Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana

Artist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: April 29, 2009
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana
2. Gozen Rokuji
3. Milky Kiss
4. Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana (Instrumental)

Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana sounded “lighter” in terms of rhythm and instrumentation. The good thing is that this isn’t her usual “cute” pop and more of a rock oriented song. From the looks (or sound) I think that Shokotan would be more successful in the rock genre.

Gozen Rokuji also takes on the face of the A-side by singing out a laid back rock themed arerangement. Still, I perfer Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana because her vocals sounded a bit sloppy throughout some parts of the song.

Apparently Milky Kiss does turn out to be one of Shokotan’s bubblegum pop songs but this one actually comes out decent. Her vocals sound a bit more mature compared to her older cute pop songs. The overall atmosphere of the song seems to have older sounds but in a way, the song seemed to be one of Shokotan’s most original.

Personal Rating: 4/5


Kirei À La Mode

Artist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: October 22, 2008
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. Kirei À La Mode
2. Kamitsure
3. Yakusoku
4. Kirei À La Mode (Instrumental)
Seems like Shokotan is really up and running with her music career with all of these singles being released so close to each other. Anyways, Kirei À La Mode ended up being one of my most favorite of Shokotan songs. Not only her vocals is free of those squeaky little pitches in her voice, the arrangment sounded really beautiful and supports her vocals nicely. It’s got a good combination fo string instruments which flows in with the arrangment even more.

Kamitsure‘s got the synch but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did with the A-side since the arrangement kinda reminded me of alan’s “my life album” boring. But regardless, Shokotan still provided a solid performance.

Yakusoku is probably one of those song that’s not really that ‘new.’ Sure its face paced but it’s something I’ve already listened to.

Personal Rating: 3/5

Tsuzuku Sekai

Artist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: September 10, 2008
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Tsuzuku Sekai
2. through the looking glass
3. Tsuzuku Sekai (Instrumental)
4. Sorairo Days feat. 8bit Project (spiral chiptune mix)
Ever since visiting Shokotan’s blog and seeing that people started to talk about her latest album, I remember feeling the sudden urge to review her releases again, so here’s a review! (But I still have to review her old releases before getting to that album)

Seems like Shokotan finally dropped her bubblegum pop and sweetness in exchange for some new rock outlook with Tsuzuku Sekai. At least it didn’t sound so bad since her vocals had taken up a notch and the electric guitar accompiament went well in the arrangment. The only thing I really have to say is “Keep up with the good work but I almost miss your happy style for some reason.” I’m beginning to think that her older style grew on me…

Oh good, just when I thought that Shokotan was about to completely change her style, through the looking glass goes back to the happy pop that she usually sings. Still not so impressive but it reminds me of the good old times when I listened to her first song awhile back.

I think that the original song somehow grew on me so listening to the Sorairo Days feat. 8bit Project (spiral chiptune mix) didn’t really sound too bad. The only problem with the song is the remix since it made the arrangement sound so weird D=

Personal Rating: 4/5

Shiny GATE

Shiny GATEArtist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: August 6, 2008
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 2.5/5

1. Shiny GATE
2. To Be Free
3. Sekidou Komachi DOKII
4. Shiny GATE (Instrumental)
It has been a really, really long time since I’ve last reviewed Shoko Nakagawa…On another note, Shokotan looks a bit weird in this picture. What the heck is shoe pointing at?

Anyways, Shiny GATE attempts to sound futuristic but just doesn’t cut it. Why? Shokotan’s vocals are still very uncontrolled and it totally does not mix in with the robot voice and synch. Plus throwing an electric guitar in made the song even more sloppy! Just when things were sounding better! D:

To Be Free sounds a LOT better then Shiny GATE but is still missing a lot of musical elements. No chorus development, lacking emotions in vocals, cliche arrangement, etc.

I would probably say the same with Sekidou Komachi DOKII since it’s a mixture of the flop A-side and the boring B-side…

Personal Rating: 2.5/5

Snow Tears

Snow TearsArtist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: January 30, 2008
Label: Snoy Records
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. snow tears
2. Kimi ni Meroron
3. Winter Wish
4. snow tears (Instrumental)
After finally concluding that Shoko’s past single (Sorariro Days) was a positive release compared to the two flops before, I didn’t really know what to expect from Snow Tears. And this single actually put me into the mood to listen to more of her music! After all, her voice totally suits the ballad genre! Sure bubblegum pop and trance didn’t work out for her but rock and ballad would really be the favorable genre for Shokotan. The only down side to this positive song is that its about…..winter!

