Utada Hikaru – Boku wa Kuma

Release Date: November 26, 2006

boku_wa_kumaTracklist:

1. Boku wa Kuma
2. Boku wa Kuma (Original Karaoke)

Wow, a children’s song being released as a single? Well, that’s a first.

Boku wa Kuma starts off with nice keyboard introduction, and the ostinato it establishes in the beginning continues on into the piece. The lyrics itself are pretty simple, and repetitive; well, it is a children’s song. I personally find this song a bit cute, but rather bland… I don’t think I have the right to review this, when I think about it, since I’m not within its target audience. Nonetheless, Boku wa Kuma is just a simple, and rather cute song that was inspired by Kuma-chan :D.

Overall Rating:
3/5

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Exams

I’m going to put KumaKorner on hold, until my exams are over. It’ll probably be the end of January or the beginning of February before I post again.

Faye Wong – Eyes on Me

Release Date: February 24, 1999

eye-on-me-coverTracklist:

1. Eyes on Me
2. Read Bean
3. Eyes on Me (Instrumental)

Eyes on Me is such a beautiful, yet sorrowful song, despite the Engrish going around. I’ve always liked stuff that Nobuo Uematsu has composed, and he has done it once again. This song has a stunning, yet simple melody accompanied by your typical pop instrumentals, but not without his trademark strings that make this song beautiful. Faye Wong’s voice really makes this song sound innocent. They aren’t the best I’ve heard, but it’s close to perfect for this song. A truely moving song. (Just in case you didn’t know, Eyes on Me was the vocal theme song for Final Fantasy VIII.)

The next song, Read Bean, is sung in Mandarin (I don’t know why everyone insists it’s in Cantonese…). It’s a really nice song, but her voice sounds way too muffled in here. The instrumentals pratically drown out her voice, which makes it hard to understand the song (and my Mandarin is horrible enough to begin with). Well, the song itself is quite nice, even though it’s a typical C-pop ballad, but is overshadowed by the A-side.

Overall Rating:
4.5/5

Takasugi Satomi & Tatuya Ishii – Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On

Release Date: April 16, 2008

coverTracklist:

1. Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On 
2. Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On (Duet with TATUYA ISHII version)
3. Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On (Duet with SATOMI TAKASUGI version)
4. Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On (Instrumental)
5. Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On (Image Film version)

All it takes is one note to realize Mahou no Kagi ~The Dream Goes On is from Disney. The melody is simple and pure, but nice on the ears and interesting at the same time. It’s very catchy, but original at the same time. Tatuya’s voice is absolute love (so rich and…awesome :D, with a wonderful vibrato <3), and Takasugi’s voice nicely compliments his own. Of course, this would not be a Disney song without the sweaping chorus lines and wonderful harmonies. How can I explain this…this song sounds so innocent and hopeful at the same time. It brings back good memories from people’s childhood, when we all watched the Disney classics as a kid.

The next two tracks are basically for karaoke, where you get to sing with each singer (Tatuya and then Takasugi respectfully). Lastly, the Image Film version is just a shorter, compressed form of the original.

Overall Rating:
5/5

Utada – Come Back To Me (unofficial)

utadayv5

Well, finally!

Utada finally comes back into the US music stream with her new song, “Come Back To Me”. I’m not sure it’s a single though, because it’s uncomfirmed. It can be heard on her US promo page though. The album will be out on March 4, 2009 in Japan, and March 24, 2009 in the US (credit to U.Blog).

Come Back To Me sounds very, very American. When I first heard it, I thought it wasn’t Hikki, until I recognized her voice. The piano introduction is nice though; it reminds me of Chopin’s Etudes. Though it’s a typical breakup song (R&B ballad), it seems that she’s gotten smarter, and started incorporating more American styles into her music. It sounds a lot like stuff from her First Love album, actually.

