Arashi – Everything [27th Single]

June 28, 2009 at 12:10 am (Arashi) (, )

Everything Limited Edition

Arashi’s 27th single, entitled Everything, was released on 07.01.09. Everything and season were both used as promotional songs for KDDI’s au mobile phone service series.

Everything is a happy calming summer number. The song starts off with a sweet summery instrumental that will make the listener smile along with Arashi. Then comes the first verse and the vocals sound great and with that simple instrumental, the image of having fun with one’s friends at the beach comes to the listener’s mind. The chorus kind of has a dance feel to it, which makes it stand out and catches the listener’s ear. The pure instrumental section is very pretty and it makes it easy for the listener to get carried away by the sounds of this group. Of all of the singles that Arashi has released this year, Everything is probably the best. It’s sweet and simple, which makes it a summer anthem for all to enjoy.

The B-side of the single is the naturally poppy track, season. Opening the song up is a pretty instrumental that soon brings a bright and happy sound. They sound so sweet on the first verse and there’s just a feeling of walking through town on a bright day, enjoying the sun. There is something familiar about the chorus and it resonates with the listener. It really sounds great when they sing some of the words with rapidity and it makes this section of the song stand out nicely. The instrumental parts of the song are reminiscent of One Love, which is definitely a good thing.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Everything was made. The video is very simple, just being of two scenes. The first features the five members singing the song in the studio. There is something strangely likeable about this scene even though it’s so simple. Everyone looks nice in such casual clothes and it suits the atmosphere of the song. What was even better were the scenes of them walking around to the beach. The sky looks so beautiful but the problem I had with it is that everyone looked so serious. The song sounds happy and upbeat so I think it would have been better if everyone was having fun and smiling, but maybe that’s just me.

Single Ranking: A +

After releasing so many singles this year, Arashi shows they still have it in them to deliver amazing songs. In fact, this is the best single released from the group this year with both tracks having a sweetness to them that will touch the listener. Everything is such a great summery track that will make the listener smile and season has the same effect. It’s amazing to hear these guys bring such a good single and hopefully an album will be following soon because they are long overdue with the amount of singles released since Dream”A”live.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Arashi – 明日の記憶 / Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ [26th Single]

May 25, 2009 at 2:21 am (Arashi) (, )

Crazy Moon

Arashi’s 26th single, entitled 明日の記憶 / Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ,~ was released on 05.27.09. While 明日の記憶 was used as the theme song for the dorama The Quiz Show starring Arashi member Sakurai Sho, Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ was used in Kose CM.

明日の記憶 is the slower song with an emotional context to keep it going. The song begins with the piano, immediately tugging at the listener’s heartstrings with such a beauty to it that really stands. Then other instruments come into the picture and give the music an unforgettable magical feeling. Up next is the first verse and the vocals here sound very nice and they suit the music perfectly. That little descent of the piano right before the chorus is genius and manages to stand out very proudly. Everyone sounds great on the chorus and they portray those emotions to bring the song to its highest point. This is an excellent ballad that catches the listener’s ear and makes the emotions flow from their heartstrings.

On the other hand, Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ is a dance-styled song to get everyone moving. The song starts off with a cool instrumental that carries a sleekness to it, perfect for attracting attention. The verses are nice since the boys give some good vocals and the listener can definitely something building up but there’s still something missing from it to make it amazing. Right before the chorus, there is this little instrumental introduction that sounds wonderful. Without a doubt, the chorus is the best part about the song and is much catchier than the verses. The pure instrumental section is awesome and is a great time for a dance break. This is another great song and it’s a nice change of pace from Arashi’s usual sound.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made: one for each A-side. The PV for 明日の記憶 is very nice and natural, carrying an almost angelic feel to it with the whole white theme. Having all the members take pictures really fits with the lyrical theme of the song and it somehow makes the video very likeable. The only problem with it is that the guys look a little too pale at points and some (Matsujun) look kinda ghost-like. The Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ PV is a complete dance video, just featuring the guys bringing out the moves. They might not be doing the best choreography in comparison to some of their Johnny’s counterparts but it’s nice to see them dance.

Single Ranking: A –

明日の記憶 / Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ is another strong single delivered from the boys of Arashi. 明日の記憶 is the stronger song, with an emotional story that will tug at the heartstrings of the listener. Crazy Moon ~キミ・ハ・ムテキ~ has a sort of 80s style to it that makes the energy perfect for dancing. It would have been nice if the music was a little more aggressive but it’s still a good song. I wonder what Arashi will deliver next since they have more than enough A-sides to get cracking on that next studio album.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Arashi – Believe / 曇りのち、快晴 (Starring Ohno Satoshi) [25th Single]

March 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm (Arashi) (, )

Believe_le_H01-H04_FIX** OL

Arashi’s 25th single, entitled Believe / 曇りのち、快晴 (Starring Ohno Satoshi), was released on 03.04.09. Believe was used as the theme song for the movie Yatterman starring group member Sakurai Sho. 曇りのち、快晴 (Starring Ohno Satoshi) was used as the theme song for the dorama Uta no Oniisan and is a solo song sung by Ohno, who stars in the movie.

Believe is a fun song with a dance beat. The song begins with a very pretty upbeat instrumental that has a sort of carnival feel to it, which really catches the listener’s attention. Then it’s the first verse and the vocals are enjoyable, staying with the music perfectly. It is kind of disappointing that the music loses those carnival elements in favor of a more simplistic and relaxing sound because they make the song so interesting. Luckily they come back in the chorus and they boys sing with a rapidity that make them stand out. Surprisingly, the rap section fits perfectly although the voice sounds a bit weird. It’s commanding but it would have been nicer had it been gentler and sleeker rather than so powerful. Overall, Believe is an enjoyable song and allows the listener to get up and move with Arashi.

kumorinochikaisei_le_H01-H04_FIX* OLThe second A-side is Ohno’s solo song, 曇りのち、快晴. Opening the song is the piano driving the instrumentation and then Ohno singing quite loudly. It was surprising to hear him go so loud and it felt more like shouting then singing, honestly. Thankfully, on the first verse, he tones it down and the pretty instrumental gives a very natural and special feel. There is a little instrumental introduction to the chorus and it sounds great, a true standout point in the song. The chorus is the fuller version of what was sung at the beginning. With a fuller instrumental, he doesn’t sound so loud and it is much more bearable. What I’m assuming are little kids also have a small part in the song and that was a mistake since they just sound awkward. The pure instrumental section is enjoyable just because the prettiness of the music is given the spotlight. It’s a pretty good song although Ohno does sound a little too loud for my tastes.

トビラ is the B-side, only available on the regular edition of the single. The song starts off with a fun upbeat instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s ear and has kind of a similar sound to Believe. Then the boys come in the first verse and their vocals come together nicely and smoothly. The music keeps those carnival-like elements, which keeps the listener’s interest up. The chorus is a little disappointing because there is no real instrumental or vocal change but it’s still nice. It’s no surprise that the pure instrumental section is wonderful since the music is so addictive. It’s a great song and actually should have replaced Believe as an A-side. They have similar instrumental elements but the music stays stronger on this one.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made: one for Believe and one for 曇りのち、快晴. Don’t be fooled by the dark atmosphere in the Believe PV, it’s actually very lighthearted. When the boys are dancing, you can see this light in their faces shine through. It just makes the video all the better. There are also various close-up shots which are enjoyable. They all look pretty good so that’s definitely also a plus.

