Kurayami Monogatari

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Perfume – LEVEL3 September 30, 2013

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 8:49 pm

level3

Track Listing

  1. Enter the Sphere
  2. Spring of life (Album-mix)
  3. Magic of Love (Album-mix)
  4. Clockwork
  5. 1mm
  6. Mirai no Museum
  7. Party Maker
  8. Furikaeru to Iru yo
  9. Point
  10. Daijobanai
  11. Handy Man
  12. Sleeping Beauty
  13. Spending all my time (Album-mix)
  14. Dream Land

1. Enter the Sphere

Opening the album is quite an interesting way to kick things off.  Technically, the main melody is something we have heard of.  Actually, it was the FIRST thing we heard when they switched to UNIVERSAL.  I loved that instrumental so much and was more than happy to see Nakata finally taking advantage of it (though still waiting for “Perfume no Okite”.  I’m surprised though Nakata took it further and added Perfume’s voices onto it and really working with it.  It does feel like it’s mostly an intro because there’s not a lot of lyrics presented, but I feel like it does its job quite nicely.  Awesome song overall and a great way to start!

2. Spring of life (Album-mix)

It was surprising to see that 3/4 of the A-sides released during this era got touched up for the album (shocks that the worst one of them didn’t…).  The first single after their label transfer, Spring of life for me was a pretty good start and listening to the album version, I instantly fell in love because they took the mid8 section and applied it to the beginning and near the end and still kept the song mostly intact with its original counterpart.  I still love the song, but I think the whole club ending (where it goes from full arrangement to a pounding beat, was cheap and didn’t really go into “Magic of Love” smoothly).

3. Magic of Love (Album-mix)

When I got into the new version Magic of Love, I felt like Nakata used some Kyary sounds in there which really freaked me out.  After that intro, it does sort of follow along the original arrangement, but not to the point where I felt like it was safe Perfume (like I reflected on when I reviewed the single).  The new take of the song makes it different and while it did lose it’s interlude that many people liked, it wasn’t entirely a miss…though I don’t think the song deserved a change on the album.

4. Clockwork

As we get into some new tracks, I was curious to what Perfume and Nakata had up their sleeves for LEVEL3 and Clockwork was such an interesting track to listen to.  I kind of thought the song was going to have a focus on ticking and such and it sort of does with the beat.  When I get further in, the song really has this strong New Wave/80s vibe that made the song become instantly enjoyable.  Definitely an ethereal but totally chill song to listen to.

5. 1mm

As the album’s promotional track, 1mm was definitely one of those songs that really caught me off guard.  People have compared it to “I still love you” and I can totally agree because it’s another ethereal and chill track from the group and yet it has something fierce going on in it that I just can’t help but say it was a solid choice to have been promoted.  Plus, solo lines are done so nicely!  I have to commend Nakata for this atmosphere and amazing arrangement here…it’s definitely one of my favorites from the album!

6. Mirai no Museum

I can never get the fact on how Mirai no Museum was not changed for the album because it’s a REAL sour note for the album’s flow and sound.  As the group’s 3rd A-side released, MnM really has this idol feel and their vocals aren’t as modified like in other tracks, but this song is sugary cute and I still don’t enjoy listening to it much but it’s not as shallow as another track on the album.  Maybe it would’ve been better as the final track, but it really does not belong on this album (would’ve MAJORLY insisted on “Hurly Burly” being in this spot).

7. Party Maker

Everyone in Perfume’s fandom has been wanting an awesome power track from the group and while JPN totally snuffed on that, we finally get a banger, a near 7 1/2 minute track!  While I am a little surprised that like “Enter the Sphere” the lyrics are not the main focus of the track which lead to Nakata doing all the magic.  This song is a very cool song for them and I’m loving the harder sounds moreso than when Perfume actually sings their lines…weird right?  After the 2nd time, I thought it was sounding better and stronger.  Though like the SoL mix, I don’t get why it needed to go into *typical club ending*.  Overall, this song is pretty strong for a Nakata track, as a Perfume song…I kind of wish they were more evident…but still awesome!

8. Furikaeru to Iru yo

An electro-reggae song from Perfume.  I guess you can’t deny that Nakata is stepping out of his zone on this album.  I love the beats and bass synths all over this song…it just calms me and hearing Perfume singing along together just soothes me.  Though for a song that’s over 6 minutes, it does rather drag after while (Reggae is a style that’s much better in short doses than longer ones).  It’s nice, but only in short doses because like I said…it’s one that will mostly drag for listeners.

