Kurayami Monogatari

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lecca – Hakobune ~ballads in me~ March 9, 2011

Filed under: lecca — solarblade @ 10:37 am

Track Listing

  1. Mata Itsuka
  2. ELDORADO
  3. credit
  4. past is
  5. First Sight feat. Daichi Miura
  6. Hakobune

1. Mata Itsuka

lecca and ballads seem pretty strange since we all know lecca’s vocals are quite unique in the J-pop world.  As it was the era’s first digital single, Mata Itsuka opens things on a nice note with a cute melody and marching riffs in the song.  However, lecca’s vocals aren’t really for these slower songs since she likes to use her vocals to give a weird twang like her saying mata itsuka comes off more as ~mater itsukeeeeeer~  it’s gonna take a while to get used to that for sure, but she sounds good in majority of the song.  It’s alright, but has some oddities.

2. ELDORADO

Yeah, ballad mini-album my ass, ELDORADO is definitely not what I’d call a ballad at all.  It’s definitely something I would’ve expected on “Power Butterfly” because of the whole reggaeton kind of sound that’s in the song.  I actually even admire this song because it’s upbeat, catchy and just fun overall and lecca sounds like she’s having fun as well.  Though the random fiddle solo was a bit out of place I must say.  Still, amazing song!

3. credit

As the second digital single released, slowed down again and is probably the closest thing to a ballad we’ll get here.  I like the more acoustic sound we get from the song since it feels like someone’s walking through the streets.  lecca sounds nice still, but there’s something about her vocals that don’t seem to connect to more slower songs.  Maybe it’s just me…iono.

4. past is

Going back to something that’s a little more catchy, past is is slightly more up-tempo than “credit”, but it’s still considered more of a slower song.  Combining the beats with some underlying electric guitars gives things an interesting twist for sure and the piano going up and down through the entire song is nice as well.  lecca once again sounds nice and this time around her vocals actually fit here…but it’s still kind of needs a boost of tempo, I think.

5. First Sight feat. Daichi Miura

Hey, another collaboration featuring the natural beauty, Daichi Miura?  He sure is getting around a lot these days huh?  Then again, whenever I see his name, I immediately think that the song is going to be danceable and oddly enough First Sight is pretty upbeat…maybe not to the degree of “ELDORADO” but enough.  I do think lecca overpowers Daichi whenever the chorus is playing, but their solo parts in the song are great!  I think I like this song a lot right now.

6. Hakobune

As the final and title song, Hakobune starts off with some bongos before it turns into a more lighter version of “credit”.  It’s the kind of song you’d expect to hear on a sunny day and I kind of enjoy it a little bit.  Otherwise, it’s a nice closer, but I don’t remember it like some of the other songs.

3rd mini-album, Hakobune seems like more of an extension of what “Power Butterfly” showed us and while I liked it there were a few problems, mostly with getting used to lecca’s vocals again.  The other thing is…if this was supposed to be a ballad project…they really kind of didn’t get the memo that it should be slow hahaha.  The faster the songs, the better IMO here…

 

Piko – Sakurane

Filed under: Piko — solarblade @ 5:20 am

Track Listing

  1. Sakurane
  2. Kotoba Meteor
  3. Last Chime
  4. Sakurane (PikoLess Version)
  5. Kotoba Meteor (PikoLess Version)
  6. Last Chime (PikoLess Version)

1. Sakurane

Hey, starting a song with some shimasen?  OK, while I do know that Piko got big from his stuff that he did from Nico Nico Douga, I would’ve expected something shocking to come from this, but Piko’s vocals kind of skid across being a guys and a chicks and it’s kind of funny hearing both sides from him.  That being said, he does have tone problems in some parts, but the verses are done quite nicely.  The chorus has some eh parts, but otherwise…not bad…but not totally jaw dropping.

2. Kotoba Meteor

At first when I heard the arrangement, I was kind of thinking of D for some reason.  Now Piko doesn’t have such an amazing voice, he stood out in this song because he really tried to hit high notes quite strongly, but it’s definitely not has strong point.  Otherwise, this song is quite hard-hitting and really sounded nice…but once again the chorus asks too much for Piko and he let it out a bit too much.

3. Last Chime

So our other B-side begins with the 8 note bell melody that’s heard everywhere in Japan of course.  After that, the song turns into a pop song with a lot of piano this time around and Piko singing a little more on the higher side.  He sounds actually controlled and quite good to be honest despite the arrangement not really being anything special. 

As this is Piko’s 3rd single under SONY, Sakurane gave me a taste of what his music for the most part will be like.  Even though he’s a solo act, he kind of stands out with his higher tone to his voice and yet at the same time makes me wonder why he sounds close to a girl’s kind of vocals…it’s puzzling, but interesting.  Anyways, Sakurane and Last Chime sounds nice for pop songs and Kotoba Meteor is the more heavy-set kind of song…nice, but to be honest nothing in the music department stood out for me.

 

Natsuko Aso – Renai Koujou committee

Filed under: Natsuko Aso — solarblade @ 4:46 am

Track Listing

  1. Renai Koujou committee
  2. Sweet Sweet Sweets
  3. Renai Koujou committee (Instrumental)
  4. Sweet Sweet Sweets (Instrumental)

1. Renai Koujou committee

<.<….That’s the face that popped on my face when I turned on Renai Koujou committee.  I should really give up the hope that she’ll return to her old sound now.  Renai Koujou committee is definitely another one of those genki songs from Natsuko and while it’s easier to listen to…it’s still way too busy in the instrumental, but at least I can tell what the melody is supposed to be.  It’s very energetic for sure!

