Aya Matsuura thread 2007 Week 41 (October 7 - October 13)

from here to here


Marcello first posted two montages from Aya's swing performance of "Rappa to Musume" that was the highlight of last week's "Music Fair21" honoring composer Ryoichi Hattori:

and Fumi explained Matt the meaning of Aya's head ornament: Jazz hat Thanks, girl :-)) The performance is recommended listening, even for folks like Quintaxos or silenceglaive who thinks that the Jazzy Version of that one song is even listenable for someone like me who usually runs at the word Jazz.

Matt then uploaded two nice sets, one of offical images: and scans from an article from "Health & Beauty" magazine: . Plus some older official images:

silenceglaive reviewed the latest Meringue: The Meringe show was "soso" ... Well okay mabe it's just me but I would have loved to have Ayaya talk to the quests.... The 3 hosts are like "old", "scary" and "cutie". ( The oldest one (I asume) seems to be a jdorama actress too... There were only a few Ayaya moments in .... Hrhr best would be Ayaya in that vibrating think .. "tanoshiii~~~~" Later on she was reduced to be just a cute asset of the show .. though she had fun. Sometimes I think if you tell a really funny joke she might fall from the couch and do a lifesize "rofl" Matt replied That has quite frankly been the "problem" with Meringue all along. It is Hisamoto's show (that's the scary one :-)). She's an old pro, and bloody good at it too. And too often Aya has been reduced to kawaii decoration. Whether she is just being overshadowed by the larger-than-life personality of Hisamoto or whether this is supposed to be a learning year for her as talkshow host I dunno, but in the long run this role can't be satisfying for her, the producers or all Aya fans. Aya's role would become a topic in the coming week too btw. As for

To atstrbcks's question which Aya dorama to watch usagi no kami suggested "The Black Hair Woman" which was acknowledged by everyone who had seen it as a nice little scary affair. In fact it did scare quite a few of the members =:-0 Though Alienpyon did "critize" her frequent clothes change in such a short period of time :-))) But I guess that's how girls are...

Matt reported the upload of all his 44 Sky PerfecTV commercials and posted two scans from "FromA" magazine

New Aya fan Vermillion nicely described Aya's way to his heart (I am sure a lot uf us can relate): I just discovered Aya about 3 weeks ago when I watched "Sukeban Deka". I found her to be really intriguing with those piercing eyes and badass attitude, so I decided to find out more about her. Little did I know she had this huge career as a cute singer/idol! Then I saw the videos for Ne~e and Momoiro Kataomoi and I was hooked! I had never seen such bright, cute, happy videos before, starring the cutest girl singer I think I have ever seen. So now I am a big fan of Aya. She reminds me of my other favorite female star, Mandy Moore, in that they are both trying to transition from being teen stars to more mature roles. I also found Mandy in a similar way, after watching her in the movie "A Walk to Remember". They both went from the "big, toothy smile" to the "closed mouth smile" as they got older. I love Aya's singing. I was never into the Celine Dion/Mariah Carey/Ethel Merman singing style that many female singers use these days; so I find Aya's style and tone very appealing. Plus she is just so nice to look at. Aya pulls off the "wide eyed look" so well... I've seen other Japanese singers who looked like they have had their upper eyelid removed or something to do what Aya does with her eyes.

Well, and then........

......................Double Rainbow was released

The first to come forth with a verdict was Azagrath: It's a nice and pleasant album. Can't really say I'm overly impressed, but I'm not disappointed either (I didn't really have any expectations beforehand). After the nice but kinda dull Naked Songs album I was hoping this album would be a return to form for Aya. Not nescessarily a carbon copy of her old stuff, but at least more up-beat and with a little more energy than the latest stuff. So, the big question is, is it? Well, somewhat, but not quite there either. Largely a mid-paced album, the songs come and go. They're nice and pleasant to listen to, though I do miss the stand-out tracks. On first listen, only Happy To Go really shines (besides Suna wo Kamu You ni...Namida, which I love, but we've all heard that one already. Same with Egao basically.). It's the sort of fast and bouncy, fun and light-hearted Aya track I really love. Onna Day By Day also has it's moments, and kinda falls in the same category, though the melody is a little bit... I dunno, I don't really wanna use the word generic, but... still, a nice track by all means. The rest of the songs are all good, though they lack that extra something to really make them stand out. Again, this is based on the first spin, so I'm positive they'll grow on me a lot.
Next came Matt with probably his longest post ever: I did love Naked Songs and still hope she will travel that road further at one time, but I can understand the decision after the sales disaster to travel more succesful paths. I'm in no way a musical expert (and am not interested in that aspect really), so my assessments come directly from the gut. And I can't talk about the lyrics as I don't know what they mean :-) This is like Azagrath a first run impression. Could be that I'll think differently tomorrow.

