Kurayami Monogatari

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AKB48 – Eien Pressure December 3, 2012

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 10:22 am

eienpressure

Track Listing

  1. Eien Pressure
  2. Totteoki Christmas
  3. Tsuyogari Tokei (SKE48) (Type A only)
  4. HA! (NMB48) (Type B only)
  5. Hatsukoi Butterfly (HKT48) (Type C only)
  6. Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni (OKL48) (Type D only)
  7. Watashitachi no Reason (Theater Edition only)
  8. Eien Pressure off vocal ver.
  9. Totteoki Christmas off vocal ver.
  10. Tsuyogari Tokei off vocal ver.
  11. HA! off vocal ver.
  12. Hatsukoi Butterfly off vocal ver.
  13. Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni off vocal ver.
  14. Watashitachi no Reason off vocal ver.

1. Eien Pressure

Well here we are at the Janken single and it seems like Haruka Shimazaki (Paruru) won this time around and we hear her opening the song.  Her voice is pretty weak to be honest and it’s a short intro which is no surprise.  The song itself is just really another “Chance no Junban” and “Uekara Mariko” with a little summer twist thrown in.  This song is just ultimately bland and like the other Janken singles, BORING AS FUCK!!!  I am always surprised at how terrible Aki.P gets with these singles because it comes after something amazing (this time coming after the badass “UZA”. Sorry, but this is just suckish.

2. Totteoki Christmas

Also being a Janken single, you be rest assured to see a holiday song somewhere on the single and it seems it’s with the B-side found on all editions of the single.  While they still sound lifeless in the song, the arrangement is kind of catchy and charming…I do like the song but I wished the girls didn’t sound like zombies here…you win some and you lose some I guess.

3. Tsuyogari Tokei

Then my frustrations start to lead when the singles start splitting up.  What I mean is that this time, they bring in 4 seperate ___48 groups for the B-sides.  SKE48 brings us Tsuyogari Tokei and in some ways it reminds me of “Kataomoi Finally” because of its more serious tone.  From there, I have to say it’s probably the best off the single because the arrangement sounds like it had more effort and the girls involved sound all-around more emotional, unlike in the previous two tracks.  Good track overall.

4. HA!

I wouldn’t have expected NMB to have anything less than what they got on this single with HA!  I mean you have the synth horns and the surfer-ish vibes.  It’s not a bit mixture and the song is also kind of charming, but it’s not as strong as SKE’s track which is no surprise.  I will say it can be pretty catchy, but ehhh. lol.

5. Hatsukoi Butterfly

So as I’m learning the groups, this seems to HKT’s debut song which is VERY good to hear news from them finally.  The Fukuoka 48 team gets a rather forgetful song to debut with because it sounds like “Eien Pressure” and “Chance no Junban” and a little bit of “HA!” with the horns.  Yeah, the song isn’t very memorable and is just a throwaway track given to HKT so they can debut at least.

6. Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni

Wow, so for the first time for AKB singles, there’s a seperate 4th edition and this one also features a debut for OKL48 (which is more like a one-off unit since it’s made up of members of AKB and the leader is none other than Takashi Okamura (who for idol fans is well-known for being a comedian and of course all sorts of Mechaike randomness).  It shows because everyone is dressed up as LEMONS!  Without the visual though, Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni is kind of the plain AKB song with a slight upbeat peppyness about it.  It’s a silly song and it shows with the PV and everything.  The song though isn’t anything too special.  So not very good…

7. Watashitachi no Reason

Of course the single ends out with the Theater only song and while I don’t see who’s involved in the song, Watashitachi no Reason is a bit more alive than the other songs which is pretty good to hear from them and the song isn’t too offensive or bland (well, maybe a little, but when isn’t).  It’s the best of the 3 AKB songs on here which is saying something.

