Kurayami Monogatari

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AMWE – I AM AMWE December 23, 2009

Filed under: AMWE — solarblade @ 6:40 am

Track Listing

  1. Fancy Dancer
  2. Diving From High Place
  3. Bangin’ The Drum
  4. Red Fascination
  5. Friction Between The Lovers
  6. Birth
  7. Zero Two Nine
  8. Spellbound

1. Fancy Dancer

Opening the album, Fancy Dancer has a very edgy arrangement; filled with gritty synths and AMWE singing some lines that are cut n’ pasted across the songs.  Since it is acting as the album’s opening track, it’s understandable for the short length.

2. Diving From High Place

The first full song, Diving From High Place continues to use the hacking vocals through the beginning, but after that the song goes into full force.  It’s a mid-tempo tuned and has AMWE singing between fully, under filters, or under light vocoder.  It’s interesting but the song just feels like it’s dragging the entire time.

3. Bangin’ The Drum

Being the promotional song, Bangin’ The Drum is just epicly awesome.  It finally gets a great beat and has a synth dynamic all to its own.  I love the way AMWE sings like she’s head bitch through the verses and she even samples a little bit from “Fancy Dancer” which is another plus.  Besides the heavier side of the song, there’s a slower part and it kind of switches back and forth.  Also, the song has repetitive lyrics so it’s mainly for the music, but honestly it’s an amazing mix.

4. Red Fascination

Since it suits the album’s cover so much, Red Fascination really dives back into the 80’s synthpop sounds as well as mix a more underground trance style.  AMWE’s vocals reminds me of Ami Suzuki’s here since it’s airy, deep, and full of Engrishness.  After a little bit, there’s a nice synth solo that totally took me by surprise…see AMWE self-produces so I’m definitely liking what I’m hearing.

5. Friction Between The Lovers

Another one of those songs that have a huge electro influence going, I really like the swooping synths that fill the stereos in this song.  AMWE decided to actually make a good full song out of this one and I liked the slowness to the track.  Sadly, AMWE’s Engrish is definitely on high alert in the song especially when she’s saying friction like ~freakshow~.  Maybe she is saying that, but I highly doubt it.

6. Birth

Birth comes next and it sounds like something Perfume with a little more edge and not literally.  I like AMWE’s work in the song for sure, but it suffers from dragging and I wasn’t a huge fan of that and just seemingly let this pass over my head.

7. Zero Two Nine

OMG, Zero Two Nine has one of the most strange opening in electro.  It’s also the most futuristic song off the album, but I love the descending synth line that opens the song up and the stock vocals that were in it.  Unfortunately, AMWE is nowhere in sight in the song so that answers if the song is epic enough…Though I can really appreciate AMWE’s works since this is great if not amazing.  Actually…Daft Punk is what this song reminds me of.

8. Spellbound

The final song, Spellbound is definitely one of the strongest songs off the album.  The song is heavily beat driven and while AMWE is not at a good caliber singing with the song, I love the pulsating beat and cool arrangement.  I do wish there was a little more to the song here but what we got is good enough for me.

Tracks Recommended

  • Bangin’ The Drum
  • Zero Two Nine
  • Red Fascination

Song of Avoidance

  • Diving From High Place

AMWE’s debut is actually a pretty good one.  I like how her arrangements showed her off in different ways and I’m thinking Nakata might have some compitition someday, but right now AMWE’s debut is a winner to me.

 

Mai Kuraki – FAIRY TALE

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 6:15 am

Track Listing

  1. Fairy tale ~my last teenage wish~
  2. Feel fine!
  3. Ride on time
  4. key to my heart
  5. Winter Bells
  6. Loving You…
  7. Can’t forget your love
  8. Trip in the dream
  9. Not that kind a girl
  10. Like a star in the night
  11. Fushigi no Kuni
  12. fantasy

1. Fairy tale ~my last teenage wish~

I’m always happy to see Mai-K’s title tracks because I haven’t been displeased by one yet.  Well…OK, that I lied with because while Fairy tale is great and all, it doesn’t stand up to the awesomeness that was “delicious way” and even “PERFECT CRIME”.  It’s still a catchy song but it just doesn’t have the same punch. 

