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I just feel like writing something, it's been awhile...

I didn't write anything about Bittersweet because... I don't like the overall package. The only saving grace from the single is the live performances (I love them all, the choreography is cute & dynamic, and the M-Station performance hits the fangirling soft spot of cuteness). On the flip side, the PV is pretty, and that's about it. The tracks? None of them lingers in my brain, sadly. I tried to listen to them continuously but... nope, they didn't latch on, not even Sync, which I don't know how to appreciate it. Guess, this one just a miss for me.

And then Arashi strikes back with the releases that are too close to each other, I'll just cramp them up in 1 post then, and including the pictures too...


See? nicely cramped XD... and we begin with ...
Dare Mo Shiranai ~ 誰も知らない )

Not only singles, but Arashi also released the Arafes'13 DVD.

Arafes'13 )

and I better go sleep now...
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I thought of doing a movie review post today until I saw... LOVE is everywhere today! Off course the first instinct is to listen to it right away. As everybody knows, LOVE is Arashi 12th album, yes they've come a long way and this album adds on to the already huge pool of Arashi songs. Yesterday I complained to my friend that no matter how much I shuffle my playlist, it's always Arashi song, and no, I have other songs too, V6, NEWS, Kat-tun, K8, Yamapi, SMAP, Kinki, T&T (yeah, all Johnny's, but still, they're other than Arashi, right?), so what happen the those other songs? Then I realize that I just keep on adding Arashi songs (they're productive too!) that they ends up to be 70% of the total song list, and this album is going to increase that 70% to probably 75%. So, how this album fares? Regardless, this album will make #1 anyway, come on, it's Arashi, Johnny's #1 cash cow. They have to churn out 1 album per year, else probably Johnny's P&L will look slightly less desirable than the forecast.

Firstly, the cover cannot be cheaper looking than this. When it comes to Arashi, somehow their cover is getting more and more... Off course if we're looking from the concept, it tries to show the more mature Arashi, no more pastel cheery happy Potato, Myojo idol style covers. Nobody smiles, all try their best to look cool and suave and the graphic designer just need to paste the word Love on top of it (different color and slightly different pose for the other version). And Johnny's will make another tons of side money from the shop photos because of this. Then? If I make so much noise over the cover (I don't hate the cover, the boys definitely look good, heck Aiba-chan looks so pretty here, and definitely the shot is done professionally, but still, considering the effort, it's just so cheap, that's all), how about the content?

On the contrary to the cover, with this LOVE, Arashi reminds me to always expect the best from them. I've mentioned so many times in my other posts (I think), when listening to Arashi or Johnny's in general, never expect originality, but expect that they're here to make you happy and satisfied as fans aka customers. I LOVE every single songs (and that includes Sho-chan's solo!). They really thought through and arranged the songs neatly this time. I guess this time they have better planning, scheduling and probably a better song pool to select from. You have to listen the tracks in order, no shuffle, then you can already see an Arashi concert. The tracks show a very different side of Arashi, the mature Arashi, a bit bittersweet when I think about it again, ah, they're graduating from their pastel color idol image, but I do look forward to what mature Arashi will produce in the future. So many different expressions and emotions are displayed from 1 track to another that it feels like you're riding a roller coaster of LOVE (not so much different from watching their concert, I'd think). So imagine that you're in Tokyo Dome with your uchiwa and penlight, only there's nobody else, only you're sitting in that coveted arena seat, the lights are dimmed and bang...
LOVE celebration... )
Overall, this album just shot up to #2 in my list. My #1 is still TIME. To me, TIME is the epitome of Arashi. But LOVE shows me a grown up Arashi, the mark of adulthood and I look forward to the concert... in DVD T__T... I can almost see that this will be a REALLY GREAT CONCERT! Damn! I'll book a flight straight away to jet myself to Japan if I get a ticket (a fan girl can always dream!)... T__T
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1 more week to the concert, yeah! Finally 4-nin NEWS get themselves a new album. The concert theme can't be cheesier than that, 'NEWS makes you happy! Makes the world happier!' XD but this is NEWS and NEWS does make me happy! Light and fluffy happy to be exact, and how will they do this concert with the new set of songs?

The new songs are well... so NEWS. Light and fluffy are good stuffs, they make you giddy and happy, but if we're talking about concerts from the whole setlist, it'll make me wonder, which song will they choose as the main dance performance routine that they usually perform towards end of the show, the wow-ing factor performance. But it also makes me think that maybe this time they change the format? All the possibilities suddenly pouring in. Will they just go blasting the fireworks with Matsuri theme? Afterall their main song from the album is Nagisa no One Summer, complete with those pink satin sakura yukata. Or will they do it a darker way with Dancing in the Dark (literal song title XD)? Gah, I can't imagine it at all, and all the more I'm curious what kind of performance they're going to pull hence the temptation to go and find tickets for Osaka show.

