Archive for the ‘Tohoshinki’ Category

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Poll Results: Battle of the Boy Bands

2010年 6月 21日

In accordance with last poll’s survey on female groups, I’ve added the male counterpart. Honestly I was kind of surprised at the results. Let’s start with the Kpop boys.

Well I’m not too versed on male kpop groups… sure I know who’s who and all that, but not too familiar with the music. Big Bang and Epik High battled it out for a while, but the winner is clear… epic win for Epik High!

Epik High- 13 votes, 43%
Big Bang- 6 votes, 20%
SS501- 5 votes, 17%
2PM/2AM/One Day- 4 votes, 13%
Super Junior- 2 votes, 7%
MBLAQ+B2ST/BEAST- 0 votes =[

Since I’m basically only familiar with 2PM and a little bit of SS501 I guess I’d have to vote for them. I’m not too into Big Bang’s style though. Heh I kind of wanted someone to vote for MBLAQ because they’re Rain’s brainchild, but whatever. Good job Epik High!

So it takes a Korean band to win for the Japanese? (heh I would have voted for them too.) These results were astonishing…

Tohoshinki- 22 f*ing votes, 76%
KAT-TUN- 3 votes, 10%
Arashi- ”
NEWS- 1 vote, 3%
Hey! Say! JUMP + w-inds.- 0 votes =[

I really didn’t expect them to win by that big of a margin. Although they are on hiatus right now, I look forward to each of the member’s future endeavors.

So, was there a band or group that should have been on the ballot for “Best of the Best”?
Also, since I’m not too familiar with Kpop boy bands, what are each bands best songs?

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Poll: Prom King and Queen

2010年 5月 27日

So we had a little bit of a “prom court” on Tsuki no Ai. I thought it would be fun to host a shallow popularity contest, so here are the results.

Queen

Namie Amuro- 9 votes, 41%
BENI- 3 votes, 14%
Kanon Wakeshima- 3 votes, 14%
YUI- 2 votes 9%
Yuna Ito- ”
Ami Suzuki- ”
Ai Otsuka- 1 vote, 5%

I figured Namie would win… after all, she is the REAL queen of J-pop! I think I would vote for Kanon… she is releasing a new album this July!!

Now for King results… I was pretty surprised with this outcome actually…

King
Hero (DBSK)- 10 votes, 48%
HYDE (L’arc~en~Ciel)- 4 votes, 19%
Ruki (the GazettE)- 2 votes, 10%
Keita Tachibana (w-inds.)- 2 votes, 10%
Gackt- 1 vote, 5%
Jun Matsumoto- ”
Yuya Matsushita- Lex (okay I’m guessing on this, but I’m pretty sure it was he)
K- 0 votes =[

I did not expect Hero to win at all… didn’t expect there to be that many DBSK fan(girls) that read my blog. THEY’RE JUST ON HIATUS THEY’RE JUST ON HIATUS. I thought HYDE would win, even though he’s a bit old for prom king  =p. I would have voted for Ruki… there’s my boy!

So… that was fun. In the meantime be sure to vote in the new poll and check out our formspring!

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Tohoshinki- BREAK OUT!

2010年 1月 26日

I wasn’t amazed by either cover, but the shattered rock kind of looks like rose petals.

I have been addicted to BREAK OUT! since it was first released. The song opts for a dark mood, employing various elements of electronic music. The lyrics are catchy, so the song is fun to sing. Given the quick pace this song also works for dance music. If you haven’t seen it already, check out the PV for the song because it’s much different than anything TVXQ usually does. It has a haunted house/avant garde theme.

Next we have a bit of an experimental track with Xiah/Junsu’s with XIAHTIC (Xiah+Mirotic). The song heavily relies on deep strings (like double bass) strumming in the background and electronics. Xiah has one of my favorite male-singer voices, so I was glad to hear a solo. The basses strum constantly throughout the song, but they are occasionally accompanied by violins or synth.

