Kurayami Monogatari

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Morning Musume ’14 – Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe/Password is 0 April 16, 2014

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 2:21 am

tokiwokoesorawokoe

Track Listing

  1. Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe
  2. Password is 0
  3. Password is 0 (Morimusume Ver.) (Limited D and Regular only)
  4. Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe (Instrumental)
  5. Password is 0 (Instrumental)

1. Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe

Wow, Tsunku has knocked it out of the park with the leading A-side for Momusu’s single.  Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe just has this really fresh and nice techno-ballad going and even though he tried with “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa”, he perfected it here with fluttering piano and gritty synths.  There wasn’t a whole lot of solos here, but honestly I don’t mind it much.  The only thing that I didn’t think suited the track was the mid8 section where the synths kind of take a stronger approach and kind of diluting the feel of the tune.  What a great song here, definitely an instant favorite!

2. Password is 0

So we come into Password is 0 which was the first song we had known before the single released and it was hiding the other A-side well.  I mean this song is the faster-paced dance track from them and for the first time during this period, I’m kind of like eh it’s alright…usually I’m a sucker for these songs.  There was a lot of Riho and Sakura in this track which isn’t bad but damn the PV was showcasing Riho WAY too much.  Anyways, the song itself could’ve had more to it (the arrangement is actually good though).  I’m sure I’ll love it due to Tsunku’s curse (as I call it).  It’s probably the weakest of the EDM songs, but still passable.

3. Password is 0 (Morimusume Ver.)

So like I said above, Password is 0 was the first track we knew of from the single, but it was because it was tied to au (a cell phone company, and a huge promotion for the group) but alongside it was also Momusu’s first collaboration in a LONG time (prolly not since “Ganbacchae!”).  This time it’s with 2/3 of Morisanchuu (the 3rd member was on pregnant leave) and I knew them because of their collaboration with Mika Nakashima >.>.  The difference between the two tracks is that Miyuki and Kazuko has lines where other members usually would have and they are dramatic yelps XD.  It’s for comedic reasons, but it’s quirky enough to make the song stand out a bit more.

 

 

As Momusu ’14′s 2nd single released, it was a pretty good surprise.  Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe is a surprisingly strong attempty to fuse a ballad with the group’s EDM sound.  Definitely is one of my favorites from this generation of Momusu for sure.  Password is 0 on the other hand is kind of typical from Tsunku, but the Morimusume version did make it stand out in which the original couldn’t really.  Overall a solid single…can’t wait for what comes next.

 

Kyarypamyupamyu – Family Party

Filed under: Kyarypamyupamyu — solarblade @ 1:49 am

familyparty

Track Listing

  1. Family Party
  2. Scanty Skimpy
  3. Invader Invader -extended mix-
  4. Family Party -instrumental-
  5. Scanty Skimpy -instrumental-

1. Family Party

When I started the song, I was enjoying the 8bit inclusion to Kyary’s cute and peppy music and it’s what continued to stand out in the song as it really does sound like a video game for a good portion.  It’s weird that Kyary’s song have gotten more and more saccharine and forgetful and yet after the initial review, I start liking it.  Family Party, like “Yume no Hajima-rin-rin” is one of those songs that I’m sure I’ll like later on, but right now doesn’t fully do much for me.

2. Scanty Skimpy

With a title like that, I was wondering what the hell we were getting and the song is fun and bright and so cartoony that I couldn’t help but find myself enjoying.  It does kind of remind me of “Mottai Night Land” with some of the chords chosen, but this song is definitely the meaning of playful and I was just loving it!  Maybe it’s just me but it so should’ve been the A-side to be honest lol.

3. Invader Invader -extended mix-

I guess Nakata figured out that he missed an A-side XD.  Invader Invader gets the extension this time and at least this one is at least a minute extra.  Of course we get a new intro which was cool and surprise surprise, some new tweaks in the song.  Overall, it was pretty neat and the extension didn’t seem so last minute (like the last few Nakata did).

 

 

As the 3rd single in the era (already?), Family Party was overall a solid single even though I felt like Scanty Skimpy was the better song and felt more like an A-side more than the leading song.  The Invader Invader extension was actually not that bad and brought me back into listening to that song non-stop.  Yeah, I feel like her album might come soon.

 

Kou Shibasaki – Love Searchlight

Filed under: Kou Shibasaki — solarblade @ 1:24 am

lovesearchlight

Track Listing

  1. Love Searchlight
  2. Chikai
  3. Love Searchlight -Instrumental-
  4. Chikai -Instrumental-

1. Love Searchlight

Kou returns to music with Love Searchlight with a pretty funky and cool song!  It sounds like it’s supposed to be a rock track, but there’s synths present and a lot of slap bass (especially in the verses).  I just love the energy of the song and Kou sounds really good along the dance beats and fun instrumentation.  If there was a song to bring back Kou to my favorites, this song would be up there!  Though only 3 minutes long???

2. Chikai

Unlike the fantastic upbeat nature of “Love Searchlight”, Chikai is a more toned down affair…to the point where it does have its Western feels going on.  Kou’s vocals of course are on point and she gives this mid-tempo track a lot of charm IMO.  Might not be better than the A-side, but it’s a solid B-side for the single, maybe she’ll include it on her next album hopefully!

 

 

Has it been over a year since Kou released anything?  Jeeze!  Kou returned with Love Searchlight and this single overall was pretty good.  Love Searchlight has a lot of that great Kou energy that she just has been doing well with in recent times though it could’ve been a little longer.  Chikai was pretty nice and suited her quite nicely…hope this means a good stretch of singles in the future!

 

Nana Mizuki – SUPERNAL LIBERTY

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 1:04 am

supernalliberty

Track Listing

  1. VIRGIN CODE
  2. GUILTY
  3. Apassionato
  4. Egao no Yukue
  5. Antique Nachtmusik
  6. Fun Fun★People
  7. FATE
  8. Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-
  9. Aishuu Twilight
  10. Setsuna Capacity
  11. Ladyspiker
  12. Rock you baby!
  13. Million Ways=One Destination
  14. Bokura no Mirai
  15. Ai no Hoshi -two hearts-

1. VIRGIN CODE

Nana always has such interesting opening songs and VIRGIN CODE is nothing different.  It isn’t as grand as “Avalon no Oukan” from her previous album, but it gives a strong showing.  I love her mix of anison and rock and she just kicks down the wall for this one.  Nana’s vocals are always on point and she just powerfully goes through the song easily.  Very good opening track and hopefully it gets way cooler from here on out!