So, let's get started with my faves:

Nagisa no One Summer ~ This song really marks that summer has started and it's time for some fun. So light, pastel color, glittering, sparkling. It's really anything about Johnny's that we all like, glitters & sparkles. I see the beach, the sea, people playing beach volleyballs, digging those shaved ice desserts, playing with water, splashing it at each other, all those Summer Getsu9 typical scenes. Hint: what Summer Nude should be LOL. If you want to add some love story, let's do this, the girl is too shy to go to have a splash of the sea and the boy with the kakkoi typical shoujo manga scene, giving out his hand 'Let's go!' and the summer love song typical PV scene starts and it sounds like I'm playing too much otome game, which I don't and will never do LOL. As mentioned before, we shouldn't forget the performance, Tego with his glittering hair ornament, ready for some Tanabata matsuri, the glittering pink sakura yukata, plus the happy slutty fan services. That's NEWS, and it makes fans (including me) HAPPY!

Koi Matsuri ~ They better do this song with a blast during the concert! Seriously, they should have a camp fire there and complete with tamanokoshi, and more important, HANABI (fire works), lots of them, period. I wouldn't be surprise if they use this as the main climax for the concert. Very summery, very NEWS, and very traditional but at the same time, bold. And they better wear glittery yukata, with feathers, or whatever sparkles available. It's matsuri for goodness sake! I'll brick the producer if they just do the song during the member get into cart and circling the stage (you know what I mean) and worse, no fireworks.

Besame Mucho ~ If they're going for the regular pattern for concert, I'd think this song is a candidate for the main performance. It's sexy and it has the expressive desire like how those Latin dance performance and it has the Latin beat that Johnny's love to have in the any group songs set list. It's not the regular loud and parade mode Latin song, it's more to the melancholic sappy Latin mode, which is makes me feel this song is not that strong if you compare it to the likes of Bambina, but hey, you never know XD. If talking about the PV, it'll be exactly something like V6's Jou setting with more chandeliers and the lighting is a bit dimmer and redder and we have series of dancers dance Bolero or Flamenco (complete with the red and black feathers, I have the thing with Johnny's and feathers, ok?). NEWS can mingle with those dancers and masking their face with the masquerade masks and the ladies don't know who they dance with (yeah right, as if) and the the night is still young.

Dance in the Dark ~ Another candidate for the main event. It has more punch than Besame Mucho and the beat is more like Bambina. I'd think this song is a mix of 80s remix with some Latin beat and it has a super catchy song. But I can't get rid of the title song, WHY it has to be Dance in the Dark, they already have Dancin' in the Secret, how many songs with 'dance' they want to have?

Solo part, I have 2 faves, Koyama's Beautiful Rain and Massu's Remedy. Very different songs and very typical songs from each of them, nothing new actually, but after couple of replays, Koyama's win!

Beautiful Rain ~ If you think about it again, this sort of melancholic tune is something in similar line with Yamapi's Loveless. But what's different it sounds sadder and it's more catchy with a touch of k-pop sounds. It rings in your head afterwards, and although this song is quite upbeat to be a ballad, I can feel the emotion, the longing and sadness of the parting, and I haven't really read the lyrics yet. If you're talking about a PV, maybe a scene of a couple parting in the middle of the quiet street at night and it starts to rain and Koyama just saw the back of the girl getting further and further in the midst of the rain. XD

Remedy ~ I'd expect Massu to dance hard, really hard plus sexy (can Massu do sexy look? Yeah, I think he can pull it off brilliantly) for this tune. And for once he wear something more fitting, though the chance is very very slim. The tune is catchy, a total dance song, and something to look forward to in terms of performance. Then, it comes to the hard part because I can't imagine the equation of Massu's face plus the saucy lyrics LOL. I can imagine it if it's Yamapi (it's not that sensitive issue anymore, yes?) as he got a slightly bad boy image, but Massu... hm... difficult, too clean LOL.

There are songs that I'm not sure whether I like them or not:

Greedier ~ something different from NEWS but surprisingly, the song fits them but it's not something that catch my attention. It's a nice song and that's it.

Overall, I like the whole arrangement of the albums. It's NEWS album, definitely, and with 4-nin, I'd think they have a firmer identity, which involves lots of sparkles and glitters, and I like the direction that they're taking because it sets them apart from other groups.
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endless game

Supposed to make the post yesterday but was too tired and stress out due to business review today and now even more stress out afterwards and I got kicked off from office today because probably my boss feel sorry for me, or NOT LOL... So, what it has to do with Arashi's new single Endless Game? Well, this time I literally use this single to escape from the horrid reality lurking in my office until next month... at least... and I only will be able to do my capping therapy probably after this Friday *sobs sobs* but until then, Endless Game single will help me in keeping my sanity and not losing myself into the madness...

