Anna Tsuchiya – Brave vibration

July 25, 2009 at 9:21 AM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 3 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Brave vibration
2. Sweet Rishi Boy
3. Loser!

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 10th single and it was released on July 1, 2009. The single reached #13 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 5,726 copies.

Brave vibration can be best described as a campy rock tune for the summer. Even though I find nothing extremely special about this song, it has a fresh sound that’s not in the same vein as those experimental pop tracks on NUDY SHOW!. To sum it up, Tsuchiya did a good job on this track since it’s more rock and less pop.

The first B-side is WEIRD. Tsuchiya worked with Taku Takahashi of m-flo for Sweet Rishi Boy, a total mindfuck of a song. The arrangement is chaotic and kind of has this Middle Eastern influence going on thanks to the odd strings. It also uses constant skipping and layering effects so I thought there was something wrong with the mp3 file at first (lol). Even with all the randomness, I liked the song and it’s my favorite on the single.

Then there’s Loser!, which was forgettable. It has a cool rock sound but that’s all the song has going for it. The instrumental sections are the best part since they feature upbeat electric guitars and drums, but the vocals were pretty unmemorable. Like a fellow blogger has stated (Brett from Kurayami Monogatari), this track is similar to another one of Tsuchiya’s B-sides: u from the cocoon single.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Anna Tsuchiya – NUDY SHOW!

November 6, 2008 at 8:55 PM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 8 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

NUDY SHOW! is Anna Tsuchiya’s 2nd studio album and it was released on October 29, 2008. The album reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 39,460 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

This is Anna Tsuchiya. Welcome to the NUDY SHOW!

After the sounds of changing TV channels are heard, the overture officially begins with that phrase. It’s a short and rockish instrumental that serves well as the opening track. Even though it features that annoying “Let’s the get the rat” lyric from Virgin Cat, it’s okay.

The beginning of Cockroach really caught me off guard because it starts off quietly with weird synth but then bursts of electric guitar suddenly appear. The music is cool and has a nice punk attitude to them but those girly background vocals that appear during the verses felt kind of unnecessary to me. Anyway, this song is okay but definitely one of the weakest of the new tracks.

The R&B rock hybrid Crazy World is up next and I think that this song is pretty good now. The aggressive chorus has become my favorite part because it’s catchy and it has a great hook. Heck, even AI’s rapping isn’t so bad anymore.

Well, Virgin Cat is still awful. Check out my review of the single to see the reasons why I hate it so much. The thing is, I’m all for artists “branching out” and trying new styles of music. However, if the song is just plain bad then that’s another story.

For the album’s main promotional track, GINGER, Tsuchiya collaborated with the band MONKEY MAJIK. This song is in English and features the two vocalists of MONKEY MAJIK (Maynard and Blaise Plant) providing background vocals during the chorus. Even though the song is your standard rock track, it’s executed very well. Being right under 3 minutes in length, it’s a shame that this song is so short because it’s really good and extremely catchy. It’s one of my favorites among the album’s new tracks too.

Originally appearing as a B-side on the cocoon single, u is a quick paced rock song that mixes in some synth. The lyrics are also in English. It’s a nice addition to the album and one of her better recent B-sides too. If only Imitation night could be on here as well…

The next track, the appropriately titled Dirty Game, is an aggressive and punk inspired track. This song is like a better version of Cockroach but it’s a lot more involved with its use of electric guitars. It’s not bad, but there are better songs ahead.

Style is pretty interesting and it has a more poppy sound. Next to the electric guitars, there is also a catchy clapping beat. Like the title implies, I think that this IS a pretty stylish song and the chorus is fantastic. Tsuchiya’s vocals certainly bring some character into the song, the bridge being a notable part.

The next track presents something new and features a strange, almost dance-like sound. Masquerade is upbeat and has the normal electric guitars but they are clouded by a strong beat with some funky synth. I think that this is probably one of her most experimental songs to date because it is borderline dance and includes vocal distortions.

