Miliyah Kato – HEAVEN

August 28, 2010 at 3:27 PM | Posted in Miliyah Kato | Leave a comment

Miliyah Kato – HEAVEN

2. Last Love
3. I miss you
4. X.O.X.O.
6. Baby I See You feat. VERBAL (m-flo)
8. WHY
10. Endless Love
11. Sweet Angel
12. Destiny
13. B.F.F.
14. Don’t wanna let go
15. Silent Ocean
16. 終わりなき哀しみ

♦ ♦ ♦

HEAVEN is Japanese singer Miliyah Kato’s fifth studio album, and it was released on July 28, 2010. It contains three singles “WHY”, “BYE BYE” and “Last Love”, and was released in two editions: a CD and a CD+DVD edition. The album debuted at number-one on the Oricon weekly album chart selling over 151,000 units, making it Miliyah’s first studio album to debut at the top position on the Oricon charts.

I have to admit this is my first time listening to Miliyah’s music, and I instantly hear her voice has a certain quality you don’t find often in J-Pop music. BYE BYE is the first track, and finally a J-Pop artist knows how to open an album with an uptempo song. It was not what I expected, with it’s synths and heavy beat, I was expecting more of a R&B midtempo song (kinda like BENI). Still I like the strong elements in this opening track, and the strings at the end are not a bad addition either.

Last Love opens with a beautiful piano, and now I’m getting used to Miliyah’s voice. When the soft percussion drops in, this song develops into a nice ballad. Miliyah sings the lyrics with a good amount of emotion in her voice, and I adore the way she sings soft an high in the chorus after the bridge. Nothing is really overdone in this song, it’s all been kept quite simple, yet it appeals.

Finally a J-Pop singer that doesn’t have a baby voice while talking in a spoken introduction. In I miss you, Miliyah has a really grown-up western voice, and in the intro her dialogue is accompanied by a piano. But no, this is not a ballad at all! It’s a bit like BYE BYE, according to the quick beat. No synths, but more classical instruments like strings and that old piano from the intro. Her vocal performance stands out most in this track, though the music isn’t that bad as well.

I’m still hoping for a good high on this album, and for the first time X.O.X.O. goes more of an R&B way. I noticed none of the tracks so far offered me that high, and X.O.X.O. is no exeption. The song flows too well, there’s no variation and I’m just anticipating too much. I think I just didn’t have the patience for this track, the synth music is pure repetition.

The introduction for HEAVEN got my hopes back up because of the lovely piano, strings and soft percussion sound in the back, and an electric guitar as well! As the song flows on, I discover it’s not good, but not bad either. The good part is the music, such as the unexpected guitar in the back, and the smooth drum pattern. Miliyah sounds pretty good herself, too. But then there’s that musical pattern again, the song doesn’t give me much variety to listen too. But! It’s the best track up until now.

I looove the piano melody that starts Baby I See You feat. VERBAL (m-flo), it’s so different (finally!) from the rest! The strings, percussion and soft guitar riffs in the chorus add a little sense of drama to the track, and Miliyah gives me such a pristine vocal performance! VERBAL totally ruined his parts (omg, uglyyyy!), but regardless, Miliyah was born to do this track. VERBAL is so much better in uptempo tracks, not beautiful power ballads like this one here. Still, I love it! I don’t even mind this song being over 6 minutes in length!

, strangely enough, really does have that sky-ish effect in the music. I think it’s the high piano notes and a little bells effect (almost sounds like pixie dust) that achieve this sound, yet the beat and synths make it all modern and earthy all the same. Miliyah’s higher voice seems so vulnerable at times, it’s so soft and soothing, and still it fits into the song together with her raw adlibbing.

Again a song that starts off as a soft ballad like thing, but evolves into a more aggressive song. This is what happens with WHY, a song with more aggressive vocals from Miliyah, as well as more rock orientated music with a heavier beat and a dominant electric guitar through the whole track. I think this genre suits Miliyah just as well as R&B, she pulls this off so well!

It’s clear the section since the song HEAVEN got me on the edge of my seat, since all tracks from that one on sounded so good and different! FREE is another song that makes me think ‘oh hell yeah!’ because of the catchy heavy beats and Miliyah’s even catchier singing melody in the verses. Another fierce song that caught my attention.

Endless Love got the minor of my attention, since it sounds the same, musically, as BYE BYE and I miss you. The beats and synths are heavier again, but in a way it’s almost like the dance genre and everyone who reads this blog frequently know that I dislike dance a lot. True, the track is quite strong and even fierce, but it simply does nothing for me personally.

Then, Sweet Angel gets things back on track again concerning genres. It’s a song with a bit of a dreamy element, soft beats, strings, bells and that pixie dust effect I liked so much in. Nothing special, this track, but it has that certain quality I can’t help but like. It’s laid back, relaxing and even has a little oriental effect in there somewhere. Good song to fall asleep to (in a good way, like… when you’re lying in bed).

Destiny is another midtempo R&B song, and again it’s pretty, but it offers me nothing. The chorus misses that little extra that will make it stand out much more, but the synth pattern never changes and the percussion stays too laid back in the chorus. If that percussion pattern changed a bit, this song could’ve been much more already than it is right now. Miliyah’s layered vocals are a major plus, though.

Back to the aggressive aspects with B.F.F., but it’s so ‘there’ the whole track seems too rushed! Goodness, a song about a best friend shouldn’t be like this, it’s almost like a dancefloor song. Miliyah, you gotta be kidding me. Only the R&B-like bridge appeals to me (for half of it), the rest is just plain UGH!

The combination of beats and synths in Don’t wanna let go makes me think of some 80s song with a new modern flavour. It’s quite okay, her vocal performance is pretty good and the music isn’t boring. It’s not one of my favourite tracks, but there’s actually a smooth-bit-not-bland transition between verse and chorus so that it has this appealing quality that I must like.

Silent Ocean is definitly an acoustic piano ballad with heartfelt vocals my miss Kato. I like her vocals more in the verses though, because the vibrato in her voice sometimes gets the better of her in the chorus. Only some soft strings and a guitar fall in during the second verse, but in my opinion this is a little too relaxing. Meaning, it’s kinda boring, nothing special.

終わりなき哀しみ is a more upbeat song, and also the last track on this album. The beats are very smooth, as are the acoustic musical instruments she used for this song. it’s likeable, it’s decent, but not that special. Yet it’s better than it’s preceeder, but still not a real ‘album ending song’. But then again, what is? I’ve heard enough from Miliyah by the time this track is halfway through.

Such a shame that there were only a few tracks on this album that I liked so much that I wanted to go on listening. The first four tracks were blegh, then track 5 to 9 were so terrific I thought someone talked Miliyah some sence back into her, and from track 10 on, only one or two songs are good enough for me. Too much tracks left me unsatisfied, it just wasn’t all that, it missed that little extra flavour. I don’t know how much effort Miliyah put into this album, but it sounds like it wasn’t nearly enough. So many tracks needed that little something more, and she left those elements out. I congratulate her with her better tracks, but I wonder if her other albums are as bland as this one.

Favorite tracks: HEAVEN | Baby I See You feat. VERBAL (m-flo) |</em> <em>空 | WHY | FREE


2½ stars

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