[Album] Every Little Thing – eternity

eternity is the third album released by Every Little Thing. This was the last album to feature Igarashi Mitsuru, who was the producer for much of the group’s earlier music. Although not as successful as the group’s first two albums, it was yet another success, peaking at #1 and selling over 960,000 copies. The three singles were all fairly successful, with each peaking at #2 on the charts.

eternity

Released: March 15, 2000
1. Pray
2. Reason
3. switch (Album Mix)
4. Just be you
5. The One Thing
6. Get Into A Groove
7. Rescue me
8. Smile Again
9. sure (Orchestra Version)
10. Who cries for me? (Pray Reprise)
11. sure (Are you sure? Mix)

everylittlethingpray

The album opens with its biggest success, pray. Although it opens as a ballad, it soon gets a blast of power before launching into the group’s usual synth-pop. I wouldn’t really categorize it with the group’s high energy tunes, but it doesn’t quite fit the slower and more emotional tone of their ballads and it ends up around the middle. It’s still a really great song and has a lot of power to its sound with that heavy percussion and synth structure. Not an all time favourite, but definitely one of their most gorgeous tunes.

Reason flies in as the first album track and is exactly what I was looking for. This song feels like it would fit on the group’s first two albums easily. It has the same powerful music structure, but a more aggressive melody. My only issue is just how overpowering the music is compared to the vocal parts. I feel like more balance would have really brought the song to the next level. That and you can hear Mochida’s voice starting to change at this point.

Originally released as a B-side track to the album’s second single, switch (Album Mix), continues the group’s classic synth pop sound, but does change things up. I feel like this one goes for a bit more of a pop/rock vibe as it features a heavier display of electric guitar. It’s pretty cool, but doesn’t quite have the same soaring energy as the last song and it falters a bit in the chorus with its weaker melody. A solid tune, but a bit forgettable compared to the first two.

I was not expecting Just be you to be yet another upbeat tune. There is a bit of variation between the songs, so things don’t get spoiled, but this one definitely returns with stronger synth elements. I do enjoy this one more than the last song as the melody is actually pretty catchy. Mochida’s voice also isn’t completely overpowered here as well. Another great tune.

The One Thing finally brings us a change in pace. Later released as the B-side to the album’s re-cut single, we get a ballad. I’m a bit on the fence with this one though. I really enjoy the chorus and while it does bring back that synthed up sound, we get something more in the line of a winter ballad instead. My biggest gripe comes with the fact that Mochida’s voice sounds weaker here and it feels like she is struggling to hang on at times.

Get Into A Groove was released as the second A-side of the album’s first single. It brings us back to that high energy pop sound. The song is pretty catchy and has one of the most digestible melodies on the album. Also, Mochida’s voice sounds stronger here than in other songs. It’s a pretty solid delivery in general.

everylittlethingrescueme

The next song was released as the first A-side to the album’s re-cut single. Rescue Me is pretty much a continuation of the last song. I love how the song builds up into the chorus and it actually sounds like something replicated by later groups such as GIRL NEXT DOOR. It has a swirling quality about the synthwork here and I love how it works fun and bouncy melody.

I totally needed Smile Again. While I love the group’s synthpop sound, Smile Again brings some much needed variety with this bouncy and bright pop number. It still has the synths, but the vibe is totally different and instead we get something almost wintery again. The chorus’ melody sort of reverts back to what would be expected from the group, but I like it’s more toned down energy. Unsurprisingly that it was the second A-side to the re-cut.

everylittlethingsure

The album’s second single comes in the form of a ballad. sure (Orchestra Version) isn’t particularly what I was expecting. It doesn’t quite follow the sadder and more emotional delivery of “Time goes by” and instead implores on heavy percussion to bring a stronger punch. It’s still a pretty nice song and while the melody isn’t as charmingly beautiful, it is works nicely with the music.

