- NO FADE OUT
- WARM PRAYER (Inori ver.)
- KISS KISS KISS
- PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ
- Mellow (Violin inst.)
As the first song of the album, I was digging the funky vibes from the intro right from the beginning and it was making me think Rina was going to new styles especially once that tracks kicks in and saxophones and piano join in alongside some bass. I really enjoyed though, but was more surprised it’s only 2:40 long making it more of a elongated intro more than anything else. Still, nice way to open the album.
So it seems the album wants to get through the previously released songs before giving us more of the new tracks. Starting with the lone A-side, I was kind of surprised that after “CUE!” things would immediately slow down for this track, but I still remember enjoying this song because it was like Rina was back in a way. The verses are very ethereal and spacey, but the chorus was a pop/rock track in a vein to songs from her album, “PLAYGIRL”. It’s a pretty good track still and made me wonder what she had compiled for this album.
3. NO FADE OUT
While I only got to hear the live version of this from the “RISE” single, NO FADE OUT was one of the two digital singles she released when she returned from her retirement/hiatus. Hearing the actual studio cut of the song is a little more of the same sound she had in “RISE”, but it’s not quite as in your face as it, but features a good enough range of guitars, piano, and strings (giving it a slight anison feel too). Not bad here either!
4. WARM PRAYER (Inori ver.)
Seeing it’s the first song she did upon returning to the music scene, WARM PRAYER wasn’t much of a memorable song for me because it was a little too light. Seeing at it was the only one of the 3 previously released to get edited on the album, made me wonder what changed. To be honest, the difference between the live version and this Inori take isn’t too broad, maybe added backup vocals behind Rina and some slight instrumentation changes, but it’s still the same track otherwise. I do like the latter half of the track though since there’s more going on, but it’s nice overall.
We finally get to the new tracks and I feel if there was one track that felt like it was going to be promoted, it’d be this one (because Mellow returns at the end of the album). Having Mellow be after “WARM PRAYER” I think did a little more harm because this is more of your standard piano/strings/percussion ballad so I felt like it was a bit too plain for me and lacked the interest that the previous track had.
6. KISS KISS KISS
After zoning out from “Mellow”, KISS KISS KISS tries to wake up somehow, but sadly it kind of falls flat somewhat at doing so. It isn’t a ballad, but more of a chilled out mid-tempo track with a melody and arrangement that kind of felt like 90’s Pop which wasn’t really all that intriguing to me. Yeah after a while, I ended up purely zoning this one out too sadly.
Our next track Meisai didn’t exactly help my boredom at first because the way she opens the track is more ballad, but it flowed a little better than the previous two tracks, but then she twists the song and turns it into this fiery & big band-like entry which REALLY caught my attention as it’s so quick-paced and Rina sounds cute but in a nice way here. It was a total surprise me and shook the sleep off of me. I think the intro didn’t need to happen as long as it did, but what we got was exciting and fun!
Though the craziness continues into NOPE which brings Rina back to move of her past days where her music was more electronic and I instantly dug the atmosphere out of NOPE as it’s more club-like and sassy. Though what I wasn’t expecting to hear censor bleeps in the chorus, which made me raise my eyebrows at the inclusion. Though I think the biggest WTF is that at 2:30, the song ends, but then out pops a cutesy technopop song just finishes the rest of the song…what? This is random at its finest and I’m not sure what she was going for between these two ideas. That said, the two ideas are really nice…just wtf…
9. PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ
Another dance track comes next with PLAY HIGH and I was wondering what she was going to pull off. TKQ seems to be the male vocalist that’s featured in the song and he seems to be heard in the verses (under that vocal filter, which sounds cool), but Rina somehow kind of doesn’t fit in the song since her voice isn’t as rough or exudes cool in a track like this. I do like how Rina and TKQ play off each other in those verses, but Rina by herself in the chorus is kind of weak. Still, I kind of like the edgier sound?
As the album draws closer to the end, we have the title track and I’m kind of surprised that Ring is a ballad here. Though it does make it more sense since it is near the end. As a simple piano ballad, Ring doesn’t bring too much to the table besides Rina’s vocals which actually sound nice here over “Mellow”. After a bit, strings and other instrumentation makes it grow better (like “WARM PRAYER” and gives me the same good vibes out of it).
11. Mellow (Violin inst.)
Though the album actually ends with a near 3 minutes outro based on Mellow with the violin playing the melody of the track. Not sure why the album needed this especially since “Ring” made for an appropriate conclusion to the album. I do like the violin, but I think this could’ve been somewhere in the main version and not needed this tacked at the end.
- NO FADE OUT
- PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ
Song of Avoidance
Wow, it’s great to see Rina return with an album (especially since her last album “LAST SCENE” was released back in 2010, almost 10 years ago). I will say Ring is definitely a lot more memorable than I thought her last album and “THANX” was as well. Lot of variety here to enjoy, but there are some boring songs and her indies status is showing since some of the songs sound slightly cheap. All I wanna know was what the hell was the idea behind NOPE…how ridiculous!