[Special] hitomi Singles Review Part. 4

Released: May 10, 2006
Charts: #22 / 13,000 copies sold
c/w: LOST emotion in DARKNESS
Her lost moderate hit, GO MY WAY is a funky upbeat pop tune that pretty much continues the “bond-like” sound of the last single. I can’t say it hits me as hard, but I like it’s switch up in sound by bringing some ska influences into the mix. It really helps the chorus stand out. With that said, I find the arrangement to be more interesting than the melody as it just doesn’t have the infectious hooks to really grasp my attention. The B-side (LOST emotion in DARKNESS) is a pretty fun change-up with its stronger latin-inspired sound. I actually like the explosive energy of the chorus and I feel like if it was tweaked a little more, it could’ve been the A-side.
Rating: 6/10

32. Ai no Kotoba (アイ ノ コトバ)
Released: September 13, 2006
Charts: #49 / 3,000 copies sold
c/w: Arritakke no Ai (ありったけの愛)
I’m a little confused with the sounds of the singles from LOVE CONCENT as there seems to be a bit more variety between the singles than I’ve heard from hitomi’s past singles. Ai no Kotoba decides to take the harder hitting pop/rock sound. It’s something more in tune to her sound from the late 90’s as its arrangement goes full blast with the guitar. I find the chorus to be the highlight, but the transition into it is a bit jarring as it decides to go with a brighter pop melody. The B-side (Arritakke no Ai) is a cover of a THEATRE BROOK song. It’s a pretty tune, but just not really my cup of tea, although it does fit the feel of the single.
Rating: 6/10

Released: May 20, 2009
Charts: #119 / 600 copies sold
c/w: Kokoro no Sougen (ココロの草原)
Album: LOVE LIFE 2
Being her first single in three years, WORLD! WIDE! LOVE! is a surprisingly solid tune. While it brings hitomi’s usual pop/rock vibes, it changes things up by adding some electronic elements to help keep it more contemporary. I actually really enjoy the chorus. It doesn’t try to push things but brings this floating and charming melody that happens to get more and more infectious. It’s definitely not her most ambitious tune, but there are some great qualities to it. The B-side (Kokoro no Sougen) goes for a bouncy pop vibe that brings back a bit of the doo-wop swing. The chorus isn’t particularly memorable, but the happy energy of the arrangement really helps to carry things.
Rating: 7/10

34. Umarete Kurete no Arigatou (生まれてくれてありがとう) / Smile World
Released: February 16, 2011
Charts: #48 / 3,000 copies sold
c/w: Song for you☆
Album: Spirit
Another three years for Umarete Kurete no Arigatou, which is a slower pop/rock tune that is reminiscent of her songs from the early 00’s. I do wish it picked up pace a little more though as the energy is quite there and it feels like the verses drag things down a bit. With that said, it’s a sweet tune that is made especially charming as she is singing for her child. Smile World brings a swirling synthed up pop tune. It’s definitely a change up in sounds, but I like that it sounds more reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s anime themes with its sparkly and bouncy vibe. My only issue is that it isn’t that catchy and sort of pales in incomparison to the slower first A-side as it lacks a memorable chorus. The B-side (Song for you☆) is a slower pop tune that has a more acoustic foundation to it. It’s yet another dragged out tune, but doesn’t quite hit the same strides with the melody so it comes off a little duller.
Rating: 6/10 (Umarete Kurete no Arigatou), 5/10 (Smile World)

Released: December 18, 2013
Charts: #113
c/w: n/a
Album: n/a
At this point, TEPPEN STAR is hitomi’s most recent physical single. TEPPEN STAR is a really big change up from her last few singles because of its heavier pop/rock sound. I actually wasn’t expecting something this hard hitting from hitomi and was prepared to get a song that was more in tuned with her acoustic songs. Still, this is a pretty fun tune to get. It’s a bit generic in its sound and isn’t particularly memorable in melody, but I do like the energy of the music and it stands as one of her most aggressive songs, if not her most aggressive.
Rating: 6/10

