Kurayami Monogatari

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ARTISTS BLOWOUT: Teh first of 2012! January 31, 2012

Filed under: ~Artists Blowouts~ — solarblade @ 1:45 am

Yup, there’s 7 artists that I decided to add on the site…well 3 are of my decision and 4 are recommendations XD…Since it is 4/3 I’ll go back and forth ^_^

no3b

The first group the was actually recommended to me was no3b which of course is another AKB-related sub-group but the music caught me off guard.  I’m gonna start with their single “Answer”.

Mayu Watanabe

Yep, I’ve said in my reviews of WH/WH7 that I was waiting for the time that Mayuyu would get a solo career and it seems that that became true and now I’m including her on the site starting with her debut, Synchro Tokimeki.

IU

After BoA there hasn’t been really a solo artist that really caught me eye from Korea but there’s now a sign in IU.  She’s finally making the switch to the Japanese market with her single “Good Day” which I’ll review when it comes out.

AFTERSCHOOL

Yeah another K-pop group crossover.  Though AFTERSCHOOL has been doing stuff in Japan for a little while.  Bang! will be the first review from them lol.  Another SNSD XD….aye carumba XD

Nagi Yanagi

As the ex-singer from supercell, Nagi Yanagi fortunately found herself starting a solo career and I’m so happy she did since she was a great singer for ryo.  Her debut single, Vidro Moyou will be reviewed in due time!

Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas

Even though it’s really hard to describe their music, Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas are unique to me and they surprised me with their music.  I’ll start with their recent release in “Just Awake”.

Jin Akanishi

Ex KAT-TUN member Jin Akanishi surprised me by starting a solo career and trying for the American market as well.  I’m going to start with his single Eternal and work up to his upcoming album, JAPONICANA.

 

 

Like this list of artists??

 

ClariS – Naishou no Hanashi January 30, 2012

Filed under: ClariS — solarblade @ 9:56 pm

Track Listing

  1. Naishou no Hanashi
  2. I’m in love
  3. Hontou wa
  4. Naishou no Hanashi -Instrumental-

1. Naishou no Hanashi

I’m not exactly sure why but I’m not really into Naishou no Hanashi for some reason.  The main reason I did get into ClariS was the fact that their A-sides have been all kinds of awesome and synthy stuff.  This time they replaced all the synths with rock instruments and took the auto-tune out of the vocals.  It’s a bit of a odd switch of genres but there’s some good things like the verses and the vocals…but I rather have stuff like “Connect” and “nexus”…

2. I’m in love

At least the B-side brought back something similar to their synth stuff.  I’m in love does remind me of the reasons I didn’t enjoy any of the B-sides from “nexus”.  It’s a bit too laidback but once again, I’m liking the less-synthed vocals which surprises me.  Of course the chorus also brought me in as well.  It’s pretty good actually after getting used to it for a bit.

3. Hontou wa

The other B-side is actually a ballad…hmmm odd.  Hontou wa is kind of nice but at the same time kind of boring and not very memorable at the least.  I will say the vocals impressed me a bit though so it saves the song from being entirely a failed attempt.

 

 

I will say that this was a step up from “nexus” since all the songs had something nice about them.  Naishou no Hanashi might take some time to get used to since it’s not like their previous efforts.  I’m in love and Hontou wa were both still a little under expectations…but vocally it was actually quite nice.  I guess I can remember this single better actually.

 

ayaka – The beginning

Filed under: ayaka — solarblade @ 9:22 pm

Track Listing

  1. Hajimari no Toki
  2. Hello
  3. Akai Sora
  4. The beginning
  5. HIKARI
  6. Sora yo Onegai
  7. Tsunagaru Kokoro
  8. THIS IS THE TIME
  9. Soko Made Aruite Iku yo
  10. Egao no Canvas
  11. Magic Mind
  12. Kimi e
  13. Yasashii Ao

1. Hajimari no Toki

Kicking off ayaka’s return to the music industry, we start with the promotional song for the album!  To be honest, I was worried on how she was going to sound due to her reason she went on hiatus, plus her new label as well.  To be honest, she sounds powerful and she really sung Hajimari no Toki out very well.  The music is also quite nice and it doesn’t seem she lost any of her spark.  Good choice to promote the album ^_^

2. Hello

I will say that I miss her upbeat pop/rock songs and Hello reminded me of the good days but in a good way because Hello is quite awesome actually.  I’m surprised we get to hear her sing in a more deeper tone which sounds pretty good but the odd thing is is that I get YUI vibes from the song hahaha.  Still, it’s pretty damn good and I’m loving this track right now!