BREAK OUT! -NewJack Mix- was an interesting take on the a-side. Personally there was too much R&B synth in it for my liking. It might have been more natural had they used real instruments. At least it was more inventive than the relaxed mix of Doushite kimi wo suki ni natte shimattan darou xD.

Overall: Best single of the era! I was really happy with this.

Rating: 9/10

Track List:

  1. BREAK OUT!
  2. XIAHTIC (JUNSU from Tohoshinki)
  3. BREAK OUT! -New Jack Swing mix- (CD Only)
  4. BREAK OUT! (Less Vocal)
  5. XIAHTIC (Less Vocal)
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Best of 2009: Album Artwork

2010年 1月 8日

I’ve been looking forward to this part of the “best” awards. This will probably be my last installment of the “best of”s, because I’m going to have a gigantic “worst” of post out this weekend. So here, in all their glory, are what I thought were the best album covers of 2009.

RURUTIA: Seiros
For a while I thought that this release was part of 2008 because it was released so long ago!. Anyway, RURUTIA’s music is very ethereal and reminiscent of Final Fantasy music. This cover reflects the magical element so present in her music. This cover is like a cross between reality and fantasy.

Namie Amuro: Past<Future
Plagiarized or not, this is one hot cover and it represents Namie’s moving forward with her musical career. The cover came under suspicion when it greatly resembled an image in a Korean magazine. Although it seems like the case is valid, it probably wasn’t Namie’s idea. In truth what really makes this cover amazing is Namie’s coy expression. Even if it wasn’t her idea, her cover is ten times sexier.

alan: Gunjou no Tani
This cover is one of alan’s finest. She looks so peaceful. She dons traditional garb, and it really pops compared to the dark background behind her. In this cover we have tradition and nature- the two most important aspects of alan’s music. I hope we see more of this soon!

OLIVIA: Sailing Free
Everything about this cover is so “OLIVIA.” She’s just kind of floating there, looking completely serene. Although it’s a lot of pink, all of the detail keeps this cover from being boring.

Koda Kumi: Alive/Physical Thing
Regardless of what you think of the single, I think its cover is astounding. Kuu-chan’s covers have gotten progressively better over the years. She went from looking almost like a trashy porn star to looking like more of an artist. I love the juxtaposition of this cover: Kuu looks like an angel while the environment around her is clearly rugged. Her outfit looks really high-fashion and her make up looks class. This cover is sexy without being over-the-top.

Nana Kitade: Tsukihana
Not only was this an outstanding musical feat for Nana, but its cover is a work of art too. Nana looks great in a traditional kimono. Since Nana is a model for a lot of lolita clothes, she knows how to wear an outfit. Her posture and expression make this otherwise traditional setting a little more modern.

Tohoshinki: Stand by U
The reason I like this cover so much is that it makes the boys look more “real” to us. They usually wear flashier clothes in staged and tempered environments. Here though, things look a little more candid and realistic. This kind of comforting image fits the A-side as well because the song projects a kind of intimacy.

Ayumi Hamasaki: Rule/Sparkle
This is one of my favorite Ayu covers to date. The tight-fitting outfit, silver high-heels, and bold covers give this image a futuristic look, perfectly representing the songs on the single. This single came out with many cover editions, as is common for Ayu nowadays, but this one was my favorite. Her makeup looks great too… not overdone, but still foxy. =]


Minami Kizuki: Shiroi Tsuki
I discovered Minami’s music kind of late in the year. For those of you who don’t know her, she has a voice uncannily similar to Hajime Chitose’s (she did the 4th ending to Blood+). This single happens to be a ballad, and the cover kind of reminds me of something alan would do. Minami really stands out from the black background. I really do think of the moon when looking at the cover.. maybe it has something to do with her reflection.


