Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Archive for the ‘Arashi’ Category

Arashi’s 4th album, entitled いざッ, Now, was released on 07.21.04. ハダシの未来 / 言葉より大切なもの and PIKA★★NICHI DOUBLE.

言葉より大切なもの is the album opener. The song starts off with a guitar-driven instrumental and strong vocals to support the overall atmosphere of the song. On the first verse, the vocals are very nice and smooth. The chorus is okay as the boys’ voices are nice but the music is a little lacking. The pure instrumental section is nice as the guitar really shines through and then there is a rap sequence, which seems a little misplaced for this song. Overall the song is nice but not strong enough to serve as the album’s opening number.

Up next is the jazzy upbeat number, JAM. The song begins with a sweet instrumental and soon there are some jazzy elements that come in and make the listener fall in love with the song. The first verse features smooth vocals that go with the music perfectly. English comes out on the chorus and really makes it pop nicely and is very ear catching. An absolutely fantastic pure instrumental section then comes in and sucks the listener into another world. JAM is wonderful and certainly a track to look out for.

Song number three is The Bubble. The song starts off with a nice although somewhat strange instrumental. Soon the first verse begins and the vocals are nice as they go with the clear beat of the music. The chorus features smoother vocals to make it enjoyable although it does get a little repetitive. With the rap part, it’s nice and an okay fit with the song’s overall atmosphere. For this song, the music is easily the most addictive part of the song and really stands out nicely. The Bubble definitely has a nice beat and although the chorus is a little repetitive, it’s a nice song to listen to.

Thank you for my days comes as the album’s fourth song. Opening the song is a sweet piano instrumentation and then the first verse begins. The boys’ vocals go well with the slower music and carry power as well as emotion. The slight instrumental change on the chorus makes it pop although one set of vocals doesn’t particularly fit with the music. This song is the album’s first slower song and does a good job of keeping the listener interested.

PIKA★★NICHI DOUBLE, which was released as a single before the album, is song number five. The song starts off with a fun guitar piece that evokes a feeling of happiness. Good vocals help the first verse stay in the listener’s mind while keeping that upbeat and fun sound. The chorus is nice although it doesn’t stand out in the listener’s mind as much as hoped. Overall the song is nice although it isn’t as grabbing as the earlier tracks on the album.

The sixth song is the short interlude, keep a peaK. The song begins with a strange and upbeat instrumentation that continues throughout the song. Although there are no vocals on this interlude, it definitely would have made a truly fantastic and standout song for this album.

Following is the upbeat pop song, EYES WITH DELIGHT. The song begins with an upbeat instrumental and the chorus, which features some nice and smooth vocals from the boys. Soon the first verse begins and the vocals here are continuously a strong fit with the music. The rap sequence was not needed on this song and it doesn’t really go with the music very well and the following cheering part definitely should have been taken out. Although there are some faulty parts, EYES WITH DELIGHT is a great album track and a very good fit for this album.

RIGHT BACK TO YOU is the next song. After an interesting moments of instrumentation, the first verse begins and the music takes on a more dark feeling. The boys’ voices sound very nice and they show off even more power on the chorus, which feels a little empty although the music does a very nice job of keeping the listener. The rap is okay this time around, nothing particularly noteworthy. The pure instrumentation sequence is really good as the music is spotlighted very nicely. Overall the song is okay but nothing really ear-catching.

RAINBOW, a smooth pop track, is the album’s next number. The song begins with a very smooth jazzy instrumental that catches the listener’s ear and leads into the first verse. The vocals are nice and go with the music very well. For the chorus, there is a happiness that comes out on the boys and strikes the listener on a good note. The pure instrumental section is nice although it’s nothing that really stands out as being strong. Overall it’s definitely a nice song and one to look out for.

The tenth song is ハダシの未来. Opening the song is a fantastic aggressive instrumentation that goes perfectly into the first verse. The vocals take on more of a poppy feeling and the music takes a lighter approach in order to match that sound. The chorus is nice although the vocals are a little lacking but it’s nice. An aggressive rock instrumentation with jazzy hints is what really makes this song stand out to the listener but the vocals could have been a little stronger to help guide the listener.

