Kana Nishino – Thank you, Love

August 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 1 Comment
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The cover of the regular edition

Thank you, Love is Kana Nishino’s 3rd album and it was released on June 22, 2011. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 307,183 copies. It was preceded by 4 singles: if, Kimitte, Distance, and Esperanza.

The duck lips are back! I’m not digging the hippie look either. It doesn’t suit her.

♦ ♦ ♦

I got to hand it to Kana Nishino for staying consistent after the release of to LOVE. This album era featured some of her best singles so far so I was looking forward to what she would bring to the table with her 3rd album titled Thank you, Love. Much like the last album, Thank you, Love has a pleasant summer vibe but it’s even more evident here since there is noticeably less “aitakute”. LOL

The album begins with the extremely pretty introduction track *Prologue* ~Sunrise~ which goes into the leading single Esperanza. As much as I enjoy this song and appreciate Nishino for trying out a Latino acoustic sound, the similarities to Motto… are above obvious. The structure of the song almost mirrors that of Motto… from beginning to end but maybe that’s why I like it so much. XD Still, you can’t hide this from me, Kana!

Then we have the bouncy party song Clap Clap!!. The big thing about this album is that it’s mostly comprised of upbeat songs which is a nice change from all the mid-tempo stuff she’s been doing. After that is Together, a feel-good song with a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. It sounds like a parade during the chorus when that brass kicks in.

Distance, the 3rd single off the album, still remains as the standout track here. It has a ambient dance sound but it’s not like one of her aggressive club-banger B-sides. That’s okay though since the song is unique in its own right. The B-side I’ll be there (from the if single) follows and even though it’s not the B-side that I would have personally put on this album, I still like it. It’s a pretty song but I would have put Beautiful or beloved to shake things up.

The first full-blown ballad on the album is Flower. I don’t really remember it though since it gets quickly overshadowed by Every Boy Every Girl. I have to admit that this song is full of character and energy. It’s bound to get you moving.

I don’t really remember Where are you? since it’s clumped in-between better tracks. It’s still nice to hear somewhat upbeat material though. Anyway, I wanna talk about if instead. XD It’s a GREAT song and being the first single of the era, it set the standard for the rest of the singles that followed. Compared to the to LOVE singles, this song has a different vibe to it. The music is more uplifting and progressive with strong vocals from Nishino as well.

Hmmm…what should I say about Alright? I’m pretty sure you’re trying to read my mind but I’m not going to say that it’s just alright! lol To me, this song sounds a lot like if but more upbeat. The music is vibrant for sure and the chorus stands out. It’s more than alright, to be honest!

We’re getting close to the end of the album and here we are with 2 really nice ballads. First is Kimitte, a lovely song that proved to be the most popular A-side of the era sales-wise. It’s really pretty and the next track Wishing compliments it really well. Remember back on to LOVE she was all “cellphones and aitakute” at this point? None of that is here. In terms of the lyrics, these songs feel more genuine, especially when you listen to the chorus of Wishing.

Closing the album is *Epilogue* ~Thank you, Love~ which is a reprise of the prologue. The pleasant island sound comes back along with the looping “Thank you, Love” vocals that I love. It also features Nishino talking in English thanking her friends and family for their support and LOVE (of course!) Haha. It’s cute though.

I have to give props to Nishino for showing some growth and maturity in Thank you, Love. In an interview for the album, she said that the album reflects a different mindset compared to the likes of LOVE one. and to LOVE and if you care about lyrics, you can notice it here. On the down side, the music isn’t that much different with the exception of Esperanza and maybe Distance so you don’t really see any development in that department unfortunately. All in all, I enjoyed the album for what it was worth and pretty much every song is likable in some way. I hope Nishino continues to explore that untapped potential she has because it’s definitely there.

Pros: This is a fun album and her most colorful work to date.
Cons: Like to LOVE, some of the new tracks don’t stand out until you really give them a good listen.