The video for 曇りのち、快晴 is cute, featuring Ohno dancing with a bunch of background dancers all wearing white. They do some dancing and it’s just really cute because you can see the sweetness in his eyes. Both videos are nice and Johnny’s are really putting the effort into Arashi for their 10th anniversary.

Single Ranking: B +

It’s Arashi’s first single for their 10th anniversary and they certainly started things on the right foot. Believe is a fun carnival-like dance number which will have the listener moving along with them. Ohno Satoshi gets the chance to shine on his solo number, 曇りのち、快晴, which is cute and fun. He does sing a little too loudly at points but it’s an enjoyable song overall. The B-side is also nice with a similar sound to Believe. It honestly could have been an A-side. After a very successful last year, I believe Arashi will be releasing a lot this year so this is only the beginning.

Permalink Leave a Comment

[Part Six] Oricon Year 2008 Top PVs

December 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm (AAA, aiko, alan, Amuro Namie, Arashi, ayaka, BoA, C-ute, DOUBLE, Hamasaki Ayumi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Ishida Yuko, Ito Yuna, Jyongri, Kobukuro, Koda Kumi, Leah Dizon, Morning Musume, NEWS, Nishino Kana, Otsuka Ai, Perfume, Shiraishi Kikyo, Suzuki Ami, Tanimura Nana, Tohoshinki, Utada Hikaru) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

tabooplayroom

With all the PVs released this year, there have been some real standouts. We’ve seen some amazing dancing, sad love stories, cuteness and pretty lights. So here is the list of the best PVs released this year.

01. Koda Kumi – TABOO PV

02. Hey! Say! JUMP – 真夜中のシャドーボーイ PV

03. Koda Kumi – Under PV

04. Suzuki Ami – ONE PV

05. Perfume – Macaroni PV

06. NEWS – 太陽のナミダ PV

07. Hey! Say! JUMP – Your Seed PV

08. Ito Yuna – miss you PV

09. Jyongri – Winter Love Story PV

10. Hamasaki Ayumi – (don’t) Leave me alone PV

11. Koda Kumi – anytime PV

12. alan – 空唄 PV

13. Tohoshinki – 呪文-Mirotic- PV

14. alan – RED CLIFF ~心・戦~ PV

15. alan – 風の手紙 PV

16. Koda Kumi – 秘密 PV

17. Hamasaki Ayumi – Marionette PV

18. Koda Kumi – Moon Crying PV

19. Arashi – Beautiful days PV

20. Otsuka Ai – クラゲ, 流れ星 PV

21.Tegomass – アイアイ傘 PV

22. Leah Dizon – Vanilla PV

23. NEWS – SUMMER TIME PV

24. Koda Kumi – 恋の魔法 PV

25. Koda Kumi – 甘い罠 PV

26. Hamasaki Ayumi – Mirrorcle World PV

27. Arashi – One Love PV

28. DOUBLE and Amuro Namie – BLACK DIAMOND PV

29. Amuro Namie – Sexy Girl PV

30. AAA – Crash PV

31. Ishida Yuko – Changes PV

32. Morning Musume – Resonant Blue PV

33. aiko – KissHug PV

34. Tanimura Nana – SEXY SENORITA PV

35. Tanimura Nana – If I’m not the one PV

36. Shiraishi Kikyo – BLACK PV

37. C-ute – 涙の色 PV

38. Tohoshinki – Beautiful you PV

39. alan – 恵みの雨 PV

40. Suzuki Ami – can’t stop the DISCO PV

41. BoA – be with you. PV

42. Nishino Kana – I PV

43. Leah Dizon – Under The Same Sky PV

44. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION PV

45. Amuro Namie – WHAT A FEELING PV

46. Tohoshinki – Purple Line PV

47. ayaka x Kobukuro – あなたと PV

48. Koda Kumi – MORE PV

49. C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 PV

50. Koda Kumi – あなたがしてくれたこと PV

Permalink 1 Comment

[Part Five] Oricon Year 2008 Top Albums

December 10, 2008 at 5:01 pm (AAA, aiko, Aira Mitsuki, Arashi, ayaka, AZU, Berryz Koubou, BIG BANG, BoA, capsule, EXILE, Hamasaki Ayumi, Ito Yuna, KAT-TUN, Koda Kumi, Kuraki Mai, Leah Dizon, MEG, melody., Misia, Morning Musume, NEWS, Perfume, Shimatani Hitomi, Stephanie, Suzuki Ami, Tiana Xiao, Tohoshinki, Utada Hikaru) ()

kingdom

Well there have been many albums released in 2008, some good and some bad. This is a countdown of the top 30 albums released this year. Who’s album reigned number one? Who made it onto the countdown? Continue reading to find out…

albums1It’s no surprise now which album takes the title of Album Of 2008. Just take a look at the picture above or to the right. Koda Kumi’s Kingdom was a fantastic album from start to finish and one really deserving the title of album of the year. It all started with the first single of the Kingdom era BUT / 愛証. BUT was my first Kuu song and the beginning of the love that would follow. It’s an absolutely addictive song and definitely one of her best songs to date! With each release, I became more excited: FREAKY, 愛のうた, LAST ANGEL (featuring Tohoshinki) and anytime all proceeded Kingdom and each single was another reason to make me anticipate the album. When I finally listened to it, I was blown away. Introduction For Kingdom is absolutely gorgeous and continues the trend of Kumi’s amazing introductory tracks. Some of the album gems are 甘い罠 (the traditional addictive Arabian number), Under (the hottest new track showing off that coolness that Kumi portrays so well), MORE (the best ballad with the emotions coming through clearly) and Black Cherry (full version of INTRODUCTION from her previous album and a fantastic dance track). Having a video for each track was also fantastic as we got to see sexy Kumi in the Under PV, beautiful Kumi in the MORE PV and we got another storyline (恋の魔法, 秘密, 甘い罠 and あなたがしてくれたこと). Kumi always makes wonderul storyline PVs ever since BEST ~second session~ so it was nice to see her do another one. This album is perfect from every angle since we really got variety. From the beautiful ballads to the upbeat dance numbers to the cute tracks which make you smile, Kingdom has it all and then some. It really helped Kumi shine this year and it sucks that promotion for the album was cancelled because of a comment she made. Nonetheless, Kingdom is a praise-deserving album and I can only wait to see what she has in store for us with her next album, TRICK (hitting Japan on 01.28.09).

Coming in 2nd place for album of the year is Supreme Show by Suzuki Ami. It’s no secret that Nakata and Ami make a suzuki-ami-supreme-showperfect team and Supreme Show is the perfect result of that chemistry. The single tracks and their B-sides are actually some of the album’s strongest material. ONE serves as the perfect album closer with its aggressive sleek instrumental and memorable vocals from Ami. Tracks 2 to 4 are can’t stop the DISCO, climb up to the top and SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08 S/ A Mix), all of which are extremely addictive. The album also made me love A token of love even more since it really feels like a part of Supreme Show. Some of the new tracks really shined though like TEN, Mysterious and TRUE. TEN is the opener and although it is very lyrically simple, the music is heaven and features a different sound from many of Nakata’s other productions. Mysterious is a return to that cool vibe with a dark atmosphere, which makes it one of Supreme Show’s most memorable songs. TRUE also proves that Ami can slow it down and still make magic. Supreme Show is the culmination of hard work beween the dream team of Nakata and Ami. I only hope they will continue to work together and produce even more strong tracks.

albums3If you want an emotionally charged album filled with strong rock tracks and touching ballads, look no further than GUILTY by Hamasaki Ayumi. Ayu went through a lot when she recorded the album. Her dear friend passed away; she broke up with her long-time boyfriend and she had to go through being deaf in one ear. So the emotions in her life really came to fruition on the album. Three of the four tracks released before the album: glitter, talkin’ 2 myself and decision are all strong and give the album the extra edge it needed to draw the listener in. The new tracks then made the listener addicted. Mirror, (don’t) Leave me alone, MY ALL, Marionette and untitled ~for her~ all stood out brightly. (don’t) Leave me alone was the perfect new rock track that showed Ayu’s attitude with strong lyrics about fake kindness. Marionette was a beatiful new ballad still holding some rock tints on the chorus that is a standout number. MY ALL was the other new happy song and with a similar sound to Replace, it’s definitely nice to her Ayu happy. The song is so sweet, it will make you cry. This album is really one of Ayu’s best and it sucks that it didn’t get the weekly number one spot on Oricon.

