Meisa Kuroki – MAGAZINE

May 1, 2011 at 8:03 am | Posted in Meisa Kuroki | 2 Comments
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  1. Intro -MAGAZINE-
  2. LOL!
  3. SWITCH⇔
  4. BYE BYE MY FRIEND
  5. CELEBRATE
  6. SHOCK -Unmei-
  7. Say Good Night☆
  8. As I Am
  9. Why??
  10. Loneliness
  11. LOVEHOLIC
  12. Wasted
  13. 5 -FIVE-
  14. Somewhere…

After two mini-albums, Meisa finally released her first full-length album, MAGAZINE, earlier this year. After checking out her singles I noticed she was moving in a different direction from her mini-albums which had me worried because I liked hellcat and was hoping she would return to that sound after the mediocre ATTITUDE. I wasn’t feeling the singles that I heard from the album but I decided to save my final verdict until I heard the album in its entirety.

Intro -MAGAZINE- is a good opener because it has a nice synth melody that gets stronger as it progresses and Meisa contributes with a few ad-libs. LOL! reminds me of Like This because it has a pretty catchy chorus but lackluster verses. The synths are very heavy which sound great but Meisa speaks more than she sings in the verses which comes off as choppy. However, she speaks aggressively during the pre-chorus which goes much better with the heavy synths. The song really comes to life during the chorus because it’s catchy, the synths are upbeat and Meisa actually starts singing. The chorus does have one small flaw and that is when she sings “laughing out loud” because it ends up sounding slightly weird. The song chills out for the bridge where the music dies down and Meisa delivers her lines in a high register. This is a decent song but it suffers from bad use of vocoder because her vocals sound off. The starting synths for SWITCH⇔ are interesting and sound a lot more infectious than the melody of the previous song. Even though the lyrics are kind of weird, “sometimes you make me feel like I’m going out with a girl,” the song is enjoyable. Meisa’s performance is energetic and her vocoded vocals are a lot more pleasant. I love the light upbeat atmosphere and the chorus is highly addicting. The album moves to a sweet sound for BYE BYE MY FRIEND. Everything about this song is sugary, bright and vibrant. I would’ve liked Meisa’s vocals to be softer in the verses because they’re a bit too overpowering against the melody but they’re fine during the chorus when the arrangement becomes more upbeat. There are a few moments where Meisa’s vocals slip and she ends up sounding really bad, like when she sings “just too much” right before the first chorus. The bridge is the best part because the music calms down and she sings with soft vocals. The chorus is quite infectious and I really liked the toned down chorus after the bridge. This is a good song but there’s something about her vocals that don’t go well with the arrangement.

The piano introduction to CELEBRATE makes it seem like it’s going to be a ballad or mid-tempo but when Meisa starts singing the piano is replaced with hot synths. The verses have a great groove to them and so far this is Meisa’s best vocal performance on the album. The chorus is ridiculously infectious and the repetition of “hayaku” and “hurry up” make it even better. Meisa puts a lot of energy into her vocals and it pays off tremendously. I love that the piano comes back in the bridge even though it’s brief. This is the first track that’s really stood out for me. The first time I listened to SHOCK -Unmei- I couldn’t get into it but it’s grown on me and it’s one of the better songs on the album. It’s an aggressive club banger and Meisa nails it with her in-your-face vocals, “ready for the Shock!?/coming up!/yeah.” Even though it’s her oldest single, it’s also her best. The verses are toned down compared to the chorus and there’s a piano and some strings accompanying the synths. It makes for an interesting combination and the strings end up sounding a lot better with the melody from the chorus. The breakdown is hot and Meisa sounds super sexy with her breathy vocals.