 

 

Ugh this single just frustrates me so much!  Eien Pressure is a shitty Janken song and “Uekara Mariko” trumps it so strongly!  Of the two other AKB B-sides, Watashitachi no Reason is definitely the better one because it sounds alive and the girls gave a good performance.  Totteoki Christmas has a good arrangement but the girls sound dead and emotionless which is a big negative.  What really pissed me off was to see the OTHER groups get in on this single.  THIS IS AKB48, SO DON’T BE ADDING GROUPS THAT AREN’T INVOLVED HERE!!!  So after my ragequitting subsided, I have to say that SKE’s song is the best of the 4 since the other three were plain and boring…Definitely a poor single overall!

 

Annabel – miniascape

Filed under: Annabel — solarblade @ 7:23 am

miniascape

Track Listing

  1. sensonia
  2. My heaven
  3. Signal Graph
  4. Light of Dawn
  5. STEP AHEAD
  6. Akashi
  7. Seiro Koukou
  8. abysmal noise
  9. Hello Mellow
  10. Sayonara no Tsuzuki e
  11. torus
  12. anamnesis
  13. Kineorama
  14. Above your hand

1. sensonia

A nice strings intro opens the album with sensonia and it’s kind of different since it starts lightly with Annabel and then has these hard hits of (bells?).  I like the mysterious nature of the song since it’s nothing you really expect.  I like it though, it’s different and has a strong impact and sets the tone of the album nicely!

2. My heaven

After the very impressive “sensonia” we move back to her debut A-side, My heaven and for a song that was released in 2009, it fits quite snuggly on the album.  It doesn’t have the splashes of color like the previous tracks do, but when it adds synthetic elements and gains a beat, the song just becomes a lot prettier to me.  I just find myself being drawn into space with this song and I love it for that.  Great song!

3. Signal Graph

As the 5th and final A-side released, Signal Graph pops up after “My heaven” and the change of atmospheres is a bit strange to me, but this song suits the entire album.  I love the piano melodies and the synths playing around in the arrangement as well.  Annabel just sounds so good and she stood out to me.  Unlike most of the songs, this really has an obvious anison sound to it, but I’m good with that.  Great song as well!

4. Light of Dawn

Then again without her second A-side, I don’t think she would’ve succeeded with “Signal Graph” (though it could be my bias coming out).  Light of Dawn is definitely my favorite of the A-sides for sure!  It’s got a lot of the same elements, but this doesn’t sound very anison to me which is a bit strange.  I just think Annabel did a much better job in this song and whoever arranged this is a genius!  It’s just a really awesome song and so very happy it made the cut despite being also a 2009 single.

5. STEP AHEAD

Also there were some B-sides included like STEP AHEAD from “Signal Graph”.  When I first reviewed it, I praised the edgier arrangement but also felt Annabel sung too softly which did make the song cover her voice a lot.  I like it, but once again I felt if they raised the volume of her voice a little bit, I think the song would’ve been up there.  I still do approve of the arrangement though.

6. Akashi

At this point of the album, there are songs that were used in various tie-ins and on some OSTs (kind of like faylan’s debut album).  Akashi comes first and it changes the playfield a lot.  I feel like this song has a strange ethereal glow to it like “filum” and “sensonia” do.  Annabel’s vocals are very light here and it moves quite slowly until later where it gains a beat which adds to the intricate atmosphere.  It’s definitely a unique song on the album…AND I LOVE IT!

7. Seiro Koukou

After “Akashi” I wasn’t expecting acoustic guitars to fill my speakers up at the beginning of our next track.  It feels like I’ve heard this track somewhere before like in an RPG or something similar to that nature.  It’s adventurous and has a floaty feel to it which I love about the song.  Strong song!

8. abysmal noise

I kind of hoped that this song was going to be Annabel’s hardcore song and in some ways it slightly is.  It does have a darker arrangement when compared to the other songs off the album and Annabel’s whispy vocals really suited the song’s melodies.  It’s not as edgy as I would’ve wanted it, but it’s a good track regardless and the chorus is really good…^_^

9. Hello Mellow

I don’t know why, but Hello Mellow is like the antithesis to “abysmal noise” because this is bright and Annabel’s vocals are higher-pitched which is a surprising choice for the tracklist.  Maybe it’s the wacky transition, but I’m just not liking this song much because Annabel sounds a bit off and the song does come off as a little cheesy.

