Rina Aiuchi


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Rina Aiuchi's sixth album is a fluffy, fluffy piece of pop candy, as one might expect from the singer. The album opens with the infectious title track, an up-and-down roller coaster of basic J-pop which, in case the intent wasn't clear, commands the listener to "dance dance dance!." After a quick stop by ballad territory (an obligatory step for a female singer at this point), she quickly moves back into her comfort zone with straight-up pop in "Mint." There isn't necessarily anything new or overly exciting in her music, but she does a good job of holding up her end of the musical bargain -- providing danceable tracks with a strong beat and cheerful vocals. The movement to more of a "climbing" sound in "Party Time Party Up" does provide a new element of arrangement for Aiuchi, working in something of a syncopation with the main beats and slinking around the rhythm rather than simply following it for the full course. After another quick turn with a ballad, this time to a much nicer "Sakurairo," the mood goes decidedly electric with "Bara Ga Saku Bara Ga Chiru," full of deeper electric guitars and a strong attempt at a rock track. There's a bit more of a techno bent in "Silent Motion" that forms a nicer contrast with Aiuchi's vocals, not entirely unlike some of the works from the Ali Project (though at a much lower level of complexity). Aiuchi finishes off the album with a string of ballads. Few of these truly stand out after "Sakurairo," but the rest are able to stand on their own as decent, if relatively lackluster, affairs. The same could be said of the album as a whole -- there are few moments of truly memorable music here, but the individual tracks do their best to stay at least mildly interesting. Trip didn't prove to be as good a seller as some of Aiuchi's other albums, and that appears to be symptomatic of the relatively standardized format of her songs.