3. Akai Sora

After that burst of energy, Akai Sora comes in and tones things down quite a bit.  I will say that was an odd slide down but the song is kind of cute in a way with the keyboard melody.  Unfortunately, it really does take a while to get into the song because it doesn’t really grow much and it stays on this bouncy rhythm that kind of gets tiring.  The chorus does sound good though, I can’t lie about that…but the verses are pretty meh for me.  It’s def a track to warm up to.

4. The beginning

As the the title track and longest one of the bunch (at 5:50), I didn’t expect a title like this be the 4th song on the album hahaha.  Taking it a bit more simpler than “Hajimari no Toki”, it feature piano and strings and drums of course but I will say the star is ayaka herself.  She just sounds all kinds of powerful in this song.  Great ballad here!

5. HIKARI

At first I thought it was another ballad, but HIKARI is kind of not and has this bounce to it that makes it somewhat cute.  I hear some underlying synths in the song which adds a nice dimension here.  I will say that I’m surprised at how loud ayaka is but right when the chorus comes in, it kind of makes sense.  I’m a little curious at the decision at the destructive guitar mash…that was odd…but didn’t take away from the song either.  I’m kind of really enjoying this song!

6. Sora yo Onegai

I wasn’t expecting the next song to be so bare-boned of a song.  Only featuring piano and ayaka’s voice…it seemed just a little too bare against the previous songs but I will say that ayaka did what she could given the arrangement.  She’s got a rather airy style going in her voice and I’m not too big of a fan of that…but the melody was surprisingly good…hmmm I’m on the fence on this one.

7. Tsunagaru Kokoro

At least the album moves back up to a cuter song on the album.  It does sound like something she’d pull in her mind while sitting on a porch (if she plays acoustic guitar) lol.  It’s got a catchy rhythm to it and I find myself moving my head to the beat.  It’s affectious and just happy!  Maybe not my favorite, but it’s catchy as all hell lol

8. THIS IS THE TIME

Whoa, what’s with the all-caps on this song haha.  The introduction totally threw me off because I thought it was going to be a ballad but then switches into this mid-tempo pop/rock tune…almost a country vibe haha.  It’s pretty good though and kind of gives a free-form style from her…like a reserved version of “CLAP & LOVE”.

9. Soko Made Aruite Iku yo

Kind of like “The beginning”, Soko Made Aruite Iku yo is a pretty basic sounding ballad and this time I was actually bored by this one.  I’m not sure why but I don’t think the melody of the tune really makes me feel much for it and kind of reminds me of older works as well.  Still good vocals though…I don’t know if it makes up for the song though…it’s kind of ehhh there.

10. Egao no Canvas

It seems we keep going back to a cute side to ayaka.  I felt Egao no Canvas isn’t a bad song actually but it’s my least favorite of the “cute” songs on the album.  Though I will say the only major thing I remember is all of that ~sha la la la la~ parts of the song more than the actual lyrics hahah.  So I kind of forgot it in the end.

11. Magic Mind

If there was one song that I could say is kind of danceable, it’s Magic Mind.  It’s weird to think ayaka could do that but this song is kind of unique on the album and it combines the best things like acoustic guitar and ayaka’s awesome vocals.  It doesn’t have as much punch as I thought and the move into the chorus is quite anticlimatic but it still sounds really pretty.

12. Kimi e

At first I couldn’t tell what Kimi e was going to be until the electric guitar and drum beats kicked in.  I wouldn’t say it’s a ballad but it’s definitely not all upbeat either.  This kind of reminds me of her work from “First Message” actually which is a good sense of nostalgia for me.  Good song overall!