Well it should be very obvious that Suzuki Ami is talented. Two albums in the top 5 is no easy feat but then again, we can’t all be as talented as Suzuki Ami. Before she teamed up with Nakata exlusively, they albums4collaborated for only one single:  FREE FREE / SUPER MUSIC MAKER, which originally didn’t grab me but it really grew on me. She worked with various other artists to form the awesomeness that is our fourth place album winner, DOLCE. Two singles were released before the album: FREE / SUPER MUSIC MAKER and Potential Breakup Song.  Those three tracks alongside the B-side of the latter, feel the beat, really were some of DOLCE’s highlights. Some of the new tracks that stood out strongly were Bitter… (joining Studio Apartment), Stereo Love (joining Tomoe Shinahara) and アイノウタ (joining Rocketman). It’s actually nice to hear Ami’s voice without all the distortion (although she sounds better with it). The album had quite the diversity and definitely caught my ears with the various sounds. Even though some of the songs sounded kind of weak, it turned out to be a very cohesive package worthy of praise. However I still prefer Supreme Show so I’m hoping Ami will stay with Nakata because the two of them just make magic together.

albums5Spot number five may come as a surprise but this girl worked really hard and her efforts paid off big time. She said that each track was like revealing a new secret and it gives the listener that personal connection that makes it a little more special, which makes aiko’s 秘密, the fifth strongest album of the year. Two of the strongest tracks, シアワセ and 横顔, were released before the album and really popped on the album. However it was the new tracks that really made this album memorable. 星電話 is the best new track and the album’s best number overall as it shows off those wonderful aiko vocals with a laidback style that any listener can enjoy. Some of the other new enjoyable tracks are 秘密, キョウモハレand ウミウサギ. One thing that makes this album so strong is that aiko’s style comes across on each track, making it one of the most cohesive albums of the year. It’s one heck of an album and it’s definitely worth listening to if you haven’t heard it yet. Also, did I mention that the covers (particularly the one to the left) are absolutely gorgeous? Like seriously.

06. Morning Musume – Cover You

07. Leah Dizon – Communication!!!

08. ayaka – Sing to the Sky

09. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION

10. Tohoshinki – T

11. Perfume – GAME

12. MEG – STEP

13. Aira Mitsuki – COPY

14. AZU – AS ONE

15. melody. – Lei Aloha

16. Berryz Koubou – 5 (FIVE)

17. Arashi – Dream”A”live

18. BoA – THE FACE

19. Kuraki Mai – ONE LIFE

20. EXILE – EXILE LOVE

21. Misia – EIGHTH WORLD

22. Ito Yuna – WISH

23. NEWS – color

24. capsule – More! More! More!

25. Shimatani Hitomi – Flare

26. Stephanie – Stephanie

27. KAT-TUN – QUEEN OF THE PIRATES

28. BIG BANG – Number 1

29. AAA – CHOICE IS YOURS

30. Tiana Xiao – desTiny

Permalink 2 Comments

[Part Four] Oricon Year Top Singles

December 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm (AAA, Aira Mitsuki, alan, Amuro Namie, Angela Aki, Aoyama Thelma, Arashi, ayaka, Berryz Koubou, BoA, BONNIE PINK, Buono!, C-ute, Crystal Kay, Fukui Mai, GIRL NEXT DOOR, Hamasaki Ayumi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Hirahara Ayaka, Ishida Yuko, Ito Yuna, Jyongri, KAT-TUN, Kawashima Ai, KinKi Kids, Kitahara Aiko, Kobukuro, Koda Kumi, Kuraki Mai, Leah Dizon, MEG, MilkyWay, Misia, Morning Musume, Nakashima Mika, NEWS, Otsuka Ai, Perfume, Shibasaki Kou, Shiraishi Kikyo, SMAP, Suzuki Ami, Tackey & Tsubasa, Takasugi Satomi, Tanimura Nana, Tegomasu, Tohoshinki, TOKIO, Utada Hikaru, V6) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

mnsb2

Well there have been a lot of singles out this year. Some of them have been amazing and have made me fall in love with certain artists while others made me feel very disappointed. Which single took the number one spot? How many Johnny’s singles and H!P singles made the countdown? You’ll have to continue to find out.

mnsb1Hey! Say! JUMP has definitely impressed me this year, much more than I thought they would. I can’t even describe just how great their music has been but I’ll try anyway. The group’s fourth single, 真夜中のシャドーボーイ, wins title of “Single of Oricon Year 2008.” If there is one thing that these guys know how to do it, it’s make an upbeat single that makes the listener take notice. 真夜中のシャドーボーイ uses Spanish and Arabian themes to push their instrumentation over everyone elses. Except for Kei, Keito and Ryutaro, everybody has a real turn to shine. Yamada, Daiki, Nakajima and Chinen all have this center role (Yamada having the actual center role) since this song was used to promote their new drama Scrap Teacher so it was nice to see different people getting the time to shine. Everything about the song was perfect. With the constant repetition of the word “チェリー,” the listener is taken to another world. These boys really pull off the mature sound strongly and Chinen’s voice sounds different on this song than the others ones. Daiki, Nakajima, Yabu and Takaki all sound great too. With the multitude of live performances the song has gotten, the guys have looked hot and they sing the song with such confidence. It’s an amazing single that reigns above all the others so they should be very proud to have “Single of the Year.”

It was very hard to choose a first place winner and this single was so close to taking the top spot. Second place though kumitaboocddvdis something to be proud of too though and the runner up for “Single of the Year” goes to Koda Kumi with TABOO. After the controversy, Kumi went for a more conservative approach with MOON. However there’s something magical about Kumi when she does the sexy thing. She exutes confidence and it really makes for an enjoyable time when you can get up and move with Kuu. TABOO is the sexy anthem of 2008 as Kumi provides smooth vocals that lay over the hot instrumental. The verses are what make this song so addictive, particularly the last lines when she sings “drive away.” Kumi uses a certain cleverness with these lyrics using various metaphors to describe secret love and they come across to the listener perfectly. Plus I’m sure this single has given many others faith that Kumi will always have that sexiness in her because people have been worried that it’s been declining. Always is a nice compliment to the A-side even though it’s pretty forgettable. TABOO is the hot dance track that Kumi delivered and is just too good to pass up. Even the PV for the song was perfect. They really made sure this would be a strong single from all angles. This song single-handedly has me assured that TRICK will not be an album to forget.

cantstopthediscocddvdThird place was also really close to nabbing that top spot. The moment I heard the title track, I was instantly addicted and I knew the album that would soon follow would be amazing. That is why third place goes to Suzuki Ami with can’t stop the DISCO. It’s no secret that Ami and Nakata make a dream team because every single they release together just shines. I loved ONE but the moment I heard can’t stop the DISCO, I fell in love with the team. I first heard the chorus when it was used for the Mister Donuts CM and couldn’t get enough of it. But then when I heard the verses…I was blown away.  Ami really pulls off the cool vibe here and she’s given me one of the most addictive lines of 2008: me to me no kakehiki (love tactics). I can’t get enough of this song and it’s definitely one of the highlights of Supreme Show. Even the B-sides were amazing: climb up to the top and SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08S/A Mix) were extremely strong numbers that helpe make this one cohesive single from start to finish (and that includes having each song have perfect transition into the next).

