Reviews written by Hajime Mashite
Complete Love (EP + DVD)1 people found this review helpful
July 18, 2014 Sorry but no.
They say your music is in trouble if the guest artists on your album are doing a better job than you are, and unfortunately this is what's happened on Gillian's latest effort. I love this girl to bits, but sorry to say she does sound uninspired this time around, and there are wayyy too many ballads. The photos are lovely, the packaging attractive and Gillian does a good job in the videos, so why not focus on being a model or making photobooks or even more movies for a while? Her small yet pleasant voice is very attractive given the right material, like on her first solo EP 'Move On', however, this is too weak an effort to send Gillian the Songstress to the stars. Buy if you're a fan, if not, buy a Twins album.
Ready To Go New + Best Selections (2CD + DVD)March 11, 2012 Finally!
Absolutely delighted to get my hands on a collection containing all the old hits and their MVs, but the new songs aren`t too shabby either! I am delighted to be listening to the fine voices of Kenny and Steven again and be able to confirm that none of them have lost their beautiful colour of tone. With the singing as good as ever, will the new songs match? In my opinion, they do - both Ready to Go and Sexy Body are good, catchy songs that are typically of Boy`z style - pleasing to the ear, but never boring. I am a little lost in the case of the image change, and I would have liked more footage to help me get into it, perhaps jacket cover photo shoot footage - but all in all, nothing can ruin my joy at my favourite male duo being back! More please!
2 Be Free (CD + DVD)2 people found this review helpful
March 11, 2012 Bravo!
I love artists that develop, yet stay true to what they are. Twins are such a duo, continuing to please their fans with each release by fulfilling our expectations and at the same time moving forward in a gentle, yet determined way. I think that gentle defiance and loving refusal to let go of their career is part of what has made 2 be Free such a strong release, you can feel the girls`personality behind each song, their devotion to eachother, to us and to what they are doing with the talents they have been given. Both have been through a lot in a short time and I am amazed at the fact that they continue to release quality material, but it is what I have come to expect from Twins, so I am also very happy and at ease with this album. (Review is written based on my listening to audio samples, I have not yet received my copy.)
Our Love - Sixth Anniversary (New + Best Selection) (3CD+DVD) (Version 3)(10)Our Price: US$22.99August 29, 2011 Reply to Jennifer
In my opinion, the extras are a bit lacking as there is only one booklet included and it`s small-sized. It contains photos of the girls similar to the cover shot, "wedding" photos of the girls together and seperately. Nice but nothing special and they haven`t even used particularly good paper! There is no poster. As for which box set is the best, I`d say it depends on whether you like the older songs or the newer songs best. Such a better day has all the "old" hits (but you might want to get the karaoke vcd as well, unless it`s out of print, I`m not sure.) and there are two (small) posters, one of each Twin, and a wristband. Our Love has a fabulous title track that (naturally) is not on Such...and the Grasshopper duet is fun (the video`s nice too.) but some of the other, newer songs are pretty forgettable. Personally , if I was to choose anew, I`d go for Such...but, as said, it`s a matter of choice according to whether you prefer the "old" or the "new" Twins.
Hope this helps ~ :)
Dreams 1 (ALBUM+DVD)(First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version)(1)June 8, 2011 Finally, they`re BACK
I have to say, this is the first new Morning Musume release (well, Dream Morning Musume, but - you know what I mean!) that has interested me in a long time. Fantasy! Juuichi was, quite frankly, a boring album and although most of Dream MM`s songs for Dreams 1 are old songs, they sound fresher than did the tracks on "Fantasy."
I think this freshness is due to the fact that the girls are bringing more of themselves and their lives to the recording studio and the stage. They have lived some and experienced some and can incorporate this into their singing. Also there is no screaming or oversinging, there`s a subtlety to the performances that is very pleasing to the ear. The only thing that I`m not happy with is the choice of songs, but that`s got to do with my personal taste, as I simply prefer the newest songs. The DVD contains footage from the girls`photo shoot, their time of practicing and preparing for the new release as well as interviews and talks. It is so good to see everyone again! Especially Koharu. But I love them all and I really hope that they win the NewcomerAward for this album, because it`s really good and definitely worth buying if you are a Momusu fan!
