Diario

RSS
  • Top 50 Albums

    Dic 15 2008, 19:57

    Lol, this is mosly bullshit. there's a whole bunch of albums (mostly by Ayu) that are totally left out because I don't subscribe to last.fm's weird titles for them. XD
    Oh well, still cool I guess.

    hildred's top albums
    1. Within Temptation - The Silent Force (421)
    2. Zwei - Z (365)
    3. 浜崎あゆみ - GUILTY (303)
    4. Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape (182)
    5. 이정현 - Let's Go to My Star (180)
    6. Lisa - GOD SISTA (176)
    7. Lacuna Coil - Karmacode (148)
    8. Nelly Furtado - Loose (144)
    9. ELLEGARDEN - Eleven Fire Crackers (141)
    10. Dido - No Angel (137)
    11. Lacuna Coil - Unleashed Memories (122)
    12. ABBA - Gold: Greatest Hits (119)
    13. Within Temptation - The Heart of Everything (113)
    14. 이정현 - I Love Natural (112)
    15. YeLLOW Generation - CARPE DIEM (110)
    16. Lacuna Coil - Comalies (108)
    17. Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight (104)
    18. Leaves' Eyes - Vinland Saga (97)
    19. Aria - Aria (96)
    20. Capsule - FLASH BACK (94)
    21. SoulJa - Spirits (94)
    22. Move - BOULDER (92)
    23. Fayray - Hourglass (90)
    24. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad (86)
    25. Evanescence - The Open Door (84)
    26. Max - MAXIMUM (81)
    27. Younha - Go! Younha (81)
    28. Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (81)
    29. The Pussycat Dolls - Doll Domination (Deluxe Edition) (79)
    30. DREAMS COME TRUE - And I Love You (78)
    31. Garbage - Version 2.0 (77)
    32. Within Temptation - Mother Earth (77)
    33. Britney Spears - Circus (74)
    34. Lyrico - Flavours (74)
    35. Uh Huh Her - Common Reaction (73)
    36. Max - MAXIMUM TRANCE (72)
    37. t.A.T.u. - Dangerous and Moving (71)
    38. Lisa - Gratitude (71)
    39. 相川七瀬 - FOXTROT (71)
    40. Ishtar - The Alabina Years (70)
    41. Madonna - The Immaculate Collection (68)
    42. SOULHEAD - BRAIDED (68)
    43. Lady Gaga - The Fame (Deluxe Edition) (68)
    44. Dream - Process (67)
    45. Britney Spears - Blackout (67)
    46. ORANGE RANGE - 1st CONTACT (66)
    47. Zwei - Pretty Queen (66)
    48. Garbage - beautifulgarbage (66)
    49. Madonna - Hard Candy (65)
    50. Britney Spears - In the Zone (64)

  • Hildred's Awesome Collection of J-Music

    Set 21 2007, 2:13

    See, if I was smart, I'd have a job at all times to support this hobby. XD

    ALBUMS:

