Kurayami Monogatari

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High Speed Boyz – are u docono Softpunk!? July 20, 2010

Filed under: High Speed Boyz — solarblade @ 7:07 pm

Track Listing

  1. Tokyo 0:30 am
  2. Mr. Dizzy
  3. BAD CITY
  4. LONELY NIGHT (Album Mix)
  5. BILLION DOLLAR BABY
  6. GOOD MORNING
  7. story
  8. KRASH KRASH (Album Mix)
  9. CHILDHOOD’S END (Album Mix)
  10. beautiful world
  11. ISSAI GASSAI
  12. TIME CAPSULE
  13. Kanaetai Yume ga Aru ~4EVER BOYZ AND GIRLZ SPIRIT~ (Album Mix)
  14. LONELY NIGHT -FM80’z all night Boyz RMX-
  15. 4EVER 8bit Boyz

1. Tokyo 0:30 am

Beginning the album, High Speed Boys do not waste time getting energetic with the first song.  Even though it’s just an intro the song has a lot of cool synths involved and some ad-libbing that sounds a little odd.  At least when the main part comes up the song becomes a light dance tune and JIN is under a lot of autotune.  I guess it does show off Tokyo right since it’s a lot of different things haha.

2. Mr. Dizzy

Entering our first full song from the band, Mr. Dizzy continues to remind us why JIN is that good of a producer in the first place.  Even though once again auto-tune is in various places of the song, I love the rock/synth hybrid going on and it reminds of why I fell for them in the first place.  The chorus prolly needs work, but not bad of a song.

3. BAD CITY

Since this is one of two B-sides that made it on the album with no new touches, BAD CITY (from “CHILDHOOD’S END”) is definitely what emphasizes what the band is fully about.  It’s got the perfect mix of their signature rock/synth sound that works for me.  Most of the song is pretty much a rock tune from them, but then it switches sounds like that and it fits nicely.

4. LONELY NIGHT (Album Mix)

Right from the start I could easily tell the difference between the album and single versions of the song and the album mix fills out the sound even moreso than before.  I think the synth has more prominence as well.  Other than that not much has changed about the song which is good to hear.  One of their fun songs for sure!

5. BILLION DOLLAR BABY

I really like they decided to take down the synth stuff with BILLION DOLLAR BABY.  It’s purely a rock tune from the band and you hear a lot of guitar and JIN with not a lot of auto-tune present.  The chorus adds a little synth, but it’s not like how it was in the previous songs so it’s good to hear the band in a more natural state. 

6. GOOD MORNING

After hitting their rock side of their music, we go on the other side into their synthy stuff and GOOD MORNING is definitely full of synths…but the 8bit kind mixed with their rock sound.  It’s a strange combination and hearing fake strings also added some interesting chords.  I do like that it’s not trying to be in your face and I hear this chick voice that sings together with JIN in the chorus with him.  Little touches like this really worked for me.

7. story

I liked how “GOOD MORNING” was a small bridge into story since the song sounds like a JIN-only song because it seems the band is not present and the song is just filled with ethereal goodness.  While I don’t mind the absence of the band here, I thought JIN did great arranging this song.  Could he be the next Nakata?

8. KRASH KRASH (Album Mix)

Even changing the name of the song is so random.  “CRASH CRASH” from “LONELY NIGHT” appears on the album, but to me, it’s kind of suckish.  Adding a minute and having this girl that oddly sounds like Aira’s voice being cut and slashed in the opening is so strange.  Instead of the original’s straightforward rock arrangement, KRASH KRASH sounds more like a remix and a hot mess at that.  It was just too hard trying to figure the direction of the song this time around and I could barely understand JIN…

9. CHILDHOOD’S END (Album Mix)

Sweet, we get into their debut song…which also got a damn album mix connection.  I’ll admit it, I hate what they did to poor CHILDHOOD’S END because it added things that were just not needed.  Like a stronger filter during the verses of the song.  The rest of the song is alright, but I still disliked the fact I heard auto-tune in the song…Definitely keep the single version.

