Monday, 17 September 2012 09:23

SMAP – Gift of SMAP

An album packed with surprises as a gift for SMAP’s fans


3.5 stars

Text: Wenting Ang

Releasing their 20th studio album after being in the Japanese music scene for 21 years, SMAP’s Gift of SMAP is a whopping 19-track album, including solo songs from the five members.

An answer song to SMAP’s huge hit single ‘Lion Heart’ in 2000, ‘Angel Heart’ is a sweet ballad, sang from the woman’s perspective. While the calming piano melody gradually leads into the song, the members’ soothing voices and flawless harmony in the track brings goosebumps to the listeners.

SMAP’s Katori Shingo collaborated with Yamashita Tomohisa in ‘MONSTERS’ which is also the opening theme song for their drama series MONSTERS. The thumping synths in the track blended with the duo’s slightly husky voices, creating an extremely catchy and addictive song that would make the listeners want to groove to.

Inagaki Goro’s solo ballad track ‘Special Thanks’ makes use of his slightly higher-pitch vocals to deliver a calming and relaxing track that is enhanced with the use of slightly majestic-sounding strings arrangement.

Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s ‘Karajishi Botan’ uses a traditional Japanese music arrangement, layering it with jazzy trumpets sounds which gave the track a multi-dimensional feel. Kimura Takuya’s ‘La + Love & Peace’ on the other hand, cleverly blends in acoustic guitar sounds in the drums-orientated melody, together with Kimura’s emotional vocals. While vocally-weak Nakai Masahiro’s solo ‘Nee…’ might pale in comparison, his nasal voice gives its own unique pull when coupled with his emotional rendition of the track.

Recommended tracks: Angel Heart, Special Thanks, MONSTERS

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