Kurayami Monogatari

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Eri Nobuchika – III -THREE- December 4, 2016

Filed under: Eri Nobuchika — solarblade @ 6:01 am

three

Track Listing

  1. Everybody needs love
  2. Amouisso
  3. Tatta Hitotsu no Koi
  4. Hello
  5. Kimi no Koe wo
  6. Beautiful
  7. Woman “W no Higeki” Yori

1. Everybody needs love

Opening the album, Everybody needs love begins with a bright piano-centric & jazzy arrangement and it just feels right home with Eri’s vocals as it felt like they never changed.  She has a lot of character in her vocie and it really adds itself to the upbeat nature of the song.  I have to say, as the opening song, it’s pretty awesome!

2. Amouisso

Slowing things down a bit, Amouisso initially came off as an Xmas song with the melody and general feel.  It does grow a bit more to add some guitar and drums to the arrangement and once again Eri’s vocals are just mad radiant here and fits the arrangement.  Simple song overall but it’s no way boring or bad.

3. Tatta Hitotsu no Koi

Something like Tatta Hitotsu no Koi with its jazz arrangement easily reminds me of her “hands” mini-album, but also songs like “Kodou” and “Sketch for Summer”.  Though this is purely a jazz track and I’ve always loved Eri’s more sultry and controlled vocals for arrangements like this and she really brought her A-game to this track!  I have to say, this was my favorite song from the mini-album by far!

4. Hello

As the first full ballad, Hello brings back the lower vocals from Eri and she still has so much personality to it that she made this rather simple piano arrangement sound not-so-much of a borefest and then the chorus just punches in and its just wonderful!  Like “Amouisso”, there’s not much else to really say about Hello but it’s good!

5. Kimi no Koe wo

Released as the digital single right before the album’s release, Kimi no Koe wo had a lot to cover after Eri was in hiatus for another close-to 7 years after her last release, “hands”.  Moving even slower than “Hello”, Kimi no Koe wo was the first of Eri’s return and when I took a listen to it, I felt like she had never left her music career and begun where she left off.  The song might not be the best the album has to offer, but I do appreciate it as the first taste of Eri’s comeback.

6. Beautiful

Moving on, we get to Beautiful and what I thought was going to end up as another ballad, turned into an upbeat and playful track.  I actually thought the arrangement was cool and bright but not overbearing.  Once again Eri strikes gold and her voice just adds that extra touch that really made the track memorable for me.  It’s a pretty refreshing song and another standout from the mini!

7. Woman “W no Higeki” Yori

Ending the album, we have a cover of an older Hiroko Yakushimaru song (though I have heard Ken’s version ironically enough).  With Eri’s version, it has a darker atmosphere to it, but is still something I’m used to Eri’s music so this sort of jazzier feel is pretty nifty and sultry in the end product.  It’s a really sweet way to close things off.

Like I said, 7 years after her indies mini, “hands” might be quite a long time (and it was), but when we heard word that Eri was joining avex, I was pretty excited as it would mean we get the chane to hear her lovely vocals once again.  III -THREE- is a worthy comeback release and reintroduced Eri back to the masses with more jazzy music on top of some nice pop tracks and ballads.  Though I hope that she’ll release a new EDM song like the stuff from “nobuchikaeri”.  Either way, this was a solid release!

 

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – Mille-feuille December 3, 2016

Filed under: TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE — solarblade @ 11:51 pm

millefeuille

Track Listing

  1. Mille-feuille
  2. Partition Love -MODEWARP Mix-
  3. Mille-feuille -Royal Mirrorball Mix- (CD only)
  4. Mille-feuille (Instrumental)
  5. Partition Love -MODEWARP Mix- (Instrumental)

1. Mille-feuille

It seems that TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE is trying to pull away from their funk/discotheque tracks of the past and creating new paths in their musical styles.  Mille-feuille does have a smidge of that EDM sound that we had got with “Never ever” but it doesn’t go quite as hard as said song did.  I get a feeling of the group going cute with the song and a bit more poppy than songs previous.  If this is the new direction they’re going to take, I’m quite for it as it breathes new life to the quartet!

