Dal★Shabet – Hit U

July 28, 2015 at 10:32 PM | Posted in Dal★Shabet | Leave a comment
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MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
Dal★Shabet – Hit U

1. Fire It Up (Vicky Solo)
2. Hit U (feat. Bigtone)
3. Chu Ma Boy
4. Dream In U (Remix)
5. Hit U (Remix) (feat. Bigtone)
6. Hit U (Inst.)

♦ ♦ ♦

Hit U is the fourth mini-album by South-Korean girl group Dal★Shabet, released on January 27, 2012.

Nice to see that Fire It Up, the opening track, features vocals by Vicky only. Hearing her voice in the spotlight now, I’m sure the group is missing a major vocalist (she left in 2012) because she knows how to kick butt. I don’t mind autotune, she sounds fierce with it and combined with the edgy synthpop/dance music (resembling borderline dubstep) it sounds amazing!

Hit U (feat. Bigtone) is the lead track for the album and I thought the opening with electric guitars in the background was the right kind of mysterious. There’s a little bounce to the track too, although a little darkness (and bitterness?) simmers. Who is this Bigtone guy by the way? Is he seriously only featured in the first 10 seconds, talking?? Other than that, almost flawless and freakishly catchy track again.

Chu Ma Boy comes closest to the ballad/mellow track I’ve been waiting for all this time, and then it doesn’t live up to the expectations. This is pure personal taste, but the girls sound so much better singing uptempo tracks. Now they sound a bit like chipmunks and the one opening the track (who was it?) sounded awful. There’s nothing exciting about this either.

If I remember correctly, the original of this song was my least favorite of, like, all time when it comes to this group. For Dream In U (Remix) they only changed the synths and they added more higher pitched synth sounds to the arrangement. Other that that, it’s the same hot mess that it already was, only even more irritating and over the place.

Instead of having that dark rock inspired pop song, they made Hit U (Remix) (feat. Bigtone) a bit more dance/pop. Even though it works less well, it’s not terrible. It’s still decent, although the new arrangement did steal a bit of the charm the original had. It needs to grow on me a bit, but after a while I start to like it better.

Definitely not too pleased with this mini, I’m afraid my fears are real. Up until now, every release is less good than the previous one. I really hope this is the last time Dal★Shabet incorporated mediocre songs on their albums, especially since they released a full album 5 months after this one. It features some previously released songs, but from what I’ve seen they’re the good ones. So basically, I’m not giving up yet.

Favorite tracks: Fire It Up (Vicky Solo) | Hit U (feat. Bigtone)

OVERALL RATING
starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
2½ stars

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AOA Black – MOYA

July 27, 2015 at 6:16 PM | Posted in AOA | Leave a comment
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SINGLE REVIEW
AOA Black – MOYA

1. MOYA
2. Without You
3. MOYA (Inst.)
4. Without You (Inst.)

MOYA is the third single by South Korean band AOA (this time by the band unit AOA Black only), released on July 26, 2013.

Well that proves the irrelevance of the other 3 members that were put in AOA White. But still, I was disappointed by MOYA, it could have been so much more! This song is way too constant and it doesn’t have any vocal challenges for the vocalists (Choa, you can do better). Jimin had way too many rap parts, and she sounded like a chipmunk in every single one of them. Oh and don’t watch the MV, bad acting. This doesn’t match their abilities at ALL.

Without You makes up for everything that was wrong with MOYA, thank heaven. It has a more dramatic approach and there’s a clear difference between the calm verses and sparkling chorus, and I LOVED that guitar solo (by either Jimin or Choa)! It also features much more appealing vocal acrobatics. It’s like the complete opposite of the lead track, and I also like this one WAY more.

OVERALL RATING
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3 stars

AOA – Wanna Be

July 27, 2015 at 5:55 PM | Posted in AOA | Leave a comment
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SINGLE REVIEW
AOA – Wanna Be

1. Get Out
2. Happy Ending
3. My Song

Wanna Be is the second single by South Korean band AOA, released on October 10, 2012.

