[Album] Goto Maki – 3rd Station

3rd Station is the third album released by Goto Maki. It was her first album to chart outside the top ten and it only sold 32,000 copies. The three singles were relatively successful, with all charting within the top ten, but they weren’t able to replicate the successes of her past singles.

3rdstation

Released: February 23, 2005
1. Ekizo no DISCO (エキゾなDISCO; Exotic Disco)
2. Sayonara “Tomodachi ni wa Naritakunai no” (さよなら「友達にはなりたくないの」; Goodbye “Don’t Want To Be Friends”)
3. Yokohama Shinkirou (横浜蜃気楼; Yokohama Mirage)
4. Singapore Transit (シンガポールトランシット)
5. Rairai! “Shinfuu” (来来!「幸福」; Welcome! “Happiness”)
6. Watarasebashi (渡良瀬橋; Watarase Bridge)
7. Positive Genki! (ポジティブ元気!; Positive Energy!)
8. Sayonara no LOVE SONG (サヨナラの LOVE SONG; Goodbye Love Song)
9. Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger (Goto Version) (恋愛戦隊シツレーンジャ (後藤Version); Love Squadron Ranger)
10. Station (ステーション)
11. 19sai no Hitorigoto (19歳のひとり言; The Monologue of a 19 Year Old)

I wasn’t really expecting what I got with Ekizo no DISCO. This is much different from her past songs because it is much more in the sexy zone. The music is a bit crazy with its pounding beat, flying synths and breathy vocals. I feel like it would have been better if Goto didn’t sing it in this way though because it sort detracts from the melody and leaves a weird contrast between it and the heavy arrangement. It’s a fun opener, but not quite my cup of tea.

sayonaratomodachiniwanaritakunaino

The transition into Sayonara “Tomodachi ni wa Naritakunai no” is a weird one as this one is one of her more mature and serious sounding songs. It’s definitely slower, but it isn’t quite in ballad territory and I love how nice her vocals sound here. The verses are particularly nice and there is a slow but strong build-up into the chorus, which definitely has more tension and emotion to it. It’s also quite catchy. Probably one of my favourite Goto songs and easily her best H!P single.

yokohamashinkirou

Yokohama Shinkirou is such a weird change with its pop/rock power. I’m not sure if I like this single that much, but I do like the energy that it has. There is a lot of strength in the arrangement with its mix of synths, guitar and percussion, but it is in the melody that things sort of lose its effect as it is quite repetitive and a bit out of control. It’s still a solid tune.

Singapore Transit is yet another change in sound as here we are given something a bit lighthearted and sweeter. This mid-tempo pop tune starts off a little boring for me as the verses aren’t particularly memorable. However, the chorus is so much better. There is a bit of unpredictability in the melody and it helps to create a more interesting sound. It’s not that bad of a song.

I was expecting Rairai! “Shinfuu” to be a crazy song and it is. Actually, I find it a bit odd that this song is included. It’s just really out there and sounds more like a song for a kids show and not something that would fit on here. Certainly Goto has done songs like this before, but not quite to this extent. It’s definitely a fun song and has a pretty catchy chorus, but the music just flashes by and there isn’t much to grasp on. Just a bit much for me.

Watarasebashi is a cover of a song by Moritaka Chisato and was already covered by label-mate, Matsuura Aya. This is a pretty gentle ballad and it’s quite beautiful. I think Goto’s vocals match this song wonderfully and while the song doesn’t have the most interesting arrangement, the melody is actually pretty nice to listen to. Not her strongest ballad, but definitely a solid cover.

Positive Genki! is probably my least favourite song on here. I’m fine with fun and upbeat pop/rock tunes, but the riffs here are just really tiring and they last throughout the entire song. It’s just overpowers the rest of the song. The chorus isn’t that catchy either and it can barely get through this song.

sayonaranolovesong

The album’s first single comes in the form of a classic love ballad. Sayonara no LOVE SONG used to be one of my favourite songs by Goto because I always felt it was quite beautiful. There are some really stunning parts to it, but I feel like it doesn’t quite hit the spot I want. There are some really charming parts to its arrangement like the light guitar and percussion. However, while the song is sweet, it just ends up a bit dull in general.

Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger (Goto Version) is a solo version of a song by sub-unit, Nochiura Natsumi, which featured Goto in it. This is an upbeat pop tune with some rock elements to it, but I don’t quite like this version. I used to like this song a lot, but this one is just lacking a bit. The music is just very noisy and the melody isn’t that catchy either. It is better sung as a sub-unit.

The title track, Station, is a really cool pop tune that I was waiting for. After a few lackluster songs, here we are given something more mature and a bit more dance-focused. I love the beat and I feel like it swirls around with the synths. This also feels like a better match for Goto’s voice. The song isn’t as catchy as I want it to be as the melody is a bit repetitive, but it works nicely with the powerful music.

19sai no Hitorigoto ends things on a more dramatic and touching note. The song is a ballad, but it has a bit more power to it when compared to the other ballads on here. The arrangement is definitely pushed forward by the heavy percussion and I really like it. The melody gets a bit lost as Goto’s voice is a bit too soft for this kind of song, but it is still a nice tune.


Overall: This album is a little stronger than her second one, so at least there is some sort of improvement. My biggest complaint with the album would probably the lack of focus there is. There were so many changes in style and sound between each track that it felt like there was no cohesion at all and was just a jumble of songs. This could be good if the songs were stronger, but here, quite a few were just lackluster and lacking in clear focus within the songs themselves.

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[Album] Goto Maki – 2 Paint It Gold

2 Paint It Gold is the second album released by Goto Maki. While the album peaked at number four, the album only sold half the amount of her first with 52,000 copies sold. The album included four singles which were released before the album and were all top ten hits.

2paintitgold
Released: January 28, 2004
1. Uwasa no SEXY GUY (うわさのSEXY GUY; Rumored Sexy Guy)
2. Genshoku GAL Hade ni Yukube! (原色GAL 派手に行くべ!; Primary Color Gal, Be Flashy!)
3. LOVE. BELIEVE IT!
4. Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON (抱いてよ! PLEASE GO ON)
5. Shiawase Desu ka (Goto version) (幸せですか?; Are You Happy?)
6. Namida no Hoshi (涙の星; Star of Tears)
7. Kuchizuke no Sono Ato (Goto version) (くちづけのその後; After a Kiss)
8. Mirai no Tobira (未来の扉; Future Door)
9. Himitsu (秘密; Secret)
10. Paint It Gold (ペイント イット ゴールド)
11. Scramble (スクランブル)

uwasanosexyguy

Uwasa no SEXY GUY opens in an explosive way and it is great. I don’t really know what to think of the music though. It is really fun and exciting, but it is a pop song with some rock and latin elements to it. Goto Maki also sounds great here and she sounds much more confident in herself compared to her first album. The song does drag on for a bit, but it is a strong opener. It’s no surprise why it was the album’s first single.

genshokugalhadeniyukube

Right after comes the album’s fourth single. Genshoku GAL Hade ni Yukube replaces the funkier elements for something more streamlined pop. It’s a very happy and bright pop song. Unfortunately, it’s not my cup of tea. The melody is a bit bouncy and annoying and how it is sung just does not do Goto any favours. There are some clever bits like the second half of the chorus.

LOVE. BELIEVE IT! brings us a hard-hitting R&B/pop tune. I quite like how heavy the bass beat is even though the melody just glides over it. The chorus isn’t bad, although I don’t think it to be particularly catchy. Still, it’s better than the last song. I just wish Goto added a bit more emotion into her voice to really get the song to the next level.

daiteyopleasegoon

Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON is one of my favourite Goto Maki songs and it’s the best song on the album. It’s a fiery dance/pop tune and it fits perfectly with her piercing tone. The best thing about the song is that it keeps up the energy throughout and has a catchy melody to boot. There is also a funky rap that pops up around the end, which is a fun surprise. A great third single!

