Ironic Clown


BoA – BoA
August 28, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: BoA | Tags: , , , , ,

BoA

Track List:
1. I Did It For Love [Ft. Sean Garret]
2. Energetic
3. Did Ya
4. Look Who’s Talking
5. Eat You Up
6. Obsessed
7. Touched
8. Scream
9. Girls On Top
10. Dress Off
11. Hypnotic Dancefloor

BoA is BoA’s 12th studio album and her first album in English. It was released on the 17th/18th of March in the US and Japan respectively and reached number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts and 127 on the US Billboard 200.

Gone are the days when BoA was a cute fourteen year old in her home country of Korea performing sugary pop songs in while performing sleek dance movies and gone are the days when BoA’s image was squeaky clean… here comes America! Bring on America she as says. BoA has successfully conquered the Korean and Japanese music and is now ready for bigger and better thing… but did she take it to far this time? A few thousand miles to far… is BoA really designed for the American industry? Before this release my answer would have quite frankly been “no”. However I must say I am rather impressed!

BoA

BoA has been produced by an elite team such as Sean Garret and Bloodshy & Avant to help follow her American dream. You’d think that not being able to speak fluent English would stop somebody from entering the American music industry… apparently not? Instead her voice is covered in vocoders to hide the Korean accent… somewhat. To be quite honest, I actually like the vocoder on BoA, we all know that her voice isn’t the best, and I can only imagine what it would be like without her faithful vocoder… her glimmer of hope in the American music industry. Normally I am against vocoders on “singers” however this time it actually enhances her voice, sure it still doesn’t hit the right notes all the time, however it does provide it an acceptable and catchy alternative, because let’s face it even at the best of times BoA’s voice isn’t all that great.

BoA has gone for a very stereotypical American approach full of what I like to call “me, me, me” lyrics. These lyrics can sometimes sound awkward when BoA says them because I still think of her as the innocent fourteen year-old, however her newest release just proves how much BoA is determined to conquer America. Some lyrics are just hilarious and make me burst out in laughter every time I listen to them because they are so cheesy and stereotypical. Examples of these are littered throughout the entire album, Eat You Up probably being the best example, with lyrics like ”I’ll eat you up, woah, so yum yum and “I wanna take you to my room.” Examples can also be seen in Obsessed when she opens the song with “I’m breaking the rules don’t really care if I get caught. Because I’m in love, love, love can’t get enough of you. Need you night and day. When you’re not around I’m tested, I could get arrested carrying on this way. I’m going crazy here by myself. I want you and no one else. Sending out a signal of my distress, I confess, I’m Obsessed. I could go on about all the corny lyrics… but I’m afraid you’ll think I’m… Obsessed. Har har. Despite the lyrics be so atrociously shallow I actually didn’t mind it on this album, because it provides humour and makes BoA who she is.

In terms of arrangements all the songs are spot on. BoA’s obviously worked with some good producers because every song (except for Girls onBoA Top) is infectious. BoA has ditched the sugary pop altogether (which a lot more artists should do!) and gone with aggressive pop. Some of the songs do sound the same; however they all have individual characteristics and a clever track-listing to moderate the sound.

So the biggest question of all… has BoA successfully conquered the American music industry? Well, ugh, sorta? There’s no clear answer really. By this I mean BoA has come up with an excellent album, her best so far, however I do feel that this is not a genuine BoA, instead a special commercialised “American version” designed for Westerners covered in an extra thick layer of plastic. Don’t get me wrong I do love this album, however I don’t feel like this is the real BoA. I also believe that the Americans haven’t embraced her as much as she looked like she had tried to embrace them. Having said this, I do believe that she has made a big milestone with the Western J-Pop community and for me that’s enough!

_______________

Hits:
I Did It For Love | Energetic | Did Ya | Look Who’s Talking | Eat You Up | Obsessed | Touched | Scream | Dress Off | Hypnotic Dancefloor

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
Girls on Top
_______________

Overall Rating:
4.5 Stars
4½ stars 

BoA

Big thanks to Selryam for the scans!

