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Released June 27, 2007, this is Namie’s 7th studio album. Follow up from her Queen of Hip Pop. It debuted at # 1 and stayed at the top spot for 2 weeks on Oricon Chart. So far it has sold over 514,560, where in the first week itself sold as much as 250, 619. From the sales, you can figure out how well she did ever since her Genius 2000 album.

 

Tracklist:

1. Hide & Seek
2.Full Moon
3.Can’t Sleep, Can’t Eat, I’m Sick
4.It’s All About You
5.Funky Town
6.Step with It
7.Hello
8.Should I Love Him
9. Top Secret
10. Violet Sauce (spicy)
11. Baby Don’t Cry
12. Pink Key

Ok, let’s kick off with Hide & Seek. She wasted no time to surprise listeners as she blew off immediately with this trumpet driven track, hip-hop/ R&B style, funky and modern. I suppose it’s what she does best in her area of expertise. This track is cool to begin the record with but you might get tired of the continuous repetitive beat after few listens. I’m feeling it now…actually.

Full Moon starts with this ‘gong’ hitting sound and then carries on with some sort of melody that reminds me of you know…video games soundtrack. xD It really does sound like that in the background. It’s kinda repetitive but I suppose that’s what you get from an album of this genre.

Can’t Sleep, Can’t Eat, I’m Sick begins with some guy introducing Namie in the…American style. And he does appear again once in a while, singing along. Yeah, anyway…this track isn’t bad. It’s just that you do sense the whole same cycle of tempo/ beat all over again and again. I mean, the whole album. But this song’s much better than previous ones.

Track 4 utilizes electric guitar throughout the song. The chorus does sound fresh in this one. For some reason, the track isn’t exactly flowing very smoothly and she sings fast too, but it’s cool. I do like the “ bye bye bye…” part. Some areas sounds as if it’s going towards the pop/rock genre then back again to the synthesizers. The rhythm gets addictive.

Funky Town is pretty funny with some guy shouting in the beginning. As she sings“ Everybody let’s get down…”, the energy is full blast. I do love the randomness in this track.

Step with It joins the rest of the tracks of the same genre. Just different melody. I get kinda bored already actually.

Hello has a slower tempo, yet still serves as just another track in the record. But this time, it has a much better followable melody rather than messy ones.

Should I Love Him is one of the only slow track in the whole record.Sounds fresh here after a continuous half album of hip-hop tracks. I love her singing ballads really. This doesn’t really count as a ballad though, it’s not THAT slow. but it’s relaxing. I really like the backups and choir featured here.

Top Secret begins with ” I wanna test you tonight” which uh…sounds pretty awkward but after that, the rhythm is kinda cool. Overall, it’s kinda enjoyable but don’t listen to it on repeat, really…

Violet Sauce
has got this great synthesizer that makes this track sounds amazing. this one does stand out more than the rest of the other tracks. Apparently this is the “spicy” version, so it’s more refined than the original track. which is great to give a more polished and intensified package.

What else can i say for this next track? IF not for one word. AWESOME. it’s another much slower tempo song compared with the rest but Baby Don’t Cry is kinda mainstream and maybe that’s why it’s just nicer to the ears, at least for me. This is her 31st single. It just keeps flowing with this amazing melody. One of those tracks that you can actually sing along to. The track’s pretty sweet, if you read the lyrics. GREAT JOB with this song.

Pink Key serves as the last track with a more toned down version of the previous tracks of the same genre.

OVERALL: 8.5/10

Although i’m not a huge fan of this kind of music, i do respect her talents and the fact that she’s one of the only solo female in Japan that ventures into this R&B/hip-hop scene, she does prove that being a mother doesn’t stop her at all. Doesn’t she look hot in the cover? who knew she already has a child!

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Released December 14th, 2007, this is her 5th studio album, a follow up from her previous Flower From the Wonderland.

