the instrumenation takes a slight change and even though it is only slight, it really catches the listener’s ear. Before the chorus, there is more fast-paced vocals, which always sound great. There is also one moment where a part of the instrumentation is emphasized to move with the girls’ vocals and it sounds fantastic. The chorus is really catchy as it feels like the instrumentation is a little more sparkling as the girls’ vocals all come together strongly. This is an amazing title track and opening number that really sets the listener up for excitement.

The first shuffle song is One’s LIFE, sung by the trio of Erika, Chisato and Mai. Opening the song is a very cutesy and natural instrumentation which is quick to establish its atmosphere. The girls’ vocals on the chorus are nice and there are a few notes here and there which stand out despite not being that different. They just have a certain magic that is ear catching. The verses have a cute attitude and the little rap sections show that they’re trying something new, which actually works here strongly. One’s LIFE is a good follow up to the first track and shows the girls trying off a new style with pride.

Airi Suzuki gets her chance to shine on her solo song, Yes! all my family. There is something very cool about this song, primarily given by the instrumentation, which reflects a more mature sound. There is something slightly offputting though about the combination of the music and her vocals. She does a good job but it there should have been more of a vocal presence to really bring the coolness of the music to life. Nonetheless, she doesn’t fail the song and the music remains strong enough to carry any slips particularly on the verses. The guitar part right before the chorus sounds great and is one of the standout points in the song. The chorus is a little weak because it sounds a little too cute for the mature vibe previously established. It’s a pretty good song and even though it could have been stronger, it is still enjoyable.

涙の色, released prior to the album, comes as the fourth song on the album. The song begins with the Spanish guitar carrying a certain pretiness before the beat comes through and the instrumentation becomes more danceable and diverse. The girls then dive into the first verse and the vocals here are great, portraying emotion and keeping with the total atmosphere of the song. Before the chorus, the instrumentation takes on a more light and sparkling sound as the vocals themselves get lighter too. Then comes the chorus, which is extremely catchy and powerful as the girls come together to give a great vocal performance. The pure instrumental section gives new life into the music and has a feeling of grandeur and importance to it which will make the listener take notice. 涙の色 is a wonderful song and one of the album’s best offerings.

Saki and Kanna team up for the fifth song, 愛してる 愛してる. It’s a slow song and a bit similar to Yes! all my family, there is a kind of natural atmosphere about it which works. However this song is much more slow-paced and relaxing. The girls’ vocals are good here and having these two particular girls sing together was a smart idea since they compliment the other well. However, there is something lacking in this song. It’s just not the type of song that grabs you at first listen and it ends up dragging on as the song goes on because the pace is so slow. So this one might take some time to grow on the listener but it’s not nearly as impressive as it should have been.

Maimi gets her solo song with 青春ソング. Faithful to its title, the song is very high-energy and youthful. It has a sort of a pop rock feeling to it, which suits Maimi’s vocals strongly. The verses are definitely the song’s strongest part as Maimi shows us her cool side through her usual great vocals. During the pure instrumental section, the guitar gets a nice spolight and it does fit with the overall feeling of the song but it would have been nice to see a more mature danceable sound at that time. Generally though, this is a good song and proves how great a singer Maimi is in case there was any doubt.

The girls take on a tropical feeling with the next song, Big dreams. A twinkling and fun instrumental begins the song before the chorus comes in. After the shuffle songs, it’s nice to hear the girls together again and when they reach slightly higher, it sounds great. On the verses, that true relaxing tropical feeling comes through the instrumentation and the girls trade off showing off what they can do. Everyone sounds really good here since there is this unmistakeable chemistry between the vocals and the music. Right before the chorus, there is this light and very pretty instrumental part that sounds great and makes for a enjoyable new introduction. The pure instrumental section is very dreamy, taking the atmosphere of the song to the next level. Big dreams is a wonderful song, definitely one of the album gems worth checking out.

Next is SHINES, a fun song that will have the listener moving. The song begins with a great instrumental which definitely is ear-catching and sounds somewhat like a theme for a sports game. Then we have the vocalizations which support that sound even more. On the verses, the girls sound good but it feels more cute than what you might think from listening to the opening instrumental. Nonetheless, the song continues on a strong note. The chorus is enjoyable although the constant vocalizations do come to be a little tiring after a while. SHINES is a fun song that might seem a little misleading but is still enjoyable.

