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Hitomi Shimatani – Honjitsu, Tonai, Bousho July 17, 2014

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 4:45 am

honjitsu

Track Listing

  1. Snapshot
  2. Yaburekabure
  3. Sasurai
  4. Ai no Katachi
  5. Home Sweet Home
  6. Oss Mess Kiss Killaly!!
  7. Ikki Mankai
  8. Tsuzure Ori
  9. Cali≒Cata≒Luca ~Cali Cata Luca Karisome no Jumon~
  10. Aoi Tsuki
  11. Soldier! Soldier!

1. Snapshot

Opening Hitomi’s long-awaited album, we kick things off with Snapshot and opening with an acoustic guitar was kind of setting worries because her music between her last up to now has been more or less interesting.  Snapshot though at least tries to make it interesting by being a little more upbeat in nature.  It is a bit long to me, but I enjoyed what we got and the violin solo in the mid8 section was pretty sweet.

2. Yaburekabure

I’m so happy it’s the only A-side to make the cut over the previous 4 singles.  Yaburekabure brought Hitomi back into my radar in a pretty sweet way!  It’s energetic and just has a lot of sass to it that really catches my attention a lot quicker than some of her last releases so I really approved of this song making the album (though was there any doubt?).

3. Sasurai

Oh hey there accordion! Is this a nod back to how “Flare” was?  Maybe, but it goes away pretty quickly and is replaced by Hitomi’s beautiful vocals and light piano melody.  Though the accordion comes back into play and mixes it up with the arrangement.  I really enjoyed Hitomi’s expressiveness in this song and even though it’s a ballad, it’s a REALLY well-made song actually.

4. Ai no Katachi

Another ballad comes next with Ai no Katachi and I was wondering what could make it stand out.  Though I wasn’t expecting a mix of strings and what sounds like a sitar…this is a little strange right?  This is a bit boring for me, though it does have male background singers…that’s just a tad weird still XD.  Yeah, it’s not really all that memorable to me.

5. Home Sweet Home

Moving on out of the ballads for now, we get Home Sweet Home and it’s funny that it mixes what was similar to “Snapshot” with some pop beats.  That being said, it throws me back to her early days which is nice and all, but it doesn’t really strike me in anyway either.  Meh overall!

6. Oss Mess Kiss Killaly!!

One of the songs I was looking forward to, Oss Mess Kiss Killaly!! picks things up with a pretty exciting arrangement and shows Hitomi’s prowess with her vocals.  It’s a pretty fun song to listen to and has a lot of brass and funky moments that really gives this song a strong identity.  There’s just something about this song that works.  It’s a pretty great song to listen to!

7. Ikki Mankai

Which is great because this dance style continues onto our next track Ikki Mankai.  I really love that this song opens up like a tune you would heavily hear at Matsuris (Ondo-styled).  Though after that it brings the beat into the front and because something that most fans would be comfortable with.  It’s a pretty exciting song and another top-hitting tune!

8. Tsuzure Ori

Things stop in an instant when Tsuzure Ori begins.  It’s actually another ballad from Hitomi but has a more sad glow to it when compared to the other ballads of the album.  I really enjoy the plucked strings (and the rest of the instrumentation at that) that really shaped the song overall and makes the chorus sound pretty.  It’s the dramatic song for the album but it worked overall!

9. Cali≒Cata≒Luca ~Cali Cata Luca Karisome no Jumon~

With a bizarre title like this, I really wondered what the hell she was coming up with and I still can’t place what she was going for XD.  It’s a very fast song to listen to and yet Hitomi sounds sexy and keeps up with this hyper arrangement.  I’m not sure what to even classify it…almost latin but at the same time not hahah.  It’s a pretty interesting song overall and just has a pretty adventurous feel (actually the end reminded me of something from Legend of Zelda XDDD).  Odd.

