Kurayami Monogatari

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MIYAVI – WHAT’S MY NAME? October 12, 2010

Filed under: MIYAVI — solarblade @ 10:46 am

Track Listing

  1. WHAT’S MY NAME
  2. TORTURE
  3. A-HA
  4. CHILLIN’ CHILLIN’ MONEY BLUE$
  5. I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, AND I HATE YOU.
  6. MOON
  7. GRAVITY
  8. UNIVERSE
  9. UNBREAKABLE
  10. SHELTER
  11. SUPER HERO (Album ver.)
  12. Suteki na Mirai
  13. FUTURISTIC LOVE
  14. SURVIVE (Album ver.)

1. WHAT’S MY NAME?

Starting the album off with the title track, it’s no surprise we’d get something that shows off MIYAVI’s guitar-playing and he’s still one of the quirkiest guitarists of our time.  Now getting into other things, it seems that MIYAVI has lost a lot of degrees to his music as in he doesn’t have a full band.  Only a drummer and himself so that makes this album rather unplugged but not fully acoustic.  I do think it’s pretty neat though that MIYAVI is actually sort of rapping in the song.  Interesting opening.

2. TORTURE

Just being at 3 minutes, TORTURE is actually the shortest song off the album and it surprises me because it’s also the only physical single released in the era.  While on the review, I said it didn’t connect with me really, but somehow it turned into one of my favorite MIYAVI songs of recent times.  It could be the heavy guitar and funky arrangement that got to me or MIYAVI’s lyrics that I could understand (for the most part).  I mean I’m surprised he made a song that sounded so complete without the bass and such…

3. A-HA

Why do I have a feeling that this sort of reminds me of “Shindemo Boogie-Woogie” and “Gigpig Boogie” but of course in a lighter style?  To me, MIYAVI’s vocals seem rather covered up by the arrangement and a good portion is mostly him yelling, but what can ya do?  It has a good swing to it and when he does sing, it’s alright.  Not so good after, “TORTURE”.

4. CHILLIN’ CHILLIN’ MONEY BLUE$

I’m noticing by now that even though it’s of high quality…it sounds like it wasn’t refined and kind of just sounds like it was done in one try in the studio.  CHILLIN CHILLIN MONEY BLUE$ has a pretty good beat and MIYAVI sounds kind of slick and cool singing it.  There’s also someone else singing along (might just be him), still it’s interesting and lowkey when compared to other songs.

5. I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, AND I HATE YOU

I was wondering what we’d get from such a title like this.  I love the arrangement since it has a good riff going and with MIYAVI singing soft again, it sounds rather interesting.  It might be pretty straightforward for him, but I think it’s rather cool and it grows into this sweet guitar song.  It might’ve been better if it had more instruments and a bigger bang…but it’s good…then again it might get annoying towards the end, but this song is good.

6. MOON

The next three songs for me somehow seems all related to one another somehow besides the obviousness of the titles.  MOON for me is the softest song of the album since MIYAVI is reduced to almost whispering the lyrics.  I found this minimalistic sound he was going for pretty interesting and the intricacies of MIYAVI’s guitar-playing stands out in the song. 

7. GRAVITY

Oh I guess, GRAVITY takes up the slowest song off the album.  The problem though is that it’s way too slow and drags 2 minutes of a total of 6 minutes, which is basically the same guitar chords over and over and MIYAVI just trying to keep his boredom to a level where it doesn’t seem noticeable.  After the 2 minutes, MIYAVI really lets himself by screaming ~LET ME OUUUUUUUUT!~  It’s not very tasteful to hear especially how he screams it like he’s being stabbed or something.  It repeats again, but there’s drums added to make it a bit more interesting, but I was turned off by the first 3-4 minutes that I was just not interested past that.  Way too long and too poor of a choice to do with the 6 minutes.

8. UNIVERSE

Luckily after that weirdness of “GRAVITY”, UNIVERSE picks up the slack with this really cool guitar riff that sometimes to me sounds like synth playing around as well (it might be actually, but a mix with MIYAVI’s playing).  While I do hear a lot of English involved here, the music once again covers things up, but once MIYAVI starts trying to pull off Chester Bennington’s vocal style, UNIVERSE becomes this very angsty tune that made me notice quickly.  I thought it was one of the best songs off the album, but I know some people will prolly disagree with that.

