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Smile [Us Import] Import

4 customer reviews

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Amazon's L'Arc-En-Ciel Store


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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Jun. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Tofu
  • ASIN: B0002BO0U8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 636,840 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Kiss
2. Ready Steady Go
3. Lover Boy
4. Feeling Fine
5. Time Goes On
6. Coming Closer
7. Forever
8. Revelation
9. Living in Your Eyes
10. Spirit Dreams Inside
11. Ready Steady Go - Hydeless version

Product Description

Our product to treat is a regular product. There is not the imitation. From Japan by the surface mail because is sent out, take it until arrival as 7-14 day. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By xxx on 17 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
One of the main reasons to buy this CD is that it's a total bargain. The reason I bought this CD from Amazon instead of CDJapan is because of dispatch time. I was really surprised to see offering jpop/jrock CDs at such bargain prices and with speedy delivery (Smile is a US import which is why it's so cheap)

Anyway on with the review. Admittedly I'm not a huge fan of bands, yes there's been the odd one I've liked but never to the extent I love L'Arc~En~Ciel - and I only currently own Smile. Smile was L'Arc's first album in 4 years and to some was a disappointment. But this is a CD I could play all day long. Two songs on here may be familiar to UKers the first being Ready Steady Go, which is the second opening theme for Full Metal Alchemist (the music video for RSG is on the FMA DVD Vol 4) and Spirit Dreams Inside which appeared on the Final Fantasy film soundtrack. It was only this year that I realised that "that group on the FF soundtrack weren't Western"

I'd do a track by track review, but this review would be very long by the time I'd finished it. The main tracks I loved first when I heard the album were Lover Boy & Coming Closer. Lover Boy is the most catchiest song I've heard in ages (see if you can get it out of your head) and features an excellent guitar solo by Ken. Coming Closer is a classical influenced rock track with amazing vocals by Hyde. The big ballad of the album is Living In Your Eyes which is simply gorgeous. Watch out for Ken's guitar and Hyde's vocals in this track.

All the band members work together on the album, sometimes writing lyrics and composing the music themselves or one band member doing the lyrics whilst another composes the music or vice versa.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "talianawolfspirit" on 28 Jun. 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is one of my favorite L'Arc~en~Ciel albums, and I own the Japanese version limited edition.
Track one, Kuchizuke, is a really nice first track and one of my favorites.
Track two, Ready Steady Go, is the opening theme for the anime Full Metal Alchemist, and is a really upbeat song that never fails to get me bopping along (although poor Haido-kun isn't so great at dancing to it! ^.^;).
Track three, Lover Boy, is probably my favorite track on this album. Very, very sexy song.
Tracks four and five, Feeling Fine and Time Goes on, weren't bad, but they weren't the best either. I tend to skip either one of them unless I'm really in a Laruku mood.
Track six, Coming Closer, is an excellent song. Wonderful music.
Track seven, Eien, is also a nice track.
Track eight, Revelation, is a bit different from some of their other stuff, but a great track nonetheless.
Track nine, Hitomi no Juunin, is probably my other favorite song on this album, I love it nearly as much as I love Lover Boy. So beautiful, it makes me teary sometimes.
Track ten, Spirit Dreams Inside, is the re-release of the song from that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie. I wasn't into the song when I first heard it in that movie, but it has since grown on me.
I definetely recommend buying this album! It's a wonderful one, and also their first American release, which I'm not sure if I'm happy about or not. I hope that they do not start becoming American mainstream, and losing their true Laruku feel. I dread the day my American friends tell me that Laruku merchandise is in Hot Topic ... but hey, if they get big in America, maybe they'll get big here in England, and I'll be able to go see them in concert. It's a hard life, loving J-Pop/Rock bands :P
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By H. L. Jury on 3 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album has totally changed my life. I fell in love with its main single Ready Steady Go, which I discovered in Ouendan, a Japanese video game. Now this CD barely leaves my sight and I have got into loads of great music by L'Arc~En~Ciel and other similar bands.
There is such a variety of songs on this album, there is truly something for everyone, from the poppy Feeling Fine, to the balladry of Time goes on and Hitomi No Juunin, to full on rock tunes like Revelation. It's an outstanding mix and it just seems to work so perfectly for something so diverse.
Track by track:
Kuchizuke (Kiss) - possibly my favourite song ever, definitely on this album. A bluesy arrangement backed up with soothing keyboards and a gorgeous high register from Hyde, looking at translations of the lyrics they fit the song so perfectly too. Just completely incredible.
Ready Steady Go - a song I have huge gratitude for for exposing L'Arc~en~Ciel to me. Tremendously catchy, the drum beat gets me bouncing off the walls every time and once the solo comes on, out comes the air guitar!
Lover Boy - A great intro that hooks you right into the song, although there doesn't really seem to be any transition, pretty much the same chord pattern. Despite it not really going anywhere I still love to sing my heart out to this song.
Feeling Fine - My favourite when I first got this album. Chirpy keyboards add to a poppy cheeriness which makes this song for me, as does Hyde's voice which is lovely and jolly in this one.
Time goes on - a very cutesy ballad-esque song, which also brings a smile to my face. The soft bassline grooving on in the background adds to the twee keys and shrill harmonies that just make you want to walk out into the sunset holding hands with a friend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 54 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
J-rock/pop with *real* instruments! 5 Aug. 2004
By S. Collier - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This album completely surprised me. I'd heard plenty of good things about L'Arc, and I'd liked the theme they did for the Final Fantasy movie, but I was never in any hurry to learn more about them-- I've been burned too many times by "promising" Korean and Japanese groups that turn out to be more of the same.