9. Point

Then we get into the series of B-sides starting with the B-side from “Spending all my time”.  Granted I think both this and “Hurly Burly” should’ve been put on the album.  Like “Mirai no Museum”, this song doesn’t exactly fit on the album either, but the biggest difference is…….I enjoy this song regardless.  I still think the song sounds like a perfect song for a Katamari Damacy game and yet this song is dreamy enough to slightly fit (maybe it would’ve worked better next to “Clockwork” if anything).  Nice track though!

10. Daijobanai

Moving to the B-side from “Mirai no Museum”, Daijobanai back then reminded me of the horrors from “Communication” because it had a repetitive arrangement and just didn’t stand out.  Nowadays, Daijobanai has grown on me a bit, but I still do feel like the song is still repetitive as hell and most of the time I’m kind of forgetting a lot about it, but the arrangement has gotten easier to stand.  Still not near the top, but at least I can respect it!

11. Handy Man

Then comes the B-side from “Magic of Love” and honestly minus “Hurly Burly” this is the best B-side they’ve released in this whole era.  I’m loving the whole Arabic sounding arrangement and it isn’t repetitive as hell like a lot of B-sides have been.  It’s definitely taking the most ethnic sounding track from the album altogether.  Overall not bad and definitely was happy to see it make the cut.

12. Sleeping Beauty

Running into the final stretch, we begin with Sleeping Beauty.  The intro reminded me Ami Suzuki’s “climb up to the top” but once the synth melody started up, the song IMMEDIATELY sounded like “Butterfly” and it keeps that up the rest of the way which kind of bored me because the latter track has more lyrics to it.  Most of the time, it’s the ladies going ~ahhhhhh~.  I mean once it passes the 3-minute mark, then you hear the girls actually say the title of the song and that’s it.  I’m quite disappointed with this one.  Just seemed to lack a LOT of character and well…seemed like a very vague song.

13. Spending all my time (Album-mix)

Ahhh yes, the song that split the fandom…Spending all my time was also another track that changed around for it’s album appearance and actually most of us have heard it as the *Cannes* mix.  The beginning and the final chorus is the only thing that remains from the original.  Everything else is new, which is toning the song down and giving a rather fashionable sound.  To be honest, while many people will enjoy this new version, I actually prefer the original…I personally think it has more oomph than the album mix tbh and I think there could have been more to the mix…but it’s just me.

14. Dream Land

Entering our final song, that intro reminded me of Kyary’s “CANDY CANDY” with the instrument!!!  Anyways, as the final track, it kind of felt like it was a solid choice to end the album because it’s unique and very airy to listen to, especially with that clicking instrument (I have no idea what it is).  I think it was perfect to put that feeling of a dream land in our minds.  Very solid choice to have ended the album!

Tracks Recommended

  • Spring of life (Album-mix)
  • 1mm
  • Enter the Sphere
  • Dream Land
  • Party Maker

Song of Avoidance

  • Sleeping Beauty

I have to say this now, LEVEL3, DEFINITELY surpasses their last two albums by a long shot!  Though it still isn’t going to pass up “GAME”, but it’s quite good.  I have to say, as their first album on UNIVERSAL, LEVEL3 did a great job giving us Perfume and Nakata also putting more effort into them here worked out.  I will say a couple issues happened.  I think I’m done with wanting Nakata to do album mixes (2/3 didn’t really need them but w/e) and Sleeping Beauty…but that’s a singular problem there.  Overall, this is a GREAT album for them and I’ve missed this side of Perfume a lot (plus more bangers warms my heart xD).

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Dream – Only You

Filed under: dream — solarblade @ 7:26 am

onlyyoudream

Track Listing

  1. Only You
  2. BOOM! BOOM!
  3. MY DAY, ONE WAY
  4. Catch A Wave
  5. Only You (Instrumental)
  6. BOOM! BOOM! (Instrumental)
  7. MY DAY, ONE WAY (Instrumental)
  8. Catch A Wave (Instrumental)

1. Only You

Ahhhh the return of Dream huh?  Well, we’re given Only You which continues with the group releasing sparkly dance-pop for us listeners and while it was a surprise when they returned to relevance, but after “Hands Up!” it seems like this is already slowly fading away from them.  With Shizuka and Aya as mains, I was alright with that (though sad Sayaka had left).  The song is alright, but it sounds like there’s not a lot of interest heard here.

2. BOOM! BOOM!

At least the first B-side is making much more of an impact on the song because the energy is amplified and the song is really great to hear that Dream feel that I’ve always admired.  Add in those quick string melodies and this song is unique and quirky to stand out!  I really found myself in love with it and is my favorite from the single!

