01. a little prayer
02. Aishiteru no Sign ~Watashitachi no Mirai Yosouzu~ (ア・イ・シ・テ・ルのサイン ~わたしたちの未来予想図~)
03. Osaka LOVER -ALBUM EDITION- (大阪LOVER)
04. Appeal (アピール)
05. Sayonara 59ers! -ALBUM EDITION- (さよなら59ers!)
06. CARNAVAL ~Subete no Tatakau Hitotachi he~ (CARNAVAL ～すべての戦う人たちへ～)
07. NOCTURNE 001
08. Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai (きみにしか聞こえない)
09. Kyou Dake wa -ALBUM EDITION- (今日だけは)
10. UNPRETTY DAY!
11. Mata ne -ALBUM EDITION- (またね)
12. Moshimo Yuki Nara (もしも雪なら)
13. AND I LOVE YOU
“AND I LOVE YOU,” DCT’s 14th original studio album, was released December 12, 2007. It reached number two on the Oricon charts, selling 374,000 copies its first week (source: NTV).
“a little prayer” begins the album on an irresistible note: the track uses well-layered vocals intermingled with soft R&B beats to create a great atmosphere. If the song were full length, the repetition of the of some phrases would be a problem, but instead, the song prepares the listener for the variety of the album. A well produced track with a variety of sounds, “a little prayer” is a paradigm of what introductions should be.
“Aishiteru no Sign ~Watashitachi no Mirai Yosouzu~” is a ballad, through and through. If you can’t stand the song being slow and repetitive, despite being very pretty and melodic, this might be a song to skip. True, the song sounds very typical of a ballad, but the chorus somehow makes the song worth a listen among all the powerhouse songs among DCT’s discography. The final chorus of the song is fabulous, working as a climax for the song. “Aishiteru no Sign ~Watashitachi no Mirai Yosouzu~” is never over the top vocally, but feels emotional nonetheless. Despite a prolonged extro that thinks too highly of itself, this song is good.
The transition into “Osaka LOVER -ALBUM EDITION-” is a bit forced because of the huge change in beat and rythym. Nevertheless, it works. “Osaka LOVER -ALBUM EDITION-” is just funky, with an infectious beat, interesting background music, and strong vocals. The memorable music of the chorus and the catchy hooks make this song special, as well. Perhaps the best part of the song is the final bridge and crescendo; the addition of more traditional Japanese sounds and fuller keyboards lead the song into its ending stretch with style. The extro, extended in this album version, is interesting clearly marking this as an album only version of the song.
“Appeal” maintains the funky beat of “Osaka LOVER” but tones the energy level down a few notches. That doesn’t mean the keyboards and vocals aren’t as sweet as ever, however. The choruses boom over the verses, and “Appeal” has one of the best final choruses of the album so far. Yoshida Miwa elevates her voice in noticeable manner, giving this track another special feel. Despite being mid-tempo, “Appeal” manages to maintain the listener’s interest through a variety of sounds. The ending monologue probably isn’t necessary, but it does exemplify the melody nicely.
“Sayonara 59ers! -ALBUM EDITION- (さよなら59ers!)” is a mid-tempo song with funk. Utilizing an acoustic guitar, clapping, and trademark beat, the song. For most of the song, “Sayonara 59ers! -ALBUM EDITION- (さよなら59ers!)” drags along, with very stable vocals and melody. It’s not until the ending, where vocal layering, the guitar, and Yoshida Miwa’s lead vocals all kick it up a notch. It’s too little, too late though – “Sayonara 59ers! -ALBUM EDITION- (さよなら59ers!)” feels like a B-side placed among stronger tracks (which it is). There’s no hiding it.
“CARNAVAL ~Subete no Tatakau Hitotachi he~” is in a similar vein as “Sayonara 59ers!” but has much more energy, perhaps because the theme is “CARNAVAL.” Nevertheless, the keyboards just beam on this track, and the omnipresent choir of everyday background voices really give the song personality. Whistles, and various other instruments don’t feel out of place here, mainly because this song is just a mid-temp party for your ears.