2. Feel fine!

Ahhh, Mai-K’s 3rd single rushes in with its perfect summer identity and honestly it’s one of her best songs in her early days.  I’m not sure if it’s the easy happy mood or just the entire flow of the song but damn this was a great song when she first released and still is better than her latter stuff.  However, the only problem I found was that Mai’s vocals were really not that great, but when has she had powerful vocals?  Yeah…

3. Ride on time

It’s tough to see where this album was going to go, but after hearing Ride on time, I was starting to feel a little down since Ride one time doesn’t really present anything new that she’s already has done in the previous eras…maybe a little more electric guitar, but honestly nothing else really. 

4. key to my heart

I guess key to my heart is a small step up since it’s more of a ballad.  Her vocals seemed to fit more with this arrangement, that is once the chorus begins and it speeds up to a mid-tempo pop tune.  I’m also noticing the male background singers play a much bigger role on the album because of the tracks so far.  It’s a bit more interesting as well and at least it was better after the initial awkward phrasing getting into the mid-tempo beats.

5. Winter Bells

I guess it was fitting to review this now right?  Winter Bells is basically one of Mai-K’s most memorable songs because of its uplifting pop nature mixed with the fun of winter.  It’s got that whole lasting feeling that winter songs these days don’t have period and I think everything after Winter Bells was obsolete with a few exceptions.  Great song.

6. Loving You…

After the initial buzz of “Winter Bells” wears off, we get into Loving You… which is another one of those passable R&B tracks.  I guess it’s the best one I’ve heard so far on the album since Mai doesn’t feel really weak with the arrangement and the BKGD guys sound great combined with her vocals.  It’s a nice song I guess overall…

7. Can’t forget your love

Since it did begin the era, Can’t forget your love comes in mid-way in the album.  I tried to like it on the single and I did until I heard the R&B beats take over for the song.  It starts quietly and lullaby-like before it and Mai’s vocals were perfect with this arrangement period.  Sadly, I just got overly bored with the arrangement after the opening and disliked it ever since. 

8. Trip in the dream

So far on this album, Mai-K has not impressed me much with the new songs, but Trip in the dream might be the song I was looking for.  While it still reeks of boring R&B beats, the overall nature of the song just filled me in and Mai’s sleek vocals really helped me to get by.  It might be her edgiest track since last album’s “PERFECT CRIME”.  The weird rapping in the middle was overly unneeded and hard to tell what the hell he was saying!

9. Not that kind a girl

To put salt in the wound even further, Not that kind a girl just reeks of R&B badness and it feels like something I’ve heard before.  Actually it sounds like Mandy Moore’s “Candy” but given a slower beat and some different passages, but wow this was just the worst song off the album…

10. Like a star in the night

This song (being another A-side) also was hope lost.  I had so much hope right from the start that the song was going to be a total ballad, but once again the chorus just totally made me *facepalm*.  Why Mai, why!!!!  Besides the uber failure of the song’s chorus, the song is alright but it would’ve been so much more better without the urbanness of it.

11. Fushigi no Kuni

It’s strange that Fushigi no Kuni sounds more like a fantasy-like song with that opening with the piano/synth.  I didn’t mind the R&B beats in the song this time because it oddly made much more sense, but is it me or the transition from the verses to the chorus a little anticlimatic?  I don’t know but I kind of like this song too.

12. fantasy

OMG finally.  An actual ballad that isn’t ruined like the other songs off the album.  fantasy to me feels like an acoustic ballad and I kind of like it since we really haven’t had any acoustic awesomess off the album really.  It’s kind of too late to really save the album, but at least she did an actual ballad this time and she sounds really nice with only the guitar and sparse strings moments.

Tracks Recommended

  • Winter Bells
  • Feel fine!
  • Trip in the dream
  • Fushigi no Kuni
  • fantasy

Song of Avoidance

  • Not that kind a girl

To be honest, FAIRY TALE is definitely worse than “PERFECT CRIME”.  Not only was half the singles were really bad, the album tracks themselves were half-assed as well and really this R&B thing is starting to wear very thing with Mai-K.  I don’t know why, but it just seems GIZA isn’t trying hard with her music and yet people still buy this like hotcakes…Japan…