3. MY WAY, ONE WAY

A pounding beat, piano, and strings that isn’t a slow song?  Yeah this song really is definitely in the realm for Dream.  There’s something playful and bright about the song that really works for me.  I think it’s a lot like “Only You” in the way that while it’s nice and pretty for their vocals, there’s been much better.

4. Catch A Wave

I will say they’re doing a good job at keeping me interested in them because Catch A Wave is a summery synth/dance track and it’s just hella catchy to listen to.  I will say the higher vocalists had a better time (while the deeper ones did great in “BOOM! BOOM!”).  Even though it is a bit short (at 3:30), the song was nice and pleasant to listen to.

 

 

How long has it been since I’ve heard Dream last…almost 3 years right?  Well during that time they lost two members, the final original member of dream days, Kana Tachibana and Sayaka Yamamoto which left with the remaining 4 members.  As their first outing as a 4-nin, Only You was pretty good.  Only You and MY WAY, OUR WAY were ok and nothing terrible, just didn’t leave much of an impression.  BOOM! BOOM! and Catch A Wave however did and I would love if they took a more forward approach to their dance style (like they once did when it was just Kana, Yu, and Ai).  Overall, good single from them!  I wanna hear more Ami and Erie!!!

 

FLOWER – Taiyou to Himawari

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 6:35 am

taiyoutohimawari

Track Listing

  1. Taiyou to Himawari
  2. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)
  3. what i want… (Limited CD+DVD only)
  4. Taiyou to Himawari (Instrumental)

1. Taiyou to Himawari

I kind of was wondering where has FLOWER been for a while and I noticed they released this A-side.  Listening to Taiyou to Himawari, it really isn’t different from songs from “Still” or “Sakura Regret” as it’s still the 3 main singers and an R&B beat.  Granted that’s their sound, but the song didn’t exactly resonate with me plus it felt like only one of the 3 girls were really singing.  There’s some things about the song that’s nice like the vocals (as usual) and using the strings (not new) but…after “Koibito ga Santa Claus” it just feels muddled to me.

2. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)

If you were wondering what the whole version is all about, fellow group, Happiness also released a track “Boyfriend (Sunshine Version) which is why FLOWER has such.  Comparing the two, FLOWER’s version is more towards their sound and has a stronger leaning to R&B than Happiness’ version.  Sadly, I do prefer the latter (but I think it’s because that sound is more something I like and the vocals from them are stronger TBH).  To me, the moonlight version feels very bland and doesn’t really stand out to me, but I do like it slightly more than the A-side.

3. what i want…

On limited pressings of the CD+DVD version of the single, we get an extra B-side.  Funny enough I actually really liked this song because it did remind me of Happiness xD.  The song is very much catered to dance fans of E-Girls (or Dream).  It’s just fun to listen to and has a cool flow to it.  Even the musical breakdowns are impressive to me!  I must say this might be one of the best songs they’ve done so far!

 

 

As it’s the group’s 5th single, Taiyou to Himawari isn’t a totally bad single, but it kind of ranks with most of their other singles.  The A-side is kind of forgetful and after their last one, it’s not a good sign.  Their take on Boyfriend is a lot like their stuff so once again, it’s a tiny bit bland, plus Happiness did it much better!  However, the shining moment is the B-side, what i want… because of it’s more dance-focused arrangement.  I wonder when their 1st album will be announced…

 

Shoujo Jidai – GALAXY SUPERNOVA

Filed under: Shoujo Jidai — solarblade @ 4:29 am

galaxysupernova

Track Listing

  1. GALAXY SUPERNOVA
  2. DO THE CATWALK

1. GALAXY SUPERNOVA

Honestly, I was coming into this hoping that GS was going to be a banger of a song, but I’m actually OK with this song because it’s kind of more their slicker songs out there (though it won’t beat “GENIE”).  I like the oomph going on and the sound of the girls is quite nice and a lot more memorable than in “LOVE&GIRLS”.  Yeah, this song was quite impressive overall!

2. DO THE CATWALK

Moving into the B-side, DO THE CATWALK actually also improved than their last B-side “Lingua Franca” with a more intensive arrangement and added brass and whistling into the arrangement.  There’s just something cute and catchy about the song overall!  Probably their best B-side in a while IMHO.

 

 

I have to say, after “LOVE&GIRLS”, I felt the group was just going to get bad.  Luckily, GALAXY SUPERNOVA is one of their better singles in recent times.  I love both tracks are cute but still have a good hook and beat to them to just last in your mind!  Definitely a big jump up after their last single.