Since Shokotan’s B-sides are usually horrible, Kimi ni Meroron actually wasn’t that bad. Sure it wasn’t as good as Snow Tears, it still reaches to the degree when her vocals are so-and-so. It’s a pretty decent song except for the laid back elements and the repetition.

Finally, Winter Wish is a complete mixture of ballad and rock elements. (I guess that’s a good mixture.) Although the instrumentals were pretty supporting, there were some parts of the song when Shokotan didn’t really sing loud enough to take over the acoustics….but at least her vocals weren’t all that bad.

Personal Rating: 4/5

Sorairo Days

Sorairo DaysArtist: Shoko Nakagawa
Release Date: June 27, 2007
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Sorairo Days
2. happily ever after
3. Mitsubachi no Sasayaki
4. Sorairo Days (Instrumental)
It’s looks like Shoko has one different genre per single. First single was trance, second was bubblegum and now, it’s….rock. I’ve got to say that I’m pretty impressed with this change of genre now that she actually has a decent vocal performance. Looks like I won’t have to hurt my ears while listening to the rest of her discography! (…hopefully)

Like I said before, Shoko actually does sing with decent vocals this time. Sorairo Days displays a little bit of Shoko’s true talent but I’m pretty sure that’s no ALL of her talent since I’m definitely certain that hard rock suits her voice. I don’t know, her cute voice and hard rock just doesn’t go together.

Although happily ever after has the kind of shares the same opinion as the A-side, the song sounded much more energetic but I’m still not getting that “passionate” feeling. You know, when an artist has an energetic song, they always put themselves into the song…maybe that’s probably the reason why I think Shoko hasn’t turned on her heat yet.

And just when I was actually going to give this single a 4.5 rating, Mitsubachi no Sasayaki comes in and brings back what was on the first two singles! But even though it still has that very weird girly element, I pretty much thought that this song was “okay.”

Personal Rating: 4/5

Strawberry Melody

Strawberry MelodyArtist: SHoko Nakagawa
Release Date: February 14, 2007
Label: Sony Records
Personal Rating: 2/5

1. Strawberry melody
2. Pokemon Nari Kiri Sunday
3. Dear my saint-girl
4. Strawberry melody (Original Karaoke)
The one reason why I know Shoko Nakagawa is because most of the J-pop review sites on my blogroll were reviewing her “Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana” single. Since I’ve been hearing some positive ratings, I thought that I might as well check her songs out…but first, I really have to get myself to listen from her debut release to her latest.

Anyways, Strawberry melody still hasn’t improved much from the lazy “Brilliant Dream” single. Just when I thought that she would do better with her vocals, it’s actually worst. Now that she transitioned away from her trance music, (from her debut) she’s now working on the dreaded genre…bubblegum pop. Well, it’s not like it’s bad or anything but it seems that there’s not really a great bubblegum pop song. Sadly, this horrible song was used as a Pokemon theme =(

To make out ears hurt some more Pokemon Nari Kiri Sunday comes in with even worst elements now that there’s talking, beeps and even screaming. This could be like a voice actor singing some anime theme song but this is really really bad to listen to! It’s really hard to actually listen through the whole song….I wonder if I ever did listen to the whole song.

Yes! The ending is almost there! Dear my saint-girl is actually a laid back pop ballad so there’s not much of that bubblegum factor. Instead of talking and screaming, you could hear “actual” instrumentals like the guitar and the piano. I REALLY hope that Shoko makes her songs sound more like this because her vocals weren’t all that bad and it wasn’t to girly. This song is probably the only reason why I didn’t give this single a 2 out of 5.

It appears that Shoko still hasn’t made her big step from her vocals so I guess I’ll stick with her for a little longer. I remember that even Ayu didn’t have the best beginning and look at her now…she’s a J-pop empress! Anyways, I’ll just wait for her improvement even though it means hearing many more weak vocals.

Personal Rating: 2/5