10. Aoi Tsuki

I was so happy to see that the B-side from “Yaburekabure” would also be on the album for sure as I enjoyed that a LOT.  Like I said on the single review, Aoi Tsuki just sounds pretty and Hitomi is just pretty in the tune that’s pop goodness.  I think it’s pretty simple of a song from Hitomi, but it’s just a good song that she pulled out, no weird moments and bizarre ideas.

11. Soldier! Soldier!

Finally, the album ends with actually was the promotional song.  When I heard this, I was shocked to see that she would pull back to a familiar style that we’ve heard before in “Prague no Onna” which is one of my favorite songs from Hitomi.  Letting lightning strike twice though was pretty risky but she surprised me with a pretty powerful song and almost one of the best songs that she’s done since “Flare”.  Definitely an awesome way to close the album out!

Tracks Recommended

  • Soldier! Soldier!
  • Aoi Tsuki
  • Ikki Mankai
  • Sasurai
  • Yaburekabure

Song of Avoidance

  • Ai no Katachi

Jesus Hitomi, 5 years for you to release a new studio album (almost as old as this blog >.>).  Honjitsu, Tonai, Bousho tried to make up for all the space in between this and her last studio album, “Flare” and it’s got spaz to it which is something I had feared coming into this because everything she had released mostly have been really soft and boring.  This album had a lot of spice and I liked most of it which is pretty good.  I’m still trying to decide if it’s ranked better than “Flare” though…but this was a good comeback album!

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Hitomi Shimatani – Yaburekabure June 16, 2014

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 1:19 am

yaburekabure

Track Listing

  1. Yaburekabure
  2. Aoi Tsuki
  3. Yaburekabure (Guide Melody Original Karaoke)
  4. Yaburekabure (Original Karaoke)
  5. Aoi Tsuki (Original Karaoke)

1. Yaburekabure

It’s been a while since Hitomi released something upbeat and catchy and Yaburekabure brings this really classy mix of sounds together and I’m impressed because she really showed how well of a singer she can be.  Some points remind me of stuff from her “PRIMA ROSA” era and I loved it since it brought a much engaging atmosphere to her music and with this one it’s the guitars and brass together.  After her last 4 singles, this was a nice track to hear from her and reminded me why I’m such a fan of hers.

2. Aoi Tsuki

As for the B-side, if you were into Hitomi’s slower songs of recent, Aoi Tsuki might be more of you turnout.  However, I didn’t expect the phone dialing nor the arrangement to get a little more interesting.  I’m liking the 90’s swerving R&B boops and the clapping beat as well.  Hitomi’s vocals are light and pretty and the song avoids going into a boring area.  What a pleasant B-side!

 

 

After having such a rocky and random ass 5 years, Hitomi settled back and released Yaburekabure as a single preceding her next studio album (FINALLY), “Honjitsu, Tonai, Bousho”.  The single was actually her best single since “Shinku/Ai no Uta”…which was so long ago, so I’m loving she released this.  Yaburekabure brings a more smoky sound and her voice always seems to work easily into different situations and styles.  Aoi Tsuki though I think won this single for me…it is a bit laidback, but the sound was so genuine and pop…it just worked!  It makes me wonder now if her album will include “SMILES”, “Kantan ni Ietanara”, “Mayonaka no Guitar” and “Shiawase Hakoberu You ni”….though I’m doubting it.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Shiawase Hakoberu You ni March 7, 2012

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 5:28 pm

Track Listing

  1. Shiawase Hakoberu You ni (Gasshou ver.)
  2. Shiawase Hakoberu You ni (Piano Gakushou ver.)
  3. Shiawase Hakoberu You ni (Karaoke)

1. Shiawase Hakoberu You ni (Gasshou ver.)

Well, the main version of Shiawase Hakoberu You ni is pretty simple with just piano as the only instrument playing while Hitomi is singing along it.  As it is tagged as such a children’s choir is also singing along and are singing at an equal volume to Hitomi’s simple vocals.  The melody is pleasant and the piano arrangement is sweet as well.  It’s not as boring as I thought and has a bit better of a meaning that a lot of charity songs out there XD. 

