Kurayami Monogatari

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S/mileage – Tachiagirl September 30, 2011

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 9:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Tachiagirl
  2. Smile Ondon (Limited A, B & Regular edition only)
  3. Boogie Train ’11 (Limited C edition only)
  4. S/mileage Singles Gekijou Moe Remix (Limited D edition only)
  5. Tachiagirl (Instrumental)

1. Tachiagirl

Between the release of their last single, “Uchouten LOVE” and this one I have gotten used to hearing who’s who in this group which is bad timing since on of their best members Saki left prior to the release and then five members were added to the group (though as sub-members as strange as that sounds).  I must say after a while their last A-side kept given my headaches with the amount of damn synths blasting in my ears.  This one is much easier to take and is pretty darn cute and the chorus is super catchy for me!  Now I figured out that I dislike Yuuka vocals the most and love Kanon’s lines while poor Ayaka is in the middle.  OH? Are you asking about the sub-members?  They don’t do much in the song except various ~whoos!~ and ~whoa yeahs!!~.  Lame, but this is still a great A-side (not as good as “Short Cut”, but darn close!).

2. Smile Ondon

There are a few Ondo-styled songs in the H!P library already so Smile Ondon isn’t a surprise but coming from S/mileage it’s just had to happen!  Once again the sub-members get shafted for the song and do background crap while the three main ladies take over for the solo lines.  It’s bouncy little tune for sure and once again, I’m loving Kanon’s vocals for this tune the most.  As odd of a style Ondo is, this song is cute (maybe the cutest S/mileage song yet?)

3. Boogie Train ’11

Ahhh a cover of Miki Fujimoto’s big hit, but updated!  I mean who didn’t like the fun Mikitty song?  S/mileage’s version isn’t too far from the original and keeps the same energetic arrangement that made it awesome in the first place.  I will say that I was surprised that the key of the song was moved up to fit the ladies’ pitch (and make it more brighter perhaps?).  I’d say they did a good job updating, but Miki’s will forever be cherished more I think.

4. S/mileage Singles Gekijou Moe Remix

  • Suki-chan
  • Yumemiru 15sai
  • Uchouten LOVE

Closing the single out is a medley of what I think is S/mileage’s biggest tunes.  I like the beginning of the song with the piano playing along the chorus of Suki-chan.  There’s just something strange going on after it starts and it definitely comes with knowing the it’s a remix and the members are all auto-tuned (of course Saki is here too).  The tune doesn’t last long before it breaks down and moves towards the Yumemiru 15sai section.  I have to say that between the three songs chosen, this one was the best section!  I have to say it sounds perfect and would’ve made better if it was full.  I just love hearing the members under the filter/auto-tune here (especially Saki and Kanon).  Then we move into the section that remixes Uchouten LOVE and thank god they took out the gritty and annoying synths!  It really let’s the lyrical melody take better shape IMO and the chorus (while still the most memorable thing) is quite catchy.  Overall it’s a good medley and all, but I think a couple more tunes would’ve been nice, but that’s just me nitpicking.

 

 

 

This single marks a lot of things for S/mileage.  A. It’s the first release without original member Saki Ogawa and she left a big chunk of missing vocal awesomeness IMO.  2. It’s the first for the five sub-members (even though they were nearly invisible in this release) which brings the question why even do this to them if they aren’t gonna get anywhere (well they do have that project they’re doing but still…it would be nice to hear them sing rather than yell one-liners) 3. It’s also the first and only single for sub-member Fuyuka Kosuga who left because of severe anemia (though she’s involved in the Hello! Project Mobekimasu single oddly enough).  Last, but not least, the 4th thing is that it’s the first and only single with this sub-member crap since we figure who made the group’s cut.

Anywho!  To the single itself, Tachiagirl is pretty cutesy for the group and they haven’t really had one this era that’s originally their own so awesome for getting one out with the third A-side of the era.  Smile Ondon was even cuter for them and that was pretty well done too (then again they’ve been doing well for themselves B-sides-wise at least.  The cover of Mikitty’s hit was an interesting take that’s for sure and the remix medley was a nice treat for the fans.  I wish we had a little more of the sub-members but what can ya do?

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Tohoshinki – TONE

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 7:18 am

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~magenta~
  2. B.U.T. (BE-AU-TY)
  3. I Think U Know
  4. Duet
  5. Thank you my girl
  6. Telephone
  7. Back to Tomorrow
  8. Why? (Keep Your Head Down)
  9. MAXIMUM
  10. I Don’t Know
  11. Superstar
  12. Shiawase Iro no Hana
  13. Easy Mind (CD only & CD+DVD A only)
  14. Weep (CD only & CD+DVD B only)
  15. Somebody To Love -2011 Version- (CD only)

1. Introduction ~magenta~

As a quick introduction, magenta is a little odd for me seeing that all I’ve heard in the era was upbeat tracks and this is so totally felt strange since it’s all orchestral and moving with both members singing…but I think CHANGMIN sung more…I think?

2. B.U.T. (BE-AU-TY)

Even stranger that it’s led into our promotional tune for the album, which is like our previous released material and that’s synthy and upbeat but BE-AU-TY has something that’s kind of chill and cool to listen to.  Of course it sounds like CHANGMIN takes the verses while YUNHO takes most of the other parts.  I like it, but still doesn’t beat “Why?” tbh.

3. I Think U Know

Our next song was released as a digital single quite a while before this was released and to be honest this song is even more electronic than the previous tune and I’m not sure if I’m enjoying both CHANGMIN and YUNHO being thrown under the auto-tune bus (my problem back on “Superstar”).  I will say the chorus is kind of ridiculous with the title being repeated so much under CHANGMIN’s high pitched voice but at the same time, this gritty electro sound works for them.  Please though…take off the auto-tune.

4. Duet

I was wondering if this album was going to be one style since it seemed that way with the singles and such, but Duet proves me wrong by being a mid-tempo R&B track.  I kind of liked the song up to the chorus where it felt cluttered but the verses were where the duo shined the most out of this song.  Sadly, you can tell that it would’ve sounded better if it was YUCHUN or JUNSU leading this one clearly…but the two members did a good effort.

5. Thank you my girl

Weird that it’d begin as the way it does with strings and then it kind of gets pulled back for this rather aggressive hip-pop tune.  I like the strings being utilized but at the same time, that chorus feels a little cluttered for some reason.  It just reminds me of the previously released songs and I’m just not buying it here…even though the beginning had potential to be awesome lol.

6. Telephone

It would’ve been damn hilarious if this was a cover of Lady Gaga’s version…but no it’s an original piece of work.  I think this song impressed me quite a bit by being light and fluffy but not being cheesy and well boring.  Plus it’s nice to hear the guys sing in a much lighter tone as well.  It isn’t cluttered like some of the previous songs either…ok prolly the smoothest song on the album so far IMO.

7. Back to Tomorrow

Which brings us to our next song with Back to Tomorrow.  I love the descending piano melody and YUNHO singing the first lines and such.  I like that it has a bit more bite to it than “Telephone” which is always good since the chorus is brash and a bit more forceful I think.  I think I like this more than the last track actually!

8. Why? (Keep Your Head Down)

I wish they didn’t squish the next four songs together since they are the previous released material that represented the era.  While I still consider the Korean version of the tune more than this one, it isn’t terrible and I still love the heavy and the in your face arrangement.  I mean it’s a little strange hearing the song being sung by the guys in Japanese…there’s just less of an attitude here.  At least YUNHO’s raps don’t seem very icky here…odd…

9. MAXIMUM

On the flipside of the coin, MAXIMUM sounds better in Japanese than in its original format.  I do think opening with the shamisen was a bit strange…and maybe a little unneeded for an album but whatever.  I like the almost tribal-like feel here and it moves quite nicely along with a clappable beat to go along with.  YUNHO of course does a better job singing here more than CHANGMIN but that’s only a small difference.  Fitting tune!

10. I Don’t Know

We get I Don’t Know next and I’m forgetting what this one sounded like again since it comes after two upbeat tracks AGAIN!  I do think the mysterious and sexual side does sound quite cool and CHANGMIN yelling the chorus is memorable (but not in a good way).  At least YUNHO saves the song with his MC-ing and all that. 

