Kurayami Monogatari

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Natsuko Aso – Movement of magic August 19, 2010

Filed under: Natsuko Aso — solarblade @ 5:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Programming for non-fiction
  2. style
  3. Your True Story
  4. Brand new world
  5. Music for science & magic
  6. Steady×Steady
  7. Teardrop of Rain
  8. Everyday sunshine line!
  9. Perfect-area complete!
  10. Shinkyoku wa Uchuu Cafe Nite
  11. Dear my fortune
  12. Movement of magic
  13. Brand new world (Real world experience Remix) (CD+DVD only)
  14. Programming for non-fiction (Another Diary Remix) (CD+DVD only)

1. Programming for non-fiction

I’m so happy that Natsuko began the album with her best A-side of the era.  Being A-side No.2, Programming for non-fiction really does remind me of Nana Mizuki’s music since it’s set as a dance song with strings which is a lot of what the other gal has been doing.  I liked her vocals in the song since they’re so relaxed and they sound pretty good as well.  One of the bests so far.

2. style

I liked that style began with a slight 8bit intro before getting into the song where it becomes like synth-pop.  It’s a different kind of song, but her vocals take a slight hit in this song as well but it could just be the off harmonizations throughout.  The arrangement could’ve been a bit more energetic, but I like the feeling it puts out so that’s good for right now.

3. Your True Story

Acoustic guitar and little synth clicks opening our next new song?  I was definitely pulled into it just to see what would come from it.  Natsuko’s vocals are a bit more chirpy and a little nasal, but it’s passable.  However, just like “style” I wanted a little more something in the tune’s arrangement.  At least it’s more upbeat?  I don’t know but it’s still a good and happy song.

4. Brand new world

At first Brand new world reminds me of like MEG’s and KOR=GIRL’s weird spacey songs.  At least that’s just only in the opening and the song quickly becomes better, but I’ve noticed that since the single it sounds a bit too slow on the album since all the songs beforehand are a bit faster.  Then again, it could be the fact that Natsuko’s good vocals came out in this song so that’s why I liked it in the first place.

5. Music for science & magic

Of the choices of B-sides on the album, I’m happy she at least stuck the best one on the album.  This is another reason why “Brand new world” has kind of slipped on favorites because Music for science & magic just pwned it in almost every way.  I love the cutesy upbeat side to her music and with this one it’s like synth-y cuteness.  Vocals might not be as good, but it’s enough to get me by.

6. Steady×Steady

I guess giving us a short break before going back into old songs, Steady×Steady is definitely something that would be hopping around in the genki idol style of songs since it’s bubbly and just cute to the max.  At least her vocals isn’t ear-piercing so it makes this song rather tolerable to listen to, but it’s just not my kind of style I would’ve expected Natsuko to dabble in.

7. Teardrop of Rain

That makes the switch into “Everyday sunshine line’s” B-side rather weird.  There’s at least some sort of transition since it’s a cute song, but instead of the energy in the last song, this is the album’s lone ballad.  Since reviewing the single, I’ve grown to like a bit more since it’s a song that stands out in this album because of it’s slow-paced yet loud arrangement.  Good tune for sure.

8. Everyday sunshine line!

I’ll admit that starting to review Natsuko with this single was a pretty poor choice because this and the previous singles are kind of my least favorite A-side/singles.  I don’t know why but I’ve grown to be annoyed by this song because there’s just so much sound going around.  At least it is the most energetic A-side out of the four, but I’m still kind of meh with it.

9. Perfect-area complete!

Same goes with the 3rd A-side released in the era.  I keep on switching on which of the two has the bigger offense, but I think Perfect-area complete! takes the cake overall since it’s busy and just idol-messy.  I mean I do appreciate the effort to make something this energetic and genki, but it’s just too much!

10. Shinkyoku wa Uchuu Cafe Nite

We have yet to see Natsuko hitting pop/rock yet and as we get back into new songs we have our first one on the album even though it’s more like a slight addition to her synth-pop we have here.  The mix is quite cool to listen to and it’s catchy at various points and it sounds like a good summer tune.  Should’ve been an A-side instead of “Everyday sunshine line!”.

11. Dear my fortune

Getting back into her synth-pop style, Dear my fortune actually is probably my favorite of the new songs since it’s just everything that’s good she did in the first half of the era.  Yeah, there’s a part where her vocals screw up quite majorly, but for the most part the song is just a better sounding “Brand new world” and I much prefer this since it’s easy to remember and the arrangement is nice.