Who cries for me? (Pray Reprise) is a beautiful minute section that goes the more emotional route. I feel like this would’ve been a great way to end the album.

Because instead of something beautiful, we get a six minute remix of sure. The Are you sure? Mix features an obnoxious thumping beat and tries to change the sparkling ballad into a dance song. It just does not fit on this album and pretty much ruins the original, which is upsetting.


Overall: The saddest part is that this album would have been another stellar album from the group if that horrible remix was just not included. It just brings the whole album down another level. Besides that, this is actually a really good album from the group. While it doesn’t quite hit the same highs as their first two, the first nine songs are really consistent and I found no weakness individually. I do feel like the album could have benefited from some variety in the synth pop sound though as there was a time where it got a bit harder to get through.

B+

[Album] Every Little Thing – Time to Destination

Time to Destination is the second album released by Every Little Thing. The album proved to be their most successful to date, peaking at number one and over 3.5 million copies sold, with it still being among the top 20 best selling albums in Japan. The five singles were all incredibly successful as each peaked within the top three and sold over 500,000. The most successful, Time goes by, became the group’s biggest hit to date and sold over one million copies.

timetodestination
Released: April 15, 1998
1. For the moment
2. Ima Demo… Anata ga Suki Dakara (今でも・・・あなたが好きだから)
3. Face the change (Album Mix)
4. Old Dreams
5. Monochrome (モノクローム)
6. All Along
7. Hometown
8. Deatta Koro no You ni (出逢った頃のように)
9. Shapes Of Love
10. True colors
11. Time goes by (Orchestra Version)

forthemoment

First single, For the moment, starts us off. It follows closely in sound to the group’s synthpop style that was prominent on their first album. I initially wasn’t into this song as much as the energy isn’t as high as their other songs, but I do like the slightly darker tone it has now. My only issue with the song is that the transition into the chorus isn’t as explosive as I would like and sort of just glides on in. It would be more exciting with a bit of punch. Luckily, the music is pretty heavy with the guitar, synths and percussion.

Ima Demo… Anata ga Suki Dakara is still upbeat, but changes things up slightly. It still has the heavy guitar and percussion that is synonymous with old-school ELT, but the midtempo take on the sound makes it come off a bit like a country song with synths. Not quite sure if I like this song because the verses just sort of drag on and while the buildup into the chorus is nice, it lacks a big punch to take it to the next level. I quite like the chorus melody though and it is a decent album track.

facethechange

Face the change (Album Mix) is most like the material from the group’s first album and I love it. I was unsure of the song at first as well, but the fourth single has the most exciting verses that really help bring things up for that soaring chorus. Mochida’s voice does get drowned out a bit by the overload of music, but her sweet tone is still able to pierce through this heaviness most of the time. It’s classic Every Little Thing.

The next track, Old Dreams, is just an interlude and features a nice music box.

I was expecting a ballad next, but Monochrome is yet another flashy synth-pop/rock tune. Unfortunately, I think while the music is exciting, the melody just isn’t hitting the spot. It’s still a solid song, but it feels a bit redundant and doesn’t quite have the hooks that keep me as satisfied as the other upbeat songs. It does have some variation in music but bringing a bit of an electronic edge to the instruments.

The album’s first ballad, All Along, is a welcomed change. I love the group’s upbeat music, but it can get a bit repetitive and Mochida has the capabilities to pull off a nice ballad. This one is quite pretty, although I do feel like the melody doesn’t quite flow as well as I want it to. It feels like it jumps around too much. With that said, I do love how it sounds with the music as the arrangement just feels to full. Not bad.

