Diamond Princess is the second album released by Kato Miliyah. It wasn’t as successful as her debut, but still charted in the top 5 and sold just over 100,000 copies. It was preceded by four singles, with two being top 20 hits.
Released: March 7, 2007
2. Eyes on you
3. Last Summer
4. Kono Mama Zutto Asa Made (このままずっと朝まで; Stay Like This Until the Morning)
7. Caught up
8. My Soul
9. Cry no more
10. I WILL
11. Sotsugyou (ソツギョウ; Graduation)
12. Wasurenai Kara (忘れないから; I Won’t Forget You)
13. So special
Diamond opens the album and its a funky and powerful R&B/pop intro. It’s only a minute long, but has some vocal pieces and an exposive arrangement. I love the use of brass. Eyes on you was released as Kato’s eighth single (fourth from the album) and has an oldschool kind of vibe to it. It’s a light-disco/pop tune that features a bouncy guitar and splash of synths. The verses are a bit forgettable, but the pre-chorus and chorus are a lot of fun. It’s the type of song that is easy to sing along to. It does lose a bit of energy later on though as it nears five minutes in total length. Probably my favourite song from the album, Last Summer is a summery upbeat pop/R&B tune and was released as the album’s second single (sixth overall). Unlike the last song, this one has a much stronger verse. Even in this part there are some catchy hooks. The chorus is a fun blend of background vocals and Kato and continues the funky arrangement that was heard in the last two songs, although with a stronger beat. It’s a refreshing tune. Kono Mama Zutto Asa Made samples a 90’s Jamaican hit, but it feels like a weak attempt at trying to do reggae. It has a summery vibe like the last song, but the arrangement just lacks any strength. It feels like there should be a fuller arrangement, but it doesn’t push where its supposed to and the music sounds forgotten. The melody is okay, but it isn’t that catchy and relies a lot on the sample. It would be better with something a little different for the arrangement. LuvSong slows things down with a midtempo pop/R&B tune. It has a bit of the reggae vibe with the beat, but the melody reminds me of something from Kato’s first album. Unfortunately, the song is really forgettable. It’s simple, but just doesn’t stand out in its melody or arrangement and it feels like the music doesn’t totally fit with the more dramatic vocals. FAMILY is a bit better. It has some neo-soul elements to it, which is a nice change. I really like the arrangement and the brass-like synths that are added in to give the song a bit of punch. The melody is alright and it’s definitely more memorable than the last song. It works nicely with the music, which is a good change as well. A decent album filler. Caught up is good just because it has a lot of energy to it. Up to this point, it has the most attitude to it, which is a change from the laid back vibe of the other songs. The chorus is really fast-paced and I love the explosion of brass here. I don’t think the melody is as effective just because it sounds too fast and would’ve been a bit better slowed down just a little. It’s still not bad though. My Soul brings the R&B sound back with probably the strongest song since Last Summer. It has a very heavy beat that really demands attention and the melody is really smooth and sexy. It works great with Kato’s voice and the song takes its time to really deliver the hooks. It’s a fun and powerful tune. Cry no more is awesome just because we have that R&B/pop vibe but with some traditional Japanese elements thrown in. The music is really beautiful and fits surprisingly nice with the beat. This is especially nice in the chorus where things really blend together. My only gripe would be that I wish the song was a bit on the darker side of things, but it’s a great song anyways. I WILL is the first full-fledged pop ballad and was the album’s third single (seventh overall). Unfortunately, this is my least favourite of her singles. It’s a nice change of pace because she hasn’t had a ballad single, but it’s just a forgettable song. The melody is nice, but isn’t particularly catchy nor help to showcase Kato’s vocals in a nice way. The arrangement is actually quite nice, but just needs a stronger singer to take it to the next level. Luckily, the first single of the album comes up next. Sotsugyou is one of the album’s stronger songs. It has a great midtempo R&B/neo-soul sound to it and I love it. The melody isn’t the catchiest on the album, but I do like the emotion in the song and Kato sounds great. I actually quite enjoy the music and how the vocals are laid out. The steady beat, touches of synths and piano tied with the lyrics really gives the song a touching tune without bringing something slow. Wasurenai Kara is the second of the ballads, although this one has a stronger R&B vibe to it. With that, it is infinitely better than the last ballad. It really reminds me of some great late 00’s R&B tunes. The chorus is a bit dragged out, but it’s still pretty catchy and the funky guitar in the background really brings a great bounce to the song. Unfortunately, I do find the verses stronger than the choruses as the beat really works well in the former. So special has a strange opening that makes me think it is sampling another R&B tune. I do find the beat of the song to be really odd cause it always seems to be a bit off with the vocals. It’s sort of unfortunate because the melody is actually really great and I think if things matched up a bit better, the song would’ve been way better. It really reminds me of something from her first album. Paradise is another R&B tune, but brings that summery vibe. I really love the music to this song as the beat is really strong and has a gorgeous guitar that floats above it. The song is really catchy and I was quite surprised at how the chorus played out. The vocal arrangement was really nicely done and worked greatly with the music while still being an earworm. It’s definitely a strong album track. Wonderful is a nice midtempo pop/R&B tune with some neo-soul elements. I am quite surprised with the upbeat feel of this song and it reminds me of some stuff from the late 90’s. It’s not particularly catchy, but it’s not a forgettable song as it does have some decent hooks. I just wish it really pushed things further.
Overall: I was worried that this album would be really weak because I didn’t like the singles as much as those from Kato’s first album. However, the album tracks were much stronger on this album and there were some nice tunes. There were a few weaker songs, but they weren’t terrible and had potential and the album started to get some stronger songs coming around the end. I just wish the album was cut down a little more because the album’s length is quite long and there were some unnecessary songs. Would recommend tracks 2, 3, 9, 11 and 14.