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Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – ① Let’s say “Hello!” February 24, 2015

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 9:42 pm

1letssayhello

Track Listing

  1. Say! Hello!
  2. Onna no Sono
  3. Crying
  4. Seishun Beat wa 16
  5. Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki
  6. “Koishitai Shinto”
  7. “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne
  8. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  9. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!
  10. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

1. Say! Hello!

Opening up the album, Say! Hello! instantly gave me a trip going back a couple of years when H!P was oversaturating the brass with songs like “Shining Power”, “Waratte YOU!”, and “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku”, even “The Matenrou Show” so I was initially worried that this song would’ve been a giant fail, but for some reason this song is refreshing.  It could be the 8bit melody that’s in the chorus (made me think of Katamari XD).  It’s a funky tune and all sorts of solos to be had (as of the review no one knows who sings those yet).  Although Manaka Inaba’s epic solo at the end of the first chorus was downright amazing!  There’s just something about this song that really pops out and I love every moment, makes me feel happy and upbeat…good way to begin the album!

2. Onna no Sono

I was waiting for the KSS to do another EDM song and they bring it with Onna no Sono.  It’s another heavy song like “Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa” but has a lot more oomph and it isn’t as goofy as the aforementioned song.  I was happy to see Minami Nomura and Mizuki Murota get the two solos especially the former because she sounds really good through it.  Add on that awesome mid8 section with the fluttery piano and strings punch…so good.  Definitely a song that stands out within the EDM mold of H!P.

3. Crying

It seems like Tsunku is hitting the main sounds that H!P has been known for.  Crying strives to be a lot like the stuff you would hear from Buono!  A lot of guitars and drums but still quite idol-ish.  Now a lot of songs from the album were performed during 2014 (except maybe “Say! Hello!” and “Idol wa Robot”).  Crying has had gone through some vocal changes but it seems like the solos here were from Ruru Danbara, Kisora Niinuma, and Ayano Hamaura.  I wasn’t fully into this song much and just didn’t stick much for me…definitely an album song.

4. Seishun Beat wa 16

Our next song is a bit more upbeat and funny enough kind of reminds me of the days when H!P was into anime like Shugo Chara! and Kirarin Revolution.  This song sounds a lot like something you would hear as an anime introduction.  I do like the synths of course and of course the three soloists, Ayano Hamaura, Risa Yamaki, and Natsumi Taguchi sound too cute for their solos.  It’s definitely the cute tune and I enjoyed it for the most part.

5. Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki

Back to something more EDM-ish, Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki has a strong beat and melody and yet the vocal melodies has a certain S/mileage sound to it.  Considering this is one of the two songs that are sung entirely in unison, this song actually left nothing for me to enjoy.  I just couldn’t get past the song being so repetitive and cumbersome to sit through.

6. “Koishitai Shinto”

The next track kind of reminds me of the B-side Morning Musume had in 2013 where one of the girls would rap lol.  “Koishitai Shinto” has a pretty cool opening and the random MCs are interesting touches, but once the squeaky voices throw me off xD.  I do think the transitions into the chorus is a bit jarring, but some of the choices like the ~throw your hands in the aiiiir~ is fitting for some reason.  Overall, this song is good, strange but I like it.

7. “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne

The last of the new songs, “Idol wa Robot” is really strange for Tsunku…well it doesn’t sound like something Tsunku has done before and I’m happy for that.  I love the arrangement and goofy lyrics.  There’s so many solo lines here that even I don’t know who’s who.  It’s kind of synthy but also a bit cutesy as well.  Sometimes, it feels like it’s going on a bit too long for its good because the main hook of the song gets repetitive pretty quickly.  Still, it’s a catchy tune!

8. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa

Though the goofy song on the album is definitely this one.  As we enter the older songs, Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa is still a pretty bangin’ song and a damn funny one at that.  Though I am curious why they didn’t edit any of the older songs considering a lot of girls that were in the KSS are either promoted in the company or left it altogether.  Either way, it’s a pretty great song still and shows off the girls in such a fun, energetic way…plus I still get a kick in Hamachan’s intro!

9. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!

Then we get to the debut of the KSS (well that’s in the grey area, but whatever).  Now this one I would’ve expected some kind of album version, but it isn’t…it’s the original when it was sung by the 5 girls.  On the album, this song is pretty energetic and fast and the synths are just all over the place.  Not much else to say, but I think we could’ve had more girls involved here.

10. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

I would’ve figured that this would’ve end the album because of it’s meaning and feeling.  It’s a light and happy song and the girls sound good singing in unison here.  Now Juice=Juice is here because they were still considered KSS after the group was made at the time.  Still it’s a nice ending to the album and a sweet and calming one at that.

Tracks Recommended

  • Onna no Sono
  • Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  • Say! Hello!
  • “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne

Song of Avoidance

  • Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki

Wow, to think the Kenshuusei got an album before Juice=Juice did :0.  ① Let’s say “Hello!” is surprisingly not that bad of an album, since it’s the first studio album released in 2015.  The Kenshuusei last year were definitely picking up speed on releases and was surprised they got an album and it turned out better than I thought.  Some of the songs are a bit meh, but most of it was good.  Wished they edited the last three tracks to actually fit the group of current girls, but that’s a small issue.  Hope that means more music is going to come from the trainees after this!

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Karen na Gasshoudan

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 8:30 pm

karennagasshoudan

Track Listing

  1. Karen na Gasshoudan
  2. Annie Laurie
  3. Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo

1. Karen na Gasshoudan

The single begins with the main theme of the stageplay that Nanami Tanabe, Ayano Hamaura, Mizuki Murota, Riko Yamagishi, Rikako Sasaki, Kaede Kaga, Risa Yamaki, and Hirona Oura starred in.  Being the only upbeat track on the single, I was curious to how it’d turn out.  For the most part, I enjoyed it despite that it sounds kind of under-made (almost a little like early H!P stageplays).  It still sounds good and the girls sound decent enough with Ayano and Nanami taking up the solos here.  Like I said it doesn’t have the production value H!P’s main songs and that might be turnoff but I still like this tune regardless.

2. Annie Laurie

So the 8 girls get split into two groups of 4 for the rest of the single.  Nanami, Mizuki, Risa, and Hirona take up the first track, Annie Laurie which this and the next track are covers (covers of choir songs?).  Sadly it doesn’t mean the four ladies get solos which is unfortunate because I would’ve loved to hear everyone.  Annie Laurie though was way too simplistic and kind of boring to listen to especially with the raw vocals from the girls.  It just kind of went over my head.

3. Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo

The other 4: Ayano, Kaede, Riko, and Rikako got Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo and already it sounds a lot more engaging and upbeat than “Annie Laurie” was.  It is just piano by the way xD.  Despite most of the girls are higher toned ladies, it was a little squeaky and I heard Hamachan over all the girls lol.  I also enjoyed that ~lalalalala~ part because they added a clapping part to make it pop more.  Still kind of under-produced but it’s better than the previous track.

 

 

Coming into Karen na Gasshoudan, I wasn’t expecting much especially since “LILIUM” essentially took the spot of awesome stageplay music.  This single in comparison to the other two stageplay CD releases, this felt so under-produced like it was just recorded on the stage with no edits.  The main song is pretty good and it was good enough to make on 2014’s Petit Best which is good to me.  The song is fun and upbeat and is a break from EDM.  Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo and Annie Laurie were OK but suffer from no edits and Annie Laurie is a giant borefest.  Overall it was OK, could’ve been handled a little better in the audio department, but still not bad.

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa/Ten Made Nobore!

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 8:14 pm

ohesonokunikarakonnichiwa

Track Listing

  1. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  2. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

1. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa

LOL at Hamaura opening the song in such a victorious way to enter our cool EDM song from the group!  Now looking at the cover, there’s a lot of ladies involved and thought it was going to be all unison like “Ten Made Nobore!” was but hey 8 solos from Ayano Hamaura, Mizuki Murota, Kurumi Yoshihashi, Rie Kaneko, Nanami Tanabe, Fuyuka Kosuga, Rena Ogawa, and Kaede Kaga (some…their last appearance like Kaneko, Yoshihashi, Kosuga, and Tanabe).  The tune is pretty epic and really suited the EDM-style Hello! Project was diving deep into.  The song is hilarious, yet cool at the same time and just crazy catchy.  Definitely my favorite of their A-sides thus far!

2. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

I’m not sure why they had to include Ten Made Nobore! considering it was their 2nd single but it’s whatever.  The song is pretty light and airy and has a simple idol arrangement which sounds nice, but there’s no solos to be had unlike the main course on this single.  The horns add a cute thing, but I’m just overall tired of it listening to it and is WAY overplayed in 2014.