9. UNBREAKABLE

This time around, I was surprised to hear drums open up a song instead of MIYAVI.  To me, this song is probably a bit too messy and kind of all over the place in its arrangement because the guitar is playing some low chords and kind of runs a bit too gritty to make a real melody out of it.  Once the chorus (or I think it is)  it just goes from worse to terrible…wow…This is just a bit icky.

10. SHELTER

At least with SHELTER we actually get a good sounding melody going here and it has a great beat to go along with it.  I also can tell that this song has English strung out throughout and I like how this is one of the simpler songs as well.  It reminds me of a much lighter “TORTURE” which great to have on an album that so far has disappointed me.

11. SUPER HERO (Album ver.)

Getting the second digital single of the era out of the way, I haven’t been able to listen to the original so I can’t say a lot about the differences between the two.  I wonder if the difference is that the digital singles were before this whole two man band thing.  It’s nice but it kind of pales to other songs on the album and his vocals are very strained in this song and you can tell pretty easily.

12. Suteki na Mirai

As the only song not in caps on this album (and written in kanji for that matter) Suteki na Mirai actually another ballad-like song on the album.  At first it was nice just to hear MIYAVI with only acoustic guitar, but that idea gets erased drums come in after a bit.  At least MIYAVI’s solo is pretty impressive and seems MIYAVI is liking this solo a bit more than the others he did.  Good and simple tune for sure, but could have done more to it.

13. FUTURISTIC LOVE

Just like “UNIVERSE”, FUTURISTIC LOVE carries this interesting style that a lot of the other songs are just missing and it makes me wonder why these two songs sound so much cooler and better handled than most of the other songs on the album.  I mean you can hear there was something else besides drums and guitar here and it made me happy.  I do think that just like “UNIVERSE” that this song gets pretty repetitive in the arrangement and can become a bore after a while (especially past the half way mark where MIYAVI stops singing…).  Ok, so it might not have been done right, but it still has life in it.

14. SURVIVE (Album ver.)

While I might not have heard the original “SUPER HERO”, I have heard the original of SURVIVE and I much prefer the digital release than the reedited version of the song.  It seems that giving the song the WHAT’S MY NAME? tough kind of made it less energetic and less powerful of a song.  It’s just very meh for me even though I do like SURVIVE as a song and was very raw.

Tracks Recommened

  • TORTURE
  • UNIVERSE
  • SHELTER
  • I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, AND I HATE YOU

Song of Avoidance

  • GRAVITY

You know, I don’t know what the hell happened with MIYAVI on this album.  I mean his last album, “Miyavi -THIS IZ THE JAPANESE KABUKI ROCK-” sounded full and of energy and completeness.  This album has the energy down, but the completeness of the songs felt way low and there’s so much potential in these songs that just wasn’t there (but GRAVITY, that purely sucked).  I mean maybe it was supposed to be like “Miyaviuta -Dokusou-“, but that album was good, this just was yeesh…

 

GIRL NEXT DOOR – Ready to be a lady

Filed under: GIRL NEXT DOOR — solarblade @ 6:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Ready to be a lady
  2. Kaze no Capsule
  3. Shiawase no Hakari
  4. Infinity (EURODIMA Remix)
  5. Ready to be a lady (Instrumental)

1. Ready to be a lady

Hahah, OK I know I’ve bagged them a lot because of their rather sameish music, but somehow I can’t help but enjoy them either way around.  Ready to be a lady to me feels like “Drive away” and Seeds of dream” had a baby and it turned out to be this fun-filled tune.  I don’t even think CHISA is really saying the title and is being Engrish to it ~ready to be lady~  I seriously don’t hear an “a” in there at all.  I still don’t know why I fell in love with the song, but it’s just good for me and has a good true euro sound going.

2. Kaze no Capsule

I still don’t know whether GND is treating this as a one A-sided single or triple because the fact that all three songs have PV’s.  Kaze no Capsule for me is when things kind of get stale pretty quickly.  This is definitely like “Jump” but lighter some how.  I don’t know why but with CHISA singing on the same note for most of the chorus is just kind of turns me away.  It’s just not that memorable for me.

