Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

Aira Mitsuki – Pyramidal October 17, 2017

Filed under: Aira Mitsuki — solarblade @ 7:14 am

pyrimidal

Track Listing

  1. Future in Loop
  2. Pyramidal
  3. Chewing on Love
  4. LIGHTSAVER
  5. DIS&CO
  6. Detective A
  7. Recommunication
  8. Nabwa
  9. Days
  10. I’LL AGAIN..

1. Future in Loop

Kicking the album off is the lead-in track, Future in Loop and hearing Aira jumping back into some more club-like sounds for her album is definitely a new change of pace for her and I kind of dug it!  It’s definitely a song that while doesn’t have a lot of drops, has a cool vibe and such.  I think it sets the album up nicely and makes me excited to hear what else there is to hear!

2. Pyramidal

Moving onto the title track, Pyramidal caught my attention with the harder beats and more experimental sound in comparison to “Future in Loop”.  It sounds a bit destructive, yet composed with Aira’s lispy vocals to give some poppy feels.  There’s just something so lowkey yet gritty about it all.  What an interesting track, this is!  I’m quite enjoying this more than I should~

3. Chewing on Love

After that, I wasn’t expecting the jump back to something a bit more familiar to fans of her D-TOPIA works.  Chewing on Love is so far the poppiest track I’ve come across the album, but it’s nice as I hear some acoustic guitar mixing it up with the low bass hits and then adding this light tropical house sound, giving this electric 80s sound which is great to hear!  Another strong song for the album here!

4. LIGHTSAVER

So we finally get to our first old track and it’s Aira’s first song when she came back from her hiatus (and leaving of D-TOPIA).  As this was a song that was released back in 2015, it was going to be interesting to come back to this.  I do like how it was like a throwback to Aira’s stuff circa “C.O.P.Y” with the grittier synths and Aira’s filtered vocals just feels right!  Though, it’s odd that I think that it does sound safe in comparison to the previous three tracks, but IzeMac had to start somewhere!

5. DIS&CO

I was hoping the next one would be a literal disco track, but DIS&CO is hitting hard.  I really like the edgy arrangement that kind of has the same kick and fire that “Pyramidal” had, but after the intro, it starts going into a club beat and flow and it really makes you wanna lose yourself on the dancefloor.  Simple, but effective track!

6. Detective A

Despite the fact I didn’t review two of the digital A-sides Aira released back in 2016, I’m kind of happy to see both make the cut!  Detective A was the more interesting of the two because unlike most of the tracks, this one felt very anthemic and unique amongst the other EDM tracks we’re offered here.  The introduction is a bit slow, but it grows into an 80s-inspired club bopper!  Pretty strong then and pretty strong now~

7. Recommunication

Back to new tracks, Recommunication continues to bring more experimentation to the table and I’m just impressed by the new clicks, bells, and whistles that it brought along with this dubsteppy kind of riff.  Gone are the more grittier synths for something a little more poppy and glossy and Aira seems to be taking the reins vocally here which is awesome because it feels like I’ve been more into the music than her.  That said, the pre-chorus is amazing and the chorus (while busy) is pretty damn cool!  Definitely my favorite off the album!

8. Nabwa

As the last of the new tracks, Nabwa (odd title aside) is something I wasn’t expecting.  Like “Pyramidal” and “DIS&CO”, Nabwa has more of a darker vibe to it and has a bit more of a grungier kind of club sound that pushes it along.  Aira does seem to sit back a little bit as her contribution is more or less the same throughout (not very much).  It’s OK, but of the previous tracks mentioned, it’s a bit weak.

9. Days

The other digital single released, Days definitely tries to really pop out from the album, but it features a lot of the same sounds that I came across in other songs from this album and while it did come before most songs here, I can’t help but think it has a little too much of the gritty bass synths that are all over “LIGHTSAVER” & “I’LL AGAIN..”.  The quieter parts are nice, but the rest is kind of forgetful.

10. I’LL AGAIN..

The album ends with arguably the first song she actually came back with and like with what I said in “Days” the gritty synths are present, but I’m not quite as harsh as it was her first song back in the limelight.  I also feel like this could’ve made a better opening to the album than “Future in Loop”, but that’s just me.  Still it’s a decent song overall.

