Kurayami Monogatari

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Tsubaki Factory – Sankaime no Date Shinwa/Fuwari, Koi Tokei February 15, 2019

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 3:25 pm

sankaimenodateshinwa

Track Listing

  1. Sankaime no Date Shinwa
  2. Fuwari, Koi Tokei
  3. Mou Saikou!
  4. Sankaime no Date Shinwa (Instrumental)
  5. Fuwari, Koi Tokei (Instrumental)

1. Sankaime no Date Shinwa

As the leading song, Sankaime no Date Shinwa takes more of the serious route like “Junjou cm” and “Hana Moyou” but with a little more guitar lines to make it more angsty and wild.  I’m noticing a lot of Maopin in the track which is a nice change on top of hearing all of the normal leads take place as well.  I mean Ami gets one line while Riko gets 2, but the rest sound awesome here and the track is just a fun ride overall!

2. Fuwari, Koi Tokei

I wasn’t expecting the other A-side to rather be a soft song for the group, kicking things with piano and Risamaru/Kishimon lines.  I really love the buildup to its chorus a lot and when it does happen, the chorus is just right and the line distribution feels a bit more even.  The only thing that seemed maybe a bit out of place was the bridge with the synths and light dubstep blemishes.

3. Mou Saikou!

I wasn’t expecting the single to include a B-side, but Mou Saikou! ended up being included.  If you don’t know, it is a Japanese Cover of “Best Day Ever!” the English version that was used in the cartoon Trolls: The Beat Goes On.  What an odd choice for a song to cover (they also covered “Hair In the Air!”, “Hair up Sora e!”, which is oddly missing?).  Back to Mou Saikou! the song is definitely something unusual for Tsubaki since it doesn’t sound like anything of theirs.  Regardless, the song is just happiness rolled into a song and quite catchy of a song.  I was even liking the solos (well the ones that were given to Mizuho, Kiki, Risa, and Yumeno.  I’m not even surprised the song is only 2:50 in length either.  Cute song though.

 

 

Tsubaki releases their first single in 2019 with a pretty decent one at that!  After “first bloom”, I felt like Tsubaki were on a roll and decided to continue throwing great songs like Sankaime no Date Shinwa which covered the serious, dancey track while Fuwari, Koi Tokei was the slower but romantic one.  Throwing Mou Saikou! as a bonus was neat (should’ve added “Hair up Sora e!” to kind of get both Trolls songs outta the way though).  All in all, this was a good single for them!

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Super Junior – Marry U February 5, 2019

Filed under: Super Junior — solarblade @ 4:38 am

marryu

Track Listing

  1. Marry U
  2. Ayumi wo Tomete
  3. Rokkugo!!!
  4. COOKING? COOKING!

1. Marry U

As their next single, a leading song from “Don’t Don!”, Marry U, like “Miracle” was an odd choice to be a leading song considering it’s sister lead was something edgy and badass and coming to this flowing R&B track is rather a switch of styles.  Once again, like the other softer songs from the previous single, lots of members get solos (though I don’t see any for Kibum) but for a song like this, it is a little strange.  The tune doesn’t quite do much for me though and I much preferred “Don’t Don!” to have been the leading track.

2. Ayumi wo Tomete

Also during this time, sub-units were made all over for the group (Super Junior was going to be a rotational group but SM scrapped it and instead created multiple sub-units). The first is Super Junior K.R.Y (Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, and Yesung) and they were given a ballad in the form of Ayumi wo Tomete and by gosh it wowed me vocally even if the song is a pretty basic piano/strings ballad.  I already knew that they had strong vocals (even more so currently these days) but even back then, these 3 had pretty high quality vocals for sure!  It’s a nice song to showcase that at least, right?

3. Rokkugo!!!

Then we have Super Junior-T (Leeteuk, Heechul, Shindong, Kangin, Sungmin, and Eunhyun) and what a departure of style for them instead of going for more serious songs and going for this cutesy electropop song for Rokkugo!!!. The song is such a goofy and silly song and it seems to really fit the members whose personalities are fitting to the role!  The song is a bit random but I seemed to love Leeteuk, Heechul, and Sungmin really taking leads here.  Maybe it’s just me, but Kangin sounded awkward here, even more than Shindong, but his vocals didn’t suit the energy and peppiness (luckily he only has one solo in the song).

