Kurayami Monogatari

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Suneohair – slow dance October 30, 2012

Filed under: Suneohair — solarblade @ 11:41 pm

Track Listing

  1. slow dance
  2. Universe
  3. Squall
  4. Taka no Sora ~Ruterute Bozu~ (bonus track)

1. slow dance

For a song that’s titled slow dance, it sure doesn’t feel slow at all hahah.  Actually it kind of reminds me of “Akai Coat” with its straightforward arrangement and Kenji’s soft vocals.  It’s not the most intriguing song Kenji has done since I’ve started reviewing him, but it’s solid so it’s not a big loss I guess…

2. Universe

Moving into the B-sides, the intro for Universe is something different for me since it sounds a little darker than Kenji’s more uplifting and fun songs.  Kenji himself sounds a little different than normal as well which is a nice change, I think he’s on some filter but not much.  It’s catchy and I really like how he dealt with the song…one of his better tracks to date!

3. Squall

Kenji brings the instrumentation back up to a good and peppy feel but also keeps the the interesting lyrics intact.  I really love the verses since they’re so airy and smooth while the chorus is louder and has more of a punch.  I really found myself loving this song a lot (though Kenji could’ve sound less mechanical in the chorus).  Another great song on the single!

4. Taka no Sora ~Ruterute Bozu~

Interesting to see Kenji have a bonus track on the single and it looks like it’s a song he did with idep (familiar name, but I’m not sure where I’ve heard his name elsewhere).  Though unlike the rest of the single, it sounds pretty much experimental pop since it’s got synths and a lot of piano.  Kenji’s low vocals kind of sound cool behind all the weird knickknacks of the arrangement.  It’s pretty charming to say the least and it can be pretty good when it wants to be, but idep might have overdone his skills here.

 

 

It’s been a while since we’ve heard Kenji so it’s nice he came back with slow dance.  The main track isn’t something that we haven’t heard before from him so it’s a tad bland, but he made up with all the B-sides.  Universe was a sweet pop/rock track from him, Squall too a little more experimentation which was also nice to hear and Taka no Sora was purely charming…I can’t wait for his next single!

 

Kou Shibasaki – My Perfect Blue/Yukuyuku wa

Filed under: Kou Shibasaki — solarblade @ 9:32 pm

Track Listing

  1. My Perfect Blue
  2. Yukuyuku wa
  3. My Perfect Blue -Instrumental-
  4. Yukuyuku wa -Instrumental-

1. My Perfect Blue

I have to say that Kou found the right person to produce My Perfect Blue because it’s just so pretty to listen to and Kou sounds amazing pulling it off as well.  It still is pretty much a piano/strings with drums kind of ballad, but this actually fit since it’s light and flows smoothly the entire way.  This is a pretty good ballad from her, not as awesome as “Mou, Inai yo” but still for an A-side it’s great!

2. Yukuyuku wa

The other A-side on the single, Yukuyuku wa is the upbeat one off the single and it kind of reminds me of Maaya Sakamoto’s stuff from “You can’t catch me”.  It’s got this simple beat to it that kind of reminds me of something The Beatles would have done long ago.  My only qualm about the song I have is that Kou’s vocals don’t seem to energetic here so it kind of bores me…strange how that works.

 

 

As the third and final single for the era, My Perfect Blue/Yukuyuku wa is a good single but it isn’t as good as “Strength”.  My Perfect Blue is a really good ballad from her and really stands out in recent times.  Yukuyuku wa would’ve been better if she sounded more livelier and less bored but that’s just me.  Overall not bad.

 

AAA – Niji

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 9:14 pm

Track Listing

  1. Niji
  2. good day
  3. good day (Shohei Matsumoto EDM Remix) (CD only)
  4. good day (Remo-con Remix) (CD only)
  5. Niji (Instrumental)
  6. good day (Instrumental)

1. Niji

Something about Niji just screams nostalgic early 2000’s pop music which is something AAA has been really parading around the last two albums and I’m starting to wish they could stop it.  It sounds like another Komuro-produced track since the keyboards sound old and just cheesy.  The line distribution reminds me of “CALL” but there’s just nothing I find remotely interesting about the song.

2. good day

The B-side played tricks on me because the intro was so cool and electronic but when the group enters the song it sounds like a “Niji” but with dubstep moments.  It’s really an awkward mixture for me but the fact that the verses are awesome and the chorus is just shit baffles me so much!  I will say that it’s cooler than the A-side but that chorus….why?!?

3. good day (Shohei Matsumoto EDM Remix)

I love the fact that the B-side gets the most attention on this single since it has two remixes!  The first one takes out the dubstep moments of the song and makes it more of a club track which is a nice change.  The chorus doesn’t sound cheap and when the remix gets all electro, it gets better.  Yeah I actually prefer this over the original!!!

4. good day (Remo-con Remix)

Moving to the other remix, Remo-con’s take on good day at first sounded strange because of the intro not matching up with the lyrics.  Sadly, this remix focuses on ,ore of the experiments of the remixer by doing some weird skipping/dubstep mix and it just doesn’t work AT ALL!  It’s just a bit too messy for me and doesn’t do the song justice.

 

 

AAA begins a new era with a pretty mediocre single in Niji.  The song feels so boring and just too ancient for my tastes (and if it’s Komuro, shame on him!).  good day was better though something about the song doesn’t sit right with me and it’s probably the dubstep crap that’s in it which was dealt with in the EDM remix which is so much better than both the original and the Remo-con remix…wow was this a poor single T.T

 

alan – Love Song

Filed under: alan — solarblade @ 5:29 am

Track Listing

  1. ~Shuijing Lian~ intro
  2. Fenghuang
  3. Yi Ai Aiangyi
  4. Love Song
  5. lan lan
  6. Zhang Da
  7. Wo Hualaile
  8. Gudu De Tian Fen
  9. Jingguo Nanqingshan
  10. Chuangwai
  11. BABY BABY
  12. Love Song ~Kitto Mou Ichido~

1. ~Shuijing Lian~ intro

Kicking off alan’s 3rd Chinese album, Shuijing Lian starts with some interesting chanting (Tibetan?) before the melody of the track begins which is so different and unique and so much cooler than her previous intros.  Though there’s this woodwind instrument that comes in and kind of takes the mystical feel away (would’ve rather had alan do her chanting, but whatever)…but once that clears up I feel it gets into this modernesque sound which is a cool way to segue into…

2. Fenghuang

Released as her 2nd digital single (of 5), Fenghuang starts off with Chinese instrumentation before alan comes in and slows things down.  It’s really awesome to hear her voice again since it seems like she’s gotten a lot better to do ballads.  The song slowly grows in pace to this mid-tempo track that has small amounts of synth in it.  It really grows on you and I seriously like the song for sure!

3. Yi Ai Aiangyi

Our next track also starts off slowly with a pretty melody and slight Chinese feel to it (whereas “Fenghuang” had a little more).  It’s a very atmospheric song for sure with how it’s handled but I really like the calming feel of the tune.  Like the last track, it does start to grow with more instrumentation and likewise, I feel like it’s so grand.  I like the previous track better but this is also quite good too!

4. Love Song

As the title track, 3rd digital single and the one that got a PV, Love Song doesn’t really speak the Chinese colors as much as the previous tracks which is a nice change (actually if it wasn’t for the lyrics, I would’ve deemed it as a Japanese track).  It’s a nice track overall but there’s just a lot of open spaces (where she could shock us with her vocals).  It’s good but not the best.

5. lan lan

As the 5th and final digital single released, lan lan is the longest track at a little over 6 minutes in length, but I felt OK with that because it’s a very nature-like song and I really like the flow of it (plus the electric guitar melody was a nice change as well)!  This song, while long, really sounds pleasant and just feels soft and peaceful and yet happy.  It’s a surprisingly good track!

6. Zhang Da

Our next track, Zhang Da tries to follow it up after “lan lan” but it somehow slightly misses it mark.  It does remind me of songs from “my life” with its light R&B and poppy affair but I think alan’s smooth vocals saved the song since she sounds good here.  I like it a lil bit but isn’t the best she has to offer on the album.

7. Wo Hualaile

The first digital single comes next and Wo Hualaile is kind of the simple ballad from alan which isn’t a bad choice but the song doesn’t seem to really leave much of a mark on me besides being that safe ballad.  However, after the first part is over, the song picks up and a male voice is singing alongside alan…which did throw me off at first XD.  It’s a good ballad, but nothing spectacular.

8. Gudu De Tian Fan

Which makes it a little funny that this track comes after the track because I feel that this track was more effective as a ballad.  Well slightly…  The song also kind of moves at a slow pace and alan’s performance doesn’t make me feel like it’s memorable but at least it’s more charming than “Wo Hualaile”.