Joshua



Ami Suzuki – Supreme Show

Ami Suzuki - Supreme Show

Track list:
1. TEN
2. can’t stop the DISCO
3. climb up to the top
4. SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’085/A mix)
5. Mysterious
6. change my life
7. LOVE MAIL
8. A token of love
9. TRUE
10. flower
11. ONE

Supreme Show is Ami Suzuki’s 7th album it was released on the 12 of November, 2008 and reached number 16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts selling a total of 13, 094 units.

Ami, Ami, Ami, oh what a big ten years you’ve had in the music industry! It’s no secret that your career has had its ups and downs and you may not be as popular as before… but ever thought about why… is it because your music just isn’t interesting…? Unfortunately yes!

Nothing annoys me more when girls like Ami Suzuki who is perfectly capable of singing decides (or is it jus t Nakata) that she wants to be an alien – i.e. wear a thick yet wimpy vocador which destroys her voice and turns it into unintelligible alien shrieks. You’ve got to feel sorry for the poor girl and the other prisoners such as MEG enslaved under the evil reign of Nakata who are also prone to “alien whines”.

Ami Suzuki - Supreme ShowThe majority of the songs are boring beyond belief in terms of vocals. I’m sorry Ami, but I just don’t like listening to you when you sing with absolutely no emotion or depth. I know for a fact that Ami is perfectly capable of singing at least half decently; you just have to go an album back (DOLCE) to see that.

Songs like can’t stop the DISCO prove to have a slightly interesting back-beat, but still it is executed poorly and I’m sure if this was played in some sort of disco club it WOULD stop the disco as quick as a flash because lets face it this song could use some work. Perhaps climbing top position for one of the best song of the album is climb up to the top mainly because Ami’s vocals are actually slightly interesting putting aside the fact that the heavy moaning throughout the entire song is just disturbing.

Nakata proves just how arrogant he is with SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’085/A mix) which got me thinking… whoever though t he was a super music maker must think that my grandma is good at technology… yeah you get my drift.

I will however give Nakata some credit because I must commend him for the effort that a fair few of the songs on Supreme Show do have an interesting arrangement for the techno genre. While the songs may have a thin arrangement they can still prove interesting, however I go by what I said earlier Ami’s “alien whines” prove distracting. What I also found interesting about his arrangements was that there was actually a piano in most of the songs. Yes that’s right a piano… no …wait… it’s a keyboard! Still I liked the fact that he balanced his arrangements out with the slightest bit of organic instruments. Amazingly a violin can be heard in flower which was a plus amongst the many minuses.

Ami Suzuki - Supreme ShowAmi has made a statement in the music industry, proving that even if you have been in the music industry for ten years, it doesn’t make you any better as the years go and in this case it may actually make you worse. However I can’t go by without mentioning her single Reincarnation which was released after Supreme Show in which she literally did get reincarnated into a different person. Yes that’s right behind all the negative press for Reincarnation I did actually enjoy the single thoroughly mainly of her voice (even though she pretty much screams the whole song… but I mean that’s a step up from “alien shrieks” right?) and because she changed producers to Taku Takashi from m-flo which gave her a whole new revamped sound.

My opinions of each song can all be expressed by the rather dull and misleading track names. I could have listened to TEN for about ten more seconds before I would be bored out of my brains. can’t stop the DISCO had me wanting to stop this so called disco. While climb to the top almost climbed to best song on the album. SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’085/A mix) had me thinking just how not super Nakata’s music is. Mysterious was one of the few songs that lived up to its name because of its mysterious arrangement, however it still suffered the same fate as most of the other songs on the album. change my life was a song with no life changing elements. While LOVE MAIL didn’t make me want to send any love mail to Ami or Nakata. A token of love did win a token of my love. But TRUE, truly proved that this album was on a path to destruction. flower blossomed, well… nothing. ONE was one of the only songs I could say I actually really enjoyed and definitely is number one on the album.

While overall I didn’t like this album there where a few elements such as a few interesting arrangements which saved the album from death and destruction, however this album is no Supreme Show and not something I really recommend. Despite being so harsh in this review I don’t have anything against Ami or Nakata, I just think that this album could have used a lot more work to make it the Supreme Show that it was meant to be.

