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 XD

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”.

 

Best-of Albums, Remix, etc., Jan. to June November 25, 2009

Filed under: ~Best of 2009~ — solarblade @ 7:20 pm

So while it’s close to the end of the year, I thought I’d go through and review the albums that I didn’t do this year, starting chronologically of course

FEBRUARY

Tommy february6 – Strawberry Cream Soda Pop “Daydream”

Well, the first best-of on my site was the simultaneous release of Tomoko’s solo projects.  The first is Tommy February6’s best-of album which featured all the singles “EVERYDAY AT THE BUS STOP” to “♥Lonely in Gorgeous♥”.  After that there’s a hodge-podge of album tracks included which is strange because some of them would have not made it on IMO…where’s “ThE RoSe fraGranCe”?.  Anyways, at the end of the album, there’s a brand spanking new track which is aptly titled “◯Strawberry●Cream◯Soda●Pop◯”.  I honestly wanted more new material since Tf6 has been off the radar for a long time, so I was disappointed in the fact there was one new song.  Still it was a pretty awesome collection and the DVD with all the singles PV’s and the new tracks would make this a good buy.  BTW, why is “T.O.M.M.Y.” even on here?

Tommy Heavenly6 – Gothic Melting Ice Cream’s Darkness “Nightmare”

 

On the other side of Tomoko’s releases this actually wasn’t the final release for Th6 (remember I KILL MY HEART? *shudders*).  Anyway, this best of was dressed just like Strawberrys, y’know singles, then album tracks and then the new track “Unlimited Sky”.  I actually enjoyed this tracklist a lot more since I liked most of them to begin with, but once again more new material would’ve been nice, but at least “PAPERMOON” was released a little before, so we knew she wasn’t dead.

MARCH

AAA – AAA REMIX ~non-stop all singles~

Not soon after they released their 4th studio album, “depArture”, they decided to release this heavy release out to the fans.  Yes, it’s a remix album, but one that’s continuous through all the tracks.  While it does feature 27 tracks…it doesn’t feature all of their singles *how evil, avex*.  It doesn’t include “Climax Jump” or “Izayuke Wakataka Gundan 2007”.  While I mostly don’t enjoy remix albums, I liked the idea of linking all the tracks together.

Mika Nakashima – NO MORE RULES.

After “VOICE” Mika announced something…while we spent the rest of 2008 trying to figure out what the hell she was releasing, NO MORE RULES. turned out to be a compilation of the songs Mika sang for KANEBO (makeup company).  Honestly, since the tracklist is chronological with the exception of albums lone new song, “GAME” it feels more like a best-of.  It’s a pretty good collection of songs, and would make a good album to start with Mika.

Gackt – SLO-PACHINKO GLADIATOR EVOLUTION OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK

Before the mess of releasing a bajillion singles started happening, Gackt quietly released this little ditty between “GHOST” and “Journey through the Decade”.  Now, it seems that this release was just only sold at the places that had the pachinko game.  A good portion of the songs were rearranged to fit the game better but songs like “Jesus” were kept the same.  Also, it features a new song from Gackt called “Kagerou”.  Interesting release, but damn it wasn’t really talked about alot.

Anna Tsuchiya – xxxRemixxxxxxx!!!!!!! SHOW!

Next we have Anna releasing this remix album.  While I didn’t download the album, I know that while it mostly new remixes for the songs that were from “NUDY SHOW!”, they snuck in some old ones too like “BUBBLE TRIP’s”, “Crazy World’s”, and “Virgin Cat’s”.  Besides that, everything else is new stuff. 

BoA – BEST & USA

Coming out a little before BoA’s American debut, BEST & USA was basically meant to promote this album clearly.  Now the first thing to look at was the BEST part of this release.  The tracklist is all over the place, but it does feature all the A-sides from “OUTGROW’s” era to the “Eien” single.  Though it’s missing some secondary A-sides, and since Vivid didn’t have an A-side period, “Sparkling” was put in.  There was also new version of both “Meri Kuri” and “VALENTI” but they ended up both falling flat when compared to its original.  Now the USA is obviously what it is, her debut album, I’ve already reviewed that so I won’t talk about it xD

Sowelu – Sowelu THE BEST 2002-2009

Sowelu’s final release under SONY, her best-of comes in two CDs!  The first of the two has all the songs chronologically placed from her debut single, “across my heart” to “Shiawase no Chikara”.  Not that any of them were really that amazing to begin with (exception being “glisten”).  The second of the disc continues her discography to “Wish”.  Then things start getting wonky when she puts in all the songs she’s covered for the majority of the second before rounding out with her final single, “MATERIAL WORLD” & new song “AINOTE”.  It’s good for the Sowelu fans because it features all the PV’s she’s done up to “MATERIAL WORLD” plus more. 

