Kurayami Monogatari

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JUJU – Sakura Ame/READY FOR LOVE/S.H.E./Last Kiss February 26, 2010

Filed under: JUJU — solarblade @ 10:28 pm

Track Listing

  1. Sakura Ame
  2. READY FOR LOVE
  3. S.H.E.
  4. Last Kiss
  5. Sakura Ame -Instrumental-

1. Sakura Ame

Wow, it’s rare to actually review a quad A-side single.  Sakura Ame kicks things off on a pretty mellow note with Sakura Ame.  Since JUJU is an R&B artist I’m not surprised that the first song was in that caliber.  It’s funny that it kind of reminds me of something Kana Nishino would pull off, but the most interesting aspect is that there’s sitar in some of the parts of the song.  Now JUJU’s vocals are nice, maybe a little airy at points, but she isn’t too bad. 

2. READY FOR LOVE

On the other side of the R&B spectrum, READY FOR LOVE is kind of upbeat and features a lot of synths.  The problem for me was the fact the rhythm of the song is a little wonky for me.  It doesn’t sound like it’s in 4/4 time which kind of took me on a ride.  It just seems like it was a try to make JUJU sound good, but the weird time signature mixed with a somewhat messy arrangement kind of turned me off. 

3. S.H.E.

The 3rd A-side, S.H.E. kind of moves things around for JUJU and it’s even more of a ballad than “Sakura Ame” which is a plus and I love the piano in this song a lot and fits JUJU’s vocals quite nicely.  After a little while it sort of becomes another R&B ballad, but it’s smooth and she sounds heavenly going through.  Very pretty song for sure!

4. Last Kiss

The last A-side and the only that won’t be on “JUJU”.  Last Kiss is actually a cover of BONNIE PINK’s 2004 single.  Compared to the other songs on the single, this was has a more pop/rock kind of sound to it which is a nice change on the single.  I also felt her vocals were the best in this song as well.  It’s sentimental and I thought JUJU did a great job covering Kaori’s song!

 

 

Ending the “JUJU” era, JUJU’s quad single was actually quite nice.  For me only knowing “Sunao ni Naretara” this single confimed that she’s a pretty good singer.  While it did start off shaky and kind of weak, by the time we got to Last Kiss, things just got better.  I’d say good job, since this single shows a good vocalist doing her thing.

 

Maria – WILL

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 9:43 pm

Track Listing

  1. Wasuretakunakute
  2. Goin’ My Way
  3. Getaway
  4. D.I.T. (Album Version)
  5. Arigatou…Gomen ne.
  6. Oware Nai Natsu
  7. Ai wo Sakebou
  8. I hate you.
  9. Crazy For You
  10. Too Late
  11. Dear My Sherry
  12. Inori

1. Wasuretakunakute

Beginning the album with the final A-side released in the era, Wasuretakunakute came off pretty nicely on the single and between the singles it was taken as the normal mid-tempo guitar-based song.  I love the longing feeling of the song and whenever the guitar has it solos throughout.  Maria also sounds great here as well and her voice just radiates nicely with the song.

2. Goin’ My Way

As Maria’s 2nd A-side, this song is sort of like “Wasuretakunakute” in the way that it’s somewhat upbeat, but at the same time a little slower.  To be honest, it just screams YUI emo because of the more longing feeling here.  I don’t mind that at all, but it just feels rather mundane to listen to after listening to all of those YUI songs to begin with.  It’s alright for now.

3. Getaway

I think if this was changed a little bit for the album, I might’ve appreciated this a little more because the way song sounds is exactly YUI-like.  I mean it’s interesting that it’s a more darker song than the other 3 singles of the era.  I did like the chorus a lot more than usual since it’s so hard-hitting and such.  Good debut track if you ask me.

4. D.I.T. (Album Version)

Strange that the fun song of the era gets a tag like that!  Unlike the single cut of the song, D.I.T. opens up with people probably in the audience clapping and this epic guitar opening that follows soon after.  Though it’s not long before the main song opens up and to be honest nothing if at all anything changed besides the little introduction.  I commend Maria at trying something new and in this case it worked. 

5. Arigatou…Gomen ne.

Finally the first new song off the album, Arigatou…Gomen ne. marks the second ballad I’ve heard from her and she nailed it.  While it wasn’t particularly anything knew in the world of ballads, I liked her voice a lot in this song and it got harder and powerful in the chorus where so many instruments were included.  Definitely liking this song a lot from her.

6. Oware Nai Natsu

As the only B-side to make it on the album, Oware Nai Natsu sort of reminds me of a more relaxed version of “Wasuretakunakute” since it has this rather Western feel to it and some nice chords from the guitar.  Another ballad, it’s nice to listen, but on the album it kind of feels inferior to the last song. 

