I don’t know if this will become a series but I’m planning on introducing several newcomers from this and the last year. Mainly because there were some really good ones. And I start with the great Mao Abe (阿部真央)!
She debuted with the album “free” on the 21st January 2009 under the Pony Canyon Label. I read that she started to play the piano in elementary school (but switched to guitar) and wrote her first song (“My Baby” which is also on “free”) when she was in high school. It seems that she won several contests – what a talented girl!
Her music is very powerful and I totally fell in love with the song “free” when I first heard it as the beginning for CDTV. I’m still not sure if it was a single or not. On her official website there’s no sign that it was a single release but when you look at this List of Number 1 Singles in 2009 it was a Number 1 Hit o.o Whatever, it’s Wikipedia so I definitely better rely on the official information.
As I said before is her music really powerful and rockish. But she can do ballads and popsongs as good as the rocksongs. An extra is that her voice has character. You hear it once and you will remember it. It’s not an average pop voice, i think that’s one reason why I like her that much.
Title: free (ふりぃ)
Oricon Top Rank: #34
The album shows that Mao is above all a rock girl and that suites her very well. But besides all that rock there are some popish songs too and ballads. And that I like the ballads is a big plus ’cause most of the time I don’t like them that much. There are normal songs with band and everything but also quite a few where there is just an acoustic guitar. I think that is so because Mao plays it herself and can show that way that it is her own music. Yes, she wrote the music and lyrics completely by herself.
When I’m talking about the album and acoustic guitars I always have to think about my favorite song “Deadline”. It’s pure rock but it’s pure acoustic guitar too. She screams and is powerful and that’s just a song you don’t hear everyday, except… Well, I showed that song to my best friend and she said it sounds like Miyavi only in a female version. And to some point she’s right. But after all it’s the only song in that style on the album (even though I want more like it for the next one xD) and if you don’t like Miyavi that doesn’t have to mean that you won’t like Mao Abe.
“free” was the only song that got a PV to promote the album. It shows in the beginning how Mao walks around in a dark street. It seems to be early in the morning because in the PV they prepare their instruments so they could play on a roof. I read that Avril Lavigne is one of her favorite singers and that scene on the roof somehow reminded me of Avril. But the location is also very suitable for Mao. My favorite scenes are those where she writes and makes stars and other stuff in the air with lights in different colors. I really like that effect. And btw those are the only scenes where we don’t see her sing. An also very nice scene is where she sits on all those amplifiers and speakers. I would say the PV is simple but nice to watch and Mao shows her personality in it. She’s a hardrockin’ girl!
Oricon Top Rank: #19
After “free” she released her first single in May and even though it was a douple-A-side single there was a third track too. “Tsutaetai Koto” reminds me a bit of “free” but that’s mostly because it’s again a powerful song. Somehow this single is like a little version of the album because we’ve got the powerful track, the rock-pop relaxing track and a sort of ballad. Don’t let the girly cover confuse you, she didn’t go all soft and fuzzy~
Somehow the PV to “Tsutaetai Koto” doesn’t make much sense to me. She seems to wait for someone before that shop. She moves the furniture in that room around. She’s under that table and sees how the water from the flower pours down on the ground. I’m not sure but I think it’s also Mao on the telephone. And of course we’ve got the simple performing scene. But that I can’t find any storyline (that I understand) doesn’t matter because she looks absolutely gorgeous <3
As you can see this girl really flashed me and I hope that you give it a try and listen to some of her stuff. And if you like it, how about buying her next single “Anata no Koibito ni Naritai no desu” next August? The cover looks promising.