[Special] hitomi Singles Review Part. 3

21. IS IT YOU?
Released: August 22, 2001
Charts: #4 / 191,000 copies sold
Album: huma-rhythm
The second single from hitomi’s huma-rhythm album continues the series of pop/rock tunes. I feel like IS IT YOU? would have fit a bit better right after the singles from her last album because it feels more in tune with the structure and style of “Kimi ni KISS”. It has an explosive chorus that combines strings, guitar and percussion with a soaring melody that is just as infectious as some of her other strongest tunes. I feel at this point, I’m not as enthralled with it as much as her other stuff, but it’s certainly a great tune. I like that there is a bit of experimentation with the B-sides. The first (OPEN MIND) is a weird pop/rock tune and feels unlike the other songs on her previous singles with its more free-spirited vibe. Can’t say it’s that catchy though. The second B-side (WHY?) sort of continues this light-hearted and free feeling, but is the stronger of the two. The chorus isn’t that catchy either, but I like its more inspirational spin.
Rating: 8/10

22. I am / innocence
Released: October 24, 2001
Charts: #7 / 96,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: huma-rhythm
I am is most famous for being a theme song to Inuyasha and it was my first exposure to hitomi. The arrangement is a bit more on the aggressive side, but it helps bring an interesting contrast to the sweeter melody. Despite the contrast, it all still blends in quite well. While I really loved this song before, it has started to pale a bit in comparison to her other pop/rock tunes. It’s a solid song though. I actually much prefer the second A-side though. innocence is more on the slower side of things and does a great job of building that power. The touch of piano and synths is also a welcomed change. While the chorus brings the usual pop/rock flair, there is something utterly sweet and inspiring about the melody. It feels like the arrangement is powering the melody and supporting it. It doesn’t overshadow things.
Rating: 7/10 (I am), 9/10 (innocence)

Released: January 9, 2002
Charts: #3 / 146,000 copies sold
c/w: 7 (SEVEN)
Album: huma-rhythm
One of hitomi’s most famous singles comes in the form of SAMURAI DRIVE, an absolute ride of a song. We actually haven’t had a true upbeat tune since “LOVE 2000” and this is the perfect follow-up. The song does what that one did, which is blend a fun pop/rock sound with some brass to really give it some punch. The structure is also a bit weird as the verses are pretty dragged out and give way to an exhilarating and faster-paced chorus melody that just intensifies the energy. It’s just a really cool song. The B-side (7 (SEVEN)) has a similar delivery, but instead brings something more emotionally tinged than fun. It isn’t as catchy, but I think it still could have had potential as an A-side.
Rating: 9/10

24. Understanding
Released: February 14, 2002
Charts: #10 / 54,000 copies sold
c/w: My Planet
After a slew of great singles, I feel like Understanding is the first one in a while that I’m on the fence with. It does bring a bit of a change and sounds like it has more country influence in it with its “road trip” essence. It’s not a terrible song by any means and actually has a pretty stunning melody, I just feel like at this point, it doesn’t stand out compared to the other similar sounding tunes before it. Part of wishes that the B-side (My Planet) was made the A-side because it brings a totally different vibe. The sound is more reminiscent of her 90’s singles with its intense pop sound and it sort of combines that with an arrangement that brings in her current pop/rock elements. It’s pretty cool.
Rating: 6/10

25. flow / BLADE RUNNER
Released: August 21, 2002
Charts: #9 / 39,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
I can for sure say flow is an odd song. The biggest difference is how hitomi sings it. Here, she tries to go for an even more nasally and cuter quality to her voice and we don’t get as much of that raspy, harsh quality in her voice. I actually feel that would have been more beneficial for this tune. It’s a bit slower and while the melody is quite nice, the overall tune just feels more fitting for someone like YUKI. I do like that this is her first ballad in a while though and it does sound nice at times. At least it sounds better than BLADE RUNNER. While it fits its name with its more intense and upbeat pop/rock sound, it just doesn’t have any strong quality to it and comes across more like a B-side to me. The verses aren’t bad, but hitomi sings with a weirder voice that doesn’t quite fit. The chorus just doesn’t have the excitement like the music in “LOVE 2000” or the melody in “SAMURAI DRIVE” to really carry it. Average.
Rating: 6/10 (flow), 5/10 (BLADE RUNNER)

26. Hikari (ヒカリ)
Released: February 11, 2004
Charts: #16 / 21,000 copies sold
c/w: Steady
While we got a ballad with “flow”, it pales in comparison to this stunning ballad. Hikari is one of my favourite slow songs from hitomi. We get a return of her usual pop/rock style and we also get a return of her harsher vocals. The great thing with Hikari is that it opens quite beautifully and gains steam and power. The chorus is especially gorgeous with the sweeping strings come in to really allow that melody to soar. It’s not a song I return to often, but it’s still great. For the B-side (Steady), we get a nice contrast with this more upbeat number. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this song for some reason, but it isn’t too bad. I wish the arrangement wasn’t as bland and was more fitting with the melody though as I feel like it has potential to be great.
Rating: 8/10

