The Possible – 幸せの形 [11th Single]

January 26, 2009 at 3:44 am (The Possible) (, )


The Possible’s 11th single, entitled 幸せの形, was released on 01.07.09. The title track was used as the theme song for the Playstation 2 game Hyakko.

幸せの形 is a sweet midtempo number. The song begins with a very old-sounding instrumental that has a very nostalgic feeling to it before the chorus comes in. The girls’ voices harmonize well although the instrumentation is a little bland. Following the chorus, the music becomes fuller and a bit more grabbing in spite of the random guy’s “yos” in the background. On the verses, we get the chance to see more of the girls’ vocals and there is a real naturalness to them that somehow makes the song more memorable. The song sticks to a pretty simple formula but there is something strangely charming about it.

The B-side of this single is 愛のエナジー. Begining the song is the chorus and immediately the cute atmosphere comes to life. Even though it has a very regular H!P sound, that little instrumental section after the chorus has something special about it that makes it stand out. This song actually bears quite a similarity to the A-side counterpart except for its missing that natural and magical element to make it really stand out. So essentially, it feels like a watered down version of the A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 幸せの形 was made and it stays to a formula throughout. The chorus features some dancing, which is more cute than impressive. On the verses, the girls are seen standing around in town with earphones in their ears. There are also scenes of each girl holding a picture of their younger self over their face. I really liked the scenes when they were in town so if the whole video was like that, then it would have been stellar.

Single Ranking: B

There is a certain natural feeling about The Possible’s music which makes it different than “just another H!P song.” The girls’ vocals are pretty good and it’ll be interesting to see if they experiment with different styles throughout the year.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Ito Christine – groovy x2 [Digital Single]

December 30, 2008 at 3:35 pm (Ito Yuna) (, )


In order to further promote Ito Yuna’s latest single, 恋は groovy x2, she took on the alter ego of Ito Christine. She released an English version of the song, newly titled groovy x2, released digitally.

There really is no change between 恋は groovy x2 and groovy x2 except for the fact that the latter is in English. The music is exactly the same and most of the notes match up between both versions perfectly. However more vocalizations with more lasting power are noticeable in this English version. Also the “hey girl” in the original is now replaced with “all right.” It does sound a little annoying that she repeats “love is so groovy groovy” so many times in the chorus but overall, it’s a nice English version of the song. The Japanese version is definitely superior but it was a fun idea to have an alter ego record an English version.

In order to promote the single, a PV for groovy x2 was made. The video consists of an opening interview between Christine and Mr. Goobi. She asks various questions and he responds each time with “goobi.” The rest of the video is set up like a live performance of the song by Mr. Goobi and other scenes of Christine spreading the word about “goobi.” It’s a very very strange video but I suppose it fits with the fun light-hearted energy of the song.

Single Ranking: B

groovy x2 is nowhere as strong 恋は groovy x2 but it was a nice idea to have an English version as Yuna sounds vey comfortable and natural singing it. I think we will be seeing more of Christine in the future.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Natsumi Abe – スクリーン [11th Single]

December 22, 2008 at 1:34 am (Natsumi Abe) (, )


Natsumi Abe’s 11th single, entitled スクリーン, was released on 12.03.08.

スクリーン, a relaxing pop number, is the title track. The song starts off with an upbeat instrumental that has a sort of cute vibe and an almost delicate feel to it, much like a screen. Then the first verse begins and Abe’s vocals are nice here and the instrumental is nice although it doesn’t have that spark that the listener hopes for. There is something more magical about the chorus that really works in the song’s favor. She has certain moments where her vocals really shine and these moments coincide with certain sparkling instrumental moments. On the pure instrumental, the instrumentation takes on a slightly different tone and while it is enjoyable, it was stronger when it was lighter. Overall though, it’s an enjoyable song worth the listen.

さよならさえ言えぬまま is the single’s B-side. The song begins with a very pretty piano, opening the listener to a very natural and relaxing atmosphere. Then the first verse starts and Abe comes in with some very pretty vocals, that just perfectly graze the instrumental. She holds this one note before the chorus and even though it doesn’t last very long, it’s definitely a standout part of the song because her voice just carries that magic. She portrays the emotions very strongly on the chorus as she gives a stronger vocal performance, especially when she sings the title of the song. The pure instrumental section is nice because the listener gets a nice spotlight on the guitar before being lead back into the chorus. This is an excellent song as Abe gives fantastic vocals that portray her emotions well over a very natural  and pretty instrumental.