 

 

As the Kenshuusei’s 3rd single, Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa is a pretty awesome song for the trainees as it really makes them feel like they’re still H!P members even if it’s not an official thing.  The song is heavy and way catchy and the amount of solos was unexpected but awesome (as of 2015 only one of those girls with a solo is still a KSS).  Now, I’m not sure why Ten Made Nobore! was tacked on besides the possibility that this is a DVD single so both PVs are on it (Ten Made Nobore! was an indies single for the KSS and Juice=Juice simultaneously).  Overall not bad, but Oheso is the song to listen to.

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Kanojo ni Naritai!!!

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 8:01 pm

kanojoninaritai

Track Listing

  1. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!
  2. Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Instrumental)

1. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!

Going back to the Kenshuusei actual debut single, I was expecting everyone to be involved, but this song is actually only sung by 5 members (Karin Miyamoto, Natsumi Taguchi, Aina Otsuka, Nanami Tanabe, and Ayano Hamaura.  Now the song is VERY upbeat and reminds me a lot of S/mileage’s “Uchouten LOVE” which wasn’t too far apart from one another lol.  The only solos were for Karin, Ayano, and Nanami but it still was a pretty energetic song and while for a while it grated on my nerves because of how overplayed it was in concerts, it’s still a catchy song!

 

 

I would’ve never thought that the Eggs (or Kenshuusei at this point in time) would EVER release something of their own and it turns out not so bad!  Kanojo ni Naritai!!! as a debut is not bad, does get tiresome after a while, but not a bad song once you’re used to the energy and overload of synths!

 

CAPSULE – WAVE RUNNER

Filed under: capsule — solarblade @ 5:19 pm

waverunner

Track Listing

  1. Wave Runner
  2. Another World
  3. Dreamin’ Boy
  4. Hero
  5. Dancing Planet
  6. Depth (vocal dub mix)
  7. Feel Again
  8. Unrequited Love
  9. White As Snow
  10. Beyond The Sky

1. Wave Runner

Nakata opens up the album with an intro piece to the album and already I can tell this is going to be a very cool album with the synth chords and the speaking in the background that grows into a cool steady beat.  Short, but it really puts the album into place and for what’s to come!

2. Another World

Used as the main promotional track (a.k.a the one that got a PV), Another World was my first taste of what was this album fully going to be about…AND I LOVE IT!  It has a certain vibe to it that really pulls me back to stuff from “WORLD OF FANTASY” and I appreciate that a lot!  Toshiko of course is present in the song and she continues to sound like her robo-self which is one of the finer points from CAPSULE.  I do love how it grows into a beat pounding club thumper and the synths are just epic (especially the moments after the choruses) such a fantastic song and good choice to promote the album with!

3. Dreamin’ Boy

Our next track begins with crescendo of synths that builds the song into this pulsating track which empties out to a smooth section with Toshiko that has a certain feel that I can’t fully point out, but it sounds cool nonetheless!  The dreamy feel Toshiko has when she sings really accentuates that point…that is before the tune drops out and we get a really gritty synth melody that sounds so damn good hahah!  I mean it does scream remix, but I thought it was a clever touch nonetheless!  Interesting song overall and definitely worth the listen after “Another World” of course!

4. Hero

It’s like Nakata found a new folder of synth sounds to mess with like with the opening of Hero.  It’s refreshing and suits nicely with Toshiko’s lines…then a heavily synthed male voice enters the fray and the tune moves into its EDM-core which is cool and I definitely could hear this song on “WORLD OF FANTASY” as well (he must’ve loved that album, then again the album is named WAVE RUNNER (WOF was called “KILLER WAVE” before the Touhoku Earthquake happened, if you all forgot).  After a while, Hero does kind of go by the wayside, but the male stock vocals is kind of cool but it’s a safe song so to speak.

5. Dancing Planet

The first of two instrumental pieces on the album, Dancing Planet takes Nakata to where I think “STEREO WORXXX” kind of popped up with using interesting elements to create a cool track that focuses on Nakata’s skills.  It’s definitely a bopper, but I think Toshiko could’ve been singing here as it just feels like her robotic tones could’ve added a lot more complexity and I probably would’ve been jaw-dropped about it.  It’s a cool instrumental no doubt, but it definitely could’ve used vocals (or stock vocals).  Also the bubble popping is so friggin awesome (maybe some idea he kept after “CAPS LOCK”?

6. Depth (vocal dub mix)

Originally created as an instrumental piece for the movie, Appleseed Alpha back last year, Depth does stick out from the other tracks of the album with the almost stretching into dubstep for its sound (at least by the intro).  I do like the slow-paced atmosphere yet it has a certain feel of hope to it? (Mirror’s Edge is the first thing I think of ironically).  As this is an edited version to include Toshiko, she adds a certain sad glow to the tune and I loved that about this track!  It’s a pretty sweet song overall!

7. Feel Again

Used as the first digital single for the album, Feel Again was our first taste of this album and I thought it was a sign of great things to come for WAVE RUNNER and this feels like the atypical CAPSULE track, but that’s not to say it isn’t good because I really do enjoy this one!  The dance beats are nice and the happy-go-lucky up until the beat-dropping happens, because then I feel like I’ve heard those beats (y’know T-ara’s “Sugar Free”).  Still, this is a pretty awesome track and surprised it didn’t get a PV like “Another World” did.

8. Unrequited Love

So the song that’s being spoken about by nearly all the fans of CAPSULE, I was curious to what got the fandom loving this track.  At first the squeaky synths was odd, but Toshiko came in and the song really toned it down until the synths started to really power the song up and it grew to this kind of awesome triplet synth arrangement that caught my attention quick.  It’s a pretty easy tune to throw into clubs and I liked quite a bit, maybe not at the amount fans did, but with an album like this I haven’t totally found a poor song yet!

9. White As Snow

Maybe I shouldn’t have spoken too soon.  When the song starts up we’re instantly shot with synths and a steady synth beat which is OK, nothing bad, but then the song goes fizzles out (with an awesome barrage of synth arpeggios) to a piano ballad and Toshiko is actually singing here.  Now the weird thing is that I really LOOOOOVE this section especially when the synth plays around Toshiko’s singing melodies…it makes me wonder why the upbeat sections had to be here because White As Snow is pretty as hell as a ballad.  After her singing, the song gradually grows back to being upbeat and it instantly hits a hardcore club sound that I myself loved to hell too…these ideas together don’t really mesh well together (would’ve made better sense as two separate tracks honestly.  We don’t get to hear the slow stuff again through the track as it’s mostly the edgier sound…but damn…I wanted more of the ballad-y stuff!

10. Beyond The Sky

Closing the album is the 2nd instrumental piece (could be considered an outro).  Once again I’m left with the thoughts that Toshiko NEEDED to have sung here as it sounds like it would’ve been epic.  I love the intro to this one though, gave me a certain “MORE! MORE! MORE!” groove (maybe “PLAYER”) with the airy arrangement and yet I feel like Perfume could’ve done justice here too.  Overall nice instrumental from Nakata, but it feels like a missed opportunity.

Tracks Recommended

  • Another World
  • Depth (vocal dub mix)
  • White As Snow
  • Unrequited Love
  • Dreamin’ Boy

Song of Avoidance

  • Wave Runner

When an album gets me to make the short intro piece the SoA, then you know this album is good by my standards!  As the 2nd album under the unBORDE label, WAVE RUNNER was what I was hoping Nakata would’ve put out when he left Yamaha.  CAPS LOCK was the experimental album, but it was a mess of an album, luckily I think Nakata took a break (as it shows with how little he did last year (1 Perfume single and Kyary’s stuff) and released a REALLY solid album with WAVE RUNNER.  Though I will say, if he made more songs like the ballad section of White As Snow, I would be so happy!

 

Juice=Juice – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Koisuru Hello Kitty” Original Mini-Album

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 4:14 pm

koisuruhellokitty

Track Listing

  1. HELLO!
  2. Shooting Star
  3. Todoke Todoke Todoke!
  4. Anata ga Wakaranai
  5. Honto no Kimochi

1. HELLO!

Opening up their stageplay mini-album, we begin things on an upbeat track HELLO!  I will warn you though, there’s a WHOLE lot of Karin involved here which might not turn people off but just saying.  I like the arrangement of the track a lot as it included some accordion and a butt-ton of strings, but also some genki voices from the group.  I do like it slows down in the middle of the track for a long Karin solo xD then quickly moves into a speedy area which includes Tomoko and Sayuki…weird transitions if you ask me.  Interesting opening track though!

2. Shooting Star

Our next song calms things a down a little by giving us a more natural sounding tune (and that I mean acoustic guitars instead of all the energy from “HELLO!”.  Once again the song is covered by a whole lot of Karin here and the other girls are more in the back.  Though I will say I do love this song a lot for some reason.  Especially the final chorus where all the girls start to sing along…it sounds awesome (though I think I hear Sayuki and Tomoko only and none of the other ladies).  Also, speaking parts are starting to appear and I kind of think that is getting bad.  Overall the best of the mini-album.

