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Miho Fukuhara – The Best of Soul Extreme July 16, 2012

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 8:52 am

Track Listing

  1. O2 featuring AI
  2. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA
  3. Open Eyes
  4. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura
  5. STARLIGHT
  6. Regrets of Love
  7. DON’T TAKE IT AWAY
  8. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! feat. Chara
  9. Cinnamon Dreams
  10. You
  11. Save Me feat. Leona Lewis
  12. Black Star
  13. You Are the Reason feat. AI

1. O2 featuring AI

It’s pretty awesome that Miho chose to open up the album with O2 (which was the promo song for the first “Soul Extreme”).  I love AI and Miho together since their vocals sound so together and flow into each other quite nicely.  The song does have a big Westernized sound to it which might be its biggest pull.  Definitely a great way to kick things off!

2. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA

Moving onto the first track from the 2nd “Soul Extreme” is Get Up! and I loved the funky arrangement out of this one and this stood out to me more than “O2”.  I still find it rather humorous listening to AKIKO’s vocals because she has such a husky and manly tone to her voice that it just kind of surprises me.  I still find it an appealing song and a great standout to the album. 

3. Open Eyes

Moving into our first new track, Open Eyes is the promotional song and I was kind of surprised she kept with the R&B style for the song but it’s got nice flow in it.  It does remind me if “O2” in ways but at the same time has its flavor and chilled style that works for me.  I like it quite a bit for some reason, even though it’s not my style.  Not bad!

4. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura

I find it funny that Dream On is the only A-side released in this entire era between 3 mini-albums and such.  Dream On doesn’t seem to be really much different from the previous tracks besides the obvious addition of Daichi.  I do feel like the song sounds a bit weaker coming after the songs before so I’m really unsure how to feel totally, but it still was a great collaborative idea for these two strong vocalists.

5. STARLIGHT

So we get two tracks that originally came from “The Soul Extreme EP” and I thought she chose a good track to represent it.  Though I would’ve actually chose “Better Than Love” (the English version of this song) just because I thought Miho did a much better job there.  I still do like the Japanese rendition though and kind of brings us to a much calmer state of mind with this track.

6. Regrets of Love

I was surprised to see she included Regrets of Love onto the album because the same-titled mini-album came before the “Soul Extremes”.  Listening to it now, I really get a Leona Lewis kind of feel which is nice but it’s a bit like the other songs I’ve heard so far.  However, its a really pleasant track to listen too and it’s probably one of my favorites of her slower R&B songs.

7. DON’T TAKE IT AWAY

Lucky for us is that the rest of the album is nothing but new material from her starting with DON’T TAKE IT AWAY.  I like that it opens up with acoustic guitar and kind of makes a jab at “O2” along the way.  It’s definitely her most down to basics track on the album but that’s really nice because it showcases her voice quite nicely.  Not a favorite but it’s quite enjoyable.

8. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! feat. Chara

It wasn’t enough that Miho had covered “Milk” alongside Chara but she features her in a new track.  It does continue to have more acoustics involved which is nice.  I’m a little disturbed by the meshing of Chara and Miho which is pretty jagged.  However alone, I do think Chara sounds soulful which is different but singing alongside Miho just kind of kills me.  I can see that it would make people happy but…at the same time…maybe if it wasn’t Chara.

9. Cinnamon Dreams

The title of the next track actually caught my attention first (heh Cinnamon you see).  I thought it was Miho being really classy and just having fun wuth the track which is sung in English.  It’s a bouncy one for sure and it just puts me in a good mood ^_^

10. You

Things get back to what they sounded like in the first half of the album with R&B beats and kind of that Westernized sound.  I mean it’s a nice song to listen to and the fact there’s electric guitar and a string section kind of impressed me quite a bit.  Nice track, but kind of forgetful compared to the other tracks.

11. Save Me feat. Leona Lewis

Well I did mention that some of Miho’s songs are like Leona songs.  Now we have a collaboration with these two powerful singers.  At first, I couldn’t tell the difference but after a while it seems that Miho has a more throaty voice and her accent makes it obvious.  That being said it feels like a Ryan Tedder-produced track and I’m not a fan of his.  The song is quite dramatic and both ladies really brought it for the song so it’s up there!

12. Black Star

I was also intrigued by the title of our next track, Black Star which kind of sounds like a continuation of “Save Me” but without Leona and more emphasis on the beats.  I do love the sprinkling of synths throughout the song’s chorus and Miho sounds great once again.  Overall it’s a pretty solid track but I feel like it could’ve been more.