優しくって少しバカ follows as the eleventh song. A nice guitar-driven instrumentation starts off the song and then the first verse begins. The vocals are okay and the music doesn’t stand out as much as it should. When the chorus comes, there is no particular instrumental change and the vocals don’t demonstrate any more power so it doesn’t pop very nicely. The rockier side of the music is highlighted on the pure instrumental section but it isn’t particularly grabbing. This song is definitely one of the weaker songs on the album and isn’t really worth checking out.

Dear My Friend. The song starts off with a guitar-centric instrumental that really catches the listener’s ear. The boys’ voices sound very smooth and definitely go with the music perfectly. The chorus is very nice as the boys harmonize wonderfully and the vocals help capture that sweet atmosphere. This song is a very enjoyable one and definitely one to look out for.

The jazzy sound comes back on 君だけを想てる. The opening instrumentation and chorus is really enjoyable as the listener is caught by the fun jazz atmosphere. The final phrase “smile tonight” also closes it very nicely. The verses feature smooth vocals that go with the music very well and keep the listener interested. For the pure instrumental section, the listener becomes hooked and it’s a very great part of this song. This song makes very good use of the jazzy sound and is a very strong track on this album.

A slow jazz song, チェックのマフラー, is up next. Overall there is a certain familiarity to this song that resonates nicely with the listener. The vocals are smooth and carry emotion so well that the listener can smoothly sail throughout the song. Overall the song is a very nice way of bringing down the tempo while keeping that jazzy sound the boys continue to come back to.

The album closes with the pop song, 途中下車. Unfortunately this song is rather forgettable: the vocals are nothing particularly noteworthy, the music is a little dry and the overall atmosphere isn’t very memorbale.

Album Ranking: C

This album faces its ups and downs. Songs like JAM, 君だけを想てる and チェックのマフラー are great songs that stand out to the listener. Unfortunately, the album features many forgettable songs that aren’t very ear-catching. The album also feels very long, despite only being 15 tracks (one of them an interlude). Their later albums show much more growth but this album isn’t very strong.

Arashi’s 5th studio album, entitled One, was released on 08.03.05. Only one single, サクラ咲け, was released prior to the album. The album features a solo song sung by each member of the group.

Overture serves as the album opener. The song starts off with a sweet instrumental that established a very relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere. Soon the sound changes as some rapping starts and the tempo picks up. Once the boys begin singing, the vocals really compliment the music and the English phrase “I love my girl” really stands out to the listener. The boys then sing “it’s ok, it’s all right, we’re gonna have a good time” and with the jazzy instrumentation continuing, it sets up the listener for an enjoyable album.

夏の名前 starts the energy off nicely in a soft way. The song starts off nicely with an uptempo piano interlude and the first verse starts. There is a certain mysterious element to the music and the boys’ voices sound nice here. The chorus stands out as the boys’ voices go well together and really capture the upbeat spirit of the music. The rap sequence sounds great and is probably the most ear-catching part of the song as his voice is pretty deep but compliments the lighter music very well. Overall this song is a very nice first full song and is definitely enjoyable.

The poppiness comes through strongly on the third song, ROMANCE. Opening the song up is a very enjoyable and upbeat pop instrumental that hooks the listener. With the first verse, there is a mellow feeling that the listener can’t help but love as the boys sound so smooth on it. The chorus is very strong as the boys give off more vocal strength and the English phrase is a very nice touch. ROMANCE is definitely an album standout as the boys give strong vocals and the poppy instrumental captures the listener’s ear from first listen.

Following is Lai-Lai-Lai, a fun pop number. The song starts off strongly with a pop instrumental, supported by the boys singing “lai lai lai” and their voices sound great. The first verse features more enjoyable vocals that go with the music perfectly. The boys sound absolutely fantastic on the chorus as the instrumentation becomes as addictive as ever and the combination of vocals and music hooks the listener. The pure instrumental section features a nice spotlight on the spanish guitar, that hadn’t been put in the instrumental forefront before. Closing the song is the boys repeating the title of the song and then an instrumental finish. Lai-Lai-Lai is a fantastic number and certainly one to look out for on this album.