11. Superstar

Second A-side released and I’m still not impressed by it.  Just like “I Think U Know”, Superstar is also under a lot of auto-tune and it’s still something that the duo shouldn’t even need to use.  I mean beyond that it’s like some of the stuff earlier on in the album.  At least the chorus isn’t repetitive right?  Ok…maybe repeating ~superstar~ is a little ick…but I’ll survive.

12. Shiawase Iro no Hana

Really out of nowhere comes this near 7 minute ballad in Shiawase Iro no Hana.  Ballads should never really be sooooo damn long if you ask me!  Also being the purest ballad on the album it’s known that these two aren’t the “good” ballad dudes unlike JYJ and all that.  I can tell YUNHO is struggling (or is it CHANGMIN?) that’s struggling to keep it together without sounding a little whiny.  I guess it’s alright, but couldn’t they have done a shorter ballad?

13. Easy Mind

I really don’t like when they split songs to different editions of the albums.  Luckily all three songs are found on the CD only cut of the album to alleviate the problem.  To me, it’s a little bit of a strange song since it’s poppy and has whistling going on.  What is this “Box in the ship” pt. 2?  Yeah, that’s how I feel about this song.  I kind of enjoy the song despite being a little cheesy hahaha. 

14. Weep

Weep comes next and to me it kind of comes off kind of like “Duet” in a way because the styles are similar but Weep’s is more positive and has a happier glow unlike the other song.  I don’t remember much of it though after a while and I kind of put it in the back of my mind lol!

15. Somebody To Love -2011 Version-

One can only wonder how JYJ feels about a new version of the Toho’s 3rd A-side released in their careers in Japan.  I never heard the original so I can’t say much, but damn it sounds rather dated for me XD.  It sounds like american teeny-bop music which is strange to say about THSK given they’re a K-pop group LOL.  It does feel empty though without JYJ and I’m sure fans of theirs would be hating this a little more.

Tracks Recommended

  • Back to Tomorrow
  • Easy Mind
  • MAXIMUM
  • I Think U Know
  • Telephone

Song of Avoidance

  • Weep

Tohoshinki’s first album as a duo effort is alright, but a bit of a step down when compared to their last album, “The Secret Code” for a lot of reasons but I won’t go through them since this is a transitioning process still to HoMin for the most part.  TONE does sound good and above average if you don’t compare it to their last album…but this one lacks the powerhouse tunes that THSK has been known for.  Yeah, it’s alright, but not amazing in anyway lol

 

faylan – ALIVE September 29, 2011

Filed under: faylan — solarblade @ 4:12 am

Track Listing

  1. ALIVE
  2. I don’t know
  3. Last vision for last
  4. Shoujiki ni Ikiro
  5. Honnou no DOUBT
  6. Bourei-tachi yo Yabou no Hate ni Nemuru
  7. TOMOSHIBI
  8. LOVED SEASON
  9. Kioku no Himitsu
  10. Shizuka na Mitsu Yori Akai Mitsu
  11. DEAR BEST FRIEND
  12. INFINIT CRISIS
  13. Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou.
  14. MOTHER!
  15. Subarashii Kimi e

1. ALIVE

faylan’s album starts things off with the title track and I must say I was impressed with the opening here with faylan and piano and then growing into this animu-rock track.  I have to say even then, the song keeps up being awesome for sure!  The chorus is strong and loud and features her in a broader tone.  Great opening tune that’s for sure!

2. I don’t know

After the rather rockin’ first song, I don’t know comes in as a surprise for me with the beginning with synth blips and faylan under auto-tune.  I think it’s pretty interesting of a song if not a tad slow for me since it feels like the tempo should be faster.  I still love the aggressive mood if sends off for sure and faylan still sounds quite powerful as well.  Sexy too perhaps…I like this one.

3. Last vision for last

As it is marked as the A-side that began the era, Last vision for last does slightly carry over from “I don’t know” with the synth/rock mixture and while I did say then it was pretty terrible, I think it grew but only a little bit because it’s not as epic as some of the A-sides from “Polaris”.  The fluctuating synths in the song do bother me, but it gies the song a bit more color I guess!

4. Shoujiki ni Ikiro

I like that after two of the most synthier songs comes a new straight rock song from faylan.  I think after all of the mid-tempo A-sides of the era, I think Shoujiki ni Ikiro does a great job in pulling me back into her music once again because this is what I loved about her (minus the epic anime themes in the past era).  faylan just sounds powerful in this one that’s for sure.  A quick favorite actually!

5. Honnou no DOUBT

The second A-side released comes next and unlike “Shoujiki ni Ikiro’s” more aggressive and darker-tinged arrangement, Honnou no DOUBT reverses it to where the song sounds fun and upbeat.  faylan didn’t lose one bit of her energy and gave a lot of needed strength for the song.  It isn’t my favorite of the A-sides but it’s close so that’s a good thing right?

6. Bourei-tachi yo Yabou no Hate ni Nemuru

Our next song reminds me of another song, but I’m not sure which one right now.  Bourei-tachi yo Yabou no Hate ni Nemuru is so far the song that sounds like a normal anime-themed tune with guitars and strings.  I do feel like it’s a bit bland compared to the last few tracks but like with other faylan mid-tempo rock tunes, it’s saved by her voice.  Still, there’s just not a lot going for it to be honest here.

7. TOMOSHIBI

As the fourth A-side mentioned on this album (“Shuumatsu no Fractale” was oddly omitted from the album), TOMOSHIBI is my favorite of the era and it’s all thanks to an applicable melody and good riffs throughout.  It sounds rockin’ like some light SPYAIR song but with faylan’s vocals which is pretty awesome.  Still not as amazing as past singles but this is pretty cool!

8. LOVED SEASON

It seems the new songs take some new styles like the case of LOVED SEASON which is something I didn’t expect to come from faylan.  Also, most of the songs have been guitar-based so it’s unusual to hear this song which replaces the guitars with keyboards and synths for a sound that kind of is like early Ayu and ELT….maybe a little girl next door?  It’s different that’s for sure but she did it quite well.  Still might be a little odd for an album like this.

9. Kioku no Himitsu

Now this tune is definitely something that’s even more anime-esque than some of the other tune.  It does kind of remind me of the strange factors that made up “Dark Side of the Light”, but this is a bit more lighter.  I was surprised at the fast and smushed in verses and then the powerful chorus.  It’s a bit much for a song so I’m not too big of a fan here.

10. Shizuka na Mitsu Yoru Akai Mitsu

As one of two B-sides making the album’s cut, the first is the one from “Last vision for last” and I was happy with this choice because it’s in the same veins as “Errand” and the like and it’s just an amazing tune from her and keeps up with the strong presence of synths and guitars!  One of the album’s best songs to be honest!

11. DEAR BEST FRIEND

Like “LOVED SEASON”, DEAR BEST FRIEND sticks out like a sore thumb on this album by being one of the more slower yet R&B-ish tunes in her discography.  It’s a strange tune since it’s so uncharacteristic plus it doesn’t really have much going for it minus that synth solo in the song.  I guess there is something about that’s rather tame and faylan’s shows beautiful vocals to compensate for the songs that have her powered vocals.

12. INFINIT CRISIS

With a title like that I was definitely hoping it was going to be epic and INFINIT CRISIS does it quite well.  It’s dark, has faylan singing in a deeper tone than normal which gives it a mature and fierce strike and it just moves like some of the other dark tracks she has.  I was a little confused with the bridge right when it swerves oddly into the chorus but that’s my only issue because the rest of the song is just faylan at her best!!!

13. Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou.

As the 3rd A-side released for the era, Rasen, Arui wa Seinaru Yokubou. might not have made a strong impression through its single (since the era was just full of rock tunes).  I’d say that it does a little better job on the album, but it still kind of feels underneath most of the tracks on the album since there’s a lot of these under her belt.  This is probably my least favorite of the era actually!

14. MOTHER!

MOTHER! to me sounds like it should parallel “Last vision for last” because it’s a mixture of guitars and synths.  However, this sounds upbeat and bright like “Honnou no DOUBT”…so it’s a mixture of two songs into one package lol.  It’s kind of just there and doesn’t really leave much of an impression like the other new tracks did.