13. You Are the Reason feat. AI

Getting to the final track of the album, You Are the Reason is another collaboration with AI and this one seems to be more flowing and more emotional.  I kind of just forget the song after a while but it does make for a pretty good closure to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Regrets of Love
  • Cinnamon Dreams
  • Save Me feat. Leona Lewis
  • Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA
  • O2 featuring AI

Song of Avoidance

  • You Are the Reason feat. AI

Strange release this was, I mean three mini-albums and a single and we get The Best of Soul Extreme (which kind of seems pointless of a title since it only has three tracks from said Soul Extremes).  I thought the album was good but that’s about as far as I get because none of the new songs were really standouts (maybe cept Cinnamon Dreams and Save Me).  I just felt that this album lacked musical variety this time around and paid more attention to Miho herself.  Oh yeah, there’s a 2nd disc but it’s just of covers she’s done in the past.

 

Miho Fukuhara – Dream On feat. Daichi Miura May 17, 2012

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 6:58 am

Track Listing

  1. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura
  2. Dream On -Piano Hikigatari Ver.-
  3. O2 feat. AI -Seiji Basement mix-
  4. Dream On -instrumental-

1. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura

Who knew we’d get two really solid vocalists together for a song.  Daichi seems to be magic when he works alongside other artists and of course Miho as well.  It’s not something that’s upbeat but not a ballad which meets at the middle.  I love Miho and Daichi together since their vocals seem to swirl as one together and it feels like there’s no seperate vocalists when the chorus comes in.  Solid song overall!

2. Dream On (Piano Hikigatari Ver.)

Just as the song implies, Dream On is stripped of what’s great and was left with just a lone piano.  Also, it seems that Daichi is missing from this version which kind of gives it a different style altogether for me.  It’s a tad longer than the original version but it’s kind of more boring for me too…I like the mood and feel of the Daichi-full version XD.

3. O2 feat. AI -Seiji Basement mix-

It’s been a while since I’ve heard O2 from Miho (a song from first “The Soul Extreme EP”).  Unlike the R&B-heavy original, the remix is a lot more subdued and chilled out and I kind of liked that feeling but I wasn’t too thrilled of figuring out that the vocals from both Miho and AI were filtered to suit the song better.  It’s a good remix, but I think the original still overkills.

 

 

The lone single before Miho releases her best of The Soul Extreme (talk about an odd choice), Dream On was a pretty good leading song to be honest.  Then again, when you have two amazing singers together, it rarely goes bad!  The piano version lacked a lot of what the original had so it kind of was just…there.  The remix of O2 might be interesting to some people but the stick with the original.  Ok, single but could’ve been better.

 

Miho Fukuhara – The Soul Extreme EP II October 12, 2011

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 7:23 am

Track Listing

  1. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA
  2. Bad Thing
  3. Better Than Love
  4. Sunday Morning
  5. One Day

1. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA

I didn’t think Miho’s promotional song off the second of The Soul Extreme mini’s would be upbeat and funky at the same time (actually getting the meaning of soul correct).  I love the groovy rhythms in this song and both Miho and Akiko sound pretty damn epic together.  I like the fact that they both can keep up with each other and they sound really good together funny enough even though they’re both ladies but it should be obvious haha.  Though AKIKO at different parts comes off with a manly tone to her vocals which did confuse first time hearing the song.

2. Bad Thing

I love Bad Thing as well since it just has a fierce feel and Miho is showing a lot of her character and attitude in this tune which is a bit less funky than “Get Up!”.  Still, the vocal ability and prowess Miho shows makes up for that in a strong way.  Damn, she’s using a more throaty style and while it’s not very clear, it’s a change and I liked it.

3. Better Than Love

The last original song is Better Than Love and I love the beat of the song even though R&B isn’t my favorite style of a song but it works.  I quite like that she sung in English for this song and it came out quite nice but at the same time a little formulaic….almost like it was made for Alicia Keys or Leona Lewis.  That’s all I got from this song lol.  Then thx to BANZAI for the heads up, I learned that it’s an English version of “STARLIGHT” from the first “The Soul Extreme” and I was rather surprised I didn’t notice this.  To me, the song sounds more clear and the beat is less fuzzy and of course Miho made the song better in English not gonna lie.  Still something that sounds like contemporary American R&B.

