Tag Archives: Utada Hikaru

“GOLD” – Jasmine

I definitely appreciate that the album's title calls attention to her now-famous cover color schemes.

Here’s a shout-out to my buddy Steph! Hello! 🙂

Tracklist:

01 – PRIDE
02 – SAD TO SAY clip paroles
03 – L.I.P.S.
04 – JEALOUS
05 – BAD GIRL
06 – DEAR MY FRIEND
07 – STAGE
08 – THIS IS NOT A GAME
09 – CLUBBIN
10 – KOI
11 – WHAT YOU WANT?
12 – NO MORE
13 – DREAMIN
14 – WHY

Notably absent are her Gospel tunes.

Jasmine is an up-and-coming Japanese pop artist who many are comparing to Utada Hikaru. She has celebrated moderately great success for a newcomer to the pop scene. GOLD is her debut album. Shall we see if it lives up to the title?

Pride is a confident opening track. It’s not very long and I wish it had been. I love the rhythm of this piece, and for some reason it gave me the same feeling that Get Up & Move!! did on Koda Kumi’s Black Cherry album.

Don’t even talk to me about Sad To Say. I’m sorry guys, but if this was my first Jasmine song I would have never listened to her again. I’m lucky I started with Jealous. This song is plaintive and whiny with completely unnecessary usage of the eff bomb. I am glad she had time to grow though. Listening to this mediocre song just serves to prove how much she has gotten better since.

Jealous of course is fierce as all heck.

I had hoped that Bad Girl would sound a little more, well, bad than what it was. This song was bad in the wrong sense of the word. I felt like the song went nowhere and that Jasmine sounded bored. You can’t be a bad girl and be bored with it. You can be a bored girl. I vote we change this song title to that.

I loved that ~stage~ Interlude came directly before This is Not a Game because Jasmine says “this is my stage” quite a bit in it. It definitely is her stage and she makes the song hers perfectly. I love the harmony in this song. It’s so catchy!

Koi is an adorable song reminiscent of late 80s/early 90s pop music. It has a really great beat but Jasmine’s voice falls flat.

I didn’t like the title What You Want? because it just looked weird. This follows Koi’s old-style pop sound. It’s not as good as Koi but it’s a solid pop tune.

In Conclusion: Mehhhh. I think I am falling out of love with j-pop because this album failed to impress me. The best tracks on it had already been released as singles. I’m not hating on the album because it was pretty good. I think I’m just starting to become a full-time Visual Kei fan. Don’t blame it on me. Blame XodiacK. Take it easy, guys.

~Alisa~

5 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

Fifteen Power-Packed Japanese Songs

I know that last night on Twitter, I said this would be the top ten most powerful Japanese songs. I changed it to the top fifteen! This is to keep my list from looking like a big mass of anime/GACKT songs. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
I define a powerful song not by how strong it makes me feel, but rather how weak it makes me feel on the very first listen. The first time I hear a powerful song, I want it to leave me in a cold sweat, breathless, thinking “what has just happened to me?” Then, I want to grow to make the song a sort of personal empowering anthem.
I assembled my list after much careful consideration. This was harder to do than anticipated, and may have been another contributor as to why the list turned out a little longer than expected. Enjoy!

15.) Alumina – Nightmare: This song isn’t just powerful, it’s very disturbing. The mournful tone in which Yomi sings the song is downright eerie. The first time I heard this song was on Death Note, naturally. It frightened me terribly, which is a big reason why I respect this song as much as I do.

14.) Border – Girugamesh: From the first notes of this song, I just knew it was going to be intense. I feel like the boys from Girugamesh are grabbing me by the hair and dragging me relentlessly through this song. It’s intense and brutal. The vocals and guitar are positively barbaric.

13.) Colors of the Heart – UVERworld: The most powerful part of this song is that it builds and builds and builds but all the while Takuya retains a beautiful, clear singing voice. His delivery is strong and melodic. (A big reason why this song left me breathless the first time I heard it was because my fiancé introduced it to me before he was even my boyfriend! I think a big part of my love for this song is that memory.)

12.) Bel Air – Malice Mizer: Hard to believe this song is as old as it is, yet its strength continues to rattle my skull (and the skulls of many other VK fans I’m sure) to this day. The music box playing at the beginning and middle of the song contrasts wonderfully with the hard guitars and drums found in the song. GACKT’s performance is outstanding and fierce.

11.) Rainbow – Ayumi Hamasaki: Made exclusively for her A Ballads album, Ayumi’s breathy ballad has been breaking hearts for years. This song has so much power in its simplicity, rather than any actual muscle. “No rain can get the rainbow.” Remember that.

10.) Passion – Utada Hikaru: Don’t you miss this Hikki? Utada, this is the one. Not your washed-up American crap that flopped horribly time after time. This. Passion is a song full of light and darkness at once. The beat of this song is indescribable.

