Japanese CD Review: Gackt – Ghost (Single 2009)

After almost a year “off”, Gackt has been launching himself back into his music with two consecutive releases.   The release of Jesus in November (2008) sparked controversy and caused a ripple among fans.  I, for one, have no issues with the song.  If they would bother to listen to or find translations of the lyrics, they would understand the true meaning of the song.  In it, Gackt plays the inner voice begging for help from Jesus to give him salvation and save him from himself.  The video is dark and graphic depicting a man attempting to commit suicide and follows the deeper meaning of the song.

We are given another treat this month, with the follow-up single Ghost. It has returned Gackt to his hard rock roots and reminds me of some of his songs of the album Crescent. The song opens with the sounds of machinery and pulls the listener into the song with a hypnotic rhythm that entices them to listen further.  The song strengthens with the addition of guitars and a strong bass beat.  The lyrics are similar in theme to Jesus and in them “Gackt” pleads to be destroyed, claiming to be a imbomination of God.

It may sound dark and sinister, and may be, unless you find out that both songs were inspired by Terminator: The Sarah Connor Cronicles.  So, in truth, it is a monster that should be destroyed.  You can check out the video to see his tie-in for yourself.  I was actually pretty shocked to see Gackt DANCING!

I enjoy Ghost a lot and am reminded of older Gackt songs that I love to listen to even today.  Don’t get me wrong, Love Letter and No ni saku hana no Youni have their place in the world (and in my playlist/heart) but I prefer the darker and deeper side of Gackt’s music.

So, I give this the big 5 out of 5.

Gackt - GhostOh, and if you want to read a perfect review of it follow this link.

Japanese CD Review: Koda Kumi – Trick (2009)

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

I was really excited to find out that Koda Kumi had a new album releasing this month.  I have continuosly enjoyed her music throughout the years even through changes in style and sound.  I am happy to report that it is currently number 1 on the Oricon charts.  After last years controversy I was uncertain about her comeback.  At least the Japanese are a little more forgiving than the Chinese (ie: Edison Chen)

My ratings per song.

My ratings per song.

Overall, the album is pretty strong.  After a few listens though, “Black Cherry” is still Koda’s strongest album in my opinion. However, there are a few gems on this album.  My biggest surprise is that Taboo became my favorite song on the album.  I didn’t much care for it when the single released, it kind of blended into the background for me.  But, after a few turns on the ol’ WMP I think the album version of Taboo has a stronger composition.  I also like the representation the video gives to homosexuality.  It’s not a common theme in most Asian culture (aside for Yuri/Yaoi stuff.)  It’s nice to see a little bit of modern acceptance of it in any form.  My second favorite is Show Girl – a fun track that has a good beat.  The song Bling Bling Bling is just plain annoying as hell.  I can’t stand it at all. I listened to it once all the way through and now skip it along with That Ain’t Cool.  I never liked Kumi’s colaberation with Fergie.  Alone, I like them both perfectly fine, but this song grates at my nerves.  It doesn’t seem very well thought out, as if someone thought “Hey, let’s team Koda Kumi up with Fergie, who cares what they sing!”  The video is kind of pointless, lots of grinding around on eachother with a few nice-looking cars thrown in for affect.  Driving is a fun track, rock-ish in nature with a little Koda Kumi flare.  Just the Way You Are, Joyful, & Your Love all return Koda to her pop roots and are simple and sweet.

Overall, it is a good album – but that’s it.  Just good.  Not great, mindblowing or amazing.  Just pretty good.  I really hope that the songs I didn’t like weren’t the one’s that Koda herself worked on; because I know she had more input on this album.  I like the fact that the more time that passes, the more effort she is puting into the albums other than just singing.  Hopefully she will just get better and better.