Kurayami Monogatari

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AAA – Sayonara no Mae ni September 16, 2014

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 9:51 am

sayonaranomaeni

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara no Mae ni
  2. Next Stage
  3. Sayonara no Mae ni (Instrumental)
  4. Next Stage (Instrumental)

1. Sayonara no Mae ni

I still don’t know what’s up with AAA and their songs that lead in this era, but I just can’t seem to get my head around the songs this time around.  The tune begins with some twinkling sounds before it becomes a rather mid-tempo song that ironically reminds me of a lighter “Kaze ni Kaoru Natsu no Kioku” which despite I enjoyed the latter, this one sort of missed its mark.  I honestly felt as it this should’ve been merely an album song since it really doesn’t stand out to me beyond the nice vocals, but that’s really something that just is normal with AAA these days.

2. Next Stage

So the B-side was actually released as a preview out back in August because of its tie-in to One Piece (hmmm, odd that they couldn’t have put that on their previous single).  Rather, once I started the song up, I quickly took back my statement as it wouldn’t have worked.  I have to say that I was instantly taken by Shuta’s voice (honestly, since when did he sound THIS good?).  Then the tune shifts to a dance track and I immediately focused into the track.  I’ve been waiting for song to fully impress me and it seems that it turned out that it would be the B-side!  Definitely the better song!

 

 

As the 4th and final single before their “GOLD SYMPATHY” album drops and I’m still wondering where AAA has gone.  Sayonara no Mae ni like the other A-sides they’ve released have been met with lukewarm responses for myself as they don’t seem to have that oomph (ok, maybe “SHOW TIME” but that isn’t going to be on the album so, that’s a moot point).  At least Next Stage sounds really good and does make the album’s cut.  I just hope the album will do something to make up for this rather mediocre set of singles.

 

Let’s Talk about Smash Bros.! The FINAL Roster & The US Demo September 15, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 9:15 am

So we finally have our final roster.  I’ll just talk more in-depth about the remaining new characters and not the veterans.  Though the returning vets are: Ganondorf, Wario, R.O.B., Ness, Jigglypuff, Falco, and Mr. Game and Watch.  Let’s go and talk about the remaining new characters/additions!

drmario

I do have to mention this guy.  Returning from Melee (and currently the only character to have missed out to return to the series, Dr. Mario returns!  Honestly, I could’ve lived without seeing him again (as an alternate costume, I would’ve loved it).  From the gameplay shown so far, he retains a lot of his Melee tactics (even his Down B is still the tornado which is awesome!).  Also even though his FS is a Dr. Mario-esque take on the Mario Finale, it’s still really cool otherwise…Still would’ve rather had him and an alternate costume though.

Dark_Pit_SSB4

Which carries over to the next newcomer, Dark Pit.  I had figured he’d be a thing after his appearance at the end of Palutena’s trailer.  Sadly, like Dr. Mario and Lucina, he’s a pretty biased clone of Pit.  There’s not much of a dfference between the two characters (cept side B uses the Electroarm and Dark Pit’s FS is different, but looks a lot like Zelda/Shiek’s FS).  Honestly, at the moment just from watching, he’s my least favorite inclusion as a newcomer (though it’s shared amongst many people too).

duck hunt

As our retro newcomer we get Duck Hunt who was more of a Western character as all of us had gotten that game alongside Super Mario Bros.  It also cove more of the NES Zapper which is shown in its moveset pulling along Wild Gunmen and Hogan’s Heroes.  What a random but great love letter to such a device. Even then, the Duck Hunt Dog is just so cute and its Dalmation costume with it’s Mallard Duck pal is perfect for me!  What a great inclusion and quite WTF (though I still think Wii Fit Trainer beats it, despite being one of the first newcomers announced).

Bowser_Jr__SSB4

Ahhh Bowser Jr.  Now I was surprised to hear that the Mario series got two new representatives and I was worried that Bowser Jr. was going to be a clone.  Luckily with his Koopa Clown Car, he avoids that and brings a unique and literally fun looking moveset.  Even throwing in some Mario Sunshine reference is even ncier in his FS with Shadow Mario.  Definitely looking forward to using him however!!!…

Koopalings-NSBM2

Bowser Jr. doesn’t have regular alt colors.  Instead, we have the Koopalings acting as his alternates.  Easy because most of the moveset belongs to the Koopa Clown Car.  I really do love that the Koopalings have been getting a LOT of love these days with appearing in the main games and even Mario Kart 8.  Now what makes them different from being just alts is that in-game they’re called by their names and not Bowser Jr. despite not having their own slot.  The first time where this has happened in Smash Bros. where alternates get special treatment.

alph

This also goes for Alph from Pikmin 3.  Just like the Koopalings, he’s another special alternate this time for Captain Olimar.  He has 4 outfits to himself and the same moveset to his counterpart. It’s pretty surprising Sakurai went and made him a (sort-of character).  I still am happy that there is some Pikmin 3 representation though and he looks great on the Wii U version.

==============================================

So let’s talk about the demo!

Nintendo released the demo for Platinum members on Club Nintendo on 9/12 (with a public demo coming out on the 19th).  I fortunately had gotten a code from a friend (another thing, Platinum members got four extra codes they could send out).  So I wanna talk about what was on it.

First off, the game is smooth like butter! very good and the gameplay feels nothing like any of the previous incarnations which is also good!  The 3D didn’t slump the demo much as well.  Though my only gripe is that the 30FPS of some of the Assist Trophies and Pokemon are pretty jarring I must say and kind of makes me grimace almost.  Still with the amount the full game has, some sense of sacrifice had to happen so I can’t complain.

The demo comes with a Tips section which has A LOT OF INFO for a demo about the full game (Smash Run enemies, techniques, other Assist Trophies, stages, and even characters that aren’t even in the demo.

Also, it only comes with one stage: Battlefield.  Though it does come in its “Omega” version (which is its Final Destination version) and two songs, the main Battlefield theme and the primary Melee menu screen music.

Items

So most of the items (if not all of them, were here) so let me talk a little bit on each). At least of the new ones

  • X Bomb – Fire in an X-shape or a +-shape.  Pretty cool range and knockback for what it is and I find myself missing enemies a lot XD.
  • Hocotate Bomb – So you throw it and it launches into the sky (can carry opponents off too) before crash landing down in a big explosion…if it hit, oh damn it’s so powerful!
  • Steel Diver - Shoots out little torpedoes but does good knockback the farther the shot was.  I love how it starts slow before accelerating to fast speeds!
  • Beetle - What an item!  You throw it and it grabs the opponent and drags them up off the screen (well mostly if they don’t do anything XD).  Very useful, but somewhat cheap.
  • Bottled Fairy - If you have more than 100% health damage, you can heal all of it away.  If not, it doesn’t activate and become a throwing item that can damage opponents…but if they have over the percentage of damage…you heal them.  Think before you throw basically XD.
  • Ore Club - This item has quickly become my favorite of the new items.  Basically it’s like a Beam Sword but with some extra oomph.  If you use it as a Smash attack, it sends tornadoes (size depends on how long you hold it).  Use it as a full Smash attack and it’s a huge tornado across the stage.  It also runs out after a couple of uses..but it’s still badass of an item!
  • Cucco - Lovely, these chickens roam across the stage and if you hit it, its flock comes at you and attacks. If you pick it up and toss at someone they’ll get the unlucky barrage of feathers in their face!  Such an exciting and hilarious attack.
  • Gust Bellows - To me it’s more like a useful F.L.U.D.D. but with wind properties!  Makes pushing people off platforms a lot more easier.  Though once you throw it away it’ll activate on it”s own and blow itself all over the place and can push characters around.  So it’s best to stay away from it once it goes berserk xD.
  • Spiny Shell - So I’ve already explained what this does (chases the leader (or 2nd place if you’re already winning) and blows up on them).  Oddly enough I seldomly see this landing on the person I want to (though it does hit others in its radius which is still good enough for me).  OK weapon I guess.
  • Rocket Belt - Lets you hover and recover from below.  Expected, but I didn’t know that when the item ends it forcefully makes you short hop so the item can fall off.  Odd.
  • POW Block - Nothing much to say really, though it is odd to see that the POW Block makes the person who threw it hop as well.
  • Fire Bar – Great weapon to whack people with. Though learned the fireball that’s closest to the hilt is the strongest which does mean that once the other fireballs fizzle out, you still have a pretty useful weapon on you albeit have to be real close to them.
  • Back Shield - Still as it applies in the previous posts…does break after some strong hits but it’s rather nice to have on ya in free-for-alls!
  • Bombchu - So they aren’t as powerful as the Bob-ombs are, but they do scurry along the stage (and for Battlefield that’s good) and they blow up on impact.  Cool item, surprised it took them this long to include it!
  • Super Leaf – Besides the quirkyness of seeing characters with ears and a tail, the Super Leaf grants them the ability to float (ala Peach’s ability).  It’s cool, didn’t seem to use it too much, because the button mapping in the demo is kind of horrid for me, but it’s still a cool item.
  • Master Ball – So it’s been talked about before, but we learned that Goldeen appears from this a well (as a troll).  Beyond that woo Pokemon! (BTW will not talk about them or ATs until the full game is out).
  • Bullet Bill - I love how it just bum rushes any opponent in the way for some pretty hefty damage.  I was worried that it’d go too far and makes a self-destruct, but it doesn’t seem like it does that.  Very cool item and one many will charge for.
  • Beehive – So like the Cucco, you attack it and the bees will come out and continuously attack ya (and disrupt your movement which is quite annoying).  Though definitely useful tossing it at others so they feel the sting.  Quite an odd item though lol.  The Cucco’s are much funnier.
  • Drill Arm – So this thing fires off a drill that does continuous damage and can carry an oppenent horizontally off the stage.  The handle can be tossed once I’ve noticed too.  Makes sense since Jill from Drill Dozer isn’t even in the game.
  • Special Flag - This is definitely a high risk and reward item, what you do is pick it up and press the attack button to activate.  Once that happens you have to sit still until it gives you the +1 KO (or +1 life). Honestly, it really is difficult to maintain the item since one hit will make you drop it.  I think it might be too much risk to really go for it.
  • Boomerang - So this item can be tossed and it’ll gradually gain power.  Though I’m not sure where it caps off because it can be used for quite a long time (if not the whole match if you’re good with it).  For me it’s a pretty fun item, though it kind of gets rid of all of your A attacks for the time you have it…though it is good to use it for comboing…very useful.
  • Killer Eye - So you set this item down and it fires a laser like it’s a smidge stronger Ray Gun.  However, it can be used by anyone, attack it and it changes direction (or if it’s something powerful get flung everywhere) lol.  I don’t find too much use for it, but it does make the opponent think on ground fights.
  • Boss Galaga - So it works a lot like the Beetle where it basically snatches the opponent and flies them off screen, of course they can escape and the Galaga ship can be destroyed.  Cool item and I love that it makes its signature sounds too!
  • Daybreak - So the alternate to the Dragoon, Daybreak acts almost the same way but once you obtain all the pieces you’re stil able to run around and position yourself…however if you get hit good, someone can take the fully working Daybreak and use it on you!  I like the item and its full range…awesome!
  • Grass - So the only item left that wasn’t talked about yet, we get Grass.  Yeah, not the Weed from the Animal Crossing series but the Grass from the USA SMB2.  So this is pretty much an item that gives you an item.  Wait, what?  Think of Peach’s Down-B move and you’ll get the gist of it.  You pull out a random item (sometimes nothing) and that’s all the uses.

 

So let’s talk about the characters from the demo!

mario

So funny enough Mario feels quite nice on the 3DS.  I mean nothing too big has changed about his character.  To be honest he felt buffed a little.  Like his attacks are feeling like they have punch to it.  Nothing really changed in his moves for the most part and remains otherwise the same as he was in Brawl which is nice to see.  I still did enjoy him in the demo at the least and will probably the first person I’ll use when I get the game in full (though I probably will not and go for Yoshi or a newcomer).

link

To me Link became a little more stronger.  I surprisingly became really good with Link in Brawl and hoped not too much has changed and well for the most part he, like Mario, remained unchanged with one little exception.  His Dash Attack has changed to mirror his attack in Ocarina of Time and I will admit that I had to get used to it because in Brawl it was an instand slash while this time around it’s a jumping lunge.  Not that I mind, but I do seem to miss a lot (Brawl in my mind still).  Also his Up Air has also gotten a different look which is kind of odd-looking and his Bow can KO at high percentages 0.o.  Still, I was able to use him pretty well and loving his look too.   Also, Fierce Deity Link is a thing in the full game…ugh…I can’t wait!

pikachu

Our little rodent has gotten some upgrades to his shocking arsenal!  First off, Thunder’s cloud has a meteor effect and also has a glitch in the demo where in can go through the middle platform of Battlefield.  Also, it comes out faster than any other iteration of Smash Bros. which is pretty damn scary.  Its moves actually look painful this time and I love the energy in his moves.  I think Pikachu does seem slightly weaker, but it could just be me.

Villager

As the first newcomer shown off when the game was announced, Villager has become a HUGE threat in the metagame already!  Not only does he have the creepy eyes going, he/she has a moveset that’s based on directly on strategy and mindtricks.  Their B Special, Pocket can store projecticles or items to use later on in the battle, Lloid Rocket fires a gyroid that can also be used for horizontal recovery, Balloon’s to float up and a 3-step Tree that does huge damage if it connects.  When I played as Villager, I thought their A attacks weren’t much to gawk at, except for Smashs….Forward Smash brings a cannonball and despite not having distance, it hurts!.  Up Smash is fireworks that does good damage and Down Smash pretty much buries the opponents.  Not sure if they are the broken character yet, but damn are they good right now.

Mega Man

Last but not least, I was surprised that we got Mega Man in the mix here.  I had worried that he’d be uselsee after his mediocre status after E3 but Mega Man feels good to play as mostly.  I did find myself having to get used to MM not having a Forward Tilt A since it basically is just him running and shooting bullets.  Most of the magic however is in his other A-moves which are powerful or have interesting things about them.  His B moves though doesn’t leave much to be desired.  Metal Blade is nice, but basic, Crash Bomber often comes bac to me and I get damaged, Rush Coil is like Sonic’s Spring Jump but Rush doesn’t seem to damage, and Leaf Shield is just stupid.  I mean all the aforementioned moves are slightly useful, but most of the KOs will be from the A attacks.

OVERALL?: HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPEDDDDDDDDDD

 

R.I.P. EunB & Rise September 7, 2014

Filed under: ~Writing~ — solarblade @ 8:53 pm

ladies-code-riseEunB-ladies-code-EB-A0-88-EC-9D-B4-EB-94-94-EC-8A-A4-EC-BD-94-EB-93-9C-34099091-500-750

Please keep your thoughts and prayers for the remaining members of LADIES’ CODE and the families that lost these amazing singers and wonderful ladies.

 

AKB48 – Kokoro no Placard

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 12:12 am

kokoronoplacard

Track Listing

  1. Kokoro no Placard
  2. Dareka ga Nageta Ball (Under Girls)
  3. Hitonatsu no Hankouki (Next Girls) (Type-A only)
  4. Seikaku ga Warui Onna no Ko (Future Girls) (Type-B only)
  5. Chewing Gum no Aji ga Nakunaru Made (Upcoming Girls) (Type-C only)
  6. Sailor Zombie (Milk Planet) (Type-D only)
  7. Oshiete Mommy (Type-D only)
  8. 47 no Suteki na Machi e (Team 8) (Theater Edition only)
  9. Kokoro no Placard 1half
  10. Kokoro no Placard off vocal ver.
  11. Dareka ga Nageta Ball off vocal ver.
  12. Hitonatsu no Hankouki off vocal ver.
  13. Seikaku ga Warui Onna no Ko off vocal ver.
  14. Chewing Gum no Aji ga Nakunaru Made off vocal ver.
  15. Sailor Zombie off vocal ver.
  16. Oshiete Mommy off vocal ver.
  17. 47 no Suteki na Machi e off vocal ver.

1. Kokoro no Placard

So kicking this single off, we start with the Senbatsu song, Kokoro no Placard and Mayuyu is actually leading the song as she won the tournament.  After the pleasant and surprisingly nice “Labrador Retriever”, I wasn’t expecting this song to be so sacchrine and goofy.  The arrangement is something different (considering how bland Akimoto songs can get).  To be honest, it’s a little forgetful to me despite the rather interesting arrangement.  Something feels missing here and the ~wai-ya-ya-yai~ is stupid sounding lol.  I don’t know but this song is lacking (like previous Senbatsu singles).

2. Dareka ga Nageta Ball

All editions come with this B-side too coming from the Under Girls.  Dareka ga Nageta Ball seems to be the typical Akimoto arrangement but a little more classical sounding?  I don’t know what it is but I found this grouping of ladies sound rather monotone though melodically together ironically.  Once they throw in the electric guitar in the chorus, I was basically done with this song…very poor for me.

3. Hitonatsu no Hankouki

Then comes the edition only songs starting with the Next Girls.  I’m actually already enjoying this song a LOT more than the previous two because it has a darker touch and the mix of harpischord and some dance beats is kind of cool.  I do wish they had kept away from making the son sound happier than it should to be honest.  Also, the voices do sound monotone as well in various parts of the song.  It isn’t so bad, but definitely not at the top.

