BENI – Konayuki

November 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Konayuki

1. Konayuki
2. Konayuki instrumental

Konayuki is the twenty-sixth single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on November 20, 2013. The song is a cover of the Remioromen song of the same name.

Konayuki will appear on COVERS 3 (to be released on December 18, 2013), so ofcourse this is the English version of the song. BENI made the song into a real winter midtempo ballad. I like how the arrangement incorporates both synths to make it a bit poppy, while in the background you clearly hear some chimes and later strings for more ambience. BENI’s vocals are very solid and her belting in the chorus is very controlled and appealing. She made some beautiful new lyrics for this song as well. Can’t wait to hear this again on the album and I really want to know now if the other songs will be as good as this one!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Advertisements

Demi Lovato – Don’t Forget

November 16, 2013 at 4:34 PM | Posted in Demi Lovato | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Demi Lovato – Don’t Forget

1. La La Land
2. Get Back
3. Trainwreck
4. Party
5. On The Line (feat. The Jonas Brothers)
6. Don’t Forget
7. Gonna Get Caught
8. Two Worlds Collide
9. The Middle
10. Until You’re Mine
11. Believe In Me

♦ ♦ ♦

Don’t Forget is the debut album by American singer Demi Lovato, released on September 23, 2008. The album peaked at #2 on the US Billboard 200 and received a Gold Certification in the United States.

So let’s go back to 2008 when Demi was just a mini-Demi and she was a pop/rock artist. La La Land is a very good song to kick off the album with since it deals with her not wanting to be famous as ‘Sonny Munroe’ on the Disney TV show ‘Sonny With A Chance’. It’s a very strong and heavy song with some punk rock elements, especially near the end of the song. It also instantly shows the amazing set of pipes Demi has. It’s one of my favorite ‘early-Demi songs’!

So this album is filled with guitar-driven pop/rock songs that are all quite catchy and stuff, so sometimes I can cut a little more to the chase than I normally do. Get Back is one of those infectuous songs with a very memorable chorus that is bound to stay with you after just one listen. It doesn’t hold back on the heaviness that La La Land had either, it’s the typical ‘former Disney star rock song’ but that doesn’t make it less enjoyable!

Trainwreck takes it a little easier than the previous two tracks, but just slightly. It also comes off as a bit lighter even though the lyrics aren’t that uplifting. Demi’s vocals are less focused on the belting here for most of the time, showing off she sounds great with ‘normal singing’ as well. Her vocals near the end of the song are impressingly vulnerable even, ending the song on a more peaceful note for a change.

Okay now I expect Party to be quite the superficial and meaningless song when it comes to the lyrical content, but at least the music is very good. It’s funkier and more oldschool, somehow reminding me of some 1960s rock music that the Beatles did. Demi’s vocals are very solid belting out the lyrics in the chorus, while keeping it slick and smaller in the verses. I admit it, it’s not as bad as I expected.

On The Line (feat. The Jonas Brothers) is a collaboration that just had to happen on this album because 1. Demi used to date Joe, and 2. JB co-wrote almost all the songs on the album. Most of the time this is Demi and Nick singing together with some occassional vocals by Joe, but they all sound great together and really nailed their performances. JB also knew how to make the music sound great since this song just kicks major ass, also because of the lyrics.

Then we get into the title track, which is also the most emotional and personal track on the album. Don’t Forget used to be the only Demi song I knew back in the day, before I discovered how awesome she really is. But still I kept on putting this song on replay because it’s one of her best early efforts. Starting off small and adding more drums and guitars to the arrangement, before finally letting everything go and going into the last chorus full speed ahead. This song features Demi’s best vocals on the entire album, make sure you listen to this one.

Heading straight back into the upbeat pop/rock songs, or rather power-pop when it comes to this next one, we have Gonna Get Caught. It’s the typical ‘f*ck my ex-boyfriend’ song every Demi album up to now has (‘Unbroken’, ‘Really Don’t Care’, just to name a few) and it just takes you along for the ride. You either enjoy the fact that it’s so driven or criticize it for being quite the rushed song.

Two Worlds Collide immediately stands out for being in triple time, and the fact that this song was written for (then?) BFF Selena Gomez makes it very cute. This track incorporates some more strings in the background while the percussion and electric guitars are also very present, so this song is both on the relaxed side as the more bombastic side. It’s nice, nothing special.

