Kurayami Monogatari

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Stereopony – More! More!! More!!! December 25, 2011

Filed under: Stereopony — solarblade @ 8:23 pm

Track Listing

  1. Introduction
  2. Blowin’ in the wind
  3. Hana Hiraku Oka
  4. I am a Hero
  5. Tatoeba Utaekunattara
  6. Chiisana Mahou
  7. Bibara Bibara
  8. Amaryllis
  9. Super Girl
  10. Oshare Banchou 2011 ~feat. NAOTO from ORANGE RANGE~
  11. Arigatou
  12. Canvas ni Watashi Dake no Iro wo Nosete

1. Introduction

Is this a My Chemical Romance introduction or a Stereopony because I couldn’t tell at first.  I mean yeah the koto is used in the first parts of the intro but the band joins in and it reminds me of one of MCR’s tunes, “Welcome to the Black Parade” with its introduction.  It’s a weird analogic twist but it’s kind of what it reminds me of.  AIMI does have some lines but it’s filtered out to where I’m not sure what she’s saying.  Interesting intro though.

2. Blowin’ in the wind

As the album’s first song, I was surprised at how much I liked Blowin’ in the wind since the arrangement is pretty forward and has a lot of different hooks and AIMI is singing pretty strongly.  Though the band saying ~blowin een da weend~ is kind of making me laugh.  Still, the song is heavy but not to the point where it takes over.  It’s a fun song to listen to actually.

3. Hana Hiraku Oka

We tone things down a little bit for our next track and this sounds like it would be found somewhere back on “OVER THE BORDER” but at the same time it has the same groove like “Hitohira no Hanabira” had but less rockin’.  It’s nice to have a song like this pretty early on and it sounds like typical good Stereopony so that being said, I liked it!

4. I am a Hero

I really like the fact that Stereopony is trying new things on this album like the first song to include synths and a little bit of auto-tune.  It actually isn’t a lot of the latter (but it’s found in the verses).  It kind of reaches out to the cuter side of the band but I liked this a lot…more than the previous tracks actually. 

5. Tatoeba Utaekunattara

So here we are at Stereopony’s 2nd A-side of the era and collaborative effort with Kariyushi58.  Unlike the previous songs before this, Tatoeba Utaekunattara is quite a soft song and hearing a different voice in Shingo (one of the two guys in Kariyushi58) makes this song stand out.  Since it is one of their more lowkey tunes, I thought it turned out nice and AIMI puts her voice in a better tone than I expected…but Shingo alone is kind of meh here. 

6. Chiisana Mahou

It’s been a while since I’ve heard Chiisana Mahou because I was too busy whoring “It’s a wild world” to remember this one.  Still like the other A-sides it was just nice but nothing that really stuck out my mind because while it was the A-side with a faster arrangement but at the same time felt like it was a bit too straightforward and lacked anything to remember it by. 

7. Bibara Bibara

The sound of a cuckoo clock opening Bibara Bibara was odd for sure…but it leads into an even stranger song to me.  I mean the song gets pretty punk rock for them and there’s some glass breaking but I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve heard Stereopony having fun with a song and this is definitely that song.  I even hear the other members singing along as well while AIMI is still leading it up.  I have to say I’m loving this song right now!

8. Amaryllis

Back to slowing down with Amaryllis, it’s definitely not like “Tatoeba Utaekunattara” or “Arigatou” since it feels like it has a bit more power behind it’s string background (mixed with the band of course).  To me it’s better than those two, but I think the song didn’t need to be as drammatically as slow as it was xD.  Still it’s actually not a terrible song, it just needed to be a little faster to me.

9. Super Girl

For a title like Super Girl, I was wondering how epic it would be, but I guess the better word is definitely them.  I mean it’s no “Bibara Bibara” and more like their stuff from “Hydrangea ge Saiteiru” which is great that they’re moving back towards.  It actually could pass as a SCANDAL song as well giving the whole atmosphere and background of it.

10. Oshare Banchou 2011 feat. NAOTO from ORANGE RANGE~

As the promotional tune for the album, we get a cover from the band.  Yeah, if you can’t guess the original is from ORANGE RANGE and it’s actually a rather recent song (late 2008 actually).  I haven’t heard the original, but this is definitely not under the normal sound of Stereopony since there’s a lot of synths used in the song and AIMI is kind of not exactly singing the verses.  NAOTO has some lines under AIMI’s talk/speaking which is all kinds of weird.  I love the fact that they’re experimenting now for sure and this song is great!

