The Ballads ~Love & B'z~

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The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
Compilation album by B'z
Released December 11, 2002
Genre Hard rock
Length 1:16:45
Label Rooms Records
Producer Tak Matsumoto
B'z chronology
3rd Best-of
03b.jpg

B'z The "Mixture"
(2000)
4th Best-of
04b.jpg

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
(2002)
5th Best-of
05b.jpg

B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
(2005)
Part of the B'z-themed Christmas Tree public exhibit used to promote The Ballads ~Love & B'z~.
Source promo image of B'z used in adverts for the compilation's release.

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~ is the fourth compilation album by B'z, released on December 11, 2002. The album is one of many by the band to compile past works into a new package, and is the only of those to be ordered around a specific theme. As with their other releases of the sort, all songs contained have been digitally remastered prior to being included. Of particular note is that despite being a "best of" compilation, only five of the sixteen tracks are singles. The rest consist of B-sides and album tracks released between 1991's "ALONE"—found here in its IN THE LIFE album version— and "Everlasting" released in summer of the same year on studio album GREEN. While several of the tracks have been collected elsewhere, many were first compiled here. Unbeknownst to many due to no notation in the title, 2000 hit single "Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni" is found here with yet another alternative guitar solo take that differs from the alternate version already found on ELEVEN two years prior.

Originally, B'z had planned to release a ballads compilation in the winter of 2001 as a follow-up to the previous year's B'z The "Mixture". In fact, the idea was first proposed as an alternative project in place of the latter album. The album is packaged in a box that opens outward and comes in a limited red edition and a more common white version; the former of which is still available for purchase at LIVE-GYM events. Notably, the exterior plastic has a seal attached that has been affixed depending on the occasion—for the band's fifteenth anniversary in 2003 and for various holidays such as New Year's, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. The internal packaging art was prepared by celebrated contemporary Japanese artist Nobumasa Takahashi which features an illustrated bear overlooking both members of the band. The paper booklet common to most other releases is replaced with a small book that contains the art and lyrics.

The album both opens and closes with one of the band's foremost ballads: 1992's "Itsuka no Merry Christmas". The original version, first found on mini album FRIENDS, became a common holiday theme in the years since. While the official track listing ends with FRIENDS II standout "SNOW", a hidden track is attached that plays thereafter. This "secret version" of "Itsuka no Merry Christmas" is a dance-oriented version arranged by longtime B'z support member and bassist Akihito Tokunaga. As with the unmarked alternate version of "Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni" mentioned previously, it can only be heard here and has not been collected elsewhere in the years since.

Given it was a compilation work, B'z did not participate in a great deal of specific promotions. An image of the two band members dressed in Santa Claus outfits was used to publicize its release, along with a B'z-themed Christmas tree that was displayed at Tokyo Dome City Fountain beginning December 1 through the holiday season. The band had three television appearances that coinciding with the release: an early December appearance on CDTV to comment on the compilation, a performance of "Itsuka no Merry Christmas" on 130 Million People Choose! Top 30 Artists 2002, and a double performance of "Mou Ichido Kiss Shitakatta" from the album and 2002 single "Atsuki Kodou no Hate".

Upon release, The Ballads ~Love & B'z~ debuted at the top of the Weekly Oricon Album chart with 1,050,125 copies sold in its first week on shelves. This would be the final B'z compilation or album of any sort to move 1,000,000 physical copies in its first week, as it was released on the cusp of music being available digitally by various means. The album would be the third best-selling for all of 2002 and in total has sold 1,713,726 copies. As a result, The Ballads ~Love & B'z~ has been certified Million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan.

Track listing

All music and guitar by Tak Matsumoto. All lyrics and lead vocals by Koshi Inaba.

First time collected in a compilation in original form

Alternative version from source song

No. Source Song Album Appearances Sample
1. 04m.jpg

Itsuka no Merry Christmas
いつかのメリークリスマス
A Merry Christmas Once Upon A Time

FRIENDS
B'z The Best "Treasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"

2. 09s.jpg

ALONE

IN THE LIFE
B'z The Best "Pleasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"
B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

Not the original single but instead the album version from IN THE LIFE that begins with the English chorus sung a capella.
3. 27s.jpg

Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni
今夜月の見える丘に
On the Hilltop Where We Can See the Moon Tonight

ELEVEN
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"
B'z The Best XXV 1999-2012
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

A second, unmarked alternative guitar solo version different from the one found on ELEVEN. Never collected elsewhere.
4. 25s.jpg

HOME

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
B'z (International EP)
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"
B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

5. 22s.jpg

Calling

SURVIVE
B'z The Best "Pleasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"
B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

6. 10s.jpg

TIME

B'z The Best "Treasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

7. 08a.jpg

Kienai Niji
消えない虹
Everlasting Rainbow

LOOSE
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"

8. 06a.jpg

Gekkou
月光
Moonlight

RUN
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"

9. 09a.jpg

Happiness
ハピネス

SURVIVE
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"

10. 05a.jpg

Mou Ichido Kiss Shitakatta
泣もう一度キスしたかった
Wanted to Kiss You One More Time

IN THE LIFE
B'z The Best "Treasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"

11. 09a.jpg

Naite Naite Nakiyandara
泣いて 泣いて 泣きやんだら
Cry, Cry, and Cry Again

SURVIVE
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~

12. 26s.jpg

ONE

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "ULTRA Treasure"
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

13. 12a.jpg

Everlasting

GREEN
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~

14. 32s.jpg

GOLD

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"
B'z The Best XXV 1999-2012
B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX

15. 05m.jpg

SNOW

FRIENDS II
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~

04m.jpg

Itsuka no Merry Christmas
(Secret Version)

いつかのメリークリスマス
A Merry Christmas Once Upon A Time

FRIENDS
B'z The Best "Treasure"
The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
B'z The Best "Pleasure II"
B'z The Best "ULTRA Pleasure"

A special dance-oriented version of "Itsuka no Merry Christmas" that functions as a hidden track attached to the previous track. This version was arranged by long-time collaborator Akihito Tokunaga and has a digital beat that plays over the course of the song, giving it a distinct sound compared to other renditions included on FRIENDS and B'z The Best "Pleasure II".

Sales data

No. Cover Compilation Physical Copies Sold Chart Positions Certification
FIRST WEEK LIFETIME WEEK MONTH YEAR
4 04b.jpg

The Ballads ~Love & B'z~
2002.12.11

1,050,125+

1,713,726+

1

3

Million