Kurayami Monogatari

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Mao Denda – Ren’ai Chuudoku October 20, 2010

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 9:37 am

Track Listing

  1. Everyday is a Lovesong
  2. Ichiban Suki na Hito
  3. Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki
  4. Sukitte Iwanai
  5. Magic Number 090-xxxx
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Watashi Rashiku Aru
  8. Jaa ne.
  9. Share your world
  10. Jiyuushugi
  11. Kyounen no Sakura
  12. Like a Rockstar
  13. Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara

1. Everyday is a Lovesong

Being the album’s introductory, I kind of like the whole (sort of) acappella take for the 25 second tune.  It’s Mao and backup singing in perfect English with sparkly stuff being the melodic structure for them.  It’s cute, but a little off for me…but whatever XD

2. Ichiban Suki na Hito

It does open nicely into Ichiban Suki na Hito which was the second digital single released within the era.  I do like that it continues to carry that familiar sweet R&B/ballad style that Mao really excelled in back in the “I AM” era.  While she started off at a slow pace, it quickly becomes this moving and sweet-sounding song that had a good beat and sweet synths thrown in to mix up with the piano.  I also love Mao’s vocals here since they’re sweet and steady and strong as well.  For being only a digital single, I really liked this song!

3. Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki

I love when Mao does something that’s different from her excelled work.  Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki is beautiful to listen to and it’s got such a great opening tricking us to believe it’s dark, but once it lightens up the song becomes pretty with strings/piano/and the various synth stuff to keep it afloat.  It’s still definitely a darker tinged mid-tempo ballad from Mao, but damn I ended up loving this to death.

4. Sukitte Iwanai

Being the fourth digital single released, Sukitte Iwanai seemed to be more natural of a song compared to the last two tracks since it was really only piano and strings.  After a short while, we get some other natural instruments to coincide with the other instruments.  I loved when she hit those high notes though, she’s got a beautiful voice and it showed off quite boldly in this song. 

5. Magic Number 090-xxxx

Kind of a funky title if you ask me.  Now if (like me) you’re a fan of her upbeat stuff from “I AM” like “My Style”, you will definitely get your fill with Magic Number since it’s upbeat and filled with so much bass that it’ll rock your car well.  I thought it showed off her fun side quite strongly and she sounds great as usual.  Good party song for sure!

6. Sweet Pain

For song that screamed ballad from first look, Sweet Pain is actually quite funky and while it’s upbeat and has different things going on in the synths, it still is interesting and I almost feel like it’s borderline 8bit.  While it doesn’t have the same party groove that “Magic Number” did, it’s still very fitting after said song.  It’s like R&B but very synthy.

7. Watashi Rashiku Aru

I guess the middle of the album is dedicated to upbeat songs because I think Watashi Rashiku Aru is definitely the fastest song off the album so far.  Unlike the two previous songs being upbeat and having a slight upbeat sound to it, Watashi Rashiku Aru sounds more serious of a song.  I actually liked this kind of different flow and I don’t remember “I AM” carrying such but this is great.

8. Jaa ne.

Being the first digital released to begin the era, Jaa ne. is pulling us back into the R&B-stylised ballads and I don’t mind since I liked Jaa ne. when it first released since it reminded me of “Bitter Sweet” and the like.  Maybe this time on the album, Jaa ne. is rather forgettable against the other ballads here but it’s still nice to listen to.

9. Share your world

As cheesy as that title looks, Share your world is definitely sharing a lot of qualities that made “Ichiban Suki na Hito” work so well and it did again here in this song because of how chill it just sounds mixed with how much control Mao had with her vocals.  After a while it does kind of drags a bit and I feel a little bored with it, but the synths were great.

10. Jiyuushugi

I thought the album was gonna stay to a ballad setting for the rest of the album, but Jiyuushugi saved from the possibility of the album going into a slump.  The opening was weird for sure, but once the disco-ish arrangement opens up and Mao begins with super ad-libbing, I immediately fell in love with this song for sure.  Jiyuushugi is to Mao as “Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou?” is to Miho Fukuhara and “Koi wa groovyx2” is to Yuna Ito.  These three singers just do so good with these songs!

11. Kyounen no Sakura

Ok simplest ballad clearly goes to Kyounen no Sakura.  I initially thought it was going to be barebones as a ballad with just acoustic guitar and piano, but it kind of grows in the chorus where other things are added and luckily it does gain a beat which is good until the second run through the chorus.  It’s not heavy and doesn’t become stale, but it is a bit too long, but I think it’s a sweet ballad and Mao’s airy vocals worked for me.

