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Gundam 00 music March 15, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Music.
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gundam-00

Gundam 00 has been exciting, if a little disappointing with its constant deux ex machina plot twists. What I’ve really enjoyed though is the music accompanying it. The OP and ED themes have been outstanding, so I thought I’d write a little to showcase another successful Gundam/JPop collaboration. Videos after the jump. (more…)

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Tommy February6 / Tommy Heavenly6: Soda Pop Daydream vs. Gothic Nightmare March 8, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Music.
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Last week I received a huge parcel from YesAsia: my Tommy boxsets!

Strawberry Cream Soda Pop and Gothic Melting Ice Cream. ドちらがいい?

Strawberry Cream Soda Pop and Gothic Melting Ice Cream. ドちらがいい?

I’ve been a huge fan of Tommy ever since Lonely in Gorgeous was used as the OP for the Paradise Kiss anime. Around the same time I fell for a song called Sayonara Summer is Over by a band called the Brilliant Green. Little did I know Tomoko Kawase was the voice behind both.

Here’s Lonely in Gorgeous.

So, Tommy just released two best of albums, one for the disco-pop Tommy February6 and one for the goth-rock-pop Tommy Heavenly6 (though surprisingly not on 6 February, Tomoko’s birthday). Both boast a hell of an album title: Strawberry Cream’s Soda Pop Daydream and Gothic Melting Ice Cream’s Darkness Nightmare.

Being a sucker for Japanese merchandise gimmicks, I ordered the deluxe boxset blu-spec CD and DVD versions of both.

The box sets are a mirror image of each other: one goth and one pop depending on your taste (I love both, but definitely swing more toward pop Tommy ^^). The goodies include: the best of album featuring a couple of new bonus tracks (like Unlimited Sky, the recent Gundam 00 insert song), the DVD with all the singles’ music videos, a set of clear plastic sleeves with the single covers printed on them, a school-themed photobook, a sheet of stickers and the standard booklet of lyrics and credits. Best of all is a lovely ring binder with a metal embossed plate, in keeping with the whole high-school student theme. And there’s a big box to put everything in.

God knows what I’m actually going to do with all this stuff (keep it in the box on a shelf NRFB no doubt ^^;) but it’s nice to have and a must for any Tomoko Kawase fan.

The albums themselves are great. As a best of, it’s obviously all been heard before but it’s great to hear all the singles in a big long playlist (even the full ten minute Hallowe’en weirdo version of Lollipop Candy Bad Girl).

Gallery after the jump.

(more…)

Ayaka January 12, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Music.
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Sing to the Sky cover

Sing to the Sky cover

Over the last year or so, I’ve been listening on and off to Ayaka, a Japanese songstress, for want of a better word. But it wasn’t until last year, with the release of her second album, Sing to the Sky, that I’ve really become a fan.

I first came across her in 2006 when Omni over at Random Curiosity took time out from anime blogging to highlight one of her PVs. Her first album, First Message, soon followed. She has a really clear voice and a superb range of vocals, which are of course demonstrated in a range of ballads. But whilst those are nice, she also has more upbeat clap-along type songs.

I used to listen to Ayaka on and off, but have really rediscovered Sing to the Sky after starting the Zettai Kareshi drama (more on that when I finish the series). The ending theme is Ayaka’s ‘お帰り’ and it’s a really sweet song, though it opens a little oddly with what sounds like bagpipes (!). The song is about returning home (hence the title) to the warmth of someone who loves you. Yes, it’s as wholesome as it sounds and I love it ^^.

http://www.mediafire.com/?fdziuzfzmh3

Yes, I’ve finally figured out how to embed tracks into a post.

Anyway, the rest of the album is similarly good. The first two tracks, ‘Power of Music’ and ‘愛を歌おう’ always lift my spirits and are on my early morning playlist. ‘今夜も星に抱かれて’ is a sweet, relaxing tune a little like お帰りbut more subtle. ‘Why’ is also a great, positive tune, though an odd choice to accompany the PSP game Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core if you ask me.