BASICALLY…noooo, thank you, Kana. Thank you. ;D

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. *Prologue* ~Sunrise~
2. Esperanza
3. Clap Clap!!
4. Together
5. Distance
6. I’ll be there
7. Flower
8. Every Boy Every Girl
9. Where are you?
10. if
11. Alright
12. Kimitte (君って)
13. Wishing
14. *Epilogue* ~Thank you, Love~

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Kana Nishino – to LOVE

July 6, 2010 at 1:18 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 5 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

to LOVE is Kana Nishino’s 2nd album and it was released on June 23, 2010. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 402,772 copies.

Stop inflating your lips, girl! It’s distracting. >_>

♦ ♦ ♦

Make way for the new queen of Jpop, bitches. Just kidding. ;D At the moment Kana Nishino is more like the queen of cellphone love songs, something that the teenage girls of Japan just eat up. After her debut album LOVE one., she went on a string of releasing bittersweet mid-tempo R&B songs and just kept getting more popular. For the people who were bitching about how Nishino should go back to her “old style” with girly pop songs like glowly days and Style. should be quiet because you DO get some of that on this album.

On the plus side, I am glad that to LOVE isn’t chock full of songs like Motto… and Aitakute Aitakute because let’s be honest; things would get boring pretty fast. At its core, this is a summer album and the new tracks prove that. After a short intro track (what a nice surprise lol) and Best Friend, Summer Girl feat. MINMI and Hey Boy come in as bright and upbeat songs that are quite different than most of the A-sides. Hey Boy stands out with its electric guitars which is something I haven’t heard since her debut single.

Nishino whips out her sad cellphone in Motto… but then goes back to a cute summer sound with love & smile and Kono Mama de (the first ballad of the album). The next two songs are a little more electronic. MAYBE is good but WRONG is just plain amazing. It is by far the best new track. Come On Yes Yes Oh Yeah!! is the obligatory party song and it has the most random intro sequence ever. The intro reminds me of Grab Bag but the rest of it is like Konya wa PARTY UP. I was hoping for another song like candy though. =(

The album goes into full cellphone romance mode with the A-sides Dear… and Aitakute Aitakute. Dear… is a lovey-dovey ballad while Aitakute Aitakute is a post breakup song. This all wraps up with You are the one, a ballad that ends the album on a lighter note. The epilogue is pretty much a reiteration of the prologue since the music is the same and she sings the same lines.

It’s a good thing that the album mixed things up a bit but still maintained a good flow. As much as I loved the A-sides, they all sound similar to each other and nobody wants a monotonous album. The new tracks like Summer Girl, Hey Boy, WRONG, and even Come On Yes Yes Oh Yeah!! provided some much needed variety. The structure of to LOVE is similar to that of her debut album but I thought it flowed even smoother because the songs were better executed. There’s no mediocre pop songs like I, glowly days, or Girlfriend but that’s mostly because her vocals were baaaad back then. Since her debut album, her vocals have improved a lot. Seriously, listen to I and you’ll hear a big difference. Finishing up this review, Kana Nishino is definitely not a victim of the sophomore slump and to LOVE is a great album.

Pros: Overall, this album is better and more cohesive than her debut. The A-sides remain awesome as well.
Cons: I was a little let down with some of the new tracks. Only WRONG really impressed me.

BASICALLY…what a nice surprise, indeed. ♥

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. *Prologue* ~What a nice~
2. Best Friend
3. Summer Girl feat. MINMI
4. Hey Boy
5. Motto… (もっと・・・)
6. love & smile
7. Kono Mama de (このままで)
8. MAYBE
9. WRONG
10. Come On Yes Yes Oh Yeah!!
11. Dear…
12. Aitakute Aitakute (会いたくて 会いたくて)
13. You are the one
14. *Epilogue* ~to LOVE~

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Kana Nishino – Aitakute Aitakute

May 22, 2010 at 10:36 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 8 Comments
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The cover of the regular edition

Aitakute Aitakute (会いたくて 会いたくて) is Kana Nishino’s 10th single and it was released on May 19, 2010. The single reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 38,768 copies.

Her fish lips bother me so much. lol Nice cover otherwise.

♦ ♦ ♦

I will start out by saying that this single isn’t as good as the last one but Aitakute Aitakute still proves to be a high quality song. It’s definitely the most dramatic song of this era, too. Being the complete opposite of Best Friend, Nishino sings of lost love and desire (I miss you so much I’m shaking, for example). When I say that the song is “dramatic”, it has a great buildup. Next to the strings and piano, there are cool rhythmic drums that lead into the chorus.

