Kurayami Monogatari

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H!P POLL TIME ONCE AGAIN! March 30, 2010

Filed under: ~Writing~ — solarblade @ 11:38 pm

So here we are again with a new poll for the new year.  Since last year had way too many people XD, this year has been slimmed down to just the 7 main acts since the elder club is gone.

So here’s the reasons for the pickings this year

1. Miyabi Natsuyaki – I think for me she has been standing out all year in both Buono! and Berryz Koubou.  Like in most of the PV’s she’s been in here recently she’s caught my eyes alot and the fact that she sings pretty good also helped her case. 

2. Ai Takahashi – Still the strongest member of Momosu, she’s just never gonna quit being such a kickass singer.  Though this year it seems it slipped, but I blame those last two singles they shot out of their asses.  She’s still pretty amazing.

3. Reina Tanaka – Another one of the girls that just seemed to just pop out of nowhere and just surprise me.  It all started with “Resonant Blue” and ever since she’s actually has gotten better.  Let’s say Winky is good for something!

4. Momoko Tsugunaga

Damn, she’s grown up since last year.  Her vocals have gotten so much better thanks to Buono! and even recently shown off her pipes in “Otakebi Boy WAO!”.  I swear a few more months and she’ll be one of the strongest members in Berryz.

5. Saki Shimizu

Yeah, she’s the group’s best dancer what are you gonna do about it?  I love that offshot of the “Otakebi Boy WAO!” PV, she was kickass and so damn cute about it too.  Definitely remember her as the short-haired gal in BK.

6. Maimi Yajima

Ever since I started listening to C-ute, Maimi popped out at me as the better singer out of the group and taking Airi’s spotlight for a while.  Gotta say, she’s impressing me quite a bit.

7-8. Junjun & Yurina Kumai

Hey, these girls have great deep vocals and recently has been sounding better as well.  Junjun gets more brownie points from me because she’s Chinese…I know total racist right? PSSSSH.  At least I can tell who Yurina is because she’s amazingly taller than the girls she works with…G4 & BK.

9. Airi Suzuki

Yeah, last year she was at the top of my list, but this year she’s kind of fallen back because of the new vocals coming from the other gals of H!P.  Though she still is pretty good, just not as memorable during the last poll.

10. Risako Sugaya

Yeah, she kicked ass this year.  Risako can bring the hurt like most of the songs she sung in this year and her angry voice is so cool.  Maybe she’ll continue to pull this off and make me love her even more!!!

The others:

  • Linlin
  • Sayumi Michishige
  • Risa Niigaki
  • Eri Kamei
  • Maasa Sudo
  • Saki Nakajima
  • Chinami Tokunaga
  • Mano Erina
  • Chisato Okai
  • Mai Hagiwara
  • Aika Mitsui
  • Kanon Fukuda
  • Ayaka Wada
  • Yuka Maeda
  • Saki Ogawa

Basically majority of everyone that isn’t in the top 10 is because I just don’t know much about them, but I wanna try to by the end of this year.  Even more so with S/mileage since to me they’re basically unknowns to me while all of the other girls have been known for a long time.

1. Buono!

You know it’s two years in the running that Buono! has actually been the most exciting group to have come from H!P in recent years.  Being their recent album, “We are Buono!” blowing me away and kicked their previous two albums out has shown that they aren’t done kicking ass and the core members Miyabi, Airi, and Momoko were perfect as a whole.

2. Berryz Koubou

Yeah, Berryz Koubou has also shown some great tunes this year.  With their most recent album “6th Otakebi Album” they sure got marbles together for it, even though the new songs were kind of underwheling under the fantastic singles released.  Even more of the members are heard this time around and damn, can Berryz get angry music? XD

3. Morning Musume

If there was a poll for this last year, Momosu would’ve been 2nd easily…but that’s just because I didn’t listen to Berryz or C-ute and G4 and S/mileage didn’t exist so hahaha.  This year though has been somewhat good and somewhat bad for the group.  First off, Koharu left which was bad, and then with Kimagure Princess is just got really weird.  At least the album wasn’t entirely bad, but I still prefer Platinum 9 DISC.

4. C-ute

I’ll admit, C-ute is just not having a good year this year.  With the mess of losing two members and an era of disappointing singles which lead to “Shocking 5” which was shocking they even decided to put the songs and more bleh ones on there, it just wasn’t their year.

5. S/mileage

This group just started this year and for the most part they aren’t really exciting right now, but I bet by their major label debut (maybe?) that it’ll all change.  The girls still need time for me to figure out who’s who.  Got a bit more to go before you surpass the 4 groups ahead.

