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Watarirouka Hashiritai – Seishun no Flag June 30, 2010

Filed under: Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 — solarblade @ 2:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Seishun no Flag
  2. Hashiritai GO! GO! GO!
  3. Nantai Renai Kuroge Musume
  4. Seishun no Flag (Instrumental)
  5. Hashiritai GO! GO! GO! (Instrumental)
  6. Nantai Renai Kuroge Musume (Instrumental)

1. Seishun no Flag

After having such a terrible A-side with “AkKanbe Bashi”, WH returns quite nicely with Seishun no Flag which lightly lifts off from the uber cuteness found on that last single.  At least there’s some brass and some twinkly stuff present in the song.  So there’s also solos from the girls which is pretty awesome to hear, but they still can’t really hold a note and there’s one girl that just sounds offkey (she’s in the bridge before the chorus).  Otherwise it’s a pretty catchy tune, just filled with not-so-good vocals.

2. Hashiritai GO! GO! GO!

It’s been quite awhile since we’ve heard something close to pop/rock and with Hashiritai GO! GO! GO!, it’s actually much better than “Seishun no Flag” with once again with some poorly tuned vocals which I know is not their fault because they are underage and all that.  Still, I do love the arrangement and energy of the song a lot more, so that’s its saving grace. 

3. Nantai Renai Kurage Musume

It seems every single since “Kanpeki Gu~none” has had a Mayu Watanabe solo as the third track.  If this continues, I’m going to start bitching at the company for not just giving the damn girl a solo career.  Nantai Renai Kurage Musume is probably her best song yet since it doesn’t ask too much from her vocals and I don’t have to shoot a bitch.  That is when we get into the verses because she’s once again sounding too nasally and just yikes.  Though the whole background vocals was different for a song for Mayu, but I kind of like it.

 

 

So 5th single in and no album in sight huh?  Jerks!  Anyways, I will admit that Seishun no Flag is a good redemption after that terrible A-side in “AkKanbe Bashi”.  I still think the five girls vocally aren’t sound great together, but at least they’re trying.  Hashiritai GO! GO! GO! is definitely the best of the two group tracks and Mayu’s solo was actually nice…otherwise…I’m still not convinced that they’ll sound any better.

 

Pokemon ~Generation 5~ What is going on here? June 28, 2010

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 6:22 am

So yes, while us American’s have to wait until next spring to get our hands on this addicting 5th generation of addicting crack/heroine/w/e  you want to call this.  Japan will end up having it in their hands in September and until then we’re given these small tidbits about the game.  Though I won’t talk about the games metagame and like the stuff that’s small…but I’ll touch on the bigger things.

Let’s talk about that new things going on in the games

  • Triple Battles – While yes, we got double battle when Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald were released and it seems that every two games we get something that does throw the metagame out the window and adds a whole new dimension and to me 3 vs. 3 is kind of scary knowing that there’s attacks like Earthquake and Surf that will just rattle everything in the battle.  Puts a whole new spin on thinking in an RPG way.
  • Professor is a chick?!? wow
  • Game has a slightly more 3D interface, which is interesting that it wasn’t put on the 3DS because that system would really put the game in a better spot.  Still the new 3D kind of idea does look good so far, but I can’t judge fully yet, because I haven’t seen the full capabilities yet. 
  • Of course new attacks and abilities will prolly mess with everyone…especially is some of the older PKMN are given these new ones.

So now for the main attraction, THE PKMN…let’s do this how they were released/leaked

Zoruark & Zorua

So what kicked off the 5th generation, Zoruark is our first Pokemon learned about and I was surprised that unlike previous first known pokes like Marill, Ledyba, Donphan…etc, Zoruark is surprisingly our first Dark-type pokemon of the era and I thought at first glance it looked pretty darn cool.  Still does, but that ability it has, Illusion still kind of confuses me.

I thought it was pretty awesome when we got the Pokemon that evolves into Zoruark roughly round the same time and it’s adorable and fits into the series quite well…that is until it was announced that these two were event Pokemon like Celebi, Shaymin, Jirachi, Deoxys, Darkrai, and Arceus.  I’m not sure where these two will end up in the metagame seeing as they’re pure Dark types, but iono.  DAMN I WANNA CATCH ZORUA!

Tsutaaja, Pokabu, and Mijimaru

Released on the Corocoro, a month after Zorua/Zoruark’s introduction, we got our first looks at the new starters of the era and it seemed they haven’t changed up the Grass/Fire/Water typings that we’ve known since the beginning.  The first is Tsutaaja which is clearly the grass-type in the game, it was my favorite of the starters although it kind of reminds me of Treecko a little too much.  I mean Grass gecko and Grass snake?  A little too close for comfort, but I wanna see how this little fellow will evolve.

Even though I’ll admit it’s different from the other Fire-type starters, Pokabu might be catering to the people who liked the simplistic look of the 1st Generation and I can see that with Pokabu.  Unfortunately every Generation I’ve played I’ve never chosen a fire-type to start things off.  If you wanna know it’s Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Mudkip, and Piplup.  So…think it might be time to choose the fire pig?

