Kurayami Monogatari

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Up Up Girls – Barebare I LOVE YOU July 18, 2012

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 9:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Barebare I LOVE YOU
  2. Rainbow
  3. Barebare I LOVE YOU (instrumental)
  4. Rainbow (instrumental)

1. Barebare I LOVE YOU

Good lord at the opening lyrics ~barebare I love you, sokubare want you~ being repeated and building on group of ladies each time it’s sung.  It’s a lot more lively and upbeat than “Going my ↑” but it sounds rather good in the sense there’s a lot more action and catchiness to be found here.  All the girls do get solo lines but most of them actually come from Azusa which is quite surprising but she sounds GREAT!  Definitely a step up from them!

2. Rainbow

It’s nice they changed up their sound to a little more synthy with Rainbow!  The song is definitely meant for crowds since it does have that punch and fun atmosphere.  Once again all the girls get solos with prominance of Azusa and Minami which is nice.  I like the song but I feel like I enjoyed “Barebare I LOVE YOU” tons more.

 

 

For their second single, Barebare I LOVE YOU is a much stronger single than their debut single in a lot of ways.  First both tracks are originals and tehy both are fun, energetic, and has stronger vocals throughout.  With their third single coming out next week, I can only wonder what’s in store with “Uppercut!/Yuudachi! Through the Rainbow”!

 

GRANRODEO – RIMFIRE

Filed under: GRANRODEO — solarblade @ 7:52 am

Track Listing

  1. RIMFIRE
  2. Urban Sweet
  3. Koi no HEAT WAVE
  4. RIMFIRE (OFF VOCAL)
  5. Urban Sweet (OFF VOCAL)
  6. Koi no HEAT WAVE (OFF VOCAL)

1. RIMFIRE

Getting into RIMFIRE, I wasn’t expecting KISHOW to come right out of the gate and powerfully shouting in the introduction.  I’m surprised at how much emotion KISHOW is showing through the song and I’m kind of loving it altogether.  As for the song, RIMFIRE is somehing else though because it’s so aggressive and just is in your face the entire time!  Definitely my favorite A-side of the era.

2. Urban Sweet

The first B-side of the single, Urban Sweet does tone things down slightly and kind of puts KISHOW into this funky rock’n’roll song that I respect because it’s quite down to its roots.  I hear some English but it’s accented so it’s barely understandable.  Still if you don’t like the wild nature of “RIMFIRE”, this might be more of your song.

3. Koi no HEAT WAVE

Makes sense that the duo would have a summer song of sorts with Koi no HEAT WAVE which definitely caters to their fans that love their fun tracks.  It’s a little strange for me because I’m not used to their experimental rock songs like this surfer’s track.  It kind of feels like it was suited more for BREAKERZ than GRANRODEO but I thought this was fun and unique.

 

 

I definitely found myself enjoying GRANRODEO’s 3rd and final single for their 5th album.  RIMFIRE was explosive and wild for an A-side and left the biggest mark over “Can Do” and “Ai no Warrior”.  Even the B-sides stuck out in a good way.  Urban Sweet is more of what they’ve been sounding like which is more good stuff and Koi no HEAT WAVE is a good, yet odd song from the duo.  This is a strong single over and earns a *RECOMMENDED*

 

ikimono-gakari – Kaze ga Fuiteiru

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 7:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Kaze ga Fuiteiru
  2. Kaze ga Fuiteiru -instrumental-

1. Kaze ga Fuiteiru

I didn’t expect ikimono to get all grand and mighty with Kaze ga Fuiteiru which is over 7 and a half minutes long.  It starts with Kiyoe alone before the song actually opens up a bit more broadly.  I felt like when the guitars enter, I thought it was going to anthemic in style but seriously it feels like most of the A-sides from “Hajimari no Uta” as in it’s the typical ikimono mid-tempo song.  Add that it was longer than it should’ve been and you get a pretty boring and plain track (but I’m sure it’ll sell like hell on ORICON.

