Namie Amuro – break the rules

no more tears
3.5
better days
2.5
break the rules
3.5
LOOKING FOR YOU
2.5
PLEASE SMILE AGAIN -album mix-
2.5
never shoulda
3.5
CROSSOVER -album mix-
2.5
GIRLFRIEND
3.5
NEVER END -album mix-
3.5
think of me
2.5
HimAWArI
3.5

thoughts. B+.
I have a weird relationship with this album because when I first got into Namie, I literally had zero interest in this album and I can’t even remember why. It just didn’t really click with me the first few times I listened to it. So, one day I’m listening to it, like really listening to it and was like wow this is a really good album. This is Namie Amuro’s fourth album break the rules, an it doesn’t have a very obvious rnb/pop sound like GENIUS 2000 did. It’s a lot more subtle. I like how different this album sounds from any of her other albums, honestly, it really stands on its on and I say that because a lot of the tracks on here were songs that at one point in time I would not have given a second listen to. Crossover is a great example of a song I would have wrote off, but is actually not that bad. The same can be said for Looking For You and Please Smile Again. The tracks that stood out for me were No More Tears (great song), Never Shoulda and Girlfriend. Never End is such a touching song in memory of her mother who was killed. Better Days is nice and HimAWArI are really under-rated treats from her. At one point in time I would have said this was maybe my favorite album from Namie (I think that honor belongs to PLAY or Queen of Hip Pop). Even so this is an interesting album and probably her most under-rated in my opinion.

  • favorite track – No More Tears
    least favorite track – Crossover
    guilty pleasure track – break the rules
    under-rated track – HimAWArI

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Britney Spears – … Baby One More Time

… Baby One More Time
3.5
(You Drive Me) Crazy
3.5
Sometimes
3.5
Soda Pop feat. Mikey Bassie
2.5
Born to Make You Happy
3.5
From the Bottom of My Broken Heart
3.5
I Will Be There
3.5
I Will Still Love You duet w Don Philip
2.5
Thinkin’ About You
2.5
E-Mail My Heart
2.5
The Beat Goes On
2.5

thoughts. B.
I’m actually surprised (an I’m not sure why), that I like this album as much as I do. Debuts rarely ever do anything for me and I thought I would come out of Britney’s debut feeling like I’d only like the singles and nothing else. Britney’s Spears’ debut album aptly called … Baby One More Time after the smash hit single of the same name is a pretty decent album. All her singles banged literally; half I either didn’t know were singles or didn’t know were on this album. Such as: Born To Make You Happy and From The Bottom of my Broken Heart. I will admit though that the singles do save this album from being pretty bland and or mediocre. I say that because even though I liked a couple of the album only tracks: I Will Be There being the stand out one of the bunch, they’re incredibly forgettable or tired a la I Will Still Love You and E-Mail My Heart. I also thought her cover of The Beat Goes On was boring. The singles are where the album shines in she has them for some reason lumped at the front of the album. I’ve never really liked that sort of track-listing, because you get hit after hit, then suddenly your listening to a track that just throws everything off and it really brings the quality of the album down. Even so, I use to love (You Drive Me) Crazy, remember watching the Making of it on MTV back in the day. The stand out to me and quite possibly my favorite Britney Spears song of all time is Sometimes (I was sad to hear she doesn’t really like it). That’s like a top ten karaoke track for me. All in all I enjoyed Britney’s debut, I do wish the track-listing had been better or the album only tracks had a bit more kick. It’s her best selling album though… and I’m not mad at that fact.