2. Partition Love -MODEWARP Mix-

Hmmm, though it feels like they went back and made a remix for Partition Love (an A-side released a little over 2 years ago).  Anyways, this new remix for the song to me doesn’t really strike quite as strong as the original arrangement.  I do like the beats with the strings giving it a classier vibe to it, it’s definitely one of their better remixes though as it really pushes the vocal melodies to the front.  Not bad, not bad!

3. Mille-feuille -Royal Mirrorball Mix-

Of course we have that ONE track that only appears on a specific edition of the single.  Though for the same expectations we have another RM remix to add to the HUGE collection.  Now, if you’ve been one to love their funky arrangements, Mille-feuille fills the gap and I like the amount of bass sprinkled through and not so much brass.  It does feel a bit slower than the original, but if this was chosen to be the main arrangement, I would’ve been OK with it.

While I did feel like “Shinkai” had very little fanfare on its release, I do think Mille-feuille did a pretty awesome job capturing my interest to the group.  The main song is cute, yet upbeat and quite differenet from what we’re used to from the quartet.  Even the remix managed to be decent enough to stand out from past remixes.  Add on the Partition Love remix and its a pretty good single, can’t wait to see what’s next from them after the single.

 

GACKT – Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara

Filed under: GACKT — solarblade @ 8:10 am

kimidakega

Track Listing

  1. Kimi Dake ga Boku de Iru Kara
  2. Kimi Dake ga Boku de Iru Kara (ReMIX ver.)
  3. Kimi Dake ga Boku de Iru Kara -Instrumental-

1. Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara

As the leading track, it’s not like I haven’t heard this as it was one of the new tracks from his last album, “LAST MOON”.  Opening in a cityscape setting and GACKT singing acoustically, it was a pretty pleasant opening to the song.  Then the track actually opens up to an anison-like track with synths and guitars.  It’s an interesting song and we haven’t had a track list this in a while from GACKT so it’s an interesting choice to lead.

2. Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara (ReMIX ver.)

Though for some small reason to actually warrant a purchase for the single, it includes a remix of the A-side.  Taking out the anison sounds and cityscape vibe, the remix of course has a little bit more electronics going on on top of GACKT having his voice processed more to fit the mid-tempo like sound (reminds me a little of Mirror’s Edge music, but with a bit more oomph).  It’s a more valiant sounding remix of Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara.

I am a bit perplexed of the choice to release a recut single after half a year has passed by since “LAST MOON” released.  There’s just something a smidge lazy about this release as I didn’t think the song was one of the best the album had to offer.  It just felt slapped together and released to primarily promote the anime tie-in it has.  It’s OK, but a little late to be happening IMO.

 

GENERATION 7: Welcome to Alola! December 2, 2016

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 7th Gen~ — solarblade @ 6:16 am

Welcome to going through another generation, though I would be at least done with the first two gens, but time slipped from me and before you know it, Sun & Moon had released and my focus had shifted towards the new generation.  Of course with the new Pokémon there are other new things as well including UBs and Alolan Forms which will add to the list (UBs will be talked about alongside the legendaries while Alolan Forms will get its own post).  So let’s get started!

001: Rowlet, 002: Dartrix, 003: Decidueye

rowletdartrixdecidueye-jpg

Of course like with EVERY Pokemon game before it, we have the starters with Grass, Fire, and Water.  So I found it interesting that of the three, Rowlet is the 2nd time where a starter begins with a dual type (this time with Grass/Flying).  The only other time is Bulbasaur was back when.  Also, the only other Pokemon it shares that with is Tropius.  Though once Dartrix evolves into Decidueye, it changes its secondary typing to Grass/Ghost (sharing with Gourgeist & Trevenant’s line & fellow gen-mate, Dhelmise.  I actually dug this design and seeing that many fans loved its archer look and the surprising typing in its final evolution it sticks out…though many find it meh due to speed (which is a COMMON problem with this generation in comparison to past ones).

004: Litten, 005: Torracat, 006: Incineroar

littentorracatincineroar-jpg

Like I mentioned i previous Pokemon posts, I had concluded that I wanted Litten as my starter because it brings me back to a pattern that I had since the beginning.  Though many had feared that its typing would be the almighty Fire/Fighting as it had been most times, Incineroar’s final dual type ended it at Fire/Dark (typing shared with the Houndoom line).  Besides the speed issue, Incineroar was pretty awesome on my team and making it to the Elite 4 was great and he saved my ass a lot!

007: Popplio, 008: Brionne, 009: Primarina

poppliobrionneprimarina-jpg

After last gen with its sheer winner in Froakie, It seems the popularity of the starters went most to Litten and Rowlet this time and Popplio ended up with the short end of the stick.  At the final evolution, Primarina ends up with a Water/Fairy (sharing with Azumarill & Marill).  Though I do wonder why Primarina is more of a feminine Pokemon despite the M/F ratio to be equal…the males are Primorino?  About the same feeling of weirdness like with Mr. Mime.

010: Pikipek, 011: Trumbeak, 012: Toucannon

pikipektrumbeaktoucannon

Another one of those, how does one thing end up as another thing.  This time it’s the typical early bird Pokemon, Pikipek and its line.  Naturally, the three are of Normal/Flying type (very common!).  Though I feel like it has some purpose and Toucannon being focused on Attack is pretty cool (on top of having Beak Blast, its signature move).  Still, a woodpecker at its beginning that ends up as a toucan?  Little strange, but I definitely had this one in my Elite 4 team!

013: Yungoos, 014: Gumshoos

yungoosgumshoos

Of course after the generation bird Pokemon, we have a generational rodent Pokemon with our mongoose Pokemon, Yungoos and its evolution Gunshoos.  Nothing too unique about it to really talk about it besides the fact that it evolves during the day and keeps its Normal typing throughout

015: Grubbin, 016: Charjabug, 017: Vikavolt

grubbincharjabugvikavolt

So unlike previous generations where we would have two bug lines early in the Dex, we just have the one this time around with the Vikavolt line.  You get Grubbin quite early enough as a pure Bug type and eventually evolves into Charjabug after leveling up and gains the Electric typing (this dual type shared with the Galvantula line).  Though what bums me out is that you get Vikavolt way late into the game (4th Island, Poni).  I was also expecting it to be fast, but damn its not!  Still, I kept it in my team for the Elite 4!

018: Crabrawler, 019: Crabominable

crabrawlercrabominable

When I first saw Crabrawler, I expected it to be like previous Crabs in having it be a Water type, but I was happily surprised that it just turned out to be pure Fighting.  You can find them in Berry piles throughout Alola, but like Vikavolt, Crabominable is a late game gain because you can only obtain it by leveling it in the caves of Lanakila (Alola’s Victory Road).  I have to say though Crabominable’s unique typing of Fighting/Ice is awesome and its design is funny, yet cool!

020: Oricorio

oricorioyelloworicoriooricoriopinkoricorioblue

Our next Pokemon brought something a little different to the table.  Depending on where you find them they will be of different typing (and design) on each of the islands.  On Melemele, you will find the Pom-Pom style (the yellow one) which is Electric/Flying and for an early catch, I think it’s a good start.  Then you travel to Akala and you end up with the Baile style (the red one) and that’s Fire/Flying!  Then there’s the Ula’ula variation with the Pa’u style (the Psychic/Flying pink one) and then the Poni variation with Sensu style (the Ghost/Flying blue one).  All of them don’t stray too much in stats from one another and they have their unique move, Revelation Dance which caters to the different typings they can take.

021: Cutiefly, 022: Ribombee

cutieflyribombee-jpg

Awwwww!  I have to say that I really love the Ribombee line as being pixie-like bees!  As the first Bug/Fairy types, the Ribombee line is only one in a couple Pokemon who are decently fast!  Pollen Puff is what I think of because it’s its thing and signature move so it really is cute, fast, but not totally a powerful Pokemon.

