Kurayami Monogatari

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KOTOKO – Restart December 18, 2012

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:22 am

restart

Track Listing

  1. Restart
  2. Largo
  3. Restart (Instrumental)
  4. Largo (Instrumental)

1. Restart

I wasn’t expecting KOTOKO to release a rather cutesy A-side after the previous two singles but here we are with Restart and I’m just feeling somewhat alienated from this song.  I don’t know it’s kind of just a very ligh pop song with some I’ve synths thrown in.  It’s not the worst I have heard from KOTOKO, but compared to her previous two singles, this is a bit blech!

2. Largo

Even more cutesy stuff for the B-side.  I know “Candy or Chocolate?” was a bit suspicious, but Largo is just taking one step backwards.  It’s like her cuter songs when she was under I’ve Sound…and she sounds like an idol singer for some strange ass reason.  It’s just a really bland song even for KOTOKO…

 

 

Lord, this single is really bland to listen to.  I’m not exactly sure if this era (well I think this is one) has been very good for KOTOKO (cept for “Light My Fire”) but she really hasn’t been very interesting to me.  Her songs lack that spark that I really love about her but it could be from the label change.  Restart and Largo are really plain and forgettable tracks…I hope she jumps forward with what she releases next.

 

Kou Shibasaki – Lyrical*Wonder

Filed under: Kou Shibasaki — solarblade @ 7:29 am

lyricalwonder

Track Listing

  1. Koimoriuta
  2. Mata, Umareru Koro ni wa
  3. Strength
  4. My Perfect Blue
  5. Mou, Inai yo
  6. Waraou Kana -5 p.m.-
  7. traffic jam
  8. Chi no Iro
  9. you & me
  10. ANOTHER:WORLD
  11. cosmic rainbow
  12. Yukuyuku wa
  13. Waraou Kana -7 a.m.-

1. Koimoriuta

Kou’s album opens up quietly with Koimoriuta and I’m happy she started the album off with a ballad since it seems that’s what she was going for for most of the era was more of that lighter and poppy vibe.  I’m a little surprised with the simplicity of the song because it’s two piano notes going back forth which leaves Kou to take the reins with her voice.  It does kind of come off as a bit repetitive, but I really liked her voice here…it was soft and fluffy and just cute…though the song could’ve had more layers going on…

2. Mata, Umareru Koro ni wa

As the song to promote the album, I was pleasantly taken aback by Mata, Umareru Koro ni wa.  I was a bit surprised that something so effervescent and cute came into this song and it really makes “Koimoriuta” look really crappy next to it hahah.  I feel like this song sounds like it would be a perfect song in some fairyland.  Yeah this is pretty damn amazing and an equally amazing choice to promote the album!

3. Strength

Onto some of the songs we’ve already heard before, Strength comes first and I loved the funky riffs out of this tune for sure and Kou sounded really pretty and was the total opposite of “Mou, Inai yo” as this kind of has this getting up in the morning kind of feel to it.  Very breezy as well (especially during the slower part of the song).  It’s just a playful track and really stuck out during the era.  Awesome!

4. My Perfect Blue

I’ve noticed the album is kind of on this very light pop train-track and after “Strength” we slow down back to a ballad with the primary A-side of the third single represnting the album.  I’ve said not too long ago that it was a really well-done ballad and once again sounds a LOT more intriguing than “Koimoriuta”.  It just had the right amount of dramatics and Kou sounded WONDERFUL in the song…it would be my favorite ballad if it hadn’t been because of…

5. Mou, Inai yo

This song which was the B-side of “Strength”.  It’s a REALLY beautiful song as well as it’s softly sung and like I said about it’s A-side, it’s kind of the opposite where this sounds like a tune played on a boat at night where the moon is shining bright.  It really painted a picture for me and I LOVE songs that can do that to me.  Like I said, VERY pretty and one of my favorites from the album!!!

6. Waraou Kana -5 p.m.-

After those great songs, I thought we had an interlude coming up, but Waraou Kana is actually a full song.  I was curious with this song because it kind of has this cute appearance that surprised even me.  It was a bit strange because it kind of had horns all over the place and overall it felt like an idol song almost haha, but that could be from Kou’s higher pitch as well.  Cute and different though it doesn’t work as the bridge into “traffic jam”.

7. traffic jam

I didn’t think synths would start traffic jam into this kind of electropop/ethereal track…it’s kind of a strange mix, but I approve of this because it’s so floaty and the arrangement is quite catchy.  Add in Kou’s distant-sounding vocals and It’s really an interesting feel.  I’m not sure how else to really describe it but it stands out in a really good way!