3. Shiawase no Hakari

I was thinking there was going to be some relation to “Shiawase no Jouken” in a weird way, but what we ended up with is just as nice.  Compared to the last two songs, this is definitely a ballad from GND.  It’s nice to hear CHISA not yelling her songs like she usually does and the natural instruments with little synths was a nice change and left a better impression than “Orion” did. 

4. Infinity (EURODIMA Remix)

It took them this long to get out an Infinity remix?  Well, besides that ballad version of the tune on “NEXT FUTURE”, I was waiting for someone to actually remix the song.  The beginning started off nice with strings and CHISA’s vocals being blocked a little bit.  Then the whole ~whoa whoa~ kicks in and then things just blows up into this eurotrance mix of the song.  I will say though that the chords of the remix didn’t fit the chords of CHISA’s singing and it kind of didn’t make sense in the long run.  Nice try, but I’ll stick to the original or the ballad version.

After “Freedom”, I was hoping we’d get some amazing tracks out of Ready to be a lady.  We did fortunately with the title track and Shiawase no Hakari since the former was a fun and happy song (which they mostly excel at!) and the latter being more of a good ballad…and it as long as previous ballads so it kept things right.  Kaze no Capsule might’ve faulted because it sounds like a carbon copy to both “Guuzen no Kakuritsu” and “Jounetsu no Daishou” as well as countless other similar songs of the sort.  You can pass up the remix though, the original is so much better still!

 

fripSide – future gazer

Filed under: fripSide — solarblade @ 4:41 am

Track Listing

  1. future gazer
  2. fortissimo -the ultimate crisis-
  3. future gazer -instrumental-
  4. fortissimo -the ultimate crisis- -isntrumental-

1. future gazer

I cannot strive to keep saying that sat is really bringing down the group because while future gazer is pretty light of a song, it still sounds like all their previous release that had Nanjo as the lead singer.  I will admit that her vocals sound so much better than before which is a much needed upgrade for sure.  Otherwise this song is just like other fripSide songs here…

2. fortissimo -the ultimate crisis-

Wow, a B-side that doesn’t have to do with a certain season!  Compared to “future gazer” the beats are heavier and the song sounds a bit darker, but hearing something that changed a little bit goes a long way.  I mean even Nanjo is singing deeper than she has before and I approve that.  My only disappointment is that the chorus is just boring for sure. 

Since it is their final single before their album (debut album with Nanjo being the lead vocalist) future gazer is better than “LEVEL5 -judgelight-“, but only slightly.  I really do think they’re leading themselves into a rut with these songs, but at least these ones were memorable at the least.  Makes me wonder how the album will be like now since all three singles aren’t that different to one another…

 

Mix Speaker’s, Inc. – Midnight Queen

Filed under: Mix Speaker's Inc. — solarblade @ 4:21 am

Track Listing

  1. Midnight Queen
  2. Lie Lie Lie

1. Midnight Queen

I guess they’re taking notes from The Candy Spooky Theater?  Nah, I’m kidding.  Just like the cover art shows, Midnight Queen is definitely more into the Halloween aspect of things and the beginning shows that off with the creepy melody and stuff.  Once YUKI and the rest of the bands joins in, the song becomes a cool rock song from them.  It’s been a little since we’ve seen just a straight up rock tune from the group and I’m happy that it’s more catchy than I thought it would be.  Great flow and the solos in it were awesome as well.

2. Lie Lie Lie

So for the B-side, Lie Lie Lie is just as hard-hitting if not more than “Midnight Queen” to be honest.  I like the fact they kept being rockin’ for this song as well and YUKI’s singing in the song was more strong and had a bit more personality in it.  It might just be better than the A-side to be honest.

It’s surprising that while I’ve only reviewed a few things from Mix Speaker’s, Inc., so far I’m more impressed with Midnight Queen than anything else I’ve reviewed.  Are they actually pulling away from the more experimental stuff they did in “ANIMAL ZOMBIES”?  I hope so because this single was just great for em!

