Kurayami Monogatari

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KARA – KARA Collection September 6, 2012

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 11:40 pm

Track Listing

  1. Wanna Do
  2. Lost (feat. Jinwoon from 2AM)
  3. Secret Love
  4. Hakachuumu
  5. Guilty
  6. GO GO Summer! 2012
  7. Wanna Do (Instrumental)
  8. Lost (Instrumental)
  9. Secret Love (Instrumental)
  10. Hakachuumu (Instrumental)
  11. Guilty (Instrumental)
  12. GO GO Summer! 2012 (Instrumental)

1. Wanna Do

Well, if you hadn’t guessed, the mini-album is essentially a solo mini with 5 of the 6 songs being split to the 5 members.  Jiyoung gets first dibs with Wanna Do and I kind of like the strings/e. guitar mix which is something KARA hasn’t really done.  I like the relaxed nature of the song and she does a give a nice performance overall.

2. Lost (feat. Jinwoon of 2AM)

Nicole’s song comes next and she’s the only one of the 5 solos to have a featured artist.  Lost  is styled as an R&B track with a lot of synths and strings which is a total 180 from “Wanna Do”.  I have to say Nicole’s vocals sound a lot more at home and natural which isn’t a surprise because KARA has done these.  Not a bad song here and Jinwoon didn’t do a bad job being the secondary voice.

3. Secret Love

Adding a little more oomph to the style, Hara’s solo, Secret Love, is probably my favorite of the solo tracks because this is energetic and has a lot of interesting things going on.  While I don’t think Hara has the strongest voice of the group, she has good style and it fits this song.  OH YEAH!

4. Hakachuumu

Gyuri’s solo kind of sounded like it was going to be different and it was!  It has this kind of has this waltz-y style going and it’s probably the classiest track since it sounds so precise in its execution.  However, I am kind of depressed that all of the songs had strings in them…could we cut back on it?  Also it feels a tad long and a bit too dramatic for me.

5. Guilty

Seungyeon gets the depressing song with Guilty but it’s not bad because I kind of like the edgy areas of the song.  I really am fond of her voice so this song suited her a LOT.  I also think it’s the best song of the mini-album because it has a strong rock influence and her vocie just soars in this song.  At least it’s not as dramatic as “Hakachuumu” was to be honest. 

6. GO GO Summer! 2012

The final song is the only all-member song on the mini-album and sadly is merely just a new version of the group’s 4th A-side.  I love GO GO Summer! and it was perfect the way it was.  Now with this here, the new 2012 version kind of sucks in a lot of ways.  I mean it is more electro which is no surprise but they added strings (a major ugh) and the beats and new synth melodies kind of overwhelm the vocals which were hard to hear in the verses.  I don’t like this new one AT ALL.

 

 

I’m kind of surprised the their label decided to not kick them out but keep them going longer ^_^.  KARA Collection though might be their worst release yet though.  I mean the idea of all five girls getting solos will help on differentiating the voices of the five but the songs they were given aren’t a good example of KARA’s sound.  That being said, I loved all the songs except Gyuri’s solo which is a bit too long and boring for me.  Seungyeon’s solo though was badass and it just made me want more rock influences to KARA’s music oddly enough.  The new GO GO Summer! should be avoided though…it ruined the song entirely IMHO.  I guess this did turn out well and like “PANDORA” they’re experiementing which is nice…but I kind of wanted club bangers >.>

 

°C-ute – Aitai Aitai Aitai na

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 11:06 pm

Track Listing

  1. Aitai Aitai Aitai na
  2. Kanashiki Heaven (Regular only)
  3. Saikou Music (Limited only)
  4. Aitai Aitai Aitai na (Instrumental)

1. Aitai Aitai Aitai na

I am actually really happy that °C-ute returned to their power songs because while the last three singles were OK at best, Aitai Aitai Aitai na goes back to an energetic dance track which is pretty awesome to hear.  Even though it’s still no “Kiss me Aishiteru”, this song is pretty sweet and hearing Maimi, Airi, and Chisato give one of their strongest performances yet.  The other two were good, but their vocals still don’t really impress me much.  As for the arrangement, it’s pretty busy and maybe a tad messy in areas but this is definitely their best song since “Kiss me Aishiteru”.