Miliyah Kato: WHY
This single represents one of Miliyah’s strongest releases to date. This cover lacks the glamor of a lot of these others on the list, but it perfectly reflects the raw emotion of the song WHY. Miliyah is known for her more “Diva-esque” covers, so this vulnerable side from her is something to look forward to.

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Christmas Blowout Part III: Covers

2009年 12月 24日

So this last section of my X’mas blowout is dedicated to Japanese/Korean covers of traditional/Western Christmas song. Since these songs are so varied and not original creations of the artists I won’t be ranking them. I know it’s already Christmas for many of you, but for the rest of us it’s still Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,
Aoliwa and Kowezhi

BoA: The Christmas Song
Yeah I know, this is probably the most ubiquitous Christmas song of the season and you’re probably all tired of hearing it by now. BoA does a great job with this song though, and her voice is very strong. I’d say this is a bit more of a cutesy rendition of the original IMO.

K: Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas is a mini-album of Christmas covers that was released this past December. All songs are done a capella (kinda reminds me of glee club stuff). K’s English sucks when he speaks *cough* first track *cough,* but when he sings it it’s great. He covers songs like Wonderful Christmastime and This Christmas. Also, the final track is an a capella ver. of Only Human. Pretty… but WTF?!

CHEMISTRY: Winter of Love
This Christmas album from CHEMISTRY features both original songs and covers of older Japanese Christmas songs. Some of the songs are a little dated, but CHEMISTRY does a great job at bringing them back to life for the holidays.

Ayaka Hirahara: AVE MARIA (+Schubert ver.)
Ayaka Hirahara is the queen of classical covers. Since last year she has released to different versions of the ever-famous, Ave Maria. The original version was the B-side to Shinsekai. It approaches the song with a melancholy jazz feel (she even scats). It is stunning. The Schubert version was released this past fall, and it’s much shorter and lighthearted. It bears no resemblance to the former.

TVXQ: Christmas Gift from TVXQ
I looove this mini-album. The boys did a great job at doing a capella covers of classical Christmas songs. Standouts for me were Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard on High. This stuff is very soothing and great for listening during the night.

Nightmare: Akahana no Tonakai (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer)
I know what you’re thinking.. what?! But yeah, back in the day when Naito was a tiny little indies band they created a rock version of this kids’ classic. It begins with some charming xylophone, but it turns 180 degrees as soon as the guitars start up. It’s kind of a twisted version of the song, and despite the LQ sound, I still think this is sexy as hell. Plus at the very end you get a greeting from all the members wishing you Merry Christmas (and Ni~ya sounds a bit drunk). Enjoy =]

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas wotas... this is for you

Merry Christmas wotas... this is for you

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Christmas Blowout Part I: Ballads

2009年 12月 2日

Christmas music wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have those sweeping ballads. So here I’ve compiled some of my favorite Christmas ballads. I’ve tried to pull from different genres so that there’s something for everyone. Just a note, not all of these are Christmas songs; I’ve included some songs that I associate with snow/Christmas etc. So here we have it, Aoliwa’s top 15 Christmas ballads.

15. Stay With Me- Koda Kumi
Kuu looks so pretty in this cover… and it’s perfect for winter. Be sure to check out both versions!
I love how this song opens with strings, harp and piano… all these musical elements are what make the ballad so stunning. We soon transition into a consistent ballad beat that continues for the rest of the song. The verses are pretty, with Kuu-chan alongside strings, piano, and even backup vocals. She really shines in the choruses and bridge though. The orchestration during the bridge is some of the best work I’ve seen in Kuu’s ballads. There’s so much power in the last chorus, but Kuu calms it back down when she utters the final, “stay with me.”

14. Harmony of December- KinKi Kids

This is one of my favorite winter ballads. This was actually my first KinKi Kids song, and I happened to listen to it on a whim. I’m so glad I got it though! We have a lot of traditional elements… the beginning opens up with an erhu (or some variation of it). The verses aren’t my favorite, as I’m not too much of a fan of KinKi Kids’ vocals, but the choruses are heavenly. I’d recommend this song to anyone looking for a new, ethereal, take on a Christmas ballad.

