Diamond/Over the clouds

Artist: Alan
Release Date: February 3, 2010
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. Diamond
2. Over the clouds
3. Diamond (Instrumental)
4. Over the clouds (Instrumental)
I usually get really excited whenever it came to any releases from alan. (Although her past album was such a bore) I didn’t really expect much from this single but I guess that she did a really good job with the covers this time!

I actually thought that Diamond would have been a great addition to life since it was the kind of ballad that wasn’t so boring to listen to. This ballad turned out great with so much similarity with essence of me. The use of percussions and guitars also added a nice touch to the soothing arrangement. I would usually think that this song would be so-and-so but since it sounded so much better than most of the songs of her past album, I guess I could appreciate this song more.

Now Over the clouds is probably one of the best A-sides as well as the best upbeat song that alan has ever done! It starts with a calm instrumental at the beginning and all of the sudden, there’s an aggressive, yet awesome upbeat atmosphere following! I thought that she did an okay job with the synchs back in her older releases but this was just too good. There are some parts of the song when her vocals sounds distorted which was also cool since she never distorted her voice in her other songs. Over the clouds definitely exceed my expectations and was definitely worth being the second A-side!

Personal Rating: 4.5/5


my life

Artist: Alan
Release Date: November 25, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. reflection ~overture~
2. Swear
3. One
4. Mitsumeteitai
5. Namida (Smooth Jam Mix)
6. Lost Child
7. Butterflies
8. Essence of me
9. Call my name
10. Shiroi Tsubasa
11. Nobody knows but me
12. BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~
13. Kuon no Kawa
14. my life
Times have gone way to fast and alan has yet released a second album in the 2009 year! Anyways she at least has a better album cover than the first.

The reflection ~overture~ had a similar style to her tennyo ~interlude~ from Voice of Earth: all instrumentals and some vocals. Even though I actually preferred tennyo, I still thought that this was a decent opening for the album. Decent enough for me to want more.

Swear was alan’s attempt to sing mainstrem pop after Kaze no tegami and Sora Uta. The only thing the differenciates the album from the single version is that alan’s vocals actually fades into the song and doesn’t just sing right away. Still, it didn’t do much to change the fact that it’s boring.

One has the same story as Swear, I’ve heard something like this already. (A pop song with nothing interesting.) It’s not that it isn’t unique- no, it’s because there’s no colors in the song that any listeners can see. (*cough* “listen.”) Pretty bland, enough said.

Mitsumeteitai goes back to alan’s signature ballads but here’s the thing: there’s nothing to listen to except for a couple of piano notes and a quiet acoustic guitar. Just think of this like a drag king version of Megumi no Ame except boooooooooooring. At least you can still feel alan’s emotional voice.

Oh wow, a Namida (Smooth Jam Mix). (A remix from a song she sang ages ago) Even so, there isn’t really much of a difference from the original since the only thing added are beats and a few other instruments. I didn’t really think that there was power in the original version anyways, so I didn’t really like the remix.

Lost Child is more of an R&B oriented track (yeah I know, right!) but still doesn’t appeal too much for me. I thought at maybe if she expands her expirence with R&B, she would probably have better luck in this genre than pop. Regardless, it’s still boring since there’s only piano that serves as the background instrumentals.

Butterflies is still zzzzzzzzzzzz. Now think of this a another attempt to get as good as Sora Uta, but here’s the thing, the chorus has nothing, the verses has nothing and the arrangement is nothing new. I’m starting to think that this whole album is cliche!

Essence of me finally shows something for alan that we’ve never expected: Synths! Beats! Instead of her boring pop and usual ballad, there’s a freakin dance song in this album! But then the sad fact is that majority of the song is intrumentals and the dance music doesn’t really suit her. But still, it makes me happy since the first seven tracks were a snore!

Call my name now has colors. It’s still a dance oriented track but at least all of the components are worth a listen. It’s still a little boring but who cares, it’s one of the best new songs on the album!

Shiroi Tsubasa is like one of the those acoustic ballads that she’s sung in the past. Something l would pass since it’s pretty but nothing new or exciting.