27. Kokoro no Tabibito (心の旅人) / SPEED☆STAR
Released: April 28, 2004
Charts: #27 / 11,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
We get another slower tune in the form of Kokoro no Tabibito. I feel the general mood and execution of the song follows similarly to her older 00’s material, but updates it a bit to fit a lot of other songs from the 2004-2005 era. It’s a pretty strong ballad that follows the blend of guitar, percussion and strings, but it is a bit more on the generic side of things. Feels like a slightly stronger version of “Understanding”. I much prefer the excitement of SPEED☆STAR which utilizes strings in a way to really propel the arrangement. While we get something more upbeat and still following her usual rock-backed energy, it’s just an overall stellar tune. The verses aren’t as memorable, but once we get into that flying chorus, things just zoom right by. It’s catchy, intense and the music does a great job of matching the energy of the melody.
Rating: 7/10 (Kokoro no Tabibito), 10/10 (SPEED☆STAR)

28. Japanese girl
Released: June 1, 2005
Charts: #19 / 17,000 copies sold
c/w: Venus
Considering hitomi pretty much left behind the dance sound in 1996, it’s a bit weird to here Japanese girl right after her pop/rock ventures. With that said, this is a fun blend of poppier elements tied with some rock elements to make a fun and exciting 80’s-inspired pop tune. I love how it doesn’t take itself as seriously and we have fun lines like “I’m Japanese!” that really work great with the powerful arrangement. It’s an infectious tune that is easy to sing along to. I also love that the B-side (Venus) is the cover of the famous Shocking Blue tune but with a changed up arrangement. It’s a fun tune that fits perfectly with the 80’s dance/rock edge of the A-side.
Rating: 9/10

29. Love Angel
Released: August 24, 2005
Charts: #34 / 4,000 copies sold
c/w: “Escape”
This is the point where things started to get rocky for hitomi chart-wise. But, that doesn’t stop the quality. Actually, Love Angel is always a song that I forget about. We still get the 80’s inspired pop vibes with its heavy blend of synths and I really like the inspirational feeling that the song comes with. The chorus isn’t as catchy as “Japanese girl”, but there are subtle points that help me get into the song more like the light background vocals that flow throughout the instrumental pieces. It’s a slower and more euphoric piece, but a nice change to hear. The B-side (“Escape”) is a weird tune and a total experimental piece with its weird repetitive portions and different arrangement. I love that it uses a xylophone and gets some odder percussion points.
Rating: 7/10

Released: November 23, 2005
Charts: #46 / 4,000 copies sold
c/w: Time Over (タイムオーバー)
I love this continuation of the 80’s sounds, although this time we hear it blended with something more along the lines of a Bond theme. The arrangement of CRA”G”Y☆MAMA changes things up by adding the brass instruments in a subtler way, especially in the verses. The chorus goes a bit heavier with the pop/rock attitude, but still lets in enough room to bring some more interesting synths. It’s a swirling and intense tune that is a bit more reminiscent of something like “Agent J” by Jolin or Britney’s “Toxic” and I love it. The B-side (Time Over) is an interesting blend of dance, pop/rock and latin elements. I love the more sensual vibes of the verses, whereas the choruses are more full on and powerful. It’s a cool contrast and stands out in her discography.
Rating: 8/10

[Special] hitomi Singles Review Part. 2

11. Sora (空)
Released: April 22, 1998
Charts: #19 / 42,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: h
Sora was the first single where hitomi really split from Komuro Tetsuya professional and started to write for herself. It was also her least successful single since her second single. Sora is a pop/rock tune that has a country touch to it. While it sort of continues that sound she was developing since her third album’s singles, this one just isn’t that experimental. It’s actually rather dull for me. The music is decent, but it doesn’t capture your attention while the melody just floats along. Rather forgettable.
Rating: 4/10

12. Progress
Released: December 2, 1998
Charts: #20 / 36,000 copies sold
c/w: Flowers for Life
Album: h
I do think that Progress is more interesting than the last song. It has a darker pop/rock attitude and I feel like it at least stands out more. The verses are decent, but they drag on for too long and we don’t hit the first chorus till about the minute and a half mark. They do help to bring a nice contrast to the dramatic choruses that explode with raw power and a rather strong melody. It’s one of her more memorable pop/rock songs up to this point and it has some cool ideas in its arrangement. The B-side (Flowers for Life) is a nice follow-up to the A-side in sound. The verses are definitely shorter, but the choruses aren’t as strong. It’s decent for a B-side.
Rating: 6/10