2. GUILTY

I’m probably the only one who thought this but I thought of U-KISS when GUILTY started because of the beats initially.  The male voice was cool and then Nana came in along with some strings and I was surprised this was our Nana was trying to do something like this.  It’s pretty funky but I was quite shocked but ended up loving the turnout.  Different, but definitely growing on me immensely.

3. Apassionato

Chosen as the promotional song for the album, Apassionato begins with a rather Celtic tone and I thought that’s what it’d be but I was SOOO wrong when the song fully comes in as a very heavy rock track (like a less Japanese “Etsuraku Camellia”).  You know, I’m kind of split on this song because I REALLY like the the slow parts and the fast parts…but they don’t seem to click together for me…Maybe it’s just me, but they should’ve kept the two apart and create two seperate tracks.  Though I just love the power of this song and Nana kept up with it all…I’m so impressed but stretched on the overall presentation.

4. Egao no Yukue

I didn’t think she’d actually cover a song, but she covered a classic DREAMS COME TRUE song.  I was pretty surprised that she’d do a cover song, but a DCT track.  Seeing as the arrangement is almost like the original, Nana’s voice takes on a whole new light for the song in a great way.  I thought she did an amazing job vocally, but the arrangement is meh xD.  Good job overall!

5. Antique Nachtmusik

It sounds depressing starting the next track as it has that muffled feel.  Though once the music begins, it kind of reminds me of Legend of Zelda’s Temple stage from Smash Bros.  It’s an interesting sounding song with some slow parts and some faster parts.  It’s quite dramatic and then the uber low voice in the mid8 section is so unnerving lol.  Still this is a pretty fancy song and I would’ve said this made for a better intro than “VIRGIN CODE”.  Oh and Nana throwing that French around….so cool!

6. Fun Fun★People

Oh hey a switch of attitudes huh?  Fun Fun★People has a much lighter approach by including some funky chords and some staccato notes from the saxes.  It’s got a lot of energy behind it but it kind of reminds me of “Lovely Fruit” from her previous album.  It’s that cute song, but luckily it’s a WHOLE LOT more funky which I love about it.  Great song!

7. FATE

Well that was shortlived because we move into one of the ballads from the album, FATE.  I was wondering if she was going to throw something epic for this song because of the title, but FATE is a straight-up J-pop ballad.  It’s a shock because of how general it’s genre is.  Nana of course is pulling out her vocals here, but the arrangement and the rest of the song didn’t connect with me (minus the acoustic guitar solos).  I’m surprised but I don’t think much of this one 0.o

8. Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-

Like on her last album, Nana made Vitalization special.  As the only single released for the era, Vitalization gained a minute long intro for the album to kind of bridge from “FATE”.  To me, like I said with “Synchrogazer” getting the same treatment, that it really wasn’t needed but it’s whatever.  Vitalization is still a pretty kickass song and Nana blew it out of the park the same way she did with the aforementioned track so I was still in love with her wild vocals and powerful force she brought with the song.  It’s soooo goood!!!

9. Aishuu Twilight

After the excitement of “Vitalization” faded away, we move back to new tracks with Aishuu Twilight.  I was liking the kind of more jazzier (but not straight up) tone the song had and Nana of course gave a nice vocal performance.  It is a big dropoff given the previous track’s energy, so this might throw some people off.  It’s OK, but could’ve been placed somewhere else on the album.

10. Setsuna Capacity

I thought it was going to be another epic song, but Setsuna Capacity turned out to be the one of the more anison-heavy songs and I was happy that there was less genericness going on, but Setsuna Capacity brought us back to that sound.  There’s just something about the song that does work, but amongst the other songs on the album, it is pretty weak.

11. Ladyspiker

Moving on, Ladyspiker was a song I was looking forward to from the name and we get a pretty cool track.  It’s got some good guitar melodies and Nana is singing in a much deeper tone than other songs and it really worked!  It just sounds gritty and so badass for her…yeah this is a pretty bangin’ song!

12. Rock you baby!

~LOCK YOU!….BABY!!!~  Yeah Nana, figured you’d do that with this song.  As a song that’s a bit more upbeat but retains the cool guitar, Rock you baby! is a song that’s better for live performances more than its studio version, but it’s not to say this wasnt bad.  Nana gave a lot of energy here and the song was well done.  Good track overall.

13. Million Ways=One Destination

Opening with a lone piano, it made me curious to what this song is about and is another staple of Nana’s.  Though I was pretty happy when she started the verses by herself basically.  With the instrumentation going in and out makes me enjoy it, but the chorus kind of fell flat for me.  It didn’t have enough oomph behind it whereas the verses felt more interesting.  Meh.

14. Bokura no Mirai

As we near the end, I was surprised we’d get another synth driven track with Bokura no Mirai.  The song isn’t the most exciting track, but I’m loving the melody of the song and Nana of course is giving her all here and I love hearing that.  Though once again, the chorus could’ve had better transitions and more force behind it, but it’s alright.

15. Ai no Hoshi -two hearts-

Ending the album is a new version of the B-side from “Vitalization”.  I LOVE the original version so I was worried that the new take would be not-as-good.  Well, in the end, the original was still way better but the two hearts version makes it more of a ballad by taking some stuff out and putting in some harp.  At least Nana sounds amazing still, but stick with the original version.

Tracks Recommended

  • Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-
  • GUILTY
  • Ladyspiker
  • VIRGIN CODE
  • Antique Nachtmusik

Song of Avoidance

  • FATE

Wow I thought this era would’ve gone on longer than it did with just only one single preceding the release (and the two singles she did with T.M.Revolution).  SUPERNAL LIBERTY to me wasn’t as jaw-dropping as “ROCKBOUND NEIGHBORS” was which is disappointing a little bit, but there were some standouts.  Thing is, SUPERNAL LIBERTY was pretty good in the first half and then started waning in the 2nd half.  I guess it might need to grow on me, but I think on initial listen, it was OK overall.

 

AKB48 – Tsugi no Ashiato April 15, 2014

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 4:28 am

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Track Listing

  1. Koisuru Fortune Cookie
  2. LOVE Shugyou
  3. Sayonara Crawl
  4. Tsuyoi Hana
  5. Ano Hi no Fuurin
  6. Eien Pressure
  7. Aozora Café
  8. UZA
  9. Kimi no Tame ni Boku wa…
  10. Watashitachi no Reason
  11. So long!
  12. Gingham Check
  13. Manatsu no Sounds good!
  14. Otona e no Michi
  15. Chireba Ii no ni… (Theater Edition only)

CD2 (Type A only)

  1. After rain
  2. Gugutasu no Sora
  3. Boy Hunt no Houhou Oshiemasu
  4. JJ ni Karitamono
  5. Shower no Ato Dakara
  6. 10 Krone to Pan
  7. Kakushin ga Moterumono
  8. Team Saka
  9. Tsuyosa to Yowasa no Aida de
  10. Boku wa Ganbaru
  11. Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni

CD2 (Type B only)

  1. Smile Kamikakushi
  2. Taningyougi na Sunset beach
  3. Haste to Waste
  4. Watashi Leaf
  5. Stoic na Bigaku
  6. Ponkotsu Blues
  7. Ichi Ni no San
  8. Kyouhansha
  9. Douki
  10. Kanashiki Kinkyori Ren’ai
  11. Yume no Kawa

1. Koisuru Fortune Cookie

I love that AKB opened the album with one of the more popular songs the group released back in 2013.  Koisuru Fortune Cookie isn’t totally something that stands out, but the song is cute and has a fun dance to go along with it.  I will say that it took a while for it stick on me, but nowadays it’s just an earworm of a song.  Maybe it could’ve been a bit more energetic, but hey what we got isn’t totally bad.

2. LOVE Shugyou

Like their previous album, “1830m”, all of the Theater only songs make the album cut.  This one came from “Sayonara Crawl” and when I reviewed the single, the song was not standing out to me and kind of had a generic sound to it.  Hearing it today again, the song has made a little more of an impact.  The song still to me suffers from non-emotional vocals and the arrangement is more or less what I’ve heard before from AKB since I first started listening to them.  I guess it’s the best of the KKS songs, but that’s not saying much.

3. Sayonara Crawl

Following that is the A-side XD.  Sayonara Crawl is a good reason where I felt like the group’s music was becoming surprisingly stale.  As the 6th A-side before the album, Sayonara Crawl has a lot of my issues that I have with “LOVE Shugyou” present, but the vocals are a lot more alive and bright.  I will say the song though also has seemingly grown on me more than aforementioned track.  I think it’s because the chorus actually was nicer sounding to me now lol.  Damnit!

4. Tsuyoi Hana

We get another KKS song, this time from “So long!”.  I will say that I love the opening for the song giving us a little bit of a waltz-y kind of setting.  Actually I totally forgot about this song, but I actually loved this song because it was different and the Kenkyuusei sounded pleasant alongside the pretty arrangement…hmmm…maybe this is the best KKS song here.

5. Ano Hi no Fuurin

Then here’s the Theater only track from “Gingham Check” sung by the Waiting Girls (who I thought was the same as the KKS, but was wrong).  As the album’s first ballad, Ano Hi no Fuurin sounds like the eponymous big group of ladies singing together in unison.  The arrangement is pretty basic, so I was kind of bored after a while.

6. Eien Pressure

I remember this because this was the single that brought Paruru to the foreground from the group.  She was the lead voice in the song and was the first voice you heard.  Her voice was quite squeaky though XD.  I was quite underwhelmed with the song.  Even today, the song doesn’t seem to do much for me as it sounds more like a B-side more than anything else.

7. Aozora Café

Moving to the track from “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”, Aozora Café is another song from the KKS.  Back on the single review, I thought it was better than “LOVE Shugyou”, but honestly it’s reversed now.  I mean the synth horns are basically a given which I’ve complained about numerous time being hokey and cheap (especially since Akimoto loves to use them).  I just didn’t find anything particularly interesting (maybe the guitar solos).

8. UZA

It’s really weird coming to the group’s 3rd A-side released for the era seeing as it’s the greatest thing on this album to be quite honest.  I mean it’s a fierce song and it’s one of my favorite Autumn singles the group has put out.  It’s dark, energetic and has such a cool PV to go with it.  It just makes me wonder why AKB can’t be more like this more often because these are the songs I would love AKB to tackle and just own more than stuff like “Eien Pressure” or “Gingham Check” (or basically the rest of the A-sides that came out for this album).

9. Kimi no Tame ni Boku wa…

Moving to the B-side from “Manatsu no Sounds good!”, I have a hard time remembering stuff from singles that were before “UZA” so it’s like a fresh listen again.  I was happy to see it making the cut because it seems I liked it from the single.  On the album, Kimi no Tame ni Boku wa… is upbeat and since it only features 8 of the ladies, it brought a nicer tone and it just worked.  Good choice!

10. Watashitachi no Reason

Coming from “Eien Pressure”, Watashitachi no Reason was a song I was her nor there for.  There was a butt-ton of members involved in this song and it just baffled me.  To me, it sounds pretty plain and non-eventful of a song.  I don’t know it’s a lot like how I feel about “Aozora Café” down to the cool guitar lines.

11. So long!

I totally forgot how this song had sounded (even though it was the last single I reviewed before going into my hiatus) so I suppose it makes sense.  So long! is the group’s Sakura single and while it tried to impress me, I felt it to be somewhat cheesy and forgettable.  Meh…

12. Gingham Check

As the 2nd single released for the album, Gingham Check was another song that just felt almost tiresome and lacked any real effort behind it.  It’s even more bland than “So long!” and that was boredom on a stick…this just felt like crap and Akimoto’s want for a B-side to be an A-side.

13. Manatsu no Sounds good!

As the only single that came before “1830m” but got place onto the album after, Manatsu no Sounds good! was a rather interesting song to me.  I mean, the song isn’t totally anything special, but the PV caught my eye and the song actually had a little more effort with dealing with the arrangement.  It’s a rather fun song from them even though there’s better.

14. Otona e no Michi

The final two tracks are actually sung by the Kenkyuusei.  Otona e no Michi was from “UZA”.  Of the KKS songs on the album, Otona e no Michi might be the sappiest tracks here.  I thought it was alright but some of the vocals did seem a bit off here.  Fitting as the closing for the first disc, but still not all that amazing.

15. Chireba Ii no ni…

Though on Theater editions of the album, we get a bonus track which is sung by the KKS as well.  Chireba Ii no ni… is another ballad as well which might not bode well since it comes after “Otona e no Michi”.  It’s a bit less contrived and a little more original in arrangement by having piano and bass with acoustic guitar.  Overall, it’s a better song at least and nice enough to close the first disc (on its singular edition its from).

CD2 (Type A)

1. After rain

Opeing to CD2 for the Type A release of the album, After rain immediately kills my spark right from the beginning with those synth horns and that overly saccharine sound that just is so typical AKB.  I mean there could be something more to the song, but at the moment it’s just falling face first for me.  I will say that towards the end, the song does slightly get better, but the first half just rolls by me.

2. Gugutasu no Sora

Seems like on both of the second discs, it has two songs that were found on singles.  Gugutasu no Sora is originally from “Manatsu no Sounds good!” and of the four songs chosen, I was curious to why this one was making the album cut.  I will say the girls chosen to sing here are ones that I usually never get to hear.  This is just as forgetful as the previous song, but at least “After rain” had a good chorus going for it…meh.

3. Boy Hunt no Houhou Oshiemasu

Most of the songs on this disc are seperated by mini-pairings between members.  the first is between Sasshi, Paruru, Kizaki, and Yagura and from the beginning, the song is really catered to more of the cutesy crowd.  The four voices sound good together (and similar).  It’s a basic tune, but I kind of liked it, but once again, the guitar solo is just the thing that stands out the most.

4. JJ ni Karitamono

Sung by 6 of the members: Umeda, Kitahara, Kuromochi, Takayanagi, Yamada (oh hi ex-H!P member), and Takamina!  I was pleasantly surprised the song wasn’t your atypical AKB song but had a little more depth to it and a stronger beat (and guitar solo) plus the girls chosen seem to have a deeper tone which helped a lot!  Definitely an early favorite from this disc, hope there’s more.

5. Shower no Ato Dakara

Oooh a song sung by Rena, Kojiharu, and Yukirin comes next.  I like the intro for the song being a little different and yet very Akimoto-ish.  It’s got a stronger amount of synths.  Though what I wasn’t expecting the trio to sing in such a whispery, breathy voice.  To be honest, I have dejavu to SDN48′s “GAGAGA” with this type of singing.  It’s definitely a unique song to the album, so I admire it for that, but otherwise…you might as well just call it “GAGAGA” pt. 2.

6. 10 Krone to Pan

So the next song is sung by Kodama, Fujie, Furuhata, Yamamoto, and Yokoyama and it starts off with a metronome and a darker setting which is a good change for me lol.  Like “JJ ni Karitamono”, the voices here are also of ladies who sing better in a lower tone and I quite liked this song too.  It could’ve used a little more bass behind the song, but overall this is also up there.

7. Kakushin ga Moterumono

Team A comes in with their track, Kakushin ga Moterumono and unfortunately is also the return with guitars mixed with piano and trumpets.  I don’t know why but this is just too bland for my listen and sounds like a possible A-side that was turned down lol.  It just didn’t do anything for me and I simply passed it up.

8. Team Saka

On the flipside we get a new Team 4 track.  At least the voices in Team 4 are a lot easier to handle than in “Kakushin ga Moterumono” but the music is still quite as generic as it gets.  It’s a bright song for all its worth, but yeah….only a smidge better than the previous track but still isn’t doing anything for me.

9. Tsuyosa to Yowasa no Aida de

Oh, so now we’re getting Sayanee’s graduation song yet it wasn’t featured on “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”? ok…I really approve of the intro with the kind of wail from the guitar.  Sayanee’s voice sounds so good in this ballad and just was a nice song!  Then the other vocals come in and I’m kind of like meh…  I think when it was the solos going on, it was pretty good, but together…it sounded messy.  I’ll probably get over it though.

10. Boku wa Ganbaru

Then comes a song from some of the more recognizable members, unfortunately their song is another one of those songs that gets forgotten as it has an arrangement that we’ve all heard before.  Yeah, I just can’t seem to remember anything about this song.

11. Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni

Remember OKL48 from “Eien Pressure?”  If not, they were a one-time unit that was made as a kind of a goofy group alongside Takashi Okamura (comedian).  The song without its lulzy PV does make this song sound generic like a couple of the other songs, but it’s still a fun with the PV.  It’s all right, but there was better.  Odd choice to close the Type A second disc though.

CD2 (Type-B)

1. Smile Kamikakushi

The Type B second disc begins with a new track from Tentoumu Chu! which is their 3rd track known.  At least it opens this disc on a nice note despite once again not being totally original here.  The vocals are pleasant at least and the piano/guitar melody isn’t too straightforward.  Fitting!

2. Taningyougi na Sunset beach

So Ota, Suda, Yamauchi, and Milky get a song and Taningyougi na Sunset beach at first had potential about it, but the song started to wear off on me a bit.  I mean I like the latin flair about it, but if you took that it and left the vocal melody it wouldn’t have stuck out a bit.  I suppose it’s OK at best, but not the best.

3. Haste to Waste

Ahhh the song that’s sung by the “dumb” girls BKA48.  This song, coming from “Sayonara Crawl”, It’s funny to see another song to feature a lot of familiar faces here and Rina getting most of the lines as she did the worst is hilarious (or clever).  The song is alright, albeit a tad boring…but it’s a good choice to bring on this album.

4. Watashi Leaf

Iriyama, Kawaei, Kato, and Jurina pair up for the next track and I like the synth intro and seems to be more dance focused which is great to hear.  It’s nice to hear natural voices against electronic sounds so I felt they were on the right path.  I quite liked this tune…the best one on this disc so far.

5. Stoic na Bigaku

After that boost of rock, we get Stoic na Bigaku which has a sort of anison sound to it with the loud guitars and beats and chords.  Sung by 7 members: Oba, Ichikawa, Kimoto, Miyawaki, Yabuki, Yabushita, and Mayuyu, it’s a pretty safe song for them since it’s not asking for fast lyrics or difficulty.  I would say it’s alright, but nothing special in the long run.

6. Ponkotsu Blues

Sung by many members strung out throughout the groups, Ponkotsu Blues finally brought in something besides trumpets to the game and instead threw in some saxophone.  The vocals are a bit inconsistent with each other and sounds a bit messed up, though when they sing altogether, it does sound better by a bit…but dual lines is not in its favor here.  I’d say the arrangement is definitey worth it, but not the vocals.

7. Ichi Ni no San

Oshima, Takajo, Nagao, Furukawa, and Minegishi pair up for Ichi Ni no San and it sounded like it’d be awesome right from the start with the intro that almost has an avex kind of tone to it.  Once again, the vocals are a bit offputting, but the song itself is quite nice…mehhh.

8. Kyouhansha

It’s weird that Team A’s song was on the other disc but the other two are on this one…very weird.  Team K’s song comes next and Kyouhansha is another bland song for me.  I didn’t think mixing the dance beat with their idol/anison sound was going to work and I guessed right.  I mean the voices are suited for this, but there’s nothing gripping me here.

9. Douki

Oh jeeze, Paruru is getting a solo?  From what we got in “Eien Pressure”, I thought Paruru was a meh choice, but going into her ballad solo, Douki is pretty simple.  I mean piano and her at first really showed how she could do it.  She’s not bad, but she pinches her notes on higher tones which is pretty unfortunate.  Throw in a random guitar solo and a little more strings and you get this song.  It’s not bad persay, but Sayanee’s was a lot better and so was Acchan’s…

10. Kanashiki Kinkyori Ren’ai

Then Team B shows up and Kanashiki Kinkyori Ren’ai is a mid-tempo (but still bright) song here.  I think it’s meh that their song is kind of generic as well, but there’s some nice moments here.  The chorus is nice, but I felt like it’s been done before as it is.  It’s all right, but like I said numerous times in this review….nothing special.

11. Yume no Kawa

I really wish they left this song out as it’s WAY past the time that Acchan graduated from AKB48.  As the B-side from “Gingham Check”, Yume no Kawa was her sendoff and was appropriate as the ending for this disc as it’s a ballad.  I still do enjoy the song as much as I did back then and the PV was one of the more memorable ones from them.  Such a great graduation song!

Tracks Recommended

  • UZA
  • Kimi no Tame ni Boku wa…
  • Tsuyoi Hana
  • Sayonara Crawl
  • Manatsu no Sounds good!
  • JJ ni Karitamono
  • 10 Krone to Pan
  • Tsuyosa to Yowasa no Aida de
  • Shower no Ato Dakara
  • Watashi Leaf
  • Yume no Kawa
  • Smile Kamikakushi

Song of Avoidance

  • Gingham Check
  • Boku wa Ganbaru
  • Kanashiki Kinkyori Ren’ai

Well damn this took forever to review.  After “1830m” I was hoping they weren’t going to get more crazier with their album releases, but Tsugi no Ashiato threw that in the trash.  This album was crazy to review with all the discs and extra songs.  The main disc was obvious in including all the A-sides, theater edition only songs and some B-sides so it was just a run down memory lane.  The other two discs did get to feature a buttload of new content, but most of it was generic Akimoto songs that I couldn’t be bothered with lol.  I mean it was nice that we got the amount we got, but I didn’t think it was as good as their last album sadly.

 

Let’s talk about Smash Bros. pre-4/8!!! April 10, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 7:04 am

So I know I’ve been missing a lot of news, but I felt it was time to time travel back to almost a year back when SSB4 was finally shown off at E3.  There is a lot of stuff to go over so I’ll break it up to parts (and yes, I’ll cover the the Direct sometime this weekend!  So let’s get started!

Characters

So since E3 there was quite a bit of character reveals (most of them are returning veterans)

  • Captain Olimar & Pikmin - As the first announced after E3, it was surprising but fitting as he was shown off alongside Pikmin 3′s release.  Of course there was some hints that Sakurai changed him up but I’ll get to that eventually!
  • Luigi - Of course, 2013 was THE year of Luigi and with the release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, I honestly surprised that he was shown off as early since he’s always been an unlockable.  One of the biggest changes was the fact that he was the first veteran shown off to have a different Final Smash (with the Poltergust).  Though still no explanation on how it works.
  • Peach - No surprise she’d return, nothing too much has changed, maybe some aesthetic changes, but we’ve yet to focus on her, but definitely is there.
  • Toon Link - To celebrate the re-release of WindWaker HD, they brought our next veteran, Toon Link.  Now everyone thought he was cut once we saw him on the Spirit Train stage, but it seems like it was a troll move from Sakurai.  Instead, if chosen to fight as/against, Alfonso will take his place as the conductor on said stage.  Seems there hasn’t been too much info to see if there’s any differences that puts him away from regular Link but hmmm.
  • Sonic - I wasn’t surprised that Sonic was going to return, it did feel strange how he was shown off, but nonetheless, he’s back and was pretty much the sameas his Brawl iteration…albeit stronger and slightly faster.
  • Marth - The great ole swordsman is back again to strike foes down!  I was pretty happy to see him returning and it seems he’s still kickin’ with his Brawl set so not complaints here.
  • Zelda - Like with her inception to Brawl we were given news about her before Sheik and it seems she’s gotten some buffs.  Also there was a rather unusual picture of her with a Phantom…I wonder if that meant anything…>.>
  • King Dedede - No surprise to see the King in the game again (though funny he came before Metaknight).  It was noted that his facial expressions are more noticeable (and for all the characters too).  Seemed to retain most of his moves at least.
  • Lucario - Of the onces announced, I think Lucario was the most surprising because I felt like he was the flavor of the month character (like Pichu).  So seeing him return is pretty cool since his Aura shtick was unique!  This time around, Sakurai made sure to point out that this Aura is powered up even more!  To what extent is curiously on my mind…
  • Diddy Kong – The last vet to be shown before the direct, Diddy Kong kind of came in with little fanfare by me, even though it’s great he’s back…it was kind of a shoe-in for me.  Didn’t seem like too much has changed beside Sakurai stating that he has better reach his moves now…so hmm.

Also we found out that Wii Fit Trainer has an alternate male costume

Now we reach where we got the new characters that have joined!

Rosalina & Luma

Rosalina

So the first new character after the Wii Fit Trainer, came out on a Nintendo Direct (actually so far it’s been the only times we see brand new characters).  Rosalina and her Luma from Super Mario Galaxy originally make their appearance and honestly, sort of saw it coming with her sudden boost of appearances like Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario Land 3D.  Her playstyle is pretty unique kind of like the Ice Climbers but more different as she can control Luma as its own character as well.  Totally cool and I cant wait to use her.

Little Mac

Little Mac

The other character that joined the cast is funny enough Little Mac and as we all know he was an Assist Trophy in Brawl but was upgraded to a playable character (like how Charizard was).  I was also agreeing with people that he was just a shoe-in for SSB4.  With his inclusion brought some interesting tidbits.  He’s pretty damn nimble and yet his like a brick while he’s grounded, but his air game totally sucks…I guess they had to do something to make him less OP.  Also we found out his Final Smash as well becoming Giga Mac (basically a boxer version of Giga Bowser more or less).  Interesting to see what else he can do.

Items

So we also got some new items with some returning ones which is pretty wicked! Let’s check out the old ones that returned before getting into the new ones (ATs and Pokeballs will have their own mini-section).

Returning Items

  • Capsules - Though it also comes in a more fatter, bulkier look alongside its normal look
  • Smash Ball - New look
  • Ray Gun - New look
  • Assist Trophy - The idea came back, but the item itself wasn’t shown as of before the direct.
  • Green Shells
  • Fire Flowers
  • Pokeballs
  • Trophies - The idea came back, but the item hasn’t been shown in battles yet.
  • Home-run Bat - New look
  • Banana Peel - Shown, but was along Diddy so there wasn’t a true confimation as a standalone item.
  • Bumper - New look, was also announced alongside that Flippers weren’t returning.
  • Motion-sensor Bombs - New look, looks even smaller!
  • Crates / Rolling Crates - The crates return as well as their different looks, though the picture showed the 3 kinds on 1 stage…does it mean the themes are gone and the 3 different kinds just pop up whenever?  Also great to see the rolling crates return!

New Items! (might sneak in some direct info on some of these)

  • X Bomb (Kid Icarus) - Interestingly enough, this item is about as expressive as you think, it’s a bomb that explodes like an X or a +, not sure how you get them, but it explodes across the screen…weird I kind of thought of Bomberman…
  • Hocotate Bomb (Pikmin) - Just think of Olimar’s Final Smash from Brawl and the Warp Star item and you get this item.
  • Steel Diver (Steel Diver) - A pretty odd item where it’s like a Ray Gun and it shoots little missiles (kind of like Samus’ side special without the homing effect).
  • Beetle (Legend of Zelda) - You throw the item and the Beetle drags your opponent into the air, whether or not if it has KO abilities is yet to be seen).
  • Bottled Fairy (Legend of Zelda) - A healing item essentially and cure more than 100% (don’t know if it’s going to be better than the Heart Containers).
  • Ore Club (Kid Icarus) - So since when is Sauron’s Eye from LOTR in Smash?  Jk, it’s a battering item that also shoots out tornadoes if you do a side smash.
  • Cucco (Legend of Zelda) - Not sure what the item does, but it seems like chaos with Sakurai hinting to not attack it.
  • Gust Bellows (Legend of Zelda) - Another LoZ item? Well this one seems to be not as much of an offensive item, just blowing enemies away.  On the other side, if dropped it’ll let loose and do stuff on its own…to what effect is not known however.

Assist Trophies

Being that they returned it was no surprise that they would, but we didn’t get too much info on a lot of these.

  • Skull Kid (LoZ)
  • Nintendog - Different breed of dog, but still blocks the screen from the battle
  • Starfy - Well it’s using its American name lol, seems like it’ll still spin around and be one of the few AT’s that can be attacked
  • Ashley (WarioWare)
  • Mother Brain (Metroid) - Seen using a beam as its attack, looks huge!
  • Waluigi - Retains the same use as his Brawl incarnation (attacks with feet, ends with tennis racket…etc.)
  • Andross - Same effect, goes to background and shoots polygonal panels
  • Isabelle (Animal Crossing)
  • Metroid - Seems to be the same thing, latches on to you and gives damage

Pokemon

  • Xerneas
  • Palkia - Spacial Rend where it claws the air?
  • Dedenne - Sends electricity in an X pattern around it.

Stages (3DS)

So Sakurai once again said that the two games have different stages so let’s see if there’s any changes…to what we’ve learned back then.

  • Battlefield - Nothing to note
  • Gerudo Valley – Seems a bit bigger through screenshots, a curious picture of Koume and Kotake as well…not sure where they belong…
  • Arena Ferox - Nothing new to report either
  • Spirit Tracks - Looks a big bigger than before, good to know that Toon Link is still in the game and Alfonso takes over with the little man is in the battle…wonder what other surprises are in store.
  • Super Mario 3D Land - It looks like the new Rainbow Ride stage as it’s fixed on a path and it goes around different areas like cliffs, the sky, and other things.  Looks busy (and definitely banned in tournaments).
  • That Nintendog stage - Nothing really much talked about, the dog in the background does come to look at the fighters…whether or not it attacks is up in the air.
  • Kid Icarus Stage - Not too sure about it besides Viridi is in it…looks like Castle Siege doesn’t it?
  • Some kind of Mii stage?: I don’t know too much about it besides the Dark Emperor being in it?
  • Rainbow Road - It looks like another Mute City-esque stage, but on a very classic stage (though it’s the RR from the recent Mario Kart 7.  Interesting…
  • Boxing Ring - With Little Mac’s introduction we got the Boxing Ring officially on both versions and the fact that there’s also two different looks, one looking more basic and the other like Little Mac’s ring…interesting to see on both systems.
  • Tortimer Island - A new AC stage from the recent New Leaf enters and it has a very strange attribute as in everytime you play on it, it has a different layout.  This might be funky for the more hardcore players but it’s cool that it’s like a random effect.
  • Prism Tower - Pokemon got a X/Y stage and well it’s a lot like Isle Delfino meets the Halberd where you start on the ground and then fly around the Prism Tower…it’s a pretty cool looking stage for 3DS’ standards and I can’t wait to fight on this.
  • Some Tomodachi Collection stage?: Only one picture of it exists and it looks like it’s inside a TINY room…Don’t know much about it…

Stages WiiU

  • Battlefield - Nothing new to report
  • Boxing Ring - Like I said above, two different looks but the same
  • Skyloft - Definitely is a Isle Delfino-esque stage and goes around to a lot of places.
  • Smashville 2 - It looks like the Brawl version but it seems like it goes around the City (from City Folk)…don’t know where that really leads to…but it’s cool!
    Dr. Wily’s Castle - Still nothing about the reason of Yellow Devil, but it looks pretty simple of a stage with not many random things going on.
  • Wii Fit’s Stage - Still not much going on, with this…looks calming though right?
  • Garden of Hope - Looks very Pikmin, lettle less busy than Brawl’s which is a gooood thing.
  • Pilotwings stage? - From the pictures we’ve seen we go from the landing strip from the original Pilotwings to flying around Wuhu Island…but the battle is on the planes…not sure if this is gonna be another Isle Delfino stage…but I hope not.
  • Pyrosphere - Another lava stage from Metroid?  Jeeze, can we be done here?  From its looks, it doesn’t look busy, but Sakurai hinted there’s another person here? Ridley??? oh boy those fanboys right now x.x
  • Windy Hill - Not much is known really besides we have a Sonic stage.
  • A Super Mario Galaxy stage – I knew that with Rosalina announced, they would give her (and Mario’s franchise) a SMG stage.  They kept the gravity aspect and the ground is curved upwards and the jumping angles straight up at the angle your at…interesting design.  I wonder if anything else needs to known.
  • A temple with Palutena? – Not much is known about this…besides it has a statue of Palutena on it…*shrugs*.

 

That’s really it for info….there’s a couple mechanics changed like Tripping is gone, edges are handled differently, combo attacks back for those who had the infinite jabs, Crawling is returning, Trophies are back and are different between versions.  Next post is the Direct which I’ll go by different sections of the video (think of it as a reaction, but not really)

CIAO FOR NOW!

 

Up Up Girls – Second Album (Kakko Kari) April 5, 2014

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 3:52 am

secondalbum

Track Listing

  1. Ginga Joujou Monogatari
  2. SAMURAI GIRLS
  3. Chopper☆Chopper
  4. Survival Girls
  5. Respectokyo
  6. Burn the fire!!
  7. Sutorera ~Straight Up!~
  8. SAKURA DRIVE
  9. Starry Night
  10. Widol Seven
  11. Seishun Build Up
  12. Up Up Typhoon
  13. Next Stage
  14. Ano Saka no Ue Made,
  15. Summer Beam!

CD2

  1. Cherry to Milk
  2. Kakko Tsukete Ii Desho
  3. Santa Claus
  4. Up Ome ~Up Aga no Oshougatsu da yo Zenin Shuugou!~
  5. Chopper☆Chopper (PandaBoY Remix)
  6. Respectokyo (TANUKI Remix)
  7. SAMURAI GIRLS (★STAR GUiTAR Remix)
  8. Widol Seven (y0c1e Remix)
  9. Starry Night (SEKITOVA & Shu Okayama Remix)
  10. Sutorera ~Straight Up!~ (fu_mou Remix)

1. Ginga Joujou Monogatari

Pretty awesome that the group would open the album up with the track with a pretty lengthy intro.  It’s a great track to open up since it was a favorite of mine during the era, plus it had such a cool futuristic sound to it where majority of the album didn’t.  It’s kind of a song that’ll stand out amongst the crowd and I liked it a lot, I was especially happy that it opened the album.

2. SAMURAI GIRLS

Which is led to probably the edgiest tracks they released.  It sounds like it has the same gritty sound like “UPPER ROCK” did it it’s definitely one of those high-energy songs that really focused on the group’s dance abilities.  It’s a relentless A-side from them and probably is compared to all the other A-sides XD.  I just really liked this song and while the whole ~up, up~ still bothers me, it’s a great track for them.

3. Chopper☆Chopper

As the first single for the album (and the first after switching labels), Chopper☆Chopper was released before their first album so the timing was a bit confusing for some.  Chopper☆Chopper as song is still danceable, but a lot more lighter than “SAMURAI GIRLS” but keeping the same fast pace throughout.  Though the song did start a new trend within T-Palette / TOWER with the whole ~no music, no idol~ lines.  It’s a pretty big step for the group and it’s a good energetic song overall!

4. Survival Girls

As this is the shared A-side with “Chopper☆Chopper”, Survival Girls had a lot going for it, but dropped it entirely.  The song itself doesn’t sound half bad and probably would’ve worked if the songs switched places.  Also the song has a lot of even line distribution so I really liked what I was hearing.  That is, until the chorus jumped in.  All you get is a lot of shouting of ~semete, semete, semete etc.~ as the chorus and I was just turned off.

5. Respectokyo

The album just keeps up with them dance beats huh?  Respectokyo does slightly calm things down but it’s still a song that sounds fun to jam to and have a party going.  I will say that it actually has grown on me since the single review funny enough and it gets stuck in my head.  Though sometimes the group repeating the song title, does get annoying…other than that mishap, it’s still a pretty good song!

6. Burn the fire!!

One of their pre-T-Palette songs, Burn the fire!! really sounds fitting on this side of the album as it also has a dance beat and upbeat style of sound though it does have a stronger idol feel as well.  Though it’s another song that surprisingly stuck on me during the era, so that’s good right? LOL.

7. Sutorera ~Straight Up!~

I’m starting to see a small shift from the dance style to their more experimental songs.  Sutorera kind of fuses piano, dance, and rock together for a rather interesting song.  I really liked the song but once again the whole name repping kind of throws me off.  Still, Sutorera is a solid track and is a great middle between their styles.

8. SAKURA DRIVE

I will say one of the more experimental tracks on the album is definitely SAKURA DRIVE because it’s along the lines of an R&B track.  When I first heard this song as the primary A-side, I was a little confused because of the change of genres (even more here on the album).  It’s got a nice nostalgic tone to it and the chorus changes the pace by being faster.  Still there are better songs on the album.

