Posted by: 愛撫 | 03/30/10

Album review: Mami Kawada – LINKAGE

Follow-up to Mami Kawada’s unexpected breakout hit SAVIA, LINKAGE had a lot to live up to.  And, with a weaker lineup of singles holding it up and a somewhat unexpected approach to marketing that some deemed ‘tacky’, it seemed unlikely that this new offering would be a worthy successor; but is it? Read on to find out!

Mami Kawada (川田まみ) – LINKAGE (2010, Geneon Universal)

Tracklisting:

  1. succession
  2. CLIMAX
  3. PSI-missing
  4. TOY
  5. 言葉、心の声 (Kotoba, Kokoro no Koe)
  6. Prophecy
  7. in answer
  8. masterpiece
  9. アウェアネス (Awareness)
  10. linkage
  11. 未来の粒 ~I’m formed~ (Mirai no Tsubu)
  12. All in good time
  13. DREAMS

The review:

Sometimes, I’ve actually shows they are capable of learning. That they released not one but two master groove circle albums, continue to underutilize Kaori Utatsuki even after a surprisingly mature debut album, and allow C.G mix to make the same song over and over again every time a new eroge theme is announced might suggest that learning isn’t their forte, precisely, but with LINKAGE we get a lovely little reminder that sometimes the idiots “get it”.

With LINKAGE, it’s clear that the staff at I’ve took a long, hard look at SAVIA and realized that they could never do that again. The perfection that occurred when the best singles any of the I’ve girls had, or have since, put out were combined with a promising artist coming into her own in top form wasn’t something one could just conjure up on a whim.  So, instead of attempting to recreate the album (as might have been tempting for them to do), the new album has Mami moving in a different direction, having more in common with KOTOKO’s 2009 comeback success Epsilon no Fune than with SAVIA.

Like Epsilon no Fune, LINKAGE’s focus is fixed on the sort of ‘dark’ trance-inspired dance-pop that made I’ve a household name in the realm of eroge-music production so many years ago. While none of the songs can boost quite a strong a hook as KOTOKO’s now-legendary Re-sublimity, most of the album’s mood is comparable to that most revered of singles. In fact, the whole album is quite “KOTOKO-esque”, representing an unexpectedly welcome move towards homogenization of the “I’ve Sound” as it has become. After losing focus and releasing a number of unimpressive singles on Geneon Universal (that, it would seem, are even now being removed from the canon – none of the misguided “Departed to the Future” singles have seen a spot on an album tracklisting, and LINKAGE lacks any of the B-sides from the singles represented), it would seem that Takase, Nakazawa, C.G mix and even Iuchi are starting to work towards a new, leaner sound for I’ve, the focus now less on individual arrangers’ personal styles and more on making simple, effective pop music.

And, in that respect, LINKAGE, along with its spiritual predecessor Epsilon no Fune, works powerfully as a restatement of the “what does I’ve sound like?” thesis: there may not be any surprises for long-time listeners on either of the two, but what can be found is a tight little collection of songs with few true missteps. And, unlike the horrendous mess that was the batty cover of Manic Street Preachers’ “Little Baby Nothing” at the end of Epsilon no Fune, the English-language cover song on this one isn’t terrible. Sort of bland, perhaps, but not quite embarrassingly awful like its predecessor.

Highlights of the album include “in answer”, a C.G mix contribution that works both as lovely fanservice for the devoted and quality ammunition to those who would pin C.G mix down as a one-trick pony (nothing in its 4 minutes and 53 seconds of runtime is really original in the slightest, but he does it with such style it’s hard not to get into it), and upstages the entirety of his recent solo endeavor with a metaphorical hand tied behind its back. Somewhat less expected, but no less welcomed, is Maiko Iuchi’s “TOY”, a cute song in the same pseudo pop-punk vein as “Get my way!” that finds the oft-loathed producer restraining herself enough to not drown the song in horrible garish guitar solos as she very well could have. And has done. Many times.

However, as well as the other producers do, the stars of the show, as always, remain Tomoyuki Nakazawa and Takeshi Ozaki. The JOINT duo’s slick CLIMAX kicks off the album on a high note, and title track Linkage proves to almost be the follow-up to SAVIA’s portamento that everyone wanted, while keeping things fresh enough with its stop-start rhythm to not draw any complaints of repetition (unlike, say, “in answer”). It’s more challenging a song than anything else on the album, and definitely smacks of ‘not for everyone’, but such a description is hardly a complaint. That Mami is willing to try new things is always nice to know, antithetical as it may be to the general focus of the album.

But, is LINKAGE better than SAVIA? No. By no means. Its highs aren’t as high, its lows (Mirai no Tsubu is frankly horrendous) no better than the corresponding missteps on SAVIA, and the thrill of hearing a previously-marginalized vocalist take charge is gone, but if this is a sophomore slump (first album SEED doesn’t count, don’t ask why) then Mami’s doing pretty damn well for herself. Highly recommended, even if it’s not quite SAVIA.


Responses

  1. I see your point on certain things, but i don’t agree that ‘dreams’ is ‘bland’. i’ve listened to the original and compared it against Mami’s cover and to be truthful I much rather prefared her version, Mami’s vocals fitted the beautiful lyrics and sweet captavating meaning of the song and made it one of my favourite songs on the album.

  2. LINKAGE marked the first time I was seriously looking FORWARD to seeing a lengthy rant on this blog picking apart every wrong decision made on an IVE album. But what’s this – instead, this autotune-whoring congealed pile of mediocrity gets its praises sung? Am I still in the same universe?

    I’ll certainly agree that they went in a different direction entirely than on SAVIA for the most part. However, I have to disagree to the notion that this can be in any way likened to Epsilon no Fune, and CERTAINLY not uttered in the same PARAGRAPH as Re-Sublimity.

    The problem with much of the content of this album is that they *constantly* autotuned Mami’s voice to the point where it sounds *noticeably* unnatural, and all of the traits of her voice that sold me on SEED and SAVIA are frighteningly absent for the most part, replaced with something unfeeling and homogenous (to borrow a word you used and put it in a different context).

    I will fully admit that I really enjoyed some of the instrumentation present on this album. But all of this was constantly overshadowed by how much they essentially nerfed Mami’s vocal style through the abuse of autotune. Autotune and vocoders have their place (e.g. TRILL on SAVIA, and it works rather well in CLIMAX’s verse), but this album employed it far too widely, seemingly as a crutch more often than as part of an intentional effect.

    Perhaps you’re right, and maybe the production values are actually more in-line with Epsilon no Fune than I realize – but in Epsilon no Fune, Kotoko was still undeniably Kotoko, in fact, moreso than she had been for YEARS, which was absolutely wonderful to behold! Whereas much of LINKAGE feels to me like they tried their damnedest to take the Kawada Mami out of Kawada Mami.

    I will say I agree with you entirely on a couple of points:
    * “in answer” is one of the better C.G Mix efforts I’ve heard lately, though it is as you say, really just more of the same old.
    * DREAMS is a FAR better cover than Little Baby Nothing (which I like to forget exists, darn you for reminding me). Actually, for the most part I like DREAMS better than the original song! (Though I admittedly don’t particularly care for the Cranberries and don’t see what’s so great about them.)

    • Autotune used as a crutch? Maybe in C.G mix’s case, definitely in Takase’s on LITTLE BABY NOTHING, absolutely in Eiko’s, but I wouldn’t say that the producers were overusing it at all with Mami on LINKAGE. Electronic music and vocoders go together, moreso now than ever before, and vocal synthesizers are a reality of the genre as much as keyboards and those godawful synth strings that it seems are only now finally starting to get phased out of the I’ve bag of tricks. But to say that it’s taking Mami out of her own music is ridiculous; she’s still got every bit as much of her own style on display with this one as KOTOKO did with Epsilon, autotune or not.

      For instance, can you imagine any of the other I’ve girls doing the title track? I can’t, because it’s a song written for Mami Kawada and it sounds right with her doing it. Can’t see how you can claim that KOTOKO was any more uniquely ‘herself’ on EnF than Mami is on LINKAGE, as KOTOKO is every bit as guilty (if not more) of sacrificing individuality in the name of aiding the I’ve producers’ quest for the perfect rock/trance/pop combination.

      But, beside that point, look back to a few of my reviews, like, say, Prophecy and PSI-missing. Those songs were released post-SAVIA, and neither impressed in the slightest as they both found the sound that Kawada had worked out for herself failing to really have anything interesting left post-portamento. So when masterpiece came along, something new and interesting (and, yes, with noticeable use of vocoder), I jumped on that, and to my liking this new album is more in tune with masterpiece than with the played-out and horrendously boring garbage that was PSI-missing. Mami’s moved on, her new sound has a lot more vocal synthesizers in it, and if you don’t like that then this new release isn’t for you and, hopefully, none of her future releases will be either. It’s not taking Mami out of Mami, and if it was then even SAVIA would’ve been blasphemous, as that release had about as little to do with SEED as LINKAGE does to it.

      So yes, LINKAGE isn’t SAVIA. But no, it was never pretending to be.

      Oh, and the Cranberries do kind of suck, but “Zombie” was pretty awesome in its own little way.

  3. i wish they didnt filtre her voice that much all throughout the album

  4. I don’t think this album is outside of Mami’s league because if it is, the songs in this album would’ve sounded a bit dumb — but they’re not though some kinda sounded a bit different from their usual sound — probably one of the main points of the review.

    And for me, I don’t think Mirai no Tsubu was totally horrendous. At least, it’s still decent and lively compared to Iuchi’s monstrous-mid-tempo ballad DREAM.

    Oh and I noticed Aibu didn’t mention Takase’s work on the album. Or probably because we already know the answer. :P

    • These days, Takase is the musical equivalent of a pace car; he sets the pattern for everyone else, but it’s the other producers who are the ones that are actually doing anything interesting.

      • He actually exchanged roles with Iuchi since she did the uninteresting ones back at SAVIA. But now, I think I’d be more interested in appreciating/digesting Iuchi’s works than Takase’s. I don’t know where to put Takase’s effort on the album. They’re just too lame of an idea.

  5. I’ve told you many times, Takase’s work in LINKAGE are both so IKULICIOUS. enough said.

    Mami? Autotune? Tell me, they didn’t sound so autotuned. Well, they did filter Mami’s voice a lot. But that’s how Mami’s music now. I like Mami singing rockish style, but I gotta say that Mami fits this kind of dark trancy rock. And my highlight of the album is TOY. Kinda too poppish an reminded me of something Ayumi Hamasaki would have sung, but nevertheless, Mami sang it pretty well with her own approach. Plus, TOY’s catchphrase ‘i’m not toy, i am free’ is the best part of the song. Simple, yet, catchy. Oh, and Mirai no Tsubu is snIpe-alike, so you don’t have to ask why Aibu doesn’t really like it.

    And last, the engrishness. Mami’s engrish is better than KOTOKO & MELL. She didn’t write anything full of nonsense and grammarless. You know that right.

  6. OK, the album flopped. . . Ill let its Oricon charting speak for itself… I loved- succession, CLIMAX, in answer, linkage and DREAMS… all the other tracks were melodic abortion.
    Heh… TOY? Ayumi Hamasaki? Wtf? I thought that it was like her new song ‘sexy little things’ being killed =_=’ . . .incinerated >.>; (and im not just saying that cuz Im like a Team Ayu wannabee)
    Moving on…FORGET about SAVIA, Namie Amuro turned r’n’b and ayumi began to use rock, let people experiment!
    I liked PSI Missing :/

    • @Yuki-chan> I know that already. I’m just saying it in a “different” sense in which I could stop comparing Takase’s works on Mami or IKU. Obviously, he keeps coming up with his boring ideas unlike what he did on Epsilon no Fune. <_ flopped?! where?! o_O if you ask me, KOTOKO’s best album sold WORSE than LINKAGE. And Eiko’s singles hardly enter the top30 (weeklies) so you can’t totally say that the album flopped. It didn’t sold that much but still decent ranking. Flopping positions actually starts from below top 50.

      • @Kuroi Yuki: Im just saying about people who are like downing Mami for starting a new sound…… Im talking about CHANGE IN STYLE, Like… during and after I am… Ayu began to incorperate rock into her sound (Thus change in style). You didnt like Microphone? Dwaaa xD yeah I can see the similarities, but I liked it :| not feeling countdown tho’.
        and the album is after all, Rock’n’Roll Circus (but tbh, the new leaked songs are far from rock)

        @fred: Yes KOTOKO’s best of FAILED (nuu ‘fence) but Im talking about Mami, its not impressive to come like #26 (it deserved higher, the titular track was so beautiful *U*). But can’t you see the Utahimes are going slowly downhill :| (ok fastly downhill)

    • lol funny. Ayumi Hamasaki has done rockish music earlier.. My story, please? I’m a fan of her, too, so don’t get me wrong. My story was the most rockish album on her discography and it was my most favorite album. Her new ‘microphone’ is more like ‘is this LOVE?’ getting more guitar distortion. Not so satisfying.

