Aaliyah – Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number

Intro
2.5
Throw Your Hands Up
1.5
Back & Forth
3.5
Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number
3.5
Down with the Clique
2.5
At Your Best (You Are Love)
3.5
No One Knows How to Love Me Quite Like You Do
2.5
I’m So into You
2.5
Street Thing
2.5
Young Nation
2.5
Old School
2.5
I’m Down
2.5
The Thing I Like
2.5
Back & Forth (Mr. Lee & R. Kelly’s Remix)
2.5

thoughts. C.
I didn’t really think it was possible, but there is an Aaliyah album I do not like in it just so happens to be her debut album: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. I am literally flabbergasted at how much I disliked this album, almost to the point that I don’t even want to listen to it in it’s entirety again. Aaliyah was my favorite 90’s solo singer. I just loved her style and her humble demeanor. Devastated wasn’t even the word when she died, I literally cried the whole day after I found out. She died way too soon. Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number is just a mess to me. Aaliyah’s voice is pleasant enough but it doesn’t stand out, the only track that really stood out to me was At Your Best (You Are Love) and that isn’t even an original song from her! The single releases were OK; aside from Down With The Clique and That Thing I Like (in which neither I cared for). The rest were just there. I honestly went into this with an open mind an thought I would enjoy it, but I found myself disinterested, bored and just flat out confused. It’s just not her, it seemed like she was being what R Kelly wanted her to be and it just made for an all around awkward listen. As I said, Aaliyah’s voice is very pleasant but it’s wasted on this type of watered down, poser-esque rnb music. Thank goodness for One In A Million. I wouldn’t buy this, even as a hard-core Aaliyah fan, but that’s just me.

  • favorite track – At Your Best (You Are Love)
    least favorite track – Throw Your Hands Up
    guilty pleasure track – Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
    under-rated track – Back & Forth

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SNSD – Oh!

Run Devil Run
3.5
Oh!
2.5
Echo
3.5
Star Star Star -Acoustic RnB ver.-
3.5
Show! Show! Show!
2.5
Fun&Fun -Sweet Talking Baby-
2.5
I Want To Dream Forever With You
2.5
Just Smile
2.5
Martian Virus (Boys & Girls) feat. Key of SHINee
2.5
Caramel Coffee (Talk To Me)
2.5
☆★☆
3.5
Gee
2.5
Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
3.5

thoughts. B.
I really didn’t think I would like this album less than their first Korean album, yet I do. Their second Korean album Oh! is not bad (as I’ve heard worse), it’s just a mixed bag of an album. It starts off great with Run Devil Run, Oh! and Echo are fun songs in I absolutely love Star Star Star -Acoustic RnB ver.- perhaps moreso than the original (it’s a gem of a song and an under-rated balled from them, both versions). However, once you get to Show! Show! Show! all the way down to Caramel Coffee (Talk To Me) you’re wondering if you’re listening to a completely different album. I loved how every song on Girl’s Generation just flowed one into the other an the charming innocence of it just seeped out making for a refreshing listen. This album has a strong start, weird and forgettable middle but it does end on a fun and bright note with Tell Me Your Wish (Genie). Gee is also a song I use to loathe, but has grown on me. This album is OK, but a step down from their first Korean album.

  • favorite track – Run Devil Run
    least favorite track – Just Smile
    guilty pleasure track – Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
    under-rated track – Star Star Star -Acoustic RnB ver.-

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SHINee – LUCIFER

UP & DOWN
2.5
LUCIFER
2.5
Electric Heart
3.5
A-Yo
3.5
Obsession
2.5
Quasimodo
3.5
Shout Out
2.5
WOWOWOW
2.5
Your Name
2.5
Ready Or Not
2.5
Love Pain
3.5

thoughts. B.
I won’t spend too much time talking about the unfortunate passing of Jonghyun, maybe I will touch on it when I get around to reviewing his solo material. I will say that it was such a great loss, his voice… he was one of my favorites and I hope he’s found the happiness in death that he could not find in life. LUCIFER is their second Korean album; I didn’t too much care for the title, but it is a catchy song. The dance is crazy difficult to. I like how creative they were with their song titles this time around, very experimental an weird in a good way. Even so, I think it’s a little step down from their first Korean album. They do have some really good tracks on here like Electric Heart, Quasimodo and Love Pain. As well as some tracks that surprised me in how much I liked them such as UP & DOWN, A Yo, Ready or Not and to some extent LUCIFER. It just didn’t charm me as much as The SHINee World did an just didn’t stick. I felt that certain tracks stood out more than others and the majority played more like filler. It’s not a bad album though, just thought I would like it more than I did.