4. Seikaku ga Warui Onna no Ko

Future Girls are up next and their song sounds kind of familiar to “Dareka ga Nageta Ball” with the pop with strings though this one has a little more stronger pop/rock effects to kind of try to stand up on the single.  Sadly, it’s also another song that just doesn’t stand out.  At least the group doesn’t sound bored here and the dance beats is a nice touch…a smidge better than the Under Girls’ track.

5. Chewing Gum no Aji ga Nakunaru Made

Finally, we have the Upcoming Girls (seriously isn’t that almost too similar to Next Girls?).  Now if I have to say anything, Chewing Gum no Aji ga Nakunaru Made sounds REALLY familiar but I can’t seem to place my finger on what song (maybe a faster-paced “Labrador Retriever?”  Really though, it’s another song that just kind of turns to white noise almost instantly.  It’s a lot like “Seikaku ga Warui Onna no Ko” once it enters to its main melody and instrumentation as well.  This was extremely bland for the grouping.

6. Sailor Zombie

Type-D gets two B-sides that none of the other editions get.  Sung by Milk Planet (a mini-group of Karen Iwata, Yui Yokoyama, and Mayu Watanabe), Sailor Zombie starts off quite dark and foreboding before cutting that all out and turning it into another bland offering on the single.  Most of the time in the track, you hear Mayuyu’s voice over the other two and it does make sense (Senbatsu winner and all).  I was liking the solo lines though, definitely was liking and those parts were the most interesting of the entire song…otherwise the rest just did nothing…I will say it’s the best from the single, but that’s not saying much.

7. Oshiete Mommy

While there isn’t a name for this grouping (6 members involved, one was Mayuyu of course).  Unlike “Sailor Zombie” which sounded full, I felt like Oshiete Mommy sounding like it was lacking a stronger beat.  There’s a lot more solo lines to be found here and it sounds like all 6 members involved had a good line or two here.  Though I just kind of wished the chorus stood out more.  *sigh*

8. 47 no Suteki na Machi e

So finally we come to the Theater edition release (AKA the song that’ll be on their next album) and we get a track from Team 8 (I think that’s new?)  Actually it’s a pretty huge group with only Yui Yokoyama as the only name I know.  Sadly, their song is also another bland offering with the Akimoto streak of uselessness available.  Upbeat, straightforward sound, monotone voices, and synth horns…yeah it’s that bad and forgetful…add on that I don’t know the voices (which there are no solos) this song is just very zzzzzz.

 

 

I thought we were going in the right direction after “Mae Shika Mukanee” and “Labrador Retriever” but the Senbatsu single flopped heavily for me.  There is not one song that I particularly cared for here as they all were generic messes of previous songs.  The only worthwhile song is Sailor Zombie but even then that’s stretching.  I honestly hope their “cool” single will be at least decent…but I can’t even get behind the group much longer (please slap Akimoto to actually put some effort to AKB).

 

FLOW – 26 a Go Go!!! September 6, 2014

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 10:47 pm

26agogo

Track Listing

  1. Introduction -collage-
  2. Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-
  3. Senkou no Uta
  4. Marionette
  5. Love☆Sera
  6. Smile Smile Smile
  7. Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-
  8. GLORY DAYS
  9. Someday
  10. Interlude -departure-
  11. Wanderlust
  12. Mata Au Hi Made
  13. PRIDE
  14. Conclusion -pride-

1. Introduction -collage-

So the album begins with an introductory track.  For a near 2 minute intro, collage opens with the band and some synths playing a cool melody and some other surprises as well.  It makes for an interesting intro and has some cool moments throughout. I would hope that that some of the songs take off from some of these ideas.

2. Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-

So the first vocal track was the A-side the preceded the album, and interestingly has an album mix to shake things up as well!  To be honest, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the original and this one besides that it sounds a little more cleaner.  I still love the high energy the bands throws at the listener with this song and just kicks the album off with a pretty badass song!  Loving it still!

3. Senkou no Uta

Following it up, Senkou no Uta comes next and it begins with a quick passage from KEIGO before going in.  I really do like that the song sounds a lot like what we’ve been getting from FLOW so it’s a pretty standard track from them, but it sounds pretty cool as well.  Nothing much else to say about this song however, it’s just the norm for the band.

4. Marionette

Man, they’re just coming hard on this album so far. Marionette is a pretty driving track that kind of reminds me of stuff from their “MICROCOSM” album which is nifty because they showed that they can really do some awesome rock songs and Marionette has a lot of oomph to it that I really enjoyed.  Almost UVERworld levels to be honest.  KEIGO and KOHSHI sound great and just impressed me a lot overall.  Wow, another gem to the album!

5. Love☆Sera

Then the mood shifts quite fully into our next track Love☆Sera by having a more poppier tone.  The duo once again show a great connection and sound really cool and like they’re having a great time to sing.  Honestly, the best thing about this song is its chorus being so progressive and powerful but the rest of the song kind of blows by me (though SO MUCH COWBELL~).  What a weird song to come after “Marionette” though.

6. Smile Smile Smile

With a title like that, I was expecting the worst and it’s definitely the most anison sounding track from the album!  From the chords and the musical bridges with the synth/flute thing…it just SCREAMS anison, but I don’t think it even has a tie-in (to my knowledge).  I hate to say it, but it felt somewhat generic and kind of meh of a song to me.  Weird…

7. Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-

Huh?  Why does the album version tag differs from “Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye”?  Well, it’s apparant right from the start because it begins with a new short piano-only passage before going into the original.  To be honest, I don’t get why Tokonatsu Endless needed it but whatever.  This song does sound like a tune from their earlier days for sure, but I can’t deny that it’s a really cool song from them and the duo sounds really good (well except KOHSHI’s high note line).  Still a great inclusion for sure!

8. GLORY DAYS

Moving on, GLORY DAYS sound like something that should’ve been on their previous album for sure because there’s some synths that eerilly remind me of “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA”.  Of course minus the strong anison sound.  The tune is pretty energetic and everything seems right.  Like “Senkou no Uta” is is pretty much their standard rock song so it doesn’t sway me one way or another, it’s just a solid tune.

9. Someday

Weird that we finally come to a stop with Someday, which begins with a beautiful orchestral passage before the band steps in with a kind of alternative sound.  Being the tamer rock song, Someday really builds itself up quite nicely up to its chorus which is powerful and features a lot of guitars.  Honestly, I kind of wonder why it’s found before the interlude because it seriously sounds like a song that would end the album (ala “Butterfly” from “#5″).  It’s a pretty rad song for sure and stuck in my mind a lot!

10. Interlude -departure-

So comes our 45 second interlude and it starts in a public setting with some chanting and some latin guitar and piccolo.  I really don’t understand the meaning behind this interlude but I hope so it’s answered with our next track…

11. Wanderlust

I suppose it somewhat answered because it has some of the latin guitar, piccolo, and included some castanets to FLOW’s rockin’ atmosphere.  I actually think without, it would’ve been a plain FLOW song but the fusion is rather cool sounding and the group gave it their all for this one and I quite liked it!  Still a little standard for them, but the interesting instrumentation helped keep this song going really good!

12. Mata Au Hi Made

I feel like this song also doesn’t totally belong on this album with it’s rather poppier vibes, but it’s at least it’s a bit more energetic than “Love☆Sera”.  I’m definitely loving the horns that were included (even though they are a bit synth sounding).  It’s a pretty fun-sounding track at least.

13. PRIDE

So the album’s final vocal song is PRIDE and I was wondering if it would topple over “Someday” since that was a pretty fantastic track.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting dialogue throughout the verses from KEIGO first before KOHSHI comes in and actually sings a bit.  Then the chorus where it feels like there’s a lot chanting going on from the band.  I don’t think it came close to being as good as the aforementioned track and kind of left the album with a weird taste IMO.

14. Conclusion -pride-

So the album concludes with an outro piece which is kind of more of the random arrangements set to the melody of “PRIDE” which is nice and all, but I really don’t see the reason to include such a thing.  Being said, I suppose it did something, but I don’t see the appeal for it tbh.

Tracks Recommended

  • Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-
  • Marionette
  • Someday
  • Wanderlust
  • Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-

Song of Avoidance

  • Smile Smile Smile

How to think about 26 a Go Go!!!…Well, it definitely wasn’t as good of an album that “FLOW THE MAX!!!” was that’s for sure.  I mean they had some pretty strong songs, but majority felt like they were going through the waves on this one.  Granted they aren’t bad songs, it just felt like they stuck to what was safe to them here.  I’m pretty sure the fact that it was released one day short of a whole year after their previous album might make it feel somewhat rushed, but I think it was an OK album, not my favorite of theirs but a nice listen.