Why I said I can use Endless Game from reality? This is what I find the magic of this single, in my opinion. The key to this is that you have to listen the single tracks in order in combination of LE and RE version, I use this order: Endless Game --> Intergalactic --> Magic Hour --> Monokuro (Monochrome). Shuffling this single will be a taboo and should not even occur to your mind at all. So imagine that you're an Alice, walking around on your neighborhood and suddenly you slip into an endless dark tunnel and arrive at...

Let the journey begins... )

The songs ends and you're back to reality! Was it a dream? Ask Arashi!

Overall, with this single, I think Arashi just gave us another single with coupling tracks that we'll listen over and over again and adore them at the same time. Now I have higher expectation over Arashi's future singles and I hope they keep up this good work.
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I haven't gotten to custom the covers so I just google for any cover out there and I use my favorite. Yeah, I like the lung vessels background and the kakkoii boys on the front. I've been listening to this single for the past 2 days now and I love this single. After the lukewarm Popcorn album (I always thought Arashi can do better, ha!), this single just brings back my high expectation on the boys. While Popcorn emphasizes on the fun, the pop and the bubbly Arashi, Calling x Breathless takes a flip side of it and voila! A darker and mature side of Arashi! And having to do OST for a medical suspense entertainment (I quote Aiba-chan on this) and a sort of Catch Me if You Can with DNA movie helps a lot in determining what kind of music that Arashi produces. As per Johnny's cash cow principle, they're optimizing their chance of making sales by doing double A side single because the drama and the movie are not that far apart. So, can we have more of this kind of timeline in the future? More PVs and ridiculous amount of Nino and Aiba-chan on the magazine covers (I'm surprise they didn't make Nino to be a cover for MORE for this round, or did they?)...
Why this single gets so much love from me... )
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NEWS - World Quest

I've been listening to this single since yesterday, and love all the songs in it. I'd think it's NEWS' best single so far and I'd think they won't be this way if Ryopi is still with NEWS now. Their sound is clearer and definitely better (much lesser trebbles) and I'd think they finally settle with their song style/color (whatever). The single is neatly package with light but catchy and inspiring songs, and you'll say 'ahh, this is NEWS.' when you listen to it. But, I'm not gonna deny that I can trace hint of k-pop in the songs, but if it works, I'm totally OK with it because music is universal and if k-pop can influence you to make a better song and it works for you, why not? And NEWS totally take this aspect to their advantage because the songs are great.

World Quest - it's the FIFA World Cup theme song... I like the lyrics because it's glorifying how you play soccer and it's inspiring, as what a sports event theme song should be, and Tegoshi's solo at the bridge takes the song to a higher note. I like that NEWS is given a chanse to sing this song because they totally work it.

Pokoponpekorya ~ ポコポンペコーリャ - After Chankapana, now we have another weird title, Pokoponpokorya. I was brainwashed for a moment by this song because of the 'papipupepo' on it's chorus. It's a very fun song, light and fluffy and makes Chankapana sounds heavy in comparison (*gasp* how can that be!*). I'd think 4-nin NEWS fits this type of song the best because I seriously can't imagine Yamapi singing this type of song and I don't think it'll happen too if he's still in NEWS. I wish they make a PV for this song because it'll be kawaii to the extreme. O yeah, the song is all about food because it's Shige's drama OST (it's food drama, but I'm not watching it). And what'll happen after you eat all those food? Yep, you'll get sleepy LOL... it cannot be cuter than that, no?

36°C - My fave song in this album. This song sounds sappy but actually the lyrics is not sappy at all, but I was moved by this song from the start, so it's love on the first hearing haha. The song is all about how a man yearn to be there for you, not really a love song, but it's more of a support song (?), regardless, the melody is soothing.

Hello - Similar to 36°C but somehow I don't feel as moved as 36°C when I listened. It's a nice song with nice lyrics as well, but I guess it's a matter of preference. The song also works as a support song of World Quest because the lyrics sort of correlate to it as well. I guess they try to package the song flow in lyrics as well (?).

Quntastic - well we're going back to the roots, Johnny's standard song LOL. The timeless song. I want to see them perform this in their concert with the colorful ala Johnny's (be it furry, full of glitter and sparkles, whichever works) because this song is made for it anyway.

So, I'll keep listening to this single for awhile now until my Eropi DVD arrived (Mr postman, where's my box of DVD, it's been 3 days since release date!).

