Kurayami Monogatari

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Ai Kago – AI KAGO meets JAZZ ~The first door~ April 5, 2010

Filed under: Ai Kago — solarblade @ 7:23 am

Track Listing

  1. How High the Moon
  2. Night and Day
  3. Blue Moon
  4. Sunny
  5. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To
  6. Someone to Watch Over Me
  7. When You Wish Upon a Star
  8. Fly Me to the Moon
  9. Over the Rainbow
  10. All of Me
  11. 17sai yo Sayonara

1. How High the Moon

Beginning this jazz album, Aibon starts off with the shortest song off the album and already you can tell you’re in for a ride.  Ai’s vocals are of course of higher pitch and we get a trumpet solo in the middle of the tune, it’s not a bad opening song.  While I’m entirely sure that Aibon has had no experience in the genre nor has had a sharp grasp at the English language, she did this song well. 

2. Night and Day

Ok, Night and Day definitely sounds like Luca from Final Fantasy X, I love this kind of upbeat jazz coming.  Once again, I’m starting to hear a little more finesse in Aibon’s vocals which is great and her lower range is pretty nice to listen to, but for that her English is kind of questionable in some cases.  This time we have a piano solo and that was nice.  Alright song I guess.

3. Blue Moon

So far the slowest song so far on the album, Blue Moon really sounds like the instrumental belongs in a Charlie Brown special.  As simplistic and slow the song is, Aibon sounds really nice and even though she slips ups her voice kind of strikes me nicely.  As time goes by, the song gets more colorful and Ai starts to get louder and stronger as well.  Wow, I ended up liking this song quite a bit.

4. Sunny

Time to throw in a little latin jazz onto the album, Sunny is a nice contrast after the more sullen and wintry sounding “Blue Moon”.  Now Sunny also gets Aibon singing a bit faster and to me that was probably a bit risky with the amount of English skills she has.  Sadly, she did kind of messed up a few times in pronunciation, but given the arrangement she was given, it wasn’t horrendous and the music kept her going.  Exciting little song.

5. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To

I recognized this song because Mika Nakashima recently covered it.  Now this is where I was really impressed with Aibon because she really pulled off the mood, cept when she tried to pronounce ~window~.  Now I remember when Mika covered it, her version was filled with too many solos and felt empty, same thing applies here unfortunately since this is filled with a trumpet solo.  I think she did well on this song.

6. Someone to Watch Over Me

Another one of those longing and slowly drifting songs like “Blue Moon”, Someone to Watch Over Me has a little bit of strings included which is a bit odd, but whatever.  Though this time, Ai’s vocals are somewhat annoying in varying parts, but for the most part she keeps the song alright and calm.  Not as memorable but ok.

7. When You Wish Upon a Star

Yeah, it’s a jazzy cover of that Disney song.  Aibon’s version is kind of nice to listen to and doesn’t have the bad Engrish that MEG’s version had the entire song.  I like some of the phrasing Ai uses to make the song a bit more lively, but the longer and higher notes really make her sound like a weak singer for some reason.  Where’s Nono when you need her the most?

8. Fly Me to the Moon

Yeah it’s the same song Hikki covered twice!  Now compared to her;s, Ai’s is more upbeat and the notes are quite lower than the versions Hikki did so that’s nice.  Then again, Ai’s doesn’t have the extra stuff Hikki’s does so this is just the basic cut of the song.  While the piano solo to me was a bit too long here, Ai didn’t do too bad, but it wasn’t as good as the previous songs.

9. Over the Rainbow

Yeah it’s that song from “The Wizard of Oz”.  Do we really need a lowdown on this song itself, everyone basically knows this song.  Ai’s version doesn’t have the vocal properties that should be here which is unfortunate because she could’ve pulled this off if her vocals were a little more in tune here.  A little more work and this could be a whole lot better.  Nice enough there’s a violin solo though.

10. All of Me

After that 5 minute+ song, we get a pretty sultry song from Aibon and the bounce of the song really picks the mood up after all those ballads.  She did pretty good on this cover and her peppyness showed quite nicely and her English, while still not amazing is better here.  Good job!

11. 17sai yo Sayonara

Then as a kind of interesting twist to end the album, Aibon decides to cover a Japanese song originally sung by The Peanuts, but that in itself was a cover of an Italian song “Arrivederci”.  I really like the more fluttery kind of opening and that definitely grabbed my attention.  Also this song features Ai singing in her native language and while her vocals are pretty high, this song is definitely one of the stronger songs.  Even better with a bass solo, a flute solo, and a piano solo….there’s even cowbell!!!

Tracks Recommended

  • 17sai yo Sayonara
  • Blue Moon
  • All of Me
  • When You Wish Upon a Star

Song of Avoidance

  • Over the Rainbow

Wow, Aibon’s first album was a shocker.  I mean everyone knows Aibon as 1/2 of w, one of the energetic members in both Momosu and Minimoni as well.  To see that after “no hesitAtIon”, Ai was going Jazz for her next released shocked me and also intrigued me because while she doesn’t have the most amazing set of vocals or a good grasp of the English language.  This album marks a good stepping stone for her, and perhaps from this album, she’ll get better vocally and musically.

