Kurayami Monogatari

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KARA – FANTASTIC GIRLS December 4, 2013

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 2:45 pm

fantasticgirls

Track Listing

  1. Thank You Summer Love
  2. Burn! Burn! Heartbeat
  3. Bye Bye Happy Days!
  4. Rescue Me
  5. POP STAR
  6. Promise
  7. Endless Night
  8. Ichiban ni Watashi wo Dakishimete
  9. HANABI
  10. My Boy
  11. Happy Happy Love (Limited C only)

1. Thank You Summer Love

Opening the album is the group’s 2nd and final single released before the album.  As a summer song, I was already throwing my hands up in the air because they’ve done this sort of song of succeeded with “GO GO Summer!”.  Sadly, the other A-side had already done this as well and it just seems like it’s another clone and I just couldn’t really get it, but as it’s the opening track, I will say that it did well opening it up ^^.

2. Burn! Burn! Heartbeat

Moving into our first new track, Burn! Burn! Heartbeat has the cuter KARA sound mixed with their K-pop sound and I kind of dig it in this case because I’m just loving the beat and flow and of course the group sounds really nice together!  It’s definitely fitting to their image and definitely a strong album, but let’s see if they have more surprises xD.

3. Bye Bye Happy Days!

We move into the first A-side and it’s even synthier than the previous two tracks and this was represented as a summer song alongside the other A-side.  This actually reminds me more of “GO GO Summer!” which is kind of nice but like I said before, has a bit of unoriginality running through it.  For this album, it’s alright, but I can’t remember how it goes after a while.

4. Rescue Me

Getting into a stretch of new songs, we start with Rescue Me and it’s got a lof of groove to it and I have to say I quite like the sound of this one.  It’s a pretty cool dance track for the group and they still sound great still!  It isn’t as exciting like “Burn! Burn! Heartbeat” was but this is a pretty solid track from the group.

5. POP STAR

What a weird intro to our next track with the bloop/bleeps xD.  I can tell this album is going to be filled with this glossy pop tracks.  POP STAR sounds like a clone of “Rescue Me” for some reason but this has a little more speed and oomph to it so it definitely surpasses it.  Just a fun, bouncy pop track and I quite liked it

6. Promise

Promise comes in to tone things down a little bit by being more of a mid-tempo track.  At first I thought they were going to utilize dubstep with that intro but luckily it didn’t turn out that way.  The song is quite chill and very smooth all the way through and I just enjoyed it all the way through…the ladies sound so pretty (I wish I knew their names by their voices).  Definitely my favorite track so far now.

7. Endless Night

Then comes the goofy sounding ditty, Endless Night and I’m noticing their reusing synth sounds which kind of turns me off and adding that this is more of a cuter song coming from KARA, I was kind of put off slightly.  I don’t know why these kind of songs just turn me off, but they don’t seem to really work for KARA.  Meh….

8. Ichiban ni Watashi wo Dakishimete

Unfortunately we get 3 meh songs and I’m already dreading it.  Though this is an actual ballad here.  I’m loving whoever is leading the track in the first verse though because she sounds beautiful and suited the arrangement.  The chorus though is a bit of a bore however and after a while it does kind of drag itself…it was OK at first bit now it’s slightly forgettable.

9. HANABI

So both main B-sides make the album cut and I can’t really care about either of them.  HANABI was the better of the two since it wasn’t a re-tread song.  I do love that the song tried to be a lot more louder and broader than “Ichiban ni Watashi wo Dakishimete” but the song drags as well and I don’t think I remember the vocals much here and well yeah…just not much else to say here.

10. My Boy

The last song on most editions of the album, My Boy is the other B-side and is a Japanese self-cover of their Korean song “Date”.  I did say that in comparison to the Korean take, it’s actually not as lifeless and boring, but comparing to the other tracks on the album, it’s not as memorable either and sounds like ANOTHER summer song hahah.  Overall meh xD

11. Happy Happy Love

On Limited C onlys, you get a bonus track in Happy Happy Love and it’s a 3 minute track…hm.  As a bonus track, I was surprised this wasn’t just added because in comparison, it actually has a sense of class and sexiness and I enjoyed that sound because nothing on this album came off that way to me.  It definitely has a bit of a quirky side to it and even though it’s a bit short it stuck out to me!

Tracks Recommended

  • Promise
  • Burn! Burn! Heartbeat
  • POP STAR
  • Happy Happy Love
  • Rescue Me

Song of Avoidance

  • Endless Night

It seems like with KARA, their 4th album, FANTASTIC GIRLS felt like maybe the group is losing their effort and interest because even though the first half was ok and not terrible, the 2nd half was actually more boring and lifeless.  Unfortunately, this is the last album with the current line-up since Nicole is leaving the group at the end of the month (plus I have one more single to review “French Kiss”).  FANTASTIC GIRLS definitely a step down from “Girls Forever” IMO.