_______________

Hits:

ONE | A token of love

So-so:

TEN | climb up to the top | can’t stop the DISCO | change my life | TRUE | A token of love

Misses:

SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’085/A mix) | Mysterious | LOVE MAIL | flower
_______________

Rating:
2 Stars
2 Stars
 

Ami Suzuki - Supreme Show

Joshua



Salyu (Lily Chou-Chou) – Kokyu
June 3, 2009, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Lily Chou-Chou, Salyu

Salyu (Lily Chou Chou) - Kokyu

Track list:
1. Arabesque
2. Ai no Jikken
3. Erotic
4. Hikousen
5. Kaifuku Suru Kizu
6. Houwa
7. Tobenai Tsubasa
8. Kyoumei
9. Glide

Kokyu is Salyu’s debut album, however it is not recognised as an ~official~ Salyu album because it was released under the artist name of Lily Chou-Chou for the movie All About Lily Chou-Chou. It was released on the 17th of October, 2001.

When the producers of the Japanese movie All About Lily Chou-Chou, also known as Riri Shushu no Subete decided that Salyu should play the fictional pop goddess Lily Chou-Chou, who helps insecure teenagers survive school-life through her melodic voice, they made the right decision. If you are familiar with and of Salyu’s later work you will be aware of her distinctive voice, but with Lily Chou-Chou her voice is much different. It sounds calmer, smoother and although it may not be as strong it still is pleasant to listen to.

If you’re not into slow moving and droopy music then unfortunately this album may not be for you, but if you are one whom likes emotional and somewhat depressing music then this album is a must listen. While Salyu in this album may be bland in terms of her singing she manages to capture the overall depressing mood of the album. In no ways is Kokyu a happy album. It’s subtle and melodramatic, but nonetheless brilliant. While some songs such as Kaifuku Suru Kizu may bore because of the lack of climax and interesting arrangement the majority of the album is presented nicely through simple arrangements and and sullen vocals.

By far the most depressing and best song on the album is Hikousen which is a piece of art in its own right. Only consisting of the lyrics “I miss you” and a few Japanese lines it is the epitome of the album. The arrangement, the vocals and the lyrics all come together as one and create one of the most hauntingly depressing, yet beautiful songs of the decade. I’m not joking… it’s that good!

If you’re looking for something that shies away from mainstream then look no further. Kokyu shall we say, is a very “different” album. It’s not a feel good album that will make you think the world is full of flowers after you listen to… quite the opposite actually. I wouldn’t describe Kokyu as a pop album, instead it fits better into the alternative album and I must say there’s no other albums out there quite like this.

While Kokyu has its ups, it’s not complete without its downs. On the most parts the arrangements, while simple, are interesting to however there is the odd occasion where the arrangements can get boring. The same can be said about Salyu’s vocals. In Houwa Salyu’s vocals are modified to make them have a more rugged; however this makes the arrangement take over and drown out the vocals which isn’t a pretty thing. Kyoumei although presented better also suffers the same fate in terms of arrangements drowning out Salyu’s voice.

Kokyu worked on a personal level for me, the album had an emotional edge which could not possibly be present in a mainstream album. Some songs (mainly Hikousen) where heartbreaking and oh so hauntingly beautiful. All I can say about albums like Kokyu is that there simply aren’t enough released.

Salyu has proved that you really can make an album appeal on a personal level. She has released something that is totally original and that can’t compare to any other out there. It’s a shame that she hasn’t released any more albums as emotional as this. As I have said earlier Salyu may not have very powerful vocals on this album, but the vocals she’s displayed on Kokyu work well with the music, however in a few instances they let her down as do the arrangements that sound her voice. Putting it simply; if you’re into a emotional and original album then look no further.

_______________

Hits
Arabesque | Ai no Jikken | Erotic | Hikousen |  Tobenai Tsubasa | Guide

So-so:
Kaifuku Suru Kizu | Houwa | Kyoumei

Misses:
N/A
_______________

Overall Rating:
4 Stars
4 stars 

Lily Chou Chou

Joshua



I Love Chihiro Onitsuka!

I Love Chihiro Onitsuka

Yes, so as you may have guessed from the image above this post is about my love for the singer/songwriter Chihiro Onitsuka.