  1. I Am In Love 我恋爱了
  2. Don’t Want To Understand 不想懂得
  3. Darling, That Isn’t Love 亲爱的,那不是爱情
  4. Bedside Story 床边故事
  5. No. 1 Sweetheart 头号甜心
  6. Do it again 重来
  7. Can You Talk Love About Bravely 能不能勇敢说爱
  8. Amnesia 失忆
  9. Paradise 乐园
  10. Who Love Who 谁爱谁
  11. Don’t Want To Understand 不想懂得 (Instrumental)
  12. Paradise (Instrumental)

Track 1 starts with cool guitar jam continued with Angela’s strong vocals. Upbeat and lively. She delivers this wonderfully and flawlessly. A very positive and buoyant track to kick the album off.

Track 2 is a ballad for a change with a melancholic harmony. The chorus flows well with the verses. Not exactly the typical kind of Chinese ballad, you see.

Track 3 has a long title but it’s nothing different really. Still a slow tempo track, she sings in sync, accompanied with guitar and drum beats. It does remind me of SHE’s older songs…I just can’t pin point it out.

Track 4 is just amazingly beautiful! It easily surpasses all the other ballads off the record. Starts with piano and guitar, Angela just sounds marvelous in this. It’s as if she’s not even trying, yet her naturally powerful control in the vocal department serves her well. The addition of children singing together with her takes this song to another level when the emotions are emoted. The flow is just perfect.

Track 5 apparently is a more cheery track with the Spanish bagpipes opening it. A happy song. Pop definitely but still presented well.

Track 6 is a slow rock/ pop/rock- ish track. It starts out slow and mellow, possibly fooling first listeners thinking it’s just another ballad, but then it bursts into the chorus. The violins work nicely in here.

Track 7 is one of those tracks that makes you wonder if you’ve downloaded an old song of hers. Coz this track seriously does sound very similar with those in her previous record. It’s a midtempo song, as she sings about doubt in love, at least from what I thought is right. If not, please forgive my poor Mandarin. It might be a recycle of her previous work, but it sounds fine either way. Above average work of art.

Track 8 is a ballad and it somehow sounds pretty plain. The chorus doesn’t stand out in here, sadly.

Track 9 is a funny tune, almost childish and sort of…circus themed. Besides that I cant explain it any further. I don’t really like songs like these anyway.

Track 10 ends the record with this hippy song. Taking a more different turn with a bubbly song. The distorted vocals is an extra in here. The chorus is catchy and cute with the “ you and me…”. Well chosen to end the album.

OVERALL: 8.5/10

An album filled with good ballads plus energetic tracks, it’s a worthwhile spin. Fans, I’m sure will be happy with this installment. Angela Zhang has never disappointed me in delivering a well-balanced album. Whether it’s a slow song or fast, she managed to pull them off, just like that. As a follow-up from her much energetic previous album, this one isn’t bad at all. I hope she carries on the effort but I don’t have worries for her. I’m positive she’ll churn out another good album.

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Released November 9, 2007. That is my birthday…just so you know. xD But i’m not gonna be biased haha…

Tracklist:

  1. Chong Bai” (崇拜)
  2. “C’est la vie”
  3. “Mei Tian Di Yi Jian Shi” (每天第一件事)
  4. “Hui Hu Xi De Tong” (會呼吸的痛)
  5. “101”
  6. “Yi Miao De Tian Tang” (一秒的天堂)
  7. “Gei Wei Lai De Zi Ji” (給未來的自己)
  8. “Zhi Duo Shao” (知多少)
  9. “Sheng Ming Zhong Bu Ke Cheng Shou De Qing” (生命中不可承受的輕)
  10. “San Cun Ri Guang” (三吋日光)
  11. Yun Loi Nei Yaa Cheung Gwo Ngo Dik Go”

    Chong Bai seriously reminds me of some of her previous works…and also that one part is like a Chinese version of Lion King’s Circle of Life. Not kidding. It’s a ballad and she starts with poignant vocal. A pretty nice way to open the album, especially with an amazing vocal like hers, there’s nothing to grumble about. The orchestra is great too and it picks up more stress towards the end.C’est la Vie (That’s Life), is French influenced, with a man opening the track by speaking something in French. Another ballad and it’s somehow…similar to the first track. I don’t find anything much special with this one.3rd track is again, a slow track but it’s slightly faster and more uplifting.The ending has a slight flute too. However, this track’s quite ordinary.

