Kana Nishino – LOVE one.

August 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Kana Nishino | 2 Comments
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  1. *Prologue* ~Kirari~
  2. Tookutemo feat. WISE
  3. doll
  4. Girlfriend
  5. Kimi no Koe wo feat. VERBAL (m-flo)
  6. Style.
  7. Life goes on…
  8. I
  9. candy
  10. MAKE UP
  11. glowly days
  12. celtic
  13. Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara
  14. *Epilogue* ~LOVE one.~

Kana Nishino debuted in Japan a few years ago with LOVE one. and since then she’s been steadily becoming more popular. After hearing all the big fuss about her last year I tried giving her a shot. Her voice, at first, almost scared me away because in some of her past singles it didn’t sound very appealing. Later, I heard that she started to move into a pop/R&B oriented sound that suited her voice so I gave the album a listen to see if it would change my opinion on her.

*Prologue* ~Kirari~ starts with a sweet music box melody and a few piano notes. It’s gorgeous and I love the chimes that are used to transition into the up-tempo melody but the same can’t be said for Kana’s vocals. She sounds so childish and her high voice is really unappealing to me. She sounds much better when the tempo increases and her backing vocals are enjoyable. Near the end, her vocals drag on and she loses flow with the melody which makes her sound strained. Luckily, Tookutemo feat. WISE is a huge improvement and Kana sounds good. It’s filled with wonderful synths and piano chords. The verses are lighter than the chorus and I love the occasional chimes. The beautiful atmosphere in the chorus is addicting and Kana’s vocals are so much better than they were in the introduction. She even hits some impressive notes at the end of the chorus. WISE only appears near the end for a typical but nice rap and it makes the song fun. Kana heads into dance-pop territory for doll which contains a distorted vocal introduction that leads into a groovy synth riff. Her vocals in the verses are good and they bounce nicely with the constant thumping beats. In the chorus, she sings in a high, screechy tone that doesn’t go well with the melody at all. Her soft, deep tone in the verses work much better and she should have used a similar tone for the chorus. The music slows down in the second half of the second verse and I like the light atmosphere it creates. If her voice wasn’t cringe worthy in the chorus this would have been a great dance tune because it has a strong melody.

Girlfriend is another up-tempo; however, it’s a lot better compared to the previous song. Her vocals in the verses are interesting because of the confident tone to her voice. There are even rock elements thrown into it due to the addicting guitar riff in the verses. Her voice in the chorus is high pitched but this time it doesn’t sound screechy and it goes well with the cute, vibrant melody. The way she drags out the “I wanna be your girlfriend” lines is so catchy and I can’t get it out of my head. The only downfall is the English bridge because I can’t understand what she’s saying. Kimi no Koe Wo feat.VERBAL (m-flo) is a lovely mid-tempo R&B song that begins with a slow version of the chorus which is then followed by Kana and VERBAL singing together, “it’s my way, your way, no way/it’s one way love.” The verses utilize chimes and a piano while Kana performs with high, strong vocals. The arrangement becomes bubbly as the tempo increases in the chorus and she puts a lot of emotion into her voice. In the post-chorus, gorgeous strings are included which sets the song apart from the third track and they remain for the second half of the song. VERBAL doesn’t add anything special and the fact that he raps over the same melody is a little strange because the two don’t blend well. All the instruments fade away for the bridge except the piano and I like the violin that is added because of its build-up. It sounds like a completely different song which keeps things interesting and fresh. Style. is a typical pop song with some nice moments. With breezy synths, drums and guitar riffs it has a fairly typical melody. Kana’s vocals are cute and they get even sweeter during the chorus. She doesn’t sound too bad during the chorus but her voice is a little too childish. Not much happens in the song and that keeps it from being memorable.

Life Goes On… is one of the best songs on the album and Kana gives her best vocal performance. With strings, soft percussion, an acoustic guitar and a piano it contains all of the instruments that make a good ballad. Her voice is actually beautiful on this track because she uses a deep tone for the verses. She does sing in a higher register in the chorus but it’s more restrained compared to the previous songs and it goes well with the melody. The thing that bothers me about this song is the use of water droplets in the chorus. Water droplets have always bothered me in songs and they just serve as a distraction from the lovely melody. Even with this minor annoyance, this is one of my favourite songs on the album. I is a pretty good pop song that builds up as it progresses. At first it’s made up of minimal synths and a guitar but then the percussion kicks in and Kana’s voice changes to a stronger tone as she sings in a faster pace. The melody is even more upbeat in the chorus and the repetitive “I don’t wanna know” lines are catchy despite her mediocre vocals. This is her first single so it doesn’t surprise me that her voice isn’t up to par with her newer material. It’s too high and screechy which causes a clash with the arrangement. Everything dies down in the bridge for a short appearance of strings and the song bursts right back into the chorus. It’s not bad but it could have been better.

