July 26, 2019 at 3:50 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

cinematic1ALBUM REVIEW

1. Intro
2. Cinematic feat. SARA-J
4. Chasin’ feat. IO
5. S.U.K.I.
6. Got A Feeling
7. CRY
8. Arigato
11. No one else like you feat. Michael Kaneko
12. Last Love Letter
13. READY25

♦ ♦ ♦

cinematic2CINEMATIC is the tenth studio album by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on November 28, 2018.

Intro features a piano and some traffic noise in the background, while BENI talks and adlibs over it. It leads perfectly into the first full length track Cinematic feat. SARA-J. It has a good R&B beat while the rest of the arrangement sounds very light. SARA-J raps her part very nicely and it fits the overall feel of the song. Good opening track/title track and a real earworm when it comes to the chorus.

For MONEY, BENI shows off more attitude than I’m used to of her, especially in the verses. I like the slightly jazzy vibe to the song and BENI adapted really well. I’m used to her delivering vocal performances always in the same manner, but this is a very welcome change.

Chasin’ feat. OI is a slow R&B ballad featuring rapper OI, of whom I’d never heard until now. They made a nice song together, but if I have to be honest I’d say it’s a bit too slow and laid back to my taste. It’s not very catchy or memorable for that matter.

S.U.K.I. is another slow song, but a bit more on the soulful side and it has more sass to it. Despite me craving an uptempo track by now (or at least midtempo), I find this one surprisingly good and BENI’s vocals are amazing.

The next song brings a bit more bounce back to the tracklist. Got A Feeling is a groovy midtempo track that sort of combines pop/R&B with an 80s touch (because of the synths). I like the touch the guitars give the arrangement, everything sounds so breezy and happy and I love BENI’s adlibs.

There’s something about CRY that makes me like it quite a bit, despite the fact that I think this has the ‘potential’ to be some kind of filler track. I guess I like the R&B beat and BENI’s vocals a lot, especially the chorus sounds very good. Still this is not one of my favorites because I think I’ll forget about this one by tomorrow.

cinematic3Arigato is the longest track on the album at five minutes. It opens beautifully with a guitar and piano, but when the chorus comes along they pull out all the stops with strings, bells, percussion and electric guitars. BENI’s voice sounds very real, as if she’s singing it live right in front of you. This adds to the idea that this is a very intimate song that is probably dear to her.

If there’s one thing I like about PULLBACK is that it explores a bit more of BENI’s vocal range. She hits pretty high notes which she hasn’t showed off before on the album. Other than that, this is pretty much a bland filler track.

Could this really be true?! CANDY is the uptempo track I’ve been waiting for for so long. It has a nice poppy dance beat to it and a nice sort of summer vibe. BENI sings about how she likes someone she shouldn’t, he’s like candy. Simple, but it proves effective in this case. One of the catchiest tracks on the album.

No one else like you feat. Michael Kaneko opens with BENI adlibbing over a soft guitar, which sounds really nice despite this being another ballad track. BENI and Michael sound really nice together, Michael does his verse nicely as well. I like that this track is completely in English. The arrangement stays minimal, but I think this is one of the album’s biggest surprises.

Another heartfelt ballad, a piano ballad this time, is Last Love Letter. I do think the album needed this track because I can hear the emotion BENI puts into her voice to deliver the lyrics the right way. Maybe not the most memorable track, but I have to give her credits for that.

So now the album’s coming to a close and BENI is finally ‘ready to go’? *justkidding* READY25 is so different from all the other songs on the album and I’m blown away by it completely.  I like what they’ve done to the percussion, not something you hear very often in songs. It’s an uplifting track with a lot of attitude to it and it’s one of my absolute favorites on the album.

Something I already feared happened again: BENI’s album is filled with ballads. Not that that’s a problem, it’s just a matter of taste in this case. When an album has both ballads and more uptempo tracks and balances them well, you got me. After quite a number of ballads my mind just wanders off, I can’t help myself. Luckily, BENI still managed to capture my attention every now and then. There are definitely some gems here and I can tell BENI tried some new stuff as well, but the magic of her first couple of albums under her stage name BENI is missing. At least she ditched the cover albums!

Favorite songsCinematic feat. SARA-J | MONEY | S.U.K.I. | Got A Feeling |  Arigato | CANDY | No one else like you feat. Michael Kaneko | READY25

3½ stars


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