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Kuroki Meisa debuts Hellcat

Kuroki Meisa debuts Hellcat

by oroitsme on April 30, 2009 · 5 comments · AddThis

Kuroki Meisa
Kuroki Meisa, in Hellcat promotions
Artist: Kuroki Meisa
Product Code: SRCL-6996/6998
Release Date: 2009.04.08
Highest Ranking: #9
Label: Sony
Limited Edition: DVD

Kuroki Meisa is a young talent rising in popularity. A quarter-Brazilian from Okinawa, she was discovered at a young age and became a model for the fashion magazine JJ. Her beauty gained her attention and popularity; she is regarded by the public as one of the most beautiful young talents, and is among her contemporaries in the group of new young model-actresses gaining popularity. She has been blossoming in an acting career, taking roles in popular dramas like “One Pound Gospel” and in popular movies like “Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru,” “Chakushin Ari FINAL,” and “Subaru.” She was awarded a Golden Arrow newcomer award in 2007 and a Hashida newcomer award in 2009.

Kuroki Meisa
Kuroki Meisa promoting Hellcat at HMV (natalie.mu)

Although she had sang for the movie “Crows ZERO” in which she had a starring role, the song was not released. In 2008, she officially debuted into singing by releasing “Like This,” her first official song, available via download mobile phones only. The song was used in collaboration with her commercial campaign for AU Sportio mobile phones. In 2009, she reprised her role in the sequel “Crows ZERO II” and contributed the song “Bad Girl,” along with an announcement that she would now officially debut as a singer with a debut album, Hellcat.

The album had regular and limited versions; the limited version included a DVD that had three PVs. Despite no official preceeding singles and having only eight tracks, Hellcat did well commercially. It debuted at #5 daily on the Oricon and ended up with a #9 ranking for its debut week, selling more than 10,000 copies.

 

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1. Hear the Alarm?

The start-off track starts off strongly, attitude-wise. The song is heavy in synth and Meisa’s voice sounds vocoded at parts, as for a lot of the vocals she sings a monotone, almost reggae-rap portion. The song gets it purpose done in setting a tough atmosphere for the album, but as for the song itself, “Hear the Alarm?” is questionable in enjoyability when the same sounds are repeated over and over. The vocals are monotone and the composition itself is dull; the song would be more fitting as a short opener than an actual track.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

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2. Like This

“Like This” is her debut track that was used for Sportio mobile phone commercials. It’s a mainstream club-hip hop song that employs a steady, heavy beat and strong atmospheric synth instrumentals. Like many of its genre, “Like This” focuses exclusively on one melody strain. Meisa’s vocals are fairly monotone in this song, kind of like a mix between singing and rapping in the entire chorus. At other verses, her voice is strong and direct. In certain parts, she channels Amuro Namie – not only in the genre of the music itself, but also in a sultry but high quality of her voice and intonation of her words that sounds quite similar to Namie’s.

The video is gorgeously directed and has a nice dance sequence. Overall, “Like This” is a great dance track, although its monotony makes the song lack a bit for casual listening.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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3. Bad Girl

“Bad Girl” continues the hip-hop style, but takes everything up a notch. More of Meisa’s vocals are displayed – in “Bad Girl,” she relies more on her lower registers, displaying a new husky feeling to her vocals. Comparing this to “Like This,” you can tell how much vocoding was done in the previous song – in this track, you can hear more unique vocals qualities in most parts. The song itself is much more dynamic in both its instrumentals and in the melody, as both display a greater range.

The video for “Bad Girl” also takes more chances with more dynamic costuming, an interesting and unconventional dance in a box, and overtly sexy scenes that pushes boundaries. This is probably one of the most openly sexual PVs debuted so far in 2009; “Bad Girl” holds nothing back.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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4. Criminal

If “Bad Girl” is the sexy femme fatale, then “Criminal” is the gorgeous but cheeky girl next door. The song starts off with a drumbeat that, compared with the heavy synth preceding it on the album, is a breath of fresh air. The melody itself is interesting to listen to, as Meisa switches between her deeper ranges and falsetto, along with cheeky repetitions of “crimi-crimi-criminal.” The song is danceable without sounding too serious, and retains a note of fun despite being backed by heavy synth; it’s an excellent example of a dance track done right.

The video reflects the fun aspects of the song. The set is colorful and decorated, Meisa herself has costume changes and even looks like she’s having a good time, and the dance sequence is quirky.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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5. No, no, no

On a completely different route, “No, no, no” sounds reggae-infused with minimal backings of a syncopated synth beat and drumming. Meisa’s vocals are less forceful and more sultry and switches between singing in a rich low tones and thin high tones. Although it’s not the catchiest or most well-produced song, the style is interesting and gives an unique sound to this album.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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6. SEX

If you were expecting something sexy sounding from a song titled “SEX”, you’d definitely get what you wanted. “SEX” is a slower midtempo track with sulty and sometimes breathy vocals. The lyrics don’t mince words at all – Meisa croons out lyrics like

Give me a taste of your honey
Take it away once again
秘密を知り尽くしたい (You know all sorts of my secrets)
Goin’ crazy ’cause I’m thinking ’bout SEX.

