Utada Hikaru (Utada) – Come Back To Me [PV Review]

February 28, 2009 at 9:05 pm (Utada Hikaru) (, )


In order to promote Hikki’s new American single, Come Back To Me, a PV was made. Although a little bit after the single release, a video is better late than never.

It’s a pretty simple video but it’s that simpleness that matches the song perfectly. She looks absolutely gorgeous when she’s sitting and playing the piano. The hair, the dress, it’s all working in her favor. I wish I could say the same about her look with her hair up. Initially I thought it was somebody else…like a mother or something. She looks way too old and the dress isn’t that great either. I’m assuming that the person playing her boyfriend is some sort of model since he definitely looks like one, so I guess that’s a plus for the video. If I were to play the ranking game with this PV and the PV for Easy Breezy, the PV for Easy Breezy would definitely win. There’s something more likeable and fun about that video that catches my eye but this one isn’t by any means bad.

PV Ranking: B

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AAA – depArture [4th Studio Album]

February 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm (AAA) (, )


AAA’s fourth studio album, entitled depArture, was released on 02.11.09. The singles released before the album are as follows: BEYOND ~カラダノカナタ, MUSIC!!! / ZERØ and 旅ダチノウタ.

-introduction- is just weird. It features an airplane hostess announcing that the listener will be getting on Flight AAA. It’s just so strange and really not necessary.

MUSIC!!! allows the group to show their happy and positive sides. A sunny and happy section of pure instrumentation starts off the song, which introduces the chorus. The vocals are pretty good here and the definitely match the sweet atmosphere of the song, making all the English phrases pop and catch the listener’s ear. Similar vocal consistency is achieved during the verses. Normally, a rap section would seem out of place but not this time. It has both a cool and a fun feel to it so that it doesn’t sound so separate from the rest of the song. MUSIC!!! is an enjoyable number that finds a place on the album.

SAVE YOUR SOUL is actually a pretty good song and a nice follow-up to MUSIC!!! Misako and Nissy give some good vocals and the instrumentation is interesting, having a cool and sleek atmosphere to really enjoy. It’s one of the stronger numbers on the album.

Admittedly, Jamboree!! is a little cheesy and a little generic but there’s something very likeable about it. It has more of an interesting arrangement and instrumentation than some of the other upbeat tracks and thus it stands out. You can really hear the fun time that the members are having through their vocals and the combination of them with the music makes for an enjoyable listen.

Wonderful Girls lets the boys come together without the girls. As seen from the all boys mini album, they can definitely deliver some blow-out songs. Wonderful Girls is actually another great song from them and has kind of a funky dance vibe that AAA just seems to be so comfortable singing along to. All the vocals are enjoyable and everyone holds their own nicely.

出逢いのチカラ III is one of the album’s few ballads. Now it’s always nice to have some balance for an album and for some that means ballads as well as upbeat numbers (not always though as Namie has proved by having select ballads while still having incredible balance). But this is just not the one to stand out. It’s extremely long, clocking in at over six minutes and it’s just a little too cheesy and generic to really achieve the state of being memorable.

a piece of my word is sung by the two girls of the group. Opening the song is a very sweet and relaxing instrumental that has a natural feeling to it, which makes it memorable. Then it’s the first verse and the vocals are so pretty, really communicating emotions. Even though the chorus is a little generic, the girls’ vocals come together very nicely. The one problem with the song is that it does seem to drag on, clocking at over five minutes. It would have been nicer if it was shortened but it’s still a nice song.

ZERØ was released alongside MUSIC!!! as its darker twin. Rock sounds drive this danceable instrumental and they make a dangerously addictive combination. The whole dark atmosphere is perfectly supported by the powerful vocals that the members deliver, communicating desperation and the need to escape. It’s a strong idea to have the verses be more mellow with the power really exploding on the chorus since each section becomes distinct. This is one of the album gems for letting the group try something new.

HORIZON is also home to a certain funkiness that some of the other tracks have. Unfortunately, it’s not as catchy as the other ones. There’s just something magical missing from the instrumentation to really push it over the edge. Vocals are nice but nothing to really seperate them from any of the other songs. It’s an okay song but just not one that is amazing or anything.

I’ve never been a fan of BEYOND ~カラダノカナタ and my disinterest in the song hasn’t changed since its single release. The song is a pop number with light rock influences. On the first verse, the vocals are somewhat shaky and although there is some energy behind the music, the vocals don’t follow that lead. Much like the verses, the chorus isn’t interesting and the holding of notes gets to be a little annoying. Unfortunately, the vocals just aren’t able to handle that kind of strength on this song. At least the pure instrumental section was a little more fun although still nothing that great. It’s just not a great song and honestly, it’s not really one to look out for.