10.

Being the digital single released, I love △ quite a bit since it’s definitely High Speed Boyz unleashing their rock side in a very awesome way.  I’ll give props to the band for getting such a hard track like this out.  Now JIN’s singing is a little higher pitched, but once again auto-tune love.  I’ll admit that the chorus has this 30 Seconds To Mars sound which is kind of hilarious to think of, but it’s true. 

11. beautiful world

As the album’s interlude, beautiful world is a rather calm interlude featuring keyboard and a chick singing a little bit?  It could be JIN but at a high pitch.  It’s a strange interlude I’ll give it that, but I think it did its job.

12. ISSAI GASSAI

I’m not surprised ISSAI GASSAI was going to be a bit more of a lighter rock song.  I know I keep on bombing on JIN’s excessive use of filters and it still holds true because he would’ve sounded really good without them here.  It’s kind of like their 3rd A-side, but not as message-ridden.  I don’t know, I think I need time to get used to this one.

13. TIME CAPSULE

Once again I’m feeling like I’m listening to “Kanaetai Yume ga Aru” again hahaha.  I guess this classifies as a power ballad???  I don’t know but it’s slower and lighter than their other songs off the album.  Sadly, I don’t really think it’s a song that I’ll remember after this.

14. Kanaetai Yume ga Aru ~4EVER BOYZ AND GIRLZ SPIRIT~ (Album Mix)

Which brings us to the 3rd and final single of the era.  I actually don’t really hear the difference in this song unlike other album mixes on the album.  I love Kanaetai Yume ga Aru quite a bit because it’s one of their more serious songs released and it had a pretty good message in its lyrics and PV.  Got to love a band who can do that.  Ok, there’s some slight changes, but not enough to warrant me to dislike it. 

15. LONELY NIGHT -FM80’z all night Boyz RMX-

Wait, you’re going to feature a previously released remix on the album while you have one B-side that was left out (“HOLD ME TIGHT”).  I’ll never understand why they included this song because there’s just not a lot that’s really different between the two songs besides extra synths.  Otherwise, you still hear the same stuff in the original here.  Sorry but this just doesn’t fly.

16. 4EVER 8bit Boyz

As the outro to the album, 4EVER 8bit Boyz seems like it would’ve been better, but with the fact that the “LONELY NIGHT” remix came in between kind of messed the idea up.  What it is is an 8bit take of “Kanaetai Yume ga Aru with no vocals from JIN.  I thought it was pretty cute and it was just right as well.  Closed the album up nicely, but still the remix just kind ruined it I think.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kanaetai Yume ga Aru ~4EVER BOYZ AND GIRLS SPIRIT~ (Album Mix)
  • story
  • GOOD MORNING
  • LONELY NIGHT (Album Mix)

Song of Avoidance

  • KRASH KRASH (Album Mix)

Well for an album that I was personally looking forward to hear High Speed Boyz gave a pretty decent album.  I wouldn’t say it’s great because there’s some problems lying in the fact that JIN loves too much filters and auto-tune in his music and it kind of ruined a few songs.  Other than that, most of the songs were fun and showed off a lot of personality which is great and I hope this wasn’t a one time deal thing because I’m interested in hearing more from them in the future.

 

BoA – WOO WEEKEND

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 4:55 am

Track Listing

  1. WOO WEEKEND
  2. NO MUSIC, NO LIFE
  3. WOO WEEKEND INST
  4. NO MUSIC, NO LIFE INST

1. WOO WEEKEND

Hmmm…doesn’t this remind of a song she just did with VERBAL?  Y’know “BUMP BUMP!?”.  Well instead of the urban attack that was happening in that song, WOO WEEKEND sounds more synth based and has a glaring 80’s feel to it because the amount of bass used here.  I actually felt this song was produced strong and it isn’t too demanding of BoA….well maybe her vocals are stuck in her not so good higher register, but the breakdown part of the song was kind of interesting.  Maybe she’s coming back up.

