Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

Mano Erina – MORE FRIENDS November 30, 2010

Filed under: Mano Erina — solarblade @ 10:53 pm

Track Listing

  1. Genkimono de Ikou! -Giga Power Mix-
  2. Gomen, Hanashitakatta Dake
  3. Dare ni mo Iwanai de
  4. Do Re Mi Fa Doushite?
  5. Love & Peace = Paradise
  6. Tomorrow
  7. Ambitious Girls
  8. Datenshi Ellie
  9. Arashi no Mae no Candle
  10. Haru no Arashi
  11. Uchi e Kaerou (sad ver.)
  12. Onegai Dakara…

1. Genkimono de Ikou -Giga Power Mix-

So we begin Manoeri’s sophomore effort with a new version of the last A-side she released in the era.  The first thing I immediately notice is that it begins differently than the single version.  This one starts with Mano yelling weird things before the arrangement jumps in.  Other than that I don’t really see any other major differences so it doesn’t make sense to have changed it.  Still, Genkimono de Ikou! is her hardest sounding A-side with it’s edgy rock arrangement and such and it does still sound like it should be a Buono! tune.  I like it still so it doesn’t bother me much.

2. Gomen, Hanashitakatta Dake

Getting into some new songs on the album, Gomen, Hanashitakatta Dake has the same instruments that were present in “Genkimono de Ikou!” but the mood is entirely different since she’s trying to portray cute.  I think it worked, but Manoeri’s vocals kind of sound dead in the song which isn’t good of course.  I guess it’s better than nothing, but it’s definitely not my favorites.

3. Dare ni mo Iwanai de

Getting out of the pop/rock tracks into something a little more daring, I like Dare ni mo Iwanai de’s use of brass in the arrangement and it’s great that it’s a bit lounge/jazz-like since it gives a bit more room for Mano’s vocals to shine and while she’s still weak against the arrangement, it’s not bad and has the right amount of cute for me. 

4. Do Re Mi Fa Doushite?

I guess I spoke to soon what I was saying we were leaving the pop/rock side of the album huh?  It does follow sort of like “Gomen, Hanashitakatta Dake” in the way that it’s leaning towards Manoeri’s cute side than a more serious note.  The verses were pretty good, but the chorus is just annoying for some reason since it’s so ticky and direct.  I’ll admit that the guitar solo was cool though, but majority of the song isn’t really.

5. Love & Peace = Paradise

I kind of just knew that since this A-side was released before her debut album, “FRIENDS” and wasn’t on said album, it was going to find its place on here.  I still think it’s amazingly cute and bumbling for a Manoeri song, but the wintry sound and fun random sounds added into it was fitting and done well.  I have to say this song is pretty damn good (and much needed after the mess beforehand). 

6. Tomorrow

I just find it strange that we leave the guitars and such for one song and then reenter once again.  Tomorrow though is different from the previous songs simply because it’s a ballad and actually has good vocals from Mano.  It does unfortunately drag itself since it’s just a bit too long at 5 minutes.  Still, it’s a nice ballad from her and has passion in it.

7. Ambitious Girls

I really wished they stuck the cuter songs closer than throwing poor “Tomorrow” in between them.  Ambitious Girls is kind of a strange song from her since it’s got a ton of synths mixed with some castanets which seem to not only random but totally unneeded and even the guitar solo was just as much.  It’s a very strange, but poppy little tune that I somewhat fell for…strange…

8. Datenshi Ellie

I will say though that Datenshi Ellie gets the WTF award of the album.  I loved the beginning where Mano is singing lightly and opens the song.  That short opening only lasts a little before a guitar riff comes in and Mano actually speaks in the song which is a little absurd for an H!P album (even when it’s that long >.>).  After that, this really squeaky voice takes over and starts a convo with Manoeri.  After a little bit of that, she sings for a small…..you know what this doesn’t make ANY SENSE AT ALL, someone explain to me the reasoning for this track.

9. Arashi no Mae no Candle

After all that weirdness, it’s nice to calm down with something that’s piano-related (funny how I said I was tired of her songs like that and yet this one is the only pure one really).  Light synths included, Arashi no Mae no Candle is a very pretty ballad from her and I’m surprised she pulled this off quite nicely.  She still does has vocal thin-outs, but otherwise it’s a sweet ballad and the best of them on the album.

