Archive for the 'Anna Tsuchiya' Category

Anna Tsuchiya: NUDY SHOW!

overture

Cockroach

Crazy World

Virgin Cat

GINGER feat. Monkey Majik

u

Dirty Game

Style

masquerade

BUBBLE TRIP

Serenade

Shape of your love

cocoon – NUDY SHOW! version –

LUCY

RIDE ON!

BLOOD ON BLOOD

Kuroi Namida – deep sadness version –

*****

Songs in bold are previously released singles. Songs in blue (with a link) have already been reviewed. Those songs will, however, be reviewed in context of the album once more.

*****

NUDY SHOW! is Anna Tsuchiya’s second original album, third if you count ANNA inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES), released on October 28th, 2008. It reached #9 on Oricon. For those who shouldn’t know what the paint on Anna’s face is on the cover, it’s a tribute to David Bowie.

Opening the album is a short mix of various sounds followed by some funky techno mixed with rock and distorted vocals, overture. This kind of song has never been my thing, but I suppose it’s pretty good.

Starting things off on an, unfortunately, negative side-note is Cockroach. Anna’s style is doubtlessly rock, but here it’s sort of like LUCY, remove some of the energy, and boost the guitar riffs, voilà!, you have Cockroach. The vocals are pretty poor, and this song just doesn’t sound good.

My favorite single of the era, Crazy World (single originally released on June 11th, 2008) her collaboration with hip-hop singer AI. Just the perfection of the mix between hip-hop and rock is enough for me to fall in love with this song, and Anna’s sultry voice made this song even better.

Don’t ask me why Virgin Cat (single originally released on September 10th, 2008) was placed right after the hardcore Crazy World. I’ve listened to it a few times, and I have sort of come to like it, and I suppose that in this context (well, the song that comes after it), it’s OK.

GINGER feat. Monkey Majik, the promotional track for this album, spanning not even two minutes and forty seconds, it probably one of the best album songs ever. I realize this is not the usual Anna, but this song is just great. Actually, it surprises me that I like this song because this form of rock is not my style, and this song isn’t even that catchy. This song is just great, and Anna’s seductive voice is perfect for a song about a dominatrix. (And Monkey Majik is formed by two Canadians and two Japanese guys!)

I rejoiced to find that one of the most noteworthy B-Sides was going to be included on this album: although u doesn’t begin that well, the chorus is just great with its powerful guitars and a great vocal performance on Anna’s part.

Dirty Game resembles u very much, but there’s a different vocal style in use here. Both songs are very outgoing, but this song sounds more like typical J-Rock rather than Anna’s more Western rock, which is actually interesting, since I was expecting this kind of track. To the contrary of u, the verses are just as good and interesting as the chorus.

I love how retro Style sounds, sort of like one of those 80s music videos where you have the very attractive girl walking down a street and the men just walking around her, yet she ignores them sort of thing (sounds sort of weird, not sure I formulated that well enough, sorry). But of course, Anna adds her own rock to it, and creates one of the most memorable tracks of the album.

masquerade is a step into dance and techno, mixed with rock, and man is it good! The vocals are a little underwhelming, but the music makes up for it. This song too has hints of the 70s and 80s, although they aren’t as clear as on Style.

I never really liked BUBBLE TRIP (single original released on August 1st, 2007),  but I suppose that after all these retro tracks, it fits right in, presenting a mixture of pop and rock in its own unique way. It remains the second-weakest single on the album, and I’m happy she didn’t include sweet sweet song.

Next is Serenade, which is a very nice ballad, somewhat dull, but still pretty good. Anna’s voice in this song is perfect for it, and once more shows her versatility. The verses are calm, but the chorus is mesmerizing with its powerful ensemble of instruments.

Shape of your love is like a crossing of cocoon and Kuroi Namida, with the singing style found on cocoon and the calm verses and powerful chorus from Kuroi Namida. It’s a more Anna-type song that what we’ve been served for the past six or seven tracks, which is good.

The NUDY SHOW! version of cocoon downright sucks, and there is no excuse for using this version, since it would’ve sounded perfectly good after Shape of your love. She should’ve at least sung this song again since the vocals sound weird on this version of cocoon. This song is one of Anna’s best, and I’m really disappointed by this.

