Kurayami Monogatari

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Gackt – 0079-0088 July 16, 2009

Filed under: GACKT — solarblade @ 9:23 pm

0079-0088

Track Listing

  1. Ai Senshi
  2. Metamorphoze
  3. Kimi ga Matteiru Kara
  4. Mind Forest
  5. Suna no Jyuujika ~interlude~
  6. Dybbuk
  7. Dears
  8. Love Letter
  9. Meguriai

1. Ai Senshi

We begin this concept album with a new track from Gackt.  It’s pretty cool that there’s a new track and it did serve as a promotional track for tha album and for its GUNDAM tie-in.  It’s your typical fare of your normal epic Gackt sound.  The problem I have with the song was that it seemed so cluttered together and just messy.  I do like the solos in the song and Gackt’s quite parts, but other than that, I was pretty turned off from the track.

2. Metamorphoze

Released previously on “DIABOLOS”. Metamorphoze was a good track to include on the album since it doesn’t sound messy when compared to “Ai Senshi”.  It sounds more appropriate to the GUNDAM series as well, giving a more space-like sound and Gackt’s vocals here just fit.  Even the flute part in the song was pretty epic in itself.  I think it’s one of his best tracks he’s done in recent times.

3. Kimi ga Matteiru Kara

Released previously on “Crescent” and not the track from the “Metamorphoze” single, Kimi ga Matteiru Kara is a lot more serious sounding as there’s a sense of dread.  Then again it could be the strings that are making it sound so depressing.  His vocals are messed around with a little bit, but it’s not like “GHOST”.  The acoustic interlude in the song was a nice touch as well.  Another strong track.

4. Mind Forest

Also returning from “Crescent”, Mind Forest is a interesting track, especially the opening the’s all covered in flutes and such.  After that, I’m kind of dreading Gackt’s overuse of his vibrato and defintely took me out of the song.  That chorus was just ugh+.  I guess it it wasn’t for the nice arrangement, this song would’ve been downright suckish.

5. Suna no Jyuujika ~interlude~

A 3 minute interlude?  It’s odd to see one on a Gackt album, but nonetheless, it sounds like a guitar interlude that sounds like it was filtered a bit.  It’s a bit too long-winded, but it does sound like music you’d picture the desert would have…so I guess that’s good.

6. Dybbuk

Another track from the “Crescent” era?  It’s funny because it was also in the single leading up to this album.  Dybbuk is clearly a hot mess of a song mixing the hardest rock sound of the album with the cold, electronica feel in the bridge.  The verses between Gackt and Ju-ken is a bit strange and well…fast.  Though when Gackt goes under vocoder and hits the synth, it’s just amazing how it flows and takes you in before the in-your-face chorus comes it.  That’s why I consider this is one of my favorite Gackt tunes just because it forces you to change emotions so fast….Genius.

7. Dears

The next two tracks are off his “Love Letter” album and starting with Dears, I can tell why he enjoys this song so much that he named his fanclub after this song.  It’s a ballad, but once the chorus comes in, the rock returns in the track and yes, it’s just that good and more carefree than normal.  It’s a pretty song I’ll give it that.  Another good track.

8. Love Letter

The single that really represented the era, Love Letter still is one long borefest for me.  It makes “Dears” Look like the best track he had on the album.  Love Letter is more closer as a ballad track, but once again he drags the song across the entire time.  It is leagues better than “No ni Saku Hana You ni”  I can admire that fact, but Love Letter is nothing too special and he’s had better ballads.

9. Meguriai

I’m pretty sure this is a cover track, but whatever.  Meguriai is not surprisingly another ballad with a twist.  At least this one is a bit more interesting because it’s all piano and the song sounds a little mysterious.  After a while, the strings fade in the song and well adds more to the effect.  Then he enters the chorus where it goes all-rock and it’s loud….I didn’t expect it….Once it ends though it cuts off back into the piano-ladened part…It’s like “Dybbuk”, it makes you switch moods almost immediately.

Tracks Recommended

  • Dybbuk
  • Metamorphoze
  • Meguriai

Song of Avoidance

  • Ai Senshi

Gackt’s concept album did come in three versions.  One is the regular version (one I reviewed) and the other two were based off of two characters: Amuro Ray & Char Aznable.  They have speaking parts here and there on the album, but other than that same tracklist, just a little longer album time.  Even though two “new” songs were on the album, Meguriai was the only one really worth it.  The rest were already previously released material, so it was a bit more of like a best-of in some cases.  It’s alright and it did fill in the space when Gackt was on his hiatus.

