The Vow

April 29, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Posted in !Film reviews! | 2 Comments

FILM REVIEW
The Vow

Released: February 10, 2012
Running time: 104 minutes
Category: Romantic drama

With: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange a.o.

Plot:
The Vow is based on the actual relationship of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who wrote a book about their marriage, also known as The Vow. Ten weeks after their wedding on 18 September 1993, the couple was in an automobile accident in which Krickitt suffered brain trauma, which erased memories of her romance with Kim as well as their recent marriage. Kim, however, was still madly in love with his wife, although his wife viewed him as a stranger after the accident. However, according to the couple, their faith in Jesus and their wedding vows before God kept them together.

After Leo Collins and his wife Paige leave the movie theater, they get into their Saab 190 to drive back home. Leo stops the car and Paige unbuckles her belt to kiss him, after which their car is rammed by a truck. Paige crashes through the windshield and both are rushed to the hospital. Leo recovers quickly, but Paige is being kept in coma. When she wakes up and sees Leo, she thinks he is her doctor, implying her loss of memory. She doesn’t remember the past few years of her life being married to Leo and having her own art studio. All she remembers is being engaged to Jeremy whom she met at law school.
Paige agrees to go live with Leo again in the hope of regaining her memory, but that becomes a lot harder when both her parents and Jeremy come back into her life.

Review:
The story immediately appealed to me when I saw the trailer in the movie theater, and I’m surprised it actually got mixed to negative reviews from the professionals. I don’t know whether it’s just me being an unprofessional reviewer or it’s my taste in movies but I think this movie is pretty awesome. It’s intriguing, the moment of the crash was terrible to see. You actually see Paige crashing right through the glass and ending up on the hood. That impact becomes even bigger when she doesn’t remember all the wonderful moments she has had with Leo. You see how they met, how cute they are together and how much they used to love each other, and Leo is the only one who still remembers. He has to make his own wife fall in love with him all over again, how hard is that?!
All the while I kept hoping they would end up together again, and the story twists just make it seem like it’s either gonna get really hard or it’s never gonna happen again. Paige eventually picks up her personal life where she left off, but the ending left me kinda sad. They don’t get married again, they just start dating and see where things are going. That’s questionable, until a little message about Kim and Krickitt pops up saying they are now happily married and have two children, although Krickitt never regained her memory. It satisfies me a little, knowing however Paige will not regain her memories, she and Leo will still be together after all.

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

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A.S. BLUE – BLUE

April 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
A.S. BLUE – BLUE

1. Wonder Boy (원더보이)
2. Lady

BLUE is After School’s sub-unit A.S. BLUE’s debut single, released on July 20, 2011. The single was released on the same date as, the other After School sub-unit A.S. RED’s debut single, “RED”. Both singles, promoted also at the same time, were released as the main group’s 4th single.

So it’s very clear A.S. BLUE features a more cute and fresh concept, Wonder Boy (원더보이) sounds like a really happy and cute track with bells and such. The chorus blowed me away, I was so glad they didn’t go overboard with the cuteness, and Raina really found her way into this song with her high-pitched vocals. Wow, I actually like this.

Lady is the ‘all member song’ on this single, and it instantly shows a more relaxed and mature side yet still very fresh. It’s more R&B than the poppy Wonder Boy (원더보이), and the synth riffs in this track are great. The percussion also features a nice bass sound, and not too loud either. I like their lines in the chorus ‘Imma, imma, I’m just a lady‘. Simple, but effective.

To be honest, I like A.S. BLUE’s single slightly better than A.S. RED’s. Maybe because the songs aren’t that polished, but it could also be because the first track really impressed me by not being overly cute and it also featured amazing vocals and belting (I admire that, really). Both songs were extremely catchy and feature elements and lines that can stay in your head for the rest of the day. I prefer blue over red (and not only the colors).

