Archive for October, 2008

Utada – Exodus ’04

October 27, 2008

I’ve had this album since it came out, somehow let it sit for a year or two, tried to listen to it several times, but never really got through it. While looking for CDs to put on my iPod I finally came across it again and decided to give it a proper chance.

Opening – I really like this song. Besides sounding really good it sets up the tone of the album and Utada’s goal for it. It’s very calm, but has a really nice beat. The organ is a nice melodic touch.

Devil Inside – This is an awesome anthem song. I love the lyrics, love the beat, love the darkness. It’s got a fantastic electronic sound and it’s a shame it wasn’t really pushed by her label (though it did reach #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay chart!) I love the photo of Hikki on the cover, probably my favorite picture of her ever. She looks so fierce!

Exodus ’04 – I’ve found myself singing the chorus to this song repeatedly over the past several days. This is a very smooth sounding song. I’d equate it to a relaxing exotic liquor if I drank and knew anything about alcohol. I really identify with this song a lot, and it’s one of my favorites off the album. Over the past year or so I’ve been agonizing about embarking out on my own for the first time and fearing about making a huge mistake. It’s a fear you know you have to face but it’s daunting at the same time. For the first time in my life my heart is pulling me in a direction different than the rest of my family is moving, and it’s confusing. This song really captures that feeling of being frightened and melancholy, but facing forward at the same time.

The Workout – This song, I have no idea. I really like it, but I don’t. Parts of it are pretty good, and parts of it make me want to hit the skip button. It’s like there are several different songs mashed together and if they were pulled apart one would definitely be superior to the others.

Easy Breezy – The melody of this song is fantastic, really, really catchy and great. There is one infamous lyric though that is absolutely, absolutely terrible – to the point that people base their entire review of this album, negatively, on the lines “You’re easy breezy and I’m Japanesey.” People who’ve never even listened to a Hikki song know that line and point at it as proof (somehow) that she should be written off as a terrible artist – which is a shame, because the song sounds really good. If you can get past that one line you’re good to go. It’s so hard not to hear it though. (But this song is so good!)

Tippy Toe – So…. this song is about having an affair with a married man? O_o Not much to say really. Tippy toe is one of those phrases like “preggo” or “preggers” that makes me get violent when people use it for some reason. I really like the sound of the song, it’s pretty dark, but I can’t get behind the whole lusting after/having an affair with a married man angle. By no means do I actually think Hikki was having an affair, it’s just an idea I can’t relate to or get behind.

Hotel Lobby – Having never heard this song before, and after really, really liking Kiss & Cry is really, really odd. So kind of by default, I already really, really like this song as well. I had heard before something about how HL resembled K&C, but never realized how it’s almost the exact same song save bpm, lyrics and tone. It’s got a much darker feel to it than Kiss & Cry, but an optimistic feel as well, it’s hard to pin down.

Animato – Wow! I really like this song too! The more I listen to this album the more I am convinced it’s gotten a really bad rap for one line in one song, and the fact that it’s a crossover album from a foreign artist. The underlying electronic sound has some sort of nostalgic spark deep in the recesses of my brain that I swear I’ve heard before but can’t place, it’s a quiet sound and reminds me of deep, dark summer nights. The end chorus chants remind me a lot of the end chorus chants of Keep Tryin’.

Crossover Interlude – Basically a remix of Opening, still really like it.

Kremlin Dusk – I’ve heard a lot about this song before, out of all the songs on this album, this is the song I had heard the most about. General reaction seemed to think this was one of the best songs on the album. I guess I’ll have to buck popular opinion here and say I actually found it a bit boring at the start, but midway through the song it really picked up – got a bit desperate and frantic and better. Still not the greatest song on here, but a solid one anyhow.

You Make Me Want To Be A Man – My interest is starting to wane, and I’m starting to look at other Utada albums on my iPod and wanting to switch to songs I like better. Excersizing a few tracks might have done this album wonders. Did it really need to be 18 tracks long?

Wonder ‘Bout – You know, I’m not really big on R&B so the album is dragging a little bit too long for me, and the songs are starting to blur together.