9. Jingguo Nanqingshan

I’m kind of wanting to escape from the ballads at this point but Jingguo Nanqingshan changes it up slightly by being a little more than a cute track.  This track has more of a darker feel, but I like it since it’s slow and yet powerful (but not with powerful vocals from alan).  It’s different and I really enjoyed it for that reason!

10. Chuangwai

Another one?!?  I guess we can’t seem to escape ballad-land here.  Chuangwai is probably the one that’ll stand out because it has some Chinese elements and the the opening lines are so random lol.  I like how airy the song is, but that’s the only thing that I really took from the track, otherwise…it’s pretty forgetful.

11. BABY BABY

The last of the Chinese songs is also one of the more surprising tracks.  I wasn’t expecting a lot of synths to open the song up.  It kind of reminds me of “lan lan” but with more emphasis on synths and being upbeat.  The chorus though is catchy has hell too xD.  Different and it almost feels like it doesn’t fit on the album, but I liked it!

12. Love Song ~Kitto Mou Ichido~

What closes the album out is a Japanese version of Love Song *makes me wish she was still releasing in Japan*.  Love Song in Japanese actually makes sense because earlier in the review, I said that the Chinese version feels more like a Japanese track.  It sounds really pretty and alan sounds so good still.  Definitely the better of the two and a good way to end the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Fenghuang
  • lan lan
  • Jingguo Nanqingshan
  • BABY BABY
  • Yi Ai Aiangyi

Song of Avoidance

  • Chuangwai

I have to say, Love Song is alan’s best Chinese release yet (yes, even better than “Xin De Dong Fang”).  I will say and with Sylfi explaining it better, I seriously am missing the wailing storm of alan in Japan, though with Love Song she put out good quality music even without the need to explode.  I will say the ballads are still her weak point, but when she gets them right…it’s soooo good.  Impressive, but I WANT YOU BACK IN NIPPON!

 

Leo Ieiri – LEO

Filed under: Leo Ieiri — solarblade @ 2:25 am

Track Listing

  1. Sabrina
  2. Last Stage
  3. Last Goodbye
  4. Shine
  5. Ashita Mata Haremasu You ni
  6. Second Dream
  7. Kimi Dake
  8. Bless You
  9. Fake Love
  10. Hello
  11. Mister
  12. Lady Mary
  13. Linda

1. Sabrina

It’s pretty awesome to see Leo begin her album with her debut, Sabrina which is still ridiculously catchy and fun to listen to.  I really came to love this song after I reviewed the single since it’s charming and hearing Leo sing the chorus with that hook of ~saburina ba ba ba la, saburina~, it’s just a very lighthearted yet fun song to listen to and is a great way to begin the album as well!

2. Last Stage

I kind of got Country vibes getting into our first new song on the album.  I guess it was from the overall feel of the song plus the strings that are in it.  I kind of enjoyed this rather sullen atmosphere since Leo expresses herself quite nicely.  The song oterwise doesn’t seem to have much of a hook like the previous songs I’ve listened to from her.

3. Say Goodbye

More Western twang on this album?  It’s that slide guitar that really throws me off at first.  As Say Goodbye was released as a digital single and was the promo song, it was a solid choice for them for sure.  Leo’s vocals once again comes in really powers the song nicely.  Overall it’s a nice mid-tempo track, but like with “Last Stage”, nothing to really grasp on for me.

4. Shine

We move into Leo’s second A-side and it’s grown on me to become one of the best tracks she’s done!  I just like the whole nostalgic trip this song gives me and it really worked for Leo since this song is just amazing from beginning to end.  Plus, Leo’s vocals are just perfect as well, sharing a lot of power and emotion.  Though I still question the ending being so sudden and ending with a camera clicking.  Beyond that, it’s such an awesome song.

5. Ashita Mata Haremasu You ni

Back to some new tracks, Ashita Mata Haremasu You ni kind of runs back into the whole country vibe which I guess is starting to slightly bother me, but whatever it is…at least the song kind of slightly grows away from it after a while.  It’s still a song with a whole lot of acoustic guitar and strings but a little more upbeat.  Not bad, but ehhh…

6. Second Dream

Oh, I really like the sinister vibes of Second Dream…it gives it an almost gothic feel to it which I very much am pleased with.  The verses really stuck out to me and then the soaring chorus as well.  It just seemed to really work here and it the first of the new tracks to really impress me here.

7. Kimi Dake

It feels like Kimi Dake acts as teh first ballad of the album since it begins so quietly with Leo and piano (with some underlying strings).  For a song that doesn’t have as much instrumentation like all the other tracks on the album, it really stands out.  It does at times feel like it’s a bit monotone and drags as well, but I kind of found its simplicity to be a breath of fresh air.

8. Bless You

Bless You comes next (her 3rd A-side) and while it’s my least favorite of the A-sides, it’s still pretty damn good otherwise.  I also noticed with this song, how powerful and awesome her vocals are because she sounds extraordinary here.  Another really good and memorable track off the album.

9. Fake Love

I think of the new songs from the album, Fake Love impressed me the most because it’s funky and not a slower track either which is a giant step up.  It just feels like it has a certain single quality that makes it stand out amongst the new tracks. 

10. Hello

Interesting that she chose one B-side for the album, but I actually enjoyed her choice of one of the better ones.  As the B-side from “Shine”, Hello is a relaxing mid-tempo from her and while I wasn’t impressed by the new ones for the album, Hello sounds nice and just has the right amount of things going on.  Not bad of a choice (though I think “Colorful” or “ripe” would’ve fared better).

11. Mister

Actually if you wanted something like “Colorful”, Mister might be your next best choice since it’s just as upbeat and cute like the former song.  It’s got such a catchy beat and Leo sounds alive in the track.  I still prefer the older track more than this, but Mister isn’t totally forgetful either.

12. Lady Mary

I really was surprised coming into Lady Mary because I really though the ideas from Leo ran dry.  Luckily, it came back at full rush with Lady Mary which sounds so amazing and full for her.  There’s just something about this mid-tempo track that really struck…maybe it’s from its sullen mood or it could be from the longing way Leo sings….it surprised me a lot!

13. Linda

Closing the album, Linda goes back to the country vibes from the earlier new tracks but kind of more hokey and a little more upbeat (not like “Mister” upbeat but it that general direction.  I did like Leo’s singing though since it was bouncy and fits the tone of the track…not a bad closing to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shine
  • Sabrina
  • Lady Mary
  • Second Dream
  • Fake Love

Song of Avoidance

  • Ashita Mata Haremasu You ni

I came into Leo’s debut album with high hopes after the AMAZING singles she’s released for it.  What I got with LEO was that it’s for the most part good, but it wasn’t where my expectations were.  I think Leo should stay away from the whole pseudo Taylor Swift-brand of pop/rock/country fusion because those were honestly the worst tracks of the album.  The rest of the album though was pretty damn good though.  Her experiements have done her good, now I want her to build upon that for an epic sophomore album…just no more country-like songs!!!

 

Chara – Chouchou Musubi October 27, 2012

Filed under: Chara — solarblade @ 6:41 pm

Track Listing

  1. Chouchou Musubi
  2. Tiny Tiny Tiny (2012.4.21 Ki/oon 20 Years & Days at Tokyo LIQUIDROOM Ebisu)

1. Chouchou Musubi

After two upbeat tracks, I guess it was time to change for more of a ballad.  Chouchou Musubi might not as intriguing of a song like the previous two singles, but the song is arranged nicely as this kind of euphoric experience.  Add that Chara isn’t sounding terrible makes this also a little more easier to swallow.  Not bad of a track, not my cup of tea, but I can actually listen to this (strange, I’ve been slightly enjoying Chara more in this era than I have ever been with her >.>)

2. Tiny Tiny Tiny (2012.4.21 Ki/oon 20 Years & Days at Tokyo LIQUIDROOM Ebisu)

Just like the last two singles, the B-side is actually just a live cut.  This time it’s a live version of Tiny Tiny Tiny (her 12th single).  I am a little surprised that it’s longer than 8 minutes which is kind of making me all worried.  I don’t think I liked this as much as I did with her last live version, but I think Tiny Tiny Tiny is one of Chara’s more recognizable tunes…so ehhhh.

 

 

Closing out the “Cocoon” era, Chouchou Musubi is just average.  I liked the arrangement of the leading track and Chara’s vocals aren’t too catty here so that’s a good thing.  The Tiny Tiny Tiny live cut, isn’t much to me sadly.  I’m thinking the album will actually be somewhat exciting but not a lot…who knows.

