Goto Maki – SWEET BLACK [Mini Album]

October 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm (Goto Maki) (, )


Goto Maki’s first mini album since her departure from Hello Project and entry into avex, entitled SWEET BLACK, was released on 09.16.09. The SWEET BLACK project was started for Maki as a way to get her back into the game through a radio program and digitally released singles: Fly away, Lady-Rise and with. Plastic Lover was included on a HOUSE NATION compilation CD.

The album kicks off with the dancehall styles of Queen Bee. The song opens up with BIGGA RAJJI shouting and introduing himself, Maki and Aili and immediately the song’s one flaw pops up: his voice. It’s just grating and annoying that it really does take away from the strength of the song but once the listener can get past it, the song is smooth sailing. Maki sings part of the chorus, which consists of a repeated “boom” and “Queen Bee” at the end. On the first verse, Maki provides smooth and sleek vocals that suit the instrumentation perfectly. There is an underlying element of sexuality that comfortably comes through her vocals and spices up the song. The hook that follows the chorus features a slightly softer sound but it still fits with the rest of the song so it stands out quite nicely. If this snogwas sung just by Maki, the song would have been a lot better. Nonetheless, Queen Bee serves as a good album opener and shows Maki’s true energy.

Maki Sweet Black PromoThe second song was the second digitally released single, Lady-Rise. Opening up the song is a hot upbeat instrumental and instantly, the listener knows something great is about to come up. On the first verse, Maki’s vocals continue to carry a tone of sexuality and coolness to them that really makes the song come alive. Right before the chorus, the music builds up a little and Maki gives slightly stronger vocals and although the changes might only be small, they are really effective at introducing the chorus. The chorus features more catchy energy that will keep the listener dancing and one moment that stands out is when Maki calls out the title of the song. The third verse is a nice break-down moment and re-introduces the chorus with a bang. Maki even cutely shouts “Ow!” to really punctuate the coolness of the song. It’s a fantastic song that hasn’t lost any of its magic since its release.

Maki enters the world of the dark disco with the next track, Candy. The song starts off with a cool and mysterious upbeat instrumental that kind of channels Maki’s old sound before avex. She sings “”am I greedy?” and the sexuality comes running out from that moment as it continues to run through the whole song. The verses sound quite nice and set up the atmosphere of the song very well but the chorus does lose a little bit of that strong energy. It’s just lacking that sort of magic that the verses have to really draw in the listener. She sings “are you a man?” and “are you the man?” It’s a nice song but it’s still missing that spark that the other songs have.

Maki teams up with KG for one of the album’s two ballads, TEAR DROPS. The song begins with a beautiful piano opening which really reflects the sorrow of the song and immediately brings out the emotional atmosphere for the listener to feel. Maki sounds fantastic on the first verse, her vocals really portraying fragility and sadness that suit the song. KG also gives some great vocals that compliment Maki’s and keep the emotions rolling from the heart. The chorus features the piano slightly more prominently and there is a sparkling atmosphere that runs through the music that really stands out. On the third verse, Maki sings “sweet, sweet, my tear drops” and “sweet, sweet, your tear drops” before KG  belts out a powerful vocal. TEAR DROPS is easily one of the album’s best songs and the better of the two ballads.

Back at a-nation ’08, Maki debuted a song entitled hear me. Well the beat was kept and with some rewording of the Maki SWEET BLACK Promo 2lyrics and a guest appearance from KEN THE 390, Mine was born. The song takes off with a hot instrumental and KEN THE 390 introducing the song in a combination of English and Japanese for Maki to follow. She sounds great on the first verse, her vocals suiting the sleek atmosphere of the song perfectly. The chorus is catchy as expected although it doesn’t flow as well as the chorus of hear me. KEN THE 390 never has verses that last very long so the focus stays on Maki, which is good but he might as well not have been there at all. To finish off the song with a little extra sweetness, Maki giggles. Although Mine is certainly a catchy song, it just doesn’t flow as well as hear me and it lacks the magic in certain spots.

Maki’s first avex digital single, Fly away, is up next. An orchestral instrumentation starts things off to really begin with a bang before the hot dance instrumental comes booming in. Maki’s vocals here are superb, really staying sleek and cool to fit the atmosphere of the song. The English parts “imgination” and “get alive” stand out and the background vocals provide a slightly haunting feel to the song. The chorus features lines that begin with “fly away” and Maki aces every single one, keeping the listener’s interest without fail. The third verse really stands out as it feels like the build-up to the climax, the instrumentation becoming slightly quieter and more mysterious. Maki follows with some cool vocalizations that really do add a lot of flavor to the song. Like Lady-Rise, Fly away maintains its special magic and remains a strong number to enjoy.

Plastic Lover serves as the album’s semifinale. Starting the song off is a light electronic instrumental that takes the listener into a new world. Then the beat comes thumping in and the edgy electronic side comes out to play, grabbing the listener’s interest immediately. Maki smoothly sings “so what” as the start of the first verse and from there, the sleekness really comes through perfectly. Throughout the verse, the coolness keeps streaming and sets up the listener for an enjoyable chorus. The instrumentation is more energetic and Maki gives some great vocals, particularly at the end when she holds the higher one. During the second verse, there is an angelic part that makes the listener feel like he/she is flying as there is such a levity in both the music and Maki’s vocals. The pure instrumental section sounds great and re-introduces the chorus fantastically. The music during those last few vocal moments really catches the ear and Maki’s final line features some great vocal strength. Plastic Lover was abolutely amazing when it was released on the HOUSE NATION compilation and it shines just as bright on SWEET BLACK.

