BENI – Fortune

November 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

BENI – Fortune

1. Fortune Intro
2. Darlin’
3. Suki Dakara. (好きだから。)
6. My World
7. crazy girl
8. One In A Million
9. Koe wo Kikasete (声を聞かせて)
10. secret
11. YES or NO?
12. Oh Yeah!
13. Unmei no Hito (運命の人)

♦ ♦ ♦

Fortune is the seventh studio album by Japanese/American singer BENI and her fourth under the label Universal Music. It was released on November 2, 2011 and sold 12,695 copies in its first week, charting at #5 in the Oricon Weekly Charts.

I loved the intros for her previous three albums, but they were a complete 180 from Fortune Intro. Where the intros for Bitter & Sweet, Lovebox and Jewel were sweet and soothing, this intro is very uptempo. Yet it still has that cute effect the other intros all had, which automatically makes me like this one too. It leads perfectly into the next song as well.

Darlin’ was BENI’s latest single for this album, and I remember loving it for her solid vocals in the chorus and the blend of two different musical styles. On the one hand we have her usual contemporary R&B music with a lot of synths, percussion and bells, but on the other hand she included this nice little sitar effect which makes some parts of the song a little more traditional. The absolute best in this song is her voice, one of her best and sassiest vocal performances yet.

I can’t get enough of Suki Dakara. (好きだから。) from the moment I first heard it. It has the best midtempo arrangement I have heard in a long time with a soothing piano, guitar and yet a bit of spice with the synths and handclap rhythm. The melody is very addictive to me, especially in the last part of the verses and in the choruses. I remember saying in the review for this single that I hoped this song would be one of the first on the album, and this is a real wish come true. I’m in love with this song ❤

In most of her songs, BENI uses pretty much the same instruments and tempo, but it’s her melodies that make each song unique. That also counts for LAST SONG, which is also a midtempo song with a nice R&B beat, synths and something that sounds like a sitar effect (kinda like in Hitomi Tojite). In all songs until now I notice a little change in her vocals, they sound way more confident than before and that is also something that attracts me to her songs. For one of the new songs on this album, I really like this.

I can dig the special synth effect used in the beginning of MEMORY and the slightly faster beat that the songs before it. When you listen closely to her vocals, you can hear the message of this song is a bit about sadness and I love how she makes her vocals sound breathy too. I liked the chorus best, but that’s with most of the BENI songs. Her choruses are masterpieces.

Speaking of masterpieces, what the fuck?? My World is totally amazing! This is the first time BENI actually uses some little hiphop effects in her music with a hard pumping beat and loud synths. It’s almost like Beyoncé wrote this song for her, that’s something I totally agree with 4lvy (my affiliate), but I think that’s exactly what makes this song such a big high for me personally. When BENI almost raps her lyrics it’s clear that vocal technique also suits her. Her adlibs here were very solid and fierce. Damn, can I favorite this one?

crazy girl was that crazy fierce uptempo song! Yes, I remember it from her second single and I definitely didn’t expect it to be on this album but I’m so glad it’s here. It’s an agressive club banger with great vocals, lots and lots of synth riffs and musical explosions. Experimental? Yes. Experiment succeeded? Definitely. BENI can tranform into a crazy girl anytime if you ask me. I loved that little giggle at the end of the song.

One In A Million was the second song on the Suki Dakara. single, and the most cheerful of the two. Right after crazy girl is where this song is placed best, I remember liking this song a little less because I was still too stunned by Suki Dakara. and all its beauty. The piano melody reminded me a bit of Sign’s B-side “Gon’ luv u”, and it’s a pretty decent song.

The second single was Koe wo Kikasete (声を聞かせて), a in my opinion pretty ambient song at first when it’s just BENI singing with a piano arrangement. When the song proceeds, percussion, handclaps, harmonizing vocals and an acoustic guitar drop in. Vocally, BENI delivers another nice performance with a lot of dept and emotion in them.

secret is another new song on the album and is a very soulful R&B song. It’s like lounge music turned a bit uptempo. I love the last line in the chorus “I will tell nobody“, which must refer to the title. Little fun fact. Harmonizing background vocals can make or break brassy songs like this one, and in this case the vocals really made the song. It’s a midtempo song, but definitely not like her other songs.

It’s like BENI meets Koda Kumi with YES or NO?, a nice dynamic song in which BENI explores dance and electro with just a bit of R&B. A bit of a weird mix, right? The chorus shows off her pretty vocal range, which is initially better than I expected when I first listened to her music a year ago or so. It’s almost like when BENI puts her hands on an uptempo song, it turns into magic right away.

I had my hopes up for Oh Yeah!, but it turns out I only like the chorus. First, I have a strong dislike for celebration songs and lyrics like “party with me, sing with me” and that sort of thing. Second, I hate how BENI sings her lyrics in the verses. The chorus was the real life saver for this song, which is like a sister song to YES or NO?, with the same dynamic elements.

I already expected Unmei no Hito (運命の人) to be a ballad, and I turned out to be right. The fun things is that is is a ballad with a little bounce to it which I absolutely like. The beautiful softness of BENI’s voice is very well represented in this track, as well as her ability to hit pretty high notes. This song has a nice arrangement featuring soft electric guitar riffs, a piano, soft strings and bells.

For the last song ONLY ONE BENI decided to bring back the fierceness one more time with an agressive arrangement. I have heard of blazing synths, but these synth riffs are just all over the place, sometimes even covering her vocals but that’s okay. I’m very glad she didn’t finish this album with one of her usual midtempo songs, but with one that has amazing vocals (both main and background) and a very club ready beat.

I don’t think BENI has ever delivered an album more perfect than this one. Okay, it may have some minor flaws but I can’t really say I dislike a single song from the album. Midtempo tracks and ballads are still her thing, but now BENI’s experimenting with uptempo songs and even a little bit of dance and electro I must say she’s diversifying in a darn good way. I’ve waited too long to review this, shame on me, because I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS ALBUM ♥

Favorite tracks: Darlin’| Suki Dakara. (好きだから。) | My World | crazy girl | Koe wo Kikasete (声を聞かせて) | secret | Unmei no Hito (運命の人)


4½ stars

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