Kurayami Monogatari

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Ai Otsuka – LOVE FANTASTIC July 16, 2014

Filed under: Ai Otsuka — solarblade @ 10:51 am

lovefantastic

Track Listing

  1. LOVE FANTASTIC
  2. More More
  3. LUCKY☆STAR
  4. CHU×CHU
  5. Gomen ne.
  6. Mawari Mawaru Mawareba Mawaro
  7. Lai Lai
  8. Action 10.5
  9. 9
  10. Zokkondition
  11. I ♥ ×××
  12. Re:NAME

1. LOVE FANTASTIC

The album opens up with promotional song for the album LOVE FANTASTIC is such a pleasant song to open up with.  It’s a lot like her past works where it’s light but upbeat at the same time.  Loving the atmosphere and Ai’s vocals have not changed much which is great!  It might remind some people of her early days or some songs from her last album too.  Great song to lead things off with and a good choice to kick things off!

2. More More

Which brings us to the last single released before the album, More More.  I really missed Ai-chin’s more upbeat and sillier songs and More More really represented that side to her.  I mean it’s still a bit safe (when compared to her more abstract stuff).  It’s pretty catchy and Ai just sounds so lively.  Great A-side and is one of my favorites of the era.

3. LUCKY☆STAR

Wow!  When I saw the tracklist, I wasn’t expecting anything that was pre-hiatus to make the cut, but NOPE.  As the first single for the album (released all the way back in 2010…yeah over 3 years ago), LUCKY☆STAR seems so strange to be heard on the album.  Best known as the song used for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, this song was pretty different for Ai being more synthy and well kind of dancey.  I mean for being such an OLD song…it sounds fresh but if you’ve been a close follower this might be odd to some people.  I personally still love the song so it was nice she included the singles before she went on maternal leave.

4. CHU×CHU

Our 2nd new track, CHU×CHU tones things down a bit by having more of a mid-tempo flow with a prominent acoustic feel to it.  Simple in arrangement, CHU×CHU is a really chill and soft tune with some pretty vocals from Ai.  It isn’t the more exciting track on the album, but it’s simple and pretty which is nice (though that title made me think of “CHU-LIP”).

5. Gomen ne.

After “Zokkondition/LUCKY☆STAR” she released a trilogy of 3 digital singles during her well break.  Gomen ne. was the third released and could only get it through her book which had a code where you could’ve purchased it.  For what it’s worth it’s the album’s first ballad and this song was a bit simple and chill.  Not exactly a memorable choice though because while it’s nice…it’s simplicity did bore me a bit.  Probably a song better on “LOVE LETTER” perhaps.

6. Mawari Mawaru Mawareba Mawaro

Wow that’s a tongue twister!  I thought this was going to be the album’s wonky and wild song but it’s actually quite the opposite.  To be honest, it’s another ballad, but this one sounds more unique and has a much better instrumentation to keep me interested.  Ai’s vocals have an echo effect to it which is boosted more by the arrangement.  It does sort of drag since it is almost 6 minutes in length, though it’s a much more memorable song than “Gomen ne.” was.

7. Lai Lai

At least the album knows to pick up (well sorta).  Lai Lai has a very youthful sound to it which makes it somewhat happier.  Actually, listening to the arrangement there’s something about it that connects this to our previous track which is neat I think.  It’s a dreamy tune and I enjoy the child-like atmosphere, but like “CHU×CHU”, it’s not all the exciting and doesn’t stand out for me.

8. Action 10.5

So here is the first digital single she released (yeah, she left off “Hikari”).  I actually was really happy to see Ai include this song on the album because it was pretty upbeat and synth heavy (almost like a dance track).  I’m loving the fact that Ai just sounds great with a pounding beat and yet retains such a careful feel to it.  It’s probably my favorite song on this album ironically (hmmm strange).

9. 9

Oh Ai, humor doesn’t fail you huh?  As the final new song on the album, 9 seems to move into more of her pop/rock sound which is always nice to hear.  Though it is another mid-tempo track so I was kind of like meh at first.  It does pick up by the time the chorus comes up and it’s a good enough song to get by.  Seems like it’s been a thing I’ve been saying a lot about the new album tracks doesn’t it?  Really not much else to say here sadly…but I’d say it’s one of the better tracks, but lands in the middle of the list.

10. Zokkondition

Then we move back into the other A-sides that made the album for our final stretch.  Beginning with Zokkondition which was the first A-side released for the album, it definitely suited coming after “9” because it’s upbeat pop/rock!  Ai’s energy is very nice to listen to for sure!  It’s a song I find myself enjoying with every listen.  I will say it actually fits on this album more than its sister A-side.

11. I ♥ ×××

As the 2nd A-side released, I ♥ ××× was where I was starting to lose interest in Ai because her songs were kind of all over the place.  In this ballad, Ai was actually trying something new in singing in English which she did well enough…but she turned the song into a track of nothing but redundancy with her saying ~I love ___~ which did drop the song in interest for me.  It does get more louder with added instruments…but seriously not enough to make it enjoyable.

12. Re:NAME

After taking that hiatus after “I ♥ ×××”, Ai returned to the scene (well actually came back under her band Rabbit first), her first solo release was this song and interestingly enough closes the album out.  I love the bossa nova vibes from this song and really complimented Ai’s light vocals so sweetly.  Definitely a nice way to close things out for sure!

Tracks Recommended

  • Action 10.5
  • More More
  • LUCKY☆STAR
  • LOVE FANTASTIC
  • Re:NAME

Song of Avoidance

  • I ♥ ×××

So it’s been almost 4 years since Ai’s last album and by god did she take forever on this one.  Honestly though, LOVE FANTASTIC is good, but definitely not because of its new tracks.  It seems like majority of the great songs are with the A-sides and previously released songs.  The album tracks for the most part were slower songs and they weren’t all that memorable.  I suppose this sort of makes up for the time she was gone…still on the fence on deciding if it’s better than “LOVE LETTER” but hmmm.

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One Response to “Ai Otsuka – LOVE FANTASTIC”

  1. Nyasha Says:

    Wow, she looks so different. To be honest, I need to check what’s going on with her. I haven’t listened to her songs since Peach and Happy Days but I’m happy if you recommended me some.


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