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Day 36: Miho Fukuhara – “The Soul Extreme II” (2011)
Genre: R’n’B / Pop / Soul
This EP features a collaboration with Akiko Wada. Enough reason to check it out.
The song that made me grab the EP instantly starts blasting into our ears. Get Up! is an energetic, uplifting experience. Soul legend Akiko Wada delivers rough, husky vocals that contrast fantastically with Miho’s clean, controlled R’n’B voice. It’s a battle for power and dominance between the singers, but a friendly one. It’s always nice to see musicians from entirely different generations collaborate – and this song is proof that it doesn’t have to be boring or seem outdated. The song seems deeply integrated in both the 70s and the 10s – that final fourth of the song? It’s just so much fun!
Bad Thing has attitude, with Miho staying on top of the aggressive arrangement, shining through the full production of this R’n’B- and Big Band-tinged track. It doesn’t have the quality of Get Up!, it’s not as memorable, with the melody seemingly oddly familiar – but it’s a good track nonetheless, especially considering how hard it is to find good songs like this ever since electronics took over the pop business entirely.
A heavy drum-beat serves as contrast to light piano chords in Better Than Love, a song that, unfortunately, quickly goes off the deep end, turning into a generic “you are sooooo beautiful and perfect” kind of track, with a bland melody and nothing to say.
A cover of Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning turns out a lot better than anticipated, making up for many of the band’s shortcomings. However, it’s tough to turn a decent song into a great one – even a good delivery and arrangement can’t do all that much to save Sunday Morning.
Well, this is just disappointing. At track 5, the EP already ends. Giving us one last cover – of KUWATA BAND’s One Day, before saying goodbye. It’s a pretty little cover, with a simple, focused arrangement, but not all that memorable.
The Soul Extreme II starts off pretty fantastically, then shows a sharp drop in quality and only just about recovers by the time the album ends. I seem to be attracted to records that continuously drop in quality, never fulfilling their promise. Well, this is one of them.