Tag Archives: alan

“Welcome to Sa-World” – SAWA

This is Sa-World... and I am just visiting!

Track List:
1. Opening Ceremony ~Sa-Worldへようこそ~
2. Merry Go Round
3. Stars
4. NightBus
5. Chocolate Zone ~野生のSAWA~
6. Throw him away!
7. ManyColors
8. I’m a President
9. Danger Zone ~逃げろ!危うしSa-World!~
10. Swimming Dancing
11. Friday Night
12. Planet-T
13. Eat It All ~Live in Sa-World~
14. I Can Fly
15. あいにいくよ
16. Dream about…
17. Thank you for visiting ~My name is…~

After what seemed like a darn long wait and sixty billion (yet another one of my famous rough estimates) hit-or-miss mini-albums, we finally get this album. Its full length, holy cow! I’ll go ahead and say that the carnival image on the cover is absolutely fitting for the album. When I listened to Welcome to Sa-World, I could totally see a carnival, summer, golden warmth.

Merry Go Round is a cute song to kick off the album because it has that summer carnival feel I’ve been raving about. I am one of those people who likes to create music videos in their head while listening, and I can see the cover image being acted out when I hear this song.

Stars…. oh… Are there words to even describe that song? We’ve all heard it before, so I’ll not say much.

Something about the sequencing of NightBus coming after Stars just worked. The song is a little dull though.

Throw Him Away! is my favorite song on the album, despite being a wee bit short. Its done in a Shibuya-kei style, which I adore and the whole song makes me think of strawberry ice cream. I am sure that with today being our 26 month anniversary, my fiance would be a little hurt at me liking a song with such a title, but its nothing personal, darling. I’d never “throw you away!” Ever. And I’m being serious.

If you’ve heard ManyColors you’ll probably agree that SAWA’s pronunciation of the word “color” is interesting, to say the least. Fun song.

You already know how I feel about Swimming Dancing. Its my favorite song by SAWA because its so far-out and spacey. You feel glued to the song from the start. Its like an outer space roller coaster!

Friday Night is an R&B track. I was doubtful at first but SAWA pulled it off very well. I totally see the carnival imagery again too. ^_^

Planet T is a fun party song. You have to give it a few listens to warm up to it because otherwise it makes little sense.

A lot of people are saying that I Can Fly works a lot better on the album. I agree with said people, but it doesn’t make me like the song any more than I used to.

I have to say that I feel a lot better about Ai ni Ikuyo. When I first listened to it on the mini-album, I thought it was cuteness overload and that I was about to bleed sugar from my eye sockets. The song falls into place better here and I can appreciate it ten times more.

Dream About… has a sweet melody but the vocals don’t work. SAWA downright wails at points, and its not the good kind of wailing you hear from alan either. Great song if you turn it down pretty low..

In Conclusion: As of today, I am changing my citizenship to Sa-Worldian. I have my bags packed and I’m waiting to catch the train to take me to my new home. Okay, not literally. SAWA is not by any means the greatest singer in the world. GACKT is. (ouch, kidding kidding kidding! Put down the pitchforks!) BUT! SAWA can make some fun music which is fitting. When you think summer, you think of fun music! SAWA is surely delivered with this album because she’s experimented with several styles without becoming a mess. Not a lot of artists can do that. So, who wants to come with me to Sa-World?

~Alisa~

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Early 2010 Report Card!

Don’t freak out. These opinions are subject to change, as it is only FEBRUARY for goodness sake. Here’s my opinions! Read them, comment on them, state your own opinions! Fun times!

In Detention: BoA, alan,  Ayumi Hamasaki, and Kumi Koda!

These girlies are selections for ASIAN MUSIC DELINQUENTS. Especially BoA. I’m mad at her. She has too much on her plate. I think before attempting world domination, she should try to maintain popularity in at least one country. She’s been falling out of favor everywhere, and she was just a blip on the American music radar. Asian artists never seem to cross over to American music well. This may be because many Americans are still convinced that Asia is a country rather than a massive continent. Uh… that was a little insensitive… gomen. Amid all the hoopla of trying to be super famous everywhere, BoA coughed up “Eien,” arguably her best song ever. I want more of that kind of stuff, not this messy “Identity” bullcrap. Chinese crossover alan has been working her butt off waaaay too much. TAKE A BREAK!!! WAAAAH! I’m okay with the fact that she has dabbled in electronica, more mainstream-styled pop, and the like but this is all we’ve been getting from her. She’s not Ayu, but she might as well be. I miss her more dramatic songs. That’s why I was so smitten with alan when she debuted in Japan. She was a fresh face and fresh talent who created art rather than just music. As for Ayu, I was disappointed with “You Were…/BALLAD.” It was uber weak. She needs to take it easy and stop cranking out double a-sides. This makes me feel like she’s rushing an album, and I’m sure that nobody wants another “NEXT LEVEL.” Kuu needs about a year’s worth of inactivity to redeem herself in my eyes. I’m sick of her.

