Yay for new album =)

I have Utada’s new English album in my iPod right now, but I’m going to wait until I get my physical CD before I actually review it here. Which would probably be after May 12, since that’s when it’s coming out. I love This One (Crying Like a Child) though!

Utada – Come Back To Me (unofficial)

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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. ^^

Carpenters – I Won’t Last a Day Without You

Release Date: March 25, 1974

i_wont_last_a_day_without_youTracklist:

A-side: I Won’t Last a Day Without You
B-side: One Love

Yay! I Won’t Last a Day Without You is the first Carpenter song I have listened to, and I instantly fell in love with it. As usual, Richard takes such awesome care with the instrumentals, and they suit Karen’s voice perfectly. Her voice is absolute win! The lyrics are simple and sweet, but listenable at the same time. Can’t forget about the melody too; it’s nice and low, which brings out the richness of her lower register (she can make the higher notes seem so easy to reach too). Such a soothing song to listen too.

Richard Carpenter is truly GOD because of his amazing instrumentals. One Love has a beautiful and calming opening before Karen’s voice comes in with a slight vibrato. The harmonies throughout the song add the Carpenter touch on the piece, and complement her voice completely. Makes the entire song seem even more pretty than it already is. The lyrics are so innocent, and her voice adds that extra touch onto the song, making it seem so pure, yet mature at the same time.

Overall Rating:
5/5

Celine Dion – These Are Special Times

Release Date: October 30, 1998 (1998-10-30)

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Tracklist:

  1. O Holy Night
  2. Don’t Save It All for Christmas Day
  3. Blue Christmas
  4. Another Year Has Gone By
  5. The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone)
  6. Ave Maria
  7. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
  8. The Christmas Song
  9. The Prayer (with Andrea Bocelli)
  10. Brahms’ Lullaby
  11. Christmas Eve
  12. These Are the Special Times
  13. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  14. I’m Your Angel (with R. Kelly)
  15. Feliz Navidad
  16. Les cloches du hameau

Dion starts off the album with a Christmas classic: O Holy Night. She sings it with a Christmas feel and brings the warmth of the season with her soprano voice. O Holy Night is a very classical piece, so Dion uses her vibrato to maximize the beauty of this piece.

Next is an original Christmas piece, co-written by Dion herself: Don’t Save It All for Christmas Day. As usual, this is a power ballad, and gives off a very pop feeling in contrast to the previous traditional song. The lyrics are simple and sweet, and the melody is lower than Dion’s usual songs, bringing out her lower register. It creates a rich feeling very suitable for the holiday season.

We go back into a classic with Blue Christmas. Although not as great as the cover done by Elvis Presley, Dion’s version has its own charm. Her voice is slurred, with the soft rock isntrumentals underneath her. It’s a song that would put you to sleep (in a good way), but I wished she would pronounce the words a bit clearly, even though she’s trying to sing in that sleepy Christmas style.

Ah, here comes one of my favourites from this album: Another Year Has Gone By. This song is another ballad, but more upbeat than the previous song. This song is also a bit more happy, with the lyrics saying how the person and their lover has gone through so much in a year, and still are together. The catchiest part of this song is the melody in the chorus when Dion sings: “Another year has gone by”, but the entire song has some interesting melodies too. It creates a really pretty and carefree feeling.

We go into another happy Christmas piece with The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone), abit more sacred (as in church, not precious xD). It’s more like the usual Christmas song too, with the Christmas scene described in the verses and the chorus saying “God bless”. In short, it has a catchy chorus, but nothing special other than that.

Ave Maria is a lesser known classic to the younger generation, since it is in Latin! Although I’ve heard many versions of this song, I think that only a soprano can do this song justice (when sung solo). It’s a very pretty song, but sometimes I wish I knew what the lyrics are. Otherwise, it’s relaxing, but boring too. The only interesting parts are the harmonies.

I love the a capella beginning of Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful); Dion’s voice really shines in an a capella section. After that, the organ comes in, giving the song a holy and Christmas-like feeling. Not to mention the choir that comes in after that. When Dion finally comes back in solo, her voice is accompanied by a beautiful bass line (cello). She sings in French near the end for half a chorus before singing in English again, adding that bilingual touch.

The Christmas Song, take 2; this time with Celine Dion! Although I still think Karen Carpenter does a better job of this, Dion still does this song justice. I just wish that she’d pronouce some of the word a bit clearer, and not sing so softly at times. I do love how she uses her vibrato on this classic Christmas song; it creates the warmth of season. If she used more power behind her voice…then it’d be awesome…

I love this song! The Prayer is a power ballad with a beautiful melody. It’s sad, but happy at the same time; the lyrics speak of a person telling their ‘angel’ to guide them through rough times. The melody is pure, but soaring at the same time. Andrea Bocelli’s voice is so warm too; I love it when they alternate between English and Italian. Their voices mesh together beautifully, bringing that heavenly and divine feeling into this song.

After an epic ballad comes Brahms’ Lullaby, a calm…well…lullaby. Dion’s voice is very soothing in here, one that can truly put you to sleep. I love the piano accompaniment in this song; it sounds just so beautiful with her voice. And here Dion switches into French half way through the song once more. I personally prefer the French more than the English, because it sounds smoother that way.

