Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayumi Hamasaki – appears July 6, 2009

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 10:56 pm

appears

Track Listing

  1. appears “99 Greeting Mix”
  2. appears “Scud Filter Mix”
  3. appears “Dub’s Eurotech Remix”
  4. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten dub mix”
  5. appears “JP’s SoundFactory Mix”
  6. appears “HΛL’S MIX”
  7. immature “D-Z DUAL LUCIFER MIX”
  8. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten vocal extended mix”
  9. appears “Keith Litman’s Mix of Truth”
  10. immature “JT Original CM Version”
  11. appears “99 Greeting Mix” -Instrumental-
  12. immature “JT Original CM Version” -Instrumental-

1. appears “99 Greeting Mix”

Basically, this is the version that was used for the PV.  It’s got a nice wintry sound to it.  Just like “monochrome”, appears is a combination of a darker dance track mixed with the rock style that the era has been putting out most of the era.  It still doesn’t really make an impact on me as much as “monochrome” did.  It’s funny onto its transition to the album, it lost the jingle bells.

2. appears “Scud Filter Mix”

What we have next starting on the multitude of remixes, the first one for appears has a heavier beat and a pretty cool startup with all the jingling and heavy beats.  It’s one of the rare remixes that I don’t mind the cut n’ paste method to get through the song as it is quite bouncy and chill for an electronica track.

3. appears “Dub’s Eurotech Remix”

That’s why I also don’t like this remix as well.  It seems to be a watered down version of the last track…I mean I can see why this is a eurobeat track and then all of a sudden I hear strings playing a major role in the song, but that’s shortlived because it goes back to the synths and beats soon after.  It isn’t as boring as the last “Dub remix”,  this isn’t the best.

4. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten dub mix”

So yes, I am a big fan of Ferry Corsten works and seeing this as his first delve with Ayu, I was expecting what he was going to do since his music is electronica and a bit ambient at point as well.  It does have a slow pickup time, but the arrangement here is quite what I expected from Mr. Corsten.  It does kind of suck that Ayu barely gets any time in the remix itself and it’s basically here just for Ferry to mess around with.

5. appears “JP’s SoundFactory Mix”

We get back into the appears remixes and I’m noticing that she’s bringing a lot of new ideas with this single.  This remix baically focuses on a more deeper and darker trance beat here and well once again….takes too long to get to Ayu.  When it does though it gets better because of the use of latin acoustic guitar.  If you cut out that beginning, this turns out to be a good remix.

6. appears “HΛL’s MIX”

Wow, A HΛL mix that doesn’t pass 5 minutes how strange is that?  Why is is that these remixes sound so damn similar to one another (I know it’s HΛL, but this was just a carbon copy from last endeavors).  I felt this was a lazy remix taking ideas of past songs and sticking the lyrics from appears on it.  Even worse is that is way too slow to make any sense from the original.  My least favorite track off the single.

7. immature “D-Z DUAL LUCIFER MIX”

We’re gonna get a remix of a B-side before the main version?  I guess I can’t say much because “Boys & Girls” had the same treatment as well.  Out of the 2 previous remixes from D-Z, this would be my least favorite of them since it didn’t sound as energetic and it actually sounded quite messy and not together for a remix.  I do like the synths of course and Ayu has singing parts here so it’s alright, just not amazing.

8. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten vocal extended mix”

Basically it’s a more friendlier version of the earlier Ferry remix.  This time it’s not majorly focused on the music as much and shortens the length up making it more easier for the listener (minute shorter actually).  Ayu’s parts are more frequent as well which is great.  Now this is the Ferry Corsten that I like and WHATEVER is the first of many Ferry’s works that I’ve come to enjoy.

9. appears “Keith Litman’s Mix of Truth”

Another remix from Keith Litman.  He really had to make up for that boring remix of “monochrome” and once again he fails with appears as well since the song suffers from huge repetition in the arrangement and how he cut n’ pasted Ayu across the track.  Like last time things do get a little better the longer you listen, but for me by that time I’m ready to move on.  Oh well.

10. immature “JT Original CM Version”

So the B-side of the single is immature if you haven’t guessed already.  It also carries a wintry beginning just like “appears” did, but this song sounded grittier and filled with eurobeat love.  Now the difference between this and the album version is that the beginning is wintry here and this has a more guitar-filled sound instead of the albums full on dance sound.  I actually enjoy this version moreso than the one found on the album. 

