Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

S/mileage – Koi ni Booing Buu! April 29, 2011

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 4:09 am

Track Listing

  1. Koi ni Booing Buu!
  2. Koi wo Shichaimashita! (Regular only)
  3. Hatsukoi no Anata e (Limited only)
  4. Koi ni Booing Buu! (Instrumental)

1. Koi ni Booing Buu!

I kind of was surprised that Koi ni Booing Buu! began we an audience clapping and a gritty guitar opening.  At least that was short and led into something cute and handles the guitars well and doesn’t go into Buono! territory.  I kind of found it to be kind of cute, but I still think the gal’s vocals are a bit too squeaky somewhat and I get slight Minimoni vibes from it all.  I don’t know the names to the voices yet but they still have some toning skills they still need to learn. 

2. Koi wo Shichaimashita!

So we get another Tanpopo cover?  This I have listened to before and I must say S/mileage’s version doesn’t come close to the original to be honest.  I mean it does sound updated for sure and the vocals are ok to mediocre but I’m so used to hearing Kaori, Marippe, Charmy, and Aibon singing this song rather than the S/mileage members to be honest.  I mean “Otome Pasta ni Kandou” was alright, but this cover felt underwhelming overall.

3. Hatsukoi no Anata e

I was surprised though with the other B-side released for the single since it felt like a mix of latin-y and idol-y sounds mixed together (not like “Iroppoi Jirettai” but lighter filled.  I found this to be quite nice and not like the typical cute-fest we’ve have been getting as A-sides which kind of saddens me because this could easily be their best B-side yet. 

S/mileage seems to be slowly getting better in this era but it’s still too early to tell with “Short Cut” being the other single of the era to compare to.  Hatsukoi no Anata e is probably one of their best songs as a group so far and that’s saying something since it’s a B-side and all.  Koi ni Booing Buu! is good as well, but I feel the same way with “Short Cut”.  However they failed with their Tanpopo cover…move to some other songs to cover dang it!!!!

 

BREAKERZ – Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou/CLIMBER×CLIMBER

Filed under: BREAKERZ — solarblade @ 1:49 am

Track Listing

  1. Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou
  2. CLIMBER×CLIMBER
  3. Arigatou ~Beautiful day~

1. Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou

Just going by the art cover of the single, I was guessing there’d be some traditional Japanese strings used in the song to fit the mood of our first A-side.  I was surprised that after the other A-sides in the era, this is a bit more lighter at least until the chorus where the sound grows exponentially and DAIGO grows in power as well.  It’s pretty good and unique from other BREAKERZ’ songs so it’s a step up.

2. CLIMBER×CLIMBER

As for the A-side, it sounds like a couple of other BREAKERZ’ songs (“GRAND FINALE” but with more strings for me is what this track reminds me of).  It isn’t as unique as “Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou” is and seems kind of basic after the last few A-sides were released to be honest.  It’s alright, but not really A-side worthy IMO.

3. Arigatou ~Beautiful day~

Wow, a single that doesn’t end with an acoustic version of an old song!  However, the song compare to the other songs it is a bit more acoustically driven with light acoustic guitar and a bit more of piano and strings.  DAIGO sounds pretty good with the arrangement and while this isn’t rare to see BREAKERZ’ and ballads collide, this is a pretty good song here.

As it’s BREAKERZ’ 3rd single in the era, Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahou/CLIMBER×CLIMBER isn’t too bad of a single, but it’s definitely not as good as the other two singles simply because CLIMBER×CLIMBER felt like a regular ole BREAKERZ tune.  The other two tracks were pretty good and brought even more of some experimentation out of the trio.

 

faylan – Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou. April 28, 2011

Filed under: faylan — solarblade @ 2:47 am

Track Listing

  1. Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou.
  2. DREAM PARADISE
  3. Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou. (off vocal)
  4. DREAM PARADISE (off vocal)

1. Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou.

After a while I was wondering what we’d get with Rasen and it’s somewhat a step-up after “Shuumatsu no Fractale” since the rock arrangement has a bit more push this time around but I feel like faylan’s vocals are taking lightly almost since she doesn’t seem to give her all.  It’s a slight upgrade, but it’s still nowhere near the levels of “Senjou ni Saita Ichirin no Hana”.

2. DREAM PARADISE

Of course I get excited over faylan’s B-sides since they’re so random and always a different sound where the A-side is more anime-ish all the time.  DREAM PARADISE is kind of like country music, but also quite sweet and cute which does surprise me since it’s like so out of character for faylan.  I actually like the amount of surprise English in the song and the fun atmosphere was a plus as well. 

