Adele vs BoA: Someone Like You

June 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM | Posted in !Random!, BoA | Leave a comment

*Post edit*: June has been a really busy month, thanks for the many many visits, you guys almost set a new stats record!

So everyone in this f-ing world knows Adele’s song Someone Like You, and if you don’t you’ve been like dead for the past year or so ;p

Anyway, I just found this amazing (imo) video of BoA singing that song. I didn’t know she sang it at all, but apparently she performed it live in Japan during her 2011 Christmas Show. I think she nailed it, I really do. When you watch this video, just don’t compare her to Adele for they are two completely different singers. Adele’s vocals are more soulful while BoA’s sound more angelic to me (and to admit: she was better at singing the high parts in the chorus).

Watch and be your own judge! =D

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Namie Amuro – Uncontrolled

June 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Namie Amuro – Uncontrolled

1. In The Spotlight (TOKYO)
2. NAKED
3. GO ROUND (‘N ROUND ‘N ROUND)
4. Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!
5. Hot Girls
6. Break It (AL Ver.)
7. Get Myself Back
8. Love Story
9. Let’s Go
10. SINGING “YEAH-OH”
11. Fight Together
12. ONLY YOU
13. Tempest

♦ ♦ ♦

Uncontrolled is the ninth studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on June 27, 2012. The album compiles four singles previously released, “Break It / Get Myself Back”, “NAKED / Fight Together / Tempest”, “Sit! Stay! Wait! Down! / Love Story” and “Go Round / YEAH-OH”. The song “ONLY YOU” was used as the theme song for the “UEFA EURO 2012”.

Damn, I have waited so long for this album!

In The Spotlight (TOKYO) is one of the all-English songs on this album, which is one of the biggest surprises of all, but this first track has another surprise. This could very well turn out to be the biggest dance anthem of 2012 if you ask me. The verses have an amazingly agressive synth arrangement, while the chorus is highly addictive. Namie herself is very good at singing in English, oh my.

The music is the center point in NAKED, and the arrangement is very well developed. Being very energetic, I like its position on the album right behind In The Spotlight (TOKYO). There are some more instrumental parts in this song than usual, with the synths as the best part of all.

Like I said in the single review, the Japanese version of this English track GO ROUND (‘N ROUND ‘N ROUND) was borderline perfection and it still is. A synth heavy track, third uptempo in a row now but the overall sound is too good to pay attention to that tiny detail. Again Namie’s English is top notch and this song is so catchy and uplifting, I love it.

I like to call Sit! Stay! Wait! Down! the ‘Dog Song’, really xD But for a ‘dog song’ it’s so damn catchy, I don’t know how the woman does it, releasing all these addictive songs. After GO ROUND it’s very cool to hear Namie use her lower pitch again in this bouncy track. ‘Good boy, good boy’ ? GOOD GIRL.

Hot Girls is the next new track. The line ‘Hot girls make the world go round‘ is an amazing opening line to another nice uptempo and synth heavy song, in English too. It’s a short track, maybe a little short to develop well enough, but it’s not bad and a good dance/pop song.

Break It (AL Ver.) is like a remix for the original song, released way back in 2010. I kinda miss the original arrangement with the funky guitar riffs, but then again this arrangement fits the overall dance/pop feel of the album much much better. Namie’s vocals come out better as well, loved them.

We immediately get the other B-side of the same single Break It was on: Get Myself Back, the first ballad on the album and a very interesting song. After a lot of uptempo dance/pop tracks a smooth R&B track gets thrown in and I LOVE IT. The beat was the best part of all, being loud and hiphop orientated at first, then fading for a lovely piano, strings and synth based arrangement.

I fell in love with the intro for Love Song, it’s so fragile and intimate. Being the best ballad of 2011 (and now 2012) in my opinion, this song has it all. A smooth fingersnap beat, a lovely piano melody, soothing strings and Namie’s beautiful, deep and solid vocals with an amazing strength!

Let’s Go is the next new track on the album, and very synth heavy from the start. It’s the only new track that’s in Japanese but it’s fierce as hell. Typical dance/pop track but it just wows me, the energy it provides is amazing.

SINGING “YEAH-OH” is ofcourse the English version of YEAH-OH, and to me it was the mysterious song on the GO ROUND/YEAH-OH single. It features another synth and beat heavy arrangement but Namie’s vocals are deeper and the synths are lower pitched to give it that uplifting and yet mysterious feel. “Singing yeaaah-oh, singing yea-ea-eah-oh“!!

