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Nana Mizuki – ULTIMATE DIAMOND May 31, 2009

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 3:51 pm
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ULTIMATEDIAMOND

Track Listing

  1. MARIA&JOKER
  2. Etsuraku Camellia
  3. PERFECT SMILE
  4. Trickster
  5. Mr.Bunny!
  6. Chinmoku no Kajitsu
  7. Brand New Tops
  8. Shounen
  9. Gimmick Game
  10. Dancing in the velvet moon
  11. ray of change
  12. Shin’ai
  13. Aoki Hikari no Hate -ULTIMATE MODE-
  14. Astrogation
  15. Yume no Tsuzuki

1. MARIA&JOKER

~Ready for action!~  Gosh, this was so surprising, after all of the singles of the era, I wasn’t prepared to hear our 007 track actually start off the album on a pretty fast note.  Nana’s vocals are pretty smooth throughout and the added brass and jazzy style during the 2nd verse were great additions to the song.  The chorus would be my only worry since it has a terrible flow from the bridge in. 

2. Etsuraku Camellia

Another shocker is Etsuraku Camellia which was the promotional track of the album.  The first thing I instantly noticed was the hardcore rock sound it carried as well as the heavy Japanese influence in the song.  Nana’s vocals are a bit deeper in this song which went well with how crazy this track became.  She picked an awesome song to promote the album IMO.

3. PERFECT SMILE

If it was my decision, I would’ve put this song after “Trickster” because this song totally disrupted the flow of the album terribly.  PERFECT SMILE is actually the first of the overly cute Nana songs we have.  It’s basically fronted with a lot of piano and synths and the song has a happy sound overall.  Nana sings pretty well, but high notes aren’t her forte, so I can’t say I really enjoyed the song that much, but I could have easily seen this in FFX-2.

4. Trickster

Like I said, Trickster should’ve been after “Etsuraku Camellia” since they are around the same vein as each other even though this is a bit more calmer on the rock stylings.  As the 2nd single of the era, I still think it’s the worst of the era, but it’s made up being on the album and I’ve gotten used to it. 

5. Mr.Bunny!

Wow, this album is just all over the place with flow issues.  Mr.Bunny! is just like “PERFECT SMILE” but there’s more attention to the synths of the song which isn’t surprising, but c’mon….rock, cute, rock, cute…where are we exactly going?  I consider this just a bit more cutesy, but favorable since it’s not uber cheesy and Nana is pretty good here.

6. Chinmoku no Kajitsu

Oh thank god there’s something that’s relatively close to “Astrogation”.  The beginning definitely reminded me of the song because it was energetic and full of synths and piano/strings.  Maybe, it’s too close to the song, but I really love the fact that it’s just as epic.  The thing though that made me like it less, was the fact Nana was hitting really bad high notes and held them as well.  Other than that, I think this was what I wanted and I kind of got it.

7. Brand New Tops

I initially thought we were getting a ballad out of this track, but I wrong when things sped up pretty fast.  It seems to be like a combination of the rock and cute which is a good idea and there’s BKGD singers as well which stand out for me from this track.  Maybe it’s just me, but I kind up didn’t like the song as it went on because it just sounded kind of boring in places and the BKGD singers just got in the way.

8. Shounen

Shounen goes back to a bit more of a rock sound ala “Trickster”, and somehow doesn’t really feel any better besides the fact that there’s a sax solo in it.  Besides that, I don’t feel anything that really makes me remember it.  Not even Nana makes me wanna remember it.

9. Gimmick Game

I was happy to finally hear this fully because Gimmick Game stood out with its almost trance style going on.  The energy builds up big time into the chorus and Nana is definitely in the mood for the song which is always a good thing.  I think it’s one of the gems of the album and c’mon why hasn’t there been other songs like this on the album so far?

10. Dancing in the velvet moon

If this song looks familiar, than it should because it was from the first single of the era, “STARCAMP EP”.  It first starts out like a gothic track but as time goes by, things change around and the song becomes a mix of synths and piano, but oddly enough I’m not liking it as much as I did when it was on the single and it’s probably because there’s other tracks that have been like it. 

11. ray of change

After the barrage of synthy songs, it’s nice to get something natural like acoustic guitar and drums and such.  I did find the keyboarded stuff just a bit too much for this song and it was a little annoying.  It does seem like a song from “GREAT ACTIVITY”, but I guess that’s why it stands out here because of the nice nostalgic factor.  Love how it just ends with the acoustic guitar.

12. Shin’ai

Shin’ai represented the final A-side of the era.  It’s got a nice sound to it, but I think if it was a full-off ballad and not with all the added sound to it, I’m pretty sure this would’ve been pretty awesome.  I still think how the song works just reminds me of “BRAVE PHOENIX” which I’m not sure if it’s good or not.  It is the closest thing to a ballad of course.  It’s alright I guess.

13. Aoki Hikari no Hate -ULTIMATE MODE-

If I’m correct, Aoki Hikari no Hate is one of Nana’s character tracks and was the last song song to be known from this album because of “COSMIC LOVE” being stripped away by her company because the arranger was arrested. (still think it’s bullshit).  Nana’s vocals are once again deeper than usual which is good and the music does remind me of “Gimmick Game”, but there’s enough to get by, but since it’ a character song, it’s a little odd and yet good, but I still would’ve rather had “COSMIC LOVE”.

14. Astrogation

As the leading A-side from “STARCAMP EP”, Astrogation is sitll as epic as ever.  This song is absolutely amazing with it’s mixture of strings and synths and Nana’s strong vocals.  The only things I wasn’t too sure about was Nana’s Engrish and that terrible ending to the song…It was just too soon and random.  Still, this is one of her best songs ever IMO.

15. Yume no Tsuzuki

Ending off the album, is an actual ballad that isn’t covered by stuff that makes me suggest otherwise.  I think it was pretty nice to end the album like this and Nana sounds good with some echo properties.  As lighthearted as it sounds, it sounds also emotional too and I just enjoyed this track a lot.

Tracks Recommended

  • Astrogation
  • Etsuraku Camellia
  • Gimmick Game
  • Yume no Tsuzuki
  • Chinmoku no Kajitsu

Song of Avoidance

  • Shounen

ULTIMATE DIAMOND was so much more better than “GREAT ACTIVITY” because it didn’t feature as many filler tracks and Nana’s bad abilities of singing, If I have to say it’s as equal as her album “HYBRID UNIVERSE” which is one of my favorite Nana albums.  I still dislike the fact the omitted “COSMIC LOVE”, but maybe I’ll get over it.  Let’s hope she releases something amazing after this album because I feel she’s going to do just that.

 

YUI – again May 30, 2009

Filed under: YUI — solarblade @ 10:03 am
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again

Track Listing

  1. again
  2. Sea
  3. SUMMER SONG ~YUI Acoustic Version~
  4. again ~Instrumental~

1. again

Well beginning the single off, again feels a tad strange at first because the the chords are minor tones which throws me off because I’m not totally used to it.  This is also the first time I’ve seen her sing this amazingly fast especially during the bridge where she’s like going at a real fast rate.  I already think this pwns “SUMMER SONG” by a long shot, it’s just that much better. 

2. Sea

Wow, Sea is an actual B-side unlike “Oh My God” since it’s over 3 minutes in length.  I haven’t been listening to much of her music, but I do know that this is has strings which is new for me and I kind of like its inclusion to the track.  I’ll say YUI sounds pretty good, but I think she hits some sour notes, but they arent terrible.  It’s still pretty good otherwise.

3. SUMMER SONG ~YUI Acoustic Version~

I really don’t see the major change to it’s original counterpart.  I mean just strip away the percussion and bass, and you basically get that which is rather unpleasing.  I have no idea why this was so uninspired to just strip away and use the song again.  I’m pretty sure she did resing it, but it’s hard to tell because of how close this sounds to the original…

 

 

After YUI’s year long break, she comes back with again, which I adore because it’s just so much more better than “SUMMER SONG”.  Sea was also good as well giving YUI a nice touch with added strings…made it more personal.  The only failed track was SUMMER SONG because it was just too close to the original and I rather have it with the drums.

 

Daichi Miura – Delete My Memories

Filed under: Daichi Miura — solarblade @ 2:26 am
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deletemymemories

Track Listing

  1. Delete My Memories
  2. Damn
  3. Knock Knock Knock -Piano Ver.- (CD only)

1. Delete My Memories

For being an R&B track, Daichi actually hit it pretty well with the A-side of single because the track is heavy on the synths and what’s good is that Daichi isn’t under any vocal changers which is pretty cool.  Daichi’s vocals are pretty sweet because he sings good, but ~Derete~?  Oh, talk about failing Engrish harshly.  Still, it’s a great dance track from Daichi for sure.