Koda Kumi – Out Works & Collaborations Best

While this album was supposed to have been released last year, but due to Kuu’s big mouth about amniotic fluids the idea was postponed until after “TRICK” was released.  By the title, it features most if not all the collaborations Kuu did in her career and has the digital single “Get It On”.  It’s a wacky collection of songs and most of them weren’t that good to begin with.  I mean “It’s a small world”….really? 

Koda Kumi – Driving Hit’s

A Kuu remix album too?  Jeeze, girl has been releasing a lot in early 2009.  Now Driving Hit’s I guess has a concept and supposedly would fit for drivers.  The entire album actually has a bunch of new remixes.  There’s only a few old remixes, mostly from the last two eras that came before this.  Strangely enough as well, the first and last tracks weren’t remixed at all.  “Lady Go!” and “Driving” would be song I probably wouldn’t have remixed anyway.

T.M.Revolution – T.M.REVOLUTION SINGLES COLLECTION 96-99 -GENESIS-

While I wouldn’t call it a “total” best-of, this actual box-set collection of Takanori & Daisuke’s first 11 singles.  Basically “Dokusai -monopolize-” to “WILD RUSH”.  Another quiet release, but it does mean 320 capabilities right?

APRIL

miyavi – VICTORY ROAD TO THE KING OF NEO VISUAL ROCK

Before going on hiatus to deal with his new daughter that popped out of melody. vajayjay, miyavi released his best-of album which chronicles through his major label debut to his last single of his last album.  While there’s nothing new here.  Probably one of the meh, best-ofs of the year.

 

 

Here’s the all the bests released in the first half of 2009.  I’ll do the second half when the covers for a few of them appear.  Let me tell ya, it’s a big amount as well LOL

 

sphere – Kaze wo Atsumete/Brave my heart

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 5:39 pm

Track Listing

  1. Kaze wo Atsumete
  2. Brave my heart
  3. Kaze wo Atsumete (off vocal)
  4. Brave my heart (off vocal)

1. Kaze wo Atsumete

While it’s still no “Future Stream”. Kaze wo Atsumete is definitely poppy for sure.  It seems to run in the cutesy factor heavily like some H!P stuff, but it’s not as tacky as “Super Noisy Nova” was luckily.  About the girls, they try to sound good together, but some of them can’t hit high notes and their vocals can be jarring, but then again 4 seiyuus in a group together is an odd idea in itself. 

2. Brave my heart

Just like how “Dangerous girls” was, Brave my heart sounds like another Buono! song, but there’s still something about it that actually works here.  It’s still pretty typical sounding and sounds a little aged at points.  I think the good thing is that the energy is here and Haruka didn’t yell her out (then again I couldn’t tell where she was the entire time).

 

 

Ending off sphere’s debut era, Kaze wo Atsumete/Brave my heart was definitely a step up after that last single for sure.  The girls didn’t scream as much and the music is a little more interesting.  Though I’m still wanting another euro song like their debut…maybe there’ll be one on the album.

 

Yui Sakakibara – Komorebi no Sordino

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 5:28 pm

Track Listing

  1. Komorebi no Sordino
  2. Hollow ~Akatsuki no Sora ni~
  3. Komorebi no Sordino -off vocal-
  4. Hollow ~Akatsuki no Sora ni~ -off vocal-

1. Komorebi no Sordino

It seems that Yui is an enigma when it really comes to music.  Komorebi no Sordino is an acoustic-based song, but once again I’m not exactly feeling her in this song since her vocals are really whiny and seiyuu-ish AGAIN!  Honestly though, it sounds like a Nana Kitade song more than anything else.  I’m not sure why but damn, she can do better than this.

2. Hollow ~Akatsuki no Sora ni~

Which is why the B-side is easily the better song.  Her vocals are more together and not shrill as it was.  I really do like pop/rock feel of it and the added synths made it more fun-sounding.  Her vocals do sometimes go into a dangerous zone, but otherwise it’s been the best thing since “Yeeeeel!” so that must mean something.

 

 

While I’m unsure where this her career is going besides her doing all anime songs, Komorebi no Sordino was alright and better than her last single, but I’m still not getting the great vocals in her PHANTASM days (which she’s releasing a new single under that, totes excited).  The A-side had those meh vocals and Hollow too, but the latter at least had an interesting arrangement…