Lena Park – A SECOND HELPING

Crazy People
2.5
Something in My Eye
2.5
I’ll Write You A Letter
3.5
Last Night
2.5
Confession
2.5
Like Friends
2.5
A New Start After Parting
2.5
I’ll Give Back Now
3.5
The Flower That Falls In The Wind
2.5

thoughts. B.
Lena Park’s second Korean album A SECOND HELPING is a bit better than her debut. There wasn’t as much variety as their was in piece though as it seemed to play like one long ballad as to where there were only a couple on her previous album. I didn’t mind that too much, Lena is one of those artists whose down-tempo or more ballad-oriented songs I prefer. She has a great voice with really good range so it’s a real treat when she goes for high-notes or plays around with her vocals. It wasn’t so much of that on this album, but still the songs are very nice and easy on the ears. I do wish the tracks had stood out a bit more as the only track I really remember is I’ll give back now and Last Night only because I liked how she ended that track. A step up from her first album, yet still a little on the forgettable side.

  • favorite track – I’ll give back now
    least favorite track – A New Start After Parting
    guilty pleasure track – Crazy People
    under-rated track – Last Night

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Miguel – All I Want Is You

Sure Thing
3.5
All I Want Is You feat. J. Cole
2.5
Pay Me
2.5
Quickie
3.5
Girls Like You
3.5
Hard Way
3.5
Teach Me
2.5
Hero
2.5
Vixen
2.5
To the Moon
2.5
My Piece
2.5

thoughts. B-.
I like Miguel, but I didn’t really start liking him until Adorn. All I Want Is You is his debut album and I’m half and half about it. To me it seemed like all the good songs: Sure Thing, Quickie, Girls Like You were put on the first half of the album and the more forgettable tracks like: Hero, Vixen, To The Moon where thrown on to make the album longer; it definitely brought the quality of the album down. I even dug Pay Me and Hard Way, however when I got to Teach me and beyond my interest started to wane. So, it went from me thinking I would buy this album, to… never mind. I do really like Miguel’s voice though, he adds such flavor to tracks that I would write off if they were sung by anyone else. It’s like you’re in a pleasant trance while listening to him. All I Want Is You is decent for a debut, I just wish that the second half had played like the first.

  • favorite track – Sure Thing
    least favorite track – Vixen
    guilty pleasure track – Pay Me
    under-rated track – Hard Way

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Lee Hyori – Dark Angel

Get Ya’
2.5
Depth
2.5
Straight Up
2.5
Dark Angel
2.5
Dear Boy
2.5
Winter Freshness
2.5
Closer
2.5
Stealing A Glance
2.5
Shall We Dance?
2.5
Slave
2.5
Last Farewell
3.5

thoughts. C.
I really thought I liked this album more than I do. I don’t recall it being this mediocre the first time I listened to it. Didn’t really care for her first album but it was better than this. I don’t know how she managed to take a step down with Dark Angel, but as I was listening to this album again for this review I just couldn’t find a fuck to give about it. Hyori has a lot of watered down rnb tracks on here, that seems like they should be dance or up-tempo tracks yet the delivery on every last one of them was just so lazy. I don’t know how she stayed conscious enough in the studio to record all these forgettable tracks. The only good songs on this album were, believe it or not, are the ballads: Winter Freshness and Last Farewell, which isn’t saying much as they were dull but her vocals were nice. I’d skip this if I were someone just getting into her, her later albums are much better. Start with It’s Hyorish and go from there.

  • favorite track – Last Farewell
    least favorite track – Get Ya’
    guilty pleasure track – Dear Boy
    under-rated track – Winter Freshness

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Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Grenade
2.5
Just the Way You Are
3.5
Our First Time
2.5
Runaway Baby
2.5
The Lazy Song
2.5
Marry You
3.5
Talking to the Moon
3.5
Liquor Store Blues feat. Damian Marley
2.5
Count On Me
3.5
The Other Side feat. Cee Lo Green and B.o.B
2.5

thoughts. C.
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel when it comes to Bruno Mars. I never particularly cared for his music, but some songs I do like. Just always thought he was really corny. He’s gotten better as I love his song Versace On The Floor, but even so I’m still on the fence in terms of whether I like him or not. Doo-Wop & Hooligans (which has to be one of the lamest album titles ever, I don’t care what it represents) is his debut album and it didn’t really do anything for me. It’s not too bad, Bruno Mars has a nice voice, but the majority of the tracks were just OK or blah to me. I have never liked Grenade or The Lazy Song, both tracks are whack and annoy the hell out of me. Liquor Store Blues was a track I wanted to like, but it fell flat and so did The Other Side. I like Marry You even though the lyrics are laughable. Runaway Baby was irritating. The songs I did like though, surprisingly were Just The Way You Are; I think it’s a very sweet song (Our First Time was OK). Looking At The Moon and Count On Me. Very corny, but in such an endearing and romantic type of way. I think I like those types of songs from Bruno Mars the most. I’m not a fan, but maybe with his next two albums it could happen. I’m warming up to him. OK debut, but nothing to write home about.