The Middle has one powerful advantage: Demi’s vocals. Once you’ve gotten to this one after 8 tracks that all follow the same musical style and pattern, this is just another pop/rock song that is trying to blow you away with a lot of ‘in your face’ stuff. Just like I said with the previous songs, just go with it and you may like it (like I do), or just don’t swallow this. Your pick.

Until You’re Mine has a very interesting transition from verse to chorus. Again, triple time (which I always like), but the verses are more emotional and laid back, while the chorus features some very strange percussion that just doesn’t fit the overall sound of the rest of the song. It’s just a little too much to have a kick drum on every count, but that could just be my opinion in this case. Nonetheless, nothing wrong with the rest of the song, and especially not the vocals.

Closing the album already, we have Believe In Me. This last song finally opens with a piano, after which some soft percussion and an acoustic guitar mix in. For a change, this is not just some catchy song but it finally has a little depth and music that makes it more of a power ballad. I really like the melodies in this song, especially in the chorus. One of the better songs on the albums and it was a good strategy to put this one last on the tracklist so this stays with you after the album is over.

So basically I have only one thing to say about this album: if you’re a Demi fan or if you’re not allergic to people like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus’ earlier work and such (you might instantly know what I’m talking about), then you’re bound to like this album. Probably you’re not gonna love it, but still. In my case, I liked how catchy and driven most of the songs are, but there’s constantly something missing. I’m missing a little creativity and depth here, but hey, the girl was only 16 when this came out. In just two/three years Demi learned how to embrace more versatility and depth in her music and lyrics, but that was still in the future. Enjoyable album, good first effort, but thank god she strayed from this in the end.

Favorite tracks: La La Land | Get Back | On The Line (feat. The Jonas Brothers) | Don’t Forget | Two Worlds Collide | Believe In Me

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
3½ stars

SHINee – Boys Meet U (single)

November 15, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Posted in SHINee | 1 Comment

SINGLE REVIEW
SHINee – Boys Meet U

1. Boys Meet U
2. Dream Girl [Japanese ver.]
3. Sunny Day Hero
4. Boys Meet U [Instrumental]
5. Dream Girl [Japanese ver.] [Instrumental]
6. Sunny Day Hero [Instrumental]

Boys Meet U is the eighth Japanese single by South Korean boy group SHINee, released on August 21, 2013. The single debuted at #2 on the Oricon Charts and has sold approximately 124,232 copies.

Why release an album called ‘Boys Meet U’ without a title track and then release this two months later? I don’t get it. Anywayz. Boys Meet U was a good move since this is just THE summer single of 2013. It’s infectuous, beachy (is that a word?) and flirty, bound to stay in your head all way long, if not all week long. I can listen to this multiple times in a row, why wasn’t this featured on their album?!

Dream Girl [Japanese ver.] slays, doesn’t matter if it’s in Korean or Japanese, it just slays everything. Aggressive, energetic, funky and playful, the perfect formula for the perfect SHINee song. This was one of the strongest songs on the ‘Misconceptions of You’ album and it’s very nice to see it returning in this form. Mixing modern music with some oldschool melodies, I find this very enjoyable to say the least.

Sunny Day Hero is the second original Japanese song on the single and the second B-side too, what a treat! It totally fits the concept of the single with its summer single ambience, uptempo and very catchy, yet very controlled too. It’s the perfect balance on the single while it’s still bound to capture a lot of attention for sure. A little bit of oldschool guitars mixed in there as well, this just can’t go wrong anymore. Love it, I would looove to see this on an album in the future.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

SHINee – Boys Meet U

November 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM | Posted in SHINee | 3 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
SHINee – Boys Meet U

1. Password
2. Breaking News
3. Dazzling Girl
4. 1000nen, Zutto Soba ni Ite…
5. Run With Me
6. Kiss Yo
7. Kimi ga Iru Sekai
8. Keeping love again
9. BURNING UP!
10. Sherlock
11. Fire
12. I’m with you

♦ ♦ ♦

Boys Meet U is the second Japanese album by South Korean boy group SHINee, released on June 26, 2013. The album debuted at #2 on the Oricon Charts and it sold 56,215 copies in its first week.

