Kurayami Monogatari

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Vanilla Beans – Vanilla Beans May 31, 2010

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 8:10 pm

Track Listing

  1. Opening ~Instrumental~
  2. Sakasaka Circus
  3. U ♡ Me (Rena & Risa Ver.)
  4. happy merry-go-round
  5. Kimagure na Palette Type
  6. Winter Has Come
  7. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru (Album Ver.)
  8. Afternoon a Go-Go (Album Ver.)
  9. Shopping☆Kirari (Album Ver.)
  10. Nicola
  11. Vanillade
  12. Ending ~Instrumental~
  13. Afternoon a Go-Go -We Love You MIX- (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)
  14. Shopping☆Kirari ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Waterfront Mix~ (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)
  15. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Death Techno Mix~ (Remastering Ver.) (bonus track)

1. Opening ~Instrumental~

I’m kind of surprised that the album begins with a breezy acoustic opener.  Not that I didn’t find that exactly out of left field, just a little odd…especially since the songs I’ve heard aren’t exactly like that hahaha.

2. Sakasaka Circus

As it is the duo’s final single of the era, Sakasaka Circus is pretty freaky if you ask me!  I can’t exactly describe the exact sound of the song, but it’s cute and has this light jazzy circus feel to it.  It’s a song on its own and the fun atmosphere that came with the accordion arrangement is just so cool and right refreshing to hear almost.  It’s almost a giddy song to listen to…I am definitely a fan of this tune.  Rena and Risa sound soft and fluffy in the song as well BTW

2. U ♡ Me (Rena & Risa Ver.)

As it’s the duo’s debut A-side, U ♡ Me on the album confused me because of why it was tagged with the whole Rena/Risa ver.  Well from what it seems there was a member named Rika in the group, but she left to join Idoling!! and by album’s release, she was replaced by Rena.  I’ll admit that Risa is getting more lines than Rena, but I don’t mind.  The light 60’s pop sound is rather sweet and syrupy and I once again found myself smiling at this sound coming from the group.

4. happy merry-go-round

Our first new song off the album, happy merry-go-round is a bit like the last song in the way it’s fluffy pop.  It’s however a bit more relaxed and calm as well which gives it a more nostalgic and light flow.  I do like the muted trumpet solo in the song.  No real solos to account for, but still vocally together.

5. Kimagure na Palette Type

I’m not sure what to classify our next new track, but Kimagure na Palette Type has a strange sound going for it.  It’s a bit more upbeat and arrangement-wise more enticing and there’s a weird instrumental hook to it that links the lyrics in the chorus together.  So far this is their cutest song and I kind of loved the flow of the song!

6. Winter Has Come

I think I would classify Winter Has Come as a ballad because so far the song is slower than all the songs and is just Rena and Risa with acoustic guitar and very light instruments…like bass and percussion.  This is probably the first time I start to notice the girls aren’t together a lot and while that creates some awkward mixing of notes, the chorus fixes things up since it musically opens up and adds strings to the mix.  It’s nice to listen to, but it’s not all that memorable otherwise.

7. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru (Album Ver.)

The next three songs were previously released as digital singles prior to the album’s release and starting with the last one released.  It sounds like an indian summer song.  I was so lost with the sitar, accordion, and other weird stuff that was added.  After the opening, Rena & Risa come in with this rather relaxing beach sound and I swear…it’s almost perfect with the song.  However why was their male vocals in the song as well?  I didn’t expect that at all.  Good song after all hehe.

8. Afternoon a Go-Go (Album Ver.)

The first digital single released, Afternoon a Go-Go continues this retro sound that most of the album has been supplying us and while it’s got the most retro sound I’ve heard so far, this song is just cute.  I do like the guitar melody and with it’s pop sound it’s kind of exciting.  Vocally could be more louder, but Rena and Risa aren’t strong singers though.

9. Shopping☆Kirari (Album Ver.)

A song about shopping?  Well, whatever works for them because it kind of did for me.  The arrangement is a whole lot faster and so are the lyrics coming from the duo.  It does kind of remind me of “Afternoon a Go-Go” just a little bit.  So far, this isn’t really bringing anything to the table so I’m kind of letting it fly by my head a little bit.

