Kurayami Monogatari

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S/mileage – SMILE FANTASY! October 21, 2014

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:04 am

smilefantas

Track Listing

  1. Joujou Kumikyoku “Smile Fantasy”
  2. ONE DAY
  3. Ka~tin Ko~runrun

1. Joujou Kumikyoku “Smile Fantasy”

So the single begins with the “quote-on-quote” leading song and it makes sure it stands that way as it’s a song that’s over 10 whole minutes!  For the first half it’s primarily a quiet piano ballad with the ladies getting solo lines and just being way simple.  Though the 2nd half does open up further with unison parts and a bit more dramatic of an atmosphere.  I remember hearing a lot of Ayacho, Nyon, and Takechan throughout but the other members get significant lines too.  This was just way too long of a track and whie I’m sure it works more in the context of the stageplay, by itself it just comes off WAY TOO BORING for me.

2. ONE DAY

At least ONE DAY was a lot more easier to stomach.  Meaning it’s at regular length and not the whole 10 minute bomb.  Also the lines seem to even out once again which is really nice and really good for Rinapuu and Kanana to stand out.  Now being as a stageplay, the normal treatment of their vocals are not present, instead we’re givin this feeling of them performing the song live which also means the melodic feels of their vocals together lash a bit more harshly which is one of the reasons I wasn’t too big of this song, but by themselves the girls sound great!

3. Ka~tin Ko~runrun

Funny that this single would end with a cutesy song.  Granted, we haven’t heard S/mileage do a fun song for quite a while and I’m liking this because it’s bringing me some nostalgic vibes of the old 4-nin S/mileage.  It’s bouncy, lively and gosh darn sugary!  Surprised this wasn’t just simply released as an A-side if anything!

 

 

So this was a surprise release and well not even a part of their main discography!  SMILE FANTASY! is a stageplay release in which not many H!P acts get to release nowadays.  The single for the most part was OK if not weaker than their main singles.  Joujou Kumikyoku would’ve been good had it not been 10 minutes long >.>, ONE DAY was simple but the clashing of their voices kind of prevented me from enjoying it too much while Ka~tin Ko~runrun was the best thing being classic S/mileage and all that lol.  Sad to say this might be the last 6-nin single as the group just added three more new members.  Overall not their best but not terrible.

 

Morning Musume ’14 – TIKI BUN/Shabadabadoo~/Mikaeri Bijin October 14, 2014

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 1:36 am

tikibun

Track Listing

  1. TIKI BUN
  2. Shabadabadoo~
  3. Mikaeri Bijin
  4. TIKI BUN (Instrumental)
  5. Shabadabadoo~ (Instrumental)
  6. Mikaeri Bijin (Instrumental)

1. TIKI BUN

So the single begins with the leading A-side and Tsunku still hasn’t exactly strayed away from his EDM obsession which might bother some and after “Password is 0″, I felt like probably it was time for a change but alas wasn’t the situation.  Funny enough, it kind of has the similar qualms I had with the aforementioned track by being very repetitive (by repeating the title, which sounds more like ~cheeky boo~ than anything else).  Though the intro is pretty badass of one if I must say so, but the rest of the song kind of just goes to the back because a lot of it is saying the title.  I hope after this, there’ll be a new lease of sound and we can take a break from the utmost amount of electronics.  It’s OK, but I’m starting to feel slightly bored.

2. Shabadabadoo~

The rest of the A-sides are spl, but for special reasons.  Shabadabadoo~ is actually Sayumi’s solo song (the third one she’s got after “It’s You” and “Lalala no Pipipi”) and this song really accentuates Sayumi in and out.  From the bubbly loungey sound to the lyrics that really signifies Sayumi’s time with Morning Musume.  It’s pretty interesting of a song and hearing Sayu ad-libbing is adorable!  There’s even small quips from Haruna and Mizuki here which is nice as they’re the sub-leaders and all.  The song overall is a great little love letter about Sayu and while she still can’t carry a tune like many other members before and after her, she’s definitely left a mark, a pretty memorable one!

3. Mikaeri Bijin

As for the 3rd A-side, I was surprised to hear that Tsunku had no input and was left for an enka artist to handle.  This song only has the rest of the groups sans Sayu singing here and truth be told, it’s a unison song for the most part.  It’s basically a song to say goodbye to Sayu and it really hits home for a lot of people since many did come in during the Platinum era and were there to see the Rokkies debut.  As for the song, I’m really enjoying that the ladies are utilizing a lower key in comparison to their normal works so the voices are hitting lower notes which is impressive.  Very different song, but I liked this song and made for a nice ending to a great leader.

