Kurayami Monogatari

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You Kikkawa – One for YOU! January 22, 2012

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 9:48 pm

Track Listing

  1. ~Ignition~
  2. Konna Watashi de Yokattara
  3. Sweetie
  4. Kikkake wa YOU!
  5. Knight Flight
  6. Time to zone
  7. Aitaku Nattara
  8. Mizuiro
  9. Hirahira Hoshi
  10. Sayonara Namida
  11. Arinomama no I LOVE YOU!
  12. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  13. Haka no Naka no Blue
  14. Make YOU!

1. ~Ignition~

Yuu’s debut album begins with an interesting introduction.  It first opens with typing on a keyboard before getting into this dance-pop arrangement which is kind of unusual (well for her at least).  Pretty short here.

2. Konna Watashi de Yokattara

Which is kind of left field to see that Yuu’s 3rd A-side follows the intro…doesn’t make too much sense.  I’m still loving this song a lot since it wasn’t like her previous releases but it’s more energetic and had a lot more fun written in it.  Plus, her vocals sound really good in the song which is great!  Yeah, you can tell it’s a great song!

3. Sweetie

A couple of B-sides also made the album’s cut as well.  The first is one from “Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ and Sweetie amps up on the cute quite strongly by being a bit more synthy and cute than the last song.  Also, her vocals are a bit more higher and tighter.  I love the faster arrangement and Yuu in the chorus is really good since she sings out and louder than normal…It’s definitely grown on me since the single so it’s a good thing for sure!

4. Kikkake wa YOU!

Then we move into Yuu’s debut A-side and nowadays, I’m kind of turned off by it for some reason.  I mean it does sound a bit like her idol days, but moreso.  I did like the use of acoustic guitar in the melody, but there’s something about the song that just seems so…bland.  I use to really enjoy it when she began her career, but since then has been surpassed by MOST of her other songs.

5. Knight Flight

When I saw this title, I immediately thought of Perfume’s “NIGHT FLIGHT”…yeah play on words but whatever, it’s still hard not to think of that haha.  As it’s the first new song on the album (sans the intro), Knight Flight is oddly enough a ballad which surprised me a lot since I was expecting something edgy.  Still, it shows off Yuu’s vocals nicely and she sang the song well (maybe a little pitchy on the high notes in the chorus) but I kind of dug this song. 

6. Time to zone

Ahhhh, hearing acoustic guitar once again is really nice to hear and even better that it’s kind of like “Konna Watashi de Yokattara” with the whole happy and upbeat style.  Yuu still kind of squeaks in various areas in the song but she gave it her all in this song and you get this feeling of you know she’s having fun with this tune.  I liked it!

7. Aitaku Nattara

Another ballad?  Kind of makes flow between this and “Knight Flight” seem so unneeded to be honest.  Aitaku Nattara does have a little more going for it because there’s more in the instrumentation here like drums and acoustic guitar.  Also her deeper tone actually makes the song a little better as well and she sounds light and fluffy.  It does kind of sound like your usual J-Drama ending song…but Yuu did it very well.

8. Mizuiro

One of the songs I wasn’t looking forward to hearing again is another B-side from “Hapirapi ~Sunrise~.  It kind of represents Yuu’s interest in pop/rock like SID and Buono! which is a little weird to compare but it’s definitely more towards the latter.  I don’t know why but it felt a little bland for me and kind of didn’t spark any interest.  I would’ve happily replaced this with “Fuyuzora Hanabi” at least!

9. Hirahira Hoshi

She’s just not sticking to any solid style for this album and I’m enjoying it so far!  Hirahira Hoshi really stands out on the album because it’s more electro than anything on the album which is great.  I’m surprised Yuu is under a lot of different filters, but it kind of works because you can hear a computerized voice mixed in with natural…it’s quite enticing!  It’s probably my favorite of the new songs on the album!

10. Sayonara Namida

As her first song announced when she became a soloist, Sayonara Namida is surprisingly growing on me for some reason even though it still sounds rather meh at different spots.  I will say the main reason I loved the song was initially from Yuu’s great, deep vocals.  It just made me wish her solo days was going utilize this A LOT more (though I was wrong).  Probably should’ve been the A-side in the first place…not “Kikkake wa YOU!” >.>

11. Arinomama no I LOVE YOU!

I’m loving the fact that “LOVE YOU FOREVER” got replaced by another strong R&B song.  It’s a style that I’m not used to from Yuu but once again lets us hear her deeper vocals sing and I just kind of loving it!  I still hear a little bit of Gocchin in her tone as well which adds to my excitement of the song!  I really liked it!

12. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~

After the low-key and relaxing last track, Hapirapi kind of just bum rushes you back into the peppy and fun sound from Yuu.  As it was her second A-side, I also kind of grew out of the song (especially on this album) since it doesn’t have the best vocals and it kind of reminds me of other songs.  At least the chorus is kind of cute right? 

