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BoA – Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana February 27, 2018

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 6:47 am

watashikonomama

Track Listing

  1. Where am I now
  2. Arigatou Sayonara
  3. Crow
  4. Jazzclub
  5. FLY (album version)
  6. Right Here, Right Everywhere
  7. Manhattan Tango
  8. Make Me Complete
  9. Lookbook
  10. Mannish Chocolat
  11. Kiss My Lips
  12. Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana

1. Where am I now

Opening the album is Where am I now and I wasn’t expecting a light and breezy acoustic track to introduce us.  BoA brings a more lighthearted sound and I kind of liked how this tune is a soft introduction to the album.  It definitely gives me vibes to “First Time” from her previous album and some other older pop songs BoA used to do back in the day.  Decent opening track!

2. Arigatou Sayonara

Though things quickly shift pace into our next track which takes more of form as a 90’s R&B pop track with the beats and smooth groove that’s strewn in its arrangement.  I really seem to like BoA’s confidence in the song as she sounds strong and suiting to the whole song.  It’s a nice smooth song and surprised its just the 2nd track in!

3. Crow

Next song up, Crow is a bit more sped up than “Arigatou Sayonara” and yet has its slow parts too!  I like the intro and BoA already places the hooks in place, but then the verses slows things down to a more sexier glow which really caught my attention before returning to more of a danceable beat for the chorus.  It’s an interesting song, does feel like a song from “IDENTITY” though for some reason, but it’s interesting regardless!

4. Jazzclub

Chosen as the lead-in song for the album, I was curious to what she was going to drop considering her songs in recent times have been really awesome!  I think she definitely chose well with Jazzclub because it’s sultry and definitely harkening back to the jazzy times but keeps it modern with some acoustic guitars thrown in to play with the saxophones.  Quirky song and caught my attention for the album’s release.

5. FLY (album version)

As the first A-side she released to begin the album, FLY kind of fell off my radar after the single review primarily because it was OK, but it wasn’t anything too special.  I am curious to why it’s the only song that got the album edit, but I’m not arguing too much.  FLY on this album is mainly different through its arrangement.  Instead of starting off like a piano ballad, it begins with a sound that mirrors the chorus of the single version, but grows into a pop/rock song when it comes to its chorus here.  The change does make it somewhat better, but now it feels like a bland pop/rock song like something Michelle Branch would’ve pulled.  Lil better I guess.

6. Right Here, Right Everywhere

It seems like during the era, BoA had also seemingly released two digital singles which ended up here!  This July cut kind of came out of nowhere it seems and I wasn’t expecting the song to be more of a somber-sounding ballad for her.  Especially since this breaks the dance tracks out.  I’m also finding myself impressed by BoA’s vocals in this track as she moves from quiet lines a more louder timbre.  Not a bad song and the more sullen side to her brings her back to Earth after the bright songs that came before it.

7. Manhattan Tango

I wasn’t expecting our next new track to really throw something unique and picking up after the ballad previous, Manhattan Tango has some oomph and some mysterious tones to it while playing with a carnival-like tone.  She also seems to rap a little, similar to what she did in “Lookbook”.  The song does grow into another dance track, but it keeps the circus-y undertone as well.  It’s playful, but really cool as well!

8. Make Me Complete

The other digital single here was released back in January of ’16 so it’s been known for quite a long time!  Another ballad from BoA it makes me wonder why these two tracks weren’t released physically.  Though I am noticing that BoA is singing this one in English entirely which is a total surprise to come across.  She definitely sounds just as good as she did in her American album, if not a bit better.  Might be the odd song out (for being all English) but it’s quite nice!

9. Lookbook

At least we can return to the 2nd single released (which was also the last single before the album’s released).  Lookbook is definitely the album’s most aggressive track and it still sticks out as that badass BoA song that we always seem to get in her albums.  Lookbook does have a lot of different ideas going on, but it just sounds cool and slick still here and even though it’s an older song it trumps most of the songs on the album.