12. Movement of magic

Ending the main part of the album, being the title track, and promotional song for the album; Movement of magic is one of the songs that oddly stands out on this album as well.  I mean there’s a whole of fast singing and the dance style is prevelent here as well.  There’s just a lot going on vocally in the song and I was impressed she held her own here.  Loved it!

13. Brand new world (Real world experience Remix)

On the CD+DVD edition of the album, it comes with two more songs and they’re both remixes of her debut and second single respectively.  Brand new world’s remix kind of tries to make it sound a little bit like the regular version of “Programming for non-fiction” but instead of strings there’s piano.  I actually enjoyed listening to this remix since it really does sound good and actually beats the hell outta the original.  Thank you sped up arrangement!

14. Programming for non-fiction (Another Diary Remix)

Sadly, it seems things were just switched.  I don’t know why but it feels like this remix made Programming for non-fiction was actually made on purpose to make the original sound a whole lot better.  I do love the electro-sound when it’s full of synths but like the verses with that buzzing synth is annoying as all hell.  If that was gone and the harder stuff took over I would’ve consider it better…

Tracks Recommended

  • Programming for non-fiction
  • Dear my fortune
  • Music for science & magic
  • Brand new world (Real world experience Remix)
  • Movement of magic

Song of Avoidance

  • Perfect-area complete!

For a debut album, I was actually impressed by Ms. Natsuko Aso.  The fact that her sound on Lantis is focused on a synth-based sound is great to hear and she has good vocals, but I think they haven’t been tapped into fully since Programming for non-fiction and I want to see Lantis take advantage of that.  Besides that, I actually enjoyed this!

 

Hanako Oku – Utakata

Filed under: Hanako Oku — solarblade @ 4:15 am

Track Listing

  1. Utakata
  2. Hatsukoi
  3. Fake
  4. Hane
  5. Aitai Toki ni Aenai
  6. Trump
  7. Garasu no Hana
  8. Komorebi no Naka de
  9. Niji no Mieru Ashita e
  10. Himitsu no Takaramono
  11. Puzzle
  12. Shunkashuutou
  13. Genki de Ite ne
  14. rebirth

1. Utakata

So I guess we begin Hanako’s album with the title track.  Of course being a piano player works to open the album, by the time I’m into more than half the track, I’m already wondering where’d she get such a good arrangement.  The beginning is a bit slow starting since it’s just her and the piano, but at least the chorus adds more instruments to make it less boring.  It’s a pretty good opening to the album for sure.

2. Hatsukoi

I still have problems trying to remember her first A-side in the era.  I mean it’s Hanako after all and since this style of her music was all over her last album, “BIRTHDAY”, this kind of just came off as bland.  The positive thing I can really say is that her vocals have gotten better which is good, but it’s still a tad nasally.

3. Fake

At least with the amount of not so exciting songs, she has those songs that end up sounding nice to listen to (mostly songs that aren’t ballads).  I don’t know why, but I just get Elton John vibes just from the arrangement, but I don’t think it’s all that bad.  The fact that it’s upbeat stood out for me and is one of my early favorites from the album.

4. Hane

Why does this song sound familiar to me, it’s like she’s done a song exactly like this before…  Hane here has a light folkish feel to it mixed with the usual Hanako piano duo but with strings involved.  It’s slightly slower than “Fake”, but it surely isn’t a ballad.  I don’t know but I just kind of felt there could’ve been more.

5. Aitai Toki ni Aenai

Then we quickly go back into ballad-land with our next new song.  I’ve said before that I have a biased outlook for ballads and this kind of just didn’t make me appreciate it.  Perhaps the good thing is that there’s an accordion to try to spice things up and this sounds more serious than her other ballads which is good in that sense, but it’s still kind of nothing to get excited over.

6. Trump

Then we get into the two main songs that were on her latest single “Garasu no Hana” starting with the B-side.  I think being on the album hurt this song even more because even though I was bored with “Aitai Toki ni Aenai” this song just bored me to death.  It’s just a very low-key ballad with no real impact on the album.  I would’ve just kept this off the album.

