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Nami Tamaki- STEP

2010年 3月 2日

Now THIS is the Nami we’re used to seeing! She looks fierce and mature (i.e. a BIG step up from her Friends! cover)

Okay it’s Nami’s first album under her label change to Universal. Supposedly Universal gave her the stage name “Nami” (first name only, without kanji), and that was used on her previous single. Buuut the album cover says Nami Tamaki… what gives? Whatever… I think the whole “Nami” idea is stupid anyway.

The album opens up with a Mao Denda-esque song, GIVE ME UP. This song borrows melodies from the ’80’s hit of the same name by Michael Fortunati. In my opinion this song sucks on so many levels. The autotune, the happy-go-lucky feel, its being a cover… bad way to start a debut and bad way to start an album.

Friends! the second single of the album is next. This song continues the 80’s fever of the previous track, although this one has a bit of a more modern flair to it. This cheery song nevertheless makes me imagine a bad 80’s workout video. Spandex leggings. Sweatbands on the forehead. Bad perms. You get it.

Finally we get into some more serious tracks with Sayonara Shite Ageru. The beginning is Nami solo with some piano and strings in the background. Although I feel that Nami’s vocals were somewhat stretched (as they often are) into the upper register, the song shows her versatility as an R&B artist. I love the techno stuff, but face it, it can get old if you don’t constantly modify your work. This song seems like it would work in a drama ._.

Uso keeps up the R&B flow, but this time the song is *slightly* more cheery. The keyboard in the background gives this song a little jazz flavor, but not much. I wouldn’t say Uso is astounding, in fact I remember thinking to myself, “I would never think, ‘I feel like listening to Uso.'”

One of the better tracks is up next, Kimi no Namida. Although I can’t help but feel like I’ve heard this melody before, I love this track. This song is a good synthesis of her previous electronic sound and her new R&B sound. If you liked  Omoide ni Naru no? then you’ll love this track.

The next song, Negai Hoshi, reminds me of a Perfume song. I am kind of surprised there’s no vocoder here! The song is upbeat and energetic and is one of those “feel good” songs.

Alright, things return to the pace of the previous songs with the mirthless yet hopeful, Zero no Sora. Although by now these kinds of melodies are becoming a bit formulaic, Zero is still a good track. I’m not sure what to say because it feels like I’ve already reviewed this track before. The electronic influence is prominent in this song.

My favorite A-side of the era, Moshimo Negai ga… is next. This song could also work in a drama too… like when the protagonist girl sees jerk guy she likes schmoozing with the antagonist jerk female (see “My Girl”). Moshimo Negai ga… is much more dismal than some of Nami’s other songs, but you can tell she’s comfortable with this style now.

Please go here to see my review of Omoide ni Naru no?

Well the sadness disappears pretty fast with Happy Forever. It’s a cute Lil-B type song, and one with which I didn’t develop much of a connection. The happiness is understanding because this song is the b-side for the Friends! single. This song IS a nice break among the sad songs.

I don’t care about how many people hate this song. For me, in my life was one of the most original songs on the album. We get a more acoustic feel to the song because of the strings and piano. Also, this is the album’s only legitimate ballad. Okay I KNOW Nami’s vocals are not the greatest in this song, because frankly, she’s trying to get notes outside of her vocal range. Whatever, she didn’t compose the piece and I think she handles the challenge fairly well. It’s a beautiful song.

Yay for Tokyo! This uplifting song (but not excessively happy) song is the perfect way to end the album. Again, this song is one of the more original songs on the album because of the natural instruments. Also, Nami’s vocals are great in this song because she’s singing much lower than she typically does (that’s a hint Universal). Just like the song, I am optimistic for Nami’s future under Universal.

Overall: A solid debut album for Nami. Based on the hype of her haters I was expecting the worst. Even though some songs were formulaic and the album had a rough start, this is a good place for Nami.

Best tracks (Omoide ni Naru no? not included):

  • Tokyo
  • in my life
  • Kimi no Namida
  • Sayonara Shite Ageru
  • Moshimo Negai ga…

Rating: 7.5/10

Track list (previously released songs will now be emboldened in all releases):

  1. GIVE ME UP
  2. Friends!
  3. Sayonara Shite Ageru
  4. Uso
  5. Kimi no Namida
  6. Negai Hoshi
  7. Zero no Sora
  8. Moshimo Negai ga…
  9. Omoide ni Negai no?
  10. Happy Forever
  11. in my life
  12. Tokyo
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