13. Haka no Naka no Blue

Then we get back into Yuu’s rock style and I MUCH prefer this over “Mizuiro” that’s for sure.  It has a bit more bite to it and Yuu is sounding pretty badass and kind of sexy in a way 0.o  It does remind me of certain anime themes which is good.  I will say that she continues to surprise me with the assortment of genres she’s pulling but I have to say this was another great song from her!

14. Make YOU!

As we hit the end of the album, we get our final track and it actually fits even though it’s actually upbeat.  I know it reminds me of something but I don’t even know what that is.  It’s quite a good song, not so much like the others but it’s able to keep me interested and Yuu is doing a good job with it! 

Tracks Recommended

  • Hirahira Hoshi
  • Konna Watashi de Yokattara
  • Sayonara Namida
  • Haka no Naka no Blue
  • Arinomama no I LOVE YOU!

Song of Avoidance

  • Mizuiro

I’m surprised at Yuu’s debut album went.  I was expecting it to be a little more mediocre considering some of her single songs…but DAMN this album actually is a good start.  Besides the odd introduction and Kikkake wa YOU!, Hapirapi, and Mizuiro…this album was GREAT!  Not many faults to it and Yuu sounds strong in most of the songs as well.  Hopefully her second era will continue to impress me like this album did!

 

Koda Kumi – JAPONESQUE

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 1:30 am

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~JAPONESQUE~
  2. So Nice feat. Mr. Blistah
  3. Boom Boom Boys
  4. V.I.P. feat. T-Pain (Album Version)
  5. Slow feat. Omarion
  6. Brave
  7. Everyday
  8. IN THE AIR
  9. You are not alone  (Acoustic Version)
  10. Interlude ~JAPONESQUE~
  11. ESCALATE
  12. Love Me Back
  13. No Man’s Land
  14. Ai wo Tomenaide
  15. KO-SO-KO-SO
  16. Lay Down
  17. Love Technique
  18. Poppin’love cocktail feat. TEEDA
  19. All for you

1. Introduction ~JAPONESQUE~

Opening the album, I really enjoyed the intro of the album because it has a really smooth ethnic vibe to it which more into like a subdued version of “Get It On”.  I did find it weird that Kuu really says ~I wanna be~ through the entire track which is unusual but I like it…Different from her previous intros!

2. So Nice feat. Mr. Blistah

Seems like we get another collaboration with Mr. Blistah (last time was with “Candy” by the way.  All of the vocal tracks on the album have videos and all have been promotional for the album which is great (and what “Kingdom” could’ve done actually!  So Nice actually goes back into some nostalgic sexy times and I have to say she still pulls sexy off like it’s nothing and I’m enjoying it a whole lot, oddly enough Mr. Blistah isn’t bad either but I don’t remember his part very well lol.  I’m also a little surprised that it’s the shortest vocal song being under 3 minutes and all that…

3. Boom Boom Boys

One of the more surprising yet much needed tunes I’ve heard from Kuu, it’s a song that uses a gritty guitar riff mixed with Kuu’s kind of unleashed hotness and it’s just an epic song for me!  I didn’t think she’d find rock being a good output (especially the last few were kind of bummer songs).  It’s just in your face and brash and full of attitude, I’m loving the song right now!

4. V.I.P. feat. T-Pain (Album Version)

Since all of the songs from “4 TIMES” made the album cut, it’s interesting to know that V.I.P. was the only song that had changes made on the album.  Small changes were made to the arrangement like less synths but in place of that, we get an uneccessary rap from T-Pain (who is oddly not under his auto-tune….WHT?!?)…Yeah I think I’ll keep the original version over this one.

5. Slow feat. Omarion

The last of the collaborative efforts, Slow is already making “Passing By” look amateurish IMO.  Of course considering she’s working with Omarion (who’s an American soloist, plus used to be in B2K) so this is actually a fitting mix since both vocalists compliment each other.  Well, I could’ve lived without the amount of auto-tune used in the song but it sounds rather cool and it’d work well in the States.  Omarion’s rap…is a little off but nothing song breaking to be honest.

6. Brave

So I’m guessing Brave is Kuu’s winter ballad and since she’s had a couple in recent times, she never seems to do too wrong on them (well, considering there’s not much to screw it up with).  However, it’s hard to really split the difference between them because I keep on thinking of “stay with me” with this one…Unoriginal, or just trying to say at least there’s a winter ballad here somewhere!

7. Everyday

I get the same feelings with Everyday which is weird but that’s OK because I like her poppy and light tunes like this which kind of goes back to “anytime” and “You’re So Beautiful”.  Just that positive and cute glow and oddly enough I really enjoy those songs from Kuu.  Shes got that voice for it and it isn’t too wild.  Pleasant tune here!

8. IN THE AIR

As it was my favorite from the “4 TIMES” single, IN THE AIR makes sense coming after “Everyday” because they both had a light-hearted arrangement.  However, IN THE AIR packs a little more punch like “WIND” did and it still is a great song even on the album.  The only thing I wished for was the song to be a little faster, but it’s me nitpicking at the tune.

