HEY GUYS!!!! I got my copy this evening! Much thanks to the ever trusty Ranbi-Courier service. top notch delivery! LOL.
SOOOOO. i’ve heard the album a few times by this point of writing. and the more i let it play without paying it attention, the more i enjoy it!! *excuse me, while i hit repeat*
if you’d indulge me – i’m going to give you a track by track, blow by blow account as i play the album now.
氣氛歌謡 Openning (Instrumental) – yes, with typo when you do the iTunes import. the opening and ending tracks are both instrumentals (as with the rest of the Uta Hime series. with the exception of Folk Akina i think). Jerry’s description of “Toilet Break” was spot on! except to that, i would add THE OSCARS TOILET BREAK!!! the type of big band music they play when the camera pans up and down and across the big Oscar Statue… across the sea of celebrities seated… before they switch to the commercial break! it sets the mood for the rest of the album, and is an upbeat, broadway showy opener. rather Double Decade, except more retro. Rating: 8/10
経験 – YAMETTE! it’s super retro and a fun number. the arrangement is similar to Shojo A from Double Decade. i love her voice on this track as the pitch is perfect for her current voice. a strainless, smooth delivery. this track runs at 2:12 minutes. a sign of old times when tracks were super short and zippy! Rating: 8/10
恋の季節 – a wonderful big band follow-thru from the earlier track. the highlight here is when she does her “lu lu lu”. trumpets galore! Rating: 7/10
夢は夜ひらく – The mood switches completely with this smokey number. i’ve read comments from Japanese fans that this was a lil disappointing after the first 2 upbeat tracks. but i BEG TO DIFFER and couldn’t disagree more, i think this is THE standout track in this album. she starts off with her heavy-hearted vocals, with basic piano accompaniment. after the first verse, the moody drumbeats enter, and the rest of the song mesmerises with the lazy laidback sultriness. this is the longest track on the album at 4:29 min, which is “normal” length by current standards. Rating: 9/10
他人の関係 – this was performed during last year’s Dinner Show. frankly, i HATED it, and was wondering why she’d cover such a blase song. her live delivery was also kinda sleep-inducing. BUT, this recorded version carries attitude, and for some reason, when i listen to this, i can’t get a slithering Akina outta my head. You’ll want to slither with her too! You’ll know what i mean when you hear this. this was also one of the 3 tracks on the DVD (more on the DVD later). Rating: 8/10
面影 – The arrangement is Oboe infused. Very excellent. She sings with her falsetto throughout the song, and i personally detest her recent taking to masking her vocal flaws with this singing technique. the manner in which she delivers the high notes – argh. very irritating. this will be the track i skip. especially when i’m in a bad mood (no pun intended). Rating: 5/10 (would have failed this if not for the arrangement)
雨の御堂筋 – PHEW. done with that dreadful song. are you ready guys, cos from this point onwards, it’s all the good stuff. We’re getting started! this song has a very live concert feel. this song reminds me of SHAKER’S “夢見るように眠りたい” Rating: 8/10
ラブユー東京 – I LOVE THIS!!! This great track is bouncy and she made this a totally new song from the original. Fresh coating. Rating 9/10
絹の靴下 – the energy sustains from the last song. I love an upbeat, genki Akina. the band is getting busy! Shortest song on the record at a mere 2:09 minutes. Just when you want more, she stops! Rating: 8/10
コモエスタ赤坂 – Here Akina switches to Bossonova. it’s lovely. the only minor gripe i have is why does every bossonova song she do has to sound like the Akina True ’95 version of “Slow Motion” & “Second Love” arrangement? listen to the piano bit around 1:40 min. you’ll know what i mean. This is probably the only song which I felt the original was better. Rating: 6/10
非情のライセンス – Ooh! Acidy Jazzy territory we’re treading here. I love the sound. She hasn’t had this sound on record before, but it’s something she usually does live with old songs during her concerts. Rating: 7/10
伊勢佐木町ブルース – this is the song which is most wildly anticipated. we wanna know what magic Akina can do with her low pipes on this masterpiece. ok, you’d expect the highlight to be the “Ah-Ah” bits right? but no… i tell you, you’ll have goosebumps when she unleashes her “Doo Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo Baaaaaaa” on your quivering ears and hair follicles. her Ah-Ahhhh bits carry a thirst quenching effect that is deeply embedded, somewhere only we can imagine. okay, that didn’t quite come out right. ew. hee hee. but yeah, it’s the perfect closing act. she leaves you high and dry, wanting more. 9/10
氣氛歌謡 Ending (Instrumental) – the second original composition by the sound producer and arranger 村田陽一 (he did the arrangement for the entire album – boy is he the Akira Senju of Big Band sound! think he was responsible for the many tracks on Double Decade as well), rounds up a fun journey through the 70s cityscape with Akina. 8/10
All in all, i agree with Jerry that it’s a novelty album. i haven’t heard Akina exercise such variation with her singing styles within one album for a long time. at the end of the day, nothing hits the fans’ spot better than an original feast…. much like relieving a sore knot on your back with accupressure massage.
until August, we’ll make do with a chi chi relaxing, pampering swedish massage that doesn’t quite take away the nagging need for something more substantial.
DVD – Oh crap. Excerpts from 3 songs. More of the same. Akina sings with headphones. Akina sings with mic. Akina touches headphones. Akina in mixing room. Akina with headphones. Akina touches headphones. You get the drift.
CD Art – You won’t see her face anywhere. Not even a toenail. Or a strand of frizzy hair from her auntie hairdo. although i can’t see how looking having a cover like an omnibus compilation album will help sales, the art direction of the album is tight. i like the images used in the lyrics booklet. they’re from the library archives which she attributed. and what a delight the CD face is! A vinyl print! =)
i’ve done my job! now we’d like to hear reviews from all of you! =)