Nobody knows but me is another contributor to the snoozefest. The only redeeming factor is that there’s *drumroll* mountain wailing! But still, boring song to apply it to…

BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~ is still nice and boring as it already was. At least Kuon no Kawa seems to be the only old song that’s worth adding onto the album. Although it would have looked better in her first album since it’s not cliche and boring like the other songs were.

Finally, my life sounded something like it was saved for last. Pretty track. And it was worth my time to since it didn’t sound like another song that I’ve already listened to. In all, it’s not only unique but interesting. (I’ve been wanting to say that throughout the whole album but I guess this is the only song that gets to have all of the glory.)

Seriously, the album so did not live up to its awesome cover art! If the cover art’s pretty, then the albums should be good, right!? This barely holds a candle to Voice of Earth! Man, going track by track is really time consuming! Maybe I still stick to the way I usually review albums…

Personal Rating: 3/5


Artist: Alan
Release Date: November 4, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. Swear
2. Beauty
3. Swear (Instrumental)
4. Beauty (Instrumental)
Nicer cover than the last release! But I thought that the colors were a bit too bold, I guess…

Yes! Finally! Alan finally comes out with a single that’s not a ballad! But here’s the thing, Swear was actually charted pretty low this time. What happened? I have to admit that Sora Uta and Kaze no Tegami weren’t really her greatest upbeat tracks but Swear… not really a shinning idea of trying out something new. As much as I don’t want to, but I’ll be frank: Swear was a pretty cliche track.

At least the single doesn’t go on sounding pretty boring. Beauty stands out a lot more and seems like the ideal track that would be the A-side. Seriously, Alan pretty much shows better omph in her vocals and there’s actually some sort of build up throughout the song.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5

BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~

BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~Artist: Alan
Release Date: September 2, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~
2. Shiawase no Kane 2009 Version
3. BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~ (Instrumental)
4. Shiawase no Kane 2009 version (Instrumental)
I was just about to wonder when Alan’s newest single was going to come out. (Considering that I am pretty much an Alan fan.) If we were to talk about “disappointment,” the first thing that comes into mind is her blurry covers. I mean seriously? What happened to her elegant and stylist covers!?

For some reason, Avex Trax just can’t keep Alan away from ballads. But whatever, they all sound good anyways. BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~ was totally different though. Yes, I wish that it was different in an impressive way but it turns out to be the opposite. Sure, the ever-loving strings and ballad elements never fail to “wow” me but this time it’s the vocals that are the problem. It’s not her voice completely boring but her ballad awesome-ness has totally vanished somewhere. Back in the days, she used to overpower the instrumentals with no problem.

My first impression upon seeing Shiawase no Kane 2009 Version on the tacklist was “Why did they have to make a new version of her digital single?” Turns out that Avex has finally produced a more kick-ass version of it! They changed the volume of her vocals and made the strings the more noticeable.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

Shiawase no Kane

ShiawasenokaneArtist: Alan
Release Date: May 20, 2008
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 5/5

1. Shiawase no Kane
Shiawase no Kane was Alan’s first digital single so it wasn’t sold in stores nor was it really as well known to Alan fans. (I actually found th is song by mistake on iTunes.) It was a project that Alan used to help aid the victims in her local state. (Donated to her nearby “Red Cross” hospital.) Well, I have to be honest and say that this was a really impressive digital single! And her voice is truly beautiful which isn’t surprising since her songs always use the best of her talents. It’s obviously a ballad but it’s not as good as “Hitotsu” or “Ashita e no Sanka.” (The two singles released before this one was released.) Still…it gets a full rating.