13. Yuki no Hana- Mika Nakashima
Despite Mika-chan’s poor makeup, I like this cover because it reminds me of a Northern aurora. Plus that dress is way ahead of its time =D
All you hear in the beginning is a melancholy xylophone, and you’re ready for something like Hitori. However, once the piano kicks in you get this sad, yet hopeful ballad. For a while all we have is Mika and piano… but it’s a beautiful combination because of her smooth voice. After the first two choruses we get the full affect of Mika and strings. We have the strength of a ballad paired with the delicateness of Mika’s voice… just perfect. By the end you can just imagine “snow flowers” falling from the sky.

12. Itsuka no Merry Christmas- Gackt and Ayumi Hamasaki
Yes this crappy pic is the only one I could find of the two together… and I didn’t feel like doing screen shots xD.
I was surprised when I first heard the combination of Ayu and Gackt. As a whole Gackt’s vocals are MUCH stronger than Ayu’s (still love her though ^_^). We’ve got Gackt and his intense vibrato and Ayumi’s “choppiness.” The two actually make a good pair on the B’z cover (you can also hear “Silent Night” duets from them as well). Unlike the B’z version, however, we just rely on piano to accompany the vocals. Good idea… because with such strong artists you don’t want the music to overpower them. Very delicate song… makes me think of sitting by the fire place by Kowezhi (baaaah he’ll kill me if he sees I wrote that xD).

11. Forever Love (Bell ‘n’ Snow Edit)- Tohoshinki
Anyone who’s a fan of THSK has probably heard this song. While I love the original very much, this edition is just flawless. Even if you’re not a fan of THSK, I’d recommend this song anyway because of the unique orchestration. The boys opted for a “church” feel by using church bells and an organ to accompany their seamless vocals. We also have some faint soldier-like drumming in the background throughout the song. Overall the feeling is romantic and gracious. Although this was a B-side to Together, this truly is strong enough to be a single on its own (buuuut no one likes re-cut stuff so…)

10. Winter Love- BoA
I’m a BoA fan in a loose sense of the world… definitely not die-hard or anything. I actually tend to find the majority of her vocals a little nasaly. She can, however, sing a damn good ballad. I don’t think this single got much reception when it first came out, but I instantly loved it (one of the B-sides, Candle Lights, is also nice). This is reminiscent of Kuu-chan’s Stay With Me, but about 10 times more epic. There a lot of chime-y bells, strings, and background guitar (which is what gives it so much power). BoA slows it down during the verses, but totally lets loose in the chorus. One of the strongest Japanese winter ballads IMO.

9. Konayuki- Remioromen
Taking a  diversion from Jpop land we have a classic ballad from band Remioromen. I’m not an experienced Remioromen fan, but I know enough to say that this ballad is amazing. Meaning “powder snow,” Konayuki creates the atmosphere of freshly fallen snow by using soft and progressive guitar rifts. Strings are gradually integrated into the chorus, but we never lose sight of the fact that this a rock band. You can definitely feel the “Asian-ness” of the ballad in the choruses. By this I mean that kind of subtle mix between sweet and sad… and no one creates that mix like the Japanese.

8. Bokura no Love Story- WaT
Look at that (poor quality) cover… tell me that’s not cute! I want one of those sweaters ._.
It’s a shame these boys aren’t too active anymore, because they have some of the best harmony I’ve heard in the Jpop world. Bokura no Love Story is WaT at its finest. Unlike many other Christmas ballads we actually get a little bit of brass in the beginning and during the choruses. Wentz and Koike have a great understanding of each others’ voices, and it shows in the way they can trade of verses, line-by-line. The chorus (surprise) is what makes the song shine. They don’t try to be bombastic or show off-y, they seem like they’re trying to tell a story after all (fitting eh?) Also, my favorite part of the song is the string run just into the final chorus… it’s the sex.