10. Nicola

As the 2nd single released in the era, Nicola sounds like the previous two songs but with a more apparant acoustic sound to it and while I do like that it has a bit more energy to it, the girls kind of sound boring in it.  I’m not sure why I’m all of a sudden feeling the boredom with the girls but it was just so hard not to comment about.  Sorry, but I’ll pass and it’s prolly my lease favorite A-side of the era as well.

11. Vanillade

As the final new track, Vanillade is a 2 minute ending vocal tune.  I’m not sure why but it’s muffled up with just acoustic guitar and Rena and Risa singing together.  I don’t like the fact that it’s amazingly short and sounds really old and muffled.  Still it’s a pretty nice little tune and the whistling behind the singing was kind of a nice addition as well.

12. Ending ~Instrumental~

Kind of the same way the album opened up, we get a very similar breezy outro and while there’s a little bit of ad-libbing going on with the two members as the song fades away.  Kind of an odd way to finish the album up but w/e.

13. Afternoon a Go-Go -We Love You MIX- (Remastering Ver.)

Then we get into bonus tracks which is unsurprisingly remixes of the digital singles that were also released digitally after said song.  The first of them, Afternoon a Go-Go’s seems a little more upbeat and exciting with a the vocals a little quieter than the regular cut.  It’s a bit different but not too much.  Well, there’s extra vocal parts but not from the girls…strange…

14. Shopping☆Kirari ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Waterfront Mix~ (Remastering Version)

I actually approved of this remix because it actually turned the song into a new wave kind of song.  While vocally it might not be as right as it should, the synths and fun rhythms kind of took over…that is until they hit the bridge where things got uncomfortable but the chorus was great.  It’s an unusual remix, but still cool nonetheless.

15. Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru ~Okite Porsche + Dr. USUI Death Techno Mix~ (Remastering Ver.)

And finally we get a remix for the one with the long title and Death Techno wouldn’t have been at the top of the list on how this song should’ve been remixed.  It’s actually kind of like the oddest song off the album because it is the most energetic, but also the most awkward one as well because Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru just seems lifeless as a song when there’s a darker tinge thrown at it.  Give the arrangement a melody, then we’ll talk.

Tracks Recommended

  • Sakasaka Circus
  • Kimagure na Palette Type
  • Ashita wa Ashita no Natsu ga Kuru (Album Ver.)
  • U ♡ Me (Rena & Risa Ver.)

Song of Avoidance

  • Shopping☆Kirari (Album Ver.)

Vanilla Beans’ debut album was a nice surprise for me.  I mean despite the duo taking their music in a retro kind-of fashion, it’s not that bad.  There are a few problems like the songs being a little too similar and the girls being too soft or not vocally together but as a debut album, this is a good start and I’m surprised they haven’t gotten noticed by Japan yet since they don’t have anyone that sounds like they do. 

 

YUI – to Mother May 30, 2010

Filed under: YUI — solarblade @ 2:43 pm

Track Listing

  1. to Mother
  2. Tonight
  3. GLORIA ~YUI Acoustic Version~
  4. to Mother ~Instrumental~

1. to Mother

I guess YUI and Angela Aki did switch instruments for the A-side.  I found that quite strange they had ended up doing that.  What it means that the usual guitar-fronted YUI song is now a piano ballad.  Since the song is outside of her box, to Mother isn’t really a bad song to begin with and some of it is nice actually.  YUI’s vocals aren’t as harsh either which works for me as well.  Fitting song and very pretty as an A-side.

2. Tonight

Then of course with the B-side, we get back into the usual YUI fare but I think it’s the hardest song she’s released in the entire era because of it’s rockin’ sound.  If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve said this was a great Stereopony song because of the overall rawness and energy.  Then again, it suffers from being rather too short….kind of like the case of “Oh My God”.  Pretty awesome B-side for the single, though.

3. GLORIA ~YUI Acoustic Version

Was it really necessary to make GLORIA acoustic?  I mean it was already kind of there to be honest.  I mean take out the drums and we’re basically 90% there.  Not to say that since every YUI single has an acoustic version of the previous A-side is tiresome…it’s just odd to do it when the song was already there basically.  Still it’s GLORIA so I liked it and YUI’s vocals are nice and her English is somewhat nce.