4. COOKING? COOKING!

So replace Heechul with Yesung and we have another sub-unit in Super Junior Happy and I never understood the need for these two units, but this one sounds even more random and ridiculous.  Although I’m noticing a lot more Eunhyuk and Shindong too!  At least Kangin sounds good here!  I don’t know, but this song just gives me Hello! Project stuff but with guys singing.  Of course Yesung brings some strong vocals alongside Leeteuk and Sungmin.  What a goofy ass song this is though haha!

 

 

Getting into Suju’s 2nd single, Marry U might not have been the strongest of the singles but this has even more variety in it than their actual debut surprisingly enough with an R&B song, a ballad, a dance track, and whatever COOKING? COOKING! is supposed to be.  I do love the sub-units as they were to push members more (some definitely needed that exposure and I enjoyed that).  However, this single would be the last for two years before returning with “Bijin (BONAMANA)” primarily due to Hangeng leaving the group on bad terms with the company, Kibum going on a hiatus (til his eventual leaving in 2015), and Kangin’s trouble with the law (though Kangin would come back in “Sexy, Free, and Single”).  Odd single, but it was a fun one to say the least.

 

 

Super Junior – U/TWINS

Filed under: Super Junior — solarblade @ 3:59 am

 

utwins

Track Listing

  1. U
  2. TWINS (Knock Out)
  3. Miracle
  4. Endless Moment
  5. U (Japanese version) (Limited only)

1. U

While not the group’s actual debut song, U was the first comeback from them and comparing it to the two previous leading songs “TWINS” and “Miracle”, U felt so 90’s boyband to me which really throws some nostalgia to my ears.  I also had to deal with members I’ve never heard from before (Hangeng & Kibum) and I learned the former was a main vocalist (next to Siwon at least) and Kibum was a rapper next to Eunhyuk!  Back to the song, it feels formulaic, but considering this was released in 2006, it’s no surprise with the growing popularity of TVXQ & BoA that SM would take this route.  I’m kind of liking the sound and hearing every member get some spotlight (minus Shindong for whatever reason) and as this was the first song to include Kyuhyun, it was a pretty big song.  I liked its simplicity and riding on catchy hooks and a sultry tone and overall was a great comeback!

2. TWINS (Knock Out)

Then we move to their actual debut, TWINS and this is before Kyuhyun joined and once again nothing from Shindong (honestly where was he during this PV?).  So the sound is radically different than what “U” had taking more of what is Suju being badasses with the aggressive rock arrangement it has but still feels like a boyband song.  I’m actually surprised to hear a LOT of Sungmin, Heechul, and Kibum and Donghae rapping?!  This is definitely early Kpop, but I can see why people like this because it is more in your face and the song is pretty neat (that bass solo in the bridge is kind of cool).  Regardless, TWINS is something you don’t really hear much in Kpop anymore and this was and is still a cool song!

3. Miracle

Then we move to Miracle which was the 2nd MV made for the group since this was part of their debut release in Korea!  It seem to be a total 180 from “TWINS” by being much more bright and happier to listen to.  Also I finally can tell Shindong is here!  I would argue to say this is an idol pop song for them.  Interesting choice to make as their 2nd PV, but I’m fine with it because all 13 members seem to show something here!

4. Endless Moment

Slows down further with this ballad from their “U” single!  I mean hearing this song with the light R&B feel that you’d find in the 90’s (like its A-side), it’s another song that really feels like it belonged in another time.  I do enjoy that almost all of the members get a solo here (except Shindong again).  The tune isn’t really that memorable otherwise to me, so it feels rather lost on me despite the throwback (and the lulz from Kibum’s ending dialogue).

5. U (Japanese version)

Funny how this ended up just being a bonus track for a Japanese single (sort-of).  Yeah it was the first try for the group to tackle Japanese and I’m surprised that they all handled the song pretty well (considering the track had a lot of English involved as well).  Really not much to say here, but I was happy at the group handling it (maybe less for Eunhyuk and Kibum as their raps were entirely in English).  Still a cool song!