 

Tohoshinki – Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou?

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 6:04 am

doushitekimiwosukininatteshimattandarou

Track Listing

  1. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou?
  2. Box in the ship
  3. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattendarou? (A Cappella ver.) (CD Only)
  4. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou? (Less Vocal)
  5. Box in the ship (Less Vocal)

1. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou?

It always helps that Tohoshinki can do R&B and make it sound right.  At first I thought the song was going to be one boring ballad, but was I wrong about it.  It does suck that I don’t know the members well enough to name them odd by their vocals.  The beat and them doing their thing with some auto-tune as well doing them well.  One of them is a bit out of tune with the tune, but yes…this song is right now one of my favorites.

2. Box in the ship

I’m surprised I didn’t see this appear on “Share The World” since it does give off more of a One Piece vibe.  The song is pretty islandy and THSK songs go and the carefree vibe from the guys fits perfectly here as well.  I can oddly see AAA doing a track like this as well.  Another good track here.

3. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou? (A Cappella ver.)

See, when you get five guys to harmonize together in the right way and stick them with a track that has an acappella version, you get a pretty good track.  Without the music, they still manage to get the song sound together and not messy…wow no wonder why avex picked em’ to crossover into Japan.

 

 

As the era’s “3rd” single, Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou? really boosted them for me to enjoy them even further.  The last two singles did have their faults because the remixes ended up better than the main tracks themselves.  I gotta say the A-side trumped “Beautiful you” & “Sennen Koi Uta” by a big jump.  Box in the ship also showed versatility with the guys’ music.   We even get an acappella version which so surprised me and I loved it..gotta say so far in the era, this is my favorite.

 

Hanako Oku – Waratte Waratte

Filed under: Hanako Oku — solarblade @ 5:44 am

warattewaratte

Track Listing

  1. Waratte Waratte
  2. Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto
  3. Happy Days

1. Waratte Waratte

Of course, we’d get another ballad from Hanako as an A-side.  Unlike the previous two A-sides, this is more catered to the simple ballad sound.  That’s basically piano, strings and Hanako singing.  Actually it might be a bit too much like her last A-side “Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai” as they are both simple ballads, nothing more, nothing less and that’s probably why I think this song is a bit boring for me. 

2. Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto

Here we go again, we are basically going the same route as we did with the last single.  I’m going to guess that the next song is going to be in an upbeat sort of nature.  I’m honestly even more bored when she sings this B-side.  It sounds emotionally more happier than the previous track, but you can’t really tell with Hanako’s idol-like vocals.  They are a bit of a nuisance really.

3. Happy Days

Yup, I was right when I said the 2nd B-side was going to be an upbeat track.  Including the synth this time around made the song sound so much more eventful.  I’ll say it though, she’s carrying a happy mood here as well and I quite like it…then again it would’ve be better if it was a cover of Ai Otsuka’s A-side.  The version I have skips, so I prolly missed something important, but it’s still a good track.

 

 

Hanako finishes the “BIRTHDAY” era with basically a carbon copy of “Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai”.  I have the exact same feelings that I did with that single so I’ll put it in short…Waratte Waratte = alright, Bokutachi ni Dekiru Koto = boring, Happy Days = fun

 

Mika Nakashima – TRUE

Filed under: Mika Nakashima — solarblade @ 5:12 am

true

Track Listing

  1. AMAZING GRACE (album version)
  2. WILL (album version)
  3. ONE SURVIVE (album version)
  4. HEAVEN ON EARTH
  5. DESTINY’S LOTUS
  6. Helpless Rain
  7. I
  8. TEARS (Konayuki ga Mau You ni…)
  9. TRUE EYES
  10. CRESCENT MOON
  11. JUST TRUST IN OUR LOVE (album version)
  12. STARS (album version)
  13. A MIRACLE FOR YOU

1. AMAZING GRACE (album version)

We begin Mika’s debut album with in my opinion her worst song in her career (that I’ve heard so far).  Well a lot of the songs has been changed around a bit on the album.  AMAZING GRACE was basically cut down a bit shorter, omitting the beginning with the waves crashing.  One crash and the music starts to play in.  Now I said I didn’t like the song initially because I’m not a big fan of the song itself.  Asians + Christian songs = YUCK.  Even worse is the Mika fails English here….I mean AMAZING GLAZE….wht?  At least we got through the song this early on the album.

2. WILL (album version)

I’m surprised WILL got tagged with the album version as well because I really like WILL.  Anyway, I actually like the change here.  What they did was replace the jazzy sound and switched it with a piano ladened arrangement.  There’s still a bit of the jazz sound going on, but it isn’t as heavy as this version.  I quite like and Mika’s vocals are pretty good here as well.

