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Best of 2010: ART COVERS, the pretty and the ugly! December 31, 2010

Filed under: ~Best of 2010~ — solarblade @ 9:45 am

So, on part three, we get to the art covers that gracefully tried to show off this years awesomeness. Let’s get to it!

BEST ART COVERS

The 5 covers that were great, but not top 10 centered.

So the five that didn’t make the cut: COSMOS vs ALIEN, Unmei no Shizuku ~Destiny’s star~/Hoshizora Keikaku, Senjou ni Saita Ichirin no Hana, Kanashimi wa Yuki ni Nemuru, and Everlasting are great covers and shows they can really pull it off if they wanted.

THE BEAUTIFUL 10

10. angela – Soukyuu

angela always seems to have interesting single covers like last year’s “Alternative”.  This year though angela released this piece of art near the end of the year, but it’s definitely a pretty cover.  Of course KATSU looks like Cloud for some reason while atsuko is more frilly.  I love the concept and the fact that it’s mirrored on the bottom gives more depth.  I don’t know but it’s pretty for sure.

9. Aya Kamiki – Revolver

I don’t know why but Aya’s second single under avex was a surprise to me.  I mean everyone knew she was hot during the GIZA days, but she stepped it up immensely for this cover.  Like Lex said, dystopia has never looked this sexy and I agree, Aya is one hot lady!

8. JUJU – Sakura Ame/READY FOR LOVE/S.H.E./Last Kiss

JUJU never really had such elegant single covers until she released her quad A-side this year.  Sakura Ame’s cover is very pretty and the fact of the falling rain, but starry sky is quite funny if not ironic in a sense.  Of course JUJU looks really formal and pretty and it does carry over to “Request” later on.

7. miwa – Otoshimono

I know, I know miwa looks a bit off for her cover for Otoshimono, but it’s the only one of this year that portrayed Autumn like the it is and it’s dying leaves surrounding the windows, the window frame being withered and such and miwa’s breath on the window showing that it was cold.  It’s not the most flattering picture of her, but it’s still a pretty sight.

6. school food punishment – future nova/after laughter

If this was released back in 09′ it would’ve joined its brethren on the No. 1 spot, but seeing as this was the only single by the band released this year, future nova/after laughter made it here.  I never figured out what it had to do withth other covers since most of them were linked in a way.  The whole cube tower thing does make me think of AAA’s PV for “Dream After Dream” since they have the cube thing going to…Still mysterious though with the girl.

5. D – Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai

For some reason this year, D has stuck out to me with their covers this year.  This particular version of Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai was pretty interesting since it was the only one with the band sitting down haha.  Anyways I think the thing that sticks out for me is that the whole setting of the room is very vibrant and edgy too.  It’s so red and just regal sort of.  It surprised me lol.

4. ALI PROJECT – Ransei Heroica

Like I said last year, ALI PROJECT always have interesting single & album covers so seeing as Ransei Heroica is on the list is no surprise, but “Katana to Saya” was also pretty amazing.  I think what stood out for me was that Arika was split in half with the wardrobe and I thought the pink-haired princess and the brown-haired warrior was nifty and THAT SWORD OMG, I NEED IT!

3. Perfume – Fushizen na Girl/Natural ni Koishite

I know that Perfume’s covers are usually simplistic when compared to other artists, but Fushizen na Girl/Natural ni Koishite was the most complex thing they’ve released in a while so it’s natural (haha) that I’d think it’s a great cover.  Since it’s basically a shot from the Fushizen na Girl PV, it’s fitting that the girls are in bright and bold colors with the various back-ups holding up those boards with different colors and maybe a slight nod to the album the was released before the single.  Good covers!

2. Kalafina – Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa

I will say that with Kalafina, their covers always leave me wondering how they come up with it and with Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa, I think this is their darkest cover yet.  While the other cover is a bit blah, this one is very pretty with the burning candles, the poses from the girls, and the clouds and dark sky in the background.  Love the cover and its gloomyness haha.

1. SID – Rain, cosmetic, and Ranbu no Melody

To me though this year, I think the top position should be given to SID and the three singles Rain, cosmetic, and Ranbu no Melody.  The thing the three singles share is that all the covers (there’s more than these, trust me) are all artistic and done with watercolor paint and it seems pen-drawn (prolly the same guy doing all three).  I do think the artists high point was with Ranbu no Melody which look pretty much epic especially the wolf cover XD.  I will say each cover brough an interesting idea along and I hope the album will follow with one more of these covers.

WORST ART COVERS

Not grating, but it’s almost top 10 worthy

Yep the covers for Can We Go Back, PARADISE/Endless Fighters, Haru no Arashi, Re:ache, and SAKURA are pretty icky covers but aren’t as bad as these

THE UGLY 10

10. the GazettE – SHIVER

It’s not that it’s ugly or anything, but it’s just that awkward of a cover.  For some reason it’s not that I don’t mind shirtlessness, it’s the whole I’m into kinky sex kind of look that sort of weirds me out.  I still don’t understand the binoculars either so don’t ask me anything.

