BENI – COVERS 2

November 7, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – COVERS 2

1. Lovers Again
2. Shiroi Koibitotachi
3. Utautai no Ballad
4. PIECES OF A DREAM
5. Rakuen
6. Cherry
7. Christmas ・Eve
8. Hajimari wa Itusmo Ame
9. I LOVE YOU
10. Chiisana Koi no Uta
11. Seppun
12. Towa ni
13. Squall

♦ ♦ ♦

COVERS 2 is the second cover album and tenth album overall by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on November 7, 2012. It is a Japanese to English cover album that includes covers of songs by Japanese male singers, translated from their original songs to this album.

Another album I’ve been waiting for for a very long time. Lovers Again is the first song, an English cover of EXILE’s song. BENI definitely gave it her own R&B touch with a lot of handclaps, bass and strings, which always makes for a great arrangement in her music. I’m not gonna have any comments on her English since BENI is half-American and her English is therefore perfect. I’m not sure whether this song is the perfect album opener but as an individual track it works fine for me.

Shiroi Koibitotachi opens very cutely and that cute ambience keeps on going throughout the song. It’s one of those typical lovely BENI ballads with a lot of bells, soft percussion, guitars and piano. BENI’s angelic vocals add to the overall feel of the song, making it one of her better COVERS songs in my opinion. I have to give her and her team credit for making this song perfect for her, it’s a Kuwata Keisuke song but this version has BENI written all over.

What kind of song would Utautai no Ballad be? Well, hmm, let me think, a ballad perhaps? Yep. But other than the previous ballad, this is and even slower and more intimate one with dramatic melodies from the strings and piano accompanying BENI’s light voice. Some soft drums drop in later in the song to give it even more of a punch, so the overall feel of this ballad really appealed to me and moved me very much. My favorite until now ❤

Back to the uptempo songs, we have PIECES OF A DREAM, originally by CHEMISTRY. I must say it’s quite a generic BENI song, but it has its moments. She filled this song with nice synth riffs and an overall urban feel that she always pulls of perfectly, but the best part of this track is her vocals. Darn, this girl can sing. I always love how BENI sings with so much dedication and can transcend easily from lower notes to higher ones. Vocally, a very good track.

A Ken Hirai song in R&B/Hiphop style, what…? Rakuen features an amazingly deep beat I haven’t heard yet on this album, togther with the strumming of some pretty acoustic guitars. Somehow, even though this song also is pretty generic for a BENI song, I like this track more than PIECES OF A DREAM. The reason for that is that this song moves me more and I like the arrangement so much better.

Cherry is quite a cute song with those pretty harp chords in the background. The original by Spitz was awesome for a 1996 song, I enjoyed the original very much, but again BENI poured some of her own personal sauce over the song and made it poppier and cuter. I love it when she sings ‘I love you // You give me reason to be strong‘ in the chorus, both her vocals and vocal melodies are great. Love this track.

It’s November and I’m listening to a song called Christmas ・Eve, but whatever, it’s an edgy take on a Christmas-like song which is pretty cool. BENI often refers to ‘Silent night, holy night’ in the lyrics, a traditional song, but BENI’s Christmas songs are ofcourse way more modern than that with a lot of blazing synths and beats. Whenever a song makes me look forward to Christmas, it’s a good song, and it’s exactly what this song embodies.

Hajimari wa Itsumo Ame is the next ballad on the album, or at least a very calm and peaceful track since it’s not really the emotional ballad type. The lyrics are very pretty, and the riffs of the acoustic guitar in the background are close to giving me goosebumps, but then something about this song is holding me back. I mean, it’s a nice song and it really has potential, but there’s something about it that doesn’t quite make it memorable or as perfect as some of the other BENI tracks that sound like this one.

A song that can be called a real ballad is I LOVE YOU. I love how the song focuses on the beautiful lyrics and BENI’s vocals, with the music being emotional and moving but yet very simple with just strings, piano and very soft percussion. The song is like a dedication to the love of your life, everything about it is right and when it comes down to making a choice about which ballad is best, I think I might consider this beautiful creation here. Pure perfection ❤

OMG YES. Chiisana Koi no Uta is one of the songs that has been my eargasm since I heard Koda Kumi’s version on her covers album, so… BATTLE. Kuu receives more points for her emotional performance, but then… BENI gets all the credit for the rest. The music is poppy, even happy, a little more uptempo that Kuu’s version, and the fact that this version was sung in a higher register also counts. And ofcourse the fact that I can understand what the song is about is important. PERFECTION, period. Kuu, I love you, but you’ve been beaten.

Seppun can’t top Chiisana ofcourse, but what I do like is that it takes on a funkier style. Since no other song on this album had that style, you can call this a first-timer. I can’t say this song does anything else for me than capturing my attention because of those funky guitars in the background, it flows too well and there aren’t any highlights for me. It’s decent, but there are better songs.

Towa ni has a nice sound with the blazing synths and deep bass in the background, if it was even deeper it would’ve been a nod to dubstep if you ask me. It’s sounds just like any other song you can find on a BENI album, but in the context of this album it is an eye-opener. There’s something about the flow and feel of the song that completely takes me in, it’s stunning, and I can definitely recommend this track even though it’s one of the last tracks on the album.

The last song on this album is a moving ballad called Squall, with BENI being accompanied by just a piano, strings and acoustic guitars. Together with the beautiful and emotional lyrics, it makes for one of the most beautiful ballads on this album. It captured me from the very first note to the last, showing how perfect BENI’s music can really be for the lasy time on this album. Because of that, it’s the perfect album closer and it actually makes me want more songs like this from BENI!

Okay, here’s the thing: I LOVE everything BENI does, every song of hers is special but some sound more like her older stuff and therefore isn’t as special as the rest of the songs on the album. Still, they didn’t kill it. In fact, I’m pretty satisfied with this album. Although it’s just a COVERS album, you can easily hear BENI dedicated herself to it to the fullest and put everything she has into the album. Some of the tracks, like Chiisana Koi no Uta and Cherry, outshine some of the other tracks with their perfection and incredibly catchy ambience. So, I guess I can be proud of BENI, but still this album wasn’t the perfect creation that COVERS 1 was.

Favorite tracks: Shiroi Koibitotachi | Utautai no Ballad | Rakuen | Cherry | I LOVE YOU | Chiisana Koi no Uta | Towa ni | Squall

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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