“NOCTURNE 001” starts out with futuristic sounds, before a more traditional piano takes center stage among these beats. This song has much less power than “Aishiteru no Sign ~Watashitachi no Mirai Yosouzu~,” but uses variety in sounds and building power in lead vocals to differentiate. “NOCTURE 001” is very different, and despite dragging at first, ends with the listener satisfied, mainly due to the complexity of the track. Despite a rough start, the ending vocals and melody are very pretty and memorable.
“Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai” is perhaps the most powerful ballad on the album so far. Vocally, Yoshida Miwa really strives for power. Without that power and corresponding increase in background vocals, this track may have sounding like the other two slower songs on this album. However, “Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai” feels different because of the power behind the whole song. An interesting harpsicord like sound (probably manipulated through the keyboard) adds flavor to this track through slow initial verses. The crescendo is well worth the wait, however. The final bridge leads into piano backed lead vocals before they begin to boom in the extro. “Kimi ni Shika Kikoenai” has one of the best extros on the whole album, hands down, mainly because it sounds so wonderful and is easy to sing along to. The piano fringe at the end is wonderful too – the melody will really stick with the listener.
The piano leads right into the next track, “Kyou Dake wa -ALBUM EDITION-” utilizes a melody during the chorus that sounds reminiscent of “Silver Bells.” There’s not much at fault with the song, although it feels a bit less-well rounded compared to some of the other tracks. “Kyou Dake wa -ALBUM EDITION-” has good tempo, and variety in instrumentation, with modern rythym, and traditional beats. The bridge’s tempo certainly mixes the song up a bit, spicing things up. The ending is also very good, although the choruses throughout the song are a bit slow (despite excellent transitions back to the verses). It’s very pretty song with some roughness, but plenty of goodness.
“UNPRETTY DAY!” starts out pretty well, with an orchestra, before a very 90s beat takes over, ruining the ambiance. Luckily, instrumentation comes back, but besides excellent vocals, this funky track is a little too funky at some points. A nice change of pace, but perhaps a little over the top for some.
“Mata ne -ALBUM EDITION-” is a welcome journey back to a comfort zone. Of course, the song uses the cliché of children, although their voices don’t sound as choir-like as we may be used to. Still, the song has power and rhythm. The choruses sound frenetic, but in a good way, upping the pace of the song and imbuing more energy to the song. Of course, “Mata ne” might get a little repetitive after a while, but it is kind of fun to sing along with. This repetition has duality, then, as it acts as both the strength and weakness of “Mata ne -ALBUM EDITION-.”
“Moshimo Yuki Nara” is another ballad, which banks on differentiating itself by sounding wintry. It’s pretty, but it’s not as good or memorable as the other ballads found on the album. It does, however, lead nicely, into the forward-looking “AND I LOVE YOU.” This final track on the album sounds heartfelt and leaves the listener feeling as through the whole album “AND I LOVE YOU” came from the heart. That’s a nice feeling.
“AND I LOVE YOU” is most clearly an album created by a pop group with great ability and capability tempered by experience. However, experience does not make DCT flawless. Often, long-time musical acts may rest on their laurels while still trying to create new music. DCT doesn’t quite do that here, however, the album does feel like the amalgamation of singles put together with some filler tracks. That’s not a bad thing necesarily, as most of these tracks are strong. However, “AND I LOVE YOU” has many tracks that drag on way past their due-date of stopping, seemingly just to fill the album and make it complete. This, along with an initial feeling of blandness, prevent “AND I LOVE YOU” from standing among their best works. However, some songs on their album do stack up well against classics. “AND I LOVE YOU” is a step in the right direction for DCT, but just a baby step. It’s one of the better pop albums out there, but that should be expected, and part of creating a great album is rising above expectations, which DCT doesn’t do to a certain extent.