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Tommy heavenly6 – TOMMY ♡ ICE CREAM HEAVEN ♡ FOREVER

Filed under: Tommy heavenly6 — solarblade @ 11:50 am

tommyheaven

Track Listing

  1. -Intro- CUPCAKE CASTLE 【Dark Sugar Storm】
  2. I WANT YOUR BLOOD†
  3. LET ME SCREAM
  4. LOVIN’ YOU
  5. forever and anywhere
  6. Can you hear me?
  7. -Intro- CUPCAKE CASTLE 【Sugar Snow】
  8. Ruby eyes
  9. Ash Like Snow (English version)
  10. MILK TEA
  11. -Intro- Gelato Mountains Fight
  12. ICE CREAM HEAVEN FOREVER

1. -Intro- CUPCAKE CASTLE- 【Dark Sugar Storm】

Beginning the album, we get an introduction to the album!  Which starts out like an awesome Halloween-like atmosphere with them pipe organs and dark atmosphere.  Though it is 37 seconds long so you don’t really get somethin too interesting out of it but it’s led into our next song smoothly!

2. I WANT YOUR BLOOD†

Which throttles the gas with a heavy metal riff and the speed is damn fast and I’m loving the edgier side and I’m already liking this!  Tomoko sounds like herself and I love her quips when she says the title in the song and the chorus broadens things out even further and I just can’t help but love it all!  What a badass way to start the album!

3. LET ME SCREAM

Which calms down a touch with our next song LET ME SCREAM which sounds like Tomoko is going back to her first two album with that mix of heavy metal and punk rock and this song was that nice nostalgic punch that I missed from Tomoko.  Though Tomoko in the bridge has kind of a monotony about it that bores me slightly, but the chorus fixes that up in all the good ways it can.  Though this might be the Halloween song because she mentions things accompanied to the holiday and I love it!  Definitely a fitting tune in Tommy’s collection of creepy holiday.

4. LOVIN’ YOU

Moving onto LOVIN’ YOU, we’re already going at it with some ahhhs thrown in.  This song does slightly remind me of “PAPERMOON” which is lighter, but still edgy rock sound.  I actually thought it was pretty catchy and shows more of a light-hearted sound to heavenly’s darker sound.  One of the standout tracks from the album!

5. forever and anywhere

Now, Tomoko has never really did English well and it seems to be the focus for our next track forever and anywhere which is entirely sung in it.  I can’t really understand a lot of what she said in the verses but the chorus is a lot better and I like it.  It’s a tad dramatic too which is a nice touch, but I think I would love a Japanese take of this.

6. Can you hear me?

As one of the two promotional tracks for the album, I was curious because she has been redeeming herself with “HEAVENLY”.  I have to say, after all the loud and in your face tracks, I wasn’t expecting Can you hear me? to be more of an acoustic rock track (with some electric involved).  I do love when Tommy gets lighter and this kind of reminded me of “unlimited sky” (at least the beginning of it).  It’s chilled out and Tomoko sounds really nice here.  I have to say, risky choice to have it promote the album, but good song overall!

7. -Intro- CUPCAKE CASTLE 【Sugar Snow】

I thought it was funny that the PV for the track after this ACTUALLY used the intro to the album as the opening…but for the tracklist it’s preceded by Sugar Snow.  It’s a lot more dramatic and not as foreboding as “Dark Sugar Storm” and I love it.  Very cool interlude and it leads just as smoothly into “Ruby eyes”.

8. Ruby eyes

Which is the other song used to promote and IT’S BADASS!  Initially, I thought it had ties to “Ruby shoes” (the B-side from “PAPERMOON”) but it doesn’t seem like it.  It definitely has ties to previous punk rock tracks like the previous songs mentioned, “Heavy Starry Chain”, “monochrome sky” and the like.  I really love the energy from this one and the chorus is so awesome and I have to give props to who played drums in this one…definitely a difficult one!  I really love this one and was happy that it was chosen to promote the album.

9. Ash Like Snow (English version)

Y’know, I’ve always thought Ash Like Snow was more of a Tommy song than something from the brilliant green because like “Ruby eyes” it sounds like a lot of heavenly6’s stuff already.  I was surprised that she would do this now and not back then but it is what it is.  Seeing the English version you know I had to be worried with this one.  It also got an arrangement edit as well which I wasn’t too fond of.  To be honest, this version kind of just messed up everywhere and I just kind of loathed listening to this one.  Keep the original! BTW, Tomoko saying coruppted as ~cowuppted~ is cute xD.

