sifow’s last Love Spell

by trinka on May 25, 2008 · 4 comments · AddThis

Love Spell promo
sifow promoting Love Spell
Artist: sifow
Product Code: AVCD-23333
Release Date: 2007.08.15
Genre: Pop/Techno
Label: avex trax
Format: CD+DVD

sifow is a very unique artist, she brings some great new genres in to J-Pop. With 2 studio albums under her belt you would guess she’d get some more promotion this time, but as with her previous album “CLARITY” she got little promotion and appeared on very few variety shows, as a result the album failed to chart on the Oricon 300. sifow is also a spokeswoman for G-GAL revolution, a company consisting of journals and interviews to recreate a “fresh” image of ganguro gyarus, which could explain avex’s half hearted promotion of this album.

Love Spell came in 2 versions, CD and CD+DVD. Both version had identical covers. I personally feel this was sifow’s weakest print campaign, the cover was average and in most of the promotional pictures sifow looks weathered and tired. Compared to some of her others, this really displays sifow in a bad light.

 

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01. RULE

This track is a favorite of mine. It starts with a standard beat with repeating “ah”s, then it bursts into a great chorus with lots of synth. Between the choruses it gets a bit boring, sifow’s vocals aren’t the strongest so her low notes are bit mono tone. I really find sifow’s happy super high notes bewildering, in her interviews she has a low rich voice, I’d love to hear her sing a deep ballad. The lyrics revolve around a girl who can’t tell a special someone “I love you.” This is a good track and starts the album on a cute note.

The PV was quite a let down. It featured sifow singing in a fairly boring scenes. It also featured digitally rendered flowers, which looked terrible. I would have liked to see her in better video.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

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02. Tokyo Love Night

This song a mix tropical bells and drums, and synth. sifow’s vocals are a bit bland and it seems the song is a filler. The midi-like piano solo was nice though.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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03. H3

H3 is a very energetic song, it reminds me of an anime opening theme. It contains a lot of what sounds like electric drum beats. It’s a simple song and near the end it loses it’s sugar coated feel with a guitar solo, along with a quieted chorus. While not a strong song it is enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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04. Carat

This song contains a more mature feel compared to the previous tracks. The instrumentals are very reminiscent of video games. With dramatic synthesized beats it seems there is a story-line involved. sifow’s vocals are surprisingly well polished in this track, she hits notes that I would have thought she would need to strain to reach. Even her lower notes don’t seem monotone or boring like in RULE. The song in general has a para-para-esque beat and rhythm. It’s great song, without as much sugar as the previous tracks.

Contrary to what the song sets up, the PV for ‘Carat’ doesn’t use any storyline. It switches from scenes of sifow driving, posing, and… um, dancing? Compared to sifow’s other modern PV, LOVE&PEACE’, it falls a little short.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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05. love regrets

love regrets, a b-side to Nastu Hanabi, starts with a very mysterious blend of looped vocals, and water muffled instrumentals. sifow’s vocal put through an electric filter, giving the whole track a submerged-techno touch. I can picture scene from a video game, Final Fantasy X, when two people dive to a submerged piece of ancient machinery. Though it sets up a great atmosphere, the energy building never climaxes, it just fades. It’s a mysterious song, but it lacks a climax.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

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06. Natsu Hanabi

Natsu Hanabi, summer fireworks in English, is one of her few A-sides and the track shines within the album. It blends traditional Japanese instruments with synth. The drums and (as eyn calls it) the Japanese guitar, help the song that would have blended in with love regrets without them. When I hear the song I picture gypsies visiting a Japanese castle. sifow’s vocals cope with the unusual melody fairly well, but they are a bit strained in certain parts. I would have loved to hear her ‘wail’ like ALAN, this song and ALAN’s debut single contain an exotic feeling which leaves me wondering what sifow’s wail would sound like, if she could pull it off. It’s a great exotic/traditional song.

The PV featured sifow singing in a kimono in a Japanese castle. sifow’s dancing seems awkward and slow in the PV. It one scene she sings while a goldfish swims around her, it reminded me of Ai Otsuka’s Kingyo Hanabi.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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07. Ai-Ai-!!!

