Thursday, January 28, 2010

»» AAA - Heart and Soul

01 Heart and Soul
02 Namida no Kizuna
04 Heart and Soul (ArmySlick's bavtronic mix)
05 Heart and Soul (Instrumental)
06 Namida no Kizuna (Instrumental)

It's finally out! I had never anticipated an AAA release as much as I did for this one. Following their latest trend, they stick to eurobeat with Heart and Soul. And, let's be honest, AAA can't do wrong when they decide to go eurobeat. Just listen to BLOOD on FIRE, Let it Beat!, Champagne Gold (holy crap, Champagne Gold... wow), Red Soul... Anyway, any eurobeat AAA song, they're all awesome. Heart and Soul features Nissy, Naoya, Misako and Chiaki as leads, and they all own it. I'm really happy for Chiaki, she's my favourite member, and she's been getting a crapload of lines in the latest singles (none in Break Down, but there was Summer Revolution, and it got very popular), but I'm a bit sad for Shuta and Shinjiro. They're great too, but even though both Break Down and Hide-away had guys-only songs, they didn't get any lines in them. Basically, the last time they actually sang in an AAA release was in Hajimaru no Kiseki, an album track in depArture. Not fair.

Namida no Kizuna is a girls-only song, and is probably going to be featured in their 5th album, which comes out next month. It's a very pretty ballad, with key changes, and a beautiful melody. This shows very well how much Chiaki has improved as a vocalist. Since the debut, Chiaki is the member that has improved the most out of all of them. I wonder how far Yukari would have gotten hadn't she left the group.

TWO ROADS is a Hidaka solo song. It's a reggaeish song, and he sings is quite well. I don't like how he makes his voice sound a bit too nasal at times, though. Not bad for a b-side. I sincerely hope they don't put this in the album.

The Heart and Soul remix is surprisingly good! The whole arrangement is different, it gives me kind of a BEP's I Gotta Feeling sort of feeling, with the "dreamy" sounds and stuff. I'm not making any sense here, am I? It's really a terrific remix. AAA has never been too big on remixes, but this one is definitely a great one.


by Sairo!

Friday, December 25, 2009

»» My Top 10 Albums of the Decade

Since 2009 is coming to an end, I decided to put some thought into what are the best asian albums from this decade. I started listening to asian music in 2004, but have checked out some older stuff, so I think I have a good view of the decade overall. Of course this is a personal list, so the reviewing isn't by any means professional, and I probably left a lot of good stuff out, and will later remember other albums I loved and should have made the list, but right now, this is the top 10. Out of 10 albums, 4 of them were released in 2008, so the fact that they were released just last year might have influenced my decision a little bit, but oddly enough, no albums from 2009 made the list. The albums are listed on alphabetical order. There's no way I could pick a favourite out of these. Let's get started :)

Buono! - Café Buono!

Released in 2008, this was Buono!'s debut album. Buono! is the most successful Hello!Project unit right now, and this album might just be the perfect explanation. Hello!Project acts are usually bashed and people are always saying they aren't actually talented and all, but those people certainly have not given them a chance. If you're one of them, try Buono!. This album showcases Momoko's, Miyabi's and Airi's talent very well, and they're three of the most talented girls in Hello!Project. The vocals are terrific, and all songs are very enjoyable. The peaceful Hoshi no Hitsuji Tachi was the song that got me hooked at first and it's still one of my favourite ones, but it surely doesn't top Kimi ga Ireba as my favourite song. The lyrics are beautiful and it's one of their best vocal performances. Other highlights of the album are Baketsu no Mizu and the title track.

Utada Hikaru - HEART STATION

Utada's talent is undeniable. She holds the record of the best selling album ever in Japan for a reason: her music is beautiful, 'cause she always puts so much emotion into it. Therefore, it always sounds like she's actually connected to each song, and that gives her an egde, 'cause that way people can relate more to the songs. This album contains Flavor Of Life, which is one of her biggest hits ever and a great song. My personal favourite is Fight The Blues, the first track, 'cause it always cheers me up. Other noteworthy tracks are Take 5 and Stay Gold.


After two highly praised albums, YUI released I LOVED YESTERDAY and most people said it was boring and simply more of the same stuff she's always done. As if that was a bad thing. I love this album because it single-handedly got me into YUI. No, I never cared about YUI 'til 2008. I fell so hard for this album that I downloaded the rest of her discography and listened to it, but it's still my favourite release from her. Singles Namidairo and LOVE & TRUTH are definitely two of the strongest tracks off the album, but the chaotic Daydreamer and the dreamy Am I wrong? are definitely my favourite ones. There are no filler songs in this album, though, so I really like every track.