 

 

So I did jump back to 2008 when they decided to tackle the land of the Rising Sun with their technical debut with U/TWINS.  Gotta say, those two songs really stand out in their early careers as they both showcased different sides of the group and then added more variety with both Miracle and Endless Moment.  All-around single I’d say and finally hearing what Hangeng and Kibun were like when they were part of Suju was pretty neat!

 

Super Junior – One More Time February 2, 2019

Filed under: Super Junior — solarblade @ 10:25 pm

onemoretime

Track Listing

  1. One More Time (Otra Vez) feat. REIK
  2. Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!
  3. Make You Smile
  4. One More Time (Otra Vez) -Inst-
  5. Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! -Inst-
  6. Make You Smile -Inst-

1. One More Time (Otra Vez) feat. REIK

I’m not sure what happened but it seems lately that Super Junior has been quite loving the latin pop side of things with both “Lo Siento” and this track and also enjoying collaborating with other artists as well.  While I’m surprised they chose this to given the KOR to JPN experience over the aforementioned song, but this is something alright.  Also Ryeowook is back and it’s a good time (now we wait for Kangin, Sungmin, and Kyuhyun).  Anyways One More Time sounds like it is following the popularity from “Despacito” it feels.  Though I guess it can’t be helped since REIK is a latin pop group so figures right?  I am impressed that the group singing in both Spanish and Japanese though so that’s pretty awesome!  It’s not a terrible song but a bit of a farcry from anything they’ve released previous.

2. Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!

Huh, Super Junior has 2 B-sides this time?  It’s probably the first single since their (well, debut in Japan with “U/TWINS” and “Marry U” if that counts.  Anyways the first of the two sounds like a special case as it has a Las Vegas showtune kind of groove about it and it makes more sense as it mentions the Super Show which are their tours.  I have to say, I’m enjoying the energy and everyone gets a decent line throughout too!  Pretty good B-side and shows off the fun side to the group.

3. Make You Smile

I think this song was meant to be the true B-side as like all the other singles (except “Blue World”) ended up with a ballad as a B-side.  Make You Smile though feels rather heartfelt and personal with a rather nice acoustic sound (with some strings and piano and some percussion too).  Though I was more surprised with the vocals which aren’t belting for emotion and keeps things at a lighter pace.  I think of all their ballads so far in Japan, this has impressed me the most.

 

 

With Ryeowook back in the group, I eel like Super Junior is starting to fully be one again and One More Time is a pretty good sign of things to come when Kyuhyun returns from military leave (and hopefully the other two since they’re benched for other reasons sadly).  One More Time is latin pop done pretty well if not tugging at the “Despacito” train a bit much, but the better songs were the B-sides, one showing off a brighter and happier group while the other being romantic and soft…In general, this single may be their best one in Japan yet!

 

 

Juice=Juice – Bitansan/Potsurito/Good bye & Good luck! February 1, 2019

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 5:20 pm

bitansan

Track Listing

  1. Bitansan
  2. Potsurito
  3. Good bye & Good luck!
  4. Bitansan (Instrumental)
  5. Potsurito (Instrumental)
  6. Good bye & Good luck! (Instrumental)

1. Bitansan

As the leading A-side, Bitansan opens up with a sparkly intro and we enter an EDM song for the group!  I’m not sure why but it kind of reminds me of something like the veins of “Next is you!” and “Kaze ni Fukarete” in the way it moves which I kind of enjoy it!  The beat is pretty cool and hearing all the members getting solos is always nice to hear as well.  Plus hearing, Ruru, Nanami, and Manaka more is a treat!  Overall, I was satisfied with the song, but it doesn’t quite reach the highs of some of their more memorable songs.

2. Potsurito

Next up, Potsurito calms things a bit down with what I thought was going to be a slightly sadder song with the piano being the main thing on top of the more depressing lyrics.  Since it’s the ballad of the song, I was kind of surprised at the chorus which kind of explodes with sound and takes it to a more dramatic place.  I will say, at least this beats out any of the ballads that were found on their last album, but that chorus kind of just comes outta nowhere for me as well as the bridge (the latter feels odd I guess with the electronics and whatnot).  It’s ok though, it’s at least not a total snoozefest of a song.

