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NICO Touches the Walls – Yume 1-gou December 27, 2012

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 1:39 am

yume1gou

Track Listing

  1. Yume 1-gou
  2. Kessen wa Kinyoubi
  3. Fuujin “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)
  4. Bicycle “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)
  5. Me “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)

1. Yume 1-gou

I was kind of expecting Yume 1-gou to have been a ballad considering that cover art, but this is kind of more of what they’ve sound like in recent times which is good and they work better with what they have.  Tatsuya sounds nice and fits the slower atmosphere and that chorus was kind of cool.  It’s pretty laidback, but I felt like this was a good enough A-side and I remember it better than I did with “Natsu no Daisankakkei”. 

2. Kessen wa Kinyoubi

Uhhhh…a reggae-ish track as the B-side?  I really wasn’t sure what to think of Kessen wa Kinyoubi because while it was reggae (without the steel drums?), it kind of came off as too laidback until the chorus came in and added some needed edge.  It’s like listening to 311 or something like that.  I guess it’s not too bad, but it is a little forgettable in the long run.

3. Fuujin “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

So the single comes with three bonus tracks, which are also lives.  The first one if from their “Aurora” album, Fuujin.  I love Tatsuya’s energy ingetting the crowd going lol.  Seeing a I haven’t gotten through to listening to the album, this is my first time and I’m liking the energy and the band sound great overall. 

4. Bicycle “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

This song at least I recognize from being on “HUMANIA”, Bicycle live is just as boring as I thought it’d be.  Unlike “Fuujin” the energy is really dissipated after the intro with Tatsuya.  It just kind of turns into a blur for me and once again like the studio cut, I just can’t seem to remember anything about the song.

5. Me “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

Another song from “Aurora”, Me seemed to be just like “Bicycle” in how the song is just the normal NICO track which really doesn’t help the single nor come after the previous track either.  There’s some parts that are really good…mostly the held-out notes mostly…it still is forgettable though.

 

 

It’s been quite a while since NICO released a single, but they did good with the leading track, Yume 1-gou.  The song was really sweet and had a pretty good melody to go along.  Kessen wa Kinyoubi was at first strange for them, but it turned out good as well.  As for the bonus tracks, only Fuujin is the one that’s actually good but the other two are blaaaah to me.  Overall not bad and a good way for the band to close out 2012.

 

UVERworld – REVERSI

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 12:34 am

reversi

Track Listing

  1. REVERSI
  2. Theory to no Ketsumetsu no Kenkyuu+81
  3. ace of ace (LIVE at Yokohama Arena 2012.07.08)
  4. CORE PRIDE (LIVE at ZEPP TOKYO 2011.07.27)

1. REVERSI

As you may have already known, REVERSI is a recut song from their recent release, “THE ONE” and it was released because it’s tied to the Ao no Exorcist series.  Like I’ve said on that review, this song was great and hearing UVERworld mix synths up with their already powerful rock sound is always a great pleasure to listen to.  Definitely a solid track from the band and I’m happy they chose this to act as a recut.

2. Theory to no Ketsumetsu no Kenkyuu+81

Hm?  I’m instantly reminding my self when I saw the title of this to be similar to “Choutaisaku+81” which was the B-side from “NO.1”.  As I highly expected, it’s a lot like that song because it’s a mesh of various UVERworld songs which might impress a few, but to people that wanted a new song they aren’t getting here.  Though in the middle there’s a conversation going on (anime-related?).  It’s really strange and some songs are spruced in here and there, but Istill wonder what the point of it all was.

3. ace of ace (LIVE at Yokohama Arena 2012.07.08)

The rest of the singles are live cuts of their past songs, the first is ace of ace from their album, “LIFE 6 SENSE”.  It’s still a strange song when I listen to it, but the energy the band and TAKUYA give off is extreme and it’s really awesome to see them pull of like this.  Definitely surprising to hear and they pulled it off in a big way!, Plus the crowd there was definitely helping out as well lol!