Ai Otsuka - LOVE JAM

Ai Otsuka's voice kind of haunts me at times. Back in mid-2008 I had a really huge Ai Otsuka addiction for a few months, and I would listen to all of her albums and singles and b-sides a million times, which is why she's ranked so high in my account. This album, however, was always my favourite. Don't get me wrong, Ai Otsuka has yet to put out a bad album, but this one is really a great one, and it was released like 9 months after the previous one, which means she put this together in no time, and that's really something. My favourite track is Daisuki da yo, but Futatsu Boshi Kinenbi, Friends (the album version is MUCH better than the one included in the Daisuki da yo single) and Kingyo Hanabi are also really really awesome. And Superman is superfunny xD

BoA - My Name

I've been listening to K-Pop ever since I started listening to J-Pop. In fact, the first asian song I ever heard was the korean version of BoA's Rock With You. Boy, did that blow my mind... However, as my love for J-Pop progressed, not many K-Pop acts managed to win me over. BoA's My Name is one of the few K-Pop albums that, 5 years after its release, still makes me go like 'wow, this sounds really great and fresh'. This is BoA's korean masterpice, mostly due to its heart-throbbing ballads. Feeling too happy? Try listening to My Prayer, Good-Bye and Stay In Love.

Ayumi Hamasaki - MY STORY

Ayumi Hamasaki is probably one of the most consistent musical acts I have ever followed. For me, MY STORY is her masterpiece, and most definitely one of my all-time favourite albums. I couldn't possibly name my favourite song, 'cause even the interludes, especially Catcher In The Light, are awesome. Then there's About You, one of Ayu's strongest rock songs, the absolutely perfect ballad streak with Liar, HOPE or PAIN, HAPPY ENDING, Moments, walking proud and CAROLS, the heart-warming HONEY... And the album's jacket is also probably the coolest one I've ever seen. There isn't a single song I feel like skipping when I listen to this album, and it was also one of the first asian albums I actually bought, so it's really close to my heart. Whenever I try to get someone into asian pop, this is one of the albums I tell them to listen.

Namie Amuro - PLAY

I must confess, this is a shallow entry. The only reason why this album is here is because I'm a sucker for beats and gay divas.

Ikimonogakari - Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari

This was the first thing I ever heard from Ikimono, and it totally blew my mind. Their fourth album was quite a surprise, and totally made me rethink all those things I said on my Nakumonka review, but they have yet to outdo this one. The emotion in SAKURA, Koisuru Otome and Tayumu Koto na Kinagare no Naka de is simply overwhelming, and so is the joy in all the upbeat numbers. Their new album, Hajimaru no Uta, brings back some of this emotion and joy, and is worth a serious listen.

Nell - Separation Anxiety

Most people won't even know this one. Nell is a korean band and I know absolutely nothing about them. However, when they released this album I was going through a rough time and felt kind of sad, so when I read the album's description on z-degrees, I decided to download it. Now that's what I call a blessing in disguise. Separation Anxiety is quite the experimental album, but has a few generic, fun songs too. The lead promo song, 기억을 걷는 시간, is awesome, the guy's vocals are probably how I think an angel's voice would sound like if angels existed. I can't really say what are the best songs in the album, I love all of them, so just listen to all of it, 'cause it's really a effin' awesome album.


Oh, BoA, the way you do me. Once again, BoA is by far the most important J-Pop act in my book. She got me into asian music. VALENTI was the first album J-Pop album I have ever listened to, and while it might no longer be my favourite album of all time, it's certainly still one of the favourites. Everyone went crazy when she released LOVE & HONESTY, her third album, and yes, it's an awesome album, but for me it lacks some of the innocence (?) that made me like VALENTI so much. My favourite track has got to be Sekai no Katasumi de, with its gorgeous lyrics, closely followed by Moon & Sunrise and BESIDE YOU.

So there you have it. Right now, these are the 10 albums from the 00's I like the most. I realize most people will think most of them are crap, but hey, if you're one of those people... go fuck yourself. And have a Merry Christmas.

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by Sairo!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

»» Heart and Soul Covers

AAA's new single's covers! Heart and Soul is out on Jan 27th and I think I'm going to pre-order it :) These are, hands down, the best AAA covers ever. And I mean it. Except a new Kimono Edge Boy layout soon.


by Sairo!

Friday, November 13, 2009

»» Yuna Ito - Let it Go

01 Let it Go
02 Happy Days
03 Let it Go (Instrumental)
04 Happy Days (Instrumental)

New Yuna Ito single, let's give it a listen. I have not been following her, so I don-- wait. It's Yuna Ito, right? Ok, this is a Younha song. Are you sure it's Yuna Ito? OK, it's official: Yuna Ito is ripping off a Younha song. Seriously, it sounds like Younha and THYME decided to collaborate. And that's actually a great thing! This is quite good! It's no ENDLESS STORY, it's no I'm Here, but it's definitely a very enjoyable tune, something trust you was not. Don't Let it Go (heh, see what I did there?), Yuna, keep this going!!