Password is an interesting song opening the album since it’s midtempo, but it has an amazing drum beat and some really attractive melodies. It has both rock elements and a lot of synths in the background, which makes for a very nice band-like combination (instead of the typical boy group type of song). Most fans don’t seem to dig this song but I think it’s an amazing and original album opener.

Then everything takes flight when Breaking News drops in with its fierce energy. It’s like most other songs SHINee releases most of the time, it just screams that this is their style. Fast paced beats, many synths, your occassional autotune and such and you’re done. It has the same flair that songs like ‘Lucifer’ also had. I totally love it when they put in an electric guitar solo AND Minho’s rap part, this kicks ass  big time.

I was soooo excited back when Dazzling Girl was released as a single, I completely adored it and it never left my mind. It was a battle between this song and the next for which song was gonna be SHINee’s best 2012 single and it was a very close call. Even though it wasn’t this song, I still love the energetic and breathtakingly catchy feel; this song has everything a good song needs.

1000nen, Zutto Soba ni Ite… became the best SHINee song of 2012 and listening to it now doesn’t make me regret my choice. It’s SHINee’s winter midtempo ballad with those cute little bells in the background during the beginning of the song, which is very cute. Onew has his fingerprints all over the chorus during the higher notes, very well done, even more so because this is usually Jonghyun’s job. One of my favorites!

Run With Me was the B-side for Dazzling Girl and I remember loving it to bits so I’m glad to see it on the album! It’s midway between a ballad and a midtempo, incorporating some very nice piano notes and strings in the arrangement and very pretty harmonizations by the boys in the chorus. Every guy sings some lines in this song, even Minho (who isn’t the best singer tbh, but he’s okay here). Onew and Key own this shiz though!

Wow, what the heck… Kiss Yo is one of the new songs and it just kicks you right in the teeth. Ever wondered what rock and dubstep combined sounds like? Try this one, this is just… weird but in some strange way enjoyable too. It’s more a singsong/rap track with some random chanting in the chorus, and the energy coming from the arrangement is just overwhelming, oh my. This is some interesting stuff! A tad too long though, it could’ve ended at 3:30 minutes if you ask me.

I imagine being so impressed by Kimi ga Iru Sekai, this song is quite simple yet very effective and breathtaking. Being a midtempo ballad it just needs a piano, beats and electric guitars. And oh yes, some incredible vocals, especially by Onew, Jonghyun and Key. This is not just one of my favorite songs on this album, but also one of my all-time favorite SHINee songs, so make sure you don’t miss out on this one!

Keeping love again was the B-side for their Japanese ‘Sherlock’ single, which we’ll encounter later. I remember comparing this to ‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’ and therefore I wasn’t impressed by this, but now in another context I think it’s a very nice R&B midtempo track which sounds good right behind Kimi ga Iru Sekai. Still it’s not my favorite, but at least it’s also not as bad as I thought. I actually like it!

The next song is BURNING UP!, one of the new songs. After some softer songs and a song that was almost too crazy to handle, SHINee finally found their way into creating an energetic uptempo track again without completely blowing up my ears (albeit that was in kind of a good way). It’s their typical beats + synths song, with some amazing additions by a funky electric guitar to spice it up a bit. Special credits to Jonghyun for those crazy adlibs.

Sherlock was the first single released for the album and although I wasn’t impressed with the Korean mini-album with the same name, this song always was nailing it. The instrumental synth part opening the song set exactly the right tone for everything that follows, which is an electro song with some nice and original brassy influences. Although it’s composed of two seperate songs, that never seems obvious to me.

I’m in love with Fire, this right here is pure perfection so I don’t even know how to talk about this one without cramming out gibberish. R&B ballads are what I love, and this one just knocks me down right from the start. It’s Jonghyun’s song, obviously, but the other guys aren’t too bad either. Everyone delivers a killer performance, especially in that amazing chorus this song has. Most perfect SHINee song ever, period.

I’m with you closes the album in quite an emotional way if you ask me. It’s a ballad in triple time, very much on the simple side (especially after Fire) but that leaves more to the vocals to dazzle the listener. This song builds up in a very good way, leading into a climactic ending with some of Jonghyun best adlibs ever (where has that guy been all my life..). Very good ending to an amazing album!

