Kurayami Monogatari

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Mai Kuraki – delicious way September 17, 2008

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 6:32 pm
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deliciousway

Track Listing

  1. delicious way
  2. Love, Day After Tomorrow
  3. Secret of my heart
  4. Stepping ∞ Out
  5. Baby Tonight~You & Me~
  6. Can’t get enough~gimme your love~
  7. NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP
  8. Stay by my side
  9. Everything’s All Right
  10. happy days
  11. Kimi to no Jikan

1. delicious way

Already we start with a pretty upbeat track.  As it is the title opening track it actually was really catchy.  With a pretty safe beat and Mai’s overall soothing vocals.  The only problem was them background vocals that sounded quite off to me.  I want to say it’s less R&B and leaning more to a pop side.  Why is there a rap section?  Oh well.  A great 1st track.

2. Love, Day After Tomorrow

Now, we enter the debut single from Mai and this is another one of those (I hate BKGD singers) moments.  Mai tries for a deeper tone and she kind of fails being flat and a little boring.  The chorus is entirely in English, but Mai does very little to make herself standout amongst the crowd of other singers.  I do like the R&B music though.

3. Secret of my heart

A little more slower than the previous two, Mai sounds a lot more better here.  The only problem was this song was so boring to me.  There was just nothing to stand out and it was a single for gosh sakes.  There was just no excitement here.  I do like all the synth usage though.

4. Stepping ∞ Out

Taking a more urban feel, this song was another failed track.  Just like “Secret of my heart” this was just so boring and fillerish.  This was just not needed and c’mon Mai, I know you can do so much better, I mean seriously this was just trash.

5. Baby Tonight~You & Me~

Finally, there’s actual hope to the album.  It’s another slower R&B track, but being very basic and pretty soothing.  There’s some interesting stuff like the snapping of fingers that makes the beat.  Mai sounds pretty good singing it in English too which is great.  Soothing for sure.

6. Can’t get enough~gimme your love~

Sadly, we go back to poopy BKGD singers and very dry arrangement of music.  The only interesting thing is that Mai’s voice is either under light vocoder or is being layered.  That is the only thing that kept me interested in the song.  *sigh* Oh yea, rapping section = poor

7. NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP

My favorite single A-side pops up and is still is a better track off this album.  Interesting sounds and taking a part from an 80’s track this song oozes so good.  Mai sounds so mellow and very honest in her vocals.  Mostly a hybrid of English and Japanese I kind of thought her English was alright.  If she sung it now I bet she’d sound perfect.  The whole rapping section between her and Michael Africk was kind random, but kinda kool at the same time….Oh yea, he’s quite the hottie too.

8. Stay by my side

Another A-side comes by and I’m still on edge if I really enjoy it or not.  At one side I do like the smoothness of it all, but on the other side it seems kind of stressed for her and very uncomfortable.  I’m really starting to hate the shuffling and them damn BKGD singers.  I should get used to them though.

9. Everything’s All Right

Good thing this song is on here.  It’s upbeat and has a positive message mostly evident in the chorus.  I wish it was just her again since I’m getting angry.  Still it is her best B-side and I’m happy it’s the only one chosen for it.  Her English is so good here though.  I praise that in her.

10. happy days

I didn’t think much of it until I had to hear it fully and once again it’s very bland and so boring.  For being a song called happy days it’s pretty damn depressing for one.  Whoa, then after the chorus it gets to a pretty frantic part before going soft on us.  That was pretty cool, but I wish it had more pizzaz to it.  Kind of alright song all in all.

11. Kimi to no Jikan

And we finish off the album with another boring R&B ballad.  Except this time it sounds weird.  The piano has some pretty strange chords.  I guess for being the final track, it does its job, but other than that it’s another R&B track that you can pass up entirely.

Tracks Recommended

  • NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP
  • delicious way
  • Everything’s All Right
  • Baby Tonight~You & Me~

Song of Avoidance

  • Stepping ∞ Out

There was bits and pieces I really enjoyed about Mai-K’s debut.  Sadly the rest was so overused and just so bland.  Seriously, she needs to not be so dependent on the BKGD vocalists, it’s really bad.  R&B once again is the majority of the album, luckily it doesn’t stand high to Utada IMO.  If you really like R&B you might find yourself liking this, but for me…just a handful of songs will do for me.