Up next is the fun and funky song, mosaic. The song starts off with a very funky instrumentation that will have the listener moving and smiling. Then it’s the verse and Nissy gives those great vocals that he can deliver, perfectly supporting the music and atmosphere. Misako also shows us what she can do since her vocals also compliment the music strongly. They dominate the chorus but they do such a good job and their voices come together just perfectly so it’s still enjoyable. Misako’s solo section on the third verse is definitely a standout part of the song and she sounds great when she repeats “missing.” Following is an addictive pure instrumental section that puts a spotlight on the guitar before re-introducing the chorus sung just by Nissy. Overall, mosaic is a very strong AAA song and it deserves a place on the album.

始まりのキセキ is the typical cutesy track that is all smiles. Well it’s actually not as bad as it might initially sound and the sections of pure instrumentation are actually kinda interesting. It’s not really one of the best songs on the album but it’s by no means a bad song.

With the  whole theme of departure comes the finale, 旅ダチノウタ. Beginning the song is a gorgeous instrumental with a naturalness to make it shine. Of course Nissy gets the biggest part in the song but since he has good vocals, it was a good idea to give so much time. He sounds great on the first verse and his vocals really portray genuine emotion and heart. Naoya and Misako sound great on their respective parts as well. One thing that was really not needed was the rap section since it just came off as sounding awkward and un-necessary, the last line in particular. Overall though, it’s a good song and the most appropriate way to finish off the album.

Album Ranking: B –

Well depArture was an all right album. It got a little too samey with a lot of the upbeat numbers having a funky atmosphere. However there were some standout songs like SAVE YOUR SOUL, mosaic and Wonderful Girls. A litle more diversity would have made this album much more enjoyable.

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Urata Naoya – TURN OVER [Debut Studio Album]

February 27, 2009 at 9:48 pm (Urata Naoya) (, )


AAA member Urata Naoya recently embarked on a solo career in addition to being a member of the group. His debut studio album, entitled TURN OVER, was released on 01.28.09. Big Bang! was released beforehand as a promotional song.

The album starts off with intro. It starts off with the sound of a heartbeat and then a creepy voice comes in saying “there’s always another side and another point of view” and then continues to speak in English. Slowly, more instruments come in and a carnival sound is established. It’s actually a pretty interesting sound and although the voice was a bit annoying, it captures the listener’s attention and sets up the rest of the album quite nicely.

Up next is the album’s title track, TURN OVER. The song begins with a cool upbeat instrumental that has the same gong as in the intro. Soon the beat becomes more clear and there’s a certain mysterious sexual atmosphere that comes through. He then comes in for the first verse and his vocals sound a bit strange here and they reign second position behind the instrumentation. Luckily there are sections when he reaches higher and those parts sound great. On the chorus, his voice comes to the forefront as it is more clear and understandable. The song is pretty nice although a little strange, nonetheless, a good follow-up to the introductory number.

I think I’m in love, the third track, is a slow jam. Unfortunately for Naoya, this music just doesn’t support his vocals very well. The whole song just comes off as uninteresting and it feels like it drags on even though the song clocks in at under four minutes. Vocally, the song isn’t very impressive either so the combination of it with the music just makes for one dull track.

Naoya teams up with SPHERE for Big Bang!, which was used to promote the album. This song is far more interesting, allowing him to be where he shines the most, upbeat numbers. The instrumentation is absolutely addictive and will draw the listener in. Unfortunately, Naoya’s vocals do go a little too high at various points in the song and it’s a bit cringing. Overall though, he does a good job of giving good vocals to support the music. SPHERE’s rap section gives the song a little more flavor but Naoya really did not need to be vocalizing so much during that part. Big Bang! is an enjoyable number and a standout track on this album.

Another collaboration, this time with YUKALI, is up next with Ecstasy. The song starts off with a very cool and sleek instrumentation that attracts the listener but then YUKALI singing in English and it sounds extremely awkward. What’s worse is that there’s supposed to be a sexual atmosphere coming through and her voice just kills it. When Naoya comes in, then the song gets back on the right direction as he stays on the lower register and is good at bringing out the sexiness of the song. YUKALI also has her turn and not that she’s not singing as loudly, she actually sounds pretty good and controlled, complimenting Naoya perfectly. With the lower vocals during the verses, the chorus stands out as they step up vocally and get the listener’s attention. Ecstasy is an amazing track that is perfect from start to finish excluding those weird English sections sung by YUKALI.

