Kurayami Monogatari

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Vanilla Beans – Toki no Kakera March 12, 2012

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 11:36 pm

Track Listing

  1. Toki no Kakera
  2. Yes? No?
  3. Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (Rena ver. only)
  4. Hoshi ni Natta Uso (Risa ver. only)
  5. Toki no Kakera (Instrumental)
  6. Yes? No? (Innstrumental)

1. Toki no Kakera

As the leading A-side, I actually thought Toki no Kakera was a rather simple but effective track.  Taking a more acoustic direction and mixing with the duo’s soft vocals to make a rather safe and retro sounding track.  It doesn’t seem to really get out and surprise me like the last few A-sides have but this is kind of nice.

2. Yes? No?

If you thought “Toki no Kakera” was a bit too relaxing, the main B-side might do a good job waking you up.  Instead of keeping at the same pace, this song introduces more synths and builds upon its acoustic arrangement.  I found this to be better than the leading song for some reason…one of their better songs since the label change.

3. Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll

Then splitting the single off into it’s respective versions, the first is Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll from the Rena version.  I love that it’s even more happier and quicker-paced than the previous two tracks.  Add in that it’s a lot cuter and kind of has this diner feeling and I’m just enjoying this song all over.  The thing though is that both ladies are singing in their cute vocals which is a little odd to me but doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the song.  Interesting song.

4. Hoshi ni Natta Uso

Oh Risa’s version, Hoshi ni Natta Uso (which I heard is a cover but not entirely sure) is a much lighter and different assault on the ears.  I’m surprised that while “Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” is peppy and cute, this song is laidback and that is for the vocals as well.  It’s kind of like “Toki no Kakera” but has electric guitar in it…meh.

 

 

Starting their 3rd era, Toki no Kakera is kind of unmemorable for me oddly enough.  Toki no Kakera isn’t a bad A-side but they’ve had so much better IMHO.  Most of the B-sides aren’t very memorable either because it sounds a lot like leftover “Vanilla Beans II” stuff that just happened to find their way on this single.  I will say that Yes? No? is the best song but once again not their best haha.  Hopefully their next single will be better.

 

Vanilla Beans – Vanilla Beans II

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 8:52 pm

Track Listing

  1. VanillaBeans
  2. Älskar Dig
  3. Nakaji Time
  4. Doctor, Onegai
  5. Summer vacation
  6. ?
  7. Oosumi Time
  8. Musunde Hiraite
  9. C Ba-san no Uta
  10. Oppai
  11. Takami Time
  12. Södermalm
  13. Yumemiru Shippo
  14. Oyasumi
  15. Tengoku e no Kaidan

1. VanillaBeans

Opening the album, VanillaBeans is essentially the introduction to the album but all it is is the girls spelling their name out repeatedly against a happy arrangement and in the later half gets another melody added across.  It’s definitely the duo’s sound so it’s pretty cool!

2. Älskar Dig

Our first full vocal track, Älskar Dig is interesting because it has a lot of strings present in it.  It kind of harkens back to their first era since it has that old nostalgic sound going on.  Light and bright but flows so nicely along the song that it doesn’t feel like it gets too boring.  Though I will say that there is a lot of other better VB songs.

3. Nakaji Time

So the songs that have a ____ Time to their title are actually interludes for the album which is kind of meh for me.  Only being 30 seconds long, Nakaji Time really doesn’t do a lot for the album but the electric guitar addition kind of bridges the gap in between “Älskar Dig” and “Doctor, Onegai”. 

4. Doctor, Onegai

Makes sense that it moves into this song which ups on the excitement by feeling like those old Beatles songs/hippie music xD.  Of course after the interlude, Doctor, Onegai has a lot more electric guitar and some solo lines between Rena and Risa and they sound different from what I’m used to…it’s like they went for more of a cuter tone than their normal laidback sound.  While I do have to get used to the vocals, it’s a pretty good song overall haha.

5. Summer vacation

I really like the next song though because it suits the summer feel and kind of has this relaxing jazzy vibe to it which surprises me since I don’t think they’ve done this kind of style yet.  Add in the small quirks with the arrangement like like the glockenspiel and it’s like gloriously pretty and it definitely worked for their advantage.  Great song here!

