Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayumi Sakai – Shiawase no Rule December 10, 2010

Filed under: Ayumi Sakai — solarblade @ 7:29 am

Track Listing

  1. Shiawase no Rule
  2. Shiawase no Rule (Sense of the 1990’s)
  3. Shiawase no Rule (Instrumental)

1. Shiawase no Rule

Wow the opening for Shiawase no Rule sounds very pretty to listen to for sure.  Ayumi’s vocals sound actually really nice to listen to through the verses and when the vibe of the song switches from soft to hard rock.  She’s really comfortable in this style and the song is actually quite good from her.  Her voice just has this mysterious feel in it and I liked it alot!.  Good song!

2. Shiawase no Rule (Sense of the 1990’s)

Since there’s no B-side on the single, we get a a slight edit as the other song and to be honest, I don’t exactly hear too much that’s changed.  I mean the guitars are a bit more booming and the mysterious glow is kind of diminished, but otherwise it’s the same.

Starting a new era off, Ayumi’s Shiawase no Rule is definitely a good song to make up for that blah last single that was “ex-lover”.  I’m still thinking that she doesn’t know what to do with her career since this is her most darkest song she’s done and it’s rock (in which she hasn’t dabbled in much).  I actually like the gloomy feel of the song and I hope she continues to go for good A-sides.

 

AKB48 – Chance no Junban

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 7:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Chance no Junban
  2. Yoyaku Shita Christmas
  3. Kurumi to Dialogue (Team A)
  4. ALIVE (Team K)
  5. Love Jump (Team B)
  6. Fruit Snow (Team Kenkyuusei)
  7. Chance no Junban (off vocal ver.)
  8. Yoyaku Shita Christmas (off vocal ver.)
  9. Kurumi to Dialogue (off vocal ver.)
  10. ALIVE (off vocal ver.)
  11. Love Jump (off vocal ver.)
  12. Fruit Snow (off vocal ver.)

1. Chance no Junban

After “Beginner”, I kind of was having thoughts that the next A-side was going to bomb as har as “Ponytail to Chouchou” was after “Sakura no Shiori” and I was right.  The song really is a downgrade since instead of a edgy arrangement, the chose to go for a more idol pop-like sound and it sounds uber cheesy and kind of lame IMO.  Vocally, it’s a bit better than, “Beginner”, but otherwise the song just failed for me otherwise.

2. Yoyaku Shita Christmas

As the B-side found on all versions of the single, Yoyaku Shita Christmas is the holiday song release for the group and I’m not sure why, but the song also suffers from blandness in the musical aspect of the song, but at least it’s more tolerable and appropriate than “Chance no Junban’s”.  It’s better but only a little bit better.

3. Kurumi to Dialogue

Now the rest of the single is split off by the editions and for the first time since I’ve started reviewing them, we get a song from each Team.  Starting with Team A, Kurumi to Dialogue is surprisingly good since it’s kind of dance-oriented and the vocals are pretty much cooler to listen to and not vocally all over the place.  I actually think this was pretty much better than both the previous songs!

4. ALIVE

Team K’s song also was a winner in my book.  The fact that this instead of the danceish sound of Team A’s, this one took a more rockish feel and I actually thought vocally it was more broad and together unlike “Chance no Junban’s” and “Beginner’s” lack of harmonization.  Maybe it’s me, but besides the fact we’ve heard this style before, I feel like it was done much better this time around.

5. Love Jump

Which leaves us with Team B and sadly they got stuck with the ugly song in the end.  Unlike the previous two songs, Love Jump is cutesy idol-pop but without the yelps and wacky shit going on.  Still it’s the weakest of the the team songs and I wasn’t surprised I was just clicking next after it.

6. Fruit Snow

Though, the theater edition of the single includes another song from Team Kenkyuusei (which is a group of idol trainees that, whenever a main member is sick or leaves or whatever one of them takes over…).  I will admit that these members actually sound great together and better than Team B TBH >.>  Musically it’s like “Love Jump” but a little less cute and more focus was put on the vocals.  Have to say, I was impressed here once again.