The first album ballad is Days. The piano begins the song and soon the instrumentation becomes more varied and a certain magical feeling arrives. During the first verse, the boys give nice and smooth vocals that go with the music perfectly. The chorus is nice and all the boys’ vocals go well with each other but the instrumentation didn’t really change so it’s a bit lacking in that area. The moments of pure instrumentation show off the jazzy flare and provides the song with a little more variety. The song beautifully closes with the softer music, pushed by the sounds of the piano. Although the chorus isn’t particularly strong, the verses are nice and Days is a good ballad for the album.

A rock sound comes out on 素晴らしき世界. Beginning the song is a nice and smooth instrumental and soon elements of rock come out to play while the boys sing the chorus. The first verse then follows and the vocals are nice but aren’t particularly grabbing. The rap sequence is okay but the vocalizing in the background is a bit off-putting. Overall this song isn’t capturing and the rock tints sound a bit misplaced on the song.

サクラ咲け is the only song released as a single from the album and is the seventh song. The song starts off with a fun and upbeat instrumentation. The first verse then brings in some very nice vocals to go with the fun atmosphere established by the music. Then the chorus comes in and it’s nice, but nothing that really stands out in the listener’s mind. There is more energy with the rap part, which fits very nicely although the vocalizing in the background is a bit annoying. It’s a nice song but it doesn’t grab the listener’s ear very well.

Ohno’s solos song is the eighth song, Rain. The song begins with an interesting and sweet instrumental, fused with pop sounds and a midtempo sound. He then goes into the first verse with strong vocals that carry emotion and go perfectly with the music. The chorus stands out as the continues to deliver strong vocals and the music leads him and sounds addictive. The song becomes even stronger as the song goes on, particularly when he sings “this is just the beginning.” Rain is definitely an album standout and just goes to show that he consistently delivers strong solo songs.

いつかの Summer is Aiba’s solo song. The song begins with a very upbeat and cheerful sound that really stands out. His vocals during the first verse carry a certain poppiness to them that sounds very nice and goes with the music well. The jazziness somces out on the pure instrumental section with the saxophone giving power and strength, making a nice transition back into the chorus. Aiba gives the listener a very enjoyable solo song and it fits perfectly on this album.

W/ ME follows and is Matsumoto’s solo song. The song starts off with a slightly mysterious instrumental with some breathing and then the song’s true sound comes in. His vocals go perfectly with the music and they really catch the listener’s ear. The chorus is nice and is sung in complete English, standing out strongly. The pure instrumental section with the girl giving some smooth vocals is really fun and a nice part of the song. W/ ME is a fantastic song and is definitely an album highlight.

Nino’s solo song, 秘密, is next. The song starts off with a fun and poppy piano instrumental. Nino gives some very nice vocals during the first verse and keeps with the light and upbeat music. The chorus stands out as his vocals are strong while still going with the happy atmosphere of the instrumentation. This song is a very strong song and one of the album standouts.

夢でいいから is the final solo song, sung by Sakurai. The opening English phrases are a good way to open up the song with a smooth instrumentation. The first verse then comes in and he delivers a nice rap sequence although it doesn’t fit as well with the music as his raps usually do. The chorus sounds much stronger as the vocals go perfectly with the music and comforts the listener beautifully. The rapping doesn’t really fit with the song’s overall atmosphere but the singing is a perfect match, thus the song has its ups and downs.

Yes? No? is the album’s semifinale. The chorus is nice with the boys vocals strongly but it is the instrumentation which really grabs the listener as there are electronic traces that stand out very strongly. The first verse has a certain coolness to it that really is catchy as the music continues to be the driving force of the song. This song is a great song and shows off the  boys trying something new.

風見鶏 appears as a bonus track present on the regular edition and the final song on the album. There is something enchanting and pretty about the instrumental that keeps the listener interested throughout the course of the album. The vocals are consistently strong and move with the music very well. It’s a really great way to end the album.

