Monthly Japanese Music Review – January 2011 – Part II: Albums

I originally planned to post this shortly after the first part, but since I had some problems with my laptop, I couldn’t do it before. Sorry.

Great:

Do As Infinity – EIGHT


Despite them being such a popular band and all, I’d never listened to any of their works before, but since many people were talking about how good this album was, I got curious and thought ‘why not give it a try?’. And I’m glad I did, because otherwise I would’ve missed an awesome album. There isn’t one single song on this CD that I dislike! I can’t even pick a favourite. I’ll definitely be checking the rest of their discography out (which is huge, by the way).

Personal highlights: 1/100, JIDAISHIN, Kimi ga Inai Mirai… just to name a few. It’s so hard to choose!

no3b – no3b


The first album by my favorite AKB48 sub-unit turned out to be as great as I expected! From typical cute idol pop tracks like Bye Bye Bye or Shaku ga Hoshii to catchy upbeat songs like Next Heaven or Kiss no Ryuusei and beautiful ballads like the three solo tracks (which are by the way pretty good vocally considering it’s idols we’re talking about), no3b is a pretty solid and varied album. Idol music at its finest from beginning to end.

Personal highlights: Kiss no Ryuusei, Kiseki wa Yoru Umareru, Next Heaven.

Good

flumpool – Fantasia of Life Stripe

I read some people expressing their disappointment towards this album, but I personally liked it from the very first listen. Then I listened to their previous album and could understand why: it was overall better. But this one is not bad at all! It’s a pretty solid release and liked almost every track on it. And of course, it has a few gems I added to my long list of loved songs ❤ The only problem I see in this album is the lack of variety, but that’s something normal in this kind of bands I guess.

Personal highlights: Kimi ni Todoke, Snowy Nights Serenade ~Kokoro Made mo Tsunagitai~, Shiori.

Meisa Kuroki – MAGAZINE

The only thing I’d heard from Meisa before was the LOL! single, but I totally loved it so I was curious to know how her debut album would sound like. Since all of the single tracks (LOL!, SHOCK –Unmei- and 5 –FIVE-, as well as Wasted, SHOCK’s coupling song) were great, all Meisa’s first album needed to be decent at least were some good album tracks, and it has them. Of course there are some tracks I don’t really care for, but the rest of the album ranges from good to great and most of the songs are pretty catchy, perfect to leave on repeat. Quite a nice dance / R&B album.

Personal highlights: SHOCK –Unmei-, LOL!, Why?

Maiko NakamuraAnswer

I saw this album (mini-album?) among Jpopsuki’s recommendations, and since I was bored, I decided to give it a try. To be honest, at first listen it didn’t really impress me, and it actually took quite a few listens to sink in. But now that I’ve listened carefully to each one of the tracks, I can say that Answer is definitely a pretty consistent CD which combines touching R&B ballads and catchy pop songs with Maiko’s wonderful voice and which gets a LOT better with each listen. Very recommended. Its main flaw? GIRL, of course. That song is awful orz

Personal highlights: The Answer feat. CLIFF EDGE, GOSSIP HOLIC, BREAK FREE feat. LISA.

Alright

angela – Yoru ga Hakobarete Kuru Made ni ~A Song in a Bed~

If we exclude the introduction and the long instrumental track at the end of this mini album, it consists of 7 tracks. 3 of them are really good (see my personal highlights below) and 2 of them are OK , while the 2 remaining tracks (Diving and Aru Hareta Hi ni) are… not much of my liking, mainly to those annoyingly high-pitched vocals trying to sound cute and failing. Not the most consistent release out there, but still quite enjoyable.

Personal highlights: Unmei, Kabe 2, Henji.

Maaya Sakamoto – You can’t catch me

Maaya’s songs can be either amazingly great or boring as hell, and this album shows this contrast pretty well: it has quite a few songs I really love and definitely will be listening to quite often, but some others I don’t like / care for at all (like Mizuumi, Topia or Midnight, which put me to sleep, or DOWN TOWN, a song about which I have mixed feelings – I can either hate or like it depending on my mood). Also, the not-so-good distribution of the tracks throughout the CD makes it rather inconsistent: while all the best songs are located in the first half of the album, the second half consists mainly of filler tracks and is somewhat hard to listen. Nevertheless, since the good tracks on this album are REALLY good, it’s worth a listen. Without the four songs I previously mentioned, this would be quite a solid mini-album.

Personal highlights: eternal return, Utsukushii Hito, Himitsu.

Meh

Maki Goto – Gloria

I used to be a big fan of Maki’s music back when she was in Hello Project. In fact, she was one of the first J-pop artists I got interested in. However, ever since she joined Avex, the quality of her music has drastically decreased, and nowadays my expectations towards whatever she’ll put out in the future are lower than ever. Both SWEET BLACK and ONE were far from being memorable, indeed… but Gloria is the weakest thing she’s released ever since she left Hello Project. The only songs off this album I like are Ashiato and Fake, and still they’re nothing compared to the stuff she used to release during her golden era.

Personal highlights: Ashiato, Fake.

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One response to “Monthly Japanese Music Review – January 2011 – Part II: Albums

  1. Pingback: [First half of 2011 in review] My top 10 Japanese albums of the year so far « Orchestral Delusion