Kurayami Monogatari

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MONKEY MAJIK – Headlight October 31, 2011

Filed under: MONKEY MAJIK — solarblade @ 8:10 am

Track Listing

  1. Headlight
  2. Tobira
  3. Headlight -piano version-

1. Headlight

I thought the intro of Headlight was so cute and then all of a sudden we get Blaise’s vocals into the song which is by then classified into something more strings-based.  It’s nice to also hear Maynard with some solo lines before the chorus where they melodically come together.  It’s a pretty cool song and it’s nice to hear the members sing in both Japanese and English.  It’s quite something!

2. Tobira

As the B-side of the single Tobira is more focused on the acoustics (kind of like what most of “westview” ended up sounding).  It’s a simple kind of tune and since Maynard sings majority in this song, I found myself enjoying the light pop feel of the tune.  It’s a short but pleasant little tune from the duo but it’s so much better when Maynard leads.

3. Headlight -piano version-

Eh, I honestly didn’t think that Headlight really needed a piano version of the song since it doesn’t really gain much of anything except that it’s a minute longer and only features Blaise on vocals which is a little strange.  To me, Blaise’s vocals sound alright, but those high notes are just a little harsh on his vocals.  I just like the melodic sound of the original much more!

 

 

I honestly didn’t even know that MONKEY MAJIK were gonna release this single until I saw it on KMC (it’s a download site).  Headlight kind of surprised me because I enjoyed this song since it did go away from the acoustic pop feel from “westview”.  Both Headlight and Tobira were pretty good tunes but to me I felt the piano version was just a little unecessary since it took out the good things about the original!  Overall, this wasn’t that bad ^_^

 

eufonius – Aletheia

Filed under: eufonius — solarblade @ 6:55 am

Track Listing

  1. roop
  2. Aletheia
  3. Hoshi no Pulse
  4. Kiri Hito wa
  5. Lull
  6. Divinity
  7. Kono Koe ga Todoitara
  8. Kimi ni Aeta Kara
  9. natalis

1. roop

Starting off the mini-album, roop is pretty interesting of an introduction since it starts minimilistically with glockenspiel (I think) before light electronic influences and riya’s ad-libs join in the fun.  It’s an interesting piece since it ends with actual lyrics and at a peak point. 

2. Aletheia

When I began the song, Aletheia opened up kind of like “Eden” by Kalafina XD.  At least it changes up right after the opening into a light and dancey kind of song.  To me, it’s bouncy and riya’s light and fluffy vocals sound pleasant to the ears and it’s kind of pretty awesome at the same time, hey, to me, this is a great start for the mini-album!

3. Hoshi no Pulse

After the bouncy atmosphere from “Aletheia” dissipates, we enter Hoshi no Pulse which could be classified as a ballad, but it has a little synth involvement in the background alongside some acoustic guitar.  It doesn’t build up very well and even though riya sounds pretty in the song, it doesn’t really help that it moves a little too slowly fo me. 

4. Kiri Hito wa

I guess we’re going back to something upbeat for the next track.  It is a little more natural-sounding than the previous songs simply because there’s not a lot of synth stuff.  It’s pretty simple in its arranging styles since it’s just acoustic-based.  Maybe it’s just me but I’m not totally finding myself enjoying riya’s vocals as much, but the music was bright enough that I didn’t totally bag it.  So all in all, it’s a pretty solid song.

5. Lull

Beautiful strings open up Lull before it turns into this quiet-moving kind of song.  Of course it’s another ballad from the duo and while it’s one of the odd songs on the mini, it’s kind of pretty and the arrangement is just pretty.  However, that’s when the strings appear in the song after a while because with out it, it’s a snooze-fest but it doesn’t take very long.  riya has this kind of cute voice that works well in the setting (odd but w/e). 

6. Divinity

The next two songs are strange in the way that they were both A-sides…(IN 2009!!!!).  Divinity is the later-released one and I was curious to what it was going to sound like.  After the lullaby-like feel of “Lull” (OIC), the slight tribal-like feel of the song is kind of refreshing to me.  It’s a fun song once it enters the chorus (even though riya has some notes she has to hold x.x).  It carries itself just like “Aletheia” with dance beats later on…but still the chorus could’ve been much better!

7. Kono Koe ga Todoitara

Kono Koe ga Todoitara kind of seems to be strange to me.  At first it was quite pleasant and majority of it does sound pretty and a bit like “Kiri Hito wa” but with strings.  However, there’s some parts that really were unnecessary to the ears (mostly a few places in the verses).  The quick burst of sound and strained vocals really disturbed me the most.  Still, the song was nice enough right? 😄

8. Kimi ni Aeta Kara

I couldn’t believe that eufonius could get even more simpler and quieter after the previous two ballads, but it seems that it happened with Kimi ni Aeta Kara which features acoustic guitar,  piano, and riya’s vocals.  It’s pretty damn simplistic of a song and it makes me wish there was more to the arrangement this time around. 

9. natalis

Which is a little unfortunate that natalis is another quiet song.  At least there’s backing vocals to play along with the acoustic guitar.  I will say that I did find this so much more memorable than “Kimi ni Aeta Kara” just in the sense that it reminds me of some city in a Final Fantasy game (more along the lines from IX or VI).  After a while, the song gets some digital clicking which is a little odd, but it’s still pretty good of a song and closes the mini on a good note.

 

 

eufonius has been quite interesting since I started reviewing them with “bezel”.  I must say that that “so-called” album failed to impress me very well but with Aletheia, they actually did a lot better here funny enough.  Some of the songs were a little bare, but the upbeat songs and natalis were pretty sweet songs.  I’d say if there’s a solid place to start eufonius, this is a better choice than “bezel”.

 

Sayaka Sasaki – Starting Again October 28, 2011

Filed under: Sayaka Sasaki — solarblade @ 1:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Starting Again
  2. Ryuusei Voice
  3. Starting Again (Off Vocal)
  4. Ryuusei Voice (Off Vocal)

1. Starting Again

After the rather poor A-side in “Zzz” it’s great to have Sayaka coming back into something that’s more like “fly away t.p.s”.  It’s a little more cuter than said latter song but that’s alright because Sayaka’s vocals have toned down a lot from the last single and I’m so happy she realized she’s better using her normal vocals.  Starting Again is kind of catchy not gonna lie and she really made it come off as such as well.  I’m not sure it’s my favorite of the singles, but this is quite good.

2. Ryuusei Voice

The B-side though brings in Sayaka’s cutesy vocals which is alright since the song kind of needs that type of voice.  It’s a little sugary and a bit slower than “Starting Again” and overall sounds like an ending theme for me.  This song really does a good job showcasing her vocals since they sound really nice and even though the chorus makes them go up a notch, it’s still is a good track.

 

 

 

As this is Sayaka’s 5th and final single of her debut era, Starting Again does a great job picking up slack after that rather mundane single in “Zzz”.  Though I will say this single slightly mirrors “fly away t.p.s” but it’s still quite good as a package and that’s always a good thing.  Now this album of hers will be a weird one if both “Zzz” and “Seisai no Ripieno” are on it LOL.

 

Momoi Haruko – Showa October 27, 2011

Filed under: Momoi Haruko — solarblade @ 9:55 am

Track Listing

  1. Yoake no Samba
  2. Showa
  3. Natsu Yori Atsui Fuyu
  4. Desperation☆Desu!
  5. Night Park☆
  6. Hi・mi・tsu
  7. Matsuri da! BOY MEETS GIRL
  8. Skirt Take no Nagai Maid-san ni wa Zettai ni Kanawanai
  9. Live no Ato wa Samishii na
  10. Ganbare…Sore wa, I Love You

1. Yoake no Samba

Odd that she’d open the album up with Yoake no Samba which was the first single released in the era.  Since the single review, the song has slightly grown on me, but I propose it’s more of the fact that it’s a cute samba song!  Her vocals are ok but I still think they’re still a bit pitchy and the chorus is a real danger zone because she hits some high notes in a loud kind setting.  At least the music is enticing right?

2. Showa

The title track comes next and begins kind of like a video game before synths and guitar kicks things into gear.  I’m already enjoying the song a whole lot more than “Yoake no Samba” just for the fact that Momoi is singing in her deeper tones (which is always a good thing to hear).  Well, at least before the bridge comes in and she squeaks it up a bit.  The chorus is slightly disappointing, but this still sounds so much better than the previous song.

3. Natsu Yori Atsui Fuyu

Our next song tones things down a little bit and it actually sounds kind of nice hearing this one.  I mean Momoi’s vocals are in cute-side but not exceedingly so here so it sounds good without being too much.  It’s a little odd for me because she doesn’t do too many mid-tempo songs that come off well and this one did hmmm.  It might be a little cheesy, but it’s nice.

4. Desperation☆Desu!

In recent times, Momoi has been using vocal filters and we see them used here in this sort-of nostalgic trip to the 80’s.  It has this kind of funky feel to it that I enjoy.  Of course the strings and brass are here once again after “Natsu Yori Atsui Fuyu” but take a better role.  Momoi’s vocals are cutesy but it fit the atmosphere for some reason, but I like the keyboards a lot here. 

5. Night Park☆

I’m not sure what to make of the next track since there’s a lot of good things about the tune’s arrangement since it’s full and quite catchy with the mix of synths and guitars.  It’s just light and synthy mostly and it just flowed better than most of the other songs on this album.  I think it might be my favorite off the album to be honest!

6. Hi・mi・tsu

Amping up the second half of the album, Himitsu is pretty quick-paced and it kind of also carries the overall sound of the last two track but in a more anime-like style.  It’s alright, but her vocals kind of aren’t as good as previous track so this kind of just rushes by my ears.  Maybe the chorus is the best thing about the song.

7. Matsuri da! BOY MEETS GIRL

I’m surprised Momoi was going to make Matsuri da! into such a hard-edged song.  Of the songs on the album, this is the hardest of the album, but it’s also kind of another of my favorites since the energy is above-average and while Momoi’s vocals are still tight, the rest of the song almost makes up for that.  It’s a fun song not gonna lie…just wished she sung deeper.

8. Skirt Take no Nagai Maid-san ni wa Zettai ni Kanawanai

The last new track on the album, like other songs on the album, feel just a bit like a nostalgic trek through the 80s because of the dated feel of this one.  It’s almost like synth-pop mixed with old J-pop of the 80s.  It’s kind of cool and I’m enjoying this style Momoi is dabbling in since her vocals seem to work a tad better.  I’m liking this song as well.

9. Live no Ato wa Samishii na

I wish she didn’t include the B-sides onto this album since both that were released were crappy as hell.  Live no Ato wa Samishii na is the lesser of two evils I’ll agree but this track just doesn’t fit on this album since its got the least amount of synth involvement.  It’s a 5 minute acoustic ballad and mixing that with Momoi’s seiyuu vocals are just a big no-no for me.  It’s definitely the worst of the album to be honest.

10. Ganbare…Sore wa, I Love You

Fitting that she began the album with the era’s first A-side and ends it with the second A-side released.  I find it a little eh that it doesn’t make as good as an ending as what “Live no Ato wa Samishii na” could’ve been (still wouldn’t have gained any points either way though).  I do love Ganbara…Sore wa just because it’s peppy and fun to listen to!  It’s like some of her past pop/rock songs that have caught my attention and Momoi sounds rather nice.

Tracks Recommended

  • Night Park☆
  • Skirt Take no Nagai Maid-san ni wa Zettai ni Kanawanai
  • Showa
  • Desperation☆Desu!
  • Ganbare…Sore wa, I Love You

Song of Avoidance

  • Live no Ato wa Samishii na

As this is Momoi’s 4th studio album, Showa is such a big step after that failing in “IVY”.  A lot of the songs have a lot of better arrangements and I love that Momoi took it too sing a couple of songs in different ways.  The singles weren’t amazing and it helped that for the most part, the album songs were much more impressive to me.  Good album here!