4. CORE PRIDE (LIVE at ZEPP TOKYO 2011.07.27)

The other is their other Ao no Exorcist track, CORE PRIDE and this was the one with the major use of saxophones, but I thought they handled this song better, but the audience weren’t as heard like in “ace of ace”.  Straightforward performance, but still good nonetheless!

 

 

Even though this single was really unnecessary, REVERSI was a pretty solid choice to have been re-used for a single.  Finally closing “THE ONE” up, this single was good for the most part.  Main track is awesome, the live versions are pretty good and while Theory+81 is random and nonsensical, it did fit the single.  Overall, a pretty strong single.

 

Aki Toyosaki – Orion to Spangle December 26, 2012

Filed under: Aki Toyosaki — solarblade @ 11:57 pm

oriontospangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track Listing

  1. Orion to Spangle
  2. Tadaima, Okaeri
  3. Orion to Spangle (Instrumental)

1. Orion to Spangle

I know I’ve constantly ragged on Aki’s voice but c’mon you got to admit that Aki did somewhat better with Orion to Spangle because this song is adorable and her voice actually fits the arrangement which is a bit more vibrant and upbeat when compared to her older songs.  I was pretty pleased with this song and made up for how meh “Shirotsumekusa” was.

2. Tadaima, Okaeri

The B-side though reminds me exactly of how I felt about her last A-side.  It has that same exact homely feel to it and once again Aki’s voice seems out of place in such a setting as she’s trying to be squeaky cute and all that.  Yeah, suffice to say, I really didn’t enjoy the song very much lol.

 

 

Aki seemed to at least found her pacing with Orion to Spangle after her last one.  I will say that the A-side is pretty nice and really suited her overall weak vocals (which I didn’t even notice).  Though Tadaima, Okaeri tries to be compelling, but her voice and overall sound is at this point bland for me…

 

Best Of 2012: ORICON RANKING…of what I reviewed! December 21, 2012

Filed under: ~Best of 2012~ — solarblade @ 11:38 pm

Another year comes to a close and ORICON finally released they top 100 singles/albums!  SOOOO LET’S GET TO IT SHALL WE?

Singles

  • 100. UVERworld – THE OVER
  • 98. Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 – Shounen yo Uso wo Tsuke!
  • 96. ONE OK ROCK – The Beginning
  • 95. Momoiro Clover Z – Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku Dainana Gakushou “Mugen no Ai”
  • 94. Namie Amuro – Sit!Stay!Wait!Down!/Love Story
  • 92. Shoujo Jidai – Oh
  • 91. LiSA – crossing field
  • 89. Morning Musume – Wakuteka Take a chance
  • 88. SDN48 – Makeoshimi Congratulation
  • 86. SUPER☆GiRLS – Puripuri♥SUMMER Kiss
  • 84. Momoiro Clover Z – Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimi-tachi yo
  • 80. HALLOWEEN JUNKY ORCHESTRA – HALLOWEEN PARTY
  • 79. Nana Mizuki – BRIGHT STREAM
  • 78. Perfume – Spending all my time
  • 76. Momoiro Clover Z – Otome Sensou
  • 75. AKB48 – Uekara Mariko
  • 73. Mayu Watanabe – Otona Jelly Beans
  • 70. Morning Musume – One Two Three/The Matenrou Show
  • 69. Mayu Watanabe – Hikaru Monotachi
  • 65. Perfume – Spring of Life
  • 64. no3b – Pedicure Day
  • 59. Super Junior – Sexy, Free, and Single
  • 58. Shoujo Jidai – PAPARAZZI
  • 52. 2PM – Masquerade
  • 50. Mayu Watanabe – Synchro Tokimeki
  • 49. KARA – Speed Up/Girls Power
  • 48. Tohoshinki – STILL
  • 47. 2PM – Beautiful
  • 42. Not yet – Suika BABY
  • 35. Super Junior – Opera
  • 20. NEWS – Chankapana
  • 5. AKB48 – Eien Pressure
  • 4. AKB48 – UZA
  • 3. AKB48 – Gingham Check
  • 2. AKB48 – GIVE ME FIVE!
  • 1. AKB48 – Manatsu no Sounds good!