The opening synths in candy make it seem like it’s going to be an amazing electropop tune but it’s a total disaster the minute Kana starts singing. The song is mostly sung in English but the lyrics are horrendous and her vocals are atrocious. She tries to sing the verses with an urban feel but it just doesn’t work and it’s annoying, “girl, how you doing?/it’s the same every day/so how about your boyfriend?/we’re doing uh-ok.” The chorus is just as bad and she doesn’t put any emotion into her voice, making her sound monotone and bored, “it’s like candy candy oh/there’s so many/I cannot get enough.” The only tolerable things are her vocoded backing vocals and the production. MAKE UP continues where the last song left off because it’s also dominated by synths but it’s a lot better. It mixes in guitar and piano riffs, keeping it fresh and giving it a strong pop flair. The verses are good but the chorus is the best part of the song. It’s catchy and the computer sounding synths as well as her cheery vocals are great. The distorted vocals in the bridge keep it from getting stale and her ad-libs at the end are surprisingly good. This is, without a doubt, the best up-tempo on the album. A music box melody and sparkling chimes act as an introduction to glowly days, an innocent and light mid-tempo. The melody is stunning with the strings and use of different piano riffs. I like how the mood becomes happier when the percussion is added and her high vocals are really nice. The chorus is so carefree and it has such an infectious, bright melody that is easy to like. I’m glad that the quirky piano melody gets its own solo in the bridge because I can’t get enough of it.

With a title like celtic I was expecting some Celtic influences in the music but sadly there isn’t and if there was this song would at least have something memorable about it. The melody isn’t bad by any means as it’s composed of strings and a lovely piano but the verses are bland due to her soft singing. The chorus saves the song because the music crescendos to a more uplifting sound and her vocals are livelier. It’s too bad it ends up being too similar to the other songs because it could have been great if the production had something unique going for it. Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara is the last full song on the album and it’s the best one. Being her last single you can see how much she has improved vocally and it would have been nice if her vocals were this good for all the songs. It’s a delicious R&B mid-tempo with synth elements that make it irresistible. The verses are made up of delicate piano notes and Kana’s voice gives off a light but sad feel. For the chorus the music speeds up and it’s dominated by an explosion of synths. Her voice is unbelievably good and for once her high tone is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little disappointing that the best song on the album comes at its end. *Epilogue* ~LOVE one.~, like the intro, doesn’t do a good job of closing the album. It’s composed of an orchestrated-like melody that is joined by a music box piano and it’s quite epic. The downside is that Kana speaks in English and it ends up being boring.

Conclusion: LOVE one. is better than I thought it would be. It’s not a great album but for a debut it does a good job of introducing Kana. If her vocals were consistently good than there wouldn’t be too many issues with the songs but her voice is hit or miss in a lot of songs. In some cases they’re downright unbearable like in candy but when she delves into R&B her vocals shine. All she has to do is improve her vocals because the production is on-point.

Recommended Tracks: Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara, Life goes on…, Tookutemo feat. WISE, Girlfriend, MAKE UP and glowly days

Rating

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2 Comments »

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  1. To be frank, none of Kana’s albums have really blown me away. On the other hand, I do enjoy her singles. As for her debut album, I was actually rather turned off by it. I found most of the tracks awkward and at times ear-grating. As it turned out, tracks like Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara and Life goes on… really stood out and just shows how well her voice goes with R&B and ballads.
    As for MAKE UP, the only part of it I really enjoyed was the bridge – in fact, for a while I only listened to it for the bridge. And yes, I agree that the tracks were largely hit or miss, thanks to her vocals, if it’s any consolation, they are much better now.
    An enjoyable read. =]

    • Thanks for commenting! It’s odd that in one song she can sound great but then in the next she sounds like a train wreck. I think this is the first album I’ve heard where the singer’s voice jumps from good to bad in every other song. Usually singers are consistently good or bad but Kana seems to be all over the place with her vocals. I listened to her sophomore album and like you said her voice is much better.


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