ravex – trax [Debut Studio Album]

May 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm (ravex) (, )

trax

raxex’s debut studio album, entitled trax, was released on 04.29.09. Two singles were released before the album: I RAVE U featuring DJ OZMA and Believe In LOVE featuring BoA.

The album’s opening track is the original version of I RAVE U. It opens up with a very fun club instrumental that pulls the listener into the world of the song. When the music becomes louder and more aggressive, that’s the turning point and when the listener can become truly addicted. There isn’t much to say about the song since it’s just the instrumental version of the collaboration song with DJ OZMA but all the twists and turns that the music takes makes this one very strong instrumental number.

Amuro Namie takes the stage for the addictive and unforgettable, ROCK U. The song opens up with a hot sleek instrumental that sounds something like Namie would have herself. She comes then in for the first verse and she provides vocals that suit this music perfectly, bringing her attitude to bring the song to life. Of course there has to be English with Namie and lyrics are “boys, boys wanna check, check me out” stand out strongly. Soon, she repeats “get down” and then belts out the “ROCK U,” allowing for a few moments of cool instrumentation in between. ROCK U is without a doubt, one of the album’s best songs and only Namie could bring hotness like this.

The boys of Tohoshinki jump on board for Just the Two of Us. Beginning the song are some distorted vocals and it sounds like they are saying “trax” (allusion to the album title). Slowly, the instrumentation becomes more diverse and more engaging, which is ironic because the repeating “trax” really gets annoying after a while. After about a minute and a half, there’s actually something different and it’s welcomed whole-heartedly. It’s a little hard to understand what they are saying but the vocals sound so cool and sleek, that it really doesn’t matter. The whole out-of-this-world vibe that this song brings out is great and had they cut down on the repeating “trax,” it would have been even better.

Up next is the collaboration with LISA, HOUSE NATION. The song starts off with a cool and fun instrumental with some distorted vocals from LISA that certainly start things off in an interesting way. It does take a while for her to actually start singing so it’s kind of annoying. LISA actually sounds kind of whiny although the music does sound very cool and keeps the listener’s attention. One part has her rapping in English and she shows much more attitude and personality here even if the lyrics are a bit questionable (maybe music went shopping and never came back). It’s quite the repetitive track and LISA isn’t the most grabbing vocalist so HOUSE NATION isn’t exactly a stellar track but it’s nice for what it is.

ravex joins Anna Tsuchiya for the fifth track, Bangalicious. Opening the song is a cool instrumental with a few rock elements here and there to make the listener pay attention. Then Anna comes in and repeats a phrase before moving into the real first verse. There’s just something so drawing and sleek about her vocals that work with the music in creating a strong atmosphere. The chorus is pretty catchy since the music feels like it’s traveling through different levels and Anna gives some nice vocals as well. In terms of instrumentation, this track doesn’t have that same instant connection as some of the other tracks but it kind of creeps on the listener throughout the song and maintains control.

Believe in LOVE puts BoA front and center for a great track. The song begins with a very cool and almost cold instrumental that definitely catches the listener’s attention. The beat slowly comes in and makes the music more diverse, in time for BoA to bring it. Her vocals are great and it sounds like she’s really into the story of the song. English phrases like “I’m looking for your heart” and “I’m looking for your smile” really pop and provide the listener with a constant reminder of what the song is going to bring. The chorus is very interesting as the music becomes almost orchestral and that last note that BoA holds is absolutely fantastic. It’s definitely one of the best album tracks and one to look out for.

NEW エキセントリックガール features Chisa of GIRL NEXT DOOR. The song starts off with a really strange instrumental that catches the listener’s attention well due to its pitch. Chisa then comes in singing and she kind of sounds different than she usually does and the music matches the title perfectly because it is definitely eccentric. The part where her vocals are distorted are cool because they move with the music so well. There are a lot of parts of the music that are particularly video-game like and that’s where a lot of the song’s charm lies. NEW エキセントリックガール is a very good song and an album stand out. If only GIRL NEXT DOOR would try something like this for their own music.

Goto Maki joins ravex for Golden LUV, the B-side of their second single. Beginning the song is a nice instrumentation and when Maki comes in to sing, she sounds great. Her vocals are sleek and smooth but unfortunately, the music is where the song falls flat and it doesn’t capture the attention of the listener. There are points where she sings in the higher range and it’s hard to understand what she is saying and the whole cuteness thing just doesn’t work. On the chorus, the instrumentation takes on a kind of jazzy dance atmosphere, which is nice, but nothing that is very grabbing so the listener isn’t left with very much. Perhaps Maki would have been better suited with more of a more aggressive song like Amuro Namie.