Another great uplifting track is Fight Together, in which Namie definitely shows her vocals have developed and strengthened over the past years. What I like about this song is that it has the typical uptempo beats and synths, but some parts are sparked up by brassy instruments and strings. Kinda reminds me of BoA’s ‘fallin’…

The fourth and last new track on the album is the UEFA EURO 2012 theme song ONLY YOU, and due to its purpose I can’t help but compare it to Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’ two years ago. When compared, I have to admit Shakira wins when it comes to the impact, but as an individual song ONLY YOU isn’t bad at all and defintely suitable for the UEFA EURO. It’s uptempo, catchy and very energetic, and I love Namie’s line ‘The only thing that can touch me is you’.

And then we fall into the last track of the album, probably one of the best songs released last year: Tempest. I instantly fell in love with the melody, especially in the verses, and there’s such a great sense of drama to the song. Namie took her vocals to another level as well, she surprised me with her amazing belting in the chorus. Perfect song, and perfect to end the album as well.

I’m gonna keep this short, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS ALBUM. I loved each and every track, I pressed that ‘LOVE’ button on Last FM every time. Namie needs to stop that ‘Queen of Hip-Pop’ thing, now she’s the ‘Queen of Dance/Pop’. She took that genre and nailed it with her many catchy, synth heavy songs, and put in her most beautiful ballads to date as well. Everything combined might give the best album of 2012! Let’s wait for the december posts to determine that, but I’m sure she’ll end up in the top 3 for sure. ALL TRACKS RECOMMENDED.

Favorite tracks: In The Spotlight (TOKYO) | NAKED | GO ROUND (‘N ROUND ‘N ROUND) | Sit! Stay! Wait! Down! | Get Myself Back | Love Song | SINGING “YEAH-OH” | Tempest

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

Ayumi Hamasaki – AUDIENCE

June 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – AUDIENCE

1. AUDIENCE “Dave Ford Mix”
2. SURREAL “Simple MadnesS Remix”
3. AUDIENCE “Keith Litman’s Radio Mix”
4. AUDIENCE “Feelin’ U Mix”
5. AUDIENCE “GENIUS ROCK Big Beat Mix”
6. SURREAL “Paranoid Android Mix”
7. AUDIENCE “Scud Formant Mix”
8. AUDIENCE “HΛL’s Mix 2000”
9. AUDIENCE “Dub’s Floor Remix Transport 004”
10. AUDIENCE “Dave Ford Mix -Instrumental-”
11. SEASONS “Vocal Track”

AUDIENCE is the eighteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on November 1, 2000. It was a recut single from her third studio album Duty, and was limited to 300,000 copies. This single reached #2 on the Oricon charts and sold 268,110 copies in 2000, becoming the #98 single of the year. It charted for eight weeks and sold a total of 292,950 copies.

AUDIENCE “Dave Ford Mix” is actually the album version but w/e. It took me some time to like this song and I’m still a bit on the fence with it since I loved album tracks like ‘SCAR’ more than this one. It’s just a mixture between dance beats and rock elements, although I love the electric guitar solo in the bridge. The chorus is not very special at all, but not completely unenjoyable. Maybe this song still has something I like.

Finally a SURREAL remix, there wasn’t any on its own single and I thought that was kinda strange. But then SURREAL “Simple MadnesS Remix” is pretty hot, although it can become quite a mess at some points, but then a hot mess if you please. It’s fast, and I like the way the music sounds with Ayu’s first verse. The percussion is what attracts me most, very tribal against an agressive synth arrangement.

AUDIENCE “Keith Litman’s Radio Mix” is  bit mainstream and it sounds almost exactly like the original (except or some more synths and instrumental parts), but it’s quite nice and interesting. In some ways it might be even better than the original since it doesn’t have those awkward transitions.

AUDIENCE “Feelin’ U Mix” starts off with an issue: overrepeated parts of lyrics. Then when you get used to it the thing can be quite catchy, mostly due to the fast beat, the synths and the way the piano melody works around this arrangement (nice addition too). Not the best, but not the worst too.

The next remix is one of the few remixes that I remember while the last time I listened to this single was more than a year ago. AUDIENCE “GENIUS ROCK Big Beat Remix” has a rather strange arrangement at some points with some weird pitched instrument, there are some tempo issues between the singing and music and it just doesn’t work at all. The guitar riffs are nicely added, but it doesn’t save this mix.

I love the way SURREAL “Paranoid Android Mix” kicks off with soft strings but then explodes into a hybrid of loud echoed percussion and synths. It’s like the biggest and most agressive electronica mix ever, whoever mixed this is a complete genius because this totally honors the energy of the original song.

The fast synths opening AUDIENCE “Scud Formant Mix” are very nice, it gives the original song a very different twist. It’s a lot faster, but the synths make it unforgettable and very enjoyable. I don’t really like the echoes, but that’s about it. Nothing else can ruin this track for me so it’s quite cool for a remix.