  7. @taokaTOKIin> well we could say there’s still competition on the other artists that’s why Mami’s selling a bit low these days. And her tie-ups are a bit weak much to my dismay. And she needs strong tie-ups and more promotions to climb up again.

    And to be honest, most of the I’ve Sound releases nowadays are not that impressive that’s why decline of sales doesn’t come as a surprise anymore. Plus there comes a label that has some lame marketing. If only they market Mami as they did with fripSide who is really selling very well these days.

    (only my railgun is still on the top100 in the weeklies charting for its 21st week while LEVEL5-judgelight- is still above top50 on its 6th week while I’ve Sound albums/singles usually charts higher on its first week then on its 2nd week it’ll be below top 50)

  8. fripSIDE are doing AWESOME!!! I was like wooo when I seen them so high on Jpopasia
    Yeah and the days of impressiveness seem to be gone, but I really like the titular song ‘linkage.’

    I think I’ve sound should go to Avex/or a similar ‘good marketing company’, in my own personal opinion =_=”
    Yeah I’ve songs spin off really quickly.
    and again its no surprise.

    • avex is not the be all, end all when it comes to Japanese music marketing. Their market strategy a lot of the time is to get a lot out fast, regardless of the quality. Just think about how many singles and albums Koda Kumi and Ayumi Hamasaki release a year and think about how many of them are actually good. I’ve would never be able to work with a company like that – I just have a strong feeling they would destroy the “integrity” or “collectiveness” of it.

      • It seems to work, right? You’re point isn’t needed I was merely commenting MY opinion. I’m not a fan of Koda Kumi, so much anyway- Only started to listen to her cuz of Tohoshinki. And so what, really? Hamasaki’s stuff still sells, how is it bad quality if people buy it-I’m having trouble understanding why you think its quality isn’t good, Imean look at I’ves so far… daily daily dream anyone 8D ? If so were do you opt they should go? GENEON is hardy bringing in top buck. And remember you’re but 1 person, your opinion doesn’t decide a songs ‘tackyness’ The collectiveness of I’ve? Bwaaa… rotating females in, out, in, out

      • umm, thats your opinion but you can’t honestly stand up and say that avex stratagys don’t work. Common Ayumi Hamasaki is one of japans biggest artists, i understand your intitled to your personal opinon but you can’t argue with the fact that whatever it is avex is doing, its working, pretty damn well.

  9. sorry, but I don’t like fripSide. They’re pretty repetitive.

    I’ve can always go back to eroge world. Their recent work on Mami’s dilemma was way more awesome than most of LINKAGE album and what a dilemma for it to be only eroge song. *pun intended*

    *off to looping both Mami’s LINKAGE and Kalafina’s red moon*

  10. I’m opt to agree with Kanna. Koda Kumi and Ayu massively release something but there is only one (or even nothing) to be impressed on the songs. Do you seriously think her “Blue bird” deserves top 1? I don’t think so. It sucks big time. Even the Sunrise single. Glitter/fated sucks also big time. I don’t with days/green. While I don’t seriously like Koda’s voice.

    And one reason why it sells very well? It’s because it’s Ayu remember? She’s the J-pop queen right now. And even if the song is not that good, her “fans” are opt to buy her products thinking “not all of her singles/albums are perfect but it’s a must-buy”. Koda’s selling good because they know she’s in the same league as Ayu so what’s the point?

    It’s not just I’ve Sound who sucks these days, if I were to tell you. There are some artists/groups who sucks more big time — they just don’t admit it big time.

    • + on the topic of Ayumi’s fans buying her stuff…
      Ummm… were’s Mami’s?

  11. I dont like Koda much either =_=’
    I liked Blue bird T,.,T days/GREEN derserved 1
    Its easy to say koda kumi and ayumi but avex have other acts, too like Ai Otsuka, AAA etc. she does good.
    Well another suggestion, king records, ne? Nana Mizuki kinda owns right now 83 tbh or is she mass producing too, therefore, no ?
    You kinda took my ‘doing good’ as topping the chart- i did not mention that.
    Btb, So tell me fred, how are I’ve admitting they suck? cuz they still releasing crap.
    Again all but 1 persons opinion.