10. Mannish Chocolat

Of the song titles, I was curious about this one because it just didn’t make a whole ton of sense to me.  Though listening to it, it give me that confused feel with the melodic beat, but it all comes clear as the track takes it up a notch and becomes a stylistic bop.  Not quite as heavy as “Lookbook” but it has moments of cool dance moments throughout.  Nice song overall!

11. Kiss My Lips

I actually thought that because it was a Korean release initially that maybe this wouldn’t have made the album (it was a B-side to “Lookbook”).  Actually I kind of thought “Airport de Machiawase” was going to be here, but I guess not?  Despite being the oldest track on the album, Kiss My Lips still feels fresh and cool for BoA with a nice chill beat and smooth arrangement.  It’s just groovy and sexy and being the penultimate track is just funny to me!

12. Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana

Ending the album is of course the title track and it made a lot of sense to be a closing ballad.  Being the lone new ballad for the album, Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana begins light with a piano/strings mix and it grows into more of an R&B ballad with some powerful vocals from BoA.  It’s a nice closing song for her!

Tracks Recommended

  • Manhattan Tango
  • Lookbook
  • Right Here, Right Everywhere
  • Jazzclub
  • Mannish Chocolat

Song of Avoidance

  • FLY (album version)

I mean it doesn’t feel quite as a wait than “WHO’S BACK” took luckily and it seems 2018 is shaping to be a busy one for BoA.  Watashi Kono Mama de Ii no Kana is quite an interesting album for me.  While it might not reach the heights that her last album took, there really wasn’t any bad songs here from the dance tracks, to the upbeat pop tunes, and the ballads…it was a damn cohesive album though some of the songs could’ve aimed a bit higher.  Good album overall!

 

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Tsubaki Factory – Teion Yakedo/Shunrenka/I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~ February 9, 2018

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 6:28 pm

teionyakedosingle

Track Listing

  1. Teion Yakedo
  2. Shunrenka
  3. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~
  4. Teion Yakedo (Instrumental)
  5. Shunrenka (Instrumental)
  6. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~ (Instrumental)

1. Teion Yakedo

As the first song of the single, we had our actual first taste of it back in 2017 when it was released digitally as a preview!  I have to say, it was surprisingly nice and suited the wintry feeling during the time.  It is surprising that it is the one with the cool dance beats and strong vocals.  It also tends to remind me of anison themes which is pretty neat for a H!P song.  All the girls have at least one solo in the track, but a LOT of it is pretty much duo/group lines which is OK.  Neat song for the group!

2. Shunrenka

Which is funny that Shunrenka is kind of being touted as a Spring song!  This is pretty much the group’s cute song for the single and it sounds a bit more organic than what “Waratte” was but I have to say, this one didn’t really stick out for me.  It does remind of H!P songs in the past like some S/mileage songs.  Overall, it’s OK but nothing I’ll remember at the year’s end.

3. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~

Last, but not least, we get the group’s mid-tempo ballad and it’s nice that the song is a lot more memorable and cute as a song for the group!  I’m loving that members get solos and it’s vocally adept and shows that the can handle slower songs, especially since we get to hear Ami & Saori a lot in this song!…I will say that it does grow into an upbeat, electro track (which would’ve been nice without) because the electro bridge just doesn’t fit at ALL in this song.  Decent song, could’ve lived without the electronics though.

 

 

As the group’s 3rd major single, I kind of was disappointed in comparison to the previous single.  I felt like Teion Yakedo was decent, but not quite a standout in comparison to both “Hatsukoi Sunrise” and “Shuukatsu Sensation”.  Unfortunately Shunrenka was a song that just passed over my head an I didn’t think too much of it while I Need You is the standout track, but it has its own issues as well.  I’m sure next single, they’ll do better.