Christmas Eve brings us back into the true Christmas spirit with it’s upbeat isntrumentals and introduction. Jsut listening to this song makes you go into the Christmas spirit and want to decorate that tree that’s been sitting in the basement for god knows how many years. Dion’s voice goes into that soulful feeling, bringing out the holiday cheer. The chorus is so catchy and happy, which can bring a smile to one’s face. It’s a typical Christmas song, and I love it.

Here comes the title track: These Are the Special Times. This song is more of a pop song than a Christmas song, but it’s okay in its own way. Yes, it’s another love song sung by Celine Dion. Sure, it’s pretty, but I personally don’t find this song to be anything special, but it flows nicely with the album.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) starts off with a beautiful melody as an introduction. It’s a slow paced, laidback Christmas song, but still retains the power in the chorus. The lyrics are hopeful, and very very very Christmas like. My favourite part is the chorus, because it’s so catchy and holiday-like.

I’m Your Angel is a power ballad that Dion sings with R. Kelly. Their voice really do compliment each other so well, and the song is so nice to listen to. The lyrics tell how two people that will support each other through the good and bad times. Also, the melody is soaring, allowing the singers to power up for the chorus and create that beautiful effect. One of my favourites in this album. even though it’s not that Christmas-y.

When I first heard Feliz Navidad had her siblings singing in the background, all I could think was ‘awwww’. It really brings out the Christmas in this album when Dion and her family sing together in a song, and I think Feliz Navidad was the best song to do that in. Seriously, it’s a song you don’t sing alone; you sing it with people! It’s just a happy song; nothing can go wrong with this song!

Dion also sings Les cloches du hameau with her family. Unlike the previous track, this song is a bit more mellow and less party-like. This song is more flowing and traditional Christmas-like. In this song, Dion doesn’t have a solo part like she did in Feliz Navidad.

Overall Rating:
3/5

Carpenters – The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

Release Date: 1977 (Sorry, I can’t find the exact date for this)

Tracklist:

A-side: The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
B-side: Merry Christmas Darling

We have another classic! The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) is covered by (the) Carpenters in this single. Karen’s voice is pure and laidback in this song, creating the wintery atmosphere (that I’m experiencing now; I’ve lost all feeling from my toes xD). I’ve always loved her covers of classic Christmas songs. The lyrics are the typical Christmas lyrics, but it creates this warmth that could only be fully exprienced in this song. Such a pretty song, especially with Richard’s vocal and instrumental arrangements (the harmonies are so good!). Simple, but a classic nonetheless.

Overall Rating:
5/5

Carpenters – Merry Christmas Darling

Release Date: November 20, 1970

merry_christmas_darlingTracklist:

A-side: Merry Christmas Darling
B-side: Mr. Guder

Ah, what would Christmas be without the voice of Karen Carpenter? Merry Christmas Darling is not what you would call a traditional classic (since it was written by Richard Carpenter), but it feels like one. The lyrics speak of a person missing their loved one, who they cannot spend Christmas together with. It’s happy, but sad at the same time. As usual, Karen’s voice is pure win, but it has this warmth in this song that brings out the Christmas in Merry Christmas Darling (it also has this haunting quality to it). The melody is relaxing and low; it suits her voice perfectly (as expected of Richard). The harmonies at the end just add that extra touch which makes it a Carpenter song.

A haunting triangle, acoustic guitar, and flute start off the next song, Mr. Guder. This song is one of the songs that still had Karen playing on the drum set (which means it’s pretty early in their career). Unlike the A-side, this song is  more mellow and dark. The melody moves along faster, and creates a sense of urgency. There’s this one part where the melody alternates between Karen and Richard (the babadaba part xD), that just makes the atmosphere of the song even more haunting. They end the song (the sung part) by singing in harmony (a very nice effect), and the flute closes off the piece.

Overall Rating:
5/5

R.I.P Karen Carpenter; if only singers nowadays had the pure win voice she had.

Ito Yuna x Celine Dion – Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~

Release Date: January 16, 2008

itoyunaxcelinedionanatarb2Tracklist:

1. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~
2. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~ (USA Mix)
3. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~ (Ito Yuna Solo Version)
4. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~ (Instrumental)

I think Celine Dion is one of my all-time favourite artist, so I couldn’t resist but download this when I first saw it. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~ is a duet in Japanese and English, with both artists singing in both languages. Yes, I believe that Celine Dion can sing in any language now! She’s the one who starts off this song in English, before Ito comes in in Japanese. In the chorus, both artists are singing, but Dion easily overpowers Ito (well, she is stronger vocally). Ito still holds her own though. It’s also the place where Dion sings in both English and Japanese. The melody is beautiful, and the song is pretty good in general. A sweet ballad to listen to at times (or be addicted to it…*cough*).

Next comes the U.S.A Mix of Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~. It’s basically the same thing, but I bit simpler in the instrumentals.This was the version that was included in Dion’s Complete Best album. Last but not least is Ito Yuna solo version of the song (it’s completely in Japanese, except for the two phrases at the beginning of the chorus). I prefer the duet version of the song over the solo version, because it just loses that charm without Dion’s voice in there. Well, it is there sometimes as backup, but it’s still odd to me.

Overall Rating:
5/5

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Sorry, it’s just a really nice picture, so I had to post it!