10. Haru no Arashi

Being the 2nd A-side released in the era, Haru no Arashi sort of follows Momosu’s more recent sound which was an odd throw for the Manoeri fans since she hasn’t really done songs like this quite yet.  I do think she pulled it off well and it’s a bit more serious sounding than a bunch of songs off the album.  It’s definitely a step in a new direction and I kind’ve liked it!

11. Uchi e Kaerou (sad ver.)

I’m a bit surprised that she included Uchi e Kaerou (B-side from “Genkimono de Ikou!” more or less a new version of it as well.  That being said, the album version took out the drums and replaced it with strings and I actually thought it was the more appropriate version and it sounded much cleaner and more heartfelt.  Mano’s vocals weren’t changed, but I noticed that she was speaking English the most in this song and it wasn’t terrible…WTH I didn’t notice this the first time!

12. Onegai Dakara…

They could’ve done better placement for this track since “Uchi e Kaerou” would’ve made a fine ending to the album.  However, we’re stuck with the 3rd A-side released in the era being the album closer.  Onegai Dakara… actually is my favorite A-side of the era since it doesn’t really push Mano into an uncomfortable and the chorus is actually kind of catchy when you tune out Mano’s yelling, but it’s still good. 

Tracks Recommended

  • Arashi no Mae no Candle
  • Onegai Dakara…
  • Love & Peace = Paradise
  • Uchi e Kaerou (sad ver.)
  • Dare ni mo Iwanai de

Song of Avoidance

  • Datenshi Ellie

I guess the phrase “the MORE FRIENDS the better” should be taken to account because it is better than Manoeri’s debut album, but not by much.  I do like the fact that unlike the last album, there’s more new songs to listen to for sure, but a good portion was kind of bland at points minus a few and w/e Datenshi Ellie was.  I don’t know why, but it seems like she’s getting the crap songs while the bigger groups take the more original and fun stuff…sorry but it’s just what I feel.

Advertisements
 

Best of 2010: Debutees & Disbandments! November 29, 2010

Filed under: ~Best of 2010~ — solarblade @ 7:36 am

Yep so 2010 brought us some new acts and some final goodbyes to some artists I’m going to go through both sides, the same way I did last year! SO LET’S GET TO IT!

JANUARY

Beginning 2010, we have three artists that debuted this year!

Starting with IMALU, she’s actually a TV actress turned musician (but fortunately with her parents being a comedian and an actress you get a pretty good mixture).  IMALU’s music career kickstarted in January with “Mashed potato” and led into two more singles “Sonna Namae Hoshikun’ai yo” and “Uh Uh” (the latter being her best single yet) and two digital singles in “LYLA” and “1.2.3.4”.  I am hoping for an album in 2011 since she hasn’t done anything music-wise since July so let’s hope she returns better after this break.

The next two artists debuted in the last week of January.  Maika to me is another YUI-clone with the whole singer/songwriter playing guitar.  The thing that does make her stand out from YUI though is her vocals which are very hoarse and nasally and might not be a lot of people’s cup of tea.  Debuting with one indies single “Never Never Never give up” before joining UNIVERSAL-J and releasing the major label singles, “never cry” and “Oshiete yo ~miseducation~” and then the album “Possible” and another single in “Kokoro”, she’s been one busy artist this year.  Let’s hope next year will be as good as this year was for her.

Just like HIMEKA did last year, Sayaka Sasaki won the Animex Anison Grand Prix of 2010 and unfortunately while she doesn’t have the pipes that HIMEKA clearly has, Sayaka makes for a good anison singer since her debut single “Seisai no Ripieno” was pretty steady for a debut single.  After that she released “Lucky☆Racer/Real Star☆” and that was definitely a 180 from her debut so it does tell us she’s versatile.  All we know now is that in 2011, she’ll release her 3rd single, “fly away t.p.s”.

FEBRUARY

So comes February and we get two more artists that debuted this year. 

