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Review by Dave
Rating: ****

Recorded as a Christmas present for all of it's fans, FRIENDS is an album that shows a different side of B'z. This CD shows influences of jazz, adult contemporary, and classical music, and was a complete departure at the time of it's release in December 1992. For those of you who are looking for chronological sequence, it was released after RISKY, and before In the Life.

The CD starts out with the classically influenced introduction, FRIENDS. The strings were arranged by HIIRO, a popular classical violinist in Japan. The music was written by Tak, and this is a rare time that you will here him give up the guitar as a musical palate.

The next track is "Itsuka no Merry Christmas", and is a purely acoustic piece. It displays some of Kohshi's best lyrics, and Tak's best guitar work. This song instantly became a fan favorite.

"Boku no Tsumi" is a very jazz influenced song. Translated directly, it means "My Sin", and talks about a man's indiscretion to his wife. This is easily one of the best songs on the album.

"Love is.." is a piano instrumental played by Akira Onozuka.

"Koi Jyanakunaru Hi" is as close to rock and roll as you get on this album, and Tak lights it up with a barnburner solo for the last minute of the song.

"SEASONS" is another acoustic piece by Tak. It's well played, but my opinion is kind of hard to say on this one.........

"Doshite no Kimi wo Ushinaitakunai" which translated means "Don't Want to Lose You" is another great piece with more great lyrics. Musically, it is not one of my favorite B'z songs.

The reprise is another piano solo by Akira-san, and a good way to endthe album.

Even if some of the songs are not my favorites, the arrangement and lyrics on this album are worth their weight in gold. This is easily the best B'z album for showing musical diversity, and has always been a fanfavorite.