Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayumi Hamasaki – Rule/Sparkle February 24, 2009

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

rulesparkle

Track Listing

Version A

  1. Rule
  2. Sparkle
  3. GREEN (CMJK Spring Storm Mix)
  4. GREEN (Acoustic Orchestra version)
  5. Rule (80kid’z “No More Rule” mix)
  6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
  7. Rule -instrumental-
  8. Sparkle -instrumental-

Version B

  1. Rule
  2. Sparkle
  3. Days (8-bits of tears YMCK remix)
  4. Days (Acoustic Orchestra version)
  5. Rule (80kid’z “No More Rule” mix)
  6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
  7. Rule -instrumental-
  8. Sparkle -instrumental-

1. Rule

It’s been a while since we’ve actually had a hardcore rock track.  Rule definitly does not disappoint.  As a major tie-in to the upcoming movie, Dragonball it had to really energetic and full of life and Rule does it right in my opinion.  The sweet guitar riffs and Ayu’s strong performance made it a great listen.  It doesn’t hurt that there’s shirtless ninjas in the PV either.

2. Sparkle

Then again we haven’t a full trance track in a long while.  It’s got a more darker view that we usually don’t have with Ayu, so hearing this really excited me.  Ayu is taking a more quiet, mysterious singing route for the verses and gets loud and the music pulsates with great stuff.  I’m very surprised there’s no PV, but maybe it’ll have one when “NEXT LEVEL” comes out.

3a. GREEN (CMJK Spring Storm Mix)

Things start to get confusing when the next tracks pop up.  Versions A & C get the GREEN remixes.  Now the first remix of GREEN is definitly strange and took out the epic Chinese sounds and replaced it by robotic synths and a dance beat, it really does seem off the wall and unusual.  I think I’ll stick with the Original please.

3b. Days (8-bits of tears YMCK remix)

Oh hai, another on of my artists make an appearance.  If you don’t know already, YMCK is well-known for their chiptune/VG music which is popular with me.  This is definitly an original remix from in Ayu’s long list of remixes and it’s actually quite good.  Ayu does get her voice messed with, but that’s to fit the theme, but mostly it’s in the original state.  I love this remix.

4a. GREEN (Acoustic Orchestra version)

I really did miss the Acoustic Orchestra tracks.  She did it so well with “My Story” so this was a huge upgrade.  There’s traces of the Chinese sound without and hearing harp and other instruments just brought this song to a new level.  I still think the chorus is a bit weird, but still a good version to a good song.

4b. Days (Acoustic Orchestra version)

Nice to see Acousic Orchestra versions of both past A-sides.  I didn’t think she really needed one for this song, because Days was just pretty as it was and didn’t need it, but the thought was nice and it isn’t as bad, but I really liked GREEN’s a lot more.

5. Rule (80kid’z “No More Rule” mix)

We finally get back to normal.  All versions of the single of Rule remixes and the first one has a real hardcore trance style to it.  Unlike the GREEN remix, this one doesn’t sound terrible and there’s vocals all over it.  I do wish that it was a bit faster, but this’ll def do for me.  I like it.

6. Rule (Remo-con “tech-dance” remix)

Wow, this remix is almost 7 minutes long…The other Rule remix is definitly not interesting me.  Just like what Remo-con did for Ami’s “Delightful”, there was just too many repeated moment and it was more focused on the music rather than Ayu’s presence which is not a good thing.  It takes about 2:30 to get Ayu even singing.  So unless you like these kind of aimless tracks this one is def for you.

 

 

The ending of “Next Level’s” era was great.  It seems Ayu wanted to go back to the format of having a buttload of remixes and for the most part they were really good.  As for the main attraction, Rule was pretty hardcore of her while Sparkle brought electronica back in full force.  Best single this era overall.

 

OK, so here’s the plan…

Filed under: ~Announcements~ — solarblade @ 7:23 am

So here’s what’s happening…this week is filled with releases, actually 10 I have to review, so I’m dedicating the rest of the week on these releases and will not delve into the past stuff until Sunday….If I don’t get the 10 reviews done, it wont matter.  About the Ayu review, I waiting on Version B to pop up, so it might be the first review of this wild date 2/25 xD

 

Mika Nakashima – VOICE

Filed under: Mika Nakashima — solarblade @ 4:13 am
Tags: , ,

voice

Track Listing

  1. LIFE
  2. SAKURA ~Hanagasumi~ (DAISHI DANCE)
  3. FOCUS
  4. Eien no Uta
  5. ORION
  6. Anata ga Iru Kara
  7. MY GENTLEMAN
  8. TRUST YOUR VOICE
  9. IT’S TOO LATE
  10. I DON’T KNOW
  11. SHUT UP
  12. conFusiOn
  13. FLOWER OF TIME
  14. Koe

1. LIFE

It was appropriate to begin the album with what started this entire era.  LIFE did start out like one of her many ballads, but soon enough, dance beats pop in and take over.  I really love the fact that Mika’s vocals seemed perfect with this kind of upbeat sound.

2. SAKURA ~Hanagasumi~ (DAISHI DANCE)

I definitly agree with the majority of the people when they said, they wanted this version more than the original.  In case you didn’t know, the original was merely another ballad in her collection and it’s nice and all, but the DAISHI DANCE version includes dance beats and the arrangement seeems a lot more lively.  It does come out to sound a little similar to “LIFE” because they are next to each other, but Mika gave a better vocal performance here.

3. FOCUS

Oh god, this is my favorite track off the album and maybe all together in her discography.  There’s a minor change and that’s the fact it actually doesn’t start up by fading into the track.  Synths start it up and it just melds into this hybrid of a disco/jazz/dance song that just oozes fun and sexyness.  I still felt it was too short for me.  You know what’s worse?  The PV that accompanied it…

4. Eien no Uta

Mika gets unusual tracks right and Eien no Uta is one of them.  Its light reggae background and the male intro pops out to me.  It really makes me wanna go to ~Purrradise~  I’ve said before that JPN artists should never delve into reggae ever, Mika would be that lone exception.  Her voice just is nice here.

5. ORION

ORION comes up next and being the A-side to finish up the era, I really enjoyed this track a lot.  I mean it is the first ballad on the album and is obviously still a strong song.  There’s not much to be said that I haven’t already, but it’s a nice ballad.

6. Anata ga Iru Kara

Reason this track is bolded is because it was released as a digital single.  Honestly, she could’ve left it off the album, but more the better right?  It is the second true ballad on the album and even though it is the basic fare: acoustics, piano, and strings.  It’s simple, but she’s got a lot of these “simple” tracks and this one just falls short.  Even made worse by being after “ORION” 

 7. MY GENTLEMAN

MY GENTLEMAN kind of reminds me of the stuff her last album, “YES” had.  It’s an acoustically arranged track and Mika doesn’t seem comfortable to sing without other things going on, but I really like that she tried such a track like this.  I’m surprised she’s hitting them high notes though.  They aren’t bad at all.

8. TRUST YOUR VOICE

I’m not sure if I’m correct about it, but I could swear she named the track as so because of one of her tattoos.  We also leave the ballad area of the album and we get a pretty good upbeat track fronted by piano.  It sounds like if you take the synths out of “FOCUS” add more BKGD vocals, you kind of land near this track.  I do like it alot though.

9. IT’S TOO LATE

I’m surprised she did put this track on the album given the fact that it’s a B-side.  I felt that it did lack something in its presentation, but the music is really fun and bouncy.  I really like the bridge though, it was just awesome and made so much more sense.  Ok song

10. I DON’T KNOW

Why did they have to put the next two tracks on this album.  Anyway I DON’T KNOW is very angry and returns Mika to her hardcore rock self.  Except she’s doing it not under NANA but under MICA 3 CHU.  You can really chant along to the song and just let loose and be angry.  Mika’s vocals for these kind of songs really don’t seem to meld well together, but it’s worse that it breaks the mood on this album.

11. SHUT UP

I guess it was good that she put the two songs close together because if they were put in different places, then the album would be in a lot more trouble.  I’m still trying to figure which of the two rock tracks that I really like a lot.  SHUT UP is more in your face and has a stronger meaning.  There’s a cost to it and it’s even more noticeable here and it’s how uncomfortable she is under this genre.  Maybe she should stray away from this style altogether.

12. conFusiOn

Then again hearing the ska sound that conFusiOn brings does slowly bring the mood down for just a little bit and sounds so much better being after the loud tracks before it.  I still can’t help but enjoy this song more than when it was on “SAKURA ~Hanagasumi~. 

13. FLOWER OF TIME

Is it surprising that this is her longest track?  It begins with some jazz sounds and BKGD vocals before Mika comes in for the verses.  FLOWER OF TIME really has a light jazzy pop sound to it and the brass moments are really nice to listen to, but for how long this song is, it can become pretty boring. 

14. Koe

We finally end the album with the title track, Koe which means “Voice” in Japanese.  It’s very simplistic in arrangement and is mostly plucked strings and played strings before the piano sets itself into place.  I just love how Mika is resonating in this song and gave one hell of a good performance.  Definitly fitting for the final track to VOICE.

Tracks Recommended

  • FOCUS
  • Koe
  • Eien no Uta
  • conFusiOn
  • TRUST YOUR VOICE

Song of Avoidance

  • Anata ga Iru Kara

Wow, this was sooo much better than “YES” was by a long shot.  Mika returns back to a more comfortablt style of music and even though the album was fractured pretty badly from I DON’T KNOW and SHUT UP, this was definitly one of her better albums she released.  I can’t wait for her next releases because she’s doing very well for herself.