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SCANDAL – YELLOW (A J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

February 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

【3.2】SCANDAL_AL_YELLOW_ESCL 4594_通常版

SAWA’s “I Can Fly” is a mini-album that is average at best boosted by its strong musical presence courtesy of collaborations with Yukihiro Fukutomi, note native and a few others.


 

BAND: SCANDAL

ALBUM: YELLOW

LABEL: Epic Records Japan

DURATION: 24:04

RELEASE DATE: March 2, 2016


 

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  1. Room No. 7
  2. Stamp!
  3. LOVE ME DO
  4. Morning Sun
  5. Sunday Drive
  6. 今夜はピザパーティー
  7. ヘブンな気分
  8. SUKI-SUKI
  9. LOVE
  10. Sisters
  11. Happy Birthday
  12. ちいさなほのお
  13. Your song – English ver.- (BONUS TRACK)

Listening to a review copy of SCANDAL’s “YELLOW”, the latest seventh album from the all-female rock group.

The album showcases not only musical maturity for the group, but featuring diverse tracks from their heavy hitting opening track “Room no. 7”, razor sharp melodic hooks with “Stamp!”, “Sunday Drive” and “Sisters, captivating ballads such as “Morning Sun”, “Chiisana Honoo” and the smooth, tropical “LOVE”, and staying consistent with fun tracks such as “Konya wa Pizza Party” and a solid English version of “Your song”.

After several repeats, I’m really digging this album so far! And I think SCANDAL fans will enjoy this album as well!

“YELLOW” from SCANDAL will be available on March 2nd.


 

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AKB48 – Green Flash (Type-S) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

April 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-greenflash-s

“Green Flash” Type-S is a good single but having been spoiled by many other AKB48 CD+DVD releases, I was hoping for more. Overall, if you can find this CD+DVD cheap, then “Green Flash (Type-S) is worth checking out! Otherwise, if all you want is the music, then go for the theater edition release which is much cheaper.

GROUP: AKB48

CD SINGLE: Green Flash (Type-S)

LABEL: King Records

CATALOG #: KIZM-325/6

DURATION: 25 Minutes

RELEASE DATE: March 4, 2015

BUY THIS CD SINGLE from cdjapan.com:

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  1. Green Flash – AKB48
  2. ヤンキーロック
  3. 世界が泣いてるなら – SKE48
  4. Green Flash off vocal ver.
  5. ヤンキーロック off vocal ver.
  6. 世界が泣いてるなら off vocal ver.

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 12:58

1. Green Flash Music Video
2. ヤンキーロック Music Video – Dance ver.
3. 世界が泣いてるなら Music Video
4. キスまでカウントダウン Music Video

For 2015, AKB48 kicks off the year with their 39th CD single “Green Flash”.

While it caused concern for fans that it only sold 860,269 copies on the first day (which is excellent in today’s Japanese music industry, but for AKB48, it was nowhere near a million copies). But the fans came out purchasing in the singles final days of the week as AKB48 would sell 1,001,393 and would become the group’s 20th consecutive million selling single (21 overall).

The single also made Japanese music history of surpassing Hamasaki Ayumi’s 25 consecutive #1 singles on the Oricon Charts, as “Green Flash” was AKB48’s 26th.

For this latest single, there are nine different versions.  The limited edition features four members with their eyes closed and a tear running down their eye, while the regular edition has four members with their eyes open, with a tear running down their eye.  The theater edition would feature Kojima Haruna (KojiHaru) and Kashiwagi Yuki (Yukirin), the two primary centers for the single and a single that would feature Yukirin as a center for the first time.

The version I will be reviewing is Type-S featuring Takahashi Minami (Takamina), Yamamoto Sayaka (Sayanee), Shimazaki Haruka (Paruru) and Kawaei Rena on the front cover with their eyes open and a tear running down.   The quad-fold insert features the members standing and the four members looking to their left or right.  The other side features lyrics for the three songs and production credits.

The song kicks off with “Green Flash”.  The song features sung lyrics but also a rap segment.  But as lively as this may sound, this uptempo song starts off pretty sad as the song is about saying goodbye to someone you love.  A relationship that is broken and missing and loving that person, but not receiving that same love back.  But as the song starts off sad, it transitions to hope as the person who is hurt, should move forward and not look back.

As for what “Green Flash” means, it’s about how the person watched an old French film and saw the sun sinking down low and behind a green light.

The song actually started to grow on me and I absolutely enjoyed Takamina and Sayanee’s rap portion of the song.