  • favorite song – Sometimes
    least favorite track – I Will Still Love You duet w Don Philip
    guilty pleasure track – (You Drive Me) Crazy
    under-rated track – I Will Be There

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Nana Mizuki – MAGIC ATTRACTION

Through the Night
2.5
Protection
3.5
Futari no Memory
3.5
Free Style
2.5
Stand
2.5
Deep Sea
2.5
Suddenly ~Meguriaete~
3.5
Orgel to Piano to -Holy Style- U
3.5
Love & History
3.5
Climb Up
2.5
Brilliant Star
3.5
Ano Hi Yume Mita Negai
2.5

thoughts. B.
I think I prefer Nana Mizuki’s earlier albums as opposed to the albums she releases now. They just come across as too experimental and it just be way too much going on that the music and her vocals just get lost in the mix (that’s for later reviews though). MAGIC ATTRACTION is her sophomore album and it’s not bad. I think I see it in the same light as her debut, it doesn’t stand out much but it’s still a decent listen. Nana has strong vocals so it saves a few of the tracks from being mediocre or forgettable however, I can’t really pinpoint a stand out track on here yet with this album I preferred her more slower-paced tracks like: Orgel to Piano to -Holy Style- and Ano Hi Yume Mita Negai as it showcases how nice her voice really is. I do like her hard-hitting songs to though as Nana has an incredibly powerful voice for a seiyuu singer.

  • favorite track – Futari no Memory
    least favorite track – Stand
    guilty pleasure track – Protection
    under-rated – Orgel to Piano to -Holy Style-

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Namie Amuro – GENIUS 2000

LOVE 2000
3.5
RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE
2.5
LEAVIN’ for LAS VEGAS
3.5
SOMETHING ‘BOUT THE KISS
3.5
I HAVE NEVER SEEN
3.5
STILL IN LOVE
3.5
MI CORAZON (TE’ AMOUR)
2.5
YOU ARE THE ONE feat. IMAJIN
3.5
THINGS I COLLECTED
3.5
NEXT TO YOU
2.5
ASKING WHY
2.5
GIVE IT TRY
2.5

thoughts. B-.
Namie Amuro’s early career and albums are strange to me. I got into her during her Style and Queen of Hip Pop eras, so when I went back to listen to her before albums I was blown away. I remember only liking her break the rules pre Hip Pop era and that still holds true now. I do like her third album GENIUS 2000 more than her previous two albums. She was clearly dipping her toes into the rnb pool with this album in I definitely liked the tracks that came as a result of that. Namie has an interesting voice, sometimes she sounds good an sometimes she sounds very strain-y, but she never really disappoints me. This album is both generic/decent. I thought the oddest track on this album was LOVE 2000, which sounds so early aughts. Then after that you have very watered down rnb tracks, that aren’t bad. The highlights are LEAVIN’ FOR LAS VEGAS, SOMETHING ‘BOUT THE KISS, STILL IN LOVE, YOU ARE THE ONE and THINGS I COLLECTED. I HAVE NEVER SEEN is pretty good as well. The rest are OK. I did think it sort of tapered off and got really dull towards the end as if NEXT TO YOU, ASKING WHY and GIVE IT A TRY were just thrown on last minute to stretch the album out a little more. This album is nothing to write home about, but a tiny step up from her last two albums.

  • favorite track – STILL IN LOVE
    least favorite track – GIVE IT A TRY
    guilty pleasure track – LEAVIN’ FOR LAS VEGAS
    under-rated track – THINGS I COLLECTED

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August Alsina – Testimony

Testify
3.5
Make It Home feat. Jeezy
2.5
Right There
3.5
You Deserve
3.5
No Love
2.5
Porn Star
2.5
FML feat. Pusha T
2.5
Grind & Pray / Get Ya Money feat. Fabolous
2.5
Ghetto
2.5
Kissin’ on My Tattoos
2.5
Ah Yeah
2.5
Mama
3.5
Benediction feat. Rick Ross
3.5
I Luv This Shit feat. Trinidad James
2.5
Numb feat. B.o.B and Yo Gotti
3.5