9. Ayaka Hirahara – Ifuu Doudou/JOYFUL, JOYFUL

It’s another one of those covers for me that’s more awkward than ugly, but it’s slightly a bit more less offensive as “SHIVER”.  For me is Ayaka’s pose and the lack of anything on the cover besides the title of the single (well, sort of).  I do laugh though at her lower half since it’s shaped like a muffin/cupcake.  Blah cover though.

8. JUJU – Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo

After all these good cover arts (“Trust In You”, is ok at best), Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo comes as a pretty big disappointment with the fact that all it is, is just a blue rose turning to dust.  Add the fact that the title of the single is covered in the blue fadeout.  Otherwise, it’s just really lame of a cover.

7. mihimaru GT – Omedetou

Poor mihimaru GT, acting as the last single release before the duo taking a break and go off on solo careers, Omedetou was an oh my detour.  I mean yeah I liked miyake’s silver/white hair for the cover, but hiroko’s was just WTF+.  It was a bad hairdue and it makes her look like she doesn’t wash her hair enough hence the wacky objects found in it.  It’s just a icky cover xD

6. Meisa Kuroki – 5 -FIVE-

This is a mess, just a big mess.  I really don’t know why Meisa chose to take the cover for this and turn it into a photoshop mockety with bad nods to comics like Superman.  It’s just a terrible act and such a drop from her last few singles/albums.

5. ikimono-gakari – Arigatou

Nothing against old people, but old people in beach attire on a rather blah background is not acceptable ikimono-gakari!  I really wanna know why they came up with the cover for that (and for “Kimi ga Iru” for that matter).  It just looks very awkward and unusual for me at least.  Sorry weird cover.

4. mini – GiRLZ SPiRiT

Another case of awkward pose and lack of an interesting background, the thing that really made it bad though was those goofy claw gloves or whatever they were supposed to be.  That wink as well was just very strange…what am I supposed to think when she’s doing that huh? 

3. XIAH junsu – XIAH

Yeah there’s not much to say here.  JUNSU has always been my least favorite from THSK so I might be biased here, but this cover was as boring as boring could get.  I mean the shadow idea didn’t exactly help either, but whatever…he could’ve had a much better cover IMHO.

Juliet – Haru Love & Haru Love 2

We all know Juliet are lazy with their covers and while I’m sure people will disagree and say “Aki Love” and “Yuki Love” have more boring covers, I think HL and HL2 take the cake because they use the same dogs for all four covers (two each).  Still, it feels like a copout with Haru Love 2 (the only difference is background colors though and positions of the dogs).  Still very lazy work.

1. flumpool – Kimi no Todoke

And like last year’s wors art cover, this year’s is from a group that I don’t review and flumpool really did a number with this cover and the alternate as well.  There’s just something really foul about this (though not as bad as Yuzu’s though).  Just ugly looks of people really letting it out…though if I remember, I thought one was really bad cuz their nose tears was going in the mouth or something, maybe I’m crazy XD.  Still ICK+

 

NEXT TIME: OVERALL BEST/WORST SINGLE!

 

AMWE – GIRLS

Filed under: AMWE — solarblade @ 4:03 am

Track Listing

  1. GIRLS AND BOYS
  2. GROOVE IS IN THE HEART
  3. I SAW AN ANGEL
  4. BE STUPID
  5. GIRLS NIGHT OUT
  6. ROCKSTAR
  7. CUT, COPY, AND PASTE
  8. MOONLIGHT
  9. STUPID GUYS, STUPID GIRLS
  10. GIRLS AND BOYS (CUBISMO GRAFICO DIZZINESS MIX)
  11. MOONLIGHT (ELECTROCUTICA REMIX)
  12. ONLY SHALLOW (LEE JAY POW REMIX)

1. GIRLS AND BOYS

~e, e, e, ah ah ah~.  I really don’t know why, but that always amuses me whenever I hear the song…it must be that lulzy.  Anyways, already from the start of the album, AMWE has taken a slightly lighter direction with this cover from Blur.  To me, AMWE’s vocals have kind of taken a backseat since she’s kind of messy singing and English as well.  I sitll find myself enjoying the song though since it’s electro-pop goodness and has a pretty awesome hook to it.

2. GROOVE IS IN THE HEART

Another song from the past being covered, this time Deee-lite’s one-hit wonder, GROOVE IS IN THE HEART, is vocally another failed attempt since the English here is even more harder to convey, but AMWE’s more electro take is what tries to keep the song afloat, but it lost a lot of what made the original so damn amazing and in that respect, this wasn’t such a hot cover.

3. I SAW AN ANGEL

I think that there’s others covers as well, but I can’t be so sure which ones, except for the previous two.  I SAW AN ANGEL is more along the lines of what I was expecting after her first album, and it’s groovy and has a good rhythm.  Despite AMWE’s meh vocals again, there’s not a lot of it like the last two tracks so that’s a little bit of a good thing. 

