Lovebox was BENI’s 2nd studio album under Universal. It was released on June 2, 2010 and reached no. 2 on the Oricon WEEKLY Charts with 22,528 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 40,341+ copies. This is Beni’s 1st release to ever reach the top spot on the Oricon Charts.
1. Lovebox Intro
2. Yura Yura
4. Hitomi Tojite
5. Gimme Gimme♥
6. Girl’s Night feat. JAMOSA
7. a million jewels
8. Kimi Ja Nakya
9. bye bye
11. break the rules
12. he is mine
15. Zutto Futari de unplugged version
So you might have noticed that I had put “weekly” in caps. That’s because while it’s an amazing feat to have a no. 1 album, it’s depressing that it only sold 22.5K. I mean it’s seriously sad that the sales of music in Japan have sunken that low. I think in the US Alicia Keys’ album “As I Am” reached no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with only 25K in sales for a week. So sad….moving on.
So I’ve been debating how I’d like to do this album review. Because I can easily write a something for the songs that were released as singles, and then the others would be rather tough, depending on how good or bad they are.
Okay, let’s get down to business. This album has probably some of the strongest singles I’ve listened to in a long time. Sign was an flawless ballad, that was as catchy as it was beautiful. Then you had Bye Bye which is a great vivacious pop tune. It’s not the most infectious track, but it’s certainly catchy and energetic. You have the synth driven Yura Yura, which remains my favorite, it’s filled with energetic, infectious beats, as well as effervescent synth/pop music. Finally for the singles released you have the oh so sweet and cute pop song entitled Gimme Gimme♥. Oddly enough it’s so catchy, I have no idea why but I just can’t get enough of the chorus. I guess I’ll even talk about the unplugged version of Zutto Futari de. It’s more raw and more emotional when compared to the original version and it sounds more like a ballad.
Kicking off the album is Lovebox Intro. It’s rather sweet and whimsical, filled with the sounds of a baby laughing and sounding so cute, and some other light and refreshing pop sounds.
Let’s get to the pop track first. So the first new track is entitled Hitomi Tojite. And while it’s a wonderful pop song, that’s features some R&B beats, it reminds me a little or With U, perhaps because it sounds a little……oriental I guess? Either way it’s quite catchy and not nearly as sappy as I thought it’d be. Another track that’s just as fun is Girl’s Night, which feature’s JAMOSA. It’s faster and a bit more energetic, yet just as fun. The vocal layering was awesome and Jamosa’s vocals were somewhat nasally yet still enjoyable. My・Friend could really go either way, but I feel that it’s slightly more pop sounding. There’s a lot of synth in addition to Beni’s stronger than usual vocals. The music, again mostly synth, is excellent. Overall it’s quite catchy.
Now as far as the more R&B sounding tracks, we have a few. The first is a million jewels. The arrangement is somewhat mid-tempo, but choppy sadly. The beats are great, but again it’s a bit too choppy at times, luckily Beni’s vocals more than make up for it, that and the synth. I was debating where to put MOVE into pop or R&B, but it sounds more R&B. Although it’s somewhat of a hybrid of the two, the strong beats make it more R&B. Yet it’s just as infectious and as catchy as some of the pop songs. The slower beats and the background vocals really push it more towards that R&B flavor, especially with Beni’s vocals, almost Mariah like xD So as if MOVe wasn’t aggressive enough, we have the edgy break the rules. This song is pure R&B, maybe with a hint of dance. Either way, the beats are out of this world, thumping and suck. The vocals are incredible, the layering is great too, and all that synth is orgasmic.
For the ballads there are a few as well. Kimi Ja Nakya is your typical ballad, filled with an orchestra of strings that sounds harmonious, yet still incorporating some more modern elements, either way it sounds lovely, especially the little bits of synth. So then we have he is mine. It’s another wonderful ballad from Beni, the vocals are great, and I love the background vocals too, they help set the mood for this soft ballad. There aren’t too many additional sounds besides the piano, beats, and the sounds of children(???) in the background. Finishing off the album for new tracks is Message. This is what I’d expect from Beni as far as ballads go, because it’s a true R&B ballad. It’s soft, beautiful, and not too overpowering. The music is soothing, the piano chords lovely, and overall just amazing. Her vocals could have been a tad bit better but it’s still a lovely ballad.
Needless to say when I first sampled some of the tracks I was rather turned off by some of them. I honestly didn’t think that I would like this album one bit, except for the singles of course. But after giving it a thorough listening I can say that it is an impressive album. It’s truly a perfect sophomore album, the best thing that could follow her debut album. The singles were just plain hot. The ballads were majestic and wonderful. The pop songs, effervescent and energetic. And the R&B songs were sinfully sweet and infectious. It had a great flow from track to track, it was quite fluid. I’d make a minor tweek here and there but overall very nice. And while the sales will probably be nowhere near as good as they were for her previous album, at least this album did manage to claim that no. 1 spot, a feat that I thought she would never do honestly. This is without a doubt one of the better albums of the year. Well done Beni, well done.
Favorites: Yura Yura || MOVE || Girl’s Night feat.JAMOSA || Sign || Gimme Gimme♥