In case it wasn’t clear already, Hey! Say! JUMP has put out some fantastic music this year. So does it really come as a yssurprise that they have two singles in the top 5 best singles of 2008? I didn’t think so. Hey! Say! JUMP takes fourth place as well for their 3rd single, Your Seed / 冒険ライダー. It was with this single that I officially became a fan of these guys. Your Seed is the first time they really brought a mature song and the difference from Dreams come true shocked me. Everyone sounded great on this song and the rap section is absolutely infectious. I still haven’t found out who is doing that but the first person that came to mind was Nakajima. Was it actually him? Probably not but ya never know. It’s hard to really put my love for this song into words so let’s just say everything about this song was perfect. Not one thing could have made it any better. 冒険ライダー also had a kind of mature sound while having that fun-loving breezy atmosphere that just makes you wanna smile. I particularly like the chorus when all the boys come together and harmonize so perfectly. Also Yabu shines on his few solo lines before the final chorus so good job to him. So it’s the single that made me a Hey! Say! JUMP fan and one of the best releases of the entire year! The boys are on fire!!!

singles5Johnny’s Entertainment was definitely on a roll at the beginning of the year. NEWS’s first single of the year, 太陽のナミダ, comes in fifth place of Single of the Year. The title track uses Spanish and Arabian influences to really make the instrumentation addictive. Everybody sounded great on the song and personally, Massu’s voice stood out a little more than everyone else’s. Nonetheless, everyone sounded fantastic and their vocals really were smooth over the instrumental. バンビーナ and Lady Spider were also amazing, really catching my ear. It was actually Lady Spider that made me a real fan of NEWS because it just really sparkled in my eyes. It’s so catchy and one that could have been an A-side. バンビーナ really shows the sexy side of the boys. The lyrics have that dirty edge to them and they might even make you blush. Tegoshi can friggin sing and if you had any doubts about it, listen to バンビーナ. They did a magnificent job on this single and it’s certainly not one to pass up. As an overall package, it’s their strongest single to date so give it a listen if you haven’t already and fall in love with these boys like I did.

Suzuki Ami and Nakata really are the dream team. can’t stop the DISCO was amazing as was this year’s 6th best single, amisuzukionecddvdONE. The moment I heard ONE, I was addicted and I began following Ami thereafter. The song features a more aggressive instrumental with some perfect vocals from Ami to give it that extra flavor. When the song first opens, we are treated to the best part of the entire song: キラキラの the one. This one line makes the song fantastic but the rest of the song nicely follows this section. The chorus also stands out with the English phrases like “I love music and this world” and “I love your smile.” It’s absolutely perfect in every way so it’s the perfect way to introduce the formal come together of Ami and Nakata. Originally the B-side, A token of love, did not really impress me but after giving it some time, I fell in love with it. A token of love also features that aggressive sound that supports Ami so perfectly. I really like that last line of the chorus, the title of the song, because she says it with such edge and sleekness that it sticks in your head. Plus that ending instrumental sequence is fantastic, really standing out to the listener. Overall, this is definitely one of the strongest singles of the year, without question. It shows Ami’s cool side and is the perfect product of the dream team.

singles7alan has had a smash year with her Element Project. Each single repesented one of the 5 Godai elements and the best one to emerge of the five: 空唄. The title track is a beautiful upbeat song in which alan claims she can fly away. I think because this is the real upbeat number chosen to be an A-side, it stands out from all the other singles she has released. It really portrays the element of the sky well and lets the listener believe what she is singing. If you want even more amazingness, then turn to the B-side, My Stage. This is definitely alan’s most cheery and infectious song because the instrumentation is so light and heavenly, prompting the listener to just smile while listening. Honestly, I think I would have preferred My Stage to be the A-side since it’s a real standout in alan’s discography. I hope that she’ll be doing a similar song to this on her album…whenever that will be coming out. It shows the versatility of alan as an artist and proves that she can do music closer to mainstream music while still having that special touch that only alan can bring.

Perfume also had a strong year, releasing various singles that showed Perfume’s quirky and fun nature. However they singles8really stood out when they released Baby cruising love / マカロニ. They’re really the best examples of electrpop ballads as the instrumentation is strong and the girls’ voices suit them perfectly. Baby cruising love was nice because it still had traces of that unforgettable Nakata aggressiveness. However the real star of the single and the reason it placed so high on this chart was because of マカロニ. It is the prime example of how to slow down an electropop song and still maintain the quality. There is such a relaxing and natural atmosphere about this song that when I listen to it, I can just smile and drift off into another world. And having an emotional connection with a song just makes it all the better, which is why this is Perume’s best song to date. It was released at the end of the winter and I can see that there are some wintery traces hidden in the instrumentation. I’m hoping that the girls will bring another strong song like this for their next album, which looks to be strong looking at the singles released thus far. Good lucks girls and I hope the future brings you luck!

24If you want the best winter song released this year then you definitely have to look at 24 Xmas Time by Kuraki Mai. I was blown away when I first heard the song because there is something so natural and fun about this song that I can’t help but love. The song kind of goes back to her older style with songs like Love, Day After Tomorrow, which is always a good thing because I adore that song. Okay, let’s be truthful, the song isn’t that wintery or Christmas-like but that’s okay because it’s just a fantastic song. The verses are what make it so addictive and those moments where the instrumentation changes to set up Mai for a strong line (such as my favorite line in the whole song which translates to “kyou mo, watashi wa sekushii.” The B-side was nice, although a little generic but it compliments the whole wintery theme of the single nicely. I can’t believe Mai put out such a great single after a few that were questionable. I’m already anticipating her new album, touch Me!, because of this one song.

I love Tanimura Nana. She’s talented; she’s fun and she’s ready to go! Her 10th single, If I’m not the one / SEXY singles10SENORITA, featured two different songs that show off two different sides to her. If I’m not the one is a very beautiful ballad with Nana lamenting that she needs to know if she can’t be her admired’s one and only. She really portrays her emotions strongly and it keeps the listener focused and sympathetic towards her. However the star song on this single is SEXY SENORITA, a fun song that shows off Nana’s sexy and playful side. Her vocals here are strong and the chorus stands out proudly. She portrays attitude and sass, which is perfect for making the listener believe her. I really like the English phrases such as “call me, call me” and “crazy crazy.” I’m still waiting for an album to be released from her since I know I’m going to love it but she’s going to school (she’s attending one of the most prestigious law schools in Japan so go Nana!) so I can’t blame her. I just want any piece of news of a new release soon and it better be an album. Congratulations Nana for being such a threat with your fourth single, If I’m not the one / SEXY SENORITA, which rounds out our top 10.