But after seeing L'Arc in their first U.S. concert at Otakon in Baltimore, MD, I'm a complete fan. Their concert rocked-- and their album rocks even harder. Hyde, the singer, is equally good live and recorded, and his range (and control thereof) is astounding. "Smile" is absolutely brimming with energy and lyrical beauty (even if you have to go hunt down translations).

The U.S. release of "Smile" has two more tracks than the Japanese version: the FF movie theme "Spirit Dreams Inside" (good move, as that's how most U.S. listeners know them), and a "Hyde-less" (karaoke) version of "Ready, Steady, GO!" (the opening theme to the soon-to-be released in the U.S. anime "Full Metal Alchemist").

Beautiful vocals, energetic melodies, and a complete joy to listen to-- whether you're from the East or Western hemisphere.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Acceptable return album from Japan's finest rock group 8 Aug. 2004
By Crow Winters - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When L'arc~en~Ciel, one of the sustaining rock pioneers of Japan's early alternative rock scene in the 90s, released the obscure and very underrated "Real" in 2000, (whose only real financial support came from the hit singles "Neo Universe" and "Stay Away"), the band seemed all but together. Every member was distracted with a side project of sorts, and the otherwise supremely loyal fan base seemed divided with needless accusations of what direction they wanted L'arc to take their music. L'arc then, probably weary of 10+ years of innovation and individualism, seemingly broke apart.

So it was with great elevation that, 4 years after the fact, that they got back together, made a album in the period of only a few months, and then appeared at the last minute in Baltimore for the first US show in the history of their career, coinciding the concert with the first official US release of a L'arc album. "Smile" is that album, and while it's quite obviously not the epic or masterpiece that several previous L'arc releases are, it IS exactly what it should be: a return to the business of invention for a band that had a 4 year break from each other's influences.

The album opens with the thick, slow Zepplin-esque crunch of "Kiss"; a dirty, grungy little track that rocks with a familiar hard rock flame that L'arc sometimes seems to be forgotten for. An interesting and textured opener that highlights each of the bands merits fairly well, especially Hyde's ear for melody.

Not too far afterwards is the album's energetic highpoint in "Ready Steady GO", an obvious single choice and already well known track for being the opening of the TV show "Full Metal Alchemist". Much like the show, it's fast, child like, and uplifting, a masterpiece of pop campyness and L'arc's typical theatrics. Tetsu, one of the world's finest bassists, particularly shines here during his pre-verse gymnastics.

"Lover Boy" keeps the flow going from the previous track, a sex and blood covered rocker that throws back to L'arc's early days of straight-forward, thick garage rock.

Breaking the consistency, the album explodes with a pop-hook throwback of it's "Heavenly" and "Heart" days with "Feeling Fine", an infectious, sappy track with more candy coated hooks then you can shake a stick at. A sure reminder that L'arc's taste for quick, pop jabs has never waned.

Quick on it's heels is the mellow "Time Goes On", which is at first a slow guitar introspection, then becomes a thick U2-like coffee shop jive, with it's prefect honey-sweet chorus and carefully layered studio tweaks.

Out of place and unwelcome immediately afterwards is the almost entirely English sung "Coming Closer", an absolutely ridiculous throwback to 80s over-the-top schlock. The chorus is laughably bad and the hook itself is about as painfully cheesy as Hyde's uncharacteristically bad lyrics. This is the weakest spot on the album, and it's the only clear-cut indication that the band really was on a 4-year hiatus.

"Forever" follows afterwards, a quirky, angular rock piece that throws backwards to "Ark" and "Ray"'s experimentation. An interesting track that follows in the footsteps of noisers Sonic Youth, which can either serve as a means of alienating or attracting certain listeners.

"REVELATION" is the only track written by drummer Yuhriko, and it shows: it bounces with a NIN/Skinny Puppy industrial skin, but it gets over coated in the L'arc desire for detail and description. It's core gets lost in the poor over production of the guitar, an effect that is brought out much better in their live show. Regardless, it's an excellent track, and an excellent reminder of why "Real"'s opening, "Get Out From The Shell", was so good in the first place.

Near the end of the album now, "Living In Your Eyes" is a soft, classical guitar adult contemporary pop song, littered with sparse orchestration and Hyde's beautiful croon. This track is a flex of L'arc's muscles- Hyde puts his vocal talents into a range few others can hope to achieve, Tetsu straps on his notorious six string bass, and Guitarist Ken trades his electric riffs for well precision classical plucking. A new, obvious single, it's a track that may not be instantly appealing at first amongst the thick rock on this album, but repeated listening allows the track to reveal itself and reward the listener with a beautiful pop piece. The only detraction from the song is the bridge- Ken's guitar gets significantly lost behind a wall of orchestration, when careful listening shows which was more impressive.

The last track is already 3 years old, and was a terribly intelligent inclusion; "Spirit Dreams Inside" is one of L'arc's finest songcrafts, and any inconsistencies are laid to rest in this arguably perfect rock piece. Hyde's English lyrics can be a bit campy, but the message gets through regardless, and really, only serves to help the song in it's power. A wise inclusion and a perfect wrap up to "Smile".

The "Hydeless" version of "Ready Steady Go" at the end of the track is an American only track, a bonus version for those wanting to karaoke.

"Smile" does exactly what it set out to do: it introduces a new audience to select time periods in a straight forward, easy to digest manner. (The album is almost disappointingly short, even for L'arc: it clocks in at just under 45 minutes, not counting the "bonus" track) Nothing more, nothing less. With this approach, it gives L'arc the opportunity to, if they should desire, to push a US tour and give the opportunity to a new audience to explore their past, and superior, achievements, and then snag them with a later release. Which, of course, gives them time to reacquaint themselves with each other.

Either way, it looks like L'arc has a lot to "Smile" about, so long as they stay focused.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
At Long Last... 30 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After over a decade of releasing incredible music in Japan and Asia, L'Arc~en~Ciel is now releasing a North American version of their highly anticipated 9th album, SMILE, for North American audiences to enjoy! Complete with the original 10 tracks from the Japanese version of the album, along with a "bonus" track of a Hydeless "READY STEADY GO," SMILE is an album that will not disappoint, especially for first-time listeners of this awesome band.
The CD opens strongly with the first track "Kiss (originally called Kuchizuke)," which features Ken's impressive guitar-playing as well as an introduction to Hyde's different, coarser vocal tonality. The song gives the impression of more of a rock sound at the beginning before slowly building into a softer, calming crescendo. The balance between the two opposing sounds is well crafted and incredibly enjoyable to listen to.
"READY STEADY GO" brings back an edgier, more frantic pace that does not let up throughout the entire song. It revitalizes the senses with it's enormous energy as well as highlights Yukihiro's drumming, Tetsu's bass playing, as well as Ken's amazing guitar skills very well. It's a perfect lead into the third song on the album, "Lover Boy."
Penned by Ken, "Lover Boy" is full on rock, and the bass solo as well as the guitar solo done by Tetsu and Ken respectively show just how talented this band really is. Although the lyrics need some slight getting used to, it's an awesome song overall.
The rest of the album is just so awesome that it would take me more than the allowed space to describe. Tracks that you've definitely got to listen to in addition to the aforementioned are: "Time Goes On," "Coming Closer," "REVELATION," and "Living In Your Eyes (Originally called Hitomi no Juunin, which has to be one of the best tracks by far on the album)." This CD is well worth the investment, and this band especially deserves all the support they can get. With Hyde's amazing vocal range, Ken's superb guitar playing, Tetsu's amazing bass skills, and Yukihiro's very much improved drumming, L'Arc~en~Ciel is a band that North American audiences should feel lucky to have had the chance to hear. And with the price it's selling for here in the US (fans have had to pay at least $30 to have it imported from Japan), it's definitely well worth your money.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What a find! 20 Jun. 2005
By Claire D. Nagel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After being an anime fan for a few years, it was natural for me to get into the music as well. Question was: how do I start? Thinking of the songs I knew from my favorite shows, I ended up picking SMILE by L'Arc~en~Ciel because it featured "READY STEADY GO" from Fullmetal Alchemist. After listening to the entire album the first time, I realized I had made the best possible choice. Now I am a huge Laruku fan and have even bought the concert DVD! Any fan of true rock music will be able to appreciate this album as the treasure it is.

