Leah Dizon – Communication!!!

September 14, 2008 at 8:14 PM | Posted in Leah Dizon | 11 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Communication!!! is Leah Dizon’s 2nd album and it was released on August 20, 2008. The album reached #16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 13,533 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Starting things off is the cute pop number Step into my world. The music is very cheerful and mostly consists of a steady beat, quick piano chords, and underlying strings. The song relies a lot on English lyrics, mainly during the chorus, but I thought they were pretty catchy. For me, it’s always been a hit and miss with Leah Dizon’s poppier tracks but this one was well done. I also have to say it’s a great album opener too.

Now we go from cute to FIERCE with Love Paradox, which is by far Dizon’s most impressive song to date. This is a fiery track with awesome urban undertones like heavy bass, synth, and more aggressive vocals from Dizon. The verses are still my favorite parts because she sings in a lower pitch and that makes her voice sound fuller. She should perform more songs like this since that vocal style really works for her.

The next track is the offbeat and reggae inspired LOVE SWEET CANDY. This is a really catchy tune that features light reggae guitar riffs next to sparking chimes and laid back horns. The chorus also has a infectious melody that I really enjoy. This song was originally a B-side from the Vanilla single.

Dizon presents something new with a song that is more rock oriented. Without a good-bye opens with gentle acoustics that are followed by some light electric guitar riffs. This all accumulates into the chorus where she displays strong vocals. I liked her singing for the most part but her voice does strain sometimes, especially near the end.

I’m still not very fond of Vanilla. Actually, I don’t like it at all. It’s such an uninteresting song and I don’t think it’s very appealing. The arrangement is lazy and poorly executed, making this one very drab pop song. At the moment, it currently ranks as her worst A-side as well as the worst song on this album in my book.

With a style that’s similar to Love Paradox, the next track crashes in with a western R&B sound. What I liked the most about Nothin’ to Lose were the lyrics (the song is completely in English). Dizon sings about “gambling on love” and how it’s like a card game so I thought they were clever to say the least. Her vocals are great as well, further proving that her voice is better suited for more R&B inspired material.

We have another rock song but it’s in English this time. Lost at Sea has stronger electric guitars and drums when compared to Without a good-bye but I didn’t really like the vocals. The music and lyrics are pretty good though. The interesting thing about this song is that Dizon worked on its composition along with Yoshihiko Chino.

I had to admit that the title track is pretty hot. Communication!!! is heavy on the bass and synth with a looping brass(?) instrument in the background. I find the chorus to be insanely catchy with the opening Just your touch is never enough line too. I can’t get it out of my head sometimes.

Not Too Bad might possibly be my favorite of the album’s new tracks. It also has that Western sound but with a pop sensibility and it actually reminds me a lot of Mariah Carey’s recent songs. Dizon does those cute vocals again but she sounds good and not to mention catchy. I also loved the consistent flow of the music. Oddly enough, this is the first of only 2 songs on the album that Dizon didn’t write/co-write the lyrics for.

Dizon works again with Yoshihiko Chino for the speedy rock track BxKxRxxx (WTF?). Chino wrote the lyrics while Dizon helped with the composition. What stood out the most for me was the incredibly fast paced chorus where she sings with impressive vigor. It’s an entertaining song and I thought it was pretty good.

The album begins to slow down with the gentle and serene Under The Same Sky, the B-side from the Love Paradox single. Comprising of light beats and distant synth lines, this is an elegant and well performed song. The ethereal atmosphere is very pleasant and the same goes for Dizon’s vocals.

The final track Thank you, an uplifting and cheerful song. There is a nice clapping beat with some pretty harps as well. I really liked the lyrics where Dizon gives her thanks and gratitude to the people most important to her. The album ends in a lighthearted fashion as the song begins to fade out.

I was quite impressed with Communication!!! and Leah Dizon has made an extremely solid sophomore effort. The main thing that makes it a step up over her debut album Destiny Line is its overall production value. The album as a whole just sounds more refined and polished, especially with songs like Love Paradox and Nothin’ to Lose. It was also nice to see Dizon branch out into other genres of music like rock and R&B (but she should focus more on R&B since her voice is perfect for it). She has somewhat improved vocally but I still think there’s room for her to get better. She has the potential to be even greater and I believe that she’s going in the right direction with this album.

 Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Step into my world
2. Love Paradox
3. LOVE SWEET CANDY
4. Without a good-bye
5. Vanilla
6. Nothin’ to Lose
7. Lost at Sea
8. Communication!!!
9. Not Too Bad
10. BxKxRxxx
11. Under The Same Sky
12. Thank you

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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Leah Dizon – Vanilla

July 15, 2008 at 6:19 PM | Posted in Leah Dizon | 5 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Vanilla
2. LOVE SWEET CANDY
3. Kanashimi to Egao no Naka de
    (悲しみと笑顔の中で) [CD only bonus track]
4. Vanilla (Instrumental)
5. LOVE SWEET CANDY (Instrumental)

This is Leah Dizon’s 5th single and it was released on June 25, 2008. The single reached #26 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 8,312 copies.

