Aikawa Nanase [Crimson] (Third Album)

October 23, 2008

Oooo
Nostalgia
Sayonara Wo Kikasete
眠れない夜 (Nemurenai Yoru)
Night Wave
Bad Girls
Fragile
Velvet Moon
たまんない瞬間 (Tamannai Shunkan)
彼女と私の事情 (Kanojo to Watashi no Jijou)
優しいうた (Yasashii Uta)

The album starts off rather loudly with Oooo. I actually couldn’t stand this song when I first heard it, but upon this umpteenth listen I think its finally managed to grow on me. Its your typical head banging tune with a loud bass blaring everything and Aikawa crooning oh so wonderfully into the mic. Its a nice song to just cut loose to at a party when you’re drunk off your ass and just want to flail around a bit.

The next track on the album is the up-tempo Nostalgia. I actually expected this song to play like a ballad, but as usual Aikawa didn’t go down that route and this song is just as hard-hitting as the previous track. The arrangement is really edgy I’m guessing I heard electric guitar in the beginning; synths, keyboard? I hate not being instrumental savvy, but still the beat was nice and edgy. Aikawa’s vocals were great especially during the chorus when her voice got kind of high, she seemed really into the song throughout. There is a bit of strain or it could be because Aikawa’s voice just sounds like that. Its a typical rock track with bad ass written all over it; I love it.

The next track on the album is the easy-going さよならを聴かせて(Sayonara o Kikasete). I thought this track had such a nice flow about it and played almost like a ballad. I thought the arrangement was very flowing and a welcome relief from the blaring rock of the previous two tracks. Aikawa’s voice was really gorgeous and did this song a lot of justice, they weren’t rushed at all but very fluid and somewhat throaty. It has a very sad vibe to me that I really can’t shake and it makes the song a touch tear-jerky.

The next track is the down-tempo 眠れない夜 (Nemurenai Yoru). This song is absolutely beautiful and the first real ballad on the album. Aikawa does incredible rock songs, but in all truth she does even more so on her ballads always making them so touching and sincere. The arrangement was gorgeous and made me picture water crashing against the shore on a bleak day. Aikawa’s vocals were very slow and wistful and it brought such a longing and melancholy to this track that really pulls at the heart-strings and makes you want to cry or shed a tear. This is my favorite Aikawa Nanase song, its one of those songs that just touches me completely and makes me think: ‘good-night love, go to sleep…’

The next track is the brief interlude Night Wave. It consists of a simple melody slightly pretty but very repetitive; it ends rather abruptly.

The next track is the odd Bad Girls. The previous interlude transitions smoothly into this song, which is a bit experimental sounding to me. The verses are a tad forgettable, but I did like the whole fade out thing during them. The chorus is the highlight of the song where Aikawa shouts out, ‘bad girl!’ its all really endearing. The arrangement is pretty cool, but its very monotonous and never does much but what it should. I enjoyed Aikawa’s vocals. This song is pretty hit or miss, I didn’t like it the last time I listened to this, but I did find myself enjoying it for this review.

The next track on the album is the lank Fragile. While listening to this song I kept getting a chill, like it was suddenly very cold or freezing. The arrangement has a very windy and bleak quality to it that really gave off that atmosphere. Aikawa’s vocals were a bit uninspired and in a sense sounded like she had a cold, because for some reason she sounded a little muffled to me. This song is really boring and just drags on for far longer than it should; the way the song went out as well was a bit blank and awkward.

The next track is the irritating Velvet Moon. I’ve learned long ago that just because you like the title to a song does not mean you are going to like the song. This is a perfect example of that. The arrangement played like static and just managed to annoy me throughout, because it was so chaotic and all over the place, even for a rock song. Aikawa’s vocals were very baseless and it was like she was screaming without actually screaming and it made everything very unoriginal and stale. This song fails.

The next track on the album is the ear-bleed inducing たまんない瞬間 (Tamannai Shunkan). This song is just awful and I thought Velvet Moon was fail. This song seems like some sort of anthem at the opening of a concert where you try and get the crown moving, but it all plays like a drunken speech at some sort of sleazy College party. The arrangement plays like muffled static and Aikawa’s vocals are so bad they are laughable. I don’t know what possessed her to even record this song let alone put it on her album, but there you go.

The up-tempo rock tracks keep coming with 彼女と私の事情 (Kanojo to Watashi no Jijou). This song is not really one that would be all that interesting since the verses are pretty so-so and the arrangement is your typical Aikawa rock arrangement. The chorus is where this song shines, it’s actually quite catchy, engaging and fun and made this song a lot less dull than it could of been.

The last track on the album is the down-tempo 優しいうた (Yasashii Uta). This is a pretty decent song, but at the same time its very boring. The arrangement is pretty lank and dull and has this vibe that can if you’re tired enough lull you right to sleep. Aikawa’s vocals are pretty slow-paced, but they do stay consistent if not a little stagnant and draggy. I thought this was a nice song, but at 6: 22 its entirely too long for a song that doesn’t have a lot of substance.

-GRADE: C-
Rating: * star

Aikawa Nanase’s Third album Crimson is even more mediocre than I had originally thought it was. When I was first getting into her music I actually did like this album, but going back to it I found my interest in this album fading to the point of me just wanting to forget that this is a serious part of her discography. This album offers nothing we haven’t already heard, only she offers it to us in a worst package. The album is way too short for the majority of the songs to be so lackluster; if you’re going to have a ten track album (excluding the interlude) at least put in the effort to make the songs good. The only song on this album that was really worth something was Nemurenai Yoru (and Sayonara o Kikasete and  Nostalgia which were both pretty good songs) and that song alone kept me from giving this album a D. The rest are just passable or forgettable. Crimson is most likely my least favorite Aikawa Nanase album; I was not impressed.

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