11. Misia – Catch The Rainbow [Digital Release]

12. Morning Musume – ペッパー警部

13. Leah Dizon – Love Paradox

14. C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 II

15. alan – 風の手紙

16. Perfume – Dream Fighter

17. Tohoshinki – 呪文  -Mirotic-

18. Arashi – One Love

19. Morning Musume – リゾナント ブルー

20. Ito Yuna – miss you

21. Koda Kumi – anytime

22. Perfume – love the world

23. Tanimura Nana – JUNGLE DANCE

24. V6 – 蝶

25. Kinki Kids – Secret Code

26. NEWS – SUMMER TIME

27. Leah Dizon – Vanilla

28. Aira Mitsuki – チャイナ・ディスコティカ

29. Berryz Koubou – 行け 行け モンキーダンス

30. alan – 懐かしい未来 ~longing future~

31. MEG – HEART

32. AAA – MIRAGE

33. Ishida Yuko – Changes

34. Hey! Say! JUMP – Dreams come true

35. Tohoshinki – Runaway / My Girlfriend

36. Tohoshinki – If…?! / Rainy Night

37. Tohoshinki – Purple Line

38. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION / Stay Gold

39. Tegomass – アイアイ傘

40. Takasugi Satomi – ありがとう

41. Ito Yuna – 恋は groovy x2

42. BONNIE PINK – Ring A Bell

43. Shiraishi Kikyo – again

44. Shiraishi Kikyo – BLACK

45. Shimatani Hitomi – 泣きたいなら

46. Hamasaki Ayumi – Mirrorcle World

47. ayaka x Kobukuro – あなたと

48. alan – RED CLIFF ~心・戦~

49. Amuro Namie – 60s70s80s

50. Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE

51. Nakashima Mika – ORION

52. Crystal Kay – 涙のさきに

53. Jyongri – Winter Love Story

54. C-ute – 涙の色

55. Kuraki Mai – 夢が咲く春 / You and Music and Dream

56. Arashi – Step and Go

57. Arashi – Beautiful days

58. V6 – LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing!

59. AAA – MUSIC!!! / ZERO

60. Aoyama Thelma – 守りたいもの

61. Koda Kumi – MOON

62. NEWS – Happy Birthday

63. Kitahara Aiko – その笑顔よ 永遠に

64. Shibasaki Kou – よくある話~喪服の女編~

65. Milky Way –  タンタンターン!

66. Kuraki Mai – 一秒ごとに Love for you

67. C-ute – FOREVER LOVE

68. Otsuka Ai – クラゲ, 流れ星

69. Aira Mitsuki – ロボットハニー

70. ayaka – おかえり

71. Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love

72. Shimatani Hitomi – WAKE YOU UP / 雨の日には 雨の中を 風の日には 風の中を / Marvelous

73. Hirahara Ayaka – 孤独の向こう

74. Milky Way – アナタボシ

75. alan – 恵みの雨

76. BoA – be with you.

77. BoA – VIVID

78. Fukui Mai – アイのうた

79. V6 – VIBES

80. Hirahara Ayaka – さよなら 私の夏

81. EXILE – LAST CHRISTMAS

82. Tohoshinki – Close to you / Crazy Life

83. Nishino Kana – Style

84. Arashi – truth / 風の向こうへ

85. KAT-TUN – White Xmas

86. GIRL NEXT DOOR – Drive away / 幸福の条件

87. GIRL NEXT DOOR – 偶然の確率

88. TOKIO – 雨傘 / あきれるくらい 僕らは願おう

89. Tohoshinki – Beautiful you / 千年恋歌

90. SMAP – そのまま / White Message

91. Angela Aki – 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ

92.Tackey & Tsubasa – 恋詩-コイウタ / PROGRESS

93. AAA – BEYOND~カラダノカナタ

94. Kawashima Ai – カケラ / Flag

95. SMAP – この瞬間, きっと夢じゃない

96. EXILE – The Birthday ~Ti Amo~

97. Buono! – ガチンコでいこう!

98. Berryz Koubou – ジンギスカン

99. Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

100. Buono! – ロッタラ ロッタラ 

Permalink 2 Comments

[Part Two] From The Boys of JE

December 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm (Arashi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Kanjani∞, KAT-TUN, KinKi Kids, NEWS, SMAP, Tackey & Tsubasa, Tegomasu, TOKIO, V6) (, , , , , , , , , , )

hsj10

yamada_ryosuke__yuto_nakajima

Without a doubt, the “Kings of JE” title belong to Hey! Say! JUMP. I have fallen for these boys and am amazed at how far they’ve come since their debut single in 2007. These guys have released three singles this year and each single got better and better. Dreams come true was a very catchy and upbeat pop number that really showed the boys’ personality and made it an enjoyable listen. After that, the boys really impressed me with Your Seed / 冒険ライダー. It was with Your Seed, that I really got hooked on this group as they showed that mature sound that they do so well with. Even 冒険ライダー featured a slightly mature sound while still having that regular boyband feel. It was a perfect single and I couldn’t have asked for any better. But then they released 真夜中のシャドーボーイ and I fell in love all over again. The song featured a Spanish twist to bring out the boys mature side yet again (I think it should be manditory for all JE groups to have a Spanish influenced song since it always goes well). Along with falling in love with the music, I fell in love with the members of the group. Yamada is my absolute favorite and I’m glad he’s been the center of attention. He’s a good singer, great actor and is really hot. Yabu is my favorite BEST member and he’s extremely sexy. Thanks to both Sensei wa Erai! and Scrap Teacher, I’ve fallen for Nakajima and Daiki as well and I look forward to seeing more episodes of Scrap Teacher with them. Chinen and Takaki have considerably grown on me as well. Basically, Hey! Say! JUMP has done everything right this year except for one thing…AN ALBUM! If JE does not give them an album soon, I will go crazy so here’s to hoping we get an album in the first three months of January…

Coming in second for the “Kings of JE” is one of my favorite boybands, NEWS. The boys have released three heat1singles and one album this year, having their ups and downs. The boys’ first release of the year was with 太陽のナミダ, an absolutely fantastic dance song with Spanish and Arabian influences that sounds absolutely fantastic. Two of the B-sides on that single (バンビーナ and Lady Spider) also helped me fall for these guys, particularly Lady Spider. It is these types of songs that NEWS shines at so they really should continue exploring them. They followed up with SUMMER TIME, a sweet and cute summery number with that fun pop atomsphere that is perfect for that time of year. Once again, two B-sides (EASY COME, EASY GO and Liar) hooked me onto the single. Then came Happy Birthday, which was the weakest single from this era but still a nice enjoyable song. GAME of LOVE, which was the second B-side, was very strong and could have been the A-side. Then the album came and that’s why these boys don’t win the title of “Kings of JE.” After the amazing album, pacific, I was hoping that this album would be just as good, if not better. Unfortunately, this album was filled with forgetttable songs that just made me so disappointed. The one amazing new standout number was ケセナイ, sung courtesy of the man to your right, Tegoshi (Ryo and Shige were there too but it was Tegoshi leading). He definitely wins the “Prince of NEWS” title because he’s done everything right this year. He’s brought killer vocals to each song and he has looked since day one of this year until now (and before of course). I absolutely love Tegoshi and he’s one of my favorite members (alongside Massu) so it’s no surprise that he would deliver. Also the boys brought a concert DVD, which was absolutely entrancing. Certain performances such as SHOCK ME vs Devil or Angel. 愛のマタドール and ゴメンネ ジュリエット really made the DVD a perfect watch because the boys really bring the heat (i.e. see Yamapi perform his solo song…it’s…wow). I hope the boys are able to deliver strong material next year but I don’t doubt them. All the singles leading up to the album were fantastic so I’m hoping next time around, they put a little more effort into making the album as varied as the singles. On a related note, Tegoshi and Massu teamed up again as Tegomass and released their third single, 相合傘, which is a beautiful ballad about being unable to tell your feelings to the one you love while sharing an umbrella. It was an adorable single and I’m glad that they did this, which leaves me ready for an album from them next year.

