Angela Aki – ANSWER [3rd Studio Album]

May 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm (Angela Aki) (, )

answer

Angela Aki’s 3rd studio album, entitled ANSWER, was released on 02.25.09. Only one single, 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ,~ was released before the album.

The album begins with the strings version of 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ,~ released as a single before the album. The song opens up with the piano, which starts things off very nicely and immediately draws the emotions together for Angela to come in on. Her vocals on the first verse are nice, carrying those emotions although at points it sounds like her voice is slightly strained. Luckily she sounds stronger on the chorus and the strings actually work very well with the piano and enhances the sound of fragility that makes the song enjoyable.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, a cover of the Bob Dylan song, is the next track. Opening the song is the piano and there is a slightly dark atmosphere to it, which stands out although it doesn’t manage to capture the listeners’ ears as strongly as the opneing instrumental of the previous track. She sounds good on the first verse and on the chorus but that is as far as it goes. Nothing about this song really stands out and the emotions don’t come out strongly enough to truly make an impact.

ANSWER, the title track, is the following song. The song begins yet again with the piano but the other instruments give it almost a slight rock feeling and that makes it stand out a little from the previous songs. The way that she sings the words on the first verse makes them sound awkward and it feels like she’s trying to hard enunciate. She sounds much better on the chorus as she sings with some rapidity and the backing vocals give a very relaxing feel. It ends rather nicely when she sings “you are my answer.” Besides the chorus, this song isn’t very memorable but it does do a better job than the last track at bringing impact.

Things slow down with the next song, Somebody Stop Me. A feeling of sadness takes from that opening piano instrumental and it smoothly introduces Angela. She sounds great on the first verse, her vocals remaining controlled and gentle enough to reveal a true fragility. When she moves into the deeper vocals, it actually doesn’t sound strange at all and it manages to serve as a interesting contrast against her usual vocals. This is seen on the chorus, which comes out as the best part of the song. After a few lacking tracks, Angela steps it up with Somebody Stop Me.

ダリア is quite a long song, clocking in at almost 8 minutes. When a song is that long, it has to some appeal to it that makes it bearable to sit through and listen. Unfortunately, Angela dropped the ball on this one and it just feels boring. It drags on and leaves the listener waiting for the end.

What makes Final Destination stand out is its cheerier and more hopeful atmosphere. It’s about moving forward past the obstacles in order to reach our final destinations, whatever those might be. That’s a good message and the music isn’t that bad either. It could have been a little more memorable musically and has that “Angela Aki sound” but it’s enjoyable for what it is.

Our Story is the next song. Angela steps up the piano for the opening instrumental and from this part, it feels like the song could go either way: cheerful or sad. Then comes the first verse and her vocals sound awkward and she kind of loses that sweetness in her voice that makes her songs memorable. The chorus is a little better for the music but the constant repetition of “our story” gets annoying quickly. She also sings “continued” very strangely because the pronounciation sounds awkward. It’s an okay song but could have been stronger.

黄昏 sticks to the formula of Angela and a piano but it actually doesn’t sound as generic as one might think. Angela provides some nice vocals and the music is prettyso the listener can at least enjoy.

It’s another cover, this time of Bob Scaggs’ song, We’re All Alone. If you’re looking for something new and interesting from Angela then look past this song because it’s just another piano ballad that doesn’t sound particularly different from the other tracks on the album.

リフレクション is just a upbeat and poppy mess. It’s not that Angela can’t do upbeat songs but somehow the genuine factor is lost in her vocals when she attempts to do them. It just doesn’t sound particularly believable and leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, this song is a prime reflection of that and she would have been better off leaving this song off the album.

レクイエム ma be over 10 minutes long but it does a much better job at keeping the attention of the listener. The instrumentation is actually pretty interesting, allowing the listener to fall into the dreamy state of the song.

Angela teams up with Ben Folds for the semifinale, Black Glasses. Honestly, this track is extremely forgettable. Ben got pushed back to the background and Angela just sounds awkward, particularly when she sings “black glasses.” It sounds like she’s talking her way through the song and did not put any emotions into the song at all. It was a mistake having this song on the album.

Closing the album is ファイター. Well it may not be the most complicated or interesting song but it does take a nice hopeful atmosphere and that’s a nice way to finish off the album. If only it was a more enjoyable song…

Album Ranking: D +

Angela Aki’s album honestly felt like one song reworked for 13 slightly different songs. It’s understandable that she enjoys playing the piano and would want to include it in her music but must she insist on using it in every single song? Her vocals were quite shaky at various points on the album and sometimes it just came off as messy. Truthfully, it was boring and the low sales of this album doesn’t surprise me at all.

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8 Comments

  1. [Blogs] Angela Aki Doesn’t Have the Answer for Amai Wana | International Wota said,

    […] Angela Aki – ANSWER [3rd Studio Album] (Amai Wana) […]

  2. Selryam said,

    I find it odd that Somebody Stop Me was one of the only songs that didn’t drag on for you… I mean, how can that even be possible when Somebody Stop Me is a low, piano-only song? Pardon me for my skepticism, but still…

  3. amaiyume said,

    haha, it’s okay.

    A distinct possibility is that because it was closer to the beginning of the album, it didn’t ware on me as much. I found that while listening to the album, I became progressively more annoyed and so its position may have saved it from being dubbed “a dragger” XD

    You can tell from reading this that i got tired of listening to it because the quality of the review deteriorates over time lol

  4. tFayt said,

    I think it’s the first time I saw you give a D+. =D

  5. amaiyume said,

    I know!
    This is the lowest grade I’ve ever given on my blog 0_0

    Sorry Angela but you’re gonna have to step it up

  6. Anna said,

    I really enjoyed this album, although I agree with you that sounds all quite the same. I’m sure there are much albums that are worse than this.
    It’s a nice album when you try to relax actually.

    \(^_^)/

  7. Avvy said,

    Hmmm. You must have some illegal download version cause the actual album begins with the “ordinary” version of of 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ,~, not the strings version. Strings version was only on the single =S

  8. amaiyume said,

    stupid imeem XD
    Maybe it was just labeled incorrectly and I didn’t notice hehe

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