I like water types, no doubt about that (and I’ll admit there’s a bit too much as well), but I know for sure that I won’t be choosing Mijimaru because…IT HAS A PENIS ON ITS CHEST!  There is no way you can defend the hell out of that and say it’s a shell…because shells do not look like phalluses.  So embarassing Sugumori!

Reshiram & Zekrom

In between the Corocoro leaks, we surprisingly got the mascots for the game.  Reshiram here is the mascot for Pokemon BLACK!  I thought we had enough Dragon-typed legendaries and I was kind of disappointed a bit with the white dragon.  Dragon/Fire might be a new typing…but it wasn’t as grand as our next one. 

As for the mascot for PKMN WHITE!  Zekrom is Electric/Dragon and we even got to learn it’s typing from Ms. Shokotan Nakagawa!  I will admit, this made my jaw drop quite far because it just looks epic…(more epic than that Qilin, Arceus.  I can’t wait to see it’s stats and moves and such.  ALSO!  I think as of right now, these two are the first known English names as well.

Chiramii, Munna, Gear, Mamepato, Hihidaruma, Shimama, and Meguroko

As we entered June’s Corocoro, we actually got confirmation on 7 NEW POKEMON!!! WHOOO!!

The first pokemon shown off was Chiramii, which is a Chinchilla pokemon!  I thought that was pretty cool until we all found out that it was a Normal type which means it’s going to suck competitively…then again cute pokemon rarely are good in battles.  Yes, it is cute and the professor oddly owns one I think in one of the scenes/pictures that were shown.

Interestingly, I read this on PokeBeach that the first generation games mentioned something about a cute pink thing with a flowery pattern and look what we have here!  Being a Psychic-type, Munna is classified as a Dream Eater (same as Drowzee and Hypno) so it makes me wonder if this is a pre-evolution…

When I first saw Gear, I immediately thought “I wonder what its evolutions will look like” and then “I’m so gonna catch this”.  I love that it’s another pure-Steel type and it’s sort of cute in a machine-like way.  Thing is that it’s not based on some Japanese myth (Mawile much?).  Still a cool new pokemon

Yep, already classified as the era’s Pidgey, Hoothoot, Taillow, and Starly…Mamepato continues the trend of bird pokemon that only will really be useful at the beginning and unless you really keep up with its training it’ll just be box fodder.  It reminds me too much of Starly though so meh…

Hey, I hope this era has a lot more fire-types because 4th gen’s lack of them really hurt.  Another one of those pokemon that kind of made me tilt my head a little, Hihidaruma looks like a monkey, but at the same time doesn’t.  In a way it looks like a pre-evolution to Heatran because it you look at their tails they look similar…and without the armor…Iono I might be overthinking.  Still sweet a FIRE TYPE!

Besides the wonky eyes, I like Shimama‘s more natural look to the animal world than most of the others.  Being clearly based off a zebra, I didn’t think that this pokemon would be an Electric type.  If it evolves it’ll just be like an Electric version of Rapidash which isn’t bad persay, just a little obvious.

And finally, we got a Dark/Ground crocodile and I’ll admit looks 1st/2nd Gen of course and it seems to be like a good early pokemon perhaps…Meguroko‘s evolution will definitely be amazing I bet.  It seems to parallel with Hippopotas/Hippowdon though.

Moguryuu, Doryuuzu, Ononokuzu, Desukan, Denchura

In this first screenshot, we see Shimama, Hihidaruma, and a new pokemon, Moguryuu.  To me, it’s clear that this pokemon will most likely be a Ground type.  I wanna see the front to see if it’s cute or not…and a lot of people mistook it as a Mamepato. 

As all these pokemon were leaked, via Oha Star we also got 4 more new pokemon as well.  Starting with:

Doryuuzu – It’s the top left pokemon and it looks like the evolution to Moguryuu and sadly it looks like a Drimogemon in the way that they use drills to attack (which is one of the new moves).  Sorry, didn’t like the whole Digimon look to it.

Ononokuzu – On the top right is Ononokuzu, which is another dragon-type, this guy kind of looks like Giratina in way, but golden…Maybe it’s just me.

Desukan – Kind of the oddest pokemon yet in the era…Like Spiritomb, Desukan is on the bottom left and it looks like a sarcophagus with ghost hands on it and made me wonder if that means…a new Ghost/Ground typing maybe since sarcophagus are underground mostly.  Still..Deathcan?

Denchura – Finally on the bottom right, is Denchura which means roughly electric tarantula and instantly means it’s a Bug/Electric type which is great since it’s a new typing.  Before learning that I thought we getting a Final evolution for Spinarak > Ariados.  Still sounds pretty good otherwise right?

????

And finally, the last picture here contains 3 more new pokemon…unfortunately there was no information about them and just got a quick glance.

The first one on the left is kind of cute in a strange way and it’s ectoplasmic state is weird in pokemon lan.  Like who else can u see their innards cept for Poliwag?  Yea…Ghost for sure…but it might have a dual type as well..

The middle one has people thinking it’s an evolution to Nosepass > Probopass because of the colors with red and blue being this guy’s coloring.  I don’t see how that would work since it looks more reptilian and doesn’t have a big ass nose either but w/e.

Lastly, the girlish pokemon screams Dark type at me…but I don’t know why it’s more human-like than Jynx and Mewtwo.  In time we’ll figure it out.

 

 

So that’s all I have to say so far…and I’ll update when new pokemon are leaked out so dont worry ^_^

 

Best of 2010! Other Albums not reviewied Jan. through June June 25, 2010

Filed under: ~Best of 2010~ — solarblade @ 11:02 pm

Yep so it’s almost midway through the year, so how bout going down memory lane and review best albums and other albums!  starting with January THE BEGINNING!!!!

JANUARY

POLYSICS – BESTOISU!!!!

The earliest album that I didn’t review was POLYSICS’ third best-of album and unfortunately the last one with KAYO as a member of the band because of her leaving later on this year.  BESTOISU!!!! of course has all the big songs on them plus the recent awesomeness in that last era of theirs.  Great collection of songs and a good way to say goodbye to their synth star

Aya Kamiki – INDIVIDUAL EMOTION CD 2

So on her avex debut album, there was a second disc and of course that was filled to the brim with more songs Aya did when she was under GIZA.  While I’m not familiar with what’s on them, it’s definitely worth listening to and there’s no tracks that were copied onto her actual release of her best-of.

Aya Kamiki – AYA KAMIKI Greatest Best

Released simultaneously with Aya’ avex album debut, “INDIVIDUAL EMOTION”, her Greatest Best is what it is.  It’s a collection of her A-sides and a few special tracks from her days working for GIZA.  I didn’t get this release because I just wanted to start on her avex career and not look back too far in her GIZA days.

 Kanako Ito – Chaos Attractor

I know I haven’t reviewed a thing from Kanako yet, but it’s hard to when the last thing she released is a best-of album.  I’ll say I really like Chaos Attractor and it gives me a lot to look forward to when she does return to sing!

FEBRUARY

Koda Kumi – BEST ~third universe~

I’ll admit that sticking a best-of album along with a studio album is a pretty sad idea, moreso the fact that the best-of album comes first before “UNIVERSE”.  Kuu’s newest best-of album chronicles most of the last three eras she’s done “Black Cherry, Kingdom, and TRICK.  There are a few missing A-sides which surprised me…but otherwise not a bad best-of but I think the other two were better…

Yui Sakakibara – You♡I -Sweet Tuned by 5pb.-

When isn’t this girl releasing shit?  I swear this best-of is just too much for me.  Not only it’s a best-of of previous songs, it’s a best-of containing songs that were produced by 5pb. which is bad because just like her “LOVExSingles” album…this was mostly too cute to listen to.  There were a few songs that were….ok, but still not a great album.

Nanase Aikawa – ROCK or DIE

Nanase returns after her long hiatus with her last studio album, released her single for “tAttoo” and then whips this sucker out at us.  What I like most about this release is that ROCK or DIE is either a plain old best-of (CD only & CD+DVD) or a complete A-side best-of (2CD + T-Shirt)  I much prefer the 2 disc simply because all her A-sides are featured.

Tohoshinki – BEST SELECTION 2010

If it wasn’t for the fact that a later release would make this one basically irrelevent and obsolete, BEST SELECTION 2010 would’ve fared better for me.  The first best-of album this year has a lot a great choices on the first disc and most I have heard and liked.  The 2nd disc is more interesting because each of the members got to choose a song personally for it and also had “BREAK OUT!” which was their single right before the album, “Amaku Hateshinaku”, their digital single, “Toki wo Tomete” which was the recut single for this release and “With All My Heart ~Kimi ga Odoru, Natsu” which is the only song that is stuck here.  Like I said, good best-of if it wasn’t for the fact that it basically gets replaced.

MARCH

Guardians 4, Shugo Chara Egg!, and Buono! – Shugo Chara! Song♪Best

Yea, it’s more of a collection of songs that were tied into the anime.  Also seems to be the ending for all three groups…Buono! did last longer than these two however.  Anywho, the album contains the openings/endings of the show and features only one new track which in hindsight is a B-side that’s sung from all three groups together.  Other than that…not much here…

JUJU – JUJU CD 2

Another album I didn’t fully review, JUJU came with a second disc as well but this time it was purely cover songs.  Some are old and some are new and I thought that was pretty nice and of course…a Daft Punk cover?  Talk about abstract!

chatmonchy – Hyoujou: Coupling Collection

chatmonchy is the first band I reviewed to release a coupling collection this year and they didn’t leave one off on this release.  19 tracks total and a second disc with five songs turned acoustic, this was a pretty solid release…but I’m still not that big of a chatmonchy fan because of Eriko IMO. 

miyavi – FAN’S BEST

I’m surprised this was released quietly…I mean it took me awhile to even figure out what was on the tracklist.  Anyways, as a fan-chosen best, there were 10 songs chosen.  Most of them were of his recent major label stuff but there was one or two songs from his indies days that appeared.  As a bonus 5 more tracks were put on chosen by miyavi himself…sadly there were just live versions…Interesting album of course though.

Rina Aiuchi – COLORS

After Rina’s complete A-side release last year, I wasn’t expecting Rina to drop COLORS, which is basically most of Rina’s B-sides (and a few album tracks) that actually had something to do with colors.  A concept best-of???  There were a few tracks that left me wondering why she included them “Kirakira” and “marble”???  I don’t know but there were a few missing color songs missing as well…I’m surprised that the A-sides with colors weren’t added either.  Strange release but FINALLY she releases some of these great B-sides.

Tohoshinki – TVXQ NON-STOP MIX VOL.2

I don’t listen to these kind of “non-stop” remix albums but what I can tell you is that the tracklist here is basically “The Secret Game”, the Jaejoong/Yuchun single, and the single that were after The Secret Code album minus “Toki wo Tomete”. 

Koda Kumi – Koda Kumi Driving Hit’s 2

Just like the last Driving Hit’s album, the sequel actually is a bit stronger than the original which is a great thing.  I don’t exactly agree with the choices of songs this time, but they did well with what they got and that’s the point. 

Maaya Sakamoto – everywhere

So we get into Maaya’s best-of and I’m surprised it has a lot of songs spanning two discs total.  There’s also a few surprises in some of the songs having a new arrangement “Loop” and “Magic Number” stands out from that and even a new song, of course the title track.  I suggest that if you want to start getting into Maaya, this best-of should really give you a taste of her brand of music.

APRIL

Sweet Vacation – Cover the Vacation!! -ep- vol.2

So…this release is definitely useless to me.  It’s basically “Cover the Vacation!!” sans one song.  So that being said, I didn’t review it because, well I already have! 😄

AKB48 – Kamikyokutachi

Since AKB48 never releases albums and when they do, it’s just set-lists of lives and stuff, Kamikyokutachi is the first actual best-of from the mega group.  Spanning through “Oogoe Diamond” through “Sakura no Shiori” and adding most if not all the B-sides, this is a pretty fulfilling best-of album.  Although…some of the B-sides are bad xD

BREAKERZ – B.R.Z ACOUSTIC

As the first concept album from BREAKERZ, B.R.Z ACOUSTIC was a pretty nice mini-album actually.  Although half the songs were already heard on singles in the “FIGHTERZ” era.  The new acoustic renditions of “Ao no Mirai”, “Miss you”, and “BAMBINO” are really nice and the new song “Shunrenka” was just as nice.  I’m surprised they left out they didn’t do anymore acoustic versions for this mini, but still pretty good overall.

Rain – BACK TO THE BASIC

Ok, given I haven’t reviewed him yet either, the reason I didn’t review this is because well…there’s a Japanese version coming out and I wanna review that instead.  But yes, BACK TO THE BASIC is Rain’s Korean mini-album and then he decides to take a break…such a winner…

Miyu Kasegi – Utahime ~ Chiaki Naomi ni Akogarete

I guess when you’re a newer artist, you do what you can to stand out and with no albums under her, Miyu releases Utahime which is a cover of Enka songs that were originally made famous by Naomi Chiaki.  Interesting idea, but it got her nowhere in sales unfortunately.

Saori@destiny – SELECTRO ~10songs selection~

Only a week after her sophomore album “WORLD WILD 2010”, Saori and TSUTAYA slipped this little album out (even though it’s only a rental release).  Its considered the Beginners first to Saori and in a way it’s true because it’s 10 strong and electro filled songs from Saori.  It did miss “Sayonara Revival” since that is well-known, but it’s a good set. 

Chihiro Onitsuka – ONE OF PILLARS ~BEST OF CHIHIRO ONITSUKA 2000-2010~

Besides the terrible cover art for the best-of, I think ONE OF PILLARS might’ve been a pretty bad idea to have thrown out even though it does feature A-sides through both major labels.  A lot of her A-sides are present and one album track mixed with a new song “Wakusei no Mori” which is nice but makes me want more of Onii-chan…

YAZIMA Beauty Salon – YAZIMA Beauty Salon THE MOVIE MUSIC ALBUM

I guess it’s not exactly one artist’s album, but it’s a soundtrack album and while I did play with the thought of reviewing it, it just didn’t happen because there were a lot of instrumental pieces.  Also were songs from other people that weren’t YBS.  Artists like BRIGHT and another moniker of DJ OZMA.  The big things that came from YBS is a revamped version of their 3rd single, “Hamaguri Bomber” to “Pink Bomber”.  and three new songs. 

MAY

Tsuki Amano – PEEK A BOO

To commemorate with Children’s Day in Japan, Tsuki Amano first album release under OTAKURA RECORDS was PEEK A BOO a collection of many different tunes given the Tsuki touch.  While there’s not much to account for besides having a big tracklist, an interesting self-cover of “Bodaiju” (her first major label A-side) is on the album which is cool!

Asriel – AntiQue ~INDIES BEST SELECTION~

I’m surprised that Asriel would release a best-of now since it’s been a long time coming.  However, it is Asriel’s argubly 3rd best-of release.  I’m surprised there wasn’t a lot on the album and for the most part the songs chosen were pretty spread out through the many mini-albums they have.  I guess it’s a nice release but nothing too special.

JUNE

Morning Musume – Morning Musume BEST OF SINGLES Japan Expo Limited Edition

Released exclusively for when the 8-nin group was in Paris, this sort of pseudo release is basically their “ALL SINGLES COMPLETE” which was released almost three years ago.  It contains almost everything from “ALL SINGLES COMPLETE” except “HELLO TO YOU ~Hello! Project 10 Shuunen Kinen Theme~ & “Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima”.  Instead we get a third disc that contains the missing singles that weren’t made then which is “Mikan” to “Seishun Collection” + plus “Tomo”.  Interesting compilation, but sad it’s only a European release.

mihimaru GT – mihimaballads

As the title suggests, mihimaballads is a best-of containing a good portion of their ballads whether they were A-sides, B-sides or album tracks you’ll find at least one of each on this album.  For me, it’s not really a good thing since I’m not totally a fan of their ballads that I’ve heard, but it might be for other people.  There is a new track though in “Te wo Nobaseba” and I thought that was nice, but yeah…

Mix Speaker’s, Inc. – NEVER ENDING STORY

As the only V-kei band I review that released a best-of so far this year, Mix Speaker’s released NEVER ENDING STORY which spans between the two chapters so far released in the band’s history.  I recognize a few songs from “BIG BANG MUSIC” and “Wonder Traveling” which are both good releases.  At least they’ve been releasing fast so that’s good.

GACKT – ARE YOU “FRIED CHICKENz”??

As the compilation album, ARE YOU “FRIED CHICKENz”?? is a collection of his hardest hitting songs he’s released and the choices are pretty much amazing from recent “ZAN” to the more religious “Jesus” to his experimental “Dybbuk”.  A lot of hard songs that needed to see the light of day.  New stuff includes live versions of “uncontrol” and “Justified”…not much but pretty passable nonetheless.

Kou Shibasaki – Love & Ballad Selection

Just like mihimaru GT’s best, Kou’s best-of contains a lot of ballads and songs about love (which is still ballads).  Once again not too much of a fan of that, but at least there’s a lot of new songs on the album (even though some are covers nonetheless).  Not a bad to be release (this and the next few are next week releases).

Tohoshinki – TOHOSHINKI COMPLETE A-SIDE COLLECTION

Which brings us to why I think “BEST SELECTION 2010” is basically non-existant anymore.  The first thing is this complete A-side collection from the group.  All of the A-sides are present here except for the Jaejoong/Yuchun duet single…but the solo singles are present too.  I don’t think there was any real problems but w/e.

Tohoshinki -TOHOSHINKI SINGLE B-SIDE COLLECTION

Unfortunately, it also came with a coupling collection and while I haven’t heard most of these B-sides, I can say it’s a pretty nice tracklist.  I mean why do we have just a complete best all-around from THSK because avex are just being whorish…

Also is that these two are also put in a box-set together so that should give you some idea why the covers suck balls.

 

 

So there’s the albums I missed in the first half of the year!

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – Daybreak

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 1:38 pm

Track Listing

  1. Daybreak “HΛL’s Mix 2002”
  2. no more words “BRENT MINI’S ROTARY MIX”
  3. I am… “night clubbers mix”
  4. no more words “nicely nice remix”
  5. I am… “Ram’s Special 11 Days Mix”
  6. no more words “turn up the break mix”
  7. I am… “Huge Fairy tAle Mix”
  8. no more words “Laugh & Peace MIX”
  9. Daybreak “HΛL’s Mix 2002 -Instrumental-“
  10. opening Run “JK’s extended mix”

1. Daybreak “HΛL’s Mix 2002”

See what I meant by Daybreak sounding bad as a rocker song?  An old remixer returning to kick some ass, HΛL took what made Daybreak near impossible to enjoy and threw that to the curb and released his take which is more or less the same sounding as it was through most of his remixes beforehand.  What it is is more synths and less guitar.  I do like the the new sound makes the song stand out more since it shoots the meaning better than the rock version.

2. no more words “BRENT MINI’S ROTARY MIX”

Why does this sound like a Bomberman tune?  I have no idea why, but I get that idea from the opening of this remix.  I thought it was going to be this slow, but once Ayu comes in with the first verse, the sound grows quicker.  There’s some parts where I think it doesn’t fit with the arrangement, but for the most part it’s nice.