The second track is “Yankee Rock”, which is the ending theme to the AKB48 drama “Majisuka Gakuen”.  The song is a rock-inspired upbeat track.  The song is, as one can expect from a ynakee (girl’s gang) drama, about fighting.    Getting ready with Yankee Rock and the fists fly and dance with kicks.

The third track is “Haru no Hikari Chikadzuita Natsu” (which translates to “Spring Light, Approaching Summer”) performed by SKE48 and is another upbeat track about one-sided love.  The other person is the spring light, the other is summer and if they meet, anything can happen.  And when the two mix, they form the color of love.  But in reality, the person wants to speak to that other person, but is unable to.

The remaining three tracks are the instrumental version of the first three songs.

As for the accompanying DVD, there are a total of three DVD tracks.

The first DVD track features members of AKB48 that are sad and crying.  Meanwhile, other members of AKB48 are dressed in green and sit atop a building and look out toward the sunset.  As the tearful members run, we see flashbacks of these members when they were happy or when they were saddened to see guys they like with another girl.  Meanwhile, the sad members run and join the others on the rooftop and laugh and smile.

The second track “Yankee Rock” features the cast of “Majisuka Gakuen 4” and the various gangs, while we see scenes from the drama series.

For “Haru no Hikari Chikadzuita Natsu”, the music video features female students (members of SKE48) being interrogated by an investigator for drugging their teacher (who they all like) and drugging him, so they can take a photo with him and members being committed to an asylum.

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, “Green Flash” is  CD single that I enjoyed but as a CD+DVD soundtrack, it was underwhelming as AKB48 single releases tend to give you much more and in essence, more bang for your buck. There is no special fourth video track and as many CD singles tend to be over a half hour and at times over an hour, this one is less than 13 minutes long.

Personally, if you wanted just the music, you can save money and purchase the theater edition.  But if you want the music videos, then purchase Type-S if you are a fan of SKE48 or if you want the ending theme music video for “Yankee Rock” and are a fan who enjoyed the drama “Majisuka Gakuen 4”.

But on it’s own, “Green Flash” Type-S is a good single but having been spoiled by many other AKB48 CD+DVD releases, I was hoping for more.  Overall, if you can find this CD+DVD cheap, then “Green Flash (Type-S) is worth checking out! Otherwise, if all you want is the music, then go for the theater edition release which is much cheaper.

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ELISA – Millenario (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

elisa-millenario

“Millenario” is a beautiful single and wonderfully performed by ELISA!  Recommended!

ARTIST: ELISA

CD SINGLE: ミレナリオ (Millenario)

LABEL: Sony Music Labels

CATALOG #: SECL-1497

DURATION: 19 Minutes

RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2014

  1. ミレナリオ
  2. Sign -約束の鐘-
  3. Cage
  4. ミレナリオ (Instrumental)

ELISA has been creating quite a bit of buzz amongst Anison (anime songs) fans.

You can listen to her music and wonderful voice and instantly feel that the music takes you to another world.

ELISA’s music has been featured as the opening or ending theme songs for many anime series such as “Nabari no Ou”, “Ef – A Tale of Melodies”, “Hayate the Combat Butler Second Season”, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”, “Valvrave the Liberator” and more.

And now she is back with her 11th single “Millenario” which is used as a theme song for the anime series “Mahoka Koko no Rettosei” (The Irregular at Magic High School).

There were two versions of “Millenario” released, a normal CD version and another version that comes with both CD and DVD.  The version I am reviewing is the normal version which comes with an 8-page booklet, photos of ELISA, lyrics and production credits.  Also, a small business card size photo card with a message from ELISA on the back.  Plus a small flier promoting her latest album “AS LIFE”.

The single kicks of with “Millenario”, a beautiful ballad that flows gently with it’s piano arrangement.    The song written by zopp and composed by Shihori is a love song about wanting to sing a song without fear, and if it is the end, this will be the eternal song and wanting the song to comfort people, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years from now.

The second track “Sign -約束の鐘-” (which translates to “Sign – Promise of the Bell”) is a song that is written by ELISA and is a mid-tempo upbeat track that is consistent with a lot of the music that ELISA is known for.  From her back vocals and strings playing in the background, it’s a beautiful track.

The lyrics for the song is actually quite deep but positive.  Why is there no sound?  Why is the door blocked?  Beyond the bells is a sign of the past.   Will the dream come true?  Not wanting to regret, you want to face the challenges with your own state of mind, as a sign of “Keep on Fighting” displays within yourself.