2. Shiawase Hakoberu You ni (Piano Gakushou ver.)

The other version of the song is essentially the song without the kids choir.  Just piano and Hitomi singing.  I think I like this version better because we get to hear her vocals a LOT more clearly and since she has the great vocals to pull off ballads like this, it ends up making the song a bit more prettier in that aspect.  Though after a while it does seem a little empty without the kids so it’s both good and kind of meh at points for me.

 

 

The first thing I noticed was that this single was a charity single which made me think *why would you wait THIS LONG to release this…it’s a bit late*.  After that went away and I took a listen to the song, Shiawase Hakoberu You ni isn’t bad persay but it sure doesn’t help the fact that if this is considered as a single for a potential album alongside “Mayonaka no Guitar” and “Kantan ni Ietanara” then this wasn’t anything special.  Besides the kids in the Gasshou ver. it’s kind of plain but the vocals were still great from Hitomi.  Overall, it’s alright as a charity single but in Hitomi’s discography not very good.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Sign Music February 28, 2012

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 10:47 am

Track Listing

  1. Furusato
  2. Soshu Yakyoku
  3. Oborozukiyo
  4. Shabondama
  5. Soushunhu
  6. Natsu no Omoide
  7. Aka Tombo
  8. Pechika
  9. Okaasan
  10. Kono Michi
  11. Ondo no Funauta (CD only)

1. Furusato

I could have only hoped that it was going to be a cover of Morning Musume’s “Furusato” but nahhh it’s based off the children’s song of the same.  I really must say that I love the breezy and jazzy feel this song has and Hitomi’s vocals really sound nice amongst the arrangement as well (but then again who doubted that she would sound bad?).  Adding the flute solo and I was just happy with this song for sure!

2. Soshu Yakyoku

Next song in the album is just as jazzy but a little more soothing and has a nice deep bass involved as well.  I will say I’m surprised there was a much longer solo to be had from the violin but I guess it works for here.  It’s nice but I think the strings could’ve been less seen because I felt myself paying so much more attention to that than poor Hitomi.

3. Oborozukiyo

I guess the could be considered the album’s first ballad (maybe?).  Either way, I’m loving the fact that I hear saxophone opening this wintery tune.  This is where I start to see Hitomi’s real exceptional vocals since she’s soft and singing so peacefully and pleasantly.  It’s nice and the sax solo in the middle worked well as well…

4. Shabondama

I’m surprised that Shabondama is as short as it is because it would’ve made a great full song though once again, I kept thinking of Morning Musume here but once again, it’s the children’s song.  I like the deep string acting as the low beat and then hearing marimba in the background and having a solo as well.  It’s a nice song but I wish it was tad bit longer.

5. Soushunhu

One song I’m pretty sure I’m not going to listen after this review is probably Soushunhu which can be compared as lifeless and just plain boring.  Shimatani fans should know that she’s been on this major line of songs that really are plain jane and features not a whole of instruments.  Soushunhu has acoustic guitar only and Hitomi singing along.  It makes me feel like I’m listening to “Kantan ni Ietanara” or “Mayonaka no Guitar” which isn’t a very good thing here.  Just boring and not really fitting the album very well.

6. Natsu no Omoide

After that speed bump, Natsu no Omoide kind of brings us back into that jazzy/bossa nova side to this album and I’m so happy it did!  I like the fact that this time the sound is based upon the trumpet and even from the solo to the end was pretty awesome.  It’s pretty good but I think the music took over Hitomi who I felt didn’t have enough time to sing the song but it’s still nice otherwise.

7. Aka Tombo

I felt our next song started so oddly with those ~ahs~ going on there.  As another slow song on the album, I felt zoned out with this song but not at the same level I did with “Soushunhu”.  At first it felt so slow and quiet and essentially was a blur in my mind.  After a while, the song does grow louder and I start paying attention and she pulls it off at the end but just barely for me.