_______________

Chihiro OnitsukaChihiro Onitsuka was born on the 30th of October, 1980 in Nango, Miyazaki. She was strongly influenced by Western Artists such as The Carpenters and later on Jewel which is her main inspiration as a singer and songwriter.

Chihiro was originally signed under the label Toshiba EMI, however in 2004 she changed labels due to the fact that Toshiba EMI released an A-side album against her will. To this day Toshiba EMI still release material of Chihiro… I guess they must miss her huh?

Ironically her first single Shine didn’t even make to top 200 on the Oricon Charts, however her second single Gekkou which was of an entirely different nature, being a haunting ballad compared to an upbeat pop song, which honestly does not suit Chihiro. Her second single was followed by Cage and in 2001 followed by Memai/Edge which Best Lyrics Award at the Japan Record Awards.

Chihiro OnitsukaHer first album Insomnia was released on the 7th of March, 2001 and currently is her only number one material to date. It is estimated that sales topped 1.4 million. From then on her popularity has declined, however she still managed to release beautiful piano-driven ballads.

In 2002 Chihiro started a new era with the release of infection/LITTLE BEAT RIFLE. Despite being possibly Chihiro’s best and most emotional song to date infection was plagued with controversy. The Western world was getting over the grief and terror of the September 11 attacks, when Chihiro released a song with figurative lyrics about a “heart-shattering” explosion. Unfortunately the timing couldn’t have been worse and because of this promotion of infection was cancelled – one of the many mistakes made by Toshiba EMI. Chihiro released a sixth single Ryuuseigun which was then followed up with her second album This Armor

A mere nine months later and Chihiro released her third album Sugar High. With very little promotion Sugar High still managed to reach two onChihiro Onitsuka the Oricon. During the end of Chihiro’s Toshiba EMI days she released four singles Sign, Beautiful Fighter, Ii Hi Tabidachi Nishe e and Watashi wo Waltz wo. Then tragedy struck… Chihiro needed to have throat surgery (which is the worst type of surgery for a singer as it can permanently effect their voices) if she was to peruse her singing career. Chihiro’s voice is noticeably different and weaker on her fourth album LAS VEGAS however in later singles her voice seems to have improved.

Being the smart label that they are (cough cough) Toshiba EMI decided to release a best of album, entitled Singles Box against Chihiro’s wishes which in return Chihiro packed her boxes and broke the ties with the record label.

In 2004 she signed a label under Universal Music and released a breaking her folk barriers by released a rock inspired single Sodatsu Zazzou. Despite once again having little promotion (not even a PV!) the single reached 10 on the Oricon Charts!

And then…

…Chihiro seemed to disappear from the face of the planet…

Chihiro OnitsukaChihiro went on a three year hiatus in which she was stalked, at one point weighed only 36 kilograms, read comics and listened to Arashi and Tori Amos.
In 2007 Chihiro came back from the dead (or at least it seamed that way) and released two singles everyhome and Bokura Barairo no Hibi followed by her fourth and much anticipated album LAS VEGAS.

Currently after the release of LAS VEGAS Chihiro has released two singles Hotaru which was released in August, 2008 and X/Last Melody which was released on the 20th of May 2009. Another single Kaerimichi wo Nakushite is scheduled for release on the 25th of July 2009, which will hopefully be followed up by a fifth album.

_______________

I discovered Chihiro Onitsuka purely by chance. The first song of hers I ever listened to was Gekkou and from then on I have been captivated!Chihiro Onitsuka Chihiro’s alto voice is STUNNING! Her head voice and most notably her chest voice is ~amazing~!

Waiting for Chihiro to release new material has been an excruciating wait, however it was worth the wait. X/Last Melody was released a few days ago (May 20 to be exact) and is amazing and shows a darker and aggressive side of Chihiro.

Chihiro is highly recommended to people who like… uh anyone really? I won’t make comparisons to other artists because the fact of the matter is that her voice is completely original and her arrangements are so ambient that she bends the rules of pop and rock to come up with emotional, heartwarming and heartbreaking songs about love, pain and loss delivered with mystifying arrangements and an exceptional voice.

