Music Of Love (Hinouchi Emi X SOFFet)
Koi wa RIRURARI
Natsukoi (Hinouchi Emi & Ryohei)
I Love You
Heart feel vacances
Ai Dake ga (愛だけが; Only Love)
interlude~in my dream~
TWINKLE STAR feat. Hinouchi Emi (SHINE ON ME ver.)
The album starts off with the rather underwhelming O’kay. Hmm? This sounded a lot better on the single and seemed a bit more up in the tempo. I don’t know, the arrangement is rather unimpressive and seems to be a bit watered down. It just gives the impression of a nice party like atmosphere, but for some reason it bores. Emi’s vocals are decent, but they don’t really stand out. This is a pretty weak opening track as I’m guessing it was suppose to start the album out on a fresh and energetic note, but its just incredibly bland and forgettable.
The next track on the album is the nice Music Of Love (Hinouchi Emi X SOFFet). I honestly am not sure if I like this song or not, but I definitely like the flow. The arrangement is a cross between smooth rnb and Jazz and it just really sounds so mellow, laid-back and a bit romantic and dare I say, classical. Emi’s vocals are nice, but just like in the previous track they don’t really stand out. SOFFet, whomever that is was a bit out of place, the harshness of his voice just clashes with the soft sounding arrangement and it turned me off the song a bit. Its nice in a way, but I’m a little on the fence with this track.
The next track on the album is Kataomoi. This was a nice song, but it doesn’t really do much. I like the arrangement, its very carefree and a bit sparkly but its fitting. Emi’s vocals were nice, I really love the way in which she chose to sing this. It gives you a self-assured type of feeling in concerns with love. This song may not be all that stand out, but it gives off a special type of feeling.
The next track on the album is the sparkle-tinkle Koi wa RIRURARI. This has got’s to be one of the most filler-ish songs I have ever heard. I almost couldn’t believe I was hearing it, it was so pointless. The song it short, but it seems to go on for far longer than it should. The most I heard was this tinkle sound, that made the arrangement sound unnaturally sparkly, which just came across as weird to me. Emi’s vocals are decent, but its almost like why is she wasting her time singing such a forgettable tune?
The next track on the album is the half and half chocolate. Hmm? I’m a bit on the fence with this song, seriously. I don’t know, I liked it on the single and then I didn’t too much like it on my first album listen, so I decided to listen to it again and it played better. That’s two to one. The arrangement is pretty simple, not all that engaging, but it does its part, besides being blandly sparkly and forgettable. Emi’s vocals don’t pop out at all, which is a shame. I don’t know, this song really isn’t all that interesting, but I’m inclined to like it. Darn.
The next track on the album is the light Natsukoi (Hinouchi Emi & Ryohei). I don’t know, I just don’t like this song. I do however like the Caribbean-like arrangement, gives the song a very casual and laid-back vibe. Emi’s vocal performance was not good and kind a ruined this all right song for me, I don’t really recall or remember hearing Ryohei and I listened to this track twice.
The next track on the album ups the pace a bit with GOODIE MEMORIES. I’ve already said enough about how much I adore this song on my single review of it, its still a good listen even on the album and its one of my favorite Emi songs.
The next track on the album keeps the up-tempo’s coming with Get up!. I didn’t too much care for this track when I reviewed it on the single, but I know its not a bad song and I like Emi’s vocal performance.
The next track on the album is the cool FIRST DATE. Ah, this song is really cute. I wasn’t so much into it in the beginning and then gradually I found myself somewhat enjoying the song. The light piano arrangement is really fitting and sounds rather clever, it doesn’t do much, but it manages to play so well. Emi’s vocals are nice, though she didn’t do much with it either: ‘first date with my babay’
The next track on the album is the down-tempo I Love You. This is my favorite b-side from Emi and quite possibly my favorite song from her as well. I don’t know if I too much like this song on the album, I mean it plays nice of course, its a great track and one of the most emotionally moving songs I have ever heard, plus Emi’s vocals as well as the fitting arrangement were top-notch and definitely conveyed that feeling of loving someone, no matter what. It just doesn’t seem to fit in (especially coming after the high school-ish ‘first date’) as it seems so mature compared to the songs I’ve heard so far, including ‘kataomoi’ and ‘goodie memories’.
The next track on the album is the warm Heart feel vacances. Oh, wow… what a nice song. I really wasn’t expecting it to go this way, but I am very pleased. The arrangement sounds so sad, but a ‘i’m going to get over this, eventually’ type sadness, so it leaves you with a somewhat hopeful feeling. Emi’s vocals are quite lovely in this, I just adored her vocal performance and this song. Ah, my new favorite track, I’m going to be listening to this a lot.
The next track on the album is the soothing Ai Dake ga (愛だけが; Only Love). This song seems to fit in a bit more than ‘i love you’ even more so since it comes right after the mellow ‘heart feel vacances’. This song is still such a good listen, I just love the emotion and feeling in Emi’s vocals.
The next track on the album is interlude~in my dream~. A simple piano melody and Emi ad-libbing ‘yeah’. Its nice, but rather pointless.
The next track on the album is the emotional Grow. I’m almost speechless, I was just not expecting to hear a song like this, with that amount of vocal prowess. I mean its no Hikki, Misia, Lena Park, but it was like she put her heart in soul into this song and it was so felt. I love the somber piano playing smoothly and longingly in the background, it was really nice. Just like ‘heart feel vacances’ this is definitely one of my new favorites from her.
The second to last track on the album jarringly ups the pace with E・S・C・A・P・E. I really don’t like how this came after ‘grow’ not a very good transition. I still don’t too much like this track, but it have a nice flow and the chorus is pretty engaging. On a more humorous note you could make up some good dance moves to this song.
The last track on the album is the surprising TWINKLE STAR feat. Hinouchi Emi (SHINE ON ME ver.). I don’t even want to say how many times I listened to this song, way too many times. The first listen I was pretty underwhelmed, I thought it sounded a bit awkward, arrangement wise, because Emi’s vocals were decent. As the song progresses the arrangement seems to even itself out and this becomes a nice little listen. I’m not sure why it feat. Emi when the only person I heard was her. The arrangement might I add sounds very disco, tech, synthy–its rather charming.
Rating: ** stars
Hinouchi Emi’s second album ME is definitely better than her debut, but I’m still left a little underwhelmed with it. I mean its not a bad album, I guess it stems from the fact that I was expecting more, especially since her singles were so strong following up to this, most notably: GOODIE MEMORIES and Ai Dake ga. I mean I was waiting forever for this album and in the end it was another Umbrella good, but not nearly as good as I thought it would be. The stand-out track is I Love You, I’m sorry but that is such a great song. The follow-ups would be: FIRST DATE, Ai Dake ga and Grow. The most surprising and my favorite behind ‘i love you’ off the album is the rather lovely Heart feel vacances. The rest are either all right or forgettable, yes even Kataomoi. ME like I said before is like a thousand steps up from the abysmal Dramatiques, but like with melody. I’m waiting to be wowed by her.