BITTER & SWEET
BITTER & SWEET was BENI’s debut album under Universal Music Japan. It was released on September 2, 2009 and reached no. 5 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 29,581 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 104,501+ copies.
1. Bitter & Sweet Intro
2. Kiss Kiss Kiss
3. Zutto Futari de
4. Koi Kogarete
5. Dakishimete feat. Dohzi-T
6. Anything Goes!!
9. GO ON
11. nice & slow
13. Beautiful World
14. Mou Nido to…
15. Kiss Kiss Kiss (DJ HASEBE REMIX)
After almost a year in the making Beni’s finally released her brand new studio album. It outsold her AVEX efforts in only two weeks, proving just how much she has grown, and what a better promoter Universal Japan is. Yeah, so onto the album!
The opening for Bitter & Sweet is pretty sweet, no pun intended. It’s a nice fusion of traditional strings and modern beats and synth music. The melody is surprisingly good too, she could probably make this into a song somehow.
And after that we come to three old, because they’ve been released already, yet great songs. KISS KISS KISS was her second single, categorized by synth music, come clapping, a lovely piano and naturally some beats. It’s a great R&B-esque pop tune. Then we get to an actual ballad, Zutto Futari de. It’s lovely, filled with great instrumentals, and Beni’s vocals have never sounded so good. To finish off her singles so far is the club inspired hit Koi Kogarete. I say club because the beats are crazy good and it’s that infectious, but overall it does have that pop sound.
She also puts two R&B tracks back to back on this album. The first is Dakishimete feat. Dohzi-T. It’s a laid-back, soft R&B track that’s fairly boring. It just features some soft music characterized by some synth, maybe even some strings, and some beats. Dohzi-T doesn’t say anything till about the middle of the song. Yeah the music is pretty monotone and doesn’t change that much. Mediocre and a waste of space. By far more ambitious and stronger, as well as louder is Anything Goes!! The synth beats are a lot stronger, more prominent and the music overall is more aggressive, but it’s good after you had that slow song. Yeah so the beats are great, the vocals are fine, but the chorus yet again is infectious. The background vocals were actually pretty good since they went well with Beni’s vocals. Overall best R&B track so far.
And now we come to the pop section of the album. stardust is pretty much her most infectious track to date, again due to breakneck beats, synth riffs along with pop music, and the music is just really fast. And now for KIRA☆KIRA☆. It’s another pop track, not her greatest though. It’s a little too innocent and too pop for my tastes. The music is rather sweet and simple, very pop, but it’s too mid-tempo. FAIL (X_X)
So then she decides to go back to R&B. GO ON is like hybrid of pop and R&B. The synth beats are pretty pop, but the music and like I said the synth make it R&B. The mid-tempo music with the piano chords and claps aren’t the best combination, but it does sound nice. Continuing her mid-tempo songs is Shinjisasete. It’s a softer, sweeter song when compared to the previous track. The soft snaps, calming synth riffs and mid-tempo music are the main components. The song never really picks up and just stays pretty slow for the most part. Picking up things drastically is nice&slow. While the music isn’t much faster, the synth riffs are more aggressive and faster by far. It does create somewhat of a paradox, breakneck riffs and mid-tempo music, but it does work for this song. And Beni’s vocals sound pretty good too.
Since those songs were mediocre for the most part I’m going to separate it from this section of amazing songs. First is STAY. It’s the B-Side to her first single but it does belong on this album. It’s got some amazing synth beats, an amazing melody, and that right level of infectiousness. Then we come to the GREATEST song on the entire album. Beautiful World is without a doubt her best R&B ballad as an artist. The music is fusion of some rhythmic beats, an array of synth, and the piano. The pace is picked up quite a bit from her slow R&B songs and it sounds amazing. Her vocals are the best, hands down. And during the chorus not only are they strong and full of emotion, but there’s also some other guy who’s singing in the background, he sounds pretty good too. I’m biased to synth so that’s probably why I ADORE this amazing ballad.
Also included is her first single Mou Nido to… It’s a great ballad and it’s what got me into Beni, besides her KP cover. After hearing the remix featured on KISS KISS KISS it’s not all that great as a listen, but overall it’s still a beautiful soft, mid-tempo ballad. Also included is the DJ HASEBE REMIX of KISS KISS KISS. I loved the original and honestly I feel that this remix is quite necessary. The whole “uno, dos, tres” part was just plain weird. Like the past remix by this DJ the song became more dance friendly.
Final Thoughts: BENI IZ BACK! She’s come a long way since her idol days in AVEX. With Universal Japan she’s evolved as an artist. Her music is better, the composition and lyrics are incredible, and they’re a lot catchier than before. As far as this album goes, I haven’t heard any of her older albums, but I’m gonna say that this is better because she’s grown more as an artist and her music has evolved to that next stage. For the most part this was an R&B album with some ballads and some pop tracks. My one criticism here was that the album was driven by the singles and hardly contained any noteworthy tracks. The one noteworthy song was easily Beautiful World, which outdid just about every song on the album. She did have some songs that were just average for the most part though, and she was pushing the mid-tempo sound a bit too much. Overall it was great that she had some great ballads, great synth infused R&B tracks, and the occasional pop song. A definitive re-debut album.