Kurayami Monogatari

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KARA – PANDORA August 24, 2012

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 9:29 am

Track Listing

  1. Way
  2. Pandora
  3. Idiot
  4. Geuliun Nalen (Miss U)
  5. Pandora (Inst.)

1. Way

Starting KARA’s 5th Korean mini, Way starts things off on a cute note and this kind of sounds like some of the songs from their Japanese album, “Super Girl”.  It’s perky and has the sugary bounce to their sound which is OK, but I’ve never really been a fan of this style and it makes me wonder why this was chosen as the first track.

2. Pandora

I’m happy they chose this song to promote it because I don’t feel like the other songs would’ve brought it to be honest.  Pandora is pretty much their K-pop song of the year since it has a heavier sound and the ladies all sound really good together.  It’s not as epic like “Jumping” and “STEP” but this is a pretty solid track from them.

3. Idiot

With a title like Idiot, I wasn’t expecting the song to sound like some Destiny Islands track (if you get the reference then you win a cookie).  What I mean is that, the song has an island pop vibe to it which kind of feels strange when the song is called Idiot.  I will say that I enjoyed it a lot more than “Way” as that cute song on the mini.

4. Geuliun Nalen (Miss U)

I will say that I enjoyed the 4th track a bit since it was a little taste of that Burlesque flavor with Geuliun Nalen but it’s still KARA at its core.  If it wasn’t because of the horns though, I could’ve swore this comes off like a Winter song, but this is a classy little tune and I enjoyed it quite a bit if not as much as Pandora.

 

 

Wow, I kind of don’t get the whole Korean mini-album ides when it is just 4 songs and all but whatever.  PANDORA was actually quite nice and we got 4 different sides from the ladies.  The only song that I didn’t like was Way because that was strangely bland against the three others.  Still not bad at all!

 

Fear, and Loathing In Las Vegas – All That We Have Now

Filed under: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — solarblade @ 7:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Acceleration
  2. Scream Hard as You Can
  3. Crossover
  4. How Old You are Never Forget Your Dream
  5. Interlude I
  6. Just Awake
  7. Defeat and Beat
  8. In the End, the Choice is All Yours
  9. Ley-Line
  10. Interlude II
  11. Don’t Suffer Alone

1. Acceleration

Starting the album off, we have Acceleration (which was released as a TSUTAYA rental single) but I didn’t listen to that so this is the first time I’m hearing the song.  Things are what I was expecting it to be since there’s a lot of the same things that were in “Just Awake”.  So is singing in his auto-tune and Minami is doing the screaming of the song and it’s interesting to listen to them mesh.  I definitely enjoyed the energy of the song and there’s parts where So and Minami doing scream together too…it’s wild.  Though I don’t exactly get the DIR EN GREY-inspired ending….that came out of nowhere >.>

2. Scream Hard as You Can

As the title hints at, there’s a lot of screaming going in the song.  I’m liking that the band switched from the speed techno to more of a hard rock setting which is awesome.  That is until the midway point when the switches from it’s setting to more of a techno-based sound…it’s still screaming in eardrums and it’s kind of cool?  I love the synths to be honest.  Interesting song overall!

3. Crossover

I have to say at this point of the album, I’m kind of wishing this album came with an instrumental CD because the music is great and hard-hitting but Crossover is definitely DIR EN GREY-inspired.  I do like the synth melody though and the melody in the end being soooo hard. 

4. How Old You are Never Forget Your Dream

At this point I was wondering when things will slightly calm down and the fourth track seems to be that song.  I for some reason did really enjoy this song for some reason.  All the melodies seem to be concrete, but then Minami comes in and does is yelling in the lightest part of the song which came out of nowhere and surprised me.  However, this song is strong since the piano plays a big part and everything fits together.

5. Interlude I

I’m surprised the band held to actually have interludes.  The first of them is quite awesome.  It starts out with a beautiful piano melody that goes for shortly and then the second part enters and the tune is more playful and latin-influenced which surprised me.  After a drum solo, the interlude transitions into this electro arrangement and I LOVED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT.  Now this is how you do an interlude!

6. Just Awake

As the only single released for the album, Just Awake actually grew on me since I reviewed said single.  I mean it’s a bit like the stuff before the interlude which isn’t new to me but for some reason the song just grew on me.  So is of course singing mostly and doing some screaming as well (I can tell because he has the higher pitch between him and Minami).  I still do feel the jazzy piano passage was very WTF but this song is getting better with each listen.

7. Defeat and Beat

Moving to Defeat and Beat we get another “Scream Hard as You Can” tunes where most of the song is filled with So’s and Minami’s screaming and growling.  Add in a kind of rapping section and you basically get this song which is a song I’m unsurprised at my dislike at.  It really didn’t stick to me at all and I think this could be the worst on the album.

8. In the End, the Choice is All Yours

On the next track, I thought it was going to be a typical rock track, but once the 8bit sounds jump in, it really takes on a new life.  There;s some interesting things going on, that I can admit and it’s still a powerful song to listen too but I think they utilized the screaming to a better degree than some of the other tracks.  Like “Just Awake” however, they include a jazzy piano WTF passage and ruined the flow for me.  It’s still a good track though otherwise.

9. Ley-Line

I thought I had hope for Ley-Line because they were taking it a bit more towards the electronica side of their sound?  I love that this song is more dependent on that style since it’s a lot catchier and makes me kind pass over the screamo parts more smoothly. It’s definitely one of the more memorable songs on the album. 

10. Interlude II

Oh hey another interlude!  It starts with a beat and rain falling but that fades out and is replaced with this strange Skrillex-like shuffle with the cut n’ paste vocals, then it moves into the grandiose strings section which was awesomely done and then seems like it restarts again but this time leads into a electro section instead of the strings.  Odd but I liked the other interlude better to be honest.

11. Don’t Suffer Alone

Closing the album out, Don’t Suffer Alone sounds pretty progressive and has a cool opening that’s for sure.  Now I’m clearly hearing English through the auto-tune from So which is pretty cool.  I was really impressed with the band dealing with the song because it changed a lot and they did the changes so effortlessly.  Cool track!

Tracks Recommended

  • How Old You are Never Forget Your Dream
  • Just Awake
  • Interlude I
  • Ley-Line

Song of Avoidance

  • Defeat and Beat

It’s really hard to efficiently tell where I stand with them.  The band to me sound like DIR EN GREY but at the same time unique to the Japanese music world because they added all this electronica to their hard metal sound to get this collision of two worlds.  All That We Have Now might not be to everyone’s tastes which I can understand since honestly, they are a tough group to deal with.  I enjoyed some of the songs but kind of loathed others because they did depend a lot of the screaming from So and Minami (which BTW, at this rate, they’ll end up getting polyps).  All in all, not bad…but their style can get drab if they continue the same way.

 

Mami Kawada – SQUARE THE CIRCLE

Filed under: Mami Kawada — solarblade @ 5:53 am

Track Listing

  1. SQUARE THE CIRCLE
  2. No buts!
  3. my buddy
  4. Don’t stop me now!
  5. Clap!Clap!Clap!
  6. Usual…
  7. See visionS
  8. live a lie
  9. Midnight trip // memories of childhood
  10. Rasen Kaidan
  11. F
  12. Going back to square one
  13. Serment

1. SQUARE THE CIRCLE

Ahhh starting the album off with the title track huh?  I really found myself interested because we’re back to the I’ve synth style that I’ve become fond of from the company.  After the lengthy intro, Mami comes in with this mysterious tone and she fits the style SO GOOD.  The chorus is also nice and Mami rises above the music and stands out moreso.  It’s a great way to begin the album, but I liked “linkage” more because that song was more dramatic IMO.

2. No buts!

Adding punch to move the album forward, we get No buts! which started out the era.  I remenber the screeching that the tune’s arrangement had which was the prominent thing about the song.  Add in the anime-esque feel of the song and it stands out from the album since it’s gritty and aggressive.

3. my buddy

Continuing on, a nice amount of new tracks come up starting with my buddy.  It sounds like “No buts!” but without the grittyness and screeches going on.  What’s left is this punchy synth track that sounds surprisingly good!  I found myself enjoying the tune altogether and Mami sounds just right.