  • favorite track – Electric Heart
    least favorite track – Your Name
    guilty pleasure track – A Yo
    under-rated track – Quasimodo

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Shimizu Shota – Journey

Journey
3.5
FOREVER LOVE -Shimizu Shota x Kato Miliyah-
3.5
Kimi ga Suki
3.5
CREAM
2.5
Starlight
2.5
Sayonara wa Itsumo Soba ni
3.5
Kimi ga Itakara
3.5
Close to you
3.5
Utsukushiki Hibi yo
3.5
Cherry Blossom
2.5
DAYS
3.5
Let’s Groove
2.5

thoughts. B+.
I liked Shimizu Shota’s debut album Umbrella when I first heard it, but after multiple listens it just became a very dull and generic listen. It wasn’t a bad debut, just a somewhat forgettable one. When his sophomore album Journey dropped, I remember not really like it at all with the exception of the singles and CREAM. I mean I did like DAYS; the rest aside from those I just mentioned I could not remember in I rarely ever listened to this album unless I wanted to hear Utsukushiki Hibi yo. So, upon listening to it for this review a few of the songs grew on me: Kimi ga Suki, Close to you and Cherry Blossom really surprised me in how much I liked them. Journey, Sayonara wa Itsumo Soba ni and Kimi ga Itakara also pleasantly surprised me. I always like his duets with Miliyah Kato, so FOREVER LOVE is no exception. The only song I can say I didn’t really like was Let’s Groove, it just didn’t do anything for me. A nice sophomore album and a step up from his debut.

  • favorite track – Utsukushiki Hibi yo
    least favorite track – Let’s Groove
    guilty pleasure track – CREAM
    under-rated track – DAYS

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Shimatani Hitomi – Peace

Peace
2.5
The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
3.5
Glorious Day
3.5
A.S.A.P. ~as soon as possible~
2.5
She is…
2.5
Remember of you -RHAPSODY-
2.5
The Way to Discover an Affectionate Kiss
2.5
freeze ~The Summer Day We Lost~
2.5
Hello!
2.5
beloved
2.5
farewell
2.5
colors
3.5

thoughts. B.
I didn’t dislike Shimatani’s debut album, it wasn’t bad persay, just sounded a bit generic. Her sophomore album Peace is a lot better in terms of sound. It still has that Spanish edge to it, but in a more fresh and genuine way. The tracks stand out more and I was more engaged an into Shimatani’s vocals this second time around. I was surprised at the lack of ballads, but then again Shimatani is more in the up-tempo to mid-tempo range song-wise; she does ballads like how BoA does or Namie Amuro does ballads, rarely. Honestly I prefer her more fast-paced and instrumental heavy songs. The first half of the album stood out more with tracks like The Girl With The Flaxen Hair and Glorious Day really standing out. The second half wasn’t bad, but the only track that stood out to me was colors. It’s a pretty fair album. Shimatani has such a nice, under-rated and pretty strong range/voice.

  • favorite track – Glorious Day
    least favorite track – beloved
    guilty pleasure track – The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
    under-rated track – colors

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Shiina Ringo – Lawsuit Winning Strip

Mythomania
2.5
Bathroom
2.5
Orthopedic Cast
3.5
Rain that falls in darkness
2.5
Identity
2.5
Crime and Punishment
2.5
Sickbed Public
2.5
Instinct
3.5
Dependence
3.5

thoughts. C.
Lawsuit Winning Strip is Shiina Ringo’s sophomore album and it’s a really weird and jarring listen. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like this album at all. The songs were interesting, I’ll give it that but Shiina’s voice is just too much and not in a good way. I had a hard time getting through this album in I don’t remember it being this cringey the first time around. The only bearable songs were Orthopedic Cast, Instinct and Dependence. The rest were just a bit under bearable. I don’t know where Shiina was trying to go with this album, I know that her voice is of an acquired taste, but my ears were tortured trying to get through this album for this review. I had to listen to a few songs more than once, most notably Identity just to make sure I actually was partial to them. So far this is my least favorite album from her. A huge step down from her debut.

  • favorite track – Orthopedic Cast
    least favorite track – Identity
    guilty pleasure track – Instinct
    under-rated track – Dependence

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Mario – Mario

Just A Friend 2002
3.5
C’Mon
2.5
Braid My Hair
3.5
2 Train
2.5
What Your Name Is
4.5
Holla Back
2.5
Could You Be
3.5
Put Me On
2.5
Chick wit da Braids
3.5
Never
3.5
Girl in the Picture
3.5

thoughts. A.
I literally almost forgot how much I loved Mario back in the day and listening to this surprisingly really good debut album from him, I am reminded of how terribly under-rated he is as an artist. I remember loving his debut album Mario to death back when it dropped, but it’s been awhile and I was like 12 or 13 when this album came out so I actually forgot all the damn jams he had on this album. I was listening to the album for this review and with each track I was like, ‘I remember this song!’ and a couple I forgot he even sung like What Your Name Is and Could You Be. The song on this album I use to wear out was Chick wit da Braids, it’s so High School I can’t stand it, but in such a good way. Other songs worth noting is of course the catchy bop Just A Friend 2002, Braid My Hair, Never and Girl In The Picture. Mario’s album only tracks weren’t bad at all, aside from the ones that I already named: C’Mon, 2 Train, Holla Back and Put Me On are OK they just didn’t pop as hard as the others. All in all this is a really good debut, and Mario’s vocals hit.

