BENI -CINEMATIC

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

cinematic1ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – CINEMATIC

1. Intro
2. Cinematic feat. SARA-J
3. MONEY
4. Chasin’ feat. IO
5. S.U.K.I.
6. Got A Feeling
7. CRY
8. Arigato
9. PULLBACK
10. CANDY
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

OVERALL RATING
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3½ stars

cinematic4

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BENI – COVERS THE CITY

July 29, 2018 at 4:14 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

benicoverscity1ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – COVERS THE CITY

1. Shin Takarajima (original: Sakanaction)
2. Umi no Koe (original: Kiriya Kenta)
3. Koi Oto to Amazora (original: AAA)
4. Nandemonaiya (English ver.) (original: RADWIMPS)
5. Himawari no Yakusoku (original: Hata Motohiro)
6. Heavy Mellow (original: SPITZ)
7. Mahoutte Itteii Kana? (original: Hirai Ken)
8. Sugar Song to Bitter Step (original: UNISON SQUARE GARDEN)
9. Kazoku ni Narou yo (original: Fukuyama Masaharu)
10. Zutto Suki Datta (original: Saito Kazuyoshi)
11. R.Y.U.S.E.I. (original: J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE)
12. Mou Ichido… (original: Dohzi-T)

♦ ♦ ♦

benicoverscity2COVERS THE CITY is the fourth cover album by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on September 13, 2017. The album peaked at #11 on the weekly charts and has sold 6,379 copies.

I’m glad to hear BENI’s version of Shin Takarajima is much easier on the ears than the original, already starting with that nice chanting intro. It doesn’t differ too much from the original but it has more of a J-pop/funk sound and it’s quite catchy, a good opener for the album.

Not sure where I stand with Umi no Koe. BENI’s version is a nice and slick summer pop song with pretty translated lyrics (all of her covers are always English). But I’ve also heard the original which is a beautiful ballad. It’s short, just when I got into it it stopped, but I’m giving BENI the benefit of the doubt since this one improves every time I listen to it.

BENI changed Koi Oto to Amazora by AAA into an R&B/pop song and slowed the tempo down to make it a more mellow track. Did I say mellow, I actually meant boring. Knowing the original and how much variation it had in the overall arrangement, this version by BENI is just too much of the same, dragging along for almost six minutes. I’ll take AAA’s version over this one, and by the way I’m going to check up on their music because they made me curious!

I LOVED the melody in the original ballad Nandemonaiya by RADWIMPS, but I must say BENI made it into something interesting that’s definitely worth listening to. All of the magic that was missing in Koi Oto to Amazora, she makes up for it with this one. It’s like an electropop ballad but I can’t really place it. Anyway, good one!

The first official ballad on the album is Himawari no Yakusoku. BENI took the original guitar ballad and made piano the leading instrument. The beauty of the original song is preserved and BENI delivers some amazing vocals to it. I like the build-up in the arrangement without overdoing it on the emotions.

The only big difference between SPITZ’s Heavy Mellow and BENI’s version is that BENI’s version has a lighter approach and her vocals are better (no offense to SPITZ fans). I like the prominent role of the guitars in the middle of the song and the handclap beat. Not my favorite, but definitely a nice and happy track.

benicoverscity3Hirai Ken’s original version of Mahoutte Ittaii Kana? is a ballad, but BENI turned it into a midtempo. Now I know Ken has a lot of fans, but I don’t really like his voice. BENI makes this song more attractive for me, a bit lighter with the same nice melodies the original has. In my opinion, this is better than the original.

UNISON SQUARE GARDEN’s Sugar Song to Bitter Step is all over the place and the perfect anime song (is it also really an anime song? I don’t know). The pop/rock of the original is more funky pop in BENI’s version with just a bit of R&B, which makes for an interesting arrangement. It gets catchier every time.

Kazoku ni Narou yo, originally a guitar ballad, has more of a bounce to it in BENI’s version. Despite that, it doesn’t really do anything for me. BENI’s vocals are a bit monotonous and there are no highlights to the song.