11. Arigatou

As the third and final A-side released for this album, Arigatou is the group’s ballad song here and for the most part, I still can’t remember it at all.  I do like the simplicity of it all, but AIMI’s vocals to me just do not work here.  It’s a little too breathy and kind of pitchy at some points.  The song does get a little better later on but it’s a pretty lengthy tune at 5:30.  It’s my least favorite on the album but it’s not a surprise to me.

12. Canvas ni Watashi Dake no Iro wo Nosete

Closing the album is another ballad?  After that long one in “Arigatou”, this is just throwing salt in the wound.  I mean it’s the same voice style which kind of doesn’t work but the thing that makes it stand out from the previous song is the stronger chorus.  I really like AIMI’s voice during it and the arrangement has a bit more oomph to it which I loved.  I must say this was great as the closing song to be honest…I actually liked it in the end!

Tracks Recommended

  • Bibara Bibara
  • I am a Hero
  • Oshare Banchou 2011 ~feat. NAOTO from ORANGE RANGE~
  • Canvas ni Watashi Dake no Iro wo Nosete
  • Blowin’ in the wind

Song of Avoidance

  • Arigatou

I must say their 3rd album is definitely their best album yet!  Even though I did come into this album with low expectations with my dislike towards the three A-sides, the album tracks really made up for it for the most part.  I will say that I would’ve loved seeing “It’s a wild world” on here sinec it really would tie in with a lot of the album.  Also, seeing the trio actually opting for some experimention was nice and that’s also what stood out on the album for me.  Great album!

 

SID – Fuyu no Bench December 24, 2011

Filed under: SID — solarblade @ 11:07 am

Track Listing

  1. Fuyu no Bench
  2. Otori
  3. Alibi (Live from “dead stock TOUR 2011”)

1. Fuyu no Bench

SID and ballads?  I would have never expected for the band to make their winter song to be as softly done as Fuyu no Bench was.  Though I will say that I’m kind of bored with this one despite Mao sounding really nice.  I mean I guess it’s alright and it’s a little more memorable than “Itsuka” but this is kind of being too soft and a little meh.

2. Otori

They never seem to ever disappoint in their B-sides and Otori continues this tradition quite well.  I’m like the faster pace of the song mixed with latin acoustic guitar and this kind of surfers feel (at least that’s what I think of).  Mao’s also singing better as well and it just left a better mark on me than friggin “Fuyu no Bench”.

3. Alibi (Live from “dead stock TOUR 2011”)

Of course, SID’s single is going to end with live version of one of their songs, this time it’s Alibi from their sophomore album, “Hoshi no Miyako”.  I love the strings that open the song and then hearing brass also being incorporated in the song as well.  I was surprised I missed this because it’s catchy and the right kind of light and spaz.  Yeah it’s really good.

 

 

SID ends the year off with a kind of disappointing A-side in Fuyu no Bench.  I’m not sure why but so far in this era they’ve been kind of slumping on their music (kind of how the first two singles from the “dead stock” era turned out).  At least it had Otori to fall back on since it turned out to be feisty and fun…but c’mon the live version of Alibi was what I wanted to hear more from SID…hopefully 2012 will be better for them.

 

U-KISS – Tick Tack

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 10:35 am

Track Listing

  1. Tick Tack
  2. Coincedence
  3. 0330 -Piano & Chorus ver.- (CD only First Press)
  4. Tick Tack (Instrumental)
  5. Coincedence (Instrumental)

1. Tick Tack

I really loved this song (even though the title is a bit wonky since it litereal sense it should be *Tick Tock*…damn them and phonetical reasons).  Besides that odd move, the song is J-pop WIN for U-KISS.  I will admit that it was expected that Soohyun and Dongho would literally be leading it but that’s ok given the dark and edgy dance style this song gives.  I will admit the first half is way better than the second half, but that’s mainly because of the rapping parts and placement of various ideas.  Still it’s one of my favorite and there’s just so many hooks in the song like the ~tick tock~ and the whole chorus for that matter.

2. Coincedence

I was curious about their B-side since it’s also an original composition and not merely a self-cover language translation.  To me, it doesn’t have the punch that “Tick Tack” has which is made clear for its B-side status but I wouldn’t say it’s a disappointing song because I can hear even more of the other members take longer roles.  It’s also filled with hooks like ~come this way, come this way, come this way~.  I say it’s a fulfilling B-side but clearly not to be made better than the leading track.