Once again AKB leads the way this year with a lot of Johnnys and 48 units crowding the front x.x

Albums

  • 99. KARA – KARA Collection
  • 98. Leo Ieiri – LEO
  • 86. Jin Akanishi – JAPONICANA
  • 84. – ikimono-gakari – ikimono-bakari ~Members BEST Selection~
  • 82. Porno Graffitti – PANORAMA PORNO
  • 80. Perfume – JPN
  • 79. ClariS – BIRTHDAY
  • 77. Miliyah Kato – TRUE LOVERS
  • 76. Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE
  • 66. KARA – Girls Forever
  • 61. UVERworld – THE ONE
  • 56. YUI – ORANGE GARDEN POP
  • 54. YUI – GREEN GARDEN POP
  • 52. YUKI – POWERS OF TEN
  • 48. Kyarypamyupamyu – Pamyupamyu Revolution
  • 45. NEWS – NEWS BEST
  • 42. Ayumi Hamasaki – A SUMMER BEST
  • 41. Shoujo Jidai – GIRLS’ GENERATION II ~Girls&Peace~
  • 38. Ayumi Hamasaki – Party queen
  • 37. Koda Kumi – JAPONESQUE
  • 34. Perfume – Perfume Global Compilation “LOVE THE WORLD”
  • 32. Acid Black Cherry – “2012”
  • 29. ayaka – The Beginning
  • 28. JUJU – BEST STORY ~Love stories~
  • 25. Shoujo Jidai – GIRLS’ GENERATION
  • 21. JUJU – BEST STORY ~Life stories~
  • 18. KARA – Super Girl
  • 17. Kana Nishino – Love Place
  • 12. ikimono-gakari – NEWTRAL
  • 11. Namie Amuro – Uncontrolled
  • 3. AKB48 – 1830m

Well those are the albums…the top two spots were Mr. Children so it was to be expected as such lol….What do you guys think of ORICON’s list this year?

 

Kaela Kimura – Sync December 20, 2012

Filed under: Kaela Kimura — solarblade @ 9:39 pm

sync

Track Listing

  1. Mamireru
  2. HERO
  3. Sun shower
  4. coffee
  5. Hello, Goodbye
  6. sorry
  7. MY WAY
  8. Synchronicity
  9. so i
  10. Merry Go Round
  11. Cherry Blossom
  12. WONDER Volt

1. Mamireru

I’m quite unsure why Kaela chose to begin the album with Mamireru (though considering it was the firs A-side, makes sort of sense).  I’m still kind of on the fence because while I like this experimentive technopop song, that whole ~hey, lets roll and hey let’s go~ is just a bit abrasive, but the rest of the song is really catchy.  It’s slightly grown on me, but it still can be a nuisance when it wants to be.

2. HERO

At least we can really start the album off with HERO which takes out the electronic-ness from the first track and gave us this kind of Katy Perry-ish pop/rock track which really suits Kaela for some reason.  The chorus is really pretty though and I’m loving the mood of the song (even if it’s slighlty like “Teenage Dream”).  This is what I thought started the album!

3. Sun shower

Moving into the only other A-side released for the album, Sun shower was a total 180 after “Mamireru” because this song was a MUCH lighter affair.  It’s a pleasant track and I love when Kaela kind of pulls these kind of songs as they are sung strongly and has that great charm.  Still this is one of the better songs from Kaela ^_^

4. coffee

This cute and charming side of Kaela continues with coffee and it has a really interesting tone to it as being the more floaty and breezy track when compared to “Sun shower”.  I’m just loving the clapping, the acoustic guitars, and the other nuances of the song.  It just sailed very smoothly and I loved the journey ^_^

5. Hello, Goodbye

I would’ve loved if Kaela had chosen “BMX” over this because this was a pretty ugh cover to listen to and really just doesn’t have a place on this album (if there was a better place, it’d be after “HERO”).  Being a cover of that famous song from The Beatles, Kaela’s take is just kind of a mess and I’m not sure if I really enjoyed how they worked her voice in the song.  Plus, all that banjo-work and derpyness is really annoying…ugh this cover has gotten worse from reviewing it from the single it came from.

6. sorry

As the remaining songs on the album are entirely new, I was curious to as how the new tracks fared.  sorry is quite peppy and has a certain 80’s pop tone and I’m all kinds of nostalgic for that kind of music.  This is a pretty fun song to listen to, especially that boppy chorus…I was just loving the mood and bounce, and Kaela sounded really nice!

7. MY WAY

I guess to make up for “BMX” being absent, we get our rock song in the form of MY WAY and this isn’t a bad track, but it’s a little strange coming after “sorry”.  I just love her versatility on this album so far because she seems to really suit whatever she’s thrown into.  There’s even some keyboard which does make the switch from the previous track slightly easier.  I actually really enjoyed this song a lot!  One of the album’s shining moments!

8. Synchronicity

I feel like Kaela was going for a SCANDAL-like tone for the next track on the album and while I liked the energy Kaela put in the song, the guitarwork felt a bit shoddy and fluffy and some of the arrangement is a bit all over the place.  I suppose this would make a great live performance because it demands a lot of power and energy to pull it off, but the song does sound quite messy.

9. so i

I wasn’t expecting for Kaela to switch back into electronic mode with so i and it did rather throw me off with that wavy synth line.  I’m really happy though that Kaela went into electro mode for this song because it really edgy and Kaela luckily passed up the auto-tuning so this coming together is a really nice change of pace.  Well, she does have it going in the chorus, but it’s done really well.  It might be one of the more vague songs on the album, but it’s catchy and really fun…and the PV teaser is WTF win!

10. Merry Go Round

Keeping up with the quirky Kaela, Merry Go Round (can we stop using this title?) isn’t as heavy as the previous track, but this kind of has a similar edge like “Synchronicity” had but this has a bit more control and I actually like this bck and forth with the heavy chorus and the factory-ish setting of the verses.  Yeah, it’s a bit bipolar, but the song isn’t too bad.

11. Cherry Blossom

Ahhh, a starbucks song comes next…yeah the charming Cherry Blossom is really cute and I’m loving the ~churi-churi-choo-choo~ lines a lot for some reason.  I also found myself loving the band used in this song as they gave this loungy/jazzy feel to the song.  It’s really interesting song and stands out on the album in a good way! 

12. WONDER Volt

I never understood why Kaela would end Sync with this tune which was made for the Japanese release of Frankenweenie (which BTW was such a good movie!).  Anyways, WONDER Volt doesn’t fit the album because it’s darker tinge and overall feel just didn’t make sense (it would’ve worked if it had been on “8EIGHT8”.  Singularly, WONDER Volt is such a cool song and one of Kaela’s most daring tracks to date.  I love the whole dark laboratory feel and the song is just a wondorous track…one of my favorites, skip it…my favorite on the album!