Alrighty, I’ve found another album that is definitely gonna make the cut for the ‘Best of 2013 – Albums’ post in December (but hush, that’s a secret ;p). I love love LOVE the singles the guys released before this album came out, and to see them all united here on one record is like eargasm to me. Adding some great new songs to it adds even more to the love I feel for these guys. Just one thing: this release is again proof that I’m starting to like their Japanese material better than their Korean. I don’t want to start a war against SHINee’s Korean music lovers, but well, that’s just what I think. This album is all the proof I need, since every song is memorable in its own way and lately I can’t say that about their Korean releases. So let me just drool over this one OK? 😀 Great!

Favorite tracks: Password | Breaking News | Dazzling Girl | 1000nen, Zutto Soba ni Ite… | Run With Me | Kimi ga Iru Sekai | Sherlock | Fire

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

SHINee – Everybody

November 14, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Posted in SHINee | 1 Comment

MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
SHINee – Everybody

1. Everybody
2. Sangsabyeong (Symptoms)
3. Bit Sok New York (Queen Of New York)
4. 1 Bunman (One Minute Back)
5. Destination
6. Tadajwo (Close The Door)
7. Colorful

♦ ♦ ♦

Everybody is the fifth Korean mini-album by South Korean boy group SHINee. The mini-album was released on October 14, 2013.

SHINee has always been known to me as a group that can come up with some really kickass songs, and with every release they take that to the next level. Everybody can easily be their most aggressive and robotic songs to date, heavy on the synths, beats and dubstep breaks. I don’t think I ever heard them perform another song like this one, it’s very well produced albeit a little too perfect when it comes to the artificial elements. Nonetheless, I’m very much impressed with this effort!

Sangsabyeong (Symptoms) is an interesting track, since it combines both the energetic dubstep quality of Everybody with a smooth and laid back R&B song. At first I thought the entire song was gonna follow the pattern of that last genre since Jonghyun opens the song to a soft fingersnap beat. But then the chorus comes around and it becomes pretty clear that if there is something called a ‘dubstep ballad’, this is it. The guys deliver quite an emotional performance here, so it’s a memorable track overall.

Interesting to hear Minho open a song for a change. Bit Sok New York (Queen Of New York) finally let go of that dominant dubstep genre that was present in the previous two songs. Some nods to it are still there, but this song is more on the electropop side. The chorus is very catchy, a bit oldschool with a modern touch to it. It’s not the most special song I ever heard but it’s appealing.

1 Bunman (One Minute Back) incorporates more R&B/hiphop elements into the dancepop arrangement. It also has a more mysterious sound than the other songs on the album. Both Minho and Key deliver very slick rap performances in this track while Jonghyun obviously takes on the belting and Onew sounds most solid of all. One of the most infectuous songs on the album because of the nice chorus.

FINALLY. Destination has all the elements SHINee’s most perfect songs to date also have in common! This song has the power, the perfect exploding vocals in the chorus with Jonghyun and Onew obviously leading, memorable melodies and the perfect badass rap by Minho. It has been a while since they last put out an amazing track like this one, this should’ve been the mini-album’s lead track. I adore this ❤

Tadajwo (Close The Door) tones it down with a beat in triple time and some strings opening the song. It has a soulful approach to it and just like Bit Sok New York it’s slightly on the oldschool side. Although it’s the obligatory ballad of the album, it’s not generic at all and it shows off everyone’s vocals at best. Even the laid back ambience keeps me interested throughout the entire song.

Closing the album with a song that lives up to its name from the very first second: Colorful. This synth-filled pop song is easily the happiest and most uplifting song on the album and I love how this also shows comparisons to some of my favorite SHINee songs. The lyrics are too cute to resist, ‘I think you’re magical / I think you’re wonderful […] You make my heart colorful‘. Aawh. Repeat please, great way to close with a bang.

I wasn’t that impressed with ‘Why So Serious?: The Misconceptions of Me’ and I almost had the fearful thought that SHINee might not release good music in Korea anymore. Until I heard Everybody and my hopes were finally up again. Although this album would’ve been less impressive without the amazing tracks Destination and Colorful, I loved hearing SHINee do some seriously badass dubstep songs. The overall production of this album was very good and although SHINee keeps on shitting out like 5 albums a year, the production value never fails. Definitely a step forward from the misconception albums!