Shiawase Desu ka (Goto Version) is the solo version of a song by the H!P shuffle group, Sexy 8. It’s a sexy midtempo R&B/pop tune and is actually quite catchy. I prefer the original because the different voices helped to create some contrast in the melody, which doesn’t quite work as well when it’s solo. Goto sounds good, but just her tied with the awkward H!P background vocals just doesn’t quite tie together as well.

Namida no Hoshi is the first ballad and it’s a pretty sounding one that focuses on the piano. I want to like this song, but it’s a bit boring. The melody is nice, but I think it would be better if the music had a bit more energy to it. The second half of the song has some nice strings coming in, but I think some percussion would have been nice as well. This is definitely one of Goto’s strongest vocal performances on this album.

Kuchizuke no Sono Ato (Goto Version) is the solo version of a light pop/rock song from Morning Musume’s third album. It don’t think it’s a particularly interesting song, but it does add some variety to the album and we hear a gentler side to Goto’s vocals. I do prefer the original a little bit more, but it’s just not a stand out song for me.

Mirai no Tobira is the solo version of the crazy song from Morning Musume’s first album. This time, Goto did feature another H!P group, Melon Kinenbi. I’m pretty sure she sang all the important parts of the song though. It’s a decent tune and has a lot more energy in the music this time around, so it’s a bit more entertaining. I actually like this version much more than the original because the music is fuller and works nicely with Goto’s voice.

Himitsu is another slower tune and I think it’s better than the last ballad. It has an R&B beat which is layered over by the guitar. It’s a nice combination. Unfortunately, the chorus is underwhelming. It just does not have a lot of energy and the melody just sort of goes on in a daze. Goto sounds bored throughout it as well. A bit disappointing.

The title track, Paint It Gold, is the best album track on the album. We finally get another fast-paced dance tune and is really nicely crafted. I love the energy of the music with its disco elements and Goto sounds a lot more powerful here. The chorus isn’t the catchiest, but it’s still one of the more memorable melodies on the album. It’s a great tune.

scramble

The album ends with the second single, Scramble. It’s a bright pop tune, but I think this one is much better pulled off. I really enjoy the music as it is explosive and works nicely with the melody. I do wish the chorus was a bit more impacting, but it’s still relatively catchy. I think Goto also sounds great. It’s not the strongest ending, but it is a decent song.


Overall: This album was way better than her first one. Obviously, there were a few weaker tunes on here, but there were much stronger songs on here as well. While a lot of the songs still had that “Hello!Project” quality to them, it wasn’t as obvious and Goto sounded more confident and mature. I do wish the album had better ballads though as that was where things were weakest.

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[Album] Goto Maki – Makking GOLD 1

When Goto Maki joined Morning Musume in 1999, she was the youngest member as well as seen as the “ace”. Her inclusion sparked a huge rise in popularity for the group and soon after they released their mega-hit, Love Machine. In 2001, Goto started a solo career and after her graduation in 2002, she released her debut album. Makking GOLD 1 is her debut album and includes her first four singles.

makkinggold1
Released: February 5, 2003
1. Ai no Bakarayou (愛のバカやろう; Love’s Fool) [MV]
2. Te wo Nigitte Arukitai (手を握って歩きたい; I Want to Hold Hands and Walk) [MV]
3. Ai tte Donna ×××? (愛ってどんな×××?; What Kind of ___ is Love?)
4. Afurechau…BE IN LOVE (A Passionate Mix) (溢れちゃう…BE IN LOVE; Gonna Overflow…Be in Love) [MV]
5. Date Chuuihou (デート注意報; Date Warning)
6. SHALL WE LOVE? (Goto Version)
7. Yaruki! IT’S EASY (やる気! IT’S EASY; Enthusiasm! It’s Easy) [MV]
8. Moriagaru Shikanai Desho! (盛り上がるしかないでしょ!; Nothing to Do But Get Pumped!)
9. Hareta Hi no Marine (晴れた日のマリーン; Sunny Day’s Marine)
10. Akai Nikkichou (Goto Version) (赤い日記帳; Red Diary)
11. Te wo Nigitte Arukitai (Album Version) (手を握って歩きたい)

ainobakayarou

Ai no Bakarayou was released as Goto’s debut single and it is a catchy number. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it’s a pulsating pop tune with some Middle Eastern elements to it. It’s a bit cheesy with its odd synths, but this is what is expected from Hello!Project songs. The melody is quite catchy and Goto sounds quite good singing, especially in the verses (well, she is much better than when she started). It’s fun.