Another remix from HΛL, I’m getting used to it. AUDIENCE “HΛL’S MIX 2000” is quite common by now, and it’s not very original for it combines different elements from previous remixes, like the original arrangement and the echoes from the previous remix. The only thing I like are the extended synths, it reminds me too much of the original (but that’s a good track, sooo… benefit of the doubt).

AUDIENCE “Dub’s Floor Remix Transport 004” is the longest remix on the single, but it’s the one that bores me the least of all. Strange huh? But it’s amazing to hear how the original beat founds its way in this altogether new arrangement. The extended instrumental parts are very catchy and there’s definitely nothing wrong with an 8 minute long remix. Talking about your change of mind..

Being the last single from the Duty era, this was a breath of fresh air after the release of the SURREAL single. The AUDIENCE remixes may not all be perfect, but a lot of them were pretty close and even the new remixes for SURREAL were awesome. Now only the ‘I am’ era is left and I’m soooo done with these ass long singles, DAMN.

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

Ayumi Hamasaki – SURREAL

June 22, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – SURREAL

1. SURREAL “Original Mix”
2. Duty “Eric Kupper Big Room Mix -Radio Edit-”
3. SEASONS “BUMP AND FLEX RADIO EDIT”
4. Duty “Under Lounge club Mix”
5. Duty “nicely nice remix”
6. Duty “STEPPIN’ DUB MIX”
7. Duty “Sky Modulation Mix”
8. Duty “Dub’s mellowtech 002 Remix”
9. Duty “GENIUS BEAT MIX”
10. SURREAL “Original Mix -Instrumental-”

SURREAL is the seventeenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on September 27, 2000 (simultaneously with her tird studio album ‘Duty’). This single reached #1 on the Oricon charts and charted for seven weeks. It sold 417,210 copies, becoming the #60 single of 2000.

SURREAL “Original Mix” has really grown on me since I reviewed her album in September 2010, compared to the other tracks it’s one of the strongest and it even fits the sound she delivers today. A very rocky song, that starts off very soothing and melodic until we go right into the electric guitar influenced chorus. A worthy follow up to the previous A-side ‘SEASONS’.

Since this album was released with the ‘Duty’ album we get a lot of remixes for that track. I like the original, and Duty “Eric Kupper Big Room Mix -Radio Edit-” gives it a little more punch and tempo. There’s a lot of synths in this remix but it fit the song very well. It tends to drag after a while, but it’s not bad actually.

Another SEASONS remix: SEASONS “BUMP AND FLEX RADIO EDIT”. It has a relaxed beat, a bit urban, but it doesn’t sound like SEASONS at all since they just featured some small parts of Ayu’s original vocals and made them sound like random adlibbings. They shouldn’t give this remix the name SEASONS, it’s a disgrace.

Duty “Under Lounge club mix” is definitely the club remix for this single like the name suggests and I really like it! It’s quite fast paced, the vocals are nicely remixed as well though there’s no copy and paste, and the synths play an agressive but catchy melody. Ayu herself gets overpowered by the music at some times, but overall this remix is very very nice.

Duty “nicely nice remix” is not all that ‘nicely nice’, actually pretty straight forward and it drags like hell. The big surprise is the soft male vocals chanting with Ayu throughout the remix, but the rest of the mix is quite relaxed and not really going anywhere.

The next remix starts off with some copy and pasting considering Ayu’s lyrics, but the beat that follows is pretty hot. Duty “STEPPIN’ DUB MIX” is a heavier remix when it comes to the synths and the deep and creepy subwoofer effects. The remix is very danceable if you can call it that way, there’s a lot of repetition but still the original song is recognizeable.

Duty “Sky Modulation Mix” has some pretty catchy synth riffs during the introduction, and as soon as Ayu herself drops in the mix takes on a rather mysterious ambience, a bit slow at first but then it really builds up. It gets a little more electronica punch to it eventually, but still it’s so repetitive and it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s 8 minutes of the same old stuff, boring.

Duty “Dub’s mellowtech 002 Mix” is the other ass long remix, but the flow is a lot better and it has something funky to it that other tracks surely don’t have. I like the constant handclap beat in the background and how it goes against the synths. There are a lot of instrumental parts, but the parts where Ayu does sing actually include her verses as well which is really cool. Could’ve been a bit shorter, but not bad at all.

Duty “GENIUS BEAT MIX” is, quite surprisingly, a hiphop remix with a really strong beat. The beat is indeed genius, but the melody doesn’t really fit the signing melody, it doesn’t flow together all that well. Such a bummer, this could’ve been quite the track if only that melody ha a little variation…

SURREAL is, for a single that has been released simultaneously with her third album, a disappointment to me. Some remixes were good, but others were a complete miss or I was just a bit on the fence with them. Either way, they didn’t really win me over. Sad, because the A-side is a really cool track, it should’ve gotten a remix instead of 7 Duty remixes. Too bad Ayu, too bad.