 

FLOW – #5

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 2:34 am

5

Track Listing

  1. WORLD END
  2. HEAVENLY STAR
  3. PULSE
  4. SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)
  5. ANTHEM
  6. BRAND-NEW DAY
  7. Akai Siren
  8. Antares
  9. MUSIC
  10. WORD OF THE VOICE
  11. Butterfly
  12. Gakuen Tengoku (bonus track)

1. WORLD END

Fitting that FLOW would kick things off with the biggest song of the era (which is also the 2nd A-side released.  I remember this as the Code: Geass theme and I’ve continued to pretty much enjoy the band’s performance here.  Plus, the addition of strings to go alongside their J-rock sound is very much appreciated, plus KOHSHI and KEIGO sounds really nice…great way to kick things off!

2. HEAVENLY STAR

Moving onto our first new track, HEAVENLY STAR is a lot stronger of a sound than “WORLD END” and it features both vocalists kind of singing in a more rougher tone which is a nice touch.  Definitely a song that’s for the fans who enjoy their heavier songs.  A little on the short side of things, but it’s definitely a powerful song.

3. PULSE

Seeing as I had just reviewed it a couple days ago, PULSE comes next and continues on with the band’s harder approach.  It isn’t as destructive as “HEAVENLY STAR” since KOHSHI and KEIGO are singing a little more smoother here.  It’s still a pretty awesome track, regardless and shows quite a lot of energy from the band, so I really enjoyed this.

4. SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)

Interesting that SNOW FLAKE actually was the only track to be edited for the album.  Right from the start, I can tell that about a minute was added from the original.  From the beginning, SNOW FLAKE remains the same as the original mid-tempo winter ballad.  I still find this song to be quite unique in their discography and sounds REALLY pleasant to my ears.  Now the thing that was added was a longer outro (an instrumental one at that that fades out too).  Weird way to close this song out, but I still love the song!

5. ANTHEM

At least we’re back to some new songs starting with ANTHEM.  This song feels like it shows off more of the group’s more quick-thrown lyrics and I quite enjoyed that.  Especially since KEIGO sung first here.  For what it’ worh, the tune is pretty catchy and the arrangement is pretty cool for them.  Definitely another promising track from this album!

6. BRAND-NEW DAY

KOHSHI opens up BRAND-NEW DAY to a more pop/punk style which is something I was expecting from the band on this album (since this is an earlier album of theirs).  Something about this song though kind of just passes by me.  I do like the guitarwork and the chorus is rather catchy, but it doesn’t seem to stick on me as much as other songs have.

7. Akai Siren

Then we get back into our more edgy and heavy FLOW songs with Akai Siren which is a nice twist after the last few songs.  KOHSHI does a great job keeping up with the arrangement and sounds great singing super loud.  Like “BRAND-NEW DAY” though, the song doesn’t really do much for me besides being a cooler song from the band.  Though the mid8 section was a little off in the feel of the tune, but it’s an OK song.

8. Antares

Whoa there, what’s with the intro and the chanting?  What I was expecting was a heavy song, but it’s the total opposite here!  To me, it feels like FLOW is trying to kind of go in that same genre that The Police had been famously known for.  Mixing in a little reggae and some brass instruments giving it a rather unique sound.  I didn’t expect FLOW to pull something like this off, but I really enjoyed the change of pace and it sounds really good too!

9. MUSIC

More chanting?  Yeah, but with MUSIC, it’s a totally different track by having a heavier arrangement and a lot of slap bass from their well…bassist. Also, the singers both are doing their rapping in the verses which always means the tune is quite chaotic and full of energy.  It’s a really exciting song and I love the synergy between both KOHSHI and KEIGO…they really do feed off of each other!

10. WORD OF THE VOICE

Feels like it has been forever since I’ve heard WORD OF THE VOICE last.  Coming back to it, I am enjoying that KEIGO got the verses for the most part while KOHSHI kind of stood back which is pretty nice.  I really like KEIGO’s deeper voice as it really does have a more serious tone than whenever KOHSHI leads.  The song might not have stood high amongst the other A-sides that were released after it, but it’s a solid track overall.

11. Butterfly

The album closes off with Butterly which unsurprisingly is one of their slower songs on the album.  Appropriately, the tune really does feel like it’s closing #5 out with a solid rock tune that doesn’t try to slam itself into your ears.  Though I LOVE the chorus of the song, it’s way powerful and just sounds wonderful to me…definitely a great way to end the album.

12. Gakuen Tengoku

However, the album came with a bonus track which is itself a cover of Finger 5 song (to me that’s rather familiar because misono has covered this too).  I wasn’t sure what to expect since FLOW seems to go all out on covers.  I do love the band’s enthusiasm in this track and sounds like a fun song to perform live.  On this album, it does seem weird because it is a happier song performed by the band.  Still the sound like they had a ton of fun with this cover and it makes me smile!

