Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayaka Hirahara – Sayonara Watashi no Natsu July 31, 2009

Filed under: Ayaka Hirahara — solarblade @ 4:08 am

sayonaranatsuwawatashi

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara Watashi no Natsu
  2. Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara
  3. Sayonara Watashi no Natsu ~Vocal-less Track~

1. Sayonara Watashi no Natsu

I really like Ayaka’s more upbeat tracks a bit more than her ballads.  It does have a summer-like feel to it and brass is included as well.  There’s even a smidge touch of synth here as well, which gave it a brighter glow to it.  It feels so retro and yet with Ayaka’s vocals it makes the experience a way nicer one. 

2. Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara

Even weirder is that Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara is just as summer-like and cute arrangement wise that is.  I thought the jazzy opening was the best part.  That is until Ayaka starts singing along and I’m happy she’s keeping a more lower tone, but somehow keep the fun in check.  The marimba is so nice to hear….y’know it’s like a fun beach song and I love it.

 

 

After the minor disappointment in “Kodoku no Mukou”, Ayaka decided to get seasonal on us and release one of the most fun singles she’s had (if there were any others).  Her vocals definitely sound pretty with the tracks here and if there was a feel-good single of Summer, this single would definitely be on my top *RECOMMENDED*

 

dream – Yourself

Filed under: dream — solarblade @ 3:54 am

cover

Track Listing

  1. Yourself
  2. Get Over (Warp Brothers Remix)
  3. Yourself (Dub’s Unrestricted Remix)
  4. Get Over (Flutlicht Vocal Mix)
  5. Yourself (Instrumental)

1. Yourself

I’m guessing it’s typical to have somewhat of a slower track right?  At various points the song comes off as a bit wintry with the jingle bells and slower tempo.  The piano here and mix of guitars really sound similar to GND’s stuff.  As usual the trio can’t harmonize very well together and their energy is a bit lacking, but the song is nice, but there’s been a lot better.

 

 

dream finishes up the “Process” era so I guess it’s good for that, but the song isn’t anything we’ve already heard from the ladies.  I’m pretty sure they would’ve done something more, Iono….surprising maybe? 

 

Ayumi Sakai – Yokogao

Filed under: Ayumi Sakai — solarblade @ 3:24 am

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Track Listing

  1. Yokogao
  2. Koizaki
  3. Yokogao (Instrumental)
  4. Koizaki (Instrumental)

1. Yokogao

Ahhhh, I love the latin sound of Yokogao right from the start.  It’s pretty smooth and easy to sway with.  Ayumi sounds really nice singing with the song, but her vocals in the chorus are a bit weak when she tries for the higher notes, but this song is catchy and should be a track people should listen to.

2. Koizaki

I’m surprised at how good her vocals are compared to her first single and “Yokogao”.  Instead of the light latin sounds of the A-side, Koizaki takes a more of a light R&B sound.  The problem I have is that these kind of tracks bore me to death and that’s what it did.  Besides Ayumi’s pleasant vocals, the song was really stale and kind of led nowhere.

 

 

Yokogao did a great job at getting Ayumi going through different genres and I love Yokogao despite the weaker vocals akin to Koizaki, sadly the B-side was a bit bland, but still had good vocals so it’s not too horrible.  I’m pretty sure since “STRONG BODY” came out after this, she’s a bit of a wild card and I like that.

 

m.o.v.e – Romancing Train

Filed under: m.o.v.e — solarblade @ 2:43 am

move-romancing

Track Listing

  1. Romancing Train
  2. Promised Land ~bless into the sunshine~
  3. Romancing Train (Tatsumaki Remix)
  4. Romancing Train (ORBITRIBE MIX)
  5. Romancing Train (instrumental)
  6. Promised Land ~bless into the sunshine~ (instrumental)

1. Romancing Train

After “come together” they had to follow up with something right?  Most Final Fantasy fans will remember this song being tied in the Unlimited series.  Romancing Train is a bit softer than in your face “come together” which is a good way to calm down after the trance-fest.  It’s a little bit of a downgrade from the last single, but it would’ve been a nice single to have seen after “FLY ME SO HIGH”.  It’s pretty catchy though so I have to say it’s a pretty sweet track.