With another single coming out soon (“TOMOSHIBI”), I can hope that single does boost her up since once again the A-side isn’t much to write home about even though it is a little better than her last A-side.  DREAM PARADISE however continues to show faylan’s great way of broadening her sound with a cute country song this time.  I’d say it’s equal to what I thought about “Honnou no DOUBT” to be honest.

 

Namie Amuro – Checkmate!

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 2:18 am

Track Listing

  1. Wonder Woman / Namie Amuro feat. AI & Anna Tsuchiya
  2. UNUSUAL / Namie Amuro feat. Tomohisa Yamashita
  3. make it happen / Namie Amuro feat. AFTERSCHOOL
  4. ROCK U feat. Namie Amuro / ravex
  5. Do What U Gotta Do feat. AI, Namie Amuro & Mummy-D / ZEEBRA
  6. Wet’N Wild feat. Suite Chic / Heartsdales
  7. Do or Die feat. Namie Amuro / JHETT
  8. FAKE feat. Namie Amuro / AI
  9. #1 / Namie Amuro feat. Kaname Kawabata (CHEMISTRY)
  10. BLACK OUT feat. Lil Wayne & Namie Amuro / VERBAL
  11. BLACK DIAMOND / DOUBLE & Namie Amuro
  12. Luvotomy / m-flo ♥ Namie Amuro
  13. AFTER PARTY feat. Namie Amuro / ZEEBRA
  14. WANT ME, WANT ME feat. VERBAL (hidden track)

1. Wonder Woman / Namie Amuro feat. AI & Anna Tsuchiya

We begin the album with the first of the four new songs on the album and I think the first whose PV was shown first as well.  All the aren’t strangers to each others music which is great since Namie & AI has collaborated before and AI and Anna have before as well.  To me the song is another one of the glorified girl power songs, but it’s not so bad.  I do think that Namie and Anna do a great job through the verses they have and AI takes the bridge before all three tackle the chorus.  I actually enjoyed the song a lot and showed that the girls can do power in songs together.

2. UNUSUAL / Namie Amuro feat. Tomohisa Yamashita

The next of the new songs is a collaboration between Namie and Yamapi and it was an interesting choice of collaborations here since it’s a female and male singer.  Of course I know Yamapi since I listen to NEWS and all but this is the first time I could clearly pull his voice out and I kind of like the harmonies between him and Namie with the good synth dance style going on. 

3. make it happen / Namie Amuro feat. AFTERSCHOOL

Namie and K-pop now?  Seems like a match made in heaven if you ask me.  After “UNUSUAL”, this was kind of a nice surprise since the beat is heavier but it does have a good kind of K-pop feel to it.  While the members of AFTERSCHOOL are playing as background support for the most part they sound good, but Namie sounded like she was having fun with the song though.  It’s pretty good, but the previous song sounds better vocal-wise.

4. ROCK U feat. Namie Amuro / ravex

Ahhhh one of the few songs I’ve heard before the album’s idea popped up, ROCK U was her contribution to ravex’s debut album.  It is probably the most electronic of the songs on the album considering the people who produced the song.  My love for the song hasn’t changed too much since reviewing it the first time, though the clicking throughout various parts of the song really are annoying after a while >.>  Still such an epic track for Namie here.

5. Do What U Gotta Do feat. AI, Namie Amuro & Mummy-D / ZEEBRA

Then we get into a bunch of older songs.  Do What U Gotta Do is a bit older being from 2006 and all that and I have not heard the song and it’s quite fast and groovy actually.  I will say Namie’s parts sound pretty sexy and had a good flow to it.  AI also sounds quite good even though she’s not featured as much as Namie.  The rappers are a little blech, but they give an extra boost of attitude to the song.  Not bad really.

6. Wet’N Wild feat. Suite Chic / Heartsdales

I didn’t understand what Suite Chic was really all about and had to research and it seems like the group was like a lot of DJ’s, MCs and a few singles and Namie was a part of this as well.  Clearly though Suite Chic were the secondary importance since both members of Heartsdales were doing their rapping and Namie’s importance was in the chorus.  It’s a good song, but the beat and melody reminds me of Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty”…it’s just too close.