4. BE STUPID

I’m surprised that she has another one of these more darker electro songs in her repetoire because BE STUPID is quite more memorable and quite the club thumper of a song.  Once again not being totally vocally important (though I can understand her at least when she does in the song).  She just scored good on this song and I can see myself replaying this over and over.

5. GIRLS NIGHT OUT

After those two strong electronica songs, GIRLS NIGHT OUT pulls us back into a more electro-pop like area and I actually noticed that she pulled out the piano for this track.  I pretty much love the arrangement here and it’s great to hear AMWE singing in Japanese as well.  I actually don’t think it’s a cover so that’s good. 

6. ROCKSTAR

~I wanna be your rockstar~ oh boy another kind of musically pronounced track.  ROCKSTAR though has some weird synths playing around the song and it has this weird mid-tempo feel to it.  I also found the song was pretty repetitive all-around and it kind of pushed me out of the song. 

7. CUT, COPY, AND PASTE

LOL, saying you’re stupid AMWE is definitely not something you should be saying out loud.  I do notice that like the title implies, the song has a lot of cut vocals that repeat a lot in some weird ways.  Besides the two vocal parts, it feels like a long interlude than anything else, but CUT, COPY, AND PASTE isn’t all that bad, but nothing that’s jaw dropping.

8. MOONLIGHT

This 80’s synth-pop for MOONLIGHT sounds absolutely addictive for some reason.  I’m not sure why, but it’s like the first time I noticed AMWE actually singing in a song where she hit some higher set notes and not sounding like a drunk butt.  It’s actually a pretty good song on the album.  Maybe not as addictive as “GIRLS AND BOYS”, but it’s passable.

9. STUPID GUYS, STUPID GIRLS

Hey more of that cut’n’paste crap that I’m not a big fan of.  SG, SG kind of is along the lines with the other songs that has more focus on the music than the lyrics.  Actually there’s not many to begin with since the song feels already cluttered as it is.  I don’t know, but it didn’t feel like it had a concrete direction and just felt smushed together in 5 seconds.

10. GIRLS AND BOYS (CUBISMO GRAFICO DIZZINESS MIX)

So after the main album of songs ends, we get three remixes whoohoo!  The first is of the promotional track for the album and the remix feels a bit more smoother and ethereal than the original and I still love the whole ~ee, ee, ee, ah, ah, ah~ ordeal.  I will say that because it’s the longest song off the album, it’s good…but I miss the oomph of the original that the remix lacks.  I’m not fully sure what I think of it.

11. MOONLIGHT (ELECTROCUTICA REMIX)

The second remix is of MOONLIGHT and I loved the original for sure so the remix had a lot to work for.  I will admit that I didn’t enjoy this remix even though it was more beat-driven.  The thing that made me dislike it was the whole repetitiveness and the cut’n’paste style that was found here.  Though the parts where AMWE sang were still pretty good, the music felt absent for me…iono. 

12. ONLY SHALLOW (LEE JAY POW REMIX)

The final song on the album is a remix of ONLY SHALLOW…but I’m not certain where the original is from, but I’ll treat it as a an original one.  I’m not sure, but the way AMWE is singing is kind of strange yet hypnotic almost.  Add in the electric guitar parts and it gives it a mysterious vibe.  It sounds like the original could be good if the remix is like this, but who knows.

Tracks Recommended

  • GIRLS AND BOYS
  • MOONLIGHT
  • BE STUPID
  • ONLY SHALLOW (LEE JAY POW REMIX)
  • GIRLS NIGHT OUT

Song of Avoidance

  • GROOVE IS IN THE HEART

For being AMWE’s sophomore album, GIRLS maybe at the same place where “I AM AMWE” was when she debuted.  There’s of course a lot of hope for her since her arrangements are pretty strong themselves.  Problem is that she’s not a very good singer and that does propose a problem in the future if she chooses to go that direction.  Maybe vocal lessons?  I don’t know, but we’ll see.

 

Best of 2010: B-SIDES, yes, they’re important too!!! December 29, 2010

Filed under: ~Best of 2010~ — solarblade @ 8:41 am

Yesh, we’re now at B-sides of the year and I was happy to see there was a lot to choose from too hehe.  Now let’s begin our track down.

BEST B-SIDES!

The 5 that just missed the uber mark 😄

Yup, the 5 that didn’t make the cut are as listed: Soba ni Itai Kara (Little Girl), Danro (Ranbu no Melody), Hallucination (YOU), Shining Sun (Namida no Regret), and diamond high (RAY OF LIGHT).  These five songs are pretty awesome, but sadly they were beaten by ten others.

10. Haruka Shimotsuki – Kii te wa Seikenai Uta (Saigo no Michishirube)

While it isn’t Haruka’s only release of the year, the only song that fully stood out from her was the B-side of “Saigo no Michishirube”.  The thing about Kii te wa Seikenai Uta that really stood out to me was the slight electronic feeling it had amongst her other songs.  Add in Haruka’s whispery vocals and full ones later and it’s just an interesting tune and one of the cooler ethereal songs I loved.