8. Pechika

Which sucks because it’s followed by another slow-moving song in Pechika.  I think by now you guys know that my weak points to music are ballads and seldom are seen repeated on my iTunes so this one definitely was testing my patience.  There were a few parts that did connect to me like the muted trumpet solos throughout.  Besides that, I couldn’t tell you how the melody of the song went hahaha.

9. Okaasan

Our next song is for all teh mothers out there XD.  Kind of a shame as it’s the only other song that’s under three minutes in length (the other was “Shabondama” by the way).  It’s kind of cute in a way because of the arrangement that has some interesting instruments playing along with Hitomi’s vocals which are a bit cutesy (I guess you can call it that).  Short but sweet I guess.

10. Kono Michi

Ending the album, Cono Michi is a soft way to end things (despite most if not all of the album is soft songs).  It seems to be paralelling “Soushunhu” because unlike acoustic guitar, there’s only piano in this song.  However, I felt this suited her quite a bit more to be honest.  Pleasant, but not the best the album offered.

11. Ondo no Funauta

Of course it was shocking to see that the CD only had a bonus track with Ondo no Funauta.  When I saw the title, I was thinking it was going to be actually an ondo-type song.  Which made me think of numerous songs from H!P…  What we got was an interesting song that features Hitomi singing in an enka style (something we haven’t seen or heard since her debut!).  I was surprised that like “Kono Michi”, the song only uses piano but that’s alright because Hitomi totally took over the arrangement with her powerful vocals.  I’m surprised she pulled this song off since she really didn’t do well on “Osaka no Onna” but those were different times for her.  Great song to finish up!

Tracks Recommended

  • Furusato
  • Shabondama
  • Ondo no Funauta
  • Okaasan
  • Natsu no Omoide

Song of Avoidance

  • Soushunhu

As this is Hitomi’s third cover album (first that isn’t based off of guy’s songs) Sign Music is nice but now I’m sure she’s trying to leave her dance/pop phase in the past because of everything since “Flare” was released.  I guess I’m alright with it but at the same time I feel she’s leaving what made her amazing for something that’s lowkey and not super popular as in the case of this album.  I don’t think jazz is VERY popular in Japan.  Otherwise this was her most interesting release since “Flare” so that should tell you guys something.  Though that enka song at the end was a nice little treat for people TBH.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Kantan ni Ietanara February 17, 2011

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 7:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Kantan ni Ietanara
  2. moment
  3. Kantan ni Ietanara (Instrumental)
  4. moment (Instrumental)

1. Kantan ni Ietanara

Really Hitomi?  Why are we still releasing boring songs?  I mean just like “Mayonaka no Guitar”, the song is another ballad which isn’t helping her through her career of recent times.  Unlike the acoustics of the last single, this is more along the lines of a piano ballad.  I do think Hitomi’s vocals are great (when isn’t it TBH?) but the lack of instrumentation made it snooze-worthy.  The chorus though was pretty though…still…where’s the upbeat stuff?!?

2. moment

Well, I guess this is upbeat enough for me…  moment to me takes a more interesting route and it sounds like a mix of light disco and jazz, but Shimatani-fied if you know what I mean.  It’s this kind of light and fluffy track that makes her music slightly good, but after the last few singles, I’m still kind of suffering, if you know what I mean.