7. Garasu no Hana

At least Garasu no Hana is here to wake me up after that borefest.  I love hearing the pan flute used in this song quite a lot.  It’s been a while since I’ve been actually happy about a Hanako A-side and since this had the biggest tie-in in the era, Garasu no Hana is going to sound rather different from the other songs on the album.  It’s still a grand song to listen to.  My only qualm would be that sometimes the music is more powerful than her vocals. 

8. Komorebi no Naka de

As the longest song off the album (being only 4 seconds longer than “Hatsukoi”) Komorebi no Nake de is definitely being risky.  I’m not a big fan of listening to piano/acoustic guitar ballads and since this kind of didn’t connect with me.  About 2 minutes into the song is when drums and strings enter the fray to try to save the song, but by then I’m already spaced out from listening to the first two.  It’s just too late to save the song.  At least the later half is actually nice to listen to…but iono it’s kind of meh.

9. Niji no Mieru Ashita e

Being the B-side of “Hatsukoi”, Niji no Mieru Ashita e might’ve been a great song to listen to if there was just a little more oomph to the song because it does show off Hanako’s cute vocals quite nicely, but the arrangement is just so shallow and plain that it makes “Happy Days” sound downright amazing. 

10. Himitsu no Takaramono

Wow, Himitsu no Takaramono might be the most boring ballad on the album so far.  I mean when it’s just Hanako and piano for the entire song it’s bound to make you fall asleep (unless you like these kind of songs, then I stand corrected).  Otherwise, I immediately wanted to press next because it didn’t stand out like some of the other songs.  Maybe her piano playing during the solo slightly did, but still.

11. Puzzle

Now this is the kind of ballad that would peak my interest.  I mean I don’t think I’ve heard a rather depressing song from Hanako…not even her last album had that.  I think what caught me off guard the most was the fact that Hanako was singing in a deeper tone and she sounds nice hitting those deeper notes.  It’s a different style that I’m normally not used to from Hanako, but I liked it.

12. Shunkashuutou

Ok, so this song is at least better than “Himitsu no Takaramono” but just only slightly because there’s strings here along with Hanako & piano.  Otherwise, it just feels like I’m dealing with a happier version of said song and yet it still bores me to death.  To the next song!

13. Genki de Ite ne

As we get more closer to the ending of the album, Genki de Ite ne is sadly the last upbeat song off the album, but it’s not as good as I thought it would’ve been.  I mean the harmonica is a nice touch and all, and the easy clapping rhythm helped out too, but once again just like “Niji no Mieru Ashita e”, there’s just something that isn’t right and I think it’s just a little too light for me. 

14. rebirth

Of course the album has to end with another damn ballad.  I think the melody is a bit stronger than “Himitsu no Takaramono”, but the fact that they’re both piano-only songs make it hard to enjoy this song more as well.  I mean it’s pretty fitting to end the album and all, but c’mon…really?

Tracks Recommended

  • Garasu no Hana
  • Fake
  • Utakata
  • Puzzle

Song of Avoidance

  • Himitsu no Takaramono

Hmmm, Utakata is Hanako’s 5th album to date and to be honest, it’s actually a much weaker album than “BIRTHDAY”.  Besides the four songs I recommended, the other songs on the album felt rather weak as songs and there’s been other’s like them that sounded better.  The plus side is that most of the songs had better vocals.  It might be good to people who love ballads, but for me it’s not my kind of album TBH.

 

Angelababy – Beauty Survivor

Filed under: Angelababy — solarblade @ 2:41 am

Track Listing

  1. Beauty Survivor
  2. Beauty Survivor (Instrumental)

1. Beauty Survivor

Everyone who knows me should know that I love Shinichi Osawa works and I’m not sure why but I’m falling for this song even though there’s a lot of ideas in the song strung together.  As much as I enjoy the rather crazy arrangement and ideas, it shows with Angelababy’s singing.  When she actually calms down to sing in the acoustic driven parts she sounds great, but she’s kind of like abrasive to her yelling stuff (like the beginning).  I also think that Shinichi’s work with this song sounds like something that would’ve been great during the ravex era.

 

 

Wow, another Chinese to JPN artist debuting!  Sweet gives me more to look forward from Angelababy.  While debuting under Shinichi is great, it just makes me have thoughts that she’ll end up as the second Eri Nobuchika (just without the awesome vocals that she has).  I expect more good tunes from this new artist ^_^