8. Chi no Iro

I was kind of wondering how this song would sound since the title translates to Color of Blood and you can’t really assume it’s going to be a bad ass track.  This song though is a bit chaotic and kind of messy compared to the other tracks no thanks to that annoying drum section.  Then it kind of moves into this section where Kou cites random English words.  Yeah, this is kind of bad and REALLY out of place on the album.

9. you & me

After that really absurd track beforehand, you & me tones things WAYYYYY down again for this mid-tempo ditty that really has a nice groove to it.  I’m surprised this wasn’t placed near “Strength” because the whole Starbucks sound is really charming and Kou’s voice is smooth and very pleasant to listen to.

10. ANOTHER:WORLD

As the second A-side for the era, ANOTHER:WORLD is upbeat and energetic in a good way (unlike “Chi no Iro”).  This song kind of popped up so suddenly after the last track so the burst of energy was a surprise so to speak.  I do like how it brings something to the album and it stands out nicely because I liked it on the single and it worked smoothly here as well! 

11. cosmic rainbow

Lord, the album’s longest track, cosmic rainbow is definitely a surprise for me and one of the cooler songs!  It’s like technopop, but has that same ethereal tone like “traffic jam”.  It continues to grow and it really found myself just loving this entirely.  I just love the glossy feel of it for some reason and for being 7 minutes, it really flew by me without problems….SO ❤

12. Yukuyuku wa

After all that electro fest, it was a little strange getting into Yukuyuku wa which is all natural.  I wasn’t too thrilled about the song when I first reviewed it on the single alongside “My Perfect Blue” but here it really is kind of a weird song on the album.  I still think Kou sounds boring and the arrangement is a bit like The Beatles.  It just was one of the more boring tracks IMO.

13. Waraou Kana -7 a.m.-

Ehhh? Another Waraou Kana?  Unlike the other one in the middle of the album, this is kind of a bit more upbeat and some instrumental changes.  Actually there’s a lot more of synths present in this version but ultimately it’s really the same song so I really am unsure why there’s two versions…minus the times it’s supposed to reflect.

Tracks Recommended

  • Mata, Umareru Koro ni wa
  • Mou, Inai yo
  • cosmic rainbow
  • My Perfect Blue
  • traffic jam

Song of Avoidance

  • Chi no Iro

If you were expecting another “Love Paranoia” or “CIRCLE CYCLE” then prepare to be surprised by this one.  I think with Lyrical*Wonder, she went for a MUCH lighter route which profited her because she sounds really pretty through most of this…the only rock track, Chi no Iro, was a hot mess and is the only reason this album wasn’t perfect lol…yeah this is a great album *RECOMMENDED*

 

Plastic Tree – Ink

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 4:08 am

ink

Track Listing

  1. Rorschach (Hidari)
  2. Ink
  3. Kuchizuke
  4. Piano Black
  5. Avantgarde
  6. Life Is Beautiful
  7. Kimi wa Canary
  8. Joumyaku
  9. Chouchou
  10. Shion
  11. 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai. (CD only)
  12. 96 Shousetsu, Nagaki Fuzai. (2CD & 2CD+DVD only)
  13. Rorschach (Migi)

1. Rorschach (Hidari)

Ryotarou opens up the album with a rather light introduction with Rorschach (Hidari).  It’s really only him and a light guitar background.  It’s kind of creepy but at the same time, kind of cool at the same time because I like Ryotarou’s light vocals.  Interesting way to start the album.

2. Ink

Onto the first song which is also the title track, Ink continues to show quite a bit of that dark tinge which is kind of cool and I’m surprised to hear a lot of what I think is bass in the song.  Ryotarou’s vocals do seem to be overwhelmed by the band a lot of the times but at least he comes out in the chorus, but his voice breaking every so often feels a bit concerning for some reason.  It’s like he’s tired and his voice cracks to show how tired he is.  I guess it’s his thing but ehhh.  The song is still good for what it is though lol.

3. Kuchizuke

Moving into the 2nd A-side released for the era, Kuchizuke is probably my favorite of the three songs and I’m also happy to see that none of the A-sides were changed unlike the two from the “ammonite” era.  Ryotarou sounds slightly cleaner than he usually is which is great, but the song has this eerie but cool sound abouti ats well.  Definitely one of the best songs on the album to be honest.

