Tags: best partner, jasmine, review, single
JASMINE – Best Partner
1. Best Partner
3. Touch me on the Beach
4. Best Partner (Instrumental)
After a long silence, JASMINE released this single. Of course that was months ago and now there’s a long silence again. COME ON JASMINE. I NEED MORE OF YOUR MUSIC, aka I liked these songs.
After a short intro “Best Partner” starts with JASMINE singing against some quick strings. Clapping and beats soon follow in what seems like typical JASMINE fashion. Things get a little more interesting though in the lead up to the chorus as I quickly realize all of this is building up to an emotional and explosive sounding chorus, the highlight of the song. It was really what drew me into the song the most and really made me like it. JASMINE’s belting really conveys in simple sound what is being conveyed in the lyrics. I liked how the music somehow seems lighter at the end in the outro though I still do like the darker more serious tone of the song overall. Other than having a title that seemed awkward to me at first I feel like this is one of JASMINE’s better songs, now if she would just release more…
Score – 9
“B*TCH*S”, what a title. Once again, kind of an explosive, brazen kind of song with heavy synth going on. The background vocalizing throughout the song, especially during the chorus heightens the song, really bringing it to another level. I really loved the lyrics, strong, playful, sexy, with a real girl on top feel to them. JASMINE really does well with these types of songs I think.
Score – 8.5
“Touch me on the Beach” is a sexy, high energy, summer track that never lets up. I liked the way the lyrics seemed to flow and especially how JASMINE sings them, there is a playful, wildness she can give her voice sometimes that really works for her and the mood of the song. Again, these are the kinds of songs that I feel she does really good with. That being said, I did think that this was the weakest track overall. It’s really not bad, but the other two are just better and kind of end up overshadowing it.
Score – 7.5
Really glad JASMINE comes back strong with this single, but not happy she still hasn’t released anything new yet…
Tags: album, ayumi hamasaki, love again, review
Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE again
1. Wake me up
2. Song 4 U
7. Bye-bye darling
8. snowy kiss
9. Sweet scar
12. untitled for her… story 2
15. You & Me
So Ayumi and Co. angered a lot of fans with this release as it included every track from the two mini albums she had just put out and naturally only had a few new tracks, like I said in my again review, I couldn’t care less. At this stage I feel like Ayu could release stuff in any way she wants to and if I get a good song or two out of it then I’m happy.
Tags: again, ayumi hamasaki, mini album, review
Ayumi Hamasaki – again
1. Wake me up
2. Sweet scar
3. snowy kiss
5. Missing (Orchestra Version)
6. Melody (Acoustic Piano Version)
7. Wake Me Up (Remo-con rmx)
8. snowy kiss (Shohei Matsumoto Remix)
9. Wake me up (Original Instrumental)
10. Sweet scar (Original Instrumental)
11. snowy kiss (Original Instrumental)
12. Ivy (Original Instrumental)
So here is again, hot off the heels of my LOVE review. I’m just hoping to keep on popping out these reviews as fast as possible until I’m all caught up.
From the second I first hear it, I knew “Wake me up” was going to be a good song. The song starts out with deep synth and Ayu singing in a deep, somewhat serious tone. The song builds up perfectly to an explosive chorus with heavy percussion and synth with Ayu belting out the words with raw emotion. It’s catchy as hell and works well to pump you up. If I was a person who worked out regularly (I should be, oops.) this would definitely be my new workout jam.
Score – 9.5
On my first listen I thought “Sweet scar” was one of the most boring songs Ayu had ever done. However, I’ve come to realize the beauty in its simplicity. See, this song is pretty bare bones consisting of Ayu’s tender almost breathy at times vocals, alongside some piano, violin, and little else. With just those things, the song really comes together and feels really cohesive. It’s also a nice change up from the usual ballads. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of ballads. BALLAD by Ayu is one of my favorite ballads from her, it’s so grand and opposite from this song. But like I said, Sweet scar is just nice for a change, it really shows that less is more.
Score – 9
We change gears a lot with “snowy kiss” coming up next. The electric guitar, strings and synth in the intro does not prepare you for the stuff that’s about to go down. The beat drops heavy as Ayu starts belting out the chorus and I just loved the way the vocals were layered and harmonized, it really gave it an interesting sound. The strong bass featured throughout the song gives it a sense of seriousness to the situation and Ayu’s vocals amplify that in such a strong way. I love her ability in songs like this to clue you in to what’s going on just on the sound of her voice. I love that the song never really lets up and is thumping from beginning to end. A few years ago, I don’t think I would have liked a song like this as much as I do but I guess Ayu brings that out in me.
