Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Archive for the ‘Otsuka Ai’ Category

Otsuka Ai’s 16th single, entitled ポケット, was released on 11.07.07. ポケット was used as a music.jp CM song for November.

The title track is a very pretty ballad that shows off Ai’s vocals. Sweet piano instrumentation opens up the song and leads into the first verse nicely. Her vocals sound very pretty and have a certain fragility to them that the listener can’t help but feel. The chorus features Ai showing off a little more vocal power and it goes with the music perfectly. Following the chorus, the instrumentation changes things up a bit by adding a little more flavor. Closing the song is the same sweet piano instrumental that opened it. ポケット is a wonderful ballad and Ai emotes very well on the song, bringing it to life.

The first B-side is チケット. The song starts off with an interesting instrumental and soon the tempo picks up and the listener is in another world. The first verse comes in and Ai’s vocals go perfectly with the music and there is a certain cuteness in her voice that really works with the music. The chorus is enjoyable as Ai’s vocals really capture the song’s emotions and help the listener feel them too. The pure instrumental section sounds great and is really one of the parts of the song that stand out the most. チケット is definitely a good complimentary track to the A-side with a more upbeat and happy sound.

LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE is the second B-side but it should have been left off the single. The song is in all English and the lyrics are pretty repetitive. The song’s saving quality is the instrumentation, which is actually pretty interesting. Unfortunately, the song just gets old really fast and was really not needed for this single.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ポケット was made. The video is actually very simple as Ai sings outside in a beautiful snowy setting. She looks absolutely wonderful here and it really compliments the song’s beauty.

Single Ranking: A –

Otsuka Ai’s 16th single features the wonderful ballad and title track ポケット, the upbeat and enjoyable チケット and finally the somewhat childish and English song LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE. The first two songs are great while the third is really un-necessary.

Otsuka Ai’s 15th single, entitled PEACH / HEART, was released on 07.25.07. PEACH was used as the theme song for the dorama Hanazakari  no Kimatachi.

PEACH is a happy summer song that brings out Ai’s fun side. The peppy instrumentation opens the song nicely and then the first verse begins. Ai’s cutesy vocals help the listener keep up with the song’s energy and they support the music perfectly. The chorus stands out mostly for when Ai sings “peach” in an adorable voice. Ai holds a great note before the pure instrumental section comes in, putting an emphasis on the free spirit of the song. PEACH is a great song that nicely shows off the fun and happiness of summer.

HEART is a sweet ballad that the listener can’t help but love. The song begins with the chorus, which is easily the most memorable part of the song. It’s the first line of the song that hooks the listener and is the center of that section. Then the first verse follows the pure instrumental section. Her vocals are really pretty and capture the song’s emotions perfectly. A dreamy feeling is established with the pure instrumental section. HEART is an excellent ballad that shows off Ai’s vocals and a pretty instrumental.

In order to promote the single, a PV for PEACH. Ai’s summer songs usually have weird PVs to go with them and this one is no different. The video mainly features Ai and her band rocking out at the beach but there are a few other scenes such as the group pushing a giant peach and others enjoying the beach scene.

Single Ranking: A

Otsuka Ai’s 15th single, entitled PEACH / HEART, is a double A-side that are two sides of a coin. While PEACH is a happy and energetic summer song, HEART is a sweet ballad that the listener can’t help but love. As another quality release from Ai, both songs are enjoyable.

Otsuka Ai’s 14th single, entitled CHU-LIP, was released on 02.21.07. The title track was used as the theme song for the TBS dorama Kirakira Kenshuu I.

In order to capture the sounds of summer, Ai brings out the energy and cuteness for CHU-LIP. A pop instrumentation with rock sounds starts off the song and makes a nice entrance to the first verse. Her vocals are cute and really bring the happy poppy atmosphere to the forefront and in the listener’s face. The chorus is the standout part of the song, particularly when she sings “CHU-LIP” and really is fun and light-hearted. The pure instrumental section stands out and then re-introduces the chorus nicely. CHU-LIP is a fun and happy summer song that Ai really brings to life.

The B-side of this single is キミにカエル。. The song starts off with a very sweet and engaging instrumental that has a dreamy aspect to it. The first verse then begins and Ai smoothly sings her way through. The chorus stands out as Ai shows off her vocals nicely, hitting the higher notes strongly and sweetly. The pure instrumental section shows off that fairy-tale-like feeling perfectly which really resonates with the listener. This B-side is very enjoyable and one of Ai’s most memorable ones.

In order to promote the single, a PV for CHU-LIP. The video is very weird and features a couple different scenes: Ai watching an older man taking a bath, Ai and three others dancing in a bathroom and Ai on a bed with others. It’s a very strange video but a nice fit for the song by showing off that fun element so well.

Single Ranking: A

CHU-LIP is a great single with the fun and poppy summer title-track and the sweet and dreamy B-side, forming a combination of two enjoyable songs for the listener.