We come to another slow jam with the sixth track, Too Late. It sounds a lot better than I think I’m in love since the vocals are much more capturing and the music is slightly more interesting. Still, the combination of a slow jam and his vocals prove to not be the most interesting.

HOT LIKE FIRE picks up the pace on a strong note. That opening instrumental is absolutely addictive as there is kind of that circus element from the intro. His voice on the verses is great and the way that he sings, with the emphasis on certain syllables, really makes a difference. The hook features him doing some vocalizations and there is a certain winding sexual atmosphere about it that works. Although the chorus is repetitive, the music is just so good that it doesn’t even matter. The sexuality comes through much more blatantly as he sings “hot like fire, hot like fire, hot like fire, let’s get it on.” The third verse just sounds weird at the beginning because the vocals just sound strange but then it goes back to its original state. HOT LIKE FIRE is another wonderful upbeat number that shows Naoya’s sexual side and is truly an album hem.

Finally Naoya delivers a ballad with voice of mind. The song is quite simple, featuring Naoya and the beautiful sounds of the piano. However the previous tracks have proven that he shines on upbeat numbers. As for the slower songs, not so much. So although this song is better than a slow jam, it’s not that much better.

Speaking of slow jams, anything about sex is the next track. Surprisingly, it’s a pretty good track and is a lot better than the average ones previously given on the album. The song features the sounds of a guitar and that different instrumentation sets it apart from the others and allows the listener to connect much more easily. It’s not a stellar track but it’s one that is worth the listen.

Finally he delivers another upbeat dance track with Starting all over. It’s not as strong as some of the other dance numbers like HOT LIKE FIRE and Ecstasy but it does get the job done, especially with the moaning vocalizations. Actually, those moans are probably the best part of the enitre song. There is a certain darkness about the instrumentation that makes it perfect for a club and his vocals are very strong here in conjunction with the music. It does drag on a little bit but it’s really refreshing to have another dance track after those slow songs.

Like a tattoo follows the same dance cues but that takes it in a gentler way. His vocals are softer and once again there’s that element of a lingering sexual atmosphere. It’s not as good as the previous track but it’s nice.

White lie is the album’s closer and it finishes off the album in an interesting way. The opening instrumental definitely proves to be capturing, having that same winding down instrumentation that is kind of like a circus. Then his smooth vocals are shown off the listener on the first verse, really demanding attention. White lie is a great way to finish off the album just because the music is so addictive that the listener can’t help but love it.

Album Ranking: B

Urata Naoya’s debut album was a pleasant surprise. The overarching theme of the album is definitely sexuality as he proves many times on tracks like Ecstasy, HOT LIKE FIRE and anything about sex. The dance tracks are definitely the best part of the album and the ones that make it worth the listen. Sadly, he doesn’t quite reach that level on the slower numbers. Overall, a solid debut album with room for improvements so hopefully we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

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Suzuki Ami – Reincarnation [31st Single]

February 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm (Suzuki Ami) (, )


Suzuki Ami’s 31st single, entitled Reincarnation, was released on 02.25.09. After joining forces with Nakata Yasutaka to produce the amazing album Supreme Show for her 10th anniversary, she puts away the vocoder and teams up with Taku of m-flo.

Reinarcanation is a departure from her recent electropop style with Nakata to a mellow club track that shows her true voice. The song starts off with an interesting instrumentation that has a sort of dark feeling and then Ami comes in on the first verse. After a whole album of Nakata produced material, it’s so strange to not have that same cool electropop atmosphere and Ami’s voice meshed together with a vocoder. Her vocals are much deeper here although there is a slick smoothness to them that works. However it doesn’t come across as smoothly when she reaches to the higher register because there is no connection between them and the lower notes. The transition into the chorus is extremely awkward because it doesn’t really sound like there is one. All of the sudden, Ami is singing louder and the instrumentation becomes more energetic. Well after the amazing tracks on Supreme Show, Reincarnation is an absolute letdown. The song isn’t necessarily bad but it’s definitely messy. There are no real transitions between the softer parts and the louder parts. Also, having this song shows that Ami’s voice vocoded just has a certain magic that cannot be replaced.