Closing the album is the spring ballad, with…Opening the song is a very calming and soothing instrumental that catches the ear of the listener and evokes a feeling of true love. Then Maki sings the first verse and her vocals are quite pacifying, suiting the atmosphere of the song very well. There is just something very sweet and natural about the chorus that just can’t be ignored as it works its way into the listener’s heart. The repeating words also stand out and catch the ear of the listener nicely. with… is a very good way to end SWEET BLACK, giving the listener a smile to finish with.

Album Ranking: A

The image of SWEET BLACK is to reflect the duality of a girl’s heart, featuring both a sweet and mature side and that is what Maki has perfectly captured with this album. Although TEAR DROPS and with… are the album’s only ballads, they both shine in their own right with the former being the sorrowful one and the latter being the hopeful one. There is a host of dance numbers, which is where Maki shines. From the playful sexiness of Lady-Rise to the cool and sleek Fly away to the fun and energetic Plastic Lover, Maki really does give it her all. Perhaps the only mis-step on the album was Candy, which was just lacking a little something to really make it stand out. Also BIGGA RAJJI was annoying and Mine didn’t live up to the amazingess of hear me but both of the songs still managed to catch attention. Hopefully SWEET BLACK is an indication of the high quality music we can expect from Maki in the time to come.

Top 5 Most Memorable Tracks: Lady-Rise / TEAR DROPS / Mine / Fly away / Plastic Lover

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Goto Maki – Plastic Lover (Club Mix) [New Song]

August 27, 2009 at 4:35 pm (Goto Maki) ()

Maki Plastic Lover

Goto Maki’s new song, entitled Plastic Lover (Club Mix), was released on a HOUSE NATION compilation album with the theme Aquamarine. This compilation was released on 08.05.09. The original version of the song is to appear on her upcoming album, SWEET BLACK.

Plastic Lover brings Maki back to her upbeat and cool flavor. The song starts off with a thumping beat that will instantly draw the listener into another world with hints of the true instrumentation popping in and out until it comes full force like electronic paradise. Then comes the first verse and her vocals sound awesome here, really suiting the style of the music perfectly and lingering on the listener’s mind. The chorus is full of spunk and energy, fitting Maki’s style wonderfully, resulting in an orgasmic experience for the ears. On the second verse, the song changes for a real heavenly and light feel before going back into energetic mode for the chorus. Plastic Lover is another fantastic song from Maki and it certainly builds up the anticipation for her upcoming album.

Song Ranking: A +

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Goto Maki – with… [Digital Single]

May 3, 2009 at 5:38 pm (Goto Maki) (, )


Goto Maki’s third digital single with the SWEET BLACK series, entitled with…, was released on 04.15.09. This song was offered for free on Chaku-Uta for a limited period of time.

Taking a different sound from the last two SWEET BLACK songs, with… has a gentler and sweeter vibe that stands out. The song begins with a very natural and cute atmosphere that gives the image of wanting to be with your loved one. Then Maki comes in with the first verse and her vocals are very smooth here, managing to carry a lot of emotion behind them so that it feels like the listener is listening to a story. For the chorus, the instrumentation becomes slightly more involved and a bit aggressive even, which is quite ear-catching. In addition is the repeating words, which are probably the most catching part of the chorus. It’s a pretty good song and it’s nice to hear her slow things down to show us a different side of her.

In order to promote the single, a PV for with… was made. The video features one primary scene in color of Maki walking behind a very pretty background (and sporting a new haircut). There are various other scenes in black-and-white that show many different instances that Maki has gone through so that it feels kind of like a visual diary. It’s actually a very creative way to approach the video and supports the natural atmosphere of the song.

Single Ranking: A –

Even though Fly away and Lady Rise were both much stronger songs, with… is an enjoyable number on its own. Maki slows down the tempo and there’s such a sweetness in her voice, which cannot be ignored. The whole atmosphere of the song is just something that anyone can relate to and that is where the magic of the song lies.

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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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Goto Maki – Fly away [Digital Single]

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


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

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

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

Single Ranking: A +

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

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Goto Maki – hear me [New Song]

November 3, 2008 at 3:51 am (Goto Maki) ()

After making the big switch over from H!P to Rhythm Zone (avex), Goto Maki hasn’t released a single yet but she did debut a new song at the ever popular a-nation. Her new song (that she wrote herself) is entitled “hear me” and will be released on the upcoming a-nation DVD.

hear me is an absolutely hot dance song. The song begins with some English lines to start on a strong note as a voice says “I’m gonna change from now on” and “I want to move step by step, I don’t wanna stop!” and then she dives into the first verse. Her vocals are sleek and move perfectly with the music. Once again, the English phrases stand out like “I’m gonna lust” and “I just like a baby.” The verses end nicely as Maki delivers power on the last note, making the two phrases “Call me!! Got me!! Sway hard! Woah!” [first verse] and “Everybody stand up yeah!!” [second verse] really pop. With the slight instrumental change and more of Maki’s sleek vocals that fuel a sexy atmosphere, the chorus becomes the most memorable part of the song. hear me is fantastic and certainly one to remember as Maki brings that energy from her last studio album, How to use SEXY.

Song Ranking: A +

Although she hasn’t released anything under avex yet, hear me gives me hope that she’s going to be delivering something hot! This song sounds like something that could have belonged to How to use SEXY and if she continues with this path then she’ll be on the road to success. Hopefully this song will see some sort of physical release since it’s a perfect song.

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