Kurayami Monogatari

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Morning Musume ’20 – Junjou Evidence/Gyuusaretai Dake na no ni November 28, 2020

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 1:41 am

Track Listing

  1. Junjou Evidence
  2. Gyuusaretai Dake na no ni
  3. Junjou Evidence (Instrumental)
  4. Gyuusaretai Dake na no ni (Instrumental)

1. Junjou Evidence

After most of the year being rather quiet, Momusu returns with Junjou Evidence (a song they performed a bit early before the announcement of the single itself).  The tune itself seems to pretty your pretty typical Momusu EDM song here with leads out of the new typical trio; Mizuki, Masaki, and Sakura.  Though Miki did get a solo alongside them so that’s a little nice incentive.  Otherwise, yeah the song is kind of vanilla and just another EDM song from the group with not a lot to remember it by.

2. Gyuusaretai Dake na no ni

I was hoping for a little more with the other A-side and while it does have a different sound to it compared to “Junjou Evidence” and the synthwork is a little unique to my ears, it had me up until its chorus which felt almost a little plain and blah, but like the rest of the song has a cool sound, especially with the bridge!  Once again, it feels like Sakura, Maachan, and Fukuchan lead the song, but we did get solos out of Rio and Mei, though no Homare interestingly.  Slightly better than the other A-side but not by too much.

 

 

After a rather awesome single at the beginning of the year, it pains me to say their other 2020 single is kind of a generic bust.  I’m seeing the fatigue of the EDM style here and I am dying to hear a different genre out of Morning Musume especially with how big the group is now.  Neither track wowed me enough to care and I’d rather go back to their previous single in a heartbeat.  Sorry, I hope they fix it up by next year.

 

NCT 2020 – NCT 2020: RESONANCE Pt. 2 November 24, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 5:39 am

Track Listing

  1. 90’s Love
  2. Misfit
  3. Raise The Roof
  4. Volcano
  5. LightBulb
  6. Dancing In The Rain
  7. My Everything
  8. Interlude: Past to Present
  9. Make A Wish (Birthday Song)
  10. Déjà Vu
  11. Nectar
  12. Music, Dance
  13. Fated In My Last Song
  14. From Home
  15. From Home (Korean Version)
  16. Make A Wish (Birthday Song) (English Version)
  17. Interlude: Present to Future
  18. Work It
  19. All About You
  20. I.O.U
  21. Outro: Dream Routine

1. 90’s Love

Opening NCT 2020’s 2nd half of this crazy release, we get 90’s Love and boy does it kick things off on a high note!  Bringing in Jeno, Yangyang, Ten, Haechan, Winwin, Mark, and newcomer Sungchan (who we got to hear a lot in “Misfit”).  The tune’s heavy 90’s sound that’s kind of riding on that hip-hop / New Jack Swing tone was surprisingly nice!  Granted, after hearing things, I’m not surprised most of the members involved are rappers here and they all brought (still surprises me how good Sungchan meshes with everyone here).  Ten and Haechan brings in nice vocals to sort of even out and Winwin, well…normal Winwin line.  Honestly, the song is pretty banging and kicked off the album on a pretty strong note!

2. Misfit

Which is of course followed by Misfit which before I go further, I will say I’m kind of disappointed that all of “RESONANCE Pt. 1” is here because it felt like they were promoting them separately, but not it feels more like a repackaged album.  I even had thought of not reviewing these tracks because I already did last month, but oh well.  Going back to talking about the track, Misfit is still quite the sassy and feisty trap track and fits coming after “90’s Love”.  Featuring most of the rappers that make up NCT (Taeyong, Mark, Jeno, Johnny, Hendery, Yangyang, and Sungchan), it was our first taste of Sungchan and it’s just a freestyle session here and everyone leaves their own flavor during their solos.  I do lulz at the ~la, la, la, la~ towards the end which could only work here.  Just aggressive and cool of a song!

3. Raise The Roof

Another new track on the album, Raise The Roof has a pretty large ensemble of guys involved here (Taeil, Yuta, Kun, Renjun, Chenle, Jisung, Johnny, Jungwoo, and Hendery).  It’s definitely kind of a track I was surprised not chosen to promote the album considering the members and fire of the song.  If anything I would compare this as the album’s “BOSS” it feels like because of the dance beats and forceful nature of it all.  Each of the members do get solos (gotta say, not a lot of love for Jisung though, despite having like a couple solos, but everyone else had a stand out moment).  Regardless, it’s a cool song as well, another banger!

4. Volcano

Of course the next couple tracks are us returning to the previous album, starting with Volcano which if you remember had the same members that were involved in “BOSS” (Taeyong, Mark, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Winwin, Jungwoo, and Lucas).  Returning to what I said, the song does feel like a pure retread of “BOSS”, although it’s not a bad choice, but I do feel like it doesn’t hit the same highs of the aforementioned track.  I do like the chorus though and the low ~bounce~ kind of hooks me in for sure.  Still a good song though!

5. LightBulb

Back to this mid-tempo track, LightBulb (Taeyong, Doyoung, Kun, Sungchan) still gives me heavy similarities to “YESTODAY” for sure with the way it flows and how it splits between the two rappers and two singers.  Honestly, I was hear more for both Taeyong and Sungchan here as both their raps are just crazy cool and for being a newbie, Sungchan is just poppin’ on my radar since the last album so this is just awesomes!  Now Doyoung and Kun do fine, I just kind of get this sense of repetition of that ~blink blink~ line (Korean).  Seems a bit much, but still a nice laidback tune.

6. Dancing In The Rain

I think of all the songs from Pt. 1, I feel like Dancing In The Rain is the one that never really caught on with me and I’m not sure why because it definitely isn’t from the member choice here (Taeil, Jaehyun, Kun, Yuta, Chenle, Jungwoo, and Xiaojun).  I’m still surprised with the choices and couldn’t be anymore impressive.  Though I think the jazzier, lowbrow sound doesn’t seem to fit on the album?  Not saying it’s bad or anything, it just doesn’t seem to really gel with anything else on the album even moreso Pt. 2.

7. My Everything

Ahhh finally, another new track to listen to.  It seems that this is the ballad of Pt. 2 with Taeil, Xiaojun, and Renjun (huh, the smallest grouping it seems).  Considering how basic it sounds (a simple piano ballad versus the grandiose of “From Home”) it comes shockingly not really fitting either on the album IMO.  While we haven’t really had a chance to hear Renjun or Xiaojun singing a ballad they both sound pretty good here.  Of course Taeil still blows them away regardless.  It’s pretty, but like “Timeless…” kind of forgettable too.

8. Interlude: Past to Present

Well shit, a LONG stretch of songs I’ve already reviewed from the first album lol.  Kicking things off with a transitionary song, Interlude: Past to Present.  Now since the album review, the song was used in tandem before they performed “Make A Wish” so I understand why it’s here.  I still wish they did a Vaporwave / City Pop-styled track for sure, I think it’d be an interesting style for them.  It does slide into it’s EDM mode and still doesn’t quite fit but I mean it’s a nice switch I guess.

9. Make A Wish (Birthday Song)

Ah, we’re back to this track huh?  Yeah the leading track off the first release of NCT 2020 and it’s still a bop and a half!  I still do love the whistling melody and just the overall mood of the tune.  With Taeyong, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jaemin, Lucas, Xiaojun, Shotaro together, it was a rather great mix of singers and rappers here.  Hell, I’m just so surprised that it was a lot of Taeyong and Xiaojun (the latter really finding his footing here).  Shotaro of course being the newbie did OK, not quite as good as Sungchan did, but that’s OK.  It’s simply a great NCT song and has one of the catchiest hooks out there with the ~I can do this all daaaaaay~.  Still a favorite of 2020 in K-pop to be honest.

10. Déjà Vu

Now we’re back to the non-NCT U units, starting with NCT DREAM’s contribution!  Like I said back in the previous album review, NCT DREAM had gotten rid of their graduation concept and brought back Mark to the unit bringing back to its original lineup.  The tune is kind of mix of the last couple of releases by having a more light-hearted sound, but still holding a grown-up tone to it.  The melody of the synth is cutesy, but the mood from all 7 members is pretty chill and cool so it’s a little weird, but I dig it!  Still one of the more intriguing tracks off the album.

11. Nectar

WayV’s contribution comes next and it’s still one of the album’s highlights for me.  Granted to say that it’s one of two tracks that feature Mandarin, but this is focused around it.  Nectar is pretty much WayV given the sound of “BOSS” and ran with it, so it is a little like “Volcano”, but I do like this a LOT more since the vocals are more smooth and there’s just an underlying sense of mystery about it.  I will say, I do love Ten’s lines in this one the most…it’s just a bop too!

12. Music, Dance

Then there’s NCT 127’s track with Music, Dance and like “Dancing In The Rain” I had a hard time remembering this song beyond Jaehyun’s ~music, dance~ lines since his line is low and just kind of sticks out since it is a hook.  The rest of the song kind of just goes by over my head since the chorus is lacking for me and the style isn’t quite where I was hoping they’d be.  Feels more like a lower-end album track from something like “Cherry Bomb” or even “NEO ZONE”.

13. Fated In My Last Song

Back to NCT U groupings, this one with (Taeil, Yuta, Haechan, Renjun, Jisung, Johnny, Ten, and Lucas), Fated In My Last Song is a mid-tempo track that’s a little heartbreaking and deep, I definitely kind of dug this song more after listening to it more and REALLY digging the choices in vocals here (even if once again Jisung gets shafted).  Otherwise, really solid vocals here, LOVED Ten, Yuta, Renjun, Johnny, and Haechan the most though!  Really strong track full of great vocalists!

14. From Home

Yeah the other leading track from “RESONANCE Pt. 1” pops up and is another ballad track, but it’s a WHOLE LOT better than what “My Everything” ended up being lol.  As it’s Taeil, Doyoung, Haechan, Kun, Yuta, Renjun, and Chenle, they’ve really come together for a rather strong song that not only blends awesome vocals, but different languages like Korean, English, Mandarin, and Japanese.  I think I was surprised because they were split into the core members from what country they’re from (except English which was given to the Korean members).  

15. From Home (Korean Version)

Likewise, my opinions on the Korean version of From Home have remained the same.  It’s nice that it’s here and whatnot, but it lost what made the song special in the first place, so it feels somewhat standard and lacking those surprises like in the main cut of the song.  Still vocally amazing though, just not what version I prefer to listen to.

16. Make A Wish (Birthday Wish) (English Version)

With the language shift also put on Make A Wish, I felt the song got exponentially corny and ridiculous even though it is roughly about getting with a girl at the end of the day.  I just can’t with the pre-chorus lines out of Jaemin, Shotaro, and Lucas…like why even go there with that sugary food analogy at allll.  It just made the song more sillier than it should be, but I mean it’s still Make A Wish and the lines (besides the treat-centric ones) are surprisingly fitting.  Goddamn xD.  

17. Interlude: Present to Future

FINALLY WE ARE HERE with where most of the new material landed starting with a new interlude I guess to separate the sections up.  So the interlude kicks with more of the beats from the first interlude, but switches to a more ethereal and futuristic tone which is cool and makes sense coming after the idea of the first interlude.  Interesting track though…

18. Work It

Chosen as the 2nd track to promote RESONANCE Pt. 2, Work It has Ten, Jaemin, Jisung, Yuta, Johnny, Jungwoo, and Hendery and I was unsure what they’d be given especially after “Present to Future”.  I’m surprised at how much Yuta, Ten, Jungwoo, and Hendery are featured in the song versus the rest involved and the tune like “Music, Dance” feels like it needs more to its arrangement honestly.  It’ll be interesting to see how the MV will turn out, but this is kind of a weaker song for me.

19. All About You

As we get closer to the end, I had been most curious about All About You which featured; Jaehyun, Mark, Chenle, Jungwoo, Hendery and the two new members Sungchan and Shotaro.  With a rather pulled back sound with some synths and echo filters, I was wondering what we’d get.  I think the biggest surprise is hearing Sungchan sing and he’s not bad, a little rough, (reminds me that Taeyong needs to sing more).  I mean everyone sings at some point (even Mark too!).  Though it does switch from the ethereal vibes to this kind of cool dance vibe which make things so unique.  Though Shotaro was kind of the back voice here, but his part did stand out.  OK song overall.

20. I.O.U

Last full track on the album has Taeyong, Doyoung, Kun, Chenle, Jisung, Yangyang, and Shotaro featured so it seemed pretty interesting of a lineup I’d say.  Very interesting to see the split again of Doyoung, Kun, and Chenle doing vocals, Taeyong with raps and Jisung, Yangyang, and Shotaro kind of going in between both.  The song is lighthearted and pretty to listen to and I’m loving each section quite nicely!  Feels short of a track though but it goes by so smoothly that I’m not all that disappointed.  Not bad!

21. Outro: Dream Routine

As the album ends we have an outro piece which kind of throws me off since it doesn’t quite fit anywhere TBH and its placement here is somewhat random.  Kind of hip-hop but not really and sparse lyrics thrown in, it just kind of ends on a strange note and could’ve been perfectly fine with “I.O.U” ending the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • 90’s Love
  • From Home
  • Make A Wish (Birthday Song)
  • Nectar
  • Raise The Roof

Song of Avoidance

  • My Everything

NCT 2020 rounds things out with Pt. 2 of the RESONANCE series and honestly, it’s just a little bit of a mess.  I think they should’ve really given us something more than just a glorified repackage of Pt. 1 honestly because we only really got 6 new songs here (the 2 interludes really don’t amount to much to be honest).  More new songs would’ve been nice (even an all-member track like “Black on Black” would’ve been great!).  The new songs themselves are I’d say OK, it did bring my least favorite track, the piano ballad to the front, but also 90’s Love is amazing so there’s that.  I don’t know, it’s hard to defend this one because majority is Pt. 1.  Wasn’t there supposed to be a new actual NCT unit out of this?  Oh well…it’s a good couple songs added to what already was a good album from RESONANCE Pt. 1

 

 

Let’s Talk About Smash: Fighters Pass 2, Oh lord… November 11, 2020

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 4:37 am

 

So here we are again, a little later than I was expecting to talk about this, but nonetheless, a new character joined the roster and boy IT WAS A DOOZY.  

Steve / Alex

Yeah, as an announcement was made for a Smash Bros reveal at the beginning of October, everyone was shocked that in the reveal video it was announced that the 2nd character of Fighters Pass 2 would be Steve and Alex from the MOJANG smash hit, Minecraft.  Personally, I was surprised with Microsoft getting a second representative after Banjo & Kazooie made the cut in the previous pass, but this was a new level of wtf.  

Of course since I’ve played the game, I had figured Steve’s (or Alex’s, but considering it’s just cosmetic differences, I’ll just stick with Steve for the rest of the post, though I should mention that Zombie and Enderman also are kind of a thing too as alternate costumes and kind of have same billing as the Koopalings & Alph).  

Anyways, figuring that I’ve played the series, I was not surprised to see how he would work and since Minecraft is it’s own entire genre, Steve’s moveset was going to focused on obtaining material and building which meant a LOT went into his gameplay design (enough that Sakurai had to work on EVERY stage to fit just him).  Personally, Steve’s unique tool building and platform-making skills stand out to me, but he’s kind of an awkward character as he has to have a crafting table to make better weapons, crappy jump and speed and just feels floaty in a strange way, but familiar if you’ve played Steve’s game.  I do like they brought back a gliding technique (a little bit like what it was in Brawl).  

Strange character overall, but definitely brought some uniqueness.

  • Minecraft World – So like most of the previously released DLC stages, Minecraft World keeps things pretty tame as far as stages go.  I think what makes it stand out is that the visuals are of course like the original game and some of the map is breakable.  Though there are 6 different biomes that can be chosen, most of them are just a simple platform with smaller platforms or they’re hidden in breakable spots like the trees and snow.  Decent, but I think it didn’t get as much love as the character did.

As for the remainder of the update, we did get some Mii Fighter Costumes of course, 3 of them from Minecraft; The Pig, Creeper, and Diamond Armor on top of Bomberman himself and Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes.  Decent batch, kind of wished we got some Bomberman music though, it would’ve been so perfect!

 

 

Likewise, that’s pretty much it, interesting character, not my type though, but I approve the notion that Sakurai has managed to bring in a character from a MASSIVELY POPULAR GAME into Smash, so kudos for that alone and managing another Microsoft character (I think maybe SONY needs to hop on this train, or do another (and better mind you) PS All-Stars).

 

 

BoA – I believe November 10, 2020

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 4:40 am

Track Listing

  1. I believe
  2. Wishing Well
  3. I believe (INST)
  4. Wishing Well (INST)

1. I believe

Seems like BoA returns to the Tales of… with a song tied to a mobile game, I believe and it kind of shows where the effort kind of went music-wise.  I believe feels likes it’s trying to be a sappy ballad, but kind of upbeat at the same time on top of giving me slight wintry vibes as well.  I think it’s kind of relaxing of a song and that chorus is pretty to listen to, but I think the beats in the verses could’ve been left off IMO.  Overall, not bad I’d say, but nothing too interesting to me.

2. Wishing Well

Kind of strange to see Wishing Well be the B-side of the single (originally was released digitally last October…yeah 2019).  So having a single between this til now is a little suspect why it simply plopped here.  Though I didn’t review it, I guess it gives me a reason to do it now!  Unlike “I believe”, Wishng Well is kind of more along the lines of her R&B sound that kind of reminds me of the whole “Kiss My Lips” era with that beat and flow.  Just like the leading track, it’s fine but nothing that kind of sticks.

 

 

BoA returns (not sure if she’s promoting since she has a Korean album coming up next month), but I believe is pretty safe of a single to me.  Neither song really did much for me and bringing a year-old song as a B-side is kind of a lazy move IMO…I don’t know, this didn’t do much as a whole for me sadly.

 

GENERATION 8: The Crown Tundra Below! November 6, 2020

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 8th Gen~ — solarblade @ 4:49 am

We finally get the 2nd DLC (and final for now?) The Crown Tundra and it’s time to dive into the new Pokemon and forms that were introduced in the release!

I will start off by saying that Zarude is staying in the Isle of Armor post I did because despite that everyone (cept Japan) hasn’t received one yet, it’s still released on that update.

099: Galarian Articuno

Starting things off, the DLC had 3 arching stories, one based on Calyrex, one based on the Regis and one based around the Kantonian birds (though looking a bit different than what we’re used to).  Honestly, when it came to Articuno, it was the easiest for me to catch, but the most difficult to activate the battle because you have to corner it so it splits into 3 mirror versions and you have to pick the odd one out.  Now, Articuno did get a change of typing with it now being a Psychic/Flying type which there’s been a few and curiously it does fully stick to Psychic-type moves though it’s Signature move, Freezing Glare is the only move in its main level-up pool that can freeze opponents.  I actually love the design out of this one though!

100: Galarian Zapdos

Zapdos was the 2nd I searched for and was the easiest to catch up to, but didn’t have too much trouble catching it, took longer than Articuno for sure though!  Though you find Zapdos running across the Wild Area (in the main game).  Now, like the other birds, Zapdos had a change of types moving to a Fighting/Flying type (of course its signature move, Thunderous Kick is the only representative of its Electric typing of its Kantonian forms.  It also seems like it doesn’t really fly like the other two, focusing more on it’s legs more than anything else.  Neat design though!

101: Galarian Moltres

However, Galarian Moltres gave me the biggest problems, it wasn’t hard to find on the Isle of Armor, but trying to catch it was just stressful and wasted so many balls on just trying to catch the damn thing!  Switching to a Dark/Flying type was cool and the dark flames are so cool to see and likewise it’s movepool has quite a bit of Dark-type moves on it on top of Fiery Wrath being the only Fire-related move since it’s the Signature move.  Crazy cool design and I can see myself using it in the future!

102: Galarian Slowking

After Slowpoke and Slowbro, it comes to no surprise that there’d be a Slowking variant down the line and kind of surprised they did it one by one by the expansions.  Of course, just like with Slowbro, you need 15 Galarica Twigs to make a Wreath and then give it to Slowpoke.  Of course it also becomes a Poison/Psychic type and its signature move, Eerie Spell does damage while also lowering the PP of the last move your opponent made!  Visually, it’s strange to me with the Shellder giving me some DBZ vibes with the angry look and green gem.  Bizarre part, but otherwise, nice Pokemon to have around.

103: Regieleki

Yup, we get new Regis as part of the arc of that storyline.  Unfortunately, it is tied to a decision between obtaining it or Regidrago and I didn’t choose it so I can’t say too much.  I really like the electric lightbulb vibe I get from it and the fact it’s a REAL powerhouse is interesing, plus Electric Cage (its Signature move) is really neat to watch as well.  It could possibly vibe alongside Xurkitree, what a dangerous duo!!!

104: Regidrago

The other half was indeed the one I chose at the end of the day with the Dragon-type Regi, Regidrago!  There’s something about it that feels incredibly neat with it, especially since it’s the smallest of the 6 known right now.  Plus, it learns Dragon Energy which is like a pretty badass move to watch too!  Though it may not have the better stats, but I think I could use it more!  

105: Glastrier

So we knew most of the Pokemon we were getting when they first introduced the Crown Tundra expansion (which was the same time the Isle of Armor was announced too) and yet they somehow managed to keep these quiet (though not without leakers doing what they do best).  Sort of, we knew there were horse Pokemon, we just didn’t know the names til they came out.  Glastrier, obviously is an Ice-type so neat, but the design is a little too simple and its movepool isn’t that great either, not even having a Signature move.  Plus it has a unique ability, Chilling Neigh when it defeats an opponent its Attack stat grows.  Also just like the two new Regis, you can only choose between Glastrier or Spectrier and I didn’t choose this one…that means…

106: Spectrier

Yeah, of course since I love Ghost types, Spectrier was going to be my choice when it came down to it and while the design is also kind of plain jane, I do appreciate the disconnected hooves on Spectrier.  Though despite me liking this more, it’s kind of the same disappointing movepool here and just is kind of a trophy Pokemon to kind of show off Calyrex.  Though I do like its ability Grim Neigh where when it defeats an opponent it’s Sp.Atk goes up!

107: Calyrex

As the main course of the DLC, Calyrex was such a fun Pokemon to get to meet and learn about, especially knowing that it’s a myth to people and Calyrex was sad knowing people forgot about it as time continued on.  Now, Calyrex on its own with the Psychic/Grass type is interesting, makes me think of Celebi of course and surprised me a bit

Though I think most people will get more out of Calyrex with either of its “fusion” forms, Ice Rider or Shadow Rider (basically it sticks the Reins of Unity on and connects to either of the horses, Glastrier or Spectrier).  That said, it changes the Grass-type to match the horses (Ice or Ghost respectively) and gains a unique move from them (Glacial Lance or Astral Barrage, again respectively).  To me it’s not a full fusion like what with Kyurem did in B2/W2 but it is what it is…interesting concept though!  They’re also the first Pokemon to have 2 active abilities at once, titled As One (Calyrex’s Unnerve and either of the horses’ ability).

 

AND THAT’S THAT FOR THE CROWN TUNDRA, COULD WE GET ONE MORE EXPANSION??? WHO KNOWS!

 

NCT 2020 – NCT 2020: RESONANCE Pt. 1 October 13, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 2:57 am

Track Listing

  1. Make a Wish (Birthday Song)
  2. Misfit
  3. Volcano
  4. LightBulb
  5. Dancing In The Rain
  6. Interlude: Past to Present
  7. Déjà vu
  8. Nectar
  9. Music, Dance
  10. Faded In My Last Song
  11. From Home
  12. From Home (Korean Ver.)
  13. Make a Wish (Birthday Song) (English Ver.) (digital only)

1. Make a Wish (Birthday Song)

Opening the album up, we have the first of 2 leading tracks with Make a Wish and it’s no surprise since it is a NCT 2020 album, like “2018 EMPATHY”, NCT U would take major stage on the album!  Though we shake up NCT U quite a lot on this album, so bear with me.  Make a Wish’s line-up include Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Lucas, and new to NCT U; Jaemin, Xiaojun, and brand new member to NCT in general, Shotaro!  I’m really liking the whistle melody through the song, kind of catchy if you ask me.  Of course the 4 members involved before sound just as good as they normally are, but Jaemin & Shotaro’s lower raps and Xiaojun’s just overall awesome vocals find them useful and surprisingly fitting!  Shotaro has time to grow into the NCT world I’d say, but his song debut is nice.

2. Misfit

Next up is another NCT U track, this time (Taeyong, Mark, new to NCT U; Johnny, Jeno, Hendery, Yangyang and the other brand new member to debut in this release, Sungchan!  Right from the start the arrangement was giving me some similarities to that old Aerosmith / Run DMC collaboration on “Walk This Way” and it shows because this track is all about rapping and everyone brought their A-game to the table.  I was just impressed with everyone, including newcomer Sungchan who brought it quite nicely alongside the stronger rappers (makes me wonder where Lucas was for this one, but 3 WayV representatives would’ve been too much.

3. Volcano

Remember “BOSS”?  Yeah, the group of guys that sung that on “2018 EMPATHY” return for Volcano and I was surprised at how similar the two songs were on top of “Baby Don’t Stop” as well!  Like the similarities are kind of surprising but considering it is Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Mark, Winwin, Lucas, and Jungwoo here, they pull it off again and it’s a pretty cool track, hell Winwin is getting a push here and I kind of liked it a lot as it sets in closer to the other guys.  Definitely a treat to see the “BOSS” lineup return here!

4. LightBulb

With the way the line-up looks, (Taeyong, Doyoung, Kun, and Sungchan), it was making me think this was going to be like “YESTODAY’s” kind of throwback rap group.  While it doesn’t harken back to the 90’s, LightBulb does kind of follow the same setup here, but I’m not angry about it.  Though the 4 are split Taeyong and Sungchan rap (who, let’s just say it, damn Sungchan is pretty damn good!).  Kun and Doyoung get the chorus and it’s kind of repetitive, it’s also soothing at the same time xD.  Not bad though, it just definitely feels like this album’s “YESTODAY”.

5. Dancing In The Rain

I think I was also kind of excited to see this one since it is a pretty varied bunch here with Jaehyun, Taeil, Yuta, Johnny, Kun, Chenle, Jungwoo, and Xiaojun.  I was definitely loving the opening of the song kind of giving some 60’s vibe.  Surprised to see Jaehyun and Johnny rap the verses before the vocalists coming in.  I really like the light playfulness here and everyone sounds wonderful.  Is this the album’s “Touch”?  Who knows, but getting the strong vocalists together in a song like this was cool.  Lots of Johnny though, wow!  Nice track!

6. Interlude: Past to Present

As the interlude for the album before getting into the actual unit songs, Past to Present starts off like it’s some 80’s vaporwave track, but it slowly shifts into more electronic sounds and futuristic tones towards the end, not quite sure how that works in the field of the album itself especially with the songs that come after, but OK, I guess?

7. Déjà vu

Yup, now we get into the tracks from the specific groups, starting with NCT DREAM’s track!  Now that said, this is the first DREAM song since SM dropped the graduation shtick and readded Mark to the group!  Since it was the first preview released for the album, Déjà vu kind of hits hard, though has this lightheartedness that something like “GO” didn’t have.  It’s so nice to see the original 7 together again and this track is cool and hits hard and yet is playful which is gives the group that ole young feel again.

8. Nectar

It’s funny having to remember that this is Hendery, Xiaojun, and Yangyang’s first actual NCT album they’re involved with.  The opening does sound like once again something like “BOSS” and “Baby Don’t Stop” pulled off and I guess “Volcano” too.  Though this is a Chinese track, it fits here and that cool vibe coming from WayV is still pretty awesome I’d say.  Though wow, this song is darker and has this mysterious feel to it and I love it a LOT!  One of the memorable tracks here!

9. Music, Dance

Finally, there’s NCT 127 with their track and I was curious to see what they would pull off for this as a group.  This track is a bit more unique for them since it’s lighter and not heavily under hip-hop, at least until the chorus hits where the beats get a bit up-front.  It’s a pretty good song I’d say, maybe not to the levels of their title tracks, but this is pretty solid.  Also yay for more Haechan and Johnny here though.

10. Faded In My Last Song

Back to NCT U again, this time bringing (Ten, Taeil, Haechan, Lucas, Yuta, Johnny, Renjun, and Jisung) together for what is the ballad of the album.  Though, it’s got a little bit of trap beats in it too.  This is a pretty interesting grouping if I have to say it, but damn I’m loving that Johnny, Lucas, and Jisung are kind of the rappers where Taeil, Yuta, Ten, Renjun, and Haechan are the vocals and boy it’s a nice mesh of vocals here!  It definitely got better as time went on when there was a lot of vocals going on to say the least.  I would say I was impressed by this one by choice of vocals all-around (though I could’ve used a little more of Jisung here).

11. From Home

Last main track off the album is going to be the other promotional track, From Home.  Having Taeil, Yuta, Haechan, Kun, Doyoung, Renjun, and Chenle, I was also kind of curious as these guys have some great vocals too!  What’s so special about this track is that it’s sung in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.  Of course, it starts off with Doyoung, Haechan, and Taeil and they of course sound amazing for the first verse and then they throw Chenle, Renjun, and Kun to sing in Chinese and Yuta of course in Japanese and they go through the verse and chorus and the bridge was just AMAZING….wow.  Like I haven’t heard Yuta, Chenle, or Renjun get this amazing in vocals so I’m kind of blown away by it all.  So sweet of them to do to be honest…one of the best songs off the album!

12. From Home (Korean Ver.)

Same guys, but the song is entirely in Korean.  A little bit of the meaning is kind of left in the main cut of the song to say the least.  Regardless of the default to Korean, the song is still pretty damn amazing and vocally still strong so I can’t complain too much about this.

13. Make a Wish (Birthday Song) (English Ver.)

So digital versions of the album come with a bonus track in the form of an English take on the main lead-in song.  It really seemed seamless for the group to do this and it just sounds good in English too!  I would say maybe Jaemin and Shotaro have evident accents, but they don’t stick out roughly, but the rest sound so good doing this.

Tracks Recommended

  • From Home
  • Nectar
  • Music, Dance
  • Make a Wish (Birthday Song)
  • Volcano

Song of Avoidance

  • Interlude: Past to Present

Wow, I was wondering when NCT would do another album where everyone gets together and it took 2 years for that magic to happen again.  With now Hendery, Yangyang, Xiaojun, Shotaro, and Sungchan making their first appearances, NCT is growing!  RESONANCE Pt. 1 is a really strong album with no real flaws in it to be honest!  Then again, I kind of figured it was going to be a better album than “2018 EMPATHY” because that album was half new, half old songs from 2 years prior, whereas this album was ALL NEW.  Though, is this what NCT U is going to act as from now on?  Also, this is only Part 1, as there’s another RESONANCE Pt. 2 coming out next month, so yay!  More opportunities (and more ridiculous NCT U pairings).  Still, this album is definitely *RECOMMENDED*

 

PINK CRES. – Soleil

Filed under: PINK CRES. — solarblade @ 1:12 am

Track Listing

  1. My Name Is Identity
  2. Tokyo Confusion
  3. Roulette
  4. Uchuu no Onna wa Amakunai
  5. (Stray cat is) STARING AT ME
  6. OH・SHA・RE
  7. Egoistic
  8. Me, Myself, and I

1. My Name Is Identity

As the album’s opening song, I had this similar sense to when “Roulette” released with the song’s more jazzier and classier vibe going on.  Not quite sure how to feel about this one as it’s just kind of similar in ways,  Also, it’s pretty short coming at 3 minutes in length.  At least the trio sounds pretty decent?

2. Tokyo Confusion

As their technical only indies single released, I found Tokyo Confusion to be quite entertaining and ridiculously funny of a song to release and it really worked for them.  I really enjoyed the energy of the track and each of the members were bringing their best out of this one, so it definitely left a mark on me.

3. Roulette

Moving to their major label debut single, Roulette comes in with a stronger vocal performance and the arrangement is pretty loud and crazy alive (makes me wonder why it wasn’t after “My Name Is Identity” as they both had a similar tone to it).  I do like most of the song though, except for the vocal filters sprinkled throughout the track.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty decent A-side from them

4. Uchuu no Onna wa Amakunai

I guess we’re speeding through the A-sides to get them out of the way, doesn’t it seem like it?  As the other A-side alongside “Tokyo Confusion”, Uchuu no Onna wa Amakunai was a lighter affair with the synths even if they’re still present in the track.  All the members once again give a pretty decent performance and the song while didn’t stand out as much as its sister A-side, it’s definitely a stronger song.

5. (Stray cat is) STARING AT ME

Moving onto some new tracks on the album, this one definitely caught my attention because of how absurd the title is honestly.  I was expecting another bonkers track like “Tokyo Confusion” to be quite frank, but this is rather chill and poppy in nature, almost cutesy to say the least.  It’s just very chill and relaxing of a song, interesting and I quite liked it!

6. OH・SHA・RE

I’m not quite what was up with the opening monologue, but the song immediatley shifted into this kind of eurotrance melody that was pretty hilarious, yet surprising for the group to kick into, but I was definitely digging the song, since that sound was so sounding giving me that Initial D feel and I was happy.  It’s also kind of cutesy in the verses, but it gave the gave the ladies something to work with and stand out in this…well, exciting track!

7. Egoistic

I wasn’t expecting one of the B-sides to make the cut here, this one from all versions of “Roulette”.  Shifting away from the Eurotrance sound to something a bit more 80s summer jam, Egoistic wasn’t the best off that single, but there’s something about it that’s pretty neat for the trio.  It’s an OK track to include I’d say, maybe on the lower end, but still pleasant.

8. Me, Myself, and I

The mini-album concludes with Me, Myself, and I and it’s definitely the softest the album has to offer.  I really like the beats, clap, and piano arrangement as it gives the album a rather decent closure to it.  The chorus is pretty anthemic sounding to me though and I kind of liked that about this track that’s for sure.  Nice ending I’d say.

 

 

As this is PINK CRES. 3rd mini-album (first as a major label group), Soleil is actually probably their best effort yet in music.  Despite that half of the album was old songs and the other new, it’s got an even bet of really good tracks I’d say.  I think maybe My Name Is Identity and Egoistic may be the weakest tracks here, but the rest of it was pretty good!  Curious to see where they go next!

 

Nana Mizuki – FIRE SCREAM/No Rain, No Rainbow October 6, 2020

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 4:45 am

Track Listing

  1. FIRE SCREAM
  2. No Rain, No Rainbow

1. FIRE SCREAM

Another Symphogear theme abound, doesn’t Nana have other Animes she can sing themes for?  I feel like with each theme they seem to get less and less memorable to me.  FIRE SCREAM though does take a bit of a turn adding more rock elements to the arrangement to kind of spice things up.  It does kind of feel like “Vitalization” in a way, but I think that works because I’m more focused on the rock elements.  Though that chorus is a little rough to me.  Still, the rest of the song is pretty cool and upbeat.

2. No Rain, No Rainbow

As for the other A-side, No Rain, No Rainbow is definitely anison material, definitely more like an average upbeat theme with rock elements and strings.  I definitely didn’t think it ran on par with “FIRE SCREAM” since it has more of a generic sound to it which is pretty disappointing to me as an A-side.  At least Nana sounds good here.

 

 

This single seemed very random and kind of strange as a release since there was no B-sides to be found on it and both being Anime themes (and A-sides) just felt like this was slightly rushed out (even though it wasn’t).  Not really a single I’d go out for, but FIRE SCREAM is OK I’d say.

 

Tsubaki Factory – Dansha-ISM/Ima Nanji? October 1, 2020

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 5:11 am

 

Track Listing

  1. Dansha-ISM
  2. Ima Nanji?
  3. My Darling ~Do you love me?~ (Reg A only)
  4. Koi no UFO Catcher (Reg B only)
  5. Dansha-ISM (Instrumental)
  6. Ima Nanji? (Instrumental)
  7. My Darling ~Do you love me?~ (Instrumental)
  8. Koi no UFO Catcher (Instrumental)

1. Dansha-ISM

Opening the single, their main A-side, Dansha-ISM is kind of a bizarre song for the group to release.  I will say that I really enjoyed that electro opening for the song since it suited the current sound of H!P and the verses were energetic and got me pumped up.  Though I can’t agree with the rest of the song being rather cute and upbeat otherwise, it felt like two separate ideas that just didn’t work.  I don’t know why the song chorus is just that way.  I do like the vocals though and surprised with the rather nice lines we get from Kisora and Ami.  Ok song, but kind of stuck with a weak chorus.

2. Ima Nanji?

The other A-side on the single, Ima Nanji? feels like a ballad for the group which is OK, but nothing to really be surprised about.  Though it does kind of build a little more once they get towards the chorus where it builds to a mid-tempo dance track (kind of reminds me of “Fuwari, Koi Dokei” almost.  I see Ami once again, a bit more than usual and she’s gotten used to her cute vocals I see.  The rest of the group sound nice, but it does feel like treading on a similar ground like the aforementioned song and “I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~.  Also those breakdowns kind of remind me of The Chainsmokers lol!

3. My Darling ~Do you love me?~

Wow, two original B-sides eh, though of course their edition exclusives.  Reg A’s contain My Darling and this one was a kind of nice to listen to.  It’s pretty poppy and upbeat no thanks to Takui Nakajima that’s for sure and you can hear that in the arrangement and guitar melody.  It’s a nice track, honestly, I remember this one better than the A-sides!

4. Koi no UFO Catcher

As for the other B-side of the single, Koi no UFO Catcher is just as cute and upbeat as the previous track, but this one has a lean more on the synths and space-like atmosphere which is honestly catchy as hell!  Even the chorus has me bopping my head to it as it’s just sweet.  Definitely a really unique track and could pair nicely well with “Yuki no Planetarium” I’d say.

 

 

Wow, the first H!P in 2020 to release a second single and I’m just kind of blown with the space between releases (though we ALL know why they’re taking their time).  Anyways Tsubaki’s 2nd single of the year was a smidge better than their last one with more memorable tracks.  I’d say all of them have their interesting things about them, though I do prefer both B-sides over the leading tracks and surprised it was the case.  My Darling & Koi no UFO Catcher were really nice and peppy and both turned out well!  Ima Nanji? was nice but it’s like another bout of “Fuwari, Koi Dokei” and Dansha-ISM could’ve been great had it not been for the chorus.  Good single though!

 

Perfume – Time Warp September 8, 2020

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 5:23 am

Track Listing

  1. Time Warp
  2. Saisei
  3. Time Warp -Original Instrumental-
  4. Saisei -Original Instrumental-

1. Time Warp

As much as I can say about Perfume, they at least keep things consistent.  Time Warp kind of throws me back to their previous album mixed with some “JPN” included which is an interesting combination.  I’m enjoying the stronger beats here and the guitars featured make me happy for some reason.  The chorus is definitely the best out of the track I will give it that and like I said, the energy is a little more attractive to me.  Not a bad A-side here.

2. Saisei

I will say that I’m a little bummed that the B-side is rather simply just Saisei (a track that was released back in 2019, almost a full year ago).  Add on that it was kind of used to lookback at Perfume’s career since well this single is an anniversary release, but it sure doesn’t quite feel like it.  Saisei is pretty upbeat too, but it focuses more on the cuter synth style from their last album moreso than “Time Warp” does.  Not bad here either.

 

 

As Perfume continues to do these anniversary releases it seems (does “P Cubed” count as one?  Time Warp is kind of an odd single to pull out IMO.  I mean this and Saisei were where Perfume has been currently, but neither song gives me those nostalgic vibes really.  Maybe “Challenger” did things better or even “STAR TRAIN”, but it’s a safe-sounding single to me.  OK, but could’ve done better perhaps?