Album Ranking: A –

One is a very enjoyable album with a little something for everyone. The solo songs are particularly capturing from Ohno’s fantastic song, Rain to Matsumoto’s addictive, W/ ME to the light and fun song 秘密 from Nino. Album tracks such as ROMANCE, Lai-Lai-Lai and Yes? No? prove what the boys can do when they come together. There are a few forgettable songs such as 素晴らしき世界 and サクラ咲け but overall it’s another enjoyable album from the boys.

Arashi’s 6th studio album, entitled ARASHIC, was released on 07.05.06. Two singles were released prior to the album: WISH and きっと大丈夫.

WISH opens up the album on a sweet and enjoyable note. The song opens up with the chorus and the boys vocals sound great here, holding that poppiness that matches the instrumentation perfectly. After a little instrumental section, the first verse starts and the vocals continue to prove strong. The pure instrumental section really spotlights the uplifting and happy feeling that the song communicates to the listener. Following is the chorus, sung with an emphasis on the vocals rather than the music, which becomes softer. WISH is a great way to start off the album and gets the listener in a good mood.

The second song is ランナウェイ・トレイン. The song starts off with a really cool and edgy instrumental and a smooth transition is made to the first verse. The boys sing somewhat deeply in order to keep with the song’s atmosphere. The chorus stands out as the guys begin to show off more vocal power and the ending line “1, 2, 3, Lights Up!” leaves a good impression on the listener and keeps the interest level up. The rap section is a great addition to the song and works with the song’s feel and of course the guitar that comes in during the following pure instrumental section really stands out. The song is another enjoyable one from the group and certainly one to be remembered.

Raise Your Hands is the next song. Immediately, the listener becomes interested as the cool and slick instrumental leads into the boys repeatedly singing “Raise your hands” with enjoyable vocals. The first verse then begins and there is something almost relaxing about the music that a comforting feeling comes through. The chorus features the same “raise your hands” with a Japanese lyric following and it really does stand out from the song strongly and is insanely catchy. The rap sequence is a perfect fit here and leads the listener back into the chorus as the instrumentation remains addictive. Raise Your Hands is an excellent song that really stands out from this album and is one of the best album offerings.

きっと大丈夫 appears as the album’s fourth song. Beginning this song is the first verse, a rap sequence that interests the listener as there is a certain dark element with the music that fits perfectly with the voice. The chorus picks up the energy very nicely as the boys’ voices really capture the enjoyable and fun atmosphere perfectly. The pure instrumental section has some jazzy elements that really stick out in the listener’s mind and provide an interesting vocal break. Another enjoyable song on the album appears and keeps the listener interested.

Ohno takes the lead on the following on his “pick-up song,” Ready To Fly. A cool and funky feeling comes out to open up the song and then the chorus starts. The English that starts off the song really makes the chorus stand out strongly. Soon, things slow down a little bit as the vocals smoothly blend with the music to make a cohesive and strong atmosphere. The pure instrumental section really spotlights the jazziness of the song as the saxophone comes through and takes the listener’s ear on a journey before the chorus starts again. Ready To Fly is a great album track and offers the listener a lot to hold onto.

キャラメル・ソング is Nino’s “pick-up song” and the next track on the album. The song starts off with a very sweet instrumental and the flute is a very nice touch. The first verse then begins and the vocals smoothly capture the essence of the lyrics. With the chorus, there is such a sweetness that stands out that the listener can’t help but love it. The vocals are strong and show strength as well. The pure instrumenal section sounds wonderful and keeps the listener’s spirits up before the chorus comes in. It’s a very sweet song that is able to resonate with the listener nicely.

COOL & SOUL is up next and the boys try their hand at rapping on this one. The song starts off with a very cool instrumental that leaves the listener wanting more. The chorus that features the boys singing “Arashi is cool” and “Arashi is soul” is actually stronger than it sounds. The following rap sequence from the boys sounds strong and each member does a good job of bringing out the song. The moments of pure instrumentation have a certain atmosphere to them that really catches the listener’s ear strongly. The closing line “Arashi is back” stands out very nicely and leaves the listener craving to hear more. COOL & SOUL is a fantastic number and definitely one to check out.