What a strange single Chance no Junban was.  I will have to say this is the worst A-side I’ve heard from them since I’ve started reviewing them.  I don’t know why, but this style just doesn’t work for them anymore (especially with “Beginner”, “RIVER”, and “Heavy Rotation” showing such amazingness).  The main B-side was slightly better, but still on the lower scale of things.  I think the best though was the Team songs especially Team A, K, and Kenkyuusei being great songs from them while Team B’s is the typical cute idol track…Iono, but at least I knew the groups on this one XD

 

Sakura Gakuin – Yume ni Mukatte/Hello! IVY

Filed under: Sakura Gakuin — solarblade @ 4:54 am

Track Listing

  1. Yume ni Mukatte
  2. Hello! IVY
  3. School days
  4. Yume ni Mukatte (Instrumental)
  5. Hello! IVY (Instrumental)
  6. School days (Instrumental)

1. Yume ni Mukatte

I wasn’t sure what to expect from our newest idol group on the scene, but since two of the members were once in Karen Girl’s, I was expecting some synthy-rock stuff and Yume ni Mukatte brought that but it’s definitely not like “Over The Future”.  While there’s no solos in sight in the tune, it’s still quite catchy and the guitars, synths, and strings used are quite enticing and it’s like a mix of an idol song and an anime track.

2. Hello! IVY

~Hallo! IVY!!!~ hahaha the opening is lulzy.  The rest of the song is what I kind of feared would happen since it’s one of those idol-rock tracks overloaded in genki-ness.  There’s actually some solos in the song this time around, but they’re like one word and such.  It’s not as memorable as “Yume ni Mukatte”, but I can see many people falling for this tune lol.

3. School days

Rounding the single out, School days is an interesting surprise since it’s one of the more energetic and surprisingly best songs off the single.  I mean the beginning with the girls singing under only a piano giving it a ballad-like feel and I was surprised at the girls singing multiple lines.  Then the guitar comes in and the song becomes upbeat and synthy and I was bouncing my head to the rhythm and while the girls aren’t great singers, they held their own in the song and I liked that!  Great B-side.

I think most of the idol groups that debuted this year has released great debut singles and it continues with Sakura Gakuin.  Yume ni Mukatte/Hello! IVY is actually quite good of a single and so upbeat and full of life.  I do think the age-list of the girls are Momosu-ish, this group has time to grow and hope it keeps up like this.  Yume ni Mukatte and School days though ❤ ❤ <3.

 

Crystal Kay – Spin The Music

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 4:29 am

Track Listing

  1. Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~
  2. After Love -First Boyfriend- feat. KANAME (CHEMISTRY)
  3. Konya wa No.1
  4. Kimi ga Ireba
  5. Time of Love
  6. I pray
  7. Goodbye
  8. LOVE or GAME
  9. Hands up
  10. FLASH
  11. Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa (Yellow Magic Orchestra feat. Crystal Kay)
  12. I’ll be there

1. Journey ~Kimi to Futari de~

Starting with the most recent A-side, Journey I think was maybe a poor choice to have put on in front of “After Love -First Boyfriend-” simply because both are so similar to one another and it kind of is a little blah.  It still is a heavenly R&B track though with good sounding synths and pleasant vocals from Kuri.  I like it still however.

2. After Love -First Boyfriend- feat. KANAME (CHEMISTRY)

Being the first of two A-sides released in the era, After Love feels so old for some reason but it was released last year haha.  After Love -First Boyfriend- does still sound rather adorable from Kuri and she does overload the song so much that KANAME doesn’t really have lines to himself and is subjected to only a few places and the chorus.  Still it’s kind of grew less on me since it’s not very memorable anymore to me.