9. Aki Misato – Defy Gravity (Not Found 2010) (Cross Illusion)

I first thought that Defy Gravity was going to be one boring song, but knowing that the A-side was pretty synthy, the B-side made it even so and made it so much stronger in its approach.  I love the energetic trance-like arrangement mixed with Aki’s good vocals and we got a winner from it.  A great surprise for sure!

8. MiChi – JUMP ON IT (LOVE is. e.p)

Being the most recent addition to the list, JUMP ON IT was surprisingly amazing for something that was meant to be repetitive and blah.  Either way, the song is catchy and full of attitude (which is always a good thing to hear in a MiChi song).  Very bouncy and charismatic, JUMP ON IT has a great reason to be here despite being one of the last releases in 2010.

7. faylan – Tobe Aoi Tori (Senjou ni Saita Ichirin no Hana)

I thought the A-side was pretty impressive, but what really took the single to new heights was the epic B-side.  I didn’t think it would be much by the minute and forty second intro with the background choir chanting, but once the brazen guitars join in, turns into this holy-ish like atmosphere that has great stuff going on like flute solos and a little folk tagging along.  faylan really sounds pretty though as well so it’s definitely the strongest faylan tune out there.

6. Morning Musume – Aisaresugiru Koto wa Nai no yo (Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game)

It seems that recently Momosu has been getting better with their B-sides since it’s never their high-point if you know what I mean.  I love the song sounds kind of idol-pop, but danceable as well.  It seems like a more synth-based “Nanchatte Renai”.  There’s just a lot of exciting things going on like the catchy chorus, Sayu under auto-tune again, and some other small things.  Still, Aisaresugiru Koto wa Nai no yo is one of the better tracks of the year.

5. NIKIIE – Gensou Forum (Shunkashuutou)

Yep, another debut artist making the list from the debut single, I found it amazing that Gensou Forum was her first official song but was downgraded to a B-side on the single release.  To me this song was one of the most powerful songs of the year since it’s like a very emotional mid-tempo piano/rock track.  I can see NIKIIE growing from this and becoming a powerhouse in due time.

4. Yousei Teikoku – still alive (rebellion anthem)

Of all the great Yousei Teikoku releases this year that culminated onto their 3rd best-of album, still alive stood out the most this year from them and it’s great because they’ve been steadily releasing stronger songs with each release.  still alive is still one of the cooler synth-goth tracks out there and Yui just made it simple to love it. 

3. angela – Tsunaga Room (Aoi Haru)

While I haven’t been following angela for a long time, I thought the B-side of “Aoi Haru” was a slice of heaven to my ears.  I love whenever an artists (or in this case, artists) change genres for a little bit and with Tsunaga Room they opted for a more futuristic sound and with atsuko being under auto-tune was actually good for her.  It’s a very transportive kind of tune if you get my drift and that’s why it stood out so much for me.

2. Ayaka Hirahara – Keropak <HIRARA Remix @ Keronboshi> (Keropak)

It’s rare to see me fully enjoy the hell out of a remix, but this year Ayaka Hirahara pulled a 180 out of her hat and released this remix for Keropak.  While the original was more natural and had a kiddy-like nature to it, Keropak’s remix was definitely synth love and had a bunch of great moments from both Ayaka’s singing (which is auto-tune slightly) and the bouncy arrangement.  It does stay as the best remix of the year as well.

1. mini – Baby baBy (GiRLS SPiRiT)

All year, I was waiting for the epic electro song to just pop out of nowhere and take me to another place.  mini and JIN shows off once again with Baby baBy.  I love it because of the fact that it’s dark electro and pulsating overload for me.  It’s definitely a catchy ass tune that will be hard to replace.

WORST B-SIDES!

The 5 somewhat crappy B-sides before Armageddon

So here’s the 5 that luckily got out of being majorly criticized hahaha: memory of snow (LEVEL 5 -judgelight-), GRAB BAG (Aitakute Aitakute), Usagi (Let’s dance in the moonlight), Sayonara (Motto Motto Kimi wo Oshiete yo), and Chotto Samishii na (Shining Power).

THE UNLUCKY 10

10. KOTOKO – Raimei ga Naku Koro (Loop-the-Loop)

 

It’s pretty disappointing that KOTOKO didn’t exactly release anything that was deemed excellent this year through her own releases.  Raimei ga Naku Koro was definitely under the weather compared to both previous B-sides, “Digital Snail” and “BUCCANEER” which the latter was the best of last year’s B-sides.  The biggest difference was the fact it was like a mid-tempo pop/rock tune that just didn’t work well for KOTOKO’s voice.  Collision course of icky.

9. Hanako Oku – Trump (Garasu no Hana)

Let’s just say that Hanako’s B-side for “Garasu no Hana” was a very boring ballad that she’s done so many times before that it just was a punch to the gut listening to it.  Sorry this definitely didn’t hit the mark for me and just was very ick to listen to.