3. 0330 -Piano & Chorus ver.-

Funny enough that we still get a Japanese version of a previously released Korean song in 0330 (a song from “Bran New KISS” but is taking off from the Japanese version found on the JPN release of the mini-album).  Also this is a new version, only having piano and the boys singing.  After two dance songs, this is a sudden stop but I will say they sound good doing their oooos and ahhhhs.  Kind of simple but pleasant.

 

 

U-KISS was actually a group I somewhat followerd prior to their Japanese debut and I have loved the hell out of “Bengeul Bengeul” from their first album.  However, since then they lost two members but replaced them with 2.  Tick Tack is definitely ranked up there along 2PM’s “Take off” with best A-side debut in Japan.  It’s fierce and just vocally impressive and has a pretty interesting style including clock ticking in the arrangement ^^.  Coincedence was alright but I only remember certain things about it but it’s still a pretty good song otherwise.  The new version 0f 0330 is simple and sweet but what is it with boy bands wanting to do piano and chorus versions of their songs?

 

Onmyo-za – Kishiboshin

Filed under: Onmyo-za — solarblade @ 8:50 am

Track Listing

  1. Shuushuu
  2. Samayoi
  3. Ubugi
  4. Namasu
  5. Oni Kosae no Uta
  6. Gekkou
  7. Zakuro to Jubaku
  8. Kishibojin
  9. Urami no Hate
  10. Michi
  11. Kourui
  12. Kikoku

1. Shuushuu

A little introduction for the album kicks off Kishiboshin and I’m surprised by it quite frankly.  I’m used to hearing Onmyo-za just rockin’ things out but this is a breezy intro with piano (and it sounds happy?).  The band does come in at the 2/3 point of it and it sounds great from the guitarists!  though there’s a little chuckle before it seamlessly moves into…

2. Samayoi

Samayoi which is the first vocal track…though if the chuckle wasn’t there I wouldn’t have noticed the track changing.  Then again the furious guitars and pounding drums could also be a helping factor right?  I love hearing the three singers together and have their own parts which is strong and I always love Kuroneko and Mabataki’s vocals together…melds well together.  Good start!

3. Ubugi

The intro for Ubugi is quite pounding and has a lot of Maneki playing guitar.  As dark as the song is, I think it worked for Kuroneko’s vocals since she’s leading the song for the most part.  I’m not complaining about how slow the song is though since it’s been a while since I’ve heard one of these kind of songs from them. 

4. Namasu

I didn’t really understand what was said in the beginning of Namasu but I guess I’ll just roll with it for right now.  I will say this is more of their edgier songs in the first half of the song since there’s some growling and an evil glow coming from Mabataki and then all of sudden, Kuroneko’s higher vocals just kind of pop out of nowhere and moves the song forward.  It’s kind of rigid of a song and while there’s a story to this album, musically it’s a bit rough on the edges.

5. Oni Kosae no Uta

I saw the word *oni* in the title and I kind of pictured we were going to get an eviler song than “Namasu”.  This one starts with filtered chanting with a flute playing in the background.  Kind of sound like a carnival really.  This one is actually not as forboding or scary as I thought since the arrangement is ligher a bit more playful.  Kuroneko also sounds like an enka artist as well which was an interesting twist to the song as well.  I also like Mabataki’s parts and Maneki’s guitar solo.  It was a song that I wasn’t expecting but it turned out quite nicely!

6. Gekkou

I didn’t think Gekkou’s opening had to be as long as it was before Kuroneko started to sing but this is actually a solo song for her and it’s pretty odd that most of the band members are absent in the song so we’re left with a little percussion from Atsushi…but otherwise the song is a twinkly, slow ballad.  It’s different and I do like that about, but it’s a sore thumb because of the lack of the band.

7. Zakuro to Jubaku

Funny how that the first half of the album each track didn’t even reach the 5 minute mark while all of the second half is over 5 minutes…clever idea perhaps?  We do start with the album’s longest song though with Zakuro to Jubaku at 7 minutes.  Mabataki kicks things off singing pretty slowly with not a lot of stuff going on in the background.  It’s a good intro and then the band comes and and Kuroneko starts to sing her parts.  It’s not a heavy song and that’s pretty good to hear that to be honest.  I’m enjoying this track!

