25 ~Vingt Cinq~ is the first mini-album released by Abe Natsumi. The title refers to the age she was when the mini was released. The mini failed to capture the success of her previous albums, with it peaking at #21 and selling around 13,000 copies. There were two singles released for the album, both peaking within the top ten of the charts and outselling the mini itself.
Released: March 14, 2007
1. Itoshiki Hito (愛しき人; Beloved Person)
2. Sweet Holic (スイートホリック)
3. Otona e no Elevator (大人へのエレベーター; Elevator to Adulthood)
4. 25 ~Vingt Cinq~ (25 〜ヴァンサンク〜)
5. Kuchibiru de Tomete (くちびるで止めて; Stop at My Lips)
6. Gesshoku no Hikari (月色の光; Moonlight)
7. Amasugita Kajitsu (甘すぎた果実; Fruit that is Too Sweet)
The album opens on a positive note with Itoshiki Hito, which is a bubbly and bright pop song. Considering it is from 2007, it still feels a bit outdated sounding and ends up reminding of something from ZARD in the 1990’s. It’s not a bad song though and actually has a really nice and full arrangement that really works well with Abe’s vocals. I do find her voice is get a bit overpowered at times and I wish the chorus was a little more memorable, but it’s a solid opening.
The album’s first single is Sweet Holic, which is another bright pop song. I wasn’t particularly interested in this song at first, but it actually has a really sweet and catchy chorus. The verses aren’t that great to me as they sort of just rumble along. I think some of the problem comes with the music that just sounds a bit awkward at times and a bit too programmed. Luckily, the chorus saves things.
Otona e no Elevator is another uptempo pop song, but this time with a bit of an acoustic swing. I wasn’t expecting too much from this song, but it actually surprised me quite a bit. The verses aren’t that memorable, but the chorus has a great quality to it that makes me think of the countryside. My only problem would be that Abe’s vocals do sound a little thin here.
25 ~Vingt Cinq~ is the album’s first slow song. It’s definitely not on the exciting side, but it isn’t bad. The chorus is sort of dragged out and I think the gentleness of the music really works wonderfully with Abe’s voice. She sings it quite beautifully. I just wish the music had a bit more power to it as it goes on because it keeps at the same level for its entirety and it feels like it will build to something bigger.
Kuchibiru de Tomete is a great surprise as it has some punch to it. It has a stronger latin vibe to it, which I was not expecting. I find the verses to be a lot of fun, but I did wish the chorus was a little better. It’s catchy, but it brings some synths in that sort of take the song into a stronger “pop” category and it loses its edge. Still a nice tune though.
Another ballad comes in with Gesshoku no Hikari, but this time we get something with a bit of traditional Japanese spice. This is easily one of Abe’s best songs in her whole discography. The music is absolutely gorgeous and works wonderfully to catapult the melody in the chorus. The verses are also surprisingly solid and help to bring a nice contrast to the fuller chorus. Stunning.
The album’s second single comes sliding in right at the end and it’s one of her best songs. Amasugita Kajitsu takes the latin sound of Kuchibiru de Tomete and amps it up by ten. It has a sensual quality to it that isn’t really seen in most of Abe’s music. The chorus sort of zooms by with its fast-paced melody and hooks, but it still leaves a strong impact. It’s exciting and catchy. I love it.
Overall: This was a huge surprise for me. Considering Abe’s first two albums were quite weak and featured decent singles but lackluster album tracks, I was really surprised by the quality of the album tracks here. The singles were still strong, especially the second one, but I ended up loving one of the songs and really enjoying many others. There are no weak songs on this mini.