Yes… I’m just slightly obsessed ^^

Chihiro Onitsuka

Joshua



Thelma Aoyama – DIARY

 

Aoyama Thelma - DAIRYTrack list:
1. My Beginning
2. Soba ni Iru ne [feat. SolJa]
3. ONE WAY
4. My dear friend
5. Last Letter
6. RHYTHEM
7. GOOD TIME MIX [feat. MIKU from YA-KYM]
8. HIGHER
9. Paradise
10. This Day [feat. Dohzi-T]
11. Kono mama de
12. Anata ni aete Yokatta
13. Mama e
14. DIARY

DIARY is Thelma’s Aoyama first studio album. It was released on the 26TH of March, 2008 and reached number three on the Oricon Weekly Charts selling a total of 372, 375 copies making it the 26th best selling Japanese album of the year.

Step aside Yuna Ito, Thelma Aoyama is here! From the beginning it’s quite clear that Thelma’s voice is absolutely amazing and matches perfect with the pop music that she makes. Her voice is soft, smooth and emotional which makes the entire album come to life and without her amazing voice the album wouldn’t be half as good as it is.

The beginning immediately tells us that this album will be a typical sincere, love based album. In the introduction track My Beginning Thelma says (in a quite well executed English) “This is way, my words, my message, my story, this is my… diary.”  The piano backs up these lines to add to the sweet feel of this track. It’s a great way to start an album as it gives us a taste of what we can expect.

PhotobucketThe introduction track flows immediately into the second song Soba ni Iru ne which is an lovely and rather mellow song. It features SoulJa which as usual doesn’t add any creative input and to be quite honest I would be perfectly happy if he wasn’t even in this track because his rapping ruins the mood. However this might be slightly biased coming from a person who can’t stand most rappers.

From ONE WAY to This Day Thelma shows her pop side with the occasional ballad thrown in here and there. Thelma’s pop tracks are produced well because she keeps things simple and balances it out with acoustic instruments, mainly the piano. This works well for the majority of the tracks, however a couple of tracks (mainly This Day) can tend to get on the boring side, and once again the rapping doesn’t do Thelma any favours. For a debut artist Thelma has collaborated with a fair amount of people. She worked with Soulja in Soba ni Iru ne, MIKU from YA-KYIM in GOOD TIME REMIX and Dohzi-T in This Day. Surprisingly none of the “featured” artists add anything special to the album and as I have said before I would be perfectly happy if they weren’t even included in the first place.

DIARY has a total of five (six if you include the introduction track) ballads. Some may call this a lot, but personally I think this is a perfect balance. Thelma performs her pop ballads at top quality, much thanks to her amazing and calming voice. She manages to convey a lot of emotion in her voice and can hit high notes well. She sings with a head voice that is clear and tranquil. The ballads do tend to sound the same, however I quite like all the ballads so this doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing.

Aoyama Thelma - DIARYThelma uses a moderate amount of English. The most can be seen in the introduction track, obviously, as it is completely in English. Thelma tends to say random phrases in English such as; ”Every night I’m missing you. Every night I want a new… Namida…” and “Don’t leave me alone, please don’t go away. You’re my everything.” and other cliché phrases like that.

Some may not like the track listing because most of the ballads seem to be squished at the end, but personally I don’t mind this track listing because it makes the album flow better and ends the album on a sincere note. The flow of the album is pulled off nicely, especially between My Beginning and Soba ni Iru ne which seem to flux into one song. Perhaps an interlude could have been included between This Day and Kono mama de, however even without an interlude the album seems to flow relatively well.

Overall DIARY is a great album. I think Thelma’s voice matches the type of music that she creates excellently. Even though this is Thelma’s first album she still manages to sound professional and genuine. She has released feel good pop music that is lightly sprinkled with synth to create a felicitous album with warm vocals a laidback feel.

