(2017) Voice

Mika Nakashima

... read moreAs one of the top female songstresses of the Japanese pop scene, it's nearly an obligation for Mika Nakashima to touch upon the various styles creeping into the J-Pop world -- rock, reggae, jazz, singer/songwriter balladry. On Voice, largely a collection of previously released singles and their...

01:07′:33″ 14 Songs

1
Mika Nakashima
Life
4:02
2
Mika Nakashima
Sakura Hanagasumi ((Daishi Dance) [Album Mix])
6:09
3
Mika Nakashima
Focus
4:40
4
Mika Nakashima
Eiennouta
5:46
5
Mika Nakashima
Orion
4:48
6
Mika Nakashima
Anatagairukara
4:34
7
Mika Nakashima
My Gentleman
4:34
8
Mika Nakashima
Trust Your Voice
4:15
9
Mika Nakashima
It's Too Late
4:33
10
Mika Nakashima
I Don't Know
4:39
11
Mika Nakashima
Shut Up
3:55
12
Mika Nakashima
Confusion
3:29
13
Mika Nakashima
Flower Of Time
6:27
14
Mika Nakashima
Koe
5:42
Released 28 July 2017, ℗ 2007 (1, 4, 9), 2008 (2, 3, 5-8, 10-14) Sony Music Associated Records

Review

As one of the top female songstresses of the Japanese pop scene, it's nearly an obligation for Mika Nakashima to touch upon the various styles creeping into the J-Pop world -- rock, reggae, jazz, singer/songwriter balladry. On Voice, largely a collection of previously released singles and their associated B-sides, she managed to cover most of that ground fairly well, with her voice itself being the constant factor across the various genres. The album starts out with a basic pop hit, "Life," utilizing a decent range of Nakashima's voice. This is quickly followed by a midtempo dance track in "Sakura" and a more upbeat dance track in "Focus" that could have been a leftover (instrumentally) from Cece Peniston's cutting room floor. With "Eien no Uta," the ever-growing J-Reggae set is given a nod as Nakashima continues her basic soft singing over a reggae guitar and drum loop. The tone goes a bit slower and a bit more torch song as the album progresses, placing more focus on Nakashima's vocals with sparser instrumentation. The focus on her voice is generally a good thing, as the compositions themselves are relatively lackluster and standardized. It's Nakashima's voice (as the album title would suggest) that really deserves to be the star of the show. The acoustic "My Gentleman" works as an excellent showcase for those vocals, lilting along with just enough character to keep the music interesting and emotional. "It's Too Late" provides an interesting jazzy bit, and a pair of songs from Mica 3 Chu (a side project) are straightforward sports anthems with a little less bite than might be expected. Although the aptly titled "Confusion" is a mishmash of ska, pop, and love song, the album ends back where it should, with a focus on Nakashima's vocals. The album is a little uneven here and there, but there's plenty to like about Nakashima and her abilities. Fans should be thrilled, and newcomers can get a taste of the forefront in mainstream J-Pop. ~ Adam Greenberg