A mini-album that will appeal to Ai Otsuka’s bunny rabbit alter-ego Love. A more synth pop driven style of music (definitely different from Ai Otsuka’s musical style) that will appeal to fans who enjoy the Vocaloid/Miku Hatsune style of music. The album is fun, cute and enjoyable but the DVD is passable and recommend going for the normal release of the album instead.
LABEL: Avex Entertainment Inc.
CATALOG #: AVCD-23955/B
RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2009
BUY THIS ALBUM from CDJapan.com:
- RED EYE
- White Choco
DVD: Region 2, 4:3, Duration: 13 minutes
- White Choco
In Japan, a common occurrence with pop stars who want to dwelve into different types of music, either form another band or unit or they take on an alter ego. And for avex music artist Ai Otsuka, she has taken an alter ego of a bunny rabbit named “Love” (Ai in Japanese means “love”).
Love made its music debut back in April 2007 with the the song “Love no Theme” and followed up with the single later that year with “White choco” which was used for the anime film “Oshare Majo: Love and Berry Shiawase no Maho”.
The music for Love is quite different from Ai Otsuka’s music which tends to fluctuate between rock, happy pop and romantic ballads. With Love, you get music that is more happy pop/synth driven tracks that is similar to music by popular Vocaloid character Miku Hatsune and vocodor effects are applied to the voice to give the sound a more digital virtual character type of musical feel.
The opening track “MAGIC” features a mild two-step style of synth pop track, while the second track “STARLIGHT” features more deep grooves but both are fun and happy pop tracks.
The third track “MOONLIGHT” features a more drum-beat driven track and features a more slower-paced style of track that transitions to an upbeat track. But a pretty cool track!
The fourth track “RED EYE” is a slower-paced track that utilizes a good amount of experimentation to the overall music from deep bass grooves, keyboards and synth brass.
The fifth track “White choco” is the theme song to “”Oshare Majo: Love and Berry Shiawase no Maho” and is a faster pace track that is very Japanese candy pop, sugary and cute but overall a cute second single from Love.
The sixth and final track features Love’s first single “Love no Theme” (Love Theme), a digital pop track and is a more vocal/synth driven track.
The version I’m reviewing comes with a CD and a DVD. Included are three music videos presented in 4:3 and region 2 (this will not play in regular DVD players except all-region players and computers via software such as VLC).
“MAGIC” is a music video that features the bunny silhouette to Love and use of the character and the word “Love” and a lot of circles and bars being draw on the screen. A vibrant, colorful music video but something that you would see more on the opening credits of a TV show. So, overall not a major music video.
“White Choco” features a hand drawn” animated music video of a plant in which claws are picking up dough and molding it into a bunny rabbit candy dunked into chocolate.
“Love no Theme” features a CG-driven music video with plenty of CG-rendered Love bunny rabbits.
The CD insert features the lyrics for the six songs and the production credits. Also, included is a mini insert promoting LOVE on mobile, Love ear muffs and the mini-album.
Overall, I can see many Ai Otsuka fans picking this album up to hear a different style of music coming from the vocalist. But for non-Ai fans, unless you really dig the character LOVE or enjoy a song from the album, it all comes down to your personal taste. I dig the tracks because it’s Ai’s alter ego but she’s singing to music that is synth pop driven but more in a digital idol type of way. Granted, it’s for a bunny character but it’s a cute concept.
As for the CD and the CD+DVD version, there is no real reason to get the DVD version as the music videos are not that great. But if you are an Ai completest, I can understand one wanting to get the CD+DVD version but it’s important to note that she does not show up in any of the music videos, this release is pretty much all about the rabbit and Ai’s alter ego as Love.
BUY THIS ALBUM from CDJapan.com:
“The debut of LOVE (Stephanie and Misaki) founded by EXILE’s HIRO. A good debut for the duo including a cover of ‘secret base’ by ZONE.”