I’m never going to like LUCY because of the annoying, pretentious vocals and the punk rock element on drugs and uncontrolled effect given by the horrible music. If you can remake cocoon, remake LUCY, will you?

RIDE ON! is an aggressive song, with powerful guitar riffs, but some pretty great vocals. It’s more like a controlled, more refined version of LUCY, with a bittersweet side-note.

BLOOD ON BLOOD sounds too much like Metallica for me to like it. It’s just too powerful, and the stuttering guitars were just horrible. Here’s a track that could’ve been done without, because what comes after doesn’t fit at all with this track.

Ending this seventeen-track monster is the deep sadness version of Kuroi Namida (black tears). I explained it in my previous review of this song that this version isn’t as good because the guitars add the bittersweet effect that is almost essential to this song. Also, the vocals on this version are somewhat blurred out, all that when her best vocal performance is on this song.

NUDY SHOW! really surprised me. All the experimentation with retro tunes explains the 80s-type cover, with all the glamour, the pink clothing and the stars as well as the ridiculous typography. Although the beginning and end of the album were somewhat sloppy, the middle was excellent, with all the mixes of rock and pop, ballads, etc. I wasn’t expecting that much from an album called NUDY SHOW!, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Anna Tsuchiya: Virgin Cat

1. Virgin Cat

2. Imitation night

3. Virgin Cat (LAVA Remix)

Virgin Cat is Anna Tsuchiya’s ninth single, released on September 10th, 2008. It reached #27 on Oricon and has sold 2 422 copies. It was used as the song in the CM for Japan’s DVD release of the The L Word.

Virgin Cat is a pretty stupid song, if you don’t mind my saying so. The instrumentals are barely acceptable and the vocals, although at some points quite charming, pretty bad. The biggest problem for this song is the title: Virgin Cat, a euphemism, quite obviously. It sounds horrible, is quite stupid, but remains able to reflect the horror of this song. I like Anna, but this is stupidity on high.

Now had Imitation night been the A-Side, this single would’ve gotten a higher rating. It’s a dramatic rock song with a repetition of powerful guitar riffs. The vocals are sort of blurred, but not to make this song bad. In the end, it’s not all as perfect a song, but it’s a lot of better than Virgin Cat.

Virgin Cat (LAVA Remix) is a big step up from the original. It features, unfortunately, the same vocals, but a far better sound. The jazzy element was nice, and it sounds like lounge music, so it’s far more ambient.

Anna Tsuchiya: CRAZY WORLD

1. CRAZY WORLD feat. AI

2. What you gonna do?

3. CRAZY WORLD (FPM Hyper Society Mix)

CRAZY WORLD is Anna Tsuchiya’s eighth single, released on June 11th, 2008. It reached #11 on Oricon and has sold 10 488 copies.

If CRAZY WORLD feat. AI is an experiment, it succeeded really well. Although this contradicts public opinion (not that I really care about it anyway), I think CRAZY WORLD is better than cocoon in pretty much every respect. The mix between hip-hop/rap and rock, although I hate the first, is really good-sounding. Anna sounds sultry and aggressive exactly when she needs to, the music is perfectly arranged and AI’s sections are well-timed.

The B-Side this time is also pretty good. What you gonna do? is more on the hip-hop side, although it also has a Spanish element. The hip-hop element wasn’t pleasant, but the chorus wasn’t all that bad, despite being very short.

CRAZY WORLD (FPM Hyper Society Mix) isn’t horrible, but it’s bad. Just like the remix of BUBBLE TRIP, the remix isn’t meant to be. The lyrics are too fast, and the music just doesn’t fit.

