Music reviews: AZU and Takeuchi Denki

Last week I ordered two brand new singles from artists I've never heard of. One of them was JEWEL SKY by AZU and the other was knock!knock!!/do not disturb! by Takeuchi Denki. Both were released on October 3. JEWEL SKY is actually AZU's second single. (Her debut single was titled CHERISH.) The title song is up first. Sadly, this song is quite unremarkable. It's not particularly catchy and every time she sings "Jewel Sky," it sounds like she's saying "Cherry Sky." I found it to be rather disappointing since it's THE song for the single. Next up is SO WONDERFUL. While the music here is slightly more interesting than the previous song's, it is still a rather bland song. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't an early 90s pop song that sounds exactly the same. The last song on the single is Kimi ni Yomu Uta. This ballad is the worst song on the CD. There isn't a lot of variety in her boring vocals and the background music barely exists. Based on this single alone, AZU just doesn't have what it takes to be a pop star. Her voice is pretty but there doesn't seem to be any real talent backing that up. Almost anyone could have sang these songs and came out with the same results. She's going to need to push herself a bit more if she really wants to stand out from the crowd.

Luckily, I also purchased Takeuchi Denki's new single. We are treated to knock!knock!! first. With a semi-reggae feel to it, this song is completely different from any other Japanese artist I've heard. In the beginning, I wasn't sure how to feel about the song. However, after a few minutes, I fell in love. do not disturb! didn't let me down either. The all-English song keeps up with the feeling from the knock!knock!! but adds a little more funk to it. This is definitely something I can add to my musical library and not worry about growing tired of it. A mini-DVD was included with the two-song single. There is not only the PVs (promotional videos or music videos, as we call them in the US) for both songs but there are also the TV spots advertising the single as well as a documentary on how the single was produced. I haven't had the chance to watch the entire documentary yet but everything that I did watch was narrated in English by a Japanese woman. This was slightly distracting due to the mispronunciation of words. Hopefully I won't let that bug me so much when I finally get a chance to watch the entire thing. After hearing the music and watching parts of the DVD, I am really interested in hearing more of Takeuchi Denki's music. I'm going to pick up their mini-album as soon as I can and I'm dying for a full-length album to appear.