Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Otsuka Ai – LOVE PiECE [4th Studio Album]

Posted on: July 22, 2008

Otsuka Ai’s 4th studio album, entitled LOVE PiECE, was released on 09.26.07. The singles released prior to the album are as follows: ユメクイ, 恋愛写真, CHU-LIP and PEACH / HEART.

未来タクシー opens up the album on an energetic note. The album starts off with a exciting instrumental that feels out-of-this-world. The first verse begins and Ai’s vocals sound very cool here, matching the interesting instrumental. The chorus is nice as Ai shows off more vocal power but the phrase that begins each line gets a little annoying. The pure instrumental section is great as it spotlights the song’s strongest asset, the interesting music. The third verse sounds great too with slightly different music and great vocals. More fun and upbeat music finishes the song off nicely. Overall the song is very enjoyable although the chorus is the weakest part of the song.

Up next is ユメクイ. Oening the song is the chorus, sung with such emotion over a somewhat simplistic instrumental, which puts the spotlight on her voice. Following, tints of rock come out and provide a little more variation for the music, hooking the listener. The vocals during the first verse are somewhat deep but they fit the dark atmosphere of the song perfectly. With the rock feeling already out, it comes full force for the chorus this time and it stands out to the listener. The song closes with a great instrumental, releasing the listener from the world of the song. ユメクイ is definitely an album standout and hasn’t lost any steam from its release as a single.

Mackarel’s canned food, a fun midempo number, is the third song. The song begins with a fun and light-hearted sound and then the first verse starts. Ai’s vocals sound nice with the music although it isn’t anything particularly noteworthy. The chorus stands out for the way that she sings it. There is a certain cuteness to her voice and the way that there are breaks in the lines helps each phrase stand out. Overall the song is a fun song that the listener should be in the mood to listen to.

The happy summer song, PEACH, picks up the energy very nicely for the fourth song. That energy comes through from the moment the instrumentation starts and then the first verse begins. Ai sings in her more cutesy voice and it’s a very nice fit for the music. The chorus is what makes the song as addictive as it is, particularly when she sings “peach” is a very cute voice. The third verse features a slightly different instrumental and really sounds cool. Ai then holds the last note fantastically before that summer fun comes out with a bang on the pure instrumental section. Closing the song is more instrumentation, making PEACH another memorable track on LOVE PiECE.

Following a fun uptempo song is the slow song, クムリウタ. The song starts off with Ai singing the hook over a simple instrumental, comprised of the guitar. Her vocals sound very pretty and catch the listener’s ear. The first verse begins and Ai continues to sweetly sing the lyrics. The chorus then comes in Ai reaches a little higher, hitting the note of the first word strongly. She also holds the final note very nicely. The slightly different instrumental during the third verse helps create a grandiose feeling, setting up a perfect peak for the chorus. She then sings with such an emotional feeling that the listener really believes and feels her. クムリウタ is a very nice piece of this album and shows off Ai’s vocals on this sweet song.

星のタンゴ is a short sweet song. The song starts off with the chorus, which features a very cool and somewhat mysterious instrumental and Ai’s vocals sound great here, carrying a certain prettiness. The first verse continues to show off Ai’s vocals, which are pretty soft but carry with the music perfectly. Although the song is simplistic, the song does a good job of keeping the listener interested from start to finish and is definitely a song to look out for.

The shortest song on the album arrives with 蚊取線香. The song starts off with a fly buzzing and then the exciting and crazy instrumentations begins. The song is very strange as Ai sings excitedly and with some rapidity that stands out to the listener and on the notes that she holds, they sound nice. The sounds, although pretty crazy and weird, they stand out to the listener and they are memorable. A cool song and surprisingly enjoyable.

フレンジャー comes next. Beginning with a catchy and fun instrumental, the element of happiness is what makes the song catchy. The vocals during the first verse really help bring the song’s overall atmosphere to the forefront but it is the chorus that really catches the listener’s ear. Ai’s vocals show off the fun feeling perfectly. The pure instrumental section put an emphasis on the rock sound, which is a strong part of the song. A fun and energetic song, it’s definitely a nice part of the album.

CHU-LIP brings out Ai’s cute and fun side. The song begins with a cool pop sound with slight rock elements to it that make it stand out to the listener from the first moment. Ai’s vocals during the first verse are pretty cute and help communicate the song’s happiness very well. It’s the chorus that is the standout part of the song as Ai sings the title of the song with an adorable voice that the listener can’t help but love. The pure instrumentation sequence sounds great, directing back into the chorus, which is sung with a much more simplistic instrumentation. CHU-LIP is a fun uptempo track that the listener can’t help but love.

The sweet ballad, HEART, is the album’s semifinale. The song starts off with the most memorable part of the song, the chorus. It’s the first line that really stands out to the listener the most and is actually the focal point of that art. After a little sweet instrumental, the first verse begins. Her voice sounds very pretty here and does a good job of portraying the song’s emotion. The pure instrumental section evokes somewhat of a dreamy feeling and really takes the listener out into another world. HEART is an excellent song that shows off Ai’s vocals wonderfully.

恋愛写真 is the album’s closing number and is a fantastic way to do so. The first verse features Ai beautifully singing along with the instrumentation with the focus on the piano. The two combine together wonderfully to capture the song’s atmosphere of reflection well and stand out to the listener. The one line that repeats throughout the chorus really catches the listener’s ear and somehow all the emotion is captured in that one line. Instrumentation becomes somewhat more varied as the second verse starts and the energy is nice addition to the song. The pure instrumental section is very pretty and does a great job of highlighting the beauty of the music. 恋愛写真 is a great way to close this album and is one of the standout numbers on the album.

Album Ranking: A –

Otsuka Ai’s 4th album features many songs that show off Ai’s style. From the fun songs such as PEACH and CHU-LIP to the sweet ballads like 恋愛写真 and HEART, different pieces of Ai come together to form an enjoyable album.

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