2. Kanashiki Heaven

I’m surprised that °C-ute would have two B-sides on the single ^_^.  Kanashiki Heaven is the first and found on one edition which is a bit sad but it’s alright.  I like the mix of synths and acoustic guitar since it gives the song a more unique approach.  Is it me or am I hearing a LOT of Chisato in this song?  It’s different and definitely fits the B-side tab.

3. Saikou Music

I guess the group needed something really random and that’s where Saikou Music comes in because it seriously sounds like Sonic the Hedgehog music.  It’s frantic and just absurdly cute and awesome at the same time.  I wouldn’t have minded if this was the leading track…it’s different and I really liked it!

 

 

It seems like °C-ute is finally getting a boost of popularity since their last single, “Kimi wa Jitensha…”.  Aitai Aitai Aitai na is another strong offering from this group.  The leading track is going back to their strong dance routines and it shows!  This song was loud and proud and a little mess but it came out well for the most part.  Kanashiki Heaven is new to me and the sound is one that I would get used to but I think I’ll like it.  Saikou Music though is REALLY good and it’s probably the best of the single.  It’s fun, wild and just overall good!  Yeah, I’m liking this single quite a bit ^_^

 

Yui Sakakibara – Fractal

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 9:37 am

Track Listing

  1. Fractal
  2. Scarlet
  3. Ren’ai 0 Kilometer
  4. Let’s Go! Modulation
  5. pi pi pi☆STRIKE!
  6. Oedo Komachi
  7. Manatsu no Cielo
  8. Himitsu Jikake no apple
  9. Sun shower
  10. Kuroi Hana
  11. Jubilus
  12. Kirameki Issen
  13. LOVE☆FIRE!
  14. Love Comp!
  15. evolution

1. Fractal

What? Is Yui wanting to start the album off with something that screams Japanese?  The title track has a pretty cool sound as it has a lot of electric guitars and some traditional Japanese strings which give it some power and finesse.  Yui’s vocals are actually pretty good since she’s trying to pull off some enka-ish notes.  It’s a solid track and all and is pretty good as the first song as well.

2. Scarlet

Moving on, Scarlet is the first of many of the cutesy songs on the album and I have to keep myself grounded without passing out from the sugar rush.  While it does retain the electric guitars from “Fractal”, the song adds synth horns and Yui’s vocals go into seiyuu mode which is a bit too much for me.  It’s a terrible song at least and it is catchy sometimes, but it just isn’t my kind of track.

3. Ren’ai 0 Kilometer

Sadly, it just goes downhill from there because Ren’ai 0 Kilometer packs on the cute even more by adding bells and synths to the electric guitars which are a bit all over the place for me.  This is just definitely a bad song for the album since it’s a little TOO busy and kind of gets increasingly annoying at the chorus.  I just can’t listen to this one.

4. Let’s Go! Modulation

Is there a limit to how high Yui’s vocals can go?  Let’s Go! Modulation hits an increasingly cute point in the opening of this anison song.  I do like the arrangement a lot more than the previous song but it still is buried in cute goo as to where it makes me curious to why she’s stuck to this voice for her music.  However the verses are the only places where her voice sounds rather normal, but that chorus is a no no…DAMNIT YUI!

5. pi pi pi☆STRIKE!

Lord, every song has gradually gotten more sickengly cute and absurd for me to listen to.  HER VOICE IS GETTING EVEN HIGHER AND SQUEAKIER!  What is she trying to pull…a Yui Ogura?  pi pi pi☆STRIKE! is the epitome of super cute and it’s just so distracting and the music is even at a poor state with just synths and twinkly bleeps and all.  I despise this song!

6. Oedo Komachi

Wait! Is this a break from the sugaryness?  Well, not quite but this song relieves us from the UBER CUTE songs by being somewhat going back to the front of the album.  Like the title implies, it’s styled like an Ondo song so it’s very Japanese-festival friendly.  Yui is of course doing the vocal vibratos which is pretty cool and she does well.  This isn’t a bad song and definitely breaks the mold from the album.

7. Manatsu no Cielo

Funny that this is the song that I ended up reviewing before the album (and yet she has a butt ton of singles that aren’t on albums).  On the single I said it was alright, but the vocals are a bit iffy.  On here, Manatsu no Cielo is one of the better songs on the album despite me still feeling the vocals aren’t good.  The arrangement is a bit lighter and more poppy and less cutesy/anison so that’s good…but I’m not sure where this song lies.

8. Himitsu Jikake no apple

*sigh* I wonder where did good Yui go…we dive back down into sugar land with Himitsu Jikake no apple and while it’s not the most offensive song the album has to offered, it’s far from being the best as well.  I will say that the arrangement is kind of nice and refreshing to my ears with its breezy atmosphere.  Her vocals still remain as the negative point about the song but it’s not cringeworthy.

9. Sun shower

Natrual instruments?  I know we get a little bit of that back in “Manatsu no Cielo” but it’s nice that one of the song is a ballad.  Actually this is probably the deepest her vocals have been so far all album.  Sadly, the song isn’t very intriguing and it just kind of lacks a life for the most part…very simple and kind of bland.

10. Kuroi Hana

Wow, the arrangement actually has some potential here since it’s synth-heavy and piano is playing the melody.  Then I hear Yui sing and I’M LOVING THIS because she’s singing in her deeper tones and she sound PERFECT with the arrangement, almost badass for some reason.  It makes me wish there were more songs like this on the album because this is hands down the best of the album. 

11. Jubilus

Which follows into the next track, Jubilus.  It’s a bit more heavier and darker with the drums and pipe organ that’s present.  Something about Yui’s vocals are a little strange to me.  They sound very awkward and it’s like she’s trying to be a dude but can’t really pull it off very well.  Yrah, I could’ve liked it, but that voice issue is odd to say the least.

12. Kirameki Issen

That Japanese setting finds itself once again on the album in Kirameki Issen which kind of sounds like “Fractal” funny enough.  That’s OK because I really liked this song a lot more because it has a bit more push and Yui gave a strong performance.  I’m surprised she’s put most of the good songs towards the end.

13. LOVE☆FIRE!

I kind of was surprised this didn’t turn out to be like a super cute song.  Actually, it kind of sounds like it could’ve easily been a PHANTASM single because of the aggressive arrangement and goth sound with the strings.  I do sense a little bit of brightness in Yui’s vocals which might not sound like it adds up well together but it does!  Another impressive song overall.

14. Love Comp!

Another title with ~Love~ in it?  Unlike the previous track, Love Comp! is back to the grossly cute vocals from Yui but the arrangement isn’t very cutesy but has a little bit of bright playfulness with the piano.  Yeah, otherwise I just am not into this track either but is that any surprise?

15. evolution

Finally, we get to the final track of the album and why she chose this as the final beats me but this deserves to up at the front with the sugary cute pop songs of the album.  I don’t think it’s a terrible song but it’s kind of the top of the poor songs on the album which isn’t totally saying much.  The arrangement is what got me and I liked that but…that’s roughly about it.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kuroi Hana
  • Kirameki Issen
  • LOVE☆FIRE!
  • Fractal

Song of Avoidance

  • pi pi pi☆STRIKE!

Jeeze, after “BLOODY TUNE”, it seems like Yui has been consistently getting worse with each album.  Fractal really started out with a little hope with the title track but quickly turns into CRAAAAAP once it gets in Scarlet and really never lets up fully until Kuroi Hana and it gets good until the final two tracks which are back to crap.  I wish she wouldn’t clutter all of these tie-ins on one album and just release one straightforward album where she doesn’t need her seiyuu voice…it’s soooo bothersome.  Like I said, Kuroi Hana is probably the biggest winner here…ugh this album why Yui…WHYYYY??????

 

the GazettE – DIVISION

Filed under: the GazettE — solarblade @ 7:30 am

Track Listing

  1. [Depth]
  2. Ibitsu
  3. Kago no Sanagi
  4. Hedoro
  5. Kagefumi
  6. Yoin
  7. [Diplosomia]

CD 2

  1. [XI]
  2. DERANGEMENT
  3. REQUIRED MALFUNCTION
  4. DRIPPING INSANITY
  5. ATTITUDE
  6. GABRIEL ON THE GALLOWS
  7. [Melt]

1. [Depth]

As the intro to DIVISION, [Depth] has an unsettling kind of sound that kind of fits with the band’s V-kei motif.  It’s kind of rather eh and it doesn’t seem to really leave a mark as the intro to the album but whatever.

2. Ibitsu

At least with Ibitsu, the band kicks things off quite loudly.  The song is quite heavy and pretty much a safe start since it’s the band with no synths and randomness goingh on.  I really liked it oddly enough and RUKI sounded pretty nice…Basically it’s a straightforward rock track from the band and it turned out pretty well!