023: Rockruff, 024: Lycanroc

rockrufflycanrocmiddaylycanroc2

Wow, I didn’t realize the Lycanroc line is found at the end of the first island.  Anyways, as our pure Rock type, Rockruff is just SOOOO adorable and being based off a Spitz is just as cuuute!  Though what makes it interesting is that depending on the game you have you can get a Midday Lycanroc or a Midnight Lycanroc.  Though they aren’t version exclusives (you can find the opposite towards the end of the 4th island).  The difference between the two is that the Midday form is faster and has more battle options, but Midnight form has more power.  Though for me, I had a Midnight on my team for majority of the game (though got taken out when I caught Lunala).

025: Wishiwashi

wishiwashisoloformwishiwashischoolform

The last Pokemon of the post, we have our Water type Wishiwashi and it’s a VERY strange addition to the metagame.  So Wishiwashi is unique in that it doesn’t actually evolve, but its ability, Schooling has it change into this beast that even beats out Gyarados!  Sadly there’s a catch, once its HP goes below half, it becomes the solo form and its stats are sheer embarassment, where its stats altogether are even worse than Sunkern (the previous holder of weakest Pokemon with total base stats).  I could see the School form opening a battle with power and destruction, but once its HP goes and enters its Solo form, you might as well just put it away.  Risk/Reward basically!

NEXT TIME, GETTING MORE INTERESTING!~

 

Morning Musume ’16 – Sexy Cat no Enzetsu/Mukidashi de Mukiatte/Sou Janai November 21, 2016

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 6:17 am

sexycat

Track Listing

  1. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu
  2. Mukidashi de Mukiatte
  3. Sou Janai
  4. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu (Instrumental)
  5. Mukidashi de Mukiatte (Instrumental)
  6. Sou Janai (Instrumental)

1. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu

Opening the single, we have Sexy Cat which stirred up some speculations at how “sexy” the song would actually come off and this song is more playful than anything else.  As usual, the saxophones really add some depth to the song and interestingly enough it works with Sakura, Fukuchan, and Duu (who are the leads of the song).  It’s a pretty cool song and just hearing the group is making all kinds of happy.  I will say the trio of leads are pretty impressive overall and the rest of the members pull their weight.

2. Mukidashi de Mukiatte

The 2nd A-side (the last revealed), Mukidashi is pretty much straight up EDM for them, but unlike past endeavors, I think the arrangers wanted to keep things a bit more simplistic and straightforward and honestly, it worked for them.  Each of the members have a solo line somewhere (except Haachel for some reason).  Even though I don’t have much to say about it, I really enjoyed the track the most of the single…a great dance track for the group to have!

3. Sou Janai

I guess you can say that the 3rd A-side is also classified as an EDM song, but the song is a little more focused on members here, specifically Maria who is the lead of the track means it’s also the first where a 12th Gen members actually has spotlight in a song!  Duu, Fukuchan, Ayumi, Odasaku, and Maachan also have lines throughout so it’s not all just her.  The song itself is growing on me and Maria sounds good (finally training is paying off).

As the last release as Momusu ’16, I feel this single did a whole lot better than their last single by giving us some exciting tracks and some spotlight on members who haven’t really been getting any.  I do think the space from Riho and Zukki has been covered for now and with the future really pointing towards a 13th Gen, I can oly wonder what’s in store for 2017

 

ANGERME – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Mode” Original Soundtrack November 10, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:54 am

mode

Track Listing

  1. MODE
  2. Sakura no Uta
  3. Hanako no Uta
  4. Aiko no Uta
  5. Kayo no Uta
  6. Michiko no Uta
  7. Believe in Me
  8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku
  9. Fashion Magazine

1. MODE

Opening the play is the main theme of the play and it’s quite a nice change of pace, giving more of a happy-go-lucky arrangement.  I do like Ayacho & Kamiko having the opening lines then the rest of the group (and other members involved in the play) kind of going between lines and being back-up.  Decent track and a nice main theme!

2. Sakura no Uta

It seems majority of the release is solos starting with one from Kanana.  Unlike the breezy feels I got from the theme, Kana’s solo track has much of a more lighthearted, but silly arrangement, though it is weird mixing it with Kana’s more mature vocals which surprise me a lot here!  It is pretty short though barely going over a minute in length, but it’s quirky I suppose.

3. Hanako no Uta

Next up is Rikako’s solo song for the play and she gets a song that feels like a Venetian Waltz, but that’s actually pretty cool meaning that the OST has variety going on!  That said, while Rikako isn’t the best singer in ANGERME, her higher tone has a nice light flair that accentuates the song itself and she adds some cool things like rolling her notes here and there and going into a chest tone.  Interesting track, but one that worked for Rikako.

4. Aiko no Uta

It is strange we get two waltz tracks, but this one is a Rinapuu solo!  Coming after Rikako’s track, Aiko no Uta in comparison is a little more youthful sounding and it helps that Rina’s vocals are also light and bright.  It feels like she’s getting so much better in line delivery and her high note at the end was very nice (almost reminding me of her high note in “Umaku Ienai”).  I do think it doesn’t really set itself too far apart from the previous track, but I enjoyed it just for Rina.

5. Kayo no Uta

I was surprised that Momona even got a solo track here as she was just added to the group quite shortly before the stageplay happened.  Her song changes things up and gives a bit of a bossa nova vibe here.  While she’s probably the greenest of the group and has a bit of a long road to catching up, it’s an OK track for her and doesn’t ask too much from her.

6. Michiko no Uta

The last of the ___Uta songs, we finally end up with a solo from Moe.  Surprised that of them songs, this is the only ballad amongst them.  I have to say ever since she joined ANGERME, Kamiko is a strong singer and one of the most impressive voices at the start!  The tune might not be in the original side of things, but it definitely showcased Moe’s great vocals!

7. Believe in Me

Next is a track that featured Ayaka on her own!  I kind of liked that the song moved into something like that could be easily chantable in performances with the beat as punched up as it is.  I do still think Ayacho’s voice is shaky and somewhat struggles with longer notes, but I do like its upbeat lyrics and sound.

8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku

The other song that features everyone, Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku initially reminds me of “MODE” because of the similar upbeat sound, but it does stick out a little bit.  Though this definitely feels like a musical track because the arrangement almost sounds cheap to me with the sort-a 90’s-esque CASIO-pop feel.  There is a whole lot of Ayacho in this as well so that’s here nor there for me.  Overall, it’s ok but nothing too special.

9. Fashion Magazine

Then we have our final track (which, random fact, was the initial name for the stageplay before they settled into Mode).  The song is sung by Ayacho, Kanana, and Takechan!  I’m not sure what genre this would be under, but it has a bit more of a pop/rock/synth feel.  It is a pretty quirky song and the trio sound great together even if Ayaka has most lines (as usual).  OK song, but once again could’ve been more memorable?

 

 

As the preview release before the DVD+CD drops, ANGERME’s Mode stageplay OST does seem like a little more effort was put into it (at least more than I thought originally) and for the most part was a nice release.  Of course there are songs that I could live without, but there wasn’t as many complaints here as there were with “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa”.  I just hope the rerelease will include solo tracks for the remaining ANGERME members.

 

Namie Amuro – Dear Diary/Fighter November 1, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 4:23 am

deardiary

Track Listing

  1. Dear Diary
  2. Fighter
  3. Dear Diary -Instrumental-
  4. Fighter -Instrumental-

1. Dear Diary

It feels like its been a while sine we’ve gotten a straight-up ballad (“HERO” was close, but it was more upbeat the longer it went).  That said, Dear Diary is a surprisingly grand sounding ballad with a lot of strings and piano strung throughout its arrangement.  It is pretty much to the books as far as ballads go and it’s a little bit like something she’s done before, but it’s nice to see this kind of song return!

2. Fighter

I was happy to see that Namie is still sticking to her upbeat style of recent because Fighter is actually more of the exciting dance/EDM drive that she had back in “_genic”.  Though the song is entirely sung in English so there’s the little bit with the accent going on, but it doesn’t drive me away from this edgy dance track!

Seeing as both songs are tied to the Death Note movie that came out in Japan, I felt this was a suitable single but not quite on the level that “HERO” is on.  Both songs to me feel like they’re staples to Namie’s current sound and while we haven’t had a song like Dear Diary in a while, it still felt like more of the same we’ve been getting.  Overall, not bad, but not groundbreaking.