 

 

appears ends off the “LOVEppears” era with a pretty cool synth/wintry track and immature was clearly the stronger track off the single and still is when both get “album version” tagged when they appear on the album.  The remixes were still more miss than hit for me though I do love Ferry’s contribution to the single so hmmmm…

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – A

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 7:18 pm

A

Track Listing

*regular pressing

  1. monochrome
  2. too late
  3. Trauma
  4. End roll
  5. monochrome “Keith Litman’s Big City Vocal Mix”
  6. too late “Razor ‘N Guido Remix”
  7. Trauma “Heavy Shuffle Mix”
  8. End roll “HΛL’s Mix”
  9. monochrome -instrumental-
  10. too late -instrumental
  11. Trauma -instrumental-
  12. End roll -instrumental-
  13. End roll “NEURO-mantic Mix”
  14. monochrome -Dub’s full color Remix”

1. monochrome

Ahhhh, monochrome was basically what made me think Ayu was heading towards a new and more greater sound.  Not only does it sound completely different with a more percussion heavy sound, the music seemed to combine Ayu and piano with an otherwise stronger musical arrangement.  I still find it funny that at the end a guy says something in mid-chorus and shuts the door and that’s what ends the song right there.  The album version cut that out for some reason and just ends out of the blue.

2. too late

too late is more focused on the synths than the guitar which is pretty cool.  I actually really enjoy the song’s more dance-like sound despite the whole song sounding like Ayu’s stressing hardcore.  The best part is the interlude in the middle where the synth melody takes over and just makes it more epic. 

3. Trauma

Trauma does sound a bit like “too late” but things reversed and well, it’s not the most interesting original track on the single, it still gots its positives like the verses sounding so 80’s-ish.  I still somehow manage to like it alot, bu that’s mainly because of it’s tie in to Chobits.  C’mon you’ve got to give it to her that she’s gotten better clearly because of how powerful the final held note in the chorus just radiates.  Trauma is a good track.

4. End roll

End roll just looks wrong on this single.  I mean it’s a ballad of all things and the beginning melody sounds like “A Song For xx” which kind of turned me off, if it was going to be somewhat closer to it.  It still is the worst of the four A-sides because we already had enough meh ballads this era and this was just adding gas to the fire.

5. monochrome “Keith Litman’s Big City Vocal Mix”

The first of the remixes, monochrome gets put into a more house-like sound with Ayu’s vocals messed around with.  Being 9 minutes in length, you’re going to have to wait before the song really gets going anywhere and it kind of doesn’t until a minute and a half.  Even then, no vocals….talk about a useless track since it goes everywhere after a while…they do add Ayu but late in the song so not good for monochrome.

6. too late “Razor ‘N Guido Remix”

Another 8 minute remix, too late’s comes in next and well kind of suffers from the same problems the last remix had which was the song takes up a while to get going.  When it does it makes Ayu ss worse in the vocals department because it’s like she’s screeching.  Another remix that I disliked.

7. Trauma “Heavy Shuffle Mix”

Now this was more of something I’d be interested in because this remix sounded so different from the others.  It’s kind of funny that the song isn’t as hardcore as the other two previous remixes, but this is nice and chill.  After Ayu’s lines there’ a pretty cool synth melody going that I really like.  Better remix on the single actually ^_^

8. End roll “HΛL’s Mix”

See now this is where HΛL gets things right because his remix of End roll sounds more like an original track, but it does still have its awkward sound to it because it’s not forceful enough to me.  There’s a lot of darker and grittier sounds going on until the verse where it disappears.  Another OK remix, but nothing too amazing here.

9. End roll “NEURO-mantic Mix”

Then again, it’s easily overshadowed by this remix which IMO reminds me of the “PSYCHEDELIC ASSASSIN” back on the last single….I wonder if it was remixed by the same person/group.  I do love how the verses has a cosmic-like sound to it and then the bridge and chorus brings back to harder trance sounds of the remix and it’s amazing.  Sweet remix

10. monochrome “Dub’s full color Remix”

Ending off this hellishly long single, monochrome gets another remix as well and of course Dub is tacked onto it which means it’s time for a love or hate situation to start up.  I’m once again on the field that it does take too long to get things going, but when they do the song becomes a lot more better especially with the synth line.  Wish there s more Ayu, but what can you do huh?