 

 

Honestly, I’m kind of tired of hearing ikimono-gakari doing these one-song singles because they could easily put a B-side on to cover up how bland Kaze ga Fuiteiru really is.  I mean I’m used to these songs back two eras ago but this is just tiring and making as long as it was was adding salt to the wound.  Yeah, it’s easy to say I just don’t like the song…

 

IU – You & I (Japanese Version)

Filed under: IU — solarblade @ 6:30 am

Track Listing

  1. You & I (Japanese Version)
  2. Shounen Jidai
  3. You & I (Japanese Version) [FPM TECHNORCHESTRA MIX] (Limited A only)
  4. You & I (Instrumental)

1. You & I (Japanese Version)

Another Korean turned into Japanese track huh?  I have to say for what I got from “Good day”, You & I is a lot more interesting and brings out IU’s colors a lot more her and I found that to be great.  It’s a bit more K-pop vibed but the use of strings pulled me into it quite nicely and she’s taking more risks with her voice here.  I really enjoyed the song and the dramatics worked better!

2. Shounen Jidai

I was really surprised that IU would actually make the B-side an actual cover of a Yosui Inoue song.  As such, the tune is a lot lighter (but then again, it is a ballad lol).  It’s a simple song with just acoustic guitar, piano, and strings and IU’s light vocals and I kind of liked it here despite the music not really entrancing me.  It sounds heartful though and she gave a solid performance here.

3. You & I (Japanese Version) [FPM ELECTRORCHESTA MIX]

The final track is something new to IU in Japan and that’s a remix from Tomoyuki Tanaka aka FPM.  The song is given a cool touch of electronica and added a bit of a fluttery arrangement with the strings here and I kind of really liked this remix.  Definitely suited the lyrics nicely and just impressed me.

 

 

IU’s second single in Japan, You & I did a lot better as a release than “Good day” did since all three tracks are quite nice tunes.  You & I sticks out a lot more than her last A-side because of the stronger arrangement and overall better performance.  Shounen Jidai is a worthy cover but it’s a bit typical of a ballad (you know, the usual suspects of one).  I will say check out the remix of You & I because it sounds REALLY pretty!

 

Crystal Kay – VIVID

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 5:20 am

Track Listing

  1. Forever
  2. Be Mine
  3. Take It Outside
  4. Yo Yo
  5. Come Back To Me
  6. What We Do
  7. Superman
  8. Memory Box
  9. Haru Arashi
  10. Fly High
  11. Delicious na Kinyoubi
  12. Rising Sun
  13. Haru Arashi (Kazuhiko Maeda Remix)
  14. Forever (Kazuhiko Maeda Remix)
  15. Forever (Max K Remix) (iTunes only)
  16. Yo Yo (English Version) (iTunes only)

1. Forever

I love that Kuri opens up with the single she released not even a month prior to the album’s release.  I REALLY love this song for some reason because Kuri sounds so good and the song is just my league of good stuffs.  I definitely think it’s one of the surprising yet amazing A-sides of the year!

2. Be Mine

After hearing the singles, I was wondering what she going to have as the main course for VIVID and it seems starting with Be Mine, it’s similar in styles here.  The track is kind of more 80’s style but I like the atmosphere here and Kuri continues to sound gracious here.  It’s a fun spirited song and kind of have this flirty sound with its lyrics.  Good track overall.

3. Take It Outside

However our next track makes our previous one sound like a mess because Take It Outside is just all-around amazing.  I was surprised she pulled this one out of her hat and I must say.  I just love the dance beats and the hook revolving around ~take it outside, just you and I~ is just incredibly catchy.  Up there alongside “Forever”.

4. Yo Yo

Moving onto Yo Yo, it backs away from using too much synths by giving this party tune.  I really liked it for it’s unusual melody and using more of a minor style for the song (especially that chorus, where it sounds totally different from the verses).  It’s a really cool tune to listen to.

5. Come Back To Me

Our fifth track in and we finally somewhat cooled down from her dance style and enter Come Back To Me which has more of a serious tone to it.  I found it somewhat cool that the beat is heavy still and the strings play an angry way.  It does have a certain Americanized sound that excites me however and overall worked quite nicely.

6. What We Do

Mmph. the basslines in What We Do really spark my fancy here and was the first song that stood out just with that.  I also loved the chilled out feel of the song and the lyrics also really made it seem like it’s a party song.  I can totally imagine hearing this in a rollerskating rink for some reason…ahhh the mind pictures.