Following is the album’s first real ballad, 旅立ちの朝. The beginning instrumentation is smooth and leads the listener into the first verse nicely. The vocals are smooth and capture emotion very well. The chorus features more vocal strength from the boys and they sound great and the last line “stay with me” is absolutely perfect. The boys bring emotion and vocal strength to this very pretty ballad, making it stand out on ARASHIC very nicely.

Matsumoto steps in for his “pick-up song,” I Want Somebody. The song begins with an instrumentation that captures the listener’s attention from the first moment and the first verse then begins and the vocals are so smooth and enjoyable that the listener is hooked. The almost-talking-like way that the vocals continue really compliment the music well. The chorus stands out as the guitar comes more forward and helps the vocals show more emotion. The notes are held very well and the last word is a perfect example of that. I Want Somebody has a certain darkness to it that stands out and keeps the listener interested from start to finish.

Secret Eyes is Aiba’s pick-up song. The song begins with a nice instrumental and then the next vocals are kind of high pitched so they seem a little weird. Then things go nicer as the vocals show more strength and move with the music very well. The chorus is nice although the vocals aren’t as capturing as they should be. It’s actually a nice song although it feels a little slow at points.

Sakurai’s pick-up song comes in with 超 ありがとう. The song starts off with a cool and interesting instrumental and the repeated phrase sounds kind of cheesy. That feeling disappears once the first verse comes in although the vocals are still not particularly strong. The cheesiness comes back in with the chorus and it definitely doesn’t catch the listener’s ear as well as hoped. The song isn’t very interesting and is really the first weak song thus far.

CARNIVAL NIGHT part 2 is the following track. The mellow and interesting instrumentation that opens the song really leads the listener into another world. The chorus then stands out as the boys’ vocals sound great together and go with the music strongly. Vocals continue to stand strong on the first verse as they smoothly sing their way through the song. The pure instrumental section puts a nice emphasis on the song’s jazzy quality and really stands out to the listener. CARNIVAL NIGHT part 2 is an excellent number and picks the listener back up from the last track.

Silver Ring is the album’s semifinale and final ballad. After a very enjoyable pure instrumental sequence, the first starts and the vocals are so strong in that they capture the emotional presence of the song very well. The chorus sounds great as the boys harmonize very well together and the emotions are clear from their voices. The pure instrumental section gives the listener a little more oomph as the music is a little more varied and is more addictive. It’s definitely a nice way to lower the mood and the boys do very nicely on it.

The bonus track of the album is LOVE PARADE. Jazz sounds open up the song very nicely and keeps the listener hooked until the first verse starts. The vocals are smooth and really go with the song’s atmosphere. The boys bring even more vocal strength on the chorus, which stands out very nicely. Overall LOVE PARADE is a nice way to close the album as an enjoyable jazzy number that the listener can’t help but love.

Album Ranking: A

ARASHIC is a collection of great songs that really stand out to the listener. The album is filled with jazz sounds from LOVE PARADE to CARNIVAL NIGHT part 2 to Ready To Fly. All the pick-up songs give the boys a chance to stand out from the group and some are particular album highlights such as Ready To Fly (Ohno) and キャラメル・ソング (Nino). Of course there are a few weak songs such as 超 ありがとう and Secret Eyes and although the jazz sounds are nice, they do appear quite frequently a little more variety could’ve helped just a little bit. Overall though, it’s a great album and the boys should be proud.

Arashi’s 7th studio album, entitled Time, was released on 07.11.07. The regular edition of the album features a bonus track on the first CD while the limited edition features a second CD complete with a solo song sung by each member of the group. The singles released prior to the album are as follows: アオゾラペダル, Love so sweet and We can make it! 

The album opens up with the energetic and upbeat Oh Yeah! The song starts off with a cool guitar-driven instrumental before the first verse starts. The vocals sound nice here although the verses are just a little bit lacking. The chorus shows more of the song’s energy and the boys’ voices move together very well and it’s enjoyable. The pure instrumental section sounds great though as the coolness and slickness of the music is really spotlighted. The song concludes with some vocalizing from the boys and it doesn’t particularly seem needed but the instrumentation that closes the song is a nice touch. Oh Yeah! is a nice upbeat song although there isn’t such a strong energetic presence that would’ve made the song even better.

