TRANS//LATION was Bentley Jones’ debut Japanese language album. It was released on Mach 25, 2009. And for those of you who don’t know him, Bentley is an English recording artist who’s done some remixes for various artists including Britney Spears, and he’s also done the theme song for a Sonic The Hedgehog game, or two.
1. Sunao ni Naretara ~FINAL NIGHT~ (samples JUJU’s Sunao ni Naretara)
2. Tsuyoku Hakanai Monotachi (cover of Cocco)
3. Kibun Joujou↑↑ (cover of mihimaru GT)
4. Don’t wanna cry (cover of Namie Amuro)
5. Gekkou (cover of Onitsuka Chihiro)
6. Dramatic (cover of Momoe Yamaguchi)
7. TRANS//LATION ~Interlude~
8. DEPARTURES (cover of globe)
9. Depend on you ~Depend on me~ (samples Ayumi Hamasaki’s Depend on you)
10. WHITE LOVE (cover of SPEED)
11. Haru ~Spring~ (cover of Hysteric Blue)
12. GLAMOROUS SKY (cover of NANA starring Mika Nakashima)
First off I’m guessing everyone’s noticed that this album is basically a cover album, and that’s true. This album is pretty much a cover album with only two tacks that were re-written, they still use the same melody though. And what’s in the ()’s are just to show who sang the original song, it’s not part of the official track listing. That being said though, they’re amazing covers, and in some cases they are somewhat similar to the original, but all of the songs will have a strong dance/electronic/synth sound. Onto this hopefully good review!
So for this album it’s basically divided into two sections: the covers & the samplings. The covers are just re-sung and rearranged, while the samplings take the melody of the sampled song and uses different lyrics. And the latter category produced the best songs IMO.
So we have two songs that sample others. The first is Sunao ni Naretara ~FINAL NIGHT~ which samples JUJU’s collaboration of the same name with Spontania. The original was a ballad and it used some English. Well the music is completely different, transforming the soft ballad music into more of a speedy dance/techno song with underlying synth riffs, and even some percussion. The lyrics are in English and they even use some of the lyrics from the song, well the English parts anyway. It’s an amazing song with a superb melody, again the breakneck beats and music is probably why it sounds so good. And then we come to Depend on you ~Depend on me~. This song samples Ayu’s Depend on you, and it’s pretty evident from the melody, any Ayu fan will notice it right away, especially during the chorus. The original was more of a rock song, while this song does still feature some rock elements, but it still holds true to Bentley’s dance music. It’s pretty fast as well, and I loved the bridge, mostly because of the strings, bell chimes and speedy music.
And then we come to the numerous covers. This section is gonna be long, but each individual song review should be a bit shorter, however due to the rest being covers, except for an interlude, it’s going to just be listed, it makes it easier on the eyes:
- Tsuyoku Hakanai Monotachi – Interesting track, Bentley can even sing in Japanese it seems. At times it seems as though he’s mumbling a bit though. But I loved the bridge, the piano solo was just lovely.
- Kibun Joujou↑↑ – This song is a fusion of mihimaru GT’s hip-hop music with Bentley’s own dance music. The music is slowed down a considerable bit, but it really fits. And the music, while it takes a while to get into, sounds incredible. And despite all the muffled distorted vocals, it’s really good.
- So what if I didn’t like Namie before her new R&B era, don’t judge me! I honestly would have never guessed that this was a cover of Namie’s song until I remembered that Namie actually had a single entitled Don’t wanna cry. I haven’t heard the original and I don’t plan to, but this version is sped up and features an enormous amount of synth riffs, and it’s more aggressive.
- Gekkou – It was a ballad, but now it’s not. That being said it still sounds somewhat like a ballad, well a house/trance ballad if that’s even possible. As far as sound goes it’s incredible, but again the distorted vocals make it somewhat hard to understand.
- I’m not quite sure what to think of Dramatic. It’s actually more of a ballad, with the music being more mid-tempo and less electronic sounding. Instead it’s filled with the sounds of the elegant piano chords and guitar riffs. It’s a nice change of venue.
Breaking away and sounding a tad bit different was the interlude TRANS//LATION. He’s basically speaking in English and then in Japanese for the first thirty seconds, but then it gets better. It’s pretty much just another interlude with lots of synth and electronic elements.
- Time to get back to the bullets! So DEPARTURES is a globe cover. Again this song is very dance sounding, lots of beats, synth riffs, and dance music naturally. I did like the fact that they used the vocoder in this song for his vocals, it was somewhat of change you could say. I personally just loved all the synth instrumentals.
- Under most circumstances WHITE LOVE would stick out because it’s a winter song, but since it’s winter it doesn’t so much. But then again with all the brass it really stood out, but it’s not a bad thing. And the jingle bells were quite lovely, and reminiscent of winter. The strings were excellent and all the dance music was great too.
- Haru ~Spring~ – It’s the complete opposite of the previous song. It’s by far more of a spring song, that uses some traditional oriental strings that sound quite…well oriental, but still nice overall. The vocals are still distorted but without the synth they seem out of place. It actually sounds plain compared to the rest of the songs.
- AND WITHOUT A DOUBT, MY FAVORITE TRACK!!!! GLAMOROUS SKY. I wasn’t a fan of the original, mostly because it sounded rather choppy. But this version is more cohesive and fluid. The majority of the rock elements are replaced by dance and synth elements, and that’s probably why I like it so much. There were no distorted vocals until the end, where the second to last chorus was somewhat like an encore. It was just a really great track.
I’d have to say that out of all the cover albums I’ve listened to I have to say that this is my favorite. Probably the main reason is because I have a tendency to love dance music, and the synth riffs don’t hurt either. Despite most of the songs being covers it was still impressive that he made these songs his own, even if he only had to change the instrumentals. But what probably shows his better talents as an artist is when he rewrote the lyrics to Depend on you and Sunao ni Naretara. Some artist often do English versions with the same melody, but they’re often disastrous, but that’s not the case. I did enjoy the covers, and even his pronunciations sounded great. And for once I can honestly say that all the songs on the album sounded different, which is often a problem in most albums that usually feature one genre. *cough* YUI & GND *cough* Amazing album, and best English speaker that sings in Japanese.