 

 

Ayu’s first quad A-side single came off as a bit different.  I mean I do like how the remixes weren’t heavy on just one track (such a godsend).  Now all of the tracks to make it onto “LOVEppears” even tough monochrome’s ending was oddly cut from the album.  A shows that Ayu is steadily becoming one artist not to be messed with.

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – Boys & Girls

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 6:20 pm

boysgirlsqx1

Track Listing

  1. Boys & Girls (MAD FILTER MIX)
  2. Boys & Girls (AUBE Original Mix)
  3. Boys & Girls (Higher Uplift Mix)
  4. LOVE ~Destiny~ (TODD’S LOVER COVERSION)
  5. Boys & Girls (HΛL’s Mix)
  6. Boys & Girls (Melt Down Dub Mix)
  7. TO BE (Bright Mix)
  8. Boys & Girls (D-Z PSYCHEDELIC ASSASSIN MIX)
  9. Boys & Girls (Dub’s club remix)
  10. Boys & Girls (AUBE Original Mix Instrumental)

1. Boys & Girls (MAD FILTER MIX)

So Ayu begins this long single with a remix?  I guess it opens the single up in a pretty funky way.  It has a lot of interesting things going on as there’s strings here and there and Ayu’s vocals muffled and repeating the same lines over and over again.  I mean it’s alright, but it seems like one of those songs that really just pay attention to the music and nothing much more. 

2. Boys & Girls (AUBE Original Mix)

Or I like to call, the one with the PV.  Now this original mix sounds a lot more better than that remix.  I’m still not the biggest fan of the song because of her irksome vocals back on the chorus.  There’s parts of the song that I really like, mainly the bridge though.  I do think it does kind of ends in sort of odd place where it fades off, but still the song has grown a little on me since the album review.

3. Boys & Girls (Higher Uplift Mix)

Now this was more of what I was expecting of a remix.  This one starts out with a heavy enough beat and even though it’s one of those songs that warm up until it gets more interesting, it actually quite is.  It’s funny that she sings the chorus in a different way as she sounds monotone as she singing it.  Even the piano interlude was cool, but the length will get to you reaching almost at 10 minutes.

4. LOVE ~Destiny~ (TODD’S LOVER COVERSION)

The only remix of said song, LOVE ~Destiny~ got more of an R&B touchup rather than a trance remix.  It does throw the listener off after that last one.  There’s a rapper present in this remix, and well it doesn’t too well an Ayu and R&B together again FTW.  Besides the guy, this version sounds quite nice. 

5. Boys & Girls (HΛL’s Mix)

This is the first of many times we’ll see a remix from HΛL and sometimes he gets it right, other times he misses it completely and screws it up.  For his first remix though, he actually kind of des both.  I love how dark the beginning is and then it slows down to absurd levels.  Then he comes back to a more cooler sound as Ayu starts the first verse off.  The guitar in the song reminds me of AIMI from Stereopony for some reason XD.  It’s alright.

6. Boys & Girls (Melt Down Dub Mix)

I like the name of the mix for sure, but this isn’t a good remix at all.  It kind of sounds somewhat like the “MAD FILTER MIX”, but a lot more emptier and less memorable because of the song.  Then it gets comical and strange as time flies by.  Yeah, not a good remix at all.

7. TO BE (Bright Mix)

Wait….didn’t we already have our reggae remix for TO BE?  Why do we have another one, is it trying to replace the one from said single?  I’ll just say it, this remix doesn’t do anything unlike the one from the last single.  It might be an even more watered-down version of said remix.  So much for originality xD

8. Boys & Girls (D-Z PSYCHEDELIC ASSASSIN MIX)

I thought the most impressive remix was this one as it was basically full of synths and one of the more aggressive remixes Ayu had in the era.  I like how there’s just a lot of sound all around and the song wasn’t ripped apart and repetitive.  5 minutes is also a pretty good time for the track as it showed more of it colors than some of the other remixes.  Best one off the single.

9. Boys & Girls (Dub’s club remix)

Just like HΛL, Dub’s remixes are hit or miss with me as well.  “TO BE” was a hit for me, but I’ll say that they messed this one up and dragged it out too long.  Yeah….it seems to move through whenever Ayu is singing, but otherwise the rest of the track is just for filler purposes.