Advanced Placement/Honor Roll: Namie Amuro, GACKT, and immi!

Namie didn’t do a lot last year. We got Wild/Dr. in March and PAST < FUTURE a zillion years later in December and that was it. I felt like the huge gap between releases built a greater anticipation for the album, allowed Namie plenty of time to create quality material, and kept her extreme popularity at the time from growing stale. I’m looking forward to her topping the charts some more this year. Oh, and is it just me or has she gotten prettier as she has aged? GACKT, unlike Namie, put out a crapload of singles last year. Maybe this annoyed you. Maybe you were irritated because RE:BORN didn’t have any new material on it. Still, you can’t deny that GACKT has so much thunder left in him that’s its not even a laughing matter. Even though he released a million singles last year, you can’t deny that it was all of great quality. Another thing about GACKT that makes me happy is the fact that he is having a lot of fun with this stage of his career and is experimenting with all sorts of musical styles. How else would we have gotten “Koakuma Heaven?” immi released the incredibly polished EPs “WONDER” and “ALICE” last year. She’s an electronica goddess with a great voice to boot. I have high expectations of her.

C-Students: Maki Goto and Ai Otsuka!

This ladies have the potential to be major flops or major hitmakers as this year progresses. Ai is releasing a double-a side in April. The first a-side, “Lucky Star” is already out and the PV dropped a couple days ago. It has a lot of promise as far as I’m concerned but others may see it differently. The PV is quite unorthodox and has a very Lady Gaga-feel to it. Seems like many artists are trying to use Gaga-inspired elements lately. Maki’s performance this year will be uncertain, due to her family tragedy. But, since her mother was her biggest fan, I hope Maki will channel the pain of her passing into new material. If she releases a lot of things this year, which is an iffy concept, I predict that she will break away from the straight R&B sound she has done with Sweet Black and focus on diverse musical styles.

The Drop-Out?: Utada Hikaru

OMG, where’s Hikki? I miss her so much! Please stop releasing terrible English music and make more stuffs like on “Ultra Blue!”

Well, there’s my long-winded speech about music and crap. Leave comments and your own report cards! By the way, before I go back to reviewing, I’ll be writing up a showcase of my favorite album filler tracks. Look forward to it!

~Alisa~

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“Diamond/Over the Clouds” – alan

Admit it. She's hawt.

Since crossing over to Japanese music, Chinese native alan has drastically changed her sound and style of music. She has gone from a prim and proper, highly conservative songstress delivering sweeping ballads (RED CLIFF OMG!!!) that stop your heart to becoming the next Ayumi Hamasaki. I figure her Japanese managers use this formula: Hot women + Great voices = lots of yen! A word of warning: If you like alan’s more traditional music then be wary!  Review time!

By the way, there is another great review of this single over at Aesthetic Rhapsody, one of my personal favorite blogs out there. Click the link in my blogroll or go here: http://aestheticrhapsody.wordpress.com/

Track 1: Diamond- This song is currently being used as the ending theme for InuYasha: The Final Act. To go a bit off-topic for a second, I love InuYasha but at the same time it bores me terribly. This song sounds a lot, stylistically, like the ending themes from the original InuYasha anime. This is winterpop at its finest. Rather boring, but pretty upbeat for the most part. I am very much reminded of Ayumi Hamasaki’s song “M’ and this, to me, is just a watered down version of that song. The vocals do not get much of a chance to shine, and if you have heard any of the so-called “wailing” from alan’s earlier work then you too will be yearning for the powerful and controlled voice that she’s got buried underneath this mainstream pop sound. I won’t be playing “Diamond” too much but the next song is a different story.

Track 2: Over the Clouds- Phew! This other a-side saved this single for me! It starts out with an aggressive dance beat and alan’s voice is autotuned briefly. You read that right. She gets the T-Pain treatment, so to speak. Hard to believe considering the way she started out her career. I love the overall progression of this song. Its a great beat to dance to or to blast while cruising about town in your car. Its a feel-good, dancetacular song and has some mean strings. Highly recommended!

(the single also contains instrumentals of both tracks)

In Conclusion- Skip Diamond and put Over the Clouds on repeat. I have to say that I miss alan’s soaring ballads like Red Cliff and Kuon no Kawa but I am glad to see that she is trying out other styles. I do hope that this is not a permanent thing though…

Hey, if anybody has a different opinion of this single of something you’d like to add, leave a comment! I would love to know your thoughts!

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection