Archive for the ‘Ai Otsuka’ Category

[Single] Ai Otsuka- Pocket

SINGLE REVIEW: Ai Otsuka’s ‘Pocket’

Ai Otsuka- Pocket

Ai Otsuka and I have thus far had a… Love–Hate relationship. I geniuinely enjoyed her latest album although I was very split on the idea of her ability to sing. There were songs on the album that I absolutely adored and songs that made my want to barf. I think that Ai Otsuka’s vocals are assuredly better when she is doing ballads, though I know that I can’t survive off of just those without getting bored. Judging by everything I’ve heard, Pocket is going to be a ballad. I’m glad since I’m not bored of them yet, but I hope she will someday put out an upbeat song that I love too. I guess we’ll see what her latest single ‘Pocket’ will bring.


Well the cover track of this single, Pocket {Poketto}, starts out with gentle piano that set a calm and very ballad-ish mood. Otsuka begins with calm and attractive vocals that really made me want to listen to what she was singing, and this is already one of my favorite songs from her. I wish she had hit a few more powerful notes to make the ballad a bit more dramatic, but it was definitely heart-felt and very beautiful. It’s really a great song for the approaching winter season, and the quiet nature is really supportive of the relaxed feeling. Otsuka does a great job controlling her vocals, and although the music isn’t anything particularly outstanding, the way the two aspects blend together is fantastic and very intriguing. This song really pulled me in, and I will definitely listen to it for a while.

Vocal Grade: A- — Musical Grade: A- — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

The second track on the single is called Ticket {Chiketto}. This song starts off kind of mid/low-tempo but builds up to a solid middle level speeds by the chorus. Although I can’t really call this song upbeat, it is certainly faster than Pocket. One of the things I always like in a song is when there are very distinct differences between each section, which I get with Ticket. The music is mostly percussion with a few miscellaneous other sounds mixed in, and Otsuka’s vocals are surprisingly good. A combonation of her own improvment and my getting used to her style has allowed Otsuka’s music to grow on me, and I enjoyed this song a lot more than I thought I was going to. Though the song isn’t really anything more than just above average, it presents a nice beat and well done vocals. I think it’s assuredly a B-side, but only just barely.

Vocal Grade: B+ — Musical Grade: B+ — Consistency Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B+

LIFE- LOVE CiRCLE starts off with some mid-tempo guitar which I found interesting, but not particularly attractive. Otsuka’s vocals are pretty mediocre in this song, and the overall background musical is equally unimpressive. This song is very average and lacking in any uniqueness that would make me want to listen to it. It’s not really that bad, but Otsuka doesn’t present anything interesting in the song, and the overall composition is pretty weak. I don’t like when the male vocals are included with her’s because frankly they sound very badly done. It makes the song childish and just too strange for me to really enjoy it. My other problem with the song was that it was very repetetive and didn’t give me enough diversity to remain interested throughout the whole song. The near-end vocals where Otsuka said ‘Hey’ a lot were kind of random, and I’m just really not feeling this song at all.

Vocal Grade: C+ — Musical Grade: C+ — Consistency Grade: C

Overall Grade: C+



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Ai Otska's 'LOVE PiECE'

Ahh Ai Otsuka. Well, I suppose the proper sound would be more like AHHHHHH!!!! Sometimes this girl’s music just makes me want to die. She has one of those typical Japanese ‘anime introduction song’ voices, which I don’t think is a good thing to have. Her last single [Peach/Heart] was awful, and I hated both of those songs with a fiery passion. Most of the time, I can’t even stand listening to her voice. Sometimes she surprises me, however, and I begin to see why she’s popular. I’m really hoping that this album won’t be horrid, because I’d really hate to have to post my first album grade of lower than a C-. It would be a disappointment.


The album starts off on a mid-tempo pop-ish song in the form of Mirai Taxi [takushi-]. The song name means Future Taxi, and I think that some of the modern beats and interesting synth in the song fit the title. I had to check my ipod a few times when I listened to the song to make sure that it was Ai because I was actually enjoying the song. Her vocals are still slightly obnoxious, but okay for most of the song. The music is really cool, and I think this makes a great album introduction track. It’s not too fast, it’s not to slow, and it sets a great mood for the CD as a whole. I think that she could control her nasally vocals more in the chorus, but it’s not as annoying as it was in PEACH.

Vocal Grade: B- — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A-

I really liked the calm acoustic guitar chords combined with surprisingly pleasant vocals that opened the second track of the album, Yumekui. It set a really nice tone for the song, and even though the acoustics faded out and the song picked up pace, I found it enjoyable. I don’t now if Otsuka’s vocals actually improved, or if she simply is getting lucky, but I actually think her vocal performances on the last two songs have been nice. I like the way the guitar is played in this song, and I think the atmosphere created is really enjoyable and soft.

Vocal Grade: A- — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

The album moves onto track three with the strangely titled song Mackerel’s Canned Food. Don’t even ask me where that came from, because I have no idea what could have inspired such a name. Generally, the song isn’t that bad. It could be a bit more interesting, but I think her vocalls are decently controlled, and the music is fairly interesting. The song is another of the mid-tempo pop genre, and really shows nothing that interesting. The music is composed of mostly guitar, which is guess is nice, but at the same time uninventive. I’m trying to figue out if maybe I’m just getting used to her voice or if she just improved. I guess the next track with show me.

Vocal Grade: B — Musical Grade: B+ — Consistency Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+

The fourth track on the album, PEACH, is one of the few songs that I’ve heard that I can honestly say that I’ve hated from the first listen. I think it sounds better to me now [proof I’m getting used to her], but I still hate it. She sings the whole thing like she has a really heavy chinese accent or something, and I really just can’t stand her vocals. This song just sounds like a cheesy anime introduction to me, and I’m obviously not fond of it. When she tries to hit the high notes she sounds horrendous, and it makes the song even worse.

Vocal Grade: D — Musical Grade: C+ — Consistency Grade: C-

Overall Grade: D+

As soon as the fifth track Kumuri Uta came on, I was shocked. I am a HUGE fan of Otsuka ballads now, and I just wish that every one of her songs was this good. Not only is her song tolerable in this song, it’s actually GOOD. I was honestly shocked by the fact that she managed to pull off the vocals because of how clean and beautiful they are. The song is driven by quiet music and generally slow progression, but her vocals are just amazing. I mean, they’re still not super good, but for Otsuka, this song is amazing. This is one of the few songs on the album that I can listen to more than once without getting bored. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful and well done song that Ai Otsuka has ever made. Hands down.

Vocal Grade: A — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

Otsuka seems to have a thing for Aitai [wanting to meet] because, like in HEART, she repeats the phrase a few times in the sixth track Hoshi no Dango. This song is remeniscent of Kumuri Uta, but a bit faster. I actually got a kind of Italian vibe from it around the time she started singing, but it kind of melted away after a little bit. I still think that her voice is a bit strange, because she just forms her words in a very strange manner. I am impressed with how well she can control her voice when she hits the high notes in this song, and it pulls the amateur aspect from the song very well.

Vocal Grade: B+ — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A-

The seventh track on the album is entitled Katori Senkou, and is utterly disgusting. The song begins with a henious buzzing that is meant to imitate a mosquito. When she started singing I was just like ‘What the hell is this…?’. This song has no consistency, and all aspects are just bad. She’s singing like she’s crazy, and the guitar in the background doesn’t help. I could see her running around singing this in a straight jacket, and I can’t see how anyone would ever let this song appear on the album. There are male vocals that appear randomly through the song which give it an overall air of horridness. The song is probably meant to be some sort of interlude because it’s only two minutes and seven seconds long, but I will tell you that I am very apalled at the fact that I will not get the fifteen minutes for which I listened to this song back. My ears are probably going to start bleeding.

Vocal Grade: F+ — Musical Grade: D- — Consistency Grade: D

Overall Grade: D-

That scary interlude was is followed by another mid-tempo song called Furenjaa. I don’t mind this song, but I found myself pretty bored with it. It’s an enormous improvment over the absolutely atrocious song that came before, which might make it sound a little bit better than it really is, but it’s still not much. She says things that I don’t really get like mou, ippai [already full]. I think the song is kind of childish, but it’s really not that bad. Just boring and average.

Vocal Grade: B- — Musical Grade: B- — Consistency Grade: B-

Overall Grade: B-

Onto one of the up-tempo songs by Otsuka that I actually like. CHU-LIP is just a fun and catchy song. I still question Otsuka’s talent vocally even though I like the song. The music blends well with Otsuka’s happy vocals, and the overall atmosphere of the song is pretty nice. I can listen to this song more than once and still enjoy it, which is always a plus. This [I think…] Otsuka’s single from just before PEACH/HEART, so I can deduce that Otsuka had a mental lapse when creating PEACH. I think my favorite part of this song is probably the brass that appears in the song, although I generally like all of the music more than her vocals in this case.

Vocal Grade: B- — Musical Grade: A+ — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: B+

We’ve finally arrived at my previous favorite Otsuka song, HEART. This really should have been the main song on Otsuka’s previous PEACH/HEART single, because it was definitely the better song. Otsuka’s vocals are well controlled, and the song is like a more up-tempo version of Kumuri Uta. The way she sings this song actually reminds me of Miwako Okuda a little, although Okuda doesn’t really do anything anymore. The music has a really nice sound to it, and I think this is one of the best songs on the album, and certainly better than PEACH.

Vocal Grade: B+ — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Following HEART is the very pretty ballad Renai Shashin. I have never heard this song, because this was the single just before I began listening to Ai Otsuka, but I think it’s really beautiful. Her vocal performance is impressive, and the quiet piano in the background adds to the melancholic feeling. The atmosphere of this song is really relaxing, and I find it to be relaxing, but not boring. This is really my favorite kind of song, especially from Otsuka. I want her to do more and more of these songs, because to me, this is where she is best. In songs like PEACH where she tries to speed up and create and almost dance pop song, she sings ina really strange and unattracive manner. This song is a lot like a piano version of Kumuri Uta, but a lot more sad.

Vocal Grade: A- — Musical Grade: A — Consistency Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

Though there were some songs on the album that were just awful, I thought that overall, Otsuka did a very fine job. Her slower songs are much better than the pop songs, but I did enjoy some of the more upbeat ones. My idea of Ai Otsuka has really been changed by this album, and I think she did a great job.


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I don’t know much about Ai Otsuka, but I know that this single happened to reach #1 on the Oricon charts, and made a great debut. Ai Otsuka has been in the J-Pop industry for a considerable amount of time, and has made a name for herself. I’m not super fond of her on the grounds that her voice is kind of nasally, and I don’t really care for her music. As she is a prominent J-Pop artist, I review her anyways. Her talent isn’t up to par with artists like YUI and JYONGRI, but she does have some ability, regardless of how marginal it is.


I didn’t really care for PEACH all that much, to be honest. I thought that Otsuka’s vocals were very nasally and that she was singing in a manner that I found unpleasant. It sounds like she’s vocalizing right through her nostrils, and it makes the song kind of strange sounding. Not to mention that she is randomly saying peach for what appears to be little or no reason. The song is kind of childish and feels choppy, as it jumps around with little evolution or intellegence. The song is kind of cheesy, and it just really didn’t do it for me. The music was okay, but the song was generally strange and somewhat boring.

Musical Grade: B- — Vocal Grade: D+

Overall Grade: C-

I thoguht that HEART was the much better song on the album. Ai Otsuka’s pop songs are really cheesy to me, but when she buckles down and gets more serious, her talent shows through. Now, Ai Otsuka is not really a fantastic singer, and I have heard much better, but this song shows that she can sing with melody and be pleasing. Otsuka’s voice is controlled well, and the general direction of the song is consistent and entertaining. I thought that it was a tad boring, but really only because Otsuka’s voice was controlled to the point where she was monotone for a lot of the song. The music is pretty good, and I really like the guitar.

Musical Grade: B+ — Vocal Grade: B

Overall Grade: B


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