melody. – Lei Aloha

April 23, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Posted in melody. | 6 Comments
Tags:

Lei Aloha is melody.’s 4th album and it was released on April 9, 2008. The album reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 20,609 copies. Minus the “eternal” version of Haruka, there are 13 new tracks.

♦ ♦ ♦

The album opens with the short instrumental Daybreak, an ambient piece that features a lonesome harp with the sound of ocean waves in the background. It perfectly sets intimate and serene tone of this album as it flows into the first full-length song.

Say Hello quickly begins with pretty strings and then a catchy chorus that uses an English lyric as its hook: Say hello, hello for you and myself. Next to the strings, there are some calm acoustics that really give the song a relaxing island vibe. It’s the first of many tracks that showcase the album’s musical direction.

Haruka was the only single that melody. released for this album and it has a different ending from that of the single version. If you’ve seen the PV then you’ll know that this is the “eternal version” which is a minute longer. The way it ends makes it superior to the single version because it gives the song closure and makes it more complete as a whole. Plus, it is absolutely beautiful when the background choir like vocals begin singing Stay together hand in hand and the strings and drums become stronger. I found this part to be really moving.

Minus the interludes, the next track is the shortest on the the album at just 2 minutes in length. It’s also the only song to be in English, which kind of surprising since her other albums contain at least 4-5 English songs. Peace Song is a simple acoustic track but I loved the message of the lyrics.

This song is a more upbeat and it has some nice percussion. However, Never Goodbye has a darker atmosphere too and it features acoustics with distant voices echoing Don’t stop dreaming in the background.

This interlude is just plain beautiful. Memories in Time has an uplifting piano arrangement that later adds some background vocals.

What follows after, HORIZON, is probably the most beautiful song on the album. This ethereal ballad just seems to go so well with melody.’s soft voice and she gives a wonderful performance during the chorus where she sings gorgeous elongated notes. Utilizing gentle synth and acoustic guitar, the song definitely has an air of ambience.

At this point, the album takes a more upbeat direction with Kiss away. It prominately features a unique instrument that sounded like the bagpipes along with up tempo drums. The chorus is pretty catchy too.

The electric guitar opens Anata no Soba ni with an impressive bang. The verses are rather calm but transition into a more aggressive chorus that uses electric guitar. This song is like a more upbeat version of Haruka thanks to the more “rockish” arrangement it has. melody.’s vocals are really nice here when she adds some emphasis into them.

No Return is a unique track on the album because it resembles the material from the dance influenced READY TO GO!, her previous album. The music has a dance club flair to it because of the beats and quick strings. melody.’s vocal style is a lot more assertive compared to the laid back approach she takes with the rest of the songs too. Even though the song doesn’t really fit that well on this album, it’s still a welcome addition.

Here’s another relaxing interlude but this one has vocals in it. Sunset Love features English lyrics and melody.’s vocals sound very remote and far away, but they echo too because of the layered backtrack.

It was interesting to find out that Dai Nagao (of Do As Infinity fame) composed Beneath My Skin, along with a couple of other songs on the album. This is a bright song with nice piano and frequent beats. I like how melody. creates a catchy hook into the chorus with an English lyric because she knows how to transition and she does it really well. The song fades out with background vocals repeating I promise to be true to you.

I liked the cheery island pop sound of DOOR mostly due to the gentle acoustics. When the chorus arrives, a catchy beat comes in next to melody.’s lovely vocals. The song itself is quite uplifting and it’s easy to sing along to as well.

I thought that Paradise was the perfect way to close the album. This calm acoustic ballad is like a farewell since melody. sings the Hawaiian phrase aloha o’e, which means “farewell to you”, during the chorus. In a way, she could be saying farewell to her former self since it is one of the themes of the album. With this song, the album ends in an almost sentimental fashion.

Lei Aloha is unlike anything melody. has done before and that’s actually a good thing. This is actually the first album by her where I liked every song because they’re all well done and of the highest musical quality. There are 2 major themes which are really personal to her that greatly affected the music and lyrics. The first one being the bonds she has with her friends and family and the second being the representation of her former self while living Hawaii before moving to Japan when she was 19. That’s why this album contains her most intimate and thoughtful work to date. I could really feel the laid back and relaxing island atmosphere that all of the tracks had and they are really reminiscent of what most people think of Hawaii, which is what I think melody. wanted to show. Fans of her usual dance and R&B flavored pop will find this album to be a drastic change but it’s definitely worth a listen. Honestly, this album made me appreciate her even more as a singer because it portrays a vulnerable and “human” side of her.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Daybreak
2. Say Hello
3. Haruka (Eternal Version) (遥花~はるか~)
4. Peace Song
5. Never Goodbye
6. Memories in Time
7. HORIZON
8. Kiss away
9. Anata no Soba ni (あなたのそばに)
10. No Return
11. Sunset Love
12. Beneath My Skin
13. DOOR
14. Paradise

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Advertisements

melody. – Haruka

February 21, 2008 at 3:41 PM | Posted in melody. | Leave a comment
Tags:

Tracklisting
1. Haruka (遥花~はるか~)
2. Plumeria (プルメリア)
3. That’s The Way It Is
4. Haruka (Instrumental)

This is melody.’s 11th single and it was released on February 13, 2008. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 39,042 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama Daisuki!!.