8. Porno Graffitti – Get It On (Kimi wa 100%)

 

Being the only cover song on this list, it was only featured because it was just bad to listen to.  Akihito basically was the reason the song turned out so bad because his English is near impossible to sit through and sometimes very hard to decipher what the hell he was saying.  I mean the arrangement is good, but this isn’t the vocals that should be here >.>

 7. Ayahi Takagaki – Oh Happy Day (Hikari no Fillment)

Christian-like songs and Seiyuus just do not mix and with this song is gives that reason in full force.  While the chorale sounds rather pretty good, it isn’t until Ayahi takes over is when it gets weird (especially that whole ad-libbing section).  I just hated that it was a mostly a follow me kind of song until they start seperating.  Ayahi’s vocals even sound rather ick as well…almost nasally.  Sorry not my kind of dig.

6. Momoiro Clover – Coco☆nuts (Pinky Jones)

I don’t what it is about this song that just annoys me but it’s prolly the multiple ideas that are flying around the song.  Like the song tries to be soft in the verses, making the girls uber cute in the bridge and then the chorus is basically consisting ~co-co-co-co-co-co…etc. nuts~.  I’m sorry but when the chorus is that stupid, the rest of the song doesn’t really matter anymore.

5. BUCK-TICK – Yougetsu (Kuchizuke)

Yougetsu from BUCK-TICK’s “Kuchizuke” single to me felt so unlike the group since it was low and Atsushi was under filters the entire song so that also bothered me a bit since it felt like it was underproduced or something along those lines.  I just never connected with the song and it still doesn’t do much for me.

4. Minori Chihara – Best mark smile (Freedom Dreamer)

The problem with Best mark smile was that it was almost like deja vu simply because it was so much like its A-side counterpart.  I think it was bad because of the fact that it was still a pop/rock kind of tune with Minorin singing in her seiyuu style.  It’s kind of still crappy and I rather much listen to the other B-side, “Natsuiro Hanabi”.

3. D – K no Hyousoukyoku (Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai)

Whenever ASAGI sings it’s either great or in the case of K no Hyousoukyoku, it’s pretty poor shot.  I honestly dislike his growling/screaming in the songs and it quickly turned me off when I started listening to the song.  At first I thought the arrangement was pretty awesome and Dir en Grey-ish, but ASAGI’s growling just was yikes for me, at least unti he started singing.  Bleh.

2. AAA – TWO ROADS (Heart and Soul)

It’s rare to see one of the members of AAA getting a solo song, more or less Hidaka actually getting it.  Everyone knows him as the MC/Rapper of the group and that he is, but he actually isn’t rapping in this song but actually singing.  Add the fact that it sounds like a song for druggies, TWO ROADS just was a trainwreck to listen to. 

1. RIZE – GOLD RUSH (LAUGH IT OUT)

It was really hard to choose which song was the worst out of the three B-sides on the single.  RIZE really messed up for the single and GOLD RUSH leads it because it was nearly impossible to sit through.  I don’t think it was because of JESSE being filtered to no end, but the band felt out of sync and just messy throughout.  Sorry, but this was el crappo of the year.

 

 

NEXT TIME, PRETTYFUL COVERS and well…..NOT THAT GOOD 😄

 

Best of 2010: A-sides, love em’ or hate em’! December 28, 2010

Filed under: ~Best of 2010~ — solarblade @ 10:14 pm

It’s that time again for the best of the year that was 2010.  Of course just like last year, there’s gonna quite a lot of posts like these and it’ll come in due time, but right now let’s pay attention to the A-sides that filled out the year!

BEST A-SIDES

The 5 that just missed the top 10!

Being as the 15-11, Over the clouds, Otakebi Boy WAO!, Ethnic Planet Survival, Freedom, and Fate represented great A-sides respectively but were just beaten out.  I will say that each of these releases were surprisingly good despite not having much of a good year.  Still great stuff nonetheless!

THE TOP 10!

10. Perfume – Fushizen na Girl

I will say that Perfume kicking off the top 10 is kind of strange, but Perfume hasn’t exactly had the best year in 2010.  However, I was split on which A-side to include between this and “Natural ni Koishite”, but I chose this song since it was more a nod back to the days of “GAME”.  Plus the PV and song itself was fun and had great stuff from Nakata. 

9. CHiAKi KURiYAMA – Ryuusei no Namida

For a debut artist to make this list is quite the daunting task, but Chiaki’s debut single, Ryuusei no Namida is one of the few ballads that I always keep coming to since it’s really heartfelt and kind of pretty strong inducing, and that’s not even including the fact that it’s a GUNDAM tie-in either.  It’s definitely the best ballad of the year considering the rest of the list is energetic songs for sure.

8. JASMINE – THIS IS NOT A GAME

When we first learned that JASMINE was going on a trilogy of singles, I was worried since those don’t do well (or sell well for that matter).  In the case of JASMINE though I was kind of getting tired of both “sad to say” and “NO MORE” since they were so one in the same.  However, when she released the first of the trilogy, THIS IS NOT A GAME, it changed everything about her and just quickly became one of my early favorites of the year with the darker vibe and heavier R&B sound that she was pushing out.  Still think the English parts were the best thing though hahaha.

