Kurayami Monogatari

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S/mileage – Samui ne. November 30, 2012

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 4:47 am

Track Listing

  1. Samui ne.
  2. Watashi, Choito Kawaii Urabanchou
  3. Samui ne. (Instrumental)

1. Samui ne.

For as long as I’ve listened to S/mileage, I have to say that this is probably their slowest A-side released since their debut, “aMa no Jaku”!  Also, it’s a winter song which has been a long time since we’ve seen one last “Aitai Lonely Christmas”.  It’s a really nice song but the line distribution when back to “Choto Mate Kudasai!” where it was mostly Kanon and Ayaka leading the song with Akari and Meimi in the middle and Rina and Kana rounding out the back.  However, with that going on, Samui ne. is kind of relaxing and actually not bad…it’s just after so many hyperactive A-sides, this is kind of random for them.

2. Watashi, Choito Kawaii Urabanchou

Initially announced as an album track, but swerved back to be the single’s B-side, Watashi, Choito Kawaii Urabanchou kind of brings us back to the rockin’ style as shown in their older song “Onaji Jikyuu de Hataraku Tomodachi no Bijin Mama” which is pretty good since I wanted to hear something like it with the new 6-nin group.  I really enjoyed this song since it’s energetic and all the girls have good distribution in solo lines.  Just as good!

 

 

I assume it’s the final single before the album comes out since the B-side was originally supposed to be from the album (and recently they’ve performed a LOT of new songs).  Samui ne. is a pretty good single since the A-side is such a good mid-tempo winter song and Watashi, Choito Kawaii Urabanchou is fun and is S/mileage’s medium.  I am curious as to what will be on the album though considering everything they’ve done before the announcement of auditions had happen for the 2nd Generation.

 

Annabel – Light of Dawn November 29, 2012

Filed under: Annabel — solarblade @ 9:47 pm

Track Listing

  1. Light of Dawn
  2. torus
  3. Light of Dawn (off vocal)
  4. torus (off vocal)

1. Light of Dawn

I didn’t expect Annabel to make her next single to be something a bit more upbeat and kind of unusual in a way.  I kind of like the atmospheric synth style in this track because it feels like such a different kind of song that really doesn’t fit the anison style.  Annabel’s vocals though are really pretty though!  Great song and even better than “My heaven”!

2. torus

The B-side, torus is kind of like another “filum” in that it’s another one of those super quiet ballads.  It does have a longing feel to it with the slow beat and with the oboe and strings acting as the melody…it really has a depressing feeling.  It’s interesting, but nothing I’ll fully remember.

 

 

As the second single, I have to say Light of Dawn is better than her debut which is saying a lot since I liked her last single.  Light of Dawn is probably my favorite of the A-sides which is amazing!  torus is growing on me slowly with it’s depressing outlook and slow-moving arrangement.  Great single *RECOMMENDED*

 

Annabel – My heaven

Filed under: Annabel — solarblade @ 9:29 pm

Track Listing

  1. My heaven
  2. filum
  3. My heaven (off vocal)
  4. filum (off vocal)

1. My heaven

Going back to Annabel’s debut as a solo artist, My heaven is not what I expected coming into the track because it’s quiet and yet mysterious to listen to which is an interesting and great mix since I do enjoy Annabel’s ballads for the most part.  It’s a really soothing track from her and stands out amongst the other A-sides she released.

2. filum

The B-side is also a quiet ballad as well!  It doesn’t get as good as “My heaven” did since it stays in it’s dreamscape sound which is also fine with me because it’s like a song that I would hear in an RPG (though not sure what game…maybe FFX?).  It’s a really sweet and quiet track and I love that the most about it.

 

 

After all the stuff she’s done for binaria and anNina, Annabel decided to tackle a solo career and with her debut My heaven, she seemed to really nail it on the head!  The lead track is just so good and I lvoe how it flows and grows into such a great song!  filum, while not as extravagant is also worth a listen for Annabel’s vocals and soft atmosphere…great single to debut with!

 

9nine – Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl/Brave

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 8:24 am

Track Listing

  1. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl
  2. Brave
  3. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl (AKAKAGE’s Skankin’ Breaks) (Limited A only)
  4. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl Ver. FUNKOT ASLI (Limited B only)
  5. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl (Instrumental)
  6. Brave (Instrumental)

1. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl

I really don’t know what to say about 9nine’s Yie Ar! Jiang Shi…it’s so strange and out of left field for them that I’m left confused with this song.  I know they were going for more of a Chinese setting and it’s obvious from the arrangement, but the song is just ridiculous and quite annoying.  The vocals were clearly not important so it’s just a mess and too quirky even for me to enjoy.  Bleeeeh

2. Brave

The other A-side on the single sounds more like what 9nine has been sounding like for a while and I found this clearly better than “Yie Ar! Jiang Shi”.  It’s kind of like a mix of “Cross Over” and “Shoujo Traveler” which is a nice mix and the girls sound really nice together.  The song overall might not seem to impress idol fans but this was a solid track.

3. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl (AKAKAZE’s Skankin’ Breaks)

Strange that the primary A-side has two remixes and also unfortunate.  The first remix doesn’t seem to give the song more sound but it sounds more minimal than the original.  There’s deeper synths which I guess makes it somewhat stronger, but the song is still very annoying  and just icky to my ears.

 

 

*will review the other remix when it’s out*  9nine really took a turn into weird as fuck land with Yie Ar! Jiang Shi,  The song is so devoid of the normal good stuff that we usually get from the group.  It was just so gimmicky of a song that I was turned off by it almost immediately.  Brave on the other, did much better at impressing me and makes a good A-side after “Ryuusei no Kuchizuke”.  Since both the A-sides are interchangable, I just hope Brave will be on the album over Yie Ar! (though it seems it’ll be both)…

 

misono / Me – Itsumademo…Teddy Bear/Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl ~Fishing Boy~

Filed under: misono — solarblade @ 7:50 am

Track Listing

  1. Itsumademo…Teddy Bear
  2. Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl ~Fishing Boy~
  3. Second season Girl FRIEND ~Onna Tomodachi? Imouto Teki Sonzai? Tada no Osananajimi? Renai Taishou? Tomodachi Ijou? Koibito Miman? 2 Banme Demo Nai? Suki Demo Kirai Demo Nai? Tsugou no Ii Onna Domari?~
  4. Itsumademo…Teddy Bear (Instrumental)
  5. Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl ~Fishing Boy~ (Instrumental)
  6. Second season Girl FRIEND ~Onna Tomodachi? Imouto Teki Sonzai? Tada no Osananajimi? Renai Taishou? Tomodachi Ijou? Koibito Miman? 2 Banme Demo Nai? Suki Demo Kirai Demo Nai? Tsugou no Ii Onna Domari?~ (Instrumental)

1. Itsumademo…Teddy Bear

The single starts with the misono track and it’s kind of strange in comparison to a lot of her singles because this song is kind of like “Pochi” in the way that it’s a bit more cuter.  Actually compared to most of her singles after her second album, this dropback is rather sudden and out of nowhere for her since I assumed it was going to be edgy and rockin’.  What we got though isn’t too bad and I kind of like misono’s voice even though she’s shouting most of the time.  Not bad at all ^_^

2. Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl ~Fishing Boy~

Moving onto the first Me track, Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl is more along the lines of what I was expecting here which is punk rock for the most part.  Her voice is pretty shrill, but she’s always come off as that way in her energetic songs.  Surprise though, this song isn’t bad either but it feels like it belonged on “never+land” because it’s cute and genki just rolled into one.

3. Second season Girl FRIEND ~Onna Tomodachi? Imouto Teki Sonzai? Tada no Osananajimi? Renai Taishou? Tomodachi Ijou? Koibito Miman? 2 Banme Demo Nai? Suki Demo Kirai Demo Nai? Tsugou no Ii Onna Domari?~

Jesus fuckin christ misono, why is the title this LONG?  As the other Me song on the single, I was curious to what we would end up because the title is crazy ass long.  Oddly enough, it is the best song off the single because everything is toned down and misono gives her best vocal performance alongside such a nice arrangement.  It’s just really surprising that Second season Girl FRIEND ended up being the best off the single (and normal).

 

 

As the third single in this bipolar mess between misono and Me, this single was a bit strange all over.  Itsumademo…Teddy Bear is sugary cute from it’s tie-in and misono hasn’t really done anything like that since basically “Pochi”….”Lum no Love Song” doesn’t count.  Koitsuri Girl Ai Girl is a bit more of what we’ve been getting with the last couple of singles which is OK but this one isn’t as memorable like stuff from the previous two singles.  Though it really saved itself with Second season Girl FRIEND which was a bit more serious and a lot stronger of a setting for misono…but next time, don’t name you’re song the way it is….

 

LM.C – DOUBLE DRAGON

Filed under: LM.C — solarblade @ 5:56 am

Track Listing

  1. DOUBLE DRAGON
  2. ★Rock the LM.C★/RUN LM.C

1. DOUBLE DRAGON

DOUBLE DRAGON by LM.C is back to the normal shenanigans we’ve come to love by the duo, but this song isn’t as experimental or groundbreaking like previous efforts.  To me, the song is straightforward and I’m still enjoying maya’s vocals alongside Aiji’s guitarwork so it meshes well together.  DOUBLE DRAGON though does feel like it’s a leftover song from their last release, “STRONG POP” which makes sense.  Good track, nothing entirely different but that’s a good thing in this case.

2. ★Rock the LM.C★/RUN LM.C

Like on “Hoshi no Arika.”, LM.C has kind of morphed themselves as something slightly different as RUN LM.C (sounds a LOT like RUN DM.C >.>).  That connection is a bit more apparant because ★Rock the LM.C★ has a bit of a hip-hop style going with the synths.  If you haven’t noticed though, it’s a new version of the same song that was from their debut single “Trailers [Gold]”.  For what it is, it’s different and has a bold sound to it and I liked it quite a bit!

 

 

LM.C ends the year off by releasing DOUBLE DRAGON!  The single itself isn’t too bad, though not as good as their last single, “Ah Hah!”/  DOUBLE DRAGON the track, is kind of playing it safe, but it’s not too detrimental.  ★Rock the LM.C★’s new take is interesting and I kind of enjoyed it more slightly.  Good single overall.

 

Rie fu & the fu – BIGGER PICTURE November 28, 2012

Filed under: Rie fu — solarblade @ 8:02 am

Track Listing

  1. OMG
  2. BIGGER PICTURE
  3. LUCKY DAY
  4. UNTOLD
  5. PRE-LOVE SONG
  6. FREE MONEY
  7. THE LOOK
  8. GOMI
  9. JUST LIKE THE MOON
  10. SILENCE

1. OMG

When I start up the album, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into and it seems with OMG it’s light stuff and almost too simple in a way since it feels like it’s done as a live recording in a studio.  I am also surprised to hear Rie fu singing in English for most of it since I’m more used to Japanese from her.  It has a certain oldies sound going which is cool too..there’s just something missing…like a heavier bass…and lord cowbells?

2. BIGGER PICTURE

Being a little bit more funky, the title track BIGGER PICTURE is more of the same of what I said in “OMG” but more of it.  The way Rie sings is kind of cool and uncertain at the same time.  Then this kind of in your face blast of sound takes over…I suppose its guitar right?  It’s unique on the album, I can’t deny that but once again needs a bit more power behind it.

3. LUCKY DAY

LUCKY DAY kind of sounds like old Rie fu slightly with majority of the arrangement done by the acoustic guitar which is a pleasant change from the previous tracks.  Plus it’s nice hearing Rie fu singing in Japanese…this actually was a pretty good track and reminds me of the old Rie.

