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I am now on Instagram!
@jpopkampai

As you guys may or may not know, being in the army (mandatory for Singaporean males to undergo two years) have left me very limited time to blog and everything, and since everyone is starting to have lower attention spans and be more social media-savvy, I've created an extension of J-Pop KAMPAI! on Instagram so you can access my shitass content more conveniently :)

Follow if you wanna see random shit I'll be posting, pre-thoughts to albums I will (hopefully) eventually review on the blog itself in detail, bite-sized reviews of music I don't wish to review in detail on the blog, or general thoughts that I don't deem major enough to be made into a post.

I would recommend it for people with similar musical tastes as me to discover more new music to listen to. I'll probably also share my jams of the week and stuff like that too, and Instagram video is a great platform for preview listening. I would love to see recommendations you guys have via the comments too. I win, you win, we all win!

This helps this poor conscripted boy churn out content more conveniently, and with that said, I will definitely post more there than on this blog, until I have more freedom on my end, at least. So don't miss out and follow @jpopkampai! Woo!


After falling off the face of Earth for four years, LISA decided it would be a good idea to make a comeback by singing kids songs. Colour me surprised when the tracks turn out to be actually pretty nicely-produced. I can't believe I'm saying this, but my personal favourites are ABC Song, Grandfather's Clock and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Hear them for yourself.
This album cover is just waiting to be vandalised with bukkake shots.

Eleven years into the business, it's ironic that Kato Miserableface's album is titled so when she's clearly not liberated from shitty album covers. You can try to distract us with the glitter all over your eyes, bitch. You can try.

This album sees Kato Miliyah stepping out of her comfort zone to venture out of conventional J-Pop standards and experiment with a mixture of genres. What's new and good here: title track LIBERTY, produced by m-flo's Taku (who I admittedly LOVE), is hypnotic with its ethereal opening, subtle trap drum beats over constant electronic build-ups that are explosive, yet in a relaxed, controlled manner, which adds a really good tone to it. FUTURE LOVER -Mirai Koibito- samples Daft Punk's One More Time but is far from sounding like a dated disco-house track. Typical of Miliyah to use samples in ingenious ways, this T.O.M-produced track brings a contemporary, refreshed EDM spin to it, albeit with some cliched songwriting, but is nonetheless a well-produced piece music-wise (Hey ho self promo – this song is also featured in my J-Pop KAMPAI! Valentine's Day 2016 playlist). BABYLON, with a more traditional R&B easy-listening beat, is also something radically different from her past discography, and is interesting in that manner.

Traditional pop upbeat numbers like WANNA BE and CLIMAX also win here – they're nothing lyrically new, but sound more Western-influenced than conventional J-Pop. Anthemic WANNA BE is littered with hypnotising background synths which, while doesn't really have a climax, makes for really nice easy-listening track. CLIMAX is more conventional J-Pop and dramatic, which runs in the same vein as The One from LOVELAND, but sounds richer and better-mastered in my opinion. Is this song explicitly about masturbation ("Hitori de CLIMAX – CLIMAX by myself?")? Megami no Hikari feat. Munetaka Maki and H.I.K.A.R.I. remain as pop songs that could potentially be growers, or would work better in live settings, because I'm not feeling them at all. Pop-rock Piece of Cake -Ai wo Sakebou- feat. Mineta Kazunobu also has absolutely no place in this album and sounds terribly flat. Wouldn't want to be caught dead listening to that. If only pleasing listeners like me were a piece of cake, huh?

"Ah! Someone liberate me from
shitty album covers!"
The ballads in this album are a pleasant surprise. Unlike some of her senior peers like *ahem*kodakumiandayumihamasaki this bitch is actually trying. Tengoku no Doa is probably one of the most beautiful ballads I've heard from her – an eargasm from start to finish with a beautiful grand piano loop, gradually building up in its grandiose with Miliyah's velvety vocals, before the dramatic drum beats come in in the later half to keep the listener captivated.

What "Tengoku no Doa", which means Heaven's Door, may actually be can be open to interpretation, but I am of the opinion that she's talking about her G-spot ("A secret place you want to feel, the heaven's door nobody knows OHHHHH~~~~"). My claim can even be supported by the fact that CLIMAX comes right after it in the track order too, but I digress.

While still on the topic of the ballads in this album, Memories perfectly portrays the feeling of emptiness and loneliness described in its lyrics with its searingly haunting guitar pluck loops ("The name of the flower you gave me / Will wither, unknown to anyone, forgotten" / "As I chase after people who look like you / The sun sets / And I feel even lonelier than before), similar to how classic  R&B ballad Lipstick paints a perfect picture of a girl with a melancholic desire for belonging ("Covering my lips with red lipstick, I hide the real me" / "I don’t want to compare myself to others, and yet (sigh), here we go again, I feel envious of that girl over there.") These two tracks demonstrate her stellar songwriting abilities here and I really appreciate that. The others like piano ballad Want You Back, acoustic guitar-heavy Utakata no Hibi and acoustic-folk Shounen Shoujo fail to impress.

Trap drum beats are present in many of the new album tracks, which Miliyah use in fusion with R&B and pop elements in songs like MIRROR MIRROR and This is my party, which, while interesting in theory, leave more to be desired in their execution. MIRROR MIRROR's repetition and dreary tempo doesn't really reflect well to the listener, while This is my party is bland, lacks any emotion (despite trying to show a certain attitude I'm not catching) and depth in its production, which is disappointing and should belong to a basic album like MUSE was. That is a party I'm not going to RSVP for. This lack of depth is also present in FASHION, which is superficial both lyrically and musically; an overall poor b-side choice for Miliyah to include.


LIBERTY is Kato Miliyah's longest record to date at 17 tracks, but would've been a tighter album by trimming some of the fat that wouldn't have compromised its varied offering, which is what I assume Miliyah tried to deliver, and succeeded – to a moderate extent. It is still an improvement from the largely homogenous LOVELAND, with it being more experimental and less traditional J-Pop / J-Urban which Miliyah has already done to death, and this is a sign of a good progression of her sound. Plus, despite its fallbacks, I will say that the album makes for a good easy-listening record.

Listen to previews here.


7/10

Album highlights: LIBERTY, FUTURE LOVER -Mirai Koibito-, WANNA BE, Tengoku no Doa, CLIMAX, Lipstick
When you can't sell records, titties are always a solution! ;)

"While I was living overseas, I guess I realised that I really craved the subtleties and detail of the Japanese language. That feeling of 'I want to express it in Japanese' built up inside me and I started to write lyric after lyric. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't that I purposely sought out to make an album that sounded like the old me. It just happened."

ayumi hotmesssaki has somewhat admitted that she really is some kind of a mess. Secondly, I think we all wish Namie Amuro would "crave the subtleties and detail of the Japanese language" too, no?

A ONE is more or less yet another safe, #throwback #throwahoetotheback album as per her pattern since 2010's Love songs, followed by 2013's horrendous LOVE again. But thank god the use of the word "love" isn't in the pattern.

It's like ayumi hotmesssaki stirs a little shit up (Party Queen, Colours) before cowering back into her little corner to create something more subdued, more classic J-Pop. And this is why to many fans, A ONE comes across as a familiar record with little surprises.

Putting aside a Bell, a one-minute instrumental piano introduction – with no actual bells – that we can all agree is a waste of everybody's time, WARNING starts off the album on the right track – an explosively synthy, rock track with equally fierce lyrics; a sharp jab to the haters – very unlike Ayu, yet a very real situation over at Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai (You should've done this like that / You should've done that like this / I know I can count on you never being satisfied). Already established as a #throwahoetotheback album, it checks all the right boxes – cheap computerised instrumentation, likeness to similarly anthemic tracks like 2010's Lady Dynamite, adding an "i" behind all the "la la la"s, for God knows why. But as a long-time fan, this works for me. With real instrumentation in a live setting, this song will be amazing, as proven in her latest arena tour.

WARNING gives the best opening
expectation for A ONE – cheap
instrumentation but overall
fierceness.
It doesn't take a genius to figure that NO FUTURE is composed by Tetsuya Komuro, because you guessed it – horrific 300 B.C. synths! Like Like a doll given a makeover, NO FUTURE carries a heavy LOVEppears vibe with omnipresent synthy beats and melodious verses before Ayu starts whining like a banshee in the chorus – some can find this annoying, but I think it adds a nice touch to the emotion being displayed here. However, the key change after the last chorus comes as a nice surprise, although it only proves that she is never performing this song live.

After these two tracks come a long section of ballads – some hit the G-spot, some were yet another waste of time. But here's what's good – Last minute, very reminiscent of Memorial address musically, yet lyrically about being separated from herself rather than somebody else. You know who she should separate herself from, though? The person who mixed this track.