 

Rie fu – at Rie sessions

Filed under: Rie fu — solarblade @ 6:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Stay with me ~Ren’ai Nante Himatsubushi~
  2. Just Like You
  3. Irodotte
  4. Don’t Worry
  5. STAR
  6. Sunshine Forehead
  7. My Start
  8. Gilles
  9. Laundry
  10. Bright Life
  11. Hitotsu Hitotsu

1. Stay with me ~Ren’ai Nante Himatsubushi~

Starting this collaboration album, Rie fu begins with the album’s main promotional song which is a collaboration with Lily Franky and BOSE from Schadaraparr.  Honestly, this song wasn’t the best song to really have had promote the album.  Rie fu is doing quite nicely, but it’s the fact Lily and BOSE are just so boring and felt like some weird stuff going on…especially BOSE’s rapping section which was a whole ton of crap given the arrangement as well.  Lily Franky’s vocals were pretty lifeless cept for that last chorus runthrough with Rie…meh.

2. Just Like You

One of the few tracks I was actually looking forward to because it’s another collaboration with fellow labelmate LEO Imai.  The most unfortuate thing is that this is not “Time Traffic”.  I’m guessing LEO is playing the acoustic guitar and even better is that LEO also provides backup vocals in the English tune.  Then came the biggest blow to find out that the song is 2 minutes long.  It’s a pretty sentimental song and the lyrics came off really nicely for me.  Good little tune.

3. Irodotte

To be honest, I have no idea who Mina Ganaha or Mayumix is, so our next collaboration just has no expectations from me.  Though I think one of them does backup for Rie, I bet.  Getting a little more upbeat than the previous songs, this has a pretty “URBAN ROMANTIC” sound to it and for that I’m happy to hear that.  I’m not sure but there’s something about this song that just sounds good and it might be for the rather joyful sound and the bridge where things get ethereal, even for a Rie song lol.

4. Don’t Worry

Working with KAT and Yuka from moumoon, I didn’t know what I was getting from Rie in this song but it’s great to hear other vocals besides Rie’s in the song.  The song is acoustic-based and Yuka only really appears for the chorus and some background stuff, but this song felt longer than it should’ve been, but I love the rather solemn sound of that chorus. 

5. STAR

I didn’t see a Rie fu and Ifu Sarasa collaboration at all, so hearing this happening, I was surprised that it mixes the best of both worlds.  Kenji Suzuki plays guitar for this mix.  The music definitely has this “URBAN ROMANTIC” flair to it and the way Ifu and Rie’s vocals mix are really nice.  It’s a silly song at its core, but one that gave the album more color and Ifu really did great with the arrangement.

6. Sunshine Forehead

I’ve heard of Curly Giraffe, but never heard their music, but if it’s anything like this song I’m all aboard because of it’s rather outdoors-y feel and that flute opening to tie it altogether.  The lead singer can be heard in the chorus and a lil after and some parts in the second chorus.  He doesn’t really intrude the song and with Rie continuing on, I was impressed with this English song.

7. My Start

Never heard of either Kenichi Takemoto or Peter Kvint, but with My Start it makes me wonder how they ended this song with a rather 60’s/Beatles’s-ish sound for this song.  Another English song coming from Rie fu, this one actually kind of bored me for some reason.  Some of the lyrics is rather off the wall, but kind of cool, but the chorus just doesn’t make a lot of sense, but w/e.

8. Gilles

Working with artists NAOTO from ORANGE RANGE and kohei from HOI FESTA, Gilles seem a little better than some other tracks since both joined artists are just playing guitar while Rie fu sings along once again in English (there’s a lot of English on this album, I noticed).  It’s nice, but doesn’t seem to have any hook to it, to make it worthwhile.

9. Laundry

Laundry brings us the collaboration between Rie, YUI from RYTHEM and Akiko Nakashima.  Now the three girls here didn’t do such a great job together as much as the triple girl collab in “Don’t Worry”.  It seems the girls were all over the place in singing various points simulataneously…add in the fact that the song just is boring except for the ad-libbing middle and song cuts out to the sounds of laundry…that was a little weird……yea.

10. Bright Life

Ahhh working with Satou Honoka from aluto, Bright Life definitely sounds like something that would come off of “ROSE ALBUM” or even “Tobira Album”.  It’s a simple piano-based ballad from the girl and even though Satou doesn’t vocally appear, I’m guessing she’s playing the piano.  Simplistic and kind of nice to hear Rie fu in Japanese again!

11. Hitotsu Hitotsu

Ending the album off with a collaborative effort with Seira (Not Seira Kagami), Shiina Junpei, and Chris Tomoko.  Another acoustic song on the album, this one doesn’t really strike me any either.  Not sure why, but while it does make for a good album ending, this kind of faded away from me.  I’ll admit though that the clapping parts in the song were cute.  Rest of it just kind of passed by.

Tracks Recommended

  • Irodotte
  • STAR
  • Sunshine Forehead
  • Just Like You

Song of Avoidance

  • Stay with me ~Ren’ai Nante Himatsubushi~

Classified as Rie’s 5th album, this actually was pretty underwhelming when compared to previous album, “ROSE ALBUM” and even “URBAN ROMANTIC” were better.  At first it seemed like it was going great, but right after Sunshine Forehead, things got boring really quick for me.  I’d say stick with the songs in the first half rather than the 2nd half…