Hometown is a return to the upbeat music, but it does change things a bit. The music includes a few different kinds of synths, while the chorus is a bit slower and ties nicely into the heavier music. I quite enjoy the chorus and while it isn’t as explosive as some of the other songs, the transitions feel better done. Strong album track.

deattakoroyouni

The album’s second single, Deatta Koro no You ni, is a bit brighter than some of the other upbeat songs on here. It actually reminds me a bit of something that ZARD would have done and feels very much like mid-90’s J-Pop. I quite like this nostalgic feeling it gives though and the song pulls everything off really well. It’s a sweet tune and matches Mochida’s vocals really well, while still providing a catchy and memorable melody.

shapesoflove

Shapes of Love was original released as the album’s third single with another song (that wasn’t included) and is yet another high quality song. It is a bit like heavier in its rock influence as the electric guitar takes front and center stage. It can be a bit odd with the chorus though as the melody is definitely sweeter so the transition from the edgier verses into that takes some time to get used. I just wish the music had some more energy at times because it can get a little bare.

True colors is my favourite of the album tracks just because it is so dark. It has the heavier rock sound like the last song, but elevates things by bringing some haunting synths and cool guitar riffs. The chorus is pretty sweet though. The music is pushed more to the forefront and covers over Mochida’s voice, but it gives a pretty cool effect and makes things sound a bit more robotic. This is just an interesting twist to the group’s usual material.

timegoesby

Time goes by (Orchestra Version) is the album’s final single and most successful. It is also the album’s second ballad and easily the album’s best song. At first, I never saw the appeal of this song, but now I think it is absolutely stunning. The structure of the song is a bit different and it takes some time to get to the chorus, but everything feels necessary and I actually love the verses more than the chorus. The lyrics are also very beautiful and focus on a relationship turning sour but with a sense of hope for the future. I think the orchestra version just helps to elevate things as well.


Overall: This album is an excellent follow-up to the group’s amazing debut album. I don’t think the album is as strong because there were fewer high notes, but I also felt this album had less consistency issues and each of the songs is at least at a solid level. I feel like I can’t give any songs on this album a low score because they all had things I enjoyed. With that said, while I did like the singles, they were definitely weaker this time around (except Time goes by and Face the change).

A

[Album] Every Little Thing – everlasting

Every Little Thing debuted in 1996 with sound that was largely fun and synth-filled. While their first few singles did moderately on the charts, by their third single they soon found their footing and have since become one of Japan’s most popular acts in the last two decades. everlasting is the band’s debut album and was a major success, charting at #1 and selling close to two million copies. It was preceded by three singles.

everlasting
Released: April 9, 1997
1. Future World
2. Feel My Heart (Album Mix)
3. Here and everywhere
4. Seasons (Album Version)
5. Futari de Jidai wo Kaetemitai (二人で時代を変えてみたい)
6. Tatoe Tooku Hanaretetemo… (たとえ遠く離れてても…)
7. micro stress
8. Dear My Friend (Album Mix)
9. Looking Back On Your Love
10. Never Stop
11. I’ll get over you
12. Double Moon

futureworld

everlasting opens with Future World, the group’s second single. Very standard of 90’s ELT, Future World gives us an upbeat synth-charged pop tune. Actually, the coolest part is the instrumental break which has a cool synth refrain. It sort of reminds me of another song’s refrain (Hayashibara Megumi’s ~infinity~ to be exact). Anyways, the song’s other parts are also really strong. The chorus is the highlight with its strong hooks and explosive energy. I think the verses aren’t entirely memorable, but they do a good job to provide contrast to the chorus despite the fact that the entire song is largely joined by the electric guitar and synthesizer foundation.

feelmyheart

Feel My Heart (Album Mix) is pretty much a continuation of the last song with its upbeat sound and blast of synths. Actually, this is probably my favourite song from the group. I love how the verse melody is more laid back before heading into the bouncy pre-chorus. I really enjoy the funky use of background voices here and how they add a more sing-a-long edge to them. With that said, the chorus is the highlight and this time the hook is just perfect. The melody is fast-paced and fits the energetic music really well. Mochida also sounds amazing and her sweet tone suits this lighthearted tune.

