Kurayami Monogatari

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Mano Erina – Sekai wa Summer Party July 28, 2009

Filed under: Mano Erina — solarblade @ 6:58 pm

sekaiwasummerparty

Track Listing

  1. Sekai wa Summer Party
  2. Jasmine Tea
  3. Sekai wa Summer Party (Instrumental)

1. Sekai wa Summer Party

Sekai wa Summer Party is definitely a new style for Mano and is her most upbeat track in her collection so far.  The song is crazy with the arrangement having a more idol-like sound than previous tracks.  I do like the piano parts from her as they’re bouncy and a lot more heavier.  I have to say, this is my favorite song of the major label era.  Props for S/mileage being part of the PV as well, nice touch.

2. Jasmine Tea

Of course, Jasmine Tea is the better track.  First off, the opening was pretty cool with keyboard and then deeper synth coming in.  It does sound kind of relaxing as well which is something I haven’t heard much from Manoeri but this filled that gap in pretty well.  I’m happy the song isn’t boring at all.

 

 

Manoeri is doing such a better job on this single than she did with “Hajimete no Keiken”.  Both tracks sounded so different from the usual fare and it’s great to see someone from H!P expanding on their sound a bit.  She still has vocal issues but with each single she’s getting better.  Where’s that album Mano?

 

Kaori Mochida – Shizuka na Yoru/weather

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 9:45 am

shizukanayoru

Track Listing

  1. Shizuka na Yoru
  2. weather
  3. MOON RIVER

1. Shizuka na Yoru

Right from the start, it was obvious that the arrangement was going to be a lot more simpler for Kaori.  Shizuka no Yoru is more or less a piano-based ballad.  After a while strings to come in, but they leave again which opens to some jazz influenced sounds to come in.  This is perfect Starbucks music for sure.  It’s a bit less freaky than “Ame no Waltz” but this is alright.

2. weather

It doesn’t help much that weather is a little bit like “Shizuka na Yoru”.  I mean there’s a lot more going on and the music is a tad more upbeat, but it’s still Cafe music is that’s what I should really describe it as.  It sounds a bit like America back in the 70’s…lighthearted pop music right?  It’s a bit better than the primary A-side though.

3. MOON RIVER

Hey, this is that track Ken Hirai covered last month.  Kaori’s take is a bit strange and kind of sad to listen to.  Kaori’s English is alright, but she failed so hard saying the title at the beginning.  Unlike Ken’s version Kaori’s sounds like a lullaby and having just acoustic guitar worked as well.  Beautiful, but with issues.

 

 

Kaori ends the “moka” era with a way different single than “Ame no Waltz” did.  The arrangements are a bit less complex here and I like the change overall, but I felt there were more problems than needed.  I mean Shizuka na Yoru was bland at first but got better over time, MOON RIVER had Engrish issues and weather being the best of the single can become meh after a while.  Good single, but too safe IMO.

 

Rina Aiuchi – PLAYGIRL

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 9:22 am

PLAYGIRL

Track Listing

  1. PLAYGIRL
  2. START
  3. Boom-Boom-Boom
  4. STEP UP!
  5. CONTROL ME, RESCUE ME
  6. wonderful danger
  7. LOVE-FORMATION
  8. NEVERENDING WINTER
  9. Dream×Dream
  10. MISS YOU
  11. Seductive Medicine
  12. V.I.P
  13. GIRLS PLAY
  14. Dream×Dream -Love & Wishes Version- (Limited Edition Bonus Track)

1. PLAYGIRL

Clearly, right from the start, we get a totally different Rina.  PLAYGIRL brings out a new genre for Rina to try out and it’s basically rock.  I mean it still is pop, but with rock laces on it.  I kind of like the melody even if it’s repetitive.  I love the chorus where she goes ~LET ME GO!~.  I thought that line stuck out in my head the most.  Definitly a strong album opener.

2. START

START mixes her dance style with the rock sound and it sort of sounds like an homage to “CODE CRUSH” at first, but the verses come in at a softer rate.  Being the 2nd A-side, I still think this was a great track despite having the “A.I.R.” sound written all over it. 

3. Boom-Boom-Boom

The final A-side pops up next and as much as I love the opening to the song, this track was just messy on the various parts to it.  I mean the verses are slow while the chorus picks up speed.  It just doesn’t sound good overall and it’s the worst of the era.

4. STEP UP!

Oh god….Rina’s singing at the opening of the song is horrid to no end.  Luckily, it’s just a small bump before we get into the song itself.  Instead of the dance-like nature, STEP UP! has a pure rock sound to it and I love it alot.  The chorus is like the beginning, but she does a better job keeping it together and should have BKGD singers when she tries for those higher notes. 