Otsuka Ai’s 3rd studio album, entitled LOVE COOK, was released on 12.14.05. The singles released before the album are SMILY / ビー玉, ネコに風船, プラネタリウム and フレンジャー.

The album opens up with the interesting song, 5:09 A.M. The song starts off with a very dreamy feeling established by the instrumentation and soon Ai begins to sing. Her vocals sound very pretty and move with the music very well. As the song progresses, the instrumentation begins to become a little more varied with the drums coming in first. Soon, rock sounds come crashing in and Ai shows off more vocal power in order to match the power of the music. The softer music comes back in order to finish the song off nicely, making the listener enjoy the song from start to finish. 5:09 A.M. is a great way to open the album and catches the listener’s ear.

A more relaxing feeling comes through on the second track, 羽ありたまご. Opening the song is a cool and smooth instrumentation that takes the listener into another world. The first verse begins and Ai sings with such beauty and softness that she brings the lyrics to life. As a great way to introduce the chorus, Ai holds the final note of the verse with prettiness. The chorus really stands out to the listener as Ai sings her way smoothly through and holds her notes very nicely. The sweet instrumentation that persists throughout the song is what closes it and does that job very nicely. This song is one of the standout songs on LOVE COOK for Ai’s beautiful vocals and a strong instrumental presence.

ビー玉 is a relaxing sweet song that catches the listener’s ear nicely. A pretty instrumental starts off the song and then she smoothly sings her way through the first verse. The chorus is the most memorable part of the song as the cuteness in Ai’s voice steps forward a little more and is a nice addition to the song. The emotional presence of the lyrics is captured perfectly on this song, thus making it a memorable song off LOVE COOK.

Picking up the energy is the fun and happy song SMILY. The repetition of the word that begins each line and the “la la la” really make the hook stand out and it’s a good opening for the song. Her cutesy side comes out as well as a little more vocal power, which really captures the overall atmosphere of the song perfectly. SMILY is definitely an enjoyable energetic song which stands out to the listener very nicely.

The following track, U-ボート, keeps the energy up nicely. The song starts off with a cool instrumental and Ai repeats a phrase that is pretty cute and after that is a light-rock inspired instrumental. The first verse then begins and her vocals go with the song’s overall feel strongly and the “yay” definitely is a nice touch. The chorus stands out as Ai sings a little more powerfully and the noises in the background catch the listener’s ear. The pure instrumental section puts a nice spotlight on the guitar before going into a more peaceful sound supported with Ai humming. The phrase that opened up the song then closes is nicely, making it enjoyable.

Track number six is ネコに風船. The sweet and tender instrumental that opens the song leads the listener into a wonderful listening experience. The first verse then begins and Ai’s vocals sound great here as they show off a flare of cuteness to them. She then hits the notes at the end of the verse very well and provide a nice introduction for the chorus. Her cuteness comes through and catches the listener’s ear and fuels the emotions. The song is one of the most memorable on the album and hasn’t lost any steam from its release as a single.

Cherish, a soft rock song, stands out to the listener. The song opens up with an instrumentation that feels out-of-this-world and definitely hooks the listener from the first moment. The song’s true sound begins coming in and then the first verse starts. Her vocals sound great here and they move with the music perfectly, establishing the sorrowful feeling strongly. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation becomes a little more rock-filled and Ai’s vocals show more power. The pure instrumental section spotlights just how pretty the music is and re-introduces the chorus, sung more softly with a sweet instrumental than usual. At the end of the chorus, Ai hits a high note very strongly and captures an emotional presence. Cherish is a fantastic song and is one of the standout songs on LOVE COOK.

ラーメン3分クッキング appears as the next song on the album. The song starts off with a strange instrumental including some laughing from Ai. The piano is a nice touch to make the music stand out. The first verse is strange in that her voice is pushed to the background and then for the hook (which is one line), it steps out. The sounds in the hook are pretty weird but still enjoyable. The chorus is sung so quickly, the listener might have to take a few listens to catch what she is saying and it doesn’t stand out as much as the hook. Overall this song is the album’s weird and crazy song but it’s definitely enjoyable and fun.

Things slow down a little bit with the next song, 東京ミッドナイト. The song opens up with a beautiful piano interlude and then the energy comes out for a carnival-like sound. The first verse then begins and there is a certain relaxing feeling that comes through with Ai’s smooth vocals. The chorus doesn’t particularly pop in terms of an instrumental change but her voice still sounds nice and she does show a little more power here and there. The pure instrumental section helps show off that jazziness perfectly. The song is excellent number and is a very nice addition to LOVE COOK.

The tenth song is プラネタリウム, the beautiful ballad. Piano instrumentation starts off the song and the emotional presence comes out strongly from the first moment. Ai’s vocals during the first verse help carry the emotions to the listener. The instrumentation during the chorus is slightly different but still works with the overall feel of the song and supports Ai’s vocals nicely. Listening to the song becomes smooth sailling on the pure instrumental section, which sounds great. Overall プラネタリウム is a wonderful piece of this album and one to look out for.