Kind of funny how all the girls picked a female character to depict in both the MV and cover art. Anyway, I was surprised by how catchy and good Get Out sounds, it’s a way better lead track than ‘ELVIS’ (and that one wasn’t too bad either). It has an edgy rock sound to it that I really like and Choa nailed it with the vocals again. The big surprise was Hyejeong’s little solo, she’s only a subvocalist and she sounded amazing! Good sound, amazing MV, I like this.

Just like with their previous single, the second track is a more mellow ballad that comes after a booming opening track. Happy Ending is a more light and poppy track that also sounds cuter and more innocent than the lead track. The chorus is very catchy and I take the overly simplistic lyrics, not caring at all here. Jimin did a good rap as well, it fit the ambience of the song.

What distinguishes these girls from all the other K-pop groups out there is their style. My Song is another uplifting and memorable song but this one has this band sound to the music, so that makes for some production value. The music sounds fuller than, for example, SNSD’s (no offense, I like them too). This is also what makes this song probably the best of the three. That and the fact that Choa has the most vocal parts.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

AOA – Angels’ Story

July 27, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Posted in AOA | Leave a comment
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SINGLE REVIEW
AOA – Angels’ Story

1. ELVIS
2. Love Is Only You
3. Temptation
4. ELVIS (Ver. Band)

Angels’ Story is the debut single by South Korean band AOA (Ace Of Angels), released on July 30, 2012.

So, for those of you who don’t know AOA yet (like me), here’s their concept. AOA exists of 8 members, of which 7 are called ‘Angels’ and are full members and one is a half-angel and also half-member (their drummer). The original group of 8 can also be split into AOA Black (the band consisting of 5 members) and AOA White (the dance unit consisting of 3 members).

Confused already? Well, here we go. ELVIS is quite a quirky song and it takes me a minute to really get into it, because the verses are mostly raps. Once I get to the chorus I hear a typical catchy K-pop tune through my speakers, but the unique and kinda crazy quality stays. It’s borderline trip music, but thankfully not quite. What I know now from the vocals is that I don’t really like leader Jimin’s squeaky vocals, Choa comes out best in the chorus but they all sound pretty good together.

Love Is Only You is instantly different. Gone is the craziness and instead we have a sweet R&B ballad with a piano opening the song and soft synths, guitars and a nice beat. It’s so different but also the much better track on the single, I enjoy this very much. I instantly recognize Choa’s pleasant vocals, so I now name her as my favorite member haha. There was also a good rap in the second verse, but I don’t know if that was Mina or Chanmi.

Closing the single, there is a kind of midtempo dance influenced song with heavier and deeper synths. Temptation also features a harp to balance things off (and maybe as a hint to the ‘angelic’ concept?) and the overall song is quite nice. Some members’ vocals need a little time to get used to, but I think I’ll get there eventually.

ELVIS (Ver. Band) performed by AOA Black (Jimin, Choa, Yuna, Youkyoung and Mina) makes so much more sense than the original, especially since I watched the MV. It’s so nice to see a girl group perform as a band with members that can actually play instruments. That quirky sound apparently comes from Yuna’s keyboard, and Jimin and Choa deliver perfect guitar performances. This is also more appealing than the original!

The second song was definitely the better song on the single, but I recognize that this group has potential. They have a new mini-album called ‘Heart Attack’ out, but I wanted to get to know them from their debut on instead of their newest release. Thanks to my friend M. for pointing this group out to me last week!

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

TaeTiSeo – Holler

July 26, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Posted in TaeTiSeo | 2 Comments
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MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
TaeTiSeo – Holler

1. Holler
2. Adrenaline
3. Naega Nege (Whisper)
4. Stay
5. Only U
6. EYES

♦ ♦ ♦

Holler is the second mini-album by South-Korean girl group Girls’ Generation’s subgroup TaeTiSeo, released on September 18, 2014.