  12. King record could be of good choice. There’s also Sound Horizon. \o/

    Nah, their promotion for linkage has been better than previous releases. Now, the problem is the current sales (of almost all releases) are flopping as well.

    • I think they proberbly don’t get enough airplay.
      And are aiming at the wrong market … :( It’s a pity.
      I don’t have the guts to write it to Mami on Twitter .__.

    • I give a big thumbs up for King Records! AKB48’s on it too xD
      But seriously, they are pretty good marketers. After switching to King Records, AKB48 finally made it into top 3 on oricon, and since then they’ve been breaking their own records non-stop. IMO their King Records era has been the best so far.
      But enough about AKB :P

      If I’ve doesn’t do anything soon, the sales will just keep spiraling downwards. It’s sad to say that we might be at the beginning of their demise.

  13. @taokaTOKIin:

    You kinda took my ‘doing good’ as topping the chart- i did not mention that.

    Well it’s almost the same thing since you’re pertaining to SALES, my dear. When it comes to a release SALES = RANKING. And flopping-the-charts thingy. Blue bird – the song itself sucked but the whole single is… acceptable. Not wholey breathtaking as any Ayu fans assumed. I don’t even know if ALL of her singles deserved #1. Rule/sparkle could do but almost all of her recent double-A singles are just too generic.

    Btb, So tell me fred, how are I’ve admitting they suck? cuz they still releasing crap.

    I don’t really know if Mami’s album was included into the sucking ones? I don’t really think so. Even if SAVIA was way greater than LINKAGE, you cannot tell that an album suck just because it didn’t meet your expectations. Versatility — is what the album have that’s why it’s still considered a decent release.

    • ‘Well it’s almost the same thing since you’re pertaining to SALES, my dear. When it comes to a release SALES = RANKING. And flopping-the-charts thingy. Blue bird – the song itself sucked but the whole single is… acceptable. Not wholey breathtaking as any Ayu fans assumed. I don’t even know if ALL of her singles deserved #1. Rule/sparkle could do but almost all of her recent double-A singles are just too generic.’

      That makes no sense, the yearly top 100 consists of the best selling singles & albums, but their are 52 weeks in year? So all of these hit 1?
      Of course they didn’t =___=”
      And Please if you don’t like Ayumi, why are you listening to her. PSzzz

      LINKAGE sucked in terms of sales… but LINKAGE did not suck, for me its more the maxi’s that are sucking.
      the songs were good (most), and proberbly deserved higher a position but It didnt, so stop talking about WHAT COULD BE!

      They focus much on the good-looking artists’ I dont think they’re ugly 8’C

      @> Idea of JE.
      Yeah, they popular- but JAPAN WANT MEN!!! XDDD
      Like all the female singers sales are lower than what they used to be, but still chart high.

      ‘And the second thing is that they need new material. Did anyone notice that we easily named who did this and that on Mami’s album?’
      Are you suggesting new arrangers, like on the Ao Iconoclast/PIGEON single?
      They should work with HAL >_>

  14. Not many people know who i’ve are which is a pity as the girls are such talented singers. i personaly feel that yes iv’e should maybe take a little look at some larger record companys like Avex or jonnys (is it spelt jonnys or johnnys?) who are prob rolling in there richness as we speak (last few months of #1’s anyone?) and yes asking for a little help would be a nice idea (collabertions?supporting on tour?) and i think it would benifet i’ve. i dont agree i’ve are chucking out crap and currantly ‘suck’ (duno who said it but yeh im point at u) i rly like linkage its good with some rly catchy sweet songs on it, i don’t feel that Mamis poor ranking and not alot of popluararity is her fault or fully i’ve’s i just feel that a little extra help would deffently do them all the world of the good. i also believe that I’ve is trying as KOTOKO and Mami were on the radio a few days/weeks ago they just need pointed in the right direction.

  15. I’m not the only one who said that word. But yeah admittedly, I started it but saying it “indirectly” is like saying the same thing.

    @ ~E~: Johnny’s Entertainment, eh? Don’t you think JE is just for the boys? Why pull I’ve there when they have all girls and one gay? Accompaniment is a bit out of the league. What do you think are their genres anyway? They are too far away from each other plus the fact that boy bands/groups support their kinds.