In order to promote the single, a PV for スクリーン was made. The video is very simple with the primary scene being of Abe standing in a large room as the camera spins to catch her at various angles. There are a few other scenes where she looks very pretty as well. Even though not very much goes on, it’s simple and that fits perfectly with the song’s sound.

Single Ranking: A

スクリーン is a great single coming from Abe. The title track has a relaxing atmosphere while still having a catchy pop sound, which is a great combination for this song. It’s actually the B-side, さよならさえ言えぬまま, that is the single’s selling point. It really captures the natural emotions well and give them to the listener. She definitely did a good job on this single and it gives me hope for her in the future.

Permalink Leave a Comment


December 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm (EXILE) (, )


EXILE’s 29th single, entitled LAST CHRISTMAS, was released on 11.26.08. The song is a cover of WHAM’s song of the same title.

LAST CHRISTMAS is an wonderful upbeat wintery number. The song begins on a very strong note with the boys vocalizing before the beautiful and upbeat wintery instrumentation comes in and entices the listener. On the chorus, the boys really sound great as their vocals are smooth and even have a certain sex appeal to them. What stands out the most from the chorus is the opening line “last christmas,” which is sung perfectly. The verses follow suit and stand out as Atsushi sings his heart out, hitting the higher notes fantastically. Overall, LAST CHRISTMAS is a very enjoyable song worth checking out from these very talented boys.

Single Ranking: A –

LAST CHRISTMAS certainly is one of the best Christmas songs of 2008 and a much more memorable single coming from these boys than The Birthday ~Ti Amo.~ I hope they get to be releasing material aside from new songs for BEST albums soon.

Permalink Leave a Comment

BENI – もう二度と… [9th Single]

December 6, 2008 at 3:12 pm (BENI) (, )


BENI’s (a.k.a. Arashiro Beni) 9th single, entitled もう二度と…, was released on 12.10.08. This single is BENI’s first since her name change and is a response song to the smash hit もう二度と… (Dohzi-T featuring Arashiro Beni).

もう二度と… is a sweet and painful love song. The song begins with the chorus and her vocals are very pretty here, really capturing the sadness of the song. The use of English phrases also really make it pop, showcasing BENI’s strong vocals. Although the instrumentation is very simple, it works in putting the spotlight on her voice and the emotions. The verses are a little bit slow as both the vocals and instrumentation calm down but each time the chorus comes around, the listener gets hooked again. So it’s a nice song but it would have been much more enjoyable had the verses been stronger.

In order to promote the single, a PV for もう二度と… was made. Unfortunately, the video is really boring as it just features BENI standing in a train station singing. There’s just nothing going on in this video so in this case, simplicity was not the key.

Single Ranking: B –

I was hoping that BENI’s comeback would be amazing but having it just be an answer song was just not a very wise idea. Hopefully she’ll be doing more upbeat music in the future since that’s where she shines or at least a very pretty slow song a la Mellow Parade.

Permalink 1 Comment

Jyongri – Winter Love Story [6th Single]

December 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm (Jyongri) (, )


Jyongri’s 6th single, entitled Winter Love Story, was released on 12.03.08.

Winter Love Story is an enjoyable upbeat wintery number. The song starts off with an upbeat and interesting instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s attention. Following is the chorus and Jyongri’s vocals go very well with this instrumentation, which twinkles and sparkles the sounds of winter beautifully. She finishes off by singing “winter love story,” which sets up the listener nicely for the first verse. On the verses, Jyongri’s vocals reamin strong as they continue to be smooth and she reaches a little higher at some points, hitting the notes with ease. Somewhat strangely, the rest of the song is sung in English (even the chorus, which is translated into English) but it actually makes the song pop even more. The pure instrumental section is very enjoyable as it spotlights the quirkiness and cuteness of the song. Overall, Winter Love Story is a very strong song and certainly one of Jyongri’s best numbers to date.

