Kurayami Monogatari

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TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – Yakusoku February 9, 2013

Filed under: TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE — solarblade @ 10:26 pm

yakusoku

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. Bad Flower
  3. Tsuioku -Single Version-
  4. Discord
  5. Sore de Ii jan
  6. Taisetsu na Kotoba
  7. Tsuki to Sayonara
  8. Maboroshi
  9. Overnight Sensation ~Jidai wa Anata ni Yudaneteru
  10. Futari Kiri
  11. LolitA☆Strawberry in summer
  12. Yakusoku
  13. Outro
  14. Himawari to Hoshikuzu -English Version-
  15. Tsuki to Sayonara -Royal Mirrorball Remix- (CD only)

1. Intro

Oh a 2-minute introduction to the album huh?  It’s quite lulzy because this kind of reminds me of some 80s motif at the beginning.  As it continues on it becomes elevator music essentially which is kind of strange? xD.  It sounds like it’s going through a timeline because of the different genres tackled like rock at the end too before it smoothly moves into our first vocal track.

2. Bad Flower

Which is conveniently the best A-side of the era!  I just found myself loving this track so much because it showed off how well the girls vocals can be when given some training and boy did it pay off!  I mean besides Ayano who is already such a badass singer, Hitomi sounds amazing as well!  Add in that we got to see more of everyone else and it just came together as the dark, forbidden song that is just so good.  Reminds of “Limited addiction” but with guitars.

3. Tsuioku -Single Version-

I’m quite surprised the group decided to include the single version of Tsuioku (despite the original being on their last album and all >.>).  I mean the big difference between the two is that this version has a bit more going on in its instrumentation like a beat of sorts.  It’s a bit long because it follow TG’S’ formula of having the extended periods of music before every verse and the ending.  This is nice though, but didn’t need a second appearance to be honest >.>

4. Discord

Coming from the same single as “Bad Flower”, Discord was literally my favorite song from the singles.  I still find it amusing that it was used in the Transformers cartoon so it really kind of seemed a bit absurd y’know?  Still Discord is kind of like the synthy sister of “Bad Flower” because it has a darker tone as well.  I just really came to love this song a LOT!

5. Sore de Ii jan

I was wondering when we were gonna get to some new tracks and we have our first one in Sore de Ii jan!  To me, the song feels a lot like a mix of “Kirari☆”, “Himawari to Hoshikuzu” and “W.M.A.D” just thrown in a blender together and came out with this track.  That being said, it’s not a totally bad thing to do because the song is pretty catchy and I find myself grooving to the arrangement most of the time!  I’m also loving the vocals as well!  Not bad!

6. Taisetsu na Kotoba

Backing up to Taisetsu na Kotoba which was the secondary A-side next to “Tsuioku”, I actually kind of dislike it further because it sounds like an early take of “Discord” with the synths…but had some brass from stuff from the “Limited addiction” album.  The thing I remember most is that there’s quite a bit of high notes thrown in.  Suffice to say of the three A-sides, this was the weakest of them.

7. Tsuki to Sayonara

Another dark song on the album count me in!  Even though this song wasn’t chosen to promote the album it did get the remix at the end of the album (who’d thunk it).  I’m not sure why, but I kind of get this lounge setting here, but with some kick!  Though this sounds like a slowed down “Discord” even in some of the melodies in the chorus…it was ironic almost.  It’s alright, but it doesn’t really have that spark going for it in my opinion.

8. Maboroshi

I was instantly interested when one of the titles of the song is “Phantom” and I have to say it did feel like a track that’s meant for Halloween (despite being late to the party).  It’s like they took what I didn’t particularly enjoy about “Tsuki to Sayonara” and just made it so much better.  It’s an eerie track and the ladies just sound mysterious alongside the arrangement.  Very unique to the group!

9. Overnight Sensation ~Jidai wa Anata ni Yudaneteru~

Our next track is a cover of an old TRF song (a group I don’t exactly listen to besides other artists covering their music LOL).  From what I heard from TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE, the song is kind of fun and there’s a lot of surprising English lines in the song which actually sounds good for the most part haha,  It’s probably the brightest and poppiest song on the album so it’s a tad out of place but this isn’t bad and the vocals are just still VERY strong.