3. ONE SURVIVE (album version)

One of the more fun tracks of the era, ONE SURVIVE is another one of the tracks whose “album version” is more subtle more than anything, there’s just a bit of a change-up in sound and instrumentation, but not enough to really take away from the song.  For the songs that I have heard from Mika, ONE SURVIVE is like odd because it’s all disco.  It still just as catchy and fun as it was on the single and I like em’ both.

4. HEAVEN ON EARTH

The first of three new tracks on the album, HEAVEN ON EARTH sounds more like a pop song that Mika wouldn’t do until later in her career.  It’s a bit chiller than the previous track and it’s a bit nice and a little bit of R&B is included as well.  Though once again the problem is Mika’s English….it really sucks when she says the title as it’s ~HEAVEN ON EASS..???

5. DESTINY’S LOTUS

Coming from the “CRESCENT MOON” single, DESTINY’S LOTUS is still one of the more meh tracks since it’s the original and not the remix that was on “Helpless Rain’s” single.  I wish that Mika didn’t sound so deattatched from the song as she was here.  The music was pretty fun, but wasted opportunity here.

6. Helpless Rain

I’m still not the biggest fan when it comes to Helpless Rain just because the entire song just wasn’t working for me…the male BKGD singers, Mika’s overly stressed vocals, and basically the odd mix of the instrumentation and the oddly strings altogether made up a mess on the song….it could be her worst song.

7. I

Our 2nd of the new tracks pops up next.  It does calm things down for a bit and well, continues the odd treading in the R&B genre.  At least, she’s sounding a whole lot better than in “Helpless Rain” as she’s not stressing her vocals hard.  It does sound a bit too empty as a song though…It could be the bare bones arrangement…still it’s so much better.  The harmonica solo in the middle was so nice though.

8. TEARS (Konoyuki ga Mau You ni…)

Basically the oldest track on the album (STARS was changed).  TEARS calms down the album further as it is a ballad of course.  Mika’s calm vocals and strings arrangement just sounds nice.  After a while, the etherealness of the song takes over.  I did say the song felt empty on the single and it still kind of is emptier than a good portion of the tracks, but I can say it has grown on me.

9. TRUE EYES

I said that TRUE EYES wasn’t too memorable for me because on the single it was right after and very similar track.  At least on the album, it has a chance and even though it sounds like “ONE SURVIVE’s” twin, it still is a pretty good song otherwise. 

10. CRESCENT MOON

Then the unbelieveable happens when CRESCENT MOON is placed unfortunately after “TRUE EYES”.  It carries the same things y’know, all the brass and mix of pop and disco together.  Even though it is older than said song, it still is kind of bad putting them near each other like that.  Still it’s a good song from Mika this early in her career.

11. JUST TRUST IN OUR LOVE (album version)

Do you remember the single version of this song?  It was all slow and smooth and just was one of the nicest B-sides of the era.  Well, you can throw all of that out to the curb.  The album version (which is in all caps BTW) reversed the mood on everyone.  It’s turned into a dance track with a pretty sweet beat.  I can sense Mika is just having a fun time with this version as well.  Ok, this might not be the great B-side I like, but this is a great rearrangement.

12. STARS (album version)

So it seems that instead of giving STARS a new arrangement or anything, the only thing she really did was resing the song in a more relaxed state.  The songs calm jazz sound definitely fit with Mika’s more smokier vocals here and she made the song an even better listen than it was on the single.

13. A MIRACLE FOR YOU

Ending off the album is the last new track, A MIRACLE FOR YOU.  The gospel like BKGD singers will make you think the song is more of something that should’ve ended “YES” than on this album.  It once again shows how a ballad should work as there’s climaxes and Mika’s vocals work well with this kind of setting.  I think this ended the album very well.

Tracks Recommended

  • JUST TRUST IN OUR LOVE (album version)
  • ONE SURVIVE (album version)
  • WILL (album version)
  • A MIRACLE FOR YOU
  • TEARS (Konayuki ga Mau You ni)

Song of Avoidance

  • AMAZING GRACE (album version)

Mika’s debut album is alright, but there was a problem at how her upbeat tracks sounded relatively similar to one another and her ballads were mostly too bare to be THAT good.  Oh, and the fact that there was only THREE new tracks was disappointing, the many album version tweaks did make some of the songs better, so we did get a break on that.  Still, overall, not my favorite Mika album.