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!

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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
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Overall Rating:
4.5 Stars
4½ stars 

BoA

Big thanks to Selryam for the scans!

Joshua

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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
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Rating:
2 Stars
2 Stars
 

Ami Suzuki - Supreme Show

Joshua



August’s Austere Soundtrack
August 1, 2009, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Features! | Tags:

Here it is again… let’s see how I went:

Opening Credits

Under The Moon – Do As Infinity: If it was an eerie movie this song would fit perfectly, even though it doesn’t stand out to be an opening credits song, I can actually picture it being one.

Waking Up


be with you. – BoA:
Sorry BoA, but I just can’t see it happening.

Going to School


Hajimari – KOKIA:
Hmm, such a mellow song, it’s not like I’m going to a funeral or anything.

Falling in Love


How It Ends – DeVotchKa:
Words cannot express how much I love this song, while the lyrical matter may not fit perfectly (hmm now that I think about it, it could be interoperated that way) the arrangement is perfect.

Fight Song


Killer – The Hoosiers:
Perfect, nothing better than a song about a killer for a fight song.

Breaking Up


Bokura Bara-iro no Hibi – Chihiro Onitsuka:
Interestingly enough, this song was written about the days when love starts to fade… Chihiro has done it for me!

Prom


Sora – KOKIA:
Simply, NOT ENERGETIC ENOUGH!

Life is Good


SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08S/A mix) – Ami Suzuki:
Despite me not being a fan of Ami, the atmosphere of the song is bright and chirpy and therefore fits.

Mental Breakdown


I’ll Do Anything – MAY:
Hmmm, sort of, but it’s lacking emotion.

Driving


Blue Skies– Blue October:
Aaaah, just picture looking at the blue skies whilst driving in the country side… nothing more picturesque.

Flashback


Happy Ending – BONNIE PINK:
Maybe, but I don’t really see it happening.

Getting Back Together


Thank you – Leah Dizon:
“Ooooh happy days for you and me, from the bottom of my heart”… yay something that fits~

Wedding


Don’t Let Go – Kate Miller Heidke:
It’s a bit mellow, but it’s a really sweet. And depending on the mood of the wedding the lyrics fit well.

Paying the Dues


Hey I’m Calling Up – Rie fu:
“Hey I’m calling up” to arrange the dues that you owe me. Yeah, that was lame.

The Night Before The War


~Yakusoku~ (Live) – JYONGRI:
Well it’s definitely in the right mood for war, however the lyrics don’t really match.

Final Battle


Is This LOVE? – Ayumi Hamasaki:
It’s aggressive enough, but still, it’s far away from the mood, however I can imagine this song in a battle in a video game or something like that?

Moment of Triumph


Scared of Lonely – Beyoncé:
Errrm… no. Just no.

Death Scene


Walking On Air – Kerli:
As much as I love this song, it just doesn’t fit.

Funeral Song


Soulmate – Natasha Bedingfield :
More about relationships than death, but I guess if you look at it with a different eye it could work.

End Credits


SCAR – Ayumi Hamasaki:
Ayumi… you failed me!

So lets see how I went ‘eh?

Spot on: 7
Hmmm: 6
Total miss: 7

I’ll make it… eventually, I’m deteramained not to give up… until I get a perfect score. You may see this quiz popping up every now and then, until I finally conquer this quiz and get 100%… yes I’m a perfectionist.

Joshua



June’s errrr… EPIC soundtrack~!
May 31, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Features! | Tags: , ,

So what do you have when you put your media player to shuffle and then place it next to a typical blockbuster movie scene; the soundtrack of life o’ course~! Big shout out to Josh from Shuffle and Repeat who gave me the idea (:

Opening Credits

Futari – Miyu Nagase: depends on the movie really, but I certainly know that I wouldn’t pick this for opening credits.

Waking Up

Reading Time With Pickle – Regina Spektor: One of Regina Spektor’s quirkier songs. Not the best song for waking up as it is slow and droopy.

Going to School

BARBiE BARBiE – Aira Mitsuki: The Asian Barbie doll song ‘eh? Doesn’t quite fit into the whole school theme, although it would be quite energetic while I walk to the bus stop.

Falling in Love

Standing Up – Tina Arena: NO! NO! NO! It needs to be mellower and more interesting XD. C’mon get some good songs already~!

Fight Song

Heartless – Kanye West: Yeah this song isn’t actually a bad one, especially for the consequent of the fight… “I did some things, but that’s the old me”. Seems like a good line for a fight to me.

Breaking Up

Lighting Strike – Snow Patrol: I love this song SO MUCH! Being nearly 17 minutes in length it’s one of the longest songs on my library. The subdued mood matches the breaking up, and also the mention about the different weather could be a metaphorical reference to the many feelings experienced when breaking up.

Prom

Under Babydoll – Nana Kitade: Nah, too much rock and the atmosphere is dark… not an atmosphere I’d like to experience at prom. NEXT!

Life is Good

See The Sun – The Kooks: The name pretty much says it all! The lyrics are sweet – “You can have it all and wrap it in the world.” Having said this it is also about the jealousy of someone else perfect life, so maybe not?

Mental Breakdown

Sakuranbo – Ai Otsuka: ROFL… COULDN’T HAVE PICKED A WORSE SONG!

Driving

Soba ni Iru ne – Thelma Aoyama: I was so hoping that Koda Kumi’s Driving would come on, but instead I was given this… which doesn’t fit the mood.