Tracks Recommended

  • PULSE
  • SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)
  • Butterfly
  • ANTHEM
  • Antares

Song of Avoidance

  • BRAND-NEW DAY

Yeah, I had jumped back to review this before their newest album since I did owe it to at least get to it.  Sad that it took me this long because #5 is a pretty damn good album if I say so myself.  I pretty much enjoyed all of the songs here and definitely shows what FLOW was like before I started down and reviewing them (right at “NUTS BANG!!”).  Be interesting to see how their newest will sound with the time stretched between this album til now (and of course the albums in between!).

 

Koda Kumi – FEVER KODA KUMI LEGEND LIVE September 2, 2014

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 5:48 am

fever

Track Listing

  1. SO FEVER
  2. Cutie Honey
  3. Butterfly
  4. Kimi Omoi
  5. you
  6. Koishikute
  7. NEVER GIVE IT UP

1. SO FEVER

This mini, opens with a song that eerilly reminds me of one of Kuu’s older songs, “Get It On” with the kind of Indian vibe mixed in with her ero-kakkoi style.  I kind of dug it because Kuu sounds into it and exudes such a sexy atmosphere and the arrangement is just as slithering and sexy.  Though for some reason, I thought there’d be more to it and a stronger arrangement, but I still liked the feel the track brought.  Maybe a little more bass would’ve made it a stronger song, but it’s solid overall.

2. Cutie Honey

Man, how many time do I have to review this song?  From her “LOVE & HONEY” single, Cutie Honey is a cover of course of a classic theme and she brought a groovy style to the tune that I instantly fell in love with.  Of course this was like the second song that I fell in love with (“real Emotion” was the first”).  This song is just a cool song and it’s easy to see why it’s one of her most popular songs even to this day (figures why it’s on the mini in the first place).

3. Butterfly

Funny that this is after since they were released around the same time frame.  It also has a certain jazzy tone and almost sounds like a clone to “Cutie Honey” with the string bass love and almost similar melody.  This one definitely caught my attention because of Kuu’s smoky alto vocals that just wooed me throughout.  Still, there’s just no way that people couldn’t say this sounds like the previous track in SOME way.  Cool song though, has a lot of cool elements to it.

4. Kimi Omoi

Then the mini goes into straight ballads starting with the only new one, Kimi Omoi.  I’ve said this MANY, MANY times, but once you heard one Kuu ballad, you’ve heard majority of them and this one is no different.  It’s a pretty basic ballad from her utilizing the typical instrumentation.  Also, Kuu sounds really pleasant so there’s really not much else to say, but it you’re a fan of her slower works then you’ll be fine.

5. you

At least you isn’t a total snoozefest.  It’s more in the range of her R&B ballads which does set itself apart from “Kimi Omoi” and “Koishikute” at the least.  It’s still the normal shtick with extra bass synths and more piano involved.  There’s not much to really say here, but I did enjoy this song quite a bit back then and even now.

6. Koishikute

One of her more recent ballads, Koishikute comes in with a more dramatic arrangement than either of the previous two tracks and I liked that about this song.  Being the lone ballad from the “Bon Voyage” era, I think it managed to stick on me in a good way because the arrangement is beautiful and Kuu sounds really good here.  Definitely the best of the three ballads on the mini-album.

7. NEVER GIVE IT UP

Closing out the mini is the final new track.  It’s funny because it doesn’t sound like a dance track nor a ballad XD.  Actually it’s an upbeat rock track and Kuu’s past endeavors in the genre have been met with mixed opinions.  With NEVER GIVE IT UP actually sounds great and Kuu sounds right pulling this off…that’s a first!  My only qualm is that it is shorter than 3 minutes and honestly it could’ve been better longer.  Not bad!

 

 

This was such a random release!  Being a special CD release (some say the new songs were tied to Pachinko) makes this such an odd release.  Even at that, the new tracks got PVs too!  To be honest, for the most part I actually enjoyed these songs more than the stuff from “HOTEL”.  NEVER GIVE IT UP is probably my favorite of the single with SO FEVER behind and Kimi Omoi in the back.  I’m not sure why the other 4 songs were included (especially 3/4 were around the “BEST ~second session~” time…not sure what the meaning of this was…I wonder if the 3 will be included on her next album as well…

 

 
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