Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ohno Satoshi - Power Vocals Hide Behind this Quiet Exterior

No, I didn't think this pre-pubescent looking
guy was actually the leader of Arashi when I first joined
the fandom either. He's just too... pretty!
The leader of Arashi may have come to this position by a chance game of janken (rock-paper-scissors), and his leadership may be decidedly lazy and unassuming on their variety shows and interviews, but the moment he parts his refined (almost girly) lips at any musical performance, you will understand why all the other members stick firmly to the leader they chose way back in 2000 on Shonentaimu. His voice is just...heaven. When I first got into Arashi, I identified Ohno as the "voice of Arashi" because his was the one I heard most; he had the most solo lines and even in choruses I got the feeling that the sound engineers upped the weight of his voice in relation to the others. Not that I blame them. Ohno's voice is like that fine whirring engine that knows how to respond to even the slightest change in pitch or power. His control is fantastic and unrivaled in Arashi (and I'm tempted to say, in all of Johnny's, but I won't because I'm not actually familiar with all Johnny's idols), and it just soars so beautifully wherever Ohno pilots it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Aiba Masaki, the Tall, Giggly Manchild

Aiba being bashful on VS Arashi.
Aiba, as I have mentioned elsewhere, is really one of those personalities that just aren't around that commonly anymore. It's so hard to describe him in a single phrase, but I settled for "the tall, giggly manchild" in the title; that's because while it is by no means the only side to our darling Aiba-chan, it is the most prominent side that tends to get emphasized in Arashi bangumis, in fandom, and even in the La Tormenta lyrics (don don ban ban, talking in onomatopoeia? Looks like even Arashi themselves like to think of him as the child-like one). And boy, do we love this side of Aiba. Manchild Aiba is a package of bubblicious fun, always energetic, always spouting ridiculous proposals that make you question just what sort of logic runs in that gorgeously shaggy head, and always positive. He's someone we instinctively feel as friendly and approachable, despite being able to pull off one hell of a smoldering sexy face; I personally think that's because he never seems to judge anyone and generally has straightforward desires that he's not shy about voicing.

But of course, it would be terribly remiss of me to glide into the next section without bringing your attention to the well-oiled sexiness that is the non-manchild Aiba. Here are a few pics for reference.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

愛を歌おう (Ai wo Utaou) - Song Review

So LOVE was released on Wednesday, and I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive from cdjapan, but naturally, the tracks are already posted on youtube and I couldn't resist listening to them. So yeah, you get the idea of what I've been doing with my spare time for the past five days. The result? Ah-may-zing! I post here a review of the opening number of LOVE, which is aptly named 愛を歌おう (Ai wo Utaou). It's my favorite track in this album by far. 

I'm personally no crybaby, but I could feel a speech-impeding lump forming in my throat when this track surges into its vocal and orchestral climaxes. Whoever composed the melody and the orchestral parts is a musical genius and should stay with Arashi forever and ever. The melody itself has a great shape, swooping and climbing, full of tension and release; and with this musical arrangement, which I absolutely adore, it packs quite a punch in all the right places.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Favorite Arashi Songs

It is always a daunting task to choose a top ten or even a top twenty when you're talking about artists as prolific and as variable in style as Arashi. So I'm not even going to try to limit the number of songs I talk about here. I'll just give some of my thoughts on the songs that particularly stick with me. They're not in any particular order.

But first, I'll digress a little by talking about some playlists I have on my iTunes, because I just need a reason to post pictures of these awfully good-looking boys.

I have a few Arashi playlists on my phone. They're named after members, of course.

Under Arashi Aiba, I have happy songs, things that make me nod my head and smile cheekily like SuperFresh and Everybody Zenshin and most of Aiba's solos. Arashi Aiba is like the boy-next-door who comes over all the time and wants to pick up your mood by making you appreciate all the little things until life is not mundane anymore. Everybody loves Aiba. I have such a soft spot for him, and this playlist is so dedicated. I play it a lot in the morning right after I get up, to remind me that the day is beautiful, and that Aiba is telling me Ganbatte!

Yes, that's right. Hidden inside this tender-faced shonen is a powerful voice that will take you far far away. 

Arashi Ohno is pure magic. It will transform me into a soaring bird. It's because his voice is just so suited to taking flight. It's got such clarity, such power, such precision, that you feel like you are a piercing ray of light shining out of a crystal and shooting straight into the clouds. In this playlist, I have all his solos and I also have songs where his voice picks it up to a different altitude (like movin' on and Monster).

Arashi Nino is a little melancholy, and a little sentimental. It's the perfect soundtrack for a night alone, with only a glass of wine and the distant voices of the streets for company. It's what you're feeling when you enter heartbreak hotel, but it's also what you feel deep down inside for every wasted day you spend hating yourself for not doing more with your life. It's got anguish, it's got sorrow, and it's got tons and tons of regret. Select Nino solos (and some Ohno solos!) and Arashi ballad numbers such as truth, refrain, Akashi and Your Eyes are included.
I was tempted to post the an an pictures, but that would have been "very, very danger."
Arashi Sho is manly, sexy, and full of swag. He wants to get into your face and really make you listen to him. He's the type of guy you want to be rapping in your ears when you need to rough it out in the gym or just when you're just feeling fly. His voice is husky and low but very distinct, and you can hear him chugging out his words with a gruffness that you wouldn't ever imagine to be in a person as polished as he is. But Arashi members surprise us at every turn, don't they? It's part of their charm. The playlist is upbeat with a bit of in-your-face conceit, the type of thing you want to cross your arms and wear your baseball caps sideways for. Think A.RA.SHI, a Day in our Life, Pikanchi, Jidai, and of course La Tormenta.

Arashi Jun is one fine beast. Where Sho is swagger, Jun is slick. Arashi Jun has a futuristic feel. Jun knows how to be smooth and sexy, and he likes to take you for a ride while he's at it. There's something about that nasal voice of his that, when flattened and treated, is the perfect vehicle for a ride into an alternate sci-fi universe. Arashi Jun is something to play when one is dressed in a sleek leather suit and strutting down the street, ignoring all the heads you turn, because, like Jun, we can be vain princesses ;) *smirk* Songs we princesses strut to include Come Back to Me, Face Down, Breathless, Intergalactic, Mada Minu Sekai E, Lotus, and a swoonworthy number called Tokei Jikake no Umbrella.

All right, on to my favorite songs!