4. Sunday Morning

The other two songs on the mini-album are covers not surprisingly starting with one that I actually recognize since it’s a Maroon 5 cover.  Unfortunately, she could’ve chosen a better song in their library to cover.  Now, we all know that Miho is definitely no Adam Levine since his vocals are so unique and his own and Miho can’t get close to that.  At least she sounds impressive in her own vocals with the tune being a bit more chilled and laid-back.  It’s alright, but it feels like it doesn’t even sound like a Maroon 5 song anymore hahaha.

5. One Day

The final track is a cover of a KUWATA BAND track (in my mind I’m thinking who???).  Since I’ve never heard the song to really go by anything sadly.  It’s actually the simplest song in arrangement since it’s piano and acoustic guitar.  Not as impressive like the other songs here, but it still shows that Miho can pull off ballads quite strongly.

 

 

 

Besides the rather gross cover (2 in a row really???), I actually enjoyed this mini-album but not as much as the first Soul Extreme.  I do think that Get Up! and Bad Thing were really impressive songs and are just great to hear.  However, the two covers and Better Than Love weren’t as memorable and kind of just bleh for me lol.  Hopefully we can get an album…or some singles…no more minis for the time being?

 

Miho Fukuhara – The Soul Extreme EP May 11, 2011

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 9:32 pm

Track Listing

  1. O2 featuring AI
  2. STARLIGHT
  3. NO PARKING
  4. Virtual Insanity
  5. LATELY

Disc 2: -Live from “Live in Music Vol. 1”-

  1. LOSE CONTROL
  2. CHANGE
  3. Regrets of Love
  4. Forget
  5. Yuki no Hikari

1. O2 featuring AI

Dang does this song have a lot of power in it.  I love the heavy beats and the fact that Miho collaborated with AI made it even better because their voices sound pretty good together, but they have a fun time trying to over sing each other and it gives the song this very angsty feel to it.  Very cool and hawt of a song to be honest AWESOME!!!

2. STARLIGHT

Taking a very sharp turn from something hard and angsty into something a little more reserved, STARLIGHT actually sounds pretty with a steady beat and a moving arrangement.  Of course Miho does a great job singing this track since they’re full and mixed with the backups also worked too.  The only thing that might be a slight pain is the lack of movement in the arrangement but that’s merely nitpicking.

3. NO PARKING

Damn, when she called this The Soul Extreme, she’s pretty much right on the money on our next song for sure.  She really gave it her all for this track and she made it her own.  With brass and a whole lot of funky rhythms and lines, it’s no doubt my favorite of the mini-album for sure. 

4. Virtual Insanity

I was a little bit taken aback when I saw that Miho was going to tackle Jamiroquai’s biggest US hit.  Now I love the original and was one of my favorite songs in the 90s so Miho had a lot to prove to make it a worthy cover.  Sadly, like her previous English efforts, she sort of lands on one foot since her English isn’t the most amazing thing on her.  The arrangement is a bit more like the theme of the mini-album, but I still much prefer the original’s dance style.  Eh, it’s ok…nothing great xD

5. LATELY

Closing the mini-album out with the slowest song of the bunch, Miho and ballads are quite amazing together since she has the perfect vocals to pull them off.  Likewise, the song is in full English and I already can tell she sounds a lot cleaner than she did in “Virtual Insanity”.  I liked it and while it didn’t leave a mark as strong as “NO PARKING”, it’s a damn good ballad!

Miho’s 2nd mini-album is a bit better of a mini-album for me than “Regrets of Love” because her vocals were set to more upbeat songs and funkier arrangements (with the exception of LATELY).  Anyways, great mini-album, but I feel it’d be nice to go back to singles and then a full length direction after this for sure! *RECOMMENDED*

 

Miho Fukuhara – Regrets of Love December 21, 2010

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 6:30 am

Track Listing

  1. Regrets of Love
  2. Forget
  3. Milk 2010 with Chara
  4. You Give Me Something
  5. Your Story

1. Regrets of Love

Starting with a melancholic piano opening, Regrets of Love is definitely fitting for a deep song about well what else right?  I love the heavy thumping that’s the beat of the song.  It’s pretty awesome that it’s a strong song to start the mini-album, and Miho’s vocals are quiet epic.  It’s definitely like something Alicia Keys would approve of since it just has the soulful and strong presence.  Amazing song right here.

2. Forget

I love the our next song changes radically in sound from an R&B track into an acoustic song and even moreso an all English track.  Miho’s English is clear-cut and easy to follow and she keeps her soul in the song which is amazing to listen to.  However, it doesn’t have as much of an emotional impact that “Regrets of Love” had, but it’s not so bad.  Different and reminds me a bit of the last era.