CD SINGLE: First Love ～ラブレター～
LABEL: Epic Records Japan
CATALOG #: AICL-2045
RELEASE DATE: August 26, 2009
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- Two Hearts
- secret base ～君がくれたもの～
- Two Hearts (Instrumental)
- ラブレター (Instrumental)
- secret base ～君がくれたもの～ (Instrumental)
The debut single of Love, a duo consisting of Stephanie and Misaki and a new unit that was produced by EXILE’s HIRO. A unit that was developed to promote love, dream and happiness.
The first single “Two Hearts” is a bit interesting as you have one vocalist with a lower voice and another with a higher. For the most part, musically the track is pretty cool with an arrangement by CHOKKAKU and strings by Gen Ittetsu Strings. A pop song with a very romantic feel with the strings playing in the background. I like the chorus of the song but it’s an interesting combination of vocals as both women have very distinct style of vocals but it’s a good track but felt the one with lower voice was a bit off vocally.
The second track “Love Letter” is a mid-tempo pop track written by Jeff Miyahara and JUN. T and actually features a much better vocals and harmonizing by both women. Cool beats along with the piano. A pretty solid track!
The third track is “secret base ~Kimi ga kureta mono” which was originally sung by the female band ZONE. An R&B version but for the most part, a pretty good cover of the hit song.
The three remaining tracks are in the instrumental versions of the first three songs.
CD insert features lyrics, production credits for the songs and a photo of Misaki and Stephanie.
Overall, for their first debut, it’s good but it’s too early to tell how their music will be in future releases. I definitely want to hear more of what this duo has to give vocally and musically. So, far the first single features two love songs and a popular cover of a hit song which overall, we very good with only the opening track that I loved the music but felt the vocals were a bit off. But all in all, Love’s “First Love ~Love Letter~” is a good debut for the duo. Look forward to the next single.
BUY THIS CD SINGLE:
CD SINGLE: White choco
LABEL: What’s Music Inc.
CATALOG #: AVCD-31351
DURATION: 9.3 minutes
Released on November 21, 2007
- White choco
- White choco [instrumental]
DVD: Region 2, 4:3, Duration: 4:40
- White choco -music clip-
Many popular J-POP singers have had alter ego’s. Kawase Tomoko of The Brilliant Green had Tommy February6 and Tommy Heavenly, Tomosaka Rie had Sakatomo Eri and Otsuka Ai has LOVE.
LOVE-chan is a cat character that Otsuka Ai uses as an alter ego to sing music that is more electronic-based and in November, LOVE has released it’s second CD single titled “White choco”, an older version of the song was included on the promotional disc for her first CD single “Momo no Hanabira” (2003).
The latest revised version of “White choco” features a very fast-paced, fun and enjoyable pop song and very synth and drum machine driven. The drums on the song are metronomic but has a cute, quirkiness that makes it very fun to listen to.
The CD+DVD version is budget priced fortunately since there are only the CD single and the instrumental track on the first disc. The DVD features the music clip and an endless version which is a non-stop song that just keeps going and going. The music video clip features a 3-D animation of LOVE being produced in a candy factory (hence White choco) and a white version is made and a brown chocolate version are being produced. Not exactly an exciting or spectacularly cool animated clip but oh well, it comes with the CD single.
The CD insert features the lyrics for “White choco”.
All in all, I guess I’m into checking out alter ego’s of music artists that I listen to and I dig Otsuka Ai and I enjoy the music of LOVE. The CD is pretty much bare bones, the main song and the instrumental.
But I have listened to the song a billion times already because it’s cute and quirky and I dig it!
As for the DVD, you can select the normal version or endless version and I’m guessing the endless version was created for parents who want to keep their children, toddlers or babies busy by having it play over and over again while they get some work done and in that case, love the endless version just for that.
But for the price at around $12 for the CD+DVD is not bad at all.
The song is fun and if you are a hardcore Otsuka Ai fan, a collection would be incomplete without the LOVE CD singles, so recommended for the LOVE/Otsuka Ai fans out there!