WHY DIDN’T I KNOW ABOUT THIS?? Perhaps because I gave up hope for a new TTS release a while ago. But here it is! I remember how much I loved ‘Twinkle’ and Holler sounds promising. VERY promising. They still have that retro style going on but this time it reminds me more of cabaret. The MV is something to look out for too. I remember praising Taeyeon for her vocals on ‘Twinkle’ but Tiffany and Seohyun also sound better than ever! Taeyeon hit the high notes, but Tiffany did a nice little ‘rap’ in the bridge. Good job on this one, girls!

Adrenaline is another remake (just like Holler), but I don’t mind. This track reminds me of the 1920s flapper era! It has an amazingly fun sound and it’s unlike I have heard before (either from them, SNSD or anyone else for that matter). The classic drum beat and claps make it very different from Holler but yet equally enjoyable.

For Naega Nege (Whisper) they decided to slow things down a bit, since this is an R&B midtempo à la BENI. I think I like the smooth and sultry approach of the verses most, but the chorus isn’t too bad either with the girls singing in cuter head voices. The music and vocals go perfectly together and it also proves these girls have some of the best vocals in SNSD.

It’s like we’re all over the place on the timeline with this album. Stay has an 80s pop sound, which is sooo different from the other styles on this album as you probably already figured. It’s a typical feelgood song and it also features a nice rap break, which was fun. Maybe not as special as the rest of them, but definitely nice.

Piano! Another midtempo here but with such a different vibe than Naega Nege (Whisper), Only U is sweeter and has this typical ‘you’re the only one for me’ message. This track stands out for me because of the strong vocals and lovely melodies in the chorus. That piano I mentioned gives this song an almost magical feel.

We’ve come to the closer track already, EYES. The album has all these short tracks but this is the shortest at a little over two and a half minutes. I can easily hear why people compare this to Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’, in fact, it sounds a bit stolen… 😡   It even has the saxophone loops and the same beat breaks, but oh well… I still love it!

I’m so happy to have heard about this album, otherwise I would have never known about it. I gave up on TaeTiSeo pretty much because it had been two and a half years since ‘Twinkle’, but I’m glad they released this. They continued their retro and vintage music style with this and it’s so different from the SNSD sound, they really know how to make something that is completely theirs and I hope they will release more in the future!

Favorite songs: Holler | Adrenaline | Naega Nege (Whisper) | Only U | EYES

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Finally: Like me on Facebook!

July 22, 2015 at 5:42 PM | Posted in !Random! | 4 Comments

After 5 years, MA finally has an official Facebook page! If we all get together, we can make it a little community of Music Addicts and you can all keep track of the new updates, posts and more!

Click on the image below to visit the page or check the widget in the menu!

Super Junior – DEVIL

July 22, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Posted in Super Junior | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Super Junior – DEVIL

1. DEVIL
2. Simply Beautiful
3. Byeori Ttunda (Stars Appear…)
4. Good Love
5. We Can
6. Don’t Wake Me Up
7. Cheotnune Banhaetseupnida (Love at First Sight)
8. Maecheon (Forever with You)
9. Rock’n Shine!
10. Alright

♦ ♦ ♦

DEVIL is a special album by Korean boy group Super Junior, released on July 16, 2015 for their 10th anniversary. This review was requested by SHINee_Girl.

Wow, DEVIL is one catchy way to open an album. By the album cover I wasn’t expecting this song to sound so poppy and uplifting with its guitar-driven melodies. I really don’t know who is who in SUJU but the vocals sound very good (although a little too high pitched in the chorus, but I’m willing to look past that because this sounds so infectuous).

That amazing opening tune is followed by the more mellow midtempo R&B song Simply Beautiful. It has some catchy hooks and lyrics in the chorus that make it more memorable and the SUJU boys’ crooning sounds very good for the overall ambience of the song.

Byeori Tteunda (Stars Appear) is the first ballad on the album and I praise this song for its beautiful piano opening and guitar picking up the melody afterwards. It does have that sound that reminds you of starry skies in some way. There is this soft rock sound to it and it’s the perfect song for them to thank the people who have stood by them for the past 10 years.