The third track is “Rain Cage” co-written by ELISA and Watanabe Sho, who also composed the song.  An upbeat ballad and like ELISA’s lyrics, are quite deep as it revolves around wanting to return to a time when two people were happy, all that is left are memories during a time when all there is only endless rain.

The fourth track is the instrumental for “Millenario”.

Overall, “Millenario” is a much different single compared to the previous singles from ELISA.  In some ways, there was a style of music that she is known for and a style that was often compared to the group Kalafina.  But with “Millenario”, there is a feeling that she is breaking out of that mold, showcasing her beautiful voice, deep lyrics but maintaining that wonderful musical arrangement but trying something a bit different and it works.  But it remains to be seen if this musical direction is the ELISA we can expect now, or just a fitting style for a ballad release and she will return to the music that she is best known for.

Nevertheless, “Millenario” is a beautiful single and wonderfully performed by ELISA!  Recommended!

 

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May’n – Re:REMEMBER (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

mayn-remember

“Re:REMEMBER” is definitely a May’n single that shows maturity but also showcasing her vocals and the singer’s more passionate side. Recommended!

ARTIST: May’n

CD SINGLE: Re:REMEMBER

LABEL: Victor Entertainment

CATALOG #: VTZL-81

DURATION: 24 Minutes

RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2014

  1. Re:REMEMBER
  2. 誰がために
  3. カタツムリ
  4. Re:REMEMBER (without May’n)
  5. 誰がために(without May’n)
  6. カタツムリ(without May’n)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 4:33

  1. Re:REMEMBER MUSIC VIDEO Clip

We have seen May’n grow each year, especially since she was the singing voice of Sheryl Nome on “Macross Frontier”.

And as we see her evolve as a music artists and her vocals become much more refined, May’n this time tackles a beautiful ballad for her June 2014 single titled “Re:REMEMBER”.

The CD+DVD version of the single comes with a black and white slipcover featuring May’n and a ten-page booklet, also black and white, featuring photos of May’n, lyrics and production credits.

The single kicks off with a beautiful ballad that showcases acoustic guitar and strings.  A touching track which is used as an opening theme song for the anime series “M3 ~ Sono kuroki hagane” and also happens to be May’n’s first ballad as the A-side, the track is absolute passionate and moving.  The music and her vocals work in unison and is one of her best singles yet!

The coupling track “Daregatameni” which translates to “Who for?” is a rock and roll track.  And an awesome coupling track for those wishing for something more faster and upbeat.  Great use of guitar and bass for this rock track!

The third track is “Katatsumuri” which translates to “snail” and is another ballad, where “Re:REMEMBER” was more about the strings and acoustic guitar, “Katatsumuri” features a beautiful piano accompaniment and another moving and passionate ballad.

The remaining three tracks are the instrumental versions of the three vocal tracks.

As for the DVD, the DVD features May’n singing in what looks like an abandoned building.  May’n sings while walking around a chair with flower petals all over the ground.  Also, singing while dark clouds move above her.  A beautiful music video showcasing a deeper, more passionate side of May’n.

Overall, the tenth CD single for May’n is possibly her most passionate single yet with two slow ballads and one rock n’ roll track.  This is the first CD single in which we get to see May’n performing ballads, both which are so beautiful and passionate.  While not containing any upbeat dance tracks, we do get a fast-paced rock track included.

But “Re:REMEMBER” is definitely a May’n single that shows maturity but also showcasing her vocals and the singer’s more passionate side.

Recommended!

 

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Hell or Heaven (Pachinko Hall Version M7) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m7

“Hell or Heaven” is probably one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise singles that I have watched thus far.  The song is unique for an AKB48 related track and the music video really is dark, well-acted and well-choreographed.  I absolutely love it!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: Hell or Heaven (Pachinko Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-20113/14

DURATION: 3:38

RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2014

1. Hell or Heaven

2. Hell or Heaven (off-vocal ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 3:42

  1. Hell or Heaven Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The seventh AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Hell or Heaven” and is sung by Takahashi “Takamina” Minami, Matsui Rena and Yamamoto “Sayanee” Sayaka.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features Matsui Rena, Takahashi Minami and Yamamoto Sayaka on the front cover. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Watanabe Mayu and Sashihara Rino in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Hell or Heaven”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Hell or Heaven” is a rock track that resembles something that you would hear from a group like Kalafina or artist, Elisa with its arrangement.  According to the liner notes, the goal was to create music that is either black or white and in this sense, a track that is black (darker) and in the title, reversing Heaven or Hell to “Hell or Heaven” and a play off titles inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s title track or even touching upon the darkness of a track like the Eagles “Hotel California”.  So, this song explores a little of the darkness and lyrics staged as something you would see in a movie.  The song is more mature compared to other AKB48 Team Surprise tracks and is composed by Sakai Mikio (best known for the music for the anime series “Date a Live”, “GUNxSWORD”, “Planetes”, “S-CRY-ed”).

