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

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


Artist: Kumi Koda
Release Date: July 8, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. 9:00 A.M. [Intro]
2. Lick me ❤
4. 12:35 P.M. [Interlude]
5. Hashire!
6. 4:20 P.M. [Interlude]
7. Lick me ❤ (Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix)
8. ECSTASY (Caramel Pod E Remix)
9. Hashire! (420 Remix)
10. 12:00 A.M [Outro]
Just for the sake of the many interlude, I’m just going to sum all of the instrumental tracks into one paragraph. 9:00 A.M. [Intro] is just random beats here and there, 12:35 P.M. [Interlude], 4:20 P.M. [Interlude], and 4:20 P.M. [Interlude] were just “there.”

Lick me ❤ turns out to be a highly cheerful summer song that turns out to sound a bit annoying. Kuu does a good job with all of the pop/rock vocals but the parts after the chorus was a bit out of place and the arrangement sounded a tad unoriginal. At least the Lick me ❤ (Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix) sounded a bit better.

I just noticed that ECSTASY was a name of a drug (which I think has nothing to do with the song)… That aside, ECSTASY actually sounds decent with nicer vocals. It’s no TABOO but there’s some catchy chuncks throughout the song. The ECSTASY (Caramel Pod E Remix) wasn’t that good since there’s so much of the same words being repeated over and over again.

I wanted to point out was that Hashire! was just blaring guitars and a screaming Kuu. I was like “WTF is this” when I first listened through the song. Sure there’s all of the music components like the verses and chorus but the only thing I could pretty much remember from this track is the shouting. The Hashire! (420 Remix) really didn’t do that good of a job of improving the song. (More distortion than actual screaming.)

The only interlude that is probably worth mentioning is the 12:00 A.M [Outro] which actually sounded a bit decent. It’s not that good but it’s something that shouldn’t be grouped with those other interludes.

Personal Rating: 3/5

You were…/BALLAD

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. You were…
3. RED LINE ~for TA~
4. You were… (Music Box mix -retake version)
5. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version)
6. You were… (Instrumental)
7. BALLAD (Instrumental)
8. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Instrumental)
The one word for You were… is “boring.” From the arrangement to the song development. I mean, Ayu’s vocals were decent but there’s still nothing unique to any part of the song. Like it was lazily put together and the person who produced this song just ran out of ideas. So if there was a word to describe the song, it would be: “clich’e.”

BALLAD was GREAT! Sure, this isn’t one of Ayu’s best songs but since her last release and the rest of the tracks in this single are pretty much dull and boring, this was totally a refershing piece! The arrangement was rather gentle and the instrumentation worked with Ayu’s vocals gracefully. When I first heard the ehru I was like “wait, am I listening to alan!?” I guess there really hasn’t been a good ballad from Ayu in a long time. Excellent song!

RED LINE ~for TA~ just didn’t cut it. I know that the song is dedicated to her fan club, but I can’t get myself to like this song for some reason. It’s okay but it’s on the edge of “never listening to the song again” and “oh, this song isn’t worth listening to.”

Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version) was bleehh…. Like everyone saids, great instrumentals but dull vocals.

Personal Rating: 3/5