Ooh, naughty SUJU. In Good Love they tell their girl to ‘just relax and think of them tonight’. It’s another track with a central role for guitar melodies, but in a funkier way. Somehow I agree they channeled their inner Prince for this one (high vocals and stuff) but they did it very well.

A friendship song, how sweet! We Can features vocals by Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung (subunit Super Junior K.R.Y.) and their emotional contributions probably have tears welling up in your eyes. It’s the second ballad on the album but it has such a different quality than Byeori Ttunda, I think I might even like this one a bit better because it’s so grand and unique.

For the next track they chose subunit SUPER JUNIOR DONGHAE + EUNHYUK. Don’t Wake Me Up is quite a sweet song with good singing by Donghae and raps by Eunhyuk to spice things up. The midtempo soft rock sound (again guitar-driven) is quite good and makes for a nice addition on the album.

Cheotnune Banhaetseupnida (Love at First Sight) is the surprise on the album with its funky retro sound. Super Junior T (Eunhyuk, Heechul, Kangin, Leeteuk, Shindong and Sungmin) delivered some solid performances for this and I like the humorous lyrics: ‘A guy who is prettier than a girl, that’s me‘ xD  (Thanks YouTube translated videos!)

Next is Super Junior M, the Mandopop subunit, with Maecheon (Forever with You). It’s so nice to see one Chinese song here, it makes clear that there’s room for the true input of every subunit on this album. It’s a nice disco/retro song, a style I haven’t heard on the album yet and I enjoy it very much even though I’m not used to Chinese.

Rock’n Shine! completely blew me away and I think this is by far the most energetic and original song on the entire album. This powerful track features all the members and they really stand their ground singing this blazing rock song. It perfectly shows off their vocal talents too.

Alright sounds slightly reggae inspired, which is funny enough for me to like it already. Even funnier is the verse that is a spin on the member’s names! Donghae’s collab with Team One Sound for the composition works out very well and all the vocals are flawless again. Very catchy tune and a nice way to close the album.

Super Junior isn’t among my regular artists, but for this request I made an exception. I must say I really like this album since it offers something for everyone with its many many styles. I wonder what true E.L.F.s think of this album, but I say they’ve done a great job!

Oh, and I want to thank Internet for not letting me down xD  Otherwise I wouldn’t have known the subunits or even the names of the individual members! o.O

Favorite songs: DEVIL | Byeori Tteunda (Stars Appear) | We Can | Cheotnune Banhaetseupnida (Love at First Sight) | Maecheon (Forever with You) | Rock’n Shine! | Alright

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Koda Kumi – SUMMER of LOVE

July 22, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

BEST-ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – SUMMER of LOVE

1. EX TAPE
2. HURRICANE
3. NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU
4. I’ll be there
5. With your smile
6. FREAKY
7. girls
8. Lick me♥
9. Once Again
10. Lady Go!
11. Lollipop
12. Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA
13. V.I.P.
14. LALALALALA
15. TOUCH DOWN
16. HOTEL

♦ ♦ ♦

SUMMER of LOVE is a summer collection album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on July 22, 2015. The album features three new songs and the summer songs released from her ‘4 hot wave’ single on.

So excited that there are three new songs on this album! EX TAPE is the first one and I already heard it in its entirety somewhere last week and I thought it was extremely catchy. After only one listen the chorus was stuck in my head. It’s one of the typical Kuu urban tracks with a very smooth beat and nice flow to it, I hope this track will be featured on more releases from now on.

HURRICANE is the uptempo dancefloor track of the three new ones and I instantly recognize this song is all about the chorus. There aren’t really verses, or I just missed them, but that’s fine with me because this has such an amazing power and sass to it. Kuu sings ‘I’ll blow you away‘, and she actually does!

Very fitting for the album, NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU is a summer song with a nice mellow vibe to it. It’s kind of funky with the guitars in the background, but the brass instruments give it its real standout quality. Kuu compliments the relaxed ambience of the track perfectly with her vocals. At first, after I heard the preview, I thought I wouldn’t like this one that much, but I was so wrong!