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

 

A.S. RED – RED

April 21, 2012 at 8:41 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
A.S. RED – RED

1. 밤 하늘에
2. HOLLYWOOD

RED is After School’s sub-unit A.S. RED’s debut single, released on July 20, 2011. The single was released on the same date as, the other After School sub-unit A.S. BLUE’s debut single, “BLUE”. Both singles, promoted also at the same time, were released as the main group’s 4th single.

A.S. RED is supposed to be the sexy sub-unit, but it can’t really be heard from the music of 밤 하늘에. It has a smooth sunset vibe, a bit like Koda Kumi’s ‘IN THE AIR’, but it’s a nice uptempo track so that counts for something. Kahi has less parts so the other girls, Jung-A, U-ie and Nana get their chance to shine. It’s not the typical sexy song of the single, but it’s really uplifting.

HOLLYWOOD brings back sexy! But then again it features all eight After School members so it isn’t really A.S. RED’s. The track is filled with beats and heavy synth riffs, and it even has this really cool dance break. The lyrics are a bit cheesy (‘Hollywood, Hollywood, a movie star‘) and the song doesn’t really stand out that much, but I must admit it’s fierce as hell.

Even though 밤 하늘에 wasn’t the song you’d expect from a group that has been dubbed ‘sexy’, it was the best out of the two (and the only one from the A.S. RED girls). I liked the airy ambience, it reminded me of a sunset on the beach (yeah I have an amazing imagination I know). HOLLYWOOD isn’t bad either but it’s just too generic. Still, that doesn’t stop me from liking it quite a bit because it was pretty catchy to be honest. I would like to see more from A.S. RED in the future, but I don’t know if that’s gonna happen any time soon…

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

After School (Happy Pledis) – Hazel Eyes

April 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
After School – Hazel Eyes

1. LOVE LOVE LOVE
2. Someone is you
3. LOVE LOVE LOVE (inst.)
4. Someone is you (inst.)

Hazel Eyes is the fourth Korean single by South-Korean girl group After School, released on December 7, 2010 under the group name Happy Pledis. Hazel Eyes was the first part of a special charity single series by Pledis Entertainment. The single does not feature member Bekah.

Soooo… it’s April and I’m listening to a Christmas single apparently XD
Anyway, if I just forget the time of year right now, LOVE LOVE LOVE is a really nice and happy song with a great December feel to it (bells, those typical piano notes…), it’s just really cute. The second verse, featuring parts by Nana, Raina, Juyeon and Jung-A along with Raina’s high and really long note near the end are the best parts. Damn this track is just so happy, can it be December right now? The weather sucks here anyway.

Someone is you has a more relaxed vibe and also a more mature attitude, especially when it comes right after LOVE LOVE LOVE. The girls all deliver a great vocal performance, and Raina ofcourse comes out with her adlibs and soft belting. The  big surprise was the male chorus singing ‘Jigeum cheoreom man, jigeum cheoreom man, haengbokeul jeonhae julge, just like you‘, the entire ambience just gave me goosebumps.

Despite being a Christmas single reviewed in April (what a timing), I really like this. Should I just call them Happy Pledis now? Alright, just this once. So Happy Pledis (ugh, too cute a name) should release a Christmas single like this every year (so I can actually enjoy it at the right time, but that’s my mistake x]). LOVE LOVE LOVE was such a happy track, it lifted my spirit so much, and then Someone is you is this beautiful ballad that balances the single and makes it less Christmas. Well, if you ask me this charity single better raised some really good money for that charity purpose.

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

 

After School – Bang!

April 21, 2012 at 5:31 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
After School – Bang!

1. Let’s Do It!
2. Bang!
3. With U
4. Bang! (Instrumental)

Bang! is the third single by South-Korean girl group After School, released on March 25, 2010. It’s the first single to feature fourth generation member Lizzy. The title tack reached #17 on the Gaon 2010 digital yearly charts with 2,374,731 copies sold.

The marching band concept already starts to come out with Let’s Do It!, which is a really cool introduction track. The girls actually practiced and trained for five months to manage their drum skills which they totally nailed, so can I just say I completely admire them right now? The brassy elements were pretty cool to, it leads effortlessly into the next track.