7. Do or Die feat. Namie Amuro / JHETT

Ahhhh, this song has a pretty heavy ass beat and I love the pounding it gives my ears.  I did question where JHETT was during the song, but oddly enough he was the arranger for the song so it just left Namie to sing the song and it’s actually not too bad.  The beat doesn’t really change either so that might be bad since it becomes a little repetitive down the line, but not bad.

8. FAKE feat. Namie Amuro / AI

The most recent of the collaborations (that aren’t new), FAKE was such a great track to listen to because it showed off a lot more of soul from both AI and Namie in the verses and such.  It did get tiring after a while hearing ~fake, fake~ so many times so that actually brought the experience down a bit. 

9. #1 / Namie Amuro feat. Kaname Kawabata (CHEMISTRY)

I actually quite enjoyed #1 a bit since it had a deep and bass-filled slow that made me nod my head to it.  I like Namie’s vocals which are full of a sexual charge that works.  Kaname does pretty well also, giving a male version of sexy and together it just worked like crazy.  Not bad and simple in terms of arrangement so it did its job nicely.

10. BLACK OUT feat. Lil Wayne & Namie Amuro / VERBAL

Finally, our last of the new songs, BLACK OUT is a surprise since it features Lil Wayne and we all know how big he is in America.  Namie takes up a bit of the chorus and she sounds good but sadly isn’t the important one in the song since VERBAL takes a lot of the rapping in the song.  Lil Wayne takes up the second verse and he sounds like his usual self doing his rapping all creepy and all that.  Interesting song, but it felt oddly short from that rapping sections and how many times Namie sang the chorus.

11. BLACK DIAMOND / DOUBLE & Namie Amuro

Oh god, if there was a song that I seriously was craving for a lot of the time, BLACK DIAMOND was actually one of those kind of songs.  It’s just that epic of a collaboration for some reason and both DOUBLE and Namie pull this beat-driven sexy track with ease.  I definitely still enjoy the song and it’s power between the two gals.

12. Luvotomy / m-flo ♥ Namie Amuro

Hmmm, another dance track but this time under Taku and VERBAL?  I like the synth arrangement that Taku produced here since it’s so deep and easily danceable.  VERBAL is here and there in the song but Namie was clearly the star here since she had more time.  Overall the song isn’t as electro and heavy like “ROCK U” but this had a good feel to it though.

13. AFTER PARTY feat. Namie Amuro / ZEEBRA

Of all the songs on the album, AFTER PARTY sounds so unlike Namie for some reason and more like a song that would fit with Janet Jackson for some apparant reason.  Beyond the pretty cool and laidback arrangement, I found it hard to pay attention because while Namie’s vocals sound pretty and smooth, ZEEBRA completely bored the hell out of me and sounded like a drunk creeper with the mumbling going on.  Not so sure where I stand with the song right now.

14. WANT ME, WANT ME feat. VERBAL

Even though “AFTER PARTY” should close the album, we get a hidden track to close things out and it’s an edited version of one of Namie’s dirty A-sides if not the dirtiest.  It’s essentially the same song, but there’s things that are different as well like Namie’s removal for the verses and being replaced by VERBAL’s raps.  To be honest the song in its original form was perfect and a rap just kind of ruined things…sorry.

Tracks Recommended

  • BLACK DIAMOND
  • UNUSUAL
  • Wonder Woman
  • ROCK U
  • #1

Song of Avoidance

  • AFTER PARTY

I found it weird that I was expecting more R&B on the album than anything and was surprised that a lot were songs that could’ve been easy dance tracks.  A lot of the songs sound good to the ears and I can see myself liking this altogether despite not having any ballads or such.  Good party album ^_^

 

Mika Nakashima – Dear April 26, 2011

Filed under: Mika Nakashima — solarblade @ 8:11 pm

Track Listing

  1. Dear
  2. A MIRACLE FOR YOU (2011)
  3. Dear (Instrumental)
  4. A MIRACLE FOR YOU (2011) (Instrumental)

1. Dear

It has been a little while since Mika has released “STAR” and she did say she was taking a break from music because of illness.  Anyways back to the main song on the single, Dear is unfortunately (for me) another ballad from Mika.  I do like that instead of before this time she opted for a more guitar-ladened arrangement and it was a nice change after the last few singles.  Her vocals sound better than it did as well which is a good sign for sure.  Still, I want something different from a ballad next time.

2. A MIRACLE FOR YOU (2011)

As it was the final track off of Mika’s debut album “TRUE”, A MIRACLE FOR YOU was revamped as the B-side of this single.  I don’t remember much of it when I reviewed it but I do remember that there was a pretty interesting gospel kind of feel with it.  It’s nice to see that Mika resang that song and that there’s no extra vocals present as well.  It’s a more bare-boned revision, but it’s nice.