With a title like LOVE IS BLIND, I wasn’t expecting such a cheery song. lol HIRO produced this track and unlike ONE WAY LOVE, we have something more upbeat and dance oriented. I think it’s cute but nothing special. At least the song is a grower.

And lastly…what the hell is going on in Grab Bag? What a disaster. Imagine candy but without the structure or coherency. I hate to admit it but there are some similarities to Ke$ha’s TiK ToK, the beginning of the chorus being the most obvious thing. I tried liking this song but I just can’t. D:

Pros: Aitakute Aitakute is excellent. I like it more than Best Friend.
Cons: I wish Grab Bag never existed. It’s pretty bad. XD

BASICALLY…the B-sides were pretty weak this time. Only pay attention to the A-side, plz.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Aitakute Aitakute (会いたくて 会いたくて)
2. LOVE IS BLIND
3. Grab Bag

Kana Nishino – Best Friend

March 6, 2010 at 3:07 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 5 Comments
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The cover of the regular edition

Best Friend is Kana Nishino’s 9th single and it was released on February 24, 2010. The single reached #3 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 23,506 copies.

Stay out of Kana’s covers, Ayu! Thieving bitch! It must be that blonde hair.

♦ ♦ ♦

Out of the 3 singles that Kana Nishino has released so far in this new era, Best Friend proves to be one of her more interesting A-sides. It’s not a mellow track like Motto… or Dear… so I was glad to hear some more enthusiastic music from her. The upbeat piano and strings are very nice and I swear that Nishino’s vocals get better with each release. The song features the best high notes I’ve ever heard from her.

Here’s a serious R&B tune! ONE WAY LOVE was produced by HIRO, the guy behind Koda Kumi’s TABOO and Maki Goto’s Fly away. I was expecting a hot dance track or something but this will suffice. The music is slower paced but features prominent beats and a lot of synth. Just like the A-side, it has a very catchy chorus.

The 3rd track is the most energetic on the single. Konya wa PARTY UP is a fun, synth filled song, complete with the sounds of people cheering in the background. I wouldn’t mind more festive tracks like this from Nishino since it reminded me of GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, another one of her cheery B-sides.

Pros: I didn’t think she would top her last single Dear… / MAYBE, but she did! =O
Cons: None. This was a flawless release.

BASICALLY…she’s the only singer worth stanning for (besides Namie Amuro). ♥

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Best Friend
2. ONE WAY LOVE
3. Konya wa PARTY UP (今夜はPARTY UP)

Kana Nishino – Dear… / MAYBE

December 9, 2009 at 6:22 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 4 Comments
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Dear… / MAYBE is Kana Nishino’s 8th single and it was released on December 2, 2009. The single reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 44,503 copies.

The only thing this cover is missing is a cell phone (oh wait, that’s in the PV >_>).

♦ ♦ ♦

My girl Kana Nishino has done it again! Dear… is her take on the ~winter ballad~ and it’s very good. I like it more than her last single Motto… which was already excellent. Next to those R&B undertones are some strings and piano that make it stand out over previous A-sides. For example, the bridge features some lovely strings that become stronger near the  song’s ending.

Some people have stated that MAYBE is reminscent of Kana’s “older pop style”. Well, I would say just a little. The music is less R&B and more electronic thanks to the uptempo dance beats and synth riffs. I’m glad she’s mixing things up though since this is a pretty upbeat track with a nice rhythm.

The 3rd track is an awesome cover of m-flo’s Yours only, (with WISE doing the rapping). I loved this song when I first heard it on the m-flo tribute album so it’s a great addition to the single. I was most impressed with Nishino’s vocals and she sounded amazing during the high notes. I liked those muffled and distorted adlibbing sequences too.

Pros: This is her strongest single to date. All 3 tracks are wonderful!
Cons: NONE…SERIOUSLY.

BASICALLY…I love her even more now. lol

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Dear…
2. MAYBE
3. Yours only, feat. WISE ~maison de m-flo~

Kana Nishino – Motto…

October 29, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 2 Comments
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Motto… (もっと・・・) is Kana Nishino’s 7th single and it was released on October 21, 2009. The single reached #6 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 28,416 copies.