    4th track continues with the ballad troop…I actually hoped for something more upbeat rather than low tracks from beginning till end. I really can’t comment much on this one.

    101 opens with this distant ancient opera-like music,before she starts singing. for once…drum beats. T.T This is more upbeat and midtempo for a change. It’s still very normal, though.

    Yi Miao de Tian Tang: I can’t exactly explain this one either, other than it’s more towards pop/rock side, or like FIR kind of style..it is very similar with the orchestral music that FIR loves to use in their songs. The only thing amiss here is Fish’s vocal, somehow it doesn’t quite fit in the genre, see…there’s guitar riffs in the middle of the song too. Seriously, I would’ve mistaken this track for FIR’s songs! Just without Faye singing it…which might have sounded much better though.
    Gei Wei Lai De Zi Ji begins with piano chords and picks up stress making this another more pop/rock track. The chorus is slightly better than the previous track’s. But nothing to boast here too. I find that her voice just don’t fit this genre, i don’t know why…it just doesn’t work…

    Zi Duo Shou
    begins with acoustic guitar and so another ballad from her. Is it just me or is there anyone else out there think that her vocals sounds good with ballads but just not pop/rock? Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, this is a laid-back track. The verses aren’t catchy but the chorus saved this song from being just another ordinary plain and dull ballad.

    9th track: Another plain boring ballad. Now forgive me if i didn’t touch on the lyrics, I don’t study Mandarin so i didn’t bother to look up the translations…

    San Cun Ri Guang sets itself apart from the rest of the ballads by possessing a more traditionally influenced melody. Thank goodness that saved it from being labeled as another typical pathetic chinese ballad.

    The last track, she sings in Cantonese. won’t be hard or tough since most West Msians do speak Cantonese. I think this is a rather good song to end the record even though it is another ballad, but definitely HK influenced if you know what i mean.

    OVERALL: 6/10

    Sorry but this record doesn’t strike me as different or special. It’s just another chinese record filled with typical ballads. I also don’t quite get the title…i mean, it is in French (i think) but what is the significance of that when she only has one track with a slight French speaking…doesn’t make much sense at all. It would be a different story if at least 50% of the album features that foreign musical influence. I wouldn’t suggest people to buy this album at all, hardcore fans can go ahead to support her, but for normal listeners, like me, I’d rather just download several tracks. Recommended tracks: 1, 9, 10

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Released February 21, 2007 and debuted at #3 with 55,362 copies sol. So far, it has sold 105,233 copies, still charting on Oricon Chart.

1. CHU-LIP (click to download)
2.Kimi ni Kaeru (click to download)
3.CHU-LIP (Instru.)
4.Kimi ni kaeru (Instru.)

CHU-LIP opens with funky drum beats accompanied with guitar jams…later on, the trumpets came in to cheer the song up. From the first listen, it is obviously an upbeat track, positive tune, and she sings with joyful vocals. The chorus is pretty cute, i guess you could say that. The trumpet is one very important part of the song. It’s like the essence, without it, the song will sound boring. Ai Otsuka has done quite a few “cute” songs, and while i prefer her doing more mature stuffs like her strong ballads for example, Renai Shashin, Kingyo Hanabi, Kumuri Uta etc…this track, surprisingly isn’t all that annoying after all.

Kimi ni Kaeru is a more laid-back track. Something which is much needed to balance the single out. the chorus is fine, but could’ve been done better. she sings great though.