Favorite tracks: Everybody | Bit Sok New York (Queen Of New York) | 1 Bunman (One Minute Back) | Destination | Colorful

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

SHINee – Why So Serious?: The Misconceptions of Me

November 13, 2013 at 12:45 PM | Posted in SHINee | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
SHINee – Why So Serious?: The Misconceptions of Me

1. Nightmare
2. Why So Serious?
3. SHINe (Medusa I)
4. Orgel
5. Danger (Medusa II)
6. Like A Fire
7. Excuse Me Miss
8. Evil
9. Ddeonaji Mothae (Sleepless Night)

♦ ♦ ♦

Why So Serious?: The Misconceptions of Me is the second chapter of the third Korean album by South Korean boy group SHINee, released on April 26, 2013. The album debuted at #9 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 8,317 copies in its first week.

After the happy and upbeat ambience of the first album ‘Dream Girl: The Misconceptions of You’, Nightmare is both a throwback to that upbeat quality and a complete 180. This song is quite dark and aggressive coming from SHINee, heavy on the autotune except for Jonghyun’s parts. The boys know how to tackle some good electro music though, keeping the energy and fierceness in their vocals. It makes me wonder if this album is indeed gonna be darker than the first chapter.

If you thought Nightmare kicked ass, listen to Why So Serious?, THAT is what I call solid. Ofcourse the boys don’t take themselves very seriously in this track, playing around with some really good electro/rock music in the background. Even Taemin and Jonghyun rap some of their parts, and although they’re not as good as Key and Minho it’s a nice experiment. The perfect lead track, this really packs a punch.

SHINe (Medusa I) tones everything down a bit while still retaining the needed energy. The English lyrics don’t make any sense to me, but the song gives all the boys a good change to show off their different approaches to a song. It has a kind of smoothness to it while keeping everything on the mysterious and slightly dark side, very much in style with the rest of the songs on the album. Loved Minho’s part, that kicked ass like crazy.

Speaking of mysterious tracks, Orgel is like a music box gone all Halloween on you. It’s totally different from the first two songs on the album because it’s more midtempo and relaxed, concentrating more on the boys’ lower registers too. I’m not so sure about the melodies in some parts of the song, or the flow of the song. The mysterious ambience keeps me interested, but this song is too much on the low-profile side.

Danger (Medusa II) speeds everything up again with the ominous sound of synths in the background. It makes me think of some kind of mission the guys are on, especially because of the constant countdowns in the song. They’re great, but I was hoping they would lead into a good musical breakdown or something like that. The long awaited energy boost stays out. Such a shame.

The next song brings back a kind of vibe SHINee is well known for and it sounds like they’re more in their comfort zone with this one. Like A Fire is a smooth and relaxed uptempo song that finds its strength in the great vocals and funky additions by the guitars. It’s not as great as some other songs they have released over time, but it has a certain charm that I really like. Also, Jonghyun is killing that high falsetto note near the end of the song, amazing.

A song called Excuse Me Miss must have some swagger, and this track doesn’t disappoint. Throwback to ‘The SHINee World’ much? It’s like a mature version of ‘Replay’, slick with amazingly breathy vocals. Minho’s voice is low and deep in his raps, capturing the overall ambience of this song very good. I’m very much impressed with this one.

Evil leads everything back into full throttle mode again, complete with synths, beats and autotune. The arrangement is kept interesting with some musical breakdowns that occur just before the chorus, here and there a little nod to dubstep, while the bridge tones everything down with only some echoes and fingersnaps. This song has Onew written all over it, with some major contributions by Jonghyun as well. Besides the pronunciation of the title word, this is a very good track.

I was hoping this album would have a ballad when I found out the first chapter had only upbeat songs, and Ddeonaji Mothae (Sleepless Night) is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. The boys have a real talent for singing ballads with just the right amount of input and emotion. Even some of Minho’s raps are woven into the song, and if his voice wasn’t so silent and vulnerable it wouldn’t have fit the song at all, but that problem was solved thank god. Loved the strings in this song, gave it just the right touch.

