Wherein I put the ol’ iRiver on shuffle and post the first five songs that come up.
Arab Strap – Flirt: An upbeat song from the Scottish duo, flanked by monotone vocals and some subtle piano. This is one of those songs that takes a little while to get good. The song begins simply, but eventually builds on itself in regards to instrumentation, vocal style and layered beats. Not one of my favorite Arab Strap songs, but good nonetheless. Ayumi Hamasaki – evolution (Countdown Live 2004-2005): Every New Year, it’s customary for Hamasaki to hold a Countdown Live concert that begins in one year and finishes in the next. Not meant to be performed more than once, the concerts are usually more intimate and less flashy, though I have noticed that has been changing; apparently, no matter how little it is performed, Hamasaki is worth the extra production costs. Even though she is not the greatest live singer, it is worth mentioning that for a pop singer who even sometimes follows in choreographed dance steps, all of her singing is done live, and the effort definitely manifests itself. This is an interesting live to come up on my shuffle, because the evolution single was first debuted at her 2000-2001 Countdown Live concert at the stroke of midnight. This is fun, there’s a lot of improvisational shouts, and Hamasaki even lets the crowd join in on some of the singing. SINBA – Fantasy: SINBA is a very unknown Japanese pop singer who hasn’t released anything for years. As mundane as her songs may be, there is, however, definitely something unique that I like about SINBA and it’s a pity that she never released a full album. Her songs are pretty hard to find over the Internet and I only happen to own this song because I bought the single. Takanori Arisawa – Etude #2 Usagi-chan Gayaatekita: This is a piano instrumental from the Piano Fantasia release of the anime Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. Yes, I used to be a big fan of the show, which I now only admit for sentimental reasons as I no longer like anime or the show but to deny that I liked the show and the five bazillion soundtracks released in accordance with it would basically wipe out a good portion of my childhood and the path that led me to Japanese music in the first place. This is a very cutesy, almost cabaret styled piano song that sounds like something you could tap-dance to. Yuki Kajiura – Red Rose: I don’t know too much about Yuki Kajiura except that I own her Fiction album and still haven’t given it the attention it deserves. I have, however, learned that she did a somewhat disappointing rendition of “Canta per me” from the Noir soundtrack. From the all too brief perusal I did give the CD, it has elements of traditional New Age mysticism with very modern dance and pop beats. There’s chanting and sitars alongside tribal drumbeats and bagpipes with synthesized rhythms. This is not the best song off of the entire CD, but it’s not a bad one. This one is almost entirely instrumental, which doesn’t do much to showcase Kajiura’s excellent English pronunciation, but it does give you a good idea of what the CD sounds like and the violins are nice. Sorry, that’s all I got. Except that is does tend to sound rather cheesy and Enya like after a while.