Flare was Hitomi Shimatani’s 7th album. It was released on July 16, 2008 and reached number 21 on the charts with 8,272 copies sold. In all this single has sold over 10,673+ copies, making it her lowest charting and selling album. I’m a bit skeptical about reviewing this album but we’ll see how good it is.

Flare - Hitomi Shimatani

1. Heavenly
2. Start
3. Ame no Hi ni wa Ame no Naka wo Kaze no Hi ni wa Kaze no Naka wo
4. Dita
5. Shinku
6. Nakitai Nara
7. Dear…
8. Taiyou no Flare
10. Shake it up!
11. Neva Eva
12. Marvelous
13. Ai no Uta (Strings Version)

The album begins with Heavenly, how heavenly it is has yet to been seen. The song begins with some very heavenly sounding violins and some light beats that are somewhat dance oriented. The verses were very short and maybe that’s a good thing. The chorus however was pretty long but not long winded so it was rather good. Maybe a little corny and average but it’s not terrible. I really loved how her English was great and that’s what made the chorus so great, and so catchy. The song might be very pop, but I liked it. Might not be Heavenly, but it’s good, and not a bad way to start off Flare.

The next song is a little happier and the piano is more involved. Start for some reason reminded me a little of ragtime music, similar to Rocket Sneaker, but it was very laid-back you could say. Although I must admit that sometimes it’s hard to hear Hitomi’s vocals at times and the piano sounds a little annoying. I’m pretty sure I even heard an organ in the background, giving it a church feel almost. The chorus wasn’t all that great really it just sounded so out of the ordinary, maybe not in a good way.

And here we come to the longest title ever imagined, Ame no Hi ni wa Ame no Naka wo Kaze no Hi ni wa Kaze no Naka wo. I really didn’t like this song, it was too slow and just so long winded. The R&B beats might have been nice and all, but it wasn’t interesting. Basically this song is mediocre and mundane and the worst of all her singles released in the Flare Era.

The next song is very unique with the lyrics and music. I’m pretty sure i saw some French or Spanish but it was just weird, Dita is one unique song. The music at first has an island feel with the reed playing but then it changes into a piano driven song, and I don’t mean ballad like. The violins were a nice touch but I don’t know how well it went with the song. The chorus wasn’t all that great nor was it catchy, everything sounded so out of place.

Perhaps the best song released as a single, and the highest charting and selling one in the era, Shinku. This song has been described as dance tune with a classic spin. The song begins with a beautiful instrumental of violins followed by some singing. And to my surprise I loved the verses as well as the chorus. Both were so addicting and so infectious. But the chorus was so amazingly excellent. I don’t think you could’ve asked for a better song, or a better PV for that matter.

And now we have Nakitai Nara. This song is just really a lackluster ballad to say the least. Ballads really aren’t her thing and she should stick with her pop / dance songs. The music sounded somewhat nice, sad and dreary but nice. But her vocals weren’t all that great either. And there was hardly a climax and the chorus wasn’t all that great. I just think that she needs to stop singing ballads, unless they’re of Hikki or Ayu quality.

The music of Dear… reminds me a little of some type of smooth jazz almost without the saxophone and with the piano. The song is very laid-back and it flows so smoothly. The verses weren’t all the great but the chorus was nice. Although that’s all it was really. It wasn’t that catchy nor did it sound all that great. I really didn’t like Hitomi’s vocals all that much. Sometimes they were great, and others they were monotone. It’s so sad to hear her new material on the album, most of the songs aren’t that great.

It’s about time I heard a great song on this album that’s new and Taiyou no Flare doesn’t disappoint. Literally the Sun’s Flare it’s the closest thing to a title track, and it’s a darn good one at that. It’s similar to Shinku with the classical instruments acting as the main instrumentals and the synth beats but this song sounds better. The music is so fun to listen to and it’s so amazing! And I loved Hitomi’s vocals here. I also loved the verses, especially how she dragged out the words, it was almost epic. I just fell in love with this song, it was so amazing. Those synth beats made it sound so dance like and with the violins it was heavenly. This song could’ve been released as its own single it’s so good. And the bridge was so exciting with the electric guitar.

I can’t say that I’m surprised that WAKE YOU UP was on this album. The music doesn’t belong in this century at all, but that’s music for you. And I couldn’t stand the opening with the gospel sounding choir. The song gets a little better gradually but it’s nothing to get all worked up about. Although I must admit that the chorus isn’t all that bad as it sounded before, but it’s still not all that great. Hitomi needs some better songs, that’s for sure.

If forgettable was a song it’d be Shake it up! This song just really didn’t interest me. I mean I normally like songs that Hitomi’s sung but this seems so mundane. The beats were nice and I can’t complain about the music but it was just so average. The constant drum beats and light-dance music were a nice touch but it just didn’t go to well with the lyrics. There was hardly a good climax and there’s hardly anything exciting about this song. It’s so sad that this was the last new song on the album.

One of the most up-beat songs released as a single is Neva Eva. With its brass section the song has become so addictive and so entertaining. And the fact that the song is fast paced doesn’t hurt either. Her vocals sound so great here too, not like in ballads. The chorus was so infectious and so so energetic. The song was just so much fun, especially with the brass section. This has got to be the most up-beat song on the album!

The final song on the CD+DVD edition of Flare is Marvelous. Whether you call Marvelous marvelous, well that’s up to you. The song is very happy, almost go lucky. It’s pretty pop although not too sugary. Even with the piano and fast moving music the song still lacks in some areas. But overall it is enjoyable. The chorus was very catchy to say the least. And I loved how she well her English was, it made it sound so catchy. It was probably the best song on last single released in the Flare Era.

The true final track is featured only on the CD Only edition of the album, Ai no Uta (Strings Version). It was the only worthy ballad mentioning in the Flare Era. The original version was released on her Shinku / Ai no Uta single. This version is very similar to the original, with the exception of the instrumentals. Well the piano is the main instrumentals for the most part until the chorus. Well the violins become more dominant then. But the point is is that this song is such a good ballad. It’s the one ballad that I like by Hitomi. From the beautiful music and serene vocals it makes for one lovely song. The strings and piano were just what this ballad needed, it makes it sound even better than the original. What a beautiful and elegant ending for Flare.

Overall Review: Flare was certainly a wonderful album. I’m not sure if it was all that hot but it was nice. Since this is the first album by Hitomi Shimatani that I’ve heard fully I must say that overall I liked it. Her singles got off to a great start but didn’t end on a good note. But the reason why I liked the album was mostly due to the singles, most of the new material wasn’t all that great. I did like the title track though and that’s an important thing, and it was pure excellence. And I must say that I loved the album scans! They reminded me of a cathedral in Spain for some reason. I wasn’t to happy about Hitomi’s appearance on the CD+DVD edition but I did love the scenery. What a vibrant album, a nice finish to great start.

Final Grade: 93B+


2 Responses to “Flare”
  1. Lex says:

    If you liked Flare, then you’re going to loooooove PRIMA ROSA and Heart & Symphony (her best albums IMO).

  2. Die says:

    I loved Garnet Moon, and Haru Machibito! I’ll review them next, after TRIP, OUTGROW and some more albums.

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