13. Yasashii Ao

Finally, closing the album out is unsurprisngly a ballad which seems to be ayaka’s thing lol.  It’s a bit hard to get through since piano/strings ballads kind of bore me to death but this is actually less memorable than friggin “Soko Made Aruite Iku yo”.  I don’t know it might be a bit sentimental, but I’m just not into this one.

Tracks Recommended

  • Hello
  • The beginning
  • Tsunagaru Kokoro
  • Hajimari no Toki
  • HIKARI

Song of Avoidance

  • Yasashii Ao

Taking a three year break will do you wonders (and of course going indies) and in the case of ayaka’s third album, The beginning really showed that she hasn’t lost her spark and she really pulled off a great album!  I will say that ballads for her can be hit or miss on the album but all the upbeat stuff really hit the spot!  Great album and I hope she gets some singles before her next album!

 

Kaya – Vampire Requiem January 29, 2012

Filed under: Kaya — solarblade @ 9:24 pm

Track Listing

  1. Vampire Requiem
  2. Curse of Rose
  3. Vampire Requiem -Kayaless ver.-
  4. Curse of Rose -Kayaless ver.-

1. Vampire Requiem

I’m actually quite excited to see this release actually!  I will say it’s not like Kaya’s previous single since it’s less electronica and more of a gothic kind of song.  I mean it has harpischord and a buttload of strings which might be something typical but HIZAKI produced this so it’s not like anything before.  I will say the chorus does add the dance beats…but I will say, this one didn’t really impress me much >.<

2. Curse of Rose

The B-side of the single is also quite different for Kaya since this one is V-kei goth rock which might throw some people off.  I will say I actually quite enjoyed this right up until the guitar solo which sounded like every other rock solo and it kind of went downhill after that.  I’m just rather meh with it.

 

 

I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t find myself interested in this single (especially after coming off such a great album in “QUEEN”).  I think it was because Kaya worked with HIZAKI rather than Kalm and Hora which resulted in a rather odd sounding single.  Vampire Requiem does sound alright but dark…but Kaya has better.  Curse of Rose though is kind of too unusual and it’s not his style but more of HIZAKI’s…Meh single.

 

What’s On Brett’s iPhone?: WEEK 5

Filed under: ~What's on Brett's iPhone~ — solarblade @ 8:23 pm

Week 5…dang so let’s get this rolling then eh?

1. Backstreet Boys – The One

The Song: As the final song to really promote the album, The One was actually fan-picked which was pretty cool (though it was kind of hard to choose when the better songs were already singles hahaha.  It kind of has a rather Western (cowboyish) feel to it but it’s mainly a love song.

The Video: I think I was pretty bummed out by the video for The One as like with many fans were back then.  What still makes me frown are music videos that are filmed live on a tour like this one was and it felt super lazy that they couldn’t film true video for it (seeing as all the other singles from Millenium were really top-notch.  Though I will say that tour was pretty awesome (yeah, I went to see them once…WHAT OF IT?!?).

So why’s in on your iPhone, Brett?: This is another one of those kind of throwaway songs fro me but somehow ended up enjoying because of the music and the rather good vocals from the guys.  Plus it’s kind of nice they did a song for their fans…kind of started the whole “for the fans” kind of outlook for them.

2. Yoshino Hirano / Yuka Tsujiyoko – Petal Meadows

The Song: This little tune was actually found in the first area you go to before you get into Petalburg (the first major area outside of Rogueport you go to).  Since it’s an outside the city tune, I kind of liked it and it was sampling out but changing the original melody of the famous 1-1 of the original Super Mario Bros.

So why’s it on your iPhone, Brett?: I kind of liked it enough to put on here because it was light, fun and it’s pretty bouncy.  Plus, it’s from one of my Mario games ever!

3. Jordin Sparks – No Air feat. Chris Brown

The Song: Released as Jordin’s third single for her debut self-titled album, No Air was an interesting pairing of the new voice from Jordin (who is quite powerful as we’ve heard in future releases starting with this one) and Chris Brown…before he owned Rihanna and got all tattooed (which is personally kind of ick). 