Score – 9
The mini album closes to a close with “Ivy” which is somewhat of a mid tempo ballad in a more traditional sense. In the first half of the song, it just seems kind of OK compared to the other 3 songs on here simply because of the fact this it is more traditional with piano, strings, chimes, etc. However, the latter half of the song really impresses me a bit more. It really starts to build and feels like the entire song really was leading up to it as Ayu starts to put more and more emphasis and emotion into her vocals. Even though it’s my least favorite off of this mini I feel it closes it well and I still enjoy listening to it.
Score – 8
I couldn’t help feeling that the “Orchestra Version” of Missing sufferes from the same things that the Song 4 U Orchestra Version does. The arragement is pretty and makes the song a bit more heartfelt in a tones down way, but pales to the original still. There’s just something about the original being a bit brazen and fast paced that makes it work better than this sort of ballad format.
Score – 7
Again, I was disappointed with the “Acoustic Piano Version” of Melody. The original song is great as a relaxing, mid temp song with a laid back vibe. So I felt slowing it down and stripping it down in this way to just sole piano kind of really detracts from what is good about it. So overall just a little bit disappointed with this mix, again, considering I usually love this kind of stuff no matter what.
Going from disappointment to pleasant surprise, the “Remo-con rmx” of Wake me up is actually pretty great. I’ll try not to jinx it, but perhaps I’m becoming OK with some remixes. Mostly I’ll like a remix if it maintains at least a little kind of structure to it. It’s the crazy, hyper incoherent messes that I don’t really care for. Naturally some dubstep influences in here but I feel like at this stage it is to be expected, especially for an artist like Ayu. The heavy synth and thumping beats here in particular were actually quite melodic at times while even making the song feel a little darker and more mysterious.
The “Shoehi Matsumoto Remix” of snowy kiss kind of has the same things going for it but at the same time, I simply manage to love the original so much that it impedes my ability to fully enjoy this remix. I guess it does a good job of turning something that’s originally melancholic and emotionally charged into something dancey and keeping that emotion with it.
Well, I can honestly say that this mini was a lot better than LOVE was. The songs were just better and I find myself listening to them more than what’s on LOVE, plain and simple.
Tags: ayumi hamasaki, love, mini album, review
Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE
1. Song 4 U
4. Song 4 U (Orchestra Version)
5. You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA Remix)
6. You & Me (Remo-con rmx – Extended)
7. Missing (Dubscribe Remix)
8. Melody (BROKEN HAZE Remix)
9. Song 4 U (Original Instrumental)
10. Missing (Original Instrumental)
11. Melody (Original Instrumental)
12. You & Me (Original Instrumental)
OK let’s face it, more tracks does not a mini album make. I know why they decided to classify this and again as mini albums and I know a lot of fans were upset because of LOVE again, though frankly I couldn’t care less.
Just as Tales of Xillia 2 is a sequel to Tales of Xillia, I find that “Song 4 U” is a sequel to progress. I feel like the songs have slightly similar structure and sound yet manage to be unique and I really like that about the two of them. However, at the same time, I wouldn’t say it’s fair to and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like they have to compare the two songs. I find Song 4 U to be a little better than progress though, but that’s just my opinion. I love the way the lyrics flow so well throughout the entire song, in the verses and the choruses. The overall heightened emotion of the vocals that seems to come through more during the end, as if it’s been building up the whole time was really cool to me.
Score – 8.5
“Missing” was originally described as an emotional rock track and while I don’t think it lives up to what I thought it was going to be based off of the description it still is a good emotionally charged song. The feelings conveyed in the vocals, especially where the chorus is concerned, and the prominent piano featured through the entirety of the song helps with that. The chorus, of course, stick with me strongly from the first time that I heard it in a preview, I couldn’t get it out of my head! Apart from some electric guitar and some heavy percussion there really wasn’t anything here that struck me as being particularly “rock-ish” but that was fine with me. At first I honestly thought that there was a part of the song missing towards the end as it had this abrupt start and stop to it and I’m wondering if this was intentional. If so, good going Ayu… 😛
Score – 8
To me, “Melody” is a pretty good calming, mid tempo track. It starts off seemingly stripped down until a larger, grander electrified intro crashes in, when the singing starts however, it goes back to being stripped with pretty much just Ayu’s vocals and acoustic guitar. Of course, slowly but surely, things start to build as we get up to the chorus which unfortunately was a little lackluster for me. I feel like the music’s fine, I just expected Ayu to pull out something better either lyrically or vocally, so I was a little disappointed in that regard. Overall though, I appreciated the more relaxed feel I got from this after coming down from Song 4 U and Missing. It’s a sweet song but I feel like against the other two, it just doesn’t manage to stand out much, still, I enjoy it from time to time.
