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Archive for the ‘alan’ Category

[Single] alan’s ‘Hitotsu’

SINGLE REVIEW: alan- Hitotsu

alan- Hitotsu

alan’s last single was extremely impressive, and I was drawn in by her powerful skills in Chinese opera. My consistent problem with alan has been the weakness of her vibrato, though I do not think it is a vital part of being a good vocalist. YUI does not have a strong vibrato, but she has a great voice all the same. I hope alan impresses with this single and becomes more popular.

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The lead track on this single is Hitotsu, a soft piano ballad that makes a sweet entrance with heartfelt piano chords and a deeper, fuller vocal performance. I am proud to say that alan did not use any of her Chinese Opera in this song. Though I find it incredibly beautiful, she has proven that she doesn’t need it. The other plus side I’ve found in this song is that alan is developing a bit of vibrato at the end of her notes, and therein sounds more controlled when ending her notes. She overall sounds like she’s learning to use her voice more effectively, which is a great step in the right direction. I loved the thick instrumentation and all the layers it created. The piano and synth along with an unexpected but very appreciate bag-pipe backdrop create the perfect atmosphere for the lyrics and vocal tone of the song. After the very distinct styling of her previous single, I feel that this is a step in the right direction as far as alan’s assimilation into mainstream Japanese music. Her lack of extremely unique and difficult vocal composition proves that she can average it up with the best of them, which isn’t necessarily bad, but rather telling of her ability to be popular. I think she has it in her, but right now she is held up by the language barrier. Her accent is very audible in her singing, and she cannot speak Japanese with any ease. Once that problem is cleared up, I think that maybe she can begin to rise from mediocrity. I liked the way that the verses built up for the first line of the chorus, as it made the song a bit more epic.

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

Overall Grade: A+

Up next is Kimi ni Omou Sora, which features a wonderful synthetic introduction and very accented vocals from alan. It feels like a ballad for a few moments, but when the background vocals appear the poppiness of the song is solidified. The woodwind instrument featured gives the song a slightly traditional feeling, but overall I really like the new angle from alan. We haven’t been treated to anything so quite as upbeat as this yet. The music is made mostly of some soft chimes and a constant backdrop of lively percussion. Although accented, alan’s vocals aren’t awful. They could be a bit less nasally, but in the end they work out with the cuteness of the song. One thing I noticed was that alan is still singing kind of ballad-esque throughout the entire song. It kind of annoys me a bit in the sense that her ballad voice and the peppiness of the music don’t really blend well, but I can just as easily not notice it. Overall a nice if not slightly average toss at mainstream pop with a hint of unconventional instrumentation. If alan had a large discography behind her it may not stick out as much, but since this is one of her mere six songs, it draws attention for being the only one of its kind.

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

Overall Grade: B+

A more R&B influenced ballad appears in the form of Tokyo Mimei, which features very soul-ish squeaky synth and only the sweetest of notes. Vocally this song is right in between Hitotsu and Kimi ni Omou Sora. She’s not nasally, but there are moments when she’s close. I liked the composition in that the verses contrasted the chorus nicely. The epic and powerful chorus is made more dramatic by the fact that the verses flow so quietly. The combination of strings, percussion, and synth add another aspect to alan’s small discography. I loved the acoustic guitar solo, even though it contradicted the previous feeling of the song by throwing in some unexpected Spanish flare. There were a lot of notes in this song that struck me as beautiful, which left a nice feeling after it ended. The song ended on an oddly jazzy note considering the previous flow of the instrumental, but I suppose it worked out nicely in the end. Overall, this song is a lot more memorable than the previous. It may not be quite as gorgeous as Hitotsu, but it has its own flavor and unique aspects that make it pleasurable to listen to.

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

Overall Grade: A

Ending the single is sign, a masterpiece and alan’s most unique song to date, which is saying a lot amongst tracks like Ashita e no Sanka. I have no idea what she’s saying, (Chinese or awful accent?) but I love it. The song begins with progressive synth and nighttime outdoor sounds (birds, frogs, etc.). There is a sudden appearance of traditional Chinese-esque percussion and the song continues on with those indeterminable vocalizations. The synth and the various sound effects just bring the track to a spectrum of entertainment that alan has not yet produced. But it’s good. Really good. The atmospheric vocals and unique composition make this song stick out wondrously, and I’m really glad that she managed to pull this off so well. For the vocals that she did produce, she performs incredibly well. I know there is technological manipulation, but even so the song is very appealing. All of the various aspects of this song just fall together so perfectly. I can’t say that I think everyone will enjoy this, but if you don’t that you have awful musical taste and no appreciation of originality. Haha, just kidding… Or not.

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

Overall Grade: A+

SINGLE GRADE: A

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SINGLE REVIEW: alan- Ashita e no Sanka

alan- Ashita e no Sanka

So I haven’t listened to the whole song yet, but I listened to a preview, and I want to make it clear right now that a lot of people might not like her… I could be wrong, and a lot of people could love it [Fine with me :P], but I’m not sure. I don’t really have any information on this singer, however I know that she is of Chinese origin and definitely into that fact. Her music seems to be very Chinese influenced. So here’s to a hopefully unique single, alan’s ‘Ashita e no Sanka’.

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Wow, Ashita e no Sanka is a full on bombardment of Chinese culture with the exception of the fact that it’s in Japanese. alan is clearly into sticking to her Chinese roots, and I respect that. This is probably the most unique song (that’s actually worth listening to) that I’ve seen come out of the Japanese music scene. alan has a gorgeous way of hitting those power notes in the most Chinese manner, and I absolutely love it. This song is definitely a ballad, though powerful, and the quiet varied percussion supported the vocals very well. The music had a very apparent Chinese influence, and there was no doubt of what you were listening to once it began. Even though alan’s vocals were all over the place in many notes, it really felt like she was in control. I could tell that she was directing and executing each note, and that security made the song even more pleasurable to listen to. This might not be for everyone, but I can’t get enough.

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

Overall Grade: A+

Musically, Sakura Modern is also very influenced by Chinese styles, even though it was slightly more upbeat. The main instrument I heard during the first verses was something I can’t put a name to. I guess it was like a xylophone? Maybe? alan gives a more agressive vocal performance in this, but I can’t quite say that it was all that fast. The beats and music was still quite slow and ballad-ish even though it was a bit quicker than the previous track. I didn’t find this song to be as engaging as the cover side, but it is still well done. The music draws more attention in this song than the vocals. There were a couple points where the music built up and I was expecting some blasting vocals, but they never really came. Not a disappointing song, just a bit underwhelming.

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

Overall Grade: A-

SINGLE GRADE: A+

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