OVERALL RATING

2 stars

Ayumi Hamasaki – SEASONS

June 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki -SEASONS

1. SEASONS “Original Mix”
2. SEASONS “Acoustic Orchestra Version”
3. TO BE (Acoustic Version)
4. SEASONS “so happy so sad mix”
5. SEASONS “Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix”
6. SEASONS “Rays of Light Mix”
7. SEASONS “Neutralize: Final Attack Mix”
8. SEASONS “D-Z BLUE SUNBEAM MIX”
9. SEASONS “Dub’s Rain of duv Remix”
10. SEASONS “Original Mix -Instrumental-”
11. ever free “HΛL’s MIX 2000″

SEASONS is the sixteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on June 7, 2000. This single reached #1 on the Oricon charts and sold 1,362,740 copies in 2000, becoming the #5 single of the year. It charted for 21 weeks and sold a total of 1,367,400 copies.

In my opinion, SEASONS “Original Mix” is one of Ayu’s prettiest songs ever released. It’s a beautiful ballad with just a little bit of power and dramatics to it, and I love how the piano melody flows through the entire song. Ayu’s vocals are a little high pitched in the chorus, but she has a wonderful timbre in the verses. The electric guitar solo in the bridge ties everything together into an amazing track. I adore this song.

I’m so happy to find SEASONS “Acoustic Orchestra Version” on this single, I love Ayu’s acoustic orchestra versions. This one is all about the piano melody and the violins that flow right with it. The background vocals that harmonize with Ayu’s main vocals come out even better this time. The strings give the song so much of a melancholic ambience, very fitting.

Another acoustic version! TO BE (Acoustic Version) is a surprise because it’s an older song from the previous era, but it fits perfectly on this single because it’s also a slow (ballad-ish) song and perfect for an all guitar acoustic version. It doesn’t feature Ayu’s best vocals, also a little high pitched, but they’re not that bad either so I enjoyed this version very much!

And those songs pretty much closed off the slow section. SEASONS “so happy so sad mix” is the first fast paced remix. That’s a bit strange for me at first since the original song is a ballad, but it can handle this too. The mix is well done, very ethereal, but still there’s not much going on in the song and some of the mixed adlibs sound a little weird. But overall quite nice.

SEASONS “Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix” is a eurobeat remix, and although the arrangement is pretty fast itsself, the vocals become a little slower paced. But that’s okay, the arrangement has enough punch to it for me to truly enjoy it. The synths in the chorus are especially very nice and they go well with the vocals to keep the sense of melancholy to the song.

SEASONS “Rays of Light mix” is a typical club mix with a long introduction, but the new arrangement definitely gives the song a new touch. It kinda takes away the emotional ambience though, but it’s not that bad.

Now I see how SEASONS “Neutralize Final Attack Mix” got its title, the entire introduction is a mess. And it doesn’t really get better after that. Lyrics are repeated too often, they’re taken out of their original vibe. Actually, I pretty much hate this one.

Going trance with SEASONS “D-Z BLUE SUNBEAM MIX” and it’s, strangely enough, awesome, especially because of the previous disaster. It reminded me a bit of Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix, but then much better because this is more extended and leads to an amazing ending. The melody of the original is somehow kept a bit, but the synths found their way around it perfectly. This is the perfect remix for SEASONS.

Too bad SEASONS “Dub’s Rain of duv Remix” falls a little flat, it’s monotonous and does nothing for the original as well. I like the fact that it has a reggae sound, it could’ve fit the song if the arrangement was done a bit better.

It’s nice to see the B-side of the ‘vogue’ single got its own HΛL remix: ever free “HΛL’s MIX 2000”. The original was so short so luckily this remix is more of an extended version. It’s very ethereal, the ambience is quite magical with the beauiful strings arrangement. Sometimes I’m on the fence with HΛL’s creations but this time he won me over.

Although SEASONS received the same rating as ‘Far away’, it’s slightly better due to better remixes. There were some misses on this single too, but just two of them, out of ten tracks. Now that’s quite amazing and they weren’t even hideous or anything. I just love the original song and every remix that takes on that lovely dramatic ambience and sticks to the melody. Every other creation than that either had to be an eye opener or just bad.

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

Ayumi Hamasaki – Far away

June 19, 2012 at 8:35 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – Far away

1. Far away “Original Mix”
2. Far away “CRAFTY Remix”
3. Far away “Main Radio Mix”
4. appears “Junior’s Club Mix”
5. Far away “HΛL’s MIX 2000”
6. Far away “Ocean View Remix”
7. End roll “da urban maestro mix”
8. Far away “Huge mutual-tried mix”
9. Far away “POP ‘e.a.’ Mix II”
10. Far away “Dub’s Mute & Feedback Remix”
11. Far away “Original Mix -Instrumental-”

Far away is the fifteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on May 17, 2000. This single reached #2 on the Oricon charts and charted for 13 weeks. It sold 510,460 copies, becoming the #43 single of 2000.

