Kurayami Monogatari

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Angela Aki – ANSWER March 6, 2009

Filed under: Angela Aki — solarblade @ 12:10 pm
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answer

Track Listing

  1. Tegami ~Haikei Juugo no Kimi e~
  2. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
  3. ANSWER
  4. Somebody Stop Me
  5. Dahlia
  6. final destination
  7. Our Story
  8. Tasogare
  9. We’re All Alone
  10. Reflection
  11. Requiem
  12. Black Glasses
  13. Fighter

1. Tegami ~Haikei Juugo no Kimi e~

Once again, another album starting with an A-side, except this was the only A-side to represent this album so that means a bunch of new ones.  Back to Tegami, it’s a great song and I love how catchy the verses were and how powerful she was in the chorus.  I was thrown off at the fact later in the song the mood changes pretty quickly.  Like gospel singing almost.  Great song to begin ANSWER.

2. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Ahhhh, a cover of a classic Bob Dylan track.  Angela’s is more of a piano cover of the original of course so you know it’s going to be a tad different.  Of coruse whenever she covers something she mixes some Japanese to make it somewhat different which is probably the best thing to do with a cover most of the time.  Angela sounds really good almost as good as “Still Fighting It”.

3. ANSWER

ANSWER comes up next and actually has a very upbeat mood and including the electric guitar was so different for her.  I like the fire in her singing and giving so much power.  I don’t know if she has a track that’s similar but right now, this stands out to me.

4. Somebody Stop Me

Somebody Stop Me right from the start is very melancholic with the low piano chords that sounds like sadness.  Even Angela’s voice sounds quiet and vulnerable.  Sadly it doesn’t really make an impact with me and just left me wishing that she had a more explosive point to it.  The random xylophone part threw me off and how Angela was holding ~Stooooooooooooooooooop~ was just weird. 

5. Dahlia

Dahlia start out a bit differently because it’s strings rather than a piano…but it’s shortlived because piano comes in again practically by itself.  I know she’s a good pianist, but she should cut back a little so we can get more differentiation between songs.  Dahlia just becomes a little forgetful at the end.

6. final destination

I could’ve lived without having, the B-side appear on the album.  Luckily it does kind of stand out at this point of the album because just like “ANSWER” it’s upbeat and not all focused on the piano.  It’s still prominent and final destination has a nice laidback feel to it, but I rather would’ve seen “Still Fighting It” take this spot.

7. Our Story

I love the piano opening to Our Story a lot.  Angela sounds like she’s very anxious and the piano playing is bouncy and quite cool.  I found her deeper vocals just so much more better and under better control.  It’s one of my favorite tracks off this album for sure.

8. Tasogare

Tasogare just sounds so sad and depressing.  I kind of like songs where artists just pour out their feelings in the song and Tasogare is especially fitting for this perspective.  It’s about not letting go with your past and I thought the calm arrangement definitly fit the mood.

9. We’re All Alone

I’m not sure why she brought this song back from her indies album, “ONE”.  It’s the 2nd cover track on the album, being a Boz Scaggs track.  I do love her here as well because her vocals are just beyond powerful and even though the lyrics are kind of a punch to the stomachs, it’s still a sweet track, even those it’s the 2nd time we’ve seen it on her discography.

10. Reflection

Reflection is very bizarre.  Right from the start, it’s reggae and I mean stereotypical reggae.  At first I didn’t know what to say because it’s just a big wrench thrown into the album.  Angela’s vocals don’t seem as strong and supported as in the last few tracks, but the lively music sounds nice and even though I wouldn’t want her to try this again, it’s a good track.

11. Requiem

Requiem is by far the longest track to be featured on the album.  It’s about her grandfather who passed away during the making of this track, so Angela decided to dedicate a song to him like he did with “Sakurairo” being a track for her grandmother who passed during then.  Now piano tracks that range into 10 minutes is quite unbearable for me, but Angela keeps things very interesting.  As the song goes on, it gets way louder and then when the piano gets so fast, the song gets wild.  Angela speeds up her singing and the music gains some drums and a muted sax, how sweeet.  It kind of goes back and forth for the rest of the song and ends smoothly.  Sweet, but long.

12. Black Glasses

Angela Aki got together with Ben Folds for this all-English song.  I immediatly caught on that actually Ben is playing and joining in the chorus.  It’s funny cuz it’s like his voice sounds like chick, but I really understood how giddy and how much it related to Ben’s songs because Black Glasses really does sound like Ben Folds collaboration with Regina Spektor.  Somewhat alike if you look at the piano melody.  It’s a nice track to me.

13. Fighter

To finish our album out, Angela brings out an ethereal tune in Fighter.  It doesn’t sound like any of the other tracks and it seems like very chill and with Angela’s good vocals, created such a happy feeling and knowing she played the piano notes backwards and with the small amount of synth, it’s ended the album on a good note.

Tracks Recommended

  •  Black Glasses
  • Fighter
  • Our Story
  • Tasogare
  • Tegami ~Haikei Juugo no Kimi e~

Song of Avoidance

  • Somebody Stop Me

I haven’t heard the rest of her stuff, but this album is wow.  A lot of the songs seem to grasp her mood and meanings.  I was a little surprised at how she was trying some different things especially in Reflection.  She could’ve strived for a little more diversity in the songs, but this album is of good quality and I’m amazed at her vocals.  Such strongs vocals.

 

Ayaka Hirahara – Akane

Filed under: Ayaka Hirahara — solarblade @ 10:53 am
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Track Listing

  1. Akane
  2. Futatabi
  3. Akane (Vocal-Less Track)
  4. Futatabi (Vocal-Less Track)

1. Akane

I guess if there was a track to have been re-cut, Akane would’ve been my choice.  Of course it’s a damn ballad which right now doesn’t surprise me one bit.  Ayaka’s voice is quite calm and with such an easy-going flow, how can you go wrong?  I do feel the instrumental parts were very pretty though.  Good choice.

2. Futatabi

It seems like whenever Ayaka and Joe Hisaishi work together they get the best sounding music.  Futatabi is best known as one of the songs used in “Spirited Away” and for how gorgeous that movie was and still is the songs were beyond phenomonal.  Ayaka sounds very pretty against the flute and and acoustic.  There’s a little bit of a sound that reminds me of Final Fantasy.  Like the track “Breezy” from FF8.  It’s a great B-side to be represent akane.

 

 

Ayaka’s first re-cut was such a good combination.  Even though both are ballad songs they differed so hardcore from each other.  Akane was a smooth ballad with some nice calming qualites while Futatabi was just a soothing folk track.  I think this is an early favorite of mine *RECOMMENDED*

 

Rie fu – PRESENT

Filed under: Rie fu — solarblade @ 10:23 am
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present

Track Listing

  1. PRESENT
  2. Time Traffic (Rie fu Mix)
  3. Douyara Kyou mo Shibuya made

1. PRESENT

PRESENT brings back Rie fu back down from her electro high with this piano ballad.  Seriously?  This was definitly not the direction I was expecting her to make and this song just happened to be a disappointing factor mainly because it fails to really shine.  Her voice is nice, but this could’ve been so much more exciting.  Jeeze…

2. Time Traffic (Rie fu mix)

At first I didn’t understand why there was a (Rie fu mix) tied along, but with some searching around it turns out it was a collaborative effort with Rie fu and LEO Imai and it shows because they both are singing in the chorus while Rie fu takes the verses by herself.  Honestly, this should’ve been the A-side because it’s got this minor urban feel to it that I really like and even though both voices mesh and LEO’s English is way better, this is a good track.

3. Douyara Kyou mo Shibuya made

The last B-side is actually Rie fu returning to a more pop side of sound.  It’s a bit more upbeat and Rie fu radiates some happy moments here.  Musically it sounds a little ethereal and the acoustic guitar just strums along lazily which is nice for sure.  I hope this is actually on “URBAN ROMANTIC”.

 

 

Yeah, PRESENT was a very poor choice for a follow-up to “romantic”.  Luckily, what saved the single was the B-sides both having that classic Rie fu sound but not making it bored at all.  Even up and coming artist LEO Imai appears and that was pretty cool.