    ai otsuka - LOVE COOK
    ai otsuka - LOVE PiECE
    ai otsuka - LOVE PUNCH
    Ami Suzuki - Around The World
    ayumi hamasaki - A Song for XX
    ayumi hamasaki - A Ballads
    ayumi hamasaki - A BEST 2 -WHITE-
    ayumi hamasaki - A COMPLETE ~ALL SINGLES~
    ayumi hamasaki - Ayu-Mi-X
    ayumi hamasaki - ayu-mi-x II version JPN
    ayumi hamasaki - ayu-mi-x II Non-Stop Mega Mix
    ayumi hamasaki - ayu-mi-x II version US+EU
    ayumi hamasaki - ayu-mi-x III Non-Stop Mega-Mix Version
    ayumi hamasaki - ayu-mi-x 6 -GOLD-
    ayumi hamasaki - Cyber TRANCE presents A TRANCE
    ayumi hamasaki - Duty
    ayumi hamasaki - GUILTY
    ayumi hamasaki - I am...
    ayumi hamasaki - Loveppears
    ayumi hamasaki - Memorial Address
    ayumi hamasaki - (miss)understood
    ayumi hamasaki - My Story
    ayumi hamasaki - NEXT LEVEL
    ayumi hamasaki - Rainbow
    ayumi hamasaki - Secret
    ayumi hamasaki - SUPER EUROBEAT presents ayu-ro mix 2
    Capsule - Sugarless GiRL
    Do As Infinity - BREAK OF DAWN
    Do As Infinity - DEEP FOREST
    Do As Infinity - GATES OF HEAVEN
    Do As Infinity - NEED YOUR LOVE
    Do As Infinity - NEW WORLD
    Do As Infinity - TRUE SONG
    Dream - Dear...
    Dream - Progress
    Every Little Thing - everlasting
    Every Little Thing - Many Pieces
    GACKT - Crescent
    GACKT - DIABOLOS
    GACKT - MARS
    GACKT - MOON
    GACKT - Rebirth
    globe - CRUISE RECORDS 1995-2000
    globe - FACES PLACES
    globe - globe
    globe - Lights
    globe - Relations
    Hayami Kishimoto - JUICY
    Hikaru Utada - Deep River
    Hikaru Utada - Distance
    Hikaru Utada - First Love
    Hikaru Utada - Ultra Blue
    Hiro - Brilliant
    Hitomi - by myself
    Hitomi - deja-vu
    Hitomi - GO TO THE TOP
    Hitomi - h
    Hitomi - huma-rhythm
    Hitomi - LOVE LIFE
    Hitomi - SELF PORTRAIT
    Hitomi - thermo plastic
    Hitomi - TIARTROP FLES
    Hitomi - TRAVELER
    Hitomi Shimatani - Gate ~Scena III~
    Hitomi Shimatani - Tsuioku+Love Letter
    Kaela Kimura - Circle
    kumi koda - BEST ~second session~
    kumi koda - Black Cherry
    kumi koda - Secret
    Lisa - LISABEST ~mission on earth~
    Maaya Sakamoto - Hotchpotch
    Mai - MAISELF
    Max - EMOTIONAL HISTORY
    Max - MAXIMUM
    Max - MAXIMUM II
    Max - MAXIMUM COLLECTION
    Max - MAXIMUM GROOVE
    Max - MAXIMUM TRANCE
    Max - SUPER EUROBEAT presents HYPER EURO MAX
    Move - DECADANCE
    Move - electrock
    Move - Operation Overload 7
    mihimaru GT - Mihimarise
    Namie Amuro - 181920
    Namie Amuro - break the rules
    Namie Amuro - Concentration 20
    Namie Amuro - Genius 2000
    Namie Amuro - PLAY
    Namie Amuro - Queen of Hip-Pop
    Namie Amuro - Sweet 19 Blues
    Namie Amuro - DANCE TRACKS VOL. 1
    Namie Amuro - ORIGINAL TRACKS VOL. 1
    Nanase Aikawa - Crimson
    Nanase Aikawa - Foxtrot
    Nanase Aikawa - ParaDOX
    Nanase Aikawa - Purana
    Nanase Aikawa - RED
    Nanase Aikawa - 7 -seven-
    Ringo Shiina - Shouso Strip
    Rina Aiuchi - Power Of Words
    Rina Aiuchi - RINA AIUCHI REMIXES
    Rurutia - Promised Land
    Rurutia - Water Forest
    Takako Uehara - First Wing
    Takako Uehara - p.u.p.a.
    T.M.Revolution - Vertical Infinity
    Tsukiko Amano - A Moon Child In The Sky
    Tsukiko Amano - Tenryuu
    w-inds. - ~FIRST MESSAGE~
    Zwei - Pretty Queen
    Zwei - Z

    SINGLES:

    Anna Tsuchiya - SLAP THAT NAUGHTY BODY
    ayumi hamasaki - &
    ayumi hamasaki - A
    ayumi hamasaki - appears
    ayumi hamasaki - Audience
    ayumi hamasaki - BLUE BIRD
    ayumi hamasaki - Bold & Delicious/Pride
    ayumi hamasaki - Boys & Girls
    ayumi hamasaki - Daybreak
    ayumi hamasaki - Days/GREEN
    ayumi hamasaki - Dearest
    ayumi hamasaki - Endless sorrow
    ayumi hamasaki - Evolution
    ayumi hamasaki - Far Away
    ayumi hamasaki - Fly High
    ayumi hamasaki - Forgiveness
    ayumi hamasaki - Free & Easy
    ayumi hamasaki - Glitter/fated
    ayumi hamasaki - H
    ayumi hamasaki - HEAVEN
    ayumi hamasaki - INSPIRE
    ayumi hamasaki - Kanariya
    ayumi hamasaki - M
    ayumi hamasaki - Mirrorcle World
    ayumi hamasaki - Never Ever
    ayumi hamasaki - No Way to Say
    ayumi hamasaki - Rule/Sparkle
    ayumi hamasaki - Seasons
    ayumi hamasaki - Startin'/Born To Be...
    ayumi hamasaki - Sunrise/Sunset ~Love is all~
    ayumi hamasaki - SURREAL
    ayumi hamasaki - talkin' 2 myself
    ayumi hamasaki - Trust
    ayumi hamasaki - UNITE!
    ayumi hamasaki - Vogue
    ayumi hamasaki - Voyage
    ayumi hamasaki - WHATEVER (Re-released)
    Nanase Aikawa - China Rose
    Nanase Aikawa - Jealousy
    Nanase Aikawa - Roppongi Shinjyuu
    Zwei - DISTANCE
  • The Horrible Top 50 Artists Survey

    Set 14 2007, 21:18

    Dear God, how did I get myself into this.

    1. How did you get into 29? Rina Aiuchi

    I don't quite remember. I probably downloaded a song by her (Over Shine if i'm right) and just fell in love. Her hard pop style is difficult to NOT love.

    2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22? Gwen Stefani

    "What You Waiting For". I stole my friend's CD since she loved her so much and I was looking for a new American artist to listen to. It's the first track on that CD.

    3. What’s your favorite lyric by 33? Linkin Park

    I think it might be Points of Authority. I like a lot of their lyrics. Hands Held High is also really good lyrically.

    4. What is your favorite album by 49? Ai

    I've only heard micaholic AI, sooooo.

    5. How many albums by 13 do you own? sifow

    None! OMG.

    6. What is your favorite song by 50? Gam

    "Thanks!" I guess.

    7. Is there a song by 39 that makes you sad? Kaori Natori

    I wouldn't really know. Her slow songs tend to be rather optimistic sounding. I don't know the lyrics.

    8. What is your favorite album by 15? mihimaru GT

    THE BEST of mihimaru GT. Their singles are amazing.

    9. What is your favorite song by 5? Namie Amuro

    OMG I have no idea. It's either No, Hide & Seek, or Put 'Em Up. Probably No.

    10. Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy? Capsule

    All of them! All right, I'll just stick with Secret Paradise. =) It sounds so...hopeful.

    11. What is your favorite album by 40? JYONGRI

    "Close To Fantasy"...her, uh, only one at this time.

    12. What is your favorite song by 10? Hitomi Shimatani

    I don't really have a fave Shima song. It would definitely be a "crossover" genre one though.

    13. What is a good memory you have involving 30? Hyori Lee

    The Shall We Dance? PV hurr hurr. (hooooot)

    14. What is your favorite song by 38? High And Mighty Color

    Again, I don't relaly have one. They all sort of sound the same. Good same.

    15. Is there a song by 19 that makes you happy? HALCALI

    Clutch. It's sad sounding, but it has a good feeling.

    16. How many times have you seen 25 live? YU.KI.KO

    I've never seen any of these artists live.

    17. What is the first song you ever heard by 23? Hikaru Utada

    Seriously? Shiawase ni Naru. I'm surprised I gave any of her other songs a chance.

    18. What is your favorite album by 11? Miliyah Kato

    Geez, I don't know. I like both of her albums about equally. I listen to Diamond Princess more, though.

    19. Who is a favorite member of 1? Zwei

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I plead the 5th.

    20. Have you ever seen 14 live? Azumi Uehara

    LOL HAS ANYBODY?

    21. What is a good memory involving 27? Sparkling*Point

    Probably that one day when I played them over and over.

    22. What is your favorite song by 16? Lyrico

    I...I dunno. ;_; Scarborough Fair scares me in a good way. <3

    23. What is the first song you ever heard by 47? Mink

    Um...I...I'm sure it was a different one, but maybe Eternal Love?

