Ai Otsuka – Pocket

by trinka on July 9, 2008 · 1 comment · AddThis

Ai Otsuka
B-Pass Nov. '07 feat. Otsuka Ai
Artist: Otsuka Ai
Product Code: AVCD-31322/3
Release Date: 2007.07.11
Highest Ranking: #5
Genre: Pop
Label: Avex Trax
Limited Edition: CD+DVD

“Pocket” (ポケット/Poketto) was first heard by the fans attending Ai’s Autumn 2006 LOVE IS BORN ~3rd Anniversary 2006 tour~; a year later it was finally released as a single. Pocket was actually on the preliminary tracklist for her LOVE PiECE album but was later removed. In fact, Ai herself told excite that “well, in the beginning, there weren’t any plans to release the song, Pocket.”

Ai Otsuka
Ai-chin promoting 'Pocket'

In September of 2007 Pocket was officially scheduled to be released, just one month after her fourth studio album hit shelves. Avex described the single as “a chance to warm your heart this winter.” The cover sleeve artwork were quite cute, featuring Ai in a wintry field, and the promotional materials all held a color scheme emphasis on red and white.

 

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1. Pocket (ポケット/Poketto)

“Pocket” is a heart warming ballad. Ai said that “within all my works so far, I don’t think I’ve ever put in as much feeling and thought into any one song,” and her emotion is quite apparent in how poignant the song is. The song started with a fairly standard piano and bass arrangement, giving “Pocket” a more dull first impression than some of her very intricate and layered ballads. However, those were soon joined by orchestral and percussion that increased in depth with her singing to create a lovely song. Ai really delved emotionally into this song; not only did she write and arrange the song, she is also credited for the piano in the recording. In a Weekly Oricon interview, she also mentioned that “I wish I could have played the guitar.”

In the lyrics of the song, Ai relates about how she wants to be part of a strong couple and not be a burden to her boyfriend. She describes how he is kind and patient to her, propelling her even more to try to be a helpful girlfriend instead of someone who needs to be constantly doted on.

I don’t want to be your heavy burden,
I’ll warm that chapped hand
of yours
Because I’ll always be by your side.

Ai-chin’s vocals are much less nasally and squeaky then most of her releases, delving into low register notes and fully utilizing her vocal talent. Despite a simple melody line, she sings in a way to bring life to fairly monotone verse. In its simplicity and sincerity, Ai creates a wintry song that reads along her own emotions and tug along the listener’s heartstrings.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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2. Ticket (チケット/Chiketto)

“Ticket” flows well from “Pocket” and is stated by Ai herself that “Pocket” actually sets up “Ticket.” There is an oddly sophisticated air to a cute song. The track is a continuation to the previous track, acting as a traveling song; just think as if the couple on the train in “Pocket” started riding to greener valleys, and that’s “Ticket.”

Ai seems to be coaxing some one reluctant to go on a trip with her.

Just got a ticket for a long travel
I’d like you to go with me
don’t you think tears would be shed?
don’t you think pain will be bumped?
don’t you think a smile would be repeated?
don’t you think it would be wonderful?

Although the lyrics reflect Ai’s cute and playful songwriting, the arrangement of song is sophisticated due to the use of strings. Guitar riffs throughout provide a playful disco-esque touch and keep the song from being too serious. Ai’s vocals sound more matured in this B-side as well, still sounding fun but significantly less high-pitched.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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3. LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE

While “Ticket” was cute with a twist, “LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE” is the bubbly cute song Ai is famous for. “LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE” is Ai’s first all English song, and is more of a fun novelty song compared to the other tracks on the single. The song is based on guitar and has simple, repetitive English lyrics. Nonetheless, it’s a nice song with a fun melody and beat.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion:

Despite the high quality of the single, this is Ai’s first single to sell less than 100,000 units since her debut “Momo no Hanabira“. Musically, “Pocket” is a strong single with three passionate, sincere songs along with beautiful graphics and packaging. I usually don’t review singles I don’t like, so needless to say I think you should pick up this single if you enjoy j-pop.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

'Pocket
'Pocket' cover

Tracklist:

  1. Pocket
  2. Ticket
  3. LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE
  4. Pocket ~instrumental~
  5. Ticket ~instrumental~

DVD Tracklist:

  1. Pocket PV

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Thanks to oroitsme for cleaning up this article, and sljinu for the translation of Ai-chin’s Exite Music interview about ポケット。

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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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

かぼ July 18, 2008 at 2:08 am

Sweet. I bought this album for 1250 yen in Shibuya, Tokyo as a souvenir. :)

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