 

 

As the 3rd and final single before their 14th album releases, their last single as “’14”, TIKI BUN/Shabadabadoo~/Mikaeri Bijin is a pretty OK single, it doesn’t have the power and memorability that the previous two singles had (and even more beforehand) but this single kind of feels like a point of whether the group should switch genres.  TIKI BUN is ok, but it also has its issues like the dependence on repetition, it’s just not working for me anymore.  Shabadabadoo~ is was more of that cute Sayu we all love and I’ll definitely miss her appearances in songs (since her auto-tuned voice is one of the most-well known sounds).  Mikaeri Bijin was also a nice send-off from the rest of the group and is really the best the single has as it’s so different from what we’ve gotten from Momusu for a long time.  With 4 new girls added and Sayu graduating, I wonder how they’ll sound when they debut in 2015…Now we wait for the upcoming album!

 

HENRY – Fantastic October 12, 2014

Filed under: HENRY — solarblade @ 4:16 pm

fantastihenry

Track Listing

  1. Fantastic
  2. TRAP
  3. Fantastic (INST)
  4. TRAP (INST)

1. Fantastic

Knowing that he’s in Super Junior when they release stuff in China, Henry was someone I wasn’t expecting to debut in Japan so I was happy to see that Fantastic was what he’d debut with because I LOVE this song when he released this in Korea because it was incredibly catchy and Henry sung well alongside using his violin skills and dance skills in tandem.  The song is pretty textbook K-pop, but I think it sounded great and while the song did go between Japanese and English, Henry did a good job I’d say.

2. TRAP

As for the B-side (which is also another language switched song) TRAP is from his first mini-album of the same he released last year.  Unlike “Fantastic”, TRAP has a little more of an R&B sound.  I like the beat and Henry’s chanting of ~I’m trapped~ kind of gets stuck in your head.  Not as flashy or polished like the A-side, but I can totally get behind this.

 

 

So Henry is debuting in Japan finally, I wonder if this might be a push to get him to join SuJu maybe? Maybe not, but Fantastic is a great debut since both songs are pretty strong in their own rights, yeah they both might be just rehashed and resung in a different language (which like I said before, I don’t like) but I liked how both o these turned out so I’m fine with it for now.  Overall good single, just hope there’s more in the future!

 

la la larks – ego-izm

Filed under: la la larks — solarblade @ 3:59 pm

egoizm

Track Listing

  1. ego-izm
  2. end of refrain
  3. earworm
  4. ego-izm (instrumental)
  5. end of refrain (instrumental)

1. ego-izm

Right from the start with Ryo’s wild keyboard melody and the switch to using strings in the arrangement, I knew I was in for ride with the band.  ego-izm sounds just like school food punishment down to the core and I’m kind of liking the energy of the band together and Yumi sounds just like you would expect her to sound.  Definitely a wonderful song and just a has a lot of great moments through it.

2. end of refrain

The first B-side shows the more experimental side which I was elated to see not lost on la la larks’ debut.  The deep synths mixed with those blips of acoustic guitars are just soothing and really leaves an interesting feel in my mind.  Yumi sounds lively and bright in the song and mixing in the arrangement wonders, I just fell in love with the song!  Some of it reminds me of “Kakenukeru”, but this is pretty impressive!

3. earworm

Interesting that it’s the only song that doesn’t have an instrumental on the single.  earworm is even more lowkey than “end of refrain” with its etheral feel and the light vocals from Yumi.  I’m not sure what that light clanking is supposed to be, but after a while it’s replaced by otherworldly sounds that gives this uncertainty kind of feel about it, but it’s definitely an experimental pull.  Very interesting indeed.

 

 

Did school food punishment really disband though? XD.  What happened was that they did actually disband because Yumi wanted something else, which might not transate well going into la la larks as it’s her, Ryo Eguchi (the main producer that’s done a lot of sfp’s stuff) and three new members (basically dropping the remaining two members from sfp altogether).  As their first single, ego-izm really feels like we never really lost sfp and the core sound remained intact (which is a pleasant thing to know).  All three songs are really nice songs to listen to and hope there’s more in the future from them *RECOMMENDED*

 

Nana Mizuki – Kindan no Resistance

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 3:44 pm

kindannoresistance

Track Listing

  1. Kindan no Resistance
  2. BLUE
  3. Dream Rider

1. Kindan no Resistance

I really love the Celtic intro of Kindan no Resistance and then it blows up to this interesting mix of that and rock!  Something about the mix of that and pan flute just seems so epic!  Add on Nana’s already stellar vocals and this song just wrapped up in this pretty awesome song that breaks away from her synth-anison songs (like her last single “Vitalization”).  It’s been a long while since I’ve loved something that wasn’t so synth-dependent and I’m happy it’s this song!  Great A-side!

2. BLUE

Next up is the ballad, BLUE.  Now after being spoiled by “Ai no Hoshi”, BLUE just kind of comes in to bring a ballad onto the single so I was curious if she was going to sound good here.  For the most part, Nana sounds great and surprises me how she can so good with not much of an arrangement (which consists of light orchestration, but mostly piano for the first half).  After that, the song just builds with more instruments and a much stronger foundation.  It’s a pretty good ballad, still not as perfect as the aforementioned, but definitely another winner!

3. Dream Rider

If I had learned anything, usually the 2nd B-side turns out to be the -fun- song of the single and it definitely suits Dream Rider as it’s poppy and has a lot of 90s nostalgia throughout.  At some points it made me wonder if I was listening to Koda Kumi or GIRL NEXT DOOR given the atmosphere and arrangement.  It’s not as memorable like the previous two tracks, but I suppose it’s one of her better cute songs out there.

 

 

After “SUPERNAL LIBERTY”, I was kind of expecting her to take a break and come back next year, but nope she released this single and really this was some good stuff.  Breaking away from the synths for a bit, Kindan no Resistance is a pretty powerful song from her A-sides and I just loved every minute of it!  BLUE also did well as the single’s ballad and proves that she has the chops for it down-pat.  Dream Rider while my least favorite on the single, managed to sound nostalgic and fun, but doesn’t leave an impression on me as I wished it did.

 

Kanon Wakeshima – world’s end, girl’s rondo

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 3:26 pm

worldsendgirlsrondo

Track Listing

  1. world’s end, girl’s rondo
  2. continue
  3. world’s end, girl’s rondo (instrumental)
  4. continue (instrumental)

1. world’s end, girl’s rondo

When I first heard this song, I was wondering if she was working with ex-members of school food punishment (probably because the producer is someone that did work with sfp!), because the arrangement just has that spice of life that the band had brought.  Add on Kanon’s cello and style of voice, this song was a pretty awesome experience to listen!  Kanon’s vocals suited the style of the track and Kanon wasn’t trying to pierce my ears with her voice!  Definitely a wild song, but one of her best post-Mana.

2. continue

As for the B-side, continue feels like something that would’ve been found earlier in the era due to its anison nature in comparison to “world’s end, girl’s rondo”.  Kanon’s voice tries to become a little more broad in vision and she does crack, but she gives a nice dramatic glow about it.  That said, I love the chorus since she shone more than the verses.  To me, it’s OK at best, but nothing really pops out at me as a whole.

 

 

As her 4th single (are we planning an album, Kanon?), world’s end, girl’s rondo is definitely my favorite of her A-sides yet, which might be brought on because of Ryo Eguchi’s style he brings with his works so Kanon tackled it amazingly!  The B-side is a slight bit generic, but it’s nowhere near as terrible as “moonlight party” was!  I just want an album now!

 

DiVA – DISCOVERY

Filed under: DiVA — solarblade @ 3:06 pm

discovery

Track Listing

  1. DISCOVERY
  2. Believe in myself (Type-A only)
  3. Surrender (Type-B only)
  4. WOW WAR TONIGHT ~Toki ni wa Okose yo Movement~ (Type-C only)
  5. DISCOVERY (Instrumental)
  6. Believe in myself (Instrumental)
  7. Surrender (Instrumental)
  8. WOW WAR TONIGHT ~Toki ni wa Okose yo Movement~ (Instrumental)

1. DISCOVERY

When the song begun, I had thought that DISCOVERY was going to be a little edgier, but the tune turns out to be kind of mid-tempo in a way.  Then learning that Tetsuya Komuro produced the single, I was kind of disappointed because this song doesn’t seem like the tune I would think of DiVA releasing because their songs are more cooler and this isn’t really.  Plus, there just doesn’t seem much of a chorus, it just melds with everything else in the tune.  Not impressed.

2. Believe in myself

The first B-side, Believe in myself actually sounds a lot more closer to what I would expect from DiVA because it has a much broader sound and the arrangement is nice mixing acoustic guitars with synths to being this kind of cool tune.  Though I feel like Tetsuya has done this arrangement before with Kie Kitano and AAA.  I pretty much prefer this over the A-side (though it could be a little faster).

3. Surrender

Next up is Surrender and it kind of reminds me of something the group has done before (maybe “Tsuki no Uragawa”?).  I actually feel like it’s a mix of the previous two tracks, but the vocals between the 4 members are a lot more suiting and they aren’t all that bad.  Not as memorable as “Believe in myself” is, but I’d say it’s quite passable.

4. WOW WAR TONIGHT ~Toki ni wa Okose yo Movement~

I wonder why almost every group that has something to do with Tetsuya HAS to cover this H Jungle with t song.  I mean it’s not all that great of a song and the group covering it sugarcoats it up more than it should which makes the singers sounds so unimpressive to me.  It just didn’t sound right coming from DiVA and it just did nothing for me.

 

 

As the group’s 4th and sadly final single before their album and disbandment, DISCOVERY disappointed me.  Not only because Tetsuya produced it but it didn’t have the energy the group is known for from their last three singles.  Something about the single just didn’t sit right with me and while I’m so happy that Yuka Masuda returned to complete the group’s lifespan, I couldn’t help that the group had changed in their sound with this and I didn’t care for it.  If anything, Believe in myself was the best the single offered, otherwise I was unimpressed.  Though shady at the (dance) members barely being noticed lol!!

 

 
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