Japanese, Reviews

Sweet Candy: Ken Hirai’s New Candy Single (Review)

November 7, 2009 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook Sweet Candy: Ken Hirai’s New Candy Single (Review)on Twitter

Dale was actually the one who turned me on to Ken Hirai, one of Japan’s top make J-pop stars. We talked about him in one of our OSVchannel episodes, and we also learned that he was under consideration to record a song for the Final Fantasy series, but the general consensus at the time was that most of you were more interested in female J-pop artists, but hey, he’s my favorite, so you’re going to have to live with it!

His last album was the amazing Fakin’ Pop in 2008, and while Hirai has been pretty quiet since then (he generally takes his time with his music), he’s released two singles in the last month alone. One of those singles was Candy, which features three new songs from Hirai, and offers a few surprises in the process.

Find out what Ken Hirai is up to this time in our review of Candy after the jump.

The disc opens with the title track, “Candy.” It’s really a fitting title given just how sticky sweet this one is with its twinkling bells and shrill synthesizer work during the chorus sections. The verses are pretty smooth with stop-and-go synth chords and some snappy percussion, but the chorus section gets really energetic as Hirai hits some amazing highs. Overall, the track reminds me of some R&B stuff in the States, and has really grown on me.

The next track, “フルサ・サイーダ” (Furusa Saīda) is another interesting one that takes on an ethnic flair. I think he’s saying something about a belly dancer, and the musical backing, despite being really poppy, sounds like it’s going for that Middle Eastern vibe with shaker percussion and some bendy synth lines that sound like they’re trying to summon a snake out of a basket. And don’t say that’s racist… it sounds like that’s the stereotype they’re going for.

“Do It!!” rounds out the three-track set, and it’s probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s kind of a deep and funky track that’s a bit melancholy, contrasting with the previous two tracks. There’s this really neat synth line that mirror’s Hirai’s voice during the chorus sections, creating a really cool effect. There’s a lot of English in this one, too, so even if you don’t know Japanese, you’ll know what’s going on.

I’m actually surprised by this single. “Candy” and “Furusa Saida” are pretty different sounds from Hirai, and “Do It!!” is awesome. I wonder if this is any indication as to what Hirai has in store for his next album, but I imagine it will be a long while before we ever really know. In the meantime, I recommend checking out his Candy single at Play-Asia if you’re a fan of Ken Hirai. It’s apparently his thirtieth single, so celebrate with some sweetness!

Are you a fan of Ken Hirai? Any thoughts as to why he’s cramming two singles into the span of a month rather than spreading it out?

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