 

 

YUI finishes off a pretty long era with something that’s different on her plate.  Trading in the guitar for a piano for to Mother was a pretty nice idea and that makes it sound immensely different from her previous songs while Tonight keeps the edgy rock sound that we’ve grown to enjoy from her.  The acoustic cut of GLORIA wasn’t needed…kind of like “SUMMER SONG” ended up, but still a nice enough addition overall.  Good single…but I don’t think it was the best.

 

faylan – SERIOUS-AGE May 29, 2010

Filed under: faylan — solarblade @ 6:47 pm

Track Listing

  1. SERIOUS-AGE
  2. spring ~Kimi to no Melody~
  3. SERIOUS-AGE (off vocal)
  4. spring ~Kimi to no Melody~ (off vocal)

1. SERIOUS-AGE

While her last single “Errand” had a similar sound and feel, SERIOUS-AGE might have the upperhand when it comes to energy because I just love the guitar progression and faylan’s vocals as well.  Her vocals are lower than a lot of anison singers, but she has a strong control over it as well and she shows that with this song.  Now since she’s a guitarist I think, she plays well here as well.  Pretty awesome song for a rather new singer.

2. spring ~Kimi to no Melody~

spring however takes a much lighter route here.  It kind of seems like the yin-yang single because of spring’s rather upbeat sound.  I don’t think of it as much as “SERIOUS-AGE” but this was pretty good B-side wise since it’s still fun to listen to and has the anime-ish feel to it.  As for faylan’s vocals it seems she went higher this time, but it does make sense.  Still good B-side.

 

 

As this is faylan’s 4th major label single and 6th overall, SERIOUS-AGE isn’t too bad of a single.  Two different moods spread to two songs made it a pretty good choice.  I didn’t see too many problems in the songs that were bad so I’m pretty consent with this single.

 

SCANDAL – Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 6:30 pm

Track Listing

  1. Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY
  2. KOSHI-TANTAN
  3. Switch
  4. Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY (Instrumental)

1. Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY

As odd it is, I finally find a SCANDAL song that is somewhat memorable.  Though I’ll admit that I enjoy HARUNA’s vocals against MAMI’s because the latter sounds rather pitchy for sure.  I do like the mid-tempo feel of the song and it isn’t trying to hard to be edgy like the girls have been putting out.  It’s just interesting that it’s rather upbeat and poppy when compared to the last few singles.

2. KOSHI-TANTAN

The first B-side, KOSHI-TANTAN is probably the messiest thing I’ve heard from the group since their indies days.  I do love the arrangement and the hook to it, but everyone is just yelling their little hearts in the song and MAMI definitely sounds bad for me.  It also suffers a little with the transitioning.  Yeah, how about we just pass this song up, it’s pretty embarassing.

3. Switch

At least the other B-side of the single tones things down after that kind of sloppy work.  Switch actually is more chilled out than “Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY” and it seems MAMI sings the most in the song and while I still think her voice is a little too squeaky cute for a song like this, she kind of made it work.  Still HARUNA steals the show and wins me over again.  It’s definitely the best of the three songs.

 

 

As the 2nd single of the era, Taiyou to Kimi ga Egaku STORY had a longer lasting impression on me than their last single “Shunkan Sentimental”.  Then again that single was good all the way through unlike here where KOSHI-TANTAN was the bad song.  The other two songs though sounded a lot better and has better hooks so iono, maybe on the same level as each other perhaps…

 

moumoon – Let’s dance in the moonlight May 28, 2010

Filed under: moumoon — solarblade @ 6:54 am

Track Listing

  1. Let’s dance in the moonlight
  2. Usagi
  3. Let’s dance in the moonlight (English ver.)
  4. Let’s dance in the moonlight (Instrumental)

1. Let’s dance in the moonlight

Even though their last A-side, “Sunshine Girl” was a cute and upbeat song, Let’s dance in the moonlight is still rather cute, but it’s less upbeat and really induces that nighttime feel and I kind of enjoy that feeling.  YUKA’s vocals are once again light and fluffy enough for me to just let it fill my ears and just relax to it.  Also the arrangement is easy as well, being piano, and some keyboard so it all works out in the end, pretty song.