Tracks Recommended

  • WONDER Volt
  • so i
  • coffee
  • MY WAY
  • Cherry Blossom

Song of Avoidance

  • Hello, Goodbye

Wow, for being not too impressed with the singles, Kaela released a REALLY solid album with Sync.  There was seriously only two songs that I wasn’t really enthusiastic over which were The Beatles’ cover and Synchronicity.  The rest of the album was just REALLY good and after “8EIGHT8”, this was a giant leap for her IMO…none of the songs were boring and Kaela brought some of her more unique compositions to light…yeah one of the bests of the year *RECOMMENDED*

 

Berryz Koubou – WANT! December 19, 2012

Filed under: Berryz Koubou — solarblade @ 8:48 am

want2

Track Listing

  1. WANT!
  2. Yuuki wo Kudasai!
  3. WANT! (Instrumental)

1. WANT!

I have no idea why but I’ve been loving Tsunku’s love of the electropop and WANT! is another one for me to enjoy.  At first, I wasn’t sure because it’s a bit mechanical of a song for Berryz but after the last single, I think Berryz needed a little bit of the fun everyone else has been doing.  The auto-tune isn’t atrocious which is a great thing and the song worked all-around (plus Maasa sounds good with auto-tune for some reason!).  Definitely another strong song from the group (strange they really had a good year for the most part).  WANT! great way to end 2012.

2. Yuuki wo Kudasai!

I wasn’t sure coming into the B-side of what was going to happen, but the song is kind of like the cuter songs we’ve gotten from H!P this year like most of the stuff from S/mileage.  I like hearing all the members singing in this track too, but I feel this song would’ve been more suited for a younger Berryz (or S/mileage).  It’s OK…but kind of forgettable in the long run.

 

 

As the final single before they release their next album, “Berryz Mansion 9kai”, WANT! overall might be my least favorite overall of the singles release before but WANT! is a pretty damn good song!  It’s got punch and the synths are really gasmic to my ears.  Yuuki wo Kudasai! I think was more for the cuter side of the group, but it was sounding a bit too youthful for Berryz IMHO.  It’s not a bad single though lol.

 

DIR EN GREY – Rinkaku

Filed under: DIR EN GREY — solarblade @ 5:25 am

rinkaku

Track Listing

  1. Rinkaku
  2. Kiri to Mayu
  3. Rinkaku Eternal Slumber Mix

1. Rinkaku

I was curious to what DIR EN GREY would release after taking that small hiatus for Kyo to kind of relax his vocal chords.  They return with Rinkaku and it kind of shows that his vocals are a little raspier than in the last couple of singles but he’s pushing his vocals as he’s singing in a much higher tone than before.  I am a bit surprised to not hear Kyo do his yells and death growls but this makes the song seem a bit smoother like “LOTUS”.  Not a bad song and the whole dark riffs from the band sound really pretty oddly enough.  It was really different for the group, but I can understand why.

2. Kiri to Mayu

Moving to the B-side, the song was definitely more of what I know of DIRU with it’s heavier sound and I guess Kyo wasn’t told to lay off from the vocals because he’s doing ALL of his vocal tricks here which is pretty damn surprising coming after the softer-tinged “Rinkaku”.  I wish I knew what the hell Kyo was saying but it’s like coming off as gibberish hahah.  At first I didn’t think we’d hear clear vocals, but there’s a short part, past the halfway mark.  I’m so not used to this and I don’t think Kyo has done this much growling/screaming in quite a while in JUST one song.

3. Rinkaku Eternal Slumber Mix

A remix on a DIRU single?  Ok…well Rinkaku gets one and it’s a bit more quieter of a remix as there’s some chanting and some arrangement changes.  I kind of like the dragging feel of this version and since it’s a bit more quiet, I felt like this was pretty damn good mixing it with Kyo’s vocals. 

 

 

I was kind of worried with Kyo having throat issues that he’d have to cut back on some of the stuff he was pulling, and at first I thought that was the case with Rinkaku because most of the song he was just singing in his lighter (but higher pitched vocals) but then Kiri to Mayu comes on and all he’s doing is growling/shrieking through 95% of the song lol.  At least he’s still capable of it even if the song was kind of a headache.  The remix of Rinkaku to me was better than the original, but I’m sure bigger fans will LOVE the main version more.  Good single overall, but Kiri to Mayu >.>