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Best-of 2008: Singles December 31, 2008

Filed under: ~Best of 2008~ — solarblade @ 5:14 am

2008 was definitly the year for new sounds and endeavors and the birth of this site of course, so I’m going to rundown through the best of singles in the first post

Best A-side

5. Rina Aiuchi – Sugao no Mama


This year has been Rina’s year of releasing things.  What really surprised me was how boring most of the releases were until Sugao no Mama came out.  Not only is it the only upbeat track released this year.  It beats out all the tracks this year with it’s rock style that I’ve personally missed since “PLAYGIRL”.  What a great way to end the year off.

4. Rie fu – romantic


Rie fu pulled a fast one over us by releasing romantic, a devious little dance number produced by Taku of m-flo.  Why is it so surprising?  Well, Rie fu is usually that artist who does soft pop/folk songs.  So when news came around that romantic was a dance track, it was heard all over the place.  What got me was how cool and collected Rie fu was in this genre and definitly memorable by all means.

3. Koda Kumi – TABOO


Not exactly the best year of releases either for Koda Kumi, but when this bombshell of a dance track was released, everyone perked their ears up and definitly listened and/or watched TABOO.  Kumi being the queen of controversy once again (no pun intended) released the inner sex devient she is by getting more lesbian than ever and throwing two guys kissing for kicks.  Song itself was definity something Americanized and quite hot! 



AAA really hit it off with this dark tune, ZERØ.  Sounds of anguish and fear really interested me into the song as well as the accompanying PV.  I think we all know now that Urata is the sexiest member and totally should be gay for us.  Still, ZERØ is just that good with it’s rock sound mixed with synth sounds

1. Ami Suzuki – ONE


Yay, So my number one A-side was definitly Ami’s first single for “Supreme Show”.  It’s definitly the “FREE FREE” of this year with aggressive tones and vocoder craziness, it’s also one of the first song that I like with the PV even though Ami can’t dance worth crap.  Still one of the best this year.

Best B-side

5. BONNIE PINK – Pump It up!


Lots of artists broke through barriers this year and Kaori is no exception.  She also broke out of her shell doing a great dance track, Pump It Up!  What made it work was all of the small add-ons like ~Let me hear you~ and such.  What a great way to begin this top 5

4. Kalafina – serenato


Maybe it’s the Enya-like sound that I wasn’t expecting from this B-side, but serenato is seriously Kalafina’s best song to date as well, which is just as surprising because all of their releases so far have been really good.  Even further is that it’s a winter song so that made it more nicer.

3. portable – Boku no Bunshin


Probably surprising to many people, but portable really caught me in their webs with this semi-aggressive J-tek song.  Like the whole roboticness of the verses to the great aggressive beats in the beginning and end, adding in they are an indies group makes this very intriguing.  Here’s hoping they get big!

2. alan – Kagome


Another alan B-side?  Yep even better than “My Stage”, Kagome really put it in as the more powerful B-side than “Kaze no Tegami”.  I mean she’s always incorporating Chinese elements in all her singles, but this one won me over with the combination of the pop/rock theme.  Kagome is a great B-side

1. Perfume – edge


Yes, ever since it’s leak, edge has and still is one of my favorite Perfume songs. The song itself is a little odd singing about death and stuff, but add in the Nakata touch, that seems to be gone and drowned by the sweet beats. 

Best Cover Art

5. Tsukiko Amano – ZERO no Chouritsu



ZERO no Chouritsu’s cover begins this list because of how pretty gothic it looks.  I’m not sure why, but the nature mixed with Tsukiko’s dark fashion sense worked and how the title of the track is vertically written.  I really liked this cover

4. T.M.Revolution – resonance


Maybe not as grand or beautiful as others,  but the way those colorful wires are attatching and connecting to each other is a great thing, especially with the 3 other covers for this single, it is a nice cover.

3. Aira Mitsuki – China Discotica


You know it was going to be on this list.  Aira’s cover for her debut on a major label was amazingly random and yet conveyed that randomness throughout the A-side.  I gotta say though, the mannequins have bigger boobies than she does >>;

2. HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR – FLASHBACK/Komorebi no Uta


I really love the light/darkness cover and how many opposites are really going on like arm positions the stuff on the hill and the eyes.  Talk about freaky but awesomely great.  Definitly better than the last two covers this year.