4. UNTOLD

I liked the opening line Rie fu sings at the intro for UNTOLD.  I’m liking her vocals in this song since she’s more confident and actually kind of belting some of the notes as well as hitting some high notes that are just so pretty.  For as simple as the song is, I really paid a lot of attention on Rie fu who shined a lot here!

5. PRE-LOVE SONG

With how well I enjoyed “UNTOLD”, PRE-LOVE SONG also kind of says a lot since Rie fu tells a pretty story with such a minimal arrangement which is a bit of a shocker.  I just love the vocals here, but some of the weird instrumentation like the shaker is a bit unnecessary to me.  I just wanna hear Rie plz.

6. FREE MONEY

Moving to the second half of the album, FREE MONEY opens with a strings intro before a edgier and gritty sound moves in giving this kind of Western showdown feel (at least that’s what I thought).  Rie fu then joins in and her vocals are pretty much filtered for most (if not all) for the tune.  It’s a bit unusual on the album, but not bad.

7. THE LOOK

Why do I feel like when I listen to this song, I think of Kill Bill?  It must that longing feel of the song and the kind of dated feel.  I don’t remember much of the song besides the guitar arrangement and Rie fu in the chorus doing that ~so don’t give me the look~ that’s about it >.>  Then again it’s a pretty short song too.

8. GOMI

I think this is the first time I heard synths in a song on the album.  GOMI sounds like it could’ve fit on “URBAN ROMANTIC” for some reason.  I think it’s the piano and the mood of the song as well.  The chorus though kind of gets weird and a bit TOO fuzzy plus during those parts, Rie is once again filtered.  It’s just not working out.

9. JUST LIKE THE MOON

I feel like simplistic suits Rie a lot more than trying to be something else.  JUST LIKE THE MOON fits into my thoughts since it’s slower and Rie isn’t too filtered but layered here which works somewhat better here.  Like the first two tracks off the album, the tune sounds like oldies (50’s).  Not a bad song actually ^_^

10. SILENCE

Ending the album, SILENCE like the other ballads on the album is a really nice and quiet track from Rie.  It also shares the whole story-telling in the lyrics like “PRE-LOVE SONG”.  It does build-up more at the halfway point which is great.  Not a bad way to close the album, but I’m happy we’re finished lol.

Tracks Recommended

  • LUCKY DAY
  • UNTOLD
  • JUST LIKE THE MOON

Song of Avoidance

  • GOMI

I really wished I could be more happier about this album, but good lord was this album boring as hell.  The fact that Rie fu went for such an unplugged setting for BIGGER PICTURE really didn’t work to her favor despite her vocals are still lovely!  This album just lacked effort IMO…blech…

 

Miliyah Kato – TRUE LOVERS

Filed under: Miliyah Kato — solarblade @ 6:48 am

Track Listing

  1. HEART BEAT
  2. Kon’ya wa Boogie Back feat. Shota Shimizu & SHUN
  3. LOVERS part II feat. Wakadanna
  4. Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de
  5. True
  6. With U
  7. Baby Love
  8. Heartbreaker
  9. AIAIAI
  10. All I Want Is You
  11. ROMAN (Album ver.)
  12. Itoshi Hito
  13. Yuushatachi
  14. UGLY
  15. HEART BEAT (English Version) (bonus track)

1. HEART BEAT

Kicking off the album, we start things off with Miliyah’s 5th A-side released in the era!  I think it was a wise choice because the intro of the song sounds right as well.  It’s a nice track though since Miliyah brings the atmosphere into a brighter dance style quickly.  It’s definitely grown on me since the single review for sure and it’s a great way to start things off.