The male vocalist constantly chanting ‘now’ in the opening phase of Far away “Original Mix”, and after that throughout the song, is really annoying but I can live with it since the rest of the song is quite okay. It’s a strong track, too heavy to be called a ballad but not very uptempo either. It does take on a bit of a winter ballad ambience during the middle section of the song though, and the entire feel of the song is very magical. I like the heavier details of the electric guitar in the background, while the piano plays a much lighter melody. Very good track.

In my opinion, Far away “CRAFTY Remix” starts off with some pretty odd moaning, but it turns out to be an amazing electro remix with a futuristic sound to it which I really love. There’s a lot of the original song in there, not much copying and pasting, but the addition of the altered male vocals is great.

The Far away “Main Radio Mix” is a lot faster and heavier, moving more towards the trance genre. There’s a lot of synths and high hat in this remix, and it’s a little too bad those instruments sometimes overpower Ayu’s vocals, especially the synths. But overall, this is a very strong and cool remix again.

It seems like we’ll never get rid of ‘appears’, and I’ve heard that song so many times I know it by heart and it starts to irritate me. And oh look, the remix is almost ten minutes long! Joy. appears “Junior’s Club Mix” takes a damn long time to get starte but the introduction sounds like a nice trance/samba mix. Heavy synths come in, and Ayu herself doesn’t show up until three minutes. Quite an empty remix, butI kinda like the little samba elements.

Far away “HΛL’s MIX 2000” is much heavier then I expected it to be! This remix has such a fast and loud beat, the electric guitar is involved and there’s also a synth melody somewhere in the background, damn! That’s a lot! But it sure kicks ass. It’s not a remix I would listen to very often because it kinda blows up my head, but still HΛL did a good job.

The next remix is such a breath of fresh hear after the previous explosion. Far away “Ocean View Remix” is a very chill R&B remix with a nice deep beat to it and some electric guitar and synth details somewhere in the background, but very softly. It tends to get a bit boring after a while, but still I like it because of it’s unique sound compared to the rest of the remixes.

End roll “da urban maestro mix” is also a pretty nice addition to this single, for I loved the original to death. It’s like the previous track in some wa, very urban and R&B-ish, but it’s a lot faster and has more punch to it. The piano chords were amazing, it gave the original such a twist.

Far away ‘Huge mutual-tried mix” started off like a 90s Nintendo theme song, but who cares, it’s cute. That cute Nintendo style keeps going throughout the track, also including some phone rings and a deep beat. It sounds a little dated thanks to those little synths riffs and the remix is very short at a little over three minutes, but it’s very nice.

In Far away “POP ‘e.a.’ Mix II” the beat is a lot faster, it has very nice synth accents and they gave the singing melody a different timing at one point which makes it sound very different from the original as well. I guess I’m in a remix mood at the moment because I seem to like this one pretty much. Not that it’s something special, I just don’t hate it at all.

The introduction to Far away “Dub’s Mute & Feedback Remix” started out pretty smooth, but I laughed my ass off when they mixed in the ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ theme song as a whistle sound!! xD  The rest of the remix has a sort of reggae island vibe which was very enjoyable, although it tends to drag after a while. But there isn’t another track like this one, it was pretty awesome thanks to that little whistle theme!

Surprisingly enough, I think Far away is so much better than Ayu’s previous single vogue, really. The remixes on this single were waaaay better, the arrangements flowed better and there wasn’t a single one that featured that annoying copy-and-paste strategy. Some of the remixes were quite relaxing, either R&B or reggae, but the faster techno and electro remixes were very good as well. I love this single!

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

Snow White and the Huntsman

June 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Posted in !Film reviews! | Leave a comment

FILM REVIEW
Snow White and the Huntsman

Released: June 1, 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Category: action, fantasy

With: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Spruell, Sam Caflin a.o.

Plot:
Snow White is the beautiful princess of Tabor, with raven black hair, a skin white as snow and lips red as a rose. After her mother dies, her father, King Magnus, marries Ravenna, a beautiful woman he saved from the Dark Army. After she becomes his wife, Ravenna turns out to be a the Dark Army’s master, a malicious woman in search of power and eternal youth, by drawing the younth from young women through her Magic Mirror. On their wedding night, Ravenna kills King Magnus and prepares to take over the kingdom. The young Snow White is being locked away in the North Tower.

