Hitoiro (一色; One Color)
Eyes for the Moon
The album starts off with the mood-setting Hitoiro (一色; One Color). This is such a good song and it certainly captures your attention. I love the arrangement, just wow, the drum ensemble was just kick ass. Mika’s vocals were near perfect in this song, I really did enjoy the way she chose to sing this and the, ‘sweet dreams babay’ part that she utters. I can so see this song being played at a climatic scene in a drama or movie, because the whole atmosphere of the song is very conflicting. Great concert or tour opener as well. Its pretty long, but it was a good start to the album.
The next track on the album is the rather sensual Eyes for the Moon. Or maybe its just me? I love the title, gives the song such a carnal flare that is pretty sexy. The arrangement stood out the most to me, but probably because it consists mostly of the drums. Mika’s vocals were good as well, a lot of the time though the arrangement seemed to oddly swallow her words, because she tended to sound like she was fading away, but that could be because her voice has gotten pretty weak from years of smoking.
The next track brings the drear with Glamorous Sky. I believe this is Mika’s highest selling single and I can dig it, but at the same time this is more of a guilty pleasure type song in my opinion. I say that because I don’t particularly like this song, or would I listen to it on a regular basis, but its a good song and its a song that makes for a nice listen every once in a while. The arrangement is your typical mass of soft rock moodiness, and Mika’s vocals are rather appropriate. This song gives off a weird almost vapid atmosphere, but I think that was intentional.
The next track on the album is Blowing Out. I honestly don’t get this title, but Mika certainly rocks out with this song. I mean it sounds like one of those mainstream punk rock songs from over here, seriously. The arrangement right down to Mika’s vocals. I really enjoyed the chorus. I mean this song doesn’t stand out as much as the previous three songs, but its does manage to keep your attention throughout.
The next track on the album is the half and half My Medicine. I kind a like this song and I kind a don’t, but of course I like it more than I dislike it. The verses are pretty good, its just the chorus that makes me not like this song fully, its so chaotic and all over the place, and her vocals took a dive as well. I really only like the whole, ‘loving him is my medicine’ I also believe she sung this song in English and well maybe Mika shouldn’t have sung this in full English, because her Engrish is glaring. The arrangement is your typical rock, sort a grunge arrangement. Its all right.
The next track on the album is the over my head Neglest Mind. The title is pretty interesting, but that’s where it stops. The arrangement is, excuse me for being redundant, your typical rock arrangement, but it did its part of course. I didn’t too much care for Mika’s vocal performance, because she sounded like she was mumbling and she wasn’t, but that’s what it sounded like to me. This isn’t a bad song, not really, but I could not even pretend to care for it, it does nothing for me and goes straight over my head.
The next track on the album is the mind-numbing Real World. No, seriously Mika were you drunk when you recorded this? I mean she really sounded like she was wasted and bored. The arrangement consists mostly of the drums, which wouldn’t be much of a problem if they didn’t sound so lank, it actually dragged this song down more than Mika’s tired vocal performance. This song is a pretty dull and forgettable listen.
The next track on the album is the heavy Isolation. Ah, finally a good song, I was getting pretty worried. This is the rock Mika I’m talking about; tragic. The arrangement is very fitting, I liked it a lot and it created such a dark mood and atmosphere without overdoing it. Mika’s vocal performance was pretty good, the rasp of her voice actually worked to this songs advantage and I love the amount of emotion she put into this track, especially during the chorus. It made me think of those lonely rock stars who die in their prime.
The next track on the album is the hard-hitting Blood. Honestly, I’m afraid of everything, but blood really does nothing to me, so the title is just weird, it doesn’t make me squeamish (how irrelevant). Anyways, I love the arrangement, its rock of course, with a lot of edge and attitude and honestly if I had felt like it I would have probably been bopping my head to the beat. Its cool. Mika’s vocal performance however nearly ruined this song for me, because her voice is so glaringly raspy, its also painful. She makes up for it with the great chorus though.
The second to last track on the album is Hitoiro (Altanative). Another version of the first track. I have always liked this version more, not ever really noticing that they were the same song for some reason, but listening to it now, I don’t really see what the point was. The original is better in my opinion, it leaves more of an impact, emotion-wise.
The last track on the album is a cover, My Way by Frank Sinatra. I have to admit this is one of my favorite songs of all time, I just love the whole: ‘i did it my way’ its a rather powerful and poignant line, though out of the slew of Frank Sinatra songs there are (and there’s A LOT) I’d have to say my favorite is ‘A Very Good Year’. Anyways, I don’t really like Mika’s take on this, I loved the fact that she was having fun, it was nice, but it kind a made the song ridiculous an the message the song conveys was somehow lost, well… in my opinion.
Rating: ** stars
Mika Nakashima’s fourth album THE END was pretty all right. I honestly don’t care for rock music, but I have said before that its a guilty pleasure of mine. Mika’s badass, I’ve said this before as well and her voice can more or less pull this type of genre off, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Though this album is better than I thought it would be, it doesn’t do much for me and becomes forgettable. It does have a few stand-out tracks on it (‘hitoiro’, ‘isolation’, ‘blood’) and her biggest selling single to date ‘glamorous sky’. Its not my favorite album from her and I’m not too hot to hear her putting out another rock album, but I’m not adverse to it either. This is a pretty average album, but is definitely worth a listen or two, especially for those NANA fans Mika was so hot in the movie.