OVERALL: 8/10

I’m not much of a fan of her cutesy songs as i find them quite annoying after a while, but maybe when you’re feeling down, you could spin this single and might just find yourself bopping your head/body to the beat. It’s kinda addictive. And the second track really manages to calm the mood down at the end of the day. I suppose all i can say is that I’m not disappointed after all.

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Released May 31, 2006 with debut on the Oricon Weekly Charts at #6. Copies sold so far: 46,962 (just a rough figure)

Although this single’s kinda “old” i still want to talk about it as it deserves to be bragged about. xD
Tracklist:

  1. This Love
  2. 自由の足跡 (Jiyū no Ashiato, lit. “Footprints of Freedom”)
  3. Kiss From A Rose
    Kiss from a Rose” cover

    The title track, This Love was the 3rd ending of Blood+ anime. It is to me, the BEST ending for that anime, the lyrics and everything else fits the mood of the anime. And having found this song from the anime, i was amazed and still am, i just don’t get tired of this song. There’s a sense of mystery and grief as it opens with mellow piano chords. Angela sings this song with passion, like she always does with other tracks, but the moment she bursts into the chorus, it really captures my heart. At the very least, it’s as if someone trying to release its painful emotion. The percussion band really does put more depth into the track, which i think would sound pretty mundane on its own. A very solid single.

    Jiyuu no ashiato
    , 2nd track begins with continuous piano keys but it doesn’t sound dull. Instead it makes you keep going on and on with the track until the chorus arrives beautifully as she belted them out with angelic vocals.

    Kiss From the Rose
    , a cover of Seal’s original track, features only Angela with her piano. it may sound more personal and calm that way. she sings in Japanese for the first half, then English in the second half. her version is slightly different from the original, as in she speeds up in certain parts rather than following the actual timing. You can say that this is sung from a woman’s perspective. What i liked is how she plays the piano towards the end.OVERALL: 9/10

    This Love itself is a solid track, and with the addition of 2nd and 3rd tracks, does make this single worth enjoying.

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Released November 28, 2007. Copies sold so far: 33,786
Oricon Ranking Weekly # 7 (highest position)

First of all, let’s talk a bit on the cover. While i personally think that Erika Sawajiri is a pretty Japanese actress/singer, the cover just doesnt do her justice. seriously, what kind of style is she or her designer trying to pull off here? The wig…is just…hideous. Maybe she’s trying to be different from the Erika we knew, you know…the actress. Now that she only uses ERIKA in the music department, i suppose this is the ERIKA we’ll get then.

tracklist:

  1. Destination Nowhere
  2. Escape
  3. Free (overrocket101007 mix)
  4. Destination Nowhere (Instrumental)

    Destination Nowhere actually surprises me because i thought it’s going to be some trance music, BUT it’s not. In fact, this is a pop/rock song. And when it starts with this remote captivating guitar strings, i got hooked right after it explodes into a louder composition. Her vocals has been something that i find, not as good. From the first song she ever sung, aka. kaoru amane, there’s this slight pitch of hers when she hits the LOW keys, kinda annoys me. but i do find that she has improved and pulled this track off pretty well. She sings the English lyrics pretty well too.Escape, on the other hand is a trance music. I think she has this trend of having at least a Trance in her singles. Her vocals are unclear, vague and mixed together with the melodies. But not bad actually. This track does sound pretty appealing and with that i am impressed.

    Free(overrocket101007 mix), obviously another trance mix, her vocals again are distorted to fit the genre. I can’t really say much about this track, since it’s just a mix from the original track, FREE. so i’ll leave it as it is.

    And the last track, Instrumental version of Destination Nowhere. I dont think i have to review this much right, since it’s instrumental. But what i can say is that the work of art itself is GOOD.

OVERALL: 8.5/10

Even though i am personally not THAT fond of her venturing into music industry since she does excellent as an actress, i do find this single worth listening and enjoyable. And with her recent attitude case, i don’t exactly know how to describe her as a person. well, humans have different characters, but good job with this single.