I wasn’t as impressed with this album as I hoped I would be. The first chapter was very good even though it was heavy on the happy upbeat songs, but that’s just what I like about SHINee. This album emphasized more of their experimentation with their dark sides, sometimes failing a bit at that. I liked the opening of the album with Nightmare and the lead single Why So Serious?, but some of the other songs on the album were lacking a lot of their usual energy. The last portion of the album put everything in the right spot again, but I’m not so sure about the tracks in the middle of the album. Still, their vocals are everything and I know these guys as some of the most talented people from Korea. Not their best effort, but they gave it their best shot.

Favorite tracks: Nightmare | Why So Serious? | Like A Fire | Excuse Me Miss | Evil |Ddeonaji Mothae (Sleepless Night)

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarblankstarblankstar
3 stars

Katy Perry – Prism

November 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Posted in Katy Perry | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Katy Perry – Prism

1. Roar
2. Legendary Lovers
3. Birthday
4. Walking On Air
5. Unconditionally
6. Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)7. This Is How We Do
8. International Smile
9. Ghost
10. Love Me
11. This Moment
12. Double Rainbow
13. By The Grace Of God
14. Spiritual
15. It Takes Two
16. Choose Your Battles

♦ ♦ ♦

Prism is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry, released on October 18, 2013. The album peaked at #1 on the British and Irish charts and received generally positive reviews from music critics.

Love this photoshoot, really. Also, I adore Roar like crazy. This is an amazing empowerment anthem about standing up for oneself, filled with strong percussion and synths. I love how this song is a combination of power pop and multiple types of rock music, like arena rock. It all fits perfectly together, with Katy’s strong vocals as the cherry on top. I hear you roar, girl!

Legendary Lovers is probably one of Katy’s most original songs to date, starting off slowly but then developing into a bhangra-driven creation with matching lyrics about karma and infinity. The bridge really brings in that exotic Bollywood kind of feel that was missing in the first half of the song, but when it’s there it’s all finally complete. It’s so cool to hear Katy tackle a song like this!

In her own words, Katy describes Birthday as ‘something Mariah Carey would’ve put on her first record’. She couldn’t have been more right, this reall IS Katy going all Mariah on us. The oldschool and funky 90s Mariah, that is. A song with the name ‘Birthday’ has to be a happy song, and this definitely lives up to the expectations. I love the little brassy influences in the background, this song is some celebration alright.

The fourth song in a row with its own distinctive style: Walking On Air shows off Katy’s take on 90s Eurodance and deep house music and this really takes me back into the 90s. Katy did it again, creating a club banger that can’t be forgotten because of its extremely catchy vibe. I’d like to give her some extra credits for her solid and energetic vocals, she really captures the uplifting spirit of the song with her voice.

Unconditionally is the second single off the album and it’s about unconditional love in all its forms. Wow, that’s deep. Anyway, this is Katy’s personal favorite and I totally see why. It’s not a ballad and yet it’s also not an uptempo song, it’s like this song combines both of these elements in one. Musically, it’s the perfect follow-up for Roar because of its clear power pop ambience, combined with some minor rock and electronic elements. Perfect as the second single.

Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) shows off yet another side of Katy, a very dark and sleazy side that is. Because Juicy J is involved, this track is heavily influenced by hiphop and grime with just a bit of techno (that’s some original stuff, right?). Both Katy and Juicy J both find their way perfectly into this track, working together and not outperforming each other so there’s a perfect balance in everything. I always wanted to hear Katy do a deep hiphop track and I finally had my wish!

Damn, This Is How We Do really caught my attention! Flowing smoothly out of the smooth vibe that Dark Horse had, this is another hiphop influenced pop track with a lot of synths to dance to. It’s like a summer song released way too late, so hopefully this one returns in the Summer of 2014 to slay everything. Being a kind of 80s throwback song, ofcourse I had to adore this club banger. Repeat please!

At first I thought International Smile was a bit more generic and typical Katy Perry song, but boy was I wrong. Ofcourse, this song is destined to be played numerous times on the dancefloors, but Katy made it funky. Fun fact,:in the bridge there is this kind of vocoder breakdown that made me think of Daft Punk very much, so cool. Katy can throw this infectuous stuff on me anytime.

Ghost tones everything down for a moment as the somber ballad on the album. It’s midtempo so there’s still a sense of energy here, but the strings in the background emphasize the emotional side of the song very well. Katy uses just the right amount of emotion in her vocals, not oversinging a single line of the clever lyrics.