Bang! is my guilty pleasure and my all time After School favorite. It’s clear that they have so much more members than when they started out (from five to eight), and all the vocals in the chorus give the idea of a marching band indeed. The introduction by that random creepy guy was kinda out of place, but the rest of the song totally made up for that because it’s such a kickass track. I love love love it.

Ofcourse the single had to be balanced with a ballad track, which is With U. It’s an emotional one with just a piano in the first part and some beautiful vocals, after which the arrangement builds around it with soft percussions, electric guitar riffs and strings. I think this ballad is the prettiest After School has ever released, I totally love the melody and the heartfelt ambience it shows.

Bang! is probably After School’s most perfect single to date. A great introduction track, leading into a big catchy song with lots and lots of kickass vocals and percussion, topped off with a beautiful ballad. What more could I want? Well, how about more of this concept? I’m not typically into marching bands but this was so cool, especially since the girls all managed to provide the percussion themselves after some training. So anyone who says they’re not talented… fudge you.

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

After School – Neo Ttaemune

April 21, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
After School – Neo Ttaemune

1. No Ttaemune
2. When I Fall
3. Diva
4. No Ttaemune (Inst.)

No Ttaemune is the second single by Korean girl group After School, released on November 25, 2009.

No Ttaemune is a pretty song that seems like a ballad at first, but it builds into a kickass synthpop song. In my opinion the raps are a bit too aggressive for this track, especially in the first verse, so that doesn’t really fit. The chorus is the best part, I really like the vocals (especially Raina’s) and the vocoder effects weren’t bad either. I liked how the piano from the introduction kept playing throughout the song. Catchy track.

When I Fall is the ballad track for the single, and it’s more of a pop/R&B track with a slick beat in the background, only a few synth riffs and a great acoustic guitar vibe. I still can’t tell the girls apart, sorry for that but I’m not a really big fan or anything (I just really like their music), but the girls that sing the chorus have really smooth vocals. The lyrics are very pretty, I must say I like this song better than the previous one.

After School turns to cuter happy pop with Diva, which is quite nice but I don’t know, sometimes it’s a little too happy slappy. But if you’re in a really happy mood, you can really dig this track for sure. It’s a blazing synthpop track with a fast beat and a lot of altered vocals, and this time the raps fitted the song pretty well.

After School is a group that makes better music with every release, or at least never releases anything terrible. With No Ttaemune they actually outdid themselves (until Bang! shows up some time later), and although the first and last tracks each lacked something, none of the three tracks was bad. What they all have in common is an element that makes it memorable and they deserve some credit for that. Pretty nice single for a second one.

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

Maroon 5 – Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)

April 20, 2012 at 7:30 PM | Posted in Maroon 5 | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Maroon 5 – Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)

1. Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)

Payphone is the lead single of American band Maroon 5’s fourth album ‘Overexposed’ (to be released on June 26, 2012). The single was released on April 16, 2012.

So basically I found out about this song today and it has been playing on repeat ever since. Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa) is the most unlikely collaboration between pop/rock band Maroon 5 and rapper Wiz Khalifa, but then again Adam Levine has also worked with Gym Class Heroes so I’m not fully surprised. Payphone is a really catchy track, and a bit of a toe-tipping pop/rock and disco-flavoured dance hybrid. The lyrics are kinda bitter (‘…even the sun sets in paradise‘), but the music really isn’t and I love the arrangement. For Wiz Khalifa’s part they featured a nice hiphop beat with handclaps. I love love LOVE this track, including it’s slick rap part by Wiz.
I’m at a paaaaayphone trying to call home, all of my change I spent on youuu