Here and everywhere is a bit lighter in its sound. Actually, the melody reminds me a bit of Last Christmas, with its bounciness and the twinkling music. It’s quite a cute song and the style of the song is definitely something that was popular in J-Pop at the time. Not the strongest tune, but it’s definitely a decent listen.

Seasons was a B-side from the group’s second single. My main issue with this song is that it is just so long, clocking in at almost six minutes. However, it’s still a decent tune. I love the music as it has a more sensual feel going on and it’s definitely a bit more melancholic than the other songs up to this point. My coolest part is the interesting inclusion of a xylophone-ish kind of sound that gives it a really funky vibe to it. It works surprisingly well during the chorus, which is definitely the strongest area. Pretty strong!

Futari de Jidai wo Kaetemitai is the first ballad and it’s a pretty laid back piano one at that. How it starts off really isn’t something that is new, but Mochida’s vocals definitely carry a charm that just enhances these parts. I especially love how the verse goes into the pre-chorus as it serves as a good break and has a really interesting melody. The chorus is a bit more generic in its delivery. It’s certainly catchy, but it’s not as timeless as it is trying to come off as and it is actually a bit of a letdown. Still a decent tune.

Tatoe Tooku Hanaretetemo… blasts off right at the start. I actually really like it because it comes off a bit like a 90’s anime theme song. This is probably the most aggressive song up to this point with its heavier guitar riffs and stomping percussion. It really has a cooler vibe going for it, but still ties in nicely with ELT’s song because of Mochida’s sweet voice. Unfortunately, I do find songs that start off with the chorus tend to lose a bit of energy the next time the chorus comes by, which is the case here. The song also drags on quite a bit at over five minutes.

micro stress is a just a funky rock interlude.

dearmyfriend

It really comes and goes and just flies right into the third and most popular single, Dear My Friend. Out of all the singles, this is definitely the heaviest one with its heavy guitar riffs, just like the last song. However, it still has that soaring chorus that the other singles possess. My only problem with this song is that the verses are just so good and are really edgy, but the chorus comes off a bit more pop. I’m not a big fan of transitions like this as I feel like the song could really continue that edginess. With that said, there are some pretty good parts here and the chorus is still catchy.

Looking Back On Your Love continues the last sound, but I think it actually does a better job at it. I love the intro because it has some cool riffs going on and the synths ties with the guitar all come together nicely. The verses are stellar as they do a great job of setting the song up. The melody is much calmer and really brings a nice contrast to the more explosive chorus. What I actually love about the chorus is that the melody just reminds me of something from 80s J-Pop. It is like a nice fusion of this kind of melody with a more edgy 90s sound. This could have been an A-side and is my favourite album track.

Never Stop! is a bit more of your standard pop/rock sound of 90’s Japan. It’s very similar to something ZARD might do. While there is nothing wrong with that, the song just doesn’t have the energy that the other ones do and everything comes off a bit more generic here, especially after the last song. I like that they are trying to play around with different sounds and the song definitely comes across as an ending theme (it later was a theme song to a show), but I just wish the melody was a bit more memorable.

Fortunately, I love I’ll get over you. The opener is just really cool with its nice blend of guitar and synth and does a great job flying into the calmer verses. The chorus is a bit different from what the rest of the album gives. It’s a bit unpredictable and while I was a confused at first, it definitely works well with the darker vibe of the music. The whole song is a nice play on the sound of their poppier style.

Double Moon is just an acoustic ending. I’m a bit surprised that they chose to end it this way considering the rest of the album was pretty much an electric guitar, synths and drums.


Overall: I was a little worried coming into this album because it is twenty years old. While I did love the singles, I was cautious how the rest of the album would be able to work with that mix of dance, pop and rock. Fortunately, I believe this album is really great. While the sound could come off as tiring, they were able to play it up and offer different spins on the sound while also providing a few surprises in between. There were a lot of stand out pieces on here. Definitely recommend tracks 1, 2, 4, 9, and 11.

A