Personal Rating: 5/5

Kuon no Kawa

kuonnokawaArtist: Alan
Release Date: April 8, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Genre: Ballad
Number of Songs: 6
Personal Rating: 5/5

1. Kuon no Kawa
2. CHI BI~Da Jiang Dong Qu~
3. RED CLIFF ~Shin Sen~
4. Xin Zhan ~RED CLIFF~
5. Kuon no Kawa (Instrumental)
6. CHI BI ~Da Jiang Dong Qu~ (Instrumental)
Alan has been releasing tons of singles as of lately. She’s just released her debut album not so long ago and yet, here she is again with a new single! (I’m pretty sure that the mainstream J-pop artists used to release singles and albums once a month when they first started.) Just when I thought that she would develop write and sing songs with more of a J-pop style. But instead, her newest release just had to be a ballad. (Again…) As always, Alan’s songs never cease to amaze me. I mean Kuon no Kawa is another one of her epic tracks that kept me listening until the very last second of the song. I also noticed that Alan’s ballads have their own “sub-genres,” instead of just ballads. Like RED CLIFF ~Shin Sen~ was more of the dark kind of ‘epic’ while Kuon no Kawa is more of a lighter ‘epic.’ In some ways, I pretty much prefer all the types of ballads she does. Unlike some of the tracks in her debut albums, Kuon no Kawa seems to reach the point when Alan has used her full potential and that her entire talent was put in to the song.

Personal Rating: 5/5

Voice of EARTH

voiceofearthArtist: Alan
Release Date: March 4, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Genre: Folk/J-pop/Ballad
Number of Songs: 15
Personal Rating: 5/5

1. Tennyo ~interlude~
2. Ashita e no Sanka
3. Sora Uta
4. Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~
5. Hitotsu
6. Kaze no Tegami
8. Yume no Garden
9. Gunjou no Tani
10. my friend
11. Liberty
12. Tsuki ga Watashi
13. RED CLIFF ~Shin Sen~
14. Megumi no Ame
15. Together
Tennyo ~interlude~ may just be over three minutes long but it’s no doubt, one of the best opening in existence! I mean, it’s probably not even considered an interlude since there’s actually vocals in this song. (I’m pretty sure that an “interlude” is a song all instrumentals, right?) Love all of the traditional music elements played throughout the song after all, I like thecover-dvd glimpse of a very unique style!

Ashita e no Sanka, meaning “A Hymn for Tomorrow,” makes an appearence for Alan’s debut album. I mean, “why not? It’s definitely a song worth your time.” The beginning did indeed sound like a hymn. I could see how Alan tried to make is sound all scary at the beginning with the traditional chinese background music but when the song progressed to the chorus, she takes me by surprise when she starts screaming all of the sudden. Her vocals were priceless and very breathtaking.

At the beginning of Sora Uta there’s uplifting beats that’s had never been used in Alan’s past releases. The reason for this? It’s the change in Alan’s style! This appears to be the only song that’s not a ballad! Overall, I thought that Sora Uta was totally a great new change of style and she executed the mood flawlessly. I think she did a great job with the change.

Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ marks the beginning of the five elements project. As always, her ballads are very dramatic and gives listeners a very strong impression and reaction. But the one thing that makes this ballad very special is that the way the song was composed sounded like the works of Ayumi Hamasaki’s composer, making this song more popular in Japan. Since in Japan, people there prefer very pop-like and modern songs rather than ballads. Not to mention, Alan is more of a singer of tradition type music. But once again, Alan blows me off the chair with her extremely high voice. I think that Alan’s new approach to ballads was the reason why this single hit high on the charts than u121sual.

Hitotsu starts with the sound of a piano followed by Alan’s light and rhtymic vocals. Surprise, surprise, this happens to be another one of Alan’s beautiful ballads with very powerful vocals during the chorus and very calm during the interludes. A very beautifully made song. Totally worth the effort! There’s a thing with Alan’s voice that makes it wasy to reach those incredibly high notes. The song sort of shared the same style as “Ashita e no Sanka.”

The third installment to the Five elements project begins with Kaze no Tegami which shows the new materials that Alan has been experiencing with. After the sudden change from ballads to pop in her last single Sora Uta, Kaze no Tegami continues with the new style. After her somewhat solo beginning, powerful guitars and drum beats follow it. It’s pretty obvious that Alan got a new composer for her songs now that her lyric style changed as well. Unlike her ballads, this track shows Alan’s all new side of her voice.