Tender Touch, which was already released on her latest album, appears as the first B-side on this single. I’m not very clear as to why it’s being released again but I suppose it is because they thought it fit with the theme of the single. Opening the song is the piano, which instantly draws the listener into another world and prepares them for the first verse. Jyongri’s vocals are very pretty here, portraying the emotions of the lyrics perfectly while the instrumentation sits back and supports her. The chorus stands out particularly for the first line, “It only takes that tender touch” while the rest follows nicely as Jyongri gives more strong vocals. Tender Touch was a good song when it was released and it actually sounds better in the context of the single so I suppose releasing it again was actually a smart idea.

The second and last B-side is Blue Destiny. Much like the previous song, the piano begins the song but that clear magic doesn’t come forth. However once Jyongri comes to sing on the first verse, the listener feels goosebumps since the combination of her voice and the piano just brings the emotions to the forward. What makes the chorus stand out is that small moment at the beginning of the chorus that sounds so grand and diverse, setting up the rest of the chorus to be strong. Jyongri’s vocals are wonderful and keep the listener truly engaged with her words. Blue Destiny is a fantastic way to end the song and although it might not really catch you at the first few moments, it definitely will as the song goes on.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Winter Love Story was made. The video begins with Jyongri in a library as her crush passes her. She leaves and accidentally drops a paper on the ground, which he picks up. The rest of the video features the boy searching for her to return it and he finally does at the end. What’s enjoyable about this video is that it’s relatable and it tells a cute story that shines in the viewer’s eyes.

Single Ranking: A

After the disappointing album that was Love Forever, Jyongri gets back in control with Winter Love Story. The title track is a fabulous upbeat track that really portrays the sounds of winter well while keeping that uptempo magic. Both B-sides take on the ballad route strongly as Jyongri emotes wonderfully and is accompanied by the piano. This single proves Jyongri can make magic happen so I hope it continues onto her next singles.

Permalink Leave a Comment

KAT-TUN – White X’mas [8th Single]

December 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm (KAT-TUN) (, )


KAT-TUN’s 8th single, entitled White X’mas, was released on 12.03.08.

White X’mas is the group’s second ballad to be released as a single. The song begins with the piano to give that song a nice and sweet atmosphere and slowly the instrumentation becomes more grand, nicely introducing the first verse. During the first verse, the vocals are very good and smooth, perfectly supporting the beautiful music. Well the chorus is pretty good too as the boys come together to harmonize perfectly and even reach a little higher so that the emotions stand out although it would have been even stronger had the instrumentation been more grand. Overall the song is pretty good although it doesn’t ever really have a climax point but it’s a nice listen.

In order to promote the single, a PV for White X’mas was made. This video bears a certain similarity to NEWS’ 太陽のナミダ, featuring scenes of the boys on their own as well as a scene of them all together outside. However this one uses snow while the other uses rain. Both have a dark atmosphere to them that work well but the real strongest element of this video is the emotional presence. All the members really bring the emotions out, which perfectly connects to the emotions of the song. It’s a wonderful video just because it really makes the viewer see what they hear.

Single Ranking: B +

White Xmas is a very nice change from the boys’ previous rock numbers although it isn’t the most memorable. The emotions are clear and the vocals are very smooth, which makes for an enjoyable listen. It could have been stronger but it’s nice.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Aoyama Thelma – 大っきらい でもありがと [5th Single]

December 6, 2008 at 11:09 am (Aoyama Thelma) (, )


Aoyama Thelma’s 5th single, entitled 大っきらい でもありがと, was released on 12.10.08.

大っきらい でもありがと is an emotional song. The song starts off with a nice slow instrumental with a clear beat. There is a very calming effect from the beautiful music, which works well in the song’s favor for capturing the listener. Then the first verse begins and Thelma’s vocals are nice but that magic from just a few seconds earlier disappears. That lack of magic continues onto the chorus where there just feels like something is missing. Perhaps it’s the lack of attention on the instrumentation that makes it seem less special and Thelma’s vocals are nice but somehow, the listener just doesn’t catch on. Luckily, the song becomes a lot stronger on the second chorus as the instrumentation becomes more diverse and powerful, better suiting Thelma’s vocals.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 大っきらい でもありがと was made. The video is very simple (much like all of Thelma’s videos) but she certainly is pretty here, which makes it enjoyable. The primary scene is of Thelma lying down while there is another scene of Thelma sitting at a table waiting to get a call. Again, the video doesn’t have much going on but it does nicely show the emotions of the song.