Tracks Recommended

  • Recommunication
  • Pyramidal
  • Detective A
  • Chewing on Love
  • LIGHTSAVER

Song of Avoidance

Nabwa

Wow it’s been quite a while since “I’LL BE BACK” (released back in 2013) hasn’t it?  Yeah, a bit bummed that she isn’t working with Terukado anymore, but it means she gets to stretch her works to other people.  Pyramidal is actually surprisingly good and a good step up over both her last album and her previous “???” album as well.  I do think while this is a good album, maybe more producers could help out while I liked IzeMac here, it did feel samey and a bit messy through some songs.  Also, while I’m not surprised that “Animo!” isn’t here (was produced by others), I’m a little surprised that “F.F.C.” didn’t make the cut.  Still, an overall good album and hopefully Aira can release more regularly again.

Advertisements
 

VIXX – Lalala ~Ai wo Arigatou~

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 4:52 am

lalala

Track Listing

  1. Lalala ~Ai wo Arigatou~
  2. Celebration!!
  3. Crush My Mind
  4. How ’bout you
  5. Saboten

1. Lalala ~Ai wo Arigatou~

As the leading track of the mini, Lalala is definitely a style VIXX doesn’t really cater to very much and that’s the bright piano-laced songs.  Definitely makes me think of “G.R.8.U” in the sound and the fact that it just sounds so positive is a bit unusual for me as a fan.  Though I’m liking that I hear N, Hyuk, and Hongbin quite a bit and there’s points where Ken & Leo are popping up to you.  Was surprised the chorus is in unison and Ravi’s rap section is kind of covered by the other members too.  Odd song for them.

2. Celebration!!

Next up is Celebration!! and it definitely fits the bill as the upbeat party song with funk vibes and brass and slapbass in the arrangement.  I really like the fun vibes here and funny enough it does give me similar vibes to “Mukae ni Ikou” in the exciting and fun vibes I get.  I do find myself kind of enjoying the song and gives the group some color!

3. Crush My Mind

Of the 5 songs of the mini-album, Crush My Mind is the one that caters to the fans that are used to VIXX’s darker concepts back in Korea.  The song itself isn’t too bad, but I do think it’s somewhat cluttered in the chorus section as it just buzzes by a lot.  I do like the slick feel and Ravi sounds cool whenever he’s up but it doesn’t quite stand up to other songs in their discography.

4. How ’bout you

Cooling things down for the rest of the mini-album, How ’bout you is laidback and smoother for the group and I kind of enjoy the R&B vibes I’m getting here as it showcases the singers’ voices in a more chiller setting (except Ravi, who gave a pretty good rap).  It’s OK for the most part, maybe a little under the interest, but it’s a decent mid-tempo track for them.

5. Saboten

As the final track, I wasn’t expecting acoustic guitar to open the track and be a good portion of the melody here.  Actually the track entirely is quite relaxing and makes me think of sunsets on the beach.  I really liked the soothing sound and hey even Ravi sings in this track (albeit a little rough because he’s in a deeper range than the other members).  Still, I quite liked this and they should do more of this in the future!

 

 

I wasn’t expecting VIXX to release a mini-album (and to not include “Hana-Kaze” at that).  Though since the group was still going strong with the whole “Ker” and “Shangri-La” era in Korea, I was hoping for some strong songs here, but it came off as more of middle of the road with Lalala.  None of the songs (bar Celebration!! & Saboten) really have a long-lasting feel to them so it feels somewhat throwaway.  I suppose it was a release, but I mean…it could’ve been worse.

 

AAA – LIFE October 8, 2017

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 6:56 am

life

Track Listing

  1. LIFE
  2. LIFE (Instrumental)

1. LIFE

I like that the song opens up with marching drums (and jingle bells?).  OK?  Anyways it does seem like the song is a bit brighter and happier in moods which works after their last single.  It does seem like everyone in the group is managing to keep up vocally (even Hidaka who is singing and not rapping).  It does remind me of earlier AAA songs once again stuff like “Friday Party” and “Kirei na Sora”.  It’s just poppy and very breezy!

 

 

Ugh, we’re back to one song singles are we now?  Anyways, after “No Way Back” I feel like LIFE is a bit more of that, but I’m not quite sure why it was by itself with no B-side, just feels like it needs one there.  Not bad, the group is doing well enough and Misako found herself back in the main singers as well.