 

Beckii Cruel vs. The Clones – U Can’t Kiss Me October 26, 2011

Filed under: Beckii Cruel — solarblade @ 1:57 am

Track Listing

  1. U Can’t Kiss Me
  2. U Can’t Kiss Me (Bluestone Mix)
  3. U Can’t Kiss Me (Loverush UK! Mix)
  4. U Can’t Kiss Me (Super Stylers Mix)
  5. U Can’t Kiss Me (Timothy Allan Mix)
  6. U Can’t Kiss Me (Super Stylers Radio Edit)
  7. U Can’t Kiss Me (Loverush UK! Radio Edit)
  8. U Can’t Kiss Me (Bluestone Radio Edit)

1. U Can’t Kiss Me

Call me sacriligious and call me out on my lack of claritiy, but I have to say Beckii’s first song after blazing out from her previous label (which to an agreement from me that it was getting ridiculous adding random girls to the Cruel Angels project).  She left and came back but only to the UK market seems with U Can’t Kiss Me which I think is an original tune but edited from what we heard from her YouTube long ago.  To me, I think the change from cutesy stuff to a more electro dance-pop field did good since I actually enjoyed the beats to the song.  However, I will say that The Clones did overdo their appearance in the song and the chorus is pretty saddening.  I still love the verses, not gonna lie…but the rest of the song is meh.  Still much better than “Tsubasa wo Kudasai” could ever be!

 

 

*I might review the remixes*, Beckii’s return to the music scene is kind of a big change from what she started out doing and that’s Moe-cutesy pop songs/covers which were OK at best but nothing that would puncture the J-pop fields.  U Can’t Kiss Me is the first release under her new management which is cool, but I don’t know…collaborating with The Clones (who I have never heard of) is a bit sketchy.  The song is likeable though and that’s good…now I wonder how the remixes actually treat this tune…. >.>

 

Yousei Teikoku – Kuusou Mythology

Filed under: Yousei Teikoku — solarblade @ 12:52 am

Track Listing

  1. Kuusou Mythology
  2. The Creator
  3. Kuusou Mythology (instrumental)
  4. The Creator (instrumental)

1. Kuusou Mythology

Hmmm, nice to know that the A-side begins with chanting before Takaha bum-rushes in with a blast of guitars and strings of course.  I kind of enjoyed this song quite a bit since Yui’s vocals pop out from the song a lot more than the goth-rock arrangement which was pretty awesome as well.  Solid A-side for sure and definitely holds up after “Mischievous of Alice”.

2. The Creator

It’s a little strange that B-side does kind of mirrors “Kuusou Mythology” with the chanting intro and then a rush of guitars and drums.  The thing that got me was that the verses are a little more random and unique and Yui’s vocals take up a cuter sound.  It’s different for a B-side of Yousei Teikoku, but this kind of feels like something from their early stuff rather than their current direction.

Yousei Teikoku have continuously shown to not let down their fans of their music and seriously this long string of amazing A-sides continue.  Kuusou Mythology is just dark, vampiric, and just overall rockin’.  I love Yui’s vocals nowadays more than ever.  However, the setback was from The Creator with it’s oddly-written verses and higher pitched vocals from Yui.  I’d say this is going to be an interesting era.

 

sphere – HIGH POWERED

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 12:22 am

Track Listing

  1. HIGH POWERED
  2. Hello, my love
  3. HIGH POWERED (Off Vocal)
  4. Hello, my love (Off Vocal)

1. HIGH POWERED

For something titled HIGH POWERED, this was anything but hardcore and energetic as I initially thought.  It is less rockish than their previous A-side and a bit more cuter which is a bit like some of the songs in their last era and that’s quite good.  There’s not a lot of solos in the song which surprised me, but all of the members (including Aki) sound really nice.  I think it might be my favorite A-side so far in this era!

2. Hello, my love

Hello, my love continues to carry the cuteness along with the B-side but marks as a lighter tune with acoustic guitar leading things along.  It’s interesting to see that there’s solo lines in this one and interesting they chose Aki to start things off.  All four do get their solo lines and they all passed and it all sounds just right!  I actually think this would’ve fit their debut album hahaha.

 

 

As HIGH POWERED is the group’s third single in the era, it’s probably my favorite so far but both songs aren’t as good as “Feathering me, Y/N?”.  Both songs on this single were more on the cute side but that’s good.  HIGH POWERED is fun and sugary but since there’s a lack of solo lines, it’s a great group melody song.  Hello, my love was softer but still cute and this time the solos were here and they sound great as well.  Another single perhaps?