5. CONTROL ME, RESCUE ME

What’s up with Rina and this newfound rock sound to this album?  I find it kind of strange that she opened the track with electric guitars but s she enters the verse it gets dropped for a piano melody.  Sadly the song doesn’t really have a good bridge into the chorus and felt sort of anti-climatic.  It’s a bit back and forth with the piano and rock sound….I’m just not a fan of that.

6. wonderful danger

I love the opening to wonderful danger with the deeper synth.  It does a have a pretty sweet dark sound to it that her last single “Boom-Boom-Boom” acted upon and it carried very well into this new track.  The chorus is once again a bit bland and a little bit repetitive, but this song has good flow and Rina does an alright job keeping the interest alive.

7. LOVE-FORMATION

In a nice surprise to the album, LOVE-FORMATION comes in and throws out the rock elements for a dance track.  I mean there’s a little bit of guitar, but it’s different from the rock shtuff.  Sadly, the chorus suffers from strange timing and it sounds like a GIRL NEXT DOOR tracks, just a bit lighter.  I know that’s wrong, but it actually is a nice way to drift from the rock tracks.

8. NEVERENDING WINTER

LOL, wait we go from rock, to dance, to acoutic?  I’m guessing that the album is going into its experimental side.  I’m not going to say that it’s not original because it is.  The chorus does bring the rock elements in, but for being a winter track, this was nice and different from the usual.  I think it’s one of the album’s gems.

9. Dream×Dream

Like I said in the single review, I initially thought this was a ballad, but it does turn out to be a dance track.  It sounds like an ending to some anime or something, but I guess that’s why I like it alot.  Out of the three singles, this would be my favorite. 

10. MISS YOU

MISS YOU marks the first ballad of the album and I love this track alot.  It has a very depressing feel to it and the piano and clarinet was amazing.  The song also suited Rina’s vocals very well (still not the best) but if there was one ballad she won me over with, it’s this track. 

11. Seductive Medicine

After that emotional track, Seductive Medicine comes in and bores the hell out of me.  It’s mid-tempo rock sound just doesn’t cut it for me and her pronunciation to the title and wacky notes she hit are just abrasive to the ears.  I didn’t think she could’ve failed, but BAM there it is.  Worst track off the album for sure.

12. V.I.P

V.I.P, just like “PLAYGIRL” is one of the hardest tracks off the album with aggressive guitar riffs and the likes.  I’ve finally made a decision and came to fact that Rina + rock = awkward.  In a way, it does give her more freedom with genres.  The other side of the coin is that Rina’s voice can not handle it at all.  It comes off way too thin and she destroys the mood altogether.

13. GIRLS PLAY

The other title track ends of the album and I must say, she ended off the album in a great way.  It starts with a muffled guitar line before blowing up with more power and force.  It’s pretty awesome that Rina is muffled a bit during the verses and lets her vocals explode during the chorus.  It is a bit slower than “V.I.P”, but this song is just one of her coolest songs IMO.

14. Dream×Dream (Love & Wishes Version)

Found only on the limited edition of the album, Dream×Dream gets rearranged and I’m so happy that she actually did.  Unlike the originals dance style, this is a straight-up ballad take of the song only featuring Rina and piano.  It might have lost the spark it did, but this is a beautiful take of the original.  I might prefer it moreso than the original since it shows Rina’s emotional vocals here.

Tracks Recommended

  • MISS YOU
  • GIRLS PLAY
  • Dream×Dream -Love & Kisses Version-
  • NEVERENDING WINTER
  • LOVE-FORMATION

Song of Avoidance

  • Seductive Medicine

I was honestly taken aback when this album hit since it took her away even further from her dance status.  The album to me seemed more like a concept because since then, she’s lightened up on the rock genre and honestly, keep her away.  I think the best tracks minus GIRLS PLAY were the tracks that had none of it.  Then again those tracks were amazing better than most of the stuff on her previous albums for sure. 

 

HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR – San

Filed under: HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR — solarblade @ 6:34 am

SanJacket

Track Listing

  1. Enrai ~Tooku ni Aru Akari~
  2. Resistance
  3. DIVE into YOURSELF (YOUR VOICE Version)
  4. Koigokoro
  5. Oxalis
  6. Hummingbird
  7. the moon illuminates
  8. Yoake Mae
  9. Sandome no Sakura
  10. Hibana
  11. Suiren
  12. LAST WORD
  13. a shape of love
  14. Tadoritsuku Basho
  15. Oxalis (MOVIE VERSION)

1. Enrai ~Tooku ni Aru Akari~

Just like the previous albums, we begin with the biggest track of the era.  This time we start with Enrai and just like the previous album openers, this is in your face.  I’m guessing anime tie-ins are what they do best because clearly it is mostly their best songs that comes from here.  Maaki does a pretty awesome job with the song too.

2. Resistance

Our first new track from the group, Resistance sounds a whole lot like something that would’ve been better off on “Gouon PROGRESSIVE” with it’s harder arrangement and edgier metal sound.  Maaki sounds a lot better, but the verses are funny just because Yuusuke is doing her typical growling behind Maaki’s vocals.  It does scream “PRIDE”, but it’s still good either way.