4. Don’t stop me now!

Focusing more on the beat, Don’t stop me now! comes next and there’s a guitar riff added in.  It’s different from what I heard from Mami and I’m just kind of liking this electro song.  It’s kind of poppy when compared to the other tracks on the album but that’s cool because it gives a new side to Mami.  I ended up loving this song for some reason more than the previous track 0.o

5. Clap!Clap!Clap!

As I read other reviews, C!C!C! is actually the summer song on the album and I can totally see that here.  It’s a fun song to listen to which I can admid to and there sounds like there’s some kind of underlying sadness about the song for some reason…then Mami just makes me laugh saying ~Crap, Crap, Crap~ (as in bad Engrishness).  It’s all right, but the song is a bit weird for me.

6. Usual…

So the album has an interlude and Mami composed it as well!  For being about the length of a vocal song, Usual… is a bit forgetful since it’s kind of the same things throughout the whole track.  It’s still a bit of electro but it’s kind of like “SQUARE THE CIRCLE”…subdued perhaps is the best way to describe it.  Still, it’s forgetful since there’s no lyrics to be had here.

7. See visionS

After the interlude, we get into the second A-side released and See visionS is still probably one of my favorite songs from Mami.  I love the anime feel out of this song a lot more than “No buts!” but she gives an pretty powerful performance here.  She does strain her vocals a bit in the song, but I oddly enough didn’t mind this.  It’s a really strong song and I’m happy this made the album.

8. live a lie

Haunting synths and chanting opens up live a lie which is a bit similar in style to “SQUARE THE CIRCLE” but this song has more of a progressive feel so it’s like it lies between that and “my buddy”.  It’s a darker song from the album, but I feel like it should’ve had a bit more punch to it.  I like it but it needed more oomph IMO and it’s a bit too long (as the only song passing six minutes on the album).

9. Midnight trip // memories of childhood

At first, I wonder if Midnight trip was related to “Angel” because both had similar titles.  Midnight trip is probably the weirdest song of the album because the arrangement is about as weird and strange to listen to.  Mami is also doing some weird vocals hops which is quite meh.  The transitioning is a bit sketchy too.  Yeah, I’m not a fan of this one to be honest.

10. Rasen Kaidan

At least our next track is better!  I think this is this first time I’ve heard Mami’s vocals being a little more synthed up but the song is pretty cool.  I love the breezy atmosphere it gives off and just flows so damn smoothly.  It stands as the poppiest song on the album but this turned out a lot better than I expected.

11. F

As the new track that’s a ballad, F is an interesting song to deal with.  My main thought was that it has the flowing synth style once again which feels good with the album, but I felt like this could’ve been handled without so much of the electronic influences.  Maybe a little bit would’ve worked but not all this.  Beyond that, it was a solid ballad and Mami sounds great in the song.

12. Going back to square one

I guess we go back full circle because I feel like that’s a tongue-in-cheek title back to the beginning.  Compared to the other songs on the album this has the strongest rock influence and I was definitely enjoying the power from Mami’s vocals alongside the brazen guitars and drums.  A pretty powerful song and I’m enjoying every second of it.

13. Serment

Finally, closing out the album is the 3rd and final A-side representing the album (wait…where’s “Borderland”?).  I still do feel like Serment is the weakest of the four A-sides, but it felt right as the album’s final track to be honest.  It gave closure to the album and was a nice slow down from “Gonig back to square one” by giving us back the electroness.  I feel like the song reminds me of “PSI-missing” but with guitars alongside too for some strange reason…good ending.

Tracks Recommended

  • Don’t stop me now!
  • See visionS
  • my buddy
  • Going back to square one
  • Rasen Kaidan

Song of Avoidance

  • Midnight trip // memories of childhood

Yay, Mami’s 4th album!  I have to say as an overall package, STC is a more consistent than any of her previous albums have been and that’s good and to me, it’s better than her last album, “LINKAGE” but I felt that this album played it safe.  Most of the songs were in electro form and it did surprise me it lacked the variety, her last three has had…though what can I say she didn’t do half bad here.