3. Todoke Todoke Todoke!

Wait, a song that doesn’t start with Karin?!?  Yup, it’s Kanatomo that begins and she sounds amazing here, but let’s not forget Karin because she joins in too.  I really hate don’t like the interruptions of plot in the middle of the song, kind of just takes me out of the song.  Most of the song is a ballad between the members mixed with speaking sections up until the ending half where the tune opens up and gets a little more dramatic which was cool but it was a little too late for me.  Still not too bad.

4. Anata ga Wakaranai

I will say this song though perked my ears because has a little more dramatic push that kind of reminds me of stuff from “LILIUM” (the Momusu/S/mileage stageplay).  Of course Karin has more parts, but the focus seems to be put on Sayubee here which is always nice to hear as she sounds amazing in a lower tone.  Actually, this is the first time I hear Yuka and Akari on this mini-album (surprises me how little they’re featured here).  Still, it’s a pretty good ballad overall and would love to hear Juice=Juice pull something like this in their main discography one day.

5. Honto no Kimochi

The final song on the mini, Honto no Kimochi is one of the simpler arranged ballads featuring a lone piano for a good portion of the track.  Though, I can’t help that to be more bored with this song because of its simplicity.  Tomoko and Sayuki do join Karin after a while (with some randomly placed speaking sections) and the song tosses some strings and light percussion to add spice.  Still doesn’t capture my interest like “Anata ga Wakaranai” did though.

 

 

I’m not sure what I was expecting from a stageplay mini from Juice=Juice, but I was hoping that it wouldn’t have been a Karin fest so much as it was here.  Koisuru Hello Kitty to me is the weakest of the stageplay releases (“LILIUM” and “Smile Fantasy!” being the others).  There was just something so meh about this release although I do like Shooting Star and Anata ga Wakaranai a lot…still kind of was a weaker release.  What could I say simply for a stageplay with Hello Kitty involved? XD

 

Up Up Girls – Beautiful Dreamer/Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-/Itadaki wo Mezasu! February 19, 2015

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 8:44 pm

beautifuldreamer

Track Listing

  1. Beautiful Dreamer
  2. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-
  3. Itadaki wo Mesazu!
  4. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- DJ WILD PARTY REMIX (Limited B only)
  5. Beautiful Dreamer (instrumental)
  6. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- (instrumental)
  7. Itadaki wo Mesazu! (instrumental)

1. Beautiful Dreamer

The first song from the single, Beautiful Dreamer is more of what we’ve come to know from UUG and I’m used to that, but I’m not used to hearing Manami Arai actually having the first solo lines in the song xD.  She’s really getting popular for some strange reason but I love it, means some of the back girls are getting importance!  The song itself is pretty much a synth-heavy idol track so it might not impress, but I do enjoy the arrangement xD.  Though I will say that rap section between Arai, Saho, and Sengoku is a bit awkward…still not a bad song, but nothing like “Zenryoku! Pump Up!!”…

2. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-

About that, we get a remix of the song as an A-side?  Ok, weird.  I LOVE the original so I was a little worried with a remix, but it just adds a lot more synths and some of the areas are done differently.  It still carries the energy and some of the song remained untouched so it wasn’t a mind-blowing remix but more of a simple edit…not bad and I still love the energy!

3. Itadaki wo Mesazu!

Happy to see Ayano Sato get some love in this song as she gets a solo within it!  The song itself is definitely in a strong EDM fashion (like a lot of their songs recently) but it sounds kind of Western which is something new for them.  Overall the song is quite nice and probably my favorite (“Zenryoku! Pump Up!!” doesn’t count here).

4. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- DJ WILD PARTY REMIX

Wait, a remix of a remix?!?  This sounds bizarre already XD.  What can I say about this one?  It sounds nice but the synths are well…wild and I couldn’t fully keep up with everything it had to offer.  Yeah it still is a punching song and everything but damn it couldn’t be more messy overall…bleh xD

 

 

Wow UUG actually made it through 2014 without bombarding us with singles (usually they release 8 singles, but this one is the 3rd one of 2014).  I’ve noticed that the group has been moving away from their pop/rock sound to a more EDM sound which might become a nuisance since H!P has been doing that all year.  Though I have to say that at least Itadaki wo Mesazu! sounds a bit like Western club hits so I quite enjoyed it over Beautiful Dreamer.  The new mix for Zenryoku! Pump Up!! is not bad, but unnecessary to me.  With their 3rd album announced, one can wonder what’ll be on it!

 

 
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