Kurayami Monogatari

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Ai Otsuka – Zokkondition/LUCKY☆STAR April 6, 2010

Filed under: Ai Otsuka — solarblade @ 10:32 pm

Track Listing

  1. Zokkondition
  2. LUCKY☆STAR
  3. Zokkondition (Instrumental)
  4. LUCKY☆STAR (Instrumental)

1. Zokkondition

Are we actually getting back into some exciting songs from Ai?  Zokkondition comes off as a more serious pop/rock song from her ala “Happy Days” and “Biidama” and even her last single “Bye Bye”.  I’m not sure why the song is being bagged as it is because it’s fun to listen to and while Ai’s vocals are returning to her more earlier sounds and to me that’s not bad.  I actually liked this song.

2. LUCKY☆STAR

For a song we’ve known since the Vancouver Olympics, LUCKY☆STAR is oddly different from what I’ve grown up to know from Ai.  It’s a little more lighter and there’s a lot more synths involved as well.  I really liked the chorus because of the lively sound mixed with various electronic sounds as well. The weird rap thing she does in the middle was interesting though. I don’t know why but I get “Rocket Sneaker” vibes from the song, but I’m not exactly sure why…Still good song and the PV was wild hahaha.

 

 

Finally after such a bad year by tiptoeing through releases last year like that recut single, her 2nd best-of and well that mini-album under her moniker of LOVE, I think Ai is returning to good stuff.  Zokkondition is back to the rock side of Ai and LUCKY☆STAR is more of this synthy pop side that Ai has been quite known for recently.  Is she fully back?  Don’t know, but I hope she brings her uber ballads back!

 

Q;indivi starring Rin Oikawa – Wedding Celebration

Filed under: Q;indivi — solarblade @ 10:15 pm

Track Listing

  1. Wedding March Part 2
  2. Lovin’ You
  3. Every Breath You Take
  4. Nocturne No. 2
  5. It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over
  6. Eternal Flame
  7. The Rose
  8. You Gotta Be
  9. Only Time
  10. You Raise Me Up
  11. Still Dreaming

1. Wedding March Part 2

I can’t believe we’re starting the album with a track that’s been previously seen on their firsr of this series of “Celebration” albums.  Though this one takes off from “Here Comes the Bride” than the first parts cut.  While we know that Yusuke’s arrangements are like a mix of pretty piano under a dance arrangement.  Once again though Rin’s vocals are hard to swallow because they’re extremely airy for a vocalist.  It’s not amazingly bad, but the song feels really odd to listen to.

2. Lovin’ You

Oh no, a cover of Minnie Riperton’s biggest song (then again she is a one-hit wonder).  I was really wondering how this was going to end up because this song is known for that uber high note, and I mean like Mariah Carey high.  Rin’s cover is nice and she doesn’t try for that high note since she goes an octive lower so that was pretty safe.  The rest of the song is back into the dance hybrid song, but this was a little better than the opening track.

3. Every Breath You Take

A cover of a song from The Police, Q;indivi and their liking to use the strings/dance is kind of not surprising, but at least Rin’s vocals are somewhat deeper in the beginning before getting airy on us.  I’ve been noticing there’s little problems in how Rin is executing her English which is a plus.  Though the problem here is that the song calls for loud vocals and Rin just doesn’t cut it for me…those parts were just awkward.

4. Nocturne No. 2

Since I don’t remember ever hearing this beforehand, and it’s not like a cover of a mainstream song as well.  I love the piano opening for this song, but once Rin comes in, it just becomes rather hard to listen.  It does sound like something Disney-ish, that being said it’s actually nice to listen to, even though the vocals so-so.

5. It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

A cover of Lenny Kravitz’s song, I didn’t recognize the song title until I heard the melody of the strings playing, then I was like OHHHH that song.  Vocally it’s the most stable from Rin (that might be questionable).  I thought this song was pretty faithful to the original since it didn’t bridge into dance music.  Have to say I like this song quite a bit.

6. Eternal Flame

Also knowing this song from The Bangles, As a ballad, Yusuke tried hard not to throw the song off balance again so that being said it’s a pretty good cover from Rin and her vocals seem to fit quite nicely, I think the album is finally starting to turn around for me.  Good song.  Pretty little tune.

7. The Rose

Taking an even stronger ballad route, Q;indivi decided to cover a Bette Midler song.  Unfortunately, I’ve never heard the original to really compare it to.  I think Rin did things right and her vocals aren’t too bizarre and it sounds heartwarming to listen to.

8. You Gotta Be

I know MiChi also covered this song from Des’ree as well and seeing Rin sing this cover kind of baffles me a little bit.  Unlike the originals R&B’s original form, this one is definitely lifeless and just boring to listen.  It’s like Rin was just forced to sing it in the most boring fashion throwing out the originals fun and soulful sound.  Sorry, I was not impressed by this at all.

9. Only Time

Same thing applies here in this Enya cover.  I love Enya, and to know Q;indivi covered this song is flattering and the added nature feel is nice, but Rin could not really duplicate the same feelings that Enya did.  She doesn’t even chant like she does which is another red flag for the cover.  All she does here is just ~ahhhhs~.  I’m sorry this was a weak cover.

10. You Raise Me Up

I know this song because of Josh Groban so comparing the two songs is like radically opposite.  Josh’s was strong, powerful and well a guy singing while Rin’s is more soft, fluffy and well a gal singing.  I’m not sure which version is better, but I think I prefer the powerful punch.  This wasn’t bad, but I don’t know, feels like the climaxes are very weak.

11. Still Standing

As the only song that isn’t a cover and is an original composition from the group, Still Standing actually feels nice even though it’s just like the earlier parts of the album where it was just piano and dance beats.  To be honest, this was actually nice to listen to because of the upbeat sound and Rin’s less airy vocals.  Odd to see this end an album, but it’s pretty strong.

Track Recommended

  • Still Standing
  • Eternal Flame
  • It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over
  • The Rose
  • Lovin’ You

Song of Avoidance

  • You Gotta Be

I swear, I am tired of these “Celebration” albums.  These silly concept album aren’t really making these cover songs sound any better than the originals and add the fact that Rin is a poor singer really comes off as a terrible idea.  Wedding Celebration isn’t the best of the 3, I’ll say that.