 

Morning Musume 20th – Hatachi no Morning Musume February 7, 2018

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 6:55 am

hatachinomorningmusume

Track Listing

  1. Morning Coffee (20th Anniversary Ver.)
  2. WE ARE LEADERS! ~Leaders tte no mo Tsurai Mono~
  3. Hana ga Saku Taiyou Abite
  4. ENDLESS HOME
  5. Otenki no Hi no Matsuri
  6. Tane wo Tsubasa (Wings of the Seed)
  7. Gosenfu no Tasuki
  8. Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary Ver.)

1. Morning Coffee (20th Anniversary Ver.)

So wait we begin this special mini-album with ANOTHER self-cover of Morning Coffee?  Wasn’t “Morning Misoshiru” enough?  Well, this one luckily has the benefit to include the original 5 Momusu members alongside the current lineup for this.  It also works better because the arrangement was tinkered with more giving us a slightly faster tempo track with more rock elements involved.  Some people might be thrown off by the former, but personally it sounds nice in a faster tempo.  The solos seem to cross between both the OGs and current members which is nice!  Overall, what an awesome what to kick this mini off!

2. WE ARE LEADERS! ~Leaders tte no mo Tsurai Mono~

Though I was more excited for the new material (half of the album was released digitally between the end of last year til now).  So the song here was what everyone was looking forward to because it has ALL the leaders that have led Momusu, despite tenure length so there’s; Yuko, Kaorin, Marippe, Yossie, Mikitty, Ai-chan, Gaki, Sayu, and Fukuchan.  The song’s structure though is VERY reminiscent to “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” in which all the members involved get a line and it’s amazing because all of them talk about something memorable they’ve done or something they’re known for like Kaori’s ~Nee, Waratte~ to Sayu’s robo-voice and Mikitty’s really short stint as leader.  As for the song, it’s upbeat and cute and fits the mood.  Really sweet…wished it got a PV, honestly.

3. Hana ga Saku Taiyou Abite

Considering how mellow this mini-album is, I wasn’t expecting Morning Musume to drop an EDM song randomly here (considering it was released as a digital single after first performing at the H!P Winter Tour.  Actually some parts remind me of their recent track, “Jama Shinaide Here We Go!” but it makes sense since it is just the current Momusu singing here.  It’s a decent track, kind of surprised it wasn’t saved for a single instead of sticking out like a sore thumb on this anniversary album.

4. ENDLESS HOME

Curious to why Nacchi got the solo (probably because she was the first ace).  With Fukuchan & Odasaku helping as backups (though you really don’t hear much out of them), I was only thinking that it was going to be a remake of “Furusato”…but luckily that isn’t the case.  It’s a pretty relaxing ballad with some light synths and acoustic guitars.  I mean, I know it’s a Nacchi solo, but this feels more like something that belongs in Natsumi’s solo discography and not much in Momusu’s…I really wasn’t into it very much.

5. Otenki no Hi no Matsuri

Oh!  I see matsuri and think of festival music that’s fun and rambunctious.  What I wasn’t expecting was a more mellow effort that sounds kind of Western in arrangement and instrumentation.  I guess I should be happy this wasn’t an A-side to go along “Hana ga Saku Taiyou Abite”.  This feels like a leftover song from their most recent album but wouldn’t have worked because of all the EDM.  I actually am not sure about this one either…seems very vanilla, but at least there’s plenty solos to be had.

6. Tane wo Tsubasa (Wings of the Seed)

When I saw that the original members were getting a song to themselves titled this, I immediately knew that this would’ve been an answer song to their debut song, “Ai no Tane”.  Since the people who originally made that song came back, I thought this was an awesome circle back around.  It definitely has a certain charm about it and it really has some themes that pull from the song of the past, but overall, the song just sounds really nice and hearing Yuko, Kaori, Natsumi, Aya, and even Asuka together again just felt special and this song was a TREAT!!