I still don’t exactly know where the hell Airi Takasaki came from and it still makes me wonder who she is exactly, but she debuted in February with her mini-album “Blue Bird’s Nest”.  After that she released three singles in “be alive…”, “Niji no Sora”, and “Summer Time/Sparkler”.  Then she finally released her debut album, “First Letter”.  Now while I haven’t exactly pinpointed what she’s aiming for as an artist it’s a good start for her!

Let me tell you how much I was laughing when I heard Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo in Kill Bill, Chigusa in Battle Royale”) announced she was going to start a music career in 2010.  I definitely called it, but at that time it was a joke since so many actresses were turning into musicians.  Even better is that Chiaki’s debut was a GUNDAM released single “Ryuusei no Namida” and that kicked things off nicely for her.  She did recently release her 2nd single, “Kanousei Girl” in November with a third along the way in 2011 titled “Cold Finger Girl”.

MARCH

As the only artist to debut in the month of March, mini is one of two electro artists that I added throughout this year which is a little surprising given the fact that there was so much of it in the last two years.  I also like that she’s also a model which I’m guessing she’ll put to the side.  I will admit that I love this gal so far even though she’s only released “Are U Ready?” and “GiRLS SPiRiT”.  I hope she’ll release more because she and her producer JIN has been doing well together!

APRIL

Now, not many people would know who Riisa Naka is just by this picture, but she debuted pretty strongly with her shortlived alias as ZEBRA QUEEN.  Riisa began her music career with “NAMIDA ~Kokoro Abaite~” and that lit of the electropop scene as well since it was dark and sexy.  However, knowing this alias is only for one thing, Riisa’s music career is questionable and she hasn’t done anything musically since then, so who knows what’ll happen for her.

MAY

So May is actually the biggest month for me with debutees this year with only 5 different artists/groups. 

Fortunately 3 of those 5 began on the same day.  Ok, I know 4minute isn’t a new group this year of course I’m not dumb like that, but they did debut this year in Japan with their crossover language song “Muzik” and not many people were liking that muffledness.  They did also release “I My Me Mine” which was another crossover song before releasing there first original A-side in “FIRST/DREAMS COME TRUE”.  At least they’ll leave us a Christmas present with their first JPN album “DIAMOND”. 

KOR=GIRL to me hasn’t been such a stellar group since their digital single, “KIYOMIZU” and their indies single “NANBA” before their major label debut with their mini-album “KOR=GIRL I”.  Their sound is kind of hard to describe, but it’s definitely not that good at least right now.  It’s unknown though if they survived when D-topia transferred labels to D-topia UNIVERSE” so it’s in question if the duo are still together or not.

It’s been so long since avex actually kickstarted up idol groups and thank god avex decided to return to this and shown off two idol groups that debuted this year.  TOKYO GIRL’S STYLE is the first of the two and I was actually surprised that the age group was so young in this group, but when they finally released their debut single, “Kirari☆” it surprised me that I liked the song so much since it sounded like nothing idol-ly at the time.  Since then with their singles “Onnaji Kimochi”, “Ganbatte Itsudatte Shinjiteru” and “Himawari to Hoshikuzu/Kitto Wasurenai,,,” they’ve grown stronger as a group, but I really want them to release an album now since avex’s other new idol group is debuting with an album.

Of course since 2009’s group Team DEKARIS broke up, half the members went their own route while the other half (Yui Ogura & Kaori Ishihara) formed YuiKaori (original name eh?).  I didn’t notice this happening until I saw that they released their second single “Futari/VIVIVID PARTY!”.  So I ended up going back to their debut “Our Steady Boy” and then followed to their most recent release in “HEARTBEAT ga Tomaranai!”.  I’m expecting an album next, but I’m not holding my breath.

Ending out the month of May, we got an unexpected surprise with Tohoshinki becomes drama central and in the end splitting in half.  So what’s a split group to do?  Well JUNSU knew exactly what to do and did on his behalf to start a solo career.  Unfortunately the only release from him was his debut single, “XIAH” and I didn’t exactly remember it otherwise.  Though I’ll give him a free pass card since he’s working with JEJUNG and YUCHUN.

JUNE

As the only band to debut in June, ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D actually has only released two singles: “Complication” and “eggmate of the year” so it’s not much from them, but it’s a start and I can’t wait to hear more from this band.

