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If you're looking for something different to add to your CD collection, this is the album to get. Unlike many singers of today, Mari doesn't seem to write songs that become dated, using faddy sounds that are popular in its day. My personal favorites on this album are the songs "Eternal Summer", "Give It One More Chance", and "Heart's Temperature, Speed of Light".
Mari Music, 1999
Mari Iijima has yet to be signed by a major US label, and that may be on purpose. She does however have a solid following in both the US and Japan. She's had a long career in Japan and ten years ago moved to LA to further both her music and her acting. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about - she played Lynn Minmay in the Anime series and the movie Macross. Her latest album is self produced and only available direct from her at Mari Music. The sound is a the classic light pop sound found on all those easy listening stations. Only she does it without sounding cheesy. I had the chance to catch her live in Denver recently at the Nan Desu Kan Anime Convention (ok, so I help run the thing and this is a shameless plug) and now own the album (SIGNED! be jealous...). The music is a good mix of sad songs and uplifting ones. The melodies are smooth and quieting while energetic at the same time. This is definitely for fans of light music and anyone who thinks Celine Dionne is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but Mari can play the piano and sing really, really well. I give her Four Kites with the hope that Mari has enough copies left in her kitchen for everyone to get a copy.
I really liked this CD the first time I listened to it. Then the more times you listen you start liking it more and more and more. Since I purchased this CD on Saturday at Anime Expo(from Mari Iijima herself) I have listened to it countless of times. Right now its my favorite CD in my collection. This is the first CD by Mari Iijima that I have owned, but let me tell you this I will try to get as many CD as I can of her previous work including her latest Japanese release Rain & Shine. She performed some of the songs during the concert she gave at Anime Expo 1999, unfortunately I was not able to get in.
The tracks are just excellent, my favorite track is the English version of "D" (original can be found on Rain & Shine).
The quality of the mix is great and the musicians are top notch. I immediately recognized the names of some of the musicians that play on this album. Gregg Bissonette is one of the best studio drummers in the world, Matt Bissonette is one of my favorite bass players around(I myself are a bass player). Michael Landau is a great guitar player. The three of them also played on a few of the songs of the soundtrack for the Japanese version of Gran Turismo for the Sony PlayStation.
I just wish there were more tracks on the CD. Well I don't care I can just repeat the CD again and again. That's until her next release which I will be definitely be waiting for. Please Mari release a new CD it as soon as you can!
Track Listing(By review):
- Us (Nice song, it has more meaning if you know a bit about Mari)
- Everybody's Lonely (I just love the bass line on this track)
- No Limit (Title song, love the arrangement)
- Stop keeping in touch (Love the horns on this)
- More than yesterday (Same track as on her Rain & Shine CD)
- Sudden Kiss (This is one of my favorite tracks by Mari)
- "D" (I like both the English and Japanese versions of this song)
- Irony of fate (Nice country-feel song)
- For a little while (I like this version better than the Japanese version)
- Vacation (Good way to finish the album)
All songs written by Mari Iijima
Overall Rating: 10 - Perfect score, its that good!!!
I have to be honest that before listening to this album, I only knew of Mari Iijima as the voice of Minmay. So I always had the thought of Mari = Minmay , Minmay = Mari . I know that Mari was not too happy about that coming from her fans. This album completely changes that. Now, when someone(or I think to myself) says the name Mari Iijima, I will say "The very talented singer/songwriter. That also did the voice of Minmay(a long time ago)."
Mari Iijima's music... How to describe it? There are few other people who have been producing albums one after another, seemingly without taking any breaks, yet without letting the quality down. She always dares to try different things, never sticking to one song style and yet managing to give the song a unique "Mari" sound. This is difficult enough, as it has been a trap that even Favorite Blue fall into pretty often, but the fact that Mari has been singing, writing, arranging, composing and recording non-stop since her debut in 1983 shows that she is not a quitter.
I'm very glad I got into find enough of her CDs to really enjoy the music. To me, and to many others, she is an artist -- her songs are interpretations of her emotions and feelings and I believe that is why she has kept going all these years. This is the way all music should be.
Now living in America, her first full English album, No Limit, was a success and contains an English version of the song "D", which won the "Best Sounding Record of the Year 1999" in Japan and just happens to be my personal favorite Mari song.
Mari has a dream, like all good artists -- I believe she can realise it! Mari-san -- Gambatte kudasai!!