I’ve pretty much been listening to Sing to the Sky on repeat these past couple of weeks. Its great rediscovering albums after a while. If you get a chance, do give some of Ayaka’s songs a listen.

Rie Fu – Romantic November 24, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Music, Video.
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4 comments
Romantic cover

Romantic cover

Along with the new Yui album, I also ordered the first press of Rie Fu’s new single.

Romantic is totally unlike her other songs, with Rie’s vocals mixed with synthetic beats and no clear beginning, middle and end. It’s essentially quite a modern track and a step away from the acoustic ballads she’s known for, though apparently it’s a cover. Here’s the video:

It’s a perfectly amicable song, very dreamy, and does grow on you after a few listens. But it’s not really  outstanding and I certainly don’t love it as much as her last single, Home, which was typically catchy, though so wholesome you could have made brown bread out of it.

The B-sides on Romantic though, are typically good. In fact, I totally love the second track, In the airplane, which mixes Rie’s upbeat vocals with some modern harpsichord (I think) for a really catchy, sunshine of a song. I want to upload it here for you to listen to, but haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet ^^; (need to ID a place to host audio files). UPDATE 22/2/09: Here’s the song. Enjoy!


Yui – My short stories November 20, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Music.
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My Short Stories cover

My Short Stories cover

I got Yui’s new B-sides album through the post last weekend and have been listening to it to death ever since. According to the Listen The World blog, it’s hit the top of the charts and sold over 174,000 copies in the first week! O.o

If I’m honest, it’s not as strong an album overall as Can’t Buy My Love. But like I Loved Yesterday, I feel it’s got some really outstanding tracks that make up for the so-so ones. ‘HELP’ is absolutely outstanding, even if it is quite old now (this is a B-sides collection after all) and I’d forgotten how much I love ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Winter Hot Music’. ‘Why Me’, apparently the first song Yui wrote, is also very pretty.

I’d made sure to pre-order this so I got the limited edition first press, which came with a bonus DVD featuring videos and a 45minute live. It was totally worth it as the live is great, even though Yui pulls some strange faces when she is singing sometimes ^_^; She really puts all her strength into her singing. Best of all, the live is punctuated by several random inserts of Yui playing impromptu acoustic street gigs in random covered shopping streets around Japan. These are really fun to watch. I wish I could have been at one…

Also, if it doesn’t sound too strange, I really like the paper the CD booklet is printed on. Nice and glossy.

This is HELP.

Oh Baby Baby Oh Baby Baby
夢見てるのよ 小さな頃から
Baby Baby 憧れだけが強くなる
Oh Yeah! チャンスをください
I believe my god oh oh oh!
I believe myself oh oh oh!
Yeah! 神様 HELP!

Pre-Parade (Toradora! OP) November 3, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Music, Video.
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This week’s song-I-can’t-get-out-of-my-head is Pre-Parade, the OP theme of the new anime Toradora!,

The song is sung by the three main female seiyuu’s, Kitamura Eri, Horie Yui and Kugimiya Rie. It’s a good fun, catchy number, not to sweet and fluffy but capturing that crazy but sweet anisong dance vibe that makes stuff like Bouken Desho Desho so popular.

I really like the lyrics, which are pretty much about the main character Aisaka Taiga, constantly gearing herself up to confess her true feelings,  saying the wrong thing and subsequently beating herself up about it. I also like the (mild, but typically Japanese) use of an English word and its Japanese pronounciation to mean two different things — in this case the ‘Pre-Parade’ and the ‘Preparation’ (or ‘pre-pare’ if you were to shorten it in Japanese) of confessing and (hopefully) getting a good response.

Anyway, it’s ridiculously catchy and I’ve had the chorus cropping into my head at many inappropriate moments (usually in meetings). The anime is pretty fun too and growing on me week on week ^_^

English translation after the jump, taken from Words of Songs. The kanji and romanji lyrics can be found there. (more…)