Score – 7.5
The “Orchestra Version” of Song 4 U seems like it could suit the game well but I don’t think it brings the song itself to new heights. If anything it’s just a bit quieter though at times the grandness of the arrangement brings it to another level not really heard in the original. Normally I really love these versions of Ayu’s song but for this one, I think I vastly prefer the original.
Score – 7
Didn’t really care for the “SHINICHI OSAWA Remix” of You & Me. It seems a little too scattered and a little boring because of all the instrumental breaks. I listened to the “Remo-con Remix” a lot and it’s not my fave but it’s way more cohesive and melodic than the first remix is, I was actually able to dig it.
The “Dubscribe Remix” of Missing was predictable at best but it has its moments. The breakdowns with some vocals were simultaneously annoying as they were interesting to me, I managed to get into it a bit mostly because of how the chorus comes in after each of them.
If there’s any remix worth mentioning on here, it’s the “BROKEN HAZE” remix of Melody. I, wait for it, actually liked this remix. Crazy I know but I do. I genuinely got into it after a few listens. It’s cohesive and gives the song a new sound of course, but also a completely different vibe. The cut vocals and vocals samples along with rearranged vocalizing really impressed me and actually added to extended music breaks. I think i was actually pleased to find a remix I didn’t completely hate, it’s happened sporadically before, though.
This mini album is about 3 or 4 tracks short of feeling like a real mini album to me. it’s a maxi-single at best. That being said, even though I like all 3 songs for the most part, they are just kind of OK and I feel like for only having 3 songs it needed something a little better.
Tags: album, angela aki, blue, review
Angela Aki – BLUE
3. Foolish Love
4. Koi no Kakehiki
6. In My Blood
7. You and I
9. Kokoro no Tenkiyohou
11. Yoake Mae no Inori
13. One Family ~Uchuu no Nagisa~
Well, I guess marriage and pregnancy do some wonderful things for a classy gal like Angela Aki. BLUE is one of her best albums to date and it’s just really refreshing and I think Angela knew it would be because that’s the kind of album she clearly wanted to make. You can just tell, from the cover, to the tracks themselves, it just exudes a new and fresh attitude. It’s an album I’ve really enjoyed listening to over and over.
And yes I really am going to try to just jump right back in to reviewing everything like I used to, but give me time. Continue Reading Angela Aki – BLUE…
Tags: angela aki, kokuhaku, review, single
Angela Aki – Kokuhaku
2. Kokuhaku -Ishino Takkyu Remix-
3. Uchuu -80KIDZ Remix-
4. Kokuhaku -Anime Version-
Angela revitalizes her tried and true sound while still sounding refreshing with Kokuhaku. It’s an uplifting song that has excellent flow and is a perfect fit for summer. I was instantly drawn in with the infectious melody and catchy lyrics, especially the chorus. The structure of the song itself has the chorus delayed a bit which I kind of liked because it made it that much better when it does finally hit. Once again I’m so attracted to Angela’s voice and the way she says the words and the emotion she pours into them. That last “Say you love me too” in the bridge? Perfection.
Score – 9.5
Those remixes are admittedly pretty terrible, and the Anime Version of Kokuhaku is just an abridged version of the song so not much to mention there.
Tags: girl next door, review, signal, single
girl next door – signal
2. Precious Friend
3. signal (Instrumental)
4. Precious Friend (Instrumental)
Aw cute, that track listing is like a neat little pyramid. Too bad that’s the only thing I’m probably going to like about this single… Ha, if I thought I had lost faith in Ken Hirai what do I think about gnd?
