Every Little Thing – CHANGE

April 5, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 3 Comments
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The cover of the regular edition

CHANGE is Every Little Thing’s 9th album and it was released on March 24 ,2010. The album reached #8 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 20,556 copies.

I really like this cover for some reason. What is Kaori wearing though? lol

♦ ♦ ♦

You know what? I was expecting CHANGE to be a disappointing album because of producer Mitsuru Igarashi but he actually did a decent job here. I pretty much hated his ~production skills~ when I first heard DREAM GOES ON (I gave that single a scathing review) but the music got better as the era continued. Tsumetai Ame and the lead-in single Change were big improvements.

The main thing that I disliked about Igarashi’s music was his tendency to add unnecessary amounts of dated synthesizers and layer them over a band arrangement. That’s why CHANGE has some similarities to Every Little Things’ REALLY old material, which I’m honestly not a fan of. If you follow the group, you’ll remember that he was the founder and the primary composer. After their 3rd album eternity in March 2000, he left the group and vocalist Kaori Mochida and guitarist Ichiro Ito continued on as a duo.

There is definitely a throwback 90s vibe on the album, but not just any 90s sound. It has that special “avex brand” of Japanese pop that dominated the decade. Every Little Thing, along with other popular avex artists like Namie Amuro, hitomi, and Ayumi Hamasaki all rose to fame at this time. On CHANGE, there is a mix of the retro and modern but I thought it was done more tastefully compared to his first offerings DREAM GOES ON and its B-side spearmint.

The band arrangements of the group’s last couple of albums (commonplace, Crispy Park, and Door) are still a dominant feature on many of the album’s new tracks. Most of the songs are pleasant mid-tempo numbers like Aoi Kirameki, Wasure e Nu Hito, and 12 Kagetsu. There are some upbeat tracks and they appear after the instrumental Heart Rate Of The City. For instance, Mayonaka no Highway was alright but it gets overshadowed by the Celtic influences in Sketchbook. After another instrumental (Snowscape), the album goes back to slower paced songs and closes with a polished new version of Tsumetai Ame.

Yes, CHANGE was better than I thought it would be but it’s still pretty weak when compared to past albums. Overall, a majority of the tracks are generous to the ears but they lack a certain flair. I don’t want to call them “lazy” but the arrangements do come off as uninspired. I just wish there was more going on in the music. I’m just glad Mitsuru Igarashi didn’t go crazy with the synth and kept things clean.

Pros: Nice, simple music. If you like old ELT, this album is for you.
Cons: A little monotonous at times. Nothing really stood out on my first listen, either.

BASICALLY…I hope for something more exciting next time.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Change
2. Aoi Kirameki (青い煌めき)
3. spearmint
4. Wasure e Nu Hito (忘れえぬ人)
5. 12 Kagetsu (12ヶ月)
6. Heart Rate Of The City (Instrumental)
7. Mayonaka no Highway (真夜中のハイウェイ)
8. DREAM GOES ON
9. Sketchbook (スケッチブック)
10. Snowscape (Instrumental)
11. Hachisu -Ren- (蓮 -れん-)
12. Tsumetai Ame (Album version) (冷たい雨)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Every Little Thing – Change

March 8, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 3 Comments
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Change is Every Little Thing’s 39th single and it was released on February 24, 2010. The single reached #16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 6,464 copies (it was limited to 10,000 copies).

“Just walking down the street in my oversized coat. Lalalala~”

♦ ♦ ♦

There’s only one song on this single but I don’t mind since Change is actually GOOD. Even though the music still sounds a little dated, at least it doesn’t come off as cheap. The arrangement doesn’t have any annoying synth and focuses more on upbeat guitars and percussion instead (thank goodness). Kaori Mochida’s vocals were nice, too. 

I was like “WTF NOOOO” when I first found out that Mitsuru Igarashi was going to produce the group’s new album that’s out later this month (also titled CHANGE). After hearing this song, I have become more optimistic. It’s better than Tsumetai Ame and shits all over DREAM GOES ON.

Pros: This is the group’s best single since Atarashii Hibi / Ougon no Tsuki.
Cons: I only hope that the album’s new tracks will be just as good.

BASICALLY…I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the new album.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Change
2. Change (Instrumental)

Every Little Thing – Tsumetai Ame

November 26, 2009 at 9:49 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 3 Comments
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The cover of the limited edition

Tsumetai Ame (冷たい雨) is Every Little Thing’s 38th single and it was released on November 18, 2009.The single reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 7,304 copies.