amireThe B-side is a cover of Dub-I-Dub by Me & My, familiar to many people as a song from Dance Dance Revolution. Something comforting about this song is that is that it kind of takes on a similar sound to her Nakata-produced tracks on Supreme Show. The vocoder is back and it proves that the combination of that vocoded voice and an electropop instrumental can prove to be a dangerous combination. There is still a certain “messy” element about the music but somehow it works in the context of the song, unlike in Reincarnation. The pure instrumental section is interesting is that there is a really spacey and relaxing feeling that is very representative of the song as a whole. Dub-I-Dub is definitely the superior track here and Reincarnation doesn’t even hold a candle up to it.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Reincarnation was made. The song may have been messy but the PV had some amazing visual effects that made it an enjoyable watch. There are scenes of Ami in a rainbow-colored cosmos and the water effects only add to the gorgeousness. The moments of telekinesis also add to the video’s coolness such as when the covers come over her or the papers magically fly up. It’s somewhat disappointing that the song can’t even live up to the interesting nature of the video.

Single Ranking: B

As a whole, this single was a disappointment. Dub-I-Dub was what really saved this single from getting a lower grade as it sticks to the familiar eletropop formula that helps Ami shine. Reincarnation just is too messy of a song and her vocals aren’t anything to write home about. It’s not a bad single but after Supreme Show, this quality isn’t just going to cut it.

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Goto Maki – Lady-Rise [Digital Single]

February 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm (Goto Maki) (, )


Only a month after her last digital single, Fly away, Goto Maki released her second digital single, entitled Lady-Rise, on 02.25.09. She collaborated with Sakurazawa Erika, a Japanese manga artist, and created the song after reading a few of her comics.

Lady-Rise picks up where Fly away left off, keeping a hot uptempo dance sound that will have the listener dancing along. The song starts off with an addictive pop instrumentation with a few rock elements thrown in here and there to give it that extra edge and already the listener knows it’s about to be great. Then Maki sings the first verse and her vocals are strong and they really portray the cool edge of the song. Probably what makes this song so memorable is the chorus. When she sings “Lady Rise,” it really stays on the listener’s mind because Maki gives some very good vocals. There’s always one line in the chorus and Maki sings in a kind of cute voice, which makes it stand out from the rest of the section. The part before the final chorus consisting of vocalizations and all English lines is a nice little break as the instrumentation mellows out for a moment. The vocalizations do sound a little strange but overall, it makes for a nice transition into the chorus. Lady-Rise is definitely one heck of a song, even better than Fly away. It kind of takes a cue from How to use SEXY with an avex sound, which is definitely the path she should be taking in her career.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Lady-Rise was made. Just like the song, the video also takes a page from How to use SEXY as we get to see Maki be both girly and sexy. The video begins with a girl (we only see her silhouette) walking through town (I’m assuing this has a connection with the manga story) and she eventually meets a man. Then we cut to Maki behind a pink background and she looks absolutely fantastic with the hair extensions and sexy black outfit. This is really the look she should be keeping since she pulls it off so well. She shows off her sexy moves here and there seems to be the element of feminine power through sexuality. Sexuality can always be portrayed as sense of control and self-acceptance and that’s what the video seems to be going for: Maki in control. There are various other scenes of Maki dressed in pink and black as she prepars herself to look good (presumably to meet the man seen at the beginning of the video). There is also a scene of Maki cutting her own hair so that she sports a new look at the end, a more refined and classy one. The video ends with Maki walking and meeting the boy (which ties it back to the beginning silhouettes).

Single Ranking: A +

Maki certainly brought the fire with her second digital release. It’s fun; it’s sexy; it’s Maki. It’s even better than Fly away with a more addictive instrumental and Maki gives more great vocals to entice the listener. What’s next for Maki is yet to be seen but hopefully she’ll be releasing something physically rather than digitally again.

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Hamasaki Ayumi – Rule / Sparkle [45th Single]

February 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm (Hamasaki Ayumi) (, )


Hamasaki Ayumi’s 45th single, entitled Rule / Sparkle, was released on 02.25.09. Rule was used as the theme song for DRAGONBALL Evolution, a live action movie adaptation of the popular manga and anime series while Sparkle was used as the CM song for Honda ZEST SPARK.