Now we have the song that was Tsuchiya’s first venture into a mainstream pop sound. I really like BUBBLE TRIP and I think it’s an insanely catchy song. The music is fun and has an offbeat rhythm to it, which I thought went well with Tsuchiya’s vocals.

Serenade is one of the few slower songs on the album and it’s very pretty. The acoustic arrangement is excellent and it was nice listening to the gentler side of Tsuchiya’s voice, despite her natural raspiness. What I liked the most about this song is that the chorus is comprised of almost nothing but adlibbing.

The first ballad to appear is the gorgeous Shape of your love. Beginning with a sad piano, the song picks up for the chorus when some guitars and drums come in. I liked the lyrics as well. They are quite sad and Tsuchiya expresses a good amount of emotion. This song is like a rockish version of Forever, the only ballad that was on her debut album strip me?.

I honestly don’t like the album version of cocoon because it simply doesn’t compare to the original, which I thought was pretty good. This new version has been drastically toned down and this is not the same aggressive rock song as before. Instead, the music sounds more acoustic. If anything, the best parts of the song have been removed and we are left with something that sounds very cheap.

Fortunately, the album’s final phase is pretty awesome with the last couple of songs. It starts with LUCY, her 3rd NANA single. I have never been a big fan of this song, but I think it’s all right. I can’t deny that it’s full of energy and spunk so it earns a place on the album.

I have to admit that RIDE ON! is pretty cool and it is full of attitude. Next to the constant riffs, Tsuchiya’s vocals are strong but also get muffled every now and then. Luckily, I think the parts that feature the muffled vocals are nice, especially when she sings the fast paced verses.  Anyway, a great addition to the album.

However, BLOOD ON BLOOD is even better and I absolutely love the electric guitars in this song. They sound so dark and sinister as they transition into the first verse. This is definitely the edgiest and most rock oriented song on the album and Tsuchiya performs it extremely well. The sweeping chorus is a highlight as well as the awesome guitar solo of the bridge.

Ending the album is the deep sadness version of Kuroi Namida, Tsuchiya’s 2nd NANA single (it appeared as track 4 on that single). Even though I personally prefer the original version of the song, the deep sadness version makes for a great final track. While the original version focuses more on an alternative rock sound, this version is like a ballad and it adds piano and depressing strings. The chorus does feature guitars and they blend nicely with the strings in the background.

NUDY SHOW! is quite the experimental album. We all know that Anna Tsuchiya’s main niche is rock and alternative, but she mixes it up a little by fusing in a little pop, especially during the first half of the album. The 2nd half sees a return to the style of her debut album though. With her more pop influenced tracks, it’s sort of a hit and miss for me. I enjoyed songs like BUBBLE TRIP and Crazy World, but I despised Virgin Cat. I have nothing against her trying out new things, but it depends on whether or not it actually sounds good in the end. So leaving it at that, I will say that NUDY SHOW! is pretty good but I thought her debut album strip me? was a lot better. There are songs that do stand out, but not without the occasional filler track.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. overture
2. Cockroach
3. Crazy World / Anna Tsuchiya feat. AI
4. Virgin Cat
5. GINGER / Anna Tsuchiya feat. MONKEY MAJIK
6. u
7. Dirty Game
8. Style
9. masquerade
10. BUBBLE TRIP
11. Serenade
12. Shape of your love
13. cocoon ~NUDY SHOW! version~
14. LUCY
15. RIDE ON!
16. BLOOD ON BLOOD
17. Kuroi Namida ~deep sadness version~ (黒い涙)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

annanudy

Anna Tsuchiya – Virgin Cat

September 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 13 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Virgin Cat
2. Imitation night
3. Virgin Cat (LAVA Remix)

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 9th single and it was released on September 10, 2008. The single reached #39 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,005 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the Japanese broadcast of the show The L Word.

