Kurayami Monogatari

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NEWS – Chankapana July 16, 2012

Filed under: NEWS — solarblade @ 10:24 am

Track Listing

  1. Chankapana
  2. Full Swing
  3. Starry
  4. Vampire wa Kakukatakiri
  5. PeekaBoo…
  6. Addict
  7. Chankapana (Original Karaoke)
  8. Full Swing (Original Karaoke)
  9. Starry (Original Karaoke)
  10. Vampire wa Kakukatakiri (Original Karaoke)
  11. PeekaBoo… (Original Karaoke)
  12. Addict (Original Karaoke)

1. Chankapana

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen NEWS last and they return with…a song that’s kind of unique to their style.  It seems like it has some light Indian influence and on the other hand seem to take notes from Arashi’s “Wild At Heart” which doesn’t surprise me much because both groups are Johnny’s.  Now with just four vocalists left, it’s surprising to see some of the others take charge and they don’t sound half bad.  Not an amazing song, but it moves them forward.

2. Full Swing

The main B-side kind of sounds like your run-of-the-mill NEWS/Johnny’d song which is kind of disappointing and dated but whoever sings lead sounds really good in the song.  Then again the other 3 members don’t sound half-bad either.  It’s just this song is uneventful and I kind of forget it after a while.

3. Starry

The rest of the single is split into 4 each containing a solo song for each member starting with Koyama’s song which is oddly the only ballad on the single.  With only piano and strings helping him out, it seems really plain but Keiichiro sounds pleasant but it lacks something to bring it out to the forefront of the single. 

4. Vampire wa Kakukatakiri

Shigeaki’s song is up next and seeing the word Vampire in its title, I was expecting something really cool and it kind of is.  Though I’m kind of surprised Shigeaki isn’t really singing and is more riding the line between singing and speaking.  Adding salt to the wound, he’s under heavy auto-tune which doesn’t work with his vocals very much.  I will say that I do like the funky arrangement but I just couldn’t take this song very seriously.

5. PeekaBoo…

The same problems seem to be present for Takahisa’s song in the fact that he’s under a lot of auto-tune as well.  At least the song is a bit more suited but it lacks power behind it which is a little unsettling for me because I do think it’s needs more bang.  At least he can pull off sexy well.

6. Addict

Tegoshi gets his song and this was a lot more of what I was hoping “PeekaBoo…” would sound like because Yuya sounds really pleasant and doesn’t rely heavily on the auto-tune and he sounds really strong singing throughout.  It’s definitely my favorite song from this single hands down!

 

 

It’s been a hard time for the guys of NEWS since “Fighting Man”.  I mean they lost two of their core members (Yamapi and Ryo) and had to release a best-of to bsically start anew with the rest of the members.  I do seem to find that Tegoshi and Koyama are now the leads while the other two now sing a bit more than they’re used to and that’s great.  Chankapana is a smidge better than “Fighting Man” but not by much because most of the single is still feeling like it’s missing something or it just feels super dated.  I will say that I loved Addict the most and that stood out to me a LOT.  The rest of the single…eh….I hope they get better as this quartet.

 

Angela Aki – Kokuhaku

Filed under: Angela Aki — solarblade @ 9:52 am

Track Listing

  1. Kokuhaku
  2. Kokuhaku -Takkyu Ishino Remix-
  3. Uchuu -80KIDZ Remix-
  4. Kokuhaku -Anime Version- (Limited Edition only)

1. Kokuhaku

For the time I’ve been listening to Angela, I didn’t expect Kokuhaku to be something a bit out of the ordinary.  I mean the signature piano is actually absent in the song and instead brought back the acoustic guitar and added synths to make it even more zesty and unique.  I’m kind of happy that Angela got to do a song because her vocals seem to blend with the arrangement without much effort.  It’s definitely a rare thing to see Angela do for an A-side and I like it a lot!

2. Kokuhaku -Takkyu Ishino Remix-

What’s even more surprising is that Angela actually has a remix of Kokuhaku.  I mean she’s never had a full-on remix ever on her singles so this is kind of a landmark for her XD.  Angela and a focus on electronic music is really bizarre and with Takkyu Ishino working at the reins, I’m just not feeling the song really because it really is mostly there for the beats and music.  Add in the Angela’s voice sounds really quiet here…but it’s alright, just not amazing.

3. Uchuu -80KIDZ Remix-

Seems really random to see that Uchuu (originally an album track from her first major label album, “Home”) being remixed by 80KIDZ.  I’m not sure what to really think because it’s got things that I’m not so used to from Angela likes beats and an electric guitar riff.  I mean the guitars aren’t new to the song, but the beats are and they don’t seem to work for the song…ehhh stick to the original.

 

 

With only a couple days before “BLUE” is released, she released Kokuhaku, a first for her.  I mean the main track doesn’t sound like any of the singles which makes it unique and fresh for her (something I’ve been hoping for since her boring “WHITE” album).  Even better is that she finally has remixes on her single…though neither of them are that great to begin with but it’s new!  A new direction perhaps?  I’m quite excited for the album now lol.