9.) Hallelujah – Rurutia: Okay, so if hard guitars coupled with elegant violins weren’t powerful enough, you get the contrast of Rurutia and her famous whisper-singing. The opening of this song is like getting hit in the face with a shovel made of solid gold.

8.) Renon – M: This song is still relatively new to me, so I won’t pretend to be a seasoned listener. Still, its MUCC-esque guitar style and raw, untamed vocals floored me from the first listen. The vocalist has some serious charisma even though his vocals aren’t up to par with other VK singers by any means.

7.) Rain – GACKT: Do you ever hear a song that makes you hurt all over? This song fits the bill for me. I feel like I’m drowning in some kind of torrential, yet gentle wave during the verses. In the chorus, it all comes crashing down. I never hear much mention of this song, which is sad.

6.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka: I had to find a place for my favorite song on here somewhere! It’s not as powerful as other songs, per se, but it still packs a heartbreaking punch. The tortured desperation in this song is incredibly moving. This song can make me happy and sad at the same time, which is rare for a song to do.

5.) Rain – SID: As I mentioned on my “weekly babble” post, I have decided that songs titled Rain are predestined to be good. The chorus of this song is tragic with strong feelings of loss. I think the majority of this song’s power for me is how well it ties in with the Fullmetal Alchemist story.

4.) Lust for Blood – GACKT: This song is probably the most hateful song I have ever heard. The melancholy opening makes way for a heavy rock sound and GACKT’s intense, angry vocals. It’s a heart-stopping piece just because it is SO raw.

3.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK: I’m sorry to all of you who tire of hearing about XodiacK, but I just love this song so much. The first time I heard this song, I felt like it was repeatedly punching me in the stomach. Another way this song left me breathless was due to the fact that I laughed so hard at the terrible PV. (But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?)

2.) Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki: Is it bad that I don’t think Ayu has released a single good thing since this dropped over two years ago? (Sparkle was okay, but not anything I couldn’t live without) Ayu is a powerhouse in this song, singing along with a military-style beat and angrily questioning the problems in the world today. The lyrics are expertly crafted and I love the energy.

1.) Jesus – GACKT: GACKT’s big comeback single after Returner was incredibly anticipated, and this single did not let me down at all. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest GACKT songs to date. The heavy rock sound, GACKT screaming, the lyrics, GACKT behaving in such a taunting manner in the PV… It’s incredible, and so unreal. This song sent me into a completely different dimension, where I felt as though I was standing face to face with something so much greater than myself, and I was trembling long after the song had finished. I’ll probably never have another song grip me as tightly as this has. I am proud to call this the most powerful song I’ve ever heard.

~Alisa~

Which songs do you consider to be the most powerful? Do you think ballads or rock songs are more powerful? How do you feel when a powerful song overtakes you?

7 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

Font-strosities: How Ugly Fonts Ruin Good Music

As promised, credit to Jin from Sora to Kujira for partial inspiration on this post.

It occurred to me that because we are brats and snobs, a lot of our faith in an album hinges on its cover artwork. Crazy, right? But you have to know its true. We nitpick covers like mad because they are normally the first part of an album or single you see. You get the cover long before you get the music. Thus, we tend to prejudge whether or not the release will be good or not depending on the cover. You can deny it all you want, but it happens.

While we wait for the release, we have nothing better to do than to criticize the covers for all they are worth. We critique the outfits, the hair, the cosmetics, the angle of photography, the facial expressions, the font. I’ve noticed font becoming a big issue lately on forums and other blogs and I can understand why. The text is what tells us “hey, this is a release by so-and-so!” Font is important! I’m assembled a collection of just a few covers with fonts that don’t even look good enough for MS Paint.

South Wind, a release from Sayaka Minami. (she was a member of BeForU, if you remember them)

Angel Trip by VAMPS

VAMPS are like the poster children for terrible fonts. Its a real shame because I like their music but their covers leave a lot to be desired. With the weird colored, massive text on this single, it takes away from the lovely lady with wings. I think this cover would have been better if the focus was on the woman, not the text.

Love Letter by Ai Otsuka

Allow me to beat a dead horse by rambling about this cover. Besides it being completely colorless, the font seems awkward and out of place. Poor Ai. Does anyone care about her anymore?

And now for the most infamous font of all time:

This Is the One (no it isn't) by Utada Hikaru

Auuuugh, take it away! Take it away! If this album wasn’t predestined for failure enough, it was given a cover like this.

When asked for comments on the preceding album covers, Roy Mustang provided us with this face.

Now, its your turn! Share with me some album covers with awful fonts! Do you agree or disagree with the covers I’ve posted? Is Roy Mustang ridiculously awesome yet irrelevant to this post? Also, share with me some covers with fonts that you liked!

~Alisa~

16 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“Spiral” – immi

Immi is just as talented as she is HAWT.

