Kurayami Monogatari

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Haruka Tomatsu – Oh My God♥ July 12, 2011

Filed under: Haruka Tomatsu — solarblade @ 7:53 am

Track Listing

  1. Oh My God♥
  2. Orange☆Smoothie
  3. Oh My God♥ (Instrumental)

1. Oh My God♥

It’s no surprise that Haruka does cute songs since it’s her job is to be cute XD.  Oh My God though does switch things up for her since instead of the cutesy pop style I’m used to her, this track is more along the lines of a pop/rock song and it’s a good shock to me.  Haruka might be tapping into her genki seiyuu style but it’s not headache inducing like when others try it.  It’s not a bad song, but it doesn’t fully stand out like previous A-sides from her.

2. Orange☆Smoothie

The B-side feels like it fits here simply because it’s summer time and all that.  It does continue to have a pop/rock kind of feel but the guitars have better riffs in the song.  I won’t stress to admit that Haruka is acting oddly cuter in this tune than in the A-side.  Ehhhh, it’s alright, but it’s definitely B-side material from her.

 

 

I don’t think Oh My God♥ surpasses “Baby Baby Love” in the least but I like that Haruka tried for more guitars in this release.  Sadly I felt both songs came up too short and didn’t really show off Haruka really well in the vocal department.  What happened to the good vocals from her last single?

 

JUJU – YOU

Filed under: JUJU — solarblade @ 7:32 am

Track Listing

  1. Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo
  2. Sayonara wo Kawari ni
  3. Tsuyogari
  4. If
  5. Negai
  6. Voice
  7. Love again
  8. Memories
  9. Piece Of Our Days
  10. Trust In You
  11. Mata Ashita…
  12. ANTIQUE
  13. YOU

1. Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo

Starting the album with JUJU’s second A-side released in the era, Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo to me at first seemed like an odd choice to begin her fourth album, but I guess I can see why she chose it since it’s a slow starter and grows into something kind of catchy for me.  Despite the R&B feel stuck to it and slightly making the ride a little stale, I think JUJU did very well with vocals and there’s places that sound quite perfect.  Ok, good start!

2. Sayonara wo Kawari ni

I wasn’t worried that the primary 3rd A-side of the era wasn’t going to make it because simply, it’s the best thing she released in the entire era!  I love the heavier beat that’s carried in the song much more as well since it gives the tune a bit more of a punch to go along with JUJU’s smooth vocals.  I love this song a whole lot and to be honest…it might be my favorite JUJU song surpassing “Sunao ni Naretara”.

3. Tsuyogari

Getting into two new tracks next, Tsuyogari tones things down quite a bit after “Sayonara wo Kawari ni” to a more mid-tempo kind of track with strings and up-front drums.  I still find myself enjoying JUJU’s vocal performance and the tune does sound a bit more livelier than many of the era’s other tracks. 

4. If

I must say that I also enjoy whenever JUJU delves into her jazzy side to her music and If fills that space quite nicely especially since it’s fun and upbeat and JUJU is doing pretty well singing along with the upbeat arrangement.  I did find it lulzy that I kept finding myself thinking that the chords of the tune remind me of Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”.  Absurd, but kind of funny as well.  I liked this track quite a bit.

5. Negai

I’m surprised of the sudden change of emotions from “If” to Negai (the secondary 3rd A-side released).  Like I said in the single review, it’s nothing new that we haven’t heard with other songs of the era (or the last era for the matter) and it really caters to the fans of JUJU’s ballads.  I mean you have the dramatic strings and strong verses and choruses.  I guess it’s alright, but I’m finding myself rather tuned out from this song.

6. Voice

Yeah, very strange to have thrown in “Negai” in such a place because Voice brings the beats in and it reminds me of a more strings-based version of “Sayonara wo Kawari ni” and I approve since it’s another strong tune for JUJU since it’s pretty dance-forward and she sounds quite great.  Sounds like a perfect Springtime song!  This is probably my favorite amongst the new songs.

7. Love again

If you’ve read my review for “Mata Ashita…” you can tell I wasn’t fond of the entire single and it really boggles my mind to see why she added Love again to the album.  Being after “Voice” also shows that it’s a little disappointing and almost like album fodder.  I mean besides the amount of English used, it’s just like “Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo” but a little lighter?

8. Memories

I’m surprised that JUJU took some notes from Kana Nishino (or lecca) since Memories has this poppy, light reggaeton vibe and I found myself surprised at this little tap of experimentation here.  I’ve also noticed that JUJU sounds a bit more girly and not vocally as compelling as she is in the previous tracks.  It’s interesting and shows a rather new side to JUJU but I can also see her fixing and making something even better with this style…but this isn’t too bad.

9. Piece Of Our Days

Unfortunately, the next three songs are IMO the album’s true boring stuff starting with “Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo’s” B-side.  I guess it isn’t as bad as the next two tracks since it’s got a sweet acoustic vibe with small blips of jazz throughout and that’s pretty good for such a down-tempo kind of song.  I take it back, Piece Of Our Days isn’t as blah as I first remembered it…then again it does create the bridge into blahville XD

10. Trust In You

As the album’s first A-side released, Trust In You was definitely a dropoff after the previous single (which was that quadruple A-side).  I mean it is upbeat and pretty synthy which is great and all but damn did this song sounds so much like Nami Tamaki’s “Omoide ni Naru no?”.  Like in “If” the chords really make it sound similar and I was just bored immediately from the song no matter how hard JUJU was trying to not make it sound as such.

11. Mata Ashita…

I might be the only one that actually wished she hadn’t released Mata Ashita… as a single since it felt rather useless to do it.  As the second ballad A-side released (sharing with “Negai”…and “Hello, Again” doesn’t count), Mata Ashita… doesn’t really stand out on this album as well since it just feels like it was tacked on because JUJU needed more ballads.  Since “Negai” did come first I prefer that track to this one, but TBH they’re one in the same lol.

12. ANTIQUE

I will say it does suck that the last two new and final tracks are also ballads.  They’re also both the two longest tracks as well, reaching over 6 minutes at the least.  Starting with the longer of the two, ANTIQUE actually starts quite softly with JUJU and acoustic guitar.  After a little bit of this it slowly grows into a full ballad with piano, strings, and background vocals…I also notice small sounds of like water dripping and paper crumbling…I want this explained!!!!  It’s a nice song but WAYYYYYYY too long.

13. YOU

Finally closing the album is the title track, YOU and as a 6 minute ballad I was expecting maybe something a little better than a simple ballad that feels like “Tsuyogari”.  I’m very unimpressed here and despite good vocals and a good range, this tune does nothing for me and I was still dealing with “ANTIQUE” sleep-inducing arrangement!

Tracks Recommended

  • Voice
  • Sayonara wo Kawari ni
  • If
  • Piece Of Our Days

Song of Avoidance

  • YOU

I wasn’t even excited for JUJU’s album to be honest, but I think YOU was a pretty strong album but doesn’t surpass “JUJU” since that album had a little more experimentation.  I thought this album was pretty good from the beginning right up to Piece of Our Days and then just crash-landed for me in the remaining songs.  I think she should avoid slamming the ballads towards the end…especially ANTIQUE and YOU…two long ass ballads…ugh.  Still the rest of the album is quite good!

 

Miliyah Kato×Shota Shimizu – BELIEVE

Filed under: Miliyah Kato — solarblade @ 12:22 am

Track Listing

  1. BELIEVE
  2. My love goes on
  3. Love Forever (DAISHI DANCE REMIX)
  4. BELIEVE (Instrumental)

1. BELIEVE

I’m not surprised that Miliyah and Shota would collaborate again since this is the third A-side they’ve done together.  I will say that this is a stronger collaboration than their first one, “Love Forever”.  It’s not a slow song and is more towards a mid-tempo synthy R&B song but I actually found myself enjoying it even though neither singers really do much in the vocal area.  So it’s a rather safe song for the duo, but not bad to be honest.

2. My love goes on

I’m a little surprised we got another synth-based track but another Miliyah/Shota collaboration is a pretty good move.  It’s a little less exciting than “BELIEVE”, but the beat is still pretty constant.  Miliyah did a much better job singing here in my opinion, but Shota sounds rather nasally in this song…either way My love goes on is not as great as the A-sides but this is rather passable.

3. Love Forever (DAISHI DANCE REMIX)

The surprise on this single is that there’s a remix of Love Forever (their first collaborative A-side).  Of course I’m no stranger to DAISHI DANCE and his remixes always turns out to be pretty interesting for most of the remixes he’s done.  I love the dance-style mixed with piano and synths.  Though the beginning is a little long-winded and kind of annoying at first.  Once Miliyah and Shota come in with actual vocals it sounds great and adds more synths afterwards.  Long remix, but typical great DAISHI DANCE remix.

 

 

While I think the A-side will be one Miliyah’s next album, BELIEVE is actually quite a strong single overall with all three songs being more stronger than their previous effort.  Even the remix of Love Forever sounds great (maybe a lil too long) but still great single!