Yay! No more ponchos on Kaori! I really like the background too.

♦ ♦ ♦

Ewwww. Every Little Thing’s old producer / songwriter Mitsuru Igarashi is back again. He ruined the duo’s last single DREAM GOES ON but fortunately, Tsumetai Ame doesn’t suffer the same fate. Being a mid-tempo track, it’s certainly better since the music doesn’t sound messy and the synthetic elements have been toned down a notch. They aren’t completely distracting like in DREAM GOES ON either. Even though I get an old fashioned 90s J-pop vibe from this song, it’s nice to hear Kaori Mochida’s voice sounding less delicate.

The B-side is a cover of The Carpenters’ (They Long To Be) Close To You. It’s pretty faithful to the original and features the piano with some acoustics. As for Mochida’s English singing…it’s to be expected (just like when she sang Moon River lol). It’s still a nice cover version.

Pros: A big big big step up over the last single! I don’t totally hate Igarashi now.
Cons: The music in the A-side still comes off as outdated.

BASICALLY…this is old school ELT done right!

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Tsumetai Ame (冷たい雨)
2. (They Long To Be) Close To You
3. Tsumetai Ame (Instrumental)
4. (They Long To Be) Close To You (Instrumental)

Every Little Thing – DREAM GOES ON

October 1, 2009 at 7:55 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 2 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

DREAM GOES ON is Every Little Thing’s 37th single and it was released on September 23, 2009. The single reached #6 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,486 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama Haken no Oscar.

Enough of the poncho/moo moo things, Kaori! This one isn’t even cute. SMH </3

♦ ♦ ♦

HOW DISAPPOINTING. When I heard the news that Mitsuru Igarashi was going to produce this single, I didn’t know what to think. For those who don’t know, he was the 3rd member of Every Little Thing as well as the main producer and songwriter. He left in 2000 and which meant that remaining members Kaori Mochida and Ichiro Ito had to pick up the slack. Honestly, I thought the group’s music got A LOT better once he left…and now he’s back for some reason. D:

Honestly, I hated what Igarashi did with DREAM GOES ON, which has this horrible blend of Every Little Thing’s old and new musical styles. The song sounds really cheap because of his ~production skills~ and the synth he adds to the arrangement is just plain bad and distracting. It makes the music sound really outdated. This isn’t 1998, okay?

The B-side spearmint is slightly better since it tones down the synth. However, it still gives off a stale vibe that leaves a lot to be desired. Compared to the group’s more recent stuff, it’s such a downgrade. The last single Atarashii Hibi / Ougon no Tsuki was so much better too. If I wanted GOOD generic crap, I would listen to GIRL NEXT DOOR. Ugh.

Pros: Ummm…Kaori sounds good? I DON’T KNOW. LOL
Cons: There’s too many to read off.

BASICALLY…GTFO Mitsuru Igarashi! You’re not wanted here!

Overall Rating

2 stars

Tracklisting

1. DREAM GOES ON
2. spearmint
3. DREAM GOES ON (Instrumental)
4. spearmint (Instrumental)

Every Little Thing – Atarashii Hibi / Ougon no Tsuki

September 10, 2008 at 10:10 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Atarashii Hibi (あたらしい日々)
2. Ougon no Tsuki (黄金の月)
3. Atarashii Hibi (Instrumental)
4. Ougon no Tsuki (Instrumental)

This is Every Little Thing’s 36th single and it was released on August 27, 2008. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 26,342 copies. The 1st track was used as the theme song for the drama Shibatora.

A refreshing song that’s perfect for the summer is the best way to describe Atarashii Hibi. With an arrangement that includes mostly upbeat strings and piano, the song definitely has a spirited and lively sound. Kaori Mochida continues to show strong vocals as well and that’s always a plus. The song wouldn’t be complete without an electric guitar solo provided by Ichiro Ito either!

I thought that the other A-side, Ougon no Tsuki, was better though. It has the fast paced rhythm and atmosphere of Atarashii Hibi, but the music is a lot more progressive thanks to the frequent electric guitar riffs. The melody seemed catchier with a chorus that was memorable too. Both of the tracks on this single are pleasant but I thought that Ougon no Tsuki was the more interesting song of the two.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Every Little Thing – Door

April 8, 2008 at 11:26 AM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 4 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Door is Every Little Thing’s 8th album and it was released on March 5, 2008. The album reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 85,076 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

I hate how good Every Little Thing’s instrumental tracks are because they could make such awesome full-length songs. This is the case with the opening track GATE #8 because it features a great accumulating guitar that starts the album off with a breath of fresh air.