I’m prolly going to be biased but I’m kind of getting tired of Mika ballads right now since the last few haven’t been really all that great in memory and such.  Dear does try to switch the normal ballad formula by being more acoustically guitar-based, but it’s a ballad through and through.  I did like Mika’s vocals though and it continued to the revision of A MIRACLE FOR YOU.  The B-side was a nice treat, but took out a lot of what made the original nice to listen to…it’s ok I guess, but nothing jaw-dropping.

 

Kanako Ito – Hacking to the Gate

Filed under: Kanako Ito — solarblade @ 7:34 pm

Track Listing

  1. Hacking to the Gate
  2. Reliance
  3. Hacking to the Gate (off vocal)
  4. Reliance (off vocal)

1. Hacking to the Gate

I like Kanako’s songs so for for the most part and while Hacking to the Gate sounds like typical anime fare, it’s not too bad and the energy from the arrangement keeps it afloat.  Kanako’s vocals are alright though, but it’s not as good as it was in “A.R.”.  I think it’ll take time to get used to this track, but it’s not that bad to be honest.

2. Reliance

Of course for having an upbeat track as the A-side, it comes as not surprise that the B-side is slower and more of a ballad.  Reliance is more catered for Kanako’s vocals as they take a lighter route with the mostly piano-based arrangement that changes into a rock setting in the choruses.  It’s a bit more interesting than “Star-crossed” that’s for sure.

As this is Kanako’s fourth single in the era (prolly album time soon), Hacking to the Gate isn’t a bad effort from her and it kind of sits in the middle of where I like it fully or not.  Both songs do sound nice, but sound safe when compared to the previous three singles she released.  I guess it’s alright otherwise.

 

Kou Shibasaki – wish

Filed under: Kou Shibasaki — solarblade @ 1:49 am

Track Listing

  1. wish
  2. Kimi to Saigo no Kiss
  3. EUPHORIA -studio live version-
  4. Mukei Spirit -studio live version-
  5. wish -studio live version-
  6. wish -instrumental-

1. wish

I kind of was lost at what Kou was doing in “Mukei Spirit” but she came back with wish.  I’m not sure how to describe the song, but it’s like an upbeat ballad with a good synth beat put to it.  I kind of enjoy this song quite a bit since it isn’t so grandiose or trying to be, it kind of flows like a dream and sounds really pretty overall.  It’s pretty soothing overall and feels like it’ll do well on the album since it’s on it.

2. Kimi to Saigo no Kiss

As the lone B-side, Kimi to Saigo no Kiss does let off on the seriousness from “wish” and gives a more acoustic guitar-based track that kind of sounds pretty simple from Kou.  I will say that I did enjoy the laidback tone of the song and Kou sounds really nice surprisingly.  It doesn’t have the long-lasting value that the A-side truly had, but it’s a fitting B-side for it’s almsot latin flair.

3. EUPHORIA -studio live version-

The rest of the single is covered in studio takes of the A-sides of the era, starting with the first, EUPHORIA.  There’s not too much that’s changed around for the version besides sounding like it’s performed in a studio which might be a nice change of pace.  To me, it sounds a lot cleaner in the arrangement so that oddly surprises me.  I actually consider this over the original 😄

4. Mukei Spirit -studio live version-

Likewise, Mukei Spirit’s studio live is also making the song a lot more cleaner sounding.  It has less of the synths involved as well which was one of the reasons I kind of disliked the original a bit and the fact it was so messy to begin with.  It doesn’t sound as cluttered as it once was and the garage feel to it is amazing. 

5. wish -studio live version-

It was going to be tough to bypass wish however since the song sounds so good with the synths basically, but it seems the bass has a bit more prominence to replace it.  It takes an already simple song and makes it even moreso by taking the electronic stuff.  It’s alright, but now it sounds rather too plain

Kou finishes the “CIRCLE CYCLE” era with a pretty good single overall.  I think wish is my favorite A-side of the era and while the B-side isn’t terribly special it’s a good listen.  The studio live versions of her A-sides are all pretty damn good with EUPHORIA and Mukei Spirit’s being way better than the original counterparts while wish’s was alright but too simple.  I’m also happy to see that “Honto da yo.” isn’t on the album because it was prolly one of her most boring single’s ever 😄