The album’s semifinale is the girls’ third and final single from this era, FOREVER LOVE. The song starts off with a hot instrumental that has some rock flares supporting the fun dance sound. Soon the instrumentation makes a nice segue into the first verse. On the verses, the vocals are great as Maimi and Airi provide smoothness and strength to support the instrumentation. The hooks stand out particularly because the vocals are a little faster and the other girls get a chance to shine, if not only momentarily. Even though the “my darling” and “I love you” are not the most fitting for the cool image of the song, they do make the chorus different from the rest of the song. One section of the song that reallystands out is the pure instrumental section as the rock elements remain but there is a real dance break feeling that works well with C-ute. It’s also interesting because the guitar gets the chance to shine the most. It’s a great song that hasn’t lost any steam since its single release.

江戸の手毬唄II is the perfect way to close off this album as its one of C-ute’s best songs to date. The song begins with the girls singing the chorus and there is a really cute atmosphere that somehow comes together with a mature vibe to form a cohesive sound. Their voices come together very strongly and they hit that last note perfectly. On the verses, the girls trade off getting a couple lines and although some are better than others, everyone manages to sound pretty good. However it’s the changing choruses that make the song so addictive and they are truly the high points of the song. The pure instrumental section is wonderful, allowing time for a nice breakdown and putting a spotlight on some of the more traditional sounds of the song. Overall, 江戸の手毬唄II is a great way and gives the listener the perfect track to end with.

Album Ranking: B +

C-ute’s 4th album was a much better package than their last one. As usual, the singles tracks were the ones that were the album’s strongest offerings. 涙の色, 江戸の手毬唄II and FOREVER LOVE are all fantastic songs that show off C-ute’s mature sound. 憧れ My STAR and Big dreams though come onto that level and are album gems as well. It would have been better if some of the new songs had that same danceable mature vibe as the singles but it was expected that it wouldn’t.

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Stephanie featuring SRM – Pride ~A Part Of Me~ [6th Single]

January 26, 2009 at 4:30 am (Stephanie) (, )

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Stephanie’s 6th single, entitled Pride ~A Part Of Me,~ was released on 01.14.09. The title track was used as the theme song to the movie Pride, in which Stephanie plays leading role Shio Asami.

Pride ~A Part Of Me~ is a grandiose ballad filled with emotion. Sweetly, the piano introduces the listener to the song and immediately feelings of magic and hope arise. Stephanie then comes in with the first verse and gives vocals like she always does, which show emotion. Hikari Mitsushima has her part in the verse and her vocals are nice too although there is something about them that doesn’t connect as much. Once the chorus comes in, there is a very generic feeling about it, which comes as almost expected. Now Stephanie has great vocals but there is such a thing as oversinging. The girls didn’t need to sing the whole thing as loud as they could. Overall, this song was less than memorable. Even though the verses weren’t that bad, the chorus screams generic and it comes across as just another ballad.

Kisses is the single’s new song B-side. This song takes on an acoustic flavor as the acoustic guitar serves as the main instrument, pushing for a rawer emotional sound. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. It’s hard to pinpoint the song’s problem but it there definitely is one.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Pride ~A Part Of Me~ was made but it certainly was nothing special. The video features scenes from the movie as well as the two girls standing in front of a white background singing. It’s true that Stephanie has never been known for her looks and let’s face it, this video will not change that perception. Hikari looks okay but nothing stellar. This video was a mess and they could have put a little effort into it.

Single Ranking: C

Unfortunately, Stephanie did not bring her strongest material forward with her first release of the year. Pride ~A Part Of Me~ sounds like another generic ballad that doesn’t stand out in the her discography. The B-side is incredibly bland and not even worth listening to. The sales from this single were very poor and to be honest, it’s no surprise after listening to the songs.

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The Possible – 幸せの形 [11th Single]

January 26, 2009 at 3:44 am (The Possible) (, )

thepossible

The Possible’s 11th single, entitled 幸せの形, was released on 01.07.09. The title track was used as the theme song for the Playstation 2 game Hyakko.

幸せの形 is a sweet midtempo number. The song begins with a very old-sounding instrumental that has a very nostalgic feeling to it before the chorus comes in. The girls’ voices harmonize well although the instrumentation is a little bland. Following the chorus, the music becomes fuller and a bit more grabbing in spite of the random guy’s “yos” in the background. On the verses, we get the chance to see more of the girls’ vocals and there is a real naturalness to them that somehow makes the song more memorable. The song sticks to a pretty simple formula but there is something strangely charming about it.

The B-side of this single is 愛のエナジー. Begining the song is the chorus and immediately the cute atmosphere comes to life. Even though it has a very regular H!P sound, that little instrumental section after the chorus has something special about it that makes it stand out. This song actually bears quite a similarity to the A-side counterpart except for its missing that natural and magical element to make it really stand out. So essentially, it feels like a watered down version of the A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 幸せの形 was made and it stays to a formula throughout. The chorus features some dancing, which is more cute than impressive. On the verses, the girls are seen standing around in town with earphones in their ears. There are also scenes of each girl holding a picture of their younger self over their face. I really liked the scenes when they were in town so if the whole video was like that, then it would have been stellar.

