Kurayami Monogatari

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Maika – Kokoro October 21, 2010

Filed under: Maika — solarblade @ 11:06 pm

Track Listing

  1. Kokoro
  2. Squall

1. Kokoro

I didn’t expect Maika would make Kokoro a ballad after such an interesting fun song like “Oshiete yo ~miseducation~”.  I liked that the song is softly did and has a good addition with the strings to mix in with her guitar-playing.  Still the thing that might turn people off is Maika’s vocals since they’re rather unique for a guitarist (think YUI but deeper).  It’s definitely something I didn’t expect, but I liked it still.

2. Squall

The B-side of the single brings back up the Maika we’ve known since she began her major label career.  Squall actually is pretty catchy overall with being upbeat and including bongos in the song ^_^.  Her vocals are still rather strange, but still it’s a catchy song overall.

After “Possible” I wasn’t sure where Maika was going to go musically and I’m sure people will be surprised with Kokoro being lighter and more of a ballad than her previous efforts.  I think this sing is pretty good, but still hindered by them vocals, but I’ll get used to them in time.

 

JYJ – The Beginning

Filed under: JUNSU / JEJUNG / YUCHUN — solarblade @ 10:55 pm

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. Ayyy Girl (feat. Kanye West, Malik Yusef)
  3. Empty
  4. Be My Girl
  5. Still in Love
  6. I Love You (feat. Flowsik)
  7. I Can Soar
  8. Be The One
  9. Ayyy Girl (S. Tiger Remix) (Limited Edition bonus track)
  10. Empty (DJ EON Remix) (Limited Edition bonus track)
  11. Be My Girl (DJ EON Remix) (Limited Edition bonus track)

1. Intro

~Peace and Harmony…~  Not entirely sure what that really has to do with anything, but it’s just only an intro and doesn’t really do much else other than provide such a thing.  I did like the beat though so does it mean we’ll get a good album….let’s check it out.

2. Ayyy Girl (feat. Kanye West, Malik Yusef)

As the first song off the album, Ayyy Girl is what really put my mind in a negative light because Kanye had something to do with this as well as being featured in the song which is two negatives and it doesn’t make it right BTW.  After Malik’s intro, Kanye starts to rap and I’m already feeling like I wanna press next…where’s the boys?  After the meh rap, JEJUNG and JUNSU comes in and sings in English which is surprising since they actually do it well…YUCHUN kind of slips with the heavy accent.  Without the American guys, JYJ actually did nice for the song, but it seems a little underproduced and needs a heavier punch.

3. Empty

Wow, JUNSU’s voice is weird to me on this song for some reason since it’s like nasally on purpose for some reason.  The mechanical singing in the chorus feels like what was wrong with some of BoA’s songs and it just doesn’t work here.  I do like the fact that JEJUNG doesn’t really do much cept for the chorus which is great and lets YUCHUN and JUNSU have their light.  Definitely better than “Ayyy Girl”.

4. Be My Girl

Slowing a little bit for our next song, Be My Girl reminds me of their JPN works in a good way since it’s just the right amount of R&B to let it pass.  It also does a good job with the trio harmonizing.  YUCHUN sounds really nice since he’s in most of it while JEJUNG comes after providing backup and JUNSU…well I’m sure he’s somewhere but he’s not important in this song and I don’t mind since the higher vocals sounds great.  Unfortunately the music is what brought it down since it stayed on the same wavelength the entire time and there wasn’t a point of impact or a high nor low point to it…just flat.

5. Still in Love

Because the sound of rain immediately makes you think ballad, Still in Love is definitely what it is.  JUNSU once again begins the song and his vocals are sweet and soft-spoken.  JEJUNG comes in as well, but that’s when the song starts to lose its momentum and kind of becomes white noise to me because the singing is just to soft and odd against the piano/strings/synth mix.  Just a very awkward song here.

6. I Love You (feat. Flowsik)

Great…another collaborative effort by some rapper from the Americas.  I can tolerate Kanye’s through some songs, but this Flowsik guy is just icky.  I like the female talking a little bit before Flowsik’s rap.  His voice sort of reminds me of The Game’s but it just doesn’t work here.  Once JEJUNG starts to sing, things to get sort of better, but I don’t like Flowsik’s quips in the song.  I don’t know why, but this song feels too plain for me and the chorus is pretty crappy.

7. I Can Soar

These slow songs are starting to get me frustrated with them.  At least I Can Soar is just a pure ballad from the boys and since they really pull these songs off, I Can Soar is one of the better songs off the album.  I do think the female vocals are a bit strange to put in the song, but the guys did a nice job with what they had.  Maybe the R&B beat is just a little bit of poor decisions…still not bad.

8. Be The One

So we end off the main album with a dance track?  Be The One has a pretty cool rhythm throughout and I liked the energy coming from the boys in the song.  At least this shows energy and good vocals even though the lyrics are a little bit cheesy.  Add in some auto-tune and we have this song, but I have to say I enjoyed it.

9. Ayyy Girl (S. Tiger Remix)

As bonus tracks on the limited version of the album we get remixes of three songs.  Ayyy Girl definitely needed an improvement after the originals inclusion of the rappers and this definitely corrected that situation.  The beat is very heavy and it actually fits the melody which is great and I love the club style thrown in the song.  Good job here.

