Miliyah Kato – TRUE LOVERS

November 22, 2012 at 9:26 PM | Posted in Miliyah Kato | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Miliyah Kato – TRUE LOVERS

1. HEART BEAT
2. Konya wa Boogie Back feat. Shimizu Shota & SHUN
3. LOVERS partII feat. Wakadanna
4. Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de
5. True
6. With U
7. Baby Love
8. Heartbreaker
9. AIAIAI
10. All I Want Is You
11. ROMAN (Album ver.)
12. Itoshi Hito
13. Yuusha-tachi
14. UGLY

♦ ♦ ♦

TRUE LOVERS is the sixth studio album by Japanese singer Miliyah Kato, released on November 21, 2012. The album debuted at #2 on the Oricon Daily Charts on its release day.

Miliyah opens the album with a synth heavy uptempo track, HEART BEAT, which is already a very long track at almost six minutes. It’s a good opening track, it has that typical ‘opening track ambience’ if you know what I mean, so it was a good choice to let this be the first track. They stretched it longer than was necessary, but it’s a very catchy track with fast beats, many synths, good vocals and pretty melodies for both the vocals and instruments. Uplifting!

Konya wa Boogie Back feat. Shimizu Shota & SHUN definitely fits its title with a groovy, laid back sound with nice brass accents every now and then. It’s mellow R&B at its best, and even Shota and SHUN find their way into the song and they can’t ruin it. The track has something nostalgic, it makes me think of Ayu’s earlier music but then much better.

Oeeeh, THE song. At least, everyone’s been talking about it. LOVERS partII feat. Wakadanna is so unlike what I expected, especially since Wakadanna is featured. I didn’t expect a beautiful ballad with the most beautiful combination of all when it comes to instruments in ballad arrangements: the piano and strings. It’s the longest song on the album at almost 7 minutes, but in this case it’s okay. Wakadanna on the other hand, I don’t know yet. He has something I don’t particularly dislike, but I don’t really like it either. I’ll have to get used to him I guess.

Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de is the uptempo song I did not expect at all, considering the title. It has quite a good vibe to it with fast beats, synths and some nice elements of the piano and acoustic guitar. Miliyah’s vocals are as good as ever, but some of the English lyrics she sings are pretty generic, even for a dance song. It just doesn’t seem interesting enough for a chorus, the verses were way better.

Back to the ballads. True is the most emotional approach to the genre yet with Miliyah’s vocals soft and dramatic. I love how it starts off pretty small and intimate, but then the violin and soft fingersnaps and percussion build around it. I knew Miliyah was a good singer and her timbre has something unique, but she definitely improved even more and took her chance to shine with this song. It’s one of my favorites.

I was afraid I was gonna get a ballad overload at this point since With U started like a ballad song but turned out to be uptempo with some minor balladlike sections. Those little parts of the song with just piano and/or strings give it something unique, especially since the rest of the song is pretty generic when compared to some other songs on the album. Still it’s not a bad song at all, even so it’s another good example of how great the mix of dance music with piano and acoustic guitar can be.

Baby Love almost takes me back to the feel Konya wa Boogie Back had; nostalgic lounge R&B with a funky twist. The piano notes (two-layered, how pretty) give it that funky flavor, while the beat and additional background vocals make it more R&B. Nice hybrid. The track is not that long for a Miliyah track, about four minutes long, and it’s exactly the right length for a track like this. It’s already not a real highlight (although it’s a very enjoyable song), if it were longer, it would’ve been dragging.

Heartbreaker is a most interesting track with a nice sound to it that instantly catches my attention. The strings in the background are already a beautiful element in the arrangement, but the echoed effect give the entire track more of a mysterious ambience. It’s especially the case in the verses, which are also the best parts of the song. Miliyah uses the title word a little too much to my liking, but still, not a bad track at all.

Wow, AIAIAI caught me completely off guard. This song is so different from what Miliyah usually does, both in her discography and on this album, since it follows more of a playful pop/rock theme (including edgy, deep vocals). If Miliyah is experimenting, I say she should do this more often since this song is the best Miliyah song I’ve ever heard (partly because of that amazing electric guitar solo <3)! It’s so different, so raw, I’m stunned.

The shortest track on the album at 3:50 minutes, LOL. All I Want Is You follows an R&B power theme, there’s something grand about the sound that I haven’t experienced much before in R&B music. The acoustic and electric guitar add a nice flavor to an arrangement that is mostly dominated by percussion, synths and strings, a combination that once again proves to work. Big love for Miliyah’s vocals here, she shows every aspect of her voice in this song.

ROMAN (Album ver.) is another interesting song when it comes to the arrangement. I love the percussion pattern, how it isn’t very constant and therefore follows a quite interesting R&B sound. Together with the synths in the background it comes pretty close to the sound of my favorite music (something like most of the songs on Xtina’s album ‘Lotus’). Miliyah mostly releases R&B songs and this one fits right in between the others, but still there’s that special flavor. I love it.

The next track is a ballad again, Itoshi Hito, and it’s the first time I’m a little on the fence with some of Miliyah’s vocal parts. I like her timbre, sure, but sometimes she tends to exaggerate a little. I must say, that besides the pretty arrangement with lots of soft elements like strings and piano, this song doesn’t really do anything for me. It’s nice, but it doesn’t give me the goosebumps some of the other tracks did give me.

Yuusha-tachi on the other hand immediately grabs me with its fun Spanish guitar introduction, leading into a lovely R&B song with lots of the same acoustic guitar notes. It’s one of the longer tracks, I believe it’s only just shorter than LOVERS partII, but considering the happy-go-lucky sound of the song I really don’t mind and I’m enjoying this tune to the fullest. It surprised me this was actually the first single for this album, released in March 2011 (!), I hope that means she decided to save this good track for a good album.

To close the album, there’s the acoustic guitar inspired R&B track UGLY. It’s quite like Yuusha-tachi when it comes to the same kind of instruments that inspired the overall sound and both tracks being midtempos. I’m a little on the fence with some of Miliyah’s lyrics in the chorus, like… what’s the point of even singing those cheesy lines… But when I don’t pay attention to that, it’s actually a very enjoyable track and a good album closer. Leaves me wanting more actually.

Damn. I’m speechless guys, really. Literally. I don’t know what to say. I was so convinced that I would dislike this album after I thought two years ago that her album ‘HEAVEN’ was the most generic and uninteresting album ever. Now I have to admit I forgot what the album was like, so I guess I’m gonna have to try again since the last time I listened to that album was in August 2010. ANYWAYS, back to TRUE LOVERS. This album turned out to be sooooo much better than I thought, it was such a 180 from my expectations. I’m so glad I eventually decided to review this album, there are definitely some jams here and some new favorite tracks. Am I willing to give Miliyah another chance because of this album…? HELL YES.

Favorite tracks: HEART BEAT | Konya wa Boogie Back feat. Shimizu Shota & SHUN | LOVERS partII feat. Wakadanna | True | AIAIAI | All I Want Is You | ROMAN (Album ver.) | Yuusha-tachi | UGLY

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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1 Comment »

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  1. For me “ROMAN” is the highlight of the album but it still keeps me wondering why she excluded “Desire”. I know it was on that compilation but still.


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