Rule is a fantastic rock song that allows the listener to really enter another world. The song begins with a rock instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s attention as there is a certain darkness to it that stands out. She then comes crashing in with the chorus and she delivers some powerful vocals to match the strong instrumental. Ayu shows a very cool confidence on the verses and that really is communicated to the listener, further establishing a clear atmosphere. On the last line of the verse, there is a slight instrumental change and although not very big, it makes a difference and sounds amazing. The hook features a much lighter sound and more delicate vocals from Ayu before re-introducing the chorus with a bang, both instrumentally and vocally as Ayu holds that last note wonderfully. Following the second chorus is the pure instrumental section and here, the listener can really pick up on the clear dance beats of the song. At the end of the song, Ayu shows off those great vocals as she belts out one strong note. It doesn’t last very long but there’s something entrancing about it. Rule is the perfect continuation of a long line of addictive Ayu rock songs so it’s choice to be the leading A-side is no surprise.

Sparkle is a wonderful contrast to Rule as it explores a more techno and trance sounding instrumentation, letting Ayu explore some new sounds. That opening sound is so strange but it really does introduce the general atmosphere of the song well. Then the dark trance instrumentation comes in and Ayu comes through with the first verse. Her vocals are so cool and sleek here that the listener can’ t help but fall in love with them. The chorus is absolutely addictive as Ayu steps up a little vocally and that final “no no no” will definitely linger on the listener’s mind. One noteable hing about this song is that the lyrics are quite sexually charged and have even been described as “ero” by some. It’s always nice to see Ayu change up lyrical themes and she managed to do that while still keeping that Ayu touch. Sparkle is definitely an interesting song as Ayu tries out something new and finds success.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Rule was made. Fitting with the theme of it’s tie-in, the PV feaures ninja battling and Ayu looking badass. The video starts off with Ayu entering the dojo and her walk is wonderful here, giving that kind of diva edge that only Ayu could bring (especially before the 2nd line when she flips her hair back). On the first verse, she proceeds to walk by various ninjas (the leading ones played by her dancers) and uses her magic stick to crack their mouth constraints. During the hooks, Ayu is seen in front of a silver background with matching globes and just looking pretty. It also resembles something expected from a jewlery commercial minus the jewelry. Even though it’s simple, my favorite scene of the video is during the second verse. Ayu is just sitting in a room as she sings the lyrics. She looks so great here and that shot that goes farther from her as she holds the last note is a nice touch. During the final choruses, Ayu shows us that she’s still got some dance moves in her as she and the ninjas all perform some great dancing. It’s always great to see Ayu dancing and this set of moves really fit with the overall theme of the song. The video ends with the bird magically breaking the lock of the dojo and flying away. It was a very impressive video although it would have been nice to see a video for Sparkle as well.

Single Ranking: A +

I had no idea that Ayu would deliver such amazing songs after her previous fantastic single, GREEN / Days. In fact, she outdid herself as both Rule and Sparkle are extremely memorable songs. Rule is a powerful rock song with those danceable influences that stand out while Sparkle lets Ayu enter the world of trance to deliver a sleek and sexy number. If NEXT LEVEL will take cues from these four songs, then Ayu is going to be bringing one of the best albums of the year for sure.

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Sowelu – MATERIAL WORLD [18th Single]

February 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm (Sowelu) (, )


Sowelu’s 18th single, entitled MATERIAL WORLD, was released on 02.25.09. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Tsumi Toka Batsu Toka.

MATERIAL WORLD sees Sowelu joining Taku for production to take her in a new direction. The song starts off with an interesting instrumental that opens up the listener’s ears to a new world. Those first few vocals reallyfit with the cold atmosphere that the song exutes and the slight desperation in her vocals is perfectly communicated to the listener. The energy picks up on the chorus as the instrumentation becomes more involved and her vocals are stronger, both making this section stand out. There is a true coolness to it that Taku really brought to life, which makes this song so enjoyable. On the second verse, there is a slight musical change as the piano becomes the central instrument. MATERIAL WORLD is one heck of a song and will definitely get stuck in the listener’s ears.

The B-side is a cover of Cyndi Lauper song, Time After Time. Much like the title track, there is a coolness and edge to the song that Sowelu really gives. Her vocals are really good and support the music perfectly. I haven’t heard the original version but I think she did a great job of bringing the energy and fun spirit.

In order to promote the single, a PV for MATERIAL WORLD was made. The video plays with the concept of light and image and Sowelu shows off her cool side and new short hair cut. The primary scene features Sowelu in another world in front of a grayish background and her solitude does reflect the atmosphere of the song. The scenes of breaking glass and the water scene near the end were great and added to the flavor of the video. Obviously, this video was thought out and it really paid off since it came out great.

