Monday, July 19, 2010

L'arc~en~Ciel Ark

L'arc~en~ciel is the most popular rock band in Japan with millions of singles, albums and DVDs sold. It consists of HYDE (on vocals), tetsu (on bass), ken (on guitar) and yukihiro (on drums). Before yukihiro, sakura used to play the drums but he was arrested for heroin possesion.

Ark is their highest selling album which debuted at #1 on the oricon and sold more than 2.5 million copies.

L'arc~en~ciel's songs have a mysterious and somehow nostalgic feel which I seem to like a lot. hyde's vocals are emotionally charged and full of power. He is a wonderful vocalist who brings the sound of this band together.

1.Forbidden Lover- It opens with a few drum beats and them hyde starts singing accompanied by strings. The whole song has a nostalgic atmosphere and I always think of the color pink when listening to this song. hyde's voice is gentle and expressive in the verses and extremely powerful in the chorus. It is a track that created a vivid feeling in the listener's mind which cannot be described in words.

2.HEAVEN'S DRIVE- This is probably my least favorite song on the album. It starts off very fast and slows down in the chorus which didn't go well with me. The instruments sound completely out of sync and very loud in this track.

3.Driver's High- Seeing the word drive, I was half-afraid that Driver's High would turn out like Heaven's Drive. But it was far better. In the beginning of the song, there are some car sounds. Other than that, it is a pure rock track.

4.Cradle- A very slow and beautiful midtempo song which really makes hyde's vocals shine. I couldn't believe that this was an album track. It is as good as any single track.

5.DIVE TO BLUE- Not my favorite but not bad. Like most of their other rock songs.

6.Larva- It is not good, even for an interlude. Looks like Hamasaki will remain the queen of interludes.

7.Butterfly's Sleep- The organ instrumental in the beginning before the rock instruments burst in gives this song an original feel. The song itself is very low, especially the verse, where hyde's voice sounds a bit strained.

8.Perfect Blue- A better-than-average pop/rock track. Good composition by tetsu.

9.Yume to Genjitsu- The most beautiful track on this album after forbidden lover. It starts with an exquisite piano intro and much of the song is very mellow.

10.What is love- This track is much like both its predecessor and it's successor so it blends into them flawlessly and all three tracks end up sounding like one.

11.Pieces (ark mix)- A very soothing midtempo track. I was hardly expecting to find something like this on a rock album!

This was the first L'arc~en~ciel album I heard and it has made me a L'arc~en~ciel fan. This album truly deserves its sales. All the tracks are good and even though they sound alike, it works more in favor of the album than against it. hyde's vocals are spot on everywhere. I liked ken's compositions a lot but the other members also have good musical skills. I will definately try more from them in the future.

A very nostalgic and calm atmosphere throughout the album
Most tracks are good

Terrible cover art
Some songs sound exactly like each other

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