Fantasy! Juuichi (Normal Edition)(Japan Version)January 27, 2011 Laying low
This release appears as Morning Musume is losing three members (although I cannot understand Rin Rin and Jun Jun`s decicion of choosing to promote their careers in China when they were given such a great opportunity to make it big in Japan, I wish them the best in the future and hope they won`t be regretting their choices.) and waiting for new stars to shine through Hello! Projects auditions, and it shows - although the harmonies are tight and the production as flawless as always, every song seems to say that the unit is currently laying low, waiting for whatever changes the latest shuffle will result in. The songs are nice enough, but lack the sparkle and glow of previous releases. Also they pretty much sound the same to me - Ichi Kara Juu Made Aishite Hoshii, Itoshiku Kurushii Konu Yoru ni and Seichun Collection are the only tracks that stand out to me, and even these three sound pretty similar. Nice enough, but I`d rather wait for the new lineup and a new album which no doubt will convinve me that Morning Musume is still the hottest thing!
November 25, 2010 Na, na, na...
I was a bit disappointed in Fiona Fung`s last output, A Little Love and I was hoping this release to be better - unfortunately for me, they are very much the same and to me, they suffer from the same illness, which is the singer-songwriter syndrome: the best songwriters are those who pour their heart and soul into their compositions but frequently they are unsuccessful in performing their songs in a convincing manner. These are beautiful songs, but Fiona sings them (or rather, whispers and hums them) as if they are to stay inside her head instead of being on an album that is to be heard by hundreds and thousands. The fact that many of the tracks are only demo versions, makes it even worse - these songs simply do not seem ready for release yet, yet they have been around for a long time. It`s confusing and a little saddening, for although this collection mostly consists of raw materials musically, it has potential and other, more capable artists have made hits out of Fiona`s songs in the past - hits we still enjoy. Some songs here have received awards and airplay, but will we be singing them ten years from now unless there`s a Joey around to take`em on and make something out of them? I doubt it. On the whole, the album fails to convince me. Twenty tracks are way too many for one release, and when they all sound the same and contain the same themes and imagery - what about a little drama thrown in now and then, Fiona? I`m all for cute, but this is too much, even for me! - I shelf the album after a few listens. Sorry.
erformance takes place
Move On... (EP+DVD)1 people found this review helpful
November 22, 2010 Next up, an album?
First of all. Larry, really...maybe you don`t see the reason for buying albums from "singers" like Gillian Chung, but I really don`t see the reason for reading (and especially, in your case, for posting) "reviews" like yours, that don`t even mention the product in question but concentrates solely on an artist`s live performances. Sure, you have every right to an opinion. But we`re not discussing Gillian`s live dancing or singing here, we`re reviewing a studio recording. I`m sure there`s some blog somewhere more suitable for your views.
Okay, on to the point in question, namely Gillian`s second EP! I didn`t like her last output much, the songs were not very strong, they had weak melodies and thus should never have been issued back to back with old Twins hits, which on the whole are much better songs. This time, our girl has nailed it. I am very happy now, I can`t stop smiling as I listen to this, I feel Gillian is truly back with a vengeance!
Make no mistake, Charlene is the big-voiced one. But this time, Gillian has been blessed with strong material that highlights her personality and makes her voice (small and soft but always so charming) very expressive and interesting. And she puts new force into her singing, you can hear it in track # 2 especially, this is something she needs to say and wants to do, and she does it being HERSELF - not Charlene or anyone else. I feel so strongly that Gillian is on the right track now. A fear in me that she wasn`t going to return to us has been put to rest for good. B, you are spot on, I too think track # 2 alone is worth the price of this EP. And everything you said about the videos is true. I can only agree, you said it so nicely.
Buy this! Not only Twins fans or Gillian fans, but EVERYBODY who wants a great set of songs for their own enjoyment or to give to your best friend for Christmas!!! Recommended!!! 10/10!
Gillian, may you be as happy with this as I am! And please make an album for us soon!
AngelNovember 19, 2010 Candy!!!
Little Candy Hsu is so cute hearts will break! She could be everyone`s daughter or little sister or favourite doll and be loved to bits! But there`s more to Candy than cute. Her talent is already well established, as she writes her own songs, plays half a dozen instruments and has recorded two full albums before reaching her teens. But what impresses me most is the look in her eyes in videos like Ya Da Di (an absolutely addictive song - I`ve heard it a handful of times and I`m already singing it in my sleep!) - she looks so determined and strong it could shame quite a few elder and better established artists. I know child stars too often miss out on their childhood, and I hope that won`t happen to Candy, but something tells me this girl has set her sights on a faraway star. It is going to be a lot of fun and very exciting to follow her in the time to come. You go Candy! You truly are special.
Hundred Days (X Valentine Edition) (CD+DVD)1 people found this review helpful
November 16, 2010 The Sweetest Voice I`ve ever known
I normally don`t buy a lot of Mandarin music, because I don`t understand the lyrics. But when JJ Lin sings you don`t have to be a speaker of Mandarin to feel moved. He has one of the most beautiful, expressive voices in pop today. I know he will go a long way, and I can`t wait to listen to new music from him. In the meantime, this album is as good a buy as anything you will ever find. The First Few 100 Days and Back to Back Hug are songs I never ever tire of. In fact all the songs are so good, you can`t stop listening to them. I love this boy and hope he will always be in the business! You go JJ Lin! There`s noone quite like you.
November 15, 2010 You gotta get off the ground before you can fly...
When I first saw the cover of this EP, I though, "have Faye Wong issued a new album?" - so little does Noki look like herself on the cover. Visually, she is opting for a cool, sophisticated style, using lots of heavy makeup and staring icily into the distance rather than showing off her warm, soft self and pretty smile. Fair enough - Niki has been in the business for many years and probably has many sides of herself to show us. The only problem is, her new edgy style goes rather badly with the new songs, as they are, as always, pleasant, nice and edgeless. Listening to her singing Wish (which is a nice enough song, though hardly revolutionary in any way - Niki has had way better ballads in the past) while looking at the cover, you start wondering whether you`re listening to the wrong disc.
My point is Niki should stick with a style that suits her. Her vocals are sweet but limited. That doesn`t have to be problematic as long as she sticks with songs that suit her and not try to be anyone else but herself. Here she does. The entire EP is confusing - Eight Hundred Days sounds like Joey Yung, only Joey would probably never have bothered recording such a noisy, messy number. On Wish we`re back to the Niki of old, while I simply don`t know what to make of Final Countdown, that sounds neither Japanese Rn`B - styled nor anything else to me - it`s simply a bad song.
I like Niki (although you probably can`t tell from this review!) but this EP isn`t worth anyone`s time and by now, Niki should be experienced enough to come forward and show us the real her. Next time...
JYJ ( JEJUNG / YUCHUN / JUNSU ) - The Beginning (Special Edition) + Poster in Tube(128)Our Price: US$57.99List: US$75.99Save: US$18.00 (23%)October 14, 2010 Bring it on, guys
It`s a splendid release from our three members. I have listened to it online, and I hope it will be available really soon. The release date has been pushed back due to another claim from SM as well as limited availability. Please do not let the delay keep you from ordering and supporting JYJ. I am sure they will be thankful for our support in these times of trouble, and even though the content is altered, there is no way we are wasting our money, because the songs are so good! The voices of the three are amazing as well, they sound stronger, truer and more aware of what they are singing. And that doesn`t mean they didn`t know what they were singing about before, but experience enhances voices such as these and make them truly stand out. Their English is really good. I was really surprised at their fine pronounciation. And although this album doesn`t sound too much like DBSK`s albums, not even like "The...," it`s very well produced and performed and shouldn`t offend anybody who ever enjoyed any part of Jaejoong`s, Junsu`s and Yoochun`s talents. Lets hope YesAsia can stock up and ship the album to all the fans and friends of JYJ who are now waiting eagerly for an album which, quite probably, will take the guys to new heights in their already impressive careers and give them the boost of confidence they need and deserve now.
The... (MINI ALBUM+DVD / Jacket A)(Japan Version)3 people found this review helpful
October 9, 2010 They did it!