tewonigittearukitai

Te wo Nigitte Arukitai was released as Goto’s third single and it takes a total swing as a more straightforward pop song. I do think this one is on the peppier side of things and comes across a bit like a children’s song, especially with the children singing the background vocals. I do like the exciting beat and the sparkly synths, but the melody is quite grating. Not really my style.

Ai tte Donna ×××? brings us to a more mature sound with its upbeat pop/R&B sound. I really like the beat to this one, but I feel like the production is quite cheesy sounding. Everything sounds so programmed and kiddish, but I guess that fits Goto’s age at the time (17). I do like the melody and the second half of the chorus is really catchy. I’m pleasantly surprised by this one.

afurechaubeinlove

Afurechau…BE IN LOVE (A Passionate Mix) was released as the album’s second single. This one continues the sound of the last song with its heavy R&B beats. The verses are quite nice, but my problem is during the chorus. The melody is sort of annoying and Goto’s vocals are quite high-pitched sounding and I don’t think it really work well with the melody. It’s a bit of a letdown, but I do like the music.

Date Chuuihou is a bit change with its stronger rock elements. I really like how the song starts off, but I am not liking the verses. I really feel the melody doesn’t quite work with the music and Goto sometimes over-exaggerates her vocals, which makes it a bit too much for this style song. I like the music, but the melody is a bit weak.

SHALL WE LOVE? was originally released as a Gomattou song (a subunit including Goto). I’ve always liked this song because the music is definitely more mature with its heavy R&B beats and funky synths. I do find this version to be a bit empty as it only features Goto and it loses the nice contrast of three different voices. It’s still a good song though.

yarukiitseasy

Yaruki! IT’S EASY is the last single on the album. I find this one, we leave the more mature sound and head back to something a bit more bubblegum pop with a touch of nostalgia. It’s quite cute and reminds of Japanese music in the 90’s. While I’m not the biggest fan of the melody (even if it is a bit catchy), the music is great.

Moriagaru Shikanai Desho! is definitely more pop/rock and I’m not sure if I’m feeling this song. It’s quite cool since it’s the most aggressive song with its fast-paced guitar riffs during the verses, but I don’t quite like the transition into the chorus, since it goes into a more pop route. I wish it was more aggressive throughout.

Hareta Hi no Marine brings us back to that sparkly pop sound. Goto’s vocals are definitely much sweeter here and really fits the song. The beat is quite nice since it is very fast-paced and a bit 80’s. However, I do not like chorus. The melody is really flat and quite forgettable. A bit boring.

Akai Nikkichou is one of my favourite J-Pop songs (it’s on my top 500 J-Pop list!) with its more dramatic pop sound. In the original, Goto was the weakest singer, but you can definitely tell how much she has improved since that time. She is able to carry the song by herself, although I’m a bit confused with the editing as sometimes she sounds really nasally (like herself) and then at other times, she doesn’t. Not as strong as the original (Danielle brings it), but it’s still great.

Te wo Nigitte Arukitai (Album Version) is different from the original. Instead of the childish pop music, we are given a jazzier rendition at the start before we get into the big brass sounds. I wish the entire song was done in the jazzier style, but the execution is definitely much cleaner.


Overall: The problem I had with this album is that while it had some good songs, there was no stellar pieces and there were quite a few duds that were either too crazy or just forgettable. I feel like quite a big part of this has to do with production as the music itself is just a bit too kiddish for me to take the songs as seriously as I want to. There are some nice songs on here though.

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