I’m going to be honest and say that as far as j-tek goes, it was going to take a whole lot to make me stray away from SAWA’s “Swimming Dancing” and Saori’s “Grotesque.” But!!!! Immi has released me from the clutches of those songs by creating a memorable album full of summer fun and spirit.

We’ve already heard and played the life out of Wonder, Alice, and Sign of Love, so I won’t touch on those. Just know that they are amazing.

I’ve seen on forums and whatnot that people are dubbing Summer 2010 as the Summer of J-tek. This album lives up to that title. For example, Jeezy Peezy, albeit having a weirdo title, is a energetic track, full of light. And bells. It sounds like the kind of song they’d be blaring at American Eagle while you shop. And I don’t know about you but something about American Eagle makes me think of summer.

My favorite song, shockingly, was Rainbow. Its an Utada-esque piece which isn’t long by any means, and that’s why I like it. In the summer, a rainbow can come and go extremely quickly, sometimes before you even notice it. I think the brevity of this beautiful song captured the fleeting amount of time that rainbows hang in the sky.

I am crazy about Black or White. Its stupidly thrilling with outstanding synth. I did not want that song to end. Love it.

There honestly aren’t any songs on this album that I dislike. Some of them (like No. 1 Girl) didn’t stand out to me as much, but I still could find something I liked about every song.

In Conclusion: Okay, so this album kicks Switch in the teeth and slams its face in the dirt. I don’t even want to convey how hard this album PWNS MEG’s Maverick. I’ll leave that up to the imagination. I highly recommend this album to anyone with ears, and I hereby crown immi QUEEN OFJ-TEK! I’m interested to see if SAWA can top this next month! Predictions, anyone?

~Alisa~

4 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

“Jealous” – Jasmine

She's rocking the purple this time!

This single isn’t even out yet, so I can’t review the b-sides but here’s the cool thing: I DON’T CARE. I just heard this song yesterday for the first time and was like “yep, I’m totally blogging that.”

“Jealous” is the fourth single from Jasmine, who is being called the next Utada, the post-Utada, or whatever. I don’t see her as that. I just see her as Jasmine. What I like about Jasmine is that she has her own image without going over the top. People compare her style to GaGa, but who isn’t comparing EVERYONE to GaGa these days? I know I’m guilty of it sometimes…. But Jasmine’s not Utada, GaGa, or anyone else but Jasmine. I really like how she has a different color scheme for each of her singles, because its simple but noticeable.  I love her outfit, its so much better than the silly satan/jester getup from her last single, This is Not a Game.

Jealous is an absolutely powerful song, and my favorite from Jasmine so far. (Sad to Say made me want to jump off a building, jus’ sayin’.) Melody-wise, it reminds me of Nami Tamaki’s Omoide ni Naru No, only a much FIERCER version that would make Nami, well, jealous. The PV for the song is interesting because Jasmine doesn’t move or dance or anything. See the image at the top of this post? That’s the position she sits in for the entire PV.  I felt like this was excusable, because it further promoted the regal, seductive, man-stealer mood that I get from the song.

In Conclusion: Maybe I jumped the gun in reviewing this song before the single even drops, but I love it so much that I couldn’t wait. Please, give this song a try!

~Alisa~

5 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

A Post No One Will Care About!

Thought I’d post my top 25 most played songs in iTunes as I am bored and like bragging about my music. Feel free to comment with your 25. Or something. Uhhh…. yeah.

By the way, a bit of news. My next review will be of a KOREAN artist! I’m so addicted to the rapper e.via that I thought she deserved a review of her own. Stay tuned for that.

Alisa’s Top 25 Most-Played Songs

1.) Rose of May – Nobuo Uematsu
2.) Must be Dreaming – Frou Frou
3.) Misery Business – Paramore (this song’s about me, I really think so)
4.) Ya Soshla S’Uma – T.A.T.U
5.) Nothing I Won’t Give – Vic Mignogna (Yeah, I know)
6.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK
7.) Journey – MEG
8.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka (favorite song EVER)
9.) Aisu x Time – Ai Otsuka with SU from Rip Slyme
10.) HEART – Ai Otsuka
11.) Alice – immi
12.) Fly Away – Maki Goto
13.) Ame no Hi Wa, No Thank You – Toru Okawa and Michiko Neya (Roy and Riza song!)
14.) The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
15.) Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
16.) Fast Car – Namie Amuro
17.) Planetarium – Ai Otsuka
18.) Mirror Ball – Aquamarry
19.) Suddenly – Gackt
20.) Physical Thing – Koda Kumi
21.) Crushcrushcrush – Paramore
22.) Copy That – Namie Amuro
23.) Come Away – Nini Camps
24.) One Night Magic – Utada Hikaru
25.) Hey! – e.via

6 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection

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~

5 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles