Morning Musume / Shouganai Yume Oibito & Nanchatte Renai: The recent singles from Morning Musume (their 39th and 40th releases) are some of their absolute best in my opinion, since the group is leaning toward a new mature sound that lines up with my preference for bittersweet lyrics (though of course I love the cute stuff, too!). Both tracks feature out of the ordinary piano and strings with truly dramatic lyrics (I was amazed when I heard "Tears fall on my hand as I iron your clothes"). Shouganai Yume Oibito hit a weekly #1 spot, and Nanchatte Renai hit a daily #1 (on my dad's birthday!), so both of these songs are really signaling a new popularity for Morning Musume!
Keane / Under the Iron Sea: After listening to Keane's Hopes and Fears album about a hundred times, I decided I should move on to Under the Iron Sea, which is somewhat of a departure from their original piano pop sound. This time they use distortion pedals on piano to create almost electric guitar sounds, which are still fantastic (yet sometimes creepy). Their lyrics are beautiful and introspective as always, and I really should devote some time to truly listening and enjoying this album.
The Best Of Godzilla 1984-1995 / Original Film Soundtracks: I wasn't planning on getting this CD, which is a follow-up to the 1954-1975 soundtracks album, but after completing my Godzilla movie watching quest I couldn't resist having some of these cheesy themes in my collection. There are plenty of awesome Ikufube tracks to round out the ridiculous guitar solo from Godzilla vs Biollante, and I actually like the over-dramatic fanfare from Godzilla vs Space Godzilla!
Cake / B Sides & Rarities: I've been a Cake fan since I lived in Tulsa, and when my pal Jonathan and I saw them in concert here in Austin recently, they mentioned this album that I wasn't aware of, which I promptly bought from their website! It has a totally funky version of the Muppets classic Mahna, Mahna, as well as great covers of Strangers in the Night, but I mostly love the goofy country tracks, such as Buck Owens' Excuse Me, I Think I've Got a Heartache!
Morning Musume / Platinum 9 Disc: It's embarrassing that I'm only now mentioning this CD, since I've had it for ages and even had it autographed! Morning Musume's 9th full-length album is a fantastic collection of five previously released singles, along with some incredible new songs. There are several unexpected solo tracks from Sayumi (cute and sexy, of course), Eri, and Aika (surprisingly bright and sweet), as well as awesome ballads and dance tunes. Of course, I've played this CD thousands of times in my car by now!