ohnoWell I’m sure people will diasagree with this position but I give Arashi third place for “Kings of JE.” They’ve have been some very busy boys this year, releasing four singles and an album, which makes them the most active releasers of the year in Johnny’s Entertainment. They released Step and Go in February and that was my first taste of these guys and it caught my attention. It’s definitely the type of song that gets stuck in your head. Then they released Dream”A”live, an album packed with enjoyable uptempo numbers to keep the listener moving. It was pretty enjoyable and I would crown it “Johnny’s Entertainment Album Of The Year” (even though that may not be much of a prize seeing as only NEWS, SMAP and KAT-TUN were released an album besides Arashi but they get it nonetheless). But it was One Love, which really made me interested in these guys. This song is absolutely fantastic and is definitely the best song they have released thus far. It’s so pretty that it could even make me cry. Following was truth / 風の向こうへ, which everyone seemed to eat up. Honestly though, I didn’t really see what was so fantastic about it. Luckily Beautiful days was a step up and stood out to me. If you want proof that people love Arashi, just look at the sales. They have absolutely smashed the charts and stomped people out from the top spots. I was really surprised but I congratulate them and hope their success continues. My favorite member is without a doubt Ohno. The first thing I noticed about his him was his face and how it kind of had a sadness to it, at least to me anyway. I think he’s a good leader and look forward to see him grow and sing in the future.

It was a close call for third place but ultimately I gave it to Arashi. So fourth place (but still really close to taking kenthird) is V6. The guys’ first single of the year was 蝶, which immediately caught my eye. Well it wasn’t so much the title track as the second B-side, SHOW ME, that made me fall for these guys. SHOW ME is amazing and fantastic, definitely worth being an A-side. It’s the real reason that I came to follow these guys music. However all the songs on that single were fantastic, including the two other B-sides (Keep a Chance and Twlight emotion). 蝶 was a great title track, taking on Spanish sounds to push the instrumentation over the edge. VIBES, a DVD single, was released soon after and it was kind of like a mini album since there were so many new tracks. VOLTAGE, サンキュー! ミュージック! and DIVE were the three standout songs on this single and definitely kept the group’s momentum of strong songs. Next they released LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing!, which was a very catchy single worth listening to. I didn’t really get to know these guys very well but I’ve chosen my favorite member, who we can take a look at to our right. Let’s take a big thanks to Raid at Raid My Mini Bar for pointing out Ken Miyake to me. There is a picture of him on the website (a random picture in a group appears at the top) and that’s how I got introduced this very hot guy. I tried to find that picture but to no avail. I hope these boys will be putting out an album soon so I can see just how talented these boys are and I hope they continue to deliver hot uptempo tunes.

kokiIt was also hard to choose who would get the 5th spot for “Kings of JE” but I chose to give it to KAT-TUN. With three singles and one album under their belt for the year, KAT-TUN definitely had their share of releases. Let’s be honest, T∀BOO is the reason that these boys got this spot. They’ve released LIPS, DON’T U EVER STOP and White X’mas but none of those songs could hold a candle to that amazingness that is T∀BOO. It’s a sleek and sexy number that is not only one of the best opening tracks of the year but one of the best opening tracks ever. It is addictive and worth the listen if you haven’t heard it. QUEEN OF THE PIRATES was a nice album although a little too focused on rock and not strong enough ballads. Keep the faith was a strong follow up to the introductory track and was another album highlight. Who is my favorite member of KAT-TUN? Tanaka Koki of course. He always stands out to be when I watch their PVs and his voice catches my ear when I hear their songs. Plus he has such a different look from the rest of his bandmates, it’s hard not to see him. Even though the singles could have been a little stronger and a little more aggressive, I would say KAT-TUN did a good job this year with their releases and I’m excited to see what they bring next year. Also their tour DVD comes out next year and I’ll be waiting to see T∀BOO  live.

The rest of the groups I’ll be counting down did not release very much in comparison to their counterparts so I’ll just tackey1review them as one paragraph. 6th place goes to Kinki Kids, who actually only released one single. But what a single it was…Both Secret Code, the title track, and the B-sides made me really fond of these guys. It’s such a shame that they only released one single because I was looking forward to hearing more. While Secret Code takes on the cool jazzy route, strategie uses Spanish influences with Fu Fu Fu and ビターショコラ following the jazz suit. Plus I found out about Domoto Koichi, who is hot beyond belief. Up next is Tackey & Tsubasa, who take 7th place. Much like Kinki Kids, they only released one single but it was pretty good. 恋詩 – コイウタ- was really pretty so it was worth the listen while PROGRESS was a nice uptempo number. The 8th spot goes to SMAP, who released two enjoyable singles: そのまま / White Message and この瞬間, きっと夢じゃない. These guys have some really nice voices so I’m glad I was introduced to them. They also released an album entitled super.modern.artistic.performance, which I haven’t gotten around to listening to but I will soon. Kanjani∞ comes in 9th, mostly for Wahaha. That single was pretty catchy although not the most memorable song I could have hoped for. This group is just okay for me so I hope they release some material to really make me like them because I think that it’s just their style / image that just doesn’t suit me very well. Finally 10th place is TOKIO, who only released one single, 雨傘 / あきれるくらい僕らは願おう. It was nice although it didn’t really catch my attention like the other groups. I hope that these groups (Kinki Kids in particular) will be more active next year so I can really experience what they’re like.

Johnny’s Entertainment certainly has the talent to back up their big name. Many people associate JE with boys who rely on looks rather than talent but that is absolutely not true. Of course these boys have the looks but they have extreme talent to match. Hey! Say! JUMP brought some amazing material this year, winning them title of Kings of Johnny’s Entertainment 2008. NEWS and Arashi also brought some very nice material and had NEWS made a stronger album, they might have taken the crown. Arashi had a very big year as the most releasing group of JE so I wonder what next year will have in store for them, seeing as it is their 10th anniversary. The other groups all had their own special touch even if some weren’t very active. I look forward to seeing what Johnny Kitagawa plans for in 2009…it better be an album from Hey! Say! JUMP at the beginning or I will be pissed.

Permalink 7 Comments

Arashi – Beautiful days [24th Single]

November 3, 2008 at 5:19 pm (Arashi) (, )

Arashi’s 24th single, entitled Beautiful days, was released on 11.05.08. The title track was used as the theme song for the dorama Ryuusei no Kizuna, starring band-member Nino.

Beautiful days is a sweet song that takes the listener to another world. The song starts off with a pretty instrumental that introduces a dreamy world. The boys then sing the chorus and there is a certain prettiness that the listener just feels from the music and the boys’ voices. There’s something about the verses that just works. Perhaps it’s the calming and relaxing atmosphere that emerges with the guys’ smooth vocals amplifying the strength of the music. The pure instrumental section is absolutely gorgeous and really spotlights the beauty of this song. Beautiful days is one of the best songs Arashi has released this year for its beautiful instrumentation and great vocals that keep the listener from the beginning to the end.

