Aira Mitsuki: ‘Copy’ – Album Review

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Released: September 8, 2008

Aira Mitsuki’s record Copy is a bit of a mystery. Hailing from the prefecture of Saitama, Ms. Mitsuki was the winner of the 2007 Mega Trance singing competition, recorded her debut track “Colorful Tokyo Sound No. 9”, and the song even landed a major gig for the Japanese release of the science-action flick Transformers. It looked incredibly bright for Aira’s career music, but Copy, her debut record, didn’t manage to bump sales upwards on its initial release, peaking at a mere 48 on the Oricon Albums Chart and sold just over 5,000 units overall. But whilst she’s proven to be the digital J-electro princess of Japan since, it’s still a fascinating conundrum as to why Copy didn’t do so well. Because to be quite frankly honest, Copy is a pretty catchy and astonishing debut.

The album is an electro-feuded collection of catchy hooks, synthetic production, and a complete saturation of auto tune and vocoder pyrotechnics. Majority of the composing and production is handled by To-West, amongst many others, many of whom probably thought that Yasutaka Nakata’s mid-2000s streak of club-pumping albums would be a credible approach on a young artist such as Aira Mitsuki. However, though it may sound similar to Yasutaka’s sound, Copy still penetrates a pretty convincing and original sound without sounding to unauthentic or recyclable. Songs like the pop-friendly “Galaxy Boy”, dance-ready “China Discotica”, the Perfume-esque “Colorful Tokyo Sound No. 9” (that title though…), or sparkly “Heart Line Alive” bring forth a club-ready rhythm that still works around Aira’s over-dosed autotune vocals.

Moreover, some tracks focus more on the backing tracks rather than the overall desultory lyrical content or themes; for example, the groovy “Fantasy Candy”, the bassy “Height Bash”, or the stylishly simplistic “Swallowtail D.A.N.C.E.” (yet another unconventional song title). However, at times, Copy feels repetitive, and following tracks start to feel trivial to the rest of the set, like bland offerings “Yellow Supercar”, “Darling Wondering Staring”, “Happiness Land”, or the additional remix versions (although they sound is very mellowed out). Particularly the latter features on the album, they all sound like Aira is trying to dab into the generic market of J-Pop. Thankfully, Copy only suffers from these tracks and doesn’t necessarily make Aira your typical Japanese idol.

Overall, Copy is a pretty trendy and slick electropop album. Unlike many other sole musicians in the Japanese scene, Aira Mitsuki had proven that youngsters like her don’t have to follow suit into pretty yet characterless field of pop to make pretty good music. Because, all in all, Copy is a damn good record that includes everything and every element to make a catchy pop hit.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. GALAXY BOY ~Liam’s favorite~
  2. China Discotica
  3. Colorful Tokyo Sounds No. 9
  4. Darling Wonderful Staring
  5. HEART LINE ALIVE
  6. China Discotica (Substance remix)
  7. Fantasy Candy
  8. High Bash
  9. Swallowtail D.A.N.C.E.
  10. Beep Count Fantastic (feat. Terukado)
  11. Yellow Supercar
  12. Happiness Land

 

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