 

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – water lily ~Suiren~

Filed under: TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE — solarblade @ 6:20 am

waterlily

Track Listing

  1. water lily ~Suiren~
  2. illusion
  3. water lily ~Suiren~ (PARKGOLF Remix)
  4. water lily ~Suiren~ (Instrumental)
  5. illusion (Instrumental)

1. water lily ~Suiren~

Opening the single, we get a very different side to TGS with water lily which is more relaxed a totally different setting from the norm that everyone had gotten used to.  It definitely is laidback and taking upon a more tropical house setting is something new yet familiar to the quartet.  It’s refreshing overall and the members are sounding better in harmonies (or it could just be studio magic).  Still, not so bad of a song!

2. illusion

The B-side though is not exactly new material, it’s more of a original version to the illusion found on their last album, “REFLECTION”.  Not sure why they waited so long to put this on a single considering it’s been quite a while.  As mentioned in the album remix of it, it’s a Mei solo but unlike the arrangement, this goes back to the funk/disco vibes (when the group was still 5 strong).  It’s nice to hear a song like this again, but I was alarmed about the amount of auto-tune used on Mei’s voice.  It’s a bit distracting and doesn’t really work with the arrangement.  I suppose the single needed something, but eh…it’s kind of disappointing.

3. water lily ~Suiren~ (PARKGOLF Remix)

Of course it’s remix time and it’s of the leading track here.  The PARKGOLF remix feels a bit more organic sounding having a bit more piano and this reggae-ish mood as the main style.  Not quite sure if I was liking the auto-tune placed in this song either as it makes the group sound more squirrelly sounding.  I think I like musically more than the original, but the vocal melody needs to be fixed up some.

 

 

As the group’s 4th single since their album, I feel like water lily is kind of the middle-of-the-road single (considering this before they had announced two best mini-albums).  I feel like nothing totally stood out here, but it’s not horrid enough to be shelved.  Both the main song and remix have good points and bad points, but it’s different from their usual shtick.  illusion on the other hand was just thrown on here for no good reason IMO, but likewise it’s fine if you’re into the older TGS sound.  Interesting to see what’s in store from the “PERIOD. BEST” albums.

 

Morning Musume ’17 – Jama Shinaide Here We Go!/Dokyuu no Go Sign/Wakaindashi! September 27, 2017

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 5:26 am

jamashinaideherewego

Track Listing

  1. Jama Shinaide Here We Go!
  2. Dokyuu no Go Sign
  3. Wakaindashi!
  4. Jama Shinaide Here We Go! (Instrumental)
  5. Dokyuu no Go Sign (Instrumental)
  6. Wakaindashi! (Instrumental)

1. Jama Shinaide Here We Go!

Opening the single, we get Jama Shinaide Here We Go! with an intro from Harunan & Haachin before we actually kick the song off!  As this track in particular is here to sort of introduce the group’s newest member, Chisaki Morito, the tune does a fair job at showing her off on top of various other members getting a solo line here and there (hm did Kaede not get one???).  The track itself has this Colorful era feel mixed with one of the group’s earlier singles, “AS FOR ONE DAY” but synthy.  It’s different for the group, I can say that, not too interesting IMO though.  There’s something kind of low energy about it.

2. Dokyuu no Go Sign

At least with the 2nd A-side, things get a whole lot more energetic.  Actually, I was surprised how quick-paced and powerful the song went right from the opening.  It reminds me of “Koko ni Iruzee!” with the pop/rock yet super genki vibes I get.  However, not all is great as we have the singing group/dancing group shtick once again (like in “Oh my wish!” & “The Vision”).  This time it seems like Eripon, Duu, Ayumi, Yokoyan, Kaedii, and even new member Chiichan are sitting this song out.  Which is odd and shaky as the rest involved: (Fukuchan, Maachan, Harunan, Odasaku, Akanechin, Haachin, Maria, and Miki) are at the forefront here.  I love the energy and hearing the 12th Gen getting this push is great to see, but I wish the newer members had more chances to stand out.

3. Wakaindashi!

Since this single is also Duu’s final single, it comes to no surprise that at least one track would be centered around her and she’s leading all over the track.  Unlike the other two A-sides, this one is quite poppy, kind of like a happier “ENDLESS SKY”.  I have to admit that it is also my favorite off the single.  The song’s bright nature and boppy nature is just cute and Duu sounds amazing.  Though interesting that the 3 youngest members, (Akane, Reina, and Maria) got lines too!  Interesting song overall and really is a nice way to send Haruka off.  I will say those male ~heys~ are so distracting XD.

 

 

Oooph…is 2017 over yet?  Momusu has been dealing with quite a bit this year as it is.  This single marks the beginning of a new member (Chisaki) who is from…well…what was the active Country Girls but since been inactive and the girls (sans Yamakki & Ozeko) were put to different groups.  On top of this being Haruka Kudo’s final single before graduation.  Honestly, the single was OK, not their best, but certainly passable.  Wakaindashi! is the clear winner for me as it was breezy pop and celebrated Duu quite nicely.  Jama Shinaide was serious and slightly brooding, but it’s got some interesting things about it and Dokyuu no Go Sign was an exciting and fast track to really get behind…A little bummed that some members got forgotten on this single (Kaede & Eripon in particular).  Also WELCOME BACK Maachan!!!

 

Perfume – If you wanna August 30, 2017

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 3:24 pm

ifyouwanna

Track Listing

  1. If you wanna
  2. Everyday
  3. If you wanna -Original Instrumental-
  4. Everyday -Original Instrumental-

1. If you wanna

As the leading track If you wanna feels a bit like something I would’ve come across in their last two era by having a cuter but poppy side to it.  Though the song does have some interesting parts like the chorus where it feels like it becomes something Western-like.  Sadly, that’s really it for it because it only does its parts twice in a matter of a little under 3 minutes.  I can’t quite see the reason it’s the leading track due to how short it is and how “Everyday” ended up with the PV, but this kind of felt thrown together and not so much in a good way.

2. Everyday

As for the B-side, Everyday surprises me with natural piano on top of natural voices in the opening.  As a song that’s a bit more bubbly and intricate with its arrangement, I do find the feel of the song refreshing for Perfume, but I feel like I could’ve survived without the toy piano (a staple for Nakata’s other project, Kyarypamyupamyu).  Though I have to say, this was a song for me persay, but I can respect the airiness and just playful style the track is going for, but it’s just not for me.

 

Man, if I thought “TOKYO GIRL” was a bit mediocre, then I have to say If you wanna is just bleh.  I’m not sure why this single needed to be especially with how they presented it with both songs.  If you wanna just feels lazy and kind of trite in comparison to previous A-sides which I haven’t felt since “Sweet Refrain” though that song grew on me through its album version.  There’s just not enough for me here.  Everyday is cute, I’ll give it that, but could we leave that for Kyary?  I don’t know, but this album era so far has not done anything for Perfume for me.

 

 

Juice=Juice – Fiesta! Fiesta! August 24, 2017

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 4:04 am

fiestafiesta

Track Listing

  1. Fiesta! Fiesta!
  2. Wonderful World (English Ver.)
  3. Fiesta! Fiesta! (Instrumental)

1. Fiesta! Fiesta!

Huh, I wasn’t expecting Juice=Juice to explode onto the single with a latin-esque party song!  If anything after “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!”, I was ready for the group to bring more energy to their songs and have good a time.  Though what’s bigger is that the group grew two members further in Ruru Danbara and Country Girls’ Nanami Yanagawa!  Right from the start it seems Ruru is gonna charge in headfirst with powerful vocals!  Yanamin does have her score as well and she sounds more or less the same as she does in CG…I’m also quite surprised that Aarii had so many lines too!  Honestly, this song is really catchy and stands out!

2. Wonderful World (English Ver.)

Though I was dreading seeing the coupling song was going to be an English take on one of my least favorite Juice=Juice songs.  It doesn’t help that their accents are a LOT more heavier than Momusu doing “One and Only”, but I feel like I can understand some of what they’re saying.  Actually I don’t think I hear Yanamin or Ruru here so it might just be the original 5 singing this again.  Still not a fan and the whole last half is a bit of a vocal trainwreck to my ears, but it is what it is.

 

 

With H!P going through some big changes, some of the releases have been relegated to digital releases as is the case for Juice=Juice’s Fiesta! Fiesta! (“Goal” and “Jouro” did release, but I skipped them up as they were just the track).  As the first single with new members Ruru and Nanami, they did pretty well and the group gave us a fun song to cherish while the Summer season starts to close shop.  I only think Wonderful World got its new version because they’re set to go on a World Tour soon, so it makes sense, but I still don’t like the song much.  Either way, not bad…makes me wonder how the 7-nin will do for future releases!