13. Someday
Released: January 27, 1999
Charts: #25 / 23,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: h
The final single for her first best album, Someday keeps the pop/rock attitude but with a bouncier energy. It actually reminds me a bit of some 50’s or 60’s pop/rock songs due to its funky percussion. The overall song isn’t so bad, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. The melody is alright, but can get a little grating at times and I find the verses’ more toned down delivery to be more appealing to me. hitomi’s voice doesn’t quite fit with this style all that well at times as she gets a bit screechy.
Rating: 5/10

14. Kimi no Tonari (君のとなり)
Released: June 16, 1999
Charts: #13 / 77,000 copies sold
Album: thermo plastic
The first single to hitomi’s fourth album is this light pop/rock tune. While I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of the stuff that came before, I feel like this is the point where she really started to settle into her songwriting skills. Kimi no Tonari is definitely on the lighter side of things, but it still has a really interesting sounding chorus. The verses are rather gentle, but it’s the odd choices in the choruses that help it stand out. I like the editing done here with its strange harmonizations and more robotic execution. I wasn’t sure what to expect for the B-sides, but I can say I like the sound of the first (WISH). It continues the style of the last song, but feels like the more experimental version of it. I do wish the arrangement was cleaned up a bit for the choruses as it can get a bit blurry, but I do like its overall sound. The second B-side (MADE TO BE IN LOVE) goes for something happier and brighter and I really like its energy. It has some cool synths going on that help differentiate it from hitomi’s previous few single songs.
Rating: 7/10

15. there is…
Released: August 4, 1999
Charts: #17 / 129,000 copies sold
c/w: re-make
Album: thermo plastic
Probably the first song since her second album’s singles have I really enjoyed a song this much. there is… really heightens and focuses the pop/rock sound that came before it and brings something that fits perfectly between the two. It has a harder arrangement, but the melody is still pretty light and has some really memorable hooks. It also sounds great because it is the first in a while that has really evoked a feeling for me with its more inspirational vibe. The B-side (re-make) keeps up a similar style, but switches its more emotional delivery for something a bit “different” with its edited vocals and more staccato vocal arrangement. It’s interesting for sure.
Rating: 8/10

16. Taion (体温)
Released: October 6, 1999
Charts: #19 / 21,000 copies sold
c/w: a little (I need everything)
Album: thermo plastic
Taion is a great follow-up to “there is…”. It keeps up the pop/rock vibe and feels more like a predecessor to some of her later tunes. Unlike the last song A-side though, we don’t get the intensity from the melody, but more from how it works with the arrangement. Here, we get something a little softer and the melody just sort of lightly jumps by. There is still a nice transition and I like its fuller arrangement that really helps to surround that gorgeous melody. The B-side (a little (I need everything)) is more upbeat and helps to bring a more summery vibe with its brighter arrangement and piercing delivery. It’s a solid follow-up to the more melancholic A-side.
Rating: 9/10

17. Love 2000
Released: June 28, 2000
Charts: #5 / 373,000 copies sold
c/w: REGRET / Idol wo Sagase (アイドルを探せ) / destiny
hitomi’s biggest hit in years comes with this cooler pop/rock number. Unlike the more experimental material of her third album era or the more emotional pop/rock sound of her fourth era, Love 2000 bright and brass heavy pop/rock banger. It’s a really fun number because we get something that has a really fun and exciting vibe to it that hasn’t been heard from hitomi up to this point. The choruses are especially great with the introduction of brass to really give it that extra kick. The melody isn’t as infectious as I want it to be, but it makes up for it with its pure energy. There are also three B-sides included, the first (REGRET) is definitely a bit of a change. While we still get something with a rock base, there is a lighter quality to its arrangement due to the inclusion of synths. The second B-side (Idol wo Sagase) starts off sounding like it will be more aggressive, but turns into a weirder, more experimental pop tune that fuses different sounds and styles. It’s interesting. The third B-side (destiny) is the slowest on the single, but is still more on the midtempo side of things. It’s a nice tune and very reminiscent of the style she was starting to go for at this time with its inclusion of strings.
Rating: 8/10