3. DIVE into YOURSELF (YOUR VOICE Version)

What I can gather about our new version of the first single is that on the single release, there was a form for a contest and the winner would have their vocals recorded in the song, hence the new version.  Besides the newish part, the song is still the same ole DIVE into YOURSELF.  The chorus is still just as boring.  The only part where I can really hear the winner is at the end of the 2nd verse…I could be wrong, someone wanna clear this up for me?

4. Koigokoro

Koigokoro comes in next, and takes a more experimental route with the whole ethereal verse and then come in with a rock sound back in the chorus.  The song though lacks a punch or something to really make it stand out.  I did like they were trying things out, but both Maaki sounded really boring here wile Yuusuke’s glorious part is before the guitar solo. 

5. Oxalis

Oxalisended off the era in a not so good way and well it still kind of feels sadly more boring on the album.  What’s good about it is that it’s a rock ballad and both Maaki and Yuusuke have parts to each other.  It’s just that it really drags for being a HandMC track, so that’s a bit disappointing.

6. Hummingbird

Hummingbird stretches back into their debut album for a bit since it’s a bit poppy, but continues the more softer sounds.  At least they did a better job this time around, since there’s hooks in the song and Yuusuke doesn’t sound as boring as he did in “Oxalis”.  I was happy the fans liked it enough to be featured on “BEEEEEEST”.  It was a pretty cool track from the group.

7. the moon illuminates

After two soft tracks, we get back into their more energetic songs starting with the moon illuminates.  I have to say, it’s got a lot of catchy hooks within the song and Yuusuke’s yelping returns and I’m happy to see that, but I’m noticing the song isn’t as hardcore as “Enrai” or “Ichirin no Hana”, but it’s not that big of a disappointment because it’s got its awesome moments.

8. Yoake Mae

We get darker with Yoake Mae and instantly was bored with Yuusuke’s singing (or the lack of).  It doesn’t exactly bring anything to the album besides being a filler track of course.  I’m not sure why I’m not connecting with it, but it just sounds like a poor version of “PRIDE”.

9. Sandome no Sakura

What’s up with the wannabe “PRIDE” tracks?  This even sounds moreso to their most well-known track which is unfortunate.  I think the biggest difference between the two is that there’s no strings and this track isn’t as emotionally driven.  Not even Yuusuke could’ve saved the track, how disappointing.

10. Hibana

So everyone basically was confused about this track as they wrongfully called it Hanabi when the kanji clearly put it as Hibana.  Compared with the last few tracks, this is a bit more fresh sounding and has a good dark undertone to make it last against a lot of the other tracks on the album.  It’s a little sad though, because I do feel that the track sounds a bit rushed on everything lol…Yuusuke’s growling is weird….but I can understand it XD

11. Suiren

Suiren starts off in a pretty odd way, kind of like something tribal.  After a bit the group comes in with the usual scremo-fest and then Maaki’s singing parts come in, so in other words the usual fare.  I can agree that it’s another new sound for them, but the chorus was just enough to make me bored again.  How bad can it get?

12. LAST WORD

LAST WORD does take things back into a harder sound (a little late now).  I actually kind of like this song since it’s a bit more easier to enjoy and not think of past songs.  It is a little slower than the other songs I really like, but it was handled pretty nicely, maybe not Yuusuke….but Maaki did a fine job with the song.

13. a shape of love

I’m oddly freaked out when a shape of love starts out with a synth line before turning into something that’s kind of different.  I actually like this track as well, it’s a bit pop-like, but it’s catchy as well…talk about strange right?  Good job with this track.

14. Tadoritsuku Basho

Almost at the end.  Tadoritsuku Basho ends off the album is such a nice way like it’s sister A-side “Oxalis”.  The song does sound good after “a shape of love”, and hearing the minor details made this a better listen for me.  I still think it’s a bit boring, but I can appreciate this song better than “Oxalis”.  I think it was put in a great spot.

15. Oxalis (MOVIE VERSION)

Being almost 30 seconds shorter, the movie version of Oxalis erases Yuusuke and left Maaki by herself with the rest of the band to move along with the track.  For being a Yuusuke-less track, it felt a lot more emptier as a track and the arrangement way too boring without him.  I guess they did screwed this song up even further.

Tracks Recommended

  • a shape of love
  • Hummingbird
  • Enrai ~Tooku ni Aru Akari~
  • the moon illuminates

Song of Avoidance

  • Oxalis (MOVIE VERSION)

Unlike “Gouon PROGRESSIVE’s” overall metal nature, San was quite the wrong direction they were going.  It was more alternative and half the songs came off as being carbon copies of “PRIDE” which is y’know their biggest song to this day.  There were a few good tracks, but most of them felt like HandMC in bored mode.  Srry, but can’t say I like this album much.