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

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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

 

BENI – Koi Kogarete

July 21, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Koi Kogarete

1. Koi Kogarete
2. CRUISE the WORLD
3. FOREVER 21
4. Koi Kogarete (Instrumental)

Koi Kogarete is the eleventh single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on June 10, 2009. The titular track was used as the commerical theme song for Recochoku as well as the POWER PLAY song for the NTV program Ongaku Senshi MUSIC FIGHTER. “FOREVER 21” was the image song for the FOREVER 21 clothing line collection. The single reached #70 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for two weeks and sold 1,266 copies.

Koi Kogarete is not as uplifting as ‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’ was, but it has its own appeal. I like the acoustic guitar arrangement and little synth chimes, especially in the chorus. It’s one of BENI’s midtempo songs again, but one with its own memorable elements and I give her extra praise for her vocals (and background vocals).

BENI decided to go an entirely different way with CRUISE the WORLD, which is definitely not her regular midtempo R&B song. It’s more futuristic electropop and BENI is usually good at performing uptempo tracks. I like the A-side better because this track sounds a little flat at times. I do like the electronic distortions in her vocals, though.

Yes, FOREVER 21 is meant for the shop with the same name. It’s the cuter pop song on this single with a lot of chimes and higher pitched vocals by BENI. It’s a catchy song and I quite like it, but it’s not the best BENI song out there. I had to get used to it and listen to it a second time before I could fully appreciate it.

OVERALL RATING
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3½ stars

BENI – Kiss Kiss Kiss

July 21, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Kiss Kiss Kiss

1. Kiss Kiss Kiss
2. Signal
3. Mou Nido to… DJ HASEBE REMIX
4. Kiss Kiss Kiss (Instrumental)

Kiss Kiss Kiss is the tenth single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on April 8, 2009. The titular track was used as the commerical theme songs for Kao’s “Biore Body Deli” and Recochoku. It was also used as the ending theme songs for TV TOKYO’s Ryuuha-R and JAPAN COUNTDOWN, and THK’s Ageten. The single ranked #1 on the weekly Chaku-Uta chart and #40 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for six weeks.

Kiss Kiss Kiss is one of my favorite BENI songs, probably because I’ve grown so used to it (not much variety to it) but it’s also just a very good track. It has that Western R&B influence again a lot of her songs in this era eventually would have and I love it, the chimes, the snapping beat, the synths and piano arrangement.. BENI’s singing melodies are also very catchy, especially in the chorus. Even though I liked her avex trax stuff, this wipes the floor with that.

I was surprised by Signal, and I really think this should’ve been on the album ‘Bitter & Sweet’. It’s more on the aggressive R&B side with a lot of attitude and edge, BENI herself contributed perfectly to that with her husky vocals. It’s the perfect B-side for Kiss Kiss Kiss with a much faster approach and a variety of beats, I love this!

By now I know most of DJ HASEBE’s remixes are very good. This time he gave Mou Nido to… DJ HASEBE REMIX a whole new flavor and he turned the pop ballad into a faster paced R&B song. I really like what he did to it, the beat is so smooth and it doesn’t take away anything that’s pretty about the original. BENI’s vocals come out even better now, strange huh? Another great effort.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

BENI – Mou Nido to…

July 21, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Mou Nido to…

1. Mou Nido to…
2. STAY
3. Mou Nido to… (Instrumental)
4. STAY (Instrumental)

Mou Nido to… is the ninth single by Japanese singer BENI (the first under her new stage name and new label Universal Music Japan), released on December 10, 2008. The track was used as an ending theme song for the MBS program ‘Hz’. The single reached #20 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for seven weeks.

I loved the original Dohzi-T feat. BENI song ‘Mou Ichido…’, to which Mou Nido to… is the answer song. It’s so sad and BENI’s singing melodies were so beautiful! Now in this answer version she sings in a lower pitch and the arrangement is different, the acoustic guitar and piano play a much bigger part here and the beat is more subtle. The original was more R&B/hiphop and BENI made it more like a pop ballad for her version. The original had more impact if you ask me, but this isn’t too bad either!

With the previous song, but also with STAY, BENI proved that leaving avex trax was probably the best thing she ever did. And even the albums she released under that label were good IMO. This song is more Western R&B styled and it has this little electronic sound to it as well, very smooth. It gets a little repetitive after a while, but it’s decent enough. Her vocals were very good, though.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
3½ stars

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