Kurayami Monogatari

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Maika – loser/Tsubuyaku… July 23, 2014

Filed under: Maika — solarblade @ 3:34 am

loser

Track Listing

  1. loser
  2. Tsubuyaku…

1. loser

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve heard Maika last.  She comes back with loser the first A-side and it seems her sound hasn’t changed if anything grew because her songs sound more full (with bass and drums).  It also seemed that this time off have let Maika’s vocals grow even more as she sounds strong and powerful.  This song is quite impressive and loving Maika’s emotions running through track.  Impressive!

2. Tsubuyaku…

So the other A-side, Tsubuyaku… is a bit more interesting for Maika as it’s more chill and has a lot more from the piano and brass, so it adds a bit of fun to the track.  I enjoyed everything about this song and it’s lighthearted and just a nice opposite to “loser”!

 

 

It’s been like 2 years since we’ve seen Maika release anything so it’s fortunate that she’s still kicking and releasing.  This single really has potential for her and she’s making great strides, even though the whole singer/guitarista style is kind of dead now.  I think this is a *RECOMMENDED* single as both A-sides just show a lot of what she’s about but better than before!  Give her a try!

 

Maon Kurosaki – Glorious world

Filed under: Maon Kurosaki — solarblade @ 3:17 am

gloriousworld

Track Listing

  1. Glorious world
  2. STEP
  3. a・chi a・chi Adventure

1. Glorious world

Maon released a digital single that’s needed to be reviewed.  Though to me the song sounds a lot like “Memories Last” with its anison/rock sound which is something I normally should be OK with but this doesn’t sound remotely interesting besides Maon’s vocals which is of course at the same calibur as before.  It’s kind of like how I felt with “reimei”…it’s just there.

2. STEP

The B-sides though are cover songs.  Both from a・chi a・chi (an anison band of the late 80′s).  The songs originally had a pretty heavy 80′s sound in Japan so Maon’s version pulls them up to more modern arrangements.  The tune is pretty light and Maon’s vocals make the sound so peppy and lighthearted and I kind of liked it.  One of the nicer songs off the single.

3. a・chi a・chi Adventure

The other cover track, this one is a little more random and strange coming from the previous two tracks.  It’s very synth-heavy and includes some acoustic guitar to kind of spice the track up!  The original is pretty quirky but Maon’s cover is adding a lot interesting sounds alongside making it even random and fun.

 

 

Maon Kurosaki slid a single in before “REINCARNATION” even though this isn’t going to be on said album and it’s a digital release as well.  Glorious world is a bit of a miss.  The leading song is kind of generic and forgetful to me, but the point to focus is on the a・chi a・chi covers as both were done pretty well!  Definitely nice to see Maon cover songs that aren’t part of the regular shpeel of anison songs too.  Overall, OK single.

 

Kalafina – heavenly blue

Filed under: Kalafina — solarblade @ 2:41 am

heavenlyblue

Track Listing

  1. heavenly blue
  2. heavenly blue ~Instrumental~
  3. heavenly blue ~TV size~

1. heavenly blue

heavenly blue really kicks things immediately with a “sprinter”-esque tone with some guitars and dramatic strings.  It actually reminds me of something that would’ve came from FictionJunction which is unsurprising since it is Kajiura and all.  It’s got some good vocals, primarily from WAKANA and HIKARU, and of course KEIKO acts as the deeper voice throughout the song.  It’s a pretty good Kalafina song, but there’s songs that are still way better and stronger.

 

 

It seems so weird that Kalafina would release a recut single in heavenly blue.  As the lone new song from “THE BEST “Blue””, this wasn’t a song I was expecting getting its own single release.  Though the disappointment is more in the fact that there’s no real reason to get this.  No B-sides, just an instrumental and a shortened version.  Hate to say it, but this was a lazy release and more for SONY to be cash cows.

 

BoA – MASAYUME CHASING

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 2:19 am

masayumechasing

Track Listing

  1. MASAYUME CHASING
  2. FUN
  3. MASAYUME CHASING (INST)
  4. FUN (INST)

1. MASAYUME CHASING

It surprises me that BoA would bring something out like MASAYUME CHASING because it’s a really cool song for her.  Being the theme for Fairy Tail, it’s got a pretty big presence all over the world which is something BoA hasn’t had in quite a while!  I’m loving the energy of the song and BoA sounds pretty beautiful from the soft verses to the beat-driven chorus.  There’s even a sort-of rapping section too!  It’s definitely another fun and powerful tune this era.

2. FUN

So the B-side, FUN acts as the eponymous summer song for BoA and it really has that atmosphere down pat.  There’s just a lively feel and BoA has a happy and fun style going on which is nice!  It does remind of some of her earlier stuff ala “THE FACE” which is pretty risky, but the sound overall is nice and leads off a pleasant track.

 

 

Closing out the “WHO’S BACK” era, MASAYUME CHASING was a very nice way to finish it up.  The leading trak is fun, breezy, and anison done right.  I feel like BoA and animes work well together, but she doesn’t do it too often which makes sense too.  FUN was also a cool, fun, summery track.  I am a little disppointed that a LOT of the previous songs between “IDENTITY” and now are being included on this upcoming album, but I hope there’ll be some surprises.

 

i☆Ris – Itazura Taiyou

Filed under: i☆Ris — solarblade @ 2:03 am

itazurataiyou

Track Listing

  1. Itazura Taiyou
  2. Happy New World☆
  3. Dream☆Land (CD only)
  4. Itazura Taiyou (Instrumental)
  5. Happy New World☆ (Instrumental)
  6. Dream☆Land (Instrumental)

1. Itazura Taiyou

The A-side that opens the single is quite interesting as it sounds like a mix of idol/anison (which is the basis of the group, mind you).  Itazura Taiyou sounds like a song that was made early in the 2000′s.  There’s just something that makes it sound unique and fresh amongst the other A-sides they’ve released.  The members do tend to scream this song which might be a turnoff for some people, but I kind of thought it was a nice touch.  Pretty memorable song.

2. Happy New World☆

The first B-side, Happy New World☆ though takes the generic anison route which is not good because it feels like I’ve heard this kind of song way too many times!  The voices are more cuter (or the higher pitched members took lead here).  I don’t know, but this song didn’t do much of anything for me.  Might as well have stuck to their previous single.

3. Dream☆Land

As usual, the group includes an extra track on CD onlys though I can’t tell if this is a cover song or not, but I’ll assume it is as their last three singles have been exactly like this.  It’s a lot like “Happy New World☆” with the cutesy anison vibe which is pretty meh to me so this didn’t do much in the run either LOL.

 

 

On i☆ris’ 5th single, I was quite disappointed for the most part.  It’s surprising that the group has to be on their 5th (announced 6th) single before their debut album.  The leading track is pretty good though and a good nostalgic trip and all the vocalists sound pretty good!  Though both B-sides are quite generic for the group and neither stood out to me overall…(maybe those *hoshis* are the reason >.>).  I just want an album from them now.

 

Shoujo Jidai – GIRLS’ GENERATION July 21, 2014

Filed under: Shoujo Jidai — solarblade @ 11:22 am

girlsgeneration

Track Listing

  1. MR. TAXI
  2. GENIE
  3. you-aholic
  4. Run Devil Run
  5. BAD GIRL
  6. Beautiful Stranger
  7. I’m In Love With The HERO
  8. Let It Rain
  9. Gee
  10. THE GREAT ESCAPE
  11. Hoot
  12. BORN TO BE A LADY

Repackaged Extras

  1. The Boys (JAPANESE Ver.)
  2. THE GREAT ESCAPE (Brian Lee Remix)
  3. BAD GIRL (The Cataracs Remis) feat. DEV
  4. Time Machine
  5. MR. TAXI (Steve Aoki Remix) (bonus track)

1. MR. TAXI

Ahh, this song brings back some great memories when K-pop was burning up the J-pop waves.  MR. TAXI was actually the group’s first original Japanese song and it kept the flavor and style of the group quite well.  It’s incredibly catchy and the group sounds sexy and together like they always are, especially the middle section with the deep solos from Yuri and Sunny!  As the 3rd A-side, this song did a lot for me getting into Girls’ Generation so I am quite biased when it comes to this song (well this and their Korean song, “TRICK”).  Still, what a great way to kick things off!

2. GENIE

The party just continues with the group’s debut in Japan!  Being as one of the firestarters with the K-pop craze, GENIE is just as slick and sexy as the previous track if not more.  I will say that the auto-tune here was pretty unnecessary and their Japanese wasn’t that great at the time, but this song is just catchy and debonair and one of the group’s signature songs.  I especially love in the final chorus where Taeyeon just blasts her vocals behind the group and gave this powerful set of lyrics!  This is just a song that should be on anyone’s K-pop playlist!

3. you-aholic

Onto new songs, I was wondering what Girls’ Generation could come up with and you-aholic kept the premise of their K-pop sound intact!  I love the 8bit crunch that opens the tune to a full-on sexy track (well like “GENIE”).  The song is mostly spun around Taeyeon, Jessica, Seohyon, Tiffany, and Sunny with the remaining members getting a solo line or two.  It’s a pretty tight track and the vocals (while slightly auto-tuned) sound pretty good.

4. Run Devil Run

Then we come to the sister A-side to “MR. TAXI” and being the 3rd song of theirs that went through the translation machine, Run Devil Run is a pretty weird (especially since it was a Ke$ha demo in the beginning).  It’s a pretty heavy song and has a pretty cool beat going on.  It definitely feels more Western than their other songs, but this song is pretty cool and shows the ladies’ sass and attitude (which by the way props for the equal line distribution).  Another great A-side!

5. BAD GIRL

Finally a string a new songs next!  BAD GIRL follows suit with the K-pop sound that’s been going on and just like the others, also has a more sleek and glossy style.  I once again enjoy the mostly equal line distribution, but this song has a lot of ~oh oh oh ohs~ to it…maybe a little too much.  I do love that the ladies can adjust to the setting of songs though…very versatile!

6. Beautiful Stranger

The next track sets us in a more grittier setting with some (computerized guitar riffs) and the ladies are under filters for a good portion of the song except the chorus.  It seems like Taeyeon and Sunny have the most lines in this song and I’m ok with that as they both sound cool and edgy with their parts, but the rest of the girls like I said before manages to get a line or two to themselves.  I liked the song though…captures the girls in a cooler light (as if the previous songs already have XD).

7. I’m In Love With The HERO

It’s weird that this and the song previous are so short of songs (both under 2:50).  This song takes a more march-sounding feel which is cool but it sounds like the vocals are getting a but more cuter.  It’s an odd song for me because there’s a lot of pairings in this song and most of the solos are for the usual suspects so eh.  The chorus though kind of bores me a bit but the marching drums still interest me.  I don’t know, but this is the weakest song I’ve come across yet on this album.

8. Let It Rain

As the mid-tempo track (oddly enough the slowest of the album tracks), Let It Rain is actually a pretty good song!  It’s a bit of an R&B track but it had nice flow and the emotions were quite there despite that it was really only Seohyun, Jessica, Tiffany, Taeyeon, and Sunny who got the solo lines which is pretty wacky.  Otherwise this was a pretty smooth song one of the better slow K-pop songs I enjoy.

9. Gee

What is there to say about this song?  It’s the group’s signature and most famous song and funny enough, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb too.  What I mean is that this song is sugary and girly cute of a song which is not what this album contains.  A song that shows of equality with the ladies, Gee is a bouncy song that’s really cute.  Like even members like Taeyeon goes into this mode.  Odd song on the album, but no one can’t deny its place in K-pop history.

10. THE GREAT ESCAPE

When I first got the album, THE GREAT ESCAPE was definitely the first song that stuck out in my mind (of the new songs) and still does today!  It has great flow and the members sound strong and full of determination.  Despite that everyone but Yuri, Hyoyeon, Yoona, and Sooyoung didn’t get a line, the ones who did made it work quite well.  It’s a fun song and has a lot of strong moments, one of my favorites songs from the group period!

11. Hoot

So on the album we get a new translated song in the form of Hoot (originally the leading song from their 3rd Korean mini-album of the same name).  I found the whole surfer vibe of this song interesting and totally different for the album (like “Gee”).  The tune is fun to listen to and the ladies sound great of course (and equality!!).  It’s a party song though and you can tell too.

