Rina Chinen - Breath: Definitely Not A Yawner.

Aug 2, 2001

The Bottom Line Worth my money, and worth yours too! Support your smaller JPop Artists!

After 3 years, Rina Chinen has finally released her second new album, Breath. (This is actually her 3rd album. After her debut, "Growing", she released "Passage" which was a greatest hits disc.) This new album represents a change in style for Rina, whose first songs had her featuring a higher pitched voice, and a bit of a cutesy style.

Casting off the pure pop roots, Rina turns towards a more R&B inspired style, and shows a lot of substance with her 2nd album, filled with some great danceable grooves.

Track 1: Overture - Breath 1:36

An instrumental track. Nothing spectacular, just an appetizer.

Track 2: Butterfly 3:47

At the point at which you listen to this track, you start thinking to yourself, if the rest of the album is like this, I'm in for a huge treat. Well, you're in luck, because most of the rest of the album is at or above this level of quality.

I can't help but think this is yet another track related to Rina's love of flying. She's often said that if she wasn't a singer, she'd like to be a pilot.

Infectious grooves line this track, the tempo shift as the chrous begins is really cool.

Track 3: Love, Make Together 4:17

One of the three tracks released as singles before the album came out, also one of the three PV's from this album I have. I don't like this track as much as some of the others. Doesn't really use her voice that well, as I don't think Rina normally sings that deep.

Track 4: Never Goes Away 4:24

Sounds like an R&B lite song. I don't generally dig "in between" songs like this. One of the couple average tracks on the album.

Track 5: Something in Japanese 5:32

A slower ballad type song. This one really realies on Rina's voice to pull it through, and she makes it work. Think of "Wing" scaled down a bit. Her voice isn't quite so high, and the pace is quite so frenetic.

Nothing real stand-out about this track, but one of those that makes you let out a nice pleasant sigh while you're lying on your back. Music to chill to.

Track 6: My Dear Dreamers 3:31

A fast paced track. Good beat to it, and the airy background vocals are reminiscent of that 80's song "Catch me I'm Fallin'". Probably the fastest track on the album.

Track 7: Something else in Japanese 4:54

Another slower-moving, chillin' track. It's got elements of a band, sounds like something she'd sing acoustically in an "unplugged" version of the album. The bassline's still enough to get your head to bob, but it's slow enough listening to relax. Utilizes Rina's vocals well.

Track 8: Love You Close 4:40

My favorite of the 3 singles released before the album came out. This was the ending theme to the new Doraemon movie. A really, really nice love song. The way the drum machine kicks in as the chorus starts gives a nice feel to the track, and Rina sounds amazing during long vocal stretches of the track.

Track 9: Early Morning 4:42

A nice crisp track. Basslines run through the track but don't owerpower it, once again, letting Rina's voice do most of the work. More chillin' music.

Track 10: Universe ~ Ring of the Ring Finger ~ 4:28

The beats don't seem to match the lyrics on this song, especially during the chorus. They seem like they're trying to speed that part, but it's the slowest part of the song, and it sort of clashes. Kind of an odd track, but still worth listening to.

The rapper that pops in here is pretty weak. No flow.

Track 11: Control 4:02

This track sorta sounds like you'd hear in it a game of Puzzle Bobble. (Bust-A-Move in the States.) Lots of bubble popping samples and electric organ form the framework of this track.

I think these are the tracks that suit Rina Chinen best. She can use her cute voice, and its set against a light, but peppy backbeat. One of the best track on this album.

Track 12: Give Me Your Love 4:08

This is like a sped up version of "Love, Make Together". The beat is very similar, but Rina has her voice at a more comfortable pitch for her. Better than "Love, Make Together", but not by much.

Track 13: Just Believe 4:28

The best example of the change Rina's change from her last album to this one. Full R&B sounding beats, and in the PV she does what most of the artists in Japan can't do...dance. Probably my favorite track on the album. I dig the stop and start bass and hi-hat.

Track 14: Rendez-vous 4:14

A little bit techno, a little bit trance, and a little bit pop. This track's pretty quick. This track probably has my favorite chorus sequences on the album. Another solid track on this album.

Track 15: Tom 6:56

The longest track, it's a peppy ballad to finish off the album. Another track that really shows off Rina's voice. Really, polished, everything just fits together well to make this song a winner.

Track 16: Club Zipangu 4:13

I sort of deny this song exists. It's a remake of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs", and it's not much better than the original. It's included as a bonus track, so feel free to ignore its existance as well.

With 15 tracks (I'm not counting Club Zipangu.) this is a pretty good deal as Japanese albums go. I've gotten some albums recently that are 10 and 11 tracks. Seeing as how these albums cost like $35-$40 to get over here, I want value out of my music.

I can recommend buying this album to any fan of JPop. It's better than the big releases of this year, Hamasaki Ayumi's "A Best", Utada Hikaru's "Distance", and Kuraki Mai's "Perfect Crime". Add to that the fact that Rina Chinen is damn cute, and you've got a nearly perfect mix.

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