The Video: I mean the song is a little sad but a little much like a love song as well and the video kind of shows it off a bit better than what I thought it’d be in my mind.  The beginning showing the two apart was showing the distance between them and the lyrics fit in like glue actually.  Though it did get weird when they are face to face and just bringing the final chorus down…it was a little awkward.  Plus there were scenes where they sing face to face but are shadowed out with a light blue background…that was a little unusual to me too…but I still think they did well (mostly Jordin though)

So why’s it on your iPhone, Brett?: Can’t deny that it was a good and powerful tune that year (2008).  No Air was really the song that kind of got me to enjoy Jordin Sparks a bit more as a singer since she was powerful as all hell.  I still question if it could’ve had a better male singer because Chris didn’t exactly bring it…sad >.>  Still, love the song today!

4. *NSYNC – I Drive Myself Crazy

The Song: As the final song to promote the group’s debut album, I Drive Myself Crazy was a rather interesting song from them.  I mean it’s not like their last single which was a ballad, but it more mid-tempo AND FINALLY SOMEONE BESIDES JC AND JUSTIN SANG.  No literally, I’m so happy Chris got to open the song up and he’s got a nice voice though a bit higher than all the members.  Anyways, the song’s lyrical content does come off as a little desperate and crazy but hey if the guys miss their girl (exception of Lance, mind you) I think they’re allowed to sing about it and I kind of liked it.

Oh BTW, this is the American cut of the song, the original version didn’t have Chris as the first singer…rather JC.  Plus the song had a different sound to it…a little less synthetic stuff going on (but the remodeled version IS SO MUCH BETTER). 

The Video: Of course, there’s also two different music videos for the song based on both versions the only true difference is the beginning XD.  I think, this video was one of their best, will not lie.  It was entertaining, very funny in some cases and just all kinds of things you wouldn’t expect from them. 

The setting is an insane asylum and the boys get locked in a room together.  Of course it shows all the guys and the reasons they’re so-called crazy like JC getting cheated on, Lance’s girl ups and leaves him, etc.  So we also have the woes in asylum and the guys are pretty insane hahah.  I mean Joey pulling the Superman outfit was so random but hilarious and with JC flipping the shit out at the TV…it was awesome.  Anyways the ending ends with the guys finally being able to go home and in comes the girls that essentially broke their hearts…IRONIC HUH LADIES!….yeah it was funny as hell XD.

So why’s it on your iPhone, Brett?: I loved *NSYNC and it was my first album that I ever had to myself so it was a great nostalgic memory for me.  I actually didn’t know this was a second version of the song and I’m happy they let Chris take major lyrics this time (since Lance and Joey rarely get any time).  Still, a breezy but kind of wild tune in lyrics and I loved it for that.

5. Miyavi – Jibun Kakumei -2003-

The Song: God, this is song is quite old like his 4th overall A-side XD.  I’m surprised that it never appeared on any of his album (well until he did that remix album with TeddyLoid).  Still, I think many fans love this song all-around and I have to say I do too!

The Video: Of his videos, I also say I liked this one a lot.  I mean MIYAVI looks badass with his white coat and shades on, plus he’s going around breaking shit…yeah this is nice, very nice.  Add in the dark and bleek look of the setting he’s in and it suits him really cool.  Plus the shots of him on the big screen made him look evil ^_^.  The only thing I was lost about was that there was a second him in some scenes…it was different but still cool.

So why’s it on your iPhone, Brett?: LOVE IT, it was one of the two MIYAVI songs that really caught me eye and pulled me into his weird rock style that made him popular (and relevant).  Jibun Kakumei -2003- is oddly one of his more straightforward songs but it was powerful and showed MIYAVI in a good way

 

 

SO WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK OF THIS WEEK?  Yeah, boybands XD

 

