Please choose an album below. I've numbered all the official albums like this: (#1). The remaining albums are compilations/remixes of previously released songs. New albums are always displayed on the first page.
There are two ways you can sample the songs:
This is the original way I had it set up, where you'll have to manually download and listen to each file. Also, if you hover over the links, you'll see the kanji title of each song.
2) Flash Player:
This flash player will let you listen to each sample in REAL TIME. (^^) Occasionally you can choose between different playlists (especially if the CD is a remake/tribute to another artist's work)
Here's a quick summary of how the flash player works (image opens in a new window)
Click on to access the lyrics. ALL lyrics will open in ONE popup (i.e.: all of the lyrics share the same popup). This way, you won't have a TON of popups open. Besides, you can't read two lyrics at the same time, right? (^^) But if you want to open the lyrics in more than one window, feel free to right-click the links and choose "Open in New Window".
Lastly, to make the pages load faster, the albums have been split into several pages (hence why I alternated/color-coded the links).
regular text (no link) = song not available yet
(Official Album #2)
+Produced by: av
AVCD-23711 [CD + DVD], AVCD-23712 [CD Only]
December 10, 2008
This is Van's second official album. (^^) It was highly anticipated for a number of reasons:
- She hadn't released any original songs (and especially an original album) in a while.
- "manacles" (which is a really popular and catchy song) was never released as a full-size song.
- Based on these samples from her official site, the new songs on this album sounded just as catchy.
- The DVD has 4 of her music videos/PVs: "Flower", "Senkou", "Yumeji", and "Tokyo Biyori". It also has a bonus, live version of "Flower", which was performed at a-nation '06 (held on August 27, 2006).
- The album had a TON of promotional goodies: in-depth interviews, pictures, etc.
And speaking of promotional goodies...some versions of the album have promotional trading cards. (^^) There's a total of FIVE trading cards, and (unfortunately)
each card is available at a different
online store. (CDJapan and YesAsia DO NOT have cards. ;_;)
When I got this album, I couldn't wait to hear it! I had already decided to hear the new songs first; then I'd hear ALL of the tracks, in order.
When I played them in order, I discovered that all of the tracks mix nicely: they fade into each other really well. So yes, "Flower" (and all the other "old" songs)
do NOT sound totally out of place.
Speaking of "Flower", the first new song ("Utopia"), plays right after "Flower". (^^) "Utopia" is a cute, upbeat song -- which pretty much meant that I'd love it (and I do)
. The third track on the album is the highly anticipated "manacles (full version)". And let me tell you: the full version does NOT disappoint. (I just wish there was a karaoke track. >_<)
In fact, I love it so much that I've added the FULL version of "manacles" to the site, so you can download it for yourself (along with the TV Size Version)!
The next new song was "carry out" (Track 6). And unfortunately, there are only three things I remember about this song:
- Part of the music arrangement is cool (it has a bit of a Middle Eastern feel to it).
- Van's voice starts off with a weird auto-tune/synthesizer effect.
- The end of the song fades nicely into "Senkou" (Track 7).
Overall, "carry out" wasn't too special...and it's not super memorable. Plus, the chorus and vocals don't mix well at all. =\
Thankfully, the rest of the new songs ("Refrain" and "Van.")
ARE memorable. "Refrain" is an EXCELLENT track. This is Van's singing at its best. Her voice is so full of passion; you can feel it from start to end.
The last song on the CD is the title track, "Van." It's an instrumental piece, with a simple yet haunting melody. It somehow has a calming and happy effect to it...kinda like Van herself. (^^) My only complaint is that the song is too short. As soon as I felt like whistling along, the song ended. xD
Overall, I think this album is VAN-TASTIC (sorry, I couldn't resist. xD)
All of the songs mix together nicely -- and that fact alone makes this her best album. Her previous 3 albums had a lot of conflicting styles, and some of the tracks felt out of place.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this album to ALL Van fans.
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(Official Album #1)
+Produced by: av
AVCD-17917 [CD + DVD], AVCD-17918 [CD Only]
March 29, 2006
This is Van's first solo release. (^^) The DVD has two clips: the music videos/PVs for "Hold me..." and "Farewell".
The entire album was an attempt to distance herself from Do As Infinity (by showing more versatility in her singing and style)
. As a result, the album was definitely NOT what a lot of people expected. She certainly gave this album an appropriate title: "Farewell".
This album is a mixture of jazz and light pop. There's hardly anything "rock" about this album at all. That might have turned off some Do As Infinity fans, but I happen to like jazz music, so I thought the album was good. (^^) But more importantly, I admire Van for trying to reinvent herself with this album. Think of it this way: if Van kept doing rock songs, or "Do As Infinity"-styled songs, it would have made their breakup more painful. In fact, the breakup would have seemed stupid AND insulting.
So I admire Van for releasing this album. However...even though it's a departure from Do As Infinity's style, I have to admit that some of the songs were dull. They just didn't really have that "WOW!" factor to them. Several songs had a generic beat, or a melody that wasn't really memorable. But some of the songs were the exact opposite, and quickly became my favorites (such as "Farewell", "urara.", "Essence", and "complacence")
. Since it was Van's first time going solo, and probably her first real attempt at singing jazz, I can forgive the blandness of the other tracks. Plus I'm sure that, in time, she'll get better. ^_^
One last thing I need to mention: "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" is a remake of the classic Disney's "Cinderella" song.
2005 was the 55th
anniversary of the film, and re-mastered DVDs (as well as soundtracks)
were released all over the world. Van sang this song for the Japanese version of the soundtrack, and it was later placed on her album, "Farewell". You can learn more about the "Cinderella" OST on her "Collaborations" page
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