 

chatmonchy – Henshin October 26, 2012

Filed under: chatmonchy — solarblade @ 2:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Henshin
  2. Hatena
  3. Thermae Roman
  4. Shoujo E
  5. Convenience Honeymoon
  6. Yes or No or Love
  7. Hatsu Hinode
  8. Aruku Object
  9. Kirakira Hikare
  10. Futari, Jinsei, Jiyuugaoka
  11. Utatane
  12. Mangetsu ni Hoero

1. Henshin

Cool that the duo started the album off with the title track for sure.  Henshin begins smoothly with a nice guitar intro that leads into one of their more different styled songs.  It has a bit of a chanting style (even though Eriko and Akiko do not sound great trying to be melodic together.  It’s a simple track overall but I don’t think it really stood out to me beyond the repetitive hook.

2. Hatena

I am SOOOO HAPPY that “Yume Mitai da” did not make the album cut (since it was an A-side and all as well).  Tying with “Thermae Roman” as the best A-sides of the era, Hatena really surprised me.  I think that it’s because it’s more energetic and both ladies are into the song (unlike in “Henshin”).  It was really fun and the track catered to Eriko’s distinct vocals nicely.

3. Thermae Roman

Which led to my other favorite A-side, the shower song, Thermae Roman also worked for the duo.  It’s nice as loud as “Hatena” but I really found myself loving the arrangement and melody of this track.  I still kind of wince a little at Eriko in the chorus, but this song is pretty friggin good!

4. Shoujo E

Moving on to another new track, Shoujo E starts off with a cool percussion beat and then Eriko comes in with guitars and the song kind of has this darker style which I instantly got hooked to.  Eriko’s voice sounds a little more stronger and less whiny which is a good sign!  Definitely an impressive track right here.

5. Convenience Honeymoon

As the 5th and final single from Henshin, Convenience Honeymoon is kind of strange because it feels like it suits more as the ending song rather than where it is here.  I think the song is reasonably good, but it’s nothing that we haven’t heard so it doesn’t stand out on the album unfortunately.

6. Yes or No or Love

Something about the song sounds nostalgic when I begin it.  It might be the keyboard that makes it sound a little old.  I also noticed there was a guy singing alognside some of the track which is nice, but this song is simple and doesn’t really get more exciting.  I just kind of forget about it in the end since it doesn’t really leave much of an impression.

7. Hatsu Hinode

The next track, Hatsu Hinode sounds like a mess to me since it also has a minimal sound to it but only with guitars and drums (and a lil bass).  There’s just something about the track that just doesn’t work and I think it’s Eriko’s vocals here.  The fact that it’s only slightly under 3 minutes helped, but the song is still underwhelming.

8. Aruku Object

Moving from one of the shortest to the longest track at almost 7 minutes, Aruku Object had me worried since some of the songs previous have not been good.  I do like the song is a slow one from them and it includes strings to king of make the song sound more complete (at least more than the previous two tracks).  It is a little long, but I liked it overall.

9. Kirakira Hikare

Funny how we go back to a short song (actually the shortest song on the album) which was also an A-side.  For being so short though Kirakira Hikare was pretty fast-paced and energetic.  Eriko’s performance is a little too shrill but for what its worth, it’s not a bad track.  I’d say it’s good, but a little shouty in areas.

10. Futari, Jinsei, Jiyuugaoka

Back to the final two new tracks, Futari, Jinsei, Jiyuugaoka is probably the closest I think the group goes to sound like something off their last album.  Sadly, like the other new tracks, it doesn’t really stand out nor does it really do anything positive.  It’s just kind of there…meh.

11. Utatane

The last new track, I was at this point kind of tired of the new tracks for being mostly unimpressive.  Utatane is another slow jam but I feel like they went a little too slow since it kind of moves at a snail’s pace.  Nothing exciting to listen for here either sadly….

12. Mangetsu ni Hoero

At least the album ends with Mangetsu ni Hoero. which was the first release they after Kumiko left the band.  It’s funny that I remember this song the most because of its chorus which Eriko screams out lol.  The song has grown on me a whole lot since I reviewed the single, but it’s still kind of loud sometimes.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shoujo E
  • Thermae Roman
  • Hatena
  • Mangetsu ni Hoero

Song of Avoidance

  • Hatsu Hinode

This album was bad…and I would assume it was from Kumiko leaving the band that’s affected the group in a negative way.  I thought they had it together with the singles for the most part, but they let the album tracks just fall flat entirely (cept Shoujo E).  This is a major flop when compared to their last album, “YOU MORE”.  Ugh….so depressed after this one…