You know what I’m getting in March now. ^^

Kiyoura Natsumi – Tabi no Tochuu

Release Date: Feburary 6, 2008

01Tracklist:

1. Tabi no Tochuu
2. Yakusoku no Uta
3. Tabi no Tochuu without NATSUMI
4. Yakusoku no Uta without NATSUMI

Tabi no Tochuu is such a pretty song (and very fitting to be the ED for the anime Spice and Wolf). This song creates a mystifying, powerful, yet sad mood that fulling envelopes Spice and Wolf. The melody is simple, but the background music creates the intensity the song needs. An epic chorus is just what this song needs, and it has it. The melody of the ending chorus is full of sweeping melodies and ends the song off with a bang. It’s just such a beautiful song, but I wish Kiyoura had more powerful vocals to match up to this song. Her volume in this song is greatly lacking. And I swear there’s a male backup singer in the chorus…

Like the song before it, Yakusoku no Uta is such an interesting song. The melody is edgier in this song, but it’s still catchy and memorable (in a good way) like Tabi no Tochuu. Actually, the melody in this song is more interesting than in the previous song. My favourite part has to be the chorus; it’s just so stunningly beautiful. I will worship the composer of this song from now on…(joking) I still feel that Kiyoura is holding back on her voice though, and it slightly ruins the impact of this song.

Overall Rating:
4/5

If Kiyoura had a better voice, I would have made it a 5…

Utada Hikaru – Ultra Blue

Release Date: June 14, 2006
597px-utada_ultra.jpg
Tracklist:

1. This Is Love
2. Keep Tryin’
3. BLUE
4. Nichiyou no Asa
5. Making Love
6. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
7. COLORS
8. One Night Magic feat. Yamada Masashi
9. Kairo
10. WINGS
11. Be My Last
12. Eclipse (Interlude)
13. Passion

This is Love is a great song for an opening song to Ultra Blue. This is Love has a happy melody, and an upbeat tempo to it. Utada’s voice has added layers in certain parts to add emphasis. It talks about all the things that make up love, even the harsher parts of it. I think it really summarizes love quite well. I personally don’t LOVE this song, but it is listenable. Maybe I’ll get hooked on it in the near future.

Next up is Keep Tryin’, her last single before this album. Like the song before it, this song is another one of Utada’s synth-like pieces. It makes the album flow quite nicely, actually.

According to Utada in an interview, BLUE is supposedly the centre to this entire album. This song has a soothing tune to it, and the synth in the background help too. The layers of her voice help bring out some important parts of the song. The lyrics are rather depressing though. They talk about a person being ‘blue’, and telling the person they once loved about it. It’s a metaphoric song, and quite nice, in my opinion.

I love the instrumental at the beginning of Nichiyou no Asa, though it thins out as Utada’s voice is the main thing in this song. There’s also a lot of layers of voice in this song (maybe it’s a trend in Ultra Blue..?). The lyrics are talking about being carefree on a Sunday morning, with no worries at all. Then, on Monday morning, the speaker doesn’t want to got to work because they are missing ‘that person’ and still love them. They just want to spend that Sunday morning with them. Nichiyou no Asa is a beautiful song.

At first glance, the title, Making Love, surprised me; but then again, Utada did write The Workout (from Exodus). Making Love has this interesting part half way through, which is like a mix of fast-speaking with an actual pitch to it. I can’t really describe it, but it’s quite intriguing. It has a strong percussion feel to it, and seems happy and upbeat.

After so much synth, Dareka no negai ga kanau koro brings us back into acoutics, with an acoustic piano ballad. It is followed by another single, COLORS, which takes us back into the synth-like material Utada uses in the majority of Ultra Blue.

Wow, finally. One Night Magic is a Japanese, Utada song that actually features someone. Utada’s and Yamada’s voices nicely compliment each other, especially the harmonies. I personally didn’t find this song anything special, but maybe it’s because I have no idea what they’re singing about. The melody is quite interesting, especially in the chorus. I love how their voices overlap each other.

To be truthful, when I first saw the title, Kairo, I thought of the Egyptian city of Cairo. Now I know it actually means sea route. The beginning reminds me of a beginning of a symphony for some reason. This song is another relaxing song, but too bad it’s a bit on the short side. The lyrics really really look like a poem to me. I guess the mysterious atmosphere of the song add to it.

A nice piano intro begins WINGS, followed by Utada’s vocals. To me, this was nothing special; it’s just another song to me. I wouldn’t listen to it by itself, but if it was as an album, I would give this song a chance. Ah well, it’s just my opinion.

After two album-exclusive tracks, we go back into a single with Be My Last. It’s nice to have an acoustic guitar ballad after so much of Utada’s new synth material, but we go right back into that with Eclipse (Interlude). To me, this interlude sounds a bit techo. Nonetheless, Ultra Blue ends off with a good note; Passion. It’s one of my all-time favourite Utada songs.

Overall Rating:
4.5/5