*Guess Youtube police only have a keen liking to take down Arashi PVs only... -__-"

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Popcorn- 1
I just managed to listen to the whole album today. There are songs that I like and dislike, just like any other albums. So how Popcorn fare in my Arashi album ranking? If Time makes me giddy and fell into Arashi world of sparkling rainbow and glitters, Boku No Miteiru Fuukei sets my expectation of an Arashi album, Beautiful wows me in thinking that Arashi does go all out in their albums, Popcorn makes me do a self check if my expectation on Arashi is too high. I like lots of the songs in this album, but I expect it to be flowing with popcorn when I listen to it and I didn't see any popcorn when I listen to it. There're still rainbow and glitters sparkling in this album, but it's definitely not their best album. With that said, I do have songs that I adore in this album:

Songs that I'll keep on repeat mode:

 楽園  - For once, Aiba-chan's solo surprised me. His solo is always changing from album to album, and the only similarity is the song cheerful, Aiba-chan vibe. This is also the first time he sings his solo that fast. I can imagine he stumbled a lot when he did the recording hehe... but this song is so... Aiba-chan and mecha genki. I couldn't agree more with lots of other people that they can use this song as an anime OP.

旅は続くよ - This is a really fun song to listen to. I can imagine Arashi do a travel around the globe and do the travel according to what they like and want. And the song is performed in a Broadway style. But I can't imagine this song to be sung more than once other than Popcorn concert and who knows they might shelf this one into Johnny's Archive.

Up to you ~ so 80s bit of disco. It's so Johnny's but they use short pulse on the singing to make it groovy and different from Johnny's standard. Love it because it's genki song, the kind of song I'll listen to have a perk me up.

駆け抜けろ! - This song reminds me of Arashi's old albums. They used this style before, so it's no surprise and I like the beat. But I'd expect it to be faster tempo when it's played on Nisan CM --> this is not a complain though, just a thought haha.

Waiting for You - I'd say, typical Arashi song with a touch of disco, bit of techno and ... still 80's.I guess from my like list, I like genki songs with similar tune and color. They change them up a bit here and there, add techno, disco, some swing, with lots of dashes of sparkles to make me feel happy and giddy haha...

それはやっぱり君でした - Nino's solo is always loved. His lyrics are beautiful. I love the verse, the way it flows makes me doki doki at first. But he seems to be a bit forced on the high notes and the mood that built up during the verse is just... poof. Still a beautiful song overall but definitely not his best. Niji is still his #1 solo to me, follow by Doko ni Demo Aru Uta. Maybe the concert performance will change my mind, I'm prepared to be wowed haha...

Two - Standard Ohno's solo to me. It's his style. I like Ohno's consistency though on the other hand I'd hope he'll come out from his comfort zone.

Welcome to Out Party - This song is sort of stand alone in this album. It's a good, fun and easily falls under repeat mode, but I don't see the flow except for making a statement 'Hey, let's party! It's starting!' The fan service of 'Put you hands up! Yeah Yeah Yeah! is clever, though :d. 

- A nice slow tempo with meaningful message. It's just so Arashi.

What I don't like: Cosmos and Sho-chan's solo, Fly on Friday. These two songs has the same theme, FIFA World Cup. Not Olympic, It's FIFA. I can imagine the whole herd of footballers charging through the field during the song playing. It's grand and catchy but I just don't get these 2 songs and both song sounds overlapping too especially if you shuffle the order and happens that these 2 song are next to each other.

Lastly, the odd song, none other our J's solo, 'We wanna funk, We need a funk.' How easily this song misleads people, especially with the Engrish. No doubt, I'm looking forward for the concert performance because this is Matsujun's solo, and his solo is always the all out effects compared to the rest. But listening to the song only? I'm treating this song the same as Magical Song, skip.

From all the singles included in this album, I like Wild at Heart (because it's full of glitters and sparkles and it's so Arashi) and Face Down (the different cool kakkoii side of Arashi). Meikyuu Love song and Your Eyes sounds mediocre to me, don't get me wrong, they're good song, but they're not wowing and the only reason why they're on the chart is because it's Arashi's.

Overall, I'd think it's a good album, but it's definitely not the best Arashi album so far. This album is a product of experimental songs  but they didn't go all out with their experiment, and partly rushing to hit the target of 1 album per year. It's good that they're experimenting, trying to mix different style while maintaining Arashi's style and they can afford it because they're ARASHI, I won't be surprised if this album will hit 1M mark too. But I'd hope they take bigger risk when they're experimenting and trying out a totally different style but I guess this is too risky considering the target market.


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August 2017

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