3. I am… “night clubbers mix”

I can’t believe we end up getting an 8 minute remix for I am… and I was already tired after the first few seconds of the opening.  It’s a club mix of course and oddly the lyrical melody worked nicely with the trance sound, but sometimes it does repeat too much and makes me pay attention to something else.  Chorus is the best thing about the remix to be honest

4. no more words “nicely nice remix”

I think for the most part, I’ve enjoyed all of the nicely nice remixes in this era.  Bringing their remixes to a close on this single, no more words has that signature sound they’ve been using, but it sounds a little wonky this time around because Ayu’s vocals are sped up a little bit and kind of messes with the way Ayu is using in the vibrato.  At least the music and arrangement is nice and sweet to listen to.  One of the better remixes in the era.

5. I am… “Ram’s Special 11 Days Mix”

There’s just a lot of long remixes for I am… aren’t there?  I didn’t like the last Ram’s remix we got and not surprisingly, I’m not a big fan of this one either.  It barely changes much when going through the song despite I am… sounding actually passable here.  A little change would’ve been nice.

6. no more words “turn up the break mix”

I loved how this remix began with Ayu’s ad-libbing section and goes from a light ambient sound to a louder one before going into it’s trance stylings.  I think out of the no more words remixes, this one has the best mood and sound altogether.  It does lose the beats when Ayu comes in with the verses and such.  Different kind of remix and I kind of liked it a lot.

7. I am… “Huge Fairy tAle Mix”

What’s with Ayu’s majorly warped vocals?  That was a pretty freaky concept to have in a song like this.  This remix has a slight R&B style with strings, acoustic guitar, and some plucked strings as well.  However it’s a slower remix of the song so that kind of bored me.  It didn’t really help the song to be better and such.

8. no more words “Laugh & Peace MIX”

Although I haven’t been too much of a fan of the various L&P remixes in the era, the one for no more words actually worked this time because it’s a disco remix!!!  The only thing I was worried was that later half of the chorus where it didn’t fit right, but the rest of the remix is funky and fun to listen to.  Oh yeah, Ayu is soo covered up in the verses by the music LOL

9. opening Run “JK’s extended mix”

Wait…an interlude gets remixed?  More or less gets a 5 minute remix when the original is only a minute long?  One of the weirdest ideas, the remix for opening Run is creepy.  That beginning with those creepy undertones and that doorbell ring was pretty odd.  Then it goes into the melody of the original version with gritty guitars and drums and piano.  It’s definitely weird and there’s no Ayu in sight so it kind of is an instrumental.  WEIRRRRRRD!

 

 

Finally wrapping up the “I am…” era, Daybreak marks the ending to one of Ayu’s best eras and also marks the end of the CRAZY ASS SINGLES WITH A BAJILLION REMIXES!!!!  I do like this version of Daybreak a whole lot better than the album’s offering and for the most part the remixes for no more words, I am…, and opening Run came out nice but still not at “UNITE!”s level.

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – I am…

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 7:37 am

Track Listing

  1. I am…
  2. opening Run
  3. Connected
  4. UNITE!
  5. evolution
  6. Naturally
  7. NEVER EVER
  8. still alone
  9. Daybreak
  10. taskinlude
  11. M
  12. a song is born
  13. Dearest
  14. no more words
  15. Endless sorrow ~gone with the wind ver.~
  16. Flower garden (Hidden track)

1. I am…

Opening the album, I am… has the ickiest opening of her being in acappella yet because she just sounded really bad.  After that scary moment, the song gets a whole lot better since quiet guitar is added and gives a cool rock touch.  I’m still a little peeved at how she sings some of the song but it ranks up there as being one of the stronger title tracks in her repetoire.

2. opening Run

Wow one track in and we already get into our first interlude of the album.  After the sad opening track, opening Run makes the bridge from the rockish side of the first track into a more synthy based sound but manages to mix both before getting into our next song.

3. Connected

Which brings us to Connected and it definitely stands out in her discography still today.  First off it’s a style that she has never really went through (taking out the multitude of remixes), I mean as an official track.  Then you see who produced it and it’s by Ferry Corsten who’s really amazing with the stuff he remixes and Connected is one of the best.  The only bag I have is that the song is short which is a shocker because Ferry does better stuff when the song is longer.  I think Ayu was also good in the song and sounded just as whimsical as the song suggests.  One of Ayu’s bests!

4. UNITE!

Which brings us to our 5th A-side released, UNITE! pulls us back into the rockish side to Ayu without creating to much of a riff between “Connected”.  I do think the song has good energy and is pretty catchy…but then again this song is the first animesque songs off the album and it makes a bigger bridge into our next track.

5. evolution

There might be something about this album that’s standing out for me and so far it’s the rather smooth transitioning between the songs.  The 2nd single starts off kind of like “UNITE!” which starts soft before blaring up the speakers with a powerful arrangement.  I’ve always pictured that Ayu just loves this song to death and of course it’s a fan favorite.  Fun, powerful and just all-around energetic…one of Ayu’s best songs on the album.