Nami Tamaki – LADY MIND January 27, 2012

Filed under: Nami Tamaki — solarblade @ 10:46 pm

Track Listing

  1. LADY MIND
  2. START UP
  3. LADY MIND (Instrumental)
  4. START UP (Instrumental)

1. LADY MIND

Who knew that one day Nami would acquire the help of the amazing Shinichi Osawa to one of her songs!  I have to say that I love this mix because her voice seems to work with the electro sound that Osawa produces.  Makes for an amazing combination.  To me, this song makes up for all the mistakes she’s made during her stint under UNIVERSAL-J it has tons of life and she’s having clearly from the PV as well.  The thing most people will probably point out in the song is that the arrangement is a little reminescent of Angelababy’s “Beauty Survivor” and Namie Amuro’s “NAKED” (which both are produced by Osawa as well).  I can totally see that but Nami’s vocals are unique to the song which is a major plus!  Great song and a new beginning to Nami ^_^

2. START UP

I was curious to see what the B-side was gonna end up like and it’s just as club friendly as “LADY MIND” fortunately.  I actually this is a bit more edgier (since this wasn’t an Osawa production funny enough).  I’m really loving the song oddly enough since it has a bit more punch and has better vocals.  I’m surprised that the B-side is actually at A-side level…it’s just great to hear! 

 

 

So, after a little break after her “Ready” album, Nami left UNI-J and joined Teichiku Records (which is known for their enka artists, Fudanjuku, and Kanjani∞).  I have to say, Nami’s first single under the label is super impressive and has rekindled my love for her!  LADY MIND ranks up their with the best Osawa works and START UP is refreshing yet damn energetic….oh yeah….she’s back *RECOMMENDED*

 

Larval Stage Planning – Trip -innocent of D- January 26, 2012

Filed under: Larval Stage Planning — solarblade @ 7:48 pm

Track Listing

  1. Trip -innocent of D-
  2. Chapter.5
  3. Trip -innocent of D- (off vocal)
  4. Chapter.5 (off vocal)

1. Trip -innocent of D-

I was surprised at LSP’s second A-side haha.  It’s not like their debut where it was all sorts of cute.  Actually it was quite the opposite hahah.  It’s a bit more rock based and we hear natural voices from the trio and surprisingly…they have great vocals which is a total surprise for me.  As for the song, it’s your typical animu theme which isn’t surprising given the whole I’ve Sound style (though not the synth style sadly).  It’s not that amazing and it is kind of lacking in areas where it needs to be buffed up…but it’s not so bad.

2. Chapter.5

I was curious to the B-side since I liked their last one, “Dreamroid” quite a lot.  Now when I mentioned the normal synth style of I’ve Sound, I wasn’t expecting to have the B-side actually be that so I’m really happy to see that here.  It really does sound like a song MELL and Mami Kawada would’ve sang but it works well Airi, Nami, and Rin.  Actually hearing the three together kind of throws a dejavu to Kalafina…but not as sharp.  Definitely the more impressive song.

 

 

Just like their debut single, Trip is overcome by the fact that its B-side is ten times more exciting.  To me, Trip just kind of fades into the background since it is just a typical animu-styled song which lacks more things than it should.  Chapter.5 however is pretty cool and fills in the gap of I’ve Sound being rather quite in recent times.  Maybe their third single can get this style to be a leading song and not waste it up on some bland track.

 

BREAKERZ – Miss Mystery

Filed under: BREAKERZ — solarblade @ 7:08 pm

Track Listing

  1. Miss Mystery
  2. Mr. Yes Man
  3. Sekai wa Odoru ~Acoustic Version~

1. Miss Mystery

BREAKERZ has been gradually getting more exciting and better with their A-sides and I’m really enjoying the hell out of Miss Mystery.  It doesn’t have a straightforward style which is good for them and stops from blandness.  It does seem like it’s a lighter version of “LAST†PRAY” with it’s darker-tinged atmosphere.  The chorus is a bit more poppier than it which is the biggest difference.  I thought a lot of the song sound great and so does DAIGO.  Solid start for a new era, I’ll say ^_^

2. Mr. Yes Man

The B-side lets the energy move a little more freely and it reminds me of their more older songs plus “GRAND FINALE”.  It’s actually pretty good and DAIGO doesn’t stress his vocals here, but I will say the verses are going to take a little time to get used to since DAIGO’s vocals sound a little unusual being more quiet and deeper.  What’s with the chanting of ~yes we can~?  This isn’t Bob the Builder guys…..All in all, it’s a fun song to listen to but not one of their better songs.