10. MILK TEA

No, it’s not a Koda Kumi cover XD.  MILK TEA might be the most upbeat song on the album and kind of reminds me of her debut.  It’s peppy, energetic and Tomoko’s voice is a bit higher which gives it that girly punch.  Considering how much badassery is on this album, I did feel MILK TEA was a bit lighter and kind of didn’t fit on this album?  Actually I’m surprised she didn’t give this to AMOYAMO.  If it was on her first album it would’ve been a great song.  Here, it’s pretty good, but definitely overwhelmed by many other tunes.

11. -Intro- Gelato Mountains Fight

The final interlude is a 50 second…wintry interlude which is kind of cute yet creepy at the same time.  I love the descending/ascending xylophone melody…kind of gives this unique and creepy tone to lead in our final track.

12. ICE CREAM HEAVEN FOREVER

As the final track and title track, I was wondering what she pull out and it’s like a mix of her rock sound but there’s synths underlying the track but it works because it’s still heavy and edgy (just with different instrumentation).  It’s definitely a jam-worthy song but like “MILK TEA”, a lot of the other songs are a lot more cooler to me.  I’ll admit it’s catchy though and I love that she used synths here and not forcing a february-esque sound here

Tracks Recommended

  • Ruby eyes
  • I WANT YOUR BLOOD†
  • LOVIN’ YOU
  • LET ME SCREAM

Song of Avoidance

  • Ash Like Snow (English version)

It just seems to be Tomoko’s year isn’t it?  Two full albums this year under both her Tommy monikers!  I will say that she didn’t do quite as well with this one than she did with her february album mainly because we got only 9 instead of a full ten.  I will say her Engrish here is a bit more noticeable and a lil more annoying here for some reason this time around too (Ash Like Snow is pretty criminal on all accounts).  Still, she definitely put some effort here and released some pretty badass songs (like she has been).  Definitely a strong album and considering the last actual studio album she released (“I KILL MY HEART”) she definitely blew it out of the water.

 

KOTOKO – Kuchu Puzzle

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 10:37 am

kuchupuzzle

Track Listing

  1. My-Les
  2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  3. Kuchu Puzzle
  4. frozen fir tree
  5. Light My Fire
  6. Damare yo, Peter
  7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  8. Fushi-Gina-Ana
  9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪
  10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  11. Loop-the-Loop
  12. Restart
  13. P◇lyG△n
  14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

CD2

  1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

1. My-Les

KOTOKO opens up her 6th album with the promotional song used for the album, My-Les and it starts off quite strong with some electro mixed with some heavy guitars and that’s always good to hear.  To be honest, I really do like what I’m hearing on the track and KOTOKO herself sounds really powerful and cool.  Though I hear that dubstep breakdown in this song and it honestly felt slightly out of place to transition to the mid8.  Still minus that small gripe, My-Les is a pretty cool way to start the album off.

2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-

I learned with our next track that WING OF ZERO was used as a theme song for the video game, BALDRSKY ZERO.  I actually heard the original version and loved it because it reminded me of “SCREW” with its electro synth style.  On this album, it got touched up (hence the title) and the song added some new tricks like some grittier guitar riffs to go alongside the arrangement.  To be honest, the original was fine just as it was and didn’t need the added stuff found on this album.  Though WING OF ZERO is good all-around so I guess I do somewhat enjoy this still with the additions it got.

3. Kuchu Puzzle

We get into the title track and it’s definitely a shift of focus to KOTOKO’s rock side.  I will say I’m not enjoying KOTOKO’s vocals in this song as she’s putting off this cutesy voice and it doesn’t work with the strong guitar lines and awesome arrangement.  I think if she had resung this in a lower tone, I think I would’ve loved this song a whole lot because it’s just badass *sigh* maybe this’ll grow on me because damn this arrangement is awesome.

4. frozen fir tree

When this song begun, I kind of thought this was song made for Ayumi Hamasaki because it had that certain 90’s avex sound which caught me off guard XD.  Then I see that the song was produced by sat (of fripSide).  Then it all clicked because I’m not too big of a fan of his works because they tend to sound like generic clones of one another.  Sadly, this is the case here because this song sounds like many of fripSide’s stuff, though KOTOKO’s voice is slightly deeper than them.  Can’t say I’m a little more than bored with this one.

5. Light My Fire

What I thought was the first single of the era (I’ll talk about it later), we get the 2nd single of the era Light My Fire and I LOVE THIS SONG from KOTOKO.  This is what I wanted “Kuchu Puzzle” to have ended up like because it’s arrangement is awesome and KOTOTO’s vocals are just awesome to listen to.  Plus the chorus is so good and powerful.  I just don’t understand why “frozen fir tree” had to be placed in between them to be honest.  Definitely my favorite from the era!