 

Momoi Haruko – IVY

Filed under: Momoi Haruko — solarblade @ 4:06 am

Track Listing

  1. IVY
  2. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!
  3. Shouri no Megami☆
  4. SWEET☆CANDY
  5. ☆Jien Otsu☆ Song 2 ~Sekai Hen~
  6. The wall ~Koerarenai Kabe~
  7. Eien no Orusuban
  8. Break down, Break dance!
  9. E.S.P. ~Thanks to Mamichan~
  10. music as muse

1. IVY

Starting off Momoi’s 10th Anniversary album, the title track begins quite nicely with the whole anime-ish thing going on.  I mean it’s pretty synthed up and Momoi’s vocals kind of switch between her lighter tones which are good and then in the chorus with her seiyuuish tones and that bothered me.  It’s a good energetic start for the album though so I approve that.  I might get used to this after a while ^_^

2. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

I really liked the somewhat jazzy style Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! was trying to go for from the start, but my feelings towards the song is pretty negative because I can’t stand Momoi’s vocals in the song as they are pitchy and very meh for me.  At least she tried to do a somewhat interesting pop/rock tune, but her vocals hinder it from being any good

3. Shouri no Megami☆

Getting into our next song, Shouri no Megami☆ sounds strange to me for some reason.  I mean it’s more synthy than “IVY” was for sure, but it sounds a bit classy as well.  While she’s once again splitting her vocal styles just like the first song, it’s not as ear-cringing IMO.  I actually have an easier time remembering this and that’s definitely a good thing for sure. 

4. SWEET☆CANDY

It seems we go back and forth with styles of music, but at least with SWEET☆CANDY follows in route with great things just like her previous songs in the rock-style.  The addition of the piano also gave it something to make it colorful.  About Momoi’s vocals here, they are a bit whiny throughout, but at least she’s hitting notes nicely and sounds sort of good here.  Good song from Momoi ^_^

5. ☆Jien Otsu☆Song 2 ~Sekai Hen~

It’s funny that Momoi did announce that this song was going to be released as the album’s lone single, but was later cancelled for unknown reasons and ended up with a full album of new songs.  Just like the title implies, this is the sequel to the original “☆Jien Otsu☆Song” and of course this isn’t a collaborative effort either so it’s entirely a different idea going on.  It’s still basically below average vocals from Momoi, but some of the song reminds me of “Lumica” for some reason.  I don’t know if it’s better than it’s predecessor, but it’s interesting to listen to for sure.

6. The wall ~Koerarenai Kabe~

After passing the midway mark on the album, The wall comes next and after the last few tracks having such a hard and fun sound to them, this one seems a little out of place because it’s lighter and Momoi’s vocals are kind of under the weather because she’s singing in the same area of pitch through most of the verses and the chorus is really where things change a little, but not enough for me.  Kind of just seems a little too plain (for Momoi standards).

7. Eien no Orusuban

I do love the opening for Eien no Orusuban because it’s addition to the instruments in those few seconds in their.  At first I couldn’t tell that was really that was Momoi since she sounded more clean and together than she has been in the previous songs.  The chorus is just a bit boring for me, but the rest of the song sounds actually good.

8. Break down, Break dance!

I’m not sure what to make of this song because Break down, Break dance! is her fastest song on the album for sure and is the closest thing to her somewhat electro-ish sound.  It kind of is like “Galge” from her last album, but it’s more upbeat and has tons more synths involved.  It’s not bad, but otherwise it’s kind of forgettable.

9. E.S.P. ~Thanks to Mamichan~

So much weirdness with this song for sure.  It first sounds like it’d be a darker song, but then Momoi finishes her opening lines and it gets sparkly and cutesy with low synths and synth beeps all over.  I thought for a song that was more light sounding, it was pretty good for sure…but once again the damn chorus brings out the icky vocals. 

10. music as muse

Ending the album off, music as muse once again shows off a more anime-esque kind of style with guitars and synths playing in the song.  Even though for the most part, I actually enjoyed the tune quite a bit since Momoi’s vocals are stable and not all over the place here.  I think if she really tried she could be a good vocalist I think.  Definitely a good synthy song for sure.

Tracks Recommended

  • music as muse
  • Shouri no Megami☆
  • Eien no Orusuban
  • SWEET☆CANDY

Song of Avoidance

  • The wall ~Koerarenai Kabe~

Since this is her 10th Anniversary album, I think Momoi’s 3rd studio album kind of lacks the originality and feisty atmosphere that her previous two albums did have.  Not saying there isn’t any good songs, it’s just I miss stuff like “Thunder Shot!”, “Sunday early Morning”, or even “Henji ga Nai…”.  I just feel there isn’t anything that’s entirely memorable for me here.