This next song has a very appealing theme, loving yourself the way you want to be loved. The lyrics for Love Me might be a bit somber, but the music is energetic and so there’s also something hopeful about it. That is exactly what makes this song an interesting combination of different factors, this is such a good typical Katy song. It needs some time, but then I really dig this song.

After two darker songs, This Moment is the next midtempo song that has an interesting arrangement. With pop as the starting point, a piano, deep synths and bass are added to give it a more danceable twist. Just like Love Me, this song needed a little more time to really interest me for the full 100%, but then it really got to me and I could see the extremely catchy patterns in the song.

Double Rainbow brings out the Kelly Clarkson in Katy, and I can’t do anything else than just sit here and listen, completely mesmerized. It’s a lovely, breathy love song with that amazing echo quality I like so much in these kinds of songs. The song has very intimate moments, while the chorus has a little more power to it that just explodes right from the start. Everything stays perfectly simple and beautiful here, just what the album needed.

Please don’t let me cry, since By The Grace Of God deals directly with Katy’s depression after her divorce from Russell Brand. This song is about picking yourself up after a breakup, so yes, I feel it now. This is Katy at her most vulnerable, especially in the bridge when she sings in her head voice. The emotion just builds up at that moment, it’s choking me up completely. ‘I put one foot in front of the other and looked in the mirror and decided to stay // Wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way.’ I have found my all-time favorite Katy Perry song, period.

Moving into the album’s bonus tracks! Spiritual might be a bit of a religious track, especially for Katy, it’s filled with hope and joy. Even the music has a very angelic feel to it, keeping everything light and breezy. Katy’s vocals fit in perfectly, using her head voice in her typical crystal clear way. This is a perfect track after By The Grace Of God and perfect as a bonus track on the album.

It Takes Two has the perfect lyrics, very straightforward and I think anyone can relate to this. It’s like a toned down version of Roar when it comes to the music, very appealing and strong and unique in its own way despite the obvious comparisons. Katy’s vocals are top notch, the best part of the entire song. I can’t seem to think of more ways to praise this song, even if it’s just a bonus track!

Choose Your Battles closes the album with military drums to fit the title. At first I was afraid that it would sound like Christina Aguilera’s  ‘Cease Fire’, but when I come to think of it, that song sounded much stronger as a battle song than this one. Nothing against Katy ofcourse, she perfectly shows off angry and solid vocals against a tensive background music. When compared to all the other tracks I like this one the least, but still it is a very cool song!

Gee, Katy, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. This is probably the most perfect album of 2013, I never expected this to happen! I always love it when an artist discovers as many different genres as possible on an album, and Katy did just that. Power pop, techno, bhangra, grime, 90s and 80s, it’s all on Prism. I always thought Katy was stuck like glue to electropop songs, especially on her album ‘Teenage Dream’, but she blossomed and apparently decided to show more sides of herself (and that includes her vulnerable and most personal side too). This album shows where she stands in her life now and where she has been, the perfect compilation of what she really is about. Just like I did with Christina Aguilera’s ‘Lotus’ in 2012, I’m gonna put Katy’s ‘Prism‘ on repeat for the rest of the month, enough said ❤

Favorite tracks: Roar | Legendary Lovers | Birthday | Walking On Air | Unconditionally | Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) | This Is How We Do | International Smile | Ghost | Love Me | This Moment | Double Rainbow | By The Grace Of God | Spiritual | It Takes Two

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

AFTERSCHOOL – Heaven

November 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Posted in After School | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
AFTERSCHOOL – Heaven

1. Heaven
2. Crazy Driver
3. First Love
4. Heaven (Instrumental)
5. Crazy Driver (Instrumental)

Heaven is the fifth Japanese single by South Korean girl group AFTERSCHOOL, released on October 2, 2013. The single debuted at #6 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 19,884 copies to date.

Just like the cover already suggested, Heaven has a more oldschool kind of style when it comes to the music. The guitars playing in the background play around the bass to make it funky, and the girls emphasize deeper and sultry vocals this time. It makes me think of Bruno Mars’ ‘Treasure’ or the collab songs by Pharrell and Daft Punk, so these girls know how to stay up to date. Compared to their previous released, this is a much more mature effort. Love it!

