Kurayami Monogatari

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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 XD

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 XD