_______________

Hits:
My Beginning | Soba ni Iru ne [feat SoulJa | ONE WAY | My dear friend | Last Letter | Paradise | Kono mama de | Anata ni aete Yokatta | Mame e | DIARY

So-so:
RHYTHM | GOOD TIME REMIX [feat. MIKU from YA-KYIM] | HIGHER | This Day [feat. Dohzi T]

Misses:
N/A
_______________

Overall Rating:4 Stars4 stars

Aoyama Thelma - DAIRY

Joshua



KOKIA – AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

KOKIA – AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

 Track list:
1. Wasure Mono
2. Ooki na Senaka
3. Obaa-chan
4.Crape-myyrtle no Yureru Koro
5. HOME
6. vintage love
7. brige
8. Hajimari
9. infinity
10. Sekia no Owari ni
11. Tsumihoroboshi no Uta

AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ is KOKIA’s 9th studio album. It was released on the 18th of March, 2009 and reached number 51 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and charted for a total of three weeks. It was released on the same day as her OTHER album KOKIA∞AKIKO ~balance~.

Less than six months after the release of her Christmas themed album Christmas gift KOKIA is back! If anyone knows how to make albums efficiently it’s KOKIA. Considering it took less than six months to make, I didn’t have my hopes too high… but man was I surprised!

All eleven tracks on the album are soft laidback songs, with a unique alternative edge. Much like The VOICE, AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ shies away from KOKIA’s pop/folk past and goes for something a little more original. The beginning of the album starts off with Wasure Mono a relaxed track with outstanding vocals. With Wasure Mono being almost seven minutes in length, one would think that this song quickly get boring, however like previous albums KOKIA’s vocals are outstanding and never get tiresome.

AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ shows the use of piano quite frequently. In vintage love, Obaa-chan and Hajimari the piano is the only instrument that can be heard. This adds to the unfeigned feel of the song, and makes KOKIA’s vocals the main attraction. AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ is balanced out with guitar to add a light touch to the album. Ooki na Senaka, Crape-myrtle no Yureru Koro and bridge have guitar as the main and at times only instrument of the piece. The way that KOKIA can make a song that sounds so raw, yet so interesting is very intriguing and she has mastered a very fine art.

Unlike The VOICE, KOKIA’s latest album has lost the European edge and as far as I know has not been scheduled for a European release, unlike her previous album. This is understandable though because compared to previous albums AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ has little English. Most of the English throughout the entire album can be heard on bridge. KOKIA’s English is as good as they are on previous albums and at times the English can be hard to understand, but that’s mainly because the vocals are rather soft on bridge. I think that it’s a good thing that AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ doesn’t have all that much English on it, because even though KOKIA’s English vocals are cute an all, they can sometimes sound as though they were sung by a four year old. When listening to her English works it becomes quite evident that her Japanese voice is much nicer.

Lots of songs have similar arrangements so that’s a plus when it comes to the flow of the album. I would like to see KOKIA vary her songs, but at the same time I believe that KOKIA performs soft tracks the best and I would be quite happy for her to sing songs like this for the rest of her career… yes, I did just commit doublethink.

KOKIA’s vocals on AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ are varied. In songs such as Obaa-chan KOKIA’s vocals are thin, but strong. In Hajimari KOKIA’s vocals are fuller and she holds her notes for a longer amounts of time, which can sometimes tend to resemble opera. In all of these circumstances KOKIA seems to be able to sing with ease and her lyrics are smooth and flow well. KOKIA’s vocals are melodic she uses the right arrangements to match her voice. Most of the songs on the album could be used as a lullaby to drift me off to sleep, especially vintage love which is one of the simplest but best songs on the album.

KOKIA is a truly unique Japanese artist and really can’t compare to anyone in the Japanese music industry. In an industry plagued by same-sounding generic pop tracks KOKIA comes along and balances the music industry out with some much needed peaceful and lightly produced music. Add a sprinkle of guitar, piano and even panpipe to match wonderful and diverse vocals and you’ve got AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ which truly is a gem to treasure in any music collection.

_______________

Hits:
Wasure Mono | Ooki na Senka | Obaa-chan | Crape-myrtle no Yureru Koro | HOME | vintage love | bridge | Hajimari | infinity | Sekai no Owari ni | Tsumihoroboshi no Uta

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
N/A
_______________

Overall Rating:5 Stars5 stars

KOKIA - AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

Joshua



JYONGRI – Love Forever

JYONGRI - Love Forever

Track list:
1. Love Forever
2. Tender Touch
3. Kissing Me
4. Unchanging Love ~Kimi ga Ireba~ (with Whisper)
5. Catch me
6. Lullaby For You
7. Watashi no Taiyou
8. Naitemo Ii yo
9. You’re the One
10. Lovers DRIVE
11. The Chills
12. Still in Love
13. STARS

Love Forever is JYONGRI’s second Japanese studio album. It was released on the 2nd of July, 2008 and reached number 17 on the Oricon Charts, selling 17, 477 copies.