  • favorite track – Just The Way You Are
    least favorite track – Liquor Store Blues feat. Damian Marley
    guilty pleasure track – Marry You
    under-rated track – Looking At The Moon/Count On Me

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – What’s This Collection?

Ninjya Re Bang Bang
2.5
Kimi ni 100 Percent
3.5
Super Scooter Happy
2.5
Invader Invader
3.5
Fashion Monster
2.5
Saigo no Ice Cream
2.5
Furisodation
3.5
Otona na Kodomo
3.5

thoughts. B+.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s second album What’s This Collection? is actually a really decent listen. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t really expecting to like this album as much as I do. I honestly find it surprising that Kyary’s voice doesn’t annoy me half as much as I think it should. I’m not not saying I didn’t get a tad annoyed with some of the tracks, but I actually found this album to be a rather fun and engaging listen. I especially liked Invader Invader which surprised me. Her first album wasn’t bad, but it loses points because the songs didn’t really jump out and stick with me. I had to go back an re-listen to tracks to see which one I liked and didn’t so much like. What’s This Collection? is definitely a step up from her debut and I honestly think I prefer her brand of auto-tune pop or Perfume’s.

  • favorite track – Invader Invader
    least favorite track – Super Scooter Happy
    guilty pleasure track – Kimi ni 100 Percent
    under-rated track – Otona na Kodomo

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Keyshia Cole – The Way It Is

(I Just Want It) To Be Over
2.5
I Changed My Mind
2.5
Love, I Thought You Had My Back
2.5
I Should Have Cheated
3.5
Guess What? feat. Jadakiss
2.5
Love
3.5
You’ve Changed
2.5
We Could Be
3.5
Situations feat. Chink Santana
2.5
Down and Dirty
2.5
Superstar
3.5
Never feat. Eve
2.5

thoughts. C.
What can I say about Keisha Cole’s first album The Way It Is? I think I just thought it would be better. The singles were a bit weak with the exception of Love. I Should’ve Cheated was pretty good to, but Love was my jam when it came out. This album dropped in my second to last year of High School and I remember I dug Keisha because her tunes of heartbreak, betrayal and failed love resonated so deeply with me at that time. I was going through it hard; Keisha’s songs were the truth. Anyway, the tracks on this album are a bit meh to me. Keisha’s vocals are either on struggle mode or very mediocre. However, she does do what she can with it, because she sung the shit out of Love. Other than that I only really liked We Could Be and Superstar, but even those tracks are forgettable once the they end. I rate songs by how memorable they are to me. None of the tracks other than her two singles I mentioned stuck with me. I also was confused on her tracks that had features, because the only person I heard on the featured tracks was Chink Santana. It was very weird. I was like so where were Jadakiss and Eve? Yea, this album really didn’t do it for me. I’m glad it pushed over a million copies, but it’s not one of her albums I would buy.

  • favorite track – Love
    least favorite track – Guess What feat. Jadakiss
    guilty pleasure track – I Should’ve Cheated
    under-rated track – We Could Be

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Kuraki Mai – PERFECT CRIME

PERFECT CRIME
3.5
Start in my life
2.5
Reach for the sky
2.5
Brand New Day
2.5
Stand Up
2.5
Come on! Come on!
2.5
always
3.5
What are you waiting for?
3.5
think about
3.5
Tsumetai Umi
3.5
Itsuka wa Ano Sora ni
2.5

thoughts. B.
I’m a bit half and half when it comes to Kuraki Mai’s sophomore album PERFECT CRIME. This was definitely one of her albums that I thought was mediocre and forgettable when I was first getting into her years ago. I don’t too much feel that way now. It seems like Kuraki tried to change her style up a little with this as it both worked and didn’t work. The first half of the album with the exception of PERFECT CRIME are very bland, pop tracks with nice vocals. The second half of the album brought more of an Urban-pop flare with What are you waiting for? and think about, which pleasantly surprised me. I thought I was listening to some obscure black female rnb artist from the 90’s. Kuraki has a couple of dance tracks on here, they’re OK if not a little on the bland side. It’s just a mixed bag, and the only tracks that really stood out to me were the rnb-influenced ones. Kuraki’s voice is really nice on this album though, and is pretty decent. A lot better than I remember it being when I first heard it.