7. Ai wo Sakebou

Now the rest of the album is filled with new songs starting with Ai wo Sakebou.  Now this song does go back into the more upbeat acoustic arrangements and for right now it kind of is a little too shouty for me.  The thing that got me though was that there was a male backup singer, but for most of the song, Maria was belting a little too much and that made her sound offkey at points. 

8. I hate you.

I find that a song with such a negative title would be kind of messy.  Then again when you start the song using a fade-in is a pretty meh idea to begin with.  As such, I hate you. has a very dark atmosphere and it’s got this heavy beat.  I like whenever her vocals are muffled because it adds this pissed off atmosphere that I love.  Ok, this song definitely is one to listen to.

9. Crazy For You

Why does this song sound way too much like “Wasuretakunakute” and almost borderlining Country music at various points?  I can’t explain those, but I’m starting to think Maria wants to be a country artist especially with some of the other songs off the album.  It’s alright, but it needs time to grow on me.

10. Too Late

Going back to more laidback music, Too Late to me actually kind of too boring for me to listen to for some reason.  Like Maria’s vocals are nice, but the only redeeming quality is the keyboard found in the song.  Besides that, nothing really stood out since we’ve heard similar songs to begin with.  PASS!

11. Dear My Sherry

Finally something that got me back into finishing this review!  Dear My Sherry is probably her funnest song out of the new songs and it’s not a surprise because of the tempo and the excitement Maria has put in this song.  It might not be “D.I.T.”, but damn it’s got a live on its own and I enjoyed it very much. 

12. Inori

As the final song off the album, Inori is well a ballad of course and since it’s kind of like the other acoustic ballads, I was worried since the track record for the album is kind of not good.  Somehow though she pulls off another great ballad.  It does kind of borrows the same musical direction as “Arigatou…Gomen ne.”, but to be honest hearing the same amount of power through both songs doesn’t really bother me.  So all in all, I loved this track and did make for a good ending.

Tracks Recommended

  • I hate you.
  • Arigatou…Gomen ne.
  • Wasuretakunakute
  • Inori
  • Dear My Sherry

Song of Avoidance

  • Ai wo Sakebou

So Maria’s debut album wasn’t that bad, but I don’t think there was anything that just popped out for me like other debut albums.  I guess what I’m trying to say, she played it safe for her debut and that’s not a bad thing to do.  I can see her potentially pulling off an epic ballad since there was two here.  Something to work on I guess is to make herself stand out a little more.

 

Maria – D.I.T.

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 2:11 am

Track Listing

  1. D.I.T.
  2. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi
  3. D.I.T. (Backing Track)
  4. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi (Backing Track)

1. D.I.T.

If there was an A-side that made me giggle, Maria’s D.I.T. definitely did the job for sure.  Instead of the previous two songs where it was sounding maybe a little typical, this song flipped everything over and turned it funky (in a good way though).  Maria is still trying to find her voice, but she isn’t trying very hard so she’s pretty stable.  Overall, it’s a pretty good track.

2. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi

The shortest song so far released, Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi is quite different from her previous B-side as it sounds rather laidback, but kind of catchy as well.  It’s got this feelgood upbeat feeling that’s going on and reminds me of those days where you’re just happy that you would end up singing along.  Nice little tune.

 

 

Maria’s 3rd single showed a lot of her colors and I was happy with what I got with this single.  She got down and funky with D.I.T. and the B-side was calm, collected, and just fun to listen to as well.  Probably the best single of the era IMO.

 

Maria – Goin’ My Way

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 12:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Goin’ My Way
  2. Oware Nai Natsu
  3. Goin’ My Way (Backing Track)
  4. Oware Nai Natsu (Backing Track)

1. Goin’ My Way

Compared to “Getaway”, Goin’ My Way is quite the opposite.  It’s definitely more acoustically driven.  She also has let go of her YUI vocals and sounds quite a bit better this time around.  Sadly, the chorus screams YUI since it’s a bit more mid-tempo this time around.  It’s not a bad song and I like the Americanized sound to it as well.  Pretty good…but I still prefer “Getaway”.

2. Oware Nai Natsu

While the previous B-side didn’t exactly made me excited, I think Oware Nai Natsu is pretty cool.  It’s even more slower than the A-side and has a lot more acousticness going on.  It’s mellow and it features the best vocal performance from Maria so far.  Makes a great song!

 

 

Maria’s 2nd single was definitely a step up from her debut single.  While, she doesn’t have the most strongest of arrangements, Goin’ My Way is pretty nice and is a smooth song while Oware Nai Natsu does give her a ballad under her belt and it wasn’t too bad!