Kurayami Monogatari

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TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – Never ever June 29, 2015

Filed under: TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE — solarblade @ 7:10 pm

neverever

Track Listing

  1. Never ever (TJO & Yusuke from BLU-SWING Remix)
  2. Never ever
  3. Never ever (Royal Mirrorball vs MODEWARP Main mix)
  4. Never ever (Royal Mirrorball vs MODEWARP Dub mix)
  5. Never ever (TJO & Yusuke from BLU-SWING Remix) -Instrumental-
  6. Never ever -Instrumental-

1. Never ever (TJO & Yusuke from BLU-SWING Remix)

Jeeze, if I thought TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE were trying to deviate further from their idol past, this remix should’ve just be the main version hahah.  I love this version because it’s pretty dramatic yet really has a powerful remixed sound to it that worked in every way!  I mean it’s energetic, the group sounds amazing of course (plus all 5 have decent lines) and while the music interlude were a little long, definitely manageable.  It’s a pretty awesome song overall and definitely a favorite of 2015.

2. Never ever

Wish I could say the same for the original mix (or commonly known as the tie-in version for Fairy Tail.  Like I said above, if they were trying to move away from their idol sound, this isn’t a good start because this version while does have some spanish guitar dispersed throughout, the same arranging sounds are here that we’ve had for so long.  Plus the tempo doesn’t seem to work as well with a slower sound.  I mean what can I say that I haven’t with their last couple of singles?

3. Never ever (Royal Mirrorball vs MODEWARP Main mix)

The other remix of the single is a RM remix which hmmm…it’s different.  I mean the beat is pretty cool and the modified and layered and tampered vocals is a cool switch of sounds.  Never ever sounds so odd with these new tricks, but the arrangement does get repetitive after a while with no vocals playing around.  Weird remix overall and doesn’t exactly beat the main one

Their first single after their best album (and the 2nd since their transformation out of an idol setting), Never ever is a strange one.  The original mix (aka track 2) doesn’t feel any different from any of the songs from their best album (that they released before this) and despite having a huge tie-in, it didn’t do much for me.  HOWEVER, the first track, the remix, was pretty amazing and happy that it got the PV…the remix is just cool and makes the song have a bigger punch (reminds of “Juujika” actually).  The other remix is interesting, not sure if worth the listen though.  Overall, it’s OK but if they want to make a stronger change, they need to give up their arranger for their main songs.

 

Namie Amuro – _genic

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 6:44 pm

genic

Track Listing

  1. Photogenic
  2. Time Has Come
  3. Golden Touch
  4. Birthday
  5. It
  6. Scream
  7. Fashionista
  8. Fly
  9. B Who I Want 2 B (feat. Miku Hatsune)
  10. Stranger
  11. Every Woman
  12. Space Invader
  13. Anything
  14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro) (bonus track)

1. Photogenic

Opening the album with the sort-of title track, Photogenic opens with a funky guitar riff and some sexy stuff from Namie which is what I would expect from her.  I also noticed it seems we’re still going to use English for songs which is not surprising in the least.  After being spoiled by her last introduction song, “Alive”, Photogenic just doesn’t do anything much for me, honestly, it belonged more towards the middle (sounds kind of like a interlude), just very lowkey and straightforward.

2. Time Has Come

Then we get into Time Has Come which begins with a 8bit section, to a chanting moment, to a slower and light beat.  Talk about throwing emotions everywhere right?  Though I’m loving this energetic track especially the chorus whch has guitars and some cool beats, but the verses are more reserved and the beat and piano was really cool too.  Maybe there’s some hope for this album, but I’m noticing Namie’s Engrish is not that good here either…

3. Golden Touch

Our next song sounds like something really grand and loud (reminds me of stuff from “PAST<FUTURE”) though Namie sounds slightly different here, a higher tone I think.  I’m loving the groove of the song and just has a good pulse to it.  There’s just so much touching going on LOL.