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Released December 19, 2007, this is their 15th Japanese single. Copies sold so far: 12,874

Frankly speaking, i don’t really listen to them much even though some of my closest friends do. And they’re pretty much HUGE fans, really.
So i thought of giving them a try, at least for the sake of putting up reviews…xD and i am curious anyway you see.
Tracklist:

  1. Together [click to download]
  2. Together -Kids Chorus ver.-
  3. Forever Love -Bell’n’Snow Edit-
  4. Together -Less Vocal-

    So, first track: Together begins with rather distorted music, pretty interesting you see. I like random stuffs.But i won’t know who sings that part or this part, since i am not a fan anyway, so forgive me for that ignorance. This track is pop, it’s got that slight sense of jazz, perhaps?At least the way they sing the verses. Vocal wise, they’re nothing but good.I don’t have a problem with their voices. And the constant funny drum beats in the background gives this track something different. Midtempo song, rather relaxed but at the same time, nothing much special.

The Kid’s Chorus version, is the same, EXCEPT for the chorus, i mean, from the title i suppose you can figure out yourself. Obviously, they add the chorus with kids singing, it’s not very distinct but you can hear them. It’s pretty cute. Having kids singing with them or exploiting them? xD

Let’s go to 3rd track, Forever Love ( their last single actually), they used distant crowd voices with instruments like organs to start off. Bells are ringing too, which gives this song the Christmas or winter feel. This is a ballad, and no doubt it is a better track than the title track. They managed to really show the emotions from the way they sing, the higher pitch notes are done flawlessly.Pretty awesome track, even for a non-fan like me.

Last track, again…Together (less Vocal) version, somehow after a while the distortion method kinda gets old after a while here, this version is like the Instrumental version of the song, no wait….scratch that, it IS the instrumental version. I don’t understand why can’t they just name it as instrumental and not ” less vocal”…i mean, they don’t mean the same thing you know…less vocal means, there is still vocal but just not whole. Maybe, they just wanna do things differently for the heck of it. Creativity here however isn’t that much creative to me.

OVERALL: 7/10
Being just a listener and not a fan, i don’t know whether i am being biased or not, but personally i think that this single lacks substance.the title track, Together can’t really stand by itself, it’s not a strong single/song, i’d say that Forever Love is the one that saves this single. Even with the MANY versions, it’s kinda weak. Sorry TVXQ fans out there, not my type of single, that’s all. But it still gets 7 out of 10 from me xD

After Dark coverAfter Dark

Released November 7th, 2007 this will be the new opening for Bleach starting episode 143. So for Bleach fans, you might wanna look out for that. As for me, i’m pretty much clueless about Bleach, sadly. xD

tracklist:

1. After Dark
2. Yuigihama Kite

Yes, just two songs apparently. The first track starts with drum beats and then accompanied with short guitar riffs before going into the song. The melody is pretty catchy, but maybe NOT as catchy as their other older songs though. Even the chorus is not as distinct and that great. But the lead singer’s vocals as usual is strong, nothing to complain about for that section.

Second track, begins with blaring guitar strings…before lead vocal coming in, singing with this rather ‘bored’ sound. Yeah, he really sounds bored at that matter, but it’s just the style. But what draws me to this song though is the guitar riffs throughout the track. It wasn’t polished much, and pretty random, which sounds just fine. Out of the two tracks, i actually preferred this one than the title track. This track is much slower in comparison to the first. You can feel the emotion towards the end as the lead belted out.

OVERALL: 7.5/10
Personally, i think AKFG could’ve done much better than this. xD

Ok, so this is my entertainment blog, like i said, it will mainly be filled with music stuffs, Japanese, Chinese, English…and just maybe some movies or series etc…xD

my OLD blog,

http://www.avieamber.blogspot.com

that was where i currently posted personal stuffs and such…

so yeah…HAPPY BLOGGING!