2. Kon’ya wa Boogie Back feat. Shota Shimizu & SHUN

Our first album track is interestingly a cover of a Scha Dara Parr feat. Kenji Ozawa (yeah a 1994 song of course).  From the title, I was kind of expecting something funky at the start, but the song opens up lightly and then gains a hip-hop beat.  Shota and SHUN are regulated to be the rappers of the song (I’m not used to Shota rapping, but it kind of works and he sings along with Miliyah).  Overall the song itself is a bit meh for me and kind of stays at the same pace the entire time.  For being a well-known song, I’m surprised.

3. LOVERS part II feat. Wakadanna

We move onto the 6th single released with LOVERS II and I’m still kind of torn with this song because of Wakadanna’s presence.  Miliyah’s performance is just spot on and she sounds so damn good in this song for sure!  Sadly, with the rappers presense the song just loses a lot of points because his sections are just annoying and really doesn’t fit the mood of the track at all.

4. Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de

A bunch of new tracks come up next starting with Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de which starts up following “LOVERS part II” but then shifts into this mid-tempo dance track which is a nice taste since I’ve really wanted something like this on the album.  It’s sounds like it’s a mysterious song for sure and I love that about it.  It’s definitely an early favorite for me!

5. True

We slow things back down again with our next track True which is Miliyah’s first true ballad.  It opens quietly with piano, some strings and Miliyah’s softly sung vocals.  After a while, the song gains a beat which somewhat helps the song, but I feel slightly bored with this song since Miliyah has other songs that are similar in her collection.

6. With U

I feared With U was going to fare the same fate as “True” because it starts up with strings and piano.  Luckily the song moves away from that by having the acoustic/synth mix with a cool beat and a bit more of a hook.  It feels like the song is trying to have a bit more grand, but it’s like locked in a state of leaving us a bit disappointed with no climax.  It’s not bad, but the song could’ve had more going on.

7. Baby Love

Miliyah gets a bit urban with our next track Baby Love and while it still kind of sits in the same position as the prevous songs have shown, at least the arrangement is a little more exciting.  After a while though, the song does  kind of fizzle out and I’m left forgetting how it goes.

8. Heartbreaker

~muh babyyyy, muh babyyyy, muh babyyyy~ This song at the beginning just screamed repetitive for sure!  I kind of like the unique air of Heartbreaker for some reason, plus the tongue clacking is kind of interesting.  It does prevent it from being a mindless and bland R&B track which is a great thing for this album at this point! 

9. AIAIAI

The 4th A-side comes in next and AIAIAI is still kind of the oddball single on the album IMO.  I mean she tackles the song right and she sounds amazing in the song, but something about the arrangement is so unusual to me.  It might be the sparkly feel and the chorus feeling a bit underwhelming.  I think I can get behind it, but I need more time with it (as if I needed any more to begin with lol).

10. All I Want Is You

As the album’s shortest song (under 4 minutes LOL).  All I Want Is You brings back to more of that normal Miliyah-ness that I’ve come to listen to since the “Ring” era.  It just doesn’t really tickle my fancy and doesn’t bring anything new to the table besides the kind of somber setting.  As it moves forward the song sounds a lot more intriguing but by that time the song starts to finish and fades out…I just wish the song felt like the ending the entire time.

11. ROMAN (Album ver.)

Strange that ROMAN is the only song on the album that has really changed but I don’t really hear much of a change to be honest so it must’ve been something really minor.  Maybe the arrangement had some extra work I don’t know.  ROMAN was pretty interesting as an A-side because it mixed R&B with a little bit of rock as well and I kind of liked that about it.  I mean it’s not a WTF as “WHY” was but it’s a good song overall.

12. Itoshi Hito

*yawn*, I feel like she’s really not stepping out with the ballads here since Itoshi Hito is quite boring and almost sits in the same place as “True”.  I actually will say that this bores me even more than the latter since the arrangement is really plain and the snapping is a bit to the book.  Just meh…

13. Yuushatachi

Then we get to the first single released (wait…where’s “DESIRE” or “BABY!BABY!BABY!” hmmm).  After all the meh tracks, Yuushatachi is actually a breath of air for me.  I know I wasn’t too thrilled about it way back when it was released as an A-side, but this song is kind of cute and Miliyah doesn’t sound too bad here.  One of the better tracks oddly enough.