2. Usagi

Wait, the B-side is only 30 seconds long?  Talk about being ripped off!  Anyways, it’s a very simple tune with just YUKA and piano.  I’m surprised that it felt shorter than 30 seconds though…Might be a child’s tune since it has the feel to it, but still….we could’ve had a longer song here damnit…

3. Let’s dance in the moonlight (English ver.)

So I guess they wanted to make up for it by making an English version of the A-side.  While I don’t know why they needed it because the original was pretty nice, but YUKA made the English one sound more fitting.  That being said, I much prefer this cut.  Plus it’s better to know from the start what the girl is saying hehehe.  Though she still sneaks in a little Japanese with ~ichigo~.  Still good.

 

 

While it has only been two weeks since “Sunshine Girl’s” release and that’s still charting…Let’s dance in the moonlight might be a smidge under that single.  Not saying it’s bad, but it was hindered by Usagi which was just pure torment to the buyers of the single.  Now with “SPARK” announced and I’m pretty sure both A-sides will be on it, I like to see how it’ll shape up!

 

KOKIA – Fate May 26, 2010

Filed under: KOKIA — solarblade @ 3:04 pm

Track Listing

  1. Fate
  2. Omoi
  3. Fate (off vocal)
  4. Omoi (off vocal)

1. Fate

Can this woman do bad?  Fate pwns the crap out of both “KARMA” and “Transparent” in one fall swoop.  Yes, this song is an anime tie-in tune, but the way it’s sung and the march of epicness just made the song feel so regal and just right.  I love how KOKIA’s vocals just sway in with the song and her ad-libbing throughout is just enchanting.  I didn’t think she could pull off something more better than “KARMA” or “EXE_COSMOFLIPS/.” but BAM, here we are XD

2. Omoi

The B-side of the single opens up with a pretty strings solo and it sounds kind of sad with the chords playing like that.  While in “Fate”, we could barely tell what KOKIA was saying, luckily Omoi makes that clearer for us and her airy vocals are quite relaxing and fits with the rather empty arrangement.  It’s odd there is little to no percussion in the song, but it’s melancholic feel makes the right choice to be the B-side.

 

 

It seems that since KOKIA made the leap to do anime songs for Lantis, she has not made one mistake yet and with Fate, I think she has made an amazing single out of it.  Both songs were different and they felt totally connected at the same time.  I love the epic castle sound of Fate and then the saddening Omoi.  It might not be her best single (haven’t heard her previous stuff) but damn is this amazing *RECOMMENDED*

 

S/mileage – Yumemiru 15sai

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 2:44 pm

Track Listing

  1. Yumemiru 15sai
  2. Thank You! Crème Brûlée no Yuujou
  3. Yumemiru 15sai (Instrumental)

1. Yumemiru 15sai

Ok, while I still don’t know who is who in the group, I’ll hold off the pinpointing here.  With Yumemiru 15sai, it seems the girls took a different route for their major debut since it’s far from the cute stuff we got in the indies era.  I think they sound pretty nice and some of them can hit some high notes right (prolly Kanon).  I do like the dance style they took for it though.  I think they did pretty well for their first.

2. Thank You! Crème Brûlée no Yuujou

As for their first B-side ever, Thank You! is more along the lines of what they have released before.  It’s amazingly cute and sugary and of course has a big anime sound to it.  I thought it was interesting how this song would’ve came out and for what it’s worth it makes for an appropriate B-side.

 

 

So S/mileage’s major label debut was actually nice to listen to.  Comparitive to other debut singles H!P had, this was more stronger than I thought it’d be.  Yumemiru 15sai might be a little off for people who have stuck with them since the start, but Thank You! Crème Brûlée no Yuujou is more along the lines so it evens out in the end.  Good start and with a new single announced as well, pretty cool eh?

 

HIMEKA – Mirai e…

Filed under: HIMEKA — solarblade @ 10:51 am

Track Listing

  1. Mirai e…
  2. Winding Road
  3. Mirai e… ~Instrumental~
  4. Winding Road ~Instrumental~
  5. Mirai e… ~Anime Edit~ (Limited Edition Bonus Track)

1. Mirai e…

For the first time, HIMEKA releases her first A-side ballad and to be honest, it sounds good.  Really?  Has there been a bad A-side yet from her?  I really like how her voice sounds delicate and yet powerful in the chorus.  It’s a great balance of sound.  The arrangement is kind of the usual here, with strings and such until the interlude where these synths come in and they sound epic.  Very pretty song we have here.