7. moumoon – Sunshine Girl

If there was a song that perfectly epitomized summer in music form this year, moumoon’s Sunshine Girl was that song.  It was bright, cute, colorful and just catchy that it would make you wanna frolic down the beach singing the song, though even better was that there is an English version available as well.  Such an amazing tune heh

6. 4minute – FIRST

It was hard trying to decide which deserved this place from 4minute between this song and “I My Me Mine”. but considering the fact that FIRST was an original JPN tune, it kind of beats out said song.  To me I was already a fan when “IMMM” was released but FIRST was what kind of solidified it.  The song is just K-pop goodness but set with JPN lyrics and catchy hooks all over.  The thing was that the song did feel like a few ideas rammed together, but it’s still damn catchy!

5. mini – Are U Ready?

Like I said about Chiaki, debut artists getting on here is no easy task and most of the time debut songs are usually stepping stones.  With mini, she scored major points with her electro track, Are U Ready?  There was just something that screamed epic from it and given the fact that it was produced by JIN of High Speed Boyz fame made it even better for me. 

4. IMALU – Uh Uh

I was surprised at that IMALU would’ve have released something that’s synth-pop since her previous singles were more pop/rock.  Uh Uh at first confused me since the title kind of sounded sexually driven, but the song is kind of cute, kind of serious lyrically, and just bounds of fun (like the rather goofy PV).  One of the hidden surprises I loved this year.

3. MiChi – All about the Girls ~Iijanka Party People~

There’s not much to say when it comes to MiChi this year and surprisingly was strong with the releases.  All about the Girls ~Iijanka Party People~ though really surprised me with the fact it sampled “Scatman” in the arrangement made it even cooler.  I just love the carefree attitude MiChi portrayed for the song and it was just a fun party song and catchy all over!

2. VAMPS – DEVIL SIDE

As the only J-rock song and only English song on this list, VAMPS really came through the speakers with DEVIL SIDE.  It’s such a surprise that HYDE from Lariku would’ve released something so edgy, slick, dark, and just all out awesome.  Even KAZ should get points for the awesome and rockin’ arrangement. 

1. AAA – Dream After Dream ~Yume Kara Sameta Yume~

Finally at the No. 1 spot, AAA clearly won me over this year with the second A-side of the first single of the “Buzz Communication” era.  When I first saw that Tetsuya Komuro were taking over as arranger for the single (and later the era itself), I had my worries since his music can come off as too aged.  Dream After Dream was pretty much a gem of stuff he produced this year and while Urata, Nissy, Misako, Hidaka, and Chiaki took vocal roles, I think Tetsuya should get an applause since the song was arrangement heaven for me.  So many synths and melody abound.  I love this song to death and once again the PV was even better ^_^

WORST A-SIDES

The 5 that luckily missed being in the 10

There’s no doubt in my mind that theses songs won’t get the full blast of the 10 haha.  ALWAYS, Koyubi no Paradox, Toki wo Tomete, READY FOR LOVE, and Chance no Junban weren’t good songs, but they are better than what’s coming up.

THE BAD 10!

10. Juliet – 23:45

Juliet hasn’t really been that exciting a group for me, but it came at a low with the release 0f 23:45 which did break the monotony of similar-titled singles for a little but that’s not the point.  23:45 to me came off as way bland for R&B and barely stood out for me one bit. 

9. Natsuko Aso – Everyday sunshine line!

There’s just something very saddening when you see an artist go down the wrong path for her music career such is the case for Natsuko Aso.  She started out great with her two singles.  Then came “Perfect-area complete!” and it made me worry, but it wasn’t til her fourth single where I just shook my head in disbelief since this song is just very sugary and way too cute to be taken seriously.  She still hasn’t recovered, but I hope she goes back to where she started.

8. PUFFY – R.G.W.

After that short break after “Dareka ga”, R.G.W. just baffled me to no end.  I mean I know PUFFY is a pretty groundbreaking group and actually somewhat got popular here in the states, but R.G.W. was just kind of lame for a Christmas song since they’re yelling colors at ya for most of the song.  It just seems everytime I try to listen to it, I get a headache for trying, so whatever.

7. Kaori Mochida – green

I’m not entirely sure why Kaori had to choose this song to represent “NIU”, but green just did nothing for me but put me to sleep almost.  Nothing much more to say about the song besides the fact it wasn’t the worst on the album.

6. Ai Otsuka – I ♥ ×××

There’s sentimental songs that make you happy and there’s one like this that just gets annoying after a few listens.  While it’s great that Ai is married and pregnant, but somehow with that came the fact that her works since hasn’t been stellar and this song just kind of marks as her low point in A-sides.  I don’t know why I get so bothered by it, but it just is so repetitive…

5. m.o.v.e – Fate Seeker

We all know that m.o.v.e has always been about electronica and techno/eurotrance but what they did with Fate Seeker was just inhumane.  The rule is is that don’t give the leading lady who’s vocals are already kind of meh auto-tune….it messes things up and it did quite harshly.  Definitely did not like this song and still don’t

4. faylan – Last vision for last

Last vision for last for me was a failure amongst her other songs because while this was another tie-in to an anime it didn’t do enough to stand out like her other songs.  Add in the fact that the arrangement was all over the place didn’t help nor was faylan.  I don’t but this song was her worst yet.