I’ve always said that ballads have been melody.’s strongest asset and she certainly doesn’t disappoint with Haruka, a vibrant song that’s reminiscent of the spring season. The music is quite complex, complete with a full band arrangement and prominent strings in the background. What stands out the most is the electric guitar, something that hasn’t appeared in a melody. song (I think). Progressive riffs open the song and the bridge has an awesome solo. Her vocals are soft but very pretty as usual, and she performs with enough power so the music doesn’t drown her voice out.

The first B-side is a standard mid tempo pop song that’s a little upbeat. Plumeria has gentle beats with guitar and strings providing a good accompaniment. I really liked the background vocals because they were simple yet catchy. Aside the from that, the song is nothing special but at least it sounds nice.

melody.’s cover of Celine Dion’s That’s The Way It Is was supposed to be on that tribute album where a bunch of J-pop artists did covers of her most well known songs, but it was removed for unknown reasons. Anyway, it’s on this single instead and that’s the end of that. I always liked this Celine Dion song when I was younger so it was great to hear melody. do an excellent rendition of it. She sings it very well and the music is pretty different from the original too since the strings play a very big part in the cover version.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

melody. – READY TO GO!

October 20, 2007 at 9:21 PM | Posted in melody. | 1 Comment
Tags:


The cover of the CD+DVD edition

READY TO GO! is melody.’s 3rd album and it was released on July 4, 2007. The album reached #6 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 45,185 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Finding My Road is a very appropriate opening track because it showcases the electronic dance style of this album. It’s quite an exciting song as well.

with you is a little slower paced but still upbeat. The song has a nice mix of synth and club beats while still maintaining a ‘pop’ sound. This is a good example of what most of the album’s tracks sound like.

The album slows down briefly for the gorgeous ballad Love Story. This is such a pretty song and it has quickly become one of my favorites. I really do think that melody. delievers one of her strongest vocal performances in this song, especially during the chorus and the bridge.

I loved the opening lyrics of the next track, All For Love (So like the four seasons show, you’ll see in the end, it’s all for love). The song quickly picks up in speed and adds some quick strings with fast paced vocals. This song is actually my favorite of the album’s new tracks.

I thought HOPE was interesting because of its use of various electronic sounds and melody.’s flowing vocals. Even though the song is a little bit slower, it still has that dance pop sound to it.

The next track is an awesome cover of Peter Cetera’s 1986 hit Glory of Love. The original was a classic 80s pop/rock ballad and melody. completely changes the music to match the album’s atmosphere. The lyrics are sung at a faster pace while accompanied with dance beats and strings. Even though this cover isn’t faithful to the original in terms of sound, it was still done very well.

READY TO GO!, the song that this album is named after, is in English. The lyrics do have a nice message about free will and satisfaction and once again, the music displays a strong dance sound.

ONE DAY is also in English and it really reminded me of the music from her 1st and 2nd albums because it definitely has more of an R&B feel to it. The clapping beat is very nice and I thought these lyrics were better than the previous track’s.

Lovin’ U continues this trend since it was the first single that melody. released for this album. The music leans more towards light hearted R&B and this song is actually my favorite off the album. The English lyrics of the chorus are so sweet and sincere that it quickly grew on me after multiple listens.

Track 10 opens with some funky strings and then those familar dance beats appears. REAL ME felt kind of average to me, but melody.’s vocals are stronger in this song. The bridge is pretty strange too.

The opening piano chords of ALL I DO are wonderful and I absolutely loved the laid back and gentle atmosphere of this song. Similar to Love Story, it uses mininal instruments and melody.’s vocals are fuller and more emotional. She once again delivers another excellent ballad.

Shine is an extremely upbeat song that features thumping beats and synth here and there. It’s a very cheerful and carefree track with a catchy chorus to top it all off.

The final track, Dangerous, attempts to close the album with a bang. This song is in English but I wasn’t too fond of the lyrics. However, the music is definitely better with its relentless beats and electric synth. Despite the sort of cheesy lyrics, the song ends the album rather well.