4. Birthday

Wow, I wasn’t expecting an upbeat happy song from Namie with Birthday but damn does it sound like a Katy Perry song (though she has a song also titled that, but neither are related otherwise).  I’m liking the arrangement because of the funky bass lines and the synth lines too.  Namie isn’t so much singing as much talk/singing except in the after-chorus which is pretty eh.  That muted trumpet bridge was odd to say the least, but I did enjoy this song quite a bit!

5. It

Shocked to say the least when the next pop up.  It begins with a playful whistling melody before going into Namie’s lines and she sounds good and quick alongside the bouncy piano lines.  I can actually understand what she’s saying in this song which is a godsend at this point.  Very snappy and fun song to listen to, one of the album’s gems.

6. Scream

I had high hopes for a song with a strong dance beat, after “FEEL” and everything.  The beat has a nice drive and Namie sounds good, but the Engrish loses me about halfway in because she’s also layered and electronic so it’s kind of just all over the place.  Simple song overall (though I kind of feel it would’ve suited her previous album than on here).

7. Fashionista

What an odd song we have next with Fashionista which slightly reminds me of “FAST CAR” and “Sit!Stay!Wait!Down!” mixed in with some electronics.  I have to say, this mixture is kind of cool and the chorus is pretty awesome to say the least.  Once again the Engrish is distracting at points, but with such an energetic song like this, I was still pleased and would come back to this many times!

8. Fly

Why do I feel like Namie almost wants to try to do dubstep?  At least I thought that in the beginning, but once the song kicks into gear, the song smooths out to this delightful track which is pretty nice that it’s one of the more safer sounding tracks the album has to offer…sort of reminds me of “Alive” and “Come” with the smoother drive and catchy chorus.  Not bad overall.

9. B Who I Want 2 B feat. Miku Hatsune

Boy did anyone see this coming?  Namie actually using a VOCALOID, thank god this didn’t get a PV.  I thought the weird synth melody actually worked, but I couldn’t wrap my head around this song (especially since Miku was pulling off more Japanese here).  There’s just something a bit strange going on here and I think it just didn’t work with the album either.

10. Stranger

After the emptiness that came from the previous track, Stranger fills up the speakers and I’m loving the beat and tribal drums throughout.  I was surprised how much sound was going through my headphones, I had a problem just following the lyrics because I was more entranced from the arrangement.  It’s a good song though and really gets my feet tapping, though it seems this one isn’t a favorite to many people.  Hmmm strange.

11. Every Woman

Moving on, Every Woman happens and there’s something familiar about this song (like it belongs from “PLAY” or “Queen of Hip-Pop”).  Like “Stranger” the arrangement fills out the headphones nicely, but I feel like this was a bit of a throwaway song because it just led to simple places and the lyrics could be found on other songs which is not good to me.  Forgettable.

12. Space Invader

I was slightly expecting an electro song in the same vein like “Scream” but Space Invader sounds more like urban-pop with some tendencies of dubstep and a mid-tempo (strange right?).  I don’t know why, but I also seem to forget how this one goes after listening to it.  It just seems to kind of zoom by with little to no reason to come back to it…meh.

13. Anything

Oh hey, acoustic guitar opening up Anything!  That’s actually rather refreshing on an album that depended on so much synth.  Namie sounds heavenly if not a little Engrishy here.  It actually sounds rather American to my ears, but I think it’s the chorus and the addition echo effect on her voice…though about that chorus…it does sounds VERY similar to TLC’s “Unpretty”…flattery huh.

14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro)

Hm, a bonus track?  That’s rather unheard of for Namie’s main albums, but the fact that it’s not Namie’s song but David Guetta (if you don’t know who he is in this day…shame on you!).  I really like the piano-led arrangement at the beginning and I can tell what Namie is saying which is awesome.  Of course being a Guetta song, the tune does go from a ballad-setting to a dance track that’s very him.  It’s not bad, short though.