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video is well-choreographed and well-acted as it features the three in dark leather and black garterbelts are handcuffed by their oppressors.  The facial emotions by Takamina is rather exciting and to see the women freed from their chains and seeing them free and dancing…it’s just one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise music videos that I have seen.

It’s also great to see a video showcasing SKE48’s Matsui Rena and NMB48’s Matsumoto Sayaka!

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one vocal track and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Hell or Heaven” is probably one of the coolest AKB48 Team Surprise singles that I have watched thus far.  The song is unique for an AKB48 related track and the music video really is dark, well-acted and well-choreographed.  I absolutely love it!

Looking for an AKB48 Team Surprise single…”Hell or Heaven” is recommended!

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Youchien no Sensei (Pachinko Hall Version M6) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m6

“Youchien no Sensei” is a fun, upbeat track that leans more towards the sweet idol pop songs thanks to Mayuyu, Sashihara and Milky’s vocals. The music video is equally sweet but also a bit sexy as well. For those looking for a sweet AKB48 Team Surprise pop track will enjoy “Youchien no Sensei”!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: 幼稚園の先生 (Pachinko Hall Version) / Youchien no Sensei (Pachinko Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-20111/12

DURATION: 4:41

RELEASE DATE: October 11, 2014

1. 幼稚園の先生

2. 幼稚園の先生 (off-vocal ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 4:40

  1. 幼稚園の先生 Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The sixth AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Youchien no Sensei” (which translates to “kindergarten teacher”) and is sung by Watanabe “Mayuyu” Mayu, Sashihara Rino and Watanabe “Milky” Miyuki.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features Mayuyu, Sashihara and Milky on the front cover inside hearts shape images. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Oshima Yuko in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Youchien no Sensei”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Youchien no Sensei” features our top two AKB48 senbatsu members, Mayuyu and Sashihara and also another Watanabe…Milky as part of the trio.  The song about thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.  As expected with these three, you are going to get a cute, sugary and fun upbeat track!  According to the liner notes, the song evokes a ’70s style of melody similar to the ’70s pop trio, the Candies but utilizing more brass.

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video for “Youchien no Sensei” is cute as one would expect from Mayuyu, Sashihara and Milky.  And while the choreography is fun, the single also plays with a little sexiness as the three are wearing garter belts.

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one vocal track and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Youchien no Sensei” is a fun, upbeat track that leans more towards the sweet idol pop songs thanks to Mayuyu, Sashihara and Milky’s vocals.  The music video is equally sweet but also a bit sexy as well.

For those looking for a sweet AKB48 Team Surprise pop track will enjoy “Youchien no Sensei”!

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Itoshisa wo Marumete (Pachinko Hall Version M5) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m5

“Itoshisa wo Marumete” is a wonderful rock and roll track and featuring three of AKB48’s sexy performers rocking it out with instruments and Yukirin fans getting to watch her playing the drums like she did in “GIVE ME FIVE”.  But for the most part, it’s a rock and roll track and different when compared to the previous four singles.

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: 愛しさを丸めて (Pachinko Hall Version) / Itoshisa wo Marumete (Pachinko Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-20109/10

DURATION: 3:38

RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2014

1. 愛しさを丸めて

2. 愛しさを丸めて (off-vocal ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 3:40

  1. 愛しさを丸めて Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The fifth AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Itoshisa wo Marumete” (which translates to “Round Love”) and is sung by Kojima “KojiHaru” Haruna, Kashiwagi “Yukirin” Yuki and Yokoyama “Yuihan” Yui.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features Yukirin, Kojiharu and Yuihan on the front cover with a heart background. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Kitahara Rie in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Itoshisa wo Marumete”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Itoshisa wo Marumete” is a sexy rock and roll track about worrying about the person you love.  And once again, a unique track featuring the sexy KojiHaru, Yukirin and Yuihan together in a rock-driven track.  Love the guitar arrangements for this song but it happens to be one of the shorter AKB48 Team Surprise tracks as well.  But still, very enjoyable!