2. NO MUSIC, NO LIFE

Keeping with the theme of the single, NO MUSIC, NO LIFE is definitely the better of the two songs for sure because this has a more obvious homage to the 80’s and I’m loving BoA here.  It might not have the same attitude push like her last real good dance B-side, “Bad Drive”, but this is definitely coming back.

 

 

I think everyone was worried that BoA was going to keep sucking after the “Vivid” single and she hit rock bottom with “IDENTITY” which is a given.  WOO WEEKEND to me stepped her game back up a few steps with its 80’s-like sound and actually good sounding arrangements.  My problem is that her attitude isn’t back yet and that’s what she really needs if she wants to be good again.

 

JASMINE – GOLD

Filed under: JASMINE — solarblade @ 4:44 am

Track Listing

  1. PRIDE
  2. sad to say
  3. L.I.P.S.
  4. Jealous
  5. Bad Girl.
  6. dear my friend
  7. stage ~interlude~
  8. This Is Not A Game
  9. CLUBBIN”
  10. Koi
  11. what you want?
  12. No More
  13. Dreamin’
  14. Why

1. PRIDE

Starting the album off, PRIDE is a rather short song, but it’s longer than your normal opening track.  I like the fact that JASMINE sounds pretty chill and works with the mildly aggressive arrangement.  I love the part where she was counting up and saying ~my pride~ in between.  Short, but was kicks off the album strongly.

2. sad to say

After the introductory track, sad to say (her debut A-side) pops up next and the only thing I fully remember in this song is that has ~fucking sorrow~.  She has definitely gotten better since this song because for most of this song she’s yelling her lyrics maybe a little too much.  She really has a weird accent saying her English lines, but I won’t beat her up for it. 

3. L.I.P.S.

Coming from her fifth single “Dreamin'” as a B-side I was pretty happy to see this song making the cut.  Out of the songs, this has the must club-sounding feel to it and JASMINE is lightly put in auto-tune.  I do love that she is experimenting throughout her music and she got it right with a dance tune.  She even turned down the yelling which is also fortunate.  Even the Arabian blotches throughout the second verse were cool to hear!!!

4. Jealous

As her 4th A-side, Jealous is pretty damn chill and pretty classy since this isn’t foreboding or trying to shove its message in your face like how her previous A-sides were like.  I still think Jealous has this sound that Hikki’s “Distance” had and I’m quite infatuated by the feel and mood of the song.  And I agree with ~jealous is so dangerous~.

5. Bad Girl.

Finally getting back into some new songs, Bad Girl. is pretty much JASMINE’s heaviest song off the album.  It’s kind of like “This Is Not A Game” but instead of focusing on the synths and crazy stuff like that, Bad Girl. has a rock style that’s like in your face and full of angst.  It’s just a great song and the best of the new songs off the album.  Love the chorus with the whole ~even though they call me bad girl~.

6. dear my friend

dear my friend kind of is in between on how “sad to say” and “Jealous” sound.  It’s like pretty classy but at the same time with a stronger message.  I did think the two ideas came together quite smoothly but it seemed a little too messy lyrically and the chorus was just too sloppy to make out.

7. stage ~interlude~

After all that we get into the album’s interlude which fits quite nicely into our next song because this interlude kind of takes the lion’s roar from “This Is Not A Game” and this time JASMINE sounds like she’ walking to a stage and saying stuff like ~this is my _____~.  It definitely did its job at setting up our next tune.

8. This Is Not A Game

In my honest opinion, if there was an R&B song that is purely epic in every way, JASMINE hit it squarely on the head with This Is Not A Game because it’s dark, sexy, and omg fierce in every way.  I may be biased here but the way she sung it and the bridge with the English lyrics was just too much.  Even the arrangement was like gothic but that piano kept it together.  Definitely one of the best A-sides of the year.

9. CLUBBIN”

I don’t know why but I still don’t like this song much even though it was her first try under a rock style.  It’s like she’s trying to rap against the arrangement and her performance just seemed borderline boring for me.  Even the chorus just seemed to fly by for me, so I’m passing this up quite a bit.

