Three cardinal laws in Mikuni Shimokawa hits: (1) easy listening or ballads, (2) nasalish vocal, and (3) simplistic-yet-adequate arrangements of the tracks. And Sayonara mo Ienakatta Natsu, if any, stays mostly true to all of them.
In case you don’t know about her and ended up asking “Mikuni Who?”, feel free to check on these references. ^^
Soo, back to the topic. I eventually got my hand to this July 2007 release album, which serves as the singer’s 4th full-album as well. It was about last month, when I eventually got my hands on the tracks… it was 11 tracks in all. To sum it up: it’s your usual Shimokawa-genre with the mixture of pops and ballads in it.
Not everything is fresh-from-oven however, since you’ll find about four tracks ported from her two-previous hits singles (i.e. Minamikaze and Bird). A slight minus in my opinion — though if you never listened to them before, you might find that the compilation is rather well-packed instead.
Well, that’s for the intro. Comes the article…
About this Album:
Artist Mikuni Shimokawa Genre(s) Easy listening, Ballads, Pop Number of Tracks 11 Release Date July 4, 2007
01. Futari no KAMERA 3:49 02. Sayonara mo Ienakatta Natsu 4:11 03. Ai-iro no Sora no Shita de 4:35 04. Ubiquitous 3:02 05. Kimi no Negai 4:34 06. My Home 3:57 07. Minamikaze 4:05 08. Bird -album mix- 5:07 09. Mouichido Kimi ni Aitai 5:11 10. Altair 3:07 11. Sayonara no Owari ni 5:32
On My Notes…
Listeners familiar with Shimokawa’s vocal from her early albums might have noticed that her vocal has gained a little more power in it, most considerably after she released Minamikaze in 2005. Try comparing her Alone (2000) with the eponymous ace-song Minamikaze, and you’d get what I mean. 😉 In my opinion, the same tendency continues in Bird (2006), though, of course, that doesn’t make her a singer-with-powerful-vocal like Maaya Sakamoto or Utada Hikaru. Somehow, I just get the feeling that her vocal got… matured? Or something like that.
Well, that quality is also there in this album. The now-stronger vocal — mainly in track #2, #6, #7, #10 — serves me impression that her way of singing somehow changed: from your usual-20-something anison-specialist into a singer for more serious listening audience. Though slightly, compared to her early hits like the so-ballad Karenai Hana or Alone.
However, despite the vocal development, her style is somewhat reminiscent of the classics we can mention. It’s kind of fun that track #4 Ubiquitous reminds me of All The Way (2003) in its own way; or how track #1 Futari no KAMERA‘s guitar arrangement, in some parts, sounds (subjectively) like her Sore ga Ai, Deshou?. There are also somewhat-experimental musicalities that considerably differ from her classics, like track #3 Ai-iro Sora no Shita de (FYI, it’s folk. For God’s sake: Shimokawa-san sings folk! xD ). Another would be track #10 Altair, which, in my opinion, is a Maaya Sakamoto’s Yuunagi Loop slightly-sounds-alike.
On The Tracks…
1. Futari no KAMERA (3:49)
A slightly upbeat song with a good reff. Somehow reminds me of Sore ga Ai, Deshou? with its guitar and backing vocal.
2. Sayonara mo Ienakatta Natsu (4:11)
Pop-ballad track which, in my opinion, can fit to be Notting Hill movie’s soundtrack — if only lyricised in English. 😛 An easy-listening track people may want to find in drama scenes.
3. Ai-iro no Sora no Shita de (4:35)
Shimokawa-san’s now-stronger vocal mixed with folk-styled arrangement. Reminds me a bit of The Corrs — though I (personally) don’t see it as very enjoyable.
4. Ubiquitous (3:02)
Cute song with cute arrangement. Catchy with its guitar interlude. Young woman in love? You bet.
5. Kimi no Negai (4:34)
A port from her earlier Bird single. A light-hearted song that people may want to listen to in the morning.
6. My Home (3:57)
Nicely-arranged song, with the bass and drums adding up well to the vocal. One of my favorites.
7. Minamikaze (4:05)
The ace-song from the 2005 Minamikaze single. An upbeat piece with quite excellent arrangement, though I personally feel that she stretched her voice a tad bit in this one.
8. Bird -album mix- (5:07)
Ported from the 2007 Bird single. A rather good ballad that got remixed for the album version. I still prefer the original version, though. ^^;;
9. Mouichido Kimi ni Aitai (5:11)
The fourth unoriginal song in this album, also from the 2005 Minamikaze single. Slow-serenade type ballad with hopeful sounding lyrics, which somehow reflects an aura of solitude.
10. Altair (3:07)
A typical easy-listening pop track with the usual beats. Slightly sounds comparable to Maaya Sakamoto’s Yuunagi Loop, though it might be just me. 😉
11. Sayonara no Owari ni (5:32)
Slow serenade-type ballad with minimal instrumental arrangement. Has identical impression as the song Tegami from her Bird single album, while the latter has more highs and ups compared to the first.
Having listened to this album for a while, I’d say that this album is quite a good compilation of pop and easy listening tracks. At least, most of the tracks are leisurely enjoyable. The tracks are good, and still wouldn’t disappoint those who are familiar with the singer’s earlier anison hits as I’ve mentioned above. The only significant minus aspect in this album, however, is that it contains four ported tracks from two previous singles, rather than fresh 11… leaving objections of those who have listened to Bird and Minamikaze before.
…which, unfortunately, is a group of people I belong to. Oh well. 😆
So, the final words: if you’re into easy listening songs, or if you’re a seasoned Mikuni Shimokawa fan, then this album is likely to suit your taste. Even better if you haven’t listened to Minamikaze and Bird at all — I mean it. 😉
#1, #2, #4, #6, #7, #9, #10