6. Damare yo, Peter

I’m kind of enjoying KOTOKO taking such an interest in rock because it seems to be working for on this album so far.  Damare yo, Peter is a bit lighter than the previous track and it does have a certain anison vibe to it which is pretty nifty.  I also kind of get indie rock vibes as well which is also cool in and of itself.  Also, KOTOKO sounds rather not as dramatic as she usually tends to be, so this was a nice track overall.

7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-

I didn’t expect KOTOKO to well do this.  If you don’t know, KOTOKO wrote SHOOT! for the anime/idol group RO-KYU-BU! (who I reviewed and thought they were done when they clearly weren’t >.>).  So it’s nice to see KOTOKO do her own version of the group’s debut single.  I love how she changed the arrangement to less idol/rock and has a stronger electro vibe to it.  Honestly, I already love it more than the original because there’s no messy melodic issues like there was with the group.  Plus, it’s pretty funny to see KOTOKO rap in the song too…so much fun xD.  Still, I think she made this song SO MUCH BETTER than what RO-KYU-BU! did.

8. Fushi-Gina-Ana

Hm, a MAIKO song (I kind of was expecting another “BUCCANEER”.  I can hear some of it since it’s a mix of guitars and electro which I suppose cool but once again KOTOKO is using that cute voice that I’m not too fond of.  The song is quite busy and has a lot going on with the instrumentation.  I mean, I like the flow of the song, but there’s just something missing about it.  I’m just kind of like…ehh with this song.

9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪

When I saw the title of our next track, I instantly thought that this was going to be the “SHORT CIRCUIT”-esque track.  Though this song sounds like a mix of that and “Escape from the City” from Sonic Adventure 2 >.>).  Though it also is such a genki song from KOTOKO which made me think of the former.  I really like how frantic the song is, but I feel like deep-voiced KOTOKO would once again make this even better.  Still, I can’t shake off that SA2 thought…it sounds so much like the aforementioned song so much to me xD.

10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

We get into a small stretch of older songs starting with the only B-side to make the album from “→unfinished→”.  Actually didn’t we just have this kind of song with “frozen fir tree”?  It sounds like their the same track, but I actually like KOTOKO’s vocals in this one as she brought the dramatics out here and I quite like how she just sounds.  Though I can’t help but think sat produced this track too (though this did come before “frozen fir tree”.

11. Loop-the-Loop

I was REALLY surprised that she decided to include this single even though in her discography it makes sense.  Though it’s the only single that she didn’t release under Warner so it kind of sticks out in that response.  This anison pop/rock sound doesn’t exactly work with this album and would’ve preferred it back on “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket”.  I’m not too big of a fan of this song and its inclusion seems random at best.

12. Restart

Though I suppose “Loop-the-Loop” was to kind of bridge into Restart which was the 4th and final single released for the album and sadly I still can’t really can’t get into this track.  I mean it’s very anison and pretty generic (though the verses are nice with that synth beat) but this never really stood out to me and if it wasn’t for the previous song, this would’ve been the worst A-side she’s released in the era.  It just seems so pale to me.

13. P◇lyG△n

I was wondering where our awesome electro would be and it turns out P◇lyG△n would be that, but it oddly reminds me of MELL’s “kicks!” with the mix of gritty synths and the lighter synths.  Even though it isn’t a total badass track, I do love the flow of the song.  It’s a pretty nifty song and kind of gives us that cool I’ve Sound track…quite awesome!

14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

The album ends with →unfinished→ and it’s a new version!  Though it seems like this version starts with a piano intro and not the fade in, but also the song seems to be this electro/anison track through and through and not have the slow points in the verses like the original.  I enjoyed the original as it is, but this new version feels like it’s at one level then entire way through so I couldn’t attach myself to it as well.  Odd choice to be the ending track though >.<.

CD2

1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

So if you bought the album at certian stores, it comes with an English version of her 3rd A-side released.  I like that its based off the original version and I had to do a double take because this song is VERY Engrishy and a lot of the time I was trying to decipher her voice.  There are some words she does well, but that’s rare in this song.  It’s not the best bonus incentive…and fans of this song will be like WTF…so in the end…not that great…

Tracks Recommended

  • Light My Fire
  • P◇lyG△n
  • WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  • SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  • Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

Song of Avoidance

  • frozen fir tree

As this is KOTOKO’s 6th album, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it with the 3 Warner singles (and then random “Loop-the-Loop”).  KOTOKO released a semi-good album with Kuchu Puzzle.  I mean it’s slightly better than “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket” but still many of the gripes I had there were here as well…it’s just that a good portion of the songs were better on this one.  I still can’t say I’m a fan of her cute voice and having sat produce some of the tracks was a bit meh in the end.  Still not bad.