3. Sekai wa Odoru ~Acoustic Version~

Last but not least, we get an acoustic version of their 2nd A-side in Sekai wa Odoru.  Since we had two singles without an acoustic take of any song, seeing a new one on Miss Mystery was nice.  I actually like this version even though I haven’t heard the original.  It’s just super pleasant to listen to and AKIHIDE (I think….maybe SHUNPEI) played the guitars quite well against DAIGO’s vocals.  Impressive and is one of their best acoustic renditions yet.

 

 

BREAKERZ begins their 6th era with a pretty good single in Miss Mystery.  The leading song is energetic and a tad dark but enough to make it pop out and that’s why I liked about it.  However, the main star of the single has to be the acoustic take of Sekai wa Odoru…that was just pretty!  Mr. Yes Man is the weakest but makes sense since it’s just B-side material…Overall good start!

 

Super Mario Kart

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 9:32 am

Overview

Ahhh, the game that started a new series of an already-existing one.  I mean side-games btw.  Super Mario Kart was released and it became one of the better SNES games for its interesting take on a racer (but I think we all know it was popular because Mario was involved).  It was also using the Mode 7 tech which gave the game a lot more to work with. 

Characters

It’s not bad that the first game of the series only had 8 characters: Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Jr., Peach (though going by Princess Toadstool) and the oddest one IMO was Koopa Troopa.  They were all split off into 4 sub-groups, Mario & Luigi being the beginner, average characters, Yoshi & Peach were more of the ones with better acceleration that the Mario Bros.  Toad and Koopa were super light and DK and Boweser were the heavyweights. 

Also the CPU in this game couldn’t use items themselves which is odd >.> and gave a couple unique items instead.  Mario/Luigi had invincibility for a short time like the Star power.  Peach and Toad had mushrooms that turned your (or any kart that ran into it) into miniature versions and can be squashed XD.  Koopa laid green shells or shot them depending on placement and DK with bananas.  Bowser and Yoshi though had unique items though…Bowser had fireballs which he laid or shot forward and they go in a small circle round the area it was placed.  Yoshi’s egg was stationary but both items spun you out…which by the way…

Items

Let’s talk about the items.  Like any kart racer out, they share a lot of the same type of items.  I mean Mushroom for extra speed, banana peels and green shells act as traps (the latter moving).  Red shells homed in on the opponent in front of you (if you have any) and the Star made you temporarily invincible.  There were three other interesting items though.  The Boo makes you go invisible and possibly steal your opponents item (SWEET).  The lightning bolt shrinks everyone BUT the user and the forgotten feather just makes your kart hop super high (AKA making shortcuts happen). 

Of course coins also come into play as well since the more you have the better you are.  If you have none at the moment any kart that comes in contact will spin you out so be careful with that!

Tracks

I find it interesting as SMK is the only game from the series to have 4 cups with 5 tracks in each of them…kind of odd nowadays when compared to multiple releases after this.  As far as locales go this also has the weakest assortment IMO since there’s some recycled areas (ok every locale has at least two tracks representing it except for Rainbow Road).  Also, sharing with MK: Super Circuit, all of the tracks are FLAT but this was just because it was limited to be honest, so the creativity in the tracks isn’t as great as later releases show (and most of the tracks were given new facelifts in the later games too).  I will say, the Special Cup tracks were the best of the bunch.

Gameplay

Simple, it’s a racer and you have to win.  Though I will say every Mario Kart has a different feel to it and this one is honestly the easiest one to get into because there’s no true importance to it.  I mean you still drift but not in the way it was implemented in 64 and up.  The game does have a little problem with its A.I. called rubberbanding.  Kind of means that the harder the cc is, the more obvious it is.  What that is is if you’re too far ahead the CPU will ungodly chase your ass down and prevent you from winning (unless you’re good at this game and used to it). 