The first B-side present on both editions of the single is 僕が僕のすべて. The song takes off on a stronge note as there is a very pretty instrumental that gives somewhat of a hopeful feeling. The verses feature some great vocals from the boys that show their ability to be smooth as well as their ability to deliver strong vocals. The chorus stands out primarily for the way that they say the words near the end. This is a great song and works with the whole theme of prettiness that runs through this single.

忘れられない is available only on the regular edition of the single. Opening the song is a very natural atmosphere as the instrumentation really stands out as having an earthy quality to it. The boys’ voices on the first verse are great as they show that smoothness that they can bring and it supports the music perfectly. Reaching a climax at the chorus, there is an element of hope that arises from the music and the boys give a little more vocally to make this section pop. The pure instrumental section is very pretty, really taking on that naturalness of the song. It’s another great song that makes this single unforgettable.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Beautiful days was made. The video is extremely simple, just featuring the boys sitting/standing around in the room but somehow it works. The boys look very good here and the atmosphere of the room is so peaceful and pretty that the listener really becomes drawn into it. It may be simple but it’s definitely enjoyable.

Single Ranking: A +

Beautiful days is a wonderful song that really falls on the right note with the listener. The song’s prettiness and the great vocals from the boys make it a must listen. Both B-sides follow suit and carry that pretty atmosphere that the listener can get hooked on. It’s definitely a step up from their last single truth / 風の向こうへ.

Permalink 10 Comments

Arashi – truth / 風の向こうへ [23rd Single]

August 18, 2008 at 5:07 pm (Arashi) (, )

Arashi’s 23rd single, entitled truth / 風の向こうへ, was released on 08.20.08. truth was used as the theme song for the dorama Maou, 風の向こうへ was used as the NTV Beijing Olympics theme song, and スマイル was used as the song in a Tongari Corn CM.

truth is the first A-side, which features a dark sound. The song starts off with a dark piano instrumental before the first verse starts. The vocals sound nice and the English phrases do a nice job of standing out to the listener and help communicate that darkness well. The chorus doesn’t stand out as much as hoped although the vocals are nice. The pure instrumental section is a beautiful combination of the sweet sounds of the piano and the dark and mysterious sounds of the rock-filled instrumental. It really hooks the listener and leads back into the chorus. The song ends with more fantastic instrumentation, taking the song out on a smooth close. Overall the sound is what really captures the listener and although the vocals are nice, they could have been a little more alluring.

風の向こうへ, a happy and upbeat song, is the second A-side. The song begins with a nice upbeat instrumental and part of the chorus comes in. The vocals have a certain catchiness that moves perfectly with the music. For the first verse, the poppiness really sticks out as the song’s happy atmosphere comes through strongly and the listener can’t help but love it. The rap sequence is very nice although they should have definitely took out the other boys singing in the background while he raps because they do clash a little bit. Overall the song is nice and enjoyable number although the song does begin to get repetitive after a while.

Present on the regular edition of the single is スマイル. Opening the song is a sweet instrumentation that has a very sunny feeling. The first verse features some poppy vocals to go nicely with the music, nicely supporting the overall atmosphere of the song. There is even more catchiness on the chorus as the boys give more great vocals and the music remains interesting. Overall, this is a very strong song and should’ve taken the place of one of the A-sides.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made: one for each A-side. The PV for truth features a dark atmosphere that matches the song perfectly. In a very pleasant surprise, the video consists of some great dancing from the boys and the whole color scheme really catches the viewer’s eye. Overall, it’s a great video and it’s very eye-catching. While the colors black and red made up the truth PV, white drives the PV for 風の向こうへ. The camera revolves around the five boys as they sing and there are also scenes of the sky intercut. This video is very sweet and simple and definitely worth checking out.

Single Ranking: B +

This single is definitely nice as a combination of the dark truth and the light 風の向こうへ. The B-side is very memorable and should’ve taken on the position as A-side. Overall though, it’s a good single and another quality release from these boys.

Permalink 17 Comments

Arashi – Dream”A”live [8th Studio Album]

July 14, 2008 at 1:13 am (Arashi) (, )

Arashi’s 8th studio album, entitled Dream”A”live, was released on 04.23.08. The album is generally a collection of upbeat songs that really keep the listener entertained. Two singles were released before the album: Happiness and Step and Go.

Opening the album is theme of Dream”A”live. After a winding-up sound, the instrumental comes in and there is a mysterious circus-like feel to it. The effect of having that sound really takes the listener into the world of the song before a more dance instrumental starts. The vocals sound great and go with the festival feel that the song then takes on. The introduction ends strongly with the boys singing a few English phrases and then the instrumental makes the song end on a bang. It’s an excellent introduction to the album and shows off a couple different sounds.

The first full track is the upbeat and fun song, Move your body. After a cool instrumental with rock tints, a more poppy sound comes in. The first verse follows the instrumental section perfectly, showing off an addictive flare. The chorus features some great harmonization and a very catchy sound that keeps the listener hooked strongly. The following rap sequence shows off the coolness of the song and the English phrases such as “shake your body” really stand out to the listener. The pure instrumental sequence takes things in a slightly different direction as the instrumentation become slightly slower but picking up the tempo again for the chorus. Move your body is an addicive song that really catches the listener and is a great song after the introductory track.

Happiness is the third song on the album. Opening the song is a rock-filled instrumental before a more happier and poppy sound appears. After some vocalizing, the first verse starts. There is a summer element to the sound that really makes it stand out to the listener. The vocals sound nice and go with the music perfectly. The chorus features great harmonization and some great vocals to really make it pop and make it memorable. As the title of the song is sung as the last word of the chorus, it provides a nice finish and a smooth transition into the second verse. The pure instrumental section is absoutely fantastic, showing off the carefree spirit of the song perfectly before guiding the listener back into the chorus. A nice instrumental brings the song to a great close. Happiness is a fun and poppy track that makes the listener feel that happiness all over.

Up next is 虹の彼方へ.  A cool and fun instrumental takes the listener into the world of the song for a fantastic ride. The first verse features some nice vocals that go with the music strongly and the vocals are shown off nicely over the always interesting instrumentation. The chorus has a certain poppiness it that is so catchy. The twinkling sounds come out nicely and the vocal strength of the group is shown strongly. The rap sequence keeps the song interesting before a cool pure instrumental song comes in. The perfect instrumental sequence closes the song perfectly, making 虹の彼方へ one of the most enjoyable and addictive songs on the entire album.

The uptempo sound of the album continues with Do my best. A more synth-aggressive opens the song up and then some great vocalizing comes in. The first verse has a more relaxing sound to it that works with the pop atmosphere. The chorus is enjoyable as some twinkling sounds work their way into the music and the boys harmonize nicely to further the enjoyment. The pure instrumental section puts a spotlight on just how much synth is crucuial to the music before the third verse. The song is definitely an enjoyable number with that fun pop flavor, although it is not as strong as the previous track.

Things slow down with シリウス a piano ballad. A sweet piano instrumental opens the song and the softness of the song comes through from the first moment. The vocals during the first verse are smooth and capture the song’s emotion very nicely. The chorus sounds nice as the boys harmonize very nicely. The piano is shown off strongly and beautifully during the pure instrumentation sequence. The closing piano sequence is pretty and brings the song to a nice close. The boys’ voices are nice and the music is pretty but overall it doesn’t really capture the listener as well as it should, being one of two album ballads.