This song is amazing, make no mistake about that – the build-up is perfect, but it lacks a dynamic rock sound that's present in other songs in the album. It's amazing how something that seems so explosive can sound so incredibly flat on the ears. Plus, the back-up vocals are actually louder than the lead vocals. It's most distracting in the chorus where the "Oooooo"s completely snatch the attention. Whose dick did the mixer suck to get the job? But nonetheless, I tout this as one of the good songs because it really is a good song if you negate all the technicalities. Just listen to it live. That's when it's really done properly.

I fell in love with Out of control on first listen, and it's easily my favourite track off this record. It starts off calm and moody with a piano and string introduction accented with strums of the guitar, followed by the addition of some synths (or whatever those bloopy sounds were after the first few lines). Then the marching percussion comes in before heading full-on rock – now that's capturing the mood perfectly. There wouldn't be a better way to do this. Not to mention, everything sounds lush on the ears, unlike similar songs she's done before such as Letter and reminds me where they're mastered so poorly, they actually sound muffled.

Story is very similar in the structure and arrangement as well, but this time with a gentler, more forlorn delivery to it. I would say it's a "prettier" version of Out of control. If anything, Ayu could've toned down on her cutesy voice in this one a little. But nonetheless these two tracks go great together.

It might suffer from bad studio
mixing, but Last minute proves
to sound amazing live.
With a number of good ballads presented, it has its equal share of bad ones. Anything for You is one of them – clocking in at 7 minutes, the verses are very forgettable. The chorus, in turn, is memorable to me for being so melodically draggy. Just like NO FUTURE, it comes with a surprise key change at the end for a "happier-sounding" chorus, but doesn't change the fact that it's draggy as hell. Zutto... barely adds any value to the already-saturated basket of winter ballads in J-Pop. Ayu may have done plenty of those, but even if it were a song done by someone else, I would've glossed right over it as well.

The GIFT was composed by Singaporean JJ Lin as, well, a gift, to Ayu because they are apparently acquaintances now. I say acquaintances, and not BFFs, because nobody would give their best friend a throwaway demo dug out from his old Mac. And based on the fact that Ayu named the song this literally doesn't really help the situation. For some reason, Ayu sounds most like her real live voice here, which unfortunately also means that Ayu sounds the worst in the whole album here. Walk unofficially closes the album (because we all know it's an open secret Movin' on without you was never meant to be there) and my feelings towards it are the same as Zutto...'s. And stop it with the La-la-lais!!! I don't get it!!!!!!! Who even says that!!?!!?!!?!?!?!

The Show Must Go On is an interesting one. Yet another fierce, anthemic track but in a different light – this time, it's a song for her fans sticking by her (I was able to see them today too, your lovely smiles / I was able to hear them today, your lovely voices / No matter how much the times continue to change / There is one thing right here that'll never change / The show must go on!). Arrangement-wise, it's very snowy kiss – a fast-paced percussion beat and synth line gives a very tense atmosphere, but goes from 100 to 0 during the verses. Not a big fan of the contrast, but the chorus is really what gets me going, especially that big instrumental break after the chorus vocals where the beat goes double time, and with that bridge which is basically an extrapolation of that. Consider me slain at that part.

Fan-inspired The Show Must Go On
actually features 2 fans' vocals as a
result of a lottery. Nobody knows
where they can be heard, which makes
us wonder what's the fucking point.
Movin' on without you sticks out like a sore thumb because, well, IT DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE! It's a great track, but I'm not going to review it because I already have.  Basically, it's a hot EDM Utada Hikaru cover that made me bald when I first heard it. TeamAyu-exclusive Tell All (2015 mix) simply slows down the first half of the song with a piano and orchestra arrangement that gives a smoother build-up from the original, but the second half of the song is business as usual – a Mirrorcle World-esque, stomping electric guitar riff for pretty much the rest of the song. It's better than the original in that it's more varied and built-up arrangement-wise. You actually want to listen to the song all the way.


As many fans would agree, A ONE is a return to the usual hodgepodge of "ayumi hamasaki" songs – rock ballads, gaudy TK synths, explosive rock opener, J-Pop cheesy ballads. And this return is nothing new to us. As a whole album, A ONE is what LOVE again should've been, but that was 2 years ago. The long-time fans like myself will enjoy this for the nostalgia – this is THE ayumi hamasaki sound that we are fond of, that was what made us fall in love with her in the first place. But for the casual fan who's never heard of her work, this is going to come across as bland, dated, and a record one would be slightly embarrassed to be caught dead listening to. Nonetheless, it's a comprehensive retrospect on the sound Ayu is known for with a little something to offer to everyone, though this album is a fan service more than an artistic progression. But we already know that's what she's headed for now.