6. Mano Erina

As the only soloist going here, Manoeri did release her first album after so many damn singles, but she just seems too reserved for something like what the groups above have been releasing.  Maybe she’ll change up somewhat but for now, she’s kind of there and not really punching the fans like the others have.

7. Guardians 4

Unfortunately I don’t see G4 lasting much longer.  It could be just cuz of the fact that Aika, Saki, Risako, and Yurina all have their own groups to deal with and this anime group just doesn’t work for any of them especially Yurina and Risako who have deeper vocals and Aika is just meh and Saki being the cute one…I don’t it just doesn’t seem like it’ll go anywhere anymore.

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NEWS – Sakura Girl

Filed under: NEWS — solarblade @ 10:06 pm

Track Listing

  1. Sakura Girl
  2. Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de
  3. Love Melodies (Limited Edition only)
  4. FREEDOM (Regular Edition only)
  5. Sakura Girl (Acappella version) (Limited Edition only)
  6. Sakura Girl (Original Karaoke) (Regular Edition only)

1. Sakura Girl

While I’m still rather new to NEWS, Sakura Girl kind of helped me to get into them a little more.  The song has a pretty mellow dance sound going for it with a pretty cool beat.  I find it funny they don’t really say the title but say ~sakura onna~ which roughly means the same thing, but whatever.  While I don’t know the members by heart yet, I kind of like the solos too.  It’s a quirky lil tune and doesn’t sound dated like some of the stuff back on their last album “color”.

2. Anata ga Tonari ni Iru Dake de

The true B-side of the single is of course a ballad from the ballads and from listening, I think Tomohisa and Ryo get solos through this song while the other guys play the chorus and background stuff.  I don’t know why, but I get a winter feeling from this song and I’m like aren’t we a bit late on this?  It’s alright, but I think there’s better NEWS ballads.

3. Love Melodies

So we start splitting off into the certain editions of the single.  Love Melodies appears on the Limited version of the single and I was expecting some mundane mid-tempo track, but then this beat and strings comes in and feels like a Nana Mizuki tune with how it moves.  I found this song charming for sure and a whole lot more catchier than “Sakura Girl”.  It’s cute and rather good for the guys. 

4. FREEDOM

I’m starting to think NEWS just sounds good under a dance arrangement and with FREEDOM which is only on the Regular edition of the single, they tried getting sexy going here and while the acoustic guitar does throw the mood off, it’s not bad.  Might be a little cheesy at parts and for that I don’t think I like this song as much as I did with “Love Melodies”.

5. Sakura Girl (Acoustic version)

Cutting the song down to 2 minutes, we get a very odd sounding version of the A-side.  I guess the whole acappella thing might fit them, but they really aren’t at Tohoshinki’s level of singing and someone in the group has a hard time harmonizing during the main singing which disappointed me, but I guess it’s not bad and luckily they don’t go through the entire song.

 

 

2nd single of the era, Sakura Girl is pretty good and I like their more upbeat music than their well, slower stuff.  I was impressed with Sakura Girl and Love Melodies and that’s where they sounded the best.  FREEDOM is alright, but a little corny while the other two tracks were just kind of boring and not really bringing much to the table.

 

UVERworld – GOLD

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 8:52 am

Track Listing

  1. GOLD
  2. CHANGE
  3. MINORI

1. GOLD

I actually didn’t like the opening to GOLD at all.  I’m not sure why, but it’s seemed like random ideas, but once the band fully entered my mind changed around and got better very quickly.  It’s still rather shockingly messy, but it’s not totally messed up and the parts with the synths and stings are pretty awesome.  TAKUYA sounds pretty good as well and hits some great notes and the solos are pretty epic too.  It’s no “GO-ON” but this is pretty good, even after the messy factor runs off.

2. CHANGE

So our first B-side actually has a tie-in for a GUNDAM movie and not surprisingly is a stronger song from UVERworld.  It doesn’t feel like many ideas strung together and TAKUYA is surprisingly more controlled in his vocals.  It’s not bad, but compared to the energetic performance from “GOLD”, this was surprising and kind of cool.  I commend this song.

3. MINORI

The 2nd B-side also shows a pretty interesting side to the group.  It’s actually a ballad ala “Kanashimi wa Kitto”.  It begins with a melancholic piano melody before TAKUYA comes in and his vocals are really stable and not squeaky like they usually are and singing with a lot of emotion.  After the first chorus, the rest of the band comes in and joins him.  It’s good since it’s a brutally honest slow song and gives em better view of what they have in their repetoire of songs.  TBH, I like this more than their last A-side.