3. Kago no Sanagi

When we get into the song, Kago no Sanagi kind of reminds me of their last single, “REMEMBER THE URGE” because it’s a bit brighter on impact and things seem to be working a lot better than I thought.  RUKI sounds so good when he’s singing deep and it just gave this track a sinsiter but cool sound.  Definately one of the strong tracks on the album.

4. Hedoro

I was wondering when the band would come in with something wild and Hedoro is pretty loud and in your face.  I have to say the arrangement to me sounds a bit strange to me since there’s some weird whipping songs going on that I’m just not used to by them.  Add in that RUKI gets filtered in a couple places and it’s giving Hedoro a unique sound.  Though the chorus is a bit of a downer to me…kind sounds bland.  Still I do give it props and the guitar solos are sweet!

5. Kagefumi

Calming things down a little bit, Kagefumi rolls in and it’s a bit strange as the lone mid-tempo tune on the disc.  Unfortunately, the song is ultimately a bore for me as they move a little too slow through the song and I’m just left with a melancholic look on my face.  I guess it’s doing its job, but it really is the low point for the album here.

6. Yoin

As the final vocal track on Disc 1, Yoin seemed like it was going to start like a ballad, but Yoin oozed evil throughout which is a total surprise here.  It has the same mid-tempo atmosphere to it but RUKI sings in his uber deep tone and the dramtic strings and heavy sound in the chorus just blows me away.  This was what I wanted to hear from the band and they executed it very well!

7. [Diplosomia]

As the outro on the first disc, [Diplosomia] kind of goes full circle back to “[Depth]” with the weird intro with the far-away chanting schpeel.  However, at the midway point, the song gets this buzzing synth going and it’s kind of randomly placed (especially when it’s at the end of the disc and all that). 

CD 2

1. [XI]

I guess it makes sense now how “[Diplosomia]” kind marks the end, but also makes sure the beginning of the second disc is out of place.  What I mean is that the second disc begins with an intro, but is heavily electronic for them.  I fast beat and a repetition of ~break the connection~.  I love the electro stuff (which is kind of borderlining dubstep) but it’s still a fast pace tune and an interesting way to open the second half up.

2. DERANGEMENT

I was wondering where the group’s experimentation would be and it seems they shoved all those ideas in the second disc.  Starting with DERANGEMENT is quite something because RUKI is under auto-tune for this heavy song and I oddly find myself enjoying some of it.  However, all of a sudden, RUKI does his growling and it kind of bothers me in the song which coincides with the squeaky synths lines.  I also feel like they’re singing the song in poor English here…At first, I thought the song was great, but then after a while it started to sound VERY messy and all over the place.  Oh well…

3. REQUIRED MALFUNCTION

It seemed they took out the synths for the next track but left the auto-tune in full supply in the track.  REQUIRED MALFUNCTION is a lot like the previous song but with some cooler chords and a little much more from RUKI.  The growling is also present, but it’s not as detrimental as the ones in “DERANGEMENT”.  Not bad, not bad.

4. DRIPPING INSANITY

I’m kind of at the point where I’m just slightly bored of what we’re getting out of the second disc, but DRIPPING INSANITY is one of the songs that breaks the mold and fits in between both discs because it has the synthwork flying around, but it’s also toned down on the vocal issues which made this the easiest song to swallow.  I really enjoyed this oddly enough ^_^

5. ATTITUDE

If there was one song that drove me insane, ATTITUDE would be the “PSYCHOPATH” of the album because it’s just a lot of RUKI screaming the song with small parts of actual singing with a lot disc scratching and synth streaks.  It really gave me a headache and I couldn’t handle most of it (though the quiet bit with RUKI singing under filters was AWESOME)…lol sad that that is the only remotely good thing about the song.

6. GABRIEL ON THE GALLOWS

With a rather intriguing title, GABRIEL ON THE GALLOWS kind of goes back to “Ibitsu” with his hard sound and heavy action and it sounds like all kinds of rage is going on.  Sadly the song once again depends on RUKI’s death growls and I’m just not into the song but goddamn the rest of the song is pretty evil and cool to listen to.  *sigh* I actually am on the fence with this one.