At long last I`ve listened to this, and it`s brilliant. No complaints. There`s a mixture of fast and slow songs, all very well sung, with passion and strength. The voices of our three members have become stronger and more expressive. The melodies and the lyrics are very good too. You can hear how hard they have worked on this release. Nothing has been left to chance. There is perfection in every note and every word. Not that it gets boring because of it. As I said, you can hear and feel the passion, the love the guys have for their calling.
Now JYJ have had to put together two releases and one DVD in very short time because they would run the risk of drowning in trouble, bad press and the ridicule of anti-fans unless they moved very quickly and managed to turn what just might have been the hardest time of their lives into what would sound like the best time of their lives. A back-breaking task if there ever was one.
And they did it. What more can I say. Let the music speak. Let the boys sing, it`s what they do best.
Always. This is not the end of TVXQ, it`s JYJ`s road back to music and to life. Listen to this mini-album and to their new album when it comes, and be happy.
Proud of you JYJ!
Always keep the faith!
Honey Jet! (First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version)(1)1 people found this review helpful
October 9, 2010 At long last, I love it
Who doesn`t love Yui Horie? Well, I`ll admit I didn`t at first, having heard her as Tohru in the Fruits Basket anime. Her voice, though clear and strong, is unusually high-pitched and, for me, took a long time getting used to. This album, her latest, is typical of her style, and at first listen I didn`t find it particularly interesting or appealing. But after a while I found that the melodies of the various songs stuck in my head and demanded to be heard again, and I began missing her voice whenever I didn`t hear it. It happened because Yui is brilliant, but also because this is a brilliant album. If you`re not sure about what Yui Horie release to buy you should try this one. All the tracks are magical, but track 2, the title track, and track 12 are especcially precious. I was wrong and I`m happy I was! Now I am a convinced and dedicated Yui fan and I am looking ever so much forward to receiving this limited edition album along with not one, but two photobooks. I am sure it`ll be worth every penny spent.
Single V - Onegai dakara... (Japan Version)September 23, 2010 Don`t grow up so fast!
When I saw the cover photo of the single Onegai Dakara...I was slightly worried that Erina was going to go for sexy this time around as opposed to fresh and cute, not that there`s anything wrong with that - but there was nothing wrong with her old image either! My fears, I have found, were justified. I`m not a prude, but when they cover this beautiful young girl`s face with so much make-up that her features are barely recognizable and make her act sultry and seductive instead of sweet and cool, I get upset. Erina is 19 and really pretty and there`s no doubt she has a huge male following who adores her (and with good reason too) but don`t make her into a pinup just to sell singles and albums! She is about the only active soloist H!P has left now and I don`t want her ruined. Okay, so much for that, what possibly worries me even more is that this isn`t even a very good song. It`s suposed to be a dance track, but if you don`t have a proper melody it`s no use turning up the beat, thinking you got a hit on your hands. And instead of singing in her simple, clear voice which is endlessly charming in spite of its (age - based) limitations, Erina whispers in a manner which is probably meant to be seductive but which makes the number even less interesting. No melody and no voice - an unfulfilled possibility. Sad! I love all of Erina`s other songs and PVs but I won`t be buying this, and I wouldn`t recommend it to others either.
Boku no Miteiru Fukei (Normal Edition)(Japan Version)(1)September 20, 2010 A MONSTER hit album
They`re back! and I`m sorry for sounding as if I just found out, but Arashi releases are non-existent in my part of the world, so I just got this, also I just got to hear the best-selling singles that have been so popular for so long. Actually I haven`t slept much lately, for Monster has been on constant repeat, day and night...what a fantastic song! It`s enormously innovative and such a thrill to listen to. Every thime you think you know where the song is about to venture, it takes a turn and does something entirely different. I can`t get enough of it. Best of all, the song represent the double album, for it is so, so, so good, I love every song and the boys perform out of this world. The harmonies are so tight, it sounds like one man singing! All the songs are good, but my favourite beside Monster, if I have to pick one (it`s so hard), well, it has to be My Girl. It`s a full-bodied ballad that pushes all the right button and I can just see before me how the fans are going to sing along with this one in concerts. Oh, yeah, concert! Please! And SOON! And...on DVD, please...for unfortunate souls like me, far from Arashi`s magic!