JULY

As one of the members of the seiyuu super-group sphere, Ayahi Takagaki easily has the best voice of the group and it’s great to see her start her solo debut with “Kimi ga Iru Basho”.  Though since her 2nd single “Hikari no Fillment” was not too long ago, she has time for an album hopefully to come out!

AUGUST

Being a Chinese gal moving to JPN, Angelababy is a model of course so it’s more of a “Meisa Kuroki” like gal since she doesn’t have the most amazing vocals out there but her only song in her discography “Beauty Survivor” was done very well by Shinichi Osawa.  I do hope she releases more music, because I’ve definitely overplayed this song dry.

SEPTEMBER

Yep, it seems in 2010 that May and September represent debut months since there’s a lot here as well!

Yeah, OK, I’ve talked too much about the fail of Tohoshinki, so let’s get to the point avex too this time to force JUNSU, JEJUNG, and YUCHUN to start up as a trio and as much of a bitch move that was, it kind of is blowing back in their face because since their debut mini “The…”, JYJ hasn’t really stood out and their album “The Beginning” really was a poor idea.  I hope this is just temporary….

Minako Kotobuki represents the final member from sphere to get a solo career and while her music and overall sound isn’t all that exciting, she’s joining up with her fellow seiyuus in singles with “Shiny+” and “Startline”, the latter very recent.  I’m sensing that two more singles, and then we’ll se an album.  Still, I hope she starts standing out soon.

I like that our other electropop artist MAA clearly came out of nowhere.  Though it’s interesting to see that she was originally from MarBell which was a V-kei group.  She began her career with “Ghost Enemy” and then released her second single “Ballarina Brain System”.  As much interesting that is, I’m looking forward to “Monkey Kingdom” coming out this upcoming week!

One of the few artists that actually debuted with a full album, Maon Kurosaki impressed me with her debut “H.O.T.D.” and since all the songs were ending themes to an anime, they were executed quite awesomely for the most part.  Besides that, she released her first single “Magic∞world” in November so it’s not like we’re waiting for her or anything like that.

DECEMBER

As the last month of the year, it seems it’s idol month with two new idol groups and a solo artist stepping up to the plate.

It’s a bit strange at a time like this to see a solo artist debut in December but NIKIIE seems to have really kicked things off with her debut single “Shunkashuutou”.  So far that’s her only release and it’s quite amazing too!

While miyake isn’t new to the scene (being 1/2 of the hip-pop group, mihimaru GT) it’s great to see that both members are going solo for right now and while HIROKO is in 2011, miCKun is this year starting with his collaboration with Maika on “Kyouka Suigetsu”.  There is an album set in 2011 called “D.N.A.” so I’m excited for that!

Like I said, avex created two new idol groups this year and with SUPER☆GiRLS, avex is catering to the more bigger group numbers which isn’t surprising seeing as AKB48 has spawned so many knockoffs…Still the age range is higher than of TG’S and since there’s no music of them yet until their album “Chouzetsu Shoujo” drops I won’t know what’ll happen.

As for Sakura Gakuin, I don’t know much about the group except that two of the members are originally from the now defunct group Karen Girl’s which is surprising, since one of them isn’t a part of it.  With their debut single, “Yume ni Mukatte/Hello! IVY” we’ll see how this group goes!

Disbandments/Retirements

  • Phantasmagoria – Seeing as they broke up back in 2009, they had a rather interesting revival that had them release two singles and a mini-album before finally breaking up permanently (or is it…?).  Either way, going to miss their cool music.
  • Rina Aiuchi – Unlike various other artists this year, Rina actually went that extra mile and declared that she was retiring from music because of major health problems and I found it great that she left, since she was pushing way too hard in her music career. 
  • Tohoshinki – Of course the biggest one of the year, THSK’s odd split came kind of randomly but all year it just gotten more and more dramatic and things are looking even more grim for JYJ as well.  If it hurts more YUNHO and CHANGMIN is continuing under the THSK/DBSK/TVXQ line with a single coming out in January…talk about punching JYJ in the groin eh?
  • MARIA – The band, actually split up due to the fact that their drummer was having problems and agreed that she shouldn’t be replaced.  As a goodbye though, they did release a boxset and that was more than enough to fill the time.
  • cosmeticROBOT – They broke up because the girls wanted to return to school and finish that up…Though they were supposed to break up in October, they’re still performing as of right now, so they might’ve changed it…who knows…hmmm.
  • Guardians 4 – Of course knowing that the group wasn’t going to be permanent, Guardians 4 of course broke up with the anime closing out.  Not a big loss since the 4 girls are back to their main groups ^_^
  • HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR – I think the biggest surprise breakup this year has to be HandMC because no one thought it would happen so soon, especially with HALCA just joining the group back in 2009 to replace old singer Maaki.  While not much has happened since the breakup, it seems some of the members are working around a bit which is good, but there’s no news on the two main singers HALCA and Yuusuke.  Wonder what’ll happen with em.