01. Ima wa Let it Be
I like the song a lot as it has (like Hyacinth) a few moments and harmonies where you get the impression that this is an album coming from an Asian country. Something which is lacking in almost all H!P (if not Jpop itself) songs. Basically it's Western pop music that is no different than European or US pop. Just that it's sung in Japanese :-)
So thumbs up here

02. Happy to Go!
I am always reminded of Kylie Minogue here (and not only because of the word "Lucky" in the title). A happy song that will fare well at concerts I'm sure. Gets me in a good mood, so thumbs up again.

03. Soulmate
Could've been (and should've been) a whole lot "blacker" and harder (or jazzier). A missed chance by drowning it in the easy listening production style that is of course dominant on this album. So I guess it does fit in, but as an individual entry: thumbs down for reasons given above.

04. Double Rainbow
One of those melodies that sound great and emotional, but don't really have any substance at all. In other words: It pretends to be more than it is.
So like Soulmate nice listening but forgettable and thumbs down.

05. Blue Bird
Don't really have any feelings here. Maybe this one will grow on me, as it's not a "poser". So thumbs undecided :-)

06. Kaze ni Makasete
Another good mood head bopping song, a bit simple maybe. Thumbs undecided again until further notice.

07. Suna wo Kamu You ni... NAMIDA
I love the song, but why include an old one on a new album without doing it any differently? Thumbs down for that reason.

08. Toudai
See comment on 05. Pretty, but boring. Right now one of those songs that you skip to get to the next one.

09. Hikkosenai Kimochi
Could have been a VERY interesting number with more courageous production. Rockier for example. Again a missed chance. But I like it, so thumbs up.

10. Onna Day by Day
One of the better songs which like Happy to Go will do good live. Thumbs up

11. Egao
I like Egao a lot and I still can't understand that it didn't do better. Maybe they did overdo it on the high notes, but at least here you know what she is capable of and what hasn't been used on this album on the whole. Thumbs up

What is good is that they let Aya's voice stay in the foreground on all numbers, not having it get lost in multiple voice tracks, chorus or instrumental mixes. In the end it's her voice which makes this album worthwhile, though (except for Egao which was already a topic in this thread) there's not much of a challenge for her vocally. She can do a lot more and is given songs that can be sung by almost everyone really. Azagrath is right. It's Easy Listening (at its best or worst - take your pick) without any real highlights. Good albums can make you associate with feelings of your own. This one doesn't. It's pleasant. Good to hear on your drive to work and while doing homework. But is that enough for someone who can do so much more? She did start to develop a style of her own, but instead of developing that they took half a step back. In German you have an expression: "weder Fisch noch Fleisch" (neither fish nor meat). But I'll listen to it on my way to work tomorrow again. Maybe I'll think differently then :-) I guess after listening to "Rappa to Musume" I know (as if I didn't before) what she can do. And in which direction she should go - if she wasn't with H!P. She's the perfect swing singer. Well, maybe some time in the future... Until then I'll love this album. Oh btw, in today's folders update....but BUY THE ALBUM!!

