人生は五十歳から始まる。

(jinsei wa gojuusai kara hajimaru)

Mika Nakashima – new album ‘YES’

Posted by redracer on March 27, 2007

 Released on the 14th March, this is the latest album release from Mika Nakashima (中島美嘉), and her fourth studio album (fifth if you count the NANA ‘rock’ side-excursion).

yes-slipcase-front.jpg

I first heard about her via a classmate in Japanese lesson class (thanks Lucy), and was captivated with her unique voice. She was born in 1983 in Kagoshima, on the southern-most island of Kyushu, and from a young age dreamed of pursuing a singing career so much that she decided not to attend high school or college in order to pursue a music career. As is usual in the Japanese recording industry, she entered and won the audition from 3,000 other hopefuls for the place of the heroine in the 2001 Fuji TV drama, Kizudarake no Love Song (Tainted Love Song). She signed up with Sony Records in November 2001, and her first single ‘Stars’, sold nearly 470,000 copies !!! It is still her most successful single (as herself). Her debut album ‘True’, was released in August 2002, and sold over 1.1 million copies. In 2002, she won the following awards …

  • “New Artist of the Year” award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards
  • “Best New Artist of the Year” at the All Japan Request Awards 2002
  • “New Artist of the Year” award from the 44th Japan Record Awards

The next two albums, ‘Love’ & ‘Music’, also did well, selling 1.4 million and (only) 546,000 respectively. Her vocal style is breathy & plaintive, and her songs often have a light jazzy feel. Unfortunately, even though she is very attractive in a thin cool sort of way, I have never seen her smile. She seems to have this very serious, even sometimes sullen look about her, and often appears in her music videos in fantasy backgrounds wearing classic or frilly gowns, and often not singing along with the music. Even though many of her songs have strong beats, I have never seen her dance, and there are no background dancers/rappers/other characters in most of her music videos.

In 2005, she starred in a movie adaption of the popular manga series NANA as a tough ‘rock chick’, and also recorded the theme song under the title of  ‘NANA starring Mika Nakashima’. The single ‘Glamorous Sky’, sold nearly 440,000 copies, and she released several other singles in the same rock vein, as well as an album ‘THE END’. i think most fans were glad to also see ‘the end’ of this phase, as this album only sold 180,000 copies. A few songs recorded in 2006, in and with famous New Orleans musicians such as Alan Toussaint as part of a flood awareness campaign, had a very nice gospel feel.

This latest album ‘Yes’, returns to the true and tried original formulae, however there are some songs with a reggae feel, as well as one amazing funky riff-based tune ‘Dance with the Devil’. Mika does not any of the songs, but some of the lyrics are hers.

The track listing is …

  1. I LOVE YOU
  2. Mienai Hoshi
  3. Sunao na Mama
  4. CRY NO MORE
  5. ALL HANDS TOGETHER
  6. DANCE WITH THE DEVIL
  7. BLACK & BLUE
  8. JOY
  9. THE DIVIDING LINE
  10. MY SUGAR CAT
  11. Yogoreta Hana
  12. GOING BACK HOME
  13. Kinenka
  14. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

As well as the CD version, there is also a CD+DVD edition, and this is the first Mika Nakashima album to come with a DVD. It contains music clips of …

  1. Opening
  2. CRY NO MORE
  3. BLACK & BLUE
  4. ALL HANDS TOGETHER
  5. MY SUGAR CAT
  6. Mienai Hoshi
  7. I LOVE YOU
  8. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
  9. ENDING ROLL

Like most Japanese album releases, this contains all her non-NANA`singles released since the last album, ‘Music’  in 2005 (CRY NO MORE, ALL HANDS TOGETHER, MY SUGAR CAT, Mienai Hoshia & Sunao na Mama, well as the B-sides BLACK & BLUE , WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD & I LOVE YOU), so there are 6 news songs on the album. 

yes-slipcase-back.jpg

Her web site, if you want to find out more info, is http://www.mikanakashima.com/

Conclusion: With an attractive but classical appearance, an unusual but not strong type of voice, and an interesting variety of styles of music, Mika Nakashima doesn’t try to be trendy with the latest fashions or looks and is not really like anyone else in the J-Pop scene at the moment – and that is GOOD. If you haven’t heard her before – give her a try, I think you will like her (hint – you can easily listen to song samples at the http://www.cdjapan.co.jp site) -)

yes-booklet-front.jpg

3 Responses to “Mika Nakashima – new album ‘YES’”

  1. False Nails · said

    when looking for music videos, i always check out music videos with funny and sentimental content ~

  2. bbashya said

    Thank you for the review. ^_^

  3. Lex said

    I love this album. It has so many different genres of music on it including reggae, jazz, gospel, and even country. YES definitely contains her most unique material.

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