If there’s other PLEASE PLEASE tell me, I know I feel I left a certain few!

 

SID – Ranbu no Melody November 28, 2010

Filed under: SID — solarblade @ 8:02 pm

Track Listing

  1. Ranbu no Melody
  2. Danro
  3. Hosoi Koe (Live from SID Summer Festa 2010)

1. Ranbu no Melody

Of course, when you get a song to have a tie-in into the BLEACH series, you know it’s going to be pretty damn awesome and then mixing it up with SID’s already strong repetoire of songs in this era, Ranbu no Melody is no exception.  I mean when the title comes out as Wild Melody, I was slightly expecting more of a punch, but what we got isn’t bad at all and I liked Mao’s vocals and Shinji’s solo in the song since that gave it that more wild presence.  Definitely fits the anime easily!

2. Danro

For their B-side, Danro is something I wanted to hear from the band and if there was a time that I felt that a band can just do anything with their music, SID pulled it off in flying colors with Danro.  Unlike “Ranbu no Melody’s” J-rock sound, Danro is actually a jazzy song that’s filled with piano, bass, and light percussion.  I pretty much fell in love with this song and it’s classy and something I would’ve never expected SID to pull off.

3. Hosoi Koe (Live from SID Summer Festa 2010)

Of course it wouldn’t be a SID single without a live version of one of their indies songs.  In this case it would be their 6th single of the same name.  I really liked how Hosoi Koe sounds in the beginning with the strings and light synths playing around before Mao and Shinji enter the song.  I will agree that since this was when SID was known as a V-kei band, the song has that kind of dark sound that most groups have.  It’s a good live, but the previous ones were a bit stronger.

6th single in and it’s making me want an album release from them.  Ranbu no Melody is another strong single from the band showing off their abilities as a band.  The A-side is of course pretty strong due to it’s rockin’ sound and tie-in to BLEACH.  Danro was an amazing surprise since it’s jazzy and chill and something you wouldn’t exactly see SID pulling off much.  The live version of Hosoi Koe was alright, but not as good as the live versions of “Memai” and “chapter 1”.  Still great single overall!

 

Aira Mitsuki – ???

Filed under: Aira Mitsuki — solarblade @ 6:12 am

Track Listing

  1. TRAIN TRAIN feat. Tamaki ROY
  2. 321
  3. Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa
  4. WHY TWO?
  5. rainy tone
  6. Human Future
  7. Rainbow (Limited only) or last love (Regular only)
  8. Paramater
  9. ???
  10. fly
  11. smile
  12. LOVE Re:

??? -single edition nonstop DJ mix-

  1. Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa
  2. TRAIN TRAIN feat. Tamaki ROY
  3. Wonder touch
  4. WHY TWO?
  5. Robot Honey

1. TRAIN TRAIN feat. Tamaki ROY

I didn’t think the album would start off immensely quick, but TRAIN TRAIN just moves forward from the first second it starts.  I don’t mind the rather Japanese-y opening since it makes sense with the cover and such, but Tamaki ROY annoys me in this song.  His rapping just doesn’t work with the music and then added the clinking that sound like the ones in “WORLD WILD 2010” and you get a weird mix.  After the meh rap, Aira’s part actually sounds a whole lot better and the chorus is just awesome.  It’s a good start, but ROY has to go period!