thoughts. A.
August Alsina was a singer that was recommended to me. It was crazy because I’d heard a couple of his songs, liked them, but didn’t know who sung them. I’m glad I did decide to give him a listen, because he has a nice voice and puts out some consistently good rnb music. Testimony is his debut and it’s actually pretty good, one of the best I’ve heard. I always come out of debut albums feeling incredibly underwhelmed or feeling as if they could have been better than they were. That is not the case with August Alsina. It’s actually hard for me to pinpoint a track on here that I really disliked as all of them were above average listens. August makes me think of a more palatable Lyfe Jennings. What I think I liked most was the fact that I went into a few of these tracks thinking I wasn’t going to like them and ended up liking them a lot, such as: Testify, Porn Star, FML, Grind & Pray/Get Your Money, Ghetto, Ah Yeah, Benediction and Numb. I was pleasantly surprised with a few of the tracks in I had no clue he sung Numb until this album listen. I thought I would roll my eyes at Mama, but ended up being a little touched by it. The stand out on this album is without a doubt You Deserve, and I actually like the No Love remix more than the original. I think it’s safe the say that this is definitely an album from August I would buy, as the replay value is high an I can listen to it all the way through without skipping a track. That’s a good album in my book.

  • favorite track – You Deserve
    least favorite track – I Luv This Shit feat. Trinidad James
    guilty pleasure track – Porn Star
    under-rated track – Benediction feat. Rick Ross

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Namie Amuro – Concentration 20

Concentration 20 -make you alright-
2.5
B wz you
3.5
Close your eyes, Close to you
2.5
Me Love Peace!!
3.5
No Communication
3.5
a walk in the park
2.5
To-day
2.5
Whisper
2.5
CAN YOU CELEBRATE?
3.5
How to be a Girl
2.5

thoughts. B-
Namie Amuro’s second album Concentration 20 as generic as it comes across as is still a definite step up from the confusing mess that was her debut (as a solo singer). I’ve never really ever paid much attention to this album; it’s an album from her that is just there despite it having her highest selling single on it: CAN YOU CELEBRATE? It just always kind of bored me. I do like some of the tracks on here such as: B wz you, Me Love Peace!! and No Communication. The stand out of course being CAN YOU CELEBRATE? which reminds me a lot of Sweet 19 Blues. The rest are just OK, if not a little on the strange side. I’m just relieved that she didn’t remix half the tracks on here or the singles like she did on her first album. It’s an interesting albeit dull album from her.

  • favorite track – CAN YOU CELEBRATE?
    least favorite track – To-day
    guilty pleasure track – Me Love Peace!!
    under-rated track – B wz you

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Momoe Yamaguchi – Aoi Kajitsu – Kinjirareta Asobi

Kinji rareta Asobi
2.5
Otsuki sama no Shita de
2.5
Koibito Gokko
3.5
Aoi Kajitsu
2.5
Otome no Inori
2.5
Kojin Jugyo
2.5
Sougen no Kagayaki
2.5
Hatsukoi no Hoti
3.5
Chugaku Sannen-sei
2.5

thoughts. B.
As I’ve said before Momoe Yamaguchi has a slew of albums so, I know it’s going to be difficult for me to differentiate between them. I do think I like her sophomore album Aoi Kajitsu – Kinjirareta Asobi a little more than her debut. It doesn’t stand out anymore than her debut does, but I liked the track selection more on this one. There isn’t much to say, really. It has that classic, natural 70’s sound and Momoe’s voice is nice as usual. It’s just a simple and straight forward listen. Pleasant on the ears, but not very memorable.

  • favorite track – Koibito Gokko
    least favorite track – Kojin Jugyo
    guilty pleasure track – Kinji rareta Asobi
    under-rated track – Hatsukoi no Hoti