Anna Tsuchiya: cocoon

1. cocoon

2. u

3. Guys

cocoon is Anna Tsuchiya’s seventh single, released on January 30th, 2008. It reached #13 on Oricon and has sold 4 527 copies.

cocoon is surprisingly a really good rock song, and also the one that made me like Anna. It does incorporate a certain form of rock during the chorus that is found in American pop-rock artists’ songs that I don’t really like, but I’ll let it pass just because I really like this song. Her vocals are very nice and fit perfectly with the aggressive tone of the song.

u is one of the Anna’s best B-Sides. It’s in the same style as cocoon, but with a little bit of dance music added in the back. The chorus is very nice and just sounds great, and, here again, Anna’s vocal work is very good.

Guys is the worst of the three songs, but nonetheless a good B-Side. It has an acoustic guitar during the verses, but drops it for an electric guitar during the chorus which creates an interesting effect, but that I don’t want to see more experimentation with, because this kind of song can’t and shouldn’t be driven further.

Anna Tsuchiya: BUBBLE TRIP/sweet sweet song

1. BUBBLE TRIP

2. sweet sweet song

3. BUBBLE TRIP (Studio Apartment Remix)

BUBBLE TRIP/sweet sweet song is Anna Tsuchiya’s sixth single, released on August 1st, 2007. It reached #18 on Oricon and has sold 8 569 copies.

I’m not sure what exactly to think about BUBBLE TRIP. On one hand, the song is sort of catchy during the chorus, but it sounds a lot like Falco’s (an Austrian singer) “Viva Amadeus”, but on the other hand, the song’s overall presentation is rather sloppy and it, well, bluntly put, sucks. I suppose it’s an average song, with nothing all that special to it.

sweet sweet song sounds like the opening theme for a really bad reality TV show (Laguna Beach, you are directly concerned by that comment) and is just really boring, and the vocals just add to that. The chorus is so, so, so common and boring!

BUBBLE TRIP (Studio Apartment Remix) sounds like a whole different song, and is actually three time worse than the original. The beat doesn’t suit the song at all, and the piano is absolutely unnecessary. I was expecting something interesting, but this isn’t interesting at all.

Anna Tsuchiya inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES): LUCY

1. LUCY

2. better day

3. Dance with me

LUCY is Anna Tsuchiya’s fifth single, released on February 7th, 2007. It reached #9 on Oricon and has sold 12 620 copies. It is her second single as LUCY inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES), used as the opening theme to the anime version of the anime series NANA.

LUCY isn’t really all that good. Alright, it features whole massive cast of famous musicians, but it remains a fact that this song is one of her worst. It has what it needs to be a good rock song, but it doesn’t drive it far enough, which one of the essences of making good rock songs. The “yeah, yeah” was too punk for Anna and just doesn’t sound good. She has a sultry, seducing voice, not a punk voice.

better day is better, but also kind of mediocre. It’s more of an acoustic track, and is far more laid back and less punk than LUCY. The electric guitars enter later, which does aid my rating, and the vocal work is very nice.

My favorite of the three songs on this single, Dance with me, features a 70s dance rhythm hidden behind the rock rhythm and Anna’s more aggressive yet sultry voice. It sounds like something maybe artists like Madonna and P!NK would release.

Anna Tsuchiya inspi’ NANA (BLACK STONES): Kuroi Namida

1. Kuroi Namida

2. JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH

3. I’m addicted to you

4. Kuroi Namida – Deep Sadness Version –

Kuroi Namida is Anna Tsuchiya’s fourth single, released on January 10th, 2007. It reached #5 on Oricon and has sold 20 247 copies. It was used as the third ending theme for the anime NANA.

Kuroi Namida (black tears) is a powerfully emotional rock ballad, featuring absolutely stunning vocal work from Anna, especially during the chorus. The guitars make this song into a bittersweet song, rather than just a depressing ballad. The strings in the background were really nice too.

JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH is a cover of Depeche Mode’s 1981 single. I didn’t like the original, but Anna pulls it off pretty well. I’m not that much of a sucker for most of 80s pop, so this song still doesn’t rank that high.

I’m addicted to you is a hard rock song, but too much for me to like it. The instrumentals weren’t all as great as I would’ve liked, but the vocals are pretty good.

The Deep Sadness Version of Kuroi Namida is a different approach, but it lacks the beauty of Kuroi Namida: whereas the original was bittersweet, by removing the guitars, you make it into a merely sad and depressing version.