7. Gosenfu no Tasuki

So back before “15 Thank you, too” released, Momusu kind of randomly dropped this song like a week beforehand and made me wonder why they didn’t they just throw it on the album as a last track.  I guess like “Otenki no Hi no Matsuri”, it really would’ve sound out of place.  While I had a long time to settle with this, I still can’t find much interest out of this ballad besides hearing Miki, Sakura, and Fukuchan having the lone solos.  There seems to be so many of these kind of songs in Momusu’s discography.  It’s definitely a song to be performed as a closer, but otherwise, not my kind of song.

8. Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary Ver.)

Closing the album and circling back around is Ai no Tane as its performed by the original members and current members.  The song didn’t get quite the changes that “Morning Coffee”, but slight instrumentation differences to make the tune sound up-to-date and what not.  When I first heard the preview, I was so happy to see Asuka return as she was the lone member to not have come back to singing with members since her graduation.  This was just nice and with Ai no Tane, it felt so right and the tune just still is breezy yet upbeat.

 

 

To kick H!Ps 20th Anniversary, Momusu released a mini-album and it was just interesting to see.  Hatachi no Morning Musume is alright, but it’s not a great album IMO.  Stuff like the updated Ai no Tane & Morning Coffee was to be expected, but the real treat was hearing the original 5 taking part in the celebrations was awesome and their track, Tane wo Tsubasa was a stand out.  The current Momusu only songs were a mixed bag.  Hana ga Saku is a great EDM song, but doesn’t quite fit this album, Otenki no Hi no Matsuri & Gosenfu no Tasuki unfortunately feel generic to me and if those 3 songs were to have been a single together…oh god no.  That leaves us with ENDLESS HOME which felt like a throwaway Nacchi B-side and WE ARE LEADERS! was a great way to bring them together.  I kind of wished more of the OG were brought in (I know some were dealing with kids but still Tsuji & Reina are on the Blu-ray performances…why couldn’t they take part?  Either way, this mini isn’t bad, but more could’ve been done.

 

You Kikkawa – DISTORTION/Tokimeita no ni Through

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 5:35 am

distortion

Track Listing

  1. DISTORTION
  2. Tokimeita no ni Through
  3. Kareinaru Dai Henshin (Limited B only)
  4. DISTORTION (Instrumental)
  5. Tokimeita no ni Through (Instrumental)

1. DISTORTION

I was kind of hoping that Kikka would return to the electro sound she had in the last era, especially with a title such as DISTORTION.  Though instead we get this pop/rock tune that’s pretty much in the same field as stuff from her first two albums.  Maybe it’s just me but I feel like Kikka sounds a little different here like her voice is taking up more of an idol-like squeak (ironic considering…).  Song can be a smidge messy sounding due to the arrangement going left and right in parts.  Still, it is a bit more memorable than “Sayonara, Standard” was.

2. Tokimeita no ni Through

The secondary A-side, seems to cater more towards the fun and poppy stuff that Kikka was pulling in her first album.  Even better is that Yuu’s voice sounds more like what I’m more used to from her.  The tune isn’t too memorable for me, but I think it’s her most genki song she’s had since at least her MilkyWay days ironically.  The tune might end up growing on me just for that reason!

3. Kareinaru Dai Henshin

I was curious to see that once again she’s putting a B-side only on one edition (something that was missing in her last single).  Anyways, Kareinaru Dai Henshin feels like a song that probably would’ve fit that last single because it’s not as frenetic like “DISTORTION” but not as cute as “Tokimeita no ni Through”.  It just seems very middle of the road here but it’s a safe song so it doesn’t sound terrible.

 

 

As the 3rd of the era, I feel like DISTORTION/Tokimeita no ni Through is a step up from her previous single.  DISTORTION is pretty interesting for a rock song and breathes life into this so far, straightforward set of singles she’s released.  Tokimeita no ni Through is pretty adorable and is a nice throwback to her more genki-sounding days!  As for Kareinaru Dai Henshin…it’s pretty standard fare…nothing too memorable here.  I wonder what her next album will be like.