14. UGLY

Strange that Miliyah ends the album with a song titled UGLY LOL.  I like the acoustic guitar being the primary instrument here since it’s light and kind of adds this bright atmosphere to a sad track it seems.  It’s pretty charming of a song and ends the album on a good note ^_^

15. HEART BEAT (English Version)

So the album’s bonus track is the English version of HEART BEAT was released as a digital single prior to the album and oddly enough I’m surprised this was a bonus since now it makes the album start and close the album with the same song!  Miliyah sounds good doing English but she has some slips of course…still not bad.

Tracks Recommended

  • Nemurenu Yoru no Sei de
  • HEART BEAT
  • All I Want Is You
  • UGLY
  • ROMAN (Album ver.)

Song of Avoidance

  • Itoshi Hito

It’s really strange coming into this album with such a stretched out era (6 singles + the two singles she collaborated with Shota Shimizu with) and with TRUE LOVERS, she kind of dropped the ballad with this one.  It just seems like this album was lacking something big time when compared to her last album, “HEAVEN” and I just can’t seem to point out what that is.  She’s got great vocals which is the best thing about the album, but the arrangements felt very stagnant and a bit too safe (with a couple of exceptions).  I don’t know…it just wasn’t a good album for me.

 

FLOWER – Koibito ga Santa Claus November 27, 2012

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 9:32 pm

Track Listing

  1. Koibito ga Santa Claus
  2. Still ~Christmas version~
  3. Koibito ga Santa Claus (instrumental)
  4. Still ~Christmas version~ (instrumental)

1. Koibito ga Santa Claus

I kind of like how the song starts up with that guitar riff and bounce.  As it’s a cover of a classic from Yumi Matsutoya, Koibito ga Santa Claus is actually a rather nice song from the group especially after their last single.  There’s just something about the song that really suits the holiday season and it’s really pretty.

2. Still ~Christmas version~

I still am kind of sour that Still was on the last single since it was useless.  With a new version of their debut A-side on this single, I was more than a little apprehensive and for good reason!  It feels like it was lazily placed on the single with extra jingle bells in the arrangement…definitely wasn’t needed.

 

 

FLOWER, I relaly don’t know what to think anymore about them it seens after they’re debut they aren’t impressing me as much.  I don’t think SONY knows how to deal with them either besides caking on Still as much as they can.  Koibito ga Santa Claus is a good cover though, I will admit that, but rehashing Still by laying on some jingle bells is just damn lazy…

 

Konomi Suzuki – DAYS of DASH November 25, 2012

Filed under: Konomi Suzuki — solarblade @ 9:44 pm

Track Listing

  1. DAYS of DASH
  2. Fly to the stars
  3. DAYS of DASH (Instrumental)
  4. Fly to the stars (Instrumental)

1. DAYS of DASH

Well after “CHOIR JAIL”, I wasn’t expecting Konomi to move onto something much more cuter and sugary (sounds similar to Sayaka huh?).  DAYS of DASH is a bright song that caters more of Konomi’s cuter vocals as well, but I think she tackled it nicely but the song is a bit *shrugs*.  I’m not too impressed with this song.

2. Fly to the stars

I will say that I’m a little more inclined with the B-side even though it’s more of the usual anison stuff.  I do like the energy of the song and the power from Konomi here as well.  It’s probably my favorite track from Konomi so far in her career, that I’ll give…but she needs something more.

 

 

Already on her second single, Konomi switched style from a darker setting to a more bright and happier setting with DAYS of DASH.  The single is a bit underwhelming because it’s more of like songs I’ve heard by others before.  Fly to the stars is a slightly better song, but still kind of bland.  Meeeeh…