12. BORN TO BE A LADY

Ending the album off, we have BORN TO BE A LADY and I was expecting a ballad, but nope the tune is like “Let It Rain” with the whole R&B and more sentimental tone of the tune.  I do love hearing all the vocalists as usual BUT this time, I kind of dislike Jessica here.  Her cutesy voice is kind of a out there thing to do especially since the rest of them are using a more woman-esque tone.  Otherwise it was a nice closing to the album.

Repackaged Extras

1. The Boys (JAPANESE Ver.)

So 6 months after the release, the group decided to bring a repackaged album out for this album (weird because this is usually seen as a Korean thing).  Anyways we got The Boys which is another big hit for the group.  I mean I’m so used to the English and Korean version of this which is pretty much hard to throw a Japanese on me.  Lyrically it’s totally different compared to the English take.  This take isn’t the worst but I definitely am not sure I really love it.  I think I’ll stick to other versions.

2. THE GREAT ESCAPE (Brian Lee Remix)

So we have three remixes on the repackaged take.  Starting with one of THE GREAT ESCAPE, I was kind of apprehensive because I LOVE the original so anything that tries to do something with it is already meh.  I will say the acoustic guitar mixed with the dance beats is pretty cool.  I guess it pretty much kept it together for the most part, but I still would take the original over it but it’s a nice alternative for remix fans.

3. BAD GIRL (The Cataracs Remix) feat. DEV

Our next remixers should be familiar to Westerners (especially since The Cataracs had become big round the time this album was released).  They took BAD GIRL and definitely made it more approachable to us Westerners and I kind of liked the style and feel of the song.  I especially love the parts where The Cataracs really threw in their arranging expertice which added a lot of life to it.  DEV has a rap moment which is pretty random to hear, but it’s short as well…hmmm.  It’s an interesting remix for sure.

4. Time Machine

So the main focus is that we got a new song out of this re-release!  Though I should’ve saw this coming.  Basically it is the ballad which is surprisingly found here.  I liked the sound of this song and it showed some sense of differentiation from the main album (since this was the first original track before getting the songs that make up GIRLS’ GENERATION.  It is still the main 5 singers who have solo lines which might not impress people but eh…it’s still a pretty good song.

5. MR. TAXI (Steve Aoki Remix)

So as a bonus track we get a remix of MR. TAXI woo!  The beat of the song kicks things up and definitely a track made for clubs.  It’s a bit electronic which might throw some people out for a bit.  It’s really more of Steve Aoki showing his skills more than showcasing the song because the arrangement is just hitting left and right and just trying to throw the song off.  There is a quiet part which was even weirder to me!  I don’t know but it was an odd track.  BTW, this is actually the final track on the repackage.

Tracks Recommended

  • THE GREAT ESCAPE
  • GENIE
  • Run Devil Run
  • Let It Rain
  • you-aholic

Song of Avoidance

  • I’m In Love With The HERO

Ahhhh, had to go back to GIRLS’ GENERATION, the group’s self-titled debut in Japan.  It’s definitely made it’s mark in Japan as one of the signature albums involved in the K-pop wave that happened in Japan (and worldwide at that too).  There was a lot of songs that really signified the group’s coming ashore and those were important tunes.  There were some meh songs and the repackaged album’s exclusives were mostly unneeded but overall…great album should check it out *RECOMMENDED*

 

Curumi Chronicle – Curumi Chronicle

Filed under: Curumi Chronicle — solarblade @ 7:08 am

curumichronicle

Track Listing

  1. Humming
  2. Gozen 11-ji
  3. Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo
  4. MAKE NEW WORLD
  5. 16 feat. USAGI DISCO
  6. Broken Toy
  7. Cururicle
  8. twinkle linkle line
  9. Susume! Susume!
  10. Rainy Starry Night
  11. Gozen 11-ji (USAGI DISCO remix)

1. Humming

So Curumi opens up her debut with an intro of her humming.  Though it’s quickly replaced with some cute keyboard and some other things to make it more cute but continues to use the melody that Curumi was humming to.  Though I love that towards the end it speeds up and instantly shifts to our next track.

2. Gozen 11-ji

Funny that the melody continues fully in Gozen 11-ji and continuing to focus on that fantasy-like atmosphere, I was pretty much hooked.  We also get to hear Curumi sing for the first time and she sounds rather nice (almost like Saori).  It’s got a pretty cute synthpop feel and for the first track, it suits up for what could possibly be the rest of the album’s sound.  It’s a pleasant tune overall!

3. Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo

Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo pops up next and we’re greeted by cutesy 8bit synths mixed with an electro beat which was great.  Though I wasn’t expecting the song to grow into a full-on electro track which surprised me and well made me fell in love with it!  It kind of moves between the former and latter so it keeps things exciting and unexpected.  Curumi’s vocals are a bit deeperto me, but I kind of enjoyed it.  Definitely an early favorite!

4. MAKE NEW WORLD

A pounding beat opens our next track and MAKE NEW WORLD sounds like almost too similar to our previous track and “Gozen 11-ji” with the kind of fantasy-like arrangement.  It comes off as a big dejavu to me since the similarities are just so there.  This song didn’t really do much for me overall and I just kind of phased it as white noise even before the mid8 section.

5. 16 feat. USAGI DISCO

Oh, is it one of those cases like Terukado?  You know the producer has a track where they basically forced themselves to be a quote-on-quote featured artist?  Oh well, 16 begins with Curumi heavily under auto-tune before the song turned into an electro collision course.  It’s a lot of interesting moments and techniques from USAGI DISCO, but it does feel rather cluttered.  The thing about the song is that rather I dislike the copy n’ paste feel of the track…just a lot of repetitive sounds for the most part.

6. Broken Toy

I should’ve guessed the next track would be more on the cuter side of things.  The arrangement is at least something outside of the ordinary by being a little more erratic and focuses on the little things.  Curumi though kind of feels like the background because the music has all those little changes that kind of got me XD.  It is pretty short though (2:30) and honestly I’m OK with this as if it was any longer, I would’ve been annoyed by it.

7. Cururicle

At least things pick up in energy with Cururicle and it’s a pretty energetic electro track.  It’s bright, but the synths adds this nice amount of fullness that I was missing in the last couple tracks so it’s more than a welcomed appearance.  Curumi also sounds even more bright (since her voice was not very emotive previously).  It’s definitely another one that ranks high from this album for sure.  I’m just hoping there’s more on the album that really stands out.

8. twinkle linkle line

Curumi tries to with twinkle linkle line, but personally it’s a song that would’ve made more sense at the front of the album because it also carries that fantasy-esque sound with piano acting up in the back.  I do like the flow though and Curumi does make it move smoothly between areas so I’m very happy with this song too.

9. Susume! Susume!

I don’t know why but Curumi kind of sounds like capsule’s Toshiko in our next track and I’m unsure how to feel about that lol.  Somehow the song actually sounds a little more serious than other tracks.  That being said, it’s not one of my favorites as I don’t find much too memorable here but the beat is nice I suppose.  Eh…

10. Rainy Starry Night

As the final original track, Rainy Starry Night is Curumi’s take on a techno-ballad.  As soft as it is, Curumi’s vocals are kind of whispery but played more along with the interesting arrangement from acoustic guitar and some ticking and some other quirky things.  Almost like a music box actually.  It’s different and made a nice closure…if that was the case >.>

11. Gozen 11-ji (USAGI DISCO remix)

Yup, the album ends with a remix of Gozen 11-ji and the difference in mood is quite nice!  I like the more seriously chords being used and the melody of the lyrics works here which is pretty surprising!  It could’ve had a slightly faster tempo, but this was a pretty good remix (maybe better than the original).

Tracks Recommended

  • Cururicle
  • Gozen 11-ji (USAGI DISCO remix)
  • Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo
  • twinkle linkle line
  • Rainy Starry Night

Song of Avoidance

  • MAKE NEW WORLD

When I listen to Curumi Chronicle it just reminds me how much I miss Saori@destiny because after listening to Curumi’s self-titled debut, it’s almost exactly like how I felt for “JAPANESE CHAOS” (the debut album from the aforementioned artist).  I do like how she’s gained a worldwide following and while her style isn’t fully unique, USAGI DISCO really brings a good feel of what she could be capable of.  It’ll be interesting how she continues on but I like what I’m hearing (even though technopop acts always interest me).

 

 
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