9. Starry Night

As the final single released for the album, Starry Night at first I thought was a ballad, but I quickly proven wrong when those dance beats enter the fray alongside some acoustic guitar.  Overall, the song is pretty safe for the group and while the vocals have some tone issues hitting those crazy high notes, it’s not a terrible song and reminds me of songs like “Beautiful Days!” and “Cyalume”.

10. Widol Seven

It’s pretty cool that Widol Seven opened up with that 8bit intro, but the song quickly shifts tone to which is mainly a punk rock setting with brazen guitars and a fun vibe.  However, like I said…it sounds low quality and almost like a last minite creation in comparison to its sister A-side, “SAMURAI GIRLS”.  It’s probably my least favorite of the A-sides released.

11. Seishun Build Up

I don’t know why but the melodies of this song remind me of some electropop artists (mainly Aira Mitsuki’s “China Discotica” for sure).  Actually some of the arrangement has some similar techniques and sound which caught me off guard.  The tune is surprisingly well-done and I like the group’s vocals here especially since there’s solo lines.  One of my favorites from the album.

12. Up Up Typhoon

Funny as the only PV they released just for the album, Up Up Summer was such a fun-loving and exciting summer tune for the group.  I especially love the opening with that overly dramatic dialogue between Morisaki and Sahochan.  The track though is so exciting and really is one of those times where I can stomach the group repping.  Another one of the bests from the album!!!

13. Next Stage

Moving to the longest track (at least on the first disc), Next Stage opens up with a pretty strings intro before going into the opening verse and before getting into the more steadfast arrangement.  Though unlike the other fast-paced tracks on the album, Next Stage kind of flies over my head.  Though the strange reggaeton/dubstep (?) section is a bit strange and out of place loool.

14. Ano Saka no Ue Made,

Fitting the the other A-side that went with the previous track comes up next.  When I first heard it, I thought it was going to be a straight-up ballad like how I thought “Starry Night” was, but I was wrong yet again and we got another upbeat track, somewhat.  Ano Saka no Ue Made, kind of goes back and forth upon an upbeat dance track and a ballad.  It’s a pretty strange track.

15. Summer Beam!

Ending the first disc is Summer Beam! and I was surprised they didn’t let “Ano Saka no Ue Made,” end it off because that felt appropriate as an ending theme.  Summer Beam! on the other hand sounds like it should’ve been closer to “Up Up Typhoon” considering both were together as their summer single.  The song is very tropical and bright so it fits the bill.  Odd way to end things but still a good song!

CD2

1. Cherry to Milk

The second disc starts off with Cherry to Milk which fans have known before they joined with T-Palette but was never released in any fashion until now.  The song itself isn’t bad persay, but you can tell this was before they started getting harder songs (basically most tracks from the first disc).  The bridges are cute synth beeps and the rest is pretty straightforward for idol-fare.

2. Kakko Tsukete Ii Desho

The next song however was released as an event single but never was placed on main single.  Kakko Tsukete Ii Desho sounds even more like an 80′s song but thrown with the UUG energy.  It does have more guitars as well which is cool and a lot of the song is just really catchy lol.  Good song overall but still defeated by the tracks on the first disc.

3. Santa Claus

At the end of 2013, the group released two digital singles.  As their Christmas single, Santa Claus is an alright song from the group, but it doesn’t really stand out to me very much beyond it’s dance arrangement.  It’s just a plain track for me.

4. Up Ome ~Up Aga no Oshougatsu da yo Zenin Shuugou!~

The last of the original tracks and the other digital single released, Up Ome reminds me a LOT of “Namen na! Ashi Girls” with it’s mixture of their hyper dance sound and traditional Japanese instruments.  Though the latter gets dropped off once the girls kick it up, it’s exciting and just fun to listen to and the chorus is so catchy XD.

5. Chopper☆Chopper (PandaBoY Remix)

The rest of the disc are just remixes for some of the A-sides.  When it came with PandaBoY remixes they make the song even MORE familar as in the case of Chopper☆Chopper.  Actually it doesn’t seem TOTALLY different here as the difference between the original and remix are little.  I think the beat is slightly heavier here and there’s some cut n’ pasting going on.  Not bad, but wasn’t special.

6. Respectokyo (TANUKI Remix)

The remix for Respectokyo sounds a lighter in the arrangement but the remix is an actual switch of music.  A lot more focus was put on the remixer’s skills and there’s a lengthy space for him to show his talent.  I wasn’t too fond of it, but when the group was singing their parts, the remix sounds pretty cool.  Interesting remix overall.

7. SAMURAI GIRLS (★STAR GUiTAR Remix)

With how gritty and in your face, SAMURAI GIRLS is, this remix was a breath of air.  It’s still a busy remix but the sound switched to a more suave and groovy remix with cool synth lines and even a cool area where there’s slap bass brought in alongside the synths.  Funky, but cool remix.

8. Widol Seven (y0c1e Remix)

Funny enough, the least favorite track of mine from this album gets reworked with a new remix and honestly, this remix is SO MUCH BETTER.  Like the rockin’ parts sound more full and works with the melody and the musical interludes add a bit of that synth flair and gives it a much fuller feel.

9. Starry Night (SEKITOVA & Shu Okayama Remix)

For Starry Night, the new remix tones things a bit lower by giving it a more chill sound that kind of sounds like something Nakata would be behind.  The vocals are still an issue for me, but the fact they filtered the vocals to make it seem quieter than the arrangement was a nice move…still the vocals are still kind of meh otherwise XD.

10. Sutorera ~Straight Up!~ (fu_mou Remix)

The final track is of course Sutorera and I found it funny the song is a lot more louder and in your face than the original with its arrangement.  I like the change because now it sounds like it’s just a big finale!  It’s a pretty cool remix and just definitely fills out the cool for the ending.

Tracks Recommended

  • Up Up Typhoon
  • SAMURAI GIRLS
  • Seishun Build Up
  • Up Ome ~Up Aga no Oshougatsu da yo Zenin Shuugou!~
  • Summer Beam!

Song of Avoidance

  • Widol Seven

Phew, took them long enough to release their sophomore album right?  I was pretty torn about the tracklist.  I mean we did get more new material than their first album for sure…but two discs and the first one is ALL old songs as it is.  Second Album though is a nice step-up for the group as most of the tracks did leave a good impression and shows improvement from the members.  I just wish they would release a true studio album and not 8 singles in succession y’know?

 

 
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