7. Superman

Moving onto Kuri’s debut under UNI-J, Superman is definitely a surprise since before that she was releasing such boring songs and this kind of dragged her back up into a better style for her.  I mean it’s still quite R&B but it sounds really pleasant and flows smoothly.  I will say it’s like a hookless “Forever” in arrangement but I liked it despite that.

8. Memory Box

If there was one song that I would say would be my least favorite track, it might be Memory Box because it’s just like her SONY works just on rolled into this song.  Definitely R&B and has a bit of a softer side to it, I didn’t find the song to be really exciting but Kuri’s voice is still very good here.  Just not my cup of tea.

9. Haru Arashi

I don’t know why but I really love Haru Arashi as well!  I mean this song was synthy and clubby and just a really cool and breezy song to listen to.  I did feel like as if it ended a bit too quickly, but this is still a pretty good song and A-side (probably my 2nd favorite after “Forever”).

10. Fly High

Seeing that the album is kind of switching from old tracks and new tracks in the second half of the album is kind of cool.  Fly High is another song that I don’t feel too much of because it kind or reminds me of a bunch of other Kuri songs out there but on this album it sounds good just a bit forgettable for me.  I think it’s a good track to put in between “Haru Arashi” and our next track.

11. Delicious na Kinyoubi

Good lord were all the A-sides just amazing stuff.  The final A-side representing VIVID, Delicious na Kinyoubi is like most of the tracks on the album and a lot like the previous as well which might make me feel a little bit less about it but it’s still a solid track overall even though I still find the synth breakdown to be rather random and unneeded.  Still a good tune.

12. Rising Sun

The last of the tracks before the remixes, Rising Sun has an interesting arrangement behind it.  Kind of following a little with “Come Back To Me” with the emphasizing of the beats but this is a lot more brighter of a song.  After a while it kind of just drags along with not much of  a change to the beat.  I was a little disappointed with this song.

13. Haru Arashi (Kazuhiko Maeda Remix)

So the album comes with two extra remixes, both remixed by Kazuhiko Maeda.  The first of them, Haru Arashi feels more like a stripped down version of the original which is a nice switch to things but it does sound really empty at first until we get into the chorus.  It’s alright but I like the original a bit more since it doesn’t have empty moments like this remix.

14. Forever (Kazuhiko Maeda Remix)

At least it seems the Forever remix seemed to be a bit better than the “Haru Arashi” remix.  I do like that it opens with the ~forever, ever, ever~ hook of the song and then adds a lot more color to it for some reason.  I do like the synthed up arrangement and how it opens into the chorus with less stuff going on.  I’d say it’s a lot better than the previous remix but I love the original a lot more!

15. Forever (Max K Remix)

If you got the album via iTunes, you get two bonus tracks…this first one is ANOTHER Forever remix.  This one is definitely more catered to the club goers out there since it begins like one with the chanting being repeated behind a heavy beat.  I have to say that I really love the arrangement once it comes in and the lyrics are really cool since it seems like the verses, bridge, and chorus are just moved around so it gets this interesting way of how things turned out.  Her voice does seem to be covered by the music but that’s OK since she has times where her voice goes over it…yeah this is a pretty awesome remix!

16. Yo Yo (English Version)

I’m happy to see that Yo Yo get an English version and as an added incentive and such.  I really like the song a bit more and since the song worked with the lyrics.  Thank god Kuri is a native speaker because I’m sure if she released here, I think it’d be a hit.

Tracks Recommended

  • Forever
  • Take It Outside
  • Yo Yo (English Version)
  • Haru Arashi
  • What We Do

Song of Avoidance

  • Rising Sun

Holy crap, I was rather amazed at how much of a difference changing labels will do to your music.  After being disappointed with “Spin The Music” and seeing those best-ofs being released, I was ready for new Kuri and moving from SONY to UNI-J has done great for her musically.  VIVID might not be what this album was (because let’s be honest it was really one true style with a couple of exceptions) but definitely a strong album with a few faults (which were a remix and two other songs) but the rest is so worth it…Definitely working to be one of the bests of 2012 *RECOMMENDED*