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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain!, 17 May 2006
This review is from: Smile [Us Import] (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. It's interesting to what sounds different combinations of the group come up with. Each member has contributed an excellent track to this album:

Hyde - Spirit Dreams Inside (the only english track on the album)
Tetsu - Living In Your Eyes & Time Goes On (laid back summery track, play this when relaxing out in your garden!)
Ken - Lover Boy & Coming Closer
Yukihiro - Revelation

I can't recommend this album enough! If I were to choose a least favourite track it would be Forever, which is a likeable song, but not one I'm going to skip to (or skip past either)

I noticed Smile has only had one review since it was released, and it really deserves to have another one. Amazon are always restocking, so obviously this album is selling. I hope this review will encourage someone to buy this CD, as you're really missing out on a great band otherwise!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ready Steady GO!, 28 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Smile [Us Import] (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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5.0 out of 5 stars A total gem, 3 Aug. 2009
H. L. Jury "hannahjay" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Smile [Us Import] (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.
Coming closer - Probably my least favourite, it has kind of a Linkin Park kind of feel to it which I'm not particularly fond of, although I quite like the chorus.
Eien (Eternity) - A moody masterpiece that can, at times, reduce me to tears and send shivers up my spine. Hyde's hushed vocal goes over a loud messy guitar but it works and you can still hear the emotion in his voice.
Revelation - the heaviest of the tracks; pounding drums, a techno backbeat and the superb crunchy guitars combine to create a raunchy rock tune dancy enough to shake your hips to.
Hitomi no Juunin (Resident of the Eyes) - a long, relaxing, and uplifting track which is great to chill out to. An orchestra is added to the sleek guitar to make this song truly beautiful. Hyde sings his heart out and it's lovely.
Spirit dreams inside - although it takes a while to get into, this psychedelic offering is great to listen to out on walks and stuff. This is the only song on the album which is entirely in English and the lyrics are very good too for a band whose first language is not English. Not my ideal choice of last track on the album (that would be Kuchizuke) but it still adds a powerful ending to Smile (if you exclude the karaoke version of Ready Steady Go).
The only problem with this album? It's not available from the UK at a reasonable price! Heck, in Japan it's the equivalent of £20. As I did, I advise you to try before you buy with this album, as although I find it a superb album, others will not. Also, be careful when buying as the American version has less songs on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 April 2015
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It's perfect.
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Smile [Us Import]
Smile [Us Import] by L'Arc-En-Ciel (Audio CD - 2004)
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