Kurayami Monogatari

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Koda Kumi – POP DIVA January 29, 2011

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 9:42 pm

Track Listing

  1. POP DIVA
  2. Black Candy
  3. POP DIVA (Instrumental)
  4. Black Candy (Instrumental)

1. POP DIVA

While it hasn’t been a long time since we’ve seen slutty Kuu last “Lollipop” being the last track to, POP DIVA is quite dark, but I think it’s pretty fitting for some odd reason.  I’m also with the group that says the song is a bit like that one song, “Like A G6” because of the verses arrangement.  Though when Kuu start to yell for the chorus it feels different and refreshing, but she’s yelling x.x  It might be a messy song, but in a way it’s kind of edgy and cool at the same time…I’m on the fence for POP DIVA.

2. Black Candy

I didn’t think the entire single was going to be hot and steamy.  While it doesn’t have the edge factor “POP DIVA” had, it focuses more on the sexual flow and it really captures my attention.  I love the beats here and while the electric guitar is present but not like “Ningyo-hime” and “Can We Go Back”…To be honest. I can see this as a song that people would love to hear on tours since it has that pump your fist kind of feeling to it….Sweet!

Ending the “Dejavu” era, POP DIVA was kind of a much needed single.  I mean “Gossip Candy” was pretty good but felt like it was maybe a little meh and strange that neither Inside or Outside made the cut.  Then we had that whole ballad blahfest with “Suki de, Suki de, Suki de./Anata Dake ga” and now POP DIVA brought back….well like the title shows duh!  It’s wild and relentless and I’m happy that both A & B-side are equally as good….I have hope for the album!

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Maria – Good bye Good day January 28, 2011

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 9:55 pm

Track Listing

  1. Good bye Good day
  2. AGAIN
  3. Good bye Good day (instrumental)

1. Good bye Good day

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Maria and it seems she’s kind of found herself in a not so good area of music.  Let’s be honest, the whole R&B thing is getting old and to be honest the flow and rhythm of the song is definitely similar to some of Alicia Keys’ stuff which makes it an even more of a borefest to listen to, but I will say that Maria’s vocals sound great and her melodies actually work for the song despite the style. 

2. AGAIN

I think it’s great that the B-side covered up the mistakes the A-side had since it’s definitely more along her normal style and it sort of reminds me of her last A-side, “Wasuretakunakute”, but that’s not a bad thing since this has pretty strong vocals coming from Maria.  Definitely a much more stronger song IMO.

Beginning Maria’s sophomore era, Good bye Good day I guess is just an alright single, but the B-side kind of tops the A-side just because it was more of her style.  I really wished I didn’t get such strong Alicia Keys vibes from the A-side, but whatever…let’s see how “deep into you” does next.

 

faylan – Shuumatsu no Fractale January 27, 2011

Filed under: faylan — solarblade @ 2:11 am

Track Listing

  1. Shuumatsu no Fractale
  2. HAPPY SOUL DANCE
  3. Shuumatsu no Fractale (off vocal)
  4. HAPPY SOUL DANCE (off vocal)

1. Shuumatsu no Fractale

Even though faylan is an anison singer of meaning, it doesn’t mean her songs have to be somewhat bland.  Take Shuumatsu no Fractale, I ws pretty disappointed with it, but not as much as I was with “Last vision for last” though.  To me, I think it’s her poppiest song yet and even though I love faylan’s strong vocals in the song, there’s something a bit off and not fitting for her.  Still, very good song to showcase her vocals.  Maybe it’s one of those songs that’ll grow on me in time, like “Honnou no DOUBT”.

2. HAPPY SOUL DANCE

Then again HAPPY SOUL DANCE probably is faylan’s happiest song so far released.  To me, it keeps up with the pop/rock style moreso than the A-side did, but it feels sort of just purely B-side material.  Nothing really stands out to me and it kind of sits in the bland place with songs like “AROUSING SOUL”.

For faylan’s 3rd (or 4th) single, Shuumatsu no Fractale is a more kind of “it’s there” kind of single since neither track fully did anything.  However, I will say Shuumatsu no Fractale does have amazing vocals from faylan and it has potential to grow onto me while HAPPY SOUL DANCE was a bland as it can get!  Album time?

 

Mano Erina – Seishun no Serenade

Filed under: Mano Erina — solarblade @ 12:53 am

Track Listing

  1. Seishun no Serenade
  2. 21 Seikiteki Renai Jijou
  3. Seishun no Serenade (Instrumental)

1. Seishun no Serenade

After that album she put out, it seems Manoeri wanted to start the new year off with an exciting song.  Though I actually enjoy this song quite a bit since it’s a continuation of her more upbeat and synthy sound she established back in the days of “MORE FRIENDS”.  I also notice that Mano’s vocals sound quite deeper than I remembered last but that’s great…could you remember how she sounded in “Manopiano”?  Either way, it’s not a bad A-side this time around.