6. Naturally

Maybe the album is switching around between the synthy stuff and the rockish stuff, but I don’t mind this because Naturally sounds like it was a remix before getting the official touch.  I love the call and response of the song’s verses quite a lot.  There’s some great stuff in the song and the mid-tempo danceish style sounds good. 

7. NEVER EVER

To be honest I thought NEVER EVER on the album sounded worse here than on the single.  It just didn’t make too much sense being put after “Naturally”.  I’m still not too much a fan of this song either because the softness of the verses against the powerful chorus just was too much and seemed like two ideas collided into a mess. 

8. still alone

I love the arrangement for still alone quite a lot.  It’s just sad that it’s hindered by Ayu’s performance of the song.  The verses were quite good because it was sweet and dare I say somewhat calm?  The chorus though slowed the arrangement way down and there’s just a lot of harmonizations going on which were ok…but awkward.  It’s still for the most part a good song though.

9. Daybreak

Chosen as the era’s recut single, Daybreak might’ve been a rather poor choice IMO because she has had enough rock A-sides in the era and just adding another just doesn’t work.  I don’t know why but the grungy rock sound she was going for here mixing with the positive tone of the song kind of didn’t cut it for me.  Oh well.

10. taskinlude

The first of the taskin- songs, taskinlude is the 2nd interlude of the album and it starts out with some static before these creepy played strings start playing and then drums are added as well.  It sounds rather strange on an album like this…but each on of these interludes found on her next albums are the same way so I can’t bitch too much.

11. M

Getting to the song that began the era, M is still one of the epic songs from the album.  I know this is somewhat of a slight religious tune about Maria…but at least this caught my attention and boy does it sound pretty as hell.  She definitely began the era nicely enough with this song.  Though I’ll admit this song would’ve sound better if it was released back in the “LOVEppears” era.

12. a song is born

The reason I didn’t bold this track, because they never mentioned that this is a solo version of the duet Ayu and KEIKO had.  To be honest, I was happy there was a solo version for Ayu because she sounded so nice when compared to KEIKO.  The song didn’t really go through too much of an arrangement switch so it’s still the same happy song we have here.  So much better than the duet.

13. Dearest

Noticing that the ending area is filled with the slower songs, Dearest is still the pretty anime ending that most people know.  I did enjoy the fact that it came after “a song is born” since that track kind of toned things down nicely for this song.  Still a pretty good ballad!

14. no more words

Wow clocking in at almost 6 minutes, I was wondering what we were going to get with no more words and since it is after such a pretty ballad like “Dearest” I was surprised we ended up with a prettier track with no more words.  Starting off with an ethereal glow and Ayu chanting before strings appear to take over, no more words actually turned out to be more of a piano ballad.  One of the simplest songs of the album, but one that actually doesn’t sound boring at all.  Where is this nowadays?

15. Endless sorrow ~gone with the wind ver.~

Ending the album off is the album version of Endless sorrow.  Now the changes with the song are pretty drastic and kind of strange because unlike the originals heart-tearing arrangement, this one has a pop/rock style and adding to that is a more happier vibe…I was like…isn’t the song supposed to be amazingly sad and now it’s turned kind of inside out of itself.  I still think it’s a good song and all, but the initial emotional side to the song just seemed to have disappeared.  Wait…why is the song 8 minutes long???

16. Flower garden

That’s because while “Endless sorrow” ends at 5:10, 30 seconds of silence occurs before the hidden track, Flower garden starts to play.  Kind of like how “kanariya” is, Flower garden is also a pretty short tune, not even making 3 minutes.  I do love the fun pop/rock style it was given here and makes sense after “Endless sorrow” since this is a positive song with a positive attitude.  The backup vocals are meh, but Ayu sounds good and so does the guitar solo.  It’s definitely a good album finisher!

Tracks Recommended

  • Connected
  • evolution
  • no more words
  • Flower garden
  • a song is born

Song of Avoidance

  • Daybreak

Ayu really hit the ball out of the park with this album.  It’s pretty much considered the crowning best album by many and sometimes I do switch around and consider this to be her best because a good portion of her most memorable and best songs are off this album.  The only thing I’d really have problems are the new version of Endless sorrow sounding too happy for being a really sad song and some of the new tracks arent as exciting as the A-sides released, but this is one helluva strong album. 

 

Ayumi Hamasaki & KEIKO – a song is born

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 6:36 am

Track Listing

  1. a song is born
  2. a song is born (TV-Mix)

1. a song is born

So yes, after the attacks on Sept. 11, what was Japan suppose to do…OH YEAH RELEASE THREE SINGLES BETWEEN 6 ARTISTS.  We had BoA & Kuu, Namie/VERBAL and now we have Ayu and KEIKO of globe fame.  Now the song sounds different from what Ayu has released since it was supposed to be a positive and she sounded nice…but KEIKO just sounded nasally to the max for some reason and only sounded half-nice together with Ayu.  At least the song is fixed in the future…

 

 

I guess it was really nice to see Ayu have another collaboration under her belt…then again sometime around here she performs X-mas songs with GACKT.  Anyway, a song is born is for a great cause and was a nice thing to do for us since we were all stricken by what happened and such (could you imagine where we would be if it didn’t happen???).  KEIKO just wasn’t good paired up with Ayu and solidified Ayu as a much stronger singer as well…alright single though.

