DIVA – A Quick & Dirty Review from Tokyo!

Dear Akina fans, I’m somewhere between a state of hyperventilation, and tearing right now. Just finished spinning DIVA in the hotel room. with me are: Jamez, Kenji, Ranbi (who picked up the CD early in the morning). all i can say is – get ready to be FLOORED by this album. this is the Akina we’ve all been waiting for. pining for. hoping for – this is the BEST FREAKIN’ DANCE ALBUM from her ever. to sum it up in 3 words, so aptly put across by Jamez – The Diva Awakes.

i recount the number of conversations i’ve had with Kenji when blasting Namie Amuro albums in the car lamenting the fact that Akina should do a kickass dance album, with a current sound, as i believe with my heart and soul that she still has it in her to deliver something like that. i mean, she’s the original J-pop Dance Diva, no?

i can’t remember the last album from her which has brought me to sucha level of euphoria. Femme Fatale? no. Stock? no. Destination? well, i love that album of hers, but it’s not even close.

it’s a totally different sound. She HAS NOT done this sound before. No other previous album comes close. Her singing technique (not a single strained note in this album i swear – she sings with her normal register, very low but extremely comfortable range), diction, sound, English pronunciation (has she been going for English lessons?) – all changed. it’s like rediscovering a brand new Akina all over again.

from the get-go, you’ll be surprised track after track. 10 songs, not a single one you’d skip. not a single favourite you can pick out immediately. throw in 2 kickass, mindblowing remixes (they can go straight into any clubs with no further work required!! DIVA Michitomo Remix stands at a whopping 7:44 minutes and is the BEST REMIX in the entire Akina career, dripping with thumpa-thumpa finesse; Heartache Michitomo Remix is actually a remix of HEARTBREAK with different lyrics infused with a refreshing clash of chinese strings Guzheng) – you have one heckavu statement. the DIVA is back alright. this is a wonderful juxtaposition against Mood Kayou, and Folk Songs 2. this girl’s got range.

suffice to say, i’d spun Destination in my car for a good half a year before taking it outta my CD player. gawd knows how long DIVA is staying in it this time.

i’ll give a track  by track review later, together with the concert review, this evening. we’re running outta time here, but I wanted to share this quick and dirty review with you guys rightaway!!!!


Ok guys, sorry this took longer than expected. I had wanted to upload this before we left for the concert, but was experiencing stubborn problems with my application. anyhowzah, here’s a sampling of some highlights from DIVA!!! bon appetite! and please, you’ve gotta turn up your speakers, k? =)


Akina fanboy since 14. Still undecided which are his top ten favourite Akina tracks as it's mission impossible. Digs "Everlasting Love" a whole lot more than the average Akina fan.

18 thoughts on “DIVA – A Quick & Dirty Review from Tokyo!

  1. Ran out and got it just now. Ripping it into iTunes.

    Give Take is so-so, but interestlying … baso profundo. Diva is good.

  2. Hmmm. Except for Diva and the two remixes, it doesn’t sound very dance to me. But I don’t dance, so perhaps I don’t get it.

    I a bit underwhelmed, but I do like the song Diva.

    It was sad seeing this hidden away in the record store shelves, no promotional stuff at all.

  3. Hi Kuri,

    Wow! That was quick of you. We held a listening party and all agreed that it is an updated sound of Akina. One that shows that she is keeping up with tehe times. You can possibly easly imagine all the uptempo songs being played in a club, and invokes frequent foot moving to the tempo, so I guess it`s our definition of dance music.

    I agree with you on the promotion, but I just came from HMV Shibuya, and there is a stand with about 10 over copies of the limited press and one copy of the normal press.

    1. Vanda in Tokorozawa (http://www.vanda.co.jp/) had 2 of the deluxo (one of which I bought) and 1 of the normal version.

      One thing about dance music mixes is that they are more of a producer’s medium. You could pretty much swap anyone’s voice in and it wouldn’t matter.

      I guess my favorite recent Akina discovery is Nagori-yuki. It has all of her vocal characteristics, the vibrato and huskiness, as well as the flaws, which are endearing, like the vocal cracks and laryngealization and whispers and all that from her long, hard life of cigs and booze. 🙂

  4. Wow!
    After reading your post, I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy!
    My sis won’t be back from Japan until the 2nd week of Sept!!! ARHHHH~~~
    Since you brought up Amuro Namie, I am getting her Best Fiction Tour DVD.

  5. Thanks for taking time out of your japan trip to give us this lighting speed report. I don’t know I will like it or not yet but for sure, we have to admire the courage to keep trying new thing from Akina.

  6. Patrick, you’re welcome. Have a go with the sampling highlights I’ve just done! it’s posted under the review. =)

  7. It does sound like a 21st century Femme Fatale in a way. Not quite sure what to make of it yet with only samples but the sound is definitely a dramatic change for her. And I can actually understand her English, hooray! I wonder if she had had the guts to try put this out as her second English album if she was still as popular as in 1987, hehe.

    Would be exciting if we could have a new album around spring of next year and the concert tour would be like the old days where she had a full load of new songs to perform to us, though I highly doubt it sigh.

  8. Kuri, you lost me with the “Hot Cake Out Take”. Is that a bonus track on your version of the cd? HAHAHA. Care to enlighten me?

  9. Akina???
    Is that really you Akina Nakamori??? O_O
    I’m indeed really glad she gets updated with new sounds and beats!!
    It’s like she stayed in the old times and going backwards… It’s like OK I like her Folk songs (more the 2nd) and Mood, but this one is as she made a big leap over 40 years in time LOL
    I like the rythm of the songs, and the English pronunciation is very noticeable, i hadn’t listened to a good english prononucer since Momoe (Utada doesn’t count as she lived in the US).
    I hope this album sells more copies and return her real DIVA status *0*
    <333 Thanks fot the sampling ♫

  10. >> Kuri, you lost me with the “Hot Cake Out Take”.

    It’s what I heard listening to the chorus of “Heartbreak.” I’m obviously not as impressed as you are with Akina’s “English lessons.” 😉

  11. It’s Heartache you mean.

    I think in an American accent, it can sound a little like “Heart-take”, but we won’t blame her too much for it. Listen to Cross my palm and you will know why we are so delighted.

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