BENI – MTV UNplugged

May 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – MTV UNplugged

1. stardust
2. MEMORY
3. 抱きしめて
4. もう二度と・・・|恋焦がれて|サイン|ずっと二人で (medley)
5. Kiss Kiss Kiss
6. Darlin’
7. 桜坂
8. 瞳をとじて
9. 好きだから。
10. KIRA☆KIRA☆
11. 運命の人

♦ ♦ ♦

I was so glad to see BENI planned to release an MTV UNplugged album! I’ve heard a couple of those albums, like Mariah Carey’s, Shakira’s and Alicia Keys’ albums, but only Mariah’s was about just as satisfying as BENI’s album. Now I’m not comparing BENI to Mariah, that would be totally unfair because they’re two completely different singers and their style differs a lot as well, but BENI is a star on her own.
She sang a couple of new songs from her latest album, like 好きだから。, which is the absolute highlight on the album for me with the addition of some really cool percussion. The entire sound is much more acoustic thanks to the idea of this being unplugged, and I probably like this sound even more than the original studio version. She also sang MEMORY, which was surprising because it’s not an A-side an therefore not very well known, but this rendition put this track in a well deserved spotlight. It wasn’t very surprising Darlin’ was included as well, and BENI rocked those high notes in the chorus, her voice live might be even better than on her studio recordings, it has even more personality now.

BENI brought back a lot of older songs from her album BITTER & SWEET, and it’s so cool how she included four of the songs in a real ballad treat: もう二度と・・・|恋焦がれて|サイン|ずっと二人で (medley). The もう二度と・・・ part is very intimate with just an acoustic guitar and the vocals, and after it transits into 恋焦がれて some more instruments join, such as a beautiful violin playing the part of the bells in the original version. The percussion plays a nice and slow tribal rhythm. After a couple of seconds of silence we get the piano intro to サイン, one of my own personal favorites and the strings totally give me the chills here. This last half of the medley was definitely the piano section, because this version of ずっと二人で was also limited to piano only. For everyone who enjoys BENI’s ballads, like I do, this medley track is a real treat.

Other songs from BITTER & SWEET included stardust, which is not one of BENI’s well known songs but it totally kicks ass and I bet she loves to sing it live because it’s an energetic song and a great opener for the album. 抱きしめて really carries that relaxing lounge sound with a little bounce to it that I really love, and it as perfect for the UNplugged album. Kiss Kiss Kiss as an acoustic version is less cutesy than the original track, just like KIRA☆KIRA☆, and even though I love the originals to death the new acoustic versions are such a breath of fresh air and they carry a much more mature sound.

桜坂 and 瞳をとじてwere later to be featured on her COVERS album (this UNplugged album was recorded in December 2011), and thank god she picked the prettiest songs to be featured on this album. I love 桜坂 so much, it’s so emotional and intimate, and it’s so nice she included English on this album too. 瞳をとじて follows that same style, including some pretty emotional lyrics as well and an enchanting arrangement with the piano and strings. She did change the lyrics a bit for the versions on her COVERS album, but this gave a pretty good idea of the songs already.

She closed the album with a beauiful and heart warming version of 運命の人, perfect for an acoustic version and I remember this as being one of the prettiest songs off her FORTUNE album. Very cute how she says thanks to the audience in both English and Japanese, since she speaks both languages and her speaking voice is just beautiful. Very intimate to have included this.

Conclusion: TOTALLY RECOMMENDED !!

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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