READY TO GO! is an incredibly solid album and one of melody.’s better efforts put out. The music of this album is quite different from her previous works because it follows more of a dance club and electronic sound. Her first two albums, Sincerely and Be as one, were pretty much R&B at its poppiest. I now think that READY TO GO! is her best album and an improvement over Be as one (which was overall a good album) and leagues better than Sincerely (which was AWFUL except for maybe two songs). I do recommend this album because it shows melody.’s new sound, but also gives a taste of the music she has done in the past in songs like ONE DAY and Lovin’ U. If you’re looking for enjoyable dance tracks, melody. is the girl for you.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Finding My Road
2. with you
3. Love Story
4. All For Love
5. HOPE
6. Glory of Love
7. READY TO GO!
8. ONE DAY
9. Lovin’ U
10. REAL ME
11. ALL I DO
12. Shine
13. Dangerous

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

melody. – Love Story

September 26, 2007 at 9:16 PM | Posted in melody. | 1 Comment
Tags:

Tracklisting
1. Love Story
2. BoRn 2 luv U / melody. ♥ m-flo
3. Lovin’ U -Deckstream Remix-
4. Love Story (instrumental)

This is melody.’s 10th single it was released on May 30, 2007. The single reached #21 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,922 copies.

I have always been a fan of melody.’s ballads because she performs them so well and Love Story just might be her best. The song is just plain gorgeous thanks to a simple, yet effective piano and string arrangement. melody.’s vocals are fantastic and get more emotional further into the song.

The next track is the Japanese version of m-flo’s STUCK IN YOUR LOVE (from their COSMICOLOR album) retitled BoRn 2 luv U. This is a pretty good track because VERBAL’s rapping isn’t as annoying and the mix of synth and percussion beats is very nice.

Track 3 is a jazz remix of Lovin’ U. The remix’s use of additional piano and brass is surprisingly good and they blend really well melody.’s vocals. Another addition to the remix is a short rap session by the duo little funk. All in all, this was not a bad remix at all compared to melody.’s previous ones.

Overall Rating

4 stars

melody. – Finding My Road

August 22, 2007 at 9:12 PM | Posted in melody. | Leave a comment
Tags:

Tracklisting
1. Finding My Road
2. fragile
3. My Dear
4. Finding My Road -SiZK “Water Drop Mix”-

This is melody.’s 9th single and it was released on February 2, 2007. The single reached #13 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 17,594 copies.

Finding My Road is melody.’s first single to feature an electronic dance sound. The upbeat semi-R&B / pop of her previous works is absent in this song. The strong vocals mix very well with the blaring synth and I liked the high energy of this song.

The first B-side is fragile, a sort of melancholy song but with a thumping beat. The song starts off a little boring because of melody.’s low pitched vocals but it picks during the chorus. Her vocals become significantly better during the chorus as well.

The next B-side is the cute and poppish My Dear. This song sounds like many of her previous works which is by no means a bad thing, but it’s certainly not as good as Finding My Road. I was hoping that the B-sides would feature a sound similar to it.

The final track on the single is an obnoxious remix of Finding My Road. The vocal manipulations of melody.’s voice bothered me and the additional muffled vocals are really annoying. Plus, the way the remix ends is dumb too.

Overall Rating

4 stars

melody. – Lovin’ U

July 31, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Posted in melody. | Leave a comment
Tags:

Tracklisting
1. Lovin’ U
2. Our Journey
3. FEEL THE RUSH
4. FEEL THE RUSH
    (Junkie XL remix for “Need For Speed Carbon”)

This is melody.’s 8th single and it was released on November 8, 2006. The single reached #16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 15,434 copies. Track 4 was featured on the soundtrack for the video game Need For Speed: Carbon.

Lovin’ U is one of melody.’s more laid back A-sides. It’s a calm song with a soothing dance beat that never gets out of control. I really liked the catchy bilingual chorus (a common thing about most of her songs) and melody.’s vocals are even better than before.

The rest of the songs on the single are in English and they begin with the ballad Our Journey. This is a really pretty song with a gentle R&B tinge to it but the piano is the best thing about the song’s arrangement. melody.’s English is impeccable as always and the lyrics are nice, but kind of predictable.

I didn’t like FEEL THE RUSH because of its annoying electronic sound. Everything about the song is electronic from the music to melody.’s distorted vocals.

The Junkie XL remix of FEEL THE RUSH is better though. The remix actually has a cool, club beat to it but the vocals are still distorted. The vocal distortions are even worse in the remix but they are sporadic since the remix definitely relies more on the music.

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.