Luckily, the groovy vibe of Zutto Suki Datta is still there in BENI’s version, although it’s much slower. I’m not sure about this one. I like the vibe, the melody and the arrangement, but it needs just that little bit of magic for me to really like it. Maybe I need to listen to it a little more.

The original R.Y.U.S.E.I. is a real club banger, but when I heard BENI’s version I was wondering if it was really based on said song. Eventually the chorus made sure it was, but this deep house version is sooo different. Mostly I’m not a dance lover, but I’ll take J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE’s version over BENI’s any day.

BENI had an old trick up her sleeve with Mou Ichido…, and she nailed it! It’s the umpteenth version of it, but the first in complete English with BENI doing both the singing and rapping. I love what they’ve done to the arrangement and BENI sounds so comfortable singing this oldie. What a way to end the album!

I’m not sure where BENI wanted to take this album, but it’s not really city pop. It’s more a combination of regular J-pop, tropical, R&B and deep house and as always with BENI, it’s either a hit or miss. Now there were some songs of which I clearly prefer the original (Kimi Oto to Amazora, R.Y.U.S.E.I.), but other times BENI took the original to a whole new level and improved it. The second half of the album was a bit more boring than the first, but overall I’m satisfied with this album and its production value. NOW RELEASE AN ALBUM WITH YOUR OWN ORIGINAL SONGS GIRL.

Favorite songsShin Takarajima | Nandemonaiya (English ver.) | Himawari no Yakusoku | Mahoutte Ittaii Kana? | Sugar Song to Bitter Step | Mou Ichido…

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
3½ stars

benicoverscity4

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
8. OUR SKY
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

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
3½ stars

shikiutasummer2

BENI – Undress

December 3, 2015 at 2:15 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
BENI – Undress

1. INTRO
2. DO IT RIGHT
3. BFF
4. Forever
5. MEOW
6. Kimi no Kakera
7. Yokogao
8. PAPA
9. DEEP SWEET EASY
10. BABY
11. SAYONARA
12. TATTOO
13. ZERO
14. Fun Fun Christmas

♦ ♦ ♦

Undress is the ninth studio album by Japanese/American singer BENI, and her sixth under the NAYUTAWAVE RECORDS label, released on November 25, 2015. The album ranked at #14 on the Oricon weekly charts, selling 7,281 copies in its first week.

INTRO is just a very serene track with BENI chanting in the background, kinda leading you into the feel of the album. DO IT RIGHT flows straight from it and it sounds very Western, like this is BENI’s American roots speaking. The track is similar to a mix between Selena Gomez and Kygo, a smooth R&B flow with laid back tropical deep house beats and high synths. Not very bombastic, but very nice as the first full track on the album!

BFF opens with soft acoustic guitars, but for the chorus the arrangement swells with percussion, electric guitars and strings. It gives the song just the right touch, and the melodies give it a very sweet and uplifting vibe. When you call a track ‘BFF’, this is what it should sound like. It’s a bit too long, but still very pretty (especially the vocals).

Ahh, there it is, Forever. I loved it on the single and it comes at the right time on this album, making it sounds even better than it already was. The opening still reminds me a bit of “You Can’t Hurry Love”, that same funky vibe, but BENI made this her very own unique and fun song with stellar vocals. I don’t think she has ever done anything like this before and I love her for releasing this as an A-side.

Interesting to call a track MEOW, but oh well. At least the arrangement sounds very interesting, modern and Western again, something that is probably her style for this album. This track is all over the place, and with that I especially mean the chorus, drawing inspiration from types of hardstyle music. I don’t know where she was heading with this, but it’s very quirky and I’m sure some people will hate this x’D

Kimi no Kakera is an R&B midtempo ballad, which is her signature style, but still BENI managed to make this different and in the style of this album, in contrast to what her songs were like back when ‘BITTER & SWEET’ was released. Despite that, and despite me really liking the track, I bet I will soon forget how it goes.

For Yokogao, BENI went for a more soulful and minimalistic approach, singing to a piano and strings only (with some soft percussion). I feel the vocals are a bit too loud, making her sound unstable at times, but on the other hand the emotion in her vocals is well done.

