2009 In Review ~BEST of BtS & COVERS & USA & Such As!~

December 6, 2009 at 12:26 AM | Posted in ~Features! | 10 Comments


Welcome to part 1 of my 2009 In Review special! I did this last year but there’s going to be MORE! This section will cover best-of compilations (part 2 will cover everything else). These will be featured in the order they were released and have “mini-reviews” like before (but no star ratings this time). Think of this as a guide. XD

♦ ♦ ♦

Tommy heavenly6 – Gothing Melting Ice cream’s Darkness Nightmare
Release date: February 25
Features: Every A-side plus a slew of other tracks for 19 total.
Exclusive stuff: The new track Unlimited Sky.
Worth listening to?: More than the february6 best-of! XD

Tomoko Kawase released the best-of collections for both of her personas on the same day! This one is from her Tommy heavenly6 persona and it’s pretty solid. Aside from having every A-side, the album has a bunch of extra songs like album tracks and B-sides. Ending the collection is the new track Unlimited Sky too. Personally, I still prefer the heavenly6 persona despite the atrocity that was I KILL MY HEART so eat it february6 fans.

Mika Nakashima – NO MORE RULES.
Release date: March 4
Features: Various tracks from all albums.
Exclusive stuff: The new track GAME.
Worth listening to?: Sure, why not.

This release came out of nowhere and I thought it had the strangest concept. Limited to 50,000 copies, this is a collection of Nakashima’s songs that were used in commercials for KATE cosmetics (since she’s the model and all). Fortunately, it’s a great collection of songs. It helps that her more unique tracks are on the album and the new song GAME is hot. If you are new to Nakashima, I recommend this album instead of BEST since it has a better selection.

Release date: March 18
Features: DO THE MOTION up to Eien/UNIVERSE/Believe in LOVE.
Exclusive stuff: New versions of Meri Kuri and VALENTI.
Worth listening to?: Personally, I would say yes.

In Japan, BoA’s English language debut album (I’ll talk about that later) was released in conjunction with her 2nd compilation album as a 2 disc set. Well, that depends on the edition but anyway, I think this is a great collection. A lot of people say BEST OF SOUL was better but I disagree to an extent since I’m more a fan of her recent material. Plus, the covers are FIERCE.

Sowelu – Sowelu THE BEST 2002-2009
Release date: March 18
Features: Every A-side + random cover songs.
Exclusive stuff: The new track AINOTE.
Worth listening to?: Just for the A-sides honestly.

To mark Sowelu’s departure from Sony, this album was released quickly after her final single MATERIAL WORLD. The weird thing about this album is that it becomes a “cover best” right in the middle of Disc 2. Then it finishes off with MATERIAL WORLD and followed by the new track AINOTE. As for the covers, the only ones that I really liked were The Rose and Piano Man. I’m a big fan of most of the A-sides though.

Hitomi Shimatani – BEST & COVERS
Release date: July 29
Features: Viola up to SMILES on Disc 1 and various cover songs on Disc 2.
Exclusive stuff: Covers of Shiroi Chou no Samba and Nagai Aida.
Worth listening to?: YES! on Disc 1. NO! on Disc 2.

I love Hitomi Shimatani but WTF. Disc 1 (the BEST part, get it?) of this compilation is absolute perfection but Disc 2 is a “cover best”…I know. :| Well, some of the covers were released as singles (Amairo no Kami no Otome, OF COURSE) while others were floating around on other random CDs. Anyway, while Disc 1 has no new tracks, Disc 2 has two new covers (yay?). I have to admit that the Shiroi Chou no Samba cover is really nice but that’s it!

Crystal Kay – BEST of CRYSTAL KAY
Release date: September 2
Features: Almost every A-side and a track from each studio album.
Exclusive stuff: A limited premium disc that contains 4 new songs.
Worth listening to?: Yes and the premium disc is a must!

Congrats to 10 years, CK! I thought this was an impressive collection and it really shows her evolution as an artist. She’s done a lot of growing ever since her debut when she was just 13 years old. Limited pressings of the album come with a “premium disc” that has 4 new songs, each one a collaboration. For example, Step by Step was produced by Yasutaka Nakata and Helpless Night is a duet with Jin Akanishi from KAT-TUN.

Mai Kuraki – ALL MY BEST
Release date: September 9
Features: Random A-sides and album tracks throughout her entire career.
Exclusive stuff: The new track Watashi no, Shiranai, Watashi..
Worth listening to?: This one is a DOOZY. Approach with caution!

