Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

KOTOKO – ZoNE-iT September 30, 2015

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 5:41 am


Track Listing

  1. ZoNE-iT
  2. call
  3. ZoNE-iT (instrumental)
  4. call (instrumental)

1. ZoNE-iT

You know, KOTOKO tricked me with that opening intro being all nice and pretty before doing a 180 and throwing a rock song in my face hahaha!  The song itself is pretty damn catchy and KOTOKO is up to her usual vocal trips that I’m just used to it now and she brings power to an already edgy song.  Probably my favorite A-side since “Light My Fire”.

2. call

The B-side on the other hand does take itself a bit lighter (maybe more like a mid-tempo rock song).  KOTOKO also took things a bit slower as well by using a more lighter and wispy tone for the verses and coming out in the pre-chorus and chorus which is really nice to hear!  It’s nice to see KOTOKO sing songs like these as it shows a more grand view of her voice and emotions and it really makes the song pop out (she should do more of these in the future!).

Another single I’ve missed out, this late 2014 single is actually pretty good for KOTOKO.  Neither song did anything to hurt her sound and I feel like rock is very good on her (though I don’t want her to totally avoid electro).  ZoNE-iT really makes me hope she releases more sometime soon!


AKB48 – Kibouteki Refrain September 28, 2015

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 2:47 pm


Track Listing

  1. Kibouteki Refrain
  2. Ima, Happy (Baragumi) (Type-A  & Theater edition only)
  3. Juujun na Slave (Team A) (Type-A only)
  4. Ambulance (Yurigumi) (Type-B only)
  5. Hajimete no Drive (Team K) (Type-B only)
  6. Utaitai (Cattleya-gumi) (Type-C only)
  7. Loneliness Club (Team B) (Type-C only)
  8. Seifuku no Hane (Team 8) (Type-D only)
  9. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss (Team 4) (Type-D only)
  10. Kaze no Rasen (Kojizaka48) (Type-D only)
  11. Reborn (Team Surprise) (Theater edition only)
  12. Kibouteki Refrain off vocal ver.
  13. Ima, Happy off vocal ver.
  14. Juujun na Slave off vocal ver.
  15. Ambulance off vocal ver.
  16. Hajimete no Drive off vocal ver.
  17. Utaitai off vocal ver.
  18. Loneliness Club off vocal ver.
  19. Seifuku no Hane off vocal ver.
  20. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss off vocal ver.
  21. Kaze no Rasen off vocal ver.
  22. Reborn off vocal ver.

1. Kibouteki Refrain

Another upbeat A-side huh AKB?  At least the energy from Kibouteki Refrain is nice enough and the girls sound melodically stronger when singer together.  I do feel this anison-esque arrangement to be popping for me and the chorus is actually decent here with the call/response style.  Though I could say it slightly reminds me of “Heavy Rotation” although not as exciting.  Still, with the other A-sides of this era, this is actually pretty good otherwise.

2. Ima, Happy

Seems like the B-sides this time brings out the -gumi groups and Teams, splitting them between the multiple editions.  First is the Baragumis and Ima, Happy is pretty cutesy as they go, but due to the rather meh vocals, the song does feel like they rather phoned this one in (although there’s some cool parts like the second verse) and the synths is rather game-y which is neat too!  Might not be memorable, but I think it’s just OK.

3. Juujun na Slave

Team A is up next with Juujun na Slave and I was rather surprised by the cool vibe here which is something I’ve missed from the group.  Despite the ladies are under auto-tune, the dance arrangement and lower vocal ranges here are REALLY nice and refreshing!  I’m loving the song funny enough and reminds me of the cooler songs in their collection (AKB not so much Team A XD).

4. Ambulance

Yurigumi’s song kicks off with this weird random English hook line and the song becomes this funky-sounding tune which in a way sounds different but also feels muddled and kind of gross (especially since the chorus lacks punch overall).  Meh song overall.

5. Hajimete no Drive

Team K is next and I wasn’t expecting much as there’s not a lot of songs from the Team I enjoy.  Hajimete no Drive might be the slight exception due to it actually being a mid-tempo track.  Though I could do without the strange pipe organ making things awkward and older than it needs to be.  I do love that there’s a lot of solo lines (but I couldn’t tell ya who’s who hahah).  Nice song though.

6. Utaitai

If I can recall, Cattleya-gumi is a newer -gumi group (which only complicates my figuring out these sub-groups).  Of the three, Cattleya’s sounds like it has the most effort put into it due to it’s a ballad and opens up with a pretty orchestral sound.  It’s a nice sounding song and the chorale feel of it adds up (although there is one girl who sounds a bit like a duck in certain harmonies).  Other than that mishap, it’s a nice track.

7. Loneliness Club

Then we enter Team B’s song and it almost sounds like a fusion between “Utaitai” and acoustic guitars which is pretty unfortunate considering they’re on the same edition of the single.  The strings are nice though and seeing them kind of flow in between wavy synths add something interesting, but this song’s melody could be compared to other AKB ballads in the worst way.

8. Seifuku no Hane

Then we come to Team 8’s song and of course it sounds like any other previous B-side from AKB singles with the guitars, synths, beats, and cutesy vocals.  These kind of songs really kill my interest in the group because the girls don’t put any emotions into their song so the tune just falls flat and makes me think less of the producers each time…yeah…boring and trite as shit.

9. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss

At least Team 4’s contribution is a little more exciting taking the latin route and I kind of love it because it adds spice and interest.  Team 4 vocally is actually decent and there’s a nice light sexy tone to it that caught my attention.  It does kind of remind me of Morning Musume’s “Iroppoi Jirettai” just not as heavy on the latin flair.  So it’s OK.

10. Kaze no Rasen

Though Type-D does come with a 3rd B-side with Kaze no Rasen by Kojizaka48 (thank you for the name Haruna Kojima).  Sadly, the song like “Seifuku no Hane” doesn’t really stand out on the single and the vocals are just subpar at best.  It sounds really familiar though like there was an A-side that EXACTLY sounds like this, but I can’t put a finger on it.

11. Reborn

So finally on Theater editions, we get a track in Reborn from Team Surprise (a surprise they haven’t disbanded yet).  I do think its heavy anison sound is good, but once agan those chords just scream laziness.  Meh song, unfortunately I know it’ll be on the album which disappoints me further.



Closing the era out, Kibouteki Refrain as a whole is probably their best release, I think.  Kibouteki Refrain is actually a good A-side and doesn’t stick to the usual formula they’ve been following in forever.  Of the B-sides though, the only ones to listen to are Juujun na Slave, Utaitai, and Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss.  The others are just bland entries with nothing totally memorable about them…This album is shaping up to be really forgettable though.


Mami Kawada – PARABLEPSIA September 23, 2015

Filed under: Mami Kawada — solarblade @ 5:03 am


Track Listing

  1. parablepsia
  2. Borderland
  3. I…civilization
  4. Enchantress
  5. Eager Eyes
  6. PIST
  7. fly blind
  8. here.
  9. HOWL
  10. It’s no big deal
  11. Replica_nt
  12. Break a spell
  13. Dendritic Quartz

1. parablepsia

Interesting that Mami opens up the album with the title track.  What a title though haha!  I was confused in which direction the song was heading because it was going towards electro and rock, but it kind of fuses together in a cool way (well, she’s been at this kind of style so it’s definitely right at home.  I’m loving Mami’s vocals here and she gives a stellar performance with a song that sounds like a continuation of songs from “SQUARE THE CIRCLE”.

2. Borderland

Talking about her last album we get Borderland which was a single released before that album was released.  I was sad it didn’t make the cut but here it is on this one (yet “FIXED STAR” and “Gardens” are inexplicably missing from this album).  Borderland though works on this one with it’s static-y electrorock sound.  Instead, Mami’s vocals are much lighter and under some filters and the energy is a little more quick-paced too.  I’m still a pretty big fan of this one and was very happy to see it here!

3. I…civilization

Since most of the album from here on is brand new songs, I was curious to see what Mami and her producers came up with.  Starting with I…civilization is pretty cool and dark (almost to the same heavy arrangements from MELL and KOTOKO).  This one took more to the synth-side of things and Mami’s lines sometimes sound a lot more MELL-like than it should, but I love it!  It’s a cool song and all, but I think the previous tracks stuck out much better!

4. Enchantress

Somehow I thought the feeling of “I…civilization” would’ve been through this song, but Enchantress takes up a more electro side by lacking the guitars and giving us this weird dance track, but it sounds so cool and yet mysterious especially with some of Mami’s lines in this one.  It’s definitely a cool song for the album and an early favorite!

5. Eager Eyes

Seems like the album is just digging deeper into electro I’ve and I’m loving this trek down that lane.  Eager Eyes is dirty and aggressive and Mami’s filtered vocals add this really cool effect that reminds me of stuff from MELL like “Red fraction” and “no vain” but it’s still pretty has its own identity that just sticks on me and love more and more!


For a song title as such, it’s not a shocker that it’s another aggressive track on the album.  Though unlike the cool trance vibes of the previous track, PIST is a little more heavy on the guitarwork here, but it still has some electro in it giving it this factory-kind of sound which is basically the best I can compare to.  There’s even parts where the arrangement lightens up and Mami’s filtered vocals sound a lot more soothing and cool.

7. fly blind

Next up, is fly blind and it’s strictly on the rockin’ side of Mami’s arrangements (almost on the level of some stuff from “SEED” and “SAVIA”.  It’s a pretty in your face kind of song and really comes punching in and out and I’m loving some of it.  The chorus includes some synths and piano which does throw some of the edginess out the window, but I think there’s something about the verses that really gelled together.

8. here.

Though the beginning of here. closes the door and we’re back to stuff that sort of sounds like “Borderland”.  here. has a cool intro with gritty guitars and synths.  I think this track does well with Mami’s take on MELL’s voice and it sounds really devilish, but then the chorus opens to a much lighter feel which like “fly blind” throws me off, but the chorus is decent too…it’s just that it sounds a bit like “Red fraction”…


Man this album has just been so very aggressive so far and it’s a surprise to me especially since I’ve listened to all her albums.  I’m a little weirded out with the long introduction and the weird vocals choices Mami makes during the song.  I wouldn’t say this is a favorite of mine due to the changes this song goes through, but the effort is through the roof.

10. It’s no big deal

Of an album that has been mostly dark and aggressive and just angsty, It’s no big deal is the odd ball on this album having a more poppy vibe and the amount of noticeable Engrish is cool too.  Though I think by itself, the song is great and shows off a nicer side to Mami, this song probably should’ve been on “SQUARE THE CIRCLE” LOL.

11. Replica_nt

Oh hey a trance song comes next!  The beat is definitely the heaviest on the album here and I love those kind of tracks!  It even keeps at it through the entire track alongside a lower toned Mami which is always nice to hear too!  I love the thick amount of synths bouncing along the deep bass synth giving a really full sounding track.  Definitely a cool song overall!

12. Break a spell

I was shocked that Break a spell was the literal only A-side to make the cut (“Borderland” being released in the last album’s era and the lack of the other 2 A-sides released prior to this album.  Break a spell does take a bit from “Borderland” with the airy vocals, but getting strong for the chorus.  Though coming back to this, the song isn’t as strong as I remembered last year.  The slower tempo (in comparison to many of the songs on this album) is strange, though the intro is still the coolest thing in the track.

13. Dendritic Quartz

Closing the album out is Dendritic Quartz and by title alone, I was looking forward to listening to this one.  Though I was surprised that like “It’s no big deal”, it’s a happier song from Mami though its placement is nice since it doesn’t totally break the album.  I mean it does keep the dance beats and strong vocals, but it kind of zones me out after a while.

Tracks Recommended

  • Replica_nt
  • Enchantress
  • Borderland
  • parablepsia
  • PIST

Song of Avoidance

  • Dendritic Quartz

As I finish Mami’s 5th album all I can say is, wow this was one consistent album going between the things she’s known for and not taking strange risks.  A lot of these songs are quite decent (and even Dendritic Quartz has good things going on too!).  While I was worried with the time she took for this album (and “Gardens” being such a generic mess), I was worried PARABLEPSIA was going to be a misstep, but honestly, it’s probably her best album yet! *RECOMMENDED*



Filed under: TEMPURA KIDZ — solarblade @ 3:45 am


Track Listing

  2. Miira Killer


If you want to talk about a catchy song, LOLLiPOP kind of ranks up their for TEMPURA KIDZ.  I’m loving that the vocals of the group aren’t as filtered like their previous singles had them so it feels more natural (well as it can get because the song itself is pretty dance-heavy as their stuff has been otherwise.  I’m a little surprised that there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the song especially with the chorus is repeating the title over and over again.  Still with that being its biggest fault, it’s still catchy and while it’s not as good as “ONE STEP”, this is definitely better than their last single.

2. Miira Killer

Now I’ve heard this song back when it was released but didn’t review it due to it being a digital single and looked more like it was a Charisma.com song (which by the way, this song is a collaboration between the two units).  Listening to it again, I was enjoying the kind of weird 80’s New Wave glow it had plus it sounded a little punkish in some areas.  At first it was hard to figure where TEMPURA KIDZ fit in the pieces because I heard a lot more of Charisma.com here.  Though they are there in the choruses and some lines so it’s a good collaboation in the end!

As the 3rd and last single before their first album, “Tenkomori” releases, LOLLiPOP is a pretty good single for the group!  The main song is really catchy and can easily become an earworm after giving some time and Miira Killer (while old) is a nice coupling song as well giving us a different feel with a collaboration.  Definitely curious to see how this album will turn out!


la la larks – Hallelujah

Filed under: la la larks — solarblade @ 1:30 am


Track Listing

  1. Hallelujah
  2. Q And A
  3. Shikisai
  4. Hallelujah (Instrumental)
  5. Q And A (Instrumental)
  6. Shikisai (Instrumental)

1. Hallelujah

That cool electronic opening of Hallelujah made me say that exactly!  The tune is a really interesting one having a different kind of non-sfp sound, but the experimentation continued with the chorus by including brass instruments alongside the band which gave this song an AMAZING and robust sound!  I’m really loving the atmosphere of the song and Yumi just sounds heavenly alongside this very wild and exciting track…there’s even a cool guitar solo!  Yeah, this is definitely a song to keep on my iPhone for sure!

2. Q And A

After being blessed with such an A-side, Q And A comes next and this sounds like something the band would have released.  Very familiar chords and arrangements as the song rolls on by and while that’s not a good thing I still can’t get the feeling that somehow school food punishment never really disappeared.  I think I’m pretty content with this a a B-side because if it was the leading song, I probably wouldn’t be as invested in the single otherwise.

3. Shikisai

It seems that fellow artist Maaya Sakamoto contributed to this song (payment back for having some people from sfp doing her A-side, “Buddy” maybe?).  I’m loving the chaotic chords being presented by the piano/keyboard giving this unsettling feel to the track.  As it continues, more of the familiar sounds of the band return, but the arrangement ends up being this wild and dramatic piece and it’s LOVELY, and the drummer is really kicking ass in this song xD.  Definitely a cool B-side and easily could’ve been a leading song!

I’ve been waiting for a new la la larks single for a while and I’m so happy their 2nd single turned out really well, even better than their debut (well “debut”).  Hallelujah blew me away when I first heard it and the different ideas clashing against each other made such a beautiful end product and easily is their best song yet, it even tops a LOT of their sfp stuff!  Same can be said for Shikisai with it’s own take on it’s wild mixture of sounds and chords…it was very cool and artsy for them.  While Q And A is good, it’s a safe song for them and really is the sound a lot of fans are used to from the band…Overall this was just an awesome single *RECOMMENDED*


Cupitron – Robot Boy Robot Girl September 22, 2015

Filed under: Cupitron — solarblade @ 7:01 am


Track Listing

  1. Robot Boy Robot Girl
  2. We Are Cupitron (Regular A only)
  3. π (Regular B only)
  4. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa (Limited only)
  5. Robot Boy Robot Girl TECHNO JUMBO Remix (Regular A only)
  6. Summer Kaijuu Akufen Remix (Regular B only)
  7. Robot Boy Robot Girl (Instrumental)
  8. We Are Cupitron (Instrumental)
  9. π (Instrumnetal)
  10. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa (Instrumental)

1. Robot Boy Robot Girl

Beginning their 3rd single, Robot Boy Robot Girl starts almost in a grand way with such a strong emphasis on bass drum, but as soon as the opening lyrics go by, the electropop sound starts to filter out through my headphones.  I feel like with each A-side, their producer also gets a bit more risky with the arrangement and I’m enjoying this one quite a bit!  It’s an adventurous piece of work and definitely their best yet!

2. We Are Cupitron

Strange it took them to their 3rd single to get a kind of theme song for the group.  I’m surprised that while it is slower than “Robot Boy Robot Girl”, the EDM here is a bit more gritty and heavy.  Though I can’t say that the vocal melody is very memorable as they kind of stay the same a good portion of the time and the chorus kind of bugs me…not their best work sadly.

3. π

Simply known as “Pi”, this song picks up after the disappointing previous track.  It reminds me of their more space-esque songs from previous single (especially from “Unicorn Parade”) and this one is futuristic but in a good way.  The vocoder and filtering is quite fitting and the chorus is strangely catchy (despite it just them repeating ~pi~ over and over again).  Still this is a really neat song from them!

4. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa

On the limited editions we get Uchuu de Milk Cocoa and it’s well similar to the previous songs (sans “We Are Cupitron”) with its cool EDM-sound.  I’m liking the progressive feel of the song and it’s got some interesting dubstep-y parts to make the tune pop out more.  It is the most straightforward song off the single and I think that’s why it might just be my favorite from the single!

5. Robot Boy Robot Girl TECHNO JUMBO Remix

So we get two remixes on this single strangely enough and the first is of the A-side.  Taking out the Perfume-esque twinkles, the tune turns into more like “Uchuu de Milk Cocoa” with the kind of 80’s-like feel to it with a lot of pounding bass through the song (mostly the chorus).  It’s different, I’ll give it that…but the original is still better.

6. Summer Kaijuu Akufen Remix

Finally we have a remix for their debut song, Summer Kaijuu!  I wasn’t expecting it to be the long song it was at 7 minutes, but considering it’s a remix I’m fine with that.  It starts off slow, but it has some disco elements thrown in which is pretty cool and matches with the ethereal keyboard playing.  Sadly once the group comes in to sing their lines, they’re overly filtered and computerized to the point where I can barely make out what they’re saying.  Sadly the bongo melody and light beats don’t really change it up and the horns and random quips are few and between.  It’s ok for background music, but it didn’t do Summer Kaijuu any justice.



Cupitron’s 3rd single and honestly it’s their best yet.  Disregarding the remixes, which were mostly disappointing, the 4 main songs are mainly really good tracks for them.  Robot Boy Robot Girl is very familiar, but really nice overall.  π and Uchuu de Milk Cocoa while similar in styles really captured the trio’s essence and definitely worked its way up their alongside the tunes I enjoyed from “Battery”.  Sadly, We Are Cupitron was pretty unfortunate leading to a rather monotone-sounding tune that got covered up by the other main songs.  Is there an album soon???


Aya Hirano – Promise

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 6:21 am


Track Listing

  1. Promise
  2. Takaramono
  3. Up To Date
  4. Promise -instrumental-
  5. Takaramono -instrumental-

1. Promise

So like the cover and title put in my mind, Promise is a ballad from Aya and we’ve haven’t had one in a long time.  Though I can’t help but feel as if this song is just overly white and generic all over the place.  It’s not Aya’s fault though as she has very pretty vocals for tackling a ballad, but the arrangement is rather trite and lacks any strong footing for me.  Rather unfortunate though this couldn’t have had a more dynamic arrangement.

2. Takaramono

At least things get a little more interesting with Takaramono, add a nice soft dance beat alongside piano and you essentially get this song.  I mean it’s nothing special either though.  Sadly like “Promise”, the song doesn’t really grow much and stays at the same pace (though Aya gets some backup vocals).  Still, the song is kind of playing it rather too safe.

3. Up To Date

Then to somehow wake me up from the slumber I was beginning to have, Up To Date changes things up and ends up sounding something nice and familiar to stuff from her albums.  I’m enjoying the pop/punk sound here and Aya’s vocals sound really solid and stronger than in the previous tracks too!  Suffice to say this is my favorite of the single.

I know I’m rather late for the single, but good lord this is a weak single.  Something about Promise and Takaramono just didn’t work and felt so lazy and generic that it really didn’t work together.  It wasn’t until Up To Date came where there was some light at the end of the tunnel, but even then this could’ve been album fodder for her albums previous.  Considering that she released this in 2013 and releasing her 3rd album “vivid” in 2014…I really wonder if her scandals had basically destroyed her career…



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 566 other followers