Crazy Driver then brings in the dancepop music they have been releasing every now and then, including some very heavily autotuned vocals but that’s quite sassy anyway. This song brings out the Namie Amuro in all the girls when it comes to the vocals and the overall style of the music, it’s so different from the A-side. Again a very mature effort for the group, but there’s not a real highlight in the song that keeps me interested through the entire song. Still, good enough.

And ofcourse, there is the Korean single ‘Cheos Sarang’, or First Love. I totally love this song and its laid back, sultry R&B style. It’s just as oldschool as Heaven so they couldn’t have brought it back better than on this single. It needs a little switching as a listener to go from Japanese to Korean for this song, but once you get used to it after a couple of lines this is just one of the more perfect songs AFTERSCHOOL has ever released.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

Kalafina – Kimi no Gin no Niwa

November 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – Kimi no Gin no Niwa

1. Kimi no Gin no Niwa
2. misterioso
3. Tsuioku
4. Kimi no Gin no Niwa -instrumental-

Kimi no Gin no Niwa is the fourteenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on November 6, 2013. The title track was used as the theme song for the third movie adaptation of the anime series Puella Magi Madoka☆Magica the Movie Part 3: Rebellion.

YES, finally a fun and vibrant folk song from Kalafina again! Kimi no Gin no Niwa is exactly what I’ve been waiting for for so long, and what I needed after all the ballads on ‘Alleluia’. I love the verses and how HIKARU takes the lead here, while WAKANA is very present in the rest of the song (something that doesn’t occur a lot on Kalafina’s A-sides). There’s so much speaking from this song, and I adore it from the very first note to the last. This is pure perfection, Kalafina style.

misterioso is probably the new ‘consolation’ because it has the very same energy, yet it’s being released in a completely new way. The song is fast paced with a lot of percussion and electric guitars, while still being on the breezy side with some flute elements. It’s the best of both worlds combined in one song, and for ‘just’ a B-side it’s so good I hope it returns on their next album!

Tsuioku is the second B-side (wow, what a treat this is) and what I thought would be a ballad is actually a dark and tensive song that brings along yet another side of the group. I love how everything just works in this song, from the deep and haunting cello solo to the amazing extended electric guitar solo in the bridge. I also adore the pattern of the percussion here, it sets the flow for the song perfectly. I’m totally into this.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Kalafina – Alleluia

November 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – Alleluia

1. Alleluia
2. dolce
3. seventh heaven ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~
4. snow falling ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~
5. fairytale ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~
6. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~

Alleluia is the thirteenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on October 2, 2013. The title track was used as the theme song of the anime, Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Charts and charted for 4 weeks.

Alleluia is not what I thought it would be, because it’s even better than that. I always thought Kalafina can handle both kickass songs and ballads, so what can be better than a combination of those two kinds of songs? KEIKO leads the song with her amazing deep vocals, building the tension before the light yet powerful chorus kicks in with WAKANA’s crystal clear vocals. Then the song really takes flight, and I can really imagine this song becoming one of my all-time favorite Kalafina songs.

Where Alleluia took the stage as the kickass A-side, dolce emphasizes the ethereal side. It’s both haunting and beautiful with the group singing in harmony to the sound of strings. If you like Kalafina’s laid back chanting songs, this is the stuff. If not, then just skip it.

This single was released in a regular version and an anime version, and both have two Christmas Live versions. The regular edition comes with seventh heaven ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ and snow falling ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~. The girls are amazing live singers, and hearing them bring back an older song like ‘seventh heaven’ this way is superbe. ‘snow falling’ is a rather new song from ‘After Eden’ and I remember it as one of their most laid back ballads ever. Still, it’s a good song to perform live to really emphasize how these girls nail live performances.

The anime edition then has fairytale ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ and Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~, both from their first album ‘seventh heaven’. ‘fairytale’ is another ballad (damn this single is filled with ballads), and although it had to grow on me at first I adore it now, it’s too pretty to ignore. It’s pure magic, taken to the next level performed live. ‘Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku’ is a song that doesn’t stand out until the chorus comes along, but it’s another perfect live performance. Next time, please incorporate ‘love come down’ or something like that!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.