“SEX” also features an English rap portion by a male rapper in the middle of the song supported by spoken portions by Meisa herself. The song has melody and backing that are powerful, yet still understated enough to balance out the strong and aggressive words in the lyrics. What keeps this song from being a terrific song is that parts of it are still lacking, namely Meisa’s voice, which although pleasant and sensual when low, becomes strained and scratchy in the chorus’s numerous high notes.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

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7. Lost

This is probably the intended ballad track on the album, although it’s just more of a dance track with slightly more ballad-like backings and slower tempo. “Lost” is conflicted from the start: should it be slow like a ballad, or should this be a dance track? Should Meisa spend most of the track rapping, or should she sing into registers just out of her reach? What results is a track that tries to incorporate everything, resulting in a tempo too slow for the aggressive synth beat to become a dance track, and Meisa erratically switching between rapping and singing falsettos for too-high notes. To its credit, the way the song incorporates ballad piano into the verses is nice when its not overpowered by the strong beat, and Meisa’s voice is pleasant when she doesn’t reach for the high notes she just can’t quite get to.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

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8. THIS IS CRAZY

“THIS IS CRAZY” is possibly one of the most vocoded songs on this songs, but it does give a pleasing smoothness to Meisa’s vocals. Despite its name, “THIS IS CRAZY” is pretty much a warm-down from the album with its slow tempo and mellow beats. At many parts the song gets boring as Meisa does her half rapping, half singing to an uninspiring melody; at other parts, it’s interesting when her voice is duplicated during the chorus for her “it’s getting far too crazy” lines and danceable during the simple chorus. In the end, it results in a song that’s good at parts, but overall just mediocre.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

Conclusion: Hellcat has its share of amazing hip-hop dance songs – but for every gem of a song on the album, there’s also a mediocre one filling out the tracklist. Kuroki Meisa is an artist whose quality of music depends on her producers – she can either come up with songs that are infective and danceable, or dull and irritating. To the album’s credit though, there isn’t any song on the album that’s terrible. Despite some mediocre tracks, Hellcat is still a very strong debut with several attention worthy songs.

As yet another model-actress breaking into singing, Meisa’s effort is strong with her surprisingly amazing songs and music videos. Although her range has distinct limits, her voice is unexpectedly good and she has the perfect smooth, sultry voice tone for her genre. She’s displayed her ability to dance and her increasing ease of slipping into the role of a classy sex siren. Her style is very similar to Amuro Namie’s; although few in the industry can rival up to the queen of hip-pop, Meisa gives a good effort in portraying herself in both image and music as a equally sexy but more aggressive Namie. It’ll be interesting to see how Meisa’s singing career progresses – and as long as she releases songs that are as high in quality as “Bad Girl” or “Criminal,” I’ll be a fan.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

 

Regular Edition Limited Edition

CD Tracklist

  1. Hear the Alarm?
  2. Like This
  3. Bad Girl
  4. Criminal
  5. No, no, no
  6. SEX
  7. Lost
  8. THIS IS CRAZY

DVD Tracklist

  1. Like This
  2. Bad Girl
  3. Criminal

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

oroitsme loves Japanese music and loves writing about them, both here and at her other blog, She likes a variety of j-pop, from Johnny's like NEWS and Arashi to female artists like Otsuka Ai and Perfume to rock bands like chatmonchy and a picking of everything in between, and hopes you can enjoy them with her.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

EnvyEyes October 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I really want to purchase a physical copy of this Album now and blast this in my car. Digital Download just isn’t cutting it with this Album. I need more.

And a new Album in January. Then Utada’s upcoming Singles Collection Vol. 2.

I just don’t have the money now, but hopefully I get around to it before I play the heck out of this Album Digitally.

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linda UNITED STATES March 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I think all of Meisa’s songs are nice regardless of how she sings or raps. Her voice is adorable and makes the songs more catchy, especially “like this” and “lost”. Even though she sounds similiar to Namie, there’s a certain thing about her voice that you can compare to Namie’s and know that its Meisa.

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Even NORWAY July 26, 2009 at 4:57 am

The cover, songs seem so much like Namie that I would almost call it a rip off. She even sings much like her. and she’s also 1/4 foreign blood. I hope she can find her own niche in the end.

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sljinu AUSTRALIA May 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm

She’s very hot but her music wasn’t all that impressive to me. The only one I moderately liked was Criminal. It looks like she’s relying on a sexually provocative image to sell her music more than anything else so I get the feeling she’s a Koda Kumi hack. On the plus side, she is a lot hotter than Koda Kumi lol

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1337rice May 1, 2009 at 9:47 am

When I saw the PV for Bad Girl, I was like “dayummmmm…I’m sure guys would just buy this without caring.” :D……all the lingerie and smexy moves on the bed…*drool*

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