Music: Ayumi Hamasaki – I am… – Album Review

“Connected Evolution Naturally Never Ever Still Alone”

Artists: Ayumi Hamasaki

Age: October 2, 1978 (age 33)

Genre: JPop, JRock, Dance, Electronic

Released: 1st Janury 2002

An album that’s covered with Ayumi Hamasaki’s own production, under the pseudonym of CREA. The personal touch truly helped as most of the songs are incredible, and recommended to old and new fans.

The opening track I am… starts with acoustic singing merging into pop-rock, that sets the tone of the album. The strong vocals follow into UNITE!evolution, NEVER EVER and M. Many of these songs are her most popular, and are also concert-favourites.

There’s a very tight and coherent production making the songs blend into each other, but each have their own distinctive quirks. Some would argue that Ayu has never created another album of this caliber.

See below for album previews:

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Anime: Tari Tari – Episode 11 Summary + Review

“Land of Music where everyone sings, all the time, day and night…”

(Konatsu’s imagination puts the girls in some risque costumes)

Studio: P.A.Works

Genre: School, Music, Slice of Life, Age: All ages

Released: July 1 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, Konatsu has written down a memorable play for the upcoming White Festival. They have all the money that they require, and now all that’s left is for the group to begin rehearsals, scenery prop creation and a whole host of other difficult  tasks…

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Anime: Tari Tari – Episode 10 Summary + Review

“Don’t have the budget for a zord…”

(Disco moves on full display)

Studio: P.A.Works

Genre: School, Music, Slice of Life, Age: All ages

Released: July 1 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, the’ Choir and sometimes badminton club; put on a show at the local shopping center dressed as rangers. In an interesting twist, they have their own food and product related names and attacks. You can buy all of the food they mentioned, with a discount, if you go to the local sale…

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Anime: Tari Tari – Episode 9 Summary + Review

“Pose like this!”

(Wien’s not allowed to sit on furniture after last time…)

Studio: P.A.Works

Genre: School, Music, Slice of Life, Age: All ages

Released: July 1 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, Wien receives the shock of having his letters returned to him. The rest of the group are still preparing for the White Festival. Sawano is having trouble nailing down the melody of the song that she’s composing with her late mum.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Music: Anna Tsuchiya – Unchained Girl – Single Review

“Ah Ah Ah Ah Stayin alive”

Artists: Anna Tsuchiya

Age: 11th March, 1984 (age 28)

Genre: JPop, JRock

Released: 28th September 2011

This single would be easy to skip, for the terrible covers, which show Anna posing in a toilet. However, as one of Japan’s most influential female rock singers, Anna Tsuchiya definitely deserves a second look.

Stayin Alive is a cover of the Bee Gee’s version, with Tsuchiya’s own smoky voice. Although I’m a big fan of the original, this has a dark atmosphere that’s hard to resist, complimented by the grungy rock video.

The other song is Juicy Girl feat. The Samos, a party-hardy song that does very little for me, and shows off none of Anna’s voice. Try following the nonsensical lyrics and Anna’s rubbery english, it’s a great ride.

Master Blade, a collab with Yoko Kanno, sounds like it belongs as the ending theme to some anime. With Anna struggling to hit the high notes, and the lackluster orchestra, it seems likely to be forgotten when the album is released.

There is one song that saves this single.

See below for previews:

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Anime: Tari Tari – Episode 8 Summary + Review

“Sing me a song”

(Sawa survival tactic is to play dead and scare everyone)

Studio: P.A.Works

Genre: School, Music, Slice of Life, Age: All ages

Released: July 1 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, Sawa returns home after seeing the doctor. Her injury isn’t severe, and her father tells her that she should quit riding while she’s ahead.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Music: Florence + the Machine – Spectrum – Single Review

“Say my name and every colour illuminates”

Artists: Florence + the Machine

Genre: Pop, Rock, Indie

Released: 6thJuly 2012

The Calvin Harris Remix of Spectrum is a thumping, crying, and eerily noted song that draws in the listener. The clubbing feel is contributed by Calvin Harris, and meshes well with the the classic rock style of Florence + the Machine.

Like most club tracks, this has repeating lyrics, but it’s worth noting that it’s an upbeat and positive song.

See below for previews:

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Music: Ayumi Hamasaki – A Song for XX – Album Review

“Friend Wishing You Present”

Artists: Ayumi Hamasaki

Age: October 2, 1978 (age 33)

Genre: JPop, JRock

Released: 1st January 1999

Ayumi Hamasaki’s first album is also one of her most innocent and simply produced. It shows the influence of the 90’s, as well as influence from when her label Avex used to be predominately a dance label.

A song for XX, the titular track is surprisingly heartfelt, despite Ayu’s delicate voice. Likewise with poker face, from her first single.

The ballads songs are pretty good, with YOU and POWDER SNOW striking chords with me. There’s something really likable about the latter, and the piano version in Ayu’s LOVEppears album is worth chasing up.

Yes, it’s dated now, but fans of Ayu will enjoy her origins, as well as the drastically different voice. Compared to her newer albums, Ayu’s first album is more simple, but has more than just nostalgic value.

See below for album previews:

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Anime: Tari Tari – Episode 7 Summary + Review

“White Rhino Festival”

(Wien’s vivid imagination. Good things the girls can’t see this.)

Studio: P.A.Works

Genre: School, Music, Slice of Life, Age: All ages

Released: July 1 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, the group are preparing for their biggest stage yet: the White Festival.

Wien’s a bit confused about the meaning, and the girls spin a story about a white rhino that lives under the school, that gets released once a year as a celebration. He totally buys it!

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Music: Conor Maynard – Vegas Girl – Single Review

“This is for the girl that can get down low”

Artists: Conor Maynard

Age: 21 November 1992 (Age 19)

Genre: Pop, Synthpop

Released: 22nd July 2012

Banking on Twitter, Conor tries to find a girl that he bumped into in the street. After creating a viral storm, Vegas Girl makes her appearance.

This song, from an upcoming UK artist is pretty damn catchy. His second single from the first album Contrast, it has hooks and rhymes that mimic a developed style.

He’s being billed as a UK Justin Bieber. I think that’s fairly inaccurate, Conor has his own scrubbed-clean-but-urban style.

Listen to the song to see rising talent.

See below for previews:

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