 

 

Ending off the “LAST” era, UVERworld kind of gave me this mixed feeling of a single.  I’ll admit MINORI was a whole lot stronger of a ballad than “Kanashimi wa Kitto” and was the best of the single.  CHANGE was also pretty good, but maybe I’m just biased because of it’s tie-in.  GOLD however kind of comes off to me as a bit random in its execution.  Not bad, but I’m just not used to the different styles in this song.  I was worried that this was a start of a new era since they released “Neo SOUND BEST” at the end of last year and “Kanashimi wa Kitto” was on it and “GO-ON wasn’t, at least we have three singles represented now!

 

Kylee – Kimi ga Iru Kara

Filed under: Kylee — solarblade @ 1:06 am

Track Listing

  1. Kimi ga Iru Kara
  2. On My Own
  3. She Wishes
  4. Kimi ga Iru Kara (Less Vocal)

1. Kimi ga Iru Kara

I didn’t expect Kylee to have moved into the major labels, but to be honest her first song in Japanese is pretty bad…especially when compared to her previous songs released.  I’m not sure but her vocals seem more rougher and hoarse than in “You Get Me”.  Then again, the song itself is a little more mid-tempo and more like R&B than anything else, I was kind of disappointed.  Her Japanese BTW, isn’t totally bad, but she’s got a while to go before she makes it believable.

2. On My Own

The B-sides however go back to the English-speaking Kylee and with On My Own returns to the more familiar sound we’ve grown to enjoy from her and it definitely makes up for the awkward A-side.  I like the rock arrangement and the added strings do help out as well giving it a nice touch.  I think her vocals are getting a little more deeper compared to her last releases which is a plus.  She should stick with this sound.

3. She Wishes

She Wishes is the slowest song off the single and arrangement-wise it’s a bit like a power ballad.  Lyrically it’s a bit cheesy after all and the chorus really cakes that thought in my head because it really does come off as a Miley Cyrus-type kind of song which isn’t that good, but I like the power she put into the chrous and getting through it.  She isn’t vocally strong here either, but it’s passable.

 

 

Wow, who knew Kylee would end up joining SONY, specifically DefSTAR.  While SONY is slowly giving Kylee the HIMEKA treatment, she kind of slipped for her debut with them.  Kimi ga Iru Kara was just asking too much too soon from her.  The B-sides were clearly better and more in her zone when she was in her indies era.  It could just be major debut issues, but I hope she cleans up after this single.

 

BUCK-TICK – Dokudanjou Beauty March 29, 2010

Filed under: BUCK-TICK — solarblade @ 2:54 am

Track Listing

  1. Dokudanjou Beauty
  2. Voo Doo
  3. Tenshi wa Dare da (LIVE ver.)

1. Dokudanjou Beauty

Hey, I remember this melody, I hear all the time!  While it just plays around a few times in the song before coming with the main melody and edgy and fun guitars.  Atsushi’s vocals to me are pretty cool and can hit some higher notes kind of well.  There’s something about his vocals are a bit like Ayu’s though…I mean the way he uses vibrato just kind of reminds me of that.  Good song though and is pretty catchy after a while.

2. Voo Doo

A bit more serious, Voo Doo is pretty weird for me because of Atsushi’s enjoyment of warping his voice hardcore with his vibrato, but I love the feeling of angst in the song.  I’m not sure what this really reminds me of, but it does.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much for the song as much as I did with the A-side.

3. Tenshi wa Dare da (LIVE ver.)

As a track off their last album “memento mori”, Tenshi wa Dare da gets a live version on this single and while I’ve never heard anything previous to this single, Tenshi wa Dare da sounds like something I’d hear back in the 80’s.  For a band who has been around since the 80’s to begin with, this is still pretty good.  Atsushi’s vocals are pretty good though sometimes hitting sour notes, but still a good live performance though.

 

 

For a group who has been around this long, Dokudanjou Beauty is a pretty good single.  Both the A-side and live song were great while Voo Doo was the singles axe.  I can’t wait to see more from the longtime performing group.

 

HIMEKA – ♥ Anison ~Utatte Mita~

Filed under: HIMEKA — solarblade @ 2:28 am

Track Listing

  1. Yuzurenai Negai
  2. Hitomi no Naka no Meikyuu
  3. BLAZE
  4. Tamashii no Refrain
  5. VOICES
  6. Sore ga, Ai Deshou
  7. DREAMS
  8. Last regrets

1. Yuzurenai Negai

I just listened to Shoko’s take of the song and I disliked her version because she was just vocally out of place.  Now HIMEKA’s version of the song is vocally stronger and I preferred this, but the arrangement is pretty weak though, but I think it was supposed to be near the originals.  She does cross into yell-land, but it’s not bad since she’s actually hitting the right notes.