2. 321

To me, 321 sounds like a bunch of various songs Aira has done in the past, but the beat is pretty awesome and the verses sounds pretty funky and cool.  It reminds me of a much lighter “HEAT MY LOVE”, but this one comes off as a bit magical and twinkly and it’s so cool.  There is something about the song that feels lacking, but likewise, it’s a cute song.

3. Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa

While it hasn’t been quite a while since Aira actually covered a song, (Saori@destiny anyone?) it is the first digital single that was a cover.  Being a cover of Kenji Ozawa’s tune which is like butt old and stuff, Aira’s version definitely gave the tune a much needed facelift.  Once again though, I had a whole lot of “HEAT MY LOVE” running through my mind when I listen to this.  I did like that it was a bit bubbly and less of a techno-pop song and kind of just regular pop.  Aira’s voice singing instead of Kenji’s is also a step up for sure.  It’s alright, but for being one of two promotional songs for the album…it’s kind of lacking.

4. WHY TWO?

Which brings us to the other digital single and promotional track for the album, WHY TWO? is a bit more energetic than “Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa” but only a small amount and it’s still pretty damn light of a song.  It’s like a light “Grotesque” if that helps any at all.  Also when I listen to the song, it doesn’t give me a strong promotional feel like “GALAXY BOY” and “Plastic Doll” did.  Ehhhh, it’s ok…

5. rainy tone

Getting back to the new songs on the album, rainy tone is actually Aira’s first interlude ever so it’s great to see a new sound going on.  The problem is is that it’s kind of difficult that Aira’s isn’t fully in the song or maybe she’s in the arrangement somewhere.  Still I thought it was going to be a ballad, but nah a pretty quirky interlude with some cool synth bleeps which is actually a part of “Human Future’s” melody.

6. Human Future

Finally putting some oomph to the album, Human Future couldn’t have come at a better time.  It does give off some pretty strong “PLASTIC”/”6 FORCE” vibes for me and I’m not complaining since it’s catchy and the bleepy melody is super cute and even the piano solos are just as much.  I actually think that Aira’s lisp is slowly being worked on as well since her JPN is getting clearer for me.  Definitely an impressive Shibuya-Kei/Technopop tune from Aira.

7a. Rainbow

Just like with “C.O.P.Y” and “6 FORCE”, the album comes with a different tracklist depending on the version you buy.  The limited version comes with Rainbow and hahaha *insert gay jokes*.  The opening for the song was a bit awkward and well was it really needed???  Either way, Rainbow right now has the most amount of synths so far and it has a great flow to it that made me happy.  It’s like “BARBiE BARBiE” though, but I don’t mind because this went places. 

7b. last love

Since the regular version has this track and it hasn’t leaked, I’m reviewing the long preview.  Going to this track is interesting since it’s one of the more ballad-like tracks off the album.  Still, I found myself kind of being bored since it doesn’t really go anywhere and seems like so off ideas plastered together to make it sound like it did.  Kind of reminds my of “Happiness land” for some reason, but it might just be me.

8. Parameter

After getting out of the confusion of the two version of the album we finally straighten back out and get back to what’s on both starting with Parameter.  I’ve always loved Aira’s harder and more experimental side than her poppier and not-so experimental side and with Parameter, it was like love at first sight with this song since it’s so hard and filled with so much sound that it makes you wonder how the hell it ended up like the way it did.  Then came the song’s primary flaw that really took me out of the song.  If you have read my reviews of a few other artists (capsule, mini, and Aira herself) then you know who Roxanne is by now and THE SAME EXACT RAP MAKES ANOTHER DAMN APPEARANCE…I was totally taken out of the song quite quickly since it showed that Terukado (or whoever produced this) was being terribly lazy here.  Such wasted opportunity.

9. ???

I was kind of hoping that ??? was going to actually surprise and in my luck, it actually happened since the song is amazingly energetic for Aira and is just feels so D&B that it makes me notice that it’s on another level than the other songs presented on the album.  However, most of the song is built around the idea of repetition, but I don’t mind it here since the song is so heavy and filled with multitudes of synths and Aira’s auto-tune/vocoderness. 