2. Promised Land ~bless into the sunshine~

Continuing the tremd of amazingly long B-sides, Promised Land sounds like a remix right from the start.  I mean heavy and repetitive beats and synths galore.  Being at a little over 8 minutes you’d expect something pretty cool and well, that’s what happened.  Despite the time length, Promised Land is filled out pretty well.  Yuri’s singing fits with the mood of the song and motsu’s rapping as well.  Still is a little bit too long for me, but it’s alright.

 

 

m.o.v.e is still releasing very high quality music with “Romancing Train” .  I don’t know why it had to be right after “come together” but having a pretty well-known tie-in definitely worked in their favor and the title track was pretty catchy as a more chill eurobeat tune.  Promised Land suffers from being a little too long and very unclimatic, but still a pretty strong.

 

Nanase Aikawa – BREAK OUT!

Filed under: Nanase Aikawa — solarblade @ 1:40 am

COVER

Track Listing

  1. BREAK OUT!
  2. Ima Demo…。
  3. BREAK OUT! (Original Karaoke)

1. BREAK OUT!

BREAK OUT! oddly enough reminds me of her debut A-side “Yumemiru Shoujo ja Irarenai” a lot.  Though this time the song kind of fails with no real catchy chorus and the only real hook is with Nanase saying the title, but other than the song is very vacant and pretty unorthodox for her.  It might have a chorus, but it’s too strangely placed within the song that it kind of is harder to point it out.  Messy A-side

2. Ima Demo…。

It’s pretty sad that I really enjoyed the B-side of the single a lot more than “BREAK OUT!”.  Instead of the guitar driven sound, she goes for a more synth heavy track, but it’s like something that’d come straight from the 80’s since the guitar plays a minor role compared to the synth beats.  After a while, it comes clear that the song is a ballad of sorts and I knd of liked it.  Definitely a whole lot better than “BREAK OUT!”.

 

 

Nanase finishes the “Red” era off with BREAK OUT! and even though the A-side is a big mess of a song with a catchy hook, Ima Demo…。 came in and quickly took over the missing catchiness of the single and it’s one of her better tracks of her career.

 

Hanako Oku – BIRTHDAY July 30, 2009

Filed under: Hanako Oku — solarblade @ 6:50 am

birthday

Track Listing

  1. Waratte Waratte
  2. Ichibanboshi
  3. Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto
  4. Birthday
  5. Tanin no Namida
  6. Saigo no Koi
  7. Anemone
  8. Aoi Heya
  9. Chocolate
  10. Hotarubi
  11. Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai (Piano Hiki Katari ver.)
  12. Ashita Saku Hana
  13. Happy days (Album mix ver.)
  14. Tomoshibi

1. Waratte Waratte

We begin Hanako’s album with the A-side that finished up the era.  Waratte Waratte is sitll pretty reminescent of the other A-sides of the era.  It’s does a pretty arrangemnt, that’s a given.  I just still think that since there was already so many ballads, she was getting stale at this state of the era.  It has gotten better since I’ve had time to get used to it, but still way too many ballads were all over the era.

2. Ichibanboshi

At least we get a relatively good upbeat track in the form of Ichibanboshi.  Right from start, you hear drums, guitar, bass, and Hanako playing the keyboard.  I’m surprised that I’m liking this song a lot more than a lot of tracks I’ve heard.  It’s got a cute hook to it and Hanako’s vocals aren’t too bad, but she’s still nasally and that’s a red flag.  Pretty sweet.

3. Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto

Returning from “Waratte Waratte’s” single.  Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto was the more happier track off the single, but at that price, Hanako’s vocals took a dive in the process.  Like I said with the leading A-side, this was a bad decision to really have on the single because I couldn’t exactly make it a good track for me.  It was boring and even though it is after “Ichibanboshi” it still is pretty boring otherwise.

4. Birthday

~Happy birthday to you~.  I knew somehow that line was going to be used for the title track.  It’s just like “Ichibanboshi” in the way it carries itself and being pretty bouncy and fun.  Her vocals aren’t too bad here as well which is showing she’s actually trying.  Birthday might come off as a little childish at different points, but this song isn’t half that bad

5. Tanin no Namida

I like the fact that Sanin no Namida is a bit different kind of  ballad.  I mean it’s only just her and the piano and it sounds pretty especially since Hanako’s softer sounding vocals were working for her a lot more.  After a while, bass and drums are added to fill in the more important spots.  Another pretty strong track from the album.

6. Saigo no Koi

I know it’s pretty cynical of me to say it, but I’m getting a little tired of Hanako opening each track with a small piano line.  Of course it’s another ballad, and it oddly reminds me of “Waratte Waratte” which is bad as it was pretty meh as well.  It also brings the worst of her vocals as she cracks bad going for the high notes here.  Nothing special here.

7. Anemone

Anemone is a strange track right from the start.  It starts with an orgel melody and Hanako singing a part of the verse before this light R&B sounds comes in and helps with Hanako’s vocals.  Honestly, this is the nicest I’ve heard Hanako right now and the song’s calm and laidback sound just works.  It even ends off with the orgel melody.  Gotta say, I’m impressed.

8. Aoi Heya

We go back to bland piano music with Aoi Heya.  Like a bunch of other tracks on the album, Aoi Heya is just Hanako and piano working their magic across 5 minutes (pretty long for a track that’s almost like a ballad).  She really shows off her skills in the song so it does make up for the lack of interest in the singing sections. 

9. Chocolate

Why am I not surprised that Chocolate would’ve been a happy-go-lucky track.  It is a bit like the other upbeat tracks but there’s a harmonica solo in the song so that’s what really makes it pop out at me and I really liked it.  I’m happy that she excels at these kind of fun tracks and this isn’t bad at all either.

10. Hotarubi

Jeeze, it’s hard to stay awake when the album keeps going back to these overly simple ballads that always seem to make my mind drift off into sleep mode.  Once again Hanako shows off pretty good vocals, but it’s hampered by the vacant arrangement of the song, so it’s doesn’t leave a mark on me.

11. Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai (Piano Hikikatari ver.)

Instead of the orchestral number of the original, but it was screwed with and erased what made the original pretty good.  Like “Hotarubi” it’s just Hanako and piano again and I dislike what they did on the album version of this track.  I really don’t know why they would take out the one thing that made the song listenable out and left it as plain as ever!

12. Ashita Saku Hana

Luckily, the first A-side fills those shoes pretty quickly and it’s a pretty good song to represent the era as well.  Having the things that “Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai” didn’t have, Ashita Saku Hana is a way better ballad of the album and mostly it’s because of how broad the arrangement is with the strings that fill in the song’s empty spaces.  Probably the best ballad of the album.

13. Happy days (Album mix ver.)

Jeeze way to stick the Happy days near the end of the album.  The single version didn’t have a beat like this one did and I loved it because it just added more color to the song.  I do enjoy the new additions to the song and it fits with Hanako’s more joyous vocals here.  Why can’t she have more tracks like this?

14. Tomoshibi

Ending off the album, Tomoshibi once again proves that Hanako can sing really good when she wants to because I find myself enjoying the calmer sound of her vocals.  Sadly, the song isn’t anything to write home to about.  It gradually gets better when other instruments enter in so I guess it’s an easy song to get along with.  What a nice way to end the album (I think.)

Tracks Recommended

  • Happy days (Album mix ver.)
  • Anemone
  • Ashita Saku Hana
  • Ichibanboshi
  • Sanin no Namida

Song of Avoidance

  • Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai (Piano Hikikatari ver.)

I really had a hard time reviewing this album.  I mean a lot of the tracks were ballads and you know how I get with them.  Hanako did a way better singing on the album tracks rather than the songs that were from her singles so that’s a good thing, but it was hard to pay attention with Hanako and her piano being all over her tracks.  I’m for it, she just needs to change it up once in a while….especially if it’s a keyboard….PLAY SOMETHING ELSE ON IT!

 

AAA/Saihuun – Break Down/Break your name/Summer Revolution

Filed under: AAA,Saihuun — solarblade @ 2:08 am

breakdownAVCD-31701

Track Listing

  1. Break Down
  2. Break your name / Saihuun
  3. Summer Revolution
  4. Break Down -Broken Deep Mix-
  5. Break Down -TOKIMA TOKIO Summer Of Love Mix-
  6. Break your name -Break the limit Mix-
  7. Break your name -YUKSEK Mix-
  8. Summer Revolution – Summer Splash Mix-
  9. Break Down (Instrumental)
  10. Break your name (Instrumental)
  11. Summer Revolution (Instrumental)

1. Break Down

Alright!  Now this is the AAA I’ve been waiting for since “Red Soul”.  Break Down starts with Misako doing some breaking down with the title before they come in with the chorus.  I have to say after that, the song gets very energetic with Misako doing the ~Break-bre-break Down~ stuff.  As typical of AAA, we got Misako, Nissy, Urata, and Hidaka doing all of the work.  As usual they do a pretty good job and Hidaka’s rap doesn’t sound wrong here.  I’m just surprised there’s so much of Misako (she’s not that great of a singer still).  Still it’s one of my favorite A-sides this year since it has a great feel overall.

2. Break your name / Saihuun

You are probably wondering who Saihuun is.  It’s the new boys alternative to AAA.  Being a 15-nin group and 10 of them are still unknown to the public with five of them being the guys from AAA.  Sad that Nissy, Urata, and Hidaka.  Seriously, where’s Shuta and Shinji’s vocal parts?  Break your name has a rock/dance feel to it and it’s pretty catchy otherwise.  I do wonder how you ~break your name~.  Just wish they friggin released the members names…

3. Summer Revolution

Oddly enough, Summer Revolution is strictly a track from Misako and Chiaki (the girls).  We get one of those tracks once in a while, so it’s good to hear something energetic from those two.  I’m surprised they let Chiaki sing first as it’s pretty awesome (she’s so much better than Misako).  The arrangement of the song is a lot more like something taken from GIRL NEXT DOOR, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but they both sound better than CHISA.  Damn, all of the A-sides are great.

4. Break Down -Broken Deep Mix-

Our first remix takes Break Down into a more rock-infused sound with a lot of electronic influences.  Right from the start I knew it was going to be a very messy remix as there’s just too many bells and whistles going through the song.  You hear various parts of the song strung in and mostly Hidaka’s parts too.  It’s a bad remix.

5. Break Down -TOKIMA TOKIO Summer Of Love Mix-

The other remix is a bit better this time around.  Instead of the harsh conditions of the last one, they slowed the original a bit and added a bit more of a classy sound to it.  I do feel the tempo change of the song was maybe not the smartest idea too, but they also let the BKGD stuff pop out more than in the original which is pretty cool.  It’s still isn’t better than the original, but it beats that last remix.

6. Break your name -Break the limit Mix-

We get into our Saihuun remixes next and the first also gives the original a more edgier rock/dance sound.  I’m also getting a feeling that the same people that destroyed “Break Down” was also responsible for this.  It doesn’t sound as jumbled as before, but this is still a pretty weak remix overall.

7. Break your name -YUKSEK Mix-

The second remix from Saihuun is more dance-oriented a bit more simplistic in nature.  It does take a while for it to start up, but there’s a lot of repetition of ~Break your name~ throughout.  When it gets going, Urata comes and Nissy singing the verses and it’s really catchy as well.  I wish there were more of these parts, but this is a good remix.

8. Summer Revolution -Summer Splash Mix-

I wonder why there was only 1 remix of the girls track on the single.  It’s funny that they somewhat sped the song up actually.  Unlike the GND-ness of the original, the remix is a bit more of a rock track this time around.  It’s a lot better overall than the other rock remixes, but I can’t help but disliking it because there’s nothing of the verses or the extra parts of the chorus until near the end and by then, I’m a little annoyed from the rest of the song.

 

 

AAA’s 21st single is pretty sweet.  I mean you got an aggressive track in the form of Break Down and the GND-inspired Summer Revolution and both are great tracks to begin an era off.  Especially since the “depArture” era was full of meh tracks.  The 3 remixes were alright, but nothing that made it better than the originals.

Saihuun’s debut was also good even though the track was known since like….January/February and we still don’t have a clue on who else is in the group besides Urata, Nissy, Hidaka, Shuta, and Shinji…Break your name’s remixes were like Break Down’s, nothing spectacular, but just there for amusement.