On to the older songs, and ofcourse I know all of them since I’ve been a Kuu fan for 9 years now. I’ll be there is from 2006, but the style isn’t that different from her new songs so it’s not a shocking transition. I really like this one for its relaxed verses and poppy choruses, it has this real pop band sound. It fits perfectly on the album with its uplifting summer vibe.

When I reviewed With your smile on the ‘Black Cherry’ album, I already said this was a typical summer song and here it is! You haven’t heard uplifting until you heard this one, although it’s less on the pop but more on the dance side. Kuu gives a great vocal performance in this one, very energetic and not as monotonous as she would sometimes during that era.

I wouldn’t really call FREAKY a summer song because of its darker rock sound, but oh well. I just reviewed this both on its own single and on the ‘Kingdom’ album and it was one of the best songs of that era because it was so different from the rest. I allow this song on this summer compilation because of its amazing energy, quite nice to hear it in this context.

I already predicted girls would be among the songs on this album. I don’t think it’s that well known, but it is almost like a twin song to With your smile! I never noticed how much these songs sound alike until now. I think practically everything I said about With your smile also applies to this one, simple.

Ahhh, ofcourse, Lick me♥ ! This was probably the best song on the 3 SPLASH single and I loved the MV in which Kuu dresses up as Strawberry, Mango and Chocolate Girl, very summer-ish. It’s very fast paced, with electric guitars and synths spicing everything up in the arrangement. Kuu keeps her vocals under control so she isn’t all over the place. Still love this one.

OMG, I’m screaming now. Once Again, probably the most undervalued of all songs on the MOON single, is here too!! This was my absolute favorite after ‘Moon Crying’ and this just takes me back to the summer of 2008 when I listened to this song all the time. I love the reggae vibe provided by PUSHIM, and she delivers some nice backing vocals complementing Kuu’s amazing performance. FAVE!

Lady Go! is off the same single as Once Again and it has appeared on probably every best album since it was released. No wonder because it’s so darn catchy and it has an explosive pop/dance sound with lots of variation in the beats. From beginning to end it’s very vibrant and another gem in her discography.

I still hear ‘I touch your booty, booty // Baby boy we’re gonna party‘ instead of the correct lyrics in Lollipop, shame on Kuu for her Engrish xD  Luckily it’s not just me. This was the only song on the ‘Gossip Candy’ single that I liked (can someone kill the fishbowl songs please?), it shows off Kuu’s slutty side more or less and secretly I love her for it. Nice R&B influenced summer pop song.

Fast forward to 2012: Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA and the rap contributions by TEEDA still crack me up (‘You looks like horny‘..?). The arrangement however is extremely good with its heavier rock sound and this was always one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. It still is, I can’t possibly sit still to this quircky and crazy song!

V.I.P. is my go-to sexy song and I know it by heart because I listen to it, like, all the time. I love its heavy beat and great use of vocal distortions and autotune, and I don’t even mind Kuu moaning in my ear in this case. I extract points for not including the version with T-Pain here, that was just too sassy (and funny).

2013 got much better when Kuu released her smashing LALALALALA, an amazing rock inspired summer pop song with extremely catchy hooks. I was instantly in love with this and I still think it rocks (pun intended). I’m afraid I won’t be able to get this one out of my head for a couple of hours.

TOUCH DOWN has grown on me a LOT. In fact, it’s like V.I.P., my go-to sexy R&B/hiphop song. It’s much more laid back than LALALALALA is and instead of thinking it’s boring, I love the deep beats and synths and use of vocal distortion effect sooo much now. Now this is what I call a song with an attitude.