At least it transitions into the incredibly catchy Masaka no Telepathy, which felt like a continuation of the opening instrumental. It’s a very upbeat song comprising of infectious piano, strings, and drums. I especially liked the rhythmic drums of the chorus. Kaori Mochida’s vocals sound better than ever too.

The next track is a new and improved version of Kirameki Hour, the first single released for the album. The “Door version” of the song features new vocals and a retouched arrangement. It sounds more softer than the original thanks to the added piano and chimes. The music does sound more polished even though they didn’t get rid of that little ticking sound, but that’s okay.

Up next is a cheery, percussion based song. Paris no Musume has upbeat drums with distant bells and horns in the background. The bridge is the highlight of the song because of its cool bass solo. Mochida’s vocals are pleasant to ears too.

The album’s latest single was the dramatic Sakurabito. With a traditional Japanese ballad flair, the verses are calm and elevate to a more powerful chorus. Even though it’s my least favorite of the album’s singles, it still offers some variety.

I thought the funky synth of the the next track, WONDER LAND, was pretty surprising after the end of Sakurabito.  The title “wonderland” seems to be pretty common amongst J-pop artists these days. That’s besides the point though. The band delivers another fun and upbeat song and because of the synth pop sound of the music, it reminded me of their older works back when the band was a trio.

The band’s cover of Noriyuki Makihara’s Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo is next, with the original artist providing background vocals during the chorus. I finally got a chance to hear Makihara’s original song and the cover is radically different in terms of overall style. It’s more upbeat, follows a brisk pace, and the arrangement has a winter atmosphere to it. The original had a band arrangement and was sung at a slower pace.

The album’s next instrumental is the calm and relaxing B.L.V.D., a simple piece that acts as a bridge after the wintery Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo and into the rockish NEROLI. The instrumental is progressive, becoming louder further in but still maintaining a laid back sound.

NEROLI is probably the most aggressive song on the album, drifting away from the soft rock sound of the other tracks. The electric guitar is much more involved in this song, playing a big part in the overall arrangement. I liked the alternative sound of the riffs and the nice solo during the bridge too. It was nice hearing Mochida put more emphasis into her vocals too.

I absolutely loved the next track because it is one of the band’s most unique songs. Karakara has a vibrant island sound mixed with a little reggae on the side. While the music has a common tropical island theme, it sounds excellent in the context of the album. I’m glad the band was stirring the pot a little with this song. Mochida’s voice fits right in with the music too, complimenting it quite well.

The lovely winter love ballad Koi wo Shiteiru follows, and it’s my personal favorite of the album’s singles. The grand arrangement is what makes this song shine and the sweeping strings, drums, and gentle riffs give the music a beautiful ambiance.

The album is drawing to a close and the next song is a calm ballad. gladiolus (as in the flower) is a pretty song with excellent, stronger vocals. The music begins rather calmly with gentle strings and chimes, but soon includes short riffs of the electric guitar.

I was very pleased to hear Ophelia_act2 as the album’s final track. For those who didn’t know, the original “demo version” or act 1 of the song appeared as the B-side on the Sakurabito single. Act 2 actually features lyrics and a much more involved, ambient sound. The accordions of act 1 are gone and replaced with strings and acoustics instead.

Door is really soft rock at its best, I can’t stress it enough. Even though the album is primarily soft rock, songs like NEROLI and Karakara added some much needed flavor. Every Little Thing has gone through several changes with their music and the phase they’re going through right now is a welcome addition to the various styles they have performed. I did find this album to be on the same level as their previous one (the more rockish Crispy Park) in the music department, but what sets Door apart is the overall performance of vocalist Kaori Mochida. Her voice sounds stronger and fuller than in Crispy Park, even though it will never be the same like when the band first debuted because of complications from touring and bronchitis. That’s okay though because she’s still a great singer, her voice has just changed over the past 10 years, that’s all.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. GATE #8 (Instrumental)
2. Masaka no Telepathy (まさかのTelepathy)
3. Kirameki Hour (Door version) (キラメキアワー)
4. Paris no Musume (パリの娘)
5. Sakurabito (サクラビト)
6. WONDER LAND
7. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo feat. Noriyuki Makihara (冬がはじまるよ feat. 槇原敬之)
8. B.L.V.D. (Instrumental)
9. NEROLI
10. Karakara (カラカラ)
11. Koi wo Shiteiru (恋をしている)
12. gladiolus
13. Ophelia_act2 (オフェリア_act2)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Every Little Thing – Sakurabito