    So what did I say they “suck”? (Take note: I’m not pertaining to only one person) Probably because they learned somehow their mistake regarding about their music but they still haven’t figured out why they sell so low.

    And the second thing is that they need new material. Did anyone notice that we easily named who did this and that on Mami’s album? I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing though but I missed the days where we figure out who’s the composer/arranger for this particular song and at the end, you got almost of it wrong? SRSLY, they need new talents or probably they should think of a new concept about music if new composers are not available.

  16. And another note:

    Not many people know who i’ve are which is a pity as the girls are such talented singers. i personaly feel that yes iv’e should maybe take a little look at some larger record companys like Avex or jonnys

    Who do you think doesn’t know who I’ve Sound is? Recommending them to JE? No. It did not crossed my mind even for a sec. Avex? Meh. They focus much on the good-looking artists and too pop music. I don’t imagine Mami performing bubblegum pop music or even the cheesy pop ballad that Ayu is performing. Oh please.

    I’m not being proud of knowing or being a follower of I’ve Sound for years now. It’s just that I’m frustrated because they deserve so much better but they cannot attain the “fame” that they want.

    • i was refareing to johnny’s success.
      i personaly see alot of simaleritys between I’ve and Johnnys
      1) both have very strong labels considerning the genre of music (I’ve is trance Johnnys is pop) 2)both consist of artists of a preticualr gender (I’ve girls / johnnys boys)

      Artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki, An Cafe, Dir en grey (i can go on if u like) are popluar in more than one country than japan.
      How many japanese music fans have you personaly spoke to who live literally in the other side of the world who have heard of I’ve???????

      Mami isn’t going to go all bubblegum I’ve is trance and you can hear the way they alow her rocky sound to seep through there usal sound. And i’d prefare it if you stopped slagging ayu, what ever it is you don’t like about her has nothing to do with this blog or this conversation. Avex’s success with her was used as another example so i advice you read my words a little more closely and stop assumming im meaning things that i am not.
      <.<

  17. @~E~: Uhm pardon me? I like Ayumi but the past Ayu not the present Ayu. And yes, JE is really successful but don’t even think about comparing I’ve to them. They are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT GROUP. Like what you said, I’ve is trance while the JE boys are pop. Where’s the sense? At least, compare them to a group/singer who’s inline with the same genre (let’s say Ayu since she’s both rock/trance).

    And I’m not slagging Ayu, and I’m not the one who started the conversation regarding her you know. Someone just started comparing her with Mami’s recent works. And I’m just specifying that even how much she sells nowadays, her singles/albums are not something to be amazed.

    AND if you don’t like Ayu being criticized, then I advise you not to go here again and complain. For pitt’s sake, Ayu is being criticized anywhere NOT just here.

    @taokaTOKIin> Oh you didn’t know? Ayu’s always on top 1 each release? Maybe not in the yearly but if you look all over her singles, she is getting consecutively number 1 in the weeklies. And we’re NOT talking about the yearly charts here anyway. And FYI, I listen to Ayumi occasionally though admittedly, I’m not following her anymore — just her old works.

    And if you ask me, LINKAGE has sold very much higher than I expected. At #26 with 6,503 copies first-week sales? In this generation, that is already something handful if you think about it carefully. It was just 284 copies away from her masterpiece single which debuted at #12, while RIDEBACK has lesser 79 copies debuting #19 in the weeklies. So you can’t totally say its sales were something small. For a not-so-famous artist/singer, it’s not all that bad. If you must know, I’m very particular with the Oricon positions (w/ the exemption of the yearly since my favorite artists are usually not charting there but nonetheless, I still review it).

    And about the new composer/arranger, I’m not pertaining to Ayumi Miyazaki herself. HAL could be since they’re into electronica but that is if they’re going to switch recording labels probably.

    • Firstly, what about Ayumi’s number ones, of course I knew.
      Ayumi has lots of other stuff too, magazine appearances, adverts- etc…
      I think avex, plan carefully when to release Ayu’s songs because of her many consecutives number ones, and they don’t want to tarnish that record to, lets say the sucess of JE – Arashi’s trouble maker has sold well into 500+ if Ayumi were to release on the same week as them she’d come at number #2 ruining her consequtives.

      There are many other artists who dont get number one but still get good sales, like er… SID, sleep got number 2 and its sales were strong, or how about Kana Nishino’s Best Friend, number 3 on Oricon, and it also has been number one on downloads for like 4 weeks.