Fifteen years later, Ravenna finds out that Snow White’s beauty has surpassed her own, and she must consume the girl’s heart to obtain eternal youth and beauty. She orders her brother, Finn, to bring her Snow White, but Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest where they ultimately lose her trail. Furious, Ravenna sends for the Huntsman, a man who once lost his wife and is still grieving. Ravenna promises to bring his wife back if the Huntsman gives her Snow White’s heart. If he refuses, he will be executed.
What Ravenna doesn’t know, is that Snow White and the Huntsman form a pact with seven dwarves to undo the kingdom of her malicious power.

Review:
Although there were some minor problems with the story (the scene with the apple was pasted in very badly, there wasn’t any logic in it), Snow White and the Huntsman is an amazing movie. It features beautiful special effects in the first place, especially Ravenna’s Magic Mirror and Snow White’s illusions in the Dark Forest. Creepy, but cool.
The acting was the pinnacle of the movie, with Kristen Stewart as the biggest surprise. She managed to obtain a nearly flawless British accent (probably thanks to RPatz?), and she finally got rid of her Bella face: she actually shows some emotion in this movie and her acting is top notch. Charlize Theron plays a frightening Ravenna, her anger is very convincing and she scared the hell out of me. Chris Hemsworth surpassed his Thor imagine in my opinion by playing the rugged but attractive huntsman, who also appears to have an unexpected softer side to him. Chris contrasted the emotion and agression perfectly, resulting in a very strong character.
I LOVE THIS MOVIE, it’s a real recommendation!


Trailer

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

Ayumi Hamasaki – vogue

June 18, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – vogue

1. vogue “Original Mix”
2. vogue “HΛL’s MIX 2000”
3. too late “Soul Solution Remix”
4. vogue “Dub’s mellowtech Remix”
5. vogue “Groove That Soul Mix”
6. vogue “400BPM Fatback Mix”
7. WHATEVER “FPM’s WINTER BOSSA”
8. vogue “pandart sasanooha mix”
9. vogue “Original Mix -Instrumental-”
10. ever free

vogue is the fourteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on April 26, 2000. This single reached #3 on the Oricon charts and charted for 17 weeks. It sold 767,660 copies, becoming the #23 single of 2000.

It’s kinda funny to hear how Ayu’s experimenting with banghra for vogue, a track that really grew on me since I first heard it and definitely since I reviewed the ‘Duty’ album back in September 2010 (damn, long ago). What I love most about this track is the unique ambience that the tribal percussion and Indian guitar (something like a sitar? Correct me if I’m wrong) create. This song is so different from the previous era, and a very welcome change. Vocals could’ve been more varied and a little bit better though, but still not bad.

Remixes, remixes, remixes, OH MY. HΛL took our lovely banghra song and made vogue “HΛL’s MIX 2000″ into an interesting rock/dance hybrid. Too bad it lost that amazingly cool banghra vibe and it just can’t find it’s own beat. There isn’t really a highlight in this remix or something that pops out, but what I do like is that HΛL mixed some electric guitar riffs into the background while synths play clearly over that.

I laughed my ass off during the introduction of too late “Soul Solution Remix”, because Ayu’s high chanting (in a rather strange voice) sounded something like ‘keelpijn’, which is the Dutch word for ‘sore throat’ xD  But besides that, it’s not only great they brought back ‘too late’, this remix is pretty hot if you forget about that introduction! There’s a sense of mystery about this mix at some points and then it suddenly bursts into this joyful trance bash. Kinda like it.

vogue “Dub’s mellowtech Remix” is quite a relaxed remix for a dub, actually nice for a change. It’s mostly synths with soft dance beats in the background, and although I like the flow of the remix, it can get a little repetitive after a while. There isn’t much variety in the melody, which is kind of a bummer but the remix is not bad, thank god it’s not a fast ‘BUMP-BUMP-BUMP- one if you know what I mean (damn that was definitely jargon xD). Boring.

vogue “Groove That Soul Mix” first had a kind of slight Brazilian ambience, but then they mixed in piano and strings that gave it more of a ‘pop song extended’ vibe. The piano is actually what makes this remix ‘groovy’ (if you have to explain the title, Jade…) and the strings give the original song a 180 twist although it made me think of Spice Girls music. Still this is the best remix I encountered so far!

If I have to be really honest now, I think vogue “400BPM Fatback Mix” is downright annoying. It’s just a complete mess! Everything was thrown together into some kind of chaos that is supposed to be musical, but every section of the song features elements from different instruments, the background music doesn’t really fit Ayu’s singing melody and there’s simply too much distortion in both music and vocals to fully enjoy this remix. And I could kill the last 20 seconds…

WHATEVER “FPM’s WINTER BOSSA” doesn’t sound wintery to me at all, but that could just be my crazy mind. To me, this sounds like a relaxing beach vibe, like Ayu’s walking on the beach of Hawaii or something. It’s too tropical, but oh well, go ahead and laugh ;p   I didn’t really like WHATEVER and the song actually started to make me sick at this point, but this remix manages to turn the tide and bring it back into the spotlight.