Whenever I think of the words Happy Days I can't help but think of the Ai Otsuka song. It's so fun... And so is this one :) Definitely a great track, though it kind of loses a bit of its greatness when it hits the chorus, which shouldn't happen in any song at all, but still, it's quite enjoyable. For a Yuna Ito b-side :)

Anyway, the single isn't the best thing since sliced bread, but the a-side is definitely worth it. It's something Yuna hasn't done before, and it sounds great. The last Yuna Ito single I downloaded and actually enjoyed was Koi wa groovyx2 which was both awesome and a huge flop. She released trust you (which sucked and sold 45k copies, go figure), and an album, but I totally missed it. Maybe I'll check it out now :)


by Sairo!

»» school food punishment - sea-through communication

01 sea-through communication
02 fiction nonfiction
03 butterfly swimmer-Q;indivi-Yusike Tanaka Remix-

On to a happier review: school food punishment's newest single! sea-through communication is their 3rd single on a major label, and it's all kinds of awesome. futuristic imagination didn't blow my mind, and butterfly swimmer made me go 'Ok, it's good...' but this one is tr00 school food punishment awesomeness. To start things, it reminds me a lot of Flow. Flow is my absolute favourite school food punishment song, though set low,fine is right there with it. Anyway, the song is just amazing. From the vocals to the instrumental with all those dangling and distracting sounds, it's simply as catchy as a true upbeat school food punishment song must be. Bullseye, guys!

fiction nonfiction, the b-side, walks hand in hand with the a-side. Actually, I think it walks a few steps ahead of the a-side. The drums and the fast-paced vocals just keep you focused on the song and you just can't help but love it. The bridge kind of makes you think it's going to get boring, but I'm almost positive that they simply thought that it would be too overwhelming to go from the awesome verses to the absolutely wet dream that is the chorus of this song. It has to be heard to be believed. I don't even know how to describe it. Think the happiness and fun of Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~ and make it 10 times faster. Now forget that, that doesn't even come close to it.

As usual, I'll ignore the remix. But it's quite great, really.

All in all, GREAT single. I can't wait to hear more from them, they probably have a full album coming out some time soon, and I hope they keep moving in this direction, 'cause this single was absolute perfection.


by Sairo!

»» Ikimonogakari - Nakumonka

01 Nakumonka
02 Orion
03 Nakumonka (Instrumental)

So Ikimonogakari has a new single out. Does anyone even remember the two previous singles? Well, I don't. I'm exaggerating, of course, I know it's Hotaru no Hikari and YELL/Joyful. My point is: Ikimonogakari is getting boring. They were doing fine 'til they released their third album not even a year after the second one. When something like that happens, I usually smell something bad: a label who's rushing releases. Don't get me wrong, I still love Kiyoe's voice and their overall sound, but right now their music just doesn't feel the same. The melodies are still pretty, the instrumental tracks are still absolutely awesome, but the feeling in the whole thing is kind of gone. Listen to Kaeritakunatta yo. Now listen to Koisuru Otome. That's feeling. Ok, now listen to Nakumonka or Orion. There's nothing there. Tecnically, Kiyoe has never sounded better, but the soul is gone. And it's killing me to be writing these words, 'cause Ikimonogakari is one of my favourite bands, and I have been following them since the release of Natsuzora Grafitti/Seishun Line, and that's a lot of time. I watched them get popular, and now I'm watching them go to the crapper. I just hope they make it out of it.


by Sairo!

Friday, October 9, 2009

»» Kimono Edge Boy's 1st Anniversary

Hello y'all! For the first time in my entire life, I managed to keep a blog going for a whole year! And it's all in English, which isn't my first language. That's pretty amazing, right? Kimono Edge Boy is turning 1 year old tomorrow, but I'm not sure if I'm going to have access to the internet tomorrow due to some personal things, so I decided to just come out and post this today. And there's not much to say, I guess xD As far as my blogging goes, this one year was pretty much as uneventful as it gets. But hey, at least I got written up on International Wota three times, which is quite amazing for me, since I really don't think this is a noteworthy blog at all.

Rounding Out the Koha commentary, Pt.5
[Blogs] Buono!’s 2nd Album Is Getting 2 Thumbs Up
[Blogs] Kimono Edge Boy is a New Jmusic Blog

Ya-yay! ^^
Anyway, I've got nothing else to say, I just didn't want this to go unnoticed. If you're reading this, thank you for coming here and taking the time to read my stuff. Arigatou Gozaimashita :)

by Sairo!