10. Futari Kiri

I actually really liked the guitar solo that opens up Futari Kiri but after that, the song just kind of goes south for me because while it does try to reach out and be something like “Onnaji Kimochi”, it kind of lacks a memorable melody about it and it just kind of sounds like a total mess (minus the guitar solos throughout, but this honestly felt like a “Limited addiction” throwaway).

11. LolitA☆Strawberry in summer

Remember this B-side from “ROAD TO BUDOKAN”?  Yeah, the group’s 2nd SweetS cover makes the tracklist and while I did like the acoustic guitar that opens up the track, the remaining bits are a tad forgetful and kind of tries to replicate what “Bad Flower” had but kind of becomes sour and forgetful after a while.  I do love the vocals though!

12. Yakusoku

So the last of the new songs was actually the one chosen to promote the album!  At first I kind of expected it to be a ballad, but the song is kind of a mid-tempo fare which is a pleasant surprise, especially since it was expected.  I hear those synth beats being used again here which is kind of bothering me here, since I could’ve been happy with just acoustic guitar in this one.  Kind of blah otherwise.

13. Outro

Then the outro comes and for being 3 minutes, it starts off in a cool way with synths and beats and a futuristic feel.  I kind of like how it builds on itself as time goes by though too…it’s just really glossy and pretty to listen to!  A bit long though since it doesn’t really strive to go anywhere else, but I guess it’s a good way to end the album.

14. Himawari to Hoshikuzu -English Version-

For the first time in the group’s time, we have an English Version of an older song of theirs.  Himawari to Hoshikuzu is a pretty awesome song so I was quite curious to how they could handle it in a language they aren’t used to.  Sadly, while the arrangement is the same of course, hearing the group butchering the song in English is just almost unbearable and almost unintelligible.  I’m sorry but Hitomi did better here than Ayano this time hahah.  Nice bonus, but not really all that great and I rather listen to the original still.

15. Tsuki to Sayonara -Royal Mirrorball Remix-

Of course the album has to end with a RM remix, this time of Tsuki to Sayonara.  Not much really to say besides the song is given a more disco fever sound to gel with the vocalists, but really more of the same we’ve been getting from RM.

Tracks Recommended

  • Discord
  • Bad Flower
  • Maboroshi
  • Overnight Sensation ~Jidai wa Anata ni Yudaneteru~

Song of Avoidance

  • Futari Kiri

Right now, I’m still kind of undecided if I like Yakusoku more than “Limited addiction” or not.  I mean they both have the same problems still, but the latter did have more A-sides that I loved!  So this might be a step down even further for the group, but slight.  Vocally this is their best yet so that’s also a good thing here.  My biggest complaint is the group really needs to step away from the way their songs are set up…I mean most tracks were 5+ minutes….they really need to get rid of the extended music breaks before verses and everything…it’s getting stale…

 

Shoko Nakagawa – UCHI-SHIGOTO, SOTO-SHIGOTO!!

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 2:44 pm

uchishigoto

Track Listing

  1. Rolling star
  2. Amayadori feat. Shoko Nakagawa / DECO*27
  3. RAINBOW -Namida no Ato de- starring Shoko Nakagawa / RAM RIDER
  4. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω / MAKE-UP feat. Shoko Nakagawa
  5. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa
  6. Arukou
  7. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω TV-EDIT
  8. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa TV-EDIT
  9. Arukou TV-EDIT

1. Rolling star

Starting up this mini-album is are a couple of songs that her fans have seen before but aren’t a part of her discography.  The only one I notice is this track which is actually a cover of YUI’s most well-known hit and was featured on her tribute album, “SHE LOVES YOU”.  Shokotan’s take is actually quite faithful to the original and strangely enough better than YUI’s just because Shoko has such good vocals here!  I think it’s great that she included this song and let it be the first track!