Listen to previews here.

7/10

Album highlights: WARNING, NO FUTURE, Last minute, Out of control, The Show Must Go On, Movin' on without you, Tell All (2015 mix)


The world, or maybe only Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai, is on fire. Because at a time when ayumi hotmesssaki would be able to finally scrape a #1 and not let shit hit the fan, duo DREAMS COME TRUE "robbed" her of that position literally on the last day of the Oricon week, earning their best album a 4th week at #1. Oh well! Shit happens, can't please everyone.

So while everyone is cursing and swearing at DCT over in the hellhole that is AHS, in which someone even thought they were a boyband, I thought I could take this as an opportune moment to introduce to you guys about this awesome group. Might as well, right?

I'm not exactly sure why DREAMS COME TRUE isn't so popular outside of Japan, because I personally find the vocalist, Miwa Yoshida, so charismatic and can still put on a killer show even after 26 years, and being 50 years old. That bitch doesn't even look her age. Damn these Japanese genes.

Unfortunately for me I was born too late because I've always wanted to catch them live since I first discovered them in 2007. I especially have always wanted to watch their WONDERLAND tour in person, because it's a dome / stadium tour that they only put up once every 4 years!!! Dude, they arrived sitting on horses at the 1995 one. I wasn't even a year old yet?!?!?1

Anyways, I've handpicked one song from each of their 17 studio albums (which may or may not be in their latest best album) so you can take a listen if you've not heard of them. You can pretty much hear how much they've evolved their sound from the '80s till now. They're pretty damn impressive. And I'll stick a live performance of the same song beside it cos I think they're pretty fun to watch live. Woosh!


1. Don't You Say...
from DREAMS COME TRUE (1989)

(Also watch: Anata ni Aitakute)


2. Ureshii! Tanoshii! Daisuki!
from LOVE GOES ON... (1989)



3. Egao no Yukue
from WONDER 3 (1990)



4. Eyes to me
from MILLION KISSES (1991)



5. Gankyou Goshi no Sora
from The Swinging Star (1992)

(Also watch: Ano Natsu no Hanabi)


6. go for it!
from MAGIC (1993)



7. Suki
from DELICIOUS (1995)



8. SWEET REVENGE
from LOVE UNLIMITED ∞ (1996)


(Also watch: ROMANCE)


9. Ahaha
from SING OR DIE (1997)



10. Asa ga Mata Kuru
from the Monster (1999)



11. 24/7-TWENTY FOUR/SEVEN-
from monkey girl odyssey (2001)



12. Mascara Matsuge
from DIAMOND15 (2005)


(Also watch: OLA! VITORIA!)


13. Nando Demo
from THE LOVE ROCKS (2006)




14. Osaka LOVER
from AND I LOVE YOU (2007)


15. MERRY-LIFE-GOES-ROUND
from Do You DREAMS COME TRUE? (2009)




16. Sono Saki e
from LOVE CENTRAL (2011)


(Also watch: Nee)


17. MY TIME TO SHINE
from ATTACK25 (2014)


"Fuck me now."

A new ramen restaurant just opened in town. There is massive hype for it, because it's been around in Japan for the past 10 years and is still going strong. There are long queues almost every day. Naturally, you try it for yourself one day in your hometown. Unfortunately, the soup was awfully bland. The pork slices were tough and overcooked. The noodles tasted rubbery. The bottom of the bowl didn't seem remotely near in sight even though it felt like you spent an hour trying to painfully finish it.

Now let's change the setting.

It's Koda Kumi's 15th anniversary. An autobiographical-titled album, WALK OF MY LIFE, is released. Pussies will be popped. Weaves will be snatched. Confetti will be scattered around Tokyo. The ramen will, however, still suck. But the ramen's not alone in this, because the album also sucked.

Alas, life isn't always fair like this.

What I was most excited for about Koda Kumi's latest studio effort was the fact that there weren't a lot of singles prior to the release, which meant more fresh material. The only previously-released songs were Dance In The Rain and HOTEL, both rated one of my top 20 songs last year, and well, then there's MONEY IN MY BAG.