2. Sweet Sweet Sweets

Oh no, the title really got me worried since it would be uberly cute.  However, the song actually isn’t that bad of a song to be honest even though it’s still quite cute.  I love the harmonica/acousic guitar mixed with plucked strings.  It makes me think of Super Mario Sunshine for some strange reason, but I think it’s those combination of instruments.  Natsuko also sounds cute and yet relaxed so it works with the more laidback sound.  Interesting track!

As this is the third single of the era, Renai Koujou committee isn’t all that different when put next to the other singles of the era, but I will say that the B-side is worth a listen since it’s relaxing yet cute…but not overbearing like Renai Koujou committee.  As for the main A-side not much different has really changed from “More-more LOVERS!!” and “Diamond Star☆”.  I wonder how this album will work out…

 

FLOW – 1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 4:29 am

Track Listing

  1. 1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou
  2. 1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou -Instrumental-

1. 1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou

While, I don’t think they’ve done a cover for an A-side…1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou sounds quite interesting and has that leftover “MICROCOSM” sound prevalent through the arrangement.  Of course KOHSHI and KEIGO sound great singing in the song and both give an energetic boost it needs.  I have heard the original from SIAM SHADE and I must say FLOW did a great job here with the song.

I am a little saddened that 1/3 no Juujou na Kanjou has no B-side or remix, but I guess it’ll prolly be on the album along with “Tabidachi Graffiti”.  There’s not much else to say about the single, except they should’ve added to the single and not this, but whatever…I’m being nitpicky…song is great and SIAM SHADE should be happy about this.

 

Mai Kuraki – 1000 Mankai no Kiss

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 4:14 am

Track Listing

  1. 1000 Mankai no Kiss
  2. Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de
  3. 1000 Mankai no Kiss -Instrumental-
  4. Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de -Instrumental-

1. 1000 Mankai no Kiss

Mai-K and ballads have usually been kind of meh in recent times, but I find myself liking 1000 Mankai no Kiss for some reason.  I mean the lack of beats or anything R&B-related was a nice surprise after how long she’s been doing that for other ballads?  I like the airyness of the songs and later on the drums that kind of remind me of “Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you” appear.  I guess it’s a song that builds up over time and I did enjoy this a lot.  Got a winner here.

2. Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de

I’ve also enjoyed Mai-K shifting towards more synth-based stuff and with the B-side we sort of got that, but once again in a more breezy arrangement and lighter sound overall.  It kind of reminds me of the “Diamond Wave” single…but take out the cheezyness and we get this song…it’s nice…but feels familar for some odd reason.

Starting up a new era, 1000 Mankai no Kiss is actually a really nice single from Mai-K.  The A-side surprised me because it did start out as a ballad and ended up turning into an upbeat kind of pop song and it worked out in the end.  Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de is B-side fodder, but it’s one of her better ones she’s had in a while…hmmm good era?  I really hope so!

 

Aya Kamiki – EVILÄLIVE

Filed under: Aya Kamiki — solarblade @ 3:43 am

Track Listing

  1. EVILÄLIVE
  2. crossover
  3. one week
  4. AGAIN
  5. Aria
  6. Japanese Rockin’ Girls
  7. YELL

1. EVILÄLIVE

Beginning Aya’s mini, the title track is definitely true to its name when it’s supposed to sound evil and well…cool.  I actually really like this song for some reason.  It could be from the cool guitar riffs and/or Aya’s powerful singing.  This was definitely something I’ve wanted since she switched to avex since the stuff since has been kind of riding the safety wire.  Good start!

2. crossover

To me, crossover reminds me of songs that were off of “INDIVIDUAL EMOTION” since it’s more low-key and quieter than some of the other songs.  It’s alright, but there’s not much to really look at with this song, but Aya’s deeper vocals sound great for a style like this…I just wish there was more to remember this song by….Why does it remind me of DAI?

3. one week

If there’s anyone that missed her more Avril-like style she had during her GIZA days, one week will definitely remind you of what that was like.  It’s the shortest song on the album, but the positive light it has did its job by pulling out of the more serious songs earlier on.

4. AGAIN

I guess we go back down to more serious songs with AGAIN and to be honest, I don’t feel for the song much either since it’s slower and calls for Aya to be powerful through her vocals which isn’t bad, but we had that with “crossover”.  It might be nice to the Kamiki purists, but since I’m not, I can’t say it left a mark on me.

5. Aria

However, coming into Aria, I was really surprised that the song opened up like a synthy dance track, but quickly shifts over into one of the more exciting songs on the album next to “EVILÄLIVE”.  They even share some of the darker tones as well which makes this even cooler of a song to listen to.  I love this song right now!!!

6. Japanese Rockin’ Girls

Absurd title aside, if you wanted attitude from Ms. Kamiki, JR’G will definitely filled that role quite nicely.  While it doesn’t have the same drive a few other songs have, the attitude and power with the arrangements makes up for more than enough.  Good song and while it might not be the best, it’s damn good.

7. YELL

And closing the mini-album with a ballad, YELL reminded me of ikimono-gakari’s song, though this isn’t a cover….way too soon for that to be happening.  Anyways, YELL is probably Aya’s best ballad on the mini-album since there’s not really any focus on the electric guitars and such…but more with piano.  I thought she sung very well and closed this mini in a nice way.

I did like “Gloriosa” quite a bit here, but I still felt like she took it safe for that release.  EVILÄLIVE did a better job giving Aya hooks and some great arrangements this time around…but there’s a few slow songs that just lack the energy she used to have in them…either way, I’m not sure if she took it up a notch or just stayed, but I do like a few songs more here than on her last mini.