I remember pandart sasanooha doing the remix for ‘from your letter’ a couple of singles ago and that remix was my guilty pleasure, so I was very curious about vogue “pandart sasanooha mix”. It features the typical elements for a remix of this kind: the background conversations, some strange elements (this time some strings playing a rather interesting melody and the addition of a saxophone) and very heavy percussion. Too bad Ayu sometimes gets overshadowed by the music but it’s another nice last of pandart sasanooha here.

ever free is the long awaited B-side on this single. It’s a ballad and it starts off pretty soothing, much in contrast to the A-side, and it develops into one of the powerful kind of ballads Ayu does with so much dedication. It’s a track that comes off as a bit short (though being almost four minutes long), probably due to some long instrumental parts with an electric guitar solo and Ayu’s backing vocals softly adlibbing, but this could’ve well replaced one of the more plain tracks on the ‘Duty’ album.

vogue is, in conclusion, not one of her best singles if you look at the complete single, but if you take the A-side individually (and the B-side), Ayu delivered something strong here. She stepped out of the box and went banghra, which was probably among the first signs of her experimenting with other genres. There were some remixes on this single that I really liked, and that gave a completely different feel to the original tracks, and one or two of them were complete shizz. So… I should say interesting?

OVERALL RATING

3½ stars

 

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

June 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Posted in Lana Del Rey | 3 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

1. Born To Die
2. Off To The Races
3. Blue Jeans
4. Video Games
5. Diet Mountain Dew
6. National Anthem
7. Dark Paradise
8. Radio
9. Carmen
10. Million Dollar Man
11. Summertime Sadness
12. This Is What Makes Us Girls

♦ ♦ ♦

Born To Die is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, released on January 27, 2012. The album was released to mixed reviews but topped the charts in 9 countries and was certified 2x Platinum in France and Australia. The album had sold over 1,500,000 copies as of February 29, 2012.

I didn’t like Lana Del Rey instantly, but Born To Die was the first song I was actually drawn to. Strings lead into a soft hiphop beat with Lana and a male vocalist introducing the track. True, Lana’s voice is a bit monotonous, but since the song is pretty haunting itsself it completely fits. The chorus is my favorite part when the strings come in again and Lana steps away from her lower pitch for a second when she sings ‘Can we take a walk on the wild side, let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain‘. This is a goosebump track and a good album opener.

Off To The Races comes off as a bit creepy to me, but it’s all in a positive sense. In this track Lana immediately shows another side of her than I know from tracks like Born To Die and Video Games, her vocals are higher pitched, they have more personality at times and I love how they mixed with the bumping hiphop beat. The male screaming ‘WOW!’ every now and then adds to how catchy the song actually is. This song is filled with life, mostly thanks to Lana’s amazing high vocals (which I didn’t know she had).

The male shrieking doesn’t really fit the laid back quality of Blue Jeans, but I did really like the guitar plucking, very rock ‘n’ roll but still the song is urban. Her lyrics also sent me back to the rock ‘n’ roll age when she mentions James Dean. There’s a little goosebump moment when Lana sings ‘I will love you till the end of time, I would wait a million years‘, it’s beautiful. The song kinda steps out of the ballad zone for a moment when percussion comes in for the bridge, which is the point where you feel the tension in the song building up.

Video Games was ofcourse the first song I heard, and I thought it was pretty bad, only because of her vocals. I didn’t really give it much of a listen until now and I must say I can appreciate more now in the context of the rest of the album. The song has an enchanting ambience, thanks to church bells, a harp and soft strings in the background. As the song progresses, it builds up and more little instrumental details mix in. Lana’s voice is breahty when she sings ‘Heaven is a place on earth with you, tell me all the things you wanna do‘, one of my favorite parts in the song.

Lana’s gangster side comes out again with Diet Mountain Dew when she chants ‘You’re no good for me, baby you’re no good for me, you’re no good for me, but baby I want you, I want you‘. The hiphop beat is very powerful, but the piano and strings are soft and the guitar riffs remind me of 50s rock ‘n’ roll again, so that’s a great hybrid. There’s a lot in this song that makes it catchy: her chanting, the arrangement, the lyrics. It’s a song you have to love when you listen to the album.

National Anthem opens with a lovely strings arrangement and firework sounds, but if you ask me this song is pretty dark hiphop. Lana raps her lyrics almost all the way through, but she handles it with flair, especially when she says ‘I’m your national anthem, God you’re so handsome, take me to the Hamptons, Bugatti Veyron‘. I’m a hiphop lover and Lana’s take on it amazes me. I love the chorus when the background vocals sing while Lana contrasts her rap with it and the strings arrangement build up. Never thought I would actually love it.

