ayaka x Kobukuro – Anata to

Release Date: September 24, 2008

Tracklist:

1. Anata to
2. Anata to (Instrumental ver.)

Oh-my-god, yay! Another ayaka and Kobukuro collaboration. I heard this single was released due to fan (and I guess popular) demand. Well, whatever the reason was, I’m happy they’re singing together again. Their vocals just mix and harmonize so nicely together.

Unlike the previous collaboration WINDING ROAD, which was a soulful harmonic, almost choirlike song, Anata to is a mid-tempo ballad with a darker tone to it. The piano introduction is so pretty, in my opnion. I love how it is more like a duet than just harmoization (like the last one). The melody in this song is quite beautiful, especially in the climax of the chorus. It still has the vibe of the previous collaboration, but with its own shine too.

Overall Rating:
5/5

ayaka x Kobukuro – WINDING ROAD

Release Date: February 28, 2007

Tracklist:

1. WINDING ROAD
2. WINDING ROAD (Instrumental)

I love how Kobukuro and ayaka harmonize so nicely in WINDING ROAD. The a Capella section at the beginning is nicely done too; it leaves a lasting impression. The range that both ayaka and Kobukuro have are amazing, and their voices compliment each other so nicely. In terms of melody, it is definately unique.

Overall Rating:
5/5

First real day of school…

ayaka – First Message

Release Date: November 1, 2006

Tracklist:

1. Start to 0 (Love)
2. Real voice
3. Sha la la
4. Blue Days
5. I believe
6. Stay with me
7. melody
8. Kimi no Power to Otona no Furi
9. Eien no Monogatari
10. Toki wo Modoshite
11. 1.2.3.4
12. Story
13. Rairarai
14. Mikazuki
15. message

First Message starts off with a cheery start! Start to 0 (Love) is an upbeat, pop-like song that has an infectious beat. ayaka’s voice stands strong as she goes from the verse into the chorus. She utilizes her more mature side of her voice in this not-so mature song, which is quite interesting. The harmonies in the background add a nice effect on the overall feeling of the chorus, giving it a grand, yet humble feeling. A nice start to her debut album.

The next track, ayaka’s single, Real voice, continues this upbeat, rockish genre that Start to 0 (Love) had started. This song still hasn’t grown on me, but maybe that’s because I’m not much of a happy, upbeat person in the first place.

The piano has a nice, groovy entrance in Sha la la, before ayaka starts singing the blues sounding melody. This song really showcases ayaka’s incredible range; it jumps from the lower register to the upper register in a matter of beats. What disappoints me in this song is the lack of energy, or emotion in ayaka’s voice. The overall melody is unique and interesting though.

Blue Days is starting to grow on me, but I wish ayaka’s voice would have more power behind it in this song. She does have emotion in some parts of the song though. With Blue Days, the album takes a turn to the calmer side of ayaka’s music. The melody of this song, especially in the chorus is gorgeous (for a lack of a better word).

Following Blue Days is ayaka’s debut single, and one of my favourites from her: I believe. This song continues Blue Days’ feel of a mellower and calmer side of both ayaka’s voice and music. I’ve always loved this song…it must be because of the rich melody it has.

After two singles, we finally head back into an album-exclusive song, Stay with me. This song takes us back to the jazzy, upbeat side of ayaka. The melody resembles a mixture of soul and jazz music, which is an interesting combination that she has managed to put together. It ventures through both high and low registers, making this a rather hard song for someone with a small range (*cough* me *cough). ayaka seems to have regained her energy in her voice, as this song is quite energetic. Too bad the sound management people seems to have turned down the volume on her voice.

After one non-single track, we go back to another single, melody. This song has started to grow on me, because of its addictive melody. I still don’t like the part where she sings ‘melody’ over and over again though.

Kimi no Power to Otona no Furi is a happy, upbeat rock song with pounding beats and an excellent guitar. This song has a jazzy piano playing in the background, behind the really, really loud drum set. The melody of this song is quite catchy, though it doesn’t suit my taste too much. My favourite part has to be the guitar solo, before ayaka slips into a calm like interlude (which is quite pretty too).

A soft guitar introduction starts off Eien no Monogatari, a soft ballad type song. I really like the harmonies at the beginning; it’s like ayaka has her own choir or something. Her range is also put into test as she launches into a really high note in the beginning of the song. Well, this is a lot different from her previous song. Overall, this song gives off a calm vibe. Too bad it’s only a little over 2 minutes.

Toki wo Modoshite is still rock typed (like most of her tracks on this album), but with a slightly darker tone. The melody is also more mellow, but the upbeat part of it is still there. ayaka uses the girlier part of her voice in the verses, but immediately switches to her mature voice when she hits the chorus. This song presents us the soft rock side of ayaka, which she brilliantly does.