10. fly

As we near the end, the last three tracks kind of slide past my ears during first few playthroughs.  Whenever I listen to fly I get deja vu moments of “COSMiC CHOPPER” from the funky bass chords and the whole chilled out vibe I get from it mixed in with smoother vocals from Aira even though she still has the lisp thing going for her.  Still, since I’ve listened to the album a few times (trying to wait for “last love” and all) it’s grown onto me and is one of the cooler tracks off the album.

11. smile

Even though “fly” ended up being one of my favorites from the album, smile is kind of strange to me still.  I mean it’s a bit different from the other songs since it gives off this bossa nova vibe that I don’t really associate with Aira.  Still it kind of is a little underwhelming for some strange reason…it could be the tempo of the song, or the lack of something that makes it pop out.  Ehhh…

12. LOVE Re:

Ending off the album, LOVE Re: is kind of an interesting tune to finish the album off with.  If I’m right, the song is produced by the same guy that produces KARA.  I can see it since the synths are a bit different and the mood is a whole lot more happier and upbeat.  Aira’s vocals also seemed to have been changed for the song, but it’s nothing amazingly noticeable.  The song is catchy in its own right to be honest and well it just flows and sounds better than a good portion of the songs on the album.

??? -single edition nonstop DJ mix-

1. Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa

Of course since it’s a D-topia release for Aira there’s always something special that comes with or has something to do with the album.  TSUTAYA Records released a rental disc that has short versions of various songs Aira has done starting with one of the digital singles released in the era.  Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa was shortened by two minutes and well let’s be honest, nothing totally changed around much besides the time length. 

2. TRAIN TRAIN feat. Tamaki ROY

I thought the transitioning from “Aishi Aisarete Ikiru no sa” into TRAIN TRAIN was pretty smooth and made the switch kind of obvious since Aira changed into the opening lyrics and into ROY’s rap.  Also cut down two minutes, the time we had with TRAIN TRAIN was short, but it was worth it besides ROY. 

3. Wonder touch

One of two songs that aren’t new in the era, Wonder touch (Originally from “6 FORCE”) makes an appearance.  “TRAIN TRAIN” ends with ROY rapping up until you hear Roxanne once again but under the melody and arrangement of “Parameter” which threw me off for a loop because I thought it was wrong tagging.  It turns out that after the rapping from her, it goes into the familiar melody and Aira starts to sing Wonder touch.  It’s an interesting mashup of two songs and it’s one of the more cooler tunes. 

4. WHY TWO?

Going into the other digital single released in the era, WHY TWO? is actually the shortest tune represented on this disc.  The thing that interested me was that it didn’t totally translate from the last song well (Wonder touch basically faded before getting into this).  Still it’s an alright part of the mix, but a bit too short.

5. Robot Honey

Of all the songs on the mix, Robot Honey was such a surprise since it is the oldest song represented since it’s her 4th single released.  The transition from WHY TWO? to here was a little shaky but there wasn’t a lot you could do since both songs sound so radically different from each other.  I do feel like the arrangement did get worked on so it wouldn’t sound so brash and ear-achy like the single/album version.  Still Robot Honey is one of Aira’s most memorable tunes so lol.

Tracks Recommended

  • ???
  • Human Future
  • fly
  • Rainbow
  • LOVE Re:

Song of Avoidance

  • smile

I’ll say it right now, ??? is definitely Aira’s safest album to date.  She doesn’t really go out of her way to make this album stand out and all and I think that’s the major flaw it has on it.  “C.O.P.Y” and “PLASTIC” were amazing albums because Aira and Terukado tried new ideas and sounds and it worked for the most part.  “6 FORCE” let her stray away and work with Sawagi and that for the most part worked as well.  For ???, it was like she worked with more people, but they didn’t put in much effort like Aira’s past releases and the songs came out safe and mostly not that memorable.  I hope she cleans up after this because I’m not feeling this album much.

 

Nana Tanimura – TOXIC

Filed under: Nana Tanimura — solarblade @ 4:45 am

Track Listing

  1. TOXIC
  2. CIRCUS WORLD
  3. TOXIC (Instrumental)
  4. CIRCUS WORLD (Instrumental)

1. TOXIC

I really don’t know why, but I was so on the boat with other people when she released “FAR AWAY/Believe You” and was hoping she was going to stick to that dark rock genre, but once again she switches gears and turns back into the dance style that she’s been getting better at.  TOXIC though is kind of missing something for me, but I’m not sure what it is since the beat is there and it’s affectious like other parts of the song, but I’ll agree that the chorus is the weakest parts of the song.  It’s ok, but it’s worse than “FAR AWAY”.