Single Ranking: B

There is a certain natural feeling about The Possible’s music which makes it different than “just another H!P song.” The girls’ vocals are pretty good and it’ll be interesting to see if they experiment with different styles throughout the year.

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Gackt – Ghost [27th Single]

January 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm (Gackt) (, )

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Gackt’s 27th single, entitled Ghost, was released on 01.28.09. The title track was featured in Terminator TV series Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Ghost takes Gackt’s rock sound and infuses it with a dose of electronic power to make it memorable. The song begins with an addictive instrumental that has a very sleek technological feel to it. When the rock elements come in, it becomes even fuller and catches the listener’s attention a little more. Gackt’s vocals have a slight distortion on them to fit with the overall vibe of the song and it was a good decision since they compliment the music very well. It’s kind of hard to first notice when the chorus begins but it does soon become clear. It’s not as strong as hoped but the following section of pure instrumentation sounds absolutely fantastic. Gackt’s vocals certainly are enjoyable on this song but the standout part of the song is without a doubt, the energetically thumping instrumentation with fuses electronic sounds with rock.

This single’s B-side is the emotionally carged rock number, Blue Lagoon. Beginning the song is a very mysterious instrumental that intrigues the listener to hear more. Soon the cold pulsating atmosphere comes in and it really stands out. Gackt’s vocals on the first verse are magnificent, smoothly carrying over the music and reflecting the deep emotion of the song. Again, the sections of pure instrumentation are the most memorable because they just really are the emotional basis of the song. Blue Lagoon is a wonderful song and a great compliment to the A-side, just sticking to the rock sound this time around.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Ghost was made. The video is very simple, featuring scenes from it’s tie-in as well as a darkly lit stage featuring Gackt doing some dancing (which he hasn’t done in years). It’s not that great of a video but it does have a certain cool effect that matches the song’s atmosphere.

Single Ranking: A

Gackt definitely started his year off on the right way. Ghost brings in electronic sounds in order to bond with his rock sound to make one very memorable instrumental. Blue Lagoon sticks to the rock sound, taking on a very isolated and cold sound to make the listener crave more. It’s a great single that all Gackt fans or fans of rock in general should check out.

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Goto Maki – Fly away [Digital Single]

January 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm (Goto Maki) (, )

fly-away

After a very long period of waiting since her offficial move to avex, Goto Maki is finally stepping back into the waters of music. She performed new song “hear me” at a-nation 2008 but she’s officially releasing as an avex artist now. Her new song, entitled Fly away, was released digitally on 01.21.09.

Fly away is a hot dance song with a true beauty supported by the piano. The song begins with a very epic sounding orchestral instrumentation that smoothly brings the listener into a vibe. Suddenly, the instrumentation shifts gears to a hot dance track and the first verse starts. Maki’s vocals here really compliment the music and provide that certain edge to keep the listener addicted. The moaning voices in the background provide a really nice touch in bringing the sexual atmosphere to the forefront. The hook stands out as there is something noticeably softer in both the instrumentation and Maki’s vocals, which set up the chorus very nicely. What makes the chorus so addictive is the repeating “fly away” as there is a certain breathiness to them that really works. That little section of pure instrumentation that follows sounds great and really keeps the listener on the edge of their seat. One part that is absolutely delicious is the true pure instrumental section with Maki’s moaning vocals as the sexual atmosphere comes glistening through again. Fly away is definitely the perfect song for Maki to step back into music again as it combines her great dance sound with a certain beauty for one addictive combination. Hopefully the song will be released physically at some point in the future.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Fly away was made. The video beings with Maki writhing in bed so that already, the sexual atmosphere of the song is brought visually. The bed scene continues for a little bit and soon we come into the best part of the video: the dancing. Now Maki has been doing some dance training in L.A. for quite a bit  and you can tell that it’s paid off when you see her dance in this video. It is set at night-time in the middle of a street to match with the sort of dark atmosphere established in the video. Other scenes include Maki sitting on a black couch and Maki holding a mask. It’s a great video and a very nice way of showing off Maki’s new look and putting those dance lessons to good use.

Single Ranking: A +

After months of waiting for something new from Maki, we’re certainly treated with a quality release. Fly away is a hot dance track that takes on a different sound by bringing the piano as a central instrument. Maki’s vocals sound great and there is a clear atmosphere for the listener to grasp onto. Hopefully this song (as well as hear me) will be released physically very soon.

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