2. 21 Seikiteki Renai Jijou

I really don’t know what to think about the B-side however.  I actually think this song is so much more favored for a group like S/mileage or the Minimoni/Petitmoni revival units.  This song is just so un-Mano of her since it’s brassy, uber cute, and just sugary in all aspects.  I don’t know but this song is alright, but it’s definitely not in her normal. 

Since it’s the first single of a new era, Seishun no Serenade is actually not that bad of a an A-side and I kind of found it catchy and cute.  As for 21 Seikiteki Renai Jijou, it’s way too out of her comfort zone to be putting herself into and should’ve left it for a group to have done it, not Manoeri.  Though let’s be honest…since Yuu Kikkawa is now a soloist, Manoeri is going to be definitely thrown to the back once she releases her debut.

 

Tohoshinki – Why? (Keep Your Head Down)

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 12:23 am

Track Listing

  1. Why? (Keep Your Head Down)
  2. MAXIMUM
  3. Why? (Keep Your Head Down) -Night Rod man Regeneration Mix- (CD only)
  4. Why? (Keep Your Head Down) -Less Vocal-
  5. MAXIMUM -Less Vocal-

1. Why? (Keep Your Head Down)

If you’ve been living under a rock this last month, then you should be ashamed.  This is actually Tohoshinki’s first single in Japan since three of the members decided to go AWOL on the group.  Also to note, Why? (Keep Your Head Down) is a Japanese take on the main track of their Korean album they released earlier in the month.  There’s not much I can say that I already had in the Korean version, but I will say that the original sounds much more refined and natural for them…plus YUNHO doesn’t sound amazingly nasal in the song.  I know this is a bit of nitpicking…but why couldn’t they changed the ~Wae~ to Why?  I mean lazyness for sure!

2. MAXIMUM

Also a JPN take on the song that was released earlier in the month, MAXIMUM, is quite an interesting dance track from the boys.  While it’s not as forceful and powerful like the A-side, this song actually sounds right being sung in Japanese which is great because YUNHO sounds great and so does CHANGMIN with his lines.  While I think it could’ve been easily a double A-side single, MAXIMUM is pretty good!

3. Why? (Keep Your Head Down) -Night Rod man Regeneration Mix-

The only relatively “new” think for the single is the remix for the A-side.  I don’t think nothing could really surpass the original but it seems other people don’t think the same.  While the song is more lighthearted than the original, it still feels odd listening to the JPN lyrics for the song and the feel doesn’t feel right for the remix.  Crappy remix!

For being THSK’s “comeback single” after the entire debacle, I wasn’t surprised that the main songs were just Japanese sprinkled versions of their Korean stuff.  As such Why? feels too weird for me and I much prefer the Korean version while I love the Japanese version of MAXIMUM more than the original.  Also, the remix?  Yeah it’s pretty bad for remixes let’s be honest.  Hopefully the next single is an original track and not the KOR>JPN transfer.

 

Sukima Switch – Saigo no Hi January 26, 2011

Filed under: Sukima Switch — solarblade @ 1:16 am

Track Listing

  1. Saigo no Hi
  2. Denwaki
  3. Human relations
  4. Saigo no Hi <backing track>

1. Saigo no Hi

After “Ice Cream Syndrome” I was wondering what was gonna be next for the duo and with Saigo no Hi it seems they went for a softer route with the lead track.  Takuya’s vocals sounds really pleasant and sweet, especially when he builds up the more interesting chorus.  The thing that kind of affected me the most was the fact that it was longer than 6 minutes which means this song can have a tendency to drag (mostly in the verses though).  I guess it’s a good A-side, but I liked “Ice Cream Syndrome” quite a bit more.

2. Denwaki

I actually like the rather ethereal feel for Denwake, the first B-side on the single.  Sadly, the song is 5 minutes+ which also has this song leading more towards the forgettable side of things, but I think with the oddball arrangement and soulful vocals from Takuya, it’s a little more tolerable than “Saigo no Hi”.  Is it supposed to be the duo’s winter song?!? because it sounds like one!

3. Human relations

Really? a 9 minute song?  Well it starts with some piano playing the melody but then…I think…Takuya maybe starts talking and of course I have no idea what he’s saying so it leaves in questions for the entire thing because it’s just that.  The entire 9 minutes is just piano and Takuya talking…WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THIS!?!

Seriously, this single was such a downgrade after “Ice Cream Syndrome” that I just don’t have any interest to listen to again.  Saigo no Hi was alright for an A-side and I’m OK with that, but Denwaki’s lack of energy and overall change and the fact Human relations is nothing but talking over a piano…it’s just a failure of a single…probably the first crappy single of 2011…

 

Meisa Kuroki – MAGAZINE

Filed under: Meisa Kuroki — solarblade @ 12:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Intro -MAGAZINE-
  2. LOL!
  3. SWITCH⇔
  4. BYE BYE MY FRIEND
  5. CELEBRATE
  6. SHOCK -Unmei-
  7. Say Good Night☆
  8. As I Am
  9. Why??
  10. Loneliness
  11. LOVEHOLIC
  12. Wasted
  13. 5 -FIVE-
  14. Somewhere…

1. Intro -MAGAZINE-

For being just a indroduction to the album, I was surprised this sounded pretty awesome and quite fresh coming from Meisa.  I mean yea she does only adlib, but the music really stood out with the synths and strings and such.  I actually kind of hoped the album will be as jaw-dropping as the intro was.