UGH, THIS SONG IS SO DUMB. Virgin Cat is all kinds of stupid and not the good kind of stupid…just stupid stupid. There are so many things about this song that bug me but the 3 worst offenders are as follows:

  1. The annoying, childlike vocals. The “meow!” at the end was the final nail in the coffin for me. 
  2. The non sensible lyrics. The song is full of them. “Virgin cat” is obviously a cheap euphemism for you-know-what.
  3. The music is awful. It’s a boring mix between pop and some funky retro crap. In the end, it sounds very lazy and drab. She’s done better in the pop realm with songs like BUBBLE TRIP and Crazy World.

And one more thing…
Anna, GO BACK TO ROCK MUSIC. NOW.

Fortunately, she does exactly that with Imitation night, a dramatic rock ballad that also utilizes some strings to pump up the epic factor. Why this song isn’t an A-side is beyond me because it is WAY better than Virgin Cat in about every single aspect.

The LAVA Remix of Virgin Cat is considerably better than the original but only because it features a totally different sound (the vocals are still annoying). It features a relaxing lounge club atmosphere that mostly comprises of jazzy instruments and brass.

Overall Rating

2 stars

ANNA TSUCHIYA inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES) – LUCY

August 10, 2008 at 11:00 AM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 4 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. LUCY
2. better day
3. Dance with me

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 5th single and it was released on February 7, 2007. The single reached #18 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 12,620 copies. The title track was used as the 3rd opening theme song for the anime version of NANA.

I’m not a very big fan of LUCY. Compared to Anna Tsuchiya’s first 2 NANA singles, it’s kind of generic and bland. Even though it has all of the elements of a high octane rock song, it’s not very interesting and it lacks any hooks. I didn’t like Tsuchiya’s vocal performance because of her voice sounded more raspy than usual.

Both of the B-sides on this single are in English and they are considerably better than LUCY. better day begins with acoustics for the laid back verses, but electric guitars enter for the uplifting chorus. The lyrics are really nice too.

Dance with me is more of an alternative track. The music and vocals are slower paced but they have a good and pretty catchy rhythm. The arrangement is also a mix of electric guitar and drums but the small amounts of synth included were an awesome touch. This is easily the best song on this single.

Overall Rating

3 stars

ANNA TSUCHIYA inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES) – Kuroi Namida

July 25, 2008 at 5:22 PM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 6 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Kuroi Namida (黒い涙)
2. JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH
3. I’m addicted to you
4. Kuroi Namida ~deep sadness version~

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 4th single and it was released on January 10, 2007. The single reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 20,247 copies. The title track was used as the 3rd ending theme song for the anime version of NANA.

So Anna Tsuchiya’s new album was supposed to be slated for a September 10th release, but it was pushed back to late October and a new limited single titled Virgin Cat will be released instead. Anyways, according to the news sources, the last 2 singles she released for the NANA anime will be on the new album as well. So I’ll begin with my review of Kuroi Namida and then LUCY later on.

When I first heard Kuroi Namida, I was blown away by Anna Tsuchiya’s stunning vocal performance. This dark and incredibly emotional rock ballad showcases some of the best vocals that Tsuchiya has ever done. Her raspy voice carries the soft verses but quickly explode for the powerful chorus. The electric guitars are mesmerizing and definitely provide an unsettling atmosphere for the music. The additional strings just increase that effect. On a side note, this is the only song in her discography to be completely in Japanese (so far).

The next track is a cover of Depeche Mode’s 1981 new wave classic JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH. Tsuchiya’s cover is a rock version of the song that features a big change in the overall arrangement. The biggest change heard here is a dominant use of electric guitars with a steady drum beat. The familiar synth line of the original has been changed to a acapella sequence too.

This track was also featured in the NANA anime as an insert song. I’m addicted to you is in English and it’s an extremely aggressive song that quickly builds up from its opening riffs. I thought that Tsuchiya performed it very nicely and her vocals sound strong, yet clear as well. The music has lots of energy and it’s great head banging fun.

Also included on the single is the deep sadness version of Kuroi Namida. This is a much more depressing take on the song and it includes other instruments like the piano and violin. I loved the new string arrangement because it plays a pretty big role in this version but the electric guitars are still very important, especially during the chorus. I can’t decide which version I like more. They’re both so good!