  • favorite track – PERFECT CRIME
    least favorite track – Itsuka wa Ano Sora ni
    guilty pleasure track – What are you waiting for?/think about
    under-rated track – Tsumetai Umi

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Melanie Fiona – The Bridge

Give It to Me Right
2.5
Bang Bang
2.5
Monday Morning
2.5
Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby)
3.5
Ay Yo
2.5
Walk On By
2.5
You Stop My Heart
2.5
Johnny
2.5
Sad Songs
2.5
Priceless
2.5
It Kills Me
3.5
Teach Him
2.5

thoughts. B-.
Melanie Fiona is so under-rated and honestly she makes me think of a better looking and less sedated Amy Winehouse (RIP). I remember I could not stand her single It Kills Me when it first dropped, mostly because I thought it was hilarious and they played the shit out of it then. Seriously, I heard that song every five seconds (it has grown on me over the years though). The Bridge is her debut album and it’s alright for whatever it was she was going for. The songs all sound similar to each other and I didn’t really care for that. I would have liked a bit more variety as they all seemed to be songs of breaking up or she gone break up with him, and so on and so forth. Even so, the songs, though nothing interesting, were competently sung. I actually really like Fiona’s voice. It strong, but not in a overpowering sense. What surprised me the most was that I never once got bored with The Bridge and can to a certain extent see myself purchasing this album as I kinda dug all the songs even the ones I didn’t really care for, such as Bang Bang, Ay Yo and Johnny. It was a decent enough debut, despite how safe it is. I would have liked a bit more of a kick, more stand out tracks like Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby) and It Kills Me. Hope her second album delivers that punch that this album lacked.

  • favorite track – Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby)
    least favorite track – Bang Bang/Ay Yo
    guilty pleasure track – It Kills Me
    under-rated track – Monday Morning

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Koda Kumi – secret

CUTIE HONEY
3.5
Hot Stuff feat. km-markit
2.5
Selfish
2.5
hands
3.5
hearty
3.5
Shake It
2.5
Kiseki
2.5
Chase
3.5
Love Holic
3.5
24
3.5
Let’s Party
3.5
Believe
2.5

thoughts. A.
Koda Kumi’s fourth album secret I think after so many listens it’s safe to say that it is perhaps my favorite album from her. I’ve always loved it and thought it was the start of her really coming into her own. It features a slew of her best songs as well as some of her best vocal performances, where she uses the deep husky-ness of her voice well. Most notably in tracks like hands (my favorite Kuu song) and 24. Kuu also brings the fun dance songs with Love Holic in Let’s Party, and a nice cover of CUTIE HONEY. There are also some under-rated ballads; I mentioned one but hearty and Kiseki are two others. Chase makes me think of a better version of Crazy 4 U and I love the sexiness of tracks like Selfish and Shake it (the dance break part almost ruined this track for me), because she’s being natural with it and not over-doing it. I feel like this album is tragically under-rated and overshadowed by Black Cherry and Kingdom. I love it though. This is the Kuu I miss.

  • favorite track – hands
    least favorite track – Hot Stuff feat. km-markit
    guilty pleasure track – Let’s Party
    under-rated track – 24

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KOKIA – trip trip

Harmony, Sound
2.5
Say Hi!!
3.5
The rule of the universe
2.5
Angel
2.5
Pink Elephant
2.5
Hello passing days
3.5
Flower
3.5
People Are Just Like That
3.5
Ashioto
3.5
tomoni
2.5
a gift
3.5

thoughts. B.
I think that maybe I can say that KOKIA’s sophomore album trip trip is a little better than her first. I enjoyed her first album, but after repeated listens it’s a little on the dull side. I’m not saying that trip trip isn’t per-say as even though KOKIA has a lovely voice and her albums tend to be good, sometimes they bleed into one another or get a little too weird or drawn out. This album is a lot lighter and fresher sounding. Pink Elephant reminds me of I catch a cold, only not childish and out of place sounding. Correction: it didn’t sound as out of place on this album as that track did on her first. I did like this album a lot when I first heard it and that sentiment hasn’t changed. The tracks that stuck out to me where Say Hi!, Hello passing days and a gift. The others I remember slightly, like Harmony, Sound (which is a bit annoying), The rule of the universe and Ashioto. The problem with KOKIA is that even though her voice is pretty and her music is good, sometimes they fall a bit flat. A pretty good sophomore album, either way.

  • favorite track – Hello passing days
    least favorite track – Pink Elephant
    guilty pleasure track – Say Hi!
    under-rated track – Ashioto

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