[Album] MISIA – Mother Father Brother Sister

MISIA debuted in early 1998 and hit it out of the ballpark with her catchy R&B tunes and powerful voice. She was able to score two top 20 hits before the release of her first album, which helped catapult her to stardom. Mother Father Brother Sister is her debut album and was released just five months after her debut. It hit #1 on the charts and sold 2.5 million copies.

Released: June 24, 1998
1. Never gonna cry! -Strings Overture-
2. K.I.T
3. Koisuru Kisetsu (恋する季節; Season of Love)
4. I’m over here ~Kizuite~ (I’m over here ~気づいて~; Realize)
5. Interlude #1
6. Tell Me
7. Kiss Shite Dakishimete (キスして抱きしめて; Kiss and Hold Me)
8. Cry
9. Interlude #2
10. Chiisana Koi (小さな恋; Little Love)
11. Hi no Ataru Basho (陽のあたる場所; A Place in the Sun)
12. Hoshi no Furu Oka (星の降る丘; Starry Hill)
13. Tsutsumi Komu You ni… (Dave “EQ3” Dub Mix) (つつみ込むように…; Like Being Wrapped Up)
14. Never gonna cry!
15. Never gonna cry! (Junior Vasquez Remix)

Never gonna cry! – Strings Overture- is a really cool way to open the album. It is basically a blast of strings and really hypes up the energy. Then it switches right into K.I.T, which opens with a pretty high note by MISIA. The piano is especially prominent at the start, but soon a really powerful beat comes booming in. She usually gets her albums pumping with an exciting upbeat tune and K.I.T does not disappoint. I don’t think the melody is particularly catchy, but the music really brings the energy and MISIA’s vocals are insane. I really like how the background vocals are laid out because it gives a really fun vibe. Koisuru Kisetsu brings us something a little more midtempo. I really like the more laid back feel of this song. I do find that the overall song is a bit more forgettable and there aren’t many strong hooks. However, MISIA’s definitely helps to carry the song and there are some charming parts to the chorus. I do wish the music matched the power of her vocals. It was released as the B-side to the second single. I’m over here ~Kizuite~ keeps up the midtempo speed, but has a stronger R&B influence. I really like this one because the verses have a bit of attitude to them. The underlying piano really brings a nice touch. The chorus melody isn’t the most catchy, but it does a great job of showcasing MISIA’s vocals. A strong album track. Interlude #1 is exactly what it is. It has a jazzier vibe to it, but it’s pretty cool. Tell Me keeps up the R&B sound and I love it. This one definitely has some 90’s hip-hop soul going on and it works so well with MISIA’s vocals. I really love the beat to this song, which ties nicely with the brass instrument-like backing of the arrangement. The touch of guitar also brings a bit of spark to things. The melody is probably the catchiest up to this point and I love the chorus hooks. Probably the strongest album track. Kiss Shite Dakishimete is the first ballad on the album and it’s an interesting twist. It leaves behind the more programmed sound with something a bit more acoustic. It’s definitely on the gentle side of things, but MISIA is able to work with it. Unfortunately, I do think it’s the weakest song up to this point. It is just too long for its own good and drags on. Also, there are few changes to the song by the end. It’s a relaxing tune, but nothing stands out. Cry is a nice return to a more dramatic sound. The song definitely sounds more melancholy than a lot of the other stuff on here and MISIA sounds great in her element. I don’t think the verses are particularly great because it feels like the vocals don’t totally mesh with the music, but the chorus is definitely much better. It’s more unpredictable and there are some good hooks. Interlude #2 is a bit different from the others with its cool use of background vocals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go into something with that sadder sound. Chiisana Koi is a cute little pop/R&B tune. I do like how strong the beat is and I do like how positive and bouncy it sounds. However, the overall song is a bit on the boring side. It doesn’t have a captivating melody that really keeps things popping. It might’ve been better if MISIA belted it out a bit more at the end, but it is nice to hear her restrain herself. Hi no Ataru Basho was released as the second single A-side and it’s one of my favourite MISIA songs. It’s a bit more upbeat and has a great R&B sound with some cool synths and brass instruments. While the chorus is definitely amazingly catchy, it’s actually the verse that I dig the most. The hooks here are insane and really work with the laid back vibe of the music. MISIA’s voice is also top notch here. Great. Hoshi no Furu Oka is the second ballad, but it’s definitely the most full-fledged pop one. It really is like one of the power ballads of the 80’s. It has a classic melody and the music is a nice combination of the piano and strings. This is the kind of the song that showcases voices and it does exactly that. MISIA really shows off her control here and even though she does strain a bit on some notes, very few J-Pop singers could contend with her performance. The arrangement isn’t particularly interesting, but it does get more interesting as things go on. Not bad. Tsutsumi Komu You ni… (Dave “EQ3” Dub Mix) is a remix of her debut single. The music is definitely different here and the opening isn’t as explosive as the original. I’m not sure if I like this one as much as the original because it loses a bit of its energy and the ending decides to play around with the music instead of the melody. The song itself is stellar. It has a great R&B beat and features some brass instruments. It’s one of her catchiest songs, although the original is definitely stronger. Never gonna cry! is the B-side to her debut single and this is another stellar track. Here with have something with a strong disco sound and it’s a great way to end the album on a high note. The strings and brass work great together and have a very lighthearted feel to them. The song is actually in English and MISIA is still able to bring all her power into it. It’s a cool tune. After a short break, the song will turn into the Junior Vasquez Remix. Unlike the disco-like original, here we are given something with 90’s dance. It’s actually pretty good. I’m not a big fan of remixes, but the song keeps the original structure, which just works really with the music. It’s not as strong as lighthearted as the original, but it’s not bad.

Overall: I was expecting an R&B album and I got one. I am pleasantly surprised at how strong the album actually is though. Obviously there are a few weaker songs, but the overall delivery of the album was one of quality. MISIA’s voice is insane and she is able to make even weaker songs work well, but there are many solid songs on here that really complement her voice as well. Would recommend tracks 4, 6, 11, 12, and 13.