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

Music & Me

April 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Posted in !Random! | Leave a comment
Ultimate Music Survey
Created by amp7325 and taken 14313 times on Bzoink
Favorites
What is your favorite genre of music?: J-pop, K-pop and general R&B, Hiphop and Pop/Rock
Why?: J-pop and K-pop both have more variety than American pop and the other genres feature either great beats or electric guitars ❤
Name your favorite band(s): Maroon 5, Kalafina, One Republic, Muse, Train
Name your favorite solo artist(s): Ayumi Hamasaki, Koda Kumi, P!nk, Christina Aguilera, BoA, Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Namie Amuro, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins and BENI
What is your favorite album?: Maroon 5 – Hands All Over / Kalafina – Red Moon / Rihanna – Loud
What is your favorite album cover?: Ayumi Hamasaki – MY STORY
Name your favorite song(s): SPICA – Painkiller / A-ha – Take On Me / Phil Collins – Can’t Hurry Love, Sussudio, Take A Look Through My Eyes. All-time favorites but usually they differ from time to time
Favorite CD you own: Koda Kumi – MOON
Favorite song on your computer: Mariah Carey – Angels Cry
Favorite song you DON’T have: Yiruma – River Flows In You
Favorite lyrics: Vienna Teng – Anna Rose
Favorite vocalist: Too many
Favorite guitarist: Carlos Santana
Favorite bassist: N/A
Favorite drummer: Phil Collins
Favorite instrumentalist (any instrument not mentioned above): Yiruma
Favorite classical / jazz composer: N/A
Favorite rapper: Nicki Minaj
Favorite theatrical score: The Twilight movies
Favorite of anything not mentioned: Can’think of anything right now 😛
The bad stuff
What’s your least favorite genre of music?: Hardcore, Dance, Metal
Who’s your least favorite band?: Those overly cute K-pop groups + those creepy metal bands
Who’s your least favorite solo artist?: misono
Who do you think is the most annoying musician?: Miley Cyrus, ugh
If you could shoot any “artist” or “band”, who would it be?: Again Miley Cyrus, and Bring Me The Horizonfor hurting my ears
Who do you think is the least talented?: Birdy is highly overrated, sorry
Least favorite song: Anything too generic
Most annoying song: Lana Del Rey – Video Games, Ayumi Hamasaki – Thank U, Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum
Most repetative song: Namie Amuro – JOY
Last song to be stuck in your head: Miley Cyrus – Simple Song
Did this survey just get that song stuck in your head again? (sorry): Yup, but that’s okay
Worst band that used to be good?: Not a band: Jennifer Lopez, she makes nice music but I enjoy her older material better
A good band that used to suck?: Again not a band but: Namie Amuro 😀
Your musical background
What was the first music you remember listening to?: 2Unlimited – There’s No Limit
What type of music do your parents listen to?: My father listens to progressive rock (Yes, Genesis, Dream Theater) and my mom is a typical Maroon 5/Nickelback/Train lover
Do you play any musical instruments, or sing? If so, elaborate.: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember
Do you take lessons for instruments or voice? If so, for how long?: Nope, self-taught
Do you plan to / have you gone to college for music?: Nope =)
Who are your musical inspirations?: Christina Aguilera’s huge voice inspired me so much, just like Celine Dion, Adele and Lady Gaga
Who was your first favorite band or artist?: I think the Backstreet Boys and 2Unlimited xD *hides*
Who is your most recent favorite band or artist?: All the ones listed somewhere above
What styles of music are you interested in learning about?: I pretty much know something about all the styles thanks to History of the Arts at school
What styles of music do you already know a lot about?: Pretty much all of them
Do you know much about musical theory? If not, would you like to?: I guess so, I’m very interested in it anyway
If you take lessons, do you like your teacher(s)?: Ofcourse he’s the best!
How many different music teachers do you have, or have you had?: Right now I have one, I’ve had two
This or that
Classical or jazz?: Classical
Classic rock or modern rock?: Both!!
Rock or Rap?: Rock
Emo or Punk?: Both?
Funk or Blues?: Funk
Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin?: Neither xD
Bob Marley or Michael Franti?: Bob Marley
Coldplay or Radiohead?: Coldplay
Guster or Dispatch?: What?!
John Mayer or Jack Johnson?: John Mayer
Eminem or 50 Cent?: Eminem
Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?: Christina Aguilera ❤
Backstreet Boys or N’SYNC?: Are you kidding x] Oh well, Backstreet Boys then
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?: The Beatles, I guess…
Beethoven or Mozart?: Can’t tell their music apart anyway
Rachmaninoff or Debussy?: N/A
Duke Ellington or Count Basie?: N/A
Electric or acoustic?: Acoustic
Mandolin or ukulele?: Ukulele? xD
Saxophone or trumpet?: Hm, neither
Miscelaneous
Why do you like music?: Music lifts spirits, lyrics can be the story of your life
When you’re angry, what type of music do you listen to?: Okay that’s when I take out my Hardrock playlist, I admit it x]
Has music ever made you cry? When?: When it reminds me of something/someone
Has music ever made you laugh? When?: Probably, when the music/lyrics/vocals were simply hilarious xD
Do you like local music?: Absolutely not, makes me wanna puke x]
What is the best show you have ever been to?: P!nk’s Funhouse Tour
Have you ever played in any shows?: Nope
If so, what type of music was it?: N/A
Do you enjoy being on stage?: I’m a bit scared beforehand but then it almost feels like home, I put everything into that performance
Do you like to sing, even if you don’t consider yourself a singer?: Singing is my life, I do it all the time every single day of my life
If you could meet any musician and ask them for advice, who would it be?: Well, I can’t ask Michael Jackson for advice anymore..
If you could just chill with any musician, who would it be?: Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi seem quite nice to me^^
What instrument that you don’t play now would you like to learn next?: I’ve always regretted not taking piano lessons 😥
Do you like foreign types of music? If so, what types?: English music and Asian music
You’ve been totally Bzoink*d!
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SPICA – Painkiller

