Archive for the ‘Kana Nishino’ Category

SINGLE REVIEW: Kana Nishino- I

Kana Nishino- I

I already reviewed Nishino’s pre-debut digital single I don’t wanna know, and I was definitely intrigued by her tone and performance. I’m hoping that she doesn’t disappoint on in her debut, which is the Japanese version of her pre-debut. Well, here’s Kana Nishino’s ‘I’.


Obviously the melody and arrangement of I are familiar to me because they are the same as the English version, but what is new is the flow. I am much more impressed with the Japanese version because of how much better it flows than the English version. Not only that, but I can actually understand it completely this time. There are a couple points where the Japanese sounds cramped, but for the most part this is a big improvement over the other version. She is obviously better at singing in her home language. There are still occasional pitchy spots, but it is a step up from the slight disarray of the previous song. As far as music I generally prefer Japanese to English anyways because it’s so much more consistent. The music is still that ethereal synth with a somewhat amateur drum performance, but it somehow doesn’t stick out as awfully in this version. The drums almost seem a bit quieter, though I don’t think that’s the case. It may just be that the production quality of her real debut is much higher than that of her English demo/pre-debut track.

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

Overall Grade: A-

Even better than the first track is In Stereo which, though in English, is a great serving of unique. In contrast to the YUI-esque performance of the previous track, Nishino has an almost Alanis Morissette manner of execution. It might actually be partially due to her accent, but I do hear distinct tone parallels. Though the song doesn’t make complete grammatical sense, I can at least understand each word being said. I’m genuinely impressed with her dive into this unique territory, and her sexy vocal performance comes as quite a shock. The quick sandy beats and rough guitar riffs really work out nicely along with a unique melody and laid back atmosphere. Nishino’s vocal performance is much stronger than that of the previous song, and she has virtually no pitch problems throughout the entire thing, which is also somewhat surprising considering her considerable difficulty with I. As far as composition, In Stereo is quite genius. Soft but catchy melodies play throughout the verses, and then an easy-to-follow but edgy chorus. I like the way they transition between parts of the song by simply going silent for a moment, because it is very effective.

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

Overall Grade: A

Finally a ballad in the form of Just a Friend, which opens with light strings quickly backed by soft R&B-ish beats. Thankfully we are once more given a Japanese dish, because I still think she makes more sense in her own language. Because of how high Nishino’s register is, her voice is very childish-sounding, which makes this song difficult to take for what it is. The verses are gorgeous because she goes lower and there’s less musical interference. This song showcases a surprisingly tender execution style that finally develops it’s own distinct styles. I finally don’t have a comparison for her vocals, which I’m glad for. Towards the end she has a few pitch problems, but it creates a pretty and raw atmosphere. The imperfections make the song more personal, and in general I’m glad they’re there. I can’t be certain whether she did it on purpose, but the vocal performance was perfect for the song. This was a very strong debut single and really showed off three sides of Nishino’s artistry brilliantly. I’m glad that she managed to pull off all three songs, and I wish her success with this single.

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

Overall Grade: A-



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DIGITAL SINGLE REVIEW: Kana Nishino- I Don’t Wanna Know

Kana Nishino- I Don't Wanna Know

Kana Nishino is a new artist under Sony who has not technically debuted in Japan yet. Her first single ‘I’ is scheduled to drop on February 20th. I watched the music video for ‘I’ and I have to say that she definitely has potential. I will save the assessment of her vocal talent for below in Kana Nishino’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’.


I Don’t Wanna Know is the English version of her debut single I. Overall, I can say that Nishino definitely has the potential to be popular. Though her vocal tone is not flawless, she has raw talent and, though unrefined, shows promise. She can be pitchy at times, but I definitely hear that with some training and experience she will be capable of putting out decent and even good music. The song begins with faux guitar and futuristic synth, evolving into a full drums and electric guitar by the chorus. During the verses Nishino pulls the vocals well, and I generally feel that she did a good job. During the chorus she starts going all over the place a bit, but (probably by dumb luck) she manages to make it sound attractive anyways. She supposedly studied English in college, but it’s very difficult to understand her. You can definitely tell that she is speaking English, but everything is unclear, like she has a speech impediment or something. I noticed a very keen resemblance to YUI’s vocal tone in this song, mostly in the way that the high notes are executed. In her lower register, Nishino definitely has her own distinctions. YUI’s performances are a lot more solid also. But in a way she seems like a more poppy/girly YUI. The song is quite addicting in all of it’s unpolished-ness, but there are a few undeniable flaws. The drums are odd sounding, as if played be someone who doesn’t actually know how, but memorized how to do this one song. The vocals need pitch control, and lastly her English needs work. I’m not exactly sure why she even sang this in English. I think that the Japanese version will sound better because she’ll be understandable there. I like the heavy reliance on synthetics, but the song is definitely not perfect. The plus side of the song is that it is composed well. The chorus is epic and all the transitions between verses and chorus sound thought out and don’t come as a shock. How well the composition was pulled off is what is debatable.

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

Overall Grade: B+


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