BoA – Milestone

January 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Posted in BoA | Leave a comment
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Milestone is BoA’s 32nd single (1st DVD single) and it was released on December 7, 2011. Technically a DVD release with a bonus disc containing the single, it reached #4 on the Oricon Weekly DVD charts and sold 7,722 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Milestone is the first Japanese song by BoA that I have genuinely liked in a loooong time. After releasing such duds like her last album IDENTITY and the WOO WEEKEND single in 2010, I was beginning to lose faith (in her Japanese music at least). Luckily Milestone proves to be a shining ray of hope and a worthy song to commemorate her 10th anniversary in Japan. A simplistic ballad comprised of mostly piano, BoA’s vocals proved to be the strongest factor of the song. She sounds absolutely radiant, her voice sounding better since those 2010 releases. The only drawback is that the song is way too short and the ending very abrupt. After the final chorus at the 3 minute mark, the song just ends like that.

The B-side was originally a digital single released in December 2010. I thought I SEE ME was pretty good and a nice follow-up to Milestone. The music is more upbeat and has a jazzy sound to it.

Also included on the single is the “BEST&USA Version” of Meri Kuri, her popular Christmas ballad. I thought it was kind of strange that it was placed on here since it was already on the compilation album BEST&USA which was released almost 3 years ago. Anyway, compared to the original this version is simpler with the primary focus on the piano and BoA’s vocals once again.

Pros: I think Milestone is a beautiful song.
Cons: It doesn’t provide a sense of closure because of its sudden ending. I’m hoping for a full version if BoA releases another album.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Milestone
2. I SEE ME
3. Meri Kuri ~BEST&USA Version~ (メリクリ)
4. Milestone -Instrumental-
5. I SEE ME -Instrumental-
6. Meri Kuri ~BEST&USA Version~ -Instrumental-

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Aya Kamiki – Revolver

July 24, 2010 at 9:21 PM | Posted in Aya Kamiki | 5 Comments
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Revolver is Aya Kamiki’s 12th single and it was released on July 14, 2010. The single reached #34 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,998 copies.

I love the cover. Dystopic society has never looked hotter. ♥

♦ ♦ ♦

After doing a little bit of avex pop rock on INDIVIDUAL EMOTION, Aya Kamiki delivers some hard-hitting grunge with Revolver. The song is definitely reminiscent of her GIZA Studio works because it has a cool punk influence in the arrangement. The chorus is awesome as well. Overall, this is a sleek song that should win over veteran fans who were let down with her first avex album.

The B-side Infinity is also really upbeat but features a more uplifting arrangement as opposed to the edgy atmosphere heard in Revolver. Kamiki’s vocals are stronger in this song, too.

Pros: As much as I loved INDIVIDUAL EMOTION, this single has material that surpasses most of it.
Cons: I don’t have any. She’s back in full force!

BASICALLY…I want Gloriosa now! It’s her new mini-album out in August.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Revolver
2. Infinity

Koda Kumi – Gossip Candy

July 17, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 15 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Gossip Candy is Koda Kumi’s 47th single and it was released on July 7, 2010. The single reached #4 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 60,027 copies.

What a colorful cover. The text stinks though.

♦ ♦ ♦

It’s that time of the year again and Koda Kumi dishes out a summer single. The first track is Lollipop, a sexy mid-tempo song. Instead of dance beats and synth in songs like TABOO and Physical thing, this track is on the slower side and features an R&B sound. I have to admit the chorus is the best part since it’s so catchy but the line about her dodging bullets cracks me up. Anyway, it’s my favorite track on the single.

Then we have the “fishbowl songs”. They feature the same rockish arrangement and melody but are different in key. Inside Fishbowl is in a higher key and Kumi’s vocals are so annoying. She is literally shrieking the chorus because it’s so high pitched. I thought Outside Fishbowl was better because her vocals were more tolerable thanks to the lower key.

For you is the ballad of the single and it’s boring. I thought faraway was dull but this is even worse. With acoustics, light beats, and water drops, this song didn’t get my attention at all. It’s way too long as well. First pressings of the single come with a cover of the classic disco song Got To Be Real. Kumi’s version is surprisingly good and mainly because the Engrish is minimal.

