Ashita Sekai ga Owaru Nara
You Knocked Me Out
LOVE IS ECSTASY
Interesting that Mika would kick things off with quite a lot of old stuff lol. Anyways, REAL opens with the last single released, Hatsukoi an I’m still trying to enjoy the song but I’m still kind of turned off by all those high notes she tries to pull and epicly fails. It was seriously a hard listen to get through, she could’ve placed this somewhere else and I would’ve at least enjoyed it somewhat more…no not really, this song was a HARD listen.
I was kind of surprised she stuck the ballad A-sides altogether in the front of the album, DEAR was the first of them released and I must say after the vocal crap out of “Hatsukoi”, this was actually a step up even though I’m still not the biggest fan of it because it sounds like many of the countless other ballads she’s done!
3. Ashita Sekai ga Owaru Nara
So we enter the Resident Evil ballad, Ashita Sekai ga Owaru Nara and it really flushes the previous two tracks down the train because it seriously is such a chilling, yet beautiful ballad from Mika. Her voice isn’t crappy and she puts such painful emotion into this track. I was completely blown away by this track and that hasn’t happen since “ORION” which says something right? Definitely a favorite of mine here!
We finally get our first new track in PASSION and it’s definitely there to kind of bridge into the more experimentive side to Mika even though it’s quite jarring coming after the last track haha. The song itself is a bit more funk/rock which is nice but with the next track, this kind of seems a bit simple for me.
5. You Knocked Me Out
You Knocked Me Out (the B-side from “LOVE IS ECSTASY”) stood out to me more because it’s got a lot of English and it’s rather catchy, especially that chorus…I keep on humming that a lot whenever I hear the song once so that’s why I felt this was a lot more complete of a song than “PASSION”.
6. LOVE IS ECSTASY
I gotta admit, LOVE IS ECSTASY is probably her edgiest track she’s had since “VOICE” and seeing her return with something as strong as this track surprised, especially since it was the second A-side released for the era. I kind of like Mika’s rough vocals in this track as it adds scruff and a certain quality that I just enjoyed lol. It does though kind of sound like a song that would be a tad difficult to sing live, but damn this was a good song!
7. BE REAL
Back to new songs, BE REAL is the title track and boy did it kind of had the synth beats that I really enjoyed with stuff like “FOCUS” and “LONELY STAR” so it’s that dance track for the album. Nothing bad to really say because there’s just really nothing TO say about it lol. It’s one of the better new tracks to come from the album.
8. SUPER WOMAN
I almost forgot that SUPER WOMAN was already released back on “Ashita Sekai ga Owaru Nara” but this song is kind of different in a way. It has a mysterious, yet sultry flow like “GAME” did, but this has a bit more funk involved. It’s pretty nifty and definitely suited the album!
Oh hi Mika whatcha doing doowop for? When I started the song, it really sent me back to the olden days when these songs were huge. This song is just adorable and it even sounds like Mika had a pretty good time recording this track. The only conplaint I really had was the whole ~ayyyeeeeayyeeeeeayyyeeee~ that was going on…that was bloody annoying, but the rest of the song is just charming for sure.
Looks like the final stretch of songs bring things back down to a slower level starting with Pierce. To me it feels more like a mid-tempo because it’s got a slow jam tone with the little bits of brass and the bongo drums. It does kind of remind me of “DEAR” for some reason, but I’m quite alright with that since this sounds a LOT more memorable to me.
“Hatsukoi”s B-side comes next and unfortunately is probably my least favorite of the B-sides because I could not remember one small thing about this track then, and now it’s here and I still have trouble remembering how it goes. It still does have a Winter theme going, but it could just be me that thinks it. Basically, Kioku is that background fodder that phases out for me.
Strange that the album doesn’t end with this track even though the name is Epilogue xD. I love the jazzy backdrop for the song and still to this day, works wonders when combined with Mika’s smoky vocals. It’s sappy but pleasant in a way, but seriously should have closed the album.
The album actually closes with LETTER which tones it down even further by making it a piano/acoustic affair. I suppose it was an appropriate way to end the album but they could’ve called this “Epilogue” you know…because it makes SENSE. The song is pretty much basic the entire time, Mika sounds nice the music is pretty…not my kind of ballad, but it ends the album on a good note.
Song of Avoidance
It’s been a while, but Mika finally made an album that actually had a bunch of new material! I think she got it right with REAL even though it’s a bit more tame and to the books than “STAR” before it. I will say I didn’t feel so polarized than I did with the last album which is good. REAL got a lot of good A-sides, B-sides and even album tracks with a couple of disappointments. Not bad Mika, not bad.