Kurayami Monogatari

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Koda Kumi – Kiseki June 27, 2009

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 11:56 pm
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kiseki

Track Listing

  1. Kiseki
  2. LOVE HOLIC
  3. life
  4. Kiseki (Instrumental)
  5. LOVE HOLIC (Instrumental)
  6. life (Instrumental)

1. Kiseki

Kuu, oh Kuu….R&B ballads aren’t exactly your thing girl.  It does kind of fall in through her other tracks that are in the same boat.  I’ll say though that her vocals sound really nice here and the music is soothing, but I think that’s about it that’s really good about it.  It’s just a basic R&B ballad nothing more or nothing less really.

2. LOVE HOLIC

Thank god!  LOVE HOLIC is like one of Kuu’s best songs of the era simply because it’s fun, energetic, and just lively.  It’s a little bit of silly and cute rolled in one and I quite enjoyed it since she hasn’t done anything relatively close to it.  I wonder if this was a summer song.  hmmmm, sweet song.

3. life

Another R&B ballad-like track?  Yup, it’s a bit more upbeat though so it’s kind of in the middle between the other two tracks.  Luckily, I like this a lot more than Kiseki, because it keeps my interest and her vocals are a bit more interesting.  I think the bridge was my favorite part, it just seemed to flow right.  Nice pop song, another B-side I enjoyed immensely.

 

 

After the amazing “Chase” and “LOVE & HONEY”…Kiseki would be the meh single clearly just because Kiseki was just another typical Kuu R&B flavored ballad.  Definitely not her forte 4th album into her career.  LOVE HOLIC was Kuu treading on new ground with a summer track and I liked it alot.  life was also good as well, showing off her pop side.  Iono…where this era is gonna end off at lol xD

 

Anna Tsuchiya – Virgin Cat

Filed under: Anna Tsuchiya — solarblade @ 11:28 pm
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CTCR-40279

Track Listing

  1. Virgin Cat
  2. Imitation night
  3. Virgin Cat (LAVA Remix)

1. Virgin Cat

I can only fathom to question why Anna did a single especially since she already has one senseless track, “BUBBLE TRIP”.  Though this song is heavily drenched in pervy thoughts hence the title VIRGIN Cat.  Now the song has a jazzy kind of feel to it which fits how cats are usually portrayed, you know sneaky and such….it’s oddly fitting.  Still the thing that makes me laugh hardcore is both the lyrics ~let’s get the rat~ and the end where she meows….that was a little disturbing.

2. Imitation night

To throw the single off, Imitation night is a very dark rock track even for Anna since it’s all about the heavy guitar riffs and being loud.  She does let up on the bridge which is cool as hell.  I’m not sure if she’s singing in full English, but the song is definitely something else and I love it.

3. Virgin Cat (LAVA Remix)

Yep, there’s a remix of Virgin Cat and somehow manages to take the jazzy side out of it and give it a Caribbean feel which kind of deteriorates the original feel to the song, but it does sound soothing because it’s very laidback and nice.  They even throw in a trumpet solo midway and that was a nice touch.  Pretty good remix, even though it lost the initial feeling.

 

 

So ending off the NUDY SHOW! era, Virgin Cat really did split the fans out as to whether if the song was good or just really really ridiculous.  I’m gonna say that musically it’s something different from Anna, but lyrically it’s naughty and a bit of tease when it comes down to it.  I mean at least the lyrics made sense unlike “BUBBLE TRIP”.  Imitation night….why wasn’t this on the album?  It was so hardcore and well it does kind of reminds me of album track, “BLOOD ON BLOOD”.  Remix was a good treat, doesn’t beat the original though…OK single.

 

Kalafina – storia

Filed under: Kalafina — solarblade @ 6:56 pm
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storia

Track Listing

  1. storia
  2. lirica
  3. storia (instrumental)

1. storia

After that minor setback with “Lacrimosa” they actually tried to do folk again with storia and they finally got it right adding a sense of an epic sound as well.  All three girls do get their fair share of solos which is sweet enough and the songs mystic sound works with their vocals.  Well, maybe not KEIKO’s becuase it’s kind of nasally here, but WAKANA and Hikaru are quite nice.  They definitely still have it.

