Kurayami Monogatari

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Mai Kuraki – OVER THE RAINBOW January 2, 2012

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 4:41 pm

Track Listing

  1. Strong Heart
  2. another day * another world
  3. Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de ~album ver.~
  4. Stay the same
  5. Your Best Friend
  6. Mou Ichido
  7. Brave your heart feat. Alex Lu
  8. Sun will shine on u
  9. Love one another
  10. step by step
  11. 1000 Mankai no Kiss
  12. La La La * La

1. Strong Heart

The album kicks things off with the 4th and final single (albeit DVD single) in the era with Strong Heart.  Seeing as GIORGIO13 produced the song, it does remind me of the bland stuff that I had to deal with on AYUSE KOZUE’s most recent album so coming back to this is surprising because it’s rather nice and fits Mai-K’s rather thin vocal abilities.  The usage of electric guitar also kind of makes it stand out amongst the amount of songs Mai has that are in this general area so it’s a good song overall and nice intro to the album.

2. another day * another world

The first new track on the album, another day * another world is kind of Mai-K’s usual dance track and I kind of like it here since the synths are rather deep and gritty.  I’m also hearing Mai singing a bit more louder and deeper than usual which is kind of new to my ears but that’s good to me.  I’m not sure if she’s trying to be sexy in this song but whatever she’s aiming for I kind of like it a lot.  Though I hear a little auto-tune used here >.>

3. Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de ~album ver.~

All but one B-side made the album cut (“Kimi no Koe”).  Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de was originally the B-side from “1000 Mankai no Kiss” and it’s the only song that’s been edited for the album and it’s definitely for the better.  It sounds a lot fuller and with the added background support for Mai in the chorus it actually feels like a completed version (even though I did like the original as well, but this is more cleaned up and made better). 

4. Stay the same

I’m not sure what she was trying to do with this song because it’s rather unorthodoxily cute for Mai-K here since she’s singing in a higher tone than she has been in the previous songs.  I mean it sounds like a mash of a Juliet and an AAA song which is yikes on a stick.  I give her props for trying this thought but it’s not my kind of song unfortunately.

5. Your Best Friend

Since the next few songs are ballads, I’m kind of not really interested in this part of the album.  The first one is Mai’s 3rd A-side released and longest track on the album, almost reaching 6 minutes.  Like I said on the single review, Mai’s vocals give me dejavu since it sounds like Kanayan’s vocals in many places of the song.  Doesn’t help that the song sounds like something Kana would have done as well.  Yeah, it’s a kind of meh song…and long one at that too.

6. Mou Ichido

I don’t know if it was a smart idea to place Mou Ichido right after “Your Best Friend” but it is what it is…  At least it lacks an R&B beat at the first minute and the song is a more depressing vibe even though it grows from that.  A little nostalgic ballad here and I liked it a lot more than the previous song at least!

7. Brave your heart feat. Alex Lu

I didn’t think she’d do a collaboration with Alex Lu (who if I’m correct is a C-pop singer) but as the third ballad in a row, I was kind of getting sleepy and this one at least made me pay attention since it’s a strong ballad from her.  It’s a simple tune with strings, acoustic guitar, and piano so that should tell you.  Both Mai and Alex sound really nice even though the broken English is kind of distracting eh? XD  Nice tune!

8. Sun will shine on u

Kind of speeding a little but still basically a ballad, Sun will shine on u is like how I feel about “Mou Ichido” in the way that it’s kind of nostalgic to her older works but at the same I’m kind of not liking this as much because she hits some sour notes in the chorus…it really shows her weakness in her vocals which is not good in this case. 

9. Love one another

Finally things move out of the ballad zone with Love one another.  I have to say I love the song since it has such a different atmosphere than any other song present on the album.  I mean the whole tribal/nature-esque feel of the song is so unique and Mai’s vocals really has this soothing tone that just made this song basically perfect.  It’s definitely the best song off the album, hands down!

10. step by step

I’m curious to why this wasn’t up more closer towards the beginning of the album since it sounds like it’d fit better there than in between “Love one another” and “1000 Mankai no Kiss”.  It’s prolly the heaviest of the songs here and that kind of surprises me (especially after the amount of them on “FUTURE KISS”).  I think it’s catchy and totally deserved its placement on the album.

11. 1000 Mankai no Kiss

As the first A-side released after “FUTURE KISS”, 1000 Mankai no Kiss is kind of oddly placed since it feels like it would’ve sound better being after “Brave your heart”.  Unlike the other ballad A-sides, this is a bit more dramatic on its presentation and I liked that about this tune despite everything afterwards was rather disappointing.  Funny that it’s actually my favorite A-side of the era.

12. La La La * La

I’m surprised Mai-K would end the album with a synth track…it kind of seems rather unusual since “1000 Mankai no Kiss” makes a better closing track than La La La * La.  Besides the odd placement, the song isn’t bad actually since it suits her light vocals quite well.  Kind of reminds me of the songs in her last album actually. 

Tracks Recommended

  • Love one another
  • Sayonara wa Mada Iwanai de ~album ver.~
  • La La La * La
  • 1000 Mankai no Kiss
  • step by step

Song of Avoidance

  • Sun will shine on u

Kicking 2012 releases (and because it leaked rather early!), OVER THE RAINBOW is definitely a disappointment after how much she was getting better since joining NORTHERN MUSIC.  “FUTURE KISS” remains her peak album on this label for me.  The problem with this was that this era was a bit full of weak songs (B-sides were stronger for some reason).  Add in that most of the ballads were smushed in the middle and that wasn’t a smart move in my opinion.  I don’t know, this album didn’t have as much spark to it than her last IMO.

 

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