April 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Posted in SPICA | Leave a comment

MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
SPICA – Painkiller

1. Painkiller
2. 화 (火) (Fire)
3. Up N Down
4. 러시안룰렛 (Russian Roulette)
5. No More
6. 일기장 (Diary)
7. 독하게 (Intensely)
8. Painkiller (inst.)

♦ ♦ ♦

Painkiller is the re-package of South-Korean girl group SPICA’s first mini-album ‘Russian Roulette’.

Painkiller is the new track for this re-package and it opens with a pretty but kind of haunting piano melody, after which Boa starts to do her beautiful adlips. Boa and Bohyung have both the most and best parts in this song (and the best vocals), Narae, Jiwon and Joohyun are just featured in the chorus and have small parts in the verses, but all the girls sound very good together. I like the haunted ambience of this track, it’s like dark R&B with a good bass and synth riffs.

A hybrid of soft ballad elements and powerful instruments and vocals, that’s what 화 (火) (Fire) is. Bohyung constantly belts out her lyrics, but it fits the aggressive ambience with a lot of electric guitar riffs and heavy percussion. It’s a nice track in my opinion but the vocals are a bit messy and the song ends too abruptly.

Up N Down is a typical energetic dance/pop track with a lot of synths and altered vocals. Joohyun, labeled as the rapper of the group, has her real semi-rap part in this song, which wasn’t very strong but still enjoyable for it fit the energy. This track kicks ass, for sure, I love it.

러시안룰렛 (Russian Roulette) has a beat with a little bounce to it which I really like, and Joohyun’s opening rap is much better and with more attitude this time. It was surprising to hear a heavy electric guitar joining the arrangement after a while, because then this song transforms from being a bouncy and happy song to a rather rocky one. It has a lot of spice and energy and the girls delivered a great vocal performance each (who did that whistle note!??).

No More is a generic song and a bit predictable, but at least it sounds fun and energetic. This time the energy wasn’t coming from either an R&B beat or guitars, but the synths played a huge part this time. It’s a pity it ends kind of sudden, because I was just getting used to it and the parts I used to call repetiton actually became catchy at that point.

