24. FIXER (2015.12.30)


She's BACK! While I regret writing the review for this song and album so close to it's release, it's safe to say that the EDM thing has been divisive. I kinda dig it when it's done well. A good song can come from any dated style. There is good and bad 80s...grunge...whatever the hell the late 90s was...

FIXER is a jam and I truly enjoy the mood. It has auto-tune moments, but it doesn't fester. It has some anthem-style energy, but still kinda feels like a rainy day. In the future it will be easy to look at this song and say that it's a good snapshot of it's time...but that won't necessarily be a bad thing. This was the third single from this album, but it just as easily could have been it's first. It's that good.

02. Rojo -Tierra-

Speaking of singles, this track is the lead single from this album. While FIXER could have been first, this one was the right choice to bring Nakamori back with after her kind of abrupt retirement-ish announcement. Hot damn...this song is fire.

This song has the energy of a song from avex, but Nakamori is definitely still very much signed at Universal. I know a few of you will understand that and have a pretty good idea of what this song sounds like, but let me explain a little further... This is another EDM style track, but it's full force to the point where it verges on becoming irritating. It could the theme song to just about any type of TV show as well.

While FIXER was the more appropriate song to open this album with, Rojo -Tierra- was absolutely the correct choice for lead single. When you go alllll the way back to my introduction post to this series of reviews I kinda alluded to a moment that absolutely jump-started my interest in Nakamori. Sure, I've always liked her music...but there when this video showed up on Youtube, I was actually really curious. I absolutely picked up the single...and from there I was obsessed. This song is what single-handedly forced me to go back and fill all of the holes I had in my collection and what eventually inspired me to write this massive series of posts.

03. Endless Life

This one is a bit slower, but a really good song. It's somewhat a long the same line as FIXER, but has a much smoother flow to it. The smoothness kinda trades off between the music and the singing.

04. unfixable

This is the second single from this album...and also her 50th single! It's also kind of a bummer of a song as the title would certainly imply. While this song is quite a bit darker, it still has some of the lashings of EDM that the previous songs on this album have.

Weirdly enough this song also brings memories of the past. Remember Nakamori's album Cross My Palm? This SOOO reminds me of that album. For starters, this song is in English and was recorded in America (this entire album was, actually). It also has a sound that really took time to grow on me. It sounds entirely Western. While songs like FIXER and Rojo -Tierra- are the same genre, they are definitely have more of an Asian spin to them, the "that's so avex" take on Rojo -Tierra- in particular. I enjoyed Cross My Palm quite a bit and this song feels like it's a 2015 continuation of a forgotten 1987 experiment.

Love this song...probably more through listening to the entirely catalog.

05. La Vida

A sudden 180. This song is just Nakamori, a guitar, and some clapping at times. Her affinity for Latin music has finally popped up on this album. While the songs on this album so far are definite hits...this is the one you'll be humming when you finish listening. It's fantastically catchy...

It's also the B-Side track for the single to Rojo -Tierra-. While a complete opposite in sound, it's a surprisingly good pairing.

06. Ugetsu

A really good ballad. At this point in the album Nakamori had been putting mostly her pop persona on, so this is the return of what made her popular in the first place. She nails it. This is MUCH better singing than what we heard on 2009's DIVA.

07. Todoketai ~voice~

Another ballad, but this one is just a little bit quicker. I really enjoy the production on this one. While the majority of the music likely came from software, it's doesn't sound cheap or anything. Overall, this is another good one.

08. Yokudo

Another slight dance track with some 90s flavor to it. I like this one a lot. The singing is on-point, it has that Latin sound that Nakamori shines well with, and is a solid overall production. This could have easily been a solid B-Side track to one of the singles, but only lives here.

09. kodou

Another Latin-based track. I don't like this one as much as the singing doesn't quite match the tone of the music. It isn't a bad song, it's just a litttttle bit off. Maybe a little bit generic as well.

10. Lotus

This song...this song sounds SO familiar. I can't put my finger on it, but the melody at the start sounds like something I've heard before... I want to say it sounds like a song from Tetsuya Komuro I've heard before, but...yeah...I'll have that moment of discovery someday.

I would classify this one as a slower ballad that honestly is kinda failed by it's music. It's...alright. The singing is good, but the music just sounds largely fake.

11. Re-birth

A nice track to end with. This is a lighter ballad that really digs back into the 80s and 90s well. I love the singing and overall pleasant music.

12. Rojo -tierra- (Album Version)

The single version of Rojo -tierra- is six minutes long. This is eight and some change minutes thanks to an extended intro and interlude.

13. unfixable (Album Version)

Like the previous track, this album version of unfixable is done through extended an already great song by a few minutes. I can't complain...


Since I picked up the limited edition of this album, I got myself an alternate album cover and bonus region-free DVD! It isn't too much to write about, though, as it's only the music video for FIXER -WHILE THE WOMEN ARE SLEEPING-. Can't complain...I think this version of the album was actually the cheaper option. It also has the better version of the strange cover.

OVERALL: Love, love, love this album! Most people seem to agree with me as it turns out. FIXER reached number nine on the Oricon weekly chart. For perspective, the last time one of her albums made it into the top ten was in 1995 with the also fantastic la alteración.

This is actually a really encouraging story. Outside of that official teaser for Rojo -tierra- that I posted earlier, there are some other clips of the recording sessions from this album. Nakamori looks...really nervous. She'd been away since 2009 and only really reappeared in 2014 before this album started coming together. It's kinda hard to watch anyone have a hard time returning to something they once mastered, but the results kinda speak for themselves. A lot of effort went into this album.

While I don't necessarily agree with the order of the songs on this album (it's definitely front-loaded), I absolutely approve. It's a complete album with some amazing variety. I highly recommend picking this one up. It's a great album and a perfect victory lap for Nakamori turning 50 that year.

NEXT: Akina


Standard Edition Cover

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