4. Piano Black

I was kind of surprised at the synths that open the next track as I was expecting another dark track like the previous songs to come after.  I just really like the bright atmosphere about the song.  Once Ryotarou joins in, the same thing happened like in “Ink” where his voice is covered by the music…I could barely determine what he was singing in the track.  Though, I was in love with the arrangement being all hard, but floaty as well.  This might actually grow on me a lot though.  Very unique from them!

5. Avantgarde

For a song titled as such, I was worried that the song was going to be some strange tune.  HOWEVER, Avantgarde is a bit of a boost in energy because when I listen to the song, I kind of get a certain punk-rock feel which is pretty cool and a change from the brooding songs.  Ryotarou sounds a bit more cooler and his voice doesn’t sound as stressed as it is in “Kuchizuke” but it’s still there.  I actually quite like the song though and it has picked me up from a slight slump,

6. Life Is Beautiful

The next track, Life Is Beautiful lets up on the band by making this Ryotarou and acoustic gutiar and it’s great to hear him not stressing and all, but he’s singing quite fast which is amusing to listen to for some reason.  Then the chorus comes in and I’m super annoyed because it’s so repetitive and the croaking is at an all time annoyance for me.  This song would’ve been great had it not been for that gross chorus! 

7. Kimi wa Canary

The intro of the next song was a bit strange with those dissonant strings that sounds like it was playing at 128 kbps.  I like the flighty track since it sounds ratehr tame and doesn’t take risks which is a total 180 from the previous track.  Ryotarou sounds really nice and non-offensive which is also a good change as well.  Not bad!

8. Joumyaku

As the A-side that begun the “Ink” era, going back to Joumyaku is kind of strange to me because like “Kimi wa Canary” it’s not very risk-taking of the group and they seem to take smoothly through (as wekk as Ryotarou).  I still do think there’s some struggling going on with his vocals but they aren’t as harsh as some of the other songs on the album.

9. Chouchou

It really feels like this song and the two previous tracks all seem to tie together because they have a similar tone and arranging as their all kind of those mid-tempo rock tracks.  Unfortunately Ryotarou is so amazingly quiet in this song that it was even harder to tell what he was singing than in “Piano Black”, clearly the band has overpowered the singer!  At least the arrangement is good…just let Ryotarou sing louder!!!

10. Shion

Then we get to the last A-side before the album with Shion and I never really connected with it.  With that acoustic guitar intro it did remind me of “Life Is Beautiful” and it’s really the same way how I felt about the song entirely because once again Ryotarou just seeems to slightly kill the chorus, but it’s not as tragic as I once thought lol.  I still think it’s the weakest of three but it’s whatever.

11. 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai.

So depending on what version of the album you got, you got a track that’s similar but not?  Here’s how it goes, if you just got the CD, you get this track which is a shocking 12+ minute track which is mostly an OVERLY-glorified instrumental.  If there was something I couldn’t stand it’s a long ass instrumental and this really bored me to death.  Granted, Ryotarou isn’t in this track, but I need more substance that this!

12. 96 Shousetsu, Nagaki Fuzai.

If you got the either of the 2CD versions, you ended up with a shortened version of the song above (which is really absurd to pull).  I like that they shaved more than half the song down to a little above 5 minutes, but it’s still an instrumental so it’s not like the cut was beneficial otherwise that it’s shorter.  It reminds me of something of Radiohead’s but not sure what.  Not totally bad, but this is probably the better version.

13. Rorschach (Migi)

Finally the album comes full circle to its outro Migi.  It’s slightly longer than the intro, but it’s once again Ryotarou singing quietly with a light acoustic guitar so it’s a pleasant track to close out but for people that have the CD only…this could just be like why after such a long track while the 2CD will probably appreciate it much more.

Tracks Recommended

  • Piano Black
  • Kimi wa Canary
  • Avantgarde
  • Kuchizuke

Song of Avoidance

  • 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai.

After listening to a better quality version of “ammonite” I concluded that the album was better to me and I started to like it, but some of the problems had remained like Ryotarou’s vocals and some boring arrangements.  With Ink, it’s really more of the same footwork to be had.  Though the problem here that’s new is that Ryotarou gets covered by his band a lot and it feels like I’m barely forced to pay attention and more to the music (and the LONG instrumental was definitely not needed).  It’s not a bad album overall and I did like more of the songs here which is nice, but Plastic Tree might be on the ending for some reason to me.  BTW the 2nd disc is really just the Rebuild tracks from the singles and two new ones and two new tracks?  I don’t know but that was a little nice to see!