Graphics / Sound

  • Graphics: So as I said earlier, it’s under Mode 7 which is a rather unique mode of graphics which induced a 3d-like scene…but in 2D….A couple other games used this (like the other Nintendo racer F-Zero).  I have to say, it worked well for sure and it worked.  There was a way that if you won a time trial without hitting walls or falling off…you could swing the camera around the kart….it was awesome at the time!  Otherwise, there wasn’t too much to gawk at besides the bright colors.  Characters looked stiff and didn’t do much in their kart…hmmph weird. 
  • Sound: Sound though was a plus here IMO.  I mean I can remember the exact way the Mario Circuit theme went and most of the characters winning themes (the only one the had character-specific win themes actually).  The tracks songs are great and all of them are actually memorable in its own way. 

Other Things To Do

Well…let’s be honest there’s not a lot to do in this game…just 4 things….

  • Cup Races: Like I said split into 4 cups each having 5 tracks isn’t going to last long but you can race them in 50cc, 100cc, 150cc.  Meaning the higher the cc the harder it gets (it’s a well known sentiment in the series),
  • Time Trials: Get your best time here!  There’s even times where you can race a ghost of yourself which is pretty cool and makes you want to defeat yourself in the race.
  • VS. Races: Actually this could’ve been put above time trials…but essentially 2P races.  Though I think you could also do singularly too…?
  • Battle Mode: Though if you have a second person with you, you’re more than likely to find yourself here where you can battle your friend.  It’s essentially pop ur friend’s three balloons before he/she does and vice versa.  Having only four choices though of battle courses kind of suck…but the Ice one and Beach one is the best! 

 

OVERALL: 7/10

As it is the first of a happy series (especially for Nintendo’s sales) SMK was such a smart move for them to be honest and really blew the kart racer genre out.  I mean it brought out another GREAT one but that’s a different review for later.  The original Mario Kart might not be as held on a high pedestal as before but it’s still a pretty fun game.  I will say that the flat tracks is probably one of the reasons (same problems goes with Super Circuit but that one is the least popular).  Nostalgic game for sure ^_^

 

lecca – Step One January 25, 2012

Filed under: lecca — solarblade @ 7:24 am

Track Listing

  1. Jammin’ the Empire
  2. HI-TEN feat. ILMARI & SU
  3. Familia!
  4. Right Direction
  5. Shissou Mother
  6. ONE WORD
  7. Yaru Naraba
  8. missing Ordinary
  9. INFORMER
  10. Dolce
  11. Dreaming of you feat. EMI MARIA
  12. get ur morning
  13. gift
  14. Bokutachi no Sekai
  15. Saisei

1. Jammin’ the Empire

Kicking off the album, Jammin’ the Empire was one of two promotional songs from the album and I thought this actually started things off on a good note even if the intro was a little long.  Once lecca joins in, the tune moves into a dance-quality song.  Of course lecca has unique vocals though so it’s something to get used to if you’re getting into her in the first place.  It’s still pretty solid of a song and a great way to kick things off.

2. HI-TEN feat. ILMARI & SU

Working with ILMARI & SU from RIP SLYME, HI-TEN is kind of continuing on this very electro/dance style but I’m liking the energy from this song since it brought two rather enthusiastic MCs into the game to mix it up.  Though I have to say that I enjoyed lecca the most out of this collaboration but it’s not to say the guys didn’t do bad.  Once again, such good movement in the song, I have to say!

3. Familia!

During the era, there were two digital singles and this would be the first of em actually.  Once again a lot of synths are found in this song but it isn’t as beat driven actually which is a little surprise but a good move after “HI-TEN”.  Actually, it kind of has this celebratory sound which is a new direction and it’s something I really enjoy.  It’s just fun and has a great atmosphere to it…I’m kind of liking this!

4. Right Direction

Unfortunately, the album comes to a halt with the only physical release in the era.  I’m still not a huge fan of this song even though it does stand out early in the album for being more of a slower song for her.  Sadly, it was overshadowed by its B-sides and now overpowered by the album tracks.  Plus, I still can’t help but chuckle hearing lecca pronounce the title lol.

5. Shissou Mother

Then it gets WEIRD with Shissou Mother.  The song is definitely more absurd and unusual than it is applicable to a listener.  The music is VERY kiddy-like with some odd instrument and stuff that sounds more preferred to iono….Minimoni perhaps?  Add in cries from a baby and it sort of starts to make sense to me…but at the same time it’s just very WTF for me and kind of bizarre but she sounds good though and she sings/raps fast here hahah…I just don’t know if I can take this song seriously.