3. Milk 2010 with Chara

So the story with this is that Milk is originally Chara’s tune which was released way back in 2007.  Miho is covering the song, but collaborating with Chara as well in the song.  Of course I’ve said before that Chara’s vocals kind of bother me in the wrong way, but Miho did great covering the song and she clearly tries to cover up Chara’s throaty vocals.  The music is back to more of an R&B-like style, but it’s chill and calm.  Not as bad as I thought it’d would be. 

4. You Give Me Something

As another cover, this time a James Morrison tune, You Give Me Something is also another all English track and while I haven’t heard the original, it’s definitely something I would hear on American Radio.  It’s a good and pleasant song from Miho and she pulls it off graciously and strongly hmmmm.

5. Your Story

Ending the mini-album, we get an orchestral piece from Miho and like the last one “No More Cry”, Your Story is very sad to listen to, but the simplicity really will get to you because of the pure fact the lyrics are just painful yet heartwarming.  It feels short, but damn did it make a big impact…perfect way to close the mini-album.

After the minor disappointment in “Music is My Life”, Regrets of Love was definitely something Miho needed.  I loved all the songs that were present on the mini-album and Miho’s vocals are still amazing and I’m surprised at how she improved immensely on her English skills so that’s also a plus.  Very Impressive here! *RECOMMENDED*

 

Miho Fukuhara – Music is My Life June 18, 2010

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 5:08 pm

Track Listing

  1. RISING LIKE A FLAME
  2. HANABI SKY
  3. Mirai
  4. LET IT OUT (album version)
  5. Moshikashite
  6. Apologies feat. sleepy.ab
  7. Cry No More (album version)
  8. Baby Baby feat. Laura Ibizor
  9. Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou (album mix)
  10. TOUCH & LOVE
  11. Sotsugyou
  12. THANK YOU
  13. Ai no Uta

1. RISING LIKE A FLAME

Beginning Miho’s sophomore album, RISING LIKE A FLAME sounds a little dated and muffled when it begins and I thought it was going to be like “HANABI SKY” especially on how it started until the mood changed quite suddenly into this urban/R&B tune.  Miho sounds really good here, but the question is…are there any verses?  It’s kind of hard to tell the difference from the verses and choruses.  It’s a pretty strong opening nonetheless and the song screams self-empowerment so being said it’s one of the strongest songs off the album.

2. HANABI SKY

Which makes sense that HANABI SKY would be after because since the previous was urban, this song is basically Americanized pop/rock and while I have no qualms about it…it’s strange that it wasn’t changed for the album like the other A-sides (minus “Mirai/Moshikashite”).  Still for the era’s first A-side, it’s still pretty good and Miho is still showing her vocal prowess.

3. Mirai

Keep the good vocals, and Americanized sound from “HANABI SKY” and add in piano and take out the electric guitar and we basically get the first half of the final single of the era.  I still don’t have a lot to say for this song because the same can be applied about how I feel about the last track here.  It’s still good though if that’s what you’re thinking.

4. LET IT OUT (album version)

Unfortunately, we start getting into these new versions of A & B-sides and to be honest I didn’t really like any of them on this album.  LET IT OUT, which is probably her most recognized tune because of the FMA tie-in, the changes here were that…the song went for the most part acoustic on us.  While I do admit it does showcase Miho’s vocals quite a bit stronger, it sacrificed the power in the arrangement which is disappointing at the least. 

5. Moshikashite

At least things slow down with Moshikashite?  Only slightly, though but it does make the previous tracks flow quite strongly which is always a plus on an album.  Otherwise it seems less memorable here than on its respective single.  Still a good A-side though.

6. Apologies feat. sleepy.ab

Finally getting back into new stuff, Apologies is the first of two collaborations on the album and of course since the main thing of the album is keeping it natural and acoustic, this wasn’t a surprise.  I do like how Miho overpowers poor sleepy.ab in the vocal department making him kind of go vocally off with her.  It’s kind of an ethereal sounding tune and a hopeful one at that as well.  Not too bad.

7. Cry No More (album version)

As the B-side to “Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou”, the album version kind of failed here because honestly…they didn’t keep the acappella side of the tune which kind of threw out that perfection that made the single version so good.  Then again shortening it a minute, is a bit of a letdown.  I still admit that it’s still a pretty amazing ballad.  I didn’t think they needed that guitar though…kind of took that feeling away.  Still…the new stronger upbeat part in the end, made up for the nuances the song had…damn that was good.

