Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jpop album review- EXILE Ballad Best


EXILE has become quite popular in Japan with their string of million sellers earning them a coveted spot among the best-selling jpop acts of all time. Here's a review of their ballad best which was a million seller.


1) Ti Amo- This successful million seller hits off in the right direction with the intriguing Spanish influenced Ti Amo. This song has bounce and rhythm while managing to incorporate a deep sense of pain and mystery. The lyrics automatically come across as sad and painful. Atsushi and Takahiro’s vocals are at their best here with both of them singing one emotional sentence after another. The beat and melody are probably the strongest point of this single. Ti Amo starts the album with high expectations.

4.8/5

2) Lovers Again- A karaoke favourite. Lovers Again follows the rhythm of Ti Amo while incorporating a wintry feel. This happens to be the biggest difference between the two. The chorus carries on in a typical EXILE style with a strong beat and emotional vocals.

4.6/5

]3) Your eyes only ~Aimai na boku no katachi~- Your eyes only is a popular EXILE ballad. This song sounds very similar to Lovers Again but with a little less ‘wintry’ feel. Falsettos are liberally used especially in the beginning and end. The chorus moves onto a higher plane. This song has slightly less beat than the previous two but manages to be a decent track.

4.4/5

4) Song for you- Song for you breaks a little bit from the mold with an elaborate orchestral intro. The airy and bouncy vocals slowly come in till the song reaches an emotional climax. This song is a lot less emotional compared to the previous three. It has a breezy atmosphere with a pinch of melancholy. The chorus is airy and R&B-ish.

4/5

5) We will ~Ano basho e~- This song has a lot less beat than any other song. It starts off with a quiet verse devoid of any drum beats. The chorus has a classical/orchestral feel that adds to the value of the song. After the breezy Song for you, We Will manages to sound quite dramatic.

4.1/5

6) Unmei no hito- Starts off with a jazzy piano introduction and follows in the style of the orchestral We Will. It is an emotional track but does not bring in anything new to the album. It is quite similar to We will and lacks a beat as well.

4/5

7) Holy Night- This is probably one of the most unique and experimental songs in the album. Holy Night is an acapella song that lets Atsushi and Takahiro’s powerful vocals shine through. Acapella is not very common among pop artists. EXILE took a risk with this one that paid off. The chorus escalates in power till the main vocals and harmonies form a perfect balance. This gospel track manages to be a stand out track and one of the most powerful ones on this album.

4.5/5

8) Last Christmas- Begins in the style of Holy night with bare harmonies and flows into a bouncy beat. This is a cover of Wham’s hit Last Christmas. It follows well after Holy night. It was released as a single as well.

4.2/5

9) Tada....Aitakute- Tada.....Aitakute is the best selling single of EXILE’s cover. For that, it is quite unspectacular. Tad......Aitakute is a wintry ballad devoid of beat. Atushi and Takahiro do their best here to bring out emotion. Tada Aitakute is nothing great but manages to stand out after the bouncy Last Christmas.

4/5

10) Boku e- Boku e is a piano ballad devoid of beat. Frankly, it offered nothing special to the album. The emotion, melody etc. Were all there but this track doesn’t stand out after Tada Aitakute which was quite similar.

4/5

11) Kawaranai mono- Kawaranai mono picks up the typical EXILE style of ballads with beat and sadness. It is a little different from Boku e but the chorus is quite weak. Definitely not one of the better tracks in this album.

3.8/5

12) Michi- Michi has a mix of beat, piano, orchestra and emotional vocals. However, it doesn’t take away the monotony of the album which seems to be setting in at this point but rather reinforces it. Despite being a good track, this offers nothing to the album.

3.7/5

13) One love- One love is a piano ballad that is quiet and lacks beat or any other instrument. Since this song comes towards the end, it fits the mood well. In terms of emotion or high notes, one love is mediocre.

4/5

14) Love, dream and happiness- For the ending tracks, this song is quite upbeat and breezy. It has a strong easy listening vibe to it that kind of reminds me of Koda Kumi’s Wind. The chorus is airy and R&B/Hip hop influenced. Quite a typical song coming from EXILE. There are some female vocals in the end.

4/5

Overall, EXILE Ballad best, though not wildly original is an album that has a lot of re-listening value. Atsushi and Takahiro’s vocals are powerful, emotional and consistent throughout the album. Some songs like Lovers again, Ti amo and Holy night manage to be quite distinct and leave an impact. The album easily falls into easy listening because EXILE’s vocals are easy on the ears and their ballads have beat. EXILE’s ballads are no power ballads but they shine in their unique style. What the album lacks the most is originality. The tracks are similar sounding. For EXILE fans, this is a great album to buy. For others who enjoy ballads but are new to EXILE’s style, this can prove to be a good try. Some of their songs have a western styles and can probably impress western singers and music judges.

Pros

Vocals
Style
Songs
Re-listen value

Cons

Repetitive
Best- does not contain many new songs





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