So with the singles over and done with let’s get into the middle of the important line with….MINI-ALBUMS!!!! It’s gonna look a little different from the singles posts but you’ll catch on quick.
BEST MINI-ALBUM SONG!!!
Aural Vampire – HUMAN NOISE (Kergeulen Vortex)
Aya Kamiki – Aria (EVILÄLIVE)
Ayumi Hamasaki – BRILLANTE (FIVE)
Buono! – 1/3 na Kanjou no Junjou (partenza)
DOES – Kuroi Taiyou (FIVE STUFF)
eufonius – Aletheia (Aletheia)
Maaya Sakamoto – homemade christmas (Driving in the silence)
Maki Goto – Fake (Gloria)
Sowelu – I want U to… feat. WISE (Let me…)
Kicking off the list with the best mini-album songs of 2011 we start off with Sowelu who made up for that crap album with “Love & I”. One of her two leading tracks, Let ME Lead U (Let me…) really took sexy into a whole new dimension and she rocked that shit down well this year with both leading tracks off her mini-album. I chose this though because most people would be attracted to this more than the dubsteppy-ness from “I want U to…”. I don’t know why I’m having a rock-tinted year, but exist†trace really struck gold with their promotional song, Daybreak ~13-gatsu no Shikisai~ (THE LAST DAYBREAK). It’s just all kinds of epic and they made a VERY powerful rock song out of this. I just hope they continue to release great rock songs in 2012. With a possibility retirement of Saori…she’s still releasing great music and surprisingly I found myself loving the hell out of GAMBA JAPAN (Domestic domain) since it’s got a festive atmosphere and still manages to show some small dance and dubstep qualities that worked as a whole this year!
2. Kyarypamyupamyu – PONPONPON (Moshi Moshi Harajuku)
To me, she kind of became an overnight sensation with her promo song from her mini, Moshi Moshi Harajuku with PONPONPON. I mean it’s ridiculously cute yet in a way that it doesn’t seem very overbearing. Let’s not forget the fact that Kyary worked with Nakata on this and you got a pretty nice combination. Plus the PV was downright RANDOM and awesome XD
1. 2NE1 – I AM THE BEST (NOLZA)
To be honest, my number one shouldn’t be a surprise but it also seems like it’d be rather mundane to make a Japanese reedit of your own K-pop song but when it came to 2NE1’s I AM THE BEST, there was no doubt that I was loving every minute of it and it sounds better than the original (not gonna lie). Even the English lines sound cooler rather than that “million dollar baby” shit xD.
WORST MINI-ALBUM SONG!!!
There weren’t a whole lot of “bad” songs this year which is good but there were still parts of em there which is good. Momoko’s solo, Kia Ora Gracias Arigatou (partenza) was just odd for the mini-album and kind of lame…plus it’s Momoko and it left the least amount impression on me which is sad. RURUTIA’s Invitation (RESONANCE) was pretty damn boring and I just could not remember anything about it which is the same thing I felt for Ayu’s beloved (FIVE). Both songs were just very blank for me and didn’t leave a mark on me…
2. Nana Kitade / Loveless – Snow Hell (Ai to Hate)
It seems that experimentation is not one of Nana’s more easier things to do and with a song like Snow Hell it just fell flat for me. I mean she sung with a whispery tone and all but it had to be at such a snail’s pace that I lost attention and just left me with a blank stare. Just not interesting.
1. Chara – Mayonaka no Yakusoku (Utakata)
Well, there’s only really one song that disturbed me vocally and that’s Chara’s Mayonaka no Yakusoku. I mean the arrangement is more of what I’d enjoy with synths and stuff…but her voice killed and slaughtered the song for me. You can not even TRY to defend on this one…she sounded downright gruesome and sounds like 10 dying cats trying to sing in unison…really…why?!?
BEST MINI-ALBUM ART COVER!!!
- Aya Kamiki – EVILÄLIVE
- Prague – Hanataba
I’m not sure exactly why I enjoyed Sayuri’s cover for Forever… but it’s oddly simple and seeing her stand in between different music stands is kind of cool and maybe a little cluttered but it’s still a rather nice looking cover from her. Once again it seems WEAVER manages to capture my interest (bad and good) with their covers. Luckily Jubilation is more on the good side since it’s a rather impressive cover and bold with the kids running on a planet with sun and moon balloons XD. Last but not least, Maaya’s cover for her Driving in the silence is simple but like WEAVER’s cover, it’s pretty vivid. Kind of reminds me of her “Buddy” cover but set in the evening in and she’s wearing a very red shawl. I liked it and it follows with said other single!