Closing the album, there is the 2014 song HOTEL, Kuu’s most recent single to date. I love the Western Urban vibe going on and even though Kuu sounds a bit nasal in the verses, I like her half-rapping style (and I know I probably shouldn’t). I played this on repeat for quite some time and I still want to whenever I hear it again, so please excuse me while I listen to this again… and again… and again…

Okay, I’ll stop fangirling now. This album is probably the best thing Kuu has released this year because ‘WALK OF MY LIFE’ was kind of a crappy album in my opinion. This makes everything alright. There are many older songs on this album, but all together everything sounds very cohesive and it really has an amazingly cool summer ambience. The new songs were all fantastic, so I’m going to put this album on repeat every time there’s good weather around (and that happens a lot lately so…)

Favorite songs: EX TAPE | HURRICANE | NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU | I’ll be there | FREAKY | Lick me| Once Again | Lady Go! | Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA | V.I.P. | LALALALALA | TOUCH DOWN | HOTEL

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

BENI – KIRA☆KIRA☆

July 21, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – KIRA☆KIRA☆

1. KIRA☆KIRA☆
2. Zutto Futari de DJ HASEBE REMIX
3. Koi Kogarete CLUB MIX
4. KIRA☆KIRA☆ (Instrumental)

KIRA☆KIRA☆  is the thirteenth single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on November 4, 2009. The titular track was used as an ending theme song for the NTV series Futtonda. The single reached #94 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for a week and sold 792 copies.

Wow, I know this is a re-cut single (fans chose this song to be released), but darn, only 792 copies sold? KIRA☆KIRA☆ is such a cute song! I think it was the perfect A-side to be released during this time of year, it’s like ‘Bitter & Sweet’ Christmas edition! True, there’s not much variation in the song, but it has a nice flow and just the feeling of a Winter song already makes it a bit more special.

My favorite A-side of the era got an amazing make-over for Zutto Futari de DJ HASEBE REMIX. DJ HASEBE created another amazing effort by taking this midtempo track and giving it a bouncy R&B vibe with some beats and guitars, I love it!

Koi Kogarete CLUB MIX almost starts off exactly the same as the original, but it’s faster and there are some nice brassy elements put in to make it really sassy. I was afraid they made a dance mix of this song, which would’ve gone terribly wrong, but luckily it isn’t that kind of club mix. This really spiced up the original midtempo song and it’s one of the most unique remixes I know.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

BENI – Zutto Futari de

July 21, 2015 at 2:49 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Zutto Futari de

1. Zutto Futari de
2. stardust
3. With U
4. The Boy Is Mine feat. Tynisha Keli

Zutto Futari de is the twelfth single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on August 12, 2009. The titular track was used as a commercial theme song for Recochoku, as well as the POWER PLAY song for the NTV program Ongaku Senshi MUSIC FIGHTER. The single reached #67 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for two weeks and sold 1,251 copies.

Zutto Futari de used to be my absolute favorite BENI song back when it was released and it’s still one of my favorites on the ‘Bitter & Sweet’ album. The way she uses her voice, the percussion rolls, the strings, everything about this sweet song just feels right to me. This is the one single of this era that plays in my head at certain intervals, in regular life. That’s how much this stayed with me.

The first B-side stardust also appeared on the album after it was released on this single, and once again it’s a more uptempo track accompanying the midtempo A-side. There are some electronic R&B influences in the beat that remind me of the pattern in Koda Kumi’s ‘TABOO’, but don’t worry, that’s where the comparisons stop. BENI herself sounds very enthousiastic and comfortable in this song, I really like it.

The next B-side is With U, which doesn’t appear on the album and is unique to this single. It’s just an enjoyable track, not that fitted for an album after all if you ask me, but the bright pop ambience is very cool. It’s a bit like a summer song, as far as BENI does any. I need some more warming up to this.

How funny is it that BENI decided to do a cover version of this song? I really like the original, and The Boy Is Mine feat. Tynisha Keli definitely comes as a surprise. Now this Tynisha girl is an American R&B singer who was very popular in Japan at the time, so I guess that’s why she appears here. She has a more nasal voice than BENI, but she doesn’t bother me and the girls actually sound sassy together. Move over, Brandy and Monica!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

 

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