3. Good bye & Good luck!

The last song on the single is meant to be a sendoff song for Nanami (who is graduating in March).  Of course it begins with a solo from her (and I’m a little bothered by the whole ~good bye and a good luck~…Like please…  I do enjoy once again that members get solos all over.  The tune sounds like a C-ute song or “Arekore Shitai!”.  I did find myself smiling at this one and while this kind of sentimental sugary song was what I expect from graduations, this one felt right.  I liked it!

 

 

As the group’s seemingly first and last single to have 8-nin and the first H!P release of 2019, I thought this single was pretty good for Juice=Juice.  They covered quite a bit within the 3 tracks from Bitansan’s more EDM structure, to the ballad-like Potsurito, and closing it with a sentimental upbeat tune in Good bye & Good luck!, they covered all their tracks here and I appreciate it.  While I can’t say too much about Yanamin (as she was only in 3 singles and an album, and she had more notice in Country Girls), I can enjoy what she added for the group (which, I mean is not much, but her leading in “SEXY SEXY” was awesome right?)  Overall, a good single!

 

AAA – Egao no Loop January 25, 2019

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 7:26 am

egaonoloop

Track Listing

  1. Egao no Loop
  2. Egao no Loop (Instrumental)
  3. Gasshou Egao no Loop [Suzukake Jidou Gasshoudan]
  4. Gasshou Egao no Loop [Suzukake Jidou Gasshoudan] (Instrumental)

1. Egao no Loop

As the group’s first single of the year, Egao no Loop seems to really pull back and gives us a ballad this time around.  I’m not sure where AAA has been going in these last couple of A-sides with being softies and less being powerhouses, but Egao no Loop is just kind of a background song for me.  Hidaka still sounds a bit brazen in his lines, but everyone else sounds soft and fluffy with this kind of wintry piano/strings ballad.  Still, the song just doesn’t do much for me.

2. Gasshou Egao no Loop [Suzukake Jidou Gasshoudan]

Adding a chorale does not help the situation here and the song is still rather unfortunately boring to me so this is a case of just making a mediocre song even worse in my honest opinion.  It is something new that AAA hasn’t tried, but not for a song like this.

 

 

I wonder if AAA is on its last heels here, especially since everyone is doing their own solo works during the last half of 2018, it feels like Egao no Loop was just kind of a throwaway song to string fans for a bit while they continue on their solo endeavors.  Not sure what the group will drop next, so I’ll be watching out.

 

MOMOLAND – BAAM January 23, 2019

Filed under: MOMOLAND — solarblade @ 4:40 am

baam

Track Listing

  1. BAAM -Japanese ver.-
  2. Only one you -Japanese ver.-
  3. BAAM -Japanese ver.- (Instrumental)
  4. Only one you -Japanese ver.- (Instrumental)

1. BAAM -Japanese ver.-

Not even a couple seconds in and I already knew the group was going to cash in on the explosive popularity that “BBoom BBoom” had for them earlier in 2018.  The song is VERY VERY similar to previously mentioned track from the beats to the prechorus from Yeonwoo to the rap verse from JooE & Daisy.  It’s just scary that it’s essentially a retread of their big hit.  That said, the song is still pretty damn good and is just as much an earworm!  So I suppose the idea was that if it’s not broken don’t fix for this A-side.  I will say also that I think I prefer the Japanese cut of the Korean original, must be taste I guess.

2. Only one you -Japanese ver.-

So the B-side actually comes from the same mini-album that “BAAM” did in Korea so I suppose it was another track that stood out from it perhaps?  Though this one chills things out after the party banger, “BAAM” for this rather cute pop track.  Like the B-side from their last single, this is kind of the song I would’ve expected MOMOLAND to release over and over.  I do enjoy the vocals here and everyone sounds airy and pretty.  Just gives me a 90’s pop love song so that’s quite nice.

 

 

I knew I was right when “BAAM” was chosen as their second single in Japan and just as much I feel exactly the same with this single as I did with “BBoom BBoom”.  The main track is pretty good even if its by the books a clone of the aforementioned track while Only one you was a cute pop song.  I hope MOMOLAND for their 3rd single changes the game up because having both A-side side-by-side is really make them feel like a one trick pony when I know there’s so much more to them!