Released: September 20, 2000
Charts: #12 / 107,000 copies sold
c/w: Eien to Iu Category (永遠というカテゴリー) / OVER THE WORLD
For a long time, MARIA was my favourite song by hitomi. It pretty much encapsulates hitomi’s sound in the early 00’s with its funky pop/rock vibe that brings a brighter pop style. The verses are fun, but I find the arrangement to take over this point as the guitar brings an almost “U2” quality to the song’s sound. The true highlight is that soaring chorus. While the arrangement is still powerful, it’s the more intense melody that takes over. Carried by hitomi’s vocals, it brings an almost emotional quality that helps it to stand out. The first of the two B-sides (Eien to Iu Category) brings a different sound with its light Middle Eastern spin on the arrangement. The general vibe of the song is very similar to her other songs at this time, although I can’t say it stands out as much in melody. The second B-side (OVER THE WORLD) is different and pretty much brings one of her most intense pop/rock songs from a single in a while. It reminds me of something from Alanis Morisette.
Rating: 9/10

19. Kimi ni KISS (キミにKISS)
Released: November 8, 2000
Charts: #9 / 110,000 copies sold
c/w: Kodoku na Sora (孤独な空)
Kimi ni KISS is perfect pop hitomi. It pretty follows up the last two A-sides, but catapults the pop sound to the forefront. The arrangement still ties in some of the rock elements, but here we get something that feels much more focused on the melody. The verses are decent, but things only start picking up in the pre-chorus. Instead, it’s that stellar transition into the punch of the chorus that just takes things to the next level. The melody is just so catchy ties in wonderfully with the blend of guitar and strings. The B-side (Kodoku na Sora) is a nice change because hitomi doesn’t release too many ballad songs on singles and this is her first true ballad single song. It’s on the softer side of things with it starting off with just the acoustic guitar before bringing in some lighter instruments.
Rating: 10/10

Released: April 18, 2001
Charts: #16 / 51,000 copies sold
c/w: Fighting Girl
Album: huma-rhythm
After such a great run with the LOVE LIFE singles, INNER CHILD pretty much follows up with a similar styled pop sound. It’s a bit more similar to “Kimi ni KISS” as it focuses less on the rock arrangements and goes for something that has some synths and sweeping strings. I can’t say the chorus is as enticing, but I do love its floating energy and it has a lot of punch to it. It does go on for a bit too long for me though. The B-side (Fighting Girl) is a fun addition and keeps up the energy from the last song. It’s sound takes more inspiration from psychedelic rock, which is a change from her previous B-sides.
Rating: 7/10

[Special] hitomi Singles Review Part. 1

01. Let’s Play Winter
Released: November 28, 1994
Charts: n/a
hitomi opened her career with this light pop number. Despite the more suggestive single cover, Let’s Play Winter itself is pretty Christmas-y sounding and very fluffy. It has Komuro Tetsuya’s signature new-jack-swing sound here that helps to give it a little more energy and separates it from sounding like your usual Christmas tune. It’s actually a pretty solid number and has a sweet melody that lends itself well to hitomi’s rougher vocals. I also love the swirling guitars that find their way into the instrumental sections. The B-side (PLEASURE) is a juggernaut of a song and very reminiscent of dance-styles heard in the 90’s with its house and disco influences. I love the instrumental portions as they are exciting. The melody is also decent, although the transitions between the different parts are a little more subdued.
Rating: 7/10

Released: February 22, 1995
Charts: #61 / 19,000 copies sold
c/w: TOKYO Nodo Mannaka BUS no Naka de (TOKYOのど真んなかBUSの中で)
Going a little harder than her first single, WE ARE “LONELY GIRL” ups the new-jack-swing intensity and really revs up the energy. With that said, we still get a taste of the sweeter side of things with hitomi’s delivery and the melody is still quite light and fluffy despite the harder hitting arrangement. I was going to say this is the weakest of the first album singles, but it has grown on me a lot and I do love its brighter melody and wicked arrangement. It’s very Komuro Tetsuya sounding. The B-side (TOKYO Nodo Mannaka BUS no Naka de) has a really long title and changes the sound up a bit. A bit more on the rock side of things, but is just not that interesting of a tune in general. It’s only highlight is that wicked guitar riff mixed with a funky sax.
Rating: 7/10

Released: April 21 , 1995
Charts: #15 / 392,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
While hitomi looks a bit awkward in the single cover, this still ended up her breakout hit and what a song it is. CANDY GIRL brings the new-jack-swing sound that was heard in her first two singles but ups the intensity by bringing a stellar synth-based arrangement with some funk elements. At this point, it is her most intense song. The verses are harder hitting and sung in an almost rap-singing style. The pre-chorus helps break things up before launching the song into that absolutely infectious chorus. It’s hard to describe, but the chorus just has such a slithering melody that its hard to not get into the groove of things.
Rating: 10/10