2. lirica

If you think it couldn’t get any better, it did.  lirica is one mysterious song from the ladies with haunting plucked strings and an undertone of electric guitar to make things sound darker.  Opera vocals and darker songs are always great and Yuki struck gold again with this.  The best part is the middle where they are quiet and gradually build up the suspense in the song.  I have to say, this easily should’ve been an A-side more than “storia”

 

 

Holy shit…Kalafina is definitely not losing any steam.  After “Lacrimosa”, Maya was officially out of the group which left us with a trio of amazing sounding ladies.  I was worried where would they go next, but with this single they are still strong as ever.  storia basically fixed the problems that “Lacrimosa” has and built upon that while lirica was surprisingly bone-chilling and almost as perfect as “sprinter”….*RECOMMENDED*

 

T.M.Revolution – progress

Filed under: T.M.Revolution — solarblade @ 6:38 pm
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Progress-1

Track Listing

  1. resurrection I
  2. I.D. ~LOVE ME CRAZY~
  3. LOVE SAVER
  4. BLACK OR WHITE? version 3
  5. last resort
  6. Madan ~Der Freischutz~
  7. VITAL BURNER
  8. Private Storm
  9. fragile
  10. HEAT CAPACITY
  11. Trace Millenium Road
  12. Master Feel Sad
  13. LIGHT MY FIRE
  14. resurrection II

1. resurrection I

Opening up the album is a very synth heavy opening.  I mean it’s not heavy, it’s just that it’s basically the only instrument on this track.  I kind of feel like there’s something mysterious about especially the various DOLBY-like sounds.  Cool opening

2. I.D. ~LOVE ME CRAZY~

We get into the album, and we get the typical T.M.R song, which is a bit of a disappointment because it utilizes the same sounds that Daisuke has been using since their debut which is getting old very fast.  The song’s awesome guitar riff does save the song somewhat, but I can’t help but feel disappointed in this track.

3. LOVE SAVER

Same problem exists in this song, but luckily it’s the synths and tempo of the song that saves it from being mediocre.  You can classify it as almost trance because of how fast it is.  Maybe if they had taken out the guitar, the song would’ve been better IMO.  Luckily it’s the best B-side I’ve heard in the era….though it is the only B-side of the era.

4. BLACK OR WHITE? version 3

The A-side that began the era, BLACK OR WHITE? isn’t that new of a song and if you really wanna be exact the original can be considered their debut….though when it was released it was credited not as T.M.Revolution…weird.  Though, on here it sounds even more disappointing as there’s just not enough to make it stand out and the arrangement is as stale as ever.

5. last resort

See now here’s something that finally sounds relatively different and yet still carries the bland T.M.R sound.  It’s a bit slower than the previous songs, but what got to me was the long length of the song reaching past 6 minutes.  I’m not a big fan of this song just because I feel it drags the entire time…so much for that right?

6. Madan ~Der Freischutz~

Ending off the era, Madan came in and blew my mind.  It’s actually more rock than the synthy stuff, right there, that told me something different was going on here and Takanori with vocals were starting to sound different as well.  Lots more of that awesome vibrato.  One of my favorite PV’s…sweeeet.

7. VITAL BURNER

Damn, VITAL BURNER begins pretty aggresively and it’s led into a track that I could see being in a Sonic game because of it’s high energy and Takanori’s more fiery vocals.  I’ll say, it’s another song that sounds good on a good day.  I think faster songs are his thing actually.  VITAL BURNER is a good track.

8. Private Storm

Oh gawd, I love the opening to Private Storm.  Sadly, it suffers from staleDaisukeitis…Beyond the sweet opening, nothing stands out from here and even Takanori is boring to listen to.  Yeah, let’s just pass this up right now.

9. fragile

Then out of the blue, fragile pops up and blows my mind out of the water.  It’s one of the pre-coordinate songs that I can’t stop listening to because fragile is like amazing.  Covered in synths galore and hard guitar riffs (mostly the synths).  The song makes me feel like I’m in a crystal cave (as odd as it sounds).  It’s also one of the more slower songs, but damn was this refreshing…best song off the album.

10. HEAT CAPACITY

The middle A-side, HEAT CAPACITY after “fragile” was probably the biggest mistake they could’ve done.  Not only is it bland, it just sounds terrible after the last song.  I mean yes, it’s got its positive parts, but other than that it’s terribly bad IMO….verses are the best thing about the song, with that freaky synth beat….but that chorus = fail.

11. Trace Millenium Road

Just like “fragile”, Trace Millenium Road was something new and nice from Daisuke and Takanori.  It starts with a strings line that uses a lot of arpeggios which made me smile.  Then when the bridge pops up things get explosive and it becomes a pretty epic ballad of sorts.  It’s another one of the older tracks that I always have to listen to, it’s pretty sweet.  BTW, I know why they stick three words together for one track on each album cept his debut.  Trace Millenium Road = TMR….hahaha very clever.

12. Master Feel Sad

I really liked the folkish acoustic guitar opening, but things instantly change when the song goes into a hard rock sound which threw me for a loop when I heard this.  This song sounds so much like abingdon boys school track especially with Takanori’s wild singing.  I got say this was something new and I like it alot.  Another standout track, though real short…almost 3 minutes long.

13. LIGHT MY FIRE

No this is not a cover of The Doors well-known track.  So I got to say, it’s another disappointing track as it goes back into the lame Daisuke sound that I’ve been used to.  It’s also just a tad too slow for me and once again drags the song into unbearable levels.  Sorry, but this song is one boring pop track.

14. resurrection II

So the album finishes off basically the same way it started with the same synth melody going on.  There’s a bit more going on here though, with an added synth melody and those DOLBY sounds are descending instead of ascending.  Shows that the album is now over hahahah.

Tracks Recommended

  • fragile
  • Trace Millenium Road
  • Madan ~Der Freischutz~
  • VITAL BURNER

Song of Avoidance

  • last resort

Yeah, finally we’re leaving the pre-GUNDAM era….progress was a little bit of old and a bit of new.  Though I’ve had it with these stale compositions that Daisuke’s been using and downright started to dislike it.  I can see he worked better with some tracks like fragile and Trace Millenium Road because they sounded different enough to make em stand out.  Still, this album was meh to me overall.

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – A Song for ××

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 3:19 pm
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asongforxx

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. A Song for ××
  3. Hana
  4. FRIEND
  5. FRIEND II
  6. poker face
  7. Wishing
  8. YOU
  9. As if…
  10. POWDER SNOW
  11. Trust
  12. Depend on you
  13. SIGNAL
  14. from your letter
  15. For My Dear…
  16. Present

1. Prologue

It’s pretty understandable to begin an album with an introduction to this album and Prologue is one of those tracks that makes you wonder what it’d be like if it was an actual vocal track because I really like the fantasy-like sounds and the piano combining together to make a soothing opening.

2. A Song for ××

Our first track is the title track for the album.  I expected the song to be a ballad of sorts and I was kind of right, but then it became a pop/rock filled with a nice arrangement and guitar riff.  The verses are the ballad-like parts of the song while the chorus is the more aggressive side of the song.  That’s actually the best part of the song IMO.  Great way to begin things.  Ayu though kind of gets worse when she starts the wailing…

3. Hana

Yikes, talk about cheesy pop in the days, Hana is like that with the funk riffs and the wild brass that’s in the song.  Ayu’s vocals sound alright, but they aren’t in good shape still, but I can’t get this song into my head, it’s just not that interesting IMO.

4. FRIEND

Meh, I would’ve rather not have seen this on the album as it still is boring as hell to listen to and there’s just nothing that exactly makes it stand out in anyway shape or form.  Then again it did come from her avex debut “poker face” which shows that it’s not that good in the first place.  PASS

5. FRIEND II

That’s where FRIEND II steps in.  Clearly this track was a bit more eventful that the previous track and there’s like somewhat of emotions written throughout.  Then again the arrangement isn’t something amazingly new which surprises me, but at the same time it’s Ayu what can ya do at this point of time?  Her vocals are a bit meh here as well, so don’t expect something extravagant, but still it’s way better than “FRIEND”

6. poker face

We get back to horrible vocals from Ayu with her debut song which nowadays sounds terribly aged and I still can’t say I enjoy it much since Ayu is just way flat and out of place here.  I can feel for her that the song is special to her, but c’mon you need to spruce this track up and badly I must say.

7. Wishing

Is this our first actual ballad?  I keep forgetting this track was on this album and not her sophomore album, “LOVEppears”.  Now at this point on the album, a ballad is kind of strange and yet makes me smile because it’s nothing cheesy.  All it is is percussion and piano which is nice.  Her vocals do sound better than it did on “poker face” which is a good sign for sure.  Pretty good ballad.

8. YOU

I’ll admit it, I fell in love with this track even though I still feel it’s ridiculously slow and awkward.  Like I said in my single review, the remixes and various touched-up versions make the original sound bad, it’s still not that bad of a song and even then there’s just a lot to like about it.  OK, her vocals hit the slumps again, but seriously, it’s not thaaat bad.

9. As if…

Did Ayu just go valley girl on us?  Anyways, the song once again fails to make an impression on me because well, it’s too basic.  I mean there’s parts I do enjoy like the low synth beats and chorus, but other than that there’s just not a lot going for it.  Typical pop song IMO

10. POWDER SNOW

Another song that’s less liked than it’s remakes and remixes.  POWDER SNOW is our next ballad, and at that a wintry-based ballad.  The first thing I noticed about the song was the a good portion was just piano and Ayu’s off vocals.  It does eventually gain some guitars and drums and that’s bad cuz it’s typical….

11. Trust

Trust also seems pretty meh, especially since it was a single…Like “YOU” it’s amazingly slow for a track that I think was meant to be a bit faster.  Remixes definitely make this song sound worse as it is….hmmm It’s luckily not the worst on the album.

12. Depend on you

I think overall, Depend on you is the best song off the album because even though it’s vocally unstable, it actually manages to keep my interest through the entire song.  It’s also more rock than any other song off the album with it’s awesome guitar riffs and synth inclusion.  It’s got a lot of energy, especially for a song on this album.  Still IMO one of her best songs.

13. SIGNAL

Just like our last track, SIGNAL is quite energetic and sort of reminds me of said track because of the similar guitar riffs in the verses and use of the synths.  I can’t say vocally if it’s any better, well she does really hit those high notes in a very nasally way.  It still is a lot more interesting than most of the tracks off the album.

14. from your letter

Of all the songs of this album, I honestly think this song has aged the worst as it sounds very 90’s-ish and I mean like early 90’s.  The beginning with the magical sparkling was just odd since the other tracks usually just got into the song right from the start.  It’s a little boring, but at least the beat is keeping it from dragging entirely.

15. For My Dear…

Ending off the era, was actually one of her worst sung songs.  First things off, her vocals are uber pinched right from the start, that just doesn’t give hope to the rest of the song.  She actually keeps it for most of the song.  I don’t know, but once again I feel like she could’ve raised the tempo a bit to have made a more cohesive track, than a borefest with bad vocals.

16. Present

Ending off the album is another wintry track?  If there was one cheesy track, it has to be this one because it’s one of those songs that make you feel giddy around the holidays, with joyous piano and brass playing.  It’s not that bad of a track actually because Ayu isn’t stressing her vocals to parts unknown unlike the other songs…Not the way I would’ve finished the album, but ok.

Tracks Recommended

  • Depend on you
  • A Song for ××
  • YOU
  • FRIEND II
  • Wishing

Song of Avoidance

  • For My Dear…

Everyone has said this, but of all her avex albums, this is her worst vocally and well it’s true.  Over time, she’s gotten more control.  Her avex debut was kind of bland overall using the same techniques with some surprises here and there to make it look more varied, but most of the time it came out way too typical and useless.  My least favorite album of hers actually.

 

Mami Kawada – L’Oiseau bleu

Filed under: Mami Kawada — solarblade @ 1:17 pm
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LOiseaubleu

Track Listing

  1. L’Oiseau bleu
  2. Kaze to Kimi wo Daite -I’VE in BUDOKAN 2009 Live ver.-
  3. L’Oiseau bleu -instrumental-

1. L’Oiseau bleu

Wow, this time we actually get an actual ballad from Mami this time and not an upbeat synth heavy track.  I actually quite like this track since it does sound pretty sweet and calming and not messy like “Ame” was and even though the chorus does bring out tone issues, L’Oiseau bleu is pretty nice and easily listenable.  Nice relaxing track from Ms. Kawada.

2. Kaze to Kimi wo Daite -I’VE in BUDOKAN 2009 Live ver.-

There’s a reason why there’s a live version here and it’s because previous to this single it was featured with other I’VE SOUND members like MELL, KOTOKO, Kaori Utatsuki, and Eiko Shimamiya.  All of them had new tracks to give out as well as a live version of one of their tracks.  Well, Mami’s track comes from the compilation album of theirs called “OUT FLOW”.  Listening to the live version sounds quite nice as the song sounds a bit rockish (haven’t heard the original).  You hear the crowd chanting along and had sweet energy.  Mami’s vocals also sound nice as well.  Good live

 

 

So Mami’s 3rd single changed things up a bit.  Instead of a high energy synth fest, we get a slower track from her and it turned out nice.  The live version also was a nice treat since we barely get that from the I’VE SOUND artists, so it was great to hear something live.  Good single, dunno if it beats “masterpiece” but good single.