8. Kishibojin

I guess this is considered the album’s title track since it’s similar to the title of the album.  I love the opening orchestral piece since it had such a dark aura to it!  I will say I’m kind of getting a little tired of these long intros but it seems like it takes forever to get to vocals.  Once again, it’s really only Kuroneko singing the song and I found her better in this song since she has a great voice when she’s singing with the band playing along.  So yes, this was pretty good as well.

9. Urami no Hate

I like how our next song kind of just slides into the headphones and I felt like this song sounds like an ending theme to a video game or a song you would literally hear in a Guilty Gear game.  It’s got a consistent beat and melody and Mabataki reminds me of GACKT in this song funny enough.  Otherwise, this is pretty straightfoward for them, but it’s a solid track nonetheless.

10. Michi

A guitar solo starts our next song and like “Urami no Hate”, this is also quite straightforward for the most part but it’s a little slower than said song.  I will say that the heavier arrangement is a little more memorable than back in the previous track though.  Both main singers really brought it this time and while this isn’t as quick-paced like “Aoki Dokugan”, this is close enough for me!

11. Kourui

Things slow down once again for Kourui and it’s different since I hear a little more strings than normal used here.  It’s a bit like the other songs on here with a relaxed setting and Kuroneko leading once again.  It’s dramatic and it shows in her vocals, but I’m just kind of forgetting the song overall.

12. Kikoku

Closing the album off is Kikoku which has that same bright piano melody that was found in “Shuushuu”.  However this 4 times as long as the intro and is more hard-hitting that I would’ve expected but that good after all the mid-tempos.  I admire hearing Kuroneko singing and this is her best place to hear epic vocals from her.  It’s a good end to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Michi
  • Zakuro to Jubaku
  • Oni Kosae no Uta
  • Kikoku
  • Kishibojin

Song of Avoidance

  • Namasu

I knew coming into this album review, Kishiboshin is a story album and while I don’t understand what the might be, I can insinuate that it’s about life to death which is a cool thing to do right?  Well since I can’t totally talk about that the music is what’s important and for the most part, this album triumphs over their last album, “Kongou Kyuubi”.  I am curious to why there’s no “Konpeki no Soujin” but guessing it makes sense not having it because it probably be odd to the story.  Still, great album from them and a good little Christmas gift to the fans ^_^

 

FLOPPY – Over Technology December 22, 2011

Filed under: FLOPPY — solarblade @ 9:40 am

Track Listing

  1. Over Technology
  2. low-bit Disco
  3. Meteor Strike
  4. Horobi no Ido
  5. Jikuu Holon
  6. Everyday
  7. Bokutachi wa Nanika wo Mezasu
  8. low-bit Disco “Don’t Be Tricked Remix”

1. Over Technology

As the introduction to the album, it begins with 8-bit pulses of sound and a little wavy synth…almost like an 8-bit game which is pretty awesome to see happening here.  No lyrics though and it’s a short one being 2 minutes long in length.  I say it did well and put my hopes up for the rest of the album!

2. low-bit Disco

As the main song promoting the album, low-bit Disco kind of takes me into this rather interesting mix of 8-bit synths and Sharaku’s guitar playing which is always great to see.  While in the vocal department, Sharaku is covered by who I think is Hiromu under filters.  Though I’m surprised to learn that this song was known back in 2009…back in the “Deus ex machina” days…interesting that it found its way here.

3. Meteor Strike

The clicky synths found their way into Meteor Strike and I was actually looking forward to this one just from its title.  I must say that I kind of like the song actually since it’s a little more melodic altogether and I hear more of Sharaku which is awesome. Though I will say that it’s a bit cluttered in musicality but it’s still pretty enjoyable nonetheless.

4. Horobi no Ido

The intro to Horobi no Ido is so bizarre and oddball that I actually thought I was listening to someone else.  That is before Hiromu’s synths (which actually isn’t chiptune this time around!).  It’s a bit darker and mysterious sounding and I really like Sharaku’s filtered self.  It’s my favorite on the album so far which is a good sign I say!

5. Jikuu Holon

I guess this could be considered the album’s interlude and it’s a bit shorter than “Over Technology”.  This was pretty messy to be honest since it’s Sharaku singing (or trying to) with Hiromu’s 8-bitness.  I could barely hear what he’s saying and it just gave me a headache to be honest.  Only a minute and a half…it felt longer!!