When it comes to Koda Kumi’s summer singles, this one has to be my least favorite. The only song that I liked was Lollipop and I thought the rest was just mediocre. When it comes to the fishbowl songs, Outside Fishbowl is the better of the two but it’s still annoying. In the end, I’d rather take last year’s 3 SPLASH over Gossip Candy. What a letdown.

Pros: Only Lollipop is the standout track.
Cons: Inside Fishbowl and For you are baaaaaad.

BASICALLY…I’ll have a lollipop but not a fishbowl.

Overall Rating

3 stars

Tracklisting

1. Lollipop
2. Inside Fishbowl
3. Outside Fishbowl
4. For you
5. Got To Be Real [First pressing bonus track]

Thelma Aoyama – Summer Love!! feat. RED RICE from Shonnanokaze

July 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Posted in Thelma Aoyama | 3 Comments
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Summer Love!! feat. RED RICE from Shonnanokaze (サマーラブ!! feat. RED RICE from 湘南乃風) is Thelma Aoyama’s 10th single and it was released on June 30, 2010. The single reached #58 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,097 copies.

Nice cover. It’s photoshopped summer goodness!

♦ ♦ ♦

It’s about time Thelma Aoyama released a fun and upbeat song as an A-side. I swear the last time she did that was with her debut single ONE WAY. When it comes to Summer Love!!, here is a prime example of a good song with a bad rapper. I seriously cannot stand RED RICE’s grating voice. It’s almost as bad as BIGGA RAIJI’s or that one guy in Crystal Kay’s Kataomoi (I dare you to listen to it! XD). The music is very festive and there are some reggaeton influences that go well with the summer theme. If you can phase RED RICE out of the song, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

The B-side was released digitally shortly after her Emotions album. I’ve heard OH BABY Koishitetai plenty of times before it was on this single and I can say that it’s a good song. The music is also upbeat and features a nice R&B / synth arrangement. This song should have been on her last album since it’s better than most of the new tracks off it.

Pros: Ignoring the crappy rapper, Summer Love!! is a nice song that’s perfect for the season.
Cons: Unfortunately, I find his voice distracting like no other.

BASICALLY…Thelma should have collaborated with SoulJa or KEN THE 390 again. =(

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Summer Love!! feat. RED RICE from Shonnanokaze 
    (サマーラブ!! feat. RED RICE from 湘南乃風)
2. OH BABY Koishitetai (OH BABY 恋してたい)
3. Summer Love!! feat. RED RICE from Shonnanokaze (Instrumental)
4. OH BABY Koishitetai (Instrumental)

the brilliant green – Blue Daisy

July 9, 2010 at 9:58 PM | Posted in the brilliant green | 3 Comments
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The cover of the limited edition

Blue Daisy is the brilliant green’s 19th single and it was released on June 30, 2010. The single reached #20 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,881 copies.

Tomoko looks cute. I don’t like other cover because it’s full of stranger bitches.

♦ ♦ ♦

Like Do As Infinity and Every Little Thing before them, the brilliant green is officially now a duo. Guitarist Ryo Matsui left the band in May so Tomoko Kawase and Shunsaku Okuda are continuing on but I’m sure they’ll be fine as a duo since they’re MARRIED. XD

Focusing on the A-side, Blue Daisy is an uplifting song with big electric guitars and strings. The music has a more modern feel than their last single LIKE YESTERDAY and I thought it left a better impression. At almost six minutes long, I felt that the song dragged a little at certain parts but that’s not a big deal.

The first B-side is a cover of the 60s classic All Day And All Of The Night by The Kinks. Musically, this version is a little more hard-hitting than the original. However, Kawase’s vocals aren’t really suited for this song and she could have been more aggressive with her singing. Then there’s BLUE SUNRISE, a laid back acoustic rock track. It’s kind of plain but at least it sounds nice.

Pros: Blue Daisy is growing on me and I like it more than LIKE YESTERDAY.
Cons: The B-sides weren’t exactly to my liking.