What I liked about Dance In The Rain was its powerful and melancholic feel to the arrangement, which was full, and very organically pop. HOTEL was my summer jam because it was something delightfully different from her previous summer songs with the trumpets and all, and had a very Westernised sound to it, the only problem being her stupid nasally voice used in the verses. MONEY IN MY BAG is largely forgettable, too fast-paced for me to adequately process its pussy-popping qualities, and regretfully repetitive.

And let me just lay it on the table now that my description for one of these songs ended up being applicable to the rest of the album.

Right off the bat, Introduction ~WALK OF MY LIFE~ opens with subtle urban elements and sets the tone for the album – Kumi is kinda returning to her urban roots by meshing them with the dance-y, pop sound she left off from Bon Voyage. It ends off with a thunder that transitions appropriately and smoothly into Dance In The Rain, which during that point, I was on my knees praying that it won't be like Dejavu with its awfully trimmed songs thanks to this horrendous album gimmick. Thank god it wasn't the case. Phew!

She does like to show off her lips a lot. I'll give her credit
for looking good doing fish lips, unlike some of her peers...
such as ayumi hotmesssaki. Lippeh LiPPEH!
I wasn't a huge fan of Lippy at first. Who the fuck is Lippy? And I was initially very annoyed by the repetitive "TER NER NERRRR NERRRR NER NER NER NER NER NER NER NER" synth that keeps going on and on and on. And how every line in the chorus has the 2 same bars going "I don't KNOOOOOW why..." again and again and again, and is so incredibly grating on the ears. But repeated listens made me come to appreciate its own merits. For one, the songwriting is very self-reflective. When she talks about "Lippy," she's talking about herself. We all know Koda Kumi is naturally not the loud, sexy, ero-kakoii girl she's famed to be. But everyone thinks that's who she is, and she is a rude girl. But does she give a fuck? "No! You want to find fault with me, right? Came back. Again and again, you said, "Bitch, luck?" You say I've changed, but you've put on rose-coloured glasses, haven't you?" You tell me. Aside from the chorus, everything else is delivered right. I especially LOVEZXZS the attitude when she sings the second half of the verses, and the pre-choruses ("Ii kanji no atmosPHEEEEERE / Iitai nara right HEEEEERE"). Also loving the drum & bass-like elements and urban-y basslines, something that's consistent with the whole album.

Mercedes runs in a similar vein with Lippy, but a trashier version. I can actually see why Mercedes wouldn't have wanted to sponsor a music video for this (Not saying that they did, but they did sponsor her damn tour). Messy arrangement layered with annoyingly whiny vocals, and the only thing that stuck with me upon the first listen was the shouty "JUMP! MERCEDES!" which is NAAASTY! STOP IT!! MY HEAD HURTS!!!

When I heard the first two opening bars of Like It, I was extremely full of hope – the "Like it like it liek it, ooooh I like it like it" is INSANELY catchy in a good way unlike "JUMP! MERCEDES!". But I think this song is this album's first wasted potential. It could've been something really anthemic if they really played more with the beat and the trumpets, the latter of which is what actually makes the song stand out from the album. The pre-chorus, sadly, primes you for the chorus that is ever so underwhelming. I have to admit the bass is moderately sick, but the end of the chorus just makes you go, "That's it?" The second verse comes in too abruptly / early, the bridge could've been something more anthemic, rather than some slowed down shit (Why????) before diving back into the anti-climactic chorus. It is so sad. Why rush when the product itself is like, 2 minutes and 40 seconds?!?! I really want to Like It, but I can't. You were wrong, Kuu.

I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about House Party. Happy because it's a good song, sad because Koda Kumi participated in like, 60% of the song, maybe? I won't deny that it's got my pussy popping and I CANNOT wait to see how she's going to slay this in a live setting, but it's basically Koda Kumi feat. Unknown People. I really enjoy though.

To cap off the largely urban section, we have Interlude ~Dance~ which is TERRIBLE! There is literally nothing exciting about this. Everything already fell flat from the first four beats. Arrangement is basic. Anti-climactic. It's a terrible interlude. Next!

The second half of the album reveals its slightly poppier side, with songs like Gimme U, where the only thing that's really going for it are the piano bars that make it slightly catchier. Think Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You's lyrics, sung over a super BASIC, sappy, pop arrangement. "Beautiful roses and diamond rings / The recipe for happiness, anything / Baby all you gotta do is / Gimme U, Gimme U, Gimme U". There's a line that says "I'm always feeling like it's a trip to Rome" though?????????