10. Sayonara no Tsuzuki e

Acoustic guitar again?  Ok…well Sayonara no Tsuzuki e is definitely the quietest song I’ve ran into yet which is a nice change of pace after all the upbeat tracks I’ve heard.  Sometimes it sounds like “Seiro Koukou” but the softer parts are really pleasant to the ears IMO.  Not bad of a song and I like it a lot too

11. torus

Seems like another B-side made the cut with “Light of Dawn’s” torus.  Even though I haven’t had a lot of time to listen to it, the song still doesn’t really resonate with me because it’s just a little too quiet and a little too empty for me to digest.  I tried to get into this, but I’m just zoning out even before the halfway point.

12. anamnesis

Which boggles my mind why they put this song back-to-back with “torus” because I also felt this song was lacking when I reviewed it back in February.  As the song that reintroduced Annabel in the major label land, anamnesis is a bit more natural sounding than the previous track with strings and piano, but this song is just lacking.  I mean it does grow and the song pops out but it’s short and it’s like why couldn’t it be the whole track that has the strings? 

13. Kineorama

The last of the new songs (or basically the songs that weren’t on the singles), Kineorama has a lovely intro that kind of has this kind of folkish feel to it (not like Kajiura/Shimotsuki) but the movement is slightly similar.  The song though does really go on to really stand out past that and it’s leaving me a bit bored.

14. Above your hand

I’m surprised she chose to end the album with the 4th A-side considering it’s back to ballad land.  When I first reviewed it, the song’s first half was VERY uneventful and I barely paid attention to it.  Once the drums are added, the song has new life and hearing electric guitars was cool as well.  I don’t know, but this song is still trying to decide whether if it fits on the good parts of the album or the bad…meeeh

Tracks Recommended

  • Akashi
  • Light of Dawn
  • Seiro Koukou
  • sensonia
  • Signal Graph

Song of Avoidance

  • Hello Mellow

For someone that’s well-known in the anison world, Annabel’s debut album is really good for what it’s worth.  Even though it’s been 3-4 years in the making, miniascape is actually a pretty solid album with the only problems were in the last stretch of the album where it was ballad after ballad.  I hope it doesn’t take as long for her second album…still…great anison album (actually might be my favorite of the anison artists this year). 

 

Shoujo Jidai – GIRLS’ GENERATION II ~Girls&Peace~

Filed under: Shoujo Jidai — solarblade @ 5:57 am

girlsgeneration2

Track Listing

  1. FLOWER POWER
  2. Animal
  3. I’m a Diamond
  4. Reflection
  5. Stay Girls
  6. T.O.P
  7. BOOMERANG
  8. Oh!
  9. ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU
  10. PAPARAZZI
  11. Girls & Peace
  12. Not Alone

1. FLOWER POWER

The album starts off with the 3rd A-side released for the era and I have somewhat started to slighly like it.  It’s still a pretty messy song and the lyrics are a bit sketchy, but FLOWER POWER does have some good parts throughout like the chorus.  Strange way to open the album up with, but it’s OK for now.

2. Animal

I guess we want to get through majority of the new tracks first huh?  Starting with Animal, I was mostly excited to listen to this song from the smash-up from the single preceding the album and this song is still quite impressive if not moreso because it has a cool beat and arrangement.  It’s definitely a memorable song for me.

3. I’m a Diamond

Something about our next track never really appealed to me during it’s short preview from the single.  I do like how they sampled that familiar melody that’s kind of played during deaths.  I feel like I’m a Diamond pushes the group into a new direction since it has that badass R&B kind of groove to it.  I like how aggressive it is, but the girls sound so…unattractive in it…and the chorus is a bit meh for me…

4. Reflection

Moving on to Reflection, I was initially kind of at a standstill with the preview of it, but it seems in full that the song is somewhat better than my initial thoughts.  It doesn’t strike as hard as “Animal” did but I can get behind this song even though it really is a song that stays on the same level the entire way. 