BASICALLY…a slight downgrade from the last single. The A-side is great though!

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Blue Daisy
2. All Day And All Of The Night
3. BLUE SUNRISE

MiChi × the telephones – WoNdeR WomaN

July 7, 2010 at 9:08 PM | Posted in MiChi | 3 Comments
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WoNdeR WomaN is MiChi’s 6th single and it was released on June 23, 2010. The single reached #54 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,588 copies.

the telephones are an interesting looking bunch…I mean they’re UGLY.

♦ ♦ ♦

What happens when MiChi teams up with 4 weirdos? You get one of the most annoying songs of 2010! Seriously, WoNdeR WomaN is freaking OBNOXIOUS. It’s a rock / electronic hybrid like her past songs but I thought the music was so strange. The electric guitars mix with this piercing sound in the background and it just hurts my ears. The vocals make things worse though. MiChi sounds okay most of the time but when the lead singer of the telephones comes in…well he’s pretty much yelling the entire time.

The B-side is a solo track by MiChi and a lot more tolerable. Strong MAN is also on the rockish side but it doesn’t make me want to cringe! Obviously I think this song is better and it should have been the A-side.

The remix of WoNdeR WomaN that appears as track 3 is an upgrade, especially for people like me that hated the original. Besides being really electronic and club oriented, the vocals are really distorted (which is a plus in my book). That makes everything less painful. ;D

Pros: Only Strong MAN.
Cons: The A-side beats Shibuya de Punch as my least favorite MiChi track by a longshot.

BASICALLY…this single is literally one big headache.

Overall Rating

3 stars

Tracklisting

1. WoNdeR WomaN
2. Strong MAN / MiChi
3. WoNdeR WomaN (T.O.M remix)
4. WoNdeR WomaN (Instrumental)
5. Strong MAN (Instrumental)

Do As Infinity – ∞2

July 3, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Posted in Do As Infinity | 2 Comments
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∞2 is Do As Infinity’s 23rd single and it was released on June 16, 2010. The single reached #13 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 7,582 copies.

I’m not gonna lie…I like their outfits. Ryo looks fly.

♦ ♦ ♦

Do As Infinity has officially outdone themselves with this new quadruple A-side single. If you thought ∞1 was good then you’re in for a treat. Starting the single is the headlining track 1/100, which I would consider to be one of the band’s more unique songs. It begins with piano and a prominent flute with Tomiko Van’s gentle vocals. I really liked how the music elevates into a spectacular chorus that adds electric guitars and strings. Overall, it’s not big and epic like Umareyuku Monotachi e was but it still proves to be a powerful song.

Continuing the uplifting atmosphere of the first track is Everything will be all right. This is an bouncy rock song with an emphasis on bass and brass instruments. The chorus is pretty catchy, too. After that is HARUKA, a more laid back song but I thought it stood out because guitarist Ryo Owatari sings some lines during the verses. Wrapping up the single is the hard-hitting Pile Driver, the most aggressive song of the 4.

I have to applaud Do As Infinity because this is definitely their best single since they reformed. It tops ∞1 (which would have been perfect without that shitty autotune song) and Kimi ga Inai Mirai because all 4 songs are excellent and of the highest quality. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be 1/100 because of its unique arrangement.

Pros: Everything is awesome! Normally, there’s at least 1 track that I don’t care for on these multiple A-side singles.
Cons: DAI is at the top of their game. Nothing bad about this flawless release.

BASICALLY…if I could, this would get ∞ stars! ;D

Overall Rating

5 stars

 

Tracklisting

1. 1/100
2. Everything will be all right
3. HARUKA
4. Pile Driver (パイルドライバー)

K – Aitai Kara

July 1, 2010 at 2:12 PM | Posted in K | 3 Comments
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The cover of the limited edition (K version)

Aitai Kara (会いたいから) is K’s 12th single and it was released on June 16, 2010. The single reached #33 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,013 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Shun Matataki.