Dark Paradise is the highlight of the album according to a lot of people, but in my honest opinion it’s ‘just’ one of them. The echoed percussion is very haunting, but the strings are soothing and the singing melody is attractive (‘Every time I close my eyes, it’s like a dark paradise. No one compares to you, I’m scared that you won’t be wating on the other side‘). There is almost a sense of magic in this song like there is in no other, it’s laid back but still pulling you and enchanting you.

The next song is supposed to be the album’s summer anthem, and although it’s not really summer-ish in my opinion, it is when you compare it to the rest of the album. Radio has haunting verses, but the chorus take it to a more lighthearted level ( ‘Now my life is sweet like cinnamon, like a fucking dream I’m living it‘) while Lana sings in a high pitched and airy voice. As the song progesses it gets better and better, and the repeated chorus keeps building up towards the end and the entire song becomes extremely infectuous.

Carmen is the first song that wasn’t a real standout track to me, although it has its moments. It’s a real sadcore song about a girl called Carmen and it tells her moving story. There’s not anything that can make this song catchy to me, the arrangement stays constant all the way through, but the haunting quality and sad lyrics are quite compelling. The spoken French in the bridge adds something unique as well. Not the best track, not the worst.

Lana steps into the jazz zone with this song in triple time. Million Dollar Man is a very nice creation, very well produced with an attractive mix of piano melodies, echoed percussion and soft strings. Lana’s vocals are the real highlight of the song, very sultry and emotional at some points. I love when she sings ‘One for the money, two for the show, I love you honey, I’m ready I’m ready to go‘ against that building up arrangement. Unique track and definitely one of the best.

The thing I noticed most about Summertime Sadness was the echoeing marching drum beat that was really appealing, but it gets really interesting when the beat goes faster in the second chorus. It makes it a little bit more uptempo, and that’s exactly what I need at this point. The previous songs were all sadcore songs, I need something with a beat, and this song grants my wish in some way. The chorus is repeated often, but the singing melody, lovely strings and marching drums make it pretty catchy after a couple of times.

This Is What Makes Us Girls grants that craving for beats even more. It’s a relaxed song set to a loud beat that draws a little from hiphop again, and it’s about a time we all know or knew well (especially when you’re a girl): the time when your were sixteen years old. Rebellious but girly, a theme that I even heard in her vocals during this track while she reminisces her teenage years with ‘the only friends she ever had’. It’s a song that screams ‘Just go ahead and enjoy life, be a girl to the fullest’.

Without You is both light and emotional at the same time, and if you ask me it’s different from the rest of the tracks. The strings are enchanting, the percussion plays firm in the background while Lana’s vocals are higher pitched and quite fragile in contrast to that firm beat. I love her lines ‘Hello, hello, ca-can you hear me, I can be your China doll if you want to see me fall‘. It’s a song that stays stuck in your head for a while thanks to the lighthearted elements.

Although personally I thought the title didn’t imply it, Lolita is actually one of the darkest songs on the album, very haunting and mysterious. It’s an interesting song due to the very nice hiphop beat, screams in the background and Lana’s sultry and playful (sing-song) vocals. The playfulness of her vocals and the echoed/distorted effects at some points actually add to the mysterious ambience of the song.

Lucky Ones is the last track and it immediately caught my attention with its magical ballad ambience and Lana’s high pitched vocals singing to the deep bass beat, soft strings and church bells. This track carries a lighter feel, especially when placed right after Lolita. Her vocals are angelic and celestial, a complete change from the rest of the album. No darkness, no dark side of love, but happiness and soft music. This track is one of the best on the album, just in time.

Okay, so now I’m sitting here with my mouth wide open like a freaking codfish because I ACTUALLY LIKE LANA DEL REY o.O  There was only one song I liked a little less than the rest, and even that one wasn’t bad at all. There are some moments on the album I wished for a little change, but I wasn’t ever bored, not even by her vocals (which I expected to be dull and plain but they weren’t). Lana has a real talent, her music is interesting and unique and she kept me listening for 15 tracks, that’s special. I’ve only experienced that with Lady Gaga’s first album, that one also had numerous great tracks that were almost all memorable. Lana really showed me what she’s all about, and I’ll be watching her from now on!

Favorite tracks: Born To Die | Off To The Races | Blue Jeans | Video Games | Diet Mountain Dew | National Anthem | Dark Paradise | Million Dollar Man | Without You | Lucky Ones

OVERALL RATING

stars

Post of happiness

June 14, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Posted in !Random! | Leave a comment

Graduated!!

I’m so happy I made it, I passed all the exams! Not every grade was perfect, but I made it and I wasn’t even close to failing! So now I’ll have to wait until July 2 (my 18th birthday, what a coincidence) until I get my diploma!

I’m so happy =D

Love, Jade ~

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