Matsuura Aya – チョコレート魂 [21st Single]

February 20, 2009 at 11:47 pm (Matsuura Aya) (, )


Matsuura Aya’s 21st single, entitled チョコレート魂, was released on 02.11.09.

チョコレート魂 is a cute song that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. The opening instrumental really brings that cuteness to the front and then Aya comes through for the first verse. Her vocals are very pretty and carry that cuteness that go with the music perfectly. Unfortunately, the chorus falls a little flat. Although her vocals are nice, the instrumentation just doesn’t feel like a point of climax. A little more variety in that section would have made all the difference. The pure instrumentation section is okay but nothing particularly special. Overall this is definitely not one of Aya’s better songs as seen in comparison to her last studio album, which was very solid.

ガツン also fits with the whole Valentine’s Day atmosphere. Unfortunately, the instrumentation sounds way too similar to that of the A-side and comes off as sounding like a poor rehash. It definitely was not a wise idea to put the songs together like that and the song just isn’t all that special.

In order to promote the single, a PV for チョコレート魂 was made. The video is extremely simple, featuring Aya sitting in a room full of chocolate boxes. It’s very cheap and clearly not a lot of effort or money was put into making the video.

Single Ranking: C

After such a great album, it’s very disappointing to see this single released. Both songs are too similar sounding and neither sound particularly interesting. It’s really a shame.

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Matsuura Aya – 想いあふれて [6th Studio Album]

January 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm (Matsuura Aya) (, )


Matsuura Aya’s 6th album, entitled 想いあふれて, was released on 01.21.09. Only one single, きずな, was released before the album.

The album begins with the tropical paradise song, 結婚しない二人. The song starts off with a very relaxing tropical vibe that will lull the listener into a dreamy state. Aya then comes in singing the first verse and her vocals sound very pretty over the music and perfectly reflect that calmness established by the music. She takes a slightly different route on the hook as she enunciates the syllables more strongly so that each one stands out. The chorus stands out particularly because of the repeating “free,” sung with stronger vocals and there’s something so carefree about the tone of her voice that the listener really picks up on that word. The pure instrumental section definitely shines as the saxophone steps to the forefront and takes the listener further into paradise. This is a great way to open up the album and shows a different side to H!P music.

Following is 七回歌うといいことがある歌, a sweet and simple number. Opening the song is a nice and calming instrumental that has a few jazzy elements to it. Then the first verse comes in and there’s something hopeful about the combination of the music and Aya’s strong vocals that catches the listener’s ear. The chorus sounds a little bit fuller and more full, which sets it apart from the rest of the song. Unfortunately, while it is pretty, it isn’t as capturing as one would have hoped for. More jazzy elements come through the pure instrumental section so it’s a nice treat but nothing that stands out that much. Overall, it’s a nice follow-up to the first track but it isn’t nearly as memorable.

The third track is beautiful day. The song begins with a gorgeous and catchy midtempo instrumental that has a dreamy feeling to it. She sounds great on the first verse as her vocals stay smooth and communicate the emotion of the song very well. Even though there isn’t much of a change in the chorus, it stands out since Aya gives a stronger vocal performance. The pure instrumental section is absolutely wonderful and really reflects the dreamy calmness that makes the song so addictive. Even though the song is simple, it really shows off Aya’s vocals and the atmosphere really comes alive.

Up next is boomboomboom. Immediately, we come into part of the chorus. Staying true to the song’s title, we get energy as she sings the title. However from the following little section of pure instrumentation, there is still that relaxing tropical feeling that keeps this song tied to the rest of the album. On the verses, she sounds great and cute here as the instrumentation makes the listener want to smile and dance. The chorus stands out particularly because she delivers the lyrics so rapidly, keeping the listener interested all the way through. It’s nice to have the pure instrumental section put a little spotlight on the pure instrumentation to make it differ from the rest of the song. Overall, this is a fantastic song and one of the album’s best numbers for showing Aya can handle those upbeat numbers and still keep the album’s overall feel.

The album’s title track, 想いあふれて, is the fifth song. A very pretty instrumental begins the song and immediately, the emotions overflow from the instrumentation. Then the first verse starts and Aya’s vocals convey those emotions perfectly, emphasizing a certain feeling of coldness. She steps up vocally on the chorus, to further enhance the emotional presence as well as show off just how great her vocals can be. That pure instrumental section sounds so grand and magical that the listener just falls into another level of this song. Finally, the acapella serves as the perfect way to bring this beautiful song to a close. It’s no wonder that this song was chosen to be the album’s title track since it really reflects emotion and beauty, allowing the listener to really get wrapped up.

The next song is レスキュー! レスキュー! It starts off with a nice midtempo instrumental that has sort of an urgent feeling to it. Next the first verse comes in and her vocals are nice here but there’s something about the instrumentation that just doesn’t catch on. It’s the same for the chorus; it is nice but there’s that magic missing from it to make it a standout number. On the pure instrumental section, there’s kind of a strangeness that has run throughout the song but here, it works. Unfortunately, the song doesn’t stand out.

中央改札 is the following song. We come back to the soft and relaxing vibe here as the opening instrumentation once again gives a dreamy and romantic feeling. On the first verse, her vocals sound great, smoothly running over the music and bringing that atmosphere to life. The chorus stands out just for the stronger vocals and the music still stays pretty. The thing about this song that stands out is that there is something unmistakably familiar about the overall atmosphere and even though it’s hard to figure out where, it’s there and it makes the song all the more wonderful.

Up next is 真珠, returning back to the tropical atmosphere. The song starts off with a very tropical instrumental but the instrumentation is different this time around, which makes it stand out. There are even some vocaliations in the background to try something new, even though they should have been removed. On the verses, Aya’s vocals smoothly show the sweetness of this song. She really holds her vocals well on the chorus and that’s particularly what makes this song so wonderful. Aya really shines on these tropical tracks and 真珠 is no different.

Fallin’ is the album’s semifinale. The tropical sound remains but this time, there is a more bright and sunny feeling to the instrumentation. She sounds great on the first verse, her vocals staying soft and sweet, which are the perfect compliment to the music. It’s hard to realize when the chorus comes in the first time around but soon it becomes very clear. Although it isn’t as strong as it could have been, it’s still a nice listen and an enjoyable part of the song. It may not be on par with the rest of the tropical songs on the album, there’s definitely something likeable about this song.

Closing out the album is きずな, which was released as a single before the album. The opening instrumentation is very pretty and there is one note right before the first verse that really catches the listener’s ear. There is such a relaxing atmosphere on the music that Aya adapts when it switches to being slightly more upbeat. Her vocals are wonderful on the chorus as they really portray emotion while keeping a certain innocence to it. It isn’t that different from the other soft and sweet tracks yet there is something so loveable about it. It gives off a sort of personal vibe, which makes it the perfect finale for this album.

Album Ranking: A

Tropical sounds pervade Matsuura Aya’s 6th album in order to keep an album theme the listener can enjoy. Tracks like boomboomboom, 結婚しない二人 and 真珠 really show how comfortable Aya is with that sound. However, she proves that she can bring the emotions to the forefront on beautiful songs like beautiful day and 想いあふれて as well. She certainly did a great job with this album and should be proud.

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