2. LOL!

Then we finally start the album with the third A-side released in the era.  I still don’t know what to really think about when it comes to this song since it’s kind of blah from Meisa since she’s not really singing but more like talking through a good portion.  I will admit the drastic change of style is different, but I think the best thing that came from the song was the chorus and that’s about it…

3. SWITCH⇔

After that slight misstep, our first new song off the album actually cleaned up quite nicely after “LOL!”.  Of course there’s still strong amounts of synths present, but I feel Meisa’s performance was a whole lot more better.  While it’s difficult to imagine a PV for it, I can only wonder what’d be like.

4. BYE BYE MY FRIEND

Ok, I get a huge 80’s vibe from our next song, BYE BYE MY FRIEND for some reason, but I think it’s from the arrangement and the way Meisa tackled the song.  While it’s true her vocals are far from being amazing, she actually put a lot of emotion in this one and I have to say it’s one of my favorites from the album right now. 

5. CELEBRATE

To me, CELEBRATE kind of started out like it was going to be like a ballad, but the synth and beats quickly replace it and turns the song into something I would’ve expected to have heard on “hellcat”.  I mean it’s not really much of a celebratory kind of song, but it’s catchy and the beat is solid and nice to listen to.

6. SHOCK -Unmei-

Wow I didn’t think they would go ahead and put SHOCK -Unmei- on the album since it’s so old and such being a 2009 single.  I will admit that in time this song has got better with me with the classical samples and Meisa’s whole ~are you ready for the SHOCK!~ lines in the song.  I still think arrangement-wise, it’s still messy and kind of all over the place, but the song has caught on with me betweem the single release and album.

7. Say Good Night☆

After that hectic track, I was surprised to see Meisa go for more of a mid-tempo kind of track with our next new song.  I really do like the fact that she slowed down and tried for a more nicer tone for her vocals which is great.  I know it’s a pretty strong stretch but this song reminds me of Kuu’s “No Way” but slightly more uptempo.  It’s alright, but it made a weird transition from “SHOCK -Unmei-“.

8. As I Am

Though it’s kind of funny we get back into the more danceish style we’re so used to from Meisa and As I Am kind of takes a similar note from “CELEBRATE”, but I think she ended up doing better with this one because I love the synths found here and the more relaxed nature from Meisa’s vocals.  I think it’s another one of the album’s bests!

9. Why??

Slowing down again for more of a ballad-like sound, Meisa tries to show off her higher pitched vocals in this song and fails quite amazingly in doing so as they’re so thin and offkey that it just ruined the song right from the start.  The verses are alright though I will say, but jeeze that chorus is a huge mess and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

10. Loneliness

For a song to be called Loneliness, I was expecting another ballad type out of this, but I was sorely wrong as this is a return to the more darker dance songs that Meisa pulls off well.  I like how the hooks in the song just stick out and Meisa’s sleek vocals worked the song all over.  It might not be the most amazing song on the album, but it’s darn catchy.

11. LOVEHOLIC

I’m not sure what to make of LOVEHOLIC just quite yet since the arrangement is so much more fitting for Kuu or even BoA to be honest.  The kind of eerie synth/electro sound is quite intriguing for me, but there’s something I think is missing for the song.  Iono, it just feels like there could’ve been more of a boom for it!

12. Wasted

Of all the B-sides and mini-album songs she could’ve chosen, I was so disappointed she had picked Wasted to make the cut over them.  It doesn’t really fit the album much since it’s more pop/rock (AKA: MiChi-like) than all of the other songs so I have no reason why she chose such a meh song.  I did like she brought energy to the song, but it’s just not her if you know what I mean.

13. 5 -FIVE-

Being the middle single released in the era, 5 -FIVE- is still actually the best A-side of the three released because it’s different from what she did previous and has a good amount of hooks and style to it that I couldn’t but love it.  Yes, it’s still slightly all over the place in the arrangement but I really think she did it right this time around.

14. Somewhere…

Closing Meisa’s first full-length album, I wasn’t surprised that Somewhere… was going to be another ballad, but it’s the closest thing to than the others.  The song actually feels more R&B-like as well and I like the relaxing arrangement of acoustic guitar and light synths.  Her voice actually sounds really nice as well…strange she saved this for last because I kind of enjoyed it after the immense amount of dance music.

Tracks Recommended

  • As I Am
  • BYE BYE MY FRIEND
  • Somewhere…
  • Loneliness
  • 5 -FIVE-

Song of Avoidance

  • Why??

So what did I think of Meisa’s first full album?  I actually think it’s quite good for Meisa, but once again there’s times where she lazied up with the arrangements, but the singles pulled that thought out since all three A-sides were wacky tunes.  I honestly would’ve thought she would’ve benefitted from adding the mini-album songs she promoted to add more oomph to the album but I guess not.  It’s a pretty solid release, not amazing, but not terrible either.