Flashback picks the energy up. A very intersting and cool instrumental with a pretty sound starts off the song, creating a mellow and relaxing vibe for the listener. The vocals during the first verse sound nice with the piano, which is the central instrument. The boys show off more vocal strength on the chorus, which makes it stand out. The rap sequence has a certain sexiness that the instrumentation and low-pitch of the voice deliver before the beautiful saxophone takes the listener into another world. The jazzy instrumentation of Flashback is pretty interesting and although it’s not the most memorable, it’s a nice song to listen to.

The eighth song is Dive into the future. A twinkling and out-of-this-world instrumental starts off the song with the boys singing “hey, hey, dive into the future.” The vocals during the verses are smooth and sound great with the music. The chorus picks up the energy as the boys harmonize strongly and the “hey, hey” and “yeah, yeah” really catch the listener’s ear. The smoothness that the boys deliver the lyrics have a certain sexiness to them that is very pleasing on the ears. The final chorus features a slightly higher instrumental and it’s a nice change that is still catchy. After a few less than memorable songs, Dive into the future really packs a punch and hits the listener strongly.

The album’s final ballad is the acoustic song, 声. A simple but gorgeous instrumental opens up the song before the first verse starts. The vocals are smooth and there is a personal feeling that comes out while listening to the song that makes it stand out. The boys do a great job on the chorus as their voices smoothly blend with one another as well as the music. The pure instrumental section sounds very nice and then the chorus comes back in. A peaceful and beautiful instrumental sequence closes the song and gives off a certain dreamy feeling. 声 does a great job of being a standout ballad as there is a personal feeling that can really resonate with the listener. The boys of Arashi do fantastic job of bringing the emotions of the song to life.

My Answer appears as the tenth song. An element of hope comes up with the opening instrumental and the chorus starts. The boys sound nice and happy to really bring out the energy and poppiness of the song. The vocal strength doesn’t go any lower with the verses as they continue to hold their own. The rap sequence is enjoyable like always and has a certain flavor to it that keeps the listener hooked. Following the rap is pure instrumentation, which shows off the guitar flawlessly and even has some little tints of rock here and there that sound great. The final instrumental sounds great and definitely has the fun flavor that puts a smile on the listener’s face. My Answer is a great fun song that just keeps the listener happy and definitely is a song to look out for.

Energy is still held with the next song, Life goes on. A mysterious and slick instrumental takes the listener into the world before the fun dance atomsphere comes in. The vocals sound great on the verse, which keeps the listener following every word and every beat. The chorus sounds very nice and definitely stands out as the boys sing strongly. The pure instrumental break offers the listener that slickness that is so strong and right before the chorus, there is a mysterious video-game feeling that sounds great and keeps the interest up. The happy and fun atmosphere is conveyed so strongly within this song that the listener can’t help but fall in love with it.

Step and Go, which was released as a single before the album, is next. Opening up the song is the boys singing “we’re gonna step and go” over a cool instrumental with a certain video-game quality to it. The vocals during the verses are very nice and have a certain relaxing feel to them before they pop more powerfully with the chorus. The third verse takes thing in a slightly different direction and the harmonica sounds great here. The rap sequence is always enjoyable and in Step and Go, it’s no different. Step and Go hasn’t lost any charm from its release as a single and is definitely an enjoyable song.

The thirteenth song is YOUR SONG. The boys open up with a very relaxing and hopeful section of vocalizing. Their vocals as they sing “your song” sounds fantastic, making the chorus enjoyable from start to finish. Soon the tempo picks up a little and first verse starts. The relaxing feel does not fade and sticks with the listener nicely, allowing the boys of Arashi to bring out some great vocals. YOUR SONG is a nice and relaxing song that really puts the listener in a good mood.

The closing number for purchasers of the regular edition is Once Again, a dark album closer. A more somber and dark instrumental opens the song before the chorus. The boys sound great with strong harmonizing and their voices hold the song’s atmosphere well. Smooth vocals continue to appear on the first verse, which ensures the listener the continue experience of the song. The pure instrumental section is fantastic and the rock tints are really shown off. The rap sequence fits perfectly on the song and really captures the listener before the chorus comes back in. A fantastic instrumental part brings the song to a close, making Once Again the perfect closing song for the regular edition of the album.

For those who bought the limited edition, five tracks were made, sung solo by one member of the group. The first of the solos is Aiba’s song, Hello Goodbye. The song starts off with a sweet and cool instrumental before he delivers some poppy vocalizing. He sounds nice on the verses as his voice is smooth but the instrumentation isn’t that interesting. The chorus is nice particularly because of the way he says the words but overall it’s nothing too memorable. The song is pretty forgettable but there are nice points of instrumentation here and there.

Nino’s solo song, Gimmick Game, is the second solo. A slick and cool instrumental begins the song and then the first verse starts. Nino delivers such a coolness with his voice that fits with the music that the listener cannot help but fall in love with the song. The chorus sounds great as there is a twinkling feeling and his vocal strength his shown off fantastically. The pure instrumental section sounds great as the hot dance sound is spotlighted. The sexy confidence and sleek instrumental of Gimmick Game makes it a definite enjoyable number.

Ohno comes up next in line with Take me faraway. A sweet and soft instrumental starts off the song before the first verse starts. His vocals are smooth and sound very nice on the listener’s ears. The chorus doesn’t pop as much as it should but it’s still enjoyable. Moments when he vocalizes are very nice and help establish the song’s atmosphere. The pure instrumental section brings out the guitar, bringing in some fantastic rock elements that keep the level of interest up. Ohno’s song is a nice listen with a very pretty instrumental and wonderful vocals, although it nothing so amazing.

Matsumoto is next with Naked. A very fairy-tale like instrumental starts off the song before the first verse starts. From the moment the song opens, there is a looming sexual atmosphere that comes alive as the song progresses. His vocals sound a little strange at some points but he hits the higher notes very sweetly. The chorus is very nice as he smoothly sings alongside a fantastic instrumentation. The pure instrumental section sounds fantastic and it really takes the listener into the world of the song. Naked is a great song that Matsumoto brings to life nicely.

Sakurai finishes off the limited edition of the album with his solo song, Hip Hop Boogie. A relaxing and cool instrumental starts off the song. The rapping is a great fit with this funky sound. The chorus is pretty average and nothing that really stands out. Hip Hop Boogie sounds kind of boring and shouldn’t have been the closing solo song but it’s worth the occasional listen.

Album Ranking: A

Arashi’s 8th studio album is a collection of great songs that show off the boys’ talents. The album features two real ballads and 声 is definitely the one that catches the listener’s ear for its personal appeal. The rest of the album is upbeat and fun songs that the boys bring to life. 虹の彼方へ and Life goes on are the real standout songs that hook the listener. Overall the album is pretty much an upbeat and fun album that is extremely addictive. Featuring wonderful instrumentals, great vocals and fun sounds, Dream”A”live is a wonderful album.

The limited edition of the album features another CD, consisting of the boys’ solo songs. Nino and Matsumoto shine brightly on their solo songs, Gimmick Game and Naked respectively. Ohno delivers nicely on Take me faraway while Aiba’s song, Hello Goodbye is pretty dull. Sakurai’s song is cool in that it puts a spotlight on his rap although it is a little boring. The second CD is definitely worth the listen as it shows off what the boys can do on their own.

Permalink 3 Comments

Next page »