LIFE was Mika Nakashima’s 23rd single. It was released on August 22, 2007 and reached no. 3 on the charts and has sold over 138,987+ copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama of the same. The b-side was used in a Kanebo Kate CM, starring Mika Nakashima. This was also the first single in the VOICE Era.
2. LIFE (ballad)
3. IT’S TOO LATE
4. LIFE (Instrumental)
5. IT’S TOO LATE (Instrumental)
Although Mika normally does jazz music, it appears that she’s ventured into some more pop sounding music with LIFE. Although there is a beautiful piano intro, it’s only the beginning. After it begins to pick up the song begins to take on some more pop qualities. Some beats begin to surface followed by the strings and some synth music. Her vocals sound rather pleasant in this song, not too overwhelming. And when the chorus came I was blown away. It was pretty pop sounding, reminiscent of Ayu almost with her stereotypical pop of the 90s. That’s thanks to the keyboard and the guitar, an intoxicating combination for a pop song. It was very effective and made for a catchy chorus though.
The ballad version of LIFE is pretty much a water downed version of the original, just with some more ballad oriented instruments. The influence of strings were a lot stronger, along with the piano. And instead of thumping percussion and the keyboard and guitar, you instead have some very beautiful piano chords and an array or strings. I still think the original is better, but the music still seemed to fit this song very well.
It seems as though Mika is getting back to some jazz and south roots with IT’S TOO LATE. I mean the beginning is filled with the piano chords, very jazz like, then shortly afterwards the song becomes more country/southern oriented. The electric guitar does prove to be a very nice instrumental though. I did like the chorus particularly, the climax was that ragtime piano and then the chorus was filled with electric guitar. Somewhat out of place on this single, but it’ll do.
Overall Review: LIFE was splendid divergence! Even though I’m used to hearing Mika and her jazz style I always enjoy listening to her pop songs and material. I mean should she become more like the Japanese idols like Ayu or Hikki I’d have no problem with that. But at the same time I still love Mika because of her unique contemporary style, that being said I’d prefer it if she would only slightly venture from her jazz roots occasionally. She’s still no. 1 in the jazz department. Anyway LIFE is amazing, who would’ve thought that she could handle pop so well, and 90s pop at that. The ballad version was interesting, a nice little bonus, but I still prefer the original. The other b-side is more of her style, so that was great. Such a unique and memorable way to kick off the VOICE Era.
Final Grade: 97A