2. Damn

I was expecting Damn to be just as heavy in the dance style, but we just get a bit of a slow R&B track which is used for to showcase more of Daichi’s vocals which works here because he shows a good sense of emotion and smoothness throughout.  I really like how he tackled the chorus in English and for the most part it was sung pretty well.  Good B-side.

3. Knock Knock Knock -Piano Ver.-

Knock Knock Knock was originally a track from his debut album, “D-ROCK with U”.  Now I’ve said this to many reviews, but I haven’t heard the original so I can’t form a true opinion of the song.  It does have Daichi singing pretty loudly and his accent kind of shows when he says ~nuck nuck nuck~.  I have to say that he really sounds confident even through the higher notes.  I don’t know, but I wonder if the original is faster than this.

 

 

Daichi Miura’s 4th single of the era, Delete My Memories was a great J-urban dance track because it shows a great feel to it and it’s easy to dance to, so I like it alot.  Damn though did him well, especially with all that singing going on with the R&B feel to it.  The piano version also put his vocals over the music which is good, though risky….Gotta say, great single overall.

 

Yousei Teikoku – Gekkou no Chigiri May 29, 2009

Filed under: Yousei Teikoku — solarblade @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , ,

gekkounochigiri

Track Listing

  1. Gekkou no Chigiri
  2. Simulacra
  3. Sacrifice
  4. Gekkou no Chigiri (Instrumental)

1. Gekkou no Chigiri

Being a tie-in again for the same anime Kurokami (Irodori no Nai Sekai was also tied in the series).  I actually was surprised that this wasn’t as cheesy as the last song they did.  This time around there’s a lot of strings playing around in the song giving it a more flowing style to what Yousei Teikoku hasn’t done in a while.  Yui sounds better than she did, but it’s still kind of higher pitched. 

2. Simulacra

I really like their crazy titles like “Alte Burg”, “Valkyrja”, and etc.  So seeing this title, I was wondering what I would find and wow this is a pretty good ballad because Yui is singing and I mean singing good here.  The music has a very eerie feel because there’s like deep synths and some distant bleeps that come in.  I have to say it does remind me of a better arranged “Vermillion Tiara”.  I’m liking this song a lot.

3. Sacrifice

I kind of knew there had to be a hard rock song from the duo and Sacrifice would be that song.  It actually sounds like something I’d hear in a Guilty Gear game because it’s relentless and full and crazyness that I love with Yousei Teikoku’s harder stuff.  It’s pretty cool to hear synths getting equal time as well, giving the song an even fuller sound.  What’s this Yui is under auto-tune as well?  WTF this is great!

 

 

HOLY SHIT.  Yousei Teikoku is definitly on a roll since the release of “Wahrheit”.  Gekkou no Chigiri is their best single so far in the duo’s career and having just reviewed the earliest work available, they’ve come a loooong way and is awesome.  Gekkou no Chigiri is the closest thing to a ballad I’ve heard from the in a while and even then, it’s sweet and charming almost.  Simulacra was the creepy ballad so it leveled the single good….that is until Sacrifice came in and rocked the single to awesomeness.  *RECOMMENDED*

 

Stereopony – I do it

Filed under: Stereopony — solarblade @ 11:19 am
Tags: , , , , ,

idoit

Track Listing

  1. I do it
  2. Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki
  3. Namida no Mukou ~AIMI Acoustic Version~
  4. I do it ~Instrumental~

1. I do it

I was intrigued when I saw that fellow artist YUI wrote up this song for the group and I actually kind of hear it.  I find it funny that is actually pushes AIMI to be vocally stronger when it’s clearly known she isn’t that strong at it especially when goes for the high notes.  Though, I’m not as happy with this song as much as I was with “Namida no Mukou”.  I can say it’s good, but that’s all it is to me.

2. Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki

Their B-side isn’t actually a happy-go-lucky track for the first time.  It’s kind of your laidback pop/rock song which is nice to hear from them and it has some pretty soothing parts in it, especially that synth interlude which is new to me and I quite like it.  AIMI sounds pretty innocent and is pretty good to me.

3. Namida no Mukou ~AIMI Acoustic Version~

They never seem to disappoint with their acoustic versions of the previous A-sides and Namida no Mukou is still sounding great even better than the original version (Like “Hitohira no Hanabira”)  It’s just like the last one actually, but this was more uptempo so I was pleasantly elated to hear this.  Why does AIMI sound better in these though?  Weird.

 

 

The final single for the “Hydrangea ga Saiteiru”, I do it was a step down from “Namida no Mukou”, but not a far drop because the only meh was the A-side.  I’m not blaming YUI for it because y’know she was dealing with AIMI who is vocally not that strong, but Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki and Namida no Mukou’s acoustic version were what I was expecting from Stereopony.  I’m kind of worried that the other members get much time for like solos and stuff.

 

Stereopony – Namida no Mukou

Filed under: Stereopony — solarblade @ 11:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

namidanomukou

Track Listing

  1. Namida no Mukou
  2. Stereopony no Tabi wa Tsuzuku
  3. Hitohira no Hanabira ~AIMI Acoustic Version~
  4. Namida no Mukou ~Opening Version~
  5. Namida no Mukou ~Instrumental~

1. Namida no Mukou

Another big tie-in?  This time for GUNDAM 00, Namida no Mukou is actually a step up from their last A-side because AIMI is singing better and not staying on one note for forever.  Other than the band playing, I hear synths also being used lightly in the song which does fit with the song pretty nicely.  I haven’t been this happy for a GUNDAM track since the brilliant green’s “Ash Like Snow”, so this was a sweet surprise.

2. Stereopony no Tabi wa Tsuzuku

Right off from the start, I knew this would’ve been as upbeat as “Yuukan na Funny Friends”.  It’s just as peppy and interesting to listen to so I like it easily and possibly moreso.  AIMI’s singing does sound better than the last single, but her higher register still isn’t right and her energy is somewhat lacking as well.  I even get a solo from AIMI which is super nice since it’s what I asked for.

3. Hitohira no Hanabira ~AIMI Acoustic Version~

It’s pretty interesting when artists stick on Acoustic Versions to their song.  In a group though?  This is pretty interesting since I only think SHIHO and AIMI are in the track because i hear tambourine being played in the background by SHIHO while AIMI is playing the guitar and singing.  NOHANA is probably present giving the BKGD vocals.  This is where I start to really enjoy Stereopony because they can really play their music.  I actually like this more than the original actually.

 

 

Stereopony definitely exceeded my expectations with Namida no Mukou.  The A-side was a great track and adding a little synth here and there didn’t hurt the song one bit.  The B-side was surprisingly just like “Yuukan na Funny Friends” and yet it was better than it, which is always good.  The acoustic version of their debut though blew me away and shows that they are a great group despite being new.

 

Stereopony – Hitohira no Hanabira

Filed under: Stereopony — solarblade @ 10:48 am
Tags: , ,

hitohiranohanabira

Track Listing

  1. Hitohira no Hanabira
  2. Nyamii
  3. Yuukan na Funny Friends
  4. Hitohira no Hanabira (Instrumental)

1. Hitohira no Hanabira

Man, this song is pretty damn cool for being a tie-in track for Bleach.  Well, it isn’t the most outbreaking opening for the anime (“Ichirin no Hana” still has that spot. )  I like the almsot cool alternative sound the girls are playing around with and AIMI’s voice sounds good, especially in the chorus….though I wished she would’ve sung a bit more notes because it was a bit monotone in places.  Still good song overall.

2. Nyamii

Nyamii comes next and well, it’s pretty short.  Clocking at almost 2:30, this first B-side was alright.  It’s kind of catchy, but I have to remember of the time put on the song.  AIMI does sing a bit more vividly and not monotone.  I actually kind of like the groovy verses to the chorus.  I like how the song just ends with the title of the song.  Ok, but too short.

3. Yuukan na Funny Friends

The last B-side is actually the most upbeat track off the single and it kind of shows.  I just like the whole lively feeling of the song and AIMI sounds the best on this track.  Though I’m kind of weary because her voice sounds like something I’d hear one of the H!P girls would do, so it’s kinda odd.  Still pretty good.

 

 

I’ve mentioned this in the last review of SCANDAL I said they have a pretty good rivalry going on with both chatmonchy and Stereopony.  Well, I can see why with Stereopony because of the 3 female rock groups, they actually have the nicest vocals.  Hitohira no Hanabira was a pretty good single overall, but I kind of felt that it was short of a single even though Yuukan na Funny Friends and Hitohira no Hanabira are both longer tracks while Nyamii is real short.  Also I’m surprised I didn’t get a real good guitar solo throughout with AIMI….hmmm maybe next single.  NOHANA or SHIHO didn’t exactly stand out either…maybe it’s just debut issues.