3. Watarirouka Hashiritai – AkKanbe Bashi

I would like to believe that Ayaka Kikuchi had something to do with AkKanbe Bashi sucking so much.  The fact that the song feels so disorienting and just purely genki annoying was the reason I despise it so much.  Add the girls sounded too high and there was transitioning issues, and you got No. 3

2. Minori Chihara – Freedom Dreamer

While I’m not entirely entranced by Minorin’s music (her last album is a different story), Freedom Dreamer was pretty bad for her.  The fact that it was a summer song and Minorin was using her seiyuu voice for the song was just a recipe for disaster.  Ick, just hated this song and luckily “Ittousei” fixed things up.

1. S/mileage – ◯◯ Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!

As the worst A-side of the year, S/mileage really chose a doozy with this song.  Not only it’s genki to the max, the song has the most random of sounds that H!P has ever used up to this point and it really kind of turned me further away from the song.  I still didn’t think the four gals did much to help alleviate the problem, but added to it.  Sorry, just not my song and it really sucks for me.

 

ANYWAYS, STAY TUNED FOR PT.2: THE B-SIDES!!!

 

 

pLumsonic! – Atomic-girl

Filed under: pLumsonic! — solarblade @ 12:41 pm

Track Listing

  1. AtomicGirl
  2. Aishuu Happiness
  3. SentimentalDisco
  4. HAPPY x2 SONIC!
  5. MoonBase
  6. Romantic Luminescence
  7. little happy days☆
  8. mystic module
  9. “Tadaima” no Kaerimichi
  10. Supernova
  11. CodeName “yuu.”

1. AtomicGirl

I love the fact that the beginning starts off with this robotic voice spelling the title of the song before fully getting into Yuu’s start, but that’s after a minute of the opening passes by.  To me, AtomicGirl is a bit strange and goofy sounding until it starts filling out in the second verse.  Yuu’s vocals are a bit like an idol’s but mixed in with auto-tune and slight vocoder…it’s a nice sound and gives the song a much more cute sound.

2. Aishuu Happiness

Whenever the opening of Aishuu Happiness starts up, it always sends me back to Kirby games from the SNES days and such.  It’s a bit more cuter coming from Yuu, but there’s times where her vocals are kind of hard to sit through since her vocals keep getting shaky when they shouldn’t be (aka the more legato like areas of the song).  When the song goes into its chorus, it gets better so the rest of the song flies by smoothly til it ends.

3. SentimentalDisco

After two cute songs, it’s nice that we got SentimentalDisco next and it’s a whole lot more upbeat and electro than the previous songs.  Even Yuu sounds so much more into the song and being peppy and connected to Yasushi.K’s arrangement.  There’s a bit more importance to the music this time, but I don’t mind the more spaces between Yuu’s lines and the music.  Good song though ^_^

4. HAPPY x2 SONIC!

I’m surprised that our next song would be the longest of the bunch passing over 7 minutes.  HAPPY x2 SONIC! feels like a very, very, very long interlude and it doesn’t help that Yuu’s vocals feels drowned out amongst the wavy arrangement.  The times she does sing gives the song some direction, but there’s a lot of musically-heavy parts.  I will say the more ethereal Yuu’s voice sounds, really works out here though. 

5. MoonBase

As this is a touch-up on a song they released originally on the duo’s debut album, “Pavilion”, MoonBase at first sounded no different from the original, but there’s some noticeable changes like the fact there was some synths removed and left us with this kind of ethereal and cosmic kind of song that sounded really pretty to listen to.  Yuu’s vocals are cute and they give this wondrous feeling in the song (minus the parts where her vocals get messed around).  I will say that MoonBase has always been an impressive track though to me and it’s update on their 3rd album made things even better.

6. Romantic Luminescence

After two of the longest songs passes us by, Romantic Luminescence brings us back to the shorter and kind mysterious songs starting with Romantic Luminescence.  I love the synth melody from Yasushi.K in this song in particular since it’s futuristic and the right kind of upbeat.  Even the warped up solo in the middle of the song was different and kind of flashy in a good way.

7. little happy days☆

Maybe the weirdest song off the album, little happy days☆ feels like more of a techno-idol-pop track since it’s quite lighter than most of the other songs and actually has a happier tone despite the weird synths of the song.  I will admit that Yuu’s vocals in particular are quite stronger than they were in previous songs so that’s a plus I guess.  It’s bouncy and deserves to be in a video game, but hahah I like it.

8. mystic module

While I feel that going back to 80’s techno is pretty awesome, mystic module leads this group since it clearly reminds me of Bomberman music for some reason.  I will say the deeper synths found here were pretty nifty and made the song a much cooler listen.  Yuu’s robotic-like form of singing the song did become bothersome, but the chorus brought me back up and it did save the song for sure.