2. Hitomi no Naka no Meikyuu

While this is my first time hearing this song, HIMEKA was given a rockish type of song with Hitomi no Naka no Meikyuu and she really fits in with this style of music because her vocals are quite strong given the arrangement.  The chorus does make her get a little higher, but I love it and if this song was given a PV, I bet she would’ve been dancing.  Another good cover!

3. BLAZE

Probably the closest thing to Nami’s old music, BLAZE is actually pretty simple from HIMEKA and while she doesn’t try to show off her abilities like her last two songs as much, she’s still doing pretty good.  The acoustic touches and synths help out as well.  Damn haha

4. Tamashii no Refrain

Just like “Yuzurenai Negai”, Tamashii no Refrain was a favorite of mine off of Shoko’s recent cover album.  HIMEKA’s version is just like Shoko’s in the way it’s almost electronica and she really pulled this off a whole lot more stronger than Shoko’s TBQH.  The arrangement might not be as strong and forceful, but the mysterious flow of it and closer relations to the original helped out and HIMEKA once again vocally proved to know how to hold it down.  The chorale middle though was pretty epic though before getting back to the 2nd verse xD

5. VOICES

I was happy to see a Akino Arai cover here and with VOICES it couldn’t have been a better choice.  HIMEKA starts off singing just by herself and then slowly adds in these strings to add this rather atmospheric flow that what got me into her in the first place.  Beautiful song and possibly the best this mini-album has to offer.

6. Sore ga, Ai Deshou

Ahhh, we get an acoustic tune cover this time and this one sounds very anime-ish in the way it went for me.  While it is more of a pop track than a good portion of the songs here, it’s not bad, but I don’t think HIMEKA is made for acoustically-driven songs.  It does sound like it’s the most recent cover though, but I’m not sure why.

7. DREAMS

The most energetic song off the album, DREAMS is definitely a GUNDAM song and while she had more choices to choose from but choosing to cover a guy song was pretty risky, DREAMS came off better for her because it just sounds more like a TWO-MIX song which is awesome.  Dance is definitly a strong point for Ms. HIMEKA and is another one of my favorites here.

8. Last regrets

Ending off the cover album, Last regrets is more of a mid-tempo song than anything and while I love the piano and strings leading the tune, they didn’t stand out against HIMEKA’s more smoother vocals.  It’s pretty good though, but to be honest, there were not a lot of things to be reminded of this song as much the other songs.

 

 

HIMEKA’s first cover album was actually pretty good and shows that she’s getting even better at singing than she started back in “Asu e no Kizuna” and that’s good progress on her part.  While she still is getting used to the business, she should be happy cuz I’m happy with this release and shows that she can be pretty huge if SONY continues to get her moving! 

 

D – 7th Rose

Filed under: D — solarblade @ 1:48 am

Track Listing

  1. 7th Rose ~Return To Zero~
  2. 7th Rose
  3. Hanatsumi no Otome ~Rozova Dolina~
  4. Tightrope
  5. Crimson Fish
  6. Independent Queen
  7. 13-gatsu no Yumemi Oka
  8. Day by Day
  9. Karakuri Emaki
  10. Toki no Koe
  11. Sleeping beautiful beast
  12. Mikazuki Youran Uta
  13. Kaze ga Mekuru Page (Regular edition only)

1. 7th Rose ~Return To Zero~

A small introduction into the album, ASAGI opens up with some vocals under a pretty orchestral arrangement.  Now for only 24 seconds this lasts, but I guess it’s a nice opening and it does lead in nicely into our title track as well.

2. 7th Rose

Cruising into the first track, 7th Rose adds in guitars right from the start from the opening tracks and right from the start, I was pretty surprised at what I heard because of the way growling and high notes ASAGI pulling off.  It reminded me of like “saku” from Dir en Grey on how this kind of just went from both vocal styles.  There were parts where he sounded great like the slower parts, but otherwise I was kind of liking this song.