After a really impressive single from Leah Dizon (the awesome Love Paradox), Vanilla was a letdown. This is your typical pop song, but I thought its overall execution was lazy and it lacked a certain flair. I found it less interesting than Koi Shiyou♪ and LOVE U despite the upbeat atmosphere and overly sweet lyrics. Compared to her previous A-sides, I gotta say that this one was her weakest.

Fortunately, the B-sides are the single’s saving grace and I thought they were a lot better. LOVE SWEET CANDY has a certain charm to it that I really liked and the funky, reggae sound of the music seemed to go very well with Dizon’s vocals. Her voice is more breathy compared to the choppy performance in Vanilla and as a result, she also sounds more vibrant.

The CD only edition of the single features a 2nd B-side, the somber Kanashimi to Egao no Naka de. This song reminded me a lot of Again and Again from her debut album (a song that I LOVED), but with a stronger R&B flavored arrangement and fuller vocals from Dizon. Along with LOVE SWEET CANDY, we can add this song to the already good amount of B-sides under her belt. It’s too bad that this song won’t be on her upcoming new album titled Communication!!! (but LOVE SWEET CANDY will be so it’s all good).

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

 

Leah Dizon – Love Paradox

April 10, 2008 at 4:21 PM | Posted in Leah Dizon | 7 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Love Paradox
2. Under The Same Sky
3. Love Paradox (Instrumental)
4. Under the Same Sky (Instrumental)

This is Leah Dizon’s 4th single and it was released on March 26, 2008. The single reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,193 copies. The CD only editon was supposed to include a Bach Logic Remix of the title track but it was removed prior to the release date.

Is that you, Leah?!
Leah Dizon has done the unthinkable and performed a really likable urban inspired pop song. Love Paradox was created by several American producers with lyrics written by Dizon herself. Filled with heavy synth and bass, the music sounds like something that could do well stateside. The song just has that mainstream, yet edgy approach to it. Dizon’s vocals sound at their fullest and I was really impressed. She sings at a lower pitch throughout the entire song, but especially during the fiery verses which I thought were the best segments. The lyrics are pretty good too and they describe the conflicting emotions of a woman’s heart (hence the “paradox”).

The B-side is a much more calmer song. Under The Same Sky is a mix of gentle beats and far off strings all set next to Dizon’s breathy vocals. Her voice is little hard to hear at the beginning, but it gets a little stronger when the song elevates into the chorus. All in all, it’s a decent B-side from Dizon.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Leah Dizon – Destiny Line

September 22, 2007 at 11:17 AM | Posted in Leah Dizon | 2 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Destiny Line is Leah Dizon’s debut album and it was released on September 12, 2007. The album reached #9 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 55,091 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The album opens with blaring brass section of IMPOSSIBLE. This song was a great way to kick start the album because it is such a spunky, energetic track with matching lyrics to boot.

Out of all the B-sides she has released, Everything Anything is one of Leah Dizon’s weakest. The song has grown on me over the course of time, but I still have issues with her vocals. The music is quite pleasant to me now though. This song was a B-side on the Softly single.

I really do think Dizon excels at singing slower paced songs, and she really shows that with Missing. This is a really pretty song with nice acoustic guitar in the background and it shows the gentler, more reserved side of Dizon’s voice.

The next track is fun and infectious Koi Shiyou♪, her 2nd single. This is such a catchy song with a chorus that doesn’t let up. It’s definitely one of the best tracks off the album.

I was so impressed with Unmei-sen because Dizon once again displays charming vocals in this mid paced song. The lyrics of the chorus are heartfelt and I especially enjoyed the bridge where she adds a little dash of power into her voice. The song also has a nice, rhythmic beat.

Dizon included both of the B-sides from her Koi Shiyou♪ single on the album and Could you be that one? appears first. I have always liked this song’s catchy chorus and fluffy atmosphere.

Are you feelin’ for me? is the first of only 2 songs on the album that feature lyrics that are completely in English. The music is quite edgy thanks to the deep synth arrangement and constant beats. The lyrics are pretty good too, but nothing extremely special.

Track 8 is Softly, Dizon’s debut single. Like I said when I reviewed the single, I really liked her gentle voice even though it comes off as a little weak sometimes. The song is your typical love ballad with some beats in the background mixed with low key strings.

The next track is a heavily synthed up cover of Culture Club’s Time (Clock Of The Heart). I will say that Dizon does the song justice but there was a huge problem that I had with her cover: the background vocals. After the chorus, the background vocals appear and start an annoying high pitched acapella sequence. It’s the only real negative aspect of the song, really.

Aishiteru~Love Story is a unique track on this album because it is Dizon’s first step into R&B territory. The song has hot beats and catchy vocals to go along with them. This song was the other B-side on the Koi Shiyou♪ single.

The album enters a somewhat bubblegum pop phase with Wonderlin’. It’s a very poppy song with progressive percussion and brass in the background. The lyrics are on the cutesy side too.

L・O・V・E U is probably the most sugary and light hearted song on the album. Everything from the vocals, music, and lyrics just scream CUTE…perhaps TOO cute.

