BENI -Shiki Uta summer

October 7, 2016 at 12:16 PM | Posted in BENI, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

shikiutasummer1ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – Shiki Uta summer

1. Summer Lovers
2. Natsu no Omoide
3. Forever
4. Eien marriage ver.
5. Baby Blue
6. Hanabi
7. Summer Night Fever
9. Zenryoku Shounen
10. Natsu ga Owaru Koro

♦ ♦ ♦

Shiki Uta summer is the first concept album by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on June 29, 2016.

 The opening track, Summer Lovers, is quite cheery and upbeat and it sets the mood for the rest of the album. It sounds like a summer celebration with strings and brass elements, even a little flute hidden in there. It’s fun, and it makes me wonder about the rest of the album.

BENI covers Ketsumeishi’s Natsu no Omoide and its more mellow than the opening track, but it has a very nice bounce to it that captures me. I like that this is an English cover, and since BENI is bilingual, there are no weird ‘Engrish’ pronunciations. Everything about this song fits the summer concept, that little guitar solo in the bridge too.

I keep hearing something that sounds like the opening to Phil Collins’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” whenever that first beat opens Forever, it’s so funky and funny that I hear a resemblance. Anyway, this song is probably already one of my favorites on the album since it’s so catchy and I have loved it from the moment she released it as a single last year. I could listen to this song multiple times in a row and still not grow tired of it.

I really like the original version, I have always thought it was magical, and Eien marriage ver. has just that little extra. It’s sweet, and when I listen to the strings-filled arrangement, I can imagine a summer wedding. BENI’s vocals are the highlight of this track, she puts so much emotion into her voice and it’s so real and raw. Love it.

Baby Blue is a completely new song, right? I didn’t know it until now. From what I can tell from the lyrics, I know it’s a sweet song, and the arrangement fits that perfectly. Still, even though it’s nice, it doesn’t do all that much for me in the end.

The next song, Hanabi, is the next ballad on the album, and the addition of acoustic guitars makes it very summer-proof. It was co-written by BENI and Dohzi-T (to my surprise), and I like the slight build-up in the arrangement. However, BENI is a bit pitchy and loud here at times, especially in the chorus.

Summer Night Fever brings back the funky vibe that was present in some previous songs on this album, and I believe this is also a new song. It’s quite catchy, and although I do have to get over my dislike for ‘let’s-have-a-party songs’, I think I can handle this eventually since it’s not that bad. Clap clap.

Ah, OUR SKY, one of BENI’s songs that I know very well. I remember saying this is like a summer anthem, so I wasn’t surprised to find it here. It’s upbeat, fun, and filled with beats and synths for a true summer song. Still one of her better songs.

Zenryoku Shounen is obviously not about a ‘powerful boy’, but it’s still powerful since it has the same ambience that OUR SKY has. It’s fully in English, and it’s from ‘Covers 3’ as well, so we already know this one. It still slays, and I love that it’s on the album.

Closing the album is the new song Natsu ga Owaru Koro, translated to Around the End of Summer, how fitting. It’s a tad slower, and again co-written by BENI and Dohzi-T. Not too exciting for me, it just flows along very well, but I think I will forget about it soon enough.

Usually, BENI’s releases are a hit or miss for me. Her singles are usually awesome, like Forever and OUR SKY, but her new material can be somewhat bland and forgettable. Again, this was the case. True, every song had something I like, but remember I write while I listen to the album. As soon as those songs are over, I have completely forgotten what they were like. Unless it has that certain quality to make it stick. That’s why, sadly, I have to give BENI a lower rating, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy most of the album.

Favorite songs: Natsu no Omoide | Forever | Eien marriage ver. | OUR SKY | Zenryoku Shounen

3½ stars



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