Up next is V.I.P.P. (Very Important Party People), with TRF and VERBAL. The song begins with an interesting instrumental that builds anticipation in the listener and it slowly becomes more diverse, having a sort of spacey element to it. VERBAL then repeats “why you gotta be so damn hot” and the music has another layer to it that adds to the fun-ness of the song. They really should have taken out the backing cheering vocals but they are somewhat distracting. Basically, VERBAL and TRF sound great (VERBAL in particular) and the music is really cool but those cheers just get to be annoying very quickly.

One More Night has ravex teaming up with MONKEY MAJIK. Opening the song is an instrumental that sounds like it truly belongs in a video game and then it changes immediately when MONKEY MAJIK comes in to sing. The music takes a step back so the spotlight is on them and there’s kind of an alluring element to the vocals but there is just something that stops it from being truly memorable. Honestly, the music is what keeps the chorus alive and if someone else were participating on the song, it might have been more memorable. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the vocal presence to keep the listener hooked. One More Night is one of the weaker tracks on the album although the music does sound good.

悪い子みつけた gets Yuko Ando in the spotlight and is interesting because it’s a slower number. The opening instrumental gives the feeling of a lazy summer day and then Yuko starts. There is something inconsistent in her vocals which is hard to describe but it’s kind of distracting. It’s really a shame because the music of the song is so strong and had somebody else done this song, it could have come out even better. So the music of the song is fantastic while the vocals could have been better.

Closing the album is the DJ OZMA version of I RAVE U. Well the original version was just an instrumental track and that was honestly better than this version. It’s always nice to have a vocal presence on a song but DJ OZMA just really sounds loud and that’s about all he does. It sounds messy and they’re better off with just the music because that’s where the song’s addictive point lies.

Album Ranking: B +

ravex did a pretty good job of here of giving some great music for all the guests to show off with. Some tracks had fantastic instrumentations with not so great vocal accompaniment (I RAVE U featuring DJ OZMA / 悪い子みつけた featuring Yuko Ando); some tracks had music that fell flat while the vocalist held it up (Golden LUV featuring Goto Maki) and some found the perfect balance (ROCK U featuring Amuro Namie / Believe in LOVE featuring BoA). Overall though, it was a solid album and hopefully they’ll continue to bring in strong guests and more great electric instrumentals.

Best 5 Memorable Tracks (In Order Of Tracklist): ROCK U featuring Amuro Namie / Just the Two of Us featuring Tohoshinki / Believe in LOVE featuring BoA / NEW エキセントリックガール featuring Chisa / V.I.P.P. (Very Important Party People) featuring TRF and VERBAL

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ravex – Believe In LOVE featuring BoA [2nd Single]

February 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm (ravex) (, )

ravex

ravex’s 2nd single, entitled Believe In LOVE featuring BoA, was released on 02.18.09.

Believe In LOVE is a very spacey and sleek number that allows BoA to shine. That opening instrumental is absolutely addictive and takes the listener to another world. Soon the beat comes in and the listener is introduced to the first verse. Each set begins with BoA singing “I’m looking for your…” (voice, touch, heart, etc…) and her overall vocals really support the music, establishing a clear atomsphere. It’s the grandeur of the chorus that makes this song so memorable as BoA delivers an amazing vocal performance. When she sings “believe in love,” she holds that last note so beautifully and powerfully, that it blows the listener away. Believe In LOVE is an amazing song that shows the power of ravex’s production and BoA’s vocals.

ravex teams up with Goto Maki for the B-side, Golden LUV. Unfortunately, the song doesn’t come close to the awesomeness of the A-side which is too bad. The fault of that is the instrumentation because Maki’s vocals are on point throughout the song. The music just feels so repetitive and although the piano sounds nice, it feels like it’s running on and the whole disco theme just doesn’t work as well here. It seems like a bit of a waste of Maki’s talents but it’s all right.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Believe In LOVE was made. It’s nothing special though, just a series of clips from anime series such as Astro Boy. A little effort should have been put into the video.

Single Ranking: A –

ravex and BoA make one heck of a team as seen by the cool and fun A-side. The B-side is a little off but enjoyable nonetheless. Hopefully their album will keep the same quality as the A-side with such A-tier artists like Amuro Namie and Tohoshinki.

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