DAMN, MAI-K! Not even avex releases their crap in 10 editions. That is just overkill. Mai Kuraki released this album to celebrate her 10th anniversary and it’s very extensive. It covers songs from her debut like Love, Day After Tomorrow and Secret of my heart all the way up to her 2009 singles (PUZZLE and Beautiful). Not every A-side was included though. Actually, there was a good amout that was left out in favor of album tracks! The new song Watashi no, Shiranai, Watashi. isn’t that great either.

ayaka – ayaka’s History 2006-2009
Release date: September 23
Features: All A-sides on Disc 1 and 10 tracks selected by fans on a limited 2nd disc.
Exclusive stuff: A piano version of Minna Sora no Shita at the end of Disc 2.
Worth listening to?: Of course!

ayaka’s “history” was very short, wasn’t it? But through the course of 3 years, she has made a pretty big impact. This album was released before her hiatus due to Graves’ disease and it features all of her A-sides as well as her collaboration songs with Kobukuro. The limited 2nd disc has songs voted by fans and it’s composed of B-sides and album tracks (with a piano version of Minna Sora no Shita as a bonus). The fans voted well IMO.

Ai Otsuka – LOVE is BEST
Release date: November 11
Features: Various tracks from all albums and some singles.
Exclusive stuff: The track Is and new versions of past songs.
Worth listening to?: It depends if you’re a lover and not a fighter.

What would you call this? A concept best-of? I call bullshit and an excuse for Otsuka to release one album a year! lol LOVE is BEST is a collection of her love songs and it has various A-sides (Sakuranbo and Daisuki da yo.), B-sides (drop. and Ticket) and some album tracks. It includes a new track called Is but it’s nothing special. This collection also has new versions of older tracks but ignore the new versions of one×time (renamed aisu×time) and Pocket because they suck.

KOKIA – Coquillage ~The Best Collection II~
Release date: December 2
Features: A random assortment of songs from the past 5 albums.
Exclusive stuff: A self-cover of Inori† and a limited bonus disc with 2 extra tracks.
Worth listening to?: Nooooooooo.

I have no idea what is going on with this album. Considering that KOKIA released only ONE non-anime single (Follow the Nightingale and it’s not even included) but 5 albums, that’s bound to cause problems. The song selection on here is very strange and there’s many tracks that I just don’t care for. There’s also a limited 2nd disc that has a new version of Arigatou… (AGAIN?) and the English track Candle in the Heart. Overall, it just doesn’t compare to her first best collection.

Other notable compilation/miscellaneous albums from this year:
Thelma Aoyama – LOVE! ~THELMA LOVESONG COLLECTION~ (February 11)
Tommy february6 – Strawberry Cream Soda Pop Daydream (February 25)
Anna Tsuchiya – NUDY xxxremixxxxxxx!!!!!!!! SHOW! (March 11)
Koda Kumi – DRIVING HIT’S (March 25)
misono – Tales with misono -BEST- (June 10)
Crystal Kay – THE BEST REMIXES of CK (December 16)

Coming up in Part 2: “Everything else” (cover albums, concept albums, whatever). Also, since people have been bitching for months, I will give my take on the ~amazing success stories~ of BoA and This Is The One. Spoiler: They’re both flops.



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  1. LOL @ spoiler at end.
    thanks for this gonna give some of the best albums a listen.

  2. i was actually going to do something similar to this xD well just the review part, and I probably wouldn’t have included have the artists xD. this is quite amazing and I agree with most of them.

  3. I absolutely love the covers and the mini reviews with your thoughts, but I just wanted to say that the information about KOKIA is wrong. She has released to more singles so far this year. I’m actually surprised that you haven’t reviewed them yet. The titles are: “Kimi wo sagashite” and “single mother”

    I don’t really if you appriciate that I’m telling this, but I just thought since I love your site so much, that you would like to know. Thank you for making this site with the reviews!

  4. […] 2009 In Review ~BEST of BtS & COVERS & USA & Such As!~ « Beyond the Sea ~ The Style. Ed…. […]

  5. Thanks for the kind words. I knew about KOKIA’s 2 digital singles (I loooove “last love song” and “Shiroi Inu to Odoru Yoru”) but I didn’t review them since I only cover “physical releases”. I hope you can understand.

  6. ahhhh lol now i wanna check out more best albums <3 lol im so excited!! lol

  7. hey r u doing xmas albums btw love this site

  8. :O awww for the spoiler.

    even though I Loved “This is The One” I already saw that coming, but I actually thought you were gonna like “BoA”.

  9. I love to read your year-end reviews. Can’t wait for your Part II. Out of the 18 albums you listed here, I like Koda Kumi’s “Out works & Collaboration Best” the best. Because it has a lot of good J-pop artists like Lisa, Heartsdales, Megaryu, JHETT, KM-market, soulhead, Exile, m-flow…etc. And Koda Kumi sounds great singing with them. This is a great album that can represent the best of J-pop music.

  10. OH wow! So you’ve started on this already then Lex?

    I guess I should stop waiting and start on mines. Yeps, I’m doing a little shindig this year as well. ;)

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