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So you’re a huge artist in Japan (80 million albums plus) and you long ago cracked the Oricon list as one of the biggest selling artists ever in the Jap, and have a ridiculous amount of hit singles (40+).  So, what’s next?  If you’re Hikaru Utada, you release some pretty awful R&B type drivel (Exodus, This is the One), completely ignoring your pop credentials.  If you’re the B’z, you play it a little smarter and a little safer.  Re-releasing some of your older tracks in English to coincide with a new single.  The single is called Into Free -Dangan-, and anyone with a copy of the B’z Ultra Pleasure greatest hits collection will instantly recognize the monster riffs from Ultra Soul and the re-titled Love Bomb (愛の爆弾).  While released with little fanfare (the English website for the release has a minimum of info on it), it is an effort to get the B’z music to a larger fan base than the neo-Canadian and neo-American Asian markets.  Koshi Inaba (稲葉 浩志) doesn’t lose any of his signature vocal trademarks, but you can tell that he is fighting English a bit to get the lines out.  I’ve heard much worse efforts, and I’ll give him a solid B+ and hope he continues to try English out.  I’ll settle for another Japanese studio album, if they aren’t too busy.  Obviously guitar translates with no difficulties, and Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto (松本 孝弘) lets ‘er rip with typical masturbatory abandon.  The production is typical B’z, slick and processed with plenty of electronic blips and bloops added.  Since it’s an EP and very reasonably priced (5 songs for $3.49) you certainly won’t feel ripped off for giving it a shot.  And to top it off, they are actually going to be touring North America, Canadian stops including Toronto and Vancouver.  With any luck, yours truly will hit one of the two shows, particularly since they are in medium-sized venues which with a bit of luck will see me right near the stage.  I’ve seen a few live DVDs, but I haven’t seen the boys do the business in person.  Here’s hoping!

Track listing:
1. Love Bomb
2. Splash
3. Juice
4. Ultra Soul
5. Into Free -Dangan-