      Aren’t we talking about I’ves charting position?

      Although why in the first place is someone comparing them :|
      It makes Mami seem unoriginal :< (Ayu and Mami that is)

      I don't mind you critising Ayu, because your entitled to your own opinions.
      I just don't like how you wont listen to MY OWN critisms and opinions, and go all yo' mama on me.
      When in the past I have aknowledge yours on past reviews.

      Again… I took the yearly charts as an example, you said 'Well it’s almost the same thing since you’re pertaining to SALES, my dear. When it comes to a release SALES = RANKING.'
      and on first glimpse of the 2009 yearly album charts, I see a few which didnt peak at number one but sold awesomely, Nana Mizuki's, Trickster, please.

      Also in Japan(everywhere?), its usually albums sell more than singles, like I think re-sublimity is the highest selling thing by I've ever =___=''.
      I also avidly watch the Oricon as I can find out new artists to listen to etc…

      I know what you mean by not just Ayumi Miyazaki, I just used her as an example where they have done so before in the past (OK were KOTOKO has done so before, lolz). I'd like to maybe seem them work with Terukado, HAL, Yasutaka umm… and maybe have more say, like as KOTOKO says they are given arrangements and just write songs :{<…
      (except maybe on KOTOKO's albums)

      also fred, Im not picking a fight, Im giving my opinion. Like if you say LINKAGE was sucessful chart wise, then I'd disagree… I've has done better and could do better.

      kieyuki@: SME I dunno… look at what happened to Nana Kitade && Ami Suzuki :< King Records ftw!!! xD

  18. I’m just gonna ignore the huge wall of text above and continue the discussion about record labels…

    I think that Sony Music Japan would be a good choice because they work in pretty similar ways. For one, Sony does not focus on looks when they sign singers. Also, they frequently work with anime production houses to let their singers do theme songs which will get a fair amount of publicity.

    Sony Japan is a good label imo because they have much more quality releases than say, Avex. And their roster of artists is quite impressive to me.

    The only thing about Sony is that they do keep control over what is being released(same like the Tokuma Japan label). But that may not be a bad thing.
    Look what happened to Nami Tamaki after she switched to Universal because she wanted more control. She lost a cool style of music, and has had less success on Oricon since then.

    Other good choices would include EMI Japan.

    Geneon Universal is not a good place to hang around. I’ve can’t work with any anime not related to Geneon since they’re contracted. And we all know what “great” decisions Geneon made in the past. Also, Universal Japan is a “weak” label in my view, so it’s not like combining the two made any difference.

  19. @fred:
    Once again i’d like to ask you to READ MY WORDS and stop assuming im meaning what i am not. When i compared JE to I’ve i was comparing there situations i was NOT compareing genre, sales, popluarity or success, which you somehow seem to think i was.

    I don’t mind you sharing your opinon on Ayu or anyone else but i’d prefare you would do it in a respectful way instead of acting like some Anti-Ayu-Hater and putting any other persons opinon on the matter down and phisically stamping on them, if you prefare her older work then say so and if you want the convo to move to the differences of her past and present work then please do it in a civilised fashion and remember there are other people who use this site who also have opinions and would be very grateful if they were respected even if not agreed with.

  20. Well well well, Ayu fans aren’t you all out of placed to be discussing Ayu here? Are you all getting hurt because of those words. IDK but this place is not always on praise for her. Oh c’mon, you don’t want her to get criticized, that’s it? You just can take all of her releases even if they’re not all that good but still consider it as a good one?

    @taokaTOKIin: Well you get the point. Avex doesn’t want to intertwined with any of the JE’s releases knowing she would only bump to #2. And about the good sales you’re saying in behalf of the famous artists. Mami Kawada isn’t that famous of an artist (for now) so I don’t think she won’t be getting that kind of sales.

    If you must know, I’m already happy (and sometimes consider it as good sales though it needs more) just as long as an artist gets past 10,000 sales. For J-pop artists that I follow are usually “below mainstream”.

    And I’m not here to fight with you, I’m just explaining what has to be explained. Well you wouldn’t agree but I don’t think avex would be the label that would make I’ve famous. King Records could be one.