10. Koi

~This is JASMINE~, oh this song has kept me interested since first hearing it on the “sad to say” single.  I’ll admit that I was more impressed with this song totally moreso than “sad to say” since the girl once again wasn’t shouting her heart out like a dying cat.  Just a very loungy type of song and I think it’s one of the bests of the album.

11. what you want?

Coming from the “No More” single, what you want? on the album kind of seems a little underwhelming since the other songs have more punch and memorability than other B-sides featured.  I still like it, but it just doesn’t stick to me as much as it did on “No More”.  If a mid-tempo R&B track is your deal, then you’ll probably end up liking this track (given if you haven’t already heard it beforehand).

12. No More

Second single in and just like her debut, I only really remember the whole ~no more crying~ line from this song.  I was a little sad that this tune was basically a sequel to “sad to say” since they sounded so damn similar to each other and has the same yelling thing going on which bothered me just a little bit.  It’s a bit more tame than her debut so that’s a good direction so I pretty much enjoyed this a little bit more.

13. Dreamin’

As we near the ending to JASMINE’s album, Dreamin’ (her fifth single) takes everything that was R&B from the album and threw it out to bring us a pure strings/piano ballad.  I’ll admit, I was surprised she’d go and try to pull one of these off, but she actually did it quite well because her voice is so strong and not yelling like in other songs.  One of the year’s best ballads IMO

14. Why

I’m a little surprised that “Dreamin'” didn’t end the album because Why does not deserve to be placed over here.  It sounds just like a typical sounding American R&B song with the synths and the bubble popping crap going on.  I honestly think that this should’ve been placed near “No More” or “sad to say” to have a better flow.  Otherwise the song is alright, but nothing extravagant.

Tracks Recommended

  • This Is Not A Game
  • Koi
  • Bad Girl.
  • L.I.P.S.
  • Jealous

Song of Avoidance

  • CLUBBIN”

What do I think of JASMINE’s debut album?  I think this girl has staying power for sure, but with the amount of old songs over the new songs it kind of left me wanting more from her.  I think JASMINE is following an R&B style, but her experimentation in other styles really show her off better than I thought and if she keeps doing this I’m sure her fanbase will grow.  GOLD is a pretty good first try and I know one person will like at least one song on this album.  Give it a try, might be your thing!

 

melody. – Haruka

Filed under: melody. — solarblade @ 2:57 am

Track Listing

  1. Haruka
  2. Plumeria
  3. That’s The Way It Is
  4. Haruka (Instrumental)

1. Haruka

After taking a small break, melody. comes back to release Haruka which unlike most of the songs in the previous eras, it lacks the electronic sound that she went for for a more organic and relaxing tune.  It’s of course a ballad and it doesn’t sound like previous stuff really and once again finding myself being lulled by melody.’s vocals.  I’m surprised she begin this rather short era with a song like this.

2. Plumeria

Getting back to her R&B roots for the B-side, Plumeria also sounds totally different from what she releases because of the song being acoustic and only featuring light R&B beats.  I think it’s slightly better than “Haruka” but that’s just because melody. sounds really good and the tune is a good chill tune to listen to.

3. That’s The Way It Is

Why yes, the other B-side is actually a cover of a Celine Dion song that kind of hit big in the states earlier in the decade.  Now melody. definitely does not have the full-on vocals that Celine has so according to it, the arrangement is quite a bit lighter than the original.  Since melody. speaks fluent English she has no problems with accents and I think she did a good job, but Celine’s still tops it by a big shot.

 

 

*sad face* Since Haruka is melody.’s final single before her retirement, (which consists of having two kids with MIYAVI…who saw that coming really?) Haruka isn’t a bad final single.  It does show that she’s going for a more lighthearted era since there was no electronica found.  I’m also a little sad Plumeria didn’t make “Lei Aloha”, but still one of her best B-sides.  As for the cover song, it’s good for what it is, but the original still takes the cake.