He’s looking good as usual. ;D

♦ ♦ ♦

All I can say is FINALLY! It’s been over a year since the last single. Anyway, I think Aitai Kara is a wonderful song that I instantly liked on the first listen. A mellow pop ballad, the song is a little typical coming from K but it’s still very good. The strings and piano arrangement flows beautifully and his vocals are perfect. I also think the chorus is really catchy, especially the 2nd half that’s after the donna toki mo line.

The single includes alternative versions of the main track, the first being a piano instrumental and then a live version. The piano instrumental is great but the live version has some shaky parts. Even though his vocals came off as strained sometimes, I thought he gave a good performance.

Pros: Aitai Kara is excellent. It now ranks as one of my favorite A-sides from him.
Cons: No B-sides?! That’s not really a bad thing though.

BASICALLY…if anyone call pull off melancholy and bittersweet, it’s K. =D

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Aitai Kara (会いたいから)
2. Aitai Kara (Piano instrumental ver.)
3. Aitai Kara (Music video live recording ver.)

May J. – Shiny Sky

June 26, 2010 at 9:32 AM | Posted in May J. | Leave a comment
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The cover of the first press CD only edition

Shiny Sky is May J.’s 4th single and it was released on June 9, 2010. The single reached #54 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,668 copies.

I love her smile. It’s beautiful.

♦ ♦ ♦

According to her official site, the first three tracks of the single represent ~*peace, love, and sunshine*~. D’aaaaw, isn’t that cute (and a little cheesy)? These songs remind me of the material off her last album for you since they’re less R&B and more sugary pop. Kicking things off is Shiny Sky, a bright and upbeat song with quick beats and brass. May J.’s vocals are very vibrant, especially during the catchy chorus.

The next two tracks feature the same positive atmosphere as the A-side. Believe is also upbeat and on the acoustic side with the guitars and piano. The chorus is wonderful as well. DISTANCE is slower paced but features heavier beats and synth compared to the last 2 tracks. Like I said before, I don’t mind that she’s went the pop route because these songs are well done. They have grown on me a lot as well.

But wait there’s more! Also included on the single is a Japanese version of littlestar. The original English version is on the HOUSE NATION 3rd Anniversary album if you want to check it out. As you would expect from HOUSE NATION, the song is club oriented but it still has an organic side with the piano (similar to DAISHI DANCE’s stuff). Lastly, the first pressings of the single come with a remix of Kaze ni Naritai feat. CHRIS & BUZZER BEATS. This was one of my favorite tracks off the for you album and I liked electronic elements layered on top of the festive mood of the original.

Pros: Once again, this was another amazingly consistent release.
Cons: The first 3 tracks are a little similar but don’t let that discourage you.

BASICALLY…a great summer single. Give it a try!

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Shiny Sky
2. Believe
3. DISTANCE
4. littlestar -Japanese edition-
5. Kaze ni Naritai feat. CHRIS & BUZZER BEATS <Festival Dance Remix> (風になりたい)
    [First pressing bonus track]

YUI – to Mother

June 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Posted in YUI | 6 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

to Mother is YUI’s 17th single and it was released on June 2, 2010. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 71,804 copies.

COINCIDENCE? I think not! I guess her and Angela traded instruments. lol

♦ ♦ ♦

to Mother just makes you want to go “Awwwww”. It’s a sweet and sentimental song that describes the relationship between her and her mother. There are some moody moments in the lyrics but they’re mostly full of gratitude. As for the music, the song is piano driven with no acoustics (a first for YUI). The airy mid-tempo arrangement is very pleasant and flows nicely as well.

The B-side pushes the piano aside and rushes in with aggressive electric guitars. Less than 3 minutes long, Tonight is a sleek and collected track that reminds me of Jam (one of her older B-sides from 2007). This song is much better than Jam though.

And lastly there’s an acoustic version of GLORIA, which was already really acoustic in the first place. I guess you can call this a ~SUPER~ acoustic version since it adds piano.

Pros: The single is a grower for sure. to Mother is her most personal song since TOKYO.
Cons: As much as I love GLORIA, the super acoustic version was not needed.

BASICALLY…it would be cool to hear more piano tunes from her.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. to Mother
2. Tonight
3. GLORIA ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. to Mother ~Instrumental~

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