Kurayami Monogatari

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HIMEKA – Hatenaki Michi November 27, 2009

Filed under: HIMEKA — solarblade @ 7:14 pm

Track Listing

  1. Hatenaki Michi
  2. Sora wo Oshiete Kureru
  3. Hatenaki Michi ~Instrumental~
  4. Sora wo Oshiete Kureru ~Instrumental~
  5. Hatenaki Michi ~Anime Edit~ (Anime Edition Bonus Track)

1. Hatenaki Michi

Unlike HIMEKA’s debut, Hatenaki Michi is actually a ballad instead of an upbeat track.  The first thing I instantly draw myself into is HIMEKA’s vocals.  There continuing to get better and she sounds great.  After a while, the songs get more broader and becomes less of a ballad and more into to a pop/rock track and HIMEKA’s vocals are way better.  It’s definitely not a formulaic anime track and I’m happy about that.  Definitely amazing

2. Sora wa Oshiete Kureru

The B-side is a bit more like “Asu e no Kizuna” in the way that’s it does follow the anime formula, but I found myself drawn to her vocals here because HIMEKA really hits some high notes and she’s not terrible in doing them either.  It’s defintely her most aggrssive song to date and I really liked the power of her voice here.  Defintely another winner.

 

 

While HIMEKA has a tendency to get all emo and really depressed, I really don’t see why she doubts herself so much because this single is definitely another strong single from the Canadian.  Even though she has no ballad this time, both songs are great songs that show off her vocals.  It’s definitely better than “Asu e no Kizuna” IMO.

 

Mao Denda – My Style

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 6:50 pm

Track Listing

  1. My Style
  2. Mata Aeru Kana
  3. Nakitaku Naru Kedo ~Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix~

1. My Style

After the A-sides that were ballads, we finally get something that’s upbeat and fun to listen to.  My Style has its fair share of synths and beats like with any other R&B song as of recent, but I have to say that Mao made this so catchy and with the random inserts of English, I was happy with what we got with this track.  It’s the right length too, so I definitely was repeating this track a lot.

2. Mata Aeru Kana

The B-side makes up for the A-side not being a ballad.  Mata Aeru Kana seems to be an acoustic-based ballad, but there’s added things that make it stem away from it quite nicely.  I’m loving Mao’s vocals in this track so much.  It’s heavenly and she controls it really well.  Definitely impressed with this as well.

3. Nakitaku Naru Kedo ~Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix~

Wow, Yusuke Tanaka has been around everywhere doing remixes…Anyway, guessing from the past remixes, the song changes the song around to be more dance-like, but have piano and strings involved as well.  It’s a great mixture and definitely made Nakitaku Naru Kedo a whole lot memorable and IMO, better than the original.

 

 

Wow, I didn’t think My Style was going to be memorable, but damn this single is the best thing she released in the entire era.  Not only that, she was able to make one of her past songs better than the original!  While it is the final single of the “I AM” era, this definitely got me wanting to listen to the album.

 

Aki Misato – Wild succession November 26, 2009

Filed under: Aki Misato — solarblade @ 7:03 pm

Track Listing

  1. Wild succession
  2. Chousen! Dekoboko Mirai
  3. Wild succession (Off Vocal)
  4. Chousen! Dekoboko Mirai (Off Vocal)

1. Wild succession

There’s something about Wild succession that just doesn’t seem right to me.  While I do enjoy Aki’s vocals aganist a pretty cool arrangement, I was expecting Wild succession to be more explosive and faster.  Still for an anime track, it’s not half bad.  Still, just not what I was totally expecting.

2. Chousen! Dekoboko Mirai

The opening of this song was just so cute and oddly hypnotizing in a way.  It feels like a winter song as well…then again it could just be the bells and the joyous feeling throughout.  Weird enough is that the song features Aki singing a whole lot better as well.  It’s pretty cute, and fits nicely as the single’s B-side.

 

 

While I don’t think this single is going to be on an album anytime soon, Wild succession is alright, but it’s how I felt for the other singles I reviewed so far in the current era…So it’s nothing to new, now it wasn’t a big step down either. 

 

Yui Sakakibara (PHANTASM) – Unmei no Farfalla

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 6:13 pm

Track Listing

  1. Unmei no Farfalla
  2. Masquerade ~Noah Daisanshou Retsu-ou Shinseiki-hen Yori~
  3. Nageki no Arabesque ~Single Limited Version~
  4. Unmei no Farfalla (off vocal)
  5. Masquerade ~Noah Daisanshou Retsu-ou Shinseiki-hen Yori~ (off vocal)

1. Unmei no Farfalla

I’m so happy that PHANTASM wasn’t a one time deal.  Unmei no Farfalla has a very intriguing arrangement that borderlines creepy and spooky at the same time.  Getting deeper into the song, it’s even more darker and Yui’s vocals are to my enjoyment.  Her vocals are just amazing here and it fits with the darker atmosphere.

2. Masquerade ~Noah Daisanshou Retsu-ou Shinseiki-hen Yori~

The B-side to the single did let up on the dark gothic atmosphere, but at the same time it fits in quite nicely on the single.  I’m actually liking this song a bit more than “Unmei no Farfalla” but that’s just because there’s a hook in it that sticks out and I love the guitars and piano together.  What a great track!

3. Nageki no Arabesque ~Single Limited Version~

Does anyone remember Nageki no Arabesque from “END PROPHECY”?  Well, honestly after the review of the album, I’ve kind of forgotten about it, but to see it reappear on this single is great.  It’s probably the most hard rockish of the three songs and I love Yui once again here.  Shows that she really means business here.

 

 

Jeeze, three Yui releases in one week…is the legal?  Anyway her PHANTASM single is definitely the best thing she’s released this week.  All three songs are amazingly done and strong with Yui’s deeper set of vocals.  I hope there’s another album in the works for this side of Yui!!

 

Asriel – Sequentia

Filed under: Asriel — solarblade @ 5:22 pm

Track Listing

  1. Sequentia
  2. Kagami no Yami wo Ugachite
  3. Sequentia (Off Vocal)
  4. Kagami no Yami wo Ugachite (Off Vocal)

1. Sequentia

After their album releases, Asriel returns to release another single in Sequentia, a pretty rockin’ track.  The dark gothic feeling hasn’t been any better than this for the duo and I’m happy for that.  KOKOMI’s vocals for the most part are alright, but she’s still gotten better than earlier this year.  It’s an interesting song altogether so I’m happy with this release.

2. Kagami no Yami wo Ugachite

The B-side is just like the A-side, but with the synths removed and more guitars from Kurose.  The first thing I noticed about the song was that KOKOMI was somewhat singing in a deeper tone, that is until she hit the chorus and her vocals started creating very terrible moments.  It’s very loud and in your face though so it’s not that bad.

 

 

While Asriel doesn’t have that many memorable tunes, I’ll say Sequentia is going in the right direction.  Both songs exhibit very energetic performances from both members and it’s not too low on the quality scale, they problem is that they don’t have a hook IMO which is probably the reason why for me not getting into them fully.  Still it’s alright.

 

Yui Sakakibara – EVERGREEN

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 8:15 am

Track Listing

  1. Jounetsu no partita
  2. Gessei no Kanon
  3. Aqua Voice
  4. Sakura Philosophy
  5. Pink×Otome = Koi
  6. Happy Day♪
  7. Switch on♪
  8. Tsurugi no Mai
  9. Unmei no Revolution
  10. Netsujou STORY
  11. Melody Time
  12. Kitto Yume to Yuki de Dekiteiru
  13. Katayoku no Icarus

1. Jounetsu no partita

While I’ve said that Yui is an enigma to music, I find myself doing that one again.  The first song of this album, Jounetsu no partita is rather folkish and kind of vocally correct.  It’s got a smooth flowing arrangement and since it’s Yui singing I’m happy that she sounds so good and I’m content.

2. Gessei no Kanon

I’ll eventually get to reviewing this single, but Gessei no Kanon is pretty sweet as well.  For first thing, Yui is actually more deeper in singing here and the arrangement feels like a mix of pop/rock, anime, and a little rock.  There’s just something about it that just works for me.  The chorus is a little shady, but it’s way better than what she’s been releasing recently.

3. Aqua Voice

Making it’s return from Yui’s album, “JOKER”, Aqua Voice wasn’t really that memorable from the album because it was mixed with multitudes of other happy-pop songs.  Here it’s the first song with the whole seiyuu touch and honestly, it’s not really such a good thing to have and I know I’ve said that a bajillion times, but it’s quite true. 

4. Sakura Philosophy

If I remember right, this was featured in a joint single with Ringo Aoba.  Now, Sakura Philosophy features Yui’s seiyuu vocals, but their oddly smooth in the song and not as jarring as previous songs have held.  The music is happy of course and since it’s a anime song, it’s got a certain flair to it.

5. Pink×Otome = Koi

I knew right from the title that this was going to be painfully cute, but at least the song is more electro based than the previous cute pop side.  Her voice is still pretty meh to me, but the song is rather catchy and fills the gap for a good electro song on the album.