2. Winding Road

To me, Winding Road definitely reminds me of her debut song, “Asu e no Kizuna” but that’s because of the animesque feel it has.  I’ll admit that she does these songs very well and this one is catchy as well.  It also shows HIMEKA’s vocals a whole lot more broadly and that’s great.  Though the synths that are present are like not noticeable until the ending of the song, this was pretty good as well.

 

 

Third single in and HIMEKA hasn’t failed me yet.  Mirai e… is a great ballad from her and while it’s actually not her first ballad period, she pulls it off quite nicely.  As for Winding Road, it’s one of those “if she excels at it why change it?” kind of songs.  I wonder if her album will be right after this…if it is, I can’t wait to hear it! 

 

XIAH junsu – XIAH

Filed under: XIAH junsu — solarblade @ 7:51 am

Track Listing

  1. Intoxication
  2. Kanashimi no Yukue (CD Only)
  3. Kimi ga Ireba ~Beautiful Love~ (CD+DVD only)
  4. Kimi ga Ireba ~Beautiful Love~ (Short Ver.) (CD Only)
  5. Intoxication (Instrumental)
  6. Kimi ga Ireba ~Beautiful Love~ (Instrumental)

1. Intoxication

Junsu’s “literal” debut single starts off with Intoxication which is unsurprisingly not far from the stuff Tohoshinki released but maybe a little more slicker and sexier.  I like that it does get more upbeat and slightly more sultry from Junsu.  Even though it the energy level is lower than I thought it’d be for Junsu, it’s not a bad song.

2. Kanashimi no Yukue

As the CD only track, Kanashimi no Yukue is a ballad from Junsu.  Like I said bout the group he was in, they excelled in ballads and Junsu by himself sounds really nice in this ballad.  The arrangement is ballad typical, strings, piano, and jingle bells…wait bells?  Ok, so it has that but I think Junsu sung this song right and I liked it!

3. Kimi ga Ireba ~Beautiful Love~

As for the other song on the single, Kimi ga Ireba kind of sits in between the two songs arrangements.  It is a filled out acoustic R&B mix and of course reminescent of THSK stuff, but I don’t mind that at all really.  His voice is a little bit less liked than in the two other songs but it’s not at all bad.  Maybe a little plain but still nice.

 

 

So with all the Tohoshinki drama unfolding and ended up with the split, Junsu’s single was announced before the final decision and while things are all over the place this single is an alright single for him to start off with.  The three songs do sound strong enough to me and I hope he gets a dance track in his 2nd single.

 

JUJU – Trust In You

Filed under: JUJU — solarblade @ 5:51 am

Track Listing

  1. Trust In You
  2. feel me, feel me
  3. Koi no Yokan
  4. Trust In You -instrumental-

1. Trust In You

Alright, Trust In You seems to be the run of the mill ballad that we usually get from JUJU.  It does remind me a bit too much like nami’s “Omoide ni Naru no?” in the way it sounds and moves along.  It’s not that it’s bad or anything, it just seems a little lackluster especially since JUJU has definitely had better songs overall.

2. feel me, feel me

Even more of the same from the single, feel me, feel me might be a little more better since the arrangement is rather ripped off.  I kind of enjoy the arrangement with the low strings/synth background stuff going on.  It flows better and JUJU’s vocals are a lot better here in my opinion.  Problem here though is that she made the chorus not the exciting and it’s hard to pinpoint where those transitions are.  Still better than the A-side.

3. Koi no Yokan

Does anyone remember “Gerbera no Hana” from her last album, “JUJU”?  Well, with Koi no Yokan, I definitely get those feelings again and since it’s like a mix of tropical island-y music with touches of light jazz added, it made me feel good here.  It might be a full jazz song since it does have solos in the trumpets which is always a welcome change.  It did take us away from the R&B stuff that was on the single, but the thing is that is does oddly stand out on its own which is a good or bad thing depending on your guys’ opinion.

 

 

JUJU begins a new era off with a pretty meh A-side in Trust In You.  If it didn’t sound like everything else that has been released by her and by other R&B-types, it wouldn’t have been too bad.  Clearly though the B-side took over.  With feel me, feel me she made it slightly darker and with better vocals while Koi no Yokan has a great jazzy tone to it that brought me to her in the first place.  We need to get this as an A-side!