OMG Where’s her hat!? *implodes*

♦ ♦ ♦

Kana Nishino continues her R&B streak with Motto…, a melancholy song that is along the same lines as Tookutemo feat. WISE and Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara. I gotta say that this song is very good and Nishino has never sounded better vocally. The piano has a pretty big role in the music and I just loved those short solo sections that lead into the chorus. Speaking of the chorus, it’s pretty catchy and features strong beats. This is an excellent A-side for sure!

When it comes to the B-sides…I thought they were okay. I’ve always been on and off with Nishino’s B-sides though (the only ones that I really like are Kirari and Shitsuren Mode feat. WISE). On this single, the first one is missing you, which is more of a ballad than the A-side. It’s nice but gets a little boring. Even so, it’s better than most of her previous B-sides. Then there’s Dear My Friends, the upbeat “cute” song. I wasn’t really feeling it but at least the chorus is good.

Pros: Motto… is a great track and with enough listens, so is missing you.
Cons: Dear my friends, I wanna change. I won’t look back yesterday. =x

BASICALLY…I need more Kana, stat! I’m liking the direction she’s going.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Motto… (もっと・・・)
2. missing you
3. Dear My Friends

Kana Nishino – LOVE one.

October 4, 2009 at 7:16 PM | Posted in Kana Nishino | 5 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

LOVE one. is Kana Nishino’s debut album and it was released on June 24, 2009. The album reached #4 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 135,215 copies. Also, it was preceded by SIX singles: I, glowly days, Style., MAKE UP, Tookutemo feat. WISE, and Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara.

Cute cover. The CD+DVD edition is exactly the same except the text is magenta or something.

♦ ♦ ♦

Love is passion. Love is kindness.
Love is trust and love is happiness.
But sometimes love becomes helpless.
And then love makes you jealous.

I gotta be honest right now and say that I did not like Kana Nishino at first. When she released her first couple of singles in early 2008, I was annoyed by her high pitched voice. I just thought it didn’t match the kind of music she was singing, which was primarily pop. So I pretty much ignored her from then. Now let’s fast forward to 2009. She finally releases her debut album and I decide to have a listen despite my initial doubts.

Let’s just say that SHE WON ME OVER. =O

LOL But it’s true. I really like her now. I think the main reason is because of her transition into the R&B genre which happened in early 2009, a year after her debut. She still makes pop music but with the release of her 5th single Tookutemo feat. WISE, I thought she finally found something that worked for her. It also helped that her vocals improved too.

Focusing on the album again, LOVE one. is pretty much divided into two categories: upbeat pop and mid-tempo R&B. The earlier singles like I, glowly days, and Style. represent the album’s pop side and I don’t think they’re as bad as I used to think. However, her voice still sounds rough in them. I recommend MAKE UP though since it is the best out of those songs.

The R&B tracks showcase the album’s depressing side. Most of them are sad in some way but I also think that they are the best songs on the album. I absolutely love Life goes on… (my favorite new track) and Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara (my favorite A-side). The two exceptions are doll and candy which are both upbeat. candy is so silly because of its lyrics about how she compares boys to candy but it’s such a guilty pleasure. I can’t help but love it. =x

After giving this album multiple plays, I must say that it has grown on me a lot. There are a lot of catchy tunes on LOVE one. and Nishino’s voice can be good if she applies it correctly. That’s why I think the R&B flavored tracks are among the best on the album. If you compare them to her debut material, there is a considerable difference in quality. She also sounds a lot better too. With this album, I see (and hear!) nothing but improvement from her as she begins the next chapter of her career.

Pros: Kana + R&B = GOLD
Cons: Approach the early material with caution!

BASICALLY…get it, Kana! A solid debut album.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. *Prologue* ~Kirari~
2. Tookutemo feat. WISE (遠くても)
3. doll
4. Girlfriend
5. Kimi no Koe wo feat. VERBAL (m-flo) (君の声を)
6. Style.
7. Life goes on…
8. I
9. candy
10. MAKE UP
11. glowly days
12. celtic
13. Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara (君に会いたくなるから)
14. *Epilogue* ~LOVE one.~

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

 

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