    24. What is your favorite album by 18? Madonna

    Confession on a Dancefloor, hands down.

    25. What is your favorite song by 21? Kaela Kimura

    BEAT. Love that song.

    26. What is the first song you ever heard by 26? BONNIE PINK

    I'm In the Mood for Dancing, I think.

    27. What is your favorite album by 3? ayumi hamasaki

    I am... one of my faves, ever.

    28. What is you favorite song by 22? Boa

    Everlasting.

    29. What was the first song you ever heard by 32? Yuki Koyanagi

    Fair Wind.

    30. What is you favorite song by 8? Max

    LOVE SCREW. hahaha.

    1. How many times have you seen 17 live? Britney Spears

    How many times have YOU seen her live, huh?

    32. Is there a song by 44 that makes you happy? Hitomi

    Japanese girl. And pretty much all her other songs too.

    33. What is you favorite album by 12? Rin'

    Inland Sea. So beautiful!

    34. What is the worst song by 45? Dido

    I used to really, REALLY hate Thank You. Now I just tolerate it.

    35. What was the first song you ever heard by 34? Nelly Furtado

    I'm Like a Bird. Man I hated that song.

    36. What is you favorite album by 48? globe

    globe2 pop/rock

    37. How many times have you seen 42 live? Crystal Kay

    Never.

    38. What is you favorite song by 36? Chieko Kawabe

    It's a tie between Brilliance and Leave Me Alone.

    39. What was the first song you ever heard by 28? melody.

    Believe Me. I think.

    40. What is your favorite album by 7? kumi koda

    Either Secret or grow into one.

    41. Is there a song by 31 that makes you happy? Origa

    I don't think any of her songs have an emotion other than *_*

    42. What is your favorite album by 41? Perfume

    I've only heard one, and that's their Best album.

    43. What is your favorite song by 24? YUI

    LIFE I guess.

    44. What is a good memory you have involving 46? t.A.T.u.

    Hearing them for the first time and thinking "WOW".

    45. What is your favorite song by 35? Hinoi Team

    NIGHT OF FIRE. X)

    46. Is there a song by 9 that makes you happy? Ami Suzuki

    Hopeful, heheh. XD

    47. What is your favorite album by 4? Lisa

    GOD SISTA. Ho damn.

    48. Who is a favorite member of 37? Mai Hoshimura

    OMG SHE DIVIDED!!!

    49. What is the first song you ever heard by 43? ABBA

    Dancing Queen

    50. How many albums do you own by 20? Aria

    None! Working on that!
  • Sound Check #4 - 浜崎あゆみ

    Giu 7 2007, 2:29





    ayumi hamasaki is a woman that needs little or no introduction. In fact, if you've never even heard of her and you're into J-pop, I have two questions for you: "WHAT?" and "Is that rock by chance comfortable to live under?"

    Chances are, you have heard of Ayu, and have at least listened to a song or two by her. To make this brief in case you haven't, Ayu pretty much defined what J-pop IS for the new millenium. She is heralded as the Queen of J-pop, likened to be like what Madonna did for western pop music. (And that's a compliment to her...Madonna is Ayu's favorite artist) Even nearly 10 years into her career, Ayu still manages to pull off incredible sales, endorsement deals, and wow fans with her yearly incredible Arena Tours. She is also the epitome of Cinderella stories. Her father left her family when she was just a child, and she was raised by her mother and grandmother. She dropped out of high school to puruse a minor modeling career, and even though she had no inclination to ever be a singer, she was scouted by famed producer Max Matsuura while out karaoking one night. The rest is, as they say, celebrity history.

    But you probably knew all that already. Since then Ayu has established herself as the fashion icon of Japan, the diva of Japanese women, the pinnacle of popularity. Whether you like her or not, if you live in Japan, you KNOW who Ayu is. But I won't sit here and just tell you that she's awesome. I'll tell you WHY she is my favorite artist of all time.