12. Like a Rockstar

I don’t remember getting a memo stating that rockstar = sitar and synths.  At least that was the beginning.  I love the fact that we get an actually mid-tempo pop/rock song from Mao and for being the odd one out from the album, it’s different.  Now her vocals don’t really suit the style but I think she noticed this and did some of the verses in more of a lighter tone.  Not bad for a first try in this style, and I hope she can do more like this.

13. Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara

Closing the album out, Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara’s jazzy style really put the album at ease to close things off.  I do think it’s prolly a little tame for her and doesn’t show off her strong vocals as hard as other songs in the album.  At least it was released digitally as the 3rd single and it was pretty good and closes the album very nicely.

Tracks Recommended

  • Jiyuushugi
  • Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki
  • Ichiban Suki na Hito
  • Magic Number 090-xxxx
  • Watashi Rashiku Aru

Song of Avoidance

  • Everyday is a Lovesong

It’s very surprising what an artist could do after albums.  I mean it’s already surprising that she surpassed her debut album with her sophomore effort, “I AM” and I liked that album.  When it comes to Ren’ai Chuudoku though…she just flew right past “I AM”.  I am in love with this album and is one of the rare exceptions where you’ll see my loving an R&B album in the first place.  She took what she did right in her last album and amplified it and made more of connection by being experimental as well.  I’m definitely considering this in my top-10 this year! *RECOMMENDED*

 

°C-ute – Akuma de Cute na Seishun Graffiti

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 4:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Akuma de Cute na Seishun Graffiti
  2. Akuma de Cute na Seishun Graffiti (Instrumental)

1. Akuma de Cute na Seishun Graffiti

I am surprised.  Why can’t they released this in their major discography and not let this be a special single release?  I know that it’s for their musical and all that, but Akuma de Cute na Seishun Graffiti sounds better than anything they’ve released in a long while…(even though Dance de Bakoon!” is good as well.  While solos aren’t here except in the bridge, but this is still an easy to listen to dance track.  One of the catchiest songs from the group.

I really do hope this song makes it on their 6th album.  Even though there really isn’t much that really alludes to it being included yet, this is so far my favorite song from °C-ute since adding them to the site.  Great song from the group.

 

The Candy Spooky Theater – SPOOKYWONDERLAND

Filed under: The Candy Spooky Theater — solarblade @ 3:21 am

Track Listing

  1. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Introduction-
  2. PRINCE OF DARKNESS
  3. The LIVING DEAD
  4. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -CABARETTA-
  5. La Dance Macabre
  6. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -SPOOKY HALLOWEEN-
  7. THIS IS HALLOWEEN
  8. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Kill You!-
  9. Alice
  10. SPOOK HOUSE
  11. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Finale-
  12. TRICK or TREAT -End Credits-
  13. Let’s Meet With Chocolate And Candy

1. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Introduction-

Beginning the album, the Introduction sounds like the typical Halloween-ish sounds you would expect coming from TCST.  I mean it’s creepy and the organ-like melody is catchy, but it’s still short and only is just for opening purposes.

2. PRINCE OF DARKNESS

While it was really the only song physically released in this era (back in 2007) I was happy to hear this song in full value than at such a low bitrate when the single was leaked.  Since it became 100% more clearer, the song has become better for me.  While Jack Spooky is filtered to where his vocals are kind of muffled enough to be covered, the song has a dark tone and I liked the piano solos and such.  Interesting song!

3. The LIVING DEAD

Our first new song from the band begins just like “Introduction” with a crash of thunder and some deep organ.  However, it quickly changes up when the song becomes guitar-ladened and it has a rather synthy backdrop to it.  I did like the small bits of jazz strewn along for the ride and Jack’s vocals are clearer and I can understand him and it’s a mash of JPN and English and it’s cool.  Different and I like they’ve grown to be more melodic with their songs here.

4. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -CABARETTA-

I can’t believe all the songs with the tag of the album are interludes…Way too many for me.  Either way, CABARETTA sounds pretty fun-sounding with it’s brass-fueled melody.  I’m a little sad that it’s muffled on purpose to make it sound old, but still it’s pretty cute in a way.

5. La Dance Macabre

While it wasn’t released physically, it was released via their Myspace and I thought it was one of the more better songs they’ve done as of recent.  I do think the muffled piano opening was a tad too long, but when the song came in full force, La Dance Macabre does carry a little bit of the flame of “CABARETTA” for sure, but it’s sweet.  For the most part Jack doesn’t exactly really do much within the song and well the music covers him, but I still liked the music quite a bit.

6. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -SPOOKY HALLOWEEN-

As the longest of the interlude crossing a minute in length, SPOOKY HALLOWEEN has an interesting bouncy piano melody going on with some taps on the high-hat and such.  It doesn’t move anywhere, but then again it’s an interlude so whatever…

7. THIS IS HALLOWEEN

Why yes, this is exactly what you think it is.  It’s a cover of the famous Disney tune from “Nightmare Before Christmas” and while it isn’t exactly true to its form, the melody is very familiar to me and since Jack Spooky and Peggy are singing it with this more industrial and chaotic arrangement.  Now the Engrish is kind of hit and miss in this song, but it’s rather quirky of a cover.

8. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Kill You!-

For being a 30 second interlude title Kill You!, I didn’t expect something cute out of the tune.  It sounds more like a happy-go-lucky ditty that makes you want to be happy and giggly.

9. Alice

Carrying over the cuteness, Alice is rather different amongst the other vocal songs because of its light demeanor and Jack is actually trying to sing (albeit under filters).  It’s still the lightest the album has to offer and I was happy with what we got hear since it’s one of the strongest songs the band has.

10. SPOOK HOUSE

Why yes, it’s a rearranged version of the same SPOOK HOUSE found on their second single “Wonderland”.  I’m not sure why out of all the songs they’ve chose to include this song on the album since it wasn’t one of their better songs.  However, the new version took it into a more jazzy territory to mix it with the rockin’ arrangement and I liked this a lot moreso.  It’s a good revision.

11. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Finale-

Another thunder crashing opening a song?  Well, it is the final interlude and it is the Finale (or so it seems).  There’s not much going on in the song besides the rolling thunder and this high squeaking part near the end of it.  Not that special if you ask me.

12. TRICK or TREAT -End Credits-

Yeah another rundown through memory lane, this time with TRICK or TREAT (originally a song off their 3rd single “Murderland”).  However, it’s just a pure instrumental which is only muffled piano playing the songs instrumental and melody.  Since Peggy does the arrangements, I thought she did well playing this bouncy melody and it does sound creepy nonetheless.

13. Let’s Meet With Chocolate And Candy

The album still hasn’t ended yet?  Just like the title suggests, the song is way silly and is kind of a weird WTH kind of moment.  I mean those voices in the song sound so much like Alvin and the Chipmunks that it just makes me raise my eyebrow at its maximum.  Musically, it’s also a bit cutesy for sure and sounds like circus music…weiiiiiiird.

Tracks Recommended

  • Alice
  • SPOOK HOUSE
  • The LIVING DEAD

Song of Avoidance

  • Let’s Meet With Chocolate And Candy

Since this is really considered their debut studio albumm (“Living Dead Spooky…” is considered more of a best-of album) SPOOKYWONDERLAND is actually not that bad of an album when considering to their first release.  The first major point was that this isn’t as dark and creepy like the first and they’ve gone to a more happier place for some of the songs.  They still do lack a strong label to give them more of a stronger sound, but what we got here isn’t bad, just under-made by people’s minds, I think.

 

BUCK-TICK – RAZZLE DAZZLE

Filed under: BUCK-TICK — solarblade @ 1:53 am

Track Listing

  1. RAZZLE DAZZLE FRAGILE
  2. RAZZLE DAZZLE
  3. Kyouki no Dead Heat
  4. Dokudanjou Beauty -R.I.P.-
  5. Hamushi no You ni
  6. Yougetsu -Yougetsu no Utage-
  7. BOLERO
  8. Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-
  9. Sakuran Baby
  10. PIXY
  11. Kuchizuke -SERIAL THRILL KISSER-
  12. Gekka Reijin
  13. Mugen
  14. TANGO Swanka
  15. Solaris

1. RAZZLE DAZZLE FRAGILE

Opening the album with a short introductory song, RAZZLE DAZZLE FRAGILE sounds very Halloween-like with it’s rather chaotic arrangement and dark sounding flow.  I thought it was an interesting opening nonetheless and while I don’t think it’s meant to be for the entire album, it made me wonder what we’ll get.

2. RAZZLE DAZZLE

Fitting that we’d get into the title track this early, but whatever hahah.  It does carry the synth usage throughout the song and I liked that the band went for a lighter and interesting sound.  I keep thinking of Atsushi’s vocals in the song to be easily comparable to GACKT’s for some reason.  Well, the chorus could’ve been better without so much of the ~tonight, tonight~ part, but it still sounds good but not what I’ve heard from the band in the era.

3. Kyouki no Dead Heat

It’s strange that I thought Kyouki no Dead Heat sounded more fitting to be after “RAZZLE DAZZLE FRAGILE” since it has an uneasy arrangement and kind of a Halloween-ish outlook to it.  However, I kind of dislike the fact that Atsushi’s vocals are once again filtered and I really would’ve enjoyed hearing him in full.  It still is a pretty funky and cool song from the group so that’s good enough to make over for the problem.