And don't get me started on You can keep up with me because everything in it just sounds cheap. The beat is lame, the synth sound like a Garageband preset or some shit, and it was going by so quickly I was slightly hyperventilating. The chorus goes like this – "You should know..." (Okay, know what?) "You should KNOW!!!!" (Okay, what?!?!?!) "You SHOULD KNOW!!!!" (Bitch better have something good to say!) "I say you can keep up with me!!!" (What the fuck...) It's like you're in bed with this really cute guy, you've got the foreplay going smoothly, and then he says either one of the three following things: (1) There's no lube (2) There's no condom (3) He doesn't do anal. Frustrating is all.

PIECE IN THE PUZZLE sounds like a banger if played live, so at least that's a good point. But once again, lacking arrangement. Breakdown was pretty lame as well and seemed cut short. I really like that ummmm BrrrrrrrrrrABAM ummmmm BrrrrrABAM though. Chorus can be pretty annoying after a while. Reminds me of the kind of annoying people that like to emphasise on the last word of every sentence by making them significantly louder. Or have I just been unlucky my whole life?

Fake Tongue starts out with a pretty hot urban beat that gets me popping my pussy, and the verses show potential, but her soft sing-speaking caused a drastic contrast to the shouty chorus that, at this point, I am already very tired of dealing with. It sounds like a song I could get down in a live setting, but I'm not feeling the studio version, once again, because of the production. I have to admit that the breakdown and the guitar solo are pretty bangin' though.

Koda Kumi tries to distract you with her puppy
eyes from this terrible album. No bitch,
you did not stub your toe. 
Wasted potential number 2 – Sometimes Dreams Come True, and probably the song that I am most upset about. I'd just like to say that so much could have been done to improve on this throwaway pop song that sounds like what Jessie J (she did co-write it) or Kelly Clarkson would've done. It starts off with a guitar riff that Koda Kumi sings over, before bringing in a simple drum beat followed by the synths, etc. etc. Then it just repeats after the first chorus.

As its name implies, the song is about how "I imagined an award as they would call my name / Dreaming I was a singer / My aim was to be an awesome girl", and that you know, sometimes dreams do come true. But the delivery of her vocals was pallid without emotion. I don't entirely blame her, because there was no build up at the crucial points of the song – between the verse and the chorus (the latter itself is already underwhelming), between the end of the chorus and the second verse (the abruptness of this was especially jarring), and from the bridge to the last chorus. I think given a more emotional arrangement, this would be AMAZING live. Like, I-would-cry kinda amazing. But I don't hear any sort of "IT WAS HARD BUT MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE BITCHES" coming from her vocals.

LIFE so GOOD!! starts off pretty anthemic, poppy with a catchy drum beat, and complementing guitar riffs. It's like an edgier version than Run For Your Life. It's your typical summer jam that you can imagine Kuu making a music video of... and it looks exactly like Run For Your Life actually LOL. This is relatively catchier when it's in this album. I can see myself jamming to this live!!!

WALK OF MY LIFE, as it symbolically suggests, goes last, which is arguably the best song lyrically and musically. I would've awarded my gorl a homerun with this one if not for its horrendously cheap music video. It's a pop ballad – similarly organic-sounding as Dance In The Rain – that's very self-reflective, melancholic, and is a song you know is written by a confident woman who's gone through a lot of shit to be where she is today, and bitch delivered it. This is basically everything Sometimes Dreams Come True isn't.


Almost every song in this album, coincidence or not, seems to follow the formula of get-the-song-done-ASAP-please. I don't know why but everything sounds so rushed, and I'm damn sure it has nothing to do with the track lengths because all songs sans the last two run for less than 3 mins 30 seconds (but the fact that most of the songs felt longer than that is bad in itself). I'm getting heart palpitations just listening to how the songs don't get the time to fully make use of what they have. So many tracks on here could've easily been fleshed out for improvements, like Like It and Sometimes Dreams Come True, among others.