    When I first got into Ayu, I was looking for something different. I stumbled upon her song, M, and fell instantly in love. Since then I have collected all of her original albums and some singles, DVDs, and a couple posters. With each album Ayu's sound slightly changes. She went to pure pop back in 1998 to a mixture of rock and dark pop. Like Madonna, Ayu is always reinventing herself, probably one of the reasons why she's still so popular. (She even has a highly discussed gospel-inspired track, and a couple RnB tracks. Her dance tracks are legendary) Her lyrics are famed for their bluntness and honesty about life. Plus she's just an all around lovely woman.

    Ayu is about as involved with her career as she can get in Japan. She writes her own lyrics (ever since the beginning) and is quite the accomplished composer. She envisions her concerts to be just the way she wants. While her vocals are not usually celebrated (they are slightly nasally, and she has an infamous vibrato) it still adds the overall "Ayu" charm to the finished product. Just recently Ayu went back to Hong Kong after holding a crazy-popular tour in Asia to film a PV for her upcoming single. When she left her hotel room one evening, she was swarmed by a dozen or so fans asking for an autograph. She did so with dignity and a huge smile on her face. Lately I've been wondering myself about Ayu's "divanesS" but seeing the pictures of her giving an autograph with such amenicability (lol is that a word?) erased almost all of my doubts. In the past she has also called upon her fans to help her write lyrics and appear in her PVs. During her concerts she plays fan favorites and has them sing about half the song while she encourages them with lots of shouting. I think I might cry if I never get to be a part of that exhilirating experience.

    So there you have it. I'm not going to bore you any longer about a woman you probably have seen plastered everywhere before anyway. All that's left for me to say is "LISTEN TO HER NOW" if you've never been inclined to before. Trust me. There's an Ayu song for everyone. <3 (She only has like 150 original songs I swear @.@)

    To recap:

    Artist(s): 浜崎あゆみ
    Sounds like (musically): Madonna
    Sounds like (vocally): ---
    Recommended Album(s): I am... , LOVEppears, Secret
    Recommended Songs: evolution, M, STEP you, HEAVEN, WHATEVER, End roll, Naturally, Startin', until that Day..., Heartplace, HANABI
    Recommended Videos See Below.

    Ladies Night


    Kanariya


    is this LOVE?


    my name's WOMEN


    External Links:

    Divine Ayu Unofficial Fan Site
    Wikipedia Entry


    Important Note: These reviews are meant for entertainment purposes only, and gives me a chance to rave about my favorite artists in the hopes that other people will check them out as well. If you disagree with any of my comments, that's cool, but keep in mind that opinion is opinion and I doubt that we hold the same exact ones. Artists are chosen by my weekly top artists list.

    Top 5 artists for May 27th - June 3rd 2007

    1 Zwei 47
    2 小柳ゆき 44
    3 浜崎あゆみ 35
    4 日之内絵美 33
    5 加藤ミリヤ 31
  • Sound Check #3 - Gwen Stefani

    Mag 30 2007, 22:59



    I admit it, I'm rather surprised that a non-Japanese artist made their way so early into my reviews, but here she is, the one and only Gwen Stefani. It shouldn't surprise you that one of the few American artists that I regularly listen to these days is Gwen. Now before you put on your "WTF" caps, let's just figure out what I see in this platinum-blonde lady.

    Gwen was originally the lead singer of ska band No Doubt before releasing her first solo CD, Love Angel Music Baby a couple years ago. This album showed a musicla side of Gwen that her fans, let alone the world, had never seen before. Gwen traded in the ska/rock sound for a retro-ish bubblegum pop feel that surprised many. (Think of Tomoko Kawase leaving The Brilliant Green to become Tommy february6. Her first single, What You Waiting For was a hard-pop tune with fast dance beats and a video that would be reminiscent of celebrating a certain day in April. This pretty much reflected the rest of the album as well.

    I first borrowed this album from a friend on a really long school trip shortly after it was released. After the first listen through I knew I had to have it. It's no secret that I am obsessed with good dance music, especially if it's backed by a vocalist with the attitude and flavor that Gwen produces. She reminds me of Madonna but without the stigma that's often attached to her. Furthermore, Gwen knows how to make groovy music. Who said that all pop-dance music had to be of the "cutesy" variety? Both of her uncut albums are labelled with the parental advisory label. And while this isn't a benchmark for great music in any way shape or form, it was still cool to see somebody break that stereotype.