6. ONE WORD

At least she gets grounded when ONE WORD comes on which has a nice little island theme to it with steel drums being included.  It’s one of the feelgood songs to listen to and it’s simple but really relaxing to listen to.  Though once again her English is kind of laughable…~wahhh waaard~?  I just can’t with that…

7. Yaru Naraba

Electric guitars opening Yaru Naraba?  I guess it must be a sign.  To me, Yaru Naraba kind of reminds me of “Familia!” with the upbeat dance style but it’s just as good IMO.  I kind of liked this song actually, it was just all kinds of catchyness.  Maybe as good as “Familia!” though they are a bit similar huh?

8. missing Ordinary

At least I knew what lecca said in the intro XD.  I’m surprised also at how simple this one sounds since it’s just R&B but with easy beats.  At first it did seem to be a tad boring but after the halfway mark it gets so much better with synths and a lot better of a melody added to the rather minimal sound it has.  It’s alright but I wish it didn’t take that long to get to the parts.

9. INFORMER

Luckily she didn’t forget her main style and INFORMER is a great reggaeton track and she sounds like she’s having a blast with this one.  As the other promotional song, she chose a winner because it has everything that I kind of wanted and it did slightly end the happier songs (even if it’s for one song).  Loving this!

10. Dolce

Oh, I guess it isn’t just one song, Dolce might not be a fierce as “INFORMER” but this song is also upbeat and definitely for clubs hahah.  I will say though that it lacks something that doesn’t stick to me like other lighter songs like “Jammin’ the Empire” did…I think it might be a rather simple dance track to me…

11. Dreaming of you feat. EMI MARIA

Pan flutes opening one of lecca’s songs?  That’s all kind of random for me hahah.  It’s easy to tell who’s who because lecca has the deeper vocals while EMI has the higher girlier pitch.  Still there’s not a lot of her until in the second verse but she kind of reminds me of Kanayan oddly enough.  After a while, I do notice the march style becoming more prominent…it’s an interesting song no doubt…I think I liked this collaboration more than “HI-TEN”.

12. get ur morning

If there was one song that was just a little too long for itself, it was definitely this one!  As it’s another ballad on the album it’s a bit more slower than “Right Direction” was but it was godawful long for me and just felt a little bland to me.  It’s probably my least favorite of the album.

13. gift

As we get near the end of the album, we get into the other digital single released in the era.  It follows in the same vein as “get ur morning” but this was more interesting and had a bit more movement (plus lecca’s vocals are so much better here).  Though of the previous released stuff, I’m not liking this much either but at least it’s a step up above the previous track. 

14. Bokutachi no Sekai

Oooo, I’m really liking the intro to Bokutachi no Sekai a lot.  It sounds like background music to a traditional Japanese movie or something.  It has kids talking shortly before lecca ad-libs and beats are added in.  I could say this can be considered a ballad, but it’s a little more upbeat than that, but I’m really loving the song.  Not full of bells and whistles, just keeps it at a solid level…not like the boring level “get ur morning” was though.

15. Saisei

Closing the album out, Saisei is another ballad which is kind of disappointing to me but this is one of those uplifting ones by sound which is a little different from the others but it doesn’t drive the problem of being too long away.  It’s just as long as “get ur morning” which is all kinds of not-so-good opinions in my mind.  It makes for an appropriate ending…but otherwise…I can’t remember this song very well.

Tracks Recommended

  • INFORMER
  • Dreaming of you feat. EMI MARIA
  • Familia!
  • Bokutachi no Sekai
  • Jammin’ the Empire

Song of Avoidance

  • get ur morning

At first, I was actually blown away by Step One since it had tons more solid songs than “Power Butterfly” did which is a good thing…that is until we got into the final stretch where lecca piled the ballads/slower songs at the end which kind of made the album a bit of blur.  However if she had simply rearranged the tracklist around that wouldn’t have been as bad as a problem.  The rest of the album though is great and people should take a listen to this album…though I will warn ya…unique vocals!