While I was initially not bothered, after several listens through, I can see why people think Kumi is especially shouty on this album – because almost every song seems to have a "shouting" element to it with repeated melody lines. Once again, everything seems so formulaic, the songs like B-grade demos. But I'll give the album a benefit of doubt – there's a good chunk of songs here that I believe might change some opinions once heard live properly. And we'll see when that time comes around when Koda Kumi performs here on 18 July ;)

Above all, I am unfortunately disappointed by an album that's largely forgettable, yet supposedly marketed to be a significant 15th anniversary milestone album. I'm sorry, this is a walk I do not wish to partake in. I'll head on over to 2014 and continue popping my pussy to Bon Voyage.


Listen to previews here.

4/10

Album highlights: Dance In The Rain, Lippy, House Party, HOTEL, LIFE so GOOD!!, WALK OF MY LIFE


I think that day in the early, second week of April was a pretty good day, because I had finally taken a thorough listen to ayumi hotmesssaki's A ONE and was quite impressed.

Of course, unbeknownst to me, it was but one of Namie Slaymuro's sly tactics to drop this bomb on us, completely shading the attention on Ayu. Well-played, Namie. If this is the kind of strategic team you've gotten over at whatever Stella88 place you're at now, you have my FULL SUPPORT.


1. The Covers

CD+Bluray | CD+DVD | CD

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Sure, Namie repeats yet another headshot cover as with the past three studio albums. But she still knows ways of making it look novel and classy. Plus, the concept of _genic in the title itself is really smart, especially when you'd think Japanese people don't think hard (straight from the horse's mouth, okay?)


2. The Packaging



AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Fuck me.

Would've been much more exciting if it were a slipcase for the digipak though. It looks to be a digipak with the holes cut out at the front to show the booklet covers. Sounds good in theory, but not sure how that is going to pan out in reality with the differing booklet dimensions to fit into the digipak slot. Still pretty nonetheless; think I'm going to get the CD+DVD one!


3. The Tracklist

CD Tracklist
  1. Photogenic
  2. Time Has Come
  3. Golden Touch
  4. Birthday
  5. It
  6. Scream
  7. Fashionista
  8. Fly
  9. B Who I Want 2 B (feat. U hum sneak it)
  10. Stranger
  11. Every Woman
  12. Space Invader
  13. Anything
  14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro) (Special Track)

Bluray / DVD Tracklist
  1. Golden Touch (Music Video)
  2. Birthday (Music Video)
  3. Fashionista (Music Video)
  4. Stranger (Music Video)
  5. Anything (Music Video)

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

I'm pretty glad none of the previous singles are on it, not only because they were released in 900 B.C., but also because normally when Namie pulls a stunt like this you know she's up to some serious shit. I quite enjoyed BRIGHTER DAY though, but that's just me.

She also does a cover of David Guetta's What I Did For Love, originally sung by Emeli Sande. Interesting. And who the fuck is U hum sneak it?

Namie apparently went through over 200 demos and picked out the songs to be used for this album. I don't know, they're making it sound like she just sat on her ass and pressed the play button on her laptop, but I trust that Namie will give her own artistic input in this instead of making this end up _generic like someone else's album. I'm not naming names.... ... ... Koda Kumi.

And five new PVs? Well, someone's finally getting her ass to work.


4. The TEASE!



AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

When the teaser first premiered on her YouTube channel, I just knew the hype was going to kill me. Namie looks SO. GOOD. And Photogenic sounds SO. GOOD. Everything about this just looks so well thought-out and flawlessly executed. Namie is literally dangling a penis on a stick and going "suck it, suck it," but each time you inch closer, she just takes a step back. (Too explicit?)

The website says that the album will be focused on R&B, high energy dancebeat and new wave, as well as an '80s and '90s revival as witnessed in acts like Azealia Banks (yes praise the lord), Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande (ew) and Pharrell Williams. Honestly, I know shit about what the genres listed above mean, but I am getting pretty excited, and slightly wet.


5. More TEASE!



AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

SHE GOT ME UP AND DOWN ON THIS SHIT!!!!!!!

DANCING MARATHON!!! YES!!!!!!!


6. Preview of All Songs



AHHHHHHHHHHH!

Um, I don't intend on listening to them because that'd be spoiling myself, so you guys can take a listen and let me know how they sound or something like that. From what I can gather, there are only two Japanese songs and the rest are in full English.

7. I think I can confirm that this has already slayed WALK OF MY LIFE and A ONE

And I'm pretty sure the production quality in this one is already going to be way better than Madonna's second crapfest, Rebel Heart, by LEAPS and BOUNDS. That's why she is Namie Slaymuro.


_genic will be released on 10 June 2015.