JNL Team presents: The Monthly Review
What is TMR (The Monthly Review)? At the start of every month JNL Team will pick a random album and/or single that was released in Japan and review it.
October 2016 review.
Album/Single: Aishitemo ii desu ka?
Artist: Takahashi Minami
Review by: Mariëlle
Takahashi Minami, also known as Takamina, is back to the music scene with her official solo debut album 愛してもいいですか? (Aishitemo ii desu ka?; Can I love you?). Last year, she graduated from number 1 Japanese girl group AKB48, and left with the promise of returning to the music scene as a singer. And This October she has finally released the album. It comes in a Regular Edition and Limited Edition. The album has 12 tracks, which includes GIRLS TALK, a song from an AKB48 subunit.
The first track on the album is カガミヨカガミ (Kagami yo Kagami; Mirror, Mirror) the very catchy title track. I was very surprised by the use of instruments; the music is a lot harder than I expected it to be, but it’s very nice and it does fit the song quite well. I think this song also has great potential for a nice ballad, if she ever wants to do a different version of it in the future.
Watch the video for Kagami yo Kagami here:
The second track on the album is GIRLS TALK, a song originally performed by AKB48’s subunit no3b. The unit was made up of the 3 first generation AKB48 members, which included Minami. It’s a bit of an average song in my opinion, but it’s still pleasant to listen to and very nostalgic for older fans.
The third track is called 愛しくて恋しすぎて (Itoshikute Koishisugite), which is a very beautiful song. This is my favorite song on the album. It’s very catchy and sounds sweet and it’s a very easy song to listen to; very pleasing to the ears. It will get stuck in your head for a while.
The fourth track is ティンクル (Tinkle), and for some reason the first few seconds of the song reminded me of the Sims. The song is translated to Tinkle, but I have also seen translations that say Twinkle. Either way, in the song it’s pronounced Tinkuru, which sounds more like Tinkle.
It’s a very happy song, and Minami’s playful voice goes really well with the music and style of the song. One thing that is both cute and also strange is that the word Tinkle has more than one meaning; one meaning is ‘to jingle’, which would make sense, and the other ‘to pee’ which is a little disturbing. Still, it’s a very cute song.
夢売る少女じゃいられない (Yumeuru Shoujo Ja Irarenai) is the fifth song on this album. It starts out with a really nice beat, and just like Kagami yo Kagami it’s very different in style than what I had expected from Minami. That’s a good thing though, I love how she is experimenting with different music styles and instruments. The chorus is very nice and easy to sing along to. Overall a very good and interesting song. I think this would be very nice live, as it could get a lot of response from fans.
The sixth song is 笑顔 (Egao; Smile), which is a very beautiful ballad. Just from the title you can tell this was going to be a pretty and emotional song. I think Minami really gave us a great song here.
カツ丼 in da house (Katsudon in da house) is the seventh track, and it’s wonderful. From the moment the song starts it’s fun. I love the use of autotune here, it fits really well and gives the song a cuter and more fun vibe. The song overall is a super catchy and fun song. I also think this song could get a lot of fun responses from fans if sung live. What makes this song even more fun is that it’s about food. Katsudon is a popular Japanese dish. It’s typically a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, eggs, vegetables and some condiments.
Next up is アンバランス (Unbalance), which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful song on the album. The music alone already make this song totally worth listening to. It’s quite dramatic, yet gives me a fantasy-world vibe as well. I love how her voice blends in with the music in this song.
Then we have わたしの証明 (Watashi no Shoumei; My Proof), a very fun and upbeat song. I love the refrain and the chorus. It’s easy on the ears and bound to get you hyped up for the day.
The 10th track is Kiss Miss Kiss. The music is written by Carly Rae Jepsen, but the Japanese lyrics are by Minami herself. I love the song; you can clearly hear it has a Carly feel to it, but it also fits Minami perfectly. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album.
The next track is いつか (Itsuka; Someday). This song has a great beat. When the song starts playing I didn’t expect it to have such a nice beat, I thought it was going to be a slow ballad, but it’s a great song. It’s tempo isn’t very fast but it’s very great to listen to. I will keep this song on replay for a while, because it’s just a great song. Not super catchy, and it doesn’t stand out a lot, but something about it just catches your attention. This is a good song to play when you’re traveling or driving.
The final song is the bonus track あの空 (Ano Sora; That Sky). It’s a very nice song to end the album with. Such a beautiful ballad, tied with Unbalance for the most beautiful song on the album. This song is bound to make you cry if you feel sad, it’s that beautiful and emotional. If I were to hear this song live one day, I would surely cry.
Overall I think Minami really did a great job. She kept her promise to her fans in that she trained her voice better and worked hard to become a singer. I really like how she experimented with different music styles and you can tell she put a lot of hard work into this album to please her friends and get her name out there as a soloist.
If you’re interested in buying Takamina’s Debut album 愛してもいいですか? (Aishitemo ii desu ka?; Can I love you?, then click the links below.
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