1. BONNIE PINK – Kane wo Narashite


I really like BONNIE PINK’s covers a lot and this year she didn’t disappoint, even though this was basically her only release this year.  She looks really nice in mid-air and those rainbow feathers…bitch I want some seriously.  Great cover!!!

Best Single Overall

5. Anna Tsuchiya – cocoon


cocoon really made me appreciate Anna so much more.  All of the songs are great rock tracks especially the title track and “u”.  This single should be in everyone’s repetoire since it represents the best of Anna other than her Spin Aqua stuff.

4. GIRL NEXT DOOR – Drive away/Shiawase no Jouken


My obvious favorite single from this newly joined group got me hooked on them very quickly.  Both original tracks have such great energy and CHISA being all happy added more fun.  There was one song and it was the “maximizor remix” so other than that this was another great single

3. MAXIMUM THE HORMONE – Tsume Tsume Tsume/「F」


In a world that was being covered by J-tek, MTH decided to shoot out of the water and release the double A-sided single.  All 3 songs were crazy rock and yet, more complex than previous releases which showed the group was and is getting better.  I wasn’t complaining at all.

2. Kalafina – fairytale


Kalafina definitly surprised me with their winter single, fairytale.  All the chanting and soft sounds through both “fairytale” and “serenato” were soothing to the ears and brought me to expect more from them.  For kicks, they also threw in the instrumental to “sprinter” which was a risky but cool move.

1. Perfume – love the world


What?  you knew this was coming and for sure, it is to me their best single this year.  love the world was full of J-tek goodness with the a-side being all classy and bleepy, you couldn’t help but love it to death.  edge was what took over the single altogether.  We really weren’t expecting another aggressive track, but this totally made and even included an extended version of “edge” for people who love it that much AKA me.

Worst A-side

5. chatmonchy – Somaru Yo


chatmonchy should really stick to more upbeat tracks because the A-side of this single was of terrible issues.  Mostly Eriko’s vocals is what killed the song, she does not do ballads well enough.  Yet, they have worst songs I’ve heard.  Sad huh?

4. capsule – JUMPER


I really love the album version of it, but the single/analog version of it is terrible in my opinion.  Like the pitch movement and the other small changes bothered me like crazy that I had to delete it.  I mean is it really shocking that I don’t like it? 



Yeesh, a cover making the list?  Yeah…HandMC’s cover of a T.M.Revolution track was definitly not the smartest move on the groups career.  HOT LIMIT sounded watered down for them and lacked the energy the original had.  Even the PV wasn’t special to me (even though Takanori is in it).

2. Hitomi Shimatani – Nakitai Nara


Nakitai Nara is basically one boring song.  The only thing that really saved it was the fact Hitomi’s vocals are super nice.  It still one of her worst ballads in her career…(it was this one or “AnHnWAnNWKnHnwKnNW”)

1. alan – Megumi no Ame


Yeah, an alan A-side failing.  I swear, this is the worst A-side she has had so far and that’s saying something.  It just lacked any interest from alan altogether.  Overusing the ballad card has its payback.

Worst B-side

5. Ai Otsuka – H20


I’m probably the only one who didn’t like this B-side.  It’s a little too similar to songs like “Superman” and “U-Boat” which both songs aren’t exactly high on my list either, but this song was just annoying to no end. 

4. Mami Kawada – Ame


Mami’s first single that I listened to was an experience, sadly that B-side Ame was not in top shape.  It felt strange hearing her warp and hit these sour notes.  Yea, I’ve gradually learned to hate the song since the initial review and this is becoming a very icky track to me.



I tried to get into this song, but CANDY was inexplicibly terrible to my ears.  Like how she says CANDYYYYY is so ugh *shivers*  I rather would’ve had CANDY been left and thrown to the trash heaps because that’s what it is.

2. Morning Musume – Sono Bamen de Bibbicha Ikenai Jan!


I really wished the next failure wasn’t on this single.  “Resonant Blue” is such a great track, but it’s B-side was so uberly bad.  Like after the previous 3 singles which had good B-sides, they had to idol pop this track so badly.  Like I wanted to barf a little when I heard it.

1. Perfume – Negai


Negai will be hailed as Perfume’s worst Nakata track ever.  I mean this beats out “Sweet Donuts” at being bad.  They’ve tried doing J-tek ballads once before and that came out well.  Well, I have no idea what happened but “Negai” is amazingly boring.  Only saving grace is the piano ending.

Worst Single Overall

1. Koda Kumi – MOON


MOON overall was a pretty safe single.  Unlike her other two 4-A-sided singles, “4 hot wave” and “FREAKY”, this was definitly the failure between the three.  Moon Crying was a good ballad, but not too memorable, Lady Go! was just like her other happy pop songs, Once Again was reggae which I don’t like honestly and That Ain’t Cool is a sorry mistake of a collaboration.

4. alan – Megumi no Ame


This was alan’s worst single IMO as well.  Like I said, Megumi no Ame was way too boring for my needs and “Namida” though better was still not on the likes of her other tracks.  Who knew water could be so damn boring.

3. Hitomi Shimatani – Ame no Hi ni wa Ame no Naka wo Kaze no Hi ni wa Kaze no Naka wo


Definitly Hitomi’s worst edition of a single.  Other than the horrendously long name that came with the A-side, the B-side had a long name too and there was a remix with SOFFet.  Both songs aren’t very good or even memorable though.

2. BoA – Vivid


Did anyone else think this single screamed bland?  Yeah, Vivid seemed to be rushed in very fast because the songs lacked any interest from BoA.  Not only it was near the after release of “THE FACE” she performed it on the tour.  Definitly sucky-ish.

1. misono – Kazoku no Hi


No way…after the great album just before this single, I was expecting more rock stuff.  All we ended up was with a weird A-side.  An 8 minute ballad which bored me to deaf.  “music letter” which was the only good thing on here and a 3 minute TV version of Aburazemi which sounded like country music.  Definitly the worst bunch of songs to put on a single.

Worst Art Cover

5. misono – Kazoku no Hi


Why is she in a wedding dress.  Seriously, this was one fugly looking photo from misono.  Like the song isn’t really about marriage, so that makes the cover seem irrelevent. 

4. Aira Mitsuki – ROBOT HONEY


Aira, Aira, Aira….Why did you have to make this cover in plaid of all things?  I really dislike the whole thng and well the text is the only thing that actually stood out.  What a poor choice….well “Darling Wondering Staring/STAR FRUITS SURF RIDER” sucked too.  hmmm. 



Yeah, makeup and Mika do not work together hence this outrageous cover.  Even the comedian group looks out of place.  Seriously Mika stop looking anorexic because you sorta do bb.  I love the guitar pick as the emblem of the single.

2. Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love


Taking a shot from the PV, this was just a crap cover.  Like the cover itself looks like someone can easily take….in the 80’s!!!  Hikki, what happened to the cool cover arts you had?

1. Anna Tsuchiya – Virgin Cat


Virgin Cat wins worse cover easily.  Eww, like what the hell was on her mind doing this shot?  I don’t wanna see her in the position and with the tail it’s quite freaky.   xD  Yea, worst cover this year.


day after tomorrow – Dear Friends/It’s My Way December 30, 2008

Filed under: day after tomorrow — solarblade @ 11:03 pm
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Track Listing

  1. Dear Friends
  2. It’s My Way
  3. Starry Heavens (Orchestra Version)
  4. Dear Friends (Instrumental)
  5. It’s My Time (Instrumental)
  6. Starry Heavens (Orchestra Version) (Instrumental)

1. Dear Friends

I’m hearing jingle bells again…I really don’t like where it was going until the tempo sped up instantly in the chorus and then slowed down again when the verses started.  The guitar riffs reminded me of their other track “Soshite Boku ni Dekiru Koto” and some of GND’s stuff.  I still like the other than that.  Definitly wasn’t a song I was expecting from the title.

2. It’s My Way

I would’ve thought that this’d be the ballad, but I was wrong once again.  It’s more of the same pop/rock found in the song.  misono sounds a little nasally, but it’s usual. There’s less going on and a bit more simplistic in arrangement, but still a good song from GND….I mean dat. xD   

3. Starry Heavens (Orchestra Version)

I wish misono resang this because it’s just awkward having no changes in vocals but add strings.  Even then it isn’t a full orchestra version because there’s still guitar.  No synths though, just those two things and drums.  That’s not really a full change.  Even then, I’m still not fully into “Starry Heavens”.  I do love the guitar solo with the strings, however.



dat….where’s our album?  This double A-side was definitly the upbeat one and the one that really is similar to GND’s stuff which I blame the keyboardist for making it all sound the same.  Anyway without the assumption, this is a good single overall


dream – STAY ~now I’m here~

Filed under: dream — solarblade @ 10:31 pm
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Track Listing

  1. STAY ~now I’m here~
  2. solve (83 Key Remix)
  3. Our Time (Kid Vicious Remix)
  4. Our Time (Dub’s Floor Dub)
  5. STAY ~now I’m here~ (Instrumental)

1. STAY ~now I’m here~

I guess, with dream’s next single, they would’ve tooken a more high octance route.  What we ended up with a ballad track that’s really different for them.  Ditching the trance/eurobeat for a more soother sound was a great idea.  Yu, Mai, and Kana sound really good singing together.  Now this is what they should’ve donw for their first album.



STAY ~now I’m here~ is by far my favorite non danceable track from them.  Keeping it tame and pretty I was pleasantly surprised at it all.  They need more singles like this.


Shoko Nakagawa – Magic Time

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 9:01 pm
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Track Listing

  1. your “Magic Time”
  2. Spiral
  3. through the looking glass
  4. Tsuzuku Sekai
  5. Sherbet Iro no Jikan
  6. Macaroon☆Holiday
  7. Brand-new day
  8. Shiny GATE
  9. Fuyu no Yuuenchi
  10. Kirei à la Mode
  11. Ivy
  12. Sorairo Days -Tengen Toppa Edition-

1. your “Magic Time”

A kind of melancholic pinao melody opens up the album, and it sounds like it’s being played on a record hence the crappy quality of the song.  At least it’s a nice intro to the album.

2. Spiral

Already from the start, Shoko yells out the lyrics and I actually quite like how she sounds, not too nasally or squeaky.  She’s taking up rock for Spiral and I think it fits her style IMO, it’s so much better than her debut which was dance/pop.

3. through the looking glass

I guess I was asking for too much, because she ups the cute for what’s the only B-side on the album.  It’s even before the accompanying A-side which is quite strange.  This is definitly an girly anime opening track and I’m not fond of it at all. 

4. Tsuzuku Sekai

That’s why I liked this track so much more than “through the looking glass”.  Not only Shoko sounds majorly more mature, she’s also under the rock genre again.  It’s loud and in your face and it’s just fast lol.  It is my favorite A-side of the era, so I was happy it was on it.

5. Sherbet Iro no Jikan

We calm down after the crazy ride, with one Shoko’s cutesy pop tracks.  I don’t like how she repeats things so many times in the chorus, but everything is really cool.  There’s a voice playing in the back during the verses, but the whole wintry feeling is apparant and I kind of like it at the end. 

6. Macaroon☆Holiday

What a strange titled song….It seemed to combine the rock sounds in “Tsuzuki Sekai” with the cuteness of “Sherbet Iro no Jikan”.  That mix just does not work with Shoko…I don’t know why, but this song just seemed weak on the album and didn’t exactly catch my interest, maybe it will with more listens, but right now, it’s not high on my favorites.

7. Brand-new day

There’s too many artist that title their tracks like this.  I was surprised that she reused “Tsuzuku Sekai”.   Just kidding, but the song sounds way too similar and that’s not a bad thing.  I actually like rock and mature Shoko than the cuter side, so I naturally I like even if it might be a filler track.  Shoko though, high notes are just not her niche in rock songs x.x

8. Shiny GATE

Yikes, her voice at the beginning was so grating to the ears and it continues on everytime the chorus appears.  The music isn’t entirely bad, but this time we can blame Shoko’s voice for it.  To think, this was an A-side….such a bad idea.

9. Fuyu no Yuuenchi

Wow, this is a ballad?  Yep, the album’s promotional PV and song was a shocker to me.  I expecting a happy track, but I’m quite pleased with what I got.  Shoko sounds really good doing the ballad stuff as well.  I think it’s one of her best tracks (of what I heard). 

10. Kirei à la Mode

Add an actual beat and you get the final A-side of the era.  Shoko once again sounds really good and is different from her usual stuff.  You don’t exactly hear an actual band, piano or strings in one song, so it’s a nice change of pace.  Maybe it’s a little bit of soul, but it’s a cool track

11. Ivy

Ivy I would’ve thought it was a ballad, but it turns out to be this poppy track.  Once again I had trouble listening because of Shokotan’s high voice and pushing the cuteness over the line.  It’s good when your down in the dumps and need a happy song, but other words this is too sugar-coated for me.

12. Sorairo Days -Tengen Toppa Edition-

I don’t understand the whole change thing, because I haven’t heard the original yet, but this is very dark and more hardcore than I would’ve thought she’d be capable of.  I really like this track as well, showing me that I’m a hardcore mature Shoko fan.

Tracks Recommended

  • Fuyu no Yuuenchi
  • Tsuzuku Sekai
  • Spiral
  • Sherbet Iro no Jikan
  • Sorairo Days -Tengen Toppa Edition-

Song of Avoidance

  • Macaroon☆Holiday

Could you be really surprised?  I like some of the album and the rest can be burned in Hell for all I know.  Like her uber cute voice just irritates me to no end, while her more rockier persona is actually great.  She needs to stick with that.  Oh, her ballads are great too.  Magic Time was average for me ^_^


Kaya – Last Snow December 27, 2008

Filed under: Kaya — solarblade @ 7:46 pm
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Track Listing

  1. Last Snow
  2. Barairo no Hibi
  3. Perverse rendezvous (Regular only)
  4. Last Snow ~Kayaless Version~

1. Last Snow

Knowing Kaya before this probably helps because he is without the usual dance/techno fare we’re usually into.  First off, it’s a winter ballad, which has been done so many times this year already.  Second thing Kaya to me sounds a little different, using a more boyish sound than his usual deep tone.  I do like the fact it’s Kaya singing in it because it’s rare to hear this.  The music is pretty nice and I like the woodwind instrument.  Very pretty. 

2. Barairo no Hibi

Barairo no Hibi on the other hand is more upbeat and jazzy perhaps?  Now this is the Kaya I recognize and he sound really good.  I think there’s transitioning issues from the bridge to chorus because I think of how awkward the rhythm and Kaya’s singing just hit.  Still, I haven’t heard him do a jazzy track and this was otherwise pretty good.

3. Perverse rendezvous

 HERE’s where I’m used to Kaya’s stuff. Why is this only on the limited edition of the single, seriously it’s so good.  There’s tons of repetitive synth present and Kaya’s deeper vocals as well.  It isn’t aggressive as some of his other tracks, but this’ll is nice considering what else is on the single. 


Kaya’s winter single was something unexpected from my perspective because I’m used to his techno stuff, but this was a pretty single.  I mean a sweet ballad and a jazzy B-Side.  Even then it doesn’t beat the 2nd B-side which totally won me over.  It’s a good winter single. 





Masami Okui – INSANITY

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 6:29 pm
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Track Listing

  3. INSANITY (Off Vocal)
  4. TOTAL ECLIPSE (Off Vocal)


Like the track describes, it’s quite insane.  A crazy rock arrangement fluorishes and Masami’s vocals are amazing for a song like this.  It oddly reminds me of Nami Tamaki’s music a little bit, but more focused on the rock side of things rather than the synths.  I really liked the catchy chorus the most.  Definitly impressive.


TOTAL ECLIPSE is a bit slower than the A-side, but in reality it’s way better than “INSANITY”.  The verses have a eerie quality add in a male vocalist singing along with Masami and it just adds on more of this darker sound.  Middle in the song we get to hear how powerful Masami can get and wow, that’s something awesome. 



Masami Okui’s debut single under the Lantis label was hard rock and powerful.  Both songs were at different tempos, but they both are kickass tracks.  Though I love TOTAL ECLIPSE  a lot more. 



Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 6:11 pm
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Track Listing

  2. DRAGON FIRE (Instrumental)


I guess this is better.  I mean with the energy and all the brass found throughout, it’s pretty quirky.  The verses seems to be taken pretty strongly and I like everyone in it this time.  I found it very funny how they end the chorus on a super high note.  I love whoever is singing in the 2nd verse though.  It isn’t Nissy I don’t think.  Yukari perhaps?  I don’t know but she sounds great!



Ending the ATTACK era with DRAGON FIRE was great.  I love this song, even though it doesn’t surpass “BLOOD on FIRE” at all.  If I want to have a fun party-like atmosphere song, this would totally do it.


Utada Hikaru – Boku wa Kuma

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 6:03 pm
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Track Listing

  1. Boku wa Kuma
  2. Boku wa Kuma (Original Karaoke)

1. Boku wa Kuma

Seriously, this song shouldn’t be taken so seriously. It’s a downright Children’s Song and it’s pretty basic all-around.  It’s what Kuma is and isn’t and what it likes and doesn’t like, so it’s pretty easy to follow along.  A simple melody also occupies the song and it’s pretty cute and Hikki talks in French?  WTF.  I really like this short track for some reason, I get this track and start to hum along. 



Hikki, I wonder why you released this as an actual single and with the fact that it was mainly for kids.  She’s got some smart planning because I think it sold pretty well.  It’s an ok single but it needed a B-side IMO.



Anna Tsuchiya – BUBBLE TRIP/sweet sweet song

Filed under: Anna Tsuchiya — solarblade @ 5:55 pm
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Track Listing

  2. sweet sweet song


I guess since reviewing the album BUBBLE TRIP has caught on finally, but I still think it’s one of her weird tracks.  Not only does it strip from the rock, it’s amazingly poppy.  Even the lyrics are a bit questionable and uber strange like…how do bubbles trip?  Seriously…it’s not right.  Anna does sound alright, but doesn’t have the edge like “LUCY” had.

2. sweet sweet song

We do get a little more better with the other A-side, sweet sweet song.  t’s a more acoustically based and it quite calm and nice actually.  It does sound heavily Westernized, but it’s that reason why I like it because it sounds different from the usual punk rock stuff we get.  Awesome track.


Wait this is the same group who did Ami Suzuki’s “Bitter…”?  Adding dance beats and 3 extra minutes, the remix I guess does sound cooler once you get int it.  You can really hear the similarities between this and the other track they did.  There more piano presents as well as synths, but the opening is just too long.  If they shaved the instrumental parts, this would’ve been a way better track.



After the NANA persona wore off we get back to just Anna with this very odd single.  Both A-side were a dropoff and were basically pop tracks which is a little unusual for an artist like Anna.  sweet sweet song is the better one because well, it doesn’t have farfetched lyrics.  BUBBLE TRIP is alright though.  The remix albeit too long IMO was OK.


Shoko Nakagawa – Brilliant Dream

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 6:57 am
Tags: , ,

Track Listing

  1. Brilliant Dream
  2. CAT Life
  3. Brilliant Dream (Original Karaoke)
  4. Oedo wa Carnival!
  5. Oedo wa Carnival! (Original Instrumental)

1. Brilliant Dream

I’m questioning already if the song is anything good.  To be honest, I really love the synths here, but Shoko’s voice is a little less than good.  I wonder why, but her voice is a little nasally to me.  Brilliant Dream though can be good once you get used to it.  Yay for the synths though.

2. CAT Life

I thought it couldn’t get any crazier and yet it does.  The synths are being played at such a fast level and Shoko’s voice is even more nasally than normal.  This was definitly a song that I probably won’t listen to much.  It’s just so kiddy and H!P-ish….it’s pretty sad.

3. Oedo wa Carnival!

I didn’t think it couldnt get weirder, but then there’s this track.  Not because of the obvious Asian sounds conveying all over the track, but Shoko’s not even in it.  Some dude is singing it which is strange to have on a Shoko single.  Sadly, I actually like this track, it’s just that catchy and so unorthodox of her.



Shokotan’s debut honestly wasn’t that good.  I mean seriously two synth happy tracks with bad vocals and a random track just put in for lulz.  Seriously, I hope she kicks it up a notch for the next single because this was distasteful.