Say Good Night☆ immediately starts off promising with a lovely mid-tempo synth melody that’s absolutely irresistible. The laid-back feel of the verses are great and Meisa sounds really nice, “but I think we have to move on.” The bittersweet chorus and the gorgeous synths blend well with Meisa’s vocals. This suits her voice perfectly and it is beautiful. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Meisa goes back to dance pop with As I Am and it’s another great track. It’s not heavy but its lightness is what makes it enjoyable. I thought it was neat that for the English lyrics her vocals are heavily vocoded, “would you still be there for me?” The chorus is a blast of delicious synths, it’s addicting and Meisa’s ad-libs are nice. This gets the thumbs up from me. WHY?? has a lovely start with Meisa’s soft vocals accompanied with a piano but then the shouting backing vocals kick in and she starts singing in a high register that is extremely grating. It ruins the mood that the introduction had set up and I’m disappointed that the rest of the song is nothing like it. The verses are much nicer and I like the two piano melodies and how they contrast each other. On the other hand, I don’t like Meisa’s backing vocals and the percussion just ruins the sweet feel of the pianos. If she toned her vocals down it would have been a great song but the notes she hits are just way too strained.

Loneliness is the first song that has a dark tone and I love that aspect of it. The arrangement is dominated by intense drums and gritty synths. Meisa’s vocals are tolerable and her “ahs” in the verses go nicely with the dark elements of the melody. The pre-chorus does a 180 because it’s much lighter and incorporates a piano. The darkness comes back hard for the chorus and even though it’s not that catchy it’s still good. The bridge is quite interesting with Meisa’s low vocoded ad-libs which suit the dark theme perfectly. LOVEHOLIC has me torn because sometimes I feel like it has one of the most interesting arrangements on the album but sometimes I feel like it’s a complete mess. It has a hard beat which gives it some edge and Meisa’s vocals sound a bit dull in the verses. Her vocals are livelier in the chorus and it ends up being quite catchy but it’s just not that memorable. Her vocals, when she sings “come a little closer,” sound pretty bad and it’s a very poor transition to the chorus. I would like this track a lot more if the vocals were better.

Meisa goes for a pop rock sound with Wasted and she pulls it off nicely. I was afraid it was going to be a disaster but it’s really fun. The verses are vibrant and Meisa’s voice is filled with energy. The chorus kicks up the vibrancy which makes for a catchy melody. Her voice is weak when she sings the English lines and I could do without the annoying repetition of “I don’t care.” All in all, it’s a nice little twist to the album. 5 -FIVE- is a synth driven party song. The verses are a slightly basic and the pre-chorus sounds a lot better because Meisa’s vocals are more energetic. The highlight is definitely the chorus and I love how enthusiastic she sounds when she singssay 1,2,3,4,5!” Although I enjoy the song there’s nothing special about it and it ends up being similar to the rest of the upbeat tracks. Meisa closes off the album with Somewhere… and surprisingly, it’s really lovely. The arrangement is so soothing with the piano and Meisa’s vocals are wonderful. There’s no straining or odd sounding moments and she stays within her capabilities. I’m very impressed with the chorus because of her vocals and I love the tone of her voice. The added synths are a great touch and the overall atmosphere is nice and relaxing. This is easily one of her best ballads and it’s great to see that she’s made an improvement.

Conclusion: Meisa’s debut album is nowhere near the level of hellcat but it’s a decent effort. It’s disappointing to see that her music has declined rather than improved. I felt that her vocals on some of the songs were bad compared to her mini-albums. I was surprised that I liked the mid-tempos and ballads more than the dance songs. When Meisa stays within her vocal boundaries she pulls off nice vocals. The biggest disappoint of the album is the fact that So Smooth wasn’t included. That is her best song and I can’t believe she let it go to waste. I would have given the album an extra half rating if it was included because then there would be a song that I could say I really loved. In the end, MAGAZINE is a decent effort but it’s lacking in too many places.

Recommended Tracks: Say Good Night☆, Somewhere…, SWITCH⇔, Celebrate and As I Am

Rating


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2 Comments »

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  1. It seems we really see eye to eye about this album, what a coincidence! Do you have something to recommend to me that I can review? Can’t make up my mind what to post next…

    • That’s what I thought when I read your review lol. I have no idea what I should recommend for you. If you’re looking for new stuff, Jennifer Lopez and Namie Amuro just released their new album. Some other artists that released this year are Nicole Scherzinger, Avril Lavigne and moumoon.


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