Right when the album needs it, there’s another ballad: 일기장 (Diary). Both the song’s arrangement and the girls’ voices are pretty soothing in the beginning, and I loved how the acoustic guitar played those little riffs. The track becomes a little more powerful in the chorus when an electric guitar is added, so everything is perfectly balanced in this song. No big vocal parts, everything was just right.

The focus lies entirely on the vocals at the very beginning of 독하게 (Intesively), so the song has a nice buildup quality into this strong pop track. Again I love the use of acoustic guitars and strings, it’s so different from the rest of the songs on the album. About the vocals, this is the best song for the group as a whole and this is where they sound best together, although Bohyun screwed up her belting after the bridge.

I’m glad I’ve found SPICA, they sound really promising for the K-pop scene. Every time a girl group comes along I think “Oh damn, not another After School wannabe with that standard lineup,” but there’s not much of a standard lineup in this group. Although Boa and Bohyun have the most prominent parts, every girl contributes to the singing. Their music brings along quite some varieties, from R&B to synthpop and pop with some heavier rock influences. I think their style is amazing and the new track Painkiller was the absolute best ❤

Favorite tracks: Painkiller | 러시안룰렛 (Russian Roulette) | 일기장 (Diary) | 독하게 (Intesively)

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

Namie Amuro – SWEET 19 BLUES (album)

April 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Namie Amuro – SWEET 19 BLUES

1. watch your step!!
2. motion
3. LET’S DO THE MOTION
4. PRIVATE
5. Interlude ~ Ocean way
6. Don’t wanna cry (Eighteen’s Summer Mix)
7. Rainy DANCE
8. Chase the Chance (CC Mix)
9. Interlude ~ Joy
10. I’LL JUMP
11. Interlude ~ Scratch Voices
12. i was a fool
13. present
14. Interlude ~ Don’t wanna cry Symphonic Style
15. You’re my sunshine (Hollywood Mix)
16. Body Feels EXIT (Latin House Mix)
17. ’77~
18. SWEET 19 BLUES
19. …soon nineteen

♦ ♦ ♦

SWEET 19 BLUES is the debut solo album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on July 22, 1996. It reached #1 on the Oricon charts and sold 3,186,860 copies, becoming the #2 album of 1996. It charted for 42 weeks and sold a total of 3,359,450 copies, making it Amuro’s best-selling album. This is the #13 best-selling album in Japan.

I’m gonna pretend watch your step!!, motion and Interlude ~ Scratch Voices don’t exist, because they’re not even tracks at all with just some footsteps or only 4 seconds of Namie saying one little sentence. Just so you know.

LET’S DO THE MOTION reminds me of old school 90s hiphop with a great beat and vibe to it. Namie does a pretty good rap in the verses until she starts talking which sounds pretty weird, but the background choir in the chorus does a very nice job. I totally love the music in this track, it’s funky with the guitar riffs and freestyle keyboard solo near the end. I actually like this pretty much for a first full length track.

PRIVATE hasn’t got much going on, especially when it comes to Namie’s nagging vocals right from the very start. But I do like the kind of jungle style of the music with some tribal xylophone sounds and keyboard chords. Namie has another rap part in this track as well, and at this time she was actually better at rapping than singing to be honest so that made the song bearable. Still it should’ve been shorter because five minutes of this is pointless.

So Interlude ~ Ocean way is pretty much all strings, but it’s really pretty and soothing so it’s a nice interlude.

A complete 180 from the interlude is Don’t wanna cry (Eighteen’s Summer Mix), which I kind of always liked and hated both at the same time for years. The track is amazingly catchy with some really funky elements in the percussion, jazzy piano melody, saxophone and funky guitar riffs, but don’t get me started on Namie’s vocals because’s they’re complete junk. The background choir kind of saves her, but makes her vocals sound even more horrible too. I’ll give this track the benefit of the doubt because it’s as catchy as heck.