    While Gwen isn't producing the latest dance song to make your spine tingle, she also puts out a really, really fine ballad. I must admit I'm usually not taken with American ballads, but Gwen wins me over with her smooth voice and clean retro beats. My favorite ballad by her currently is Early Winter from her second album The Sweet Escape. There's something haunting about that tune that really makes me sad, in that "this is a good song!" way. Her other good ballads include Cool, 4 In the Morning, and Wonderful Life.

    Perhaps another thing that charms me over to Gwen's side is her apparent love for Japanese culture. (Hooray! Always nice to connect to your favorite artists) She is often seen with her entrourage of "Harajuku Girls" named, coincidentally, Love, Angel, Music, and Baby. Now while there are rumors that she doesn't treat them very well, it's still funny to see her in her videos and performances with these four Japanese girls running around and doing whatever. There's even a song dedicated to them on LAMB that is full of good clean WTF fun.

    Gwen Stefani may go as quickly as she's come, but the imprint she's put on modern American music will remain for a long time. I am constantly amused by her witty lyrics ("Go to Kinko's and Xerox me!") and cool beats. Currently I am favoring her second album above her first because of its better flow and overall interesting songs, but both are equally good if you ask me. (And believe me, you did). I guarantee that either album that you listen to will make you cock your eyebrow and wonder what you've gotten yourself into. But buckle up and just enjoy the eclectic ride that is Gwen's music.

    To recap:

    Artist(s): Gwen Stefani
    Sounds like (musically): Madonna, Tommy february6, 愛内里菜
    Sounds like (vocally): Madonna (I guess)
    Recommended Album(s): Love Angel Music Baby, The Sweet Escape
    Recommended Songs: What You Waiting For, Harajuku Girls, Early Winter, Wind It Up, The Sweet Escape, Wonderful Life
    Recommended Videos See Below.

    What You Waiting For


    Wind It Up


    Cool


    4 In the Morning


    External Links:

    Gwen Stefani Fan Site
    Wikipedia Page


    Important Note: These reviews are meant for entertainment purposes only, and gives me a chance to rave about my favorite artists in the hopes that other people will check them out as well. If you disagree with any of my comments, that's cool, but keep in mind that opinion is opinion and I doubt that we hold the same exact ones. Artists are chosen by my weekly top artists list.

    Top 5 artists for May 20th - May 27th 2007


    1 Gwen Stefani (56)
    2 Linkin Park (35)
    3 Max (31)
    4 Lyrico (26)
    5 BONNIE PINK (25)
  • Sound Check #2: MAX

    Mag 24 2007, 0:24



    Whatever happened to the days of in-your-face "GET ON THE FLOOR AND DANCE" music? Did it get beamed up by aliens? Did it explode with Velfarre as Roppongi decided it was too cool for Eurobeat? Oh, right, I remember now: the 90's ended a few years ago.

    If you're like me, then you long for the days when dance music was in (even if you were only like...7 at the time) and whatever they're playing on the radio today makes you want to shake your booty about as much as a cat wants to stick its tail beneath a rocking chair. (Unless you're my cat and then you probably want to do that, hurr hurr) Well, pine no more my friends, because Max is here to save the day.

    MAX's humble beginnings began back in the early 90s alongside Namie Amuro when they were all in the group SUPER MONKEY'S on the Toshiba-EMI label. After it became apparent that Namie was well on her way to solo stardum, the remaining members of SUPER MONKEYS were herded into their own group, now called MAX. This should be considered one of the greatest group splits in history, since not only did it spawn Namie's fantabulous solo career, but it also brought four very talented ladies into the lime light during Japan's Eurobeat fever era.