 

Tsukiko Amano – HEAVEN’S GATE

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 5:39 pm
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heavensgate

Track Listing

  1. HEAVEN’S GATE
  2. Seven to Date

1. HEAVEN’S GATE

It’s definitly a more grittier track than previous “Howling”.  There’s a more chaotic presentation and it doesn’t really suit what I think it should have been.  To me, there was just too much going on in this song for me to enjoy it fully.  It’s my least favorite A-side of this era.

2. Seven to Date

To me her B-sides always make me smile since they are mostly upbeat and more positive and this doesn’t disappoint.  There’s some interesting choices for instruments.  I mean there’s sax in it which is always nice to hear.  The piano melody sounds so good here too, Happy Moment.  Tsukiko sounds a little rushed in the verses, but it’s nothing bad.

 

 

Alright, I got tired of this single too fast.  Both songs didn’t really stick out even though Seven to Date had a great instrumentation.  HEAVEN’S GATE was just a hot mess and probably would have been better left off of “ZERO” worst single of the era.

 

Perfume – Fan Service (Sweet)

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 3:31 am

Track Listing

  1. Chocolate Disco
  2. Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow

1. Chocolate Disco

Wow, this was a very surprising song.  Not only it’s a holiday-themed track (Valentine’s Day) it’s also very upbeat and quite cute.  Repetition is the name of the game of the track and to be honest it doesn’t bother me.  I do love everything the song had to offer with it’s sparkly synths and catchy beats.  As simplistic as it is, it’s one of my favorites from the trio.

2. Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow

Before appearing on the single it was an internet single, which is pretty interesting from my point of view.  I never really paid much attention to this song since it was pretty much covered by the sheer awesomeness that “Chocolate Disco” is.  A true wintry electropop track, I kind of found it strange and kinda disappointing.  Either way I would have left this song off of GAME.

 

 

So Fan Service was right.  Both songs are so Perfume.  Chocolate Disco is probably one of their best tracks in their career.  TWPS however wasn’t anything special and it just bored me.  Somehow this era will be a pretty darn good one if you ask me.  Though I already know it is.

 

Utada Hikaru – Hikari

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 3:16 am
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hikariut

Track Listing

  1. Hikari
  2. Hikari (PLANITb Mix)
  3. Hikari (Godson Mix)
  4. Hikari (Original Karaoke)

1. Hikari

This is where I started to think that she was looking for a much different sound.  It’s oddly soothing and quite a nice track from Hikki.  Used as the main song for the Japanese release of Kingdom Hearts, I thought it fit the game quite well.  I think it’s definitly one of her trademark songs and it’s pretty obvious as well.  THe only beef was that the PV that came with this song…WTF for washing dishes the ENTIRE song. Failure!

2. Hikari (PLANITb Mix)

As if “traveling’s” remix was super long.  Hikari’s is shorter, at 5 minutes and that’s probably a really good thing…I felt that I wanted more out of this great remix, still.  It’s got such a club-friendly beat and made the perfect opening track to Kingdom Hearts.  I’m still liking the “Simple and Clean” version more IMO.  Still an awesome remix.  The ending was pretty sweet as well.

3. Hikari (Godson Mix)

And here we have a nod to her past works with this remix.  Taking a more R&B take to the song, I thought it was a bit strange since everyone is more used to the tracks above.  Seems like it was just tacked on the single for no apparant reason and took any emotion that was in it away.  Nice try but this remix failed.

 

 

This single was definitly a turning point in Utada’s career.  It brought a more emotional state of mind from Hikki.  It’s tie-in will probably be never forgotten as it is a huge series.  Hikari known in the asian countries really put up standards to putting in songs into video games and still is great.  As for the single the two more well-known tracks definitly sounded great but the Godson Mix should’ve been kept out.

 

Koda Kumi – grow into one

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 2:43 am
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Track Listing

  1. Teaser feat. Clench & Blistah
  2. real Emotion
  3. BOY FRIEND?
  4. Your only one
  5. one
  6. One night romance
  7. 1000 no Kotoba
  8. S.O.S ~sound of silence~
  9. m・a・z・e
  10. Ranhansha
  11. Pearl Moon
  12. Nasty girl
  13. To be one
  14. love across the ocean
  15. 1000 no Kotoba (Orchestra Version) (Bonus Track)

1. Teaser feat. Clench & Blistah

We open the album with this introduction, which isn’t so good and is also one that doesn’t have a complete version of.  You can really tell the whole urban feel with this once track.  Somehow the rappers bother me and the so-called chorus was kinda strange.  Not a great start.

2. real Emotion

Then we enter our album fully with what is her most well-known track in her career.  It’s definitly pop here and very smooth and sexy as well.  Though I’m more used to her English version this was the original and it sounds just as exciting and vibrant.  Kumi, fantastic track.

3. BOY FRIEND?

Back to her roots of R&B this track pops up and you know it isn’t that bad.  Little snippets of English appear here and there with Kumi showing much sexyness with her vocals.  The synth is odd in the after-chorus but whatever, what can you do?  Somehow eventually against the other songs this becomes quite boring and fillerish.

4. Your only one

Flute opening is super duper here.  It’s a very slow and sensual R&B track.  Kumi tries to use her lower register and actually fails becuase she’s amazingly flat.  Then she enters the bridge where things change mood-wise as it gets kinda magical.  I found this to be another bland track.

5. one

Oh yea, this is a pretty aggressive urban pop track.  I love how the beat flows relentlessly with Kumi, but I felt she was covered up in the verses.  Kumi does use her lower register, but I think she did quite well implementing it in and around the track.  The rapping section could have been left out IMO….still one of the cooler tracks.

6. One night romance

So take “one” calm it down, but keep the beats and we get this track.  It’s kinda of strange with the keyboarded e.guitar quips written in it.  I found it to be a little disappointing because of how similar it was to the previous song.  It flowed well, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t phased by it. oh yea ~Run rye romance~ your not kiddin anyone Kumi…

7. 1000 no Kotoba

Our first full-fledged ballad comes in and it’s still one of her best ballads she’s sang.  Beautifully sang with powerful emotions.  There’s some R&B written in, but I think it fits the persona of the song.  Made a great track for the Final Fantasy series.  I love the acoustic guitar also just to point it out.

8. S.O.S ~sound of silence~

Odd transition leads us into this funky track.  It starts with a bang into some cool synth sounds.  I do like her more beat-oriented tracks and this isnt an exception.  A different kind of R&B track and I really like it.  Though some of it sounds like Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Really Matter” it didn’t matter since the song didn’t stay too long on that melody.  Sweet track.

9. m・a・z・e

Ahhh, 2nd single.  I still think its so different from the other tracks on the album.  There’s something bout the song that I really like, maybe not the excessive yelling in the chorus, but everything else is just fine.   I just wish she wasn’t at the top of her lungs…Took away from a good portion of the song.

10. Ranhansha

The opening to Ranhansha was so cool, but led into some boring territory.  To me this is just a watered-down “m・a・z・e” .  Though she doesn’t scream in the chorus, thats good.  I just kind of found myself not paying attention with this song, though I do love the strings playing around in the middle of the track.

11. Pearl Moon

When I read this title, I thought of two things….one that it’s gonna be like “Moon Crying” and two that it would be another ballad.  I do must say that this was a pretty good ballad, putting itself up there with “1000 no Kotoba”.  Though it is just piano which is pretty damn good. 

12. Nasty girl

Alright, Southern sounds fill this track and it was the biggest no-no on this album.  Even with the fun-sounding piano and synth it just was not the best song.  Kumi sounds pretty good, I’ll give her that.  Anyone that does anything near country music is just asking for bad criticism.

13. To be one

What is up with 4 tracks having the word “one” in it?  Anyway this song sounds so H!P to me.  I wouldn’t say it’s bad but perhaps too usual.  This would be the first track of many to have a very fun and lively composition and reminds me of later tracks “girls” and “Lady Go!” so I guess this would be a predecessor.

14. love across the ocean

Then as we get onto the first single of this era.  Love across the ocean actually sounds more weaker on the album than on the single.  I also compare this to “m・a・z・e” once again which is not a good sign.  The only thing that separates the two is the guitar solo in this song is epicly awesome.  Wish there was more to this.

15. 1000 no Kotoba (Orchestra Version)

Alright, our bonus track is actually 1000 no Kotoba but given a more orchestrated feel hence the title.  The arrangement is so magnificent and beautiful.  I mean I thought the original sounded good, but C;mon this is taking it to a entirely new level.  It really did make the album end on a great note.

Tracks Recommended

  • 1000 no Kotoba (Orchestra Version)
  • one
  • real Emotion
  • Pearl Moon
  • 1000 no Kotoba

Song of Avoidance

  • Your only one

Kumi’s 2nd offering was so much better than “affection”.  All of the songs had something interesting to it, even though some of it were similar to one another.  All of the ballads were beyond great and stood out a lot.  Also with the tie-in to Final Fantasy X-2 this album went out like hotcakes.  Way to go Kumi!!!