Up next is Love so sweet, which was released as a single prior to the album. Opening the song is a sweet instrumentation that the listener really can enjoy and then the boys do some vocalizing, which seems a little out-of-place. The first verse then comes in and the vocals are very nice, capturing the song’s atmosphere perfectly. The chorus features a slightly different instrumental and stands out to the listener as the boys’ vocals blend together well. The pure instrumental section is nice but nothing particularly hooking. Overall Love so sweet is a nice song but it could’ve been better, particularly by removing the repeating vocalizing sequences.

WAVE follows as the third song, a nice jazzy song. The song starts off with an upbeat jazzy instrumentation, which really captures the listener’s ear, particularly the saxophone. The boys sound very nice on the first verse and the constant sound that makes a wave in the instrumentation really stands out. The chorus is enjoyable as the boys’ voices sound great and have a certain poppiness to them that moves with the music so well. The rap sequence actually fits in the song really strongly and has a certain slickness to it that fits in with the music well. WAVE is a great song and it certainly catches the listener’s ear more than the previous two songs.

Another single track, We can make it!, is the album’s fourth song. The song starts off with a spakling and somewhat mysterious instrumental. The boys’ voices sound absolutely great here, which really make the verses worth checking out. The chorus has a more happy feeling, which makes the listener just smile and the music is so pretty that it immediately catches the listener’s ear. The third verse has a certain out-of-this-world feeling that sounds great and makes a smooth transition into the rap section. Although the music stands out more than the vocals here, it is still an enjoyable part of the song. We can make it! is an excellent number and definitely one of the standout songs on the album.

Up next is R&B dance track, Firefly. Opening the song is a cool and sleek instrumental with a certain darkness that only stays momentarily. Soon the atmosphere clears for a more R&B dance feel that sounds nice and the English phrases such as “you and I” pop very nicely. The chorus is nice as the boys show off some really nice vocals that go with the music. The following rap sequence sounds great as that darkness comes back in the music and catches the listener’s ear. Firefly certainly isn’t a bad song but had it stuck with the dark tone, it would’ve left a stronger impression on the listener’s mind.

太陽の世界 continues the upbeat sound as the next song. The song begins an aggressive and happy dance sound that immediately catches the listener’s ear. The rap sequence sounds very enjoyable as it just fits with the free and upbeat atmosphere of the song. The chorus is enjoyable as the boys vocals sound great together and move with the music so well. The pure instrumental section spotlights a certain jazziness that really stands out and makes a nice re-introduction for the chorus. The song is very enjoyable and a standout number from Time.

Things slow down with the next song, Carry on. A sweet instrumental begins the song and then the first verse begins with some great vocals that carry across the music perfectly. The chorus is a little bland but the boys’ vocals sound nice. Carry on is not very interesting and unfortunately doesn’t hook the listener like it should.

And coming back from a slow song, ROCK ON picks up the tempo. The song starts off with an enjoyable piano instrumental and then the chorus comes in and just makes the listener fall in love with the song from first moment. The boys’ vocals sound great and mix perfectly. The first verse pushes the instrumentation to a more simplistic approach with the piano being the sole accompaniment for the vocals and they make a nice combination. The pure instrumental section sounds wonderful and makes a nice setup for the rap sequence, which actually finds the perfect home on the song. Althoough the song isn’t rock at all, it’s one of the most memorable songs on the album and shows off what these boys can do.

The following song is Cry for you. The song starts off quickly with some vocals that have a slick and sexiness to them that go with the music perfectly. The chorus features an aggressive rock sound that compliments the music perfectly and the vocals express the anguish so strongly that the listener can’t help but be taken a bit aback. The pure instrumental section is the perfect communication of emotion and strength, which fuels the song’s power before setting up the listener to fall back into the chorus.

