Wow, it’s been a while. Utada Hikaru seemed to have come out of her haitus and released new PV for her up and coming release 桜流し (Sakura Nagashi). The full video was shown on her official Youtube channel but was taken off and replaced by a short teaser. It is also a theme song for the new anime film ‘Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo’. The video doesn’t feature Utada sadly. There’s a part showing a baby being breastfeed, nothing obscene as it was done in an artistic manner and so is the whole video.
Luna Sea is most undoubtedly one of the most successful band that came out of Visula Kei scene. It is one of the bands I’ve been following since my discovery of J-rock. THE ONE -crash to create- is the long awaited single by the band and it has been over 10 years since their last release. The single delivers a whopping 22 minutes long song and one could not help to compare to the epic X Japan’s song Art of Life, which last over 30 minutes.
The first moment of the comes an outburst of heavy guitar riff, it’s very dark but when the strings came in it was uplifting. At first it reminds you the middle period of their career from mother right through to Shine. Forever and Ever might be one of their songs you be’ll thinking, but it’s more than just that. The entire song transcend between darkness and brightness, from almost gothic versus to the anthemic choruses. I really miss the darker sound from their earlier period so I’m glad to hear that they have resurrected that classic moment in the track. Ryuichi’s vocal is smooth and dynamic as ever.
You can hear all the signature sounds of Luna Sea alright. Of course Sugizo’s violin part without amiss provides part of the emotional epicness. The only problem with the song is that it can feel as though there’s several different songs being stringed together rather than a single song. Different segments of the songs don’t really transcend together as well as it should be, parts of it is a little abrupt as one fades into another. Since it’s quite a long song it’s laden with many details within the arrangements and definitely requires several listen to discover them. In comparison to X Japan’s Art of Life it’s a bit more complex and packs a bit of surprise.
2. X X X
3. Bye Bye
4. GOOD LUCK MY WAY –BUTTERFLY Ver.-
6. shade of season
7. DRINK IT DOWN
8. wild flower
10. NEXUS 4
11. 未来世界 (Mirai Sekai)
At last a new album from one of the most successful Japanese rockband and it has it has been five years in waiting. The release also coincide with their 20th anniversary, so it must be a big thing coming. Also the band have just embarked on a world tour. Butterfly is L’Arc en Ciel’s twelfth album to date and featuring some of the singles they’ve released over the past years, so I’m sure most will be familiar and now what to expect from the album.
The opening track CHASE one of their latest singles is a good opener to the album, it’s upbeat and catchy. A very classic L’Arc en Ciel styled song. In general all of the singles featured in the album are pretty are decent but I wouldn’t say it is good as some of the earlier works. However my favourite singles track has to be Drink It Down and Good Luck My Way which was featured in the latest Full Metal Alchemist movie. Possibly some of my favourite tracks from them in recent years. Now enough with the singles and onto the new album tracks. Bye Bye sounds very similar to their early works and so is wildflower, kind of reminds me of the songs from the Heavenly period. Whilst last song Mirai Sekai is a romantic ballad song. But I think shade of season is the song that stood out for me as it featured some interesting arrangement.
Butterfly is an album that showcases all of the phases that they’ve been through, so it actually contain a lot sounds from the their earlier period which I think is a good thing. From the more darker songs like Drink It Down to the cheerful songs like CHASE. Although not exactly their best work it does show that the band even 20 years on still has a lot to offer.
‘Spice’ is the electro pop trio’s 19th single and I think it’s one of their finest to date. The first track is a mid tempo song, even though at first it didn’t really leave much impression on me however I eventually ended up liking it a lot. It doesn’t contain the dramatic melodies like some of their previous singles but the thing I like about the song is the simplicity and the laid back vibe. Of course it still has a catchy chorus that flows along with the verses nicely.
The other track ‘GLITTER’ is a well known song even before it’s release as it was used in a drinks advert and also used for a dance contest where they asked fans to come up with their own choreography. At first when I heard the song (mainly the chorus) as a preview it sounded like any other of their songs but now that I’ve listened to the whole song it turned out to be really good. It’s a bit more upbeat than ‘Spice’ especially the chorus part. I’ve noticed that they’ve slightly toned done the vocoder effect but only slightly. To sum it up ‘Spice’ is a great single.