3. Hanatsumi no Otome ~Rozova Dolina~

D starts off this track with a filtered accordion melody playing I’m guessin the melody of a tune Rozova Dolina perhaps???  Anyways, Hanatsumi no Otome is kind of harder, but a bit more complex than our last song, especially with the opening and the verses while the bridge gets more straightforward and then back to chorus which is like metal/folkish?  I don’t know why, but I love the solo afterwards, even though it sounds rather added on without much thought.  Short song as well crossing a little over 3 minutes.

4. Tightrope

Beginning the 7th Rose era, Tightrope is my least favorite of the A-sides released in the era.  I’m not sure why I dislike it totally, but for me it’s mainly because of ASAGI’s more weirder vocals found here.  The chorus that opens up is pretty cool no doubt and the arrangement is pretty kickass.  So I guess coming back to it, it’s not as bad as I thought it was, but the bridge was where I was thinking of when ASAGI was sounding weird.  Ok, it’s better than “Day by Day” now.

5. Crimson Fish

Back into the new tracks, Crimson Fish has a pretty heavy opening compared to the last few tracks.  Once ASAGI comes in, he sounds more relaxed and more soft-spoken than previous as well giving it this gloomy feel, but with the heavy rock arrangement.  The chorus though is a vocal catastrophe since ASAGI is like hitting these uncomfortable notes and continues throughout…just very unusual.

6. Independent Queen

Getting back to just some pure rock from D, Independent Queen is just ASAGI sounding normal and not trying to make himself look dumb like in that last track.  The arrangement is a little wonky in places, but it’s pretty angsty and has great guitar parts from Ruiza and HIDE-ZOU.  Basically it’s a straightforward tune from the group and that’s not all that bad to be honest.

7. 13-gatsu no Yumemi Oka

I like that flute opening to 13-gatsu no Yumemi Oka quite a lot and it gets even better because it’s not as fast and its more like a rock ballad, to be honest.  ASAGI also sounds great in the song, but I’m starting to notice that there’s too many guitar solos, it’d be nice if there was something else besides Ruiza doing something.  Quite a moving track actually and I liked it a lot.  Even the folkish-like ending area was pretty nifty as well!

8. Day by Day

Just as we get into something good, Day by Day just flies right in and already sticks out because it’s mood is so drastically different from what most fans of D are used and that’s a happier-sounding chord progression.  I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan of the song initially, so now this song is my least fav of the A-sides since “Tightrope” sounds better to me. 

9. Karakuri Emaki

After the happy weirdness, D decides to start throwing some weird stuff at us.  Karakuri Emaki starts off like an acoustic track with ASAGI repeating the title over and over before the band rushes in with the song.  It’s pretty dramatic of one kind of replicating the orchestral stuffs found in the title track.  Still pretty awesome IMO

10. Toki no Koe

Toki no Koe is by far the worst song off the album and is just very grating and terrible because ASAGI is just growling through all of the verses and only clearing up in the choruses.  I could not take ASAGI’s vocals at all and I couldn’t even tell what the fuck he was saying the entire time.  I like the chorus, but it’s just too much trying to listen to the verses like it’s supposed to be good…

11. Sleeping beautiful beast

At least we slow down again and get pretty dramatic with Sleeping beautiful beast.  It’s very low-key when compared to most of the tracks on the album and mix it up with ASAGI’s deeper vocals this time.  Once again more Ruiza solos, but at least they aren’t horrendously long like some of the other tunes.  Pretty good song and it sort of makes up for that crap in “Toki no Koe”.

12. Mikazuki Youran Uta

Ending off the limited version, Mikazuki Youran Uta is just an ending interlude but with ASAGI singing the song in a very ethereal state.  The song is rather interesting because of this and make for a good ending and a good afterthought after “Sleeping beautiful beast”.

13. Kaze ga Mekuru Page

And ending off the regular edition of the album, the final single gets added to the album.  I think it was a poor thought to put this song on just one edition and especially after “Mikazuki Youran Uta” which has an ending tone to it in the first place.  Ok, so it might be a little light in the way “Day by Day” was but also as consistent and loud like “Tightrope” and for that it is my favorite of the era.

Tracks Recommended

  • Sleeping beautiful beast
  • 13-gatsu no Yumemi Oka
  • Kaze ga Mekuru Page
  • Karakuri Emaki
  • Hanatsumi no Otome ~Rozova Dolina~

Song of Avoidance

  • Toki no Koe

D’s 2nd major label album to me doesn’t have the same amount of crazyness, that “Genetic World” had, nor had any songs that ranked higher than “BIRTH”.  I don’t know why, but this album just doesn’t seem as strong as before.  Strike the weird vocals ASAGI, give less solos out and maybe you can redeem yourselves.  At least there were a few good songs.