4. Dokudanjou Beauty -R.I.P.-

Being the era’s first A-side, Dokudanjou Beauty was a good place for me to start reviewing them since the song was pretty darn catchy for them.  However, the album version has a different sound when compared to the single version which might turn some people off and bring some people in because it’s more synthy than it’s former take.  For me I don’t mind this change and it’s just as catchy if not moreso and I’m happy they took off the filter from Atsushi.  I think it might be a step up ^_^

5. Hamushi no You ni

Getting back into the new songs, Hamushi no You ni kind of has the same mix of synths and rock that the previous songs of course carried.  I thought I was going to like it alot, but the chorus was just rather boring, but at least the arrangement kept things afloat for me.  It sounds like 80’s synth-rock for some reason.  Even the interlude in the middle of the song surprised and impressed me.  Ok, I’m definitely gonna be falling for this song.

6. Yougetsu -Yougetsu no Utage-

Ick, why did they have to bring the B-side from “Kuchizuke” onto the album?  Being a another song that was slightly changed on the album, I really didn’t hear the biggest difference except for the fact that it sounds less fluffy, but the same problems still exist in the song for me.  I kind of wished he wasn’t filtered out here.  Sorry but it’s just a boring song for me.

7. BOLERO

Wow another song titled BOLERO…While I’m not sure if its style is as such, but the song is definitely a whole lot lighter than many of the other songs from the album.  It reminds me of lighter Lariku songs out there and while that might not be such a good move, I approve since Atsushi sounds good here.  Might not fully fit in the album, but it’s still nice nonetheless.

8. Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-

I guess we’re moving away from the darker rock songs and getting into lighter ones?  Out of the songs on the album Django!!! to me is the poppiest of the new songs on the album and it surprised me how danceable this one turned out to be.  The whole feelgood acoustic/electric guitar riff really put this song out there on the album and for me doesn’t fit the album exactly, but it’s still pretty good and shows a bit of variety on the album.

9. Sakuran Baby

Finally we get out of the upbeat stuff for the more gritty stuff from BUCK-TICK starting with Sakuran Baby.  Now this was something along the lines of what I was expecting from the band for sure.  It’s rockin’, dark, and pretty catchy both arrangement-wise and vocally from Atsushi.  I’ve said it before on “Dokudanjou Beauty”, but Atsushi’s vocals are kind of heavy on the vibrato.  Nothing too bothersome, but it’s still pretty noticeable.

10. PIXY

I guess this is the closest thing we get for a rock-ballad.  I liked how kind of ethereal PIXY starts up since it isn’t like the other songs.  PIXY though has a very unorthodox kind of sound going that really reminds me of like some 80’s stuff.  It’s pretty interesting overall and I liked the flow altogether.  It’s definitely out there for a song, but not like “Django!!!”.

11. Kuchizuke -SERIAL THRILL KISSER-

Just like “Dokudanjou Beauty”, Kuchizuke gets a new version on the album.  I do feel the song sounds a lot more cleaner and a bit more edgier than its single cut and I found myself liking this version a whole lot more than the original.  They definitely got what they wanted the song to sound like the second time round.

12. Gekka Reijin

Since the rest of the songs on the album are album tracks, I hoped that the final stretch had some good surprises.  Starting with Gekka Reijin, I once again found myself lulled into the rather lightish rock sound here.  I love Atsushi’s lower vocals since they sound very creepy and almost like depressing.  I definitely enjoyed this song.

13. Mugen

Ok, I love how Mugen opens up with synths playing around before Atsushi comes in.  Unfortunately his vocals are a bit warped and the song sounds really off for me since the time signature is a bit different than to others on the album.  It tries to be a more guitar-based “Gekka Reijin” and for me that’s kind of a copout IMO.

14. TANGO Swanka

It’s a little funny that TANGO Swanka might just be the oddest song of the bunch because someone else besides Atsushi sings in the song, but unfortunately, whoever singing in place for the time being sounds really terrible and just odd all-around.  I actually think it might be the edgiest song off the album, but it was just too weird for me to listen to.

15. Solaris

I guess fitting to close the album, Solaris sounds like an acoustic tune which is great to hear after that hot mess that was “TANGO Swanka”.  It’s nice though and since it has a great closing feel to it, I was happy to let this pass by even though it might not be as memorable as the other songs off the album. 

Tracks Recommended

  • PIXY
  • Dokudangou Beauty -R.I.P.-
  • Hamushi no You ni
  • Gekka Reijin
  • Kuchizuke -SERIAL THRILL KISSER-

Song of Avoidance

  • TANGO Swanka

For my first BUCK-TICK album, I thought RAZZLE DAZZLE wasn’t too bad of an album, actually kind of surprising because I was thinking we were going to get something VAMPS-like and the such.  Turns out it was much lighter and surprising of a listen.  For the most part, I like the mix of synths and guitars here and for the most part they did, problems like not very memorable songs did hurt it, but it was nice nonetheless.