15. Subarashii Sekai e

Fitting that the B-side from “TOMOSHIBI” would close the album since it is also the ONLY ballad on here as well.  It might not be as powerful like “Senjou ni Saita Ichirin no Hana”, but it’s a fitting tune and the strings being the main thing behind the song worked nicely.  Like I said she sounds beautiful, but the song doesn’t feel like something she would love to do…kind of lacks movement for me…

Tracks Recommended

  • Shizuka na Mitsu Yoru Akai Mitsu
  • INFINIT CRISIS
  • ALIVE
  • Shoujiki ni Ikiro
  • TOMOSHIBI

Song of Avoidance

  • Kioku no Himitsu

faylan’s sophomore effort, ALIVE really didn’t strive too much too much to be any different from her debut, “Polaris” but somehow I actually think she did better on this album actually.  I mean the songs here felt more produced which is good and there was less blandness going around.  I am a little surprised to see that she omitted “Shuumatsu no Fractale” since it was released in the middle of the era and such and three of the five B-sides weren’t found as well!  Solid album release for sure!

 

Stereopony – Arigatou September 28, 2011

Filed under: Stereopony — solarblade @ 9:30 am

Track Listing

  1. Arigatou
  2. Tsukiakari no Michishirube -Acoustic Ver-
  3. Arigatou -Movie Version-
  4. Arigatou ~Instrumental~
  5. Tsukiakari no Michishirube -Acoustic Ver- ~Instrumental~

1. Arigatou

What’s with Stereopony getting all soft on us?  I can understand their last A-side, but I didn’t expect Arigatou to be even softer!  I must say this is the nicest I’ve ever heard AIMI singing in an A-side for some reason.  It isn’t special in anyway besides being a ballad for the trio, but I still kind of wish there was more to it though. 

2. Tsukiakari no Michishirube -Acoustic Ver-

Hey it’s been a while since we’ve seen an acoustic song of a past track of theirs.  I was hoping we’d get one for Tsukiakari no Michishirube and it came true.  It’s funny how the acoustic guitar just brightens the song into a much positive and happier song lol.  AIMI does sound a bit more stressed in this version and she hits some sour notes (especially in the chorus, which was also a problem in the original for me so it’s no surprise that wasn’t cleaned up).  Fitting version actually and it’s good…but I think the acoustic take of “Namida no Mukou” was better!

3. Arigatou -Movie Ver-

I was wondering why the movie version of Arigatou is a minute and a half shorter than the single version.  I guess they removed a part of the song but it’s not a bad choice but I’d think they’d do a little more with this beyond that. 

 

 

Is it just me or does feel like Stereopony is starting to lose their steam?  Their last single, “Tatoeba Utaekunattara” was alright but a little plain but Arigatou was just kind of boring overall.  I like that the band used strings for the song but I can’t seem to get myself into the song like it but at least they tackled a ballad correctly and AIMI wasn’t terrible singing it.  The movie version, pass it up…nothing remotely interesting here.  As for the acoustic take of Tsukiakari no Michishirube, it’s alright and hearing it in a different light is always good!

 

Sakanaction – “Bach no Senritsu wo Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu.”

Filed under: Sakanaction — solarblade @ 4:40 am

Track Listing

  1. “Bach no Senritsu wo Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu.”
  2. years
  3. Lightdance YSST Remix 2011

1. “Bach no Senritsu wo Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu.”

I didn’t start really paying attention to Sakanaction again until I saw the wacky PV for this A-side.  As goofy as it sounds, it’s actually upbeat and more happier than either “Identity” or “Rookie” which is good since the band needed that I think.  Ichiro really sounds interesting in this song and since Emi once agains leads the arrangement with a funky synth/keyboard melody and such.  It’s fun and bouncy and I liked that about it…still doesn’t beat “Rookie” but this was nice XD

2. years

As the B-side, years actually takes out the electronic business and leaves the rest of the band to do some actual work for once hah.  I like how quiet it starts and how Ichiro quietly sings the tune as it slowly gets louder and then Emi comes in, but plays this jagged piano line which is kind of cool when paired with Motoharu’s guitar playing.  Overall it’s pretty good…a little sketchy with Ichiro’s singing…but passable!