1) Kuchizuke (Kiss): The opening track is a fine example of what's to come. Ken's excellent guitar work starts us off before Hyde comes in to demonstrate the incredible range of his voice.

2) READY STEADY GO: With a fast and furious pace, you can't help jumping around to this song! The instruments and vocals work together to make READY STEADY GO as addictive as the show it's used for.

3) Lover Boy: Here we have another great fast rock song. In Ken's big contribution to the album, Tetsu gets to show off his skills with a brief but very cool bass solo. It's another song that just makes you feel like dancing.

4) Feeling Fine: It's almost impossible to resist singing along with this one. Even if you only know the English parts ("Are you feeling fine?" and "She said, 'Loving you made me happy every day'"), you're going to want to belt it out. Very, very catchy.

5) Time Goes On: This Tetsu-penned song is considerably more mellow than any of the previous ones. The softer sound offers a nice break from the high-energy tunes you've just listened to, and it's really quite pretty.

6) Coming Closer: Going back to a heavier tone, this one sounds a little bit angsty, but in a good way. And I really like the drums in this one. Yay, Yukihiro!

7) Eien (Forever): This is probably my favorite song of all time. Even if you don't know Japanese, you can tell by the way it's done that it's romantic. One of the slower songs on SMILE, Hyde does an amazing job of bringing the emotion to this track. The addition of church bells in the background really adds to the sound as well.

8) REVELATION: If "Eien" is my favorite, than this is my second favorite. The combination of powerful bass and drums with a cool guitar line makes it absolutely infectious. This is the only track on the album that Yukihiro wrote the music for, and it has a definite edge to it. One might call it a rock anthem, and wonder why he doesn't write more often.

9) Hitomi no Jyunin (Living in Your Eyes): Slowing it down again, Laruku pulls you in with another love song. It's a bit softer than "Eien" with violins playing in the background. Again, Hyde gets to show off his amazing voice with vocals that range from soft to strident in a matter of seconds.

10) Spirit Dreams Inside: This track, written by Hyde, is completely in English and gives equal importance to each member. No one instrument takes precedence here.

11) READY STEADY GO (hydeless version): Basically, this is the karaoke version of READY STEADY GO. Without Hyde's vocals, you can really hear Tetsu singing backup in an incredibly high voice. It's really fun to listen to and get a feel for the instrumental (and vocal!) intricacies you may not have noticed before.

All in all, this album is amazing! Yukihiro's drums and Tetsu's bass provide a solid foundation throughout, while Ken's blistering guitar and Hyde's versatile vocals are a source of amazement. L'Arc~en~Ciel is an astoundingly talented group, and SMILE is a prime example of that.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I was taken by surprise! Laruku's best album... 9 Nov. 2005
By Lightbearer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
My very first J-pop CD was "Ray," by L'Arc en Ciel." This is my third CD by this group. It is easy to see that they like to mix it up with different styles from each CD, usually starting with a hard-rock song and ending with a ballad showcasing Hide's vocal range. This album is definitely their best, though. Although a bit mainstream for sure, the depth of their songs is increasing more and more. I bought this album for my younger bro since he loves the Anime "Fullmetal Alchemist," and the theme song "Ready Steady Go" (which is excellent) is on here, but after the song played- track after track just caught my attention. I found myself standing in the doorway listening, rather than walking off to do the chores I was formerly focused on doing. I also ended up keeping the CD for myself instead! My favorite song is "Hitomi no Jyunin" (Living in Your Eyes). It begins with Ken playing the digitally delayed solo guitar like a flute- it literally sounds like a flute! My other two favorites, in order: "Time Goes On" (very soulful singing from Hide, and from the heart) and (ultra-catchy chorus) "Feeling Fine." What is unique about J-pop- and this group, is that 90% of all songs are done with acoustic/rock instruments, but have melodies and choruses as catchy as a pop song.
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