More rock! 1.2.3.4 brings us yet another rock song. ayaka’s Engrish a pet peeve of mine, and she slightly irriateted me by using it in this song. The chorus has a catchy melody though, so I guess that makes up for it. Actually, the entire song is quite catchy! Other than that, this song brings nothing different than what her previous tracks have already shown us.

Story sounds a bit more kiddy, or maybe it’s just the effect of the background music. This song is still rock based, but it has a softer and calmer feel to it. ayaka’s voice is also more concentrated and less wild, compared to the above tracks. The lyrics of this song also move faster than the other so

ngs we’ve heard from ayaka.

I don’t know why, but I really don’t like Rairarai. This song is a more pop typed song, in contrast to ayaka’s other songs. The melody is very typical, with little or no jumps at all, and the accompanimen

t is a guitar and a drum set. ayaka’s voice is a bit stronger though, the saving point of this song.

After a not-so-great track, ayaka comes back with Mikazuki, one of my favourite songs from her. This song is also a transition from the rock songs that ayaka always loves to write, to the calmer, ballad type songs that are quite emotional at times.

message, the last track of this song, is an interlude. It features ayaka singing a cappella (a nice added bonus).

Overall Rating:
3.5/5

ayaka – Mikazuki

Release Date: September 27, 2006

Tracklist:

1. Mikazuki
2. Kimi no Kiss de…
3. Yume no Kakera -Live Version-
4. Mikazuki (Instrumental)

Mikazuki begins with a light piano accompaniment with some soft strings in the background. The melody in this song is beautiful, especially when ayaka jumps an octave (very hard to do, and she does it flawlessly!) in the chorus. This song has a consistent calming feeling to it, and ayaka’s voice shows quite a bit of emotion. She does miss some notes in the interlude section before the final chorus though.

A strong beat starts off the next track Kimi no Kiss de…, and it gives off a Middle Eastern feeling in the beginning. My favourite part is when ayaka reaches into her lower register; it is rather rich and thick. This song has an edgy feeling to it, and the beat that runs throughout the song is infectious.

Yume no Kakera -Live Version- is quite a solid live performance; she has a strong stage voice too. The live version has a certain charm to it which the studio recording lacked.

Overall Rating:
4/5

ayaka – Real voice

Release Date: July 19, 2006

Tracklist:

1. Real voice
2. Peace loving people
3. Real voice (instrumental)

Real voice begins with a ayaka’s voice (heavily fillered), before the instrumentals come in. The melody in the verse at the beginning is rather weird, in my opnion. Once again, ayaka amazes me with her versatile range, though the song in general is rather dull.

ayaka’s English isn’t that bad in Peace loving people, for a person who wasn’t raised in the West. Anyway, this song has an interesting name, and it takes the form of a slow ballad. The main instrument featured in the verse is the guitar (not acoustic, though). But like her A-side, this song is…well, boring. Even the bridge section before the final run of the chorus sounds like the previous track.

Overall Rating:
2.5/5

A major letdown from ayaka. *sigh*

ayaka – melody ~SOUNDS REAL~

Release Date: May 10, 2006

Tracklist:

1. melody
2. Blue Days
3. melody -Live Version-
4. Sha・la・la -Live Version-
5. Blue Days -Live Version-

melody has a pretty melody, with some edge in ayaka’s voice that I haven’t heard of in her previous single. This song has a more rockish side to it than her older songs, and she sings embraces this genre quite nicely. ayaka’s vocals have so much passion in this song, especially in the chorus. My favourite part has to be the guitar solo before the chorus comes back for the final time.

The B-side, Blue Days, has a calm guitar introduction. In contrast to melody, this song is more of a ballad; calm and sorrowful. ayaka’s vocals are beautiful here, especially when she does those glissandos in the chorus. Blue Days have a soothing feel to it, and it’s a very pretty song, to say the least.

Overall Rating:
5/5

ayaka – I believe

Release Date: Febuary 1, 2006

250px-ayaka_believe.jpg

Tracklist:

1. I believe
2. Yume no Kakera

3. I believe (Instrumental)

    I fell in love with ayaka’s music through I believe that I accidentally stumbled upon. I believe has a soothing feel to it, and the strings used as background music was excellent. This song’s lyrics are about losing trust, and then believing in yourself again. ayaka’s vocals in here were awesome, especially when she emphasizes some parts with layered vocals. Her voice, unlike most Japanese female artists, is deep and slightly nasally, which, for me, indicates that she can actually sing.

    The B-side, Yume no Kakera, is a guitar ballad. I personally love the beginning, before the vocals come in. This song has an inspirational feeling to it, and the melody is quite nice (soothing). The chorus is the best part, in my opinion. I love how it goes up in that format. Too bad the accompaniment loves covering ayaka’s voice, which is pretty good in this song.

    Overall Rating:
    4.5/5