    The original line-up consisted of front-woman 天久美奈子 (MINA) and the other three, 沢詩奈々子 (NANA), 宮内玲奈 (REINA), and 松田律子 (LINA). In 2002 MINA bowed out of the group, citing marriage and pregnancy. She was replaced with 前田亜紀 (AKI). (Although I really can't hear a difference in vocals)

    As you can imagine, MAX started off as a Eurobeat cover group, in a similar vein of HINOIチーム. But after their first album, they began singing original songs. Now, I'm not just talking any old Eurobeat. They didn't hash out NIGHT OF FIRE just for kicks. Oh no. MAX debuted in the hey-day of Japanese Eurobeat. Their songs were TOP-QUALITY in that booty-shaking way that only classic Eurobeat can produce. Plus their PVs were top notch: the four ladies made 90's fashion look sexy. They were also a group molded to be sexy: today "cute" may sell more, but ten years ago it was all about who showed the most cleavage. But before you start writing Max off as tramps, let me assure you that although sexy, they were still quite tasteful. In fact, I think I would call them "sultry" more than anything else. Hits like TORA TORA TORA and Give me a Shake topped the charts and stole the hearts of millions of Japanese people. They sold millions of CDs and performed in sold-out concerts all across Japan.

    You might notice that I kept using the past-tense in that last paragraph. So what happened? Well, right around 2000, after coming off the high of their second-highest single, Isshoni..., MAX decided to take more control of their music. Personally, I love artists that get creatively involved in their music. It's one thing to be a singing/dancing machine, it's quite another to be doing what you feel is right for your group and enjoying it. So suddenly MAX decided not to do Eurobeat anymore: their first single of 2000, "Never gonna stop it", was RnB influenced, a genre that was steadily rising in Japan. However, either it Japan wasn't used to it yet, or it just wasn't meant to be, for it was the beginning of a slump that continues to this day.

    Shortly after MINA's departure and AKI's induction, MAX took another drastic musical turn. They went back to more dance-centered music, but this time with a twist: they decided to include Okinawan influenced music (they were all from Okinawa) to create "Okinawan Euro". The most notible influence from Okinawa is the classic string instrument that's name totally escapes me. (But listen to any of their songs after NIRAI KANAI and you'll probably hear it). This fusion is probably the most "MAX" you will ever get. While their Eurobeat was top-notch, there is something inescapable about where their music has gone since. As they age, their music just feels fresher and younger every time they release something. There's something so innocent about their latest single SPLASH GOLD -Natsu no Kiseki/Prism of Eyes while also being completely entertaining and without mimicking groups like morning musume. Give it a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

    One of MAX's most shining points, in any year, is their ability to harmonize. I am not criticising them when I say that they all have similar vocals and are pretty much (to me anyway) indestiguishable. In this case, it works well to their advantage. Instead of hearing four distinct voices, it's like listening to a choir of four voices in perfect harmony with each other. Their voices only add to their solid sound.

    If you're looking for some riveting and classic Eurobeat, old 90s MAX is where it's at. If you're looking for a completely original and fun sound to groove to, new 21st century MAX is your ticket. And if you're just looking for hot dance beats and hot ladies showing you the moves, then the MAX of any era will show you the time of your musical life.

    To recap:

    Artist(s): MAX
    Sounds like (musically): HINOIチーム, Dream, Speed
    Sounds like (vocally): Namie Amuro
    Recommended Album(s): MAXIMUM, Jewel of Jewels
    Recommended Songs: LOVE SCREW, Be With You, TORA TORA TORA, Love is Dreaming, Seventies, Perfect Love
    Recommended Videos See Below.

    LOVE SCREW


    Perfect Love (this is a really funny PV)


    TORA TORA TORA


    Love is Dreaming


    External Links:

    Official Site
    Wikipedia Entry


    Important Note: These reviews are meant for entertainment purposes only, and gives me a chance to rave about my favorite artists in the hopes that other people will check them out as well. If you disagree with any of my comments, that's cool, but keep in mind that opinion is opinion and I doubt that we hold the same exact ones. Artists are chosen by my weekly top artists list.

    Top 5 artists for May 13th - May 20th 2007

    1 Zwei 63
    2 Max 37
    3 mihimaru GT 32
    4 浜崎あゆみ 31
    5 SOULHEAD 30
  • Sound Check #1 - Zwei

    Mag 17 2007, 2:17



    Every great once in a while you discover an artist/band that just HITS you (metaphorically...literally, then you might have a problem) with a musical force so intense that you have to back up and go "WOAH WTF MATE". For me this happens every few months. At the beginning of the year it was Within Temptation (who still manage to break into the top five every week, sheesh), and this second quarter it just happens to be a lady rock duo from Japan. I should win some set of Internet points for this.

