Fresh off her 2012 world tour announcement, J-Pop singer May'n's third album "Heat" is a j-rock and j-pop purist's delight. Featuring the songs "Scarlet Ballet" which was used for the anime Aria the Scarlet Ammo (Hidan no Aria) and "Brain Diver" featured in Phi Brain: Puzzle of God, the album is hot enough to warm any pair of frozen ears on a cold day.
The latest act under the Victor Entertainment label, May Nakabayashi's popularity has soared in the West since her American debut at Anime Expo 2010. With her spellbinding combination of strong vocals and energetic dance style melodies, both of which are highly prevalent in “Heat,” May’n's third album is a fantastic album to listen to whether you're completing your third set of fifty-pound dead lifts or filling in your one thousandth cell on a spreadsheet.
The entire track listing for the album is as follows:
01. “Brain Diver” (TV Anime Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle Opening theme) Lyrics: Shouko Fujibayashi, Music: Tomokazu Yamada, Edit: CHOKKAKU
02. “GET TOUGH” (New Track) Lyrics: Yuuho Iwasato, Music: Akimitsu Honma, Edit: Shougo Oonishi
03. “Giant Step -May'n ver.-” (Kame Rider Fourze Ending theme) Lyrics: Shouko Fujibayashi, Music & Edit: Shuuhei Naruse
04. “HEAT of the moment” (New track) Lyrics: Akio Inoue, Music & Edit: Akimitsu Honma
05.”Scarlet Ballet” (TV Anime Hidan no Aria / Aria the Scarlet Ammo Opening theme) Lyrics: Akio Inoue, Music & Edit: Daisuke Asakura
06.”Kagami” (New track) Lyrics: Yuuho Iwasato, Music: Hidenori Tanaka, Edit: Hiroaki Yokoyama
07. “SPIRIT” (New track *First performance at May'n LIVE TOUR 2011 WE ARE side-A) Lyrics: Yuuho Iwasato, Music & Edit: Kiyoshi Ikegami
08. “DOLCE” (New track) Lyrics: hal, Music: Kazunori Watanabe, Edit: K-Muto
09.”Number One!” (Included in May'n 1st ARTIST BOOK LIVEALIVE from Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, Co. Ltd.) Lyrics & Music: May'n, Edit: Kenji Ueda
10. “WE ARE” (New track *First performance at May'n LIVE TOUR 2011 WE ARE side-B) Lyrics & Music: May'n, Edit: Kenji Ueda
11. “Koi” (New track) Lyrics: Anju Mana, Music: Kiyoshi Ikegami, Edit: Kiyoshi Ikegami
12. “Jewels” (New track) Lyrics: Shouko Fujibayashi, Music & Edit: Shirou Sagisu
The album's first track, "Brain Driver," the theme to Sunrise's puzzle solving shonen series, Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle, does a marvelous job of establishing the album's j-rock style motifs with its hard rock riffs. Immediately following is Mayn's first new track on the album, "Get Tough." As you can expect from the aptly named title, "Get Tough" is another hard j-rock/j-pop hybrid piece with a message about staying persistent at achieving your goals and pushing yourself hard to make it through the day. Featuring a fantastic guitar solo, it's easily my favorite track on the album and helped pick me up after a hard day at work.
The third track, "Giant Step," which was featured as the ending to the Super Sentai series Kamen Rider Fourze, is very reminiscent of classic eighties style themes featured in earlier iterations of the series. Mega Man lovers will appreciate the song for its highly addicting electronic melody and reminds me of the classic 16-bit masterpiece theme from Storm Eagle's stage.
"Scarlet Ballet," the opening theme from the action rom-com Aria the Scarlet Ammo, was easily the most quirky of the bunch with a neo-classical exposition at its start that breaks into a Eurobeat style piece after a bullet is fired. The crossover style theme is reprised throughout the piece which is very reminiscent of the compositions from Western string quartet, “Bond.” "We Are," the tenth song on the album is a very nice break from the previous nine dance style songs and is a much welcomed ballad that shows off May'n's powerful vocals. "Koi," which translates to “purpose,” is a very emotional duet that takes the listener through a strong catharsis that refreshes them before the final uplifting song, “Jewels,” which is the perfect way to end the album.
With a wide range of melodies from dance style tunes to the more emotional "Koi," May'n's newest CD is another winner in her long line of Oricon top charting albums. As someone who had a chance to attend her concert back in 2010, I for one am looking forward to seeing what’s in store from her during her worldwide tour.
Images © 2011 Flying Dog Inc.