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – Dearest

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 6:18 am

Track Listing

  1. Dearest
  2. Dearest “Depth Nostalgic windmix”
  3. NEVER EVER “Jonathan Peters Radio Mix”
  4. Dearest “Energized Mix”
  5. Dearest “Huge 20011002 mix”
  6. Endless sorrow “Hex Hector Main Radio Mix”
  7. Dearest “Laugh & Peace MIX”
  8. Dearest “Fresh energy MIX”
  9. M “Johnny Vicious RADIO VOX”
  10. Dearest -Instrumental-
  11. Dearest “Acoustic Piano Version”

1. Dearest

While I got into Ayu through “evolution” most American fans would get there first major taste of Ayu through this song which was a tie-in to Inuyasha.  While Dearest wasn’t exactly my first song, I can see why it garnered so many fans because it’s an actual ballad and not like “M” or “NEVER EVER” in that they become loud and forceful songs.  In that perspective, Dearest isn’t a track that forces you to enjoy it and that’s probably why it stands out in the era. 

2. Dearest “Depth Nostalgic windmix”

The first remix for Dearest really sounds like something that’d been great in the 90’s since it’s got a rather chill R&B sound and also mixes some synths and strings together for a nice and upbeat tune.  It’s one of the better remixes on this single and that’s a good thing ^_^

3. NEVER EVER “Jonathan Peters Radio Mix”

Great, NEVER EVER has another remix.  Though I’m starting to notice American remixers on the single which is something Ayu hasn’t had in quite awhile and with NEVER EVER, it seems the problem of the song’s awkwardness actually sounded good here.  I loved that Jonathan didn’t take too many risks for this remix and in the end worked out quite nicely.  YAY A GOOD REMIX FOR NEVER EVER!!!!

4. Dearest “Energized Mix”

As the longest remix on the single, the Energized Mix of Dearest is a club mix of course so input what I’ve said before about them here and you’ll understand pretty quickly.  At least the faster tempo and futuristic beats are enough to keep me interested for a while.  Even better is when Ayu sings the chorus because that adds more to the arrangement as well.  Long start, but great remix.

5. Dearest “Huge 20011002 mix”

I thought it was going to be huge…not a callback to when the poor girl in the “Nothing From Nothing” era.  After that, the song cuts out the R&B stuff and is just Ayu singing with some notes played on the keyboard.  Then the R&B stuff returns after the first part of the verse is done.  I don’t know…Dearest just doesn’t sound good in this style. 

6. Endless sorrow “Hex Hector Main Radio Mix”

I was happy to see that Endless sorrow’s remix was actually one of the shorter ones on the single.  Another American remixer, I kind of liked what he did with Endless sorrow because it’s another song that shouldn’t really be remixed much if at all.  I just wished he gave the chorus a bit more oomph because it’s just not standing out for me.  It’s alright and better than some of the other remixes for this song.

7. Dearest “Laugh & Peace MIX”

I’m surprised we never got one of these remixes on the last single.  Taking a bit stronger electronica feel for this remix, Dearest sounds kind of good…but did they really need to filter Ayu again and cover her up with the music at the same time?  The rest of the remix goes by smoothly and is one of the better L&P remixes out there.

8. Dearest “Fresh energy MIX”

Why couldn’t they have kept the ambient sound the opening had for the rest of the song and not gave us this odd bass and beeping arrangement.  It does sound a lot like of what some of the remixes from previous singles sounded like.  Kind of classy, kind of futuristic and a little bit of R&B for spice.  Not what I was expecting but it’s a nice, chill remix.

9. M “Johnny Vicious RADIO VOX”

Another American-based remix, M’s wasn’t that good for me because there was just too many annoying things like that drum thing and that damn cowbell that just seemed to be added for randomness since it has this odd and repetitive line that didn’t fit the song.  I can see that it’s a little bit latin, but the remix just didn’t sound right.

10. Dearest “Acoustic Piano Version”

As a bouns track to the single, and I think the only single that has more than 10 s0ngs to begin with, Dearest was fortunate enough to get an acoustic version of sorts.  What can I say?  Dearest in its barest form is a pretty nice treat if you ask me and made me wonder where was this the entire era.  Pretty rendition of one of Ayu’s more memorable songs.

 

 

Out of all the A-sides, Dearest is probably the most well-known song to us Americans and for a ballad, that’s pretty nice that it got so big through such an anime that boasted great songs from the likes of DAI, dat, and Namie.  The remixes were hit and miss which is ok since I’m still enjoying the remixes from “UNITE!” a whole lot more.  Also the American remixes for the other songs were different and for the most part worked and Dearest stripped was great.  Can’t wait for the al……oh wait….