10. Empty (DJ EON Remix)

I don’t know who this DJ EON is, but he should do more remixes for more JPN artists because the first remix for Empty sounds kind of different from what I’m used to it.  Even though the mechanical singing fits more with this melody which is surprising, but still it’s club music at its finest here and I really enjoyed this as well.

11. Be My Girl (DJ EON Remix)

It’s funny that I already can’t remember how the original went since it was very one-lined in the arrangement department.  At least DJ EON saw this and corrected it by making it danceable.  Be My Girl sounds better under this…why weren’t these the original.

Tracks Recommended

  • Be The One
  • Empty (DJ EON Remix)
  • Be My Girl (DJ EON Remix)
  • Ayyy Girl (S. Tiger Remix)
  • Empty

Song of Avoidance

  • I Love You (feat. Flowsik)

Yeah…JYJ, NEVER EVER DO THIS AGAIN!  Why would you want to throw something like this out to fans who are still torn about the THSK situation (and the other happenings as of recent)?  If “The…” was plain and not strong enough, than The Beginning is just a pure bomb.  I mean the remixes were better than all the songs cept for Be The One.  I think it’s just time to stop and quit while you’re ahead avex and SM!!!!

 

sphere – MOON SIGNAL

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 1:49 am

Track Listing

  1. MOON SIGNAL
  2. Climax Whistle
  3. MOON SIGNAL (off vocal)
  4. Climax Whistle (off vocal)

1. MOON SIGNAL

This is what I was missing from sphere OMG!  While each single they’ve done something different, MOON SIGNAL for me sounds like they’re trying to go back to what they sounded like back in “Future Stream” and I approve since their synth-based idol-like songs work for me better than their other ones.  While I am happy to hear the girls get solos, there’s one that sounds way light for this song and was the only girl that kind of failed in the song.  Interesting A-side though.

2. Climax Whistle

Kind of a strange title to give a song, but Climax Whistle took the synths and took their slight rockish style that was all over the last single and mixed to get this tune.  It’s definitely a busy, busy song for them and while it isn’t as memorable as other songs, Climax Whistle would actually fit if it was added to an album.

While “Kaze wo Atsumete/Brave my heart” is technically their last of the “A.T.M.O.S.P.H.E.R.E” it wasn’t placed on the album so it’s prolly the first of this era.  MOON SIGNAL might not make the album cut since it’s at the same place where their 3rd single was (this being their 6th).  MOON SIGNAL is definitely a great song of recent and reminds me of when they first debuted.  Climax Whistle however, is more along the lines of “REALOVE:REALIFE” and I don’t mind rock-tinged songs, but there might be too much going on here.  Not a bad single overall though.

 

DOES – Jack Knife

Filed under: DOES — solarblade @ 1:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Jack Knife
  2. Gingham no Machi

1. Jack Knife

While I haven’t had time to get used to DOES music, Jack Knife sounds pretty good for the most part since it’s pretty much what I expected after “Bakuchi Dancer”.  About that, I found it so much weirder that Jack Knife is the exact time length with their last A-side and that was actually a problem with me because both songs sound great…but it needs to be longer for me.  Still, besides the short length, Jack Knife is melodically more better and Ujihara’s voice sounds a bit stronger (and less like a drunkard).  Good song though!

2. Gingham no Machi

Just like their last single the B-side is the longer song and I really liked Gingham no Machi for sure since it has such a great riff and feel throughout.  Makes me wonder why it wasn’t turned into an A-side because while Ujihara’s vocals are a little off, it just sounds like more effort was put into this. 

While I am not sure that Jack Knife is the first for the era (DOES released their best-of album right after “Bakuchi Dancer”) or the third single of the era, Jack Knife is alright but I think “Bakuchi Dancer” had a longer lasting sound.  Maybe if Gingham no Machi was the A-side it’d be a different story.  Still solid release from the band.

 

Maaya Sakamoto – DOWN TOWN/Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara

Filed under: Maaya Sakamoto — solarblade @ 1:02 am

Track Listing

  1. DOWN TOWN
  2. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara
  3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai
  4. DOWN TOWN (instrumental)
  5. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara (instrumental)
  6. Kanashikute Yarikirenai (instrumental)

1. DOWN TOWN

Since this single is all about cover songs, DOWN TOWN is first up and I was kind of surprised how cute it came out.  I did like that it was pretty cute though and the whole brass sound with this happy-go-lucky yet complex arrangement really stood out for me.  I mean I didn’t know what to expect after the somewhat meh “Magic Number”, but this song is kind of quirky and imaginative and I liked it.  Even Maaya sounds lively and in a good place.  Great little jazzy tune.

2. Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara

As for the secondary B-side, Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara takes things a bit more lightly than “DOWN TOWN”, but I was definitely expecting this sound more since it’s simpler and has that whole “Kazeyomi” feel to it.  I do think it’s slightly better than “Magic Number” as well, but nothing like the song before it so it’s just alright for right now.

3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai

Going back to jazzy stuff with the only B-side, Kanashikute Yarikirenai is more of the sleeper song between “DOWN TOWN” and itself.  Of course, the main thing that stands out for me is Maaya’s soft vocals and they sound really beautiful for sure.  I just think it’s definitely B-side material however.

Since this single was all covers, I think for the most part she did well on this single and makes up for that slump of her last single.  While there is an album announced and some of the songs are shown, there’s nothing bout the songs from this single appearing…but I’m thinking that at least “DOWN TOWN” will make the cut.  Kind of plain of a single, but it’s a nice plain single.