As the era’s 2nd (or 3rd including “SMILES”) single, Kantan ni Ietanara is a little more even than “Mayonaka no Guitar was, but it’s still far from what made her big if you ask me.  She’s becoming too much light pop for me and usually that kind of music lulls me to sleep.  moment is slightly better because it’s a lil more upbeat, but still…I want epic Hitomi back…

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Mayonaka no Guitar October 7, 2010

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 1:47 am

Track Listing

  1. Mayonaka no Guitar
  2. Futari no Sora
  3. Mayonaka no Guitar (karaoke)
  4. Futari no Sora (karaoke)

1. Mayonaka no Guitar

Why Shimatani!!!  Why are you going in this direction with your music?  Since that’s out of my system, Mayonaka no Guitar isn’t that bad of a song, but with how she’s been putting her self out there, this just continues to show that avex doesn’t exactly care to make her interesting.  It’s calm and slow of course, but c’mon try harder…or release something that makes me put faith in you again!  What hurts more about this is that it’s also a cover…yeah…can we get off this plz?

2. Futari no Sora

I guess the redeeming factor for this single was Futari no Sora.  It’s still pretty much acoustic heavy both with a little more oomph from Hitomi and the arrangement and I liked that it was flowing and nice to hear.  I mean it’s her best song in a while…since “Shinku” for me at least.  I still think she could’ve done more, but what we got with this is not at all bad.

While Mayonaka no Guitar is a smidge better than her last single, “SMILES”, she’s still got quite a ways before getting back to what we’ve known from Shimatani.  To me, Mayonaka no Guitar is a snooze-fest of the song and makes me wonder if she’ll fix that…and she did with Futari no Sora which is so much better than the A-side.  Maybe she’ll release “VENUS” and “Communication” as a single…and that for sure has made me REAL HAPPY!

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Amairo Maxi September 27, 2010

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 11:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Amairo no Kami no Otome ~Full Ukelele Version~
  2. Hold my soul
  3. Dakishimete ~Shou no Ballad~
  4. A.S.A.P. ~as soon as possible~
  5. Amairo no Kami no Otome ~Full Ukelele Version (Instrumental)
  6. Hold my soul (Instrumental)
  7. Dakishimete ~Shou no Ballad~ (Instrumental)
  8. A.S.A.P. ~as soon as possible~ (Instrumental)

1. Amairo no Kami no Otome ~Full Ukelele Version~

Yeah, we’re on our third version of Hitomi’s 7th A-side.  Luckily, Hitomi didn’t just shove a ukelele a called it a new version.  I also actually enjoy this version of the song since it doesn’t really sound awkward.  Of course there’s more than one ukelele present as well.  It’s a bit strange hearing it all bare and such but this definitely reminded me of the opening of the original version.

2. Hold my soul

Since the next two songs are brand new tracks, Hold my soul actually kind of tries to be something different and I approve of the changes, but why is so Hitomi so quiet with her vocals this time around…Actually it kind of reminds me of a more controlled “Glorious Day” and also with the background vocals having a lot of time in the song.  I guess it’s alright, but yeah it’s just not that amazing.

3. Dakishimete ~Shou no Ballad~

As for the other new song on the single, Dakishimete is definitely correct with the title.  I was surprised she put a song with just piano, acoustic guitar, and strings.  Lot of people concluded that Hitomi can be a good balladeer if she had the right arrangement and usually she doesn’t.  I mean it’s kind of hard to swallow with this song since there’s not a lot going for it, but her vocals are just bright and fill the song with color.  Good ballad, might need a touch up one day, but it’s still good nonetheless!

4. A.S.A.P. ~as soon as possible~

Yeah, one of the album’s songs actually makes it onto a single and isn’t changed either.  I know I just reviewed it not that long ago so I don’t have much of a concrete opinion song, but I like that it’s upbeat and not as annoying as “Hold my soul”.  It’s one of the better upbeat songs she’s had in her early years as a singer so holds that quite nicely.

 

 

I’m sure that the popularity of Shanti and Amairo no Kami no Otome fueled this recut single.  I mean I still don’t think too highly for this single since we’re once again shown ANOTHER version of her biggest song and a recut song which is still pretty good.  The new songs were alright I mean Hold my soul could’ve been on Shanti just fine…but it’s definitely a “Glorious Day” ripoff while Dakishimete was a beautifully sung ballad and deserves to be touched up.