Categories: beat laments the world, J-music, Japan
Tags: hip-hop, Last Mile, Studio 75
I’ve taken a couple of digs at Keita on this blog in the past, and whilst it’s all in good fun, there’s also a bit of genuine sadness whenever I piss on his celebrity. I used to be a sizable w-inds. fan until they were allowed more creative control over what they do and messed up a lot of shit — I’m sure I’ve said this once or twice before — so we’ve got some history between us.
I remember when Keita was a cute boy going onto handsome young guy, and then he got older, added some muscle to his skinnyish frame (never a good look), and made a deal with the devil to bag Aya Matsuura that left him boney-faced, balding and unable to reach those high-high octaves that he stopped being able to sing comfortably years ago. So there are quite a lot of hurdles to overcome, but I manage to get over them somehow because I very lazily keep tabs on the guy, hoping he’ll do something I love again someday — with or without the band.
NOTE: switching to the all-capitals KEITA now since I’m going to talk about his solo work.
A few months ago KEITA’s latest single ”Magic feat. AKLO” came out and I only recently got around to it. On first listen I thought it wasn’t all that bad, sounding like a slow-beating techo-pop jam that Amuro Namie might have considered but eventually drop for the opening stages of her PLAY album. I prefered it to ”Slide ‘n’ Step” at the very least, which to my mind is a second-rate Euro-pop cum R’n'B joint, although on a generous day I tend to concede that the chorus minus the whining on the line ‘Slide ‘n’ Step’ can start sounding real catchy.
But that ”Magic feat. AKLO” PV, man; that PV…
It seems as though KEITA’s become a dodgy magician who moonlights as a vampire, and I’d argue that the vanilla version of KEITA is scary enough as it is.
When the guy isn’t being lonely in his wine/blood cellar he’s throwing parties in the upstairs bar, taking viles of blood from the ladies. Those viles are pathetically sized though, and considering how empty the racks in the cellar are I’d say his operations need to be upscaled if he wants to keep a good inventory. Saying all that, I’m quite sure what goes on at the end of the PV is illegal, but more of that might just be the ticket as far as supplies go.
So I still have KEITA’s SIDE BY SIDE album waiting to be listened to, and you know what: I’m actually still going to keep holding it off unless you all pull an intervention. Maybe there’s a hidden gem or two on there that I’ve been hoping for, but the two lead tracks haven’t done enough for me to want to find out just yet.
To paraphrase something I’ve said in a past post: this is basically the same-sounding Perfume we’ve been handed many times before, not that I usually mind though because I enjoy this kind of electro-pop.
But to my suprise ”Sweet Refrain” doesn’t get a full-hearted thumbs up, and perhaps I’m now finally itching for a new angle with the girls; it doesn’t have to be anything too drastic; it might not need to last more than a couple of singles; nothing like ”未来のミュージアム” though.
Now admittedly some dubstep (wub-wub) seems to have snuck into ”Sweet Refrain”, but whilst I think it’s something of a distraction I don’t think it’s a game-changer either.
So the short video is quite interesting, with a camera panning around a gallery whilst the girls are repeated into separate cliques all doing their own things. I wonder if the video was brainstormed and crafted by a director that the girls have used before though, because it feels familiar as well.
Just to add that I’m open to hearing the opinions of, say, a hardcore fan who just has to let me know that what I’m experiencing with the upcoming single isn’t déjà vu and I’m being mad. Maybe there are certain subtleties in electro-pop that I don’t get, that can all add up and cause shifts or changes that go over my head. For now though I’m sticking to my guns.
Anyway. Not to say I wont enjoy ”Sweet Refrain” when it goes on sale on the 27th of this month because I already do, but please forgive this blogger if he’s feeling a little weary about it.
I’ve only ever played one Kingdom Hearts game (the original for Playstation 2) and I couldn’t get into it. I gave the thing a go for maybe a dozen hours and then sold it off. Granted, I’m not massively into Disney, although as a child I did love Winnie the Pooh and still do to this day — I have a couple of old plushies hidden away from sight, some old VHS tapes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in a box in the attic, and there are a couple of A. A. Milne books sitting on my shelves — but I’m captivated by most of the older Final Fantasy universe. I was hoping that at least half the game would therefore do it for me. No such luck.
Recently a friend has been trying to get me to give Kingdom Hearts another shot, and since I’m slowly trying to build up my Playstation 2 game collection I’m sort of considering it. Actually I’ve got I + II on my to-buy list as of a week ago.
So I’m catching up on days-old news and stumble across a couple of articles talking about Utada Hikaru (possibly) reprising her role as singer to the Kingdom Hearts theme songs for the latest game. From what I can gather so far, Teruzane Utada initially confirmed his daughter’s involvment but later back-pedalled a little, so I think there’s nothing official yet.
Whilst I’ve never really been into Utada Hikaru myself, mainly because I’m just lazy with getting to know her work rather than my hating it, the articles are more reminders for me to give the game a second chance…and Utada fans are yelling at me to give her music a first chance.