7. [Melt]

Strange that the final track is actually 3 minutes long…Anyways, [Melt] has a dark electro arrangement which is cool and all but it goes on way too long for me.  It just kind of continues with the same arrangement with some small additions and changes but it’s still a strange ending to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Yoin
  • DRIPPING INSANITY
  • Kago no Sanagi
  • Ibitsu
  • REQUIRED MALFUNCTION

Song of Avoidance

  • ATTITUDE

Just like the title, it is a VERY divided album.  First off, I thought it was very strange that the band would announce the album ALL THE WAY BACK in March and then release this as both a one disc Regular edition (it lacks [Depth] and [Diplosomia] and this 2-disc edition.  It really does sound like two different identities beyond the kanji titles and the CAPS LOCK titles.  I liked songs from both sides, but I felt more comfortable with the first disc because there was nothing on their experimenting weirdness that the second was drenched in.  I just feel like it didn’t work for them and I kind of like this less than “TOXIC”. Oddly enough.

 

SPYAIR – Naked

Filed under: SPYAIR — solarblade @ 12:40 am

Track Listing

  1. Naked
  2. STAR

1. Naked

They just keep rollin’ out them good songs aren’t they?  Naked sounds pretty straightforward for the band with no tricks or power chords to pull out to make it epic (like “0 GAME”).  It’s just a rock song which is what SPYAIR excels at pretty well.  However, I didn’t expect the PV to actually be the band performing the song buck-ass naked…Fits the title but WHOA THERE guys XD.

2. STAR

Interesting that the B-side isn’t going to be anywhere on their upcoming album “Just Do It” because this song is quite funky and fun to listen to.  While I don’t think the song is quite as strong as “Naked”, it makes for a solid B-side and shows off more of their quirky side…plus IKE still sounds awesome!

 

 

Quite a small single for SPYAIR don’t you think?  Naked as the final single before their second major album is pretty solid but with only two tracks, it kind of comes as the worst of the three singles.  Naked is like I said straight SPYAIR and has all the qualities that make them passable.  STAR is interesting, but I don’t think it ranks up there as good as some other B-sides.

 

FLOW – Brave Blue

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 12:21 am

Track Listing

  1. Brave Blue
  2. Kyuujitsu
  3. DAYS -Nakakou REMIX- (CD only)
  4. DAYS (Anime Edition only)
  5. Realize (Anime Edition only)
  6. Brave Blue -TV size-
  7. Brave Blue -Instrumental-

1. Brave Blue

I kind of surprised with FLOW with this song because Brave Blue isn’t hard or focused on their rockin’ side this time around.  It kind of taken up solace in its anime feel which includes synths and strings but the bad is still present.  KOHSHI and KEIGO sound great in their parts and makes the tune sound a lot broader than normal which is great.  Definitely a good tune from the band!

2. Kyuujitsu

To me, Kyuujitsu DEFINITELY reminds me of “GO!!!” with it’s anime sound mixed with their rock sound which really does scare the crap out of me because they’re so similar to one another.  The song is energetic and very playful for the band.  I liked how it turned out and made for a great B-side!

3. DAYS -Nakakou REMIX-

On two of three versions of the single, we end up getting a DAYS remix (which makes sense because DAYS was tied in the same series).  The remix is pretty freaky to listen to because it’s all electronic and just filled with synths and the vocals under filters.  It’s a unique remix and I thought it came out quite nicely!

4. DAYS

Though I’m a little surprised that on the Anime edition of the single, instead of the remix, we get the original DAYS instead.  As it is one of the band’s well-known songs, it was a nice incentive to add DAYS because of its popularity.  It’s one of their better songs I’ve heard from them and while it doesn’t seem to have power like their bigger hits, it’s a really good anime track from them!

5. Realize

Not surprising to see Realize because it was used in the Eureka Seven series as well and it’s from their sophomore album, “Golden Coast”, Realize kind of has more power and energy than “DAYS” and it kind of has a stronger sound than the other tracks on the single.  Not bad of a song!

 

 

FLOW I guess wanted to have a good celebration of the Eureka Seven series by releasing Brave Blue which is overall one of their strongest singles since I’ve started reviewing them.  Brave Blue does have a unique sound to it unlike DAYS and Realize so that made it stand out in a great way.  Kyuujitsu was pretty good too even if it’s a “GO!!!” clone.  The remix of DAYS actually turned out better than I thought and one of their better remixes of late.  DAYS and Realize were nice inclusions on the anime disk and brought out the songs that won fans over ^_^…Overall a nice single!