B'z

B'z the Best Ultra Pleasure

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After over two decades as one of the top (and arguably the top) rock band in Japan, B'z produced two best-of compilations in 2008, the first being B'z the Best Ultra Pleasure. With 41 consecutive number one singles on the Oricon charts, even a double album isn't enough to contain the band's hits (30 of them are represented here, the rest are on Ultra Treasure). Though the band has had some criticism as being more of a pop band with a rock tinge than a full-fledged rock band, there are strong elements of rock here, from a '80s-styled extended electric guitar solo in the otherwise poppy "Love Me, I Love You" to the blues-based rock of "Zero." With so many hits represented, the album tends to have few points that stand out from the crowd. Instead, the whole is well put-together, a relatively coherent set of works spanning a long career in rock and developing from dated pop/rock compositions to modern power pop and three-chord rock, all the time influenced strongly by various influences in the Western rock world, but adding a specific touch of B'z atop those foundations. As a basic introduction to one of the more influential bands in Japan's rock scene (and always one of the top-selling), Ultra Pleasure does an excellent job of covering all of the necessary bases and never letting the energy falter along the way.

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