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Station To Station SPEEDY EDITION: Music Station For September 10, 2010 Featuring Arashi, GLAY And Ai Otsuka

A very special edition of Station To Station this week, as my computer is currently making noises usually reserved for a Nine Inch Nails song and I’ll be sending it into the shop for the weekend. So we will be blazin’ through this week’s tunes because my laptop could explode at any moment. Let’s dive in, and remember kids NEVER BUY AN HP.

Arashi “Love Rainbow”


Arashi continue to wallow about in the sentimental muds that also stained there last single “To Be Free.” As you could guess, “Love Rainbow” chokes with “dramatic” strings, feel-good singing and a grandiose air better suited for a Care Bear’s movie. Some credit needs to be given out – whereas “To Be Free” came off as a totally joyless affair, “Love Rainbow” at least features some goofy electronic swells lurking in the back and a danceable beat. Still, Arashi continue snail-crawling towards becoming just another Johnny’s group, all traces of humor or character marking other tracks slowly being snuffed out for whatever reason.

Ai Otsuka “I Love XXX”


I’ve bagged on Arashi a bit for being “sentimental,” but I should really say “the wrong kind of sentimental.” Their latest singles try way to hard at convincing the listener they are singing an emotionally charged song. It’s all syrupy strings and twinkles and other forced sounds hitting at once. Ai Otsuka’s latest offers an alternative – well almost. Opening with only some whirring sounds before introducing RESTRAINED strings and a few other instruments, Otsuka sings about loving her family, friends and lover. It’s an achingly simple theme, a plain-as-day way of saying how much she loves certain things in her life. It’s like ending a phone call to your significant other with an “I love you.” Besides being simple in lyrical aims, Otsuka also avoids falling into the trap Arashi does by letting the song build, introducing new sounds over time instead of seemingly all at once. She gets a bit too ambitious at the end by bringing in a choir…the live video makes matters worse by making it full of cute kids…and ends up going a tad overboard. Yet for the most part it’s a lovely little ballad that doubles as a fine blueprint.

GLAY Precious First minute or so


They don’t give ya much to hear, but that might be for the best. What’s there is pretty uneventful J-Rock loaded with overacting on every front. At least Arashi and Ai Otsuka give us something to talk about. GLAY just sorta does their boring thing.

Koda Kumi “好きで、好きで、好きで。”


In which Koda Kumi takes a break from telling us to “lick her lollipop” to give us a ballad any other J-Pop artist working today could have also done. Kumi’s wannabe-raunch-pop songs often come off as idiotic, but at least they are HER idiotic attempts at being….a more blue Pink? On this song she’s just criminally boring and in a way that completely removes her from the song. I never thought I would say it but, I miss the other Koda Kumi.

Ayumi Hamasaki “楽曲未定”

Not online, gonna pass on it then woooo!

Winner Of The Week – Ai Otsuka. Please strangers on the Internet, pray for my computer.