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Misia – LOVE IS THE MESSAGE

BELIEVE
3.5
Sweetness
3.5
it’s just love
3.5
Sweet Pain
2.5
Warm Tears
2.5
Rainy Sunday
2.5
My Beloved
3.5
Like on That Day
2.5
One!
2.5
Unforgettable Days
2.5
LOVIN’ YOU -MISIA 1999 LIVE ver.-
2.5

thoughts. B.
I always come out of a listening to a Misia album wondering if I liked it or not. Misia has a really incredible an unique voice in I love how versatile her music is; she hasn’t changed up. Misia has the same style now that she did when she first debuted and I love that, because it’s her. However, sometimes it makes for a draining listen as you know that the song is good but it doesn’t really pop out at you or stick. LOVE IS THE MESSAGE is her sophomore album, an though a little better than her debut (in my opinion), it suffers from the same thing Mother, Father, Brother, Sister did. Good songs that once they end, you’re struggling to remember them. Of course tracks like BELIEVE and One! are memorable, because they aren’t slow-paced or ballad oriented like the others. Which is another thing I noticed with Misia, she will have a couple up-tempo, maybe mid-tempo tracks and the rest are ballads or slow-songs. I’m not mad at that, yet it does make for a tepid listen. The only track that really stands out is it’s just love, possibly my favorite Misia song. The rest are OK in well sung, with tracks like Sweetness and My Beloved standing out from the rest. It’s not a bad album by any means, but I’m always undecided when it comes to her albums.

  • favorite track – it’s just love
    least favorite track – Rainy Sunday
    guilty pleasure track – BELIEVE
    under-rated track – My Beloved

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Trey Songz – I Gotta Make It

Gotta Make It feat. Twista
3.5
Cheat On You
2.5
Gotta Go
3.5
Ooo
2.5
All The If’s
2.5
Ur Behind
2.5
From A Woman’s Hand
3.5
Kinda Lovin’
3.5
Comin’ For You
2.5
Just Wanna Cut
1.5
In The Middle
2.5
Make Love Tonight
1.5
Hatin’ Love
3.5
Gotta Make It (Remix) feat. Aretha Franklin and Juvenile
1.5

thoughts. B-.
I actually really liked Trey Songz when he first came onto the scene back in 2005. Thought he was so cute with his braids in I loved his Gotta Make It single. He has a good enough voice to for the type of raunchy rnb music he does. I don’t too much care for him nowadays, but he does release some banger singles every now and then. I Gotta Make It is his first album and it is surprisingly a lot better than I thought it would be. I really didn’t think I was going to like it, or thought it would play much like Lloyd’s debut album did. There were very few tracks on here that I didn’t like, such as the Gotta Make It remix, Just Wanna Cut and Make Love Tonight. There were a few tracks that I didn’t expect to like but did such as: From A Woman’s Hand, Kinda Lovin’ and Hatin’ Love. You have your meh tracks of course, like Cheat On You and Ooo, but all in all this was a decent debut.

  • favorite track – Gotta Make It
    least favorite track – Just Wanna Cut
    guilty pleasure track – Ur Behind
    under-rated track – From a Woman’s Hand

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Miliyah Kato – Diamond Princess

Last Summer
2.5
Stay Like This Until the Morning
3.5
LuvSong
2.5
FAMILY
3.5
Cry no more
3.5
I WILL
2.5
Graduation
2.5
So special
3.5
Paradise
2.5
Wonderful
3.5

thoughts. B-.
I’m not really sure how I feel about Miliyah Kato’s sophomore album Diamond Princess. I do know that I like it a little less than her debut. I’ve said before Miliyah doesn’t really, I believe, have an album that I particularly dislike. The same can be said about this album, I don’t dislike it, but I do like her debut more. Even so there were some tracks on here that stood out and I really enjoyed such as: Stay Like This Until The Morning, FAMILY and Wonderful. The rest aside from Cry no more and So special are merely OK. Diamond Princess is a decent listen, even if it is a little on the so-so side. Miliyah’s voice is nice (a little mediocre sounding in her earlier albums), but still good and unique in it’s own way. Miliyah’s tracks are unique enough to not come off as stale or boring an that’s what I think I like the most about Miliyah and her music.

  • favorite track – Stay Like This Until The Morning
    least favorite track – I WILL
    guilty pleasure track – Wonderful
    under-rated track – FAMILY

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