7. Meri Kuri- BoA
I love this cover so much… even the tulle skirt xD.
Ok… everyone knows that this is THE classic BoA ballad, and a Christmas ballad stable. Admittedly I didn’t like this song when I first heard it (I wasn’t too keen on “happy” ballads then). Now I’ve grown to appreciate what really makes this song so timeless. BoA’s vocals are actually quite nice in this song. While I still stand by the fact that BoA never really reaches full potential with her vocals during this song, she still shows a good deal of control over her voice. The electric guitar in this song works well to give this that “pop” factor. The background chorus gives this song a special “holiday” feel.

6. JEWELAyumi Hamasaki
Baaah this is one of the prettiest PV’s I have ever seen… please go check it out.
Anyway, the only reason why this song stops at no. 6 is because it’s not “technically” a winter song. This is probably my favorite Ayu song of all-time, though. Ayu stands alone with just a piano by her side. This song doesn’t have a sweeping climax like the other songs, but that’s where JEWEL gets its strength. The subtleties of the song give its finesse. It’s a very sad song, but extraordinarily beautiful. I don’t want to say to much because this song truly deserves a listen.

5. Cherish- Ai Otsuka
Like JEWEL the only reason Cherish doesn’t get a higher ranking is because it still isn’t a Christmas song. However, I remember this song was released on a tribute album for “Nana” and I discovered it back in December 2006. I don’t see how this song couldn’t be a winter one… we have these synth elements in the beginning that totally mimic winter wind. Harp is very prominent in this epic song, as is a strong drum beat. This is Ai-chin’s best song because it has some of the best orchestration I’ve ever heard in the Jpop world and Ai’s voice is very diverse. A sad song… but one of the best I own.

4. CAROLS (acoustic string ver.)- Ayumi Hamasaki
Ok I dislike this cover… sorry. I love that sky and I love Ayu on the swing… but the two images just don’t mesh well for me. The regular version of CAROLS is pretty, but this string version is just awesome. The orchestra in the background makes a good ballad great. The thing I love about Ayu’s string versions is that the orchestras always show a lot of variety (not the same string loop played over and over…) This is one of the more depressing songs here, but beautiful all the same.

3. Yume no Uta- Koda Kumi
I love these covers so much… looks like she’s getting married ._.
This song, and Unmei, are Kuu-chan’s best ballads of all time. This is around the time when Kuu started taking much more control over her music, as she wrote the lyrics to Yume no Uta and the other A-side, Futari De… Both songs revolve around the same melodic motif, but Yume no Uta, although the “sadder” of the two, is better. We open up with piano, which is present throughout the song. Drum beats, a chorus, and strings dominate the choruses. Yume no Uta also has a quartet version, which I highly recommend as well.

2. Ashita e no Sanka- alan
Baaah beautiful cover… her coat looks so warm… kinda reminds me of the wintery highlands.
Again… not technically a Christmas song, but I still think it works. For some reason this song (and the Orchestral Ver.) make me think of snow. Despite this being alan’s first single, it’s her best. Most people have heard alan by now, and if you haven’t just know that her vocals are jaw-dropping. Her Tibetan wailing dominates the choruses, giving this song an especial ethnic feel . Nothing much can be said about this song, except for “go listen now.”

1. White X’mas- KAT-TUN

Pretty cover, I love how it looks like snow is falling.

Yeah I know some people will probably bitch at me for putting a boy band first here, but honestly KAT-TUN deserves the hype with this song. It’s catchy and delicate (uses harp, strings, etc). The harmony during the chorus is so great. The lyrics are also easy to learn and understand. This song doesn’t appear outwardly “Christmas-y” but still manages to give off that kind of vibe.

Yay I’m done -_-“

Please comment… this took so much longer to do than I thought it would xD

–Aoliwa