JYONGRI opens her new love themed album with a beautiful acapella entitled Love Forever . This is an appropriate opening song, as it gives us a taste into what the majority of the album will be – peaceful love ballads. The love feel continues on with Tender Touch which is a string and based ballad where she emotionally sings the lines ”It only takes that tender touch.”

JYONGRI - Love ForeverEven from just looking at the track list, it is pretty obvious that Love Forever is all about love and nothing else, however for JYONGRI that’s a good thing. Too many have complained that there are too many ballads on this album, however JYONGRI performs these ballads in a professional and heart-warming manner so they never seem like a bore… well at least on this album.

JYONGRI’s vocals are amazing, they are so smooth and soft, while being full and deep at the same time, she hits all the right notes and even though she sings in an alto voice she still manages to reach the high notes with ease. Her vocals never fail to impress me and it’s a shame that’s she’s not all that popular in the Japanese music industry, because I really think that she has truly outstanding vocals. They are more refined than in Close To Fantasy and she doesn’t seem to be straining to reach any of the notes like in a few of the songs on her previous album.

Even though this album is made almost entirely of ballads, the upbeat songs are placed thoughtfully so you never get too many ballads in a row (if that’s even possible for JYONGRI). Most ballads maintain the same general atmosphere; however they do contain enough variety so that the songs don’t all sound the same. JYONGRI’s preferred instrument is the keyboard and the piano is present in some songs, such as Still In Love. Besides the keyboard/piano some other instruments can be heard throughout Love Forever. An acoustic guitar and be heard in STARS and an electric guitar can be heard in Watashi no Taiyou.

Like her previous album, Love Forever features a fare bit of synth, but this is balanced out with acoustic and genuine instruments. Unlike Close To Fantasy, the synth on Love Forever is elaborated and is of much higher quality, well for the most of it anyway. The only time the quality of the synth seems to lack is in Catch me, however JYONGRI’s vocals in Catch me are extremely, well, catchy! So the lacking quality of the synth in this song isn’t as noticeable. The best examples of synth can be seen in Kissing Me, Lover’s DRIVE and The Chills. All of these songs are well created and the synth really ads to the fun atmosphere of the song. Possibly the most synthesised song on the album is Lover’s DRIVE which is a fun and extremely catchy song.

JYONGRI - Love ForeverJYONGRI captures the highs and lows of love in her album, and finishes the album of on a sadder and emotional manner. Still In Love and STARS are hauntingly beautiful songs which showcase JYONGRI’s almost depressing side. Still In Love which opens with a ravishing, yet simple piano solo is a song about missing a lover. The emotional atmosphere is displayed very well and JYONGRI’s vocals are mellower this time around. STARS is just as beautiful and JYONGRI’s vocals are so emotionally as she sings beautiful lines such as “In the sky we shine.” JYONGRI really knows how to finish the album off on a good note.

Love Forever was shockingly amazing and is better than Closer To Fantasy in every aspect. JYONGRI is one of the sincerest, sweet and emotional singers in the J-Pop industry. JYONGRI is not your average J-Pop star and remains true to herself at all times. Her lyrics depict very cute, and emotional times of love and her English is perfect. On Love Forever JYONGRI shows all the sides of love, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the strong and weak. JYONGRI’s vocals are amazing and one of the best in the industry, and JYONGRI is very good at portraying her emotions through her voice. Love Forever was a surprising album in the fact that every song on it was presented astoundingly and is an album I’m pretty sure I’ll love forever!

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Hits:
Love Forever | Tender Touch | Kissing Me | Unchanging Love ~Kimi ga Ire wa~ (With Whisper) | Catch me | Lullaby For You | Watashi no Taiyou | Naitemo Ii yo | You’re the One | Lovers DRIVE | The Chills | Still In Love | STARS

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
N/A
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Overall Rating:
5 Stars5 stars

JYONGRI - Love Forever

Joshua