February 24, 2008 at 3:19 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 1 Comment
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Tracklisting
1. Sakurabito (サクラビト)
2. Ophelia_act1 (オフェリア_act1)
3. Sakurabito (Instrumental)
4. Ophelia_act1 (Instrumental)

This is Every Little Thing’s 35th single and it was released on February 13, 2008. The single reached #9 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 24,045 copies.

Sakurabito is a traditional flavored ballad from Every Little Thing. With oriental styled instruments and a slower, more laid back arrangement, the song has a simple formula. The verses are calm and accompanied by minimal strings and piano while the chorus showcases an accumulation of these sounds coming together at a faster rate. It sounds quite dramatic overall, but I wasn’t really feeling it unfortunately.

The B-side is a very unique offering from the band. Ophelia_act1 is inspired by traditional European music, rampant with accordions and a constant marching band like rhythm. The melody is very simple, only consisting of vocalist Kaori Mochida singing different variations of la la la throughout the entire track. At the end. she says “Ophelia“, the only actual word in the song. On an interesting note, this is just “act 1″ and there will be an ”act 2″ appearing on the band’s upcoming album Door as the final track. I am now intrigued as to see how the song will continue.

Overall Rating

3 stars

Every Little Thing – Koi wo Shiteiru / Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo feat. Noriyuki Makihara

November 15, 2007 at 3:28 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | 1 Comment
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Tracklisting
1. Koi wo Shiteiru (恋をしている)
2. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo feat. Noriyuki Makihara
    (冬がはじまるよ feat. 槇原敬之)
3. Koi wo Shiteiru (Instrumental)
4. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo feat. Noriyuki Makihara
    (Instrumental)

This is Every Little Thing’s 34th single and it was released on October 31, 2007. The single reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 38,357 copies.

Koi wo Shiteiru is a very pretty winter themed ballad. It begins rather calmly but then surges with percussion and strings after the opening lyrics. The chorus is definitely the highlight of the song although I wished that Kaori Mochida’s vocals were a little bit stronger. Aside from that, this is a nice song that has a lovely winter atmosphere along with a cool electric guitar solo during the bridge.

The next track is more upbeat but still has that winter theme (it’s also a cover of a song from 1991). Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo feat. Noriyuki Makihara focuses more on lyrics about winter next to fast paced synth and strings with a traditional enka twist. Makihara was the composer and original performer of this song and he also provides background vocals that blend quite well with Mochida’s voice. In the end, it’s the perfect contrast to Koi wo Shiteiru.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Every Little Thing – Kirameki Hour

August 25, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Posted in Every Little Thing | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Kirameki Hour (キラメキアワー)
2. Natsuiro Natsu Yume (夏色夏夢)
3. Kirameki Hour (Instrumental)
4. Natsuiro Natsu Yume (Instrumental)

This is Every Little Thing’s 33rd single and it was released on August 8, 2007. The single reached #14 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 17,807 copies.

One of the best things about Kirameki Hour are the stronger, fuller vocals of Every Little Thing’s vocalist Kaori Mochida. If you compare her voice now to the material from the band’s latest album Crispy Park back in the summer of 2006, you’ll notice a big difference in the overall quality of her voice. This might be due to the fact that Mochida had bronchitis at that time too. Anyways, I really enjoyed this upbeat, summer song. The electric guitar solos are especially good as well (a big thumbs up to Ichiro Ito, the band’s guitarist / composer for that). There was one small detail in the song that kind of bugged me and it was this TICKING sound that appears during certain parts. Even though it’s not loud, it’s definitely there.

The B-side is the more laid back Natsuiro Natsu Yume. The song features rhythmic piano chords and electric guitar, which gives the song a jazzy quality. Mochida’s vocals are little bit muffled but I think it was to give the song some ‘oomph’ and so the louder instruments, mainly heard during the chorus, wouldn’t drown out her voice.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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