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video actually had an original plan to bring back the rock and roll theme of “GIVE ME FIVE” and in some sense, they did with featuring Yukirin on drums, but for the most part, it’s a sexy video featuring KojiHaru, Yukirin and Yuihan jamming with their instruments but then dancing sexy while cameras are fixated on them and many televisions featuring them in the background.  A very cool music video overall!

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one vocal track and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Itoshisa wo Marumete” is a wonderful rock and roll track and featuring three of AKB48’s sexy performers rocking it out with instruments and Yukirin fans getting to watch her playing the drums like she did in “GIVE ME FIVE”.  But for the most part, it’s a rock and roll track and different when compared to the previous four singles.

Looking for a rock and roll AKB48 Team Surprise track or just a KojiHaru, Yukirin or Yuihan fan?  Then “Itoshisa wo Marumete” is worth checking out!

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Hatsukoi no Kagi (Web Version – M4) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m4

“Yume wo Miru Nara”, the third AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD release for the second stage is recommended for those who don’t mind that there is only one single vocal track on the CD and DVD, and also recommended for Takamina and Tomochin fans who want to see this unlikely, but now a reality, pairing of original AKB48 members!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: 初恋の鍵 (Karaoke Hall Version) / Hatsukoi no Kagi (Karaoke Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-10107/8

DURATION: 4:53

RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2014

1. 初恋の鍵

2. 初恋の鍵 (off-vocal ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 5:05

  1. 初恋の鍵 Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The fourth AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Hatsukoi no Kagi” (which translates to “Key to Love”) and is sung by Watanabe “Mayuyu” Mayu and Shimazaki “Paruru” Haruka.

The single that I am reviewing is the web version and features Mayuyu and Paruru on the front cover with a heart background. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Kitahara Rie in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Hatsukoi no Kagi”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Hatsukoi no Kagi” is what you would expect from a Mayuyu and Paruru pairing.  A sweet and cute, upbeat song about unrequited love and is about being an adult and bumping into a person you have liked a long time ago.  But now as adults, can you confess to the person that you liked them long ago?

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video features both Mayuyu and Paruru wearing cute lolita outfits with stuffed animals on them.  While they perform, we see an unnecessary CG of insects and animals dancing behind them on the big screen.  But while it’s cute to see both of these idol singers together, the CG could have been left out of the equation in my opinion.

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one song and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Hatsukoi no Kagi” is a fun pairing of both Mayuyu and Paruru.  The song is actually quite funny and uplifting and as expected, sweet and cute.  The music video also showcases that cuteness of the two idol singers but I felt that it was a bit too much with the CG backgrounds.

“Hatsukoi no Kagi”, the fourth AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD release for the second stage is recommended for those who don’t mind that there is only one single vocal track on the CD and DVD and for those who can’t get enough of Mayuyu and Paruru (without the saltiness).

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Yume wo Miru Nara (Pachinko Hall Version M3) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m3

“Yume wo Miru Nara”, the third AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD release for the second stage is recommended for those who don’t mind that there is only one single vocal track on the CD and DVD, and also recommended for Takamina and Tomochin fans who want to see this unlikely, but now a reality, pairing of original AKB48 members!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: 夢を見るなら (Pachinko Hall Version) / Yume Wo Miru Nara (Pachinko Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-20105/6

DURATION: 4:28

RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2014

  1. 夢を見るなら
  2. 夢を見るなら  (Off-Vocal Ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 5:05

  1. ハングリーライオン Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The third AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Yume wo Miru Nara” (which translates to “If you Dream”) and is sung by Takahashi Minami and Itano Tomomi.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features Takahashi Minami and Itano Tomomi on the front cover . The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Minegishi Minami in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Yume wo Miru Nara”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Yume wo Miru Nara” is an upbeat track and also features an unlikely pairing with Takahashi Minami and Itano Tomomi.  Which is great to see these long time, original AKB48 members perform together.  The song pretty much features a friendship during seasons and shows the past, present and future of these two friends.  The song is a positive track about life and looking towards the future.

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video features both Itano Tomomi and Takahashi Minami walking towards the stage while a projection shows sakura trees, blue sky, rain and snow to depict the seasons.  And while they walk to the stage, they take off a layer of clothing (or showing them in different clothing), while acting in season.  But the song is actually quite fitting as it is another goodbye to Itano song as we see Tomochin exiting the back door (like Itano’s “Saigo no Door” graduation song).