Flashback

Irreplaceable – Beyoncè: Hmmm seems to me that iTunes doesn’t want to work with me tonight… AARGH!

Getting Back Together

Emergency – Paramore: Lulz, *rolls eyes* once again a shocking song to suit the mood. Would’ve made a neat breaking up song though…

Wedding

Kiseki – Koda Kumi: Well it’s a love song, however personally I would want to be avoiding a song by Koda Kumi because her sugary pop just doesn’t suit the mood.

Paying the Dues

Tookumade – Do As Infinity: “Soo far away (from fitting the mood)” Yeah that sounds about right…

The Night Before The War

Runaway – Pink: Yeah this could work, it’s a nice song about insecurities and the lyrics “I’ll try to stay alive” fit pretty well.

Final Battle

Sunglass – Utada Hikaru: Umm yeah because a laid-back R&B song fully fits a dramatic battle… err no!

Moment of Triumph

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write A Letter – Billy Williams: LULZ!

Death Scene

ReBiRTH – Ayumi Hamasaki: Despite the name being about birth this interlude by Ayumi Hamasaki actually fits REALLY well!

Funeral Song

Prologue ~ Trust You – Tainaka Sachi: Another instrumental that fits absolutely perfectly!

End Credits

Fully Alive (Acoustic Version) – Flyleaf: An emo song to end a movie? Hmm it could work in a few instances… or not? Lovely song though!

So lets see how I went ‘eh?

Spot on: 6
Hmmm: 5
Total miss: 9

Despite my low score that was actually really fun. I’m actually planning on making this a monthly feature now… hopefully my scores will improve XD!

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.

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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.

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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



Seperated At Birth?!?
May 15, 2009, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Features! | Tags: , , ,

Meisa Namie Amuro

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When I first heard Meisa Kuroki’s music the first word that came into my head was ~NAMIE~! Both Meisa and Namie Amuro’s voices sound extremely similar, their musical style is the same and with the cover above I’m even starting to question whether they whether they are separated at birth?!

Anyhow both artists will be featured on Ironic Clown in the near future~!

Joshua



My Turn!
May 15, 2009, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Features! | Tags: , ,

I’ve seen this circulating through a few of the J-Pop blogs and thought I would give it a go… ^^

What was the first Japanese song that you ever listened to?

Well I know that everyone says this, but my first Japanese song I ever listened to was Simple And Clean by Utada Hikaru. However unlike the majority of J-Pop fans who heard this song first from Kingdom Hearts, I actually didn’t! My friend was showing me a song that she thought I might like, and yeah I liked it… and then the snowball effect happened…

Did it inspire you to like that group/singer, or did it turn you away?

Definitely inspired me! At first I would ONLY listen to Utada Hiakru and then eventually I started to branch out into different Japanese artists until it became an obsession.

What is the one song that you have been listening to for the longest time?

Haha, well obviously Simple And Clean, but the song that has never ever gotten old for me and I have listened to it for years now without getting bored of it is Keep Tryin’ and Dareka no Negai ga Kanou Koro.

What group/singer have you liked the longest?

Utada Hikaru for sure~! I still adore her, but she needs to release stuff more frequently than she does. Having said this pretty much everything she does release is of exceptional quality.

What is the song with the most plays on your iTunes player?

Surprisingly it’s not a Japanese song. It’s actually a song that released not too long ago, it’s Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait. Yeah I had an absolute obsession with it not long ago and left it on repeat for about a week!

Is that song your favorite?

Um, well I’m not really obsessed with it anymore, but I still love it because the lyrics are sweet.

If not, what is?

Well, at the moment I really like It’s All Love by Koda Kumi & misono, however I’ll eventually get over that, but for the time being it’s just so damn catchy!

Hmm for all time that’s a bit of a hard one. I absolutely love Rie fu’s Romantic because it’s just so unexpected and at the time I first listened to it I could relate to the lyrics a lot. Dramatic I know.

As far as English language music goes; Nicest Thing and Foundations by Kate Nash are two songs that I can listen for an eternity and never get over them

Is there any one group that you can listen to all/most of the songs by? If so, who?

I’ve got a confession to make… I don’t listen to any boy bands! Shocking I know. So I guess in answer to this I would have to say Perfume, because they are one of the only Japanese “groups” that I listen to… in short I prefer solo artists…

What is your favorite agency?

That’s a hard one mainly because an artist’s performance doesn’t usually have to depend on the label they have. For some reason I have this sneaking suspicion that Toshiba EMI isn’t a very good label because many people change labels when they are with Toshiba EMI

What is your favorite group/singer?

Again, that’s a tough one. I guess I would have to say my all time favourite Japanese singer would have to be Utada Hikaru, but I don’t listen to her that much. Some (not all) other Japanese artists I really like are; Rie fu, Faray, Chihiro Onitsuka, JYONGRI, KOKIA, MiChi, Miwako Okuda, melody., Perfume, Namie Amuro, Meisa, Eri Nobuchika, Koda Kumi, Yuna Ito, BoA, Thelma Aoyama… and yeah the list could pretty much go on forever…

My overall favourite English artist is Kate Nash, but I also love Regina Spektor, Adele, Jack’s Mannequin, Lily Allen, Beyoncé, Angus & Julia Stone, Flyleaf, Ela Soza, DeVotchKa, Gabriella Cilmi, The Hoosiers… once again this list could go on forever~!

In general I can listen to most artists if they have a good voice and interesting/catchy arrangements…

Joshua