Kurayami Monogatari

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Rina Aiuchi – LAST SCENE September 16, 2010

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 5:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. GOOD DAYS
  3. Sing a Song
  4. MERRY-GO-ROUND
  5. Love me
  6. TIME
  7. Priority
  8. HANABI
  9. IN MY SHOES
  10.  37°C
  11. LAST SCENE
  12. C・LOVE・R
  13. “Untitled Track” (bonus track)

1. Prologue

I’m surprised that the album begins with an intro track since she hasn’t done that before.  Prologue has a muffled kind of sound going but most of the track is piano and strings playing together with no lyrical content.  At least for the first half, the second half clears up the fuzz and Rina starts to sing.  I thought Rina sounded amazing with such a simple arrangement and being just an intro, it was nice.

2. GOOD DAYS

Being the first of three digital singles released in the era, GOOD DAYS felt like it was trying to continue the whole acoustic pop style she carried when she released “STORY/SUMMER LIGHT” & “MAGIC”.  I’m not complaining since there is strings in the song and some electric guitar parts as well.  It’s still kind of bland since I liked her double A-side moreso.  Still, not a bad song.

3. Sing a Song

Moving on to the 2nd digital single released, Sing a Song is clearly a lot better than the last song.  I like the upbeat style coming from this and I’m suddenly finding myself enjoying Rina’s vocals quite a bit since she’s hitting notes stronger.  Add the fun atmosphere and summery feel and we end up with this tune.  I like this song a lot!

4. MERRY-GO-ROUND

Getting into a bunch of new tracks, MERRY-GO-ROUND starts off like something I would’ve heard off her last album, “THANX”.  I mean it has that pop/rock feel going on and such.  Though it’s a bit more of a mellow song, but I think she got it right since it’s not boring and the light riffs and vocals fit together.  It’s a nice tune though overall.

5. Love me

Getting into our first ballad of the album, Love me kind of falls into the whole unmemorable side of Rina’s ballads which are mostly that anyways.  It’s not that she can’t pull them off, it’s just they lack something to make them strong.  Though there’s a small amount of BKGD vocals too so that’s kind of cool.  Still, not much to write home about.

6. TIME

Unlike “Love me’s” more typical ballad track, TIME is more like her recent rock ballads and I liked this track a whole lot more since the arrangement felt more heartfelt and the chorus exploded with those guitars and it gave the song much needed color.  Maybe this song is one of her top ballads.  I mean ending the song with the clock ticking was pretty awesome too.

7. Priority

Did you miss Rina from her “PLAYGIRL” days?  Well, the closest thing you’ll get is Priority which is straight up, a mid-tempo rock tune.  Rina and rock songs never really meshed together as well I thought it would, but Priority isn’t so bad, it just needs more bang to it. 

8. HANABI

Being the only song off the album that was released as a full-on single, HANABI is definitely the ballad to listen to from the album.  I’m not sure why, but the way it flowed, to the way Rina sang it.  I really don’t know how she pulled such a song off, but the flowing arrangement and strong verses and chorus really helped out.  Even though it’s the only “actual single” of the era, it’s very well made and marks as one of Rina’s best ballads through her career.

9. IN MY SHOES

Starting with Rina under a muffled voice begins the song with chorus and I thought it was going to be a more interesting track, but it kind of flops (especially coming after “HANABI”).  This kind of brings back what “GOOD DAYS” sounded like and I have a hard time telling the two songs apart really. 

10. 37°C

Not sure of the importance of said title, but 37 Degrees Celsius is another ballad coming from Rina and I’m noticing at the point of the album is that it’s very ballad-heavy and soft.  Once again, it uses the same set of instruments that were used in “HANABI” and a few others, but I’m kind of getting deja vu from this song.  The melody in the chorus reminds me of another song, but I can’t think of it at the top of my head. 

11. LAST SCENE

Besides “A.I.R”, LAST SCENE is the only other album to not have two title tracks and unfortunately at this point of the album and getting ANOTHER ballad, I’m starting to drift into sleep-land.  It’s hard to really say a lot that I haven’t said already about most of the other ballads.  It does kind of come off as a wintery ballad, but otherwise it’s not as good as previous title tracks.

12. C・LOVE・R

Ending the album off is the third digital single released prior to the album.  I’m a bit happy that it kind of pulls us out of the drowsy-inducing ballads for a bit of something that once again parallels “GOOD DAYS” and “IN MY SHOES”.  It still kind of sounds rather plain, but what can you do?

13. “Untitled Track”

After 27 tracks of silence, a hidden track appears and I actually ended up liking this tune more than the other ballads, but that’s because this once sounded hopeful and positive for one.  I found it sad that there’s not title, but I’m guessing by chance it’s called “Beautiful Days” since it’s the only English words spoken in the song and it kind of stands out louder than the other lyrics.  It’s another strong song and closes the album on a good note.  Once the song finishes, what seems like the studio, I think was the call that the album was completed and a celebration and Rina (with her quite strange high-pitched talking voice thanking them).  Cute!

Track Recommended

  • HANABI
  • Sing a Song
  • “Untitled Track”
  • TIME
  • MERRY-GO-ROUND

Song of Avoidance

  • C・LOVE・R

Wow, it has been 10 (almost 11 years) since Rina Aiuchi began her career and to be honest she’s been through a lot of style changes even moreso recently and even though I came in right about when she released “Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru” she’s kept up a good amount of energy, so to see her retire from music is a bit hard since I’ve liked a good portion of her discography. 

LAST SCENE as Rina’s final album is definitely by far her lightest in arrangement and style.  When most of the album is filled with ballads however, it becomes kind of tough to keep attention to.  I mean it doesn’t feel rushed like “THANX” did and that’s a good sign, but I mean when “Sing a Song” is basically the song that’s the most fun it’s a bit disheartening.  It’s not her best, but it’s does give a finality to Rina’s career so it fits the bill….still sad that this is the last of her….x.x;