Miyu Nagase – Akane

June 27, 2008 at 10:17 PM | Posted in Miyu Nagase | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Akane (茜)
2. Joy
3. Akane (Instrumental)
4. Joy (Instrumental)

This is Miyu Nagase’s 3rd single and it was released on May 21, 2008. The single reached #21 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 6,705 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama Mama no Kami-sama.

Akane is a simple song with nothing much going on, but I thought it was beautifully executed. Comprising of mostly acoustic guitar and ambient strings, this ballad relies more on its heartwarming lyrics and vocals instead. The lyrics are about the appreciation one has for his or her mother and Nagase sings this message in a calm, yet graceful style. She has made a very touching and thoughtful song and I applaud her for it.

The B-side is kind of funky, but it definitely has a bouncy attitude to it. Joy is very poppy and features short, single note electric guitar chords with light drums. Nagase sounds like she’s having fun while singing and her vocals are upbeat too. Even though I think this is her weakest B-side so far, it’s still nice. It just doesn’t have the same level of quality that Thanks to you or Haruka… had.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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Miyu Nagase – Rose

February 22, 2008 at 11:11 AM | Posted in Miyu Nagase | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Rose
2. Haruka… (遥か・・・)
3. Rose (less vocal)
4. Haruka (less vocal)

This is Miyu Nagase’s 2nd single and it was released on February 13, 2008. The single reached #26 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,454 copies.

After an excellent debut album, Miyu Nagase quickly released this high quality single. There really isn’t anything remarkable about Rose, but it has nice vocals and a gentle composition. This pop ballad is filled with small chimes, laid back percussion, underlying strings, etc. Everything is reserved and the song pretty much maintains a calm atmosphere except for the electric guitar solo during the bridge.

I found the B-side to be more interesting. Haruka… is similarly structured to Rose, but it sounds a lot more emotionally driven and everything seems to flow better. The string arrangement definitely came into mind. Nagase’s vocals are lovely and beautifully done, especially during the dynamic chorus. Just like on her previous single Key ~Yume Kara Samete~, the B-side was better executed.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Miyu Nagase – Gateway to Tomorrow

December 11, 2007 at 9:13 PM | Posted in Miyu Nagase | Leave a comment
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Gateway to Tomorrow is Miyu Nagase’s debut album and it was released on November 21, 2007. The album reached #45 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 5,108 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The opening track is also the only single that Miyu Nagase released for this album, Key ~Yume Kara Samete~. This song is a strong indicator of what the rest of the album sounds like: high quality pop rock that leans a litte bit more towards pop. Nagase’s voice has matured over the years and I noticed this because it’s stronger and deeper. To be honest, most of the album’s new tracks are a lot better than this one. 

Which brings me to GAME, the edgiest and most rock oriented song on the album. It features gritty riffs and blaring percussion at an upbeat pace that I really enjoyed. Nagase’s rougher than usual vocals are awesome and she sings with vigor and speed, especially during the exciting chorus. She’s got a hit right here and this song SHOULD have been released as the single.

Like I said before, the album has it’s fair share of pop tracks, and I absolutely adored Days. It’s one of my favorite tracks. The chorus is very catchy with its quick vocals and light hearted atmosphere. The music just seems to flow really well with the addition of some light beats and pop synth. 

Nagase follows it up with free, an acoustic based track. The verses are uninteresting, but the chorus is quite catchy. She once again sings at a swift pace accompanied by light riffs and thumping drums. This is another high quality song that shows her more mature side.

Track 5 was another favorite of mine. Sunao ni Narezu ni is one of the few rockish ballads off the album and it’s wonderful. It begins with soft acoustics and drums, but then elevates to the powerful chorus. Nagase hits some nice notes in this song and she pulls them off nicely. The ending’s electric guitar solo is great as well and I liked the way it fades away into a lonely acoustic guitar.

The next track, winter memories, is a little all over place. It somewhat has a ‘winter vibe’ to it because of the crystalline like chimes that appear frequently, but the music is mainly a mish-mash of electric guitar during the strong chorus and jazzy percussion in the verses (which I thought was kind of neat). I could have done without the unnecessary Engrish that ends the chorus though.

I had the same issue with futari as I did with free: somewhat uninspiring verses. The lead-in to the chorus, however, is nicely done. I liked Nagase’s ad-libbing and they lead to an excellent chorus. The progressive electric guitar riffs that accompany her slower paced vocals are amazing.

Up next is a really fun upbeat track that I really enjoyed. with U is a bright and cheery song and I thought everything from the vocals to the music had a positive feeling to it. It’s an pleasant and uplifting pop rock number.

Namida no Kanata is kind of like opposite of the previous track. The opening is somewhat depressing because of the piano and low pitched vocals, but it quickly changes to a rockish and edgy chorus. The addition of the strings give the music more feeling as Nagase’s vocals begin to elevate.

The piano intro of promising is instantly broken by a catchy chorus with some English: Oh fly away, don’t be afraid. This is another powerful song that’s heavy on the rock side, but Nagase’s vocals aren’t strong like they were in GAME. The melody of the chorus doesn’t really allow that though since the music is a little more laid back.

Nagase ends the album with a laid back pop tune. Hikari Sasu Basho is also quite cheery and it uses a familiar guitar riff along with light percussion…except for the additional synth that feels out of place. Her vocals are nice, crisp, and go along really well with the pop sound of the music. This track was a nice way to close the album.

Gateway to Tomorrow is an impressive debut album definitely resparked my interest in Miyu Nagase. Despite staying in her comfort zone of pop rock music, she performs these kinds of songs very nicely. Almost every song on the album has an interesting hook to it, and there are some really good standout tracks presented here. Her “new” solo music might sound similar to the material while she was the lead vocalist of ZONE, but she adds her own style into the mix. I’ve said before that I would like to see her tackle the mainstream pop genre again after those 2 singles released in the winter of 2004, but she does exactly that with some the album’s tracks and I hope that she continues to do it.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Key ~Yume Kara Samete~ (Key~夢から覚めて~)
2. GAME
3. Days
4. free
5. Sunao ni Narezu ni (素直になれずに)
6. winter memories
7. futari
8. with U
9. Namida no Kanata (涙の彼方)
10. promising
11. Hikari Sasu Basho (光さす場所)

Note: My favorite songs are highlighted in blue!

Miyu Nagase – Key ~Yume Kara Samete~

November 8, 2007 at 9:11 PM | Posted in Miyu Nagase | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Key ~Yume Kara Samete~ (Key~夢から覚めて~)
2. Thanks to you
3. Key ~Yume Kara Samete~ (less vocal)
4. Thanks to you (less vocal)

This is Miyu Nagase 3rd single (but the 1st on her new label CAM ENTERTAINMENT) and it was released on October 10, 2007. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 6,048 copies.

After releasing 2 “pop” themed singles in the winter of 2004, Miyu Nagase finally returns to the music scene with Key ~Yume Kara Samete~. The song is quite reminiscent of the music she did as the lead singer of ZONE, but with a more mature sound. The music is typical pop rock with some strings added in and the other things you would expect in a song of this genre. Nagase’s voice definitely sounds more mature and stronger than before and it’s definitely for the better.

I actually liked the B-side on this single a lot more. The A-side was nice, but Thanks to you was much better in my eyes. It’s a calm, heartwarming track with gentle vocals from Nagase. I really enjoyed the music because it starts rather slowly with some pretty strings but then later on electric guitar and percussion give the song some much needed variety.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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