Azagrath replied I think the main "problem" is that with a lot of the songs, they're playing it really safe. I would love to hear Aya do more jazz, swing, bigband, whatever. It's just, I really would like the songs to be very energetic (think more along the lines of Mr. Moonlight for example) and... I dunno, loud. Daybreak on Maki's new album is jazzy and quite low-key. Still, it oozes sensuality and finesse. Aya's stuff in that vein is way more relaxed, pleasant, and it's a lot easier for it to fall into the boring category. I can't really see Aya doing it like Maki, nor would I want to. She'd be perfect in a much more lively and energetic performance. As it is right now, it's way too easy listening, adding a bit later: Okay, so my download finished and I think this album is great Though some songs may be a bit slow, and then even later: Ima wa Let it Be, HAPPY TO GO!, Kaze ni Makasete, Hikkosenai Kimochi, and Onna Day by Day were my absolute favorites on Double Rainbow. The other songs were great too, but these I just fell in love with right away. Fumi agreed on Aya's singing in that I agree exactly, I believe this is her destiny! Do you know who is American singer Ella Fitzgerald or Brazilian Astrud Gilberto? I have heard these, my uncle has recordings of them, these are good role models for Matsuura, I think! because they are so much internal feeling coming into songs and so much variety of tone in voice, also total command of rhythm. I know these are very old singers but jazz is very old type of music, yes? although always new too. And Zephyr added to Matt's comments on "Happy to Go!: Agreed! I've been living on the preview until I get the album (hopefully tomorrow?*), but I have to say that I adore this song. It makes me smile every time I hear it =D And the thought of seeing it in concert is pure love ^.^
Next was mangomalte:
currently listening to the album for the first time. i'm on Double Rainbow now. nothing that has been "OMG! this is great!", but Happy to Go! was really good. and i know that Egao is amazing already. i'll give my final verdict when i'm through it, but i think it'll take a while before i've fallen in love with this album. so far it's good, but not awesomely amazing. it's kinda catchy with those background singers, though, edit: wow, i really liked blue bird. while Wolf enjoyed it a lot! Makes me feel happy

Next to follow was silenceglaive:
01. Ima wa Let it Be
Sounds good Lighthearted and friendly Song

02. Happy to Go!
The Name says it

03. Soulmate
I do not really know ... but I think this is someho a song that isn't that lively in the lyrics as in the music. Not compeltely my style too.

04. Double Rainbow
A nice Ballad song with a bit theatralic influence. Though it lacks at least a strong ending reprise (like Infection of Chihiro Onitsuka has).

05. Blue Bird
I somehow didn't even notice this song come and go ... so it is at least a good flowing song ^^...

06. Kaze ni Makasete
Again a better song With an upbeat mood too. Like the tone and harmonics here

07. Suna wo Kamu You ni... NAMIDA
Really nice song Stands out a bit and I wonder if it'S good to have this song overshadow even Egao a bit. Okay it's a bit lower and pleasant in tone as Egao..

08. Toudai
Hmn I am unshure about that song.. Somehow it lacks a surprise in melody. It's kinda predictable... not that it sounds bad though.

09. Hikkosenai Kimochi
Again a ambivalent song. It's different so to say.. but some parts kinda sound out of tone ?_?

10. Onna Day by Day
Again upbeat I can imagine Ayaya dancing to it at the live performances. People will love to dance to it

11. Egao
I remember my first post about that song ... Somehow I like it much more now. I somehow think they "rounded" the top notes a bit and so it sounds better .. might be only imagination.

Over all it's a good Album I'd say Pleasant to listen but maybe it lacks some more outstanding songs ... I hope it will have good sales for Aya. On a last remark ... Egao reminds me of an old ELT song "Futari de Jidai wo Kaetemitai" ... somehow the refrain has the same tempo and similar melody I think

And here are the CD inlet scans:



mister.mori brought to our attention the fact that Aya was a guest on "Waratte Iitomo" (tracker and folder), describing her outfit: "Tsuji" style bun hairstyle, black long sleeve turtle neck, black crucifix earrings, black bead necklace, black and red checkered dress, black tights, white boots, beautiful smile...CLEAR! wardrobe disaster averted!
Matt especially liked her facial expression in this cap:
and silenceglaive commented: Pretty funny to find out which answer is the right one. Lucky for me that I could figure out at the pictures what it meant. And on top I recognized 2 ppl in the jury. As there is this old guy from Music Station and on the far right one of the actors of the jdrama "Ushi ni negai wo". Beside the usualy cute Aya laughing moments there was another pretty dominant expression. I think she could rival Fukuda Kyoko in a battle about the cutest clueless look (maybe they should have taken her in Yama Onna Kabe onna) ^^