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Anna Tsuchiya feat. AI – Crazy World

July 2, 2008 at 11:54 AM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Crazy World
2. What you gonna do? / Anna Tsuchiya
3. Crazy World (FPM Hyper Society mix)

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 8th single and it was released on June 11, 2008. The single reached #19 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,488 copies.

Anna Tsuchiya and AI collaborate once again for this strange rock and R&B hybrid. For those who don’t know who AI is, she is a well-known J-urban artist who sings as well as raps. Crazy World switches between the two genres at different intervals and I liked the song’s overall flow. The verses are calm but feature various synthetic sounds and beats with AI saying some random stuff in the background. When the chorus arrives, the music and Tsuchiya’s vocals become more aggressive and the electric guitars come into play. The bridge is also divided into two parts: there is a short electric guitar solo which is followed by a rapping section by AI. In the end, I thought that this wasn’t a bad collaboration.

The B-side is performed solely by Tsuchiya and it’s in English. What you gonna do? is definitely more pop than her previous works and it also has that light R&B sound previously heard in Crazy World thanks to the frequent beats. The chorus later adds some electric guitar and strings, adding a little more variety into the music.

The FPM Hyper Society mix of Crazy World is a dance club take of the original and it was remixed by Fantastic Plastic Machine. It is very heavy with the synth and the pace of the music has been taken up a notch as well. I thought this was an okay remix, but it was too long for my tastes (I get bored with almost any remix that’s over 6 minutes long).

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Anna Tsuchiya – cocoon

February 10, 2008 at 2:15 PM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. cocoon
2. u
3. Guys [CD only bonus track]

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 7th single and it was released on January 30, 2008. The single reached #19 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,527 copies.

After making a little bit of pop music with her last single BUBBLE TRIP / sweet sweet song, Anna Tsuchiya makes a triumphant return to rock with cocoon. Despite being a medium tempo song, the riffs are pretty aggressive and seem to be grunge inspired. Like many of her older songs, the lyrics are very bilingual and contain more English than Japanese. I liked the catchiness of the verses because of Tsuchiya’s interesting word choice and her rhyming of them.

The first B-side, u, is more upbeat and has a punkish sound that’s mixed with industrial styled synth. It’s also entirely in English. The riffs that appear later on are simple but they are quite consistent and have good pace. Tsuchiya’s vocals are stronger in this song too, especially in the chorus.

The next track is only available on the CD only edition of the single. Guys is an awesome song with great lyrics than have an attitude to them. Out of all the songs on the single, this one has the most complex arrangement. The music is more acoustic based and I liked the parts of the song where the tempo slowed down and then quickly sped up again to match Tsuchiya’s changing vocals. This song is also in English.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Anna Tsuchiya – BUBBLE TRIP / sweet sweet song

August 12, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Posted in Anna Tsuchiya | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. BUBBLE TRIP
2. sweet sweet song
3. BUBBLE TRIP -STUDIO APARTMENT Remix-

This is Anna Tsuchiya’s 6th single and it was released on August 1, 2007. The single reached #21 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 8,569 copies.

Even though Anna Tsuchiya’s first language is Japanese, a majority of her songs are in English. However, BUBBLE TRIP features a little Japanese in it. This song is probably her most unique to date because of its funky pop style that’s devoid of the hard rock sound of her previous singles. Like the song’s title implies, this is a trippy song but also a very fun one in the same respect.

The 2nd track, sweet sweet song, was a pleasant surprise. Just like BUBBLE TRIP, it’s different from her previous works. This is a cheerful song with great acoustics and a catchy chorus. The music is a little rockish, but still very pop.

The STUDIO APARTMENT Remix of BUBBLE TRIP is interesting to say the least. I haven’t heard her remix album yet so this was a new experience for me because it was the first time I heard a ‘club sound’ from her. The remix is a little too long winded for me but I thought it was okay in the end. Changing a 3 minute song to a 6 minute remix isn’t a good idea sometimes.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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