3. Lightdance YSST Remix 2011

Closing out the single is a remix of one of the album tracks from their third album “Shinshiro”.  I haven’t heard this one so I can’t say much to compare with the original but the remix is interesting but sounds like typical Sakanaction work but with the major twist of filter usage here.  I like the spacey-80’s-ish feel here and it seemed to make the tune more futuristic!

 

 

As it is the band’s third and final single for the “DocumentaLy” era, “Bach no Senritsu…” was an interesting since.  Solid that’s for sure but it didn’t pop out as much as “Rookie” did but still better than “Identity”.  I think both of the main tracks are pretty good for the most part, years had vocal issues while “Bach no Senritsu…” wasn’t as spazzy as I thought it’d be…but still pretty good while the remix for Lightdance was the best off the single…and I haven’t even heard the original!!!  I wonder what the album will bring…

 

Sakanaction – Rookie

Filed under: Sakanaction — solarblade @ 4:16 am

Track Listing

  1. Rookie
  2. Slow Motion
  3. montage

1. Rookie

Now this is the song I would’ve expected to hear from Sakanaction.  Unlike the rock-focused “Identity”, Rookie is more synth-based and a bit ethereal as well.  After that opening, the song gets a bit more progressive and it sounds like a great collision of different stuff that’s oh so good.  It kind of does feel a little on the slow side, but still very enjoyable nonetheless.

2. Slow Motion

Whenever I listen to Slow Motion, I get these 80’s synth-pop feel and it’s kind of an awesome nod to such a good era of music to be honest.  It’s pretty nostalgic and lead singer Ichiro sounds kind of dark but fits the overall atmosphere.  I have to say it’s difficult to decide to choose between which song I like more on this single.  My only odd thing here is the chorus which is oddly bright and puts Ichiro into higher notes lol. 

3. montage

As for the second B-side it’s definitely the weirdest of the single that’s for sure.  It seems it was made for the other members of the band that don’t sing since it is an instrumental track and all that.  I like the interesting feel here since it really sounds like a good remix or something.  Damn, they are pretty good not gonna lie!

 

 

I have to say they definitely made a good single out of Rookie.  There’s something eerie and yet epic about Rookie that just pulls me into the song and I have to say this was my favorite of the era.  Slow Motion was like I said, a great trek down memory lane and it worked but the chorus was a little off!  montage is just instrumental, but it shows the talent of the band in a nice 6 minute tune ^_^.  It’s probably also the best single of the era.

 

Sakanaction – Identity September 27, 2011

Filed under: Sakanaction — solarblade @ 8:23 pm

Track Listing

  1. Identity
  2. Holy Dance
  3. YES NO (AOKI takamasa Remix)

1. Identity

For my main introduction to the band, Identity is quite interesting that’s for sure.  I liked the mix of the band’s interesting take on the rock style mixed with tribal drums and an ethereal background in the chorus.  It’s pretty loud and moving and hearing Emi play the keyboard gives the tune more color.  It isn’t as amazing as “A Look Around” was but this is a good tune otherwise.

2. Holy Dance

However, they get more experimental with Holy Dance which switches the rock sound with Emi synths and such and it turned out to be an interesting move because this song’s odd arrangement actually worked for them.  I wished it stayed consistent because it gets really weird in the songs mid-section and interlude.  It just was strange all over the place and yet I liked it!

3. YES NO (AOKI takamasa Remix)

Closing the single is a remix of an album song off their last album “kikUUiki”.  Like the previous song there’s more of a pronounced feeling of experimentation clearly since this is a remix.  I didn’t hear the original so I’m not sure how much of a change happened but this is a very minimalistic track I’ve come to noticed.  So it’s not as exciting really.

 

 

Sakanaction’s first single of the “DocumentaLy” era will take a little time to get used to since Identity was a little odd being tribal, yet more focused on their rock side of their music.  Holy Dance though is my favorite off the single with the synths and strange atmosphere it gives off.  The remix for YES NO was a little boring and bare to listen to.  Strange single but I guess it works?