9. “Tadaima” no Kaerimichi

I guess it’s time to dive back into the 80’s new wave sound with our next song.  To be honest, of the songs off the album, I wasn’t feeling this one much but it was to be expected since it’s kind of slowish in the way it’s kind of draggy.  I didn’t think Yasushi.K’s magic worked well either in this case so it kind of just went nowhere.

10. Supernova

Moving past that slip-up, Supernova wasn’t what I was expecting since it has an exploding kind of name, I was hoping it was going to be crazy and just wild.  I will say it’s more along the lines of “Romantic Luminescence” where it’s more poppy, but here it’s more futuristic.  I don’t feel much for the song, but I do think it’s a whole lot better than the last song.

11. CodeName “yuu.”

Of the songs that had been previewed on the duo’s YouTube, CodeName “yuu.” really stood out for me since it really had a great futuristic sound.  However the preview was just only the chorus.  The rest of the song is surprisingly cutesy stuff and while I was a little disappointed at that, it works with the arrangement and the chorus is still pretty much epic sauce though so I still feel that it’s one of the albums best songs.

Tracks Recommended

  • MoonBase
  • CodeName “yuu.”
  • mystic module
  • HAPPY x2 SONIC!
  • Aishuu Happiness

Song of Avoidance

  • “Tadaima” no Kaerimichi

As it is the duo’s 3rd album, Atomic-girl is kind of better than “Geometrical/Love” but also kind of worse.  I do think that they’ve grown much better and I love Yasushi.K’s arrangements since they’re kind of totally not like other techno-pop acts.  It’s like Nakata+YMCK=pLumsonic!.  I hope there’s a fourth album someday since right now, they’re pretty much their own category at this point.

 

alan×Kei Fukui – Ai wa Chikara

Filed under: alan — solarblade @ 7:19 am

Track Listing

  1. Ai wa Chikara

1. Ai wa Chikara

I’m just still surprised that alan would have released an opera song after such strong singles (minus “Diamond”).  For alan’s first JPN collaboration with opera singer Kei Fukui, the song makes “Kuon no Kawa” seem lightweight as an epic song.  The music is very orchestral and grand that it definitely feels like alan’s regaining her “Voice of EARTH” style.  I will say that Kei’s tenor vocals kind of overpowers alan’s in a few parts of the song they sing simultaneously.  It’s still pretty much alan’s gold tune and a great way to perhaps finish the era off. 

I was surprised alan would have released it to open 2011 with a bang and Ai wa Chikara was pretty much what alan needed to regain the awesomeness on my part.  Kei Fukui definitely has a strong tenor and while I honestly think he sings more in the song, the two sound great and for alan’s first “opera” tune, she did it with flying covers.  Makes me wonder if it’ll be on her third album…

 

MiChi – LOVE is. e.p

Filed under: MiChi — solarblade @ 6:16 am

Track Listing

  1. LOVE is.
  2. YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!
  3. JUMP ON IT
  4. PRETTY FLY (FOR A WHITE GUY)

1. LOVE is.

I never expected that MiChi’s next single would’ve ended up being an upbeat song (like a lot of the others of the era) but LOVE is. definitely has an 80’s New Wave sound going for it which sounds pretty good for being the main track here.  It does kind of remind me of a lot of her songs previous, but the synths sound a little different than those songs so it’s not like it’s bland or anything.  It might take a little longer to get used to, but I know I’ll end up enjoying it after a while.

2. YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!

I was a little surprised that the first of the B-sides started off as slow as it did and kind of raised into this mid-tempo pop track.  I love the MiChi’s speed of singing some of the lyrics.  The chorus is kind of meh because of how much it repeats itself after a while and it kind of just becomes white noise after a while.  It’s the weakest song off the single, but I guess there’s time for it to catch on.

3. JUMP ON IT

~if you feel like shit just jump on it~.  Oh god, I did miss angry and attitude prone MiChi and with JUMP ON IT, she pulls her side back out and shows off with a pretty interesting beat and melody that would normally seem one-dimensional, but somehow it’s just the right amount of simplicity she needed to pull a song like this out.  I mean MiChi isn’t fully an electro artist, but this song would be a good representation of it! 

4. PRETTY FLY (FOR A WHITE GUY)

When you do covers it should be something that would make sense, but MiChi being herself, she picks the weirdest songs to cover.  As a cover of that amazing Offsprings song, MiChi still comes off as the weaker voice to the original since the lead of The Offsprings has a unique and gritty tone to his voice that MiChi couldn’t replicate.  Still the song has a bit of 8-bit, but keeps it faithful to the original arrangement and MiChi did this much better than her Nirvana cover. 

As it is MiChi’s 3rd single in the era, LOVE is. e.p was actually a much stronger single than the previous two, but the main song lacks the memorability of the other two.  Though the B-sides (not so much YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!) really made the single shine stronger.  I wouldn’t be surprised if MiChi releases another cover album in light of her attraction of doing them, but JUMP ON IT needs to be on an album with “All about the Girls ~Iijanka Party People~”.