Meisa Kuroki – MAGAZINE

April 20, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Posted in Meisa Kuroki | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Meisa Kuroki – MAGAZINE

1. Intro -Magazine-
2. LOL!
3. SWITCH ⇔
4. BYE BYE MY FRIEND
5. CELEBRATE
6. SHOCK -unmei-
7. Say Good Night☆
8. As I Am
9. Why??
10. Loneliness
11. LOVEHOLIC
12. Wasted
13. 5 -FIVE-
14. Somewhere…

♦ ♦ ♦

MAGAZINE is the first studio album released by Meisa Kuroki. It was released on January 26, 2011 in three versions: two limited CD+DVD editions (type-A coming with all of her PVs since “Like This” and type-B coming with footage from her first one-man live <em>ATTITUDE 2010</em> housed in a magazine-sized package with a photobook by Leslie Kee), and a regular CD-only edition.

This review was requested by Resh.

Being a fan of her debut EP, it’s time to try her first album. Intro -Magazine- is really what an intro is, no vocals and just music. It’s a bit electronified with some synths in the back and Meisa sort of adlibbing now and then. It’s quite good, it has a heavy bass, but it’s nothing special. Still good for an introduction though.

The introduction being so plain makes LOL! more of a standout track. It’s fierce and daring and like the intro filled with synths and beats. About Meisa’s vocals… on time she’s actually singing, other times she’s more of the talking, her performance as a whole makes this song a bit more fun and quircky. The chorus was the best part in my opinion, with Meisa singing ‘Laughing out loud, out loud, out loud…‘.

I must admit I can get used to Meisa’s synthpop style really easy, SWITCH⇔ is another fierce and strong song that just makes me want to get off my seat and on my feet. It’s more solid than <em>LOL!</em>, so I prefer this one over the previous track. The chorus is simple, sometimes I can’t even understand what she’s singing about, but the ‘I like you‘ sentence is kind of addictive in this song.

BYE BYE MY FRIEND doesn’t differ much from the previous track, but it starts in a more interesting and appealing way. This time I find the verses prettier than the rest of the song, because the chorus isn’t very unique if you ask me. Still Meisa has her own way of convincing me with some good vocals and deep beats, which make up for the rest.

Finally a change, CELEBRATE opens with a piano before bursting into the club mood again. The way Meisa sings the title word annoys me a lot, like.. it’s CElebrate and not ceLEbrate… Regardless, I really loved the whole of this. The piano influences can still be heard in the verses, and Meisa gives her best vocal performance in the chorus. One of the best tracks until now, thanks to the piano mostly.

Wow… I fell silent for a while when SHOCK -unmei- came around, it is definitely a shock indeed. And surprisingly enough I adored how Meisa used classic samples in this song! I’m a big fan of songs with samples in them, and even though some people claim this song to be ‘looking for a good melody’, I think it’s great, it’s booming, it’s dominant, love it.

Are we finally gonna get a slower track after six dance tracks? Well, it better be a good one, and Say Good Night☆ is everything it should be. I love handclaps, fingersnaps and a deep bass beat in a midtempo track, it reminds me a bit of BENI’s music or ‘No Way’ by Kuu, both singers who make great songs of this kind. In this song Meisa’s vocal performance is the most pleasant, she doesn’t sound like she’s trying too hard.

Back to the uptempo stuff with As I Am, sort of a wake-up call after the previous track. It’s another synth heavy track, maybe even heavier than other tracks, but it seems like Meisa’s getting better by the minute each track. It’s not a real jawdropping song, but still I can come close to liking it very much the more I listen to it. Meisa’s vocals aren’t that dominant here, more of the relaxing sort, much better.

Another midtempo? Should’ve been sorted out better, one uptempo between two slower songs doesn’t work… Again, Why?? reminds me very much of BENI’s works with a lot of big beats and classic instruments such as a piano. Sometimes the beat sounds even louder than Meisa’s vocals, which is a pity because they’re very pretty, but that’s only in the verses. Ballads/midtempo tracks seem to be Meisa’s stronger point to me.

Loneliness is, judging from the title, not the expected ballad but another uptempo song with a lot of synths and beats. It’s darker than some of the other songs that are as uptempo as this one, and at the same time I think it’s just a tad more memorable because of this. There’s something about this song, but I don’t know what it is, that makes this song enjoyable and uninteresting both at the same time…

A quircky song on this album next to SHOCK -UNMEI- has to be LOVEHOLIC. I can’t make up a beat in this mess, but on the other side it’s pretty unique and enjoyable, Meisa’s finally trying something else now. It’s pretty fun, but… well… I wouldn’t have expected this to be on this album, and sometimes the song can be too quircky.

Wasted reminded me instantly of three words: ‘on the road’. It’s very different from everything else, it’s uptempo and very poppy with some little electric guitar riffs here and there. As a matter of fact, this is pop/rock, and I love it! This track is short and sweet, just what I needed at this point. If Meisa placed more of this on her album, she would score a bit higher in the end…

Just when I though I would experience my first music breakdown here, 5 -FIVE-comes along and proves Meisa’s uptempo songs can still be unique and appealing after a dozen of the same tracks. This one isn’t only extremely catchy, it is that good to take me out of my breakdown right back on track for the last songs on this album. So I owe this song a lot, as an individual track it is one of her better A-sides of this era.

The last track is Somewhere… and it’s another ballad. Meisa’s vocals are really too pretty here, please knock me out before I pass out on my own. Everything about this track is right. It’s relaxing, I love the acoustic guitar, the beats aren’t too heavy and they remind me of the 80s with the echo in them. Meisa can hit some pretty high notes in her adlibbing, and this is a perfect album closer.

To me, MAGAZINE, is a bit of an odd album. Meisa put quite a lot uptempo tracks on this album, which is not a problem, but they all sound a bit alike (with a few exceptions ofcourse). The first part of the album was a bit meh for me, but it improved a lot from CELEBRATE on, all the way to Why??. After that, only Wasted, 5 -Five- and S0mewhere… seemed to capture me. If Meisa added a little more structure and some different arrangements to this album, I would’ve liked it a bit more than I do now. It’s a pity she didn’t put any of the songs on her mini-albums on this album, most of them were pretty amazing!

Favorite tracks: SWITCH⇔ | CELEBRATE | SHOCK -unmei- | Say Good Night☆  | Why?? | Wasted | Somewhere…

OVERALL RATING

3 stars

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