6. ?

So we have a song titled ? huh?  Besides the rather unusual title of the song, this song kind of meshes the previous two tracks into one since it has the whole summer vibe but with a lot of electric guitar present as well so likewise it is the two tracks mixed together.  It’s fun and kind of just gives me this good feeling inside ^_^

7. Oosumi Time

Our next interlude isn’t as exciting as “Takaji Time” since this one is a lot slower, the ladies vocals are muffled, and sounds like a slow cowboyish kind of song.  Not really making sense to me at the moment but I’m sure it will eventually XD.

8. Musunde Hiraite

Well the interlude didn’t really mean anything except our next song is more relaxing and a bit more dependent on the synthetic sounds.  Musunde Hiraite definitely would’ve fit nicely on their first album since it’s cute and retro but not overly so on either side of the spectrum.  It kind of feels like a normal idol song but with the soft vocals from the two ladies. 

9. C Ba-san no Uta

Now this one is definitely a song that reminds me of their first album but less focused on their regular sound.  Like “Musunde Hiraite”, this has a cutesy sound to it and it’s pretty much obvious with how the ladies are singing the song.  It kind of makes me confused because I’m usually assuming they would sing with their kind of emotion-less tone but hear it’s a different story.  It’s likeable but I consider the previous song much better.

10. Oppai

Breasts?  Oh that’s kind of shady and double meaning (perhaps?).  I will say the arrangement kind of made me giggle because it has some interesting chords and notes like the song is inducing a little bit of a stoned feeling LOL.  The ladies are back to their droning and light vocals and it kind of works in the setting.  It’s so laidback and oddball…but I kind of liked this track.

11. Takami Time

The last interlude of the album is 20 second longer than the previous interludes but this one is unusual.  It’s like “VanillaBeans” in the fact that they’re back to spelling their names out but with light percussion/tambourine and harmonica.  Interesting but I don’t think it’s useful here either.

12. Södermalm

Kind of like “Älskar Dig”, Sodermalm focuses on strings leading the song but it interesting that Sodermalm is a part of Stockholm which is also nothing new to Vanilla Beans because they also have a song called “Gamla stan” which is also a section of Stockholm.  Makes me curious to why they have such a connection to the city.  As for the song, it’s pretty pleasant and and moves smoothly…to be honest I think this might be my favorite from the album.

13. Yumemiru Shippo

After the last track, I wasn’t expecting a sort of folkish song (at least I feel like it sounds like that…or just a basic acoustic ballad), Yumemiru Shippo is surprisingly quiet and relaxed when compared to the rest of the album.  At first I thought it was a solo because I hear only one voice through the first part but it could be that the two girls sung apart which makes a bit more sense.  Not bad, but I felt like there could be more to it.

14. Oyasumi

I would’ve thought Oyasumi would’ve closed the album because of the way it’s represented here.  I mean it’s even softer than “Yumemiru Shippo” and has less of an arrangement.  The rather sparse sound makes the song feel sleepy and lullaby-like.  I think it works for them as a ballad but I still feel that when it comes to this song, I’m ending up dozing off.

15. Tengoku e no Kaidan

However since “Oyasumi” doesn’t close the album I was wondering what would and then I saw the final track and was rather not surprised they’d go out with a bang.  The only A-side for the era, Tengoku e no Kaidan (a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” decides to show up and close).  Now this song is pretty damn long at a little over 8 minutes.  Now I haven’t gotten used to it since I found it not that long ago but I still kind of find this cover a bit humorous.  Of course it’s also the only English track on the album but it’s pretty difficult to figure what both Rena and Risa are actually saying…but this is kind of cute in a very freaky way.

Tracks Recommended

  • Södermalm
  • Oppai
  • Summer vacation
  • Musunde Hiraite
  • Tengoku e no Kaidan

Song of Avoidance

  • Yumemiru Shippo

Finally at the duo’s sophomore album, I have to say overall I did like it…but it doesn’t have the uber memorable songs that their debut album did so I felt like it wasn’t as amazing but still very nice.  I think it could’ve benefitted having “LOVE & HATE” and “D&D” on it without having the best-of album being released but it’s whatever.  Still not bad of a album overall.