3. Konya wa No. 1

Moving into new tracks from the album, I’ve liked the direction Kuri has been going since the “FLASH” mini and with Konya wa No. 1, it sounds like she wanted bring attitude in her songs and she did it quite awesomely.  The song has a pretty good guitar riff mixed in with some synth riffs as well and just brought the atmosphere up a few notches.  Good song!

4. Kimi ga Ireba

Then I guess we have to cool down for our next song.  I don’t know it this was right putting this after “Konya wa No. 1” but whatever.  By the sound of it, it sounds like something wintry and it’s rather fitting of the time of the year.  While I’m still not fully into Kuri ballads since “Motherland”, this is alright for now.

5. Time of Love

Being as the only digital single that’s found on the album and simply because it was a fan favorite, Time of Love has found solace on the album.  I do see why people wanted it on here since it’s pretty and a lot more stronger of a ballad than “Kimi ga Ireba” was and it did a much better job at showcasing Kuri’s vocals.  I love the amount of strings that were put into the song and it just flowed beautifully for me.  Gotta say, I was impressed.

6. I pray

Of the songs from “FLASH”, I really hoped she didn’t pick this one from the bunch because it was the worst from the mini-album to be honest.  On the album it still sounds rather plain and underwhelming, especially after “Time of Love”.  I mean we already have “Journey” on the album did we really need this?  I would’ve rather had “Victoria” on here…

7. Goodbye

Ugh, that guy at the beginning needs to be shot!!!  Anyways, Goodbye goes back to her true style with being a catchy R&B tune and the beat was solid enough to keep me interested unlike the last song.  I do wonder if it’s the antithesis to “Never say goodbye” from her “FLASH” mini….interesting to think eh?

8. LOVE or GAME

I found it so funny that Kuri began the song with someone walking up to a pinball machine and play it until it said ~WINNER~ and then used some of the sounds from the machine to turn into a synthy R&B track that actually sounds catchy and upbeat enough to actually stand out on the album.  I mean the bleep and bloops just kind of rocketed it up skyward and I just was surprised at the arrangement and Kuri throughout. 

9. Hands up

Hmmm, I’m not sure what to really think of Hands up since it’s one of those inner beauty kind of tracks and as much I think those songs are somewhat cheesy, Hands up sounds cool with the repetitive piano line mixed it with pounding beats and flowing synths.  I do notice Kuri has a lot of help in the vocal department, but I don’t mind it since it fueled the experience. 

10. FLASH

I guess it was kind of obvious that the title track from her mini-album would make the cut.  It’s funny though that it’s the most energetic of songs on the album with it’s electro style and smooth vocals to match from Kuri.  While I still prefer “Victoria” to this, this isn’t bad and it’s so easy to fall in love with this song because it’s just heavy and catchy and totally a new style for her.

11. Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa (Yellow Magic Orchestra feat. Crystal Kay)

Being as this song was originally on one of YMO’s releases, it was bolded lol.  Just like the last song, this is a bit of a strange tune to be putting on the album and since this sounds like something from the 70’s, it’s a bit weird to listen to it.  I did find it annoying that it took so long before Kuri started to sing and then at the time, it’s weak and she’s covered by the music a bit.  Meh, not liking this song at all.

12. I’ll be there

Finally, ending the album I’ll be there from the start sounds like a good melancholic tune with the low strings and depressing arrangement.  I do think that the mood does turn into a more hopeful one once Kuri enters the chorus and says ~I’ll be there~.  I think it’s just a good song to close up the album. 

Tracks Recommended

  • LOVE or GAME
  • FLASH
  • Konya wa No. 1
  • Time of Love

Song of Avoidance

  • Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa (Yellow Magic Orchestra feat. Crystal Kay)

Has it been that long since “Color Change!”?  I guess so because the time off was what Kuri needed before coming into Spin The Music.  I did think she had more in mind with this one since the arrangements were mostly different and yet strong…but it still didn’t save her from some stinkers on the album.  I guess it’s an alright album from Kuri.