Released: July 26, 1995
Charts: #19 / 181,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
The title track to her first album is a bit of an oddball. While it’s still produced by Komuro Tetsuya and features his signature elements, GO TO THE TOP changes the new-jack-swing style for something a little more pop/rock and I just don’t like it as much. It’s not a terrible song by any means, but it’s a bit disappointing after the groovy “CANDY GIRL”. I actually enjoy the verses more with their lighter vibes. The chorus is a little more energetic but comes off more like part of a country song with its touches of banjo and lighthearted feeling.
Rating: 5/10

05. Sexy
Released: February 28, 1996
Charts: #9 / 314,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: by myself
The first of the second album singles, this is easily her strongest singles run and it starts off with the incredibly infectious Sexy. We get a return of the intense new-jack-swing sound that made “CANDY GIRL” so great, except this time we change its melodic bounce for something a little more repetitive. The bababas and the humorous “sexy sexy sexy” background vocals help to bring a different vibe that makes the song almost a joke, but instead propels it into an easy to sing along with tune due to its memorable lines. It’s totally 90’s, but it’s stellar.
Rating: 9/10

06. In the future
Released: May 22, 1996
Charts: #7 / 357,000 copies sold
c/w: Shinin’ On
Album: by myself
We follow-up a great song with my favourite from hitomi. In the future takes the sound of Sexy and ups it to an even higher level. The verses are a bit interesting in that the arrangement of the song is rather dark and almost sci-fi but we get this sweeter and brighter melody that flies in. Luckily, the arrangement gets its shine when the chorus comes blasting in. The added harmonization helps to intensify the energy of the song and heighten the level of power of the melody with its in-your-face delivery. It’s so enchanting and the song never gets old. The B-side (Shinin’ On) is a nice follow-up to the A-side as it brings continues the new-jack-swing style, but with a lighter feel. It’s not as memorable, but I love its arrangement that it has a brass backing that gives it some extra funk.
Rating: 10/10

07. by myself
Released: August 8, 1996
Charts: #7 / 291,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: by myself
I wasn’t sure how hitomi would fare with something a little slower as a single, but by myself is yet another perfect song and the one that always gives me nostalgic feelings. The song yet again brings Komuro’s signature new-jack-swing style, but goes for a brighter and more inspiration sound. The light verses give way to a full sounding chorus that ties in some strings to help emphasize the energy of the melody. The thing is that while the chorus isn’t as infectious as say “CANDY GIRL” or “In the future”, there is something powerful about its stomping delivery that helps heighten the overall mood of the song.
Rating: 10/10

Released: April 9, 1997
Charts: #4 / 204,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: déjà-vu
BUSY NOW is the first single to not be produced by Komuro Tetsuya and its really obvious in the overall production of the song. Instead of the heavy new-jack-swing style, but get something more pop/rock. The verses are an interesting choice that mixes some quieter, almost creepy whispered sections with some more belted parts. The chorus is the highlight of the song with its fast-paced and hardhitting rock backing. It’s quite catchy, even if I’m not a big fan of its dragged out sound.
Rating: 6/10

09. problem
Released: June 11, 1997
Charts: #6 / 173,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: déjà-vu
While we get a change-up in sound with problem, we also get a return of Komuro Tetsuya. This isn’t a return of new-jack-swing, but the signature style is certainly there in the arrangement and the background vocals. I’m not sure what to think of this song really. The verses are a little lost sounding. The chorus is more focused with its darker quality and while the melody has some really interesting points, I can’t say I’m invested in it as much. There feels to be something missing in the overall delivery of the song that leaves me wanting for more.
Rating: 5/10

Released: October 1, 1997
Charts: #5 / 133,000 copies sold
c/w: n/a
Album: déjà-vu
Out of her déjà-vu singles, PRETTY EYES is the one that I can connect with the most. We still get Komuro Tetsuya involved and we still have a change-up in styles with its more country-esque delivery, but there is something sweeter about this one. The verses aren’t that memorable, but the arrangement is quite charming with its mix of piano, guitar and synths. The chorus is where the song really shines though. While it’s really repetitive, the song’s melody is still quite infectious and its more focused delivery is much more welcomed than the confusion of “problem”.
Rating: 7/10