Mai Kuraki – touch Me!January 26, 2009 at 8:41 PM | Posted in Mai Kuraki | 5 Comments
The cover of the regular edition
touch Me! is Mai Kuraki’s 8th album and it was released on January 21, 2009. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 90,302 copies.
♦ ♦ ♦
Instantly opening with fast paced vocals is the title track touch Me!. This song makes for a strong first track because it’s quite upbeat and Kuraki displays energetic vocals. The quick beats are accompanied by sweeping synth lines during the instrumental sections as well. For me, the chorus is the most prevailing aspect of the song thanks to Kuraki’s sharp and speedy delivery of the lyrics.
To follow it up is the rockish Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you. This is a great pop rock song but also one that sort of stands out compared to a majority of Kuraki’s previous works. The music features a more organic pop sound because of the drum beats and electric guitar.
The next track has an interesting “old school” sound. I can’t exactly pinpoint it, but Break the Tone sounds very 90s R&B. Anyway, this song is pretty spunky and it has a lot of attitude, which I liked. I thought the acoustics were great as they blended with the beats in the background as well. I just had to mention the ending because she says some English like “If you don’t like it, it’s too bad” and it goes right into the next track.
I really like Yume ga Saku Haru now and it’s one of my favorite tracks on the album. I love the retro vibe of the music and its use of drums mixed with low key strings. The chorus is very catchy, especially once that groovy beat kicks in.
We have some slower jams coming up and the first one is I can’t believe you!!. The song is more laid back than the previous tracks but it still has a nice rhythm alongside the general uptempo beats and synth. I personally loved the background vocals that repeat Just be yourself.
I found Secret Lover to be one of Kuraki’s more sensual efforts to date. The music is very relaxing and features an overall romantic atmosphere. Vocally, Kuraki does a fantastic job and her voice is absolutely perfect for a calm arrangement such as this one.
Similar to the previous track but with a more organic sounding arrangement is Hello!. This is a pretty song with equally pretty vocals. Even though it starts off kind of slow, the vibrant chorus definitely makes up for it thanks to the addition of strings and upbeat piano.
The album picks up the pace with the festive 24 Xmas time. It’s a nice Christmas themed pop song with a slight twist that’s provided by rapper KEN-RYW (I didn’t mind his rapping sections either). Despite being a little generic, it’s still a fun and catchy song.
The last new original track to appear is the hard-hitting Catch. The song starts off slow but it quickly builds up into an awesome and fast paced chorus. The arrangement mainly consists of synthetic beats and piano, but additional percussion comes in later. I did have one little problem with this song and it’s the bridge which features those tacky English boy band vocals (as heard in countless Kuraki songs of the past). Well, I’ll get over it because the rest of the song is great.
I absolutely adore the rearranged version of You and Music and Dream that appears on the album. Yep, the song is different compared to what’s on the single thanks to one huge difference: the inclusion of orchestral strings. Seriously, the music sounds a lot more uplifting with the extra strings and even with this minor change, it’s such a big improvement over the original. The main portion of the album ends beautifully with this song.
Listed as a “special track”, a cover of The Carpenters’ TOP OF THE WORLD was included on the album. A campy and charming song at heart, I actually liked Kuraki’s version and I thought she did a good job. Kuraki’s English was pretty good for the most part too.
Appearing as a bonus track is a remix of Yume ga Saku Haru. The remix is pretty cool and I thought it was interesting that it mainly uses the English lyrics of the original next to an ambient electronic sound.
Mai Kuraki has done it again with another incredibly solid and enjoyable album. touch Me! doesn’t disappoint and I pretty much liked every song on the album. There’s a good mix of pop and R&B infused tracks on here and Kuraki has the voice pull it all off. Her voice has always been the main reason why I like her music so much since it’s very appealing and it just draws you in. Anyway, touch Me! is a high quality album and a great follow up to last year’s ONE LIFE. What a great way to kick off your 10th anniversary, Mai-K!
1. touch Me!
2. Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you (一秒ごとに Love for you)
3. Break the Tone
4. Yume ga Saku Haru (夢が咲く春)
5. I can’t believe you!!
6. Secret Lover
8. 24 Xmas time
10. You and Music and Dream
11. TOP OF THE WORLD
12. Yume ga Saku Haru -remix-
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!