    Zwei (meaning "two" in German, go figure) is made up of gritty vocalist Ayumu and ex-Kera model bassist Megu(mi) Ueno. Before forming Zwei, Ayumu was part of a group called Cherry Feel while Megu played for a "shock group" called Pineal. Both reportedly were ready to go pro, and while attending a Cherry Feel live, Megu "scouted" Ayumu, and approached her to do vocals for a new band she was forming. Ayumu was so shocked that she dropped her make-up. (Haven't we all done that at least once?! "HEY JOIN MY BAND?!" "WTF *drops stuff*")

    Zwei debuted in 2004 with the single Movie Star. Since then they have released five singles (with a sixth on the way at the time of writing this...sounds like I'm reporting births, eh). A majority of their songs are rock with what I call "attitude". It's one thing to have rock music, and a whole 'nother level when you can actually feel the passion that a group puts into their work. Every Zwei song to date has the duo's charm foisted upon it to the point where after a while of listening you kind of get overwhelmed by it. (In a good way, I swear! Take a break and it'll be good all over again!) They were originally on the Vap label for their first two albums before signing on with Universal Music Japan in 2006.

    Zwei is produced by Nick Wood, so a lot of their songs have a "British rock" feel, one of the many things that sets Zwei apart from other rock groups in Japan. (Or so I'm guessing, I don't listen to much Japanese rock.) Personally, I don't listen to any British rock, so I'm just going to have to trust other fans with this one. Their lyrics, usually not written by either official member of the group, focus a lot around identity and passionate feelings. Their PVs are often highly artistic in approach, and even though usually a bit low-budget, still manage to hold interest for their whole length. Most have as high replay value as the actual songs. (Seriously, I must watch Movie Star at least once a day. Lot of fun. =D)

    I love Zwei because they're unlike anything I've heard in a long time. While I often compare Ayumu's vocals to other artists, in the end she probably has one of the strongest set of raspy vocals I've heard coming from that side of the Pacific. She can also not only dish out some heated vocals for their upbeat songs, but can also tone down for the occasional ballad.

    The song compositions are also pleasantly different in the sense that they don't rehash the same format in every song (or if they do, I haven't noticed, so it must not be that bad =D), and they utilize a variety of instruments, from classic rock paraphenelia to dance synth to keep a majority of their songs fresh and distinguished from one another. They also have some of the best interludes I've heard since ayumi hamasaki, and that says an effin' lot since I love Ayu's interludes.

    If you are looking for rock music with a different edge from just about everything else out there, I can't recommend these ladies enough. Currently they have 2 albums out, so it's not too late to get completely caught up with them if you don't have a lot of time to devote hunting down discographies. Their first album, Pretty Queen, is a bit edgier than their second, Z, and is also my personal favorite, so if you're more into erratic themes and melodies, I'd start there. (There's not a single song on that album that I don't love). Their second album is a bit more mainstream, but still has high quality songs it, especially from their singles.

    Oh, yeah, and they're really, really, really hot. Everybody wins! =D

    To recap:

    Artist(s): Zwei
    Sounds like (musically): I'm told Britsh rock =D
    Sounds like (vocally): Tsukiko Amano, 伴都美子, Kaela Kimura
    Recommended Album(s): Pretty Queen, Z
    Recommended Songs: Movie Star, Watashigai no Uta, Hikari, Dragon, FAKE FACE.
    Recommended Vidoes See Below.

    Movie Star


    Watashigai no Uta


    CM Collection


    External Links:

    Deux - Unofficial Fansite
    ThePPN Wiki Page


    Important Note: These reviews are meant for entertainment purposes only, and gives me a chance to rave about my favorite artists in the hopes that other people will check them out as well. If you disagree with any of my comments, that's cool, but keep in mind that opinion is opinion and I doubt that we hold the same exact ones. Artists are chosen by my weekly top artists list.

    Top 5 artists for May 6th - May 13th 2007

    1 Zwei (113)
    2 愛内里菜 (23)
    3 相川七瀬 (19)
    4 Within Temptation (19)
    5 Lisa (15)