  • favorite track – What Your Name Is
    least favorite track – Holla Back
    guilty pleasure track – Chick wit da Braids
    under-rated track – Could You Be

Mario+-+Mario

Mya – Mya

What Cha Say?
2.5
Movin’ On
2.5
Baby It’s Yours
3.5
Keep On Lovin’ Me
2.5
It’s All About Me feat. Sisqo
3.5
If You Died I Wouldn’t Cry Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway
3.5
We’re Gonna Make Ya Dance
2.5
If You Were Mine
3.5
Bye Bye feat. Missy Elliot
1.5
Anytime You Want Me
2.5
Don’t Be Afraid
3.5
My First Night with You
3.5
Movin’ On (Remix) feat. Silk the Shocker
3.5

thoughts. B.
I was never a huge Mya fan, mostly around the time when she was really popular in the late 90’s. I was an Aaliyah fan and in my opinion Mya couldn’t hold a candle to her, plus her face annoyed me for some reason. I didn’t start liking her until her Fear of Flying album came out. Mya is her debut and it’s OK, not a bad OK just a really decent one. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I kinda went into this listen thinking it was going to be a mediocre album at best. I did like her single releases especially My First Night With You. It’s All About Me is all right; they played it out when it first dropped. As far as Movin’ On goes, the remix with Silk The Shocker (use to have a crush on him) is a lot better than the original which oddly bored me. I’d have to say that where this album shines is with the album only tracks, which is kinda rare (especially on the American album side). The stand out being Baby It’s Yours, I put it on repeat I liked it so much. I also enjoyed If You Died I Wouldn’t Cry Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway (wow), If You Were Mine and Don’t Be Afraid. The rest were decent, except for Bye Bye feat. Missy Elliot, that track can go straight in the garbage. Mya has a pleasant enough voice, it’s never wowed me, but it suits her. A nice debut, but my favorite album from her as of now is Fear of Flying.

  • favorite track – My First Night With You
    least favorite track – Bye Bye feat. Missy Elliot
    guilty pleasure track – If You Died I Wouldn’t Cry Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway
    under-rated track – Baby It’s Yours

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SE7EN – Must Listen

Passion
3.5
Yokshim
2.5
Honey I Know
3.5
2Nite
3.5
Dugeoreum
2.5
Munshin
3.5
Se7en’s Love
3.5
Ara
3.5
Ogi
2.5
Wishy Washy
3.5
Christmas With You
3.5
Deudgo shipji ahneun mal
3.5
You’re My Everything
2.5
Real Love Story
3.5

thoughts. B+.
It’s a little hard to believe that Se7en has only released 4 Korean Albums (they’re all good to). The focus is on his second album Must Listen this time around. I did like his first album, but the more up-tempo songs were pretty generic. This second time around there is more of a focus on ballads, yet the up-tempo tracks such as Passion and Real Luv Story are very catchy, engaging and fun. I loved the ballads the highlights being Yokshim, Honey I Know, Munshin, Se7en’s Love, Ara and Christmas with you; damn near every ballad on the album. The only song I can say I didn’t really like all that much was You’re My Everything, other than that this is a really good album from Se7en. I adore ballads, but I’ve said before too many can really drag an album down and make it boring. That is not the case with Must Listen, the ballads on this album were well sung and extremely heartfelt. Se7en always delivers when it comes to his ballads. He’s under-rated in my opinion to.

  • favorite track – Se7en’s Love
    least favorite track – You’re My Everything
    guilty pleasure track – Passion
    under-rated track – Christmas With You

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RURUTIA – Water Forest

Pavene
3.5
Sky of Suzaku
2.5
Oar
3.5
Star Souls
2.5
Something Unwaveringly Beautiful
3.5
Bewitching Wind
2.5
Shine
3.5
Dense Forest
2.5
Thinking About The Seasons
2.5

thoughts. B.
It’s a coincidence that the two artists I review with really fragile toned voices come one right after the number. RURUTIA is like a spirit-being to me, both real and unreal as where Ritsuko is so much so real, with the sweet fragility of her voice that it’s almost painful. RURUTIA’s music however is harder to get into, because it’s very experimental, airy and has a tendency to sound like different versions of each other. Water Forest (I think this is my favorite album from her), is her sophomore album and it’s a step up from her first in my opinion. The songs don’t really stand out, but unlike the tracks on her first album they honestly, oddly stick with me more. I can only really remember two tracks from her first album, however this album really paints a picture of startling fantasy and it’s gorgeous. It’s nothing to write home about, but this is definitely an album you can just pop on and listen to, if only to hear the stand out track Pavene.

  • favorite track – Pavene
    least favorite track – Thinking About The Seasons
    guilty pleasure track – Oar
    under-rated track – Something Unwaveringly Beautiful

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