Tracks Recommended

  • It
  • Stranger
  • Time Has Come
  • Birthday
  • Fashionista

Song of Avoidance

  • B Who I Want 2 B feat. Miku Hatsune

Surprising that Namie would put out an album excluding the two singles that came before it, but honestly, after “FEEL”, _genic was a step down from it.  I mean I do love that she went back to different sounds, but a lot of the songs had some issues and the Engrish was back to “Uncontrolled” levels of bad…what the hell happened Namie?  If you are a great singer, stick to what makes you great, don’t try to make English a thing (to be honest, let’s go back to “PAST>FUTURE”-esque stuff and leave the English behind, you are so much better than that!

 

UVERworld – Boku no Kotoba de wa nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba June 20, 2015

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 3:31 am

bokunokotoba

Track Listing

  1. Boku no Kotoba de wa nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba
  2. Iwanakute mo Tsutawaru Are wa Sukoshi Uso da
  3. Collide
  4. Boku no Kotoba de wa nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba (TV size)
  5. IMPACT mixed by Dave Schiffman (digital only)

1. Boku no Kotoba de wa nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba

Jeeze, UVER…could you name a song any longer?  Being an anison song, I thought the start-up was refreshing to my ears and had a nice sound, then it kicks it out and has this strong beat and synth chords before the song amps everything up to something a lot familiar to me.  It’s like the band really took itself much serious with this song and I like their more hard-hitting songs (even though it doesn’t come close to the punch that older UVERworld songs contain.  Also, I think this is the first time where I heard TAKUYA tackle the song without stressing his voice.  It’s definitely a new experience, also where’s SEIKA? Is he playing the piano/synths?

2. Iwanakute mo Tsutawaru Are wa Sukoshi Uso da

The first of the two B-sides, another long title, Iwanakute mo Tsutawaru Are wa Sukoshi Uso da is the ballad of the single and I’m fine with that, but also rather surprised since it sounds like a lot of effort was thrown into this track.  The light atmosphere, the pretty piano melody and the kind of muted percussion adds a nice touch alongside TAKUYA’s vocals.  After a while the song brings in the band to turn it into a mid-tempo track and it left me rather impressed.  Finally, a slower song I enjoyed!

3. Collide

The 3rd B-side, I was happy to see SEIKA on the forefront with his saxophone for Collide and it has the strongest sound of the 3 tracks available.  I love the power in this track and has a certain “LAST” and “LIFE 6 SENSE” kind of energy to it which is very much missed!  TAKUYA’s voice is probably at its normal timber and energy too and in very good taste.  It’s definitely by far my favorite of the single!!!

4. IMPACT mixed by Dave Schiffman

On digital versions of the single, it comes with a bonus track in the form of a remixed take on “IMPACT” (an album track from their last album, “0 CHOIR”).  Now I wasn’t expecting this nor I don’t know the reason for it, but IMPACT is still the powerful song it was, just with more piano and some twists and turns which keep the song sounding totally fresh and awesome!

After taking a little break off, UVERworld returns with a pretty awesome single overall!  Despite the overly long title, Boku no Kotoba de wa nai Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba is one of their better anison songs and hearing TAKUYA lighten up on his energy is a nice change of pace which also carried over to Iwanakute mo Tsutawaru Are wa Sukoshi Usa da with its lighter arrangement.  Though the big winner for me was Collide where UVER does things best and that’s the powerful and energetic songs in their discography.  IMPACT was pretty good too, a little weird to see and having only digital-only is strange too but it works.  Can’t wait to see what comes next!

 

Nami Tamaki – Everlasting Love June 15, 2015

Filed under: Nami Tamaki — solarblade @ 9:17 pm

everlasting love

Track Listing

  1. Everlasting Love
  2. VAMPIRE HOLMES ~Hamlet to no Deai~
  3. Everlasting Love -inst-

1. Everlasting Love

As the leading song, Nami brings us another anison song that heavily borrws a lot of elements from her SONY songs like thee stronger guitarwork and the chords that sound SO in her comfy area of expertise.  Actually if I had known any better, I would’ve placed this somewhere around the “Make Progress” and “Speciality” era.  It’s a good song for her old fans to cherish a bit more and Nami definitely sounds like her old self!

