Archive for the 'Johnny’s Entertainment' Category

[Single] Arashi – Love so sweet

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~Tracklist~
1. Love So Sweet
2. Itsu Made Mo
3. Love So Sweet (instrumental)
4. Itsu Made Mo (instrumental
5. Fight Song (G no Arashi Theme Song) (First Pressing Bonus)

~Single Review~
Love so sweet was the theme song of Hana Yori Dango 2, rated most popular Japanese dorama of the year. The drama starred Jun of Arashi. Because of the drama’s popularity, “Love so sweet” went on to reach number one on the Oricon chart when it was released February 21, 2007, sell 429,832 copies in total, and become the fourth best selling single of 2007.

For many, “Love so sweet” can be immediately associated with the lighter moments of “Hana Yori Dango 2”, bringing up images of Tsukushi-chan and the finale. Because of that association, “Love so sweet” is an excellent song. As a stand alone track, however, it’s a mid-tempo pop track with above average vocals for a Johnny’s track. There’s use of harmonies in the chorus, but that isn’t really anything all that special, and the individual duets or solos sound quite strained at points. Of course, the fact that the song is insanely catchy bubblegum pop with excellent production helps cover that up, as does the hook “Love so sweet,” but for some reason, this song feels like it’s something important. Depth. It’s a great song for Johnny’s and Arashi lovers alike, but other people, you might want to be wary of this one.

“Itsu Made Mo” is an interesting B-side; it’s a synth based song with plenty of violins and trumpet and a beat backing Arashi up. It’s not as good as Love So Sweet, but the song is surprisingly good for a Johnny’s B-side. The crescendo near the end is a definite high point, as well as the double repetition of the choruses. The harmonies in this song are great. Over all, an excellent B-side with polish.

“Fight Song (G no Arashi Theme Song)” feels like just another song on the limited edition/first press in order to move units. It feels a bit like Ayu’s “Beautiful Fighters” without the synthetic interference in their voices and with booming instrumentation at points; that’s a downside considering the haphazard sounding nature of the crowd intermingling with the Arashi’s harmonies. I guess that fits as a fight song, but the harmonies on this song are not Arashi’s best, although it’s worth noting the individual parts are stronger than usual. And he chorus has the energy you’d expect from a fight song.

As one of the biggest singles of 2007, “Love So Sweet” had to be well-done pop. It was, and together with the biggest drama of the year, it achieved great success. Ringtone sales were high, as were physical sales. For Johnny’s Entertainment fans, boy’s band fans, and pop fans in general, “Love So Sweet” is a must listen.

88% B

[Single] V6 – way of life

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~Tracklist~
01. way of life
02. Risk (risuku or リスク)
03. You know?

~Single Review~
V6 released “way of life,” their 36th single, on December 12, 2007. The song is the ending theme for the drama SP. The single debuted at number one on the Oricon daily chart, and should remain there for the week.

“way of life” is a departure from V6’s traditional strength of fast-paced, catchy pop. “way of life” is still pop, yes, but it is much slower. V6 uses their harmonies to carry the song throughout the dark atmosphere of strings, piano, and synthetic elements. The choruses are powerful, but far from powerfully catchy. The song is very pretty and dark with a very memorable melody, but the fact remains that V6 is trying to be something they’re not. That really comes through on this track, and on the many versions of their cover art. It’s a step up from “Jasmine” on their last single, but not their best.

“Risk” is a powerful pop track with strong techno flavor. It doesn’t have the traditional hook of V6’s lead A-sides, and it much too techno to be the pop they’re expected to put out. However, the track is very dark like “way of life” and has a lot more of the energy their fans like to see. The choruses aren’t extraordinary, but over all, it’s one of their better B-sides in a long time.

“You Know?” is too rocky for V6. Their voices are overpowered by the rock and don’t have the style to handle being on a rock track. It doesn’t sound right. Essentially, it’s a weak filler for the single that really pales when compared to the other tracks.

Both “risk” and “way of life” are good tracks from V6 that are probably worth a listen for boy band fans. They’re both different fare for V6, which is nice for the rest of the listeners of J-pop. It’s a nice single, but it’s not quite amazing. It’s just missing something. That intangible thing is what keeps “Risk” and “way of life” from being extraordinary, although both have the potential to be it.

88% B