2. Saori@destiny – Domestic domain
Saori’s cover arts (for her albums and minis) have always seem to interest and intrigue me and with Domestic domain, she does it again and mostly confused me. I can clearly see a lady holding tons of flowers and a fan on top of that…but what’s the meaning is what gets me. Still colorful and catches my eye for sure!
1. D – Huángdì ~Yami ni Umareta Mukui~
I must say however that D’s mini cover of Huángdì impressed me the most of 2011. I loved the sepia tone of the cover and having a picture taken in front of a pagoda is kind of cool and classic and matches the whole theme of the mini ^_^. I must say, impressed FOR SURE and I wonder what the outfits look like in color XD
WORST MINI-ALBUM ART COVERS
For bad covers this year there were some rather mediocre covers. DOMINO’s GO GiRL cover really brought ridiculous things to the front for it. I mean big ass bows and poor clothing choices and it’s just really like a rainbow puked on it XD. After Nana’s “Bondage” album, her cover art for Ai to Hate kind of a big disappointment for me. She’s still rockin’ the whole lolita thing but nothing else really stood out and the cover being gray didn’t help. Maybe the rose petals were ok touches…but still boring. It isn’t as boring as lecca’s Hakobune ~ballads in me~ which is the epitome of boring this year. I mean a simple side headshot is kind of unoriginal and it just wasn’t good! The other cover almost made its place though because all it is is a picture of a boats (a rather small one at that too >.>).
2. Sowelu – Let me…
While the other cover made sense because honey down the boobs is always sexually motifed, the women’s cover of Sowelu’s Let me… cover is kind of WTF and just kind of like how is nomming on a chicken anything sexy. I guess it’s better than her shoving it down her shirt and having a wing stick out between her knockers…but wow…food-related fail cover XDDDDD
1. Miho Fukuhara – The Soul Extreme EP & EP2
To me, this year’s worst mini covers is two of them from the same artist. Miho just icked up both covers for The Soul Extreme EP and EP2. Though I will say the first one is worse because the lighting on her was making her look weird and fake tanned and the hairstyle was ugly for her. The second one kind of also has hair failure but at least it looks better…Still both are just bad this year!
D – Huángdì ~Yami ni Umareta Mukui~
DOES – FIVE STUFF
Maaya Sakamoto – Driving in the silence
Maon Kurosaki – Goshiki Uta -Immortal Lovers-
Ahhh, the important end right? We get the best mini-albums but it seems these three just missed out. I didn’t expect to actually enjoy eufonius’ Aletheia mini but this was quite good for them and makes up for how boring both “bezel” and “Phonon” was. Tsuki’s Bara to Shinjuu also was a pretty great surprise after the crappy “CHELSEA” mini she released earlier in 2011. However it was no surprise when it came to Miho’s The Soul Extreme EP. It’s five good songs from here and carried over from the good stuff of 2010.
2. exist†trace – THE LAST DAYBREAK
Like I said, 2011 was just full of great rockin’ stuff and exist†trace left a huge mark with me in THE LAST DAYBREAK which had five great songs that showed off their skills and power in their V-kei style. I just hope it leads into more awesomeness for them this year ^_^. It’s pretty much a need to listen to…including the next one.
1. Aural Vampire – Kerguelen Vortex
Though my favorite of the year was a surprise release to me with Aural Vampire’s mini, Kerguelen Vortex. It had a lot going for it with their darkwave/electro mix (with a couple of experimentive songs). Add in the fact that THE REPOMAN sounds even more cooler is a taste of how good this was. Loved this album and I hope they’re more active in 2012.
These three albums share the fault together which is kind of eerie but at the same time not really. Gocchin’s LOVE, RURUTIA’s RESONANCE, and Ayu’s FIVE could be switched around in the places because they all have one or two good songs but the rest is all a borefest! It’s kind of the year of ballads for em but none of them really stood out for me!
2. Tsuki Amano – CHELSEA
One of the earlier minis from the first half of the year was a huge disappointment for me. Despite not having “CORE” (luckily it was better on “Bara to Shinjuu”) CHELSEA felt very one-dimensional with its direction and it felt like I was listening to the same song over and over again. Sad to say, it was her worst release yet.
1. Chara – Utakata
Unfortunately, I think most people knew this was going to be on the bottom of the list. Chara’s Utakata was bad in the usual Chara way but moreso for being so stripped since this was an indies release and it sounded a lot worse than normal. Yeah, this was definitely worse mini of the year!
NEXT TIME: ALBUM SONGS…MANY O’ EM!