Wolf thought that Aya had lost some weight to which Quintaxos replied that she always appeared rather skinny to him while jw042693 had noticed her face looking a bit skinnier too. Interestingly Vermillion observed: To me she looked heaviest in her Spring 2006 concert video, especially when she changed into the orange dress. She seemed to go back to her normal size later in 2006-2007

And silenceglaive held up the tradition of commenting on Aya's radioshow FiveStars: Somehow nobody listens to the Ayaya Radio Show Well I did and found it fun again. Okay one can discuss about the DJ Ozma song in the middle All else was good selected and she had time to advertise the Album. And from what I understood was fun things about game center and stuff... did I hear pachinko in between. And well even if you do not understand you know that Aya always telling fun things .. at least she laughs much.

Quintaxos wondered about Aya waking Matt up every morning which gave your editor another chance to brag about his alarmclock, and mister.mori was looking forward to Aya singing "You're My Only Shinin' Star" on Uta Doki (Aya was the first "special feature" in the fifth season with six episodes in a row - especially the "talk day was funny when Eri Kamei as silenceglaive correctly aboserved started off with a "kawaii~~~" towards Ayaya , which caught her unprepared). Here are three caps from the "Egao" episode: , and S-N-I-P-E-R posted a very funny veoh link of an impersonation by Miracle Koharu on an August episode of Gyao Midtown:

Vermillion was curious if Aya was the best-selling solo artist HP has produced and observed that it's interesting because when they talk about GAM on this board, it seems to always be about Miki , with Aya as "that other girl in GAM". Kind of like saying, "Oh yeah, that Paul McCartney, he's that guy that played bass for George Harrison in George's band". mangomalte answered well, she has had the advantage of not being a former musume (like abe, goto, iida), so she's been releasing solo stuff since the beginning. if miki hadn't joined MM i think she would've released almost as much as ayaya (she joined H!P a year after aya). And i certainly don't think that ayaya is the lesser part of GAM, after all it's Great Aya and Miki, not Great Miki and Aya (although that is a kinda stupid argument since GMA isn't a very fitting name for a unit). anyway, for me they're equal, i don't see any of them bigger than the other one. which is pretty nice. And Matt added: Aya's been the only successful pure-solo artist, with (especially in the early years) the biggest sales. And I don't quite know who "they" are. But it might be due to Miki being in MM, and MM being the flagship of HP. Fumi finally answered silenceglaive's longing for a cartoon to answer the question: , adding: Of course, easy! Matsuura = 157.5 cm (5' 2"), Fujimoto = 156 cm (5' 1 1/2")

usagi no kami enquired about the origin of this image: It was from the September 8 edition of Meringue (tracker and folder)

Vermillion asked about the origin of "Aya no DNA" and observed: She looks so cute in it. I thought it was funny after she punched and kicked the villain to the ground, the villain asked her if she was "Sukeban Deka"... She says no and then the villain remarks that this kid doesn't even know what "Sukenban Deka" is! She finds out in a few years though. Our own Sherlock Holmes, sville1999 found out that Aya no DNA is part of Idol o Sagase (Search for Idol)

Matt then posted scans from Oricon: , Azagrath brought us a comics about Miki being bored right now: and Marcello gave us the first glimpse at Aya's performance of "Egao" at Music Japan

Matt presented Aya's new look on the latest Meringue Captions anyone? Like "How big is.... (fill in the blanks). First I thought "Tsunku's brain", but nah, that would be too big...then I thought "Tsunku's ego", but nah, that would be too small... to which Alien remarked She's obviously talking about Miki's "something". Not about Tsunku's :-))
And to close off this eventful week here are the obligatory caps from the talkshow:

Pheeew. That was a long one.... Cya next week :-)))