 

Miho Fukuhara – The Best of Soul Extreme

Filed under: Miho Fukuhara — solarblade @ 8:52 am

Track Listing

  1. O2 featuring AI
  2. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA
  3. Open Eyes
  4. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura
  5. STARLIGHT
  6. Regrets of Love
  7. DON’T TAKE IT AWAY
  8. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! feat. Chara
  9. Cinnamon Dreams
  10. You
  11. Save Me feat. Leona Lewis
  12. Black Star
  13. You Are the Reason feat. AI

1. O2 featuring AI

It’s pretty awesome that Miho chose to open up the album with O2 (which was the promo song for the first “Soul Extreme”).  I love AI and Miho together since their vocals sound so together and flow into each other quite nicely.  The song does have a big Westernized sound to it which might be its biggest pull.  Definitely a great way to kick things off!

2. Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA

Moving onto the first track from the 2nd “Soul Extreme” is Get Up! and I loved the funky arrangement out of this one and this stood out to me more than “O2”.  I still find it rather humorous listening to AKIKO’s vocals because she has such a husky and manly tone to her voice that it just kind of surprises me.  I still find it an appealing song and a great standout to the album. 

3. Open Eyes

Moving into our first new track, Open Eyes is the promotional song and I was kind of surprised she kept with the R&B style for the song but it’s got nice flow in it.  It does remind me if “O2” in ways but at the same time has its flavor and chilled style that works for me.  I like it quite a bit for some reason, even though it’s not my style.  Not bad!

4. Dream On feat. Daichi Miura

I find it funny that Dream On is the only A-side released in this entire era between 3 mini-albums and such.  Dream On doesn’t seem to be really much different from the previous tracks besides the obvious addition of Daichi.  I do feel like the song sounds a bit weaker coming after the songs before so I’m really unsure how to feel totally, but it still was a great collaborative idea for these two strong vocalists.

5. STARLIGHT

So we get two tracks that originally came from “The Soul Extreme EP” and I thought she chose a good track to represent it.  Though I would’ve actually chose “Better Than Love” (the English version of this song) just because I thought Miho did a much better job there.  I still do like the Japanese rendition though and kind of brings us to a much calmer state of mind with this track.

6. Regrets of Love

I was surprised to see she included Regrets of Love onto the album because the same-titled mini-album came before the “Soul Extremes”.  Listening to it now, I really get a Leona Lewis kind of feel which is nice but it’s a bit like the other songs I’ve heard so far.  However, its a really pleasant track to listen too and it’s probably one of my favorites of her slower R&B songs.

7. DON’T TAKE IT AWAY

Lucky for us is that the rest of the album is nothing but new material from her starting with DON’T TAKE IT AWAY.  I like that it opens up with acoustic guitar and kind of makes a jab at “O2” along the way.  It’s definitely her most down to basics track on the album but that’s really nice because it showcases her voice quite nicely.  Not a favorite but it’s quite enjoyable.

8. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! feat. Chara

It wasn’t enough that Miho had covered “Milk” alongside Chara but she features her in a new track.  It does continue to have more acoustics involved which is nice.  I’m a little disturbed by the meshing of Chara and Miho which is pretty jagged.  However alone, I do think Chara sounds soulful which is different but singing alongside Miho just kind of kills me.  I can see that it would make people happy but…at the same time…maybe if it wasn’t Chara.

9. Cinnamon Dreams

The title of the next track actually caught my attention first (heh Cinnamon you see).  I thought it was Miho being really classy and just having fun wuth the track which is sung in English.  It’s a bouncy one for sure and it just puts me in a good mood ^_^

10. You

Things get back to what they sounded like in the first half of the album with R&B beats and kind of that Westernized sound.  I mean it’s a nice song to listen to and the fact there’s electric guitar and a string section kind of impressed me quite a bit.  Nice track, but kind of forgetful compared to the other tracks.

11. Save Me feat. Leona Lewis

Well I did mention that some of Miho’s songs are like Leona songs.  Now we have a collaboration with these two powerful singers.  At first, I couldn’t tell the difference but after a while it seems that Miho has a more throaty voice and her accent makes it obvious.  That being said it feels like a Ryan Tedder-produced track and I’m not a fan of his.  The song is quite dramatic and both ladies really brought it for the song so it’s up there!

12. Black Star

I was also intrigued by the title of our next track, Black Star which kind of sounds like a continuation of “Save Me” but without Leona and more emphasis on the beats.  I do love the sprinkling of synths throughout the song’s chorus and Miho sounds great once again.  Overall it’s a pretty solid track but I feel like it could’ve been more.

13. You Are the Reason feat. AI

Getting to the final track of the album, You Are the Reason is another collaboration with AI and this one seems to be more flowing and more emotional.  I kind of just forget the song after a while but it does make for a pretty good closure to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Regrets of Love
  • Cinnamon Dreams
  • Save Me feat. Leona Lewis
  • Get Up! feat. AKIKO WADA
  • O2 featuring AI

Song of Avoidance

  • You Are the Reason feat. AI

Strange release this was, I mean three mini-albums and a single and we get The Best of Soul Extreme (which kind of seems pointless of a title since it only has three tracks from said Soul Extremes).  I thought the album was good but that’s about as far as I get because none of the new songs were really standouts (maybe cept Cinnamon Dreams and Save Me).  I just felt that this album lacked musical variety this time around and paid more attention to Miho herself.  Oh yeah, there’s a 2nd disc but it’s just of covers she’s done in the past.