Archive for the ‘Chihiro Onitsuka’ Category


Best of 2009: singles

2009年 12月 31日

Well I haven’t been reviewing on account of I’ve been on vacation =]. Anyway, now that I’m back and Kowezhi has decided to go party without me (<_<) I’ll spend my New Year’s Eve writing “best of”s. I’ll do singles holistically. I may add a category for b-sides or album-only tracks. None of them are in any particular order… just whatever comes to my mind. Also, no commentary since that would take way too long. Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree. It’s quite possible that I forgot some of the best. Mouse over the album pics to see the name of the artist/single.


Alright I really wanted this to be a “top 10” sort of deal… but 11 never hurt anyone =] If I *had* to pick a “number 1” I’d have to go with alan’s Kuon no Kawa. I mean come on.. that thing is EPIC (even if it rehashes the same two songs over and over). Also, even though I gave some singles better reviews than others I gave my top 10 based on musicianship, not necessarily the rating I gave. For example, although I enjoyed Miho Fukuhara’s Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou tremendously, Hanabi Sky was clearly a more musical feat.

Honorable Mentions
Kana Nishino- Dear…/MAYBE
Onitsuka Chihiro- X/Last Melody
Lil’B- Tsunaida Te
Mika Nakshima- Overload
Salyu- Corteo ~Gyouretsu~
BoA- Eien


Chihiro Onitsuka- Dorothy

2009年 11月 7日

The album cover is very different from her other covers. Her other covers are usually much more serious, but this one seems to have a fantasy thing… much more playful this time. I don’t know if it fits her though…

Ok so now we have our first song, and it’s kind of an intro track. Here we have A WHITE WHALE IN MY QUIET DREAM. In this song all we have is Onitsuka’s strong vocals, a soft drum beat, and some very broken English. Onitsuka has a very strong accent (also heard in songs like “NOW”) and it can be difficult to understand what she’s saying.

Now we have our first (and most recent) A-side of the album, Kagerou. I loved the album cover for Kagerou; it might even be my favorite cover all year. Anyway… the song is a strong ballad, but it’s not as good as the other A-sides.

Alright, now we have X, the second A-side of the album. X is a little bit on the edgier side for Onitsuka… and I LOVE it. It’s melancholy, hopeful, and powerful, all in one song. We have a combination of electric guitar and piano and the combination just fits Onitsuka’s voice so well. The PV for X is chaotic, but it captures the emotive aspect of the song… it’s like she’s using her wily actions in the PV to symbolize the emotional complexity of the lyrics.

Storyteller is a bit of an unusual choice to follow X. Firstly, Storyteller is much more laid-back than the previous track. It opts for an acoustic guitar and a god-damn harmonica (thankfully it’s not a prominent part of the song). It has a bit of a folksy feel to it, and it’s an enjoyable track. Also, during the chorus we get to hear a larger range of Onitsuka’s vocals, which is a nice change.

STEAL THIS HEART was kind of a “wtf” track for me. It has a much more pop feel to it, and even uses synth. It’s very upbeat and in a major key. They’ve got some distortion on Onitsuka’s vocals, which just ruins them.  Come on, she’s got an amazing voice, why undermine it? Also, Onitsuka’s voice seems a bit strained/out of control. The whole song for me sounds a bit sloppy.

I Pass By has a similar atmosphere to Storyteller, but it’s much more upbeat. I don’t know about this song… just very average and it keeps repeating the same motif over and over and over and over… why put this b-side on the album?

Kaerimichi wo Nakushite is the A-side to the previous song. It is one of Onitsuka’s best tracks ever in my opinion. It’s one of her slow and depressing ballads that she does so well. We have strings, piano… everything you would want in an Onitsuka song. The song really begins to pick up after the first chorus, and the emotion and passion just keeps on building. There isn’t much to say about this track because it’s so great… it really deserves a listen.

I feel bad for Losing a Distance. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to follow Kaerimichi wo Nakushite. It’s technically a ballad, but it lacks the profundity of tracks like Hotaru and Shine (every Onitsuka fan should know that track). The song has a pretty melody and has a lighter tone in comparison to her other ballads. Although I would never classify it as a “happy” track, it’s much more uplifting than her typical song.

Last Melodies was the second A-side on X/Last Melodies. It has a beautiful piano solo in the beginning, accompanied by some soft electric guitars (oxymoron?) This song I feel was somewhere between an A-side and a B-side. It’s not nearly as good as X, but it’s not B-side material either. It’s an above average song, but it can’t compete with it’s companion A-side.

Alright, now we finally have Hotaru, the oldest A-side album. I loved this song when I first got the single and I still love it. It’s a “typical” Onitsuka ballad if you’re defining her by her swift, piano ballads. Hotaru is captivating though. The versus are delicate, and it’s almost it kind of reminds me of someone passing a melancholy tale down to someone else. The chorus at first is careful and reserved, shying away from being too emotional at first. When we get to the final chorus, we get passion, but Onitsuka keeps something hidden… it just makes you wonder what isn’t being told. Hotaru is a beautifully orchestrated track, and the strongest A-side of the era.

Alright, now we have VENUS… and it’s *surprise* a ballad. I was a little apprehensive about the title… I remembered Koda Kumi’s Trick album ending with a cover of the tacky American song. I was desperately afraid that this was going to be another cover of the song that they play during Venus razor commercials. VENUS is something completely Onitsuka though. It’s more uplifting that most of her ballads, and it’s over an astounding 7 minutes long. It uses harp, which I think really captures the image of the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Venus is the latin name for Aphrodite). Well done.

Overall: Much better than Las Vegas (although that doesn’t say much). The A-sides are standouts, but only a few of the new tracks are up to standards.

Best Tracks:

X, Hotaru, Kaerimichi wo Naksuhite, VENUS

Rating: 7.5/10

Track list:

  2. Kagerou
  3. X
  4. Storyteller
  6. I Pass By
  7. Kaerimichi wo Nakushite
  8. Losing a distance
  9. Last Melody
  10. Hotaru
  11. VENUS