9. You are not alone (Acoustic Version)

I didn’t think the B-side from “Ai wo Tomenaide” would make the album cut since the original was so bland and crappy.  Luckily, the tune was also edited for the album and it’s so much better than the original IMO.  I can totally imagine seeing her sing this around a campfire with everyone clapping to the rhythm.  I’m kind of enjoying it in this version loads more than the original.

10. Interlude ~JAPONESQUE~

Getting into the interlude, it kinds of ties in from the intro, but seems a little more oriental than before as well.  It’s really soft and it’s leads into an electro section…which is random but makes sense as the next track…but quickly it shifts back to the flowing oriental sound…Uh-huh…

11. ESCALATE

I was wondering when we were getting our heavy dance Kuu and ESCALATE is a sure place to start.  I really like the aggressive nature of the song and the chorus is pretty damn catchy here.  Kind of reminds me of “POP DIVA” but less messy actually.  It’s really cool and stands out the most from the new songs.

12. Love Me Back

So our “Cherry Girl” wannabe finds it’s place on the album and it kind of fits after “ESCALATE” quite well.  Like “So Nice” I’m finding myself surprised that it’s short being at 3 minutes.  It’s still one of her better A-sides she’s had for a long time so it’s great to hear something like this.  Sexy but also cool, YAY!

13. No Man’s Land

Another rock track?  I’m surprised by this but also happy since the album has a lot of different flavors on it.  There’s something about this song sadly that rather doesn’t impress me but it could be from the whole lower tone Kuu is singing in and the rapping verses.  Plus her pronunciation in English needs to improve NOW…no more of this ~no man’s rand~…you’d think as a huge artist as her would actually get some…meh.  I love the arrangement but the vocals were meh…I guess it can grow on me so that’s a good thing!

14. Ai wo Tomenaide

It’s a little weird that we go from sexy to rocker chick to a straight up ballad on this album (yeah, Kuu’s albums always had a problem with flow).  I mean of the three ballads on the album (This, “Brave” and “All for you”), I liked this the most and still manages to surprise me everytime I listen to it.  It’s just handled so much more better than most of her older ballads too.  Just a pretty song for sure!

15. KO-SO-KO-SO

Along with “IN THE AIR”, it was the only other song I seemed to enjoy from “4 TIMES” but on the album it actually gets surpassed by a few other upbeat songs.  It’s the go-to synth song though because there’s a whole lot of that here but still doesn’t surpass older ones like “Driving” but I do like the effort put into the song and is also one of the songs I can listen to on end.  BTW, raunchy little tune!

16. Lay Down

It’s good that “KO-SO-KO-SO” came before since it sets the stage for Lay Down which is probably the cooler and edgy dance track to listen to from this album which is great!  Just loving the flow of this song and Kuu does an amazing job with her attitude to making it all sexy and dark.  LOVE IT!

17. Love Technique

I was wondering where the super cute Kuu song would be and I’m surprised it’s found towards the end of the album and not so much the middle like after “IN THE AIR”.  I will say that I’m loving this as well since it’s not annoying like “Melting” was fortunately.  Even the arrangement is cutesy and all kinds of goodness.  This was a great song from her and I’m happy she’s got cute done right this time around.

18. Poppin’love cocktail feat. TEEDA

I know this was THE promotional song from “4 TIMES” but why did this have to be on the album?  It’s just ridiculously bad and seeing as it’s almost at the end of the album is bizarre.  I mean Kuu isn’t totally in the bad on this track and I’m sure the song would’ve been good…IF IT WASN’T for the fact that TEEDA was on it.  His rapping annoys me to no end and I’m just kind of wishing he was absent on the album.  It’s pop/rock like “Hashire!” and “Lick me♥” (more the latter though) but destroyed by her collaborator.

19. All for you

As the final track on this rather lengthy album, All for you kind of ends things on a rather unusual and unnatural sounding terms here!  It sounds so low-quality and it sounds like Kuu is singing in her bathroom which isn’t out of expectations from her…but I didn’t think she’d try this out.  I mean her sister misono is more known for these kind of tracks and hearing Kuu is just…..huh?  I will admit though that she sounds rather solid…but the whole, low quality-ness and odd decision was well…ODD.

Tracks Recommended

  • Boom Boom Boys
  • Lay Down
  • Ai wo Tomenaide
  • ESCALATE
  • Love Technique

Song of Avoidance

  • Poppin’love cocktail feat. TEEDA

After three albums of rather mediocrity (in Kuu albums), we finally see her return in full form with JAPONESQUE!  This jam-packed album hits many niches of hers and she really did well on most of the songs which is great since “TRICK”, “UNIVERSE”, and “Dejavu” had problems on them, this one doesn’t have many actually.  At least this will tie us over since Kuu is more than likely to go on an hiatus due to her pregnancy.  GREAT ALBUM!!!