 

 

Ayu begins this whole craze of having so many remixes it’s crazy.  Boys & Girls is an alright track, but the remixes given to the song kind of made it seem worse for me…Except the PSYCHEDELIC ASSASSIN remix, now that was a good remix.  The LOVE ~Destiny~ remix does kind of stand out in a bad way when it’s surrounded by trance song while TO BE’s remix was just not needed at all…oh well

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – TO BE

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:33 pm

tobe

Track Listing

  1. TO BE
  2. TO BE (Dub’s cool wind Remix)
  3. TO BE (Instrumental)

1. TO BE

Well, we finally get back into normality with TO BE since it brings back a more refined sounding Ayu who doesn’t sound like crap like her last single.  It’s nice to see acoustic guitar appearing here and even though once again, it sounds more like something that belonged in the last era, TO BE did get rearranged on “Days/GREEN” which was definitely the touch-up it needed, but it still remains pretty low since I can barely remember anything about it in the era (with all the other tracks coming up).

2. TO BE (Dub’s cool wind Remix)

Now to be picky yeah it’s the first “remix” Ayu’s ever had so this was something I liked about the single (yeah, previous singles had “version” tagged, doesn’t mean it’s a remix).  Back to the track at hand.  TO BE basically got revamped into a reggae-styled track.  It sounds totally strange, but fitting for some odd reason.  As with the reggae beats, it sounds oddly dark for one and mysterious as well.  I kind of like this.

 

 

TO BE is the final single before Ayu goes on her remix craze….grand.  Now TO BE is a good track, but I can never remember how it goes after time passes by.  I actually liked the remix more than the original because TO BE sounds a bit more together as a reggae/ballad than just a regular ole ballad.  Strange how that works eh?

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE ~Destiny~

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:20 pm

lovedestiny

Track Listing

  1. LOVE ~Destiny~
  2. LOVE ~since1999~
  3. LOVE ~Destiny~ (Instrumental)
  4. LOVE ~since1999~ (Instrumental)

1. LOVE ~Destiny~

After the dance-infused “WHATEVER”, LOVE ~Destiny~ took things in a more calmer fashion making it as a ballad.  What’s so special about the track is that Tsunku was a part of this track composing it and such.  I can tell her vocals are trying to be emotional, but they come off as being whiney and it’s not a good thing IMO.  There’s this guitar solo here and I thought it was just wrong to have in the song…oh well.

2. LOVE ~since1999~

Then the unthinkable happens.  Reusing the previous tracks melody again, This track is a bit more upbeat in nature, but the problem here is that Tsunku is singing here with Ayu.  Now you might think that it’s quite cool right?  Empress of J-pop with H!P founder….Well it’s not because Ayu is easily being overpowered by Tsunku, not to mention Tsunku sounds horrible and the can’t harmonize at all.  Worst track ever? yeaaaah.

 

 

Ayu’s 2nd of the era came off as something that would be more simpler, being arranged by Tsunku and such.  Sadly, it didn’t come off as planned because Ayu sounded otherwise worst than she did on “WHATEVER”.  Seriously though Tsunku & Ayu was a terrible combination that just renders this single to be the worst already.

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – WHATEVER

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:05 pm

whatever

Track Listing

  1. WHATEVER (Version M)
  2. WHATEVER (Version J)
  3. WHATEVER (Version M) -Instrumental-
  4. WHATEVER (Version J -Instrumental-

1. WHATEVER (Version M)

Now if you’ve followed Ayu right from the start, WHATEVER will definitely surprise you.  Ayu ditches her pop/rocks roots for a bit of some eurobeat/dance and it actually sounds really chill for being one.  Now the song is actually quite catchy exept for the horrible descending ad-libbing she does in the song.  It might be a little too tame and doesn’t exactly make any sort of climax, but it’s still a good early Ayu track.

2. WHATEVER (Version J)

Unlike the main version, this version sounds more like what was on her last album, but also sounded more like an original version, so this was pretty nice to hear.  There’s still traces of synths amd such and it comes off as a little too empty to listen to.  Maybe I would’ve liked it more if it was on her previous album….Luckily it’s not the path she chose for this single.

 

 

WHATEVER begins the “LOVEppears” era with well….something that actually sounds fresh (at the time).  Though both don’t really get onto the album, Version M gets extended for the album and stuck with a different remixer, but it’s still Version M though.  Version J does harken back to her previous era with the pop/rock, but here it sounds already dated and boring.  Oh well.