8. Baby Baby feat. Laura Ibizor

As the promotional track for the album, Baby Baby has that same genre like “RISING LIKE A FLAME” has and damn, could this sound more like an urban song from the States?  I do love the heavy flow of the song and it’s kind of the first truly happy upbeat song.  It also makes an odd poke at the previous song with those lyrics ~I don’t wanna cry no more~.  Miho and Laura have similar sounding vocals so without watching the video, it’s hard to tell who was the better singer and who sings what.  Still pretty good and a smart choice for the promotion.

9. Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou (album mix)

3rd single in, and while it’s my favorite single for the era, the changes made here were simplified for the album which did disappoint me quite a bit.  To be honest, I think they should’ve kept the remix and placed it here since that had more bang and substance than either the original and the album’s updated version. 

10. TOUCH & LOVE

Luckily the rest of the album is just new tracks starting with TOUCH & LOVE.  To me, this was the nice follow-up to “Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou” because it’s funky, has a lot of brass and Miho’s personality is shining through this song.  I actually like this side of Miho’s music a bit more than her pop/rock stuff which should tell you a lot about me right? 😄  I’m impressed with this song!

11. Sotsugyou

Calming down from the party girl Miho has shown us, Sotsogyou kind of goes back into her “RAINBOW” days for a bit and maybe a little bit of the early days of this era.  You can hear the calmness of Miho’s vocals and with the pseudo-country style she’s pulling here, it’s still kind of nice to listen to but…don’t we already have “Moshikashite” filling in that spot?

12. THANK YOU

I actually think that this makes a better ending to the album than next track, “Ai no Uta”.  Why you might ask?  Well, it’s basically because this just has that ending feel to it…I mean it’s called THANK YOU…isn’t that enough to make you think why wasn’t this placed at the end?  In the middle there’s this pretty cool marching rhythm with a chorale group singing different things….it’s kind of the strongest new song off the album to me.

13. Ai no Uta

So ending off the album is another one of those wretched “Ai no Uta’s”.  I swear didn’t we leave that two years ago???  Well compared to the grandiose “THANK YOU”, Ai no Uta is just Miho and acoustic guitar, but luckily she has those vocals that makes it sound fulfilling.  Still, I think the last two tracks should’ve played the opposite spots to each other. 

Tracks Recommended

  • Cry No More (album version)
  • TOUCH & LOVE
  • Baby Baby feat. Laura Ibizor
  • RISING LIKE A FLAME
  • HANABI SKY/Mirai

Song of Avoidance

  • LET IT OUT (album version)

I’ll tell you now that while Music is My Thing flowed a whole lot better than her debut album, I still much prefer “RAINBOW”.  It might just be me but I think she was playing a little too safe for her second outing and giving most of the old tracks new looks wasn’t really helping any.  Still it’s not too bad of the album…just missing a lot of the punch her debut did.

 

Miho Fukuhara – Mirai/Moshikashite May 20, 2010

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 3:25 am

Track Listing

  1. Mirai
  2. Moshikashite
  3. Taemanaku
  4. Mirai (STUDIO APARTMENT REMIX 2010)

1. Mirai

I’ll admit, Mirai isn’t as exciting as the other 3 A-sides released in the era.  Though while it’s a progressive song for Miho it seems like “HANABI SKY” minus the Western touches.  I keep on enjoying Miho’s vocals quite a bit.  Nothing else can be really said about that besides that it’s pleasant to listen to.

2. Moshikashite

Toning things down a little bit for Moshikashite, this was a bit stronger.  Maybe it’s the acoustic almost country-like atmosphere that makes me enjoy it a lot more than usual.  Her vocals are a bit more softer here which is also a plus and she sounds great this way.  Lively little tune and I ended up enjoying it a lot.

3. Taemanaku

As for the only B-side of the single, Taemanaku sounds like a soft R&B tune with the way it was arranged.  Likewise, Miho’s vocals are actually softer than her normal way of singing and this change fits a lot more better than I thought it would.  Another good song from Miho.

4. Mirai (STUDIO APARTMENT REMIX 2010)

Rounding the single off with a remix of the primary A-side, of course it has a long ass startup.  I mean a minute passing by before lyrics I mean that’s just ick.  Though once Miho does come in, the song gets better and sounds a lot better as well.  It’s odd that Miho and dance music works so nicely especially in remixes cuz her vocals sounds a lot more fitting. 

 

 

Miho’s final single for the “Music is My Life” era was as good as the other singles.  Besides Mirai’s kind of already known sound the other two tracks were nice, soft, and pretty to listen to.  As for the remix, it’s pretty good except for that long beginning.  I can hope the album will be amazing…though by the covers it doesn’t look that great 😄