    And the answer to this:

    also fred, Im not picking a fight, Im giving my opinion. Like if you say LINKAGE was sucessful chart wise, then I’d disagree… I’ve has done better and could do better.

    considering there are lesser sales these days because of the financial crisis that struck years ago, you won’t expect a #8 single to sell 24,000 copies on its first week right? It’s NOT really happening today. I happen to see one day, a #3 single but it only sold anywhere 10k-11k on its first week. And the below 20’s would sell pretty mediocre from 5,000 – 4,000 (even less than 3,000) copies on its first week.

    With that said, I think I already made myself clear that LINKAGE sold pretty much well.

    And I don’t compare them to the ones who have much higher position because that is not so achievable (by I’ve) these days unless you’re pretty famous. If you were to ask me, they are even selling more good than the artists that I follow (let’s say Suara, Asriel, Hitomi Shimatani, KOKIA etc).

    Nuff said.

    @~E~: Don’t think I don’t read your posts because I have my own eyes and understanding. AND can you explain where I’ve and JE shares similarity? Or unless the ones you provided above is the one then I don’t think you’re the one who doesn’t understand my point.

    And if I must say this to make my point more clearer, I’m not an Ayu-hater (not Anti-Ayu-Hater because that makes me his fanboy, as you can see) but I just can’t stand how her singles have come to downside compared to her earlier works (and they don’t deserve the sales&ranking anymore if you ask me). I may sound harsh but that’s reality.

    If you are a long time follower of this blog, you can see that I’m even much more “kinder” than Aibu. :P

    • ic
      wait, how long is ‘long term’ ??

      how many years?

      • I’m already a follower of Aibu since July 2007, just a month after he started this I’ve blog (since he started days before June 2007). So you could say I’m a loyal follower of this blog though the English I’ve Sound Forum is already up. Yep, I’m already here almost 3 years ago. So I almost see all of the comments being posted here.

    • Sales+Charting thing, hmm… I noticed that Avex was picking quiet weeks for Koda songs. still tho’ I expected LINKAGE to sell close to SAVIA, as it is furthur in the timeline of the industrial thing. i think it would be a good idea for Ive to go on Chakuta (if they arent already)

      • Well I also expected it would be a bit closer to SAVIA.

        with 9,504 first week sales versus LINKAGE’s 6,503. Sad to say, it’s 3,001 copies down. And if you want to know the one that I’m saying above (the #3 single who got only almost 11k sales) is Avex trax’s very own alan with her Kuon no Kawa single (which was released on the day Eiko’s Chikai was set to be released — 04/16/09 with Eiko only landed to #39 with 1,749 copies sold) and to take note that it landed #1 (in the dailies) in one day. (I actually like that single)

      • Yes, I know that song I seen the movie it was in.
        Perhaps I’ve pick the wrong day to release their songs?

        O yeah did MELLSCOPE peak at #2 on dailies? 8O
        I Read something but I’m unsure

  21. I really like Linkage the song, it’s everything I love about Kawada Mami 10/10

  22. @taokaTOKIin> my bad, actually Kuon no Kawa sold almost 12k on its first week (not 11k, I was 1k short).

    About MELLSCOPE, it’s not #2. I think it’s either #4 or #6 which was kind of a surprise for MELL to reach that high. Well I’m not saying MELL is not capable but considering that she didn’t release much before the album, it was able to climb up on its first day however, it slide very fast as well but it was able to garner #13 in the weeklies with 10,022 copies sold.

    • Aha… I knew what it charted at, but not its sales.

      Yaasss. I knew MELLSCOPE’s weeklies, damn… it would be nice to see a new MELL maxi. Am I hoping to much, for now?

      O and to stick with the Ayumi love, I heard all the songs on her new album, and I’m haaapyyy!!! XD

  23. Anybody know were Mami is this week?
    she was #26 last week
    i cant work the oricon web =,(

    • LINKAGE is on #87 on the second week selling 1,462 copies. After it fell on below 100 I’m just going to depend if someone will update on J-pop Stop wiki.

      • thx D= big drop #26(?) down to #87, and anyone know the third week ranking yet?

      • xD
        Guilty of using that too >_>

  24. I reckon Iuchi works better best as arranger rather than composer.

    C.G. Mix works best well as music producing group rather than singing. Unless they find a male vocalist who got quality vocals like KOTOKO and others of I’ve. I reckon.

    Nakazawa Tomoyuki, Ozaki Takeshi and Takase Kazuya the good ones of all times.


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