Review Summary: A satisfying album from one of Japan's most soulful pop artists.
In the 90's, Japanese music was selling at an all-time high. With bands like L'arc-en-Ciel, B'z, Glay and Zard on the front field, bands from all over Japan were coming out with the woodwork, and labels were struggling to find a perfect clone of any extremely successful band they could find. However, no band in Japanese music history could perfectly replicate Zard. Zard was an extremely successful Japanese pop rock band, and became instant stars when they released their debut album, "Good-bye My Loneliness", back in 1991. Since then, they sold well over 3 million albums, and released a dozen CD's. However, they struck perfection on the 1996 release, "Today is Another Day". On the album, various elements are explored, and twisted to excellence.
The album kicks off with the fan favorite, "My Friend", which has a rather 90's power pop feel to it, backed by the innocent vocals of Izumi Sakai. A superb track by itself, and a rather excellent way to start off the album. The album then goes into the relaxing track, "Kimi ga Itakara", which is a laid back, reminiscent-type of track, fronted by a keyboard sound, which practically puts ones stressful troubles to rest for 4 and a half minutes. Another standout track. The next track, "Sayonara wa Ima mo Kono Mune ni Imasu", has a rather 80's type sound to it, with a keyboard-based sound, laced with the aforementioned one-of-a-kind vocals by Izumi Sakai. The following track, "Love ~Nemurezu ni Kimi no Yokogao Zutto Miteita", even has a carnival-like feel to it, with festival-like organs backing the track up. A rather interesting turn in the album, but definitely doesn't cripple the album's flow in any way.
"Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku" brings the album back to main ground, with a dated, yet effective sound. "Nemuri" is a rather emotional track, with a progressively uplifting tempo. The album follows in that direction for a while, with emotional, yet evenly uplifting tunes, which is essentially Zard's main style. "Totsuzen" even feature gospel-like backup vocals, making an interesting spin in the album. "Kyou mo" features a more rock sound, reminiscent to the earlier Zard style. The self titled track furthers the power pop sound, but equips it this time around with a rather explosive guitar/horn driven sound. A highly entertaining track, and one of the best on the album. "Ai ga Mienai" brings the tempo up in the album a bit, with a 90's dance-influenced track, but then closes with the moving track, "Mitsumete Itai ne".
Overall, the album is a highly soulful Japanese pop effort, and arguably worked towards its benefit. Although at times Zard may produce pop rock records, this is arguably one of their poppiest releases to date, but also one of their strongest ones as well. Whether or not you consider Zard to be pop or rock, the fact remains that Zard are a legendary force in the Japanese music scene, and this record is one of the most impressive examples of 90's Japanese music. Definitely a classic all around.