5. Stay Girls

As one of the three songs that didn’t have previews from the “FLOWER POWER” single, Stay Girls is kind of obvious to me why it wasn’t in the preview because unlike the other songs on the album, it’s one of the more slower tracks and I’m kind of enjoying it because the vocals have a lot more going for it than some of the previous tracks.  It does sound like something I would’ve came across on their first album so that’s pretty good.  I just love the vocals here!  Good song!

6. T.O.P

Our next track instantly reminded me of “I’m a Diamond” with the similar aggressive nature with the horns thrown in for kicks.  I guess it’s primarily the reason why I don’t enjoy the song very much which isn’t totally surprising but I don’t know, I’m probably going to need more time with it.  I’m just not really into hearing the girls chanting/speak-singing.

7. BOOMERANG

It seems that this track has been around for quite a while before the album’s announcement…hm…BOOMERANG is the album’s shortest dit at under 3 minutes.  It’s weird because this song actually sounds a tad weak and feels unfinished when compared to the other slick tunes off the album.  This is pretty damn weak of a song…why did they add this to the album anyway?

8. Oh!

So finally we get to the remaining A-sides to represent the album starting with Oh!  Y’know, it’s strange that it’s the only conversion song on the album (as in language edit from Korean to Japanese).  For being a pretty old song (EARLY 2010), Oh! actually stands out strongly on the album and strangely enough, it’s my favorite A-side from the era as well.  It really has their signature K-pop feel (which none of the other songs really have (or have little of).  It’s just really catchy and everyone sounds good and sexy too lol.  A little out of place for the album, but I love it nonetheless.

9. ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU

The sister A-side after “Oh!”, ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU is the slowest song on the album, but I think this was also a pretty good song for the album despite not bringing anything totally new to the table.  Similar to “Stay Girls”, it’s really more of a song to showcase the girls’ singing abilities and they shine here once again.  Of course they’ve got better ballads in their repetoire, but for this album, it’s a nicely done song. 

10. PAPARAZZI

When I dive back into the group’s first single for the era, PAPARAZZI really does sound like a T-ara song for some strange reason.  Not that I don’t mind because this song is kind of groovy and does try to stand out and it worked nicely even though it doesn’t really beat “Oh!” lol.  It’s a pretty catchy song though and was a great single to release after their first album.

11. Girls & Peace

Then we hit the title track and Girls & Peace has a pretty cool arrangement from the beginning and it’s the first evidence for me that auto-tune does a lot of work here.  It’s not terrible because it lightens up from it in the chorus which has a kind of nostalgic sound to it.  It’s a pretty cool song and is probably my favorite new song on the album.

12. Not Alone

The album finally comes to a close with Not Alone which is appropriate as it’s a ballad.  The vocals are filtered a smidge, but it’s a really smooth and pretty ballad from the group!  I like that it’s a little more dramatic than “ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU”.  I actually really liked this track for some reason and happy that it was the song that wrapped the album up in a bow LOL.

Tracks Recommended

  • Girls & Peace
  • Animal
  • Not Alone
  • Oh!
  • PAPARAZZI

Song of Avoidance

  • BOOMERANG

I was kind of worried about GGII when FLOWER POWER released because it just felt like this album wasn’t as strong as their debut and it’s true when I listened to the album in full.  It’s not a bad album, but this felt underwhelming comparing it to “GIRLS’ GENERATION”.  Even the great songs couldn’t match with the awesomeness that happened in their debut which is sad but true.  I don’t know, I guess I felt that they didn’t put in as much effort here which showed in some of the more experimentive tracks like I’m a Diamond, BOOMERANG, and T.O.P.  BTW, Oh! definitely does belong here, even if it’s a great song in its own right…it just felt strange as the only “Korean” song here. lol