6. Happy Day♪

The oldest song off the album, coming from her 3rd album “princess” it’s actually the worst song I’ve came upon the album so far.  This is just hardcore seiyuu-flavored and her vocals are really hard to stand as well.  Even the whole “uber-happy” was getting on my nerves here.  PASS!

7. Switch on♪

Found as the B-side to “Katayoku no Icarus”, Switch on♪ unfortunately follows into the horrible footsteps of the last tracks.  The only thing that really made it stand out was that it wasn’t in the really cheesy pop sound.  It’s a little bit cheesy, but it’s not to the point to where I deem it unlistenable.  Still, the voice has to go.

8. Tsurugi no Mai

I was surprised when Tsurugi no Mai came in with its harder electronica sound and I thought it definitely didn’t fit after the previous two tracks because Yui is channeling her “PHANTASM” vocals here and I loved every moment of the song.  I’m not sure why she has to put her voice through such stress like the previous songs, and then pull this out of her hat and sound amazing.

9. Unmei no Revolution

Then we get into “Gessei no Kanon’s” B-side Unmei no Revolution and just like the single, we get back into the more edgier sound and what an opening Unmei no Revolution has.  I didn’t expect Yui to actually yell hardcore to this.  It’s definitely like her PHANTASM work, but definitely lighter since it’s not all gothic and the like.  Sweet, sweet song.

10. Netsujou STORY

While I don’t think it officially appeared in Yui’s discography, Netsujou STORY like all the previous tracks have been involved with Elements Garden one way or another.  Netsujou STORY goes back to what the beginning of the album was, a little of folk and the rest being anime with the strings and such.  I really liked the epicness of the song and it just felt epic too.

11. Melody Time

I thought Melody Time was going to be a ballad, but it seems to be just a jazzy piano-ladened song.  While I did enjoy this new composition for Yui, her vocals seemed to be leading back into the place where I don’t want it to be.  I guess it’s alright since the music was interesting and kind of chill. 

12. Kitto Yume to Yuki de Dekiteiru

Well, this song definitely reminded me a little bit of both “Melody Time” and “Netsujou STORY”.  It’s slow-paced like the former and has the music progression in the latter.  I’ll admit her vocals have gotten a little better, but not much. 

13. Katayoku no Icarus

Did she save the best for last?  Being the earliest of the A-sides on the album, I really loved the heavy folk sound she incorporated here.  There’s a sense of exploration going through the song and I know I enjoy these kinds of songs…that is until she gets into the chorus where she whips out the meh vocals, but luckily they aren’t too wacky.  It does make for a good final track at least.

Tracks Recommended

  • Tsurugi no Mai
  • Unmei no Revolution
  • Jounetsu no partita
  • Netsujou STORY
  • Gessei no Kanon

Song of Avoidance

  • Happy Day♪

While I’m not sure if this was a best-of or not, EVERGREEN was a whole lot stronger than most of her other album releases this year.  While the album is about all the tracks she’s done for the Elements Garden series.  Though looking at the album, it’s all over the place in arrangements.  Even the vocals were all different and that kind of impressed me and shows she’s got talent in the things she does.  It’s still no “END PROPHECY” but this would probably the next best thing after it.

 

Mano Erina – Love&Peace = Paradise

Filed under: Mano Erina — solarblade @ 3:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Love&Peace = Paradise
  2. Love&Peace = Paradise feat. Hello Kitty
  3. 18sai no Kisetsu
  4. Love&Peace = Paradise (Instrumental)

1. Love&Peace = Paradise

While it seems Manoeri has been slowly getting better as a vocalist, it seems that this song is actually vocally strong and doesn’t sound like her previous efforts.  It does have a cute, wintry sound to go along with it and it’s not as bad as her previous songs…those were trainwrecks 😄

2. Love&Peace = Paradise feat. Hello Kitty

Oh jeeze, lay on the cheese factor for the obvious huh?  Well, it seems that the song was edited a little bit.  Though only detection that’s really hitting me is that Manoeri isn’t singing along and to be honest, I’d rather have it just be one person.  The harmonization is just almost bad, but the song is just the same as before, so it’s peppy and cute. 

3. 18sai no Kisetsu

The B-side of the single, toned down the level of peppyness and raised the cuteness factor high.  It’s a simple song and I feel myself clapping along with it which is embarassing in itself, but I can’t help but enjoy this song a lot. 

 

 

I have to say, this single is one her best released in her career.  Her vocals are strong and yet still carry the cute quite nicely.  I would pass up the version with Hello Kitty, because it’s not as good as Manoeri’s solo version.  The B-side was cute and simple and that’s what I liked about it.  Shame that the single isn’t going to be represented on her upcoming album, “FRIENDS”.