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Archive for the ‘Thelma Aoyama’ Category

SINGLE REVIEW: Thelma Aoyama- Soba ni Iru ne

Thelma Aoyama- Soba ni Iru ne

I was very impressed with the lead track of Aoyama’s last single, and I’m hoping that she can lead up to my expectations with this one. It’s very clear that she can sing, but whether or not she can consistently deliver engaging performances is what I’m still not sure about.  Here’s Thelma Aoyama’s ‘Soba ni Iru ne’

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Soba ni Iru ne begins with light piano chords and violin-esque synth that shows a more laid-back side of Aoyama’s music. She has moved to R&B territory with this sweet love-ballad, and I have to say that I’m feeling it. Even the stupid rap part wasn’t dreadful, and I think it blended nicely with the rest of the track. After a considerable amount of listening the track gets kind of boring because it lacks a climax, but that is somewhat made up for by a short instrumental section featuring gentle strings that played out nicer than I thought they would. This was a collaboration with an artist called Soulja who (whoopie…) raps. He’s better than some I’ve heard, but I still just don’t like the way that it sounds. If I wanted to hear people talk I’d go out somewhere. Aoyama’s English is, obviously, perfect and her vocals fit the calm atmosphere wonderfully. I can see why she’s been having so much success with this single, as it really is quite good. I say keep it up. As a whole, I think I prefer her previous single as it was a bit more interesting.

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

Overall Grade: A

The first of two B-Sides on the single is My Dear Friend. The composition of this song is very different from any of her other songs. It starts out with very quick lyrics that built up, and then suddenly relaxed and moved to a more R&B sound once more. Aoyama’s high notes in this track are surprisingly well executed. She didn’t really go high anywhere for any of her previous songs, so it’s interesting to hear her use more range. The chorus is the best part of the song because of the upbeat nature. Aoyama’s vocal tone is perfect for dance, but I think she could definitely pull off a power ballad as well. That’s what I’m hoping for from her next. She’s gone upbeat and R&B, so it’s time for a power ballad. Though I prefer Soba ni Iru ne to My Dear Friend, this track is certainly worth listening to.

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

Overall Grade: A-

The last track on the single is Last Day, which is surprisingly captivating. The music is created with an interesting whistle-like synthetic sound as well as your typical (but not uninteresting) percussion. Although this song isn’t bad either, it’s definitely the weakest here. The verses are unfortunately bland throughout, and the song doesn’t really have any qualities that draw you in. That whistle instrument is unique, but not enough to recover from the pretty boring composition and lackluster vocal performance. I didn’t like the rap this time around either. I don’t know who does it, but it lasted way to long and wasn’t pleasing to the ears. I got bored of it after about five seconds, but it just kept going and going and going… The only good thing about that was the elation I felt when it stopped and she started singing again. Other than that, this track is pretty much just average.

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

Overall Grade: B

SINGLE GRADE: A-

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SINGLE REVIEW: Thelma Aoyama- ONE WAY

Thelma Aoyama- ONE WAY

I’m telling you people, if you want to give me a heads up about an artist, DO IT. I’m fairly confident that you’re not all crazed fans with no ability to discern good music from bad. Unless the artist you recommend is totally ridiculous or not the kind of music I like, I’ll probably review them. What this means is please don’t ask me to review any of the following styles: Rap (You all know I hate it), Visual Kei (This includes Dir~En~Grey, however you spell it, and bands like them. Not my thing), and Enka. I actually listen to Enka occasionally, but I intended for this blog to be more mainstream, and thus will not review Enka. Anyway, onto Thelma Aoyama. She just released her debut single a while ago, and her current (second) single has been making quite a streak at number one. Well here we go, Thelma Aoyama’s ‘ONE WAY’.

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The lead track is ONE WAY, a brilliantly crafted dance track that really shows off Aoyama’s vocal power. The fairly poppy beats made me question why people consider her a J-Urban artist (actually there is really little difference because the pop and urban scenes really don’t respect each other’s territory in Japan. There’s so much cross-over that it’s a waste to even separate them). However, when she moved on to the quick and more hard-hitting segment of the song, I could hear what people were talking about. She has a soulful tone (I think she’s 3/4 African?), which has a huge influence on her vocal patterns. Overall I’m impressed by this debut. The melody is extremely catchy, and her vocal performance is fantastic. The percussion and snappy beats add to the great atmosphere, and it all blends together very well. Production wise this was a very well thought out track. They really went all out for this debut. I know that she went to an International School in Japan for her entire life there, so I’m not sure if that has an influence on her ability to speak the language. I think she must be fluent, but I can’t say that for sure because I haven’t seen her on television. It will be interesting to see how much of a role she plays in her own music.

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

Overall Grade: A+

The second track on the single is GOOD TIME, which opens with synthetic brass and a unique atmosphere. The composition starts off a bit weak, but the verses are decent and somewhat engaging. This song definitely has a B-Side feel. The percussion in the background is catchy, and her vocal performance is good, though not amazing like in ONE WAY. There’s something about her execution that isn’t as engaging in this song, which is a bit unsettling. Actually, overall the composition is pretty bland. The chorus is repetitive and the verses are just too uneventful. Towards the end it’s spiced up a bit by some vocal track layering, but I still just wish there was a bit more. It seems like the background vocals just never stop repeating themselves, which is obnoxious because it makes the song feel longer than it really is. Though the title track was incredibly powerful, the B-Side falls into a very average-sub par range. I’ll have to listen to her next single before I pass any judgments on her.

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

Overall Grade: B

SINGLE GRADE: A-

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