Angela Aki – TODAY

September 29, 2007 at 8:49 PM | Posted in Angela Aki | Leave a comment
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TODAY is Angela Aki’s 2nd album and it was released on September 19, 2007. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 192,301 copies. 

♦ ♦ ♦

I thought Sakurairo was a perfect opening track because it instantly sets the positive and upbeat tone of the album. I have always loved this song because it is full of emotion and the lyrics are gorgeous.

Track 2 is Again, a very upbeat track with a lovely chorus. Further into the album, you will notice that Angela Aki is starting to include a stronger percussion section and more sweeping strings into her songs. It’s an incredibly pretty song and one of my favorites of the album’s new tracks.

Don’t confuse the next track with Aki’s Smashing Pumpkins cover from her Kokoro no Senshi single because the TODAY on this album is a completely different song. The biggest thing I noticed was the use of electric guitar during the chorus and bridge. Aki’s repeating of the ‘T’ sound in the word ’today’ is a unique aspect of this track and it actually gives it a little bit of life.

I guess Aki has jumped on the Ai no Uta boat along with several other artists but I’m not complaining. This is such a beautiful and moving song thanks to Aki’s soulful and sincere vocals. The addition of lower keyed strings later on really add a feeling of sadness but also hope into the song. 

I do have to admit that Tashika ni sounds A LOT better on the album since it jumps in right after the slow and somber Ai no Uta. As a single, I wasn’t really feeling this song, but I see it in another light as a track on the album.

Silent Girl is another slow tempo track only accompanied by the piano. It’s a little on the boring side, but Aki’s stellar vocals are nothing to scoff at.

Track 7 is nothing short of amazing. Moral no Soushiki is a song of inconsistency that’s always changing tempos and vocal styles. It opens with a strange drum solo and then into some dark piano chords. Aki opens the explosive the chorus with the Latin phrase Pater Noster which means ‘Father’s Prayer’, and it is one the many forms of symbolism that the song uses. Aki even sings through the point of view of another person (a mother) during the song’s ’slow down’ phase. This is definitely one of the best tracks she has ever made.

Otome Gokoro is a very jazzy song because of its quick piano chords and bass guitar in the background. The chorus is charming and extremely lively and Aki’s vocals also compliment the grooving vibes of this song. 

The opening piano chords of One Melody set the heartwarming and inspirational tone of the song. I really liked the use of band instruments in this very calming track.

Track 10 is probably the most relaxed and reserved on the album with its minimal use of other instruments. Tomo no Shirushi is nothing extremely special but it’s still a very pleasant song.

Next up is Kodoku no Kakera, a very dramatic song with pretty vocals. The opening piano chords with the additon of the strings and French horns give the song a melancholic, almost depressing atmosphere.

It’s great that On&On appears after all these slower paced tracks because this is an uplifting song with a catchy chorus. Aki’s vocals are wonderful especially near the end of the song where she begins to adlib.

I was so impressed with Surrender, the album’s final track. The song is completely in English and the lyrics are beautiful. Aki pours her heart and soul into this song and it even sounds like she’s on the verge of crying near the end. She definitely gives one of her most emotional performances in this song and it closes the album with sincerity and compassion.

TODAY is almost like a continuation of Angela Aki’s debut Japanese album Home because it’s like the end of the story that she created in Home. This album was created with a different state of mind and that’s reason why so many of the tracks have that upbeat, pop sound to them. Home was a very bittersweet album in terms of lyrics and music while TODAY is full of life and optimism, two very different sides of the spectrum. In the end, I loved this album because every track is of the highest quality. Even though the album is definitely more ‘pop’ than Home was, it doesn’t change the fact that Aki is still making incredible music.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Sakurairo (サクラ色)
2. Again
3. TODAY
4. Ai no Uta (愛のうた)
5. Tashika ni (たしかに)
6. Silent Girl
7. Moral no Soushiki (モラルの葬式)
8. Otome Gokoro (乙女心)
9. One Melody
10. Tomo no Shirushi (友のしるし)
11. Kodoku no Kakera (孤独のカケラ)
12. On&On
13. Surrender

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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