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one song and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Yume wo Miru Nara” is surprisingly a good pairing of both Takamina and Tomochin.  The song is quite positive but also a fitting music video and pairing as it is almost close to real life as these two have worked together for eight years throughout different seasons and in the end, Itano is saying goodbye as she exits the back door (as in real life as she graduated from AKB48) and Takamina keeps moving forward as the captain of AKB48.

“Yume wo Miru Nara”, the third AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD release for the second stage is recommended for those who don’t mind that there is only one single vocal track on the CD and DVD, and also recommended for Takamina and Tomochin fans who want to see this unlikely, but now a reality, pairing of original AKB48 members!

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AKB48 Team Surprise – Hungry Lion (Pachinko Hall Version M2) (a J!-ENT World Groove CD Single Review)

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

akb48-teamsurprise2014-m2

“Hungry Lion” is one of my favorite AKB48 Team Surprise upbeat dance tracks.  I love the music for this song and also the upbeat choreography in the music video.  Also, you don’t often see this style of pairing with Oshima Yuko, may it be Mariko or Haruna, let alone Aki.  And the combination with all four members was cute and just fun to watch and listen to!

GROUP: AKB48 Team Surprise (AKB48 チームサプライズ)

CD SINGLE: ハングリーライオン (Pachinko Hall Version) / Hungry Lion (Pachinko Hall Version)

LABEL: KING RECORDS

CATALOG #: AKBS-20103/4

DURATION: 4:28

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2014

  1. ハングリーライオン
  2. ハングリーライオン (Off-Vocal Ver.)

DVD INFO: 16:9 LB, Region 2, Duration: 4:30

  1. ハングリーライオン Music Clip

To commemorate the release of the latest Pachinko AKB48 game machine for 2014 and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning in September 2014.

Fort this second stage release, the members chosen to participate in this special project are (note: the songs were recorded prior to Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi’s graduation from AKB48):

Team A: Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka; Team K: Kitahara Rie, Yokoyama Yui; Team B: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki; Team 4: Minegishi Minami; SKE48 Team E: Matsui Rena; NMB48 Team N: Yamamoto Sayaka; NMB48 Team BII: Watanabe Miyuki and HKT48 Team H: Sashihara Rino

Each week from September through mid-November, a single plus its music video will be released via a pachinko hall version (which can be won or sold at pachinko halls) and a web version, each featuring two different covers and will come with exclusive collectors cards for the pachinko hall and another for the web version.

It’s important to note that because these releases are not sold in regular stores, the best way for those living outside of Japan to purchase these singles is through eBay.

The second AKB48 Team Surprise CD single for the second stage is titled “Hungry Lion” and is sung by Oshima Yuko, Kojima Haruka, Shinoda Mariko and Takajo Aki.

The single that I am reviewing is the pachinko hall version and features the four women posing with their ’60s inspired clothing. The 8-page booklet featuring lyrics, production credits and liner notes from Ishigami and pictures of the group on stage. The back cover of the CD features Watanabe Miyuki and Yokoyama Yui in a red dress.

Also, by visiting the official website for “Hungry Lion”, you can get access to liner notes, gallery (a few photos are what is featured in the CD insert), wallpaper and poster.

“Hungry Lion” is an upbeat discotheque style single about a girl approaching adulthood and according to the liner notes, instead of using a song such as “Lion Hunter”, because it’s about a woman entering the adult world, the focus was on a “Hungry Lion”.

The second stage singles also come with a second vocal-less track of the primary single.

As for the DVD, the music video features each member in stylish ’60s clothing.  Takajo Aki, Shinoda Mariko and Kojima Haruna are seen in more elegant style clothing, while Oshima Yuko is in a summer dress and hat and each are dancing.  Very cool use of the mirrors in the music video but also like the choreography for this track!

It’s important to note that this is a region 2 DVD and will not play on a region 1 player (unless you have a non-region DVD player) but can be played on a MAC or PC using free video playing software such as VLC or Daum PotPlayer.

Overall, the AKB48 Team Surprise CD singles may not be for everyone, primarily because there is only one song and one music video and they cost the same price of a regular single. But yet, if you are an AKB48 collector and you gotta collect them all!

For the most part, “Hungry Lion” is one of my favorite AKB48 Team Surprise upbeat dance tracks.  I love the music for this song and also the upbeat choreography in the music video.  Also, you don’t often see this style of pairing with Oshima Yuko, may it be Mariko or Haruna, let alone Aki.  And the combination with all four members was cute and just fun to watch and listen to!

“Hungry Lion”, the second AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD release for the second stage is recommended for those who don’t mind that there is only one single vocal track on the CD and DVD!

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