Rainy DANCE actually becomes quite a depressing song with the sounds of real rain, but it’s a lounge track so I’m not really complaining. I don’t even have many negative thoughts on Namie’s vocals in this track. She’s still a bit off, but she’s improved and the background vocals are so out of place here they also make her sound better during most parts of the track. The song isn’t something very special, but it has its moments.

Every single has got a little remixed version on the album, and so does Chase the Chance (CC Mix), which I thought was her best single of the entire era. It has some flaws, like the music overpowering both Namie and her background singers, but Namie herself comes out so much stronger here. She’s not straining as much as she usually does, so I think considering the rest of the album this one totally rocks.

They decided to make Joy an interlude, Interlude ~ Joy, and even though it’s not something I’d put on repeat the track was better as a full length one on her ‘SWEET 19 BLUES’ single. This just stops out of nowhere while I actually enjoyed the beat.

I’LL JUMP needed a while to take off, it only becomes interesting when the entire arrangement drops in after a boring interlude. Namie has her bad moments of really bad pitching, but her vocals are actually pretty good in the verses. The background vocals make this song a little catchier, but still it’s a pretty generic track.

Since Interlude ~ Scratch Voices is basically all about Namie saying “Wakaranai yo”, I’m gonna skip to i was a fool. It’s a pretty loungey track with some really good percussion and nice saxophone accents. Namie again raps in this song, but I find her performance less interesting and even cheesy this time. The song just flows without anything happening.

I liked the single version of present much more because that featured more of Namie’s cute Japanese talking instead of this pitchy singing hell. I don’t know what she’s done but was this girl on helium or what? The song itsself is actually really pretty and I loved the laid back lounge quality with the saxophone playing in the background, so just ditch the vocals alright.

I didn’t recognize much of the original song in Interlude ~ Don’t wanna cry Symphonic Style and it was over pretty soon after that, but at least it sounded nice and vintage.

The music for You’re my sunshine (Hollywood Mix) is much more lighthearted and carefree than in the original, and again there are many brassy influences in this song. The original speed-up section is featured here as well, and it finally makes sense. Too bad it’s followed by the terrible line ‘I am your sunshine, you are my sunshine‘ which was really terrible, but Namie actually sounds good in the verses. Despite that one line, I might even start to finally like this track.

I gigantic change of style with Body Feels EXIT (Latin House Mix), which features a really nice bongo percussion but terrible repetition of the title words in the first part of the song. It’s a typical long remix made up from fragments and it’s such a shame the song starts at about 4:30… The intro is way too damn long, but at least the musical is really latin and quite catchy. If this track was 3 to 4 minutes shorter, it would’ve been a keeper.

I’ve always liked ’77~ for its soothing, melodious and beachy quality. The strings arrangement in the background is actually really pretty!

SWEET 19 BLUES is a very personal song to Namie, and also one of her better on this album. I like how she sings in a much lower pitch for this track, it suits her so much better. It’s her best vocal performance on the album. The track features some pretty loud percussion, but it sounds quite fine combined with the strings and piano melody.

…soon nineteen is a bit pointless because it’s like an extra to the previous song. An organ plays the melody of SWEET 19 BLUES and then Namie decided to just sing in a really off and childish way. So… did we actually need this?

The last track was a bit of a bummer, but this album was actually a bit better than I expected. Somehow I can understand why it sold so many copies in Japan; the music is so damn good and catchy, Testuya Komuro did an amazing job on all the tracks! At this point in her career, Namie’s music had a loungey, laid back and even jazzy pop style and it just sounds great. The only thing is her damned vocals, which were terrible in some of the tracks. She needed voice lessons BADLY, and thank god everything turned out right some years later. As for SWEET 19 BLUES, it’s a good thing the album grew on me for the last couple of years.

Favorite tracks: LET’S DO THE MOTION | Don’t wanna cry (Eighteen’s Summer Mix) | Chase the Chance (CC Mix) | ’77~ | SWEET 19 BLUES

OVERALL RATING

3 stars

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