Drive me crazy was an eye opener because it reminded me of a certain American song: Toxic by Britney Spears. The song’s structure is so similar to Toxic in a lot areas, especially during the verses, the lead-in to the chorus, and the bridge. I guess you can that this is a good thing because Toxic is one the few Britney Spears songs that I actually enjoy listening to.

Dizon definitely saved the best for last with Again and Again, the album’s promotional track. The song is mostly in English and the lyrics are gorgeous. Dizon’s vocals sound so frail in this song, but it actually adds some ambience and emotion to the music, which is a blend of waterdrop beats and strings. On a side note, she worked with her brother Bradley on this track.

On the CD only edition of the album, there’s a remix of Koi Shiyou♪ done by none other than Yasutaka Nakata. It was originally released as a digital download on July 25, 2007. The remix features a faster rhythm and more layered vocals during the chorus. In the end, it’s an awesome revisioning of the song since it adds electronica and dance elements.

Destiny Line was better than I thought, A LOT better. So many of the album tracks surprised me and I was impressed by how well done most of them were. Leah Dizon had a lot of input on the album since she wrote a majority of the songs, and considering her background, that’s really amazing. The album does have its weak points though, the biggest one being Dizon’s vocals, which are still not as developed as I would like them to be. However, she is still making an incredible effort as an up and coming singer. The music isn’t for everyone, but as a POP ALBUM, Destiny Line definitely delivers. It’s a worth a try, and might take multiple listens.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. IMPOSSIBLE
2. Everything Anything
3. Missing
4. Koi Shiyou♪ (恋しよう♪)
5. Unmei-sen (運命線)
6. Could you be that one?
7. Are you feelin’ for me?
8. Softly
9. Time (Clock Of The Heart)
10. Aishiteru~Love Story (アイシテル~Love Story)
11. Wonderlin’
12. L・O・V・E U
13. Drive me crazy
14. Again and Again
15. Koi Shiyou♪ ~yasutaka nakata-capsule mix~ [CD only bonus track]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Leah Dizon – L・O・V・E U

August 18, 2007 at 11:14 AM | Posted in Leah Dizon | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. L・O・V・E U
2. Brand New Day

This is Leah Dizon’s 3rd single and it was released on August 8, 2007. The single reached #16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 16,240 copies.

Even though I thought L・O・V・E U wasn’t as good as her previous single Koi Shiyou♪, Leah Dizon continues to show an overall improvement in her vocal skills. The song is even more sugary and cute than Koi Shiyou♪ was, but it has its moments.

I liked the B-side more on this single. Brand New Day is different from her past songs because of its dominant use of the acoustic guitar. The chorus also has some light electric guitar in the background, and I thought that was a really nice touch. To me, this is the best B-side she has done so far.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Leah Dizon – Koi Shiyou♪

June 29, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Posted in Leah Dizon | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Koi Shiyou♪ (恋しよう♪)
2. Could you be that one?
3. Aishiteru~Love Story (アイシテル~Love Story)

This is Leah Dizon’s 2nd single and it was released on May 30, 2007. The single reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 49,251 copies.

I was surprised with Koi Shiyou♪ when I first heard it. The song is a major improvement over her debut single Softly because it is actually a fun and infectious song. Dizon’s vocals have improved and I was impressed with how well she sung the fast paced chorus. The chorus is also where the song shines.

The B-sides on this single were also a lot better this time around. Could you be that one? is a little slower but still has a catchy rhythm. This song was used in a commercial for the video game Ninja Gaiden Sigma which featured Dizon herself.

I liked the fact that Dizon tried out a more R&B sound in Aishiteru~Love Story. It has great beats and just the like two previous tracks, the chorus is catchy.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Leah Dizon – Softly

June 12, 2007 at 10:51 AM | Posted in Leah Dizon | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Softly
2. Everything Anything
3. Without Your Love [Normal edition bonus track]
     Fever [Limited edition bonus track]

This is Leah Dizon’s debut single and it was released on February 14, 2007. The single reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 48,554 copies.

Before I begin this review, I want to provide some information on Leah Dizon. First of all, she is NOT Japanese but a mixture of American, French, Chinese, and Filipino. She was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and English is her first language as well. Before she became a singer, she was already a model and gravure idol that achieved some success in Japan for her magazine covers and TV appearances.

For a debut single by an artist who’s second language is Japanese, Softly isn’t that bad. I thought Dizon’s vocals were a little weak, but I really liked the gentleness of her voice at the same time. As for the music, the song is a typical ballad with the normal strings and such.

The B-side that appears on both editions of the single is Everything Anything, a song that is more upbeat than the previous track. Dizon’s vocals are more upbeat as well. The overall arrangement of the song is generic excluding the cheery strings.

On the normal edition, the B-side is Without Your Love. I didn’t find this song to be all that interesting and I think it’s purely B-side material.

I was far more impressed with the limited edition B-side. The best thing about Dizon’s cover of Kylie Minogue’s Fever is that she gets the opportunity to sing in English, her native language. Her Japanese singing is good but she obviously sings better in English. This song was originally released as a digital single on October 5, 2006.

Overall Rating

3 stars

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