Single Ranking: A –

Sowelu really surprised me with this single. She brought the sleekness to it that makes her voice really stand out. MATERIAL WORLD is a cool track that will prove to be addictive as is her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. It’s one solid single from her and this is the signal of many more great releases to follow if she sticks with production by m-flo’s Taku.

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Otsuka Ai – バイバイ [19th Single]

February 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, )


Otsuka Ai’s 19th single, entitled バイバイ, was released on 02.25.09. The song comes as a recut single from her most recent studio album, LOVE LETTER.

バイバイ is a nice and relaxing midtempo number. The song starts off with a fun midtempo instrumental with some country influences that make it memorable. Ai then comes in singing the first verse and her vocals carry this cuteness to them without crossing the line so that the listener can still enjoy them. She sings with a little rapidity and that only adds to the fun spirit of the song. The chorus is easily the most memorable part of the song as the guitar really supports her voice and she sounds great when she sings the title of the song as there is a sweetness to it that the byebye2listener can’t help but love. The pure insrumental section allows for more guitars to come into the instrumentation and give a little more diversity. バイバイ is an enjoyable song that makes the listener really feel Ai.

In order to promote the single, a PV for バイバイ was made. The video features Ai out in the country, looking for a ride. She is eventually given one by a handsome stranger and rides in the back of his pick-up track. The video is very simple but the song is too so it’s a perfect fit.

Single Ranking: B +

Well バイバイ was a nice choice as a recut single from LOVE LETTER although there were definitely other tracks that would have been better choices. 人形 really should have been chosen as the recut single.

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Hirahara Ayaka – 朱音 [17th Single]

February 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm (Hirahara Ayaka) (, )


Hirahara Ayaka’s 17th single, entitled 朱音, was released on 02.25.09. The single comes as a recut single from her latest album, Path of Independence. The title track was used as the theme song for the dorama Nippon Junrei Kokoro ni Hibiku 100 no Basho.

朱音 is a beautiful song with a story to tell. The song opens with a very pretty instrumentation that is so natural that the listener can appreciate it. Then she enters strongly on the first verse as her vocals are extremely smooth and gentle, somehow carrying a story-like element. Through the combination of the music and her voice, you can really hear a story in the song. It’s a bit hard to notice when the chorus comes in and it feels a bit sudden but it’s definitely an enjoyable part of the song. Each section of pure instrumentation is wonderful just because that prettiness comes through strongly and allows the listener to really feel it. 朱音 was a great choice for a recut single since it’s a beautiful song and Ayaka gives it such life.

ふたたび is the single’s B-side. Supported by an orchestral instrumentation, Ayaka shows us her vocal talents on this song. There’s almost a slight opera feel as she hits those higher notes wonderfully and effortlessly. Overall, it’s a very pretty song that is a good compliment to the A-side.

Single Ranking: B +

朱音 was clearly the right choice of song for a recut single. Ayaka’s vocals are great and the instrumentation is gorgeous, which make for one heck of a combination. The B-side was enjoyable too although not nearly as much as the A-side.

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Fukui Mai – Can Can / Promise You [3rd Single]

February 22, 2009 at 12:43 am (Fukui Mai) (, )


Fukui Mai’s 3rd single, entitled Can Can / Promise You, was released on 02.04.09.

Can Can allows Mai to try a more upbeat approach. The song starts off with Mai singing along in English to a simple acoustic instrumentation. She gives a very hopeful message as she sings “yes we can because we can, everybody say we can can do it.” Her vocals here are nice and have that naturalness to them that they always do. After a “1,2,3,4,” the instrumentation becomes more uptempo and the song becomes more interesting. On the verses, she provides ennjoyable vocals and although there is something slightly rough about them, it somehow works. Can Can is a nice song although it does sound a little samey since her vocals stay at the same level throughout and there is no real instrumental change.

The second A-side is Promise You. Mai’s voice is just better suited for ballads and this song is proof of that. There is a very magical feeling that comes through the instrumentation and her vocals during that section are heavenly. She hits the higher notes strongly and stays smooth throughout. This song definitely should have been the leading A-side because it’s a lot better.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Can Can was made. It was shot in black and white and just features Mai rocking at the drums. Honestly, the video was just plain boring and it would have been nice if more effort was put into it.

Single Ranking: B

Luckily, Mai picks up the slack from her last single with these two songs. Can Can does drag on a little despite not being a long song because there’s no particular diversity. Songs like Promise You are better suited for her type of voice and are a better indication of her talents. Hopefully her upcoming debut album will show that she can handle different sounds.

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