“Ai Texas” was released on Feburary 29th, 2012 and is Yamashita’s 5th solo single. Though this was his 5th single, this is his first one that he has released since leaving the Johnnys group NEWS and going solo in October 2011. It is also his first single with a new record label, Warner Music Japan.
The title song, “Ai Texas”, is used as the ending and insert song for the drama that just finished airing called “Saikou no Jinsei no Owarikata ~ Ending Planner~”, which Yamashita stars in. It comes in 5 editions, with only 3 that you can buy in a regular CD shop in Japan.
There are total of 3 tracks that come on the single, which all 3 tracks come with the Regular edition, with only the title song and “Candy” coming on the Limited Editions. The A side is “Ai Texas” and the B sides are “Candy” and “Perfect Crime”.
“Ai Texas” Itself is described as a “Country Rock” flavored song. It has a very distinct country like guitar and the single, as a whole, is a lot different than his usual R&B/ Dance tracks like “One in a Million” and “Loveless”. He has started branching out into some different genres for his singles in the past year since his release of “Hadakanbo”in January 2011 , which had a pop-ish, big band feel to it.
The B sides, however, are very much his usual R&B/ Dance tracks. They sound very similar, in my opinion, but I liked “Perfect Crime” better musically. I thought it had a better beat and a better chorus than “Candy”.
The Music Video
There wasn’t much to the music video, just Yamapi walking around in a “Texas” like background with lots of computer graphics. I personally don’t like the video that much and prefer his other videos, like “Loveless” and “One in a Million”, better. I think its because I like music videos with a story line to it. I tended to loose focus and trailed off at times while watching the video.
Each edition of the single came with a different cover, all featuring Yamapi with a “cowboy” like out fit. The limited editions feature him in a striped blazer, jeans, plain black shirt, completed with a scarf. The regular edition has him in a while blazer with a cowboy hat and snake patterned shirt. The color scheme seems to be red and white. It seems to go well with the “Texas” or “cowboy” theme that they wanted to portray.
What I found interesting about the packaging is the writing on the front of the CD with the track names. Normally, albums and singles come with the track listings on the back of the CD. Also, on the packaging it is spelled in english “I, Texas” rather than the romanji version “Ai Texas”. I can’t understand why it is that way and I really don’t like it.
The extra content of each edition is as follows:
Limited Edition A: Comes with a CD with 2 songs + karaoke versions of the songs, and a DVD with the “Ai Texas” music video on it.
Limited Edition B: Comes with a CD with same content as Limited Edition A and a 24 page photo booklet.
Regular Edition: Comes with a CD with 3 songs + karaoke tracks of “Ai Texas” and “Candy” only.
Its a catchy song and I love Yamapi’s solo work, but it is definitely a miss for me. I would rather listen to his previous singles than “Ai Texas”. I guess maybe is because I don’t like the guitar in the song and the “country” feel to it, along with the “Texas” theme. Maybe if the music video had a story line to it, I might have liked it a bit more. I tend to like songs better if they have a good music video or a good performance attached to it.