The semifinal song is Birthday Song. The song begins with a group of people saying “happy birthday” before the midtempo instrumental begins. The harmonica is a nice touch and stands out to the listener before the first verse starts. Ai’s vocals carry the poppiness of the song well and are enjoyable. The repetition of “happy birthday” really catches the listener’s ear as her pronounciation is nice and enjoyable. The pure instrumental section sounds great and spotlights the light-heartedness of the song. Birthday Song is a nice and fun song which Ai brings to life with her voice.

The album closes with LOVE MUSiC. Sweet instrumentation and then Ai starts the voice with very pretty vocals that capture the emotion well. The chorus stands out with a slightly different feel, established in the instrumentation and Ai’s voice, which continues to show sweetness. Overall the song is nice although not one of Ai’s strongest and shouldn’t have been chosen to be the album closer.

Album Ranking: A –

Otsuka Ai’s third album certainly features some great songs such as the sweet song, 羽ありたまご and the soft rock song, Cherish. Ai shines on her ballads like プラネタリウム and brings the energy on happy songs SMILY and ラーメン3分クッキング. She definitely put a lot of effort into this album and it came through strongly.

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.

Otsuka Ai’s 13th single, entitled 恋愛写真, was released on 10.25.06. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru, a song for a music.jp CM and a Toshiba W45T (au). The B-side was used as the LOOK A La Mode chocolate CM song.

恋愛写真 is a sweet love ballad of reflection. To start the song off with the first verse as Ai beautifully sings the lyrics and is supported by a piano-driven instrumental. The chorus is memorable as Ai sings one line repeatedly and her voice really captures the emotion behind that one line. When the second verse starts, the instrumentation has a little more energy and beat to it than the previous one. The pure instrumental section sounds fantastic and sticks out to the listener before the chorus is re-introduced. She holds the last note fantastically, being able to capture and emote the feelings of the whole song at one moment.

ハニカミジェーン is the B-side. The song starts off with nice drum interlude before the cool and relaxing instrumentation starts. The first verse begins and Ai’s vocals sound very nice, attracting the listener. The chorus stands out nicely as Ai sings with a certain cuteness to her voice that goes perfectly with the music. The light rock tints also work nicely with Ai’s voice to provide an enjoyable atmosphere for the listener. The pure instrumentation section gives off a feeling of mystery before the guitar comes out strongly, making a smooth transition for more of Ai’s vocals. She hits the higher notes strongly and that cuteness stands out even more than usual here.  The same drums nicely close the song. As a soft enjoyable song with some rock flares, this is a great B-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 恋愛写真 was made. This video has a very personal feel that compliments the song’s lyrics strongly. There are many close-up shots of Ai singing; there are scenes of Ai spending time with her boyfriend; and a sorrowful reflective scene of Ai standing outside at night-time in a white dress.

Single Ranking: A

Otsuka Ai’s 13th single is made up of the … and the cool and relaxing ハニカミジェーン. The B-side definitely is one of Ai more memorable ones and is a great part of this single.

Otsuka Ai’s 12th single, entitled ユメクイ, was released on 08.02.06. The title track was used as the theme song for the Tokyo Friends movie.

ユメクイ is the wonderful title track of the single. The song starts off with the chorus, which automatically hooks the listener. The simple instrumentation with rock flares and Ai’s vocals combine to make a very enjoyable part of the song. The first verse features vocals that are somewhat deep in order to capture the lyrical meaning of the song. Once the chorus comes in again, the instrumentaiton is more filled, further emoting the atmosphere. The pure instrumental section is wonderful, spotlighting just how addictive the song’s music is. More instrumentation brings the song to a great close. ユメクイ is a fantastic song that shows off Ai strength as a lyricist, composer and vocalist all in one.

Tears is the single’s B-side. A piano interlude starts off the song, immediately establishing an atmosphere for the listener to follow. The first verse features some very pretty vocals from Ai that capture the emotions perfectly. The chorus is sung with such a delicate nature that the listener can’t help but deeply feel what Ai is singing. Following the chorus is a section of pure instrumentation with a more varied music, including instruments such as the violin, which catches the listener’s ear. Ai holds the final note beautifully and then pure instrumentation closes the song. Tears is a great B-side, really capturing emotions through the music and Ai’s vocals.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ユメクイ was made. The video is animated a kid taking a ride on an animal as he takes a journey and sees various things. Although it would have been nice to have Ai actually in the video, it’s certainly a nice fit for the song.

Single Ranking: A +

Otsuka Ai’s 12th single features two songs. The title track is a wonderful song that Ai brings to life with her vocals and the lyrics are beautiful too. Tears is a sweet ballad that is simple yet effective at bringing out the emotions.