Ai-Ai-!!! is a favored b-side,even more that it’s a-side RULE, by many of sifow’s fans. I love the elevator disco feel of this song. I think sifow would have looked cute in a roller rink and a Ayumi Hamasaki’s Ladies night inspired elevator/hotel. The song manages to recreate a disco sound without a dated feel, it’s like a reinvented Japanese disco. It’s a fairly new genre to J-pop, I hope to hear more. While there’s nothing wrong with the song in particular, it didn’t really grow on me.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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08. i WILL

i WILL starts with a rock influenced melody, giving me false hope an “ayu” rock song. It’s an ultra optimistic song with belongs in an anime. It’s good song though the chorus sounds some what too slow, and I feel the instrumentals are too loud between them. The song had great potential as a happy rock ballad but took an average turn into a basic euro-beat song. It’s just an average ‘happy’ song.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

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09. YA-OMOTe

This song has a more aggressive feel, similar to Carat. With rock and techno elements the instrumentals creates a pleasing song. While this track is fair it doesn’t have a real foothold in the album. While not intentional, it’s a filler.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

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10. li no ni

li no ni is a happy track which reminds me of a less rock driven MY ALL by ayumi hamasaki. It contains a complicated mix of instrumentals to create a girlish feel. The composition makes me think of Ayumi Hamasaki’s older releases, similar to “kimi no sora”, a song featured on a
CLARITY. While my Japanese is shabby at best, the song sounds as if she has overcome something difficult. A great happy song.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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11. Natsu Hanabi – Yasakoi gel de nadeshiko ver.

While Natsu Hanabi contained traditional Japanese elements, this remix capitalizes on them and adds traditional vocals. The interludes between the song sound to long, and lose the original song. While this is a dance mix is have little experience with Yasakoi dance so I don’t really enjoy the remix. This remix breaks the song up to much.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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12.(bonus) CLARITY dank one vs. ovrar remix

CLARITY was already a great song (a favorite of rinoa), and this remix furthers it’s quality. It introduces a trance element while still being vocally dominant. Listening to this song reminds me of all potential I saw in sifow. I wish there was still a bagpipe solo though…

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Conclusion:

This album was a bit more diverse in genres than CLARITY, but the album failed to compare to it. I felt genuine excitement when I first heard CLARITY, but after love spell the initial draw has faded. There were strong tracks but none were amazing, plus most were average. sifow has gone on hiatus to start a school and won’t be back until 2010 if at all. Love Spell is a fair album but I’m very sorry it’s the only album we’ll see from sifow in at least 2 years.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Love Spell cover
Love Spell cover

Tracklist:

  1. RULE
  2. Tokyo Love Night
  3. H3
  4. Carat
  5. love regrets
  6. Natsu Hanabi
  7. Ai-Ai-!!!
  8. i WILL
  9. YA-OMOTe
  10. ii no ni…
  11. Natsu Hanabi -Yosakoi Gyaru de Nadeshiko ver.-

DVD Tracklist

  1. Carat
  2. RULE
  3. Natsu Hanabi

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

trinka is a bit scatter brained and tends to rely on senior writers, but he is definitely here to stay and will become a better writer with time.

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International Wota » Blogs Pop Idols » [Blogs] Channel-Ai on sifow’s Love Spell UNITED STATES
June 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Arsenal soccer shirt GERMANY April 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Well done again and keep them coming.

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remblue UNITED STATES May 26, 2008 at 12:15 am

Nice review. ^_^ Glad to see some people know Sifow. I agree that Love Spell wasn’t as good as Clarity. Having bought both albums I was upset with the tracklist mainly due to the fact that all the bsides made it to the album unlike the first album :( Made me wonder why I bought all the singles :/ aside from that though My favorite song from the album was Natsu Hanabi :) A very good song. I would like Sifow to continue making music, and hope one day she does. I think she has talent and if avex promotes her the right way, she can make it.

Reply

Rinoa May 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Glad to see this album reviewed. Excellent review! sifow is definitely a dedicated artist and it will be a real shame that she won’t be working on music for a while. However I have to agree that this album is not as strong as “CLARITY” and fails to produce the magical atmosphere that makes sifow’s music particularly enticing.

Although I appreciate the fact that sifow tried to venture into new genres, they seem slightly undeveloped. Maybe avex couldn’t be bothered on producing something top-notch or polished, since even the photoshoot had a sort of amateurish feel to it. Having said that, there are definitely several gems which will remain firm favourites of mine from this album. Hopefully sifow will return to the music scene in a few years because she’s definitely one of a kind!

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