Ichiba ni Ikou

Artist: Hitomi Shimatani
Release Date: May 30, 2001
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Ichiba ni Ikou
3. Ichiba ni Ikou (Instrumental)
4. SPLASH (Instrumental)

Hm… I really like Shimatani in this cover art.

Ichiba ni Ikou is different in terms of style. Instead of the usual, western influenced pop, Shimatani goes out with a more European taste but still maintaining the captivating style that she has. This is considered to be one of the strongest of Shimatani’s music but this didn’t totally grab my attention.

SPLASH is another European influenced track but I highly perferred this over the A-side. Why? The arrangement sounds more fluids and the instrumentals and vocals flow well together. This song is probably the only reason why I would listen to the single.

At first, I wondered why the songs had such a distinguished style and then I realized that Ichiba ni Ikou mean “Let’s go to the marketplace.”

Personal Rating: 4/5



Artist: Hitomi Shimatani
Release Date: September 27, 2000
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. Kaihouku
2. Eternity
3. Kaihouku (Instrumental)
4. Eternity (Instrumental)

(Keep in mind that this is Shimatani’s debut in Pop ever since she stopped doing Enka music)

When I first listened to Kaihouku, I remember hearing one of the verses from somewhere. And then I realized that it was used for some commercial back in the day. Kind of random but this song sounded so familiar when I first heard this. Anyways, I actually liked Kaihouku with all of the nice beats and background music. The overall track sounded great when I first listened to it but now that I have listened to it again, I begin to feel that her vocals sound a little off… (Is it just me?)

I would say that Eternity was better than the A-side. The keyboard instrumentals serves as the powerhouse of the song and Shimatani’s vocals worked well with them. Great listen!

Personal Rating: 4.5/5


Artist: Kumi Koda
Release Date: September 8, 2004
Label: Rhythm Zone
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. Kiseki
2. Love Holic
3. Life
4. Kiseki (instrumental)
5. Love Holic (instrumental)
6. Life (instrumental)
Personally, I thought Kiseki was boring an emotionaless the whole time. Pretty much sounds like a generic ballad. I would probably skip this track.

Next up is Love Holic which was much more capitivating than the A-side. Although there was more energy in the vocals, the arrangement still seemed a little colorless but I did enjoy the song during my first listen. After listening to it once, I couldn’t get myself to go through the whole song again.

Finally, Life seems to be my favorite of the three tracks. There was a ncie feel to the chorus but the instrumentals didn’t really synch well with Kuu’s vocals. Maybe a little tweak would have made it sound better.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5


Artist: Kumi Koda
Release Date: May 26, 2004
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Cutie Honey
2. The theme of Sister Jill
3. Yogiri no Honey
4. Into your heart
5. Cutie Honey (Instrumental)
6. Into your heart (Instrumental)
The songs on this single was used on the movie “Cutie Honey” (Hey, I’ve heard of that one before) but uh… I’m kinda embarassed to post this kind of album cover on the blog. -______-

Oh well, Cutie Honey turns out to be a pretty cool track even though it was the cover of the actual theme song. It’s one of her cutesy tracks but this isn’t as bad as the ones she had in the UNIVERSE era. I thought this sounded better than the original.

The theme of Sister Jill sounds like a one minute monologue. But I won;t be too harsh with this song mainly because was a part of the movie. (This is also a shorter version than the one on the soundtrack)

Yogiri no Honey was an “okay” track. Theree’s nothing much to say about it except for the fact that there were some parts in the song that I liked but it sounded like it was being repeated a lot. (The dreaded word: repetition)

Into your heart is probably the best song on the single besides Cutie Honey. The instrumentals did a good job supporting Kuu’s strong vocals with the stand out chorus. I can’t believe that her singles were like this back then!

Personal Rating: 4/5

Rock’n’Roll Circus

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: April 14, 2010
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. THE introduction
2. Microphone
3. count down
4. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
6. Last Links
7. montage
8. Don’t look back
9. Jump!
10. Lady Dynamite
11. Sexy little things
12. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
13. meaning of Love
14. You were…
15. RED LINE ~for TA~ [album version]
When I first saw the album cover, I was like “Who IS this singer?” And then I realized there was Ayu’s name on it. My next reaction was “an album, out?! Already!?” Time does come by fast.