Single Ranking: B

Even though it’s a step down from the last single, Thelma does put a lot of heart into 大っきらい でもありがと. With its clear emotional presence coming from both Thelma’s vocals and the instrumentation, it catches the listener’s ears.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Ito Yuna – 恋は groovy x2 [12th Single]

November 26, 2008 at 6:16 pm (Ito Yuna) (, )


Ito Yuna’s 12th single, entitled 恋は groovy x2, was released on 11.26.08. The title track was used to promote GAP Japan’s 2008 Holiday Collection Winter Neutrals.

恋は groovy x2 is a fun uptempo number that makes the listener want to get up and move. After Yuna sings “na na na” over the addictive instrumentation, we come into the first verse. One thing that is notable about this song is that although the song is upbeat and fun, Yuna provides strong and powerful vocals that show off her range amazingly. After a few more “na na na”s, the chorus comes in full effect  and it’s amazingly catchy as she continues to give good vocals, even hitting some higher ones with ease. The title of the song and the following line are the most standout parts of the chorus. The song closes with some great adlibbing, followed by the line that runs through the back of the instrumentation “baby come with me tonight, baby come into the light.” One thing that might irk the listener is that last “groovy,” which feels a little out of place.

真冬の星座 is the B-side. The piano opens the song on a strong note, immediately drawing at the listener’s emotions. Yuna then comes in and sings the first verse and she sounds absolutely fantastic here as her vocals smoothly carress the beautiful music. Although the chorus is hard to find at first, once it becomes clear, the listener doesn’t want to let it go as Yuna really makes you believe her singing. This is a fantastic ballad worth checking out an a strong compliment to the uptempo A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 恋は groovy x2 was made. The video generally features Yuna in GAP’s clothing and just showing off their products. Although it may not be particularly eventful, it does capture the fun spirit of the song well.

Single Ranking: A

Following the fantastic single miss you, Yuna comes back stronger than ever with 恋は groovy x2. The title track shows off Yuna’s vocals over an addictive instrumental while the B-side brings up the pretty and sweet emotions of the heart. It’s another solid from Yuna and certainly one to celebrate.

Permalink 2 Comments

Kuraki Mai – 24 Xmas Time [30th Single]

November 25, 2008 at 8:19 pm (Kuraki Mai) (, )


Kuraki Mai’s 30th single, entitled 24 Xmas Time, was released on 11.26.08. Although a month away from Christmas, the single does a perfect job of bringing that wintertime feeling close to the listener’s heart. The title track was used as the theme song for the TV series Koisuru Hanakimi while the B-side was used as an insert song.

24 Xmas time is a nice chill midtempo number that immediately resonates with the listener. From the moment the instrumentation opens, the listener knows that they are going to be taken on a journey. Mai opens up with the chorus and the certain fragile element of the song really works here in keeping that gentleness present. It’s the verses, however, that make this song so addictive. Her vocals sound absolutely wonderful here and that gentleness works even better as the music takes on a lighter tone as well. She sings “I wanna take a chance,” which provides the chorus with a nice build-up. The third verse is a rap from KEN-RYW and he does a very nice job of keeping the flavor up. What’s interesting about this song is that from the sound alone, it’s not particularly wintery but rather a pop song with a winter bell that appears at times. It’s actually a good way to approach so that Mai’s style still can come through. 24 Xmas Time is definitely her best song post ONE LIFE and what a way to introduce the sounds of winter.

The B-side of this single is All I Want. This song definitely captures the wintery atmosphere as well as a longing for a loved one. Mai’s vocals really portray the emotions well and show off her range nicely. Right before the chorus, she sings “All I want for Christmas is you” and that line alone makes the listener feel the song’s meaning. It’s a great song and a good compliment to the A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 24 Xmas Time was made. The video is pretty simple, centering around Mai singing into a microphone (on a microphone stand) with dancers behind her. One enjoyable part of this video is that Mai’s personality really comes out, such as when she is putting on a little blush and then she jokingly dabs some at the camera. She’s cute and fun here, which makes the video all the more enjoyable.

Single Ranking: A

After releasing various singles, Mai finally comes to one that is addictive on the first listen. 24 Xmas Time is a fabulous laid-back song that shows off Mai’s voice and goes back to her older sound. All I Want is a good compliment, taking the ballad route and getting the emotions out there strongly. This is easily her best single post ONE LIFE and worth checking out.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »