Kurayami Monogatari

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ANGERME – Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku/Itoshima Distance/Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru April 25, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 6:54 pm

tsugitsugi

Track Listing

  1. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku
  2. Itoshima Distance
  3. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru
  4. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku (Instrumental)
  5. Itoshima Distance (Instrumental)
  6. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru (Instrumental)

1. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku

Kicking off the single, we have Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku and just from going by the title, I knew this song was going to be something unexpected.  Why I’m not surprised that it would become one of the more exciting and epic songs (seems like ANGERME has been getting such strong tracks since their rebranding) the the group would release.  Carrying on their strong hitting EDM sound, Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku is pretty damn cool for the group to tackle.  Going from quickly paced lyrics to rapping sections, it’s a surprisingly filled track.  Also it seems all the girls got a lot of lines with focus on Takechan, Meimi, Kanana, and Ayacho.  Even new member Moe seems to fit in the group just so smoothly!  Damn good song here!

2. Itoshima Distance

Moving to the 2nd A-side, Itoshima Distance takes on a more latin-like vibe with some sexy saxophones thrown in for the win😀.  It seems like there’s a lot more focus on Murotan, Rikako, Aiai, and Kamiko (Moe) in this track especially in the chorus which is nice to hear and while I’m still trying to get used to Maho’s vocals, I think everyone does fine in the track (well Ayacho still can’t do high notes very well).  Overall, it’s a decent track for the new members to tackle and the arrangement stuck to me pretty quickly.

3. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru

The last A-side, Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru begins with a monologue from Meimi (as she’s graduating after this single).  While this song feels like EDM done back a couple years ago because this is the first Tsunku-produced track since the group rebranded.  The focus here is definitely on Takechan, Rinapuu, Meimi, Kanana, and Ayacho here and it makes sense with “Itoshima Distance” being largely focused on the new members.  I do like the song, but there’s a part in the chorus where they smush lyrics together and that’s a bit distracting, but overall it’s nice.

 

 

ANGERME begins the new year on some weird footing as the first single without Kanon, the first for 4th Gen member, Moe, and being Meimi’s last single before graduation, I feel like as if this is a transitioning single.  Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku is such a great song for the group and just shows us a cool ANGERME that we’ve had with a bunch of songs previous.  Itoshima Distance is classy and has a nice arrangement though the vocals could be strange if you’re not used to the 4 new members.  Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru though feels dated to me, but this is the first Tsunku-produced song for the group so I’m just not sure how to feel about this one yet.  Overall, a decent single it’ll be sad seeing Meimi gone, but with Moe in the group…she’s already sounding GORGEOUS!

 

BABYMETAL – METAL RESISTANCE April 23, 2016

Filed under: BABYMETAL — solarblade @ 5:03 am

metalresistance

Track Listing

  1. Road of Resistance
  2. KARATE
  3. Awadama Fever
  4. Yabaa!
  5. Amore -Aoboshi-
  6. META! Meta Tarou
  7. Syncopation (Japanese editions only)
  8. From Dusk Till Dawn (Overseas only)
  9. GJ!
  10. Sis. Anger
  11. NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW
  12. Tales of The Destinies
  13. THE ONE (Limited & Regular only)
  14. THE ONE -Unfinished ver.- (THE ONE Limited only)
  15. THE ONE -English ver.- (Overseas only)

1. Road of Resistance

BABYMETAL of course would begin their sophomore album with the oldest song of the album (and digital single), Road of Resistance.  Also, it was also in the Overseas release of their first album which is bizarre, but makes sense.  Anyways, being the opening song, Road of Resistance.  I mean as I said in the review of their first album, this song really sets up for some badassery with some dramatic sounds before going into a VERY speedy metal track.  It’s a pretty awesome song, although the percussion is a little overboard here…

2. KARATE

Which leads into the promotional track for the album, KARATE.  Since I’ve finally have some new songs to deal with, I was wondering what BABYMETAL would bring.  KARATE is definitely a lot more hard hitting than I expected (especially coming after “Road of Resistance”).  Luckily it seems that MOAMETAL and YUIMETAL makes more of an appearance as the squeaky cutesy members with SU-METAL still being the prime singer here.  I do like this song though and the arrangement is just menacing in such a good way!  Definitely a a good choice to promote this album!

3. Awadama Fever

I was surprised to hear synths open the next track, but then as quickly as the appreciation started, the tune jumps into some angry riffs.  I do like that YUI and MOA do have echo filters and all-around do have more to do than just makes short quips.  The song is really adventurous and when the bridges drops out and turns even more darker, I feel like it’s just overall badass…yeah…I’m very much loving this one!

4. Yabaa!

With a title as such, I was wondering what could come from this song and I have to say the tune is a lot lighter than most of the other tracks from the album.  Though that’s not always a bad thing here.  It has a certain vibe that it comes from their first album and the kind of Sublime-ish sound is interesting.  It also contains some darker tones (especially the bridge), but really it’s a nice track…not as memorable as “KARATE” but decent.

5. Amore -Aoboshi-

Opening with SU-METAL singing to some underlying synths and filtered music, I really have to say that she’s become a much valiant singer in the trio (makes me wonder why MOA or YUI haven’t had this kind of training yet.  After the introduction, it turns into a pretty badass guitar solo.  While this is strictly SU only, I feel like so far this song has the strongest and easy-to-follow melody I’ve come across on the album so far.  It kind of sounds like an anison track here and there too which might add to my appreciation to this track.

6. META! Meta Tarou

I hear synths again opening a song again lol.  I feel like this is going for an epic sound as seen from the intro from the two screamers.  Actually, there’s some Scottish about the song and I believe it’s from the chanting and flutes throughout.  I’m actually surprised to hear YUI & MOA having more lines than normal, but SU still kind of leads the rallying here.  It just sounds like a medieval song and the march feeling I get is pretty awesome!

7a. Syncopation

So for some reason all versions of the album (except the overseas versions) ended up with Syncopation.  It brings back a harder tone that the earlier set of songs were definitely following, but I really like the guitarwork out of this one, but like “Road of Resistance”, there’s just a too much percussion going on.  The bridge does include new synth melodies, but I liked the metal more this time around.

7b. From Dusk Till Dawn

Though for international releases, we instead got From Dusk Till Dawn.  I actually was surprised at how lowkey and different it begun, but then it opens up VERY aggressively with guitars and loudness.  Though the verses die down immensely into this soundscape-like atmosphere with who I think is SU-METAL being light and prickly into this loud chorus of echo filters and shouting.  Also, English is heard (which might be why it’s only on the Overseas version).  Between the two, Syncopation is the better track, but From Dusk Till Dawn brought some experimentation to the table and that was also quite nice…hmmm so who got the short end of the stick at the end of the day?

8. GJ!

Next up is the shortest track of the album, barely making 3 minutes lol.  Already from the start, I feel like despite the short time it’s going to be a hard-hitting song.  It sort of reminds me of Slipknot’s arrangements which is cool I suppose.  I do feel like this song is more for YUI and MOA as I only hear them sing in the track.  Despite its length, I found it somewhat quick and nice.

9. Sis. Anger

It sounds like we’re in an underground facility with the intro of our next track and boy does it hit hard like a truck once the band joins the fray.  Once again, YUI & MOA sing first and they sound so kawaii being in front the track which is otherwise a punch in the face.  It seems like SU is in the background of this one and that’s a surprise for me.  Though like “Road of Resistance” & “Syncopation”, the song is hampered a little too much by the speed drumming…maybe the worst of the 3.

10. NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW

Ehhh?  Strings opening a song?  Wait, a ballad?  It seems so very random to find a track like this on an album like this.  I have to say, SU does a great job here and she sounds radiant.  It does slightly make more sense when the band starts to come in alongside the strings-based arrangement which makes it a power ballad.  It’s a really powerful track and definitely was something I wasn’t expecting from BABYMETAL!

11. Tales of The Destinies

After that short sidestep, Tales of The Destinies pops up next and it sounds like it would be something that I would’ve heard earlier in the album, but it’s just a cool song at first.  It does change pace when SU-METAL takes the front role…that’s when the song just kind of goes all over the place and it surprisingly loses my pace in my head.  Though this would be the first song from this album that really makes me go WTF with a ragtime passage to a long piano outro…it’s such a bizarre song, but after songs like “Ii ne!” this wasn’t too surprising…just unexpected after how straightforward the rest of the tracks have been.

12a. THE ONE

Finally we enter our final track of the album with THE ONE and it comes in 3 different flavors! It opens with a lengthy passage of guitars and drums and it sounds like an epic track ahead.  Being as SU-METAL fronts the song she starts off the verses in English before sliding into Japanese and going back and forth.  I really do love the broad sound of the track and it feels like it was made to be the epic ending that this album needed…also SU…what an amazing voice!…Being the ending to the Japanese versions of the album, it was an epic closing!

12b. THE ONE -Unfinished ver.-

On a specific limited edition of the album simply titled THE ONE Limited Edition, this version of THE ONE is actually a ballad version of the track.  Also it’s based off the English version of the song so it’s a really unique, but lovely version of the song as we get to hear a stripped down version and SU-METAL sounds just as radiant as she does in “NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW”.  I’m a little sad that it’s three minutes shorter, but still a great version of the track nonetheless.

12c. THE ONE -English ver.-

For international versions, we get an English take on THE ONE (though the song was already 75% English as it was).  Just know that it’s now entirely in English.  While I haven’t mentioned it, SU-METAL’s pronunciation is pretty on point, but you can tell there’s some kinks in her voice (which can be remedied with more training).  I think it’s still an amazing song overall and a great ending to the album!

Tracks Recommended

  • THE ONE (all versions)
  • Amore -Aoboshi-
  • NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW
  • Awadama Fever
  • KARATE

Song of Avoidance

  • Sis. Anger

After fearing that BABYMETAL would’ve been a one-time deal after their self-titled debut (and the fact that all three members had graduated from their mother group, Sakura Gakuin), I was more than happy to see that the sheer fame they garnered because of their unique sound and premise got them a sophomore album!  When it comes to METAL RESISTANCE, it felt like the group dropped their idol shpeel and went full-on metal to which surprised and excited me and this album was amazing to say the least!  There’s not a lot of moments that bored me and most of the songs left some kind of feelings in a good way, I have to say this was what they needed after they’re groundbreaking debut *RECOMMENDED*

 

T.M.Revolution – Committed RED/Inherit The Force April 20, 2016

Filed under: T.M.Revolution — solarblade @ 11:04 pm

commitedred

Track Listing

  1. Committed RED
  2. Inherit The Force
  3. Committed RED (Re:boot) (Regular only)
  4. Inherit The Force (Re:boot) (Regular only)

1. Committed RED

Kicking things off with a dramatic opening that leads into some strong sounds, Committed RED kind of reminds me in a way of abingdon boys school’s “BLADE CHORD” with the sort of Samurai-esque feel and the overall guitarwork.  Actually it reminds of many of TMR’s songs which might be good or bad as well.  I love the strings that appear in the bridge and the song’s darker atmosphere, but I feel like it could’ve hit harder.

2. Inherit The Force

The other A-side though is definitely more towards TMR’s exciting songs that focuses on Asakura’s arranging skills and it definitely has a much stronger sound than “Committed RED” for sure.  Though it does fit alongside songs like “ZIPS”, “Save the One, Save the All, or even “ignited”.  While it doesn’t step on new ground, it’s a decent track and Takanori brings a lot of needed energy.

3. Committed RED (Re:boot)

On regular editions we get remade versions (something they started during the “Ten” era).  On these remixes or whatever you want to think of them as, Committed RED sounds totally different from its original arrangement by incorporating a harder rock sound that’s even more akin to abingdon boys school’s sound and I love that because it’s just edgy and aggressive.  I feel like this was the better version funny enough.

4. Inherit The Force (Re:boot)

On the otherside, the updated version of Inherit The Force is also a lot more louder and instead of the focus being with the synths, it’s instead on the guitars and it sounds banging and so much stronger than I expected.  Really though, it’s surprising how these reboots are more interesting than the originals.

 

 

Being the only single before their next best album, I felt like the single was seriously shadowed by its reboot versions (which ironically has been the case of most of them since they started them back on “Phantom Pain”).  The original takes sound like various other TMR songs, mostly Inherit The Force which was the better A-side here.  I really don’t know what’s going on, but hey it’s a thing.

 

Kyarypamyupamyu – Sai & Kou

Filed under: Kyarypamyupamyu — solarblade @ 10:03 pm

saikou

Track Listing

  1. Sai & Kou
  2. Cosmetic Coaster
  3. Mondai Girl -extended mix-
  4. Sai & Kou (instrumental)
  5. Cosmetic Coaster (instrumental)

1. Sai & Kou

I feel like Kyary’s new A-side Sai & Kou sounds like a march at the beginning before it becomes a rather cutesy and upbeat track for her.  It does sound like a lot of stuff that came from her “Pikapika Fantajin” album, being all synthy (thanks to Nakata) and just being a sugary song itself.  Really though, it’s sort of catchy, but not at the levels of “Mondai Girl” unfortunately.

2. Cosmetic Coaster

A song for her Universal Studios attraction?  Weird to say the least but original in the same sense.  Right from the start, it does give me a theme park kind of feeling with the beats and generally appealing cute sound.  I do feel that its fantasy-esque sound and nature just suits me more than “Sai & Kou” did which in the end made it the better song overall.  Cute and catchy for sure!

3. Mondai Girl -extended mix-

I’m surprised “Crazy Party Night” or even “Mondai Girl” had any extensions (the latter having a remix), but we’re back right at it with a Mondai Girl extension which is great!  Adding almost about a minute more, this version begins immediately with the chorus before the actual song kicks in which is odd but cool.  The new changes within the song are OK, maybe a little unnecessary here and there, but I still love the song regardless!

 

 

Kyary’s 3rd single (and probably the last to represent her upcoming “KPP BEST” best album), Sai & Kou at least stood out a bit more than her previous single by a decent amount.  The leading track, while very reminiscent of past works, is OK for the most part, but most of my interest was at Cosmetic Coaster that’s for sure!  The extended take on Mondai Girl was decent too for the most part.  Just wonder what comes next after the best album to be honest.

 

Koda Kumi – Shhh! April 13, 2016

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 3:50 pm

shhh

Track Listing

  1. Shhh!
  2. Kimi Omoi

1. Shhh!

Wow, talk about opening differently than normal, it sounds like a song that belongs on “JAPONESQUE” and yet it has a sound that’s more akin to sounds from “Bon Voyage”, but I appreciate the kind of upbeat and fun atmosphere the tune brings.  Also Kuu sounds so good when she belts like she does.  It’s a funky song and it stuck to me quite nicely…impressive track, I just hope it makes the next album!

2. Kimi Omoi

The B-side however is something that isn’t new (actually it’s an older song from her “FEVER” live special release she released during “WALK OF MY LIFE”.  It seems that this song was actually edited a bit with some arrangement changes.  While I never thought the song stuck out because of how many other similar sounding songs she has, but I really like Kuu’s vocals here.  The changes didn’t exactly sway me and if I hadn’t read otherwise (and compare the two versions) I wouldn’t have even noticed.  Still it’s OK though.

 

 

Being a mu-mo/venue only single, I thought it was an interesting single.  While I know Kuu has released new songs since “WALK OF MY LIFE” with the “____ OF LOVE” compilations, it feels like forever since Kuu released something on a single.  Shhh! is a good song and I hope it makes her next album because it’s just that memorable.  Seeing Kimi Omoi again is just filler, but the small changes didn’t change my opinion of it in anyway sadly…let’s just hope she’ll actually release a full-on single!

 

Crystal Kay – Sakura

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 3:29 pm

sakurakuri

Track Listing

  1. Sakura
  2. Waiting For You
  3. Forever Young
  4. Sakura (Instrumental)

1. Sakura

Being around the time of the season, it isn’t surprising that Kuri would release a song about it and such.  I’m not surprised that it’s really more of the usual sound and feel that Kuri has been under since debut being a R&B ballad.  I mean Crystal sounds wonderful as usual, but the song itself is just kind of there and doesn’t really sway me in any direction.

2. Waiting For You

Moving to the B-sides, I feel like Waiting For You is a much better fare despite being more like the better songs she released through “VIVID” and “Shine”.  The beat is a lot more fulfilling and Kuri sounds a lot more powerful and confident than she does in “Sakura” ironically.  It’s a solid song for sure and my favorite of the single.

3. Forever Young

The single closes with Forever Young and boy it’s a sleepy song.  Being a piano-led ballad, Kuri sounds has a much stronger presence because of the fact that echo filters were placed on her voice so it radiates more through the rather basic arrangement.  I feel like it’s a cover of something but I can’t place it…still towards the end drums and a little more sound pops up, but the song just doesn’t resonate with me either.

 

 

Being released 3 months after “Shine”, Sakura comes out and it kind of falls flat for me.  While Kuri is a great singer and suits ballads nicely a lot of the time, Sakura and Forever Young were just kind of white and static for me in comparison to her past works.  At least Waiting For You was decent enough to stand out with a better sound and melody.  Kind of a blah single altogether though…

 

°C-ute – Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou?/Summer Wind/Jinsei wa STEP!

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 1:54 pm

nazehitowaaisenaidarou

Track Listing

  1. Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou?
  2. Summer Wind
  3. Jinsei wa STEP!
  4. Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou? (Instrumental)
  5. Summer Wind (Instrumental)
  6. Jinsei wa STEP! (Instrumental)

1. Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou?

I wasn’t expecting °C-ute to go for something Motown/gospel/soul for their leading A-side, but with the group going through their mature changes, it was a nice change to say the least.  I do enjoy the throwback sound of the track, but I feel the whole ~oh happy days~ lines are oddly corny for a song like this.  Either way, the song is pretty good and the upbeat rhythms are just catchy…also Airi had nice solos, but she always does it seems xD.

2. Summer Wind

However, I feel like the standout track from the single is Summer Wind which I initially thought it was going to be like your standard summer song, but °C-ute decided to surprise with a rather sad track.  The arrangement while still under a form of EDM, is pulled back to a more deeper sound and it really makes the song sound mysterious, yet cool.  Then the chorus opens the song up with a pretty somber but slightly upbeat tune.  Honestly, it was what I was hoping for from the group at some point and it really worked out!

3. Jinsei wa STEP!

The final track on the single, Jinsei wa STEP! I felt like should’ve been after “Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou?” because they both fit the throwback style like a pair should.  It’s bouncy jazzy style is quite unique and I’m loving the girls hitting more of the lower ranges because let’s be honest Chisato and Maimi needed it lol.  I also loved Airi’s lines too.  Also that there’s a tap dancing solo…what even? lol.  It’s a fun and upbeat track that’s for sure!

 

 

°C-ute’s first single of the year and first after their last album, “°Cmaj9″, Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou?/Summer Wind/Jinsei wa STEP!” is a great single for the group who are moving to more mature songs for their releases.  The throwback A-sides were unique and quite a breath of fresh air for the group and even better to showcase them more vocally than normal which is impressive while Summer Wind was just mystical and beautiful at the same time (makes me think it’s their “Koi wa Magnet”).  Definitely my favorite single in a while from them!

 

 
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