Let Me Give You My Love – The whole this is eastern, this is western lyric theme is starting to get a little old. Considering this is an R&B album, and R&B was developed in the American inner city, we can’t really be shown how “they do it in the east” when they’re only mimicking the “western” sound. I’m also not quite sure lyrically how we got from kid next door died, to holy crap sex me now. Can you tell I’m getting a little tired of listening?

About Me – This song again sounds like a mash up of ideas that didn’t quite come out right. Not really a strong song to end the album on, it just sounds like she ran out of steam.

I would have to name Opening, Devil Inside, Easy Breezy and Exodus ’04 as the best tracks on the album, with Hotel Lobby and Animato following closely behind. The rest I could pretty much take or leave. It’s a shame there was no real push behind her first US crossover effort, because the album is pretty damn good, a little too long, and the first half is definitely more solid than the latter – but still a lot better than a lot of people give it credit for.



October 19, 2008

I think my brain just exploded.

Holy Christ.

I guess I can’t put off waiting to see them in concert then.

I can’t even form a coherent thought right now, other than there must be something else going on behind the scenes. So I will wait for more news.

I can’t say that I didn’t foresee the day when my favorite idols would be leaving, but I never expected this.

I hope Aibon is patting herself on the back somewhere right now.

Kago-chan and the new releases?

October 16, 2008

Kago-chan desu. I got an e-mail from CD Japan this morning about new releases from H!P. They’re going to be releasing MEGA BEST albums from several defunct H!P acts, as well as shuffle groups. Are they still going to pretend that Kago never existed? Will they go so far as to remix the tracks and remove her from them? If they do release the albums with her voice and image intact, is she still entitled to royalties?

I’ve been watching a lot of Kago’s post H!P stuff lately, and I really think she’s coming into her own. She seems so much more at ease, so much more herself. She went through hell, and came out all right. Granted 50% of the was her own doing, and I don’t want to make excuses for her behavior (which in fact was very human and the standards she was being held up to were ridiculous), I don’t know how I would react if I found out my step-father had squandered my entire savings without my knowledge, and my parents were going through a vicious divorce. I think I’m still kind of bitter for the deal she got from H!P. Seeing all the crap she was going through they should have given the poor girl counseling and not the door.

In the end she might be better off without H!P. She can become a mature idol now. She’s not tied down to H!P’s cutesy virginal image. Look at what they did to Maki, one of their other top idols, who also, probably not coincidentally, jumped ship for much more liberating waters with Avex.

I wonder what will happen, inevitably, when she and a fellow H!P member are scheduled to appear on the same variety show on the same day. Will they be instructed to be politely distant with each other? Does UFA keep track of that kind of thing to distance themselves from their former employee? (Am I being too paranoid?) Honestly I think they went a step too far with their punishment my erasing her name and existence from their website and online records in all but album and DVD covers.

Five years from now is she still going to be asked about the smoking scandal?

I guess we’ll see what H!P does very soon. It really won’t have much impact on her career now, but I think they should acknowledge all the hard work she did for their company.

Hangry & Angry New Unit!

October 12, 2008

This is really kind of shocking! But OH SO AWESOME!

H!P has paired up with the clothing brand Hangry & Angry and created a brand new unit! What’s even MORE awesome is that that unit is comprised of Yossie and Rika! *dies*

Even if this wasn’t H!P related, I can without a doubt say that I would be rocking out to it. It reminds me a lot of Nanase Aikawa attitude-wise. The heavy guitar sound is just… I love it! What an awesome song! I am *dying* for the PV!

The full debut single can be heard at Hello!Online There is a myspace page for the group here.

PLEASE don’t let this be a 1 single unit a la Gyaruru. H&A is now my favorite H!P unit. This is SO a single I am going to pre-order. (I’ve already listened to the song 5 times, LOL!)

Oh, and let me point out right away that this is NOT gothic-lolita style. Goth-loli is a style unto itself, a fashion that tries very hard to emulate the look of a victorian porcelain doll. It has become a blanket term by english speaking fans to mean everything under the sun, but it’s not. (This probably has something to do with the magazine, the Gothic-Lolita bible, which started out covering both the Goth style and the lolita style, but the two have pretty much merged at this point). The style they are employing here is Punk lolita, or even just punk.