So I have already reviewed Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~, BALLAD, Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~, and You were… which were all given average and low ratings. The album version of RED LINE ~for TA~ didn’t sound that different than the original though.

THE introduction, montage, and Jump! were thse interludes of the album. (Wow, a much smaller amount than the last album) Anyways, THE introduction made me laugh at the title but it sounded boring. Same goes for Jump! but I thought that montage was better than those two interludes combined.

I guess Microphone, Don’t look back and count down were the more laid back tracks. But I have to say that Microphone sounded really good with the organ but I didn’t really feel any… omph with this song. Otherwise, the other two tracks were just ear scratching a nd annoying.

I’m not sure what to say about Last Links. There were some string instruments playing the backgrond but in the end, it’s just a song that’s so not worth listening to.

Lady Dynamite, and Sexy little things had some nice points with the instrumentation. I thought Sexy little things (lol with the title) was the catchiest songs that I haven’t heard from Ayu in a long time. After the failure of her past singles, I wasn’t expecting anything like this from this album. (Thank god)

meaning of Love turns out to be the only new ballads but let me tell you, it’s pretty darn boring. Sounds like something we’ve heard before.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5


Artist: Kumi Koda
Release Date: February 3, 2010
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. Step Into My World
2. Can We Go Back
4. You’re So Beautiful
5. Lick me ♥
6. Work It Out!
7. No Way
8. Stay
9. Comes Up
10. Physical thing
13. It’s all Love! / Koda Kumi × misono
14. Alive
15. Moon Crying (Live ver. in Taiwan)
I like this album cover, she’s like picking on the strawberry. Kind of reminds me of Across the Universe. I thought that the other cover (the one with her head shot and the weird nails) was nice too!

I have already reviewed: Can We Go Back, Lick me ♥, Physical thing, Physical thing, ECSTASY, It’s all Love! / Koda Kumi × misono, and Alive but they were all given average ratings.

Step Into My World was surprisingly an extended version of INRODUCTION TO TRICK, meaning the mood of the song was rather aggressive. Overall, it was okay but it wasn’t as mind blowing as the one on Trick. Work It Out! was also moderately aggressive. People said it was a good track but I just can’t get myself to like it. UNIVERSE also falls into this category but I’ll say that it’s one of a kind! (Also my favorite track from the album) This is truly the strongest song she’s sung in this era.

SUPERSTAR and Comes Up were the moderately aggressive tracks that had that cutesy feeling. They were both okay songs but a bit forgettable. (And tracks that I would skip listening to)

The ballad themed songs on the albums were You’re So Beautiful, No Way, and Stay. Out of all of them, You’re So Beautiful was probably the most elegant sounding other wise, No Way is the second favorite ballad and Stay sounded a little boring. At least Kuu did a better job with the ballads this time around!

Moon Crying (Live ver. in Taiwan) pretty much gets its own section main because it’s a LIVE version that plays for a whopping total of over seven and a half minutes! I thought this was much better than the original song.

Overall, there were a few good points on the album but most of the songs were average and forgettable. I wished UNIVERSE was longer, too.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5

It’s All Love!

Artist: Kumi Koda featuring Misono
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. It’s all Love!
2. faraway
3. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi × Yowagari na Kimi~
4. It’s all Love! (Instrumental)
5. faraway (Instrumental)
6. Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi × Yowagari na Kimi~ (Instrumental)
(Note: just in case you didn’t know, Kuu and Misono are sisters. Yeah, seriously.)

As we all know, Kuu does more pop/R&B songs while Misono does rock. So if you combing those two genrse together, you get It’s all Love! a rather mushily and sloppily composed song. I’ll admit that there were some parts where I couldn’t tell which sister is singing but there’s also the fact that they do sounde well together… now only of there was a better arrangement…

faraway is soley sung by Kuu but it’s a pretty nicely done ballad. I liked how Kuu put some emotion into her vocals and how the instrumentation did a good job at backing her up. Otherwise, this is a ballad that seems “okay.”

I thought misono didn’t do well singing Tenbin ~Tsuyogari na Watashi × Yowagari na Kimi~. Her vocals in “It’s all Love! was actually the best I heard from her so far and her vocals here just didn’t cut it. I’m always wondering why she’s yelling sometimes.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5