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Archive for January, 2008

SINGLE REVIEW: Stephanie- Friends

Stephanie- Friends

I’m still glad that I found Stephanie at the release of her debut single, because I really do feel that she has a lot of potential, even beyond the strong music she makes now. This is her fourth single, which from what I’ve heard is very good. I’m not exactly sure what to expect, but I guess we’ll find out! Here’s Stephanie’s ‘Friends’.

———

Stephanie’s strongest A-Side to date is without a doubt Friends. Even though the song features no high notes, she packs so much energy and raw vocal power into it that you can’t help but be impressed. The song opens with percussion and electric guitar riffs, all of which support the rock-influenced atmosphere of the song as a whole. Stephanie shows us her lower register in this track, and I’m really happy with her performance. The verses are enjoyable, but the chorus is absolutely flooring. Stephanie gives her strongest performance in this song, and you can tell that she put a lot of effort into the production of this song. I’m glad that Stephanie has shown how multi-dimensional she is. With Kimi ga Iru Kagiri she showed that she is capable of beautiful ballads, (because of you let us know she makes mistakes too) Winter Gold proved she is able to create fun and energetic pop songs, and Friends shows that Stephanie can give an edgy performance in a rock song. I can’t wait for her album to drop, because she has a lot of singles to support it.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A

Overall Grade: A+

Well I guess another style Stephanie can do is… uhh, 90s pop? Let’s Go!! is definitely her most unique song, but I’m rather undecided on it. I suppose the only parts I don’t care for are the talking/chanting, and the first verses. The track has a great composition, and I like the flow. The song begins with rough, layered guitar tracks and soon gains power with a percussion section added in. It follows the same vein as Friends, but has a certain decades-old quality that is interesting but a bit questionable. Stephanie again delivers a fantastic performance; her execution powerful and flawless. The chorus is incredibly catchy, and it’s already stuck in my head. I just wish the chants weren’t there to disrupt the flow. It gives the whole thing a slightly cheesy atmosphere. I do like it, I just have problems with it, unlike her three strong A-Sides. It definitely belongs as a B-Side. I like how the song is filled with so much energy and fun, but I think the chorus talking was overkill. Stephanie doesn’t need other people’s help to make a great track.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A

Overall Grade: A-

SINGLE GRADE: A+

[mediafire hates me, downloads soon]

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SINGLE REVIEW: Utada Hikaru- HEART STATION/Stay Gold

Utada Hikaru- HEART STATION/Stay Gold

Both Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry and Flavor of Life were absolutely astounding singles by Hikaru, and I am expecting no less of this single. The buzz going around is that at least Stay Gold is amazing. My biggest hopes are a fantastic vocal performance and hopefully some unique music. I really loved the ballad version of Flavor of Life, but I also liked Beautiful World. Everything about Hikaru’s work is engaging because of her unique voice and musical perspective, and that’s the reason I continuously listen to her.

———

The first song on the single is HEART STATION, a synthetic ballad-esque number. When I first listened to for the first time, I wasn’t captivated, but I’ve become addicted. The reverb and beautiful vocals by Hikki really work out powerfully in the end. The song is created with a constant percussion track and relentlessly shifting synth so pretty that it manages not to confuse you. Hikki’s vocals. Ahh, Hikki’s vocals. The beautiful quiver in her voice is absolutely beautiful, and the constant perfection is utterly entrancing. Overall, I like this song a lot more than both Flavor of Life and Beautiful World. The composition is catchier, and the way that it’s presented creates a great atmosphere and an enjoyable experience.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

The second A-Side is the gorgeous piano ballad with an electronic twist, Stay Gold. I didn’t like that the song began with the chorus, but I thought the synth and piano worked out wonderfully together. Hikki hits some fantastic high notes in this song, and her vocal performance is once again supreme. I like the flow of this song, and it has a nice direction. This song is better than both of her previous two A-Sides as well. I can see why they made this single a double A-Side, because choosing between the two would be incredibly difficult. I’m addicted to this song too, and I honestly can’t say which one is better. They’re both really amazing in their own respects, so it’s hard to compare them. Stay Gold follows a more classic ballad instrumentation, but they both are relatively slow and heart-felt. I like the electronically distorted background vocals, even though it removes this song’s ability to be a true ballad.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A

Overall Grade: A+

SINGLE GRADE: A+

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SINGLE REVIEW: GReeeeN- BE FREE/Namidazora

GReeeeN- BE FREE/Namidazora

After reviewing GReeeeN’s latest works, I have come to really like them. They’re not my favorites, but I like their style and the way that their music has meaning. I also think it’s interesting the way that they haven’t revealed their faces. Annoying, but interesting. Anyway, here is GReeeeN’s ‘BE FREE/Namidazora.’

———

I love BE FREE‘s melody because of how pure it sounds. The song begins with nothing but gentle piano chords, but soon bursts into a full band arrangement with percussion and guitar. The verses are very well done, but the chorus really takes the cake. The catchy manner in which GReeeeN sings and the instruments are played really engages the listener without much effort. There are a few points when the vocals could have been a bit more controlled, but for the most part they did an incredibly job with this song. It’s definitely better than Hito, and runs a close race with Machi. There’s something about the chorus that is just really cool. I love the sound of it, and the overall atmosphere of the song. I liked the occasional violin at the end of the song, and I have to say that this is a pretty impressive track. Hopefully only another single or two before their sophomore album.

Vocal Performance Grade: A- — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Namidazora begins with electronically distorted vocals and quiet piano accompanied by gentle electric guitar. Percussion appears after a bit, and there are chimes scattered throughout the track. For a good quarter of the song GReeeeN sings in unison, but there are duo and solo parts throughout the song as well. Overall, I didn’t find Namidazora nearly as interesting as BE FREE. The composition didn’t have that unique sound, and it just wasn’t diverse enough to keep one entertained. The vocals were just too uniform, and it didn’t have the feeling that the previous track did. It’s not a bad song, but I know that GReeeeN is capable of so much more. Luckily the other song was given a PV, because I don’t really think that this one is worth it. Not dreadful, just generic and fairly boring.

Vocal Performance Grade: B — Musical Performance Grade: A- — Composition Grade: B — Harmonization Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B

SINGLE GRADE: A-

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[Single] BoA’s ‘be with you.’

SINGLE REVIEW: BoA- be with you.

BoA- be with you.

Though I’m not always floored by BoA’s music, for me she is still a force to be reckoned with in the Japanese music industry, and she has not fallen from her seat among the top artists of recent times. Everyone says BoA really needs a reinvention, and though that may be nice, I think she is fine without it too. I liked her last two singles, and I’m hoping that this one will measure up. Here’s BoA’s ‘be with you.’

———

I loved the piano chords that opened up be with you., and despite that fact that the song isn’t flawless, it is certainly well done and touching. The verses are calm, beautiful, and the chorus is powerful yet still refined in a ballad-like manner. The music is formed using gentle percussion that mixes well with BoA’s serene vocals, and a constant track of synthetic strings. I like the way that the chorus progresses, and I do think that the overall song is very pretty. I think that people set the standards way too high for BoA, and that she doesn’t have to come out with a song that tops all of her old ones for every single. I can think of songs that are more powerful than this, such as Winter Love or Your Color, but that doesn’t mean this song is bad. I love the relaxing flow of the music with the vocals, and I think that the addition of piano chords in the beginning and occasionally throughout created a thoughtful atmosphere for the song. BoA controls her vocals well once more, and the track is filled with sweet notes that are pleasant to listen to.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

I liked the unique piano that began precious, because it created a sweet atmosphere for the song. This is much more of a classical ballad than the previous track, but equally worth listening to.  BoA’s vocals are more powerful in this song, but the composition is not as powerful as that of be with you.. My only complaint with this song is that the chorus wasn’t different enough from the verses to make the song diverse, but some of the gorgeous notes BoA hits make up for that to a degree. Upon first listen, the song is very engaging, but I will admit it loses that after a while. The melody isn’t catchy enough to keep you entertained for long periods of time. Though I won’t have this on repeat, it is a sweet song. The way the music built up to the chorus made it seem like there would be a powerful chorus to back up the calm verses, but that never really came, which is a bit of a disappointment. However, BoA’s high notes were a great turn-on, and the track is generally impressive though a bit boring.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A- — Composition Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A-

SINGLE GRADE: A

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tohoshinki- T

Tohoshinki- T

Tohoshinki really surprised me with the quality of their latest singles, and I’m genuinely impressed with the sound that they’ve come out with for this album. The overall presentation of dance and R&B songs will mix well, and I’m hoping for the best. I was first introduced to Tohoshinki in the form of DBSK by my Korean friend, and I didn’t really pay them any heed. However, when their collaboration with Koda Kumi appeared, I decided to look into them, and I liked what I heard. I have reviewed their latest three singles, Forever Love, Together, and Purple Line, which were all well done in their own respects. I was never a fan of their singles before that, and I was always, and to an extent still am, turned off by the fact that they could fly back to Korea at any point and leave me hanging. But as I see overall improvement in their Japanese and their true personalities shine through, I have given them a shot. Well, without further ado, Tohoshinki’s ‘T’, CD2+DVD2 edition.

———JaeJoong

The first song on the album is the strangely inconsistent TRICK, which I had a very hard time getting into the flow of. The song begins with a weird sequence of footsteps, car door slamming, a gasp, gunshot, and then bursts right into the chorus. Unfortunately, the chorus is riddled with odd English lyrics, and the whole song just doesn’t really work out. I don’t mind the first verses, and I liked the “I’m okay” sequence, but the rest was pretty much a mess. I don’t know what “Break a Trick” means, if that’s what they’re saying, but it just doesn’t make sense kind of like the entire flow of the song. The rapping wasn’t good, the music was too busy, and the overall atmosphere of the song was just too much. Some people may eat this up, but it’s just a big bombardment of way too much of everything for me. There’s brass, synth, percussion, breaking glass, sparse electric guitar, and other random technological sounds. Not my thing, and just too inconsistent. I like songs to have direction and progression, but this one was just running full speed way past the finish line.

Vocal Performance Grade: A- — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: C — Harmonization Grade: B

Overall Grade: B-

Up next is a light R&B song called NO?, which was yet again somewhat mediocre. It wouldn’t be nearly as bad if the chorus wasn’t so repetitive, but it is. The verses aren’t so bad, in fact I enjoy them, but the song is too much of the same thing over and over again and not enough uniqueness to be listened to over and over. Contributing to the repetition is the constant and completely unchanging percussion, which is fine for the first half of the song, but just puts you to sleep after so long of the same thing. Not only that, but their vocals didn’t really impress me in this track. Tohoshinki is known in Japan as a super vocal group, but they don’t showcase that well in the song. I didn’t like the whole ‘kiss me darling’ thing, for the obvious reasons of how tragically cheesy it is.

Vocal Performance Grade: B+ — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: B — Harmonization Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B+

Although I think that it could have a bit more bass, I really like Purple Line. What I love about this song is how well they shifted their vocals from soft to edgy– if they had just left their voices normal then the song would have been destroyed. But they way that they really punch their notes works out perfectly and shows why Tohoshinki is so renowned for vocal performance. The music is composed of a hard percussive bass and other synth layered on top. Though this is also a pretty consistently identical beat, the variations in the vocals and the addition of a bridge that’s actually worth listening to completes the song perfectly. I’m glad for how well all of the boys performed vocally in this song, and I really think the whole thing is a gem. Normally I can pick out a best part, but this song was consistently good all around. Great way to promote the T album.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

We all know how in love I am with Forever Love, and that hasn’t changed at all over the months. This is the first time I took notice of Tohoshinki’s overall vocal prowess, which impressed me because it wasn’t limited to one member. Everyone gives astounding performances in this song, and it really keeps you engaged through it’s entirety. I can’t see how people think this song is boring. If you listen to how Tohoshinki hits their power notes, you can feel the emotion. This song is immeasurably better than their other Japanese ballads, and I would assume their Korean ballads, though I can’t say that for sure. The music is simple and calm percussion along with some synthetic sounds, and the vocals just flow right along with it. Brilliant composition as well, everyone’s harmonization is absolutely wondrous and works out fantastically. One of my favorite songs of 2007/2008.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

The introduction music for Summer Dream was really interesting, but the song quickly just melted into a pop song with a twist. I like the verses of this track because of the unique tune, but I really dislike the chorus. The verses present a really unique look at the pop side of Tohoshinki’s music, but the chorus just screams disdainfully average. The best part of this song is definitely the verses, although I do like the music. The bass percussion you hear is pretty edgy for pop, and during the verses, I like the dark spin it takes. I can’t say that this song is particularly good, as the chorus pretty much ruins it, but it does have it’s good points swimming around in a sea of disappointment. I like when the verses and chorus strongly contrast, but here they sound like two different songs. I also didn’t get the addition of the guitar solo as guitar didn’t really appear until… well, until the solo.

Vocal Performance Grade: B+ — Musical Performance Grade: A- — Composition Grade: B- — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: B

YoochunI was never a fan of Ride On, because I hated how Tohoshinki’s vocals weren’t as edgy as the unique music of the song. Tohoshinki is using their pop voices, which just turned me off to the song. It’s not bad– certainly better than the first two tracks, but it just doesn’t compare to the power of the two previous songs. After a few listens it gets better, but for an A-Side it should have been better to start with. It just sounds like a decent B-Side. My other problem is that their vocals didn’t work well together on occasion, though I enjoyed their harmonization and group performance as a whole. The music is a clap beat along with hard percussion that gives it a unique atmosphere, but I still wish they hadn’t made their vocals so fluid. I wanted a rougher vocal performance and a less boy-ish atmosphere.

Vocal Performance Grade: B+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A-

I absolutely love the next track, DARKNESS EYES, because of it’s unique attitude and dark atmosphere. It begins with dark piano chords played through an electric filter which burst into a quick and soft percussion that lasts for the rest of the song. The synthetic sounds is what makes the song so interesting, along with a very unique and difficult vocal performance. The boys practically loudly whisper their lines, which is a very interesting effect and risk that works out well in the end. They’re not really whispering, but if you listen to the track you’ll hear what I’m talking about. It’s like they’re tense, and in suspense, which fits the mood of the song very well. The English parts of the song once more make little sense, but the overall idea of the song is interesting. I didn’t care for the rap, but because of the piano in the background while it was happening, the atmosphere was enough to keep me from hating it. My other comment is that whoever composed this is a genius because the melody is very catchy and pleasing to listen to.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Following up a very unique song is a very generic song. Lovin’ You is such a cop-out. It’s a pop song in ballad’s clothing, and I just never really enjoyed it. The composition is pretty boring, and the music presents nothing new or interesting. The music is pretty quick percussion with some piano and various other instruments, but it’s really just not enough. Everything is really bland, and it takes a die-hard fan of Tohoshinki to enjoy this song. Vocally, the song is also pretty mediocre, which is something I hate. They sing in a small range for almost all the song, and they sound a bit strained. I don’t really have a lot to say other than it’s just missing that unique factor that puts it up there with their really interesting songs. The aren’t any real powerful notes, and the instrumentation is just a sad pile of generic.

Vocal Performance Grade: B+ — Musical Performance Grade: B- — Composition Grade: B — Harmonization Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B

I liked the happy R&B feel of Rainbow, and the unique piano-percussion combination worked out in Tohoshinki’s favor. The boys show off another side of their vocals, and I was genuinely impressed by the versatility they showed in this song. This is a pretty pop-ish song, but the appearance of piano in the beginning and a unique composition save it from generic-ism. The overall uplifting feeling of the song just worked out well, and I enjoyed it. It reminds me of ‘Lean on Me’ in a weird disconnected way. They don’t really sound much alike, but the atmosphere is similar to me. I liked the high pitched background vocals because of the older feel it gave to the song. This song stands out to me because it sounds both mature and poppy, which is usually pretty difficult to do. The truth is, it’s not really that mature of a song lyrically, it just sounds more mature than some of their other pop songs. Anyway, it’s a nice song.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A- — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Any more mediocre songs on this album and I’m going to fall asleep. SHINE was also an A-Side, but is the only of the selection that I really can’t stand. It’s very repetitive and presents the most generic and absolutely uninteresting composition, vocals, and music. It’s classic pop with a clappy beat and sparkly synth that makes it so awfully cheery, and bored, half-assed vocals from Tohoshinki. Why work hard for a song that can’t be very interesting? Obviously there was no reason because Tohoshinki brought no life into this song. It could have been performed by anyone, which makes it pathetically average. You know a song is good when you can’t think of anyone who could sing it better. SHINE unfortunately could be sang by most anyone better and with more effort than Tohoshinki put into it. Basically, this song is an awful snooze fest and not really worth listening to.

Vocal Performance Grade: B- — Musical Performance Grade: B- — Composition Grade: C — Harmonization Grade: C

Overall Grade: C+Changmin

Following a hated song is yet another. LAST ANGEL -Tohoshinki Version- was an absolutely dreadful idea. Tohoshinki can’t pull off composition designed for Koda Kumi. The only parts that really sound good are the parts intended for them to sing. I hated the introduction because of the over editing that made it so seem like they knew how hard they had to try to replace Kumi. Tons of Tohoshinki fans are like ‘Omg DBSK’s version is so much better than slutty Koda Kumi!!!’. Umm, you’re crazy. I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. There are simply things that women do better than men, and the lead vocals for LAST ANGEL is one of those things. I really don’t like the way this song played out in the end. Listenable, but not pleasurable. It’s not even necessarily that they could never do it, it’s that the vocals could be so much better. Oh well. I hope the rest of the album is fantastic to make up for this.

Vocal Performance Grade: C+ — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: B+

Overall Grade: C

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant! Finally an upbeat and poppy song that manages to be extremely catchy. CLAP! has really basic lyrics, but it’s a great listen. The verses are good, but the chorus is pure genius. The music is a great consistent percussion coupled with the occasional… I guess it’s some sort of woodwind instrument. Whatever it is, fantastic way to pull the song out of average and bring it to fabulous. Tohoshinki packed so much energy into this song that you can’t help but love it. I had been waiting through the whole album for a really fun song, and I’ve got it. In the chorus the boys pull off an amazing yelling note that just rings incredibly clear. It’s really impressive for all of them, but I think that Changmin is the one who’s pulling the hardest. He hits that note like there’s no tomorrow, and I really like the way that it turned out. If you’re going to listen to one song from this album in order to cheer up, CLAP! is your song.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A+

I love the introduction to Love in the Ice, and I actually managed to really get into this song when I first listened to it. Tohoshinki packs emotion into their vocals, and that is helped by the somber piano playing throughout the track. I didn’t like Yoochun’s (I think that’s who it is) performance very much in this song, but everyone else did wonderfully. I didn’t like when the music basically paused really quickly and restarted, it was awkward and unnecessary. I love the vocalizations that JaeJoong pulls off occasionally because of how engaging they are. Out of their pre-Forever Love ballads, I think Love in the Ice is definitely the strongest. My only complaint is that it could be a bit more diverse. I didn’t feel like the song had much direction, which was a problem towards the end. However, I like the vocal and musical performances, and the composition was very smart. Their harmonization was spot-on once more, and this is a very technically-sound track, though I think it could be a bit more interesting in some areas. I really liked all the power notes towards the end, because they showcased Tohoshinki’s vocals really well.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

———

Up next is the song that gave me quite a scare, bonus song and final song on the first disk: Together. If I could sum this song up in one word, it would be childish. However, I absolutely love it. The music is a really interesting percussion that sounds almost like an upside-down garbage can, and the vocals a top-notch. Everything about the song is totally kids song, but it all flows to perfectly that you can’t help but love it. I wondered if I was losing my senses when I first claimed my enjoyment of this song, but I think that others may enjoy it. My one complaint would be that I feel Tohoshinki could have brought a bit more energy to it. Maybe it’s just bad placement, but Tohoshinki sounds bored compared to CLAP!. My one overall album complaint would be that song placement is not thought through, and the album has little flow to it. Either way, Together is a surprisingly enjoyable song and very fun to listen to when you’re in the right mood.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

———

JunsuI was yet again bored with disk two’s starter track, Song for You. It’s just generic pop again, but even worse. This song sounds the same from start to finish, and the music is even more boring than SHINE. This song’s only redeeming quality is that JaeJoong’s performance is wonderful, and he really commanded attention here. I liked the addition of strings towards the end, but other than that the music was booorrrrringgggg. I don’t like Tohoshinki when they try cute pop because it ends up like generic boy band crap. Tohoshinki is far from vocally generic, and I know they are capable of a lot more than what they display in this song. There’s not much to say about this song, since it really doesn’t have enough going for it either way. It’s not quite as bad as their others because of the vocals, but it’s still drab and vapid.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: B+ — Composition Grade: B- — Harmonization Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B

Starting off disk two is another well-done song, Day Moon ~Harudaru~. I thought that the storm effects at the beginning of the song were kind of a waste of time, but the overall song was very pleasing. Yet another mature-sounding pop track, Day Moon ~Harudaru~ turned out a lot better than I was expecting. Being that it is a B-Side, averageness was implied, but luckily didn’t happen. The music is a somewhat pop-esque percussion, but the addition of strings occasionally through the song kept it interesting. Tohoshinki’s vocal performance was very well wrought, and I really enjoyed the power notes towards the end. This song is very interesting to listen to, even though it’s not particularly unique. I like the way they switched between vocalists in this song. Usually I don’t even pay attention to that, but I noticed that they switch so well that I barely even notice. This is a surprisingly strong track considering it’s intention, and I’m really glad it was on my first Tohoshinki single.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: A

Next up is Beautiful Life, whose percussion and music I found interesting but not all that engaging. It has a sort of unique melody, and I like the way everything played out. I’m really undecided on this song. I know how it stands technically, but I can’t quite tell if I like it yet or not. I don’t think the vocal performance is particularly strong, but it is interesting. I guess I like the combination of synth, percussion, and maybe strings, as it’s not something you hear very frequently. I like the meaning of the song, and I really like the jazzy feel of the whole thing. You know, I do like it. It presents a unique style and really stands out as a singular track on the album as there isn’t anything that I can compare it to. The vocal performance may not be powerful in a note hitting sense, but it’s really unique when compared to all of their other songs. I don’t know exactly how to classify this, but I’d say it’s definitely worth listening to.

Vocal Performance Grade: A- — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A — Harmonization Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A

Tohoshinki has finally succeeded with happy pop in the form of You’re my Miracle. The vocal performance is engaging, despite the fact that it is musically pretty boring. The melody is catchy, which makes the song interesting to listen to. I’m glad that they managed to get at least one good song of this genre in here, because it proves that they can do it if they try. There are quite a few really good notes in this song, and if you pay attention you’ll understand why people call Tohoshinki a super vocal group. This is another track worth listening to because of it’s vocal power. The composer and vocalists saved this song from genericness because the music was pretty bland. I would hate to hear an instrumental and confirm what I already know to be true. Good song.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: C+ — Composition Grade: A- — Harmonization Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Oh wow, Tohoshinki assuredly saved the best for last. Kiss Shita Mama, Sayounara is packed with melancholy and an air of extreme sadness for most of its entirety. The song begins with a tragic sequence were one of the members, supported by very sparse piano simply speaks ‘Open… Open your eyes’ and ‘Just look at me now’. There is a slight, maybe slightly overly long, gap between the end of that sequence and the start of the actual song, and then the incredibly sad piano chords begin. The boys dish out an ambrosial vocal performance, and everything flows amazingly. The chorus consists of JaeJoong singing ‘Lonely People’ a few times (although it took me forever to figure it out because of his pronunciation), and some beautiful harmonization. This is a fairly easy song to song depending on your vocal range, but the way they sing it is what brings it to life. My favorite thing about this song is the fantastic progression. Halfway through, the boys start supporting the one singing, and it sounds incredible. The song wraps up with JaeJoong’s godly ‘Sayounara’. He hits that note so perfectly, I can’t describe it. This is by far the best song on the album, hands down. They show why they’re so renowned for vocals, and really shine in this song. Fantastic.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

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T had its ups and downs, but overall I’m really impressed with this Junior album by Tohoshinki. Stand out new album tracks are definitely CLAP! and Kiss Shita Mama, Sayounara. Tohoshinki’s weak area seems to be making happy pop interesting, but with You’re My Miracle they at least showed that they were capable. I’m looking forward to Tohoshinki’s activity in the future, and I really hope they don’t end up going back to Korea any time soon. They’re getting really popular in Japan, so I hope that is enough to keep them working there.

ALBUM GRADE: A-

Yunho

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SINGLE REVIEW: Koda Kumi- anytime

Koda Kumi- anytime

Yet another single I’ve been wanting to hear. Koda Kumi’s latest album ‘Kingdom’ drops on the 30th, and this is one of the many tracks featured on it. Kingdom is going to be an impressive package with a promotional video for every song and no B-Sides used on it. I’m just really excited after hearing the previews, and am waiting for that day to come. I’m planning on getting right on that review. Well, without further ado, Koda Kumi’s ‘anytime’.

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anytime is a sweet summery love song composed of synthetic percussive beats and a mid-tempo atmosphere. The whole thing is pretty fluffy, but deep in it’s own respect. Kumi dishes out some soft and controlled vocals that really match the overall atmosphere of the song. I’m glad to see that she’s capable of toning it down and keeping her voice away from that very sexual quality she is capable of invoking. Kumi’s latest singles have really captured my attention because they all sound very different. She’s gone from dance-pop and guitar ballad to her little soul ballad to some odd collaboration that doesn’t really have a category but is sort of dance-ish to pop. Even if they’re categorized similarly, they have distinct uniqueness. I like that the album seems as though it will be the same way.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A — Composition Grade: A

Overall Grade: A-

Next up is the antithesis of anytime, a fierce dance song called Bounce. Musically the song is a big mash up of funky synth and relentless percussion. I liked the unbacked percussion intro and the way everything just flowed together. Each segment related well to the overall feeling of the song, even when it kind of slowed down and took a different approach for a second. It’s like the moment where everyone dances in slow motion. I like the feel of the song; it kind of reminds me of like one of those clubs in the 70’s where they wore sequency outfits and danced on roller-skates. I wish it had a PV. I really like this song because it’s upbeat and not slutty, which is a great combination for Kumi, although I loved JUICY and Ima Sugu Hoshii. Vocally Kumi does very well, and I like the things she does with her voice in this song. The electric effects and constant background vocals really add flavor and style to the song, and it surpasses anytime in interest level by far. Very unique and fun song.

Vocal Performance Grade: A — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A

SINGLE GRADE: A

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SINGLE REVIEW: Tohoshinki- Purple Line

Tohoshinki- Purple Line

Tohoshinki has been doing pretty well in the Japanese industry lately, so I’m hoping that they don’t fly back to Korean music any time soon. They have their third Japanese album coming out soon, which I will be reviewing, and from the previews it sounds quite good. I hope this single is as good as the others. If so, then I’m going to be really looking forward to the album. Here we go, Tohoshinki’s ‘Purple Line’.

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Ahh, brilliant. Purple Line is a full on dance song featuring fantastically edgy vocals and a great club atmosphere. The music is mostly synthetic with a hard percussion background. Their vocals are executed flawlessly; I didn’t here a single odd note. I laughed when someone near the beginning said ‘I really want to touch myself‘. Immature, I know, but it entertained me. My only problem is that Yunho has a rap part in the song that’s just a bit off sounding. I can tolerate it within the atmosphere of the song, but it just doesn’t sound as professional as it should. Overall, the song is really impressive, and a totally different feel than their previous two singles. Though you get the Tohoshinki vibe, their three latest singles, including this one, have all been from completely different spectrums.

Vocal Performance Grade: A+ — Musical Performance Grade: A+ — Composition Grade: A+ — Harmonization Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

SINGLE GRADE: A+

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