2. Amayadori feat. Shoko Nakagawa / DECO*27

The next three tracks are ones that I am not certain where they came from, but know they are found somewhere.  Though I will say that DECO*27 is a known name in the VOCALOID fandom.  Hearing that Shokotan got this chance is pretty good because she sounds quite good.  However, coming after “Rolling star” makes this a bit disappointing as the track is just kind of finding itself remaining plain most of the time.  Not too impressed with this one.

3. RAINBOW -Namida no Ato de- starring Shoko Nakagawa / RAM RIDER

When I saw RAM RIDER’s name involved, I knew this track was definitely going to go down electronic lane.  Though I kind of thought the song was going to be a little edgier, but what we ended up was true to RAM RIDER’s sound and it’s that funky electro.  It’s a bright and sparkly tune for Shoko and once again her voice is fitting!  I liked it quite a bit for being more of that cutesy sound!

4. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω / MAKE-UP feat. Shoko Nakagawa

I will admit, I’ve seen this because it was a character single for Shokotan.  I wasn’t sure what we were coming to with Pegasus Gensou, but I felt like it was a pretty awesome anison track!  At first it started slow and then it started to become this mid-tempo but edgy rock track and MAKE-UP is the actual artist so I hear a lot more of their lead singer, but Shoko is there quite a lot as well and both of them compliment each other very well!  Not bad of a song, but I still prefer “Rolling star” as the GOOD rock track.

5. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa

The final tracks on the mini-album are brand new Shokotan songs and at one point were supposed to be her new single but considering what happened that didn’t happen.  The first track, Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa is kind of strange to me because it kind of reminds me of a Lion King song with the way it flows.  I just didn’t think a song like this would even be considered as an A-side because it just doesn’t make sense.  Shokotan sounds nice if not a bit cutesy.  It’s OK, but nothing I would put on repeat.

6. Arukou

The other song that was supposed to be the secondary A-side but was cancelled, Arukou closes the mini-album out with a ballad and Arukou has a much orchestrated arrangement which actually sounds pretty and with Shoko singing lightly, it’s a soft and non-offensive track and definitely closed the mini out on a good note.

To me I felt like UCHI-SHIGOTO, SOTO-SHIGOTO!! was kind of a rushed deal because 4/6 of the tracklist is older stuff that was released elsewhere while the remaining tracks were initially supposed to be their own single (though if it was a single, neither song would’ve really made sense as A-sides).  It’s alright for what it is, but I just can’t shake off that this was a bit of a thin idea of a release.  At least I can say that this was better than “nsum”.

 

Yukino – RanTiKi

Filed under: Yukino — solarblade @ 10:58 am

rantiki

Track Listing

  1. RanTiKi
  2. Miserable Rain
  3. I Just Called to Say I Love You
  4. RanTiKi (instrumental)
  5. Miserable Rain (instrumental)

1. RanTiKi

For being Yukino’s first single, I was curious to how she was going to carry herself into her career and RanTiKi is a really awesome surprise!  I am in love with the jazzy tones in this song and add Yukino’s already impressive vocals and you get this bombastic and lively tune that really spiced things up this year for me so far.  If she keeps on going I’m going to stan her so hard!  This is just perfect for Yukino!!!

2. Miserable Rain

As for the first of the B-sides, Miserable Rain tones things down quite a lot and it’s great because this song reminds me of the songs from her debut mini-album!  This is a bit straightforward as a ballad, but you can’t go wrong with a simple piano/strings ballad with such beautiful vocals…so it kind of meets in the middle but quite impressive that Yukino can bring life into a song like this.

3. I Just Called to Say I Love You

The last track reviewed on the single is actually a cover of a classic Stevie Wonders’ tune!  You can really tell she is really trying to get into that soulful feel that Stevie did, but it comes off just a bit strange as it’s also a dive into singing English and that’s kind of just awkward to listen to.  Song is also on the simple side with only piano…I mean there could’ve been more going on and Yukino could’ve sung this in Japanese but right now, this is kind of bleh.

Yukino’s first single and only single prior to her first studio album, RanTiKI is pretty good for the most part.  The best thing about it is the title track which is just amazing and sassy to listen to.  Miserable Rain is a simple yet pretty ballad while the cover track is just kind of bleh.  Luckily since RanTiKi is epic, it’s still a good single!