Opening the second half of the album is the midtempo song PAPA, a sweet song for BENI’s daddy. I like the arrangement, very smooth and fitting for this kind of song, and although I can’t understand the lyrics, I get the feeling she sings a sweet song to her father about how much she loves him. Just for that, I would love this.

DEEP SWEET EASY is a drawback for BENI if you ask me. Not that there’s anything very wrong with the song, but it just lacks something outstanding to make it memorable. Despite that, the arrangement is indeed beautiful. It just doesn’t live up to its full potential.

I like the uptempo quality of BABY, it’s like R&B on steroids. It could have had a smoother arrangement, but I feel like I understand the flow of the song more now than I did back when I reviewed it on the ‘Forever’ single. Now I also notice how the music develops throughout the song, adding more fun touches and making it more memorable. BENI, now I feel you.

SAYONARA incorporates more dance influences in its arrangement, and somehow I feel the beats, deep synths and handclaps make it sounds like a 90s dance song will there is still something modern about it. Interesting, and although usually I wasn’t into songs like this, I like this one. I would like to hear BENI do more of this in the future (despite some of the too simple lyrics).

In that same style (albeit a bit more like 90s house), this is the perfect time to cue in TATTOO. I liked this on the ‘Forever’ single for being another song that was not typical for BENI, and I mean that in the best way possible. BENI has always been about the smooth midtempo R&B ballads, but this girl can do uptempo dance and house tracks too and honestly, I like this better on her! One of the most kickass tracks on the album.

Alright, BENI, have it your way, one more midtempo R&B to close the original tracklisting. ZERO is kind of predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. I would have liked this better earlier on the album, though. One thing: did BENI just sing “I don’t give a f***” right before the first chorus??! 😮

CHRISTMAS! Fun Fun Christmas is what it says on the tin: a fun, uptempo song about Christmas, BENI style. Not something you would expect on a regular album, but it’s just a bonus track anyway. I do like the addition of this, it makes me happy! 🙂

At first I was very excited about this album, I loved the first couple of tracks and I had high hopes, even when that weird piece MEOW came along. This is BENI doing something different for a change, and I could get used to that. Weren’t it for the fact that she always manages to add some more generic songs to her album to spoil the fun a bit. Now I would like to make clear that I still have to hear the first bad BENI song, but some of her songs just fail to capture my attention and that’s just too bad because I know what she’s capable of. Luckily, there are some new gems on this album, and I will definitely give it another chance in the future!

Favorite tracks: DO IT RIGHT | BFF | Forever | PAPA | BABY | SAYONARA | TATTOO | Fun Fun Christmas

OVERALL RATING
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3½ stars

BENI – Forever

November 6, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Posted in BENI | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
BENI – Forever

1. Forever
2. BABY
3. TATTOO
4. CAT’S EYE

Forever is the twenty-sixth single by Japanese/American singer BENI, released on August 12, 2015. The single sold 765 copies.

Well, that’s not much, only 765 copies… And to think this is the first single for her new album ‘Undress’ (TBR 2015.11.25). Anyway, Forever does not sound like anything BENI has done before AT ALL. The song is very funky and the beginning reminded me a bit of ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, it’s actually the best part of the entire song. BENI herself also sounds amazing, belting out high notes in the chorus.  I’m in love with this ❤

The beat in BABY sounds a bit off to me, it’s not a bad thing that it’s uptempo but when I listen to the instruments I would imagine something a bit smoother, like in the bridge. It does have some nice R&B elements that BENI always pulls off nicely, but I think this song needs a little more time to get used to before I love it (and besides, I’m not going to love any song as much as Forever).

There’s something about TATTOO that sounds very 90s house, while it’s also modern. One thing is for sure, this is the third song in a row that is not typically BENI, in a good way! It’s very interesting that BENI tried this and her vocals work very well for this genre too, it leaves me wanting more!

CAT’S EYE is a cover, but I don’t know the original (as with most cover songs). The song has a mysterious ambience in some way, perhaps because of those piano notes throughout the arrangement. I must say this is the song I like least of all, although it doesn’t completely lack potential.

Well, if I wasn’t excited for ‘Undress’ already, I certainly am now!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 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

 

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
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
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
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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
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3½ stars

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