After hearing most of Alan’s old songs throughout this “great-so-far” album, it’s finally time to get another dose of Alan’s newer songs! BRAVE shares some characteristics from her older songs but it’s still as awesome as usual. (And it’s not a ballad!) The whole song itself is very appealing to the ears and the acoustics in the background is what totally got me captivating into continuing to listen to this song. There was no sign of a boring chorus and an ordinary melody, so BRAVE was an excellent addition to Alan’s collection of songs.91

Another new song is Yume no Garden which is also not a ballad but rather, a mid-tempo pop oriental song. I loved that there were some string instrumentals in the background since we don’t usually hear many pop songs with string instrumentals. It’s true that I’m a little tired of her singing just ballads and that her pop style also fits her perfectly but I guess that Alan’s vocals weren’t all that great here. At least, it wasn’t boring and there’s still no disappointments with this album yet. I have a feeling that this album is transitioning from her ballads to her more aggressive music….

And I was right! Gunjou no Tani starts with Alan singing calmly. When I first heard her voice, I thought that it was a voice of an angel! No one would have thought that Japanese was her second language! Anyway, powerful instrumental is played following Alan’s solo interlude. At least this wasn’t a ballad like most of her other singles were. I liked how Alan mixed up a variety of crescendos, rhthym and ones; all of them totally shook this awesome song up! Well done Alan!

Finally, a new ballad! (And I can’t stress enough how joyful I am not to hear a song with only ballads!) I pretty much expected that my friend would be a ballad because I’ve noticed that all of the Japanese songs that I hear with the title with the word “friend” in it usually turn out to be ballads. Anyway, the feel of the song is very sweet. I have the same feeling with one of her past singles called “Megumi no Ame,” that the song was nice but I thought that it wasn’t as captivating as most of Alan’s ballads.

Now I don’t really have a straight opinion with Liberty. It’s another ballad, not surprise but the beginning was pretty weak until the end. When the song was near the end, I thought it was pretty powerful. (Like some bands say before a concert, “we could start whatever way we want but we have to be strong at the end!”) At least Alan’ made it a memorable song near the conclusion since the last thing listeners hear is their last impression of the song. I still have some mixed opinions with this track but this sort of shares the same comment with “Yume no Garden.”

14Tsuki ga Watashi is what I’m talking about! (And this new track actually has a title that suits the title of this album! It means “I am the Moon.”) Just like “Gunjou no Tani,” the song kind of sounds like a ballad at the beginning but it becomes more faster paced after the first verse. I liked how there was a large addition of instruments added throughout the song and how the chorus sounded a bit “fluid.” J-pop in general do share some sort of the same style but this song is definitely the most unique.

I seen many of my fellow bloggers post that RED CLIFF ~Shin Sen~ seems to turn out to be one of Alan’s most epic pre-released song, and it turns out they’re totally right! Although Alan may have been mostly doing ballads, it seems that she did try some experimenting with the pop style but now…she went back to her ballad style and took it to the next level! She has no doubt, greatly improved and touched up her ballad style since her last. I liked the part of the song when she began to build up her voice while softer versions of Alan’s voice also began to somewhat echo along with it. The chorus is also pretty darn powerful that I almost fell off my chair in surprise.

After listening to most of Alan’s past singles, I was pretty much expecting a lot from her since she always released good music. Maybe I was expecting too much since I wasn’t really fond of Megumi no Ame. I thought that it was a little too plain and a little boring compared to her other ballads. I mean, she was pretty much monotoning which really made me a little disappointed. It’s not so bad or anything; just “decent.” At least her beautiful voice is still present in this song.

Finally, there’ Together which is actually Alan’s first song she’s written. I’m not going to complain about it being a ballad since ballads do make a great ending to a great album. This song isn’t all that slow and boring but at least there’s a great combination of string instruments in the background.71 (Background music is key to making a ballad interesting.) I thought this song was an excellent way to end this incredibly beautiful album.

Okay, Alan’s Voice of EARTH was a total phenomenon! Although the album mostly consisted of her previous releases, the album was very refreshing to the ear. I mean, Avex Trax always picks extraordinary artists to be a part of their label and including Alan was probably one of their best miracle yet! It has been a total blessing that I was given a chance to give this single a listen and I will vow to treasure my copy of this extraordinary album! There’s a chance that she could be the next Ayumi Hamasaki!

Personal Rating: 5/5