Kuraki Mai [FAIRY TALE] (Third Album)

March 28, 2009

Fairy Tale ~My Last Teenage Wish~
Feel Fine!
Ride On Time
Key To My Heart
Loving You
Winter Bells
Can’t Forget Your Love
Trip In The Dream
Not That Kind A Girl
Like A Star In The Night
Fushigi No Kuni
Fantasy

The album starts off with the bland but still OK Fairy Tale ~My Last Teenage Wish~. Ugh, why does the majority of Kuraki Mai songs sound so dull to me? I mean I had to listen to this twice because I was convinced I didn’t like it the first time. The second time, I realized I kind a did, but mostly the chorus because I can’t really recall the verses. There’s a moment during the bridge where Kuraki strains? This song is fair, but not the best opening, does she even have one?

The next track on the album is the somewhat up-tempo Feel Fine!. Oh, I really like this song. The arrangement is so mellow, its like the definition of a beach song and seems so throw-back, I want to say sixties, but I’m thinking fifties and even as far back as the thirties. It just has such an innocent appeal to it and makes you think of blue skies and sunny days. Kuraki’s voice meshed so well with the arrangement, I mean it blended right in and I really enjoyed the backing vocals. The high light is the arrangement, hands down.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Ride On Time. This song is just really dull, but not dull as in actually dull, but this song just has nothing going for it. The arrangement is just there to give the song something to stand on, but not by much, because I barely noticed it and it played like air. Kuraki’s vocals are decent, but she wasn’t doing anything with them to make this song even remotely interesting. I’m thinking this song was suppose to be a bit more up in the tempo than this, but it just sounds like all her other songs like this and failed to capture my attention.

The next track on the album brings the pace back down with Key To My Heart. This song isn’t really all that interesting, because I have heard better down-tempo’s from Kuraki, but this was pretty all right. The arrangement is nice and gives off a warm atmosphere. Kuraki’s vocals are fine as well, a very light vocal performance and the backing vocals up against hers brought some much needed variety and extra interest to this track.

The next track on the album is the bland Loving You. I really find it hard to review Kuraki Mai songs, because they’re so everything else I’ve already heard and they seem to just get blander and blander, duller and duller. This song is really quite a bore and I kept thinking of Tohoshinki’s ‘lovin’ you’ which is a lot more interesting. Despite the fact that this track offers nothing but the typical Kuraki fare, I kind a like the flow and Kuraki’s vocals, mostly during the chorus. Its all right.

The next track on the album is the festive Winter Bells. I’ve never paid attention or even liked this song, because with most of Kuraki’s music I always tend to think they’re boring even when they really aren’t. This track doesn’t jump out at me, like say ’24 xmas time’ but its a pretty nice little winter tune. The arrangement is appropriately sparkly and gives off the feeling of winter and bells and Kuraki gave a rather nice vocal performance.

The next track on the album is the somewhat down-tempo Can’t Forget Your Love. This is my favorite Kuraki Mai song and I’m trying to figure out why I never listen to this even though I can relate to it so bad. This is one of her best songs and the first I ever heard by her, her vocal performance is good as well and so was the backing vocals towards the end.

The next track on the album is Trip In The Dream. I’m guessing its suppose to be up-tempo, but it plays more like mid-tempo. This song is a bit odd to me and half and half. Its like when the song is regular its pretty all right and then it goes to some sort of watered down techno beat and then it has this guy popping up randomly to talk or something and I’m like… ‘what?’ and then it goes back regular, but by then the damage is done. I mean its an OK song, but I’ll never find myself actually enjoying it or even caring about it for that matter.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Not That Kind A Girl. This song just did not end fast enough in my opinion, it really played like six minutes instead of four. The song isn’t really all that bad, Kuraki gives a rather all right vocal performance and I liked how she changed the pace a bit by making the song a little edgy (though I really can’t recall much or any of the arrangement), so that was nice, but it just does nothing for me.

The next track slows it down to near sluggish with Like A Star In The Night. This is pretty boring and doesn’t do much of anything, but I still find I kind a like it. The arrangement is pretty twinkly, no surprise. Kuraki’s vocal performance was all right, though I don’t recall the verses at all and can only remember her saying: ‘like a star in the night’

The second to last track on the album is the slightly mid-tempo Fushigi No Kuni. I’m actually a bit amazed at how interesting and un-bland this song is. The arrangement really has variety with all the sounds and I did like how it got a bit whimsical and fantasy like on most parts, especially towards the end. I also liked Kuraki’s vocal performance she seemed to be into the song. The chorus is the high light. I did notice –well in my opinion– towards the end it seemed to play a bit unnecessarily, especially with the ‘la,la,la’s’ and I was actually wondering when it was going to end. Though, other than that this is a pretty good track and managed to snag my attention, which is a feat for Kuraki.

The last track on the album is the down-tempo Fantasy. This is pretty typical for Kuraki, but it did manage to even itself out towards the middle half of the song because I was getting kind a bored. The arrangement is that of a guitar thrumming, I think? and that’s about it really. Kuraki’s vocal performance was nice though and I believe what saved this song in the end. Though, I still think its a rather quiet and forgettable end to the album.

-GRADE: B
Rating: ** stars

Kuraki Mai’s third album FAIRY TALE is pretty same. It offers nothing we haven’t already heard, but does manage to deliver some pretty all right tracks such as Winter Bells, Fushigi no Kuni and my favorite Can’t Forget Your Love. I was expecting more, but got what I pretty much always get from Kuraki Mai… mediocre and average.

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