Osavrio -Ai wa Mattekurenai (Japan Version)September 18, 2010 Momusu`s Angel Voice
This isn`t like Morning Musume at all, but it`s wonderful. Iida Kaori`s voice is like an angel`s. She is so beautiful too, a real lady. Except for Kohachan, she was always my favourite Momusu girl. I always look out for her in the old PVs. But in this album she comes into her own. Delicate, classy and timeless. Also it`s very brave of her to cover songs from an entirely different culture. It`s probably hard, but she make it sound so easy. I could listen to this album all day. A treat. I hope she will record more in the future, and that her life will be filled with wonderful music...
2007 (Normal Edition)(Japan Version)September 14, 2010 A Joyful Noise, but where are the Hits?
There are no bad SOPHIA albums, therefore 2007 is a good buy, but it`s not my favourite release by the great band, therefore no ten this time around. It`s a noisy affair never lacking in musical energy but sometimes in melody; the Big Hit of this album is missing and it hasn`t been played as much by me as has other SOPHIA releases; it`s good but not overwhelmingly great. Buy it to fill a hole in your collection, otherwise, buy last year`s Band Age instead, it represents SOPHIA in a much more pleasing and lasting way.
10th ANNIVERSARY TOUR 2005 a piece of blue sky - Harukanaru Takarajima (Japan Version)(1)Our Price: US$55.49September 6, 2010 Not what I expected
There are dozens of fantastic live clips of Sophia online, but few live DVDs to buy and own, at least from online stores. Wanting one, I had little choice but to go for this one, although the product description seemed strangely lacking and noone seemed to be able to recommend it. The price was really high compared to other live DVDs, but, hey, it`s Sophia and I thought it would be worth it. Having received and watched this DVD I`m not so sure anymore that it was. Well, I`ll be fair. The band is fantastic; the energy, musicality and bravery they exhibit on stage is overwhelming. Mitsuru-san is fantastic. On top form vocally as well as visually, he enriches every song, every costume change, every moment of this concert with his vision and integrity.
That said, this isn`t as much a concert as it is a theatrical performance. And it`s a theatrical performance that`s frequently lost on me as I don`t speak Japanese and have no way of knowing what`s going on except for what I see with my own eyes. When a lot of the act consists of words being typed in Japanese on a computer screen and enlarged for us to read, I`m just lost. Another thing is that this set contains special songs and none of Sophia`s hits. It may be irrellevant to this show, but man, I wanted to hear Machi live so bad!!! There are no regular hits except Oh My Friend on disc 2 - and whatever IS the point of including an extra disc that contains ONE song? Oh My Friend could easily have been put on disc 1 and disc 2 could have been omitted, or there could have been some real extras. If anyone knows where I can buy a concert DVD with Sophia that contains their actual songs, I`m forever grateful for replies. Sour grapes aside, the concert, though not what I expected, is well performed, the DVD box is lovely, the photobook`s lovely and Mitsuru-san`s lovely. But boys, more hits by the time of your next big anniversary, please!
Love & Peace = Paradise (Jacket A)(SINGLE+DVD)(First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version)
Love & Peace = Paradise (Jacket A)(SINGLE+DVD)(First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version) DVD Region 2(1)Our Price: US$19.75September 3, 2010 ...but the real star`s the kitty...!
I had put off Erina Mano for a while, as I felt that she needed more time to grow into her voice and also into her role as a H!P star. I heard this song in passing and thought it catchy, but I didn`t realize how good it was, and, not the least, how good Erina was, until I got the single. And again it strikes me what a genius Tsunku is, to be able, time and again, to produce these genial pop songs where the hooks not only just keep coming, but are arranged in such a manner that the impact of the song changes something in the way in which we perceive music. And the pairing of Erina with Hello Kitty is sheer genious! Well, I`m the world`s biggest Hello Kitty fan, but still, it`s such fun and you can hear that Erina`s having fun, too. She sounds relaxed and cute. If this is the direction in which Erina Mano`s career`s going, I`ll follow without a doubt. She still doesn`t have the vocal power of former H!P stars, but ten outta ten for trying.