2. CIRCUS WORLD

As the B-side, the first thought that came to my mind is that Boobsmura was probably paying some sort of tribute to Britney Spears (seeing as she has songs titled “Toxic” and “Circus”).  Anyways, back on Nana, CIRCUS WORLD actually trumps “TOXIC” since it sounds more complete as song and her vocals actually sound a bit more sexier and huskier than in the previous song and I approve of that a lot.  Iono the darker atmosphere and sexual drive of the song worked more easier than in the A-side.

*sigh* Boobsmura, you debuted in mid 2007…you have 8 major singles and still no album?!? C’mon release that fuckin album woman this is getting ridiculous.  TOXIC does pull back Nana into her comfort zone, but this time it kind of feels like I’ve heard it already by someone else and it disappointed me.  CIRCUS WORLD however was the better song by a long shot and if she stays in the dance genre, she needs to keep songs like that going and not the mehness of TOXIC.

 

faylan – Honnou no DOUBT

Filed under: faylan — solarblade @ 4:24 am

Track Listing

  1. Honnou no DOUBT
  2. Hontou no Ai wo Motomete
  3. Honnou no DOUBT (off vocal)
  4. Hontou no Ai wo Motomete (off vocal)

1. Honnou no DOUBT

I guess it was time to bring out the more fun side to faylan’s music and Honnou no DOUBT was something I wasn’t expecting with such a title.  I was actually thinking it was going to be a lot more edgier, but what we got made me happy in the long run.  I love faylan’s guitar playing in the song and it made the song playful and interesting.  It does make up for how disappointing “Last vision for last” was, but it’s not at the same level as “Errand” and “mind as Judgment” were.

2. Hontou no Ai wo Motomete

Since faylan’s B-sides have mostly impressed me throughout the “Polaris” era, I was excited to what we’d get from Hontou no Ai wo Motomete and was happy once again with what we got.  While it’s not like her previous slow songs, this one has a relaxing nighttime feel and faylan’s vocals sound really good in a setting like this.  It’s just got this right kind of jazzy feel and it’s a new style for her to dabble in and I thought she exceeded my expectations here!

If faylan keeps this up she’s going to be an enigmatic kind of artist.  Honnou no DOUBT really showed off her colors by making both songs something she’s never really attempted before.  The A-side being a quirky, yet fun song while Hontou no Ai wo Motomete was the relaxing jazz tune.  I’m looking through the 2 or 3 singles she released so far in the era and I’m beyond impressed by what I see.  Let’s keep it up faylan!!!

 

Crystal Kay – Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 3:58 am

Track Listing

  1. Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~
  2. HOLD ON
  3. Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~ (instrumental)

1. Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~

Ahhh, I actually like the beginning of Journey quite a bit since it sounds so pretty and majestic with the harp and beats fluorishing around.  Once Kuri comes in though the song sounds a bit more stronger than I thought it would be, but it’s more along the lines of “After Love” than anything off of “FLASH”.  For me this song is alright, but I’ve clearly figured that Kuri doesn’t exactly stray too far from this kind of music, but that’s alright since it’s a steady A-side. 

2. HOLD ON

As for the B-side, I was wondering if this was going to be an original track or a cover, but it’s definitely an original track and I thought it was a bit more stronger than “Journey” for some reason.  It could be the whole package of the darker vibe I get or Kuri’s stronger vocals that made the song stand out better.  Still, it’s one of Kuri’s better B-sides as of late.

Being as the promotional single before “Spin The Music”, Journey is a pretty good single (a bit better than her last one TBH, but not better than the “FLASH” mini-album).  There’s still a feeling of blandness that kind of comes with her music that I can’t shake off, but Journey was alright, but not in the veins of songs from her last era.  HOLD ON actually turned out better than the A-side because of the more interesting arranging style.  Still, I hope “Spin The Music” will be better than “Color Change!”