Love Situation appears as the next song. After a piano instrumental opening, things pick up with an uptempo jazzy sound. The vocals sound very nice as the first verse runs through and then the chorus begins. There isn’t really a set up instrumentally to make the chorus stand out and the vocals don’t particularly show any more power so it comes of as a little bland. The pure instrumental section is a nice touch though and the listener gets very interested. Overall Love Situation is not particularly capturing but the boys’ vocals are nice.

The following song, 風, is somewhat like the previous one. The song starts off with a similar piano opening and then things pick up as time goes on. The boys’ vocals are nice during the first verse and support the music nicely. Once again, the chorus doesn’t pop at all as the vocal strength remains relatively the same as the verses. The song is pretty bland and doesn’t catch the listener’s attention at all.

Be with you is a strong ballad. Opening the song is a vrey pretty instrumentation that really hits the listener’s heart. The first verse begins and the vocals move strongly with the music, capturing the emotional presence and showing power. The chorus stands out as the boys harmonize wonderfully and capture the spirit of this big ballad. The pure instrumental section puts a spotlight on how pretty the music and keeps the listener lost in its beauty before the chorus comes back in. Be with you is a great ballad that the boys do so well on.

The guitar is the central focus on the next song, LIFE. Starting off the song is the guitar and some interesting sounds that stand out nicely. The first verse then comes and the boys smoothly sing, keeping the listener interested. The chorus features some nice vocals although it isn’t anything spectacular. LIFE is a pretty bland song that doesn’t stand out as nicely as it should.

The semifinale is アオゾラペダル. The song starts off with sweet and enjoyable music. When the first verse starts, the boys vocals sound very strong and move with the music perfectly. The chorus features some stronger vocals from the boys and they certainly catch the listener’s attention. It’s a great semifinale number and certainly one to enjoy.

The album finishes off with Everybody 前進. A line from the chorus quickly opens the song and immediately the listener is entranced. The first verse follows and the boys’ vocals sound very nice and go with the music very nicely. The chorus is pretty nice although it would’ve been stronger had their been a little more push in the instrumentation. The pure instrumentation sequence sounds great and really hooks the listener from the first moment. The song is a great closing number and certainly shows off what the boys can do.

For those who bought the limited edition, five songs were made, sung solo by each member of the group. The first of the solos is Ohno’s song entitled Song for me. The song begins with a gorgeous midtempo sound that hooks the listener from the first moment. Ohno’s vocals during the first verse show power and control, moving with the music perfectly. The chorus stands out as Ohno shows off a little more vocally and lets the words really come from inside him. Song for me is a fantastic song that the listener can’t help but enjoy.

Aiba’s solo song, Friendship, is the second solo. The song begins with a very pretty instrumental before going into the first verse. His vocals sound very comfortable here and capture the overall atmosphere of the song very well. The chorus is nice but nothing particularly noteworthy except the chorus continues to be pretty. On the third verse, he shows off his vocals strongly and makes the listener take notice.

虹 is Nino’s solo song. Opening this song is a very touching piano instrumental. His vocals sound very pretty and move with the music very strongly. He shows off even more vocal ability on the chorus as the emotions come through more strongly and hits the listener nicely. The acapella ending is wonderful and brings the song to a wonderful close. This solo song is certainly one to look out for.

Can’t Let You Go comes as Sakurai’s solo song. He delivers a great solo song here as he shows off some nice vocals and gives out some nice rap sequences. The jazzy influences that run throughout the song really hook the listener and make it stand out very strongly. It’s certainly one of the strongest solos and one of the most memorable ones.

 

Yabai-Yabai-Yabai closes the album as Matsumoto’s solo song. The opening of the song is a bit weird but in a really fun way. That energy and happy atmosphere persists throughout the song and makes the listener just smile. It’s a great way to close the second disc and is another great solo song.

Album Ranking: B –

Arashi’s 7th studio album is a collection of hits and misses. While the boys shine on tracks such as ROCK YOU,太陽の世界,  Everybody 前進 and Cry for you, there are certainly bland songs like 風, LIFE and Carry on. Some songs could’ve been stronger had little changes been made to them but aren’t necessarily bad ones. The second disc of solo songs is great and certainly shows what each boy can do on their own. Overall not a particularly engaging album but it has it’s strong numbers.