STAR was Mika Nakashima’s 6th studio album. It was released on October 27, 2010 and debuted at no. 3 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 92,962 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 131,074+ copies.
2. Ichiban Kirei na Watashi wo
3.BABY BABY BABY
4. Over Load
7. CANDY GIRL
8. LONELY STAR
9. No Answer
11. Memory feat. DAISHI DANCE
14. SONG FOR A WISH
Needless to say this should be a pretty short review. There are only a grand total of 3, that’s right, 3 songs on the album. Everything else has been released, and I mean everything. This album includes everything from Over Load to Ichiban Kirei na Watashi wo as well as No More Rules which featured GAME. So onto the review!
So the first single released was the magnificent Over Load. It’s a classy and epic tune, the strings were amazing and it was infectious with all the synth. The chorus was brilliant, catchy and so up-beat. The B-Side was the perfect complement entitled No Answer. When compared to the title track it’s definitely more of a ballad. It too features some strings and utilizes synth beats. It’s a bit more tame and calm than the A-Side but it’s just as good and just as amazing.
Then Mika released a horrible single entitled CANDY GIRL. I’m not going to lie, it’s not my favorite. It sounds better than when I listened to it a year ago but I still don’t care for it. Mature jazz music isn’t really my thing. The same goes with SMILEY. Jazzy, mature, mid-tempo and some annoying laughs. It’s slightly catchy but I just find the overall sound and arrangement annoying. These were the two songs that could have been left off the album IMO.
She won ours hearts back with Nagareboshi. A truly, lovely ballad. Typical in the ballad sense but it’s epic and pure magic. Even more epic is the exuberant Memory. This song was originally released on DAISHI DANCE’s album spectacle. and later on a single. It’s a typical DAISHI DANCE song, piano driven and very synth and euphoric. Even better though, it’s entirely in English. The song lyrically is sad but I still love it anyway. If anything you should just listen to this song for the music quality, it’s incredible.
But then things got iffy again with ALWAYS. Well iffy only because the cover made you go “WTF!!!!” Other than that it was a beautiful ballad. Her vocals were flawless as ever and I loved the classic ballad elements. You can never go wrong with an orchestra of strings. I’m slightly iffy when it comes to BABY BABY BABY. I find it boring and repetitive when compared to ALWAYS. However SPIRAL is a hot mess. It’s funky, but cool. Edgy, but unique. Somewhat contrasting but amazing nonetheless. I personally love all the synth and edginess going on. One of my favorite songs on the album.
Finishing up her spree of singles was Ichiban Kirei na Watashi wo. Basically a beautiful and enchanting ballad. I still can’t get over how lovely it really is. Whenever I’m down I’ll listen to this song and it’ll manage to lift me up. Her vocals were particularly incredible in this song as well. She also released a song entitled GAME as part of a compilation album of Kanebo KATE CM songs. It’s a jazzy song but I’m not annoyed by it. It’s pretty damn catchy and sounds great.
And now we get to the new songs, the three of them. The first is the eccentric LONLEY STAR. Right off the bat I struck me as a funky song, the beats and music at first remind me of conFusiOn. The muffled/distorted vocals sound pretty cool as well. And when things pick up it’s even better. The rock/synth elements worked out well for the song. 16 is your stripped down ballad. Mika’s vocals had some great range to them but the song overall was mundane and toned down a lot compared to her other ballads, bittersweet for the most part. The final new song is entitled SONG FOR A WISH. It’s a very traditional ballad, piano and all. The instrumentals are almost minimal compared to some of her other ballads but that’s what makes this song stand out. Her vocals were amazing as well. There was a grant range of vocals as well power and emotion. Sadly though while it sounded good, it didn’t do much else. I still feel like it wasn’t the best of the ballads, but that’s just my opinion.
The best thing about this album is that everything is one it. The worst, everything is on it. Seriously, as much as I love all the singles she released I wouldn’t have minded scrapping the B-Sides if it meant some more new songs. But then again 14 new high quality songs for 2 years sounds pretty good. The album has a pretty good flow as well, minus the change from up-beat pop selection to jazzy mature music. I personally enjoyed the majority of the songs, minus some B-Sides. There wasn’t one common theme but at the same time the album was still great. Some of the ballads could have been tweaked a bit to sound better and more original but I thought overall it was nice. Is it better than VOICE, yes, I do believe so. At least there was a lot of variety, so even if you’re picky you’re bound to find at least one song you like. Is this one of the top albums of 2010? Yes it is, until November 24 that is!!!! Even then I’m sure it’ll still be on my list. Another classy album from Mika.
EDIT: Scan credits go to Kumonoito.net