6. Everyday

I was also intrigued by this because by the title, I was thinking of “everything” when I saw this.  Unlike that great song, Everyday is more laidback and chilled out than any other song on the album and I’m happy for that.  Sharaku might not have changed out of the filter/auto-tune but the song’s addition of violins (though prolly computerized) is a nice touch and to hear more of Sharaku’s guitarwork also helps.  Ok, now this is my favorite on here!

7. Bokutachi wa Nanika wo Mezasu

The final main song is actually probably the song with the least amount of synthage (but there’s still a bit to be found).  Once again, hearing Sharaku’s guitar in the song is great and Hiromu’s keeps things on the downlow but makes the song sound like a dream.  Though, would it kill Sharaku to not use the vocal manipulators once on this album?  I think it would’ve made the song so much better!

8. low-bit Disco “Don’t Be Tricked Remix”

Closing this rather short album is a remix of low-bit Disco which is cool but it doesn’t seem much was changed.  Sharaku I don’t think is present (though he has a small part) in the song which left us with Hiromu and little vocal clips from DEVO’s “Whip It”.  It was humorous to be honest and the arrangement has a different 8-bit melody which is great.  It’s short though at 2:25 in length…not enough to leave a mark TBH.

Tracks Recommended

  • Everyday
  • Horobi no Ido
  • Bokutachi wa Nanika wo Mezasu
  • Meteor Strike

Song of Avoidance

  • Jikuu Holon

I have to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this album after how bad “PROTOSCIENCE” turned out but I have to say, this album actually had more good tracks than bad this time and that’s good given the rather lengthy time they had between the two.  I think if they move a little away from the gritty chiptune/rock they have done since their debut, I think they can get better that way TBH.

 

LIL – Watching you feat. WISE

Filed under: LIL — solarblade @ 7:32 am

Track Listing

  1. Watching you feat. WISE
  2. ALBUM DIGEST ~LIL HOUSE MIX~ from “Synchronize” & “LIPS IN LUSH”
  3. Watching you feat. WISE (Instrumental)

1. Watching you feat. WISE

LIL’s first single is interesting since it’s a collaboration with WISE who it off and on with me when he MCs.  ucio sounds a lot stronger than she did I think and while I do dislike hearing her under auto-tune, she’s not under it a lot and she has pretty clear vocals.  TSUGE’s arrangement is also quite nice since it’s electro, but classy haha.  I wish there was a version of this song without WISE, but it’s whatever and I still enjoyed it overall.

2. ALBUM DIGEST ~LIL HOUSE MIX~ from “Synchronize” & “LIPS IN LUSH”

Like the title implies we get previews from the upcoming album, “Synchronize” and some stuff from their already released “LIPS IN LUSH” album.  The idea isn’t a totally new one at that but it’s good if you’re wanting a little sneak peak with this 9+ minute track.  I’m thinking this album is going to be a bit different to their first but it sounds hopeful here.

 

 

Being the lone single released for “Synchronize”, Watching you was alright but I still think it would sound so much better without WISE.  Otherwise I’m enjoying the song and I liked the little previews on the album digest…showcasing many sides to LIL.  Yeah, pretty good here! ^^

 

°C-ute – Wakkyanai (Z)

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 4:11 am

Track Listing

  1. Wakkyanai (Z)
  2. Wakkyanai (Z) (Instrumental)

1. Wakkyanai (Z)

To me, Wakkyanai (Z) is a little strange of a song since it’s not as sickingly sugary like “Ookina Ai de Motenashite” but more like “Momoiro Sparkling” cute.  It’s still kind of odd that Airi and Megumi are leading the song totally (haxing basically) but Kanna and Chisato get one line in the entire song LOL.  As for the song, it has the fullest arrangement which is good but it comes off like a S/mileage tune with it’s silly sounds and use of brass in places.  I think it’s alright, but I have trouble since I usually think it’s a S/mileage tune (prolly is because I’m not really used to the song unlike the other three).

 

 

Closing out the “Cutie Queen Vol.1” Wakkyanai (Z) is alright but a little forgettable if not for that chorus that was somewhat cute (pun intended).  It also marks as Megumi’s final single before she leaves the group which is sad because I think Tsunku had hopes for her being a great vocalist and sharing the power with Maimi & Airi (more of the latter).  Though I’m kind of thinking that Tsunku needs to pay attention to the other five girls a bit more >.>