OK, I take it back, “signal” isn’t that bad, especially since it has this kind of retro, 90’s J-Pop sound to it, or at least I think it does… But anyway, I liked the fast pace of the verses and the chorus had a nice melody to it, although some of the progression felt very
generic gnd. At the same time, I have to say it was a little more fresh than some of the stuff that, say, was on Destination. So kudos for that, a little more creativity in the overall production and we may have something!
Score – 7.5
I have to say that the same general comments apply to Precious Friend although it’s a bit more… reductive, shall we say. One of it’s saving graces was Chisa’s vocals, which, I will say I always tend to like especially here. Another was this really interesting and damn near exciting piano and synth progression that I absolutely died for when I heard, and I shit you not there was something a little “Mamma Mia” about it. If you heard it you might know what I was talking about. But anyway, I think I simultanesouly was thankful for it, but at the same time it just made me crave more and then become sad because there wasn’t any more.
Score – 7
While I’m slightly impressed, I’m of course not blown away, and I’ve seen new era potential be shot in the face by gnd before sooo….
Tags: confession, ken hirai, kokuhaku, review, single
Ken Hirai – Kokuhaku
2. Woman “W no Higeki” Yori
3. Kokuhaku -less vocal-
See kids, take note, this is what happens when there isn’t anything being released for a set time, I keep track of the next releases, however far away they may be, but I always get either a little lazy and take a while to get back to reviewing them once they actually get released or I forget outright… Enough of my excuses though.
“Kokuhaku” really strikes me as a return to form for Ken, as his past couple releases have been so insanely bad I’ve wanted to stop reviewing them once and for all and save my ears the pain. I’m happy to report that Kokuhaku is really good. I really wasn’t expecting how dark this song was going to sound but it’s exactly that. The synths play off great with quite a funked up electric guitar and strings. The production overall blasts a slew of Ken’s past songs out of the water, sounding really dramatic at times and just really well put together, not to mention that this song actually has proper flow which I think was missing from his past releases as well. I think what I liked was Ken’s voice, of course he sounds good, but there is also an intensity there that I found really great and refreshing.
Score – 8
While I was really worried that I was going to be hit with another crap ballad from Ken, since his last few have been pretty bad, “Woman “W no Higeki” Yori” was nice to hear. The whole song has an overall jazzy, lounge-like atmosphere to it. It’s really relaxed and made me feel relaxed and that’s one of the reasons I liked it as much as I did. Again Ken’s vocals are just right, and not annoying to me like they had previously been for a bit. The piano and strings are positively on point here and again, sound refreshing and not at all generic to me.
Score – 8
AHHHHHHH. I’m so glad this was actually really good! Thank god too, I was beginning to lose hope.
Tags: new label, perfume, review, single, spring of life
Perfume – Spring of Life
1. Spring of Life
3. Spring of Life (Original Instrumental)
4. Communication (Original Instrumental)
A label change, looking to reach a global market, next stop world domination? We’ll see…
There’s something fresh sounding about “Spring of Life” and I’m not sure what it really is, but I’m liking it. I feel like this song does a good job of revitalizing the girls. The synth is bright and especially during the chorus kind of cheery, the chorus itself is really catchy. The bridge was especially good to me as it starts out with a change to a bit heavier, edgier synth. Although when hearing something like that I crave more of it, a la edge, but oh well. A new synth melody starts playing afterwards and continues on into the song’s last chorus which I thought was really cool and made the ending of the song that much better.
Score – 8.5
“Communication” confuses you really quickly by starting up with a bit of natural percussion, but the song is nothing like that. The song is one of the more cutesy ones that the girls have done in a while. The same basic melody loops for the entire song and I wasn’t sure at first if it was annoying or not, but over time I’ve come to think it’s perfectly fine. The chorus is great, I loved the quickness of the lyrics and how well they flow along with the music. Overall I find the song to be just a small cut above Spring of Life, though I can see why Spring of Life is the A-side.
Score – 9
A good new single for a new label, hopefully they continue like this.
Tags: album, michi, review, therapy
MiChi – THERAPY
1. MadNesS Vol.3
2. TOKYO NIGHT
3. LOVE is.
4. Together again
5. YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!
6. Special Someone
7. WoNdeR WomaN
8. Light Up
9. Take It Easy!
11. Find your way
So after such a long time since the release of MiChi’s major label debut with UP TO YOU, she finally releases here sophomore effort with THERAPY. Considering the recent singles I wasn’t sure what I would think overall, and may or may not have been dreading listening to the album. Continue Reading MiChi – THERAPY…