2. VAMPIRE HOLMES ~Hamlet to no Deai~

For fans that were expecting an actual B-side to come from Nami will be sorely disappointed here.  Hamlet to no Deai is just an audio drama from the anime Everlasting Love is tied to.  Also it’s mostly done by Yoshinobu Sena who voices the lead character.  Honestly, it doesn’t really do much of anything for me as I haven’t watched the anime so this is kind of useless to me (and probably many of Nami fans).

 

 

As the 5th? single she’s released since her last album, Everlasting Love pushes Nami back into her old ways even further than “Vivid Telepathy” did and that’s a bit strange to me especially giving her run the singles before that.  The song is pretty decent though and carries a lot of nostalgia for me, but the lack of a B-side (and instead some audio drama) is a bit disappointing.

 

Let’s Talk About Smash Bros.! 2 Years later!!!!

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 5:23 am

Yeah as E3 begins, I will talk about the happenings of Smash Bros. since the 50-Fact Extravaganza that we got that showed AND confirmed DLC, so let’s talk about the characters!

Mewtwo

Mewtwo

As with the last post I did pertaining to the game, the 50-fact Extravaganza ended essentially with the announcement of the first DLC character, Mewtwo who everyone was hoping would return after being MIA in Brawl.  After buying him, Mewtwo is mostly the same as he was back in Melee but a little more usable and fun to play as.  Some things have changed (mostly involving the specials) but this was great to see.

Lucas

Lucas

Next up is a return of a Brawl battler, Lucas from the still Japan-only game, Mother 3.  Even though that Ness took most of his moves as customs, I was still happy to see Lucas return and have his unique moves.  I think of all the Brawl characters that haven’t made it back yet, this would be the one I would’ve chosen the most.

Roy

roy

Then today, Sakurai had a Smash Direct (two days before the Nintendo Digital Event) and announced two more new DLC characters to be released alongside Lucas.  The first is a returning veteran, Roy from Melee.  I was happy to see that he’s been changed slightly enough to make him different from Marth AND Lucina.  Being in the same group as Dr. Mario and Mewtwo (all three missed out on being in Brawl), it’s great to see this guy again!

Ryu

Ryu

Last, but not least though the biggest surprise came in the form of the legendary Fighting Game Character, Ryu from Street Fighter.  He marks as the first non-veteran to be a DLC character and a shocking one at that since it means Capcom was given two reps.  On top of having a VERY unique style to him that no other character has….input commands.  Yup a lot of his style is basically style and inputting the classic directions for his famous moves.

Stages

  • Miiverse – The mentioned stage from last year finally got released and it’s an OK stage…pretty early so there’s not too many Miiverse pictures to cheer on the characters right now.  A little sad that it’s just a different looking Battlefield, but the pictures are a slight nice addition.
  • Dream Land 64 – Yup, the Kirby stage from the original N64 title makes a reappearance and it’s visually not changed any.  I will say that like Miiverse, the layout is so basic and if it wasn’t for Whispy Woods it would’ve just been another Battlefield too.  There’s much better N64 stages available.
  • Suzaku Castle – Ryu’s stage, I was surprised at how open spaced it is and wide.  Visually, it’s really pretty being set in a sunset and the fact you can destroy the signposts is definitely nostalgic.  The layout is a bit odd to me for some reason, but very great for Ryu.
  • Hyrule Castle – While not released yet, Sakurai mentioned two future stages to return and I loved Hyrule Castle so it’s nice to see it make an appearance AND keep the tornadoes that would appear here and there…Happy to see this return!
  • Peach’s Castle – As for the other one mentioned, Peach’s Castle is an OK addition and all, but there was much better choices and this stage is a bit hazardous all over.  Though there does seem to be some changes like able to hang on the bottom moving platform.  Interesting!

YES. I STILL PLAN TO REVIEW BOTH GAMES!

 

U-KISS – Sweetie June 4, 2015

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 10:59 pm

sweetie

Track Listing

  1. Sweetie
  2. If…
  3. Shape of your heart (U-KISS JAPAN TOUR 2014 version) (CD only bonus track)
  4. Sweetie (Instrumental)
  5. If… (Instrumental)

1. Sweetie

I would suppose that makes Sweetie their Christmas song because this was released in December.  As an A-side, the song is a bit corny to listen to but I kind of like the synths used here and the harmonizations (beyond how much Soohyun and Kevin) are here is really nice to hear.  For a ballad, it’s a bit more memorable than previous endeavors…still slightly chintsy though lmao.

2. If…

As for the B-side, If… took more after the dance-pop feel (kind of reminds me of some other songs in the same genre) sadly it really doesn’t grow too much until after the Jun/Eli rap section (which by the way are pretty awkward since it transitions into the chorus.  I feel like the song is trying to grow into a strong dance track, but stays too long by dragging the growth of it.  It does finally get itself together and becomes a nice mid-tempo track the rest of the way…but the beginning section was dragging a bit.

3. Shape of your heart (U-KISS JAPAN TOUR 2014 version)

Of course they’d close the single out with a live version of an older song, this time with Shape of your heart.  I mean it’s a good live performance and each of the members sound strong in the song…not much else to say about this one.

As the 2nd and last single before ther 4th album, “Action” releases, I feel like Sweetie was a weird single.  I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t connecting to either original songs much.  Sweetie is a nice love song, but the arrangement made it so cheesy and overabundant of the whole Xmas sound.  If… dragged in the beginning and it didn’t build itself very well to a powerful song.  The live performance is good though as expected.  I just wonder how this album will stack up.

 

Kalafina – ring your bell

Filed under: Kalafina — solarblade @ 10:36 pm

ringyourbell

Track Listing

  1. ring your bell
  2. Koibito no Mukashigatari no Yuugure no
  3. ring your bell (in the silence)
  4. ring your bell ~instrumental~
  5. ring your bell ~TV size~

1. ring your bell

Did we get “Eden” again because ring your bell is really making me feel like I’m hitting deja vu again.  HIKARU finds herself at the front of the song once again and she sounds really pretty as a lead especially in such a bright light.  I feel like I’ve heard this somewhere else though with previous Kalafina releases, but as an A-side this is a nice adventurous piece.

2. Koibito no Mukashigatari no Yuugure no

As for the B-side, I wasn’t expecting a darker arrangement to kind of reverse the effects from “ring your bell” did.  I’m loving the spacious and echo effects placed on WAKANA here (actually I feel like she’s mostly the one singing in the track which is no surprise at all).  Though I do love how after a while it grows into this mechanical piece with some guitar strikes and what sounds like cool percussion taps.  Definitely a track that has a lot of character to it and continues Kalafina’s strong streak of B-sides.

3. ring your bell (in the silence)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with another version of the A-side, but I had assumed it was going to be a ballad version of the track.  After listening to the song, I was completely correct about my assumption.  Having a similar dark atmosphere like “Koibito no Mukashigatari no Yuugure no” up until the strings enter in, this version is beautiful to listen to and shows off how strong the trio is together.  However, it’s only a 1:30 in length which a rather odd surprise…I think the lyrics are about from the bridge…interesting.

Kalafina continues